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/tg/ - Traditional Games

Nechronica thread.

>Anyone still playing this game?


>Where do I get an English translation of this Japanese tabetop RPG?

-The wiki has the most up to date translation: https://nechronica.miraheze.org/wiki/Main_Page
-You can play Nechronica on Tabetop Simulator. Check the Steam Workshop for the resources.

>Last time:

>Previous Thread >>74251433

As some wise anon pointed out. Album covers can make for great Nechronica inspiration. So have some.
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isn't this some pedo shit?
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Where do your characters get their gear? Do they salvage everything or do they also have suppliers.
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This makez me imagine a continuation of a game in, the Aqen game PortAnon storytimed. Where Violet, Dahlia, Aster, set out to bring peace and prosperity back to North America.

Sometimes when your memories come back your realize you were, or remember that you are, a terrible person. How you feel about that is an open question.

It's a new age, undead form a community free from necromancer control. Though being undead does not always excempt you from the hazards of human nature.

How will you shape this developing micronation?

Really sums up some doll and necromancer dynamics.

I feel like you could build sessions, encounters or arcs around these.
>This makez me imagine a continuation of a game in, the Aqen game PortAnon storytimed. Where Violet, Dahlia, Aster, set out to bring peace and prosperity back to North America.

I meant to say.

This makes me imagine a continuation to a game I was in, the Aqen game PortAnon ran and storytimed, where Violet, Dahlia, Aster, set out to bring peace and prosperity back to North America.
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>tfw you really want to play a Requiem but you hit the minimum age roll
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How would you stat this?

For a while I thought he was wearing sunglasses with round black lences that had light reflecting off them.

Now it looks like that or his eyes are open really really big.

I preffer the former but the latter amuses me.

I hope she's hiding hearing protection under that bowl cut.

I'm not a fan of the default age and gender assumptions the game makes, but that joke is funny.
I hope we get more storytime this thread.
Any of them, or new ones.
I'm working on compiling some stuff for the Coleo campaign right now, but some RL stuff has done a good job of disrupting my day. Hoping to have something ready by tonight or tomorrow.

HP: 12 AP: 11
-Brain +2 AP
-Eyes +1 AP
-Metal Tail feathers +2 AP
-Animal Legs
-Beak [Action/2/0] Unarmed Attack 1. Defends are ineffective against this manuever
-Metal Claw [Action/2/0] Unarmed 1 + Dismember.
-Mad Demon: +1 to Unarmed Attack checks
-Electro Shock [Damage/1/0-1] This can only be declared when you take damage. Unarmed Attack 2.
-Animal Legs [Action/2/Self] Move 1-2
-Avian Entrails: None
-Avian Cybernetics: None
-Whipping Top [Rapid/2/Special] Usable only on your own Movement Maneuver. If the move succeeded, then Unarmed Attack 1 + Dismember against the area before or after the movement.

Couldn't really tell what the thing on top was or if the thing on its neck is a gun. Also if you want to toss on Homebrew, throw on charger from blast from the past for shits and giggles.
Hey guys you might remember me from last thread talking about my dumb ass purgatory setting.

I have returned once again to crowdsource some ideas/revisions.

Most importantly I'm looking for more ideas on what sort of unique communities of surviving dolls would be created in such a city.

I'd like the setting to have a strange whimsy and dreamlike appearance and characters contrasted by the darker circumstances.

Here's the link if you wanna give it a read

Can you link the archived thread you were in because I don't remember this?

The setting I wrote then is very different from the current iteration and I also didn't speak much about it in the thread
Is this that game made by a legit schizophrenic pedophile?
Thanks. I'll give it a read later
This is for all you Space and Mars games.
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>Metal Edition

So it's for this doll then.
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What campaign are those two from.
> I'm looking for more ideas on what sort of unique communities of surviving dolls would be created in such a city.
I guess my biggest question would be: what resources or commodities would the dolls in the area find valuable?

A lot of settlements tend to be founded for the purpose of conducting business in a more efficient way. The other purpose is, of course, protection for the larger community. So identifying what people want in your setting goes a ways to figuring out why they might congregate in places.

Since undead really don't need to eat or drink, you can probably free yourself from a lot of normal settlement constraints that have to do with food and water. I think the biggest demand you'd have after that would be safety, but I'm not entirely sure what the danger level of your setting is at this point. The other thing might be novelty; eternity is a long time to spend in purgatory so you might actually have a reason for odd 'gimmick' communities to pop up every now and then; maybe a group of Dolls lives in a dilapidated toy factory and actually produces toys and gadgets for export around the area. You could have an entire set of settlements all dedicated to a specific form of art or artisanship, like an entire town that are just metalworkers based out of a huge foundry, or a community of sculptors who have fortified a marble quarry.

Or maybe people drift around until they find a themed community that kind of 'clicks' with them, like a massively overbuilt fishing village that really only exists so that every person living there can nap by the dock with a rod in the water and occasionally pull up the odd mutated catfish or something. The entire place could just be a massive, multilayered network of docks with the occasional comfy hut here and there, with a thousand fishing lines cast down into the water. Like a particularly grimy rendition of CAT!astrophe. You can probably think of a few settlements set up like that.
Nice ideas!

You definitely have good points about safetey and novelty. Since purgatory is full of undead with the sole purpose of culling off dolls who VIRGIL considers weak/unworthy, protection would be very important. But I also see a lot of potential in those who manage to stay off the radar and fare better in a more engaging environment.

The fishing village is a really fun nutso idea.

Sadly one that hasn't gotten very far due to the GM's computer exploding.

Mechanically. an Alice/Baroque/Metalhead. Prayer is her singing songs she only half remembers.
Do both heads sing?
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You better have had her badly sing Moving In Stereo or you will have completely wasted this opportunity.

Of course.

While it'd be funny, Metal songs take priority due to class.
That's a lot of bathtubs.
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So how does the action point system work?
Everyone on a count goes at once, but then you, your allies, and your enemies can retroactively preemptively react with rapids, and then respond to those rapids with further rapids.
What are the ins and outs of building a tower of rapids going backwards in time? What things are legal to declair rapids in response to, and what things are not?

I wonder if you would get cloistered religious orders emerging.

>So how does the action point system work?
You pay the cost and move down the tracker. If you have 12 AP and shoot an AT Rifle for 4, you go down to 8 and can't declare another action timing maneuver until count 8 rolls around.

>What are the ins and outs of building a tower of rapids going backwards in time?
Once it gets past a certain point, you're going to have to write it all down to ensure things go in the right order. It can also get incredibly silly if you have enough of them on hand. It really is just taking note of which rapids are happening earlier than others.

For character build of "as much rapid as you can," the most you can get is probably a Requiem/Gothic with Hand of Death, Extra Arms, Delight in Corruption and Psycho Blaster, though that build will take at least 20 favor to hit, since you need MUT 2 and ENH 3. You'll get one rapid attack from Hand of Death, one from Extra Arms, and one with Psychoblaster, and a use of Delight in Corruption to get one of them back for a grand total of 4, 5 if you want to take Assassin blade for your ENH 2, even though you're a requiem. The problem with this build is that you have minimal bonuses, defends, or potentially even AP to use all of it in one round.

>What things are legal to declair rapids in response to, and what things are not?

Action and rapid timing only. You also can't declare them once you move into resolution (ie: when dice are hitting the table).
>Album covers can make for great Nechronica inspiration.

These two remind me of Franken Fran and horror movies.
So very Nechronica appropriate.
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There is a strange lack of blood here. You would think it would be EVERYWHERE.
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Stack enough parts on a horror and things get crazy.
With all those Extra Heads it's Max AP must be insane.
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>To put it simply, it is a game in which the players become zombie girls and fight against other zombies.
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Resources to keep the infrastructure of their settlements going, as well as maintain their own bodies are also going to help dictate the position of settlements.

Getting your leg crushed in an accident may not be nearly as much of a big deal for you in a safe settlement, but you are still going to need a replacement leg.
>>74571232 Oh interesting! This comes to mind for me.

Every year I this area the cucoons come out of the ground and some fresh problems emege from them.

The necromancer who once controlled this area, and may still haunt it for all we know, was a real peice of work.

But these days the cucoons, for all the danger they bring to stalk the mists, make this land valuable, for they bring a reliable crop of parts that we trade toour neighbors near and far.

I'll be honest with you, the opportunity to hunt, kill, and harvest parts also helps a lot of us stay relatively sane, or at least gives us a place in society. Though a need to hunt, kill,and harvest is not the only reason people choose to live in the mists.

Obviously some adapting would be in order to make this fit your setting.
It can be fun when a big stack of rapids go off in a fight.
It can lead to some real cinimatic stuff.
This makes me want to put haunted weapons/parts in my game.
Hey Secondary GravelAnon and GravelAnon how long have you been playing Nechronica?

Also, was this one of your games?
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Can't say exactly how long GravelAnon had been playing, though he had already been through at least one campaign, but Secondary GravelAnon started playing Nechronica back at the end of 2015, wanna say December. Personally, started at the beginning of 2014.
-t. The other player that was in that game.
Original GravelAnon here. Consulting with a handy discussion post in my first game's Roll20, it looks like it officially started somewhere around January of 2015, so I'm closing in on about six years of this myself.

As to pic related, no, that doesn't describe any of our games as far as I'm aware. Doesn't look like it accurately approximates any of them in either impression or execution, and the only one I've personally made is this one.
It all looks the same to me.

You guys started playing this game long before I knew it was a thing.

So thanks for playing and helping to keep interest going both back then and now.
I wonder if their is much overlap between people who play Nechronica and people who play Changeling: the Lost.

Haven't seen that much of people who have played both, though there isn't much disdain for changeling when it is brought up in nechronica discussions.

The relationship between True Fae (keepers) and Changelings has some parallels with the relationship between Necromancers and Dolls.

True Far and (often) Necromancers are tremendously powerful and hold a lot of power over their playthings and can and do warp then in body mind for reasons sometimes only they understand.

Their power is also often largely restricted to an area or region they control and falls off outside of that.

Both are often twisted mad or alien by the standards of most humans and can last a long time.

Changeling:the Lost usually takes place after the Changelings in the party have escaped their Keeper and made it back to the mortal world, where they struggle since they have been warped into supernatural beings that don't fully work like mortals, they're families and friends (if they are still alive) have no idea they were ever gone since a fetch was put in place to live their life which makes reclaiming their old life a challenge on several levels, they have the baggage from everything they went through, and the mortal world, Arcadia, and your fellow Changelings and other supernatural thrwats can be endless sources of problems, stress, and danger. All of this is before the very real possibility your keeper may decide they want you back and task some of their many servitors with making sure you end up back in their possession.

Nechronica in many ways seems like it plays out in a similar situation, just wound back in time to before your character escaped their Keeper.
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Sure there's overlap in theme and such, but that doesn't mean someone would want to do both. If someone's drawn to the game because they want to play zombie lolis, they're not gonna be enticed into changeling just because they have the same themes.
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Shiney exteriors, glowing bits, and prominent symbols are great for gladiators, entertaineers, and certain forms of ceremonial or terror assignments.
True. Though not everyone was drawn to Nechronica, or remains drawn to it, by the opportunity to play a character in the body of an undead child.
But those people are fags.
Ever have breathtakingly beautiful scenery remove madness, or cause everyone to roll like it were a conversation check?
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I haven't but I like that idea

There are locations that are so serene that you forget all about your troubles and trauma.
The first time we saw the open sky in the Port campaign we all got a free madness point taken off. It was the first time any of our characters had seen the sun (or in Tachi's case, the first that she could remember).
And now time for the triumphant(?) return of the Humbourg (Homburg? Humbourgh?) storytime!
For those of you just joining us:
>Coleo campaign, featuring one Doll who's oblivious to the fact that she's dead and two wasteland veterans who find themselves trapped in a city that shouldn't exist.
>Tags: England; Post Apocalypse(?); Mystery; 1880s; Librarians; Bug People; Animal People; Sandwiches; Constabulary; Disregard of the Constabulary; Trespassing; Psychosis; Body Horror; Serial Killers; NPC heavy; Character interaction heavy; light combat; WOOOOORDS
>Part 1
>Part 2
>Part 3
>Part 4

When we last left our heroes, one of them was having a nightmare about eating her dad while the others were being a bit more metaphorical about the whole thing due to not needing to sleep.

>On the fifth day of Coleo's grounding, Melico once again approaches her with a stack of books and maps. "Coleo, I need your help again. Can you tell me why these two maps show different borders? I have the book you said explains it."
>Coleo does her best not to sag. "This is a map from the year 1703. The cartography techniques at the time weren't as precise as they are now, so not all the shoreline is where it's supposed to be." She splays her hands out helplessly. "It's just old."
>"I see. And what advancements were made that lead to this change?" Melico had asked this same question two days ago.
>Coleo fidgets with the end of her mandible with a finger. "Mostly just more precise tooling, if I recall. I haven't studied up on it very much." She blinks. "Didn't we talk about this on Wednesday, Melico?"
>"Did we? I don't recall. Also, could you show me where this book goes again? I seem to have forgotten." She holds up the book she had pulled from the shelf mere minutes ago.
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>Coleo can't hold in her sigh of exasperation. "Here, I'll put it up," she says plucking it from Melico's hand and slotting it into place on a shelf just to their right.
>"Thank you. Do these maps go there as well?" Melico holds aloft the maps she brought Coleo in the first place.
>Coleo takes the books, but as she's midway through lifting them up she deflates. She turns to look at Melico, face like a sad puppy. "Melico are you... messing with me?"
>Melico opens her mouth to speak, then stops. She pauses, looking at Coleo, before sighing and looking down. She raises her head to speak once more. "No... I'm sorry. I don't mean to upset you." She waits for Coleo to put away the maps, hands crossed behind her back.
>Coleo looks down herself, books clutched close to her chest as she thinks. "I... I enjoy helping you, Melico. But-" She blows a bit of air out her nose. "Do you need this much help? I mean, I know you're not dumb. I just don't know why you keep asking me the same questions and stuff."
>Melico stays silent for a moment, debating something in her head. "I..." She stops short again. "Things have been busy, haven't they. How are you Coleo?"
>"Mm." Coleo's tone is noncommittal.
>"The library is about normal, I guess. Helping you with the maps has been a big project though, that's true." She finally lowers herself, bringing her trunk into a loose coil in the middle of aisle. "And I'm... I guess I'm okay. I-" She chokes up a little and her voice gets quieter. "I really haven't been sleeping well most nights and I keep thinking I see things in the dark. I think I'm glad I got grounded."
>"I see. I'm sorry." Melico seems notably disappointed. "I guess I've been somewhat of a burden then."
>"Oh, oh I didn't mean it like that, Melico." Coleo flaps one of the arms not occupied with the books as if she can fan the concern away. "I don't mind the work, really. It's helped keep my mind off some things. I just... You kept asking the same things over and over again, I thought you were..." her mandibles make an odd folding motion.
>"I thought you were making fun of me for something."
>"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you feel that way." Melico shifts slightly, unclasping her hands from behind her and letting them hang at her side. "I just... I thought you might be having trouble." She stops again, unsure if she's saying things she needs to say.
>"Whenever I need to forget something, I... do things. I work toward something. Sometimes it's cleaning my rifle, sometimes it's walking a patrol, sometimes it's something else. It helps me think and it helps me forget. I just thought... you might want to forget things."
>Coleo's mandibles work in circles. "I don't... I don't think I really want to forget anything, really. I just-" she pauses a heartbeat as her lower jaw closes back up with a click, "I've been... scared of something like that happening again. I'm scared of you getting hurt, and Imp, and Denver. And me." She shrinks a little, pulling her coil tighter. "And I keep thinking about that third girl in the drawings. How she might still be out in the city, and if she's mad at us."
>There's an abrupt shift in her body language as she takes in a deep breath and relaxes again. "But you have helped. I like working with you when I think we're making progress. Just not running in circles. Despite, well y'know." Coleo pats the spiral she's spun herself into with a spare hand.
>"Right." Melico glances out a window, seeming to think on something for a moment before coming to a conclusion in her mind.
Yay storytime!
>Melico looks back toward Coleo once more and straightens. "I'm sorry if I've been a bother these past few days. I never meant to be a burden or give you the impression I was trying to upset you. I'd like to make it up to you if I can, even if only for myself. What work needs to be done in the library today?"
>"Hmm." Coleo scratches at the soft chitin on her chin with one of her claws. "Well, Ms. Barham came in with another stack this morning which needs to be put away." Her expression falls immediately.
>"Four different copies of Robert Bingham's Manual on Pugilism. I don't even know what- Gah!" She waves the thought away. "You can help me put those up if you'd like. I could use some help carting the stack around."
>Melico nods and turns toward the return desk. "I'll get it done. I know where most everything in the library goes, so don't worry about it." She heads toward the stack of books and purposefully sets about returning them to their proper places.
>The sixth day of Coleo's grounding, early morning.

>Conscious swims back to Coleo, pushing on her face, rattling in her ears. Open air, soft coverings, mouthwatering smells.
>The last clinging vestiges of a dream slide down the walls of her mind as her room, breakfast outside, and Jiminy nuzzling against her face and cleaning her ear as she lays tangled in bed all finally come into focus.
>Eggs... bacon... toast and tea.
>Then she remembers having a long talk with Mr. Windsor that at one point included the news that she would be waking up a free bug the next day.
>Which is today!
>Imp found a note that said "thank you" written in curly letters perched on a table when she slipped into the laundry room last night. The sun will be up soon.
>From the building staff? Maybe.
>Melico notices that Windsor is up at his customary time and seems to be splurging on meat and poultry this morning going by the sounds and smells. The morning staff are starting to check in.
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>Coleo giggles quietly as Jiminy's mandibles tickle her ear. Mumbling indignant nonsense, she gently bats Jiminy aside as she blinks the sleep out of her eyes.
>Her torso raises up off the bed like a marionette on strings as she uses her sprawling trunk to lever herself out of bed. She slinks over to the closet, so tired that she has to prop herself up against the wall for proper stability.
>She doesn't bother getting a proper outfit out this early; instead she pulls a long, fluffy robe from it's hook on the interior of the door and drapes it over herself. Jiminy scurries up her back and snuggles himself into a pocket stitched onto the back, placing his own head at just the right height that he can lean to look over either of Coleo's shoulders.
>"C'mon Jim'ny," Coleo mumbles as she moves over the door. "Let's get some breakfast." And then she's out into the hall and moving toward the kitchen.
>Mr. Windsor hums in the kitchen, a few of the staff can be heard moving around the main floor of the library getting things ready for the day, the sound carries well when the building is this relatively empty.
>Melico is already up and about, loitering about in the hallway.
>Spotting Coleo, Melico calls out as she walks toward her. "Coleo, good morning."
>Coleo rubs her eyes with an elbow. "Mmm. Still waking up."
>Jiminy hops up on her head and does a kneading motion in her hair. "Jim'ny..." Coleo's whine is thick with drowsiness as she picks him up with a pair of hands and places him back in his pocket. "Jiminy's excited this morning. I guess he's antsy to be out of the house."
>"I can imagine." Melico looks around the library for a moment. "I assume you're going out some time later. Is there anything you think you'll need help with?"
>Coleo begins plucking her way down the hall toward the kitchen, her legs clicking lightly against the wood floors. "Mm. Today's Friday? I can't think of any events going on in the Library today. Now that I'm not bound to the grounds anymore Mr. Windsor might send me out on errands for groceries or something. He didn't mention anything yesterday but I'unno."
>Melico follows behind momentarily but falls in step beside Coleo as she struggles to maneuver around Coleo's skittering trunk. "Well, if you need any help, I'm free. Let me know if you go out."
>"Thank you, Melico," Coleo says gratefully as the two of them round the corner into the kitchen.
>"Good morning Scutigera." Mr. Windsor calls over the whistle of the kettle he's manning. They can see breakfast is already on the table.
>Jiminy hops to the floor and begins demolishing the contents of his metal bowl.
>As the two of them cross into the kitchen, Coleo gives Windsor a warm wave. "Morning Papa." She sounds notably brighter than she did just a moment ago, though the effect is somewhat undone as Jiminy scrambles over her shoulder in a mad dash for his food bowl, sending the hair on the left half of her head twirling in all directions.
>She whines in an annoyed way, but can't quite keep up the act as her eyes settle on breakfast. Her mandibles drift open just a hair. "Breakfast smells good," she says absently as she moves up to the kitchen table.


>Imp eyes the note in surprise, glancing about warily as she goes about her business, but otherwise leaves it alone and ignores it.
>The library can make some interesting noises at night, but she don't believe she had company while she was in the laundry room
>Imp has no interest in breakfast because she's a tasteless, asocial loner.
>Having finished mending and washing the various clothes left out the day before, she stretches (likely unnecessarily), and returns to her room.

I wonder what the Gravel Crew would think of Coleo.

I can't get the mental image of Altina antagonizing her (bird antagonizing a centipede) out of my head, even though Coleo is a lot bigger than Altina.
>Opening the window, Imp leans out and stares dispassionately at the street, deliberately not looking at anyone in particular.
>She sees all the way to the morning flow of people down the sidewalk and the buildings across the street beyond.
>Eyeing some birds roosting on a building looking for scraps, Imp frowns.
>'I hate birds. Speedy bastards...'
>One of the birds leans forward and opens it's beak very far and begins to shriek at the bird closest to it. The latter hops a way a few times, but eventually resigns itself to foraging while being shrieked at.
>As Imp is people watching, she spots Denver come around the corner of the guest quarters building and come down the way toward her.
>He's not noticed her at all; its clear he's trying to enter the library from the back.
>Imp blinks, spotting the familiar walking mop and glances at it in spite of herself.
>'Sneaking in again? Why?' As he sneaks obliviously by, she suddenly speaks. "...Why do you never knock? That would be polite, right? You seem to be sneaking around every time I see you."
>Her eye glimmers faintly, but she's not making any threatening motions.
>Denver starts and looks up at Imp. Then he lets out the breath he'd sucked in and his shoulders drop as he leans to the right a bit and gives Imp sideeye.
>"She's still doing her time isn't she?" He snarks. "Besides I got a surprise for her but it's only a surprise if I get to her first."
>"Besides she got a lead on me. Can't let her keep that."
>"She was let out early for good behavior." Imp says, blandly.
>"Aces." Denver perks up and claps his mitts together. Now walking upright, he takes a long swaggering step toward the entrance. "Thanks for the good word Imp."
>"...You're welcome, I suppose." Then she slips through the window and follows after him, chainsaw and basket in hand.
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>Denver holds out one arm ahead of him, fluidly unlatching and opening the back door without slowing his pace. A possibly worrying familiarity to the point of trust with something as solid and occasionally immovable as a rear entrance.
>He starts to slow down as he gets closer to the living area of library, getting much quieter and keeping his ears and head on a swivel.
>Just as they're on the final stretch before reaching the kitchen area where Imp assumes Coleo is, Imp cracks a queer smile (which seemed vicious, as most of her smiles do, but was more mischief than malice), and speaks loudly. "Good morning Denver, what a surprise to see you here!"
>Denver stops and turns around to face Imp. "Nice ta see you too Imp. How have ya been?" He replies in a jovial tone of raised volume with a false grin radiating annoyance at Imp.
>"Donovan. What are you doing here?" Windsor calls to the unseen sweep as he sets the tea service on the table.
>Denver tenses.
>Coleo half-turns her whole torso, blinking blearily. "Why are they yelling at each other?"
>"I've been quite fine, most probably," Imp replies, smiling sharklike. "Sorry. I would have greeted you earlier, but I didn't hear you knock."
>Denver's smile tenses a hair. "Ah, I came to see Scuti-gera. I'm off work today so I came down to say hi."
>"Word travel fast," Windsor sighs. "You know where the extra chairs are."
>That puts Denver back into motion. "Yes sir."
>Coleo slithers over to the kitchen door, wobbling the whole way. She props her shoulder against the doorframe, not quite glaring but still clearly put off. "You two can stop yelling now. Just come into the kitchen and talk like normal people."
>Imp shrugs. "Reciprocation is basic manners, isn't it?"
>"Eat your breakfast young lady," Windsor says with just the slightest tone of warning, or reminding.
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desu I still haven't had the time to dig through Graveltime with all the IRL stuff going on right now. Though the mental image of a confused Coleo being harassed by a much smaller bird person is pretty amusing.

And, uh, this is a little embarrassing but I sort of forgot just how much roleplay there was before the next combat. I was hoping to be closer before having to cut off for the night. But there was a pretty good reason I tagged it for
Going to finish up the breakfast convo and knock out. I'll try and get some stuff formatted up on my downtime at work tomorrow so I can blow through it a bit quicker.

>Coleo perks up, finding the presence of mind to look bashful. Her head rotates around to look at Windsor. "Yessir," she says meekly, her lower body turning to catch up. She glances back to Denver and Imp. "G'morning, by the way," she mumbles as she ambles back to her spot at the table.
>Denver flows into the room and goes to retrieve a chair
>Imp hums. "But... I won't be eating. Would that be alright, even?"
>Windsor replies. "Certainly, you don't have to eat to attend a meal Imp, though I do wish you would at least try something, maybe the body of the bacon will reach you where a dainty sandwich could not."
>Imp shakes her head as she enters. "It's pointless. I've accepted that."
>As Coleo rushes past, Melico turns to Denver. "Good morning Denver. How are you?"
>"It's alright. How are you? Been sleeping better?" He sets his chair down and climbs into it.
>"As well as I could expect. Things have been rather uneventful these past few days." She moves to sit opposite of Denver.
>It's a bit crowded in here with four people around the table. Cozy, if one wanted to be charitable.
>Imp doesn't sit at the table, and instead stands to the side. She isn't eating anyway, so why bother?
Believe in yourself, eat all your school, stay in milk, drink your teeth, don't do sleep, and get 8 hours of drugs.
>Coleo munches absently on a slice of bacon, her mandibles crumbling the fried meat into bits as she feeds it into her mouth. Her voice comes through completely unhindered by the act of eating; "What were you two yelling out in the hall for?" She asks, giving Denver a look. "And you're here awful early, aren't you?"
>"I wanted to be heard, of course." Imp shrugged. "It's normal to let people know when you notice someone's snuck into their house, right?"
>Well. She would have done something much less pleasant, but Coleo liked Denver and he neither earned her ire nor was really worth butchering, so she refrained.
>"I wasn't sneakin'. Why would I sneak in the house of a friend? I was movin' with fluid grace n' 'conomy of motion."
>Windsor shakes his head but says nothing. Then again his mouth is full of egg.
>Coleo snorts, barely keeping herself from spraying bacon bits all across the table. "You do still have that martial arts book out of the Orient. You owe me a penny."
>Denver looks abruptly grumpy. "Take it." He slides a couple of half pennies across the table.
>Melico looks over to Denver as she chews on a piece of toast. "Are you studying martial arts Denver? You certainly have the flexibility for it."
>"Mmm-hmph." He swallows
>"Z'mazing what they know over there, just what the guy who wrote this book about his time at the China Station is unreal."
>Denver shovels more food into his mouth.
>Melico nods. "Interesting. I suppose the book is a manual of some sort for Kung Fu, correct?"
>Coleo snaps the coins up as they slide across her spot. "You really ought to bring it back and check it back out, you know? You're way overdue on that one."
>Denver sets his fork and knife down, breakfast forgotten for the moment as he looks over to Melico. "Wait they have those? In English I mean?"
>"I'm not sure. I haven't really been around books to much before coming here." Melico finishes her toast and picks up her glass of water to take a sip. "I'm just familiar with some of the forms involved in Kung Fu."
>Coleo scoops up an entire egg on her fork and shovels the whole thing into her mouth at once. "I don't know if we have any of those in the Library. Translated stuff out of the Orient is pretty rare; the languages over there are supposed to be very complicated." She casts her eyes over to Windsor. "Do you know, Papa?"
>Windsor chews, swallows.
>"There may be something... I'm not sure, I've not read everything we've gotten in this year. I'll make up a short list for you."
>And then it's he sips his tea.
>"Thank you sir, 'preciate it," Denver says with uncharacteristic politeness.
>Windsor smiles, just a little. For a moment.
>Denver turns back to Melico. "Can you show me some of your moves later?" He sounds quite excited, and his pupils have dilated like he's locked onto a mouse.
>The sounds of enthusiastic ingestion and light movements of metal against the floor die away. Jiminy moves to draining his water bowl, a much quieter operation.
>Melico takes another sip of water. "If you'd like. It would probably be best if we had an analog to show some of the more complicated moves. You wouldn't mind sparring with me would you?"
>"That might be a bad idea." Imp interjects quietly. "He could get hurt."
>Denver blinks. "Yea-uh.. does 'sparing' meaning 'without braking anything on purpsoe' where your from too?"
>Melico tilts her head slightly, a mischievous glint in her eye, despite her blank look. "Where I'm from, people don't usually spar. We just try to kill each other."
>"Ohkay then, so you do know the difference so sure." He grins at her.
>Coleo nervously munches on a biscuit.
>"Perhaps later today then. I've said I'd help Coleo with any errands she might have today." Melico says noncommittally.
>"Mm? Oh, that's right." Coleo looks over to Windsor. "Was there anything you needed me to get out in town today, Papa?"
>"Nothing out of the usual comes to mind. Though I may be occupied with administrative tasking for part of the day, so you may need to help pick up the slack, but I doubt we'll be that busy today," Windsor says.
>Windsor wipes his face off with a napkin, rises from his seat, and heads out into the library without much ceremony.
>Denver's eyes shine with recolection and he turns to Coleo.
>"Oh Scuti! Guess who's back among the living!"
Fin for now.
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>>Coleo slithers over to the kitchen door, wobbling the whole way. She props her shoulder against the doorframe, not quite glaring but still clearly put off. "You two can stop yelling now. Just come into the kitchen and talk like normal people."
I can't tell if she's excited or horrified.
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i dont even play Nechronica, but that Traitor Album is the best Thrash Metal i've heard in the last 10 years, they are great playing live aswell. Good Shit

She's clearly having fun.
This can be read in so many ways.

I think my favorite is that he's misleading you by presenting two choices, when really both are terrible and the answer is to pick neither and forge your own path.

One place is beautiful and full of potential, but so underdeveloped that living there is going to suck and you will likely be miserable or very quickly dead living there trying to carve out a living.

The other has been subject to terrible misdevelopment and so is just as if not more hostile and, like the previous option, extremely effort into sive to fix to the point that the environment is probably going to consume you long before you can make it a nice place to live.

It's a misleading and evil trick and one I'll have to keep in mind.
never read that deep into it, but it's a cool interpretation.
The music is also pretty good.
the name giving song is a 7-minute e-guitar orgasm instrumental. i usually just enjoy the music, but there might be some great room for interpretation in there aswell.
I'll have to give the album a listen then.
Music has been a helpful source of inspiration for me as a GM and player.
Thank you.
So what's the best/most traumatic scene you've had in a game? The stuff that makes a character, or makes you wonder what you did to make the GM so cruel.
I hope your GM is able to get a new and fit for purpose computer soon.


Will we be getting more Gravel storytime this thread?

I was all set to be pumping out words for Session 8... and then life suckerpunched me right in the dick with some severely unfortunate happenings. I've passed along all writing duties to my partner for the duration. You can likely expect one session to be properly storytimed, though I wouldn't hold my breath for another. Hopefully it's an enjoyable time, regardless.
My prayers go out to you Secondary GravelAnon.

I hope things get better soon.
The long bassy drones, distored beats, bells, and vaguely music box like music for this really helped me get into the heads of the Savants I've made for when the party fights off the party goes salvage hunting in the ruins of the Cold Lake military base. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csoVc2Hfq00
There are a few in the Port campaign that bummed me out good. Valkyrie in particular, once we figured out that she was the person Protoca had actually been looking for the whole time we were in the city. The DM even shared her 'final thoughts' once and that sent my mood right into the gutter.

Definately meeting the necromancer.
She didn't snap and lose touch with reality like she would later but re-living being hauled upstairs, strapped to a table, and without anesthetics but drugged to keep we awake, used by one necromancer as a teaching and practise/demonstration aid in teaching his their daughter how to create dolls (said daughter being the current necromancer these days) was VERY traumatic for Kaja.
Note. The memories Kaja was reliving were from when she was alive, or rather from the end of her time being alive I guess.
I'm not entirely sure what this means.

Resuming from: >>74592996
>As the sun warms the stone and begins to ushers the dew from the grass a pair of well portioned plain clothed men with upright backs, calloused hands, cropped hair and polished shoes make their way down the sidewalk amid the flow of people of people. The broader and elder of the two is of a more Mediterranean complexion and is clean shaven with salt and pepper hair. The taller and younger of the two sports blue eyes, parted blonde hair and a walrus mustache.
>They turn to approach the library but stop and take off their hats. “Miss O'donnel,” they both intone.
>“Good day Simpson, Clarkey.” Each bows ever so slightly as addressed by a soft, smooth, cool, and polite reply as a young lady in a fashionable dress with a well matched bag emerges from the sidewalk's flow and heads for the front entrance of the Library with a deliberate pace. Her clear eyes are sharp with focus behind their corrective lenses. All six of them.
>Her chitin and fur, fetching in their red with black accents, is well cared for though not ostentatiously groomed.
>She brushes imaginary dust off her front with a pair of arms as another takes a handrail and she ascends the stairs two at a time.
>The two men ascend the stairs on the far side.

>Imp, Melico, and Coleo are sharing a table near the main entrance as they see both sets of doors open. Out of one set a pair of men who head for the front desk together. From the other a young lady who slows to a stop at the compass rose, plainly looking around for someone or something.
>"...Fancy. Do you know her?" Imp asks without turning to Coleo.
>Coleo eyes the two men as they proceed to the desk. There's something... off? Unwelcoming about them. She waves at Cersei from her spot at the tables but doesn't vocalize anything.
Cersei's first appearance was in Coleo's sailing dream, for those that might remember her name.
Has anyone ever tried to run a Nechronica campaign set in the Metall/u/rgy universe?
>Melico frowns as she spots the two men entering the front door. She lowers her head and pulls her hat down tighter, moving to put Coleo and Imp between her and the men.
>Sensing her companions' discomfort, Imp frowns. Her eyes narrow, and her tail lashes a bit.
>Cersei casually moves toward the group.
>Denver reads the mood just in time to keep from blabbering, though he's not sure the cause of the shift.
Because he's here too and I forgot to add it in. Derp.
>Cersei's gaze moves over Denver Imp and Melico, lingering on the other two a little longer as she sits down and sets her bag to the side on the table.
>"G'morning Cersei," Coleo smiles at her friend warmly, keeping her voice well within the accepted 'Library volume.' "I hadn't expected to see you in the Library today. How are you doing?"
>"I've been well. The trip to the cut had to be cut short. How have you been?" Cersei's voice lilts with the barest suggestion of an Irish accent.
>"Oh!" She pops the clasp on her bag and reaches in, pulling out a wooden box and setting it in front of Coleo.
>"Troubles with the ship? Or were you taking a carriage this time? I've forgotten." Coleo smiles sheepishly. "But I've been-" Her eyes light up at the box. "Oh, what's this?"
>Seeing that Cersei is a friend of Coleo's, Imp relaxes some. She turns her wary gaze to the men instead.
>"I found it while it while we were examining the strata," Cersei begins.
>"Like from a soil core sample?" Coleo asks, eyeing the box.
>"Oh, not quite." More energy starts to creep into Cersei's cool tone. She seems excited for Coleo to open it.
>Melico leans toward Coleo. "Sorry, Coleo, I think I left something back in the kitchen. I'll be right back." She turns around and heads back the way she came.
>"Oh, but Melico-"
>"I'll just be a moment. We can talk in a bit."
>Coleo slumps as the girl bounds out of earshot. "I guess I'll have to introduce you to her later..." Her eyebrows pop up. "Oh, before we go too far. Cersei, this is Imp. Imp, Cersei." She turns to Imp. "Cersei's an old friend of mine." She turns to Cersei. "I met Imp and Melico last week. Me and Papa have been trying to find a way for them to get home, I'm afraid they're both lost."
>Cersie extends a hand across the table to Imp. "Nice to meet you."
>Imp gets the particular feeling she's being examined.
>"It is most fortuitous for us to be meeting with you at this, the finest of hours." Imp intones, eyes momentarily flitting away from the men. Then she allows her basket to fall onto its strap and accepts the handshake, taking care not to grasp very strongly at all, lest she rip some of Cersei's fingers off on accident. Cracking a small grin she hums, "It's nice to meet you too."
>'7 out of 10, probably. Hm. The shoes, or the legs?' Imp reflexively sections Cersei into parts without even having to move her eyes.
>Coleo's eyes flit towards the two men at the desk, but she returns her attention to the little box in front of Cersei. "Can I open it?"
>"By all means." Cersei's grinning, though she raises an eyebrow, possibly at Coleo somehow missing her own blatant eagerness.
>Gently, Coleo picks up the box in a pair of her chitin covered hands. Gingerly, she wedges a claw under the lip of the lid and levers it open before reaching in.
>She pulls out a wad of vegetative packing material that falls away revealing a stone with a shiny black and yellow fossilized skull. Three holes on one side of the skull; a long slender snout with sharp teeth and a hole for nostrils. Half of the dislocated mandible is also embedded in the stone. There are a few bones that seem to be the remains of a ring of bones in one of the holes.
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Well done sourcing that.
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Space is dangerous.
Who ya gonna call?
Oh shit the necromancer's Men in Black are here to make Melico and Imp dissapear.

Is that like a medieval ballot box or something?
Have this.

Also. I wonder if this is Tachi music.
It feels techy, desolate, strong, and distraction prone.

Tachi a walking war crime who loves technology and copes with the world by seeking distraction.
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It's just an antique box I found for the post. No idea what it was made for originally.

>Coleo's only ever seen drawings of things like this in books, now she's holding one in her hands.
>She cradles the rock in her palms as she turns it this way and that to observe the details in the morning light. Her voice is almost breathless "Wow... You found one of these in a soil sample?"
>"No no, it was in a strata exposed by the cut for the railroad."
>"Oh. Is this why the trip was cut short?"
>"No the engineers on sight ran us off because they moved the next phase of the project forward."
>Imp stares at the bone. She feels she can almost recognize it. "It looks familiar. It must've been one of my favorites as a child."
>Coleo's brow furrows, she turns to Imp. "Do you have a lot of fossils like this where you come from?"
>Cersie looks over at Imp. "When you were a child...?"
>Imp nods. "There was a museum." Probably. "And books... Shows, I think?" She pauses. "...That was a long time ago."
>Of course, she knew it was -probably- a plant. Part of the charade. It might've even been taken from that museum she maybe remembered existing, if it wasn't a fabrication entirely. But... Conversation.
>Cersie glances at Coleo while making eye contact with Imp. "Really? Do tell."
>"How long?" Denver asks.
>The hands Coleo isn't using to hold the fossil fidget nervously, chitin clicking against chitin. She doesn't say anything, but her eyes flick between Cersei, Imp, and the men at the desk.
>Imp frowns. "Hm... I don't know if I ever went to one myself, but there were... lots of exhibits. Like, 'Sue.'" She points at the fragment. "Imagine that, but... much bigger. Two legs. Ribs you could climb inside. Others had shields on their heads, or fans. Flying..." She blinks out of her mini reverie. "Well. A lot of kinds of them. I remember the pictures, at least. Mostly."
>She doesn't seem to have registered Denver's question.
>Cersie and Denver both look worried for Imp for a moment. Denver still looks that way when Imp returns to herself.
>Coleo shifts uncomfortably. "Imp and Melico are... both from very far away. I don't really know what they're talking about all the time; their homes are very different from here."
>Imp shifts, uncomfortable with the attention. "...The world may be smaller than you think." She says. "...but I hope it's far, for your sakes."
>Coleo and Imp both notice Windsor make eye contact with them for the briefest flick of a moment and then move his eyes away before almost seamlessly reintegrating into his conversation with the men at the desk

>"... be a moment. We can talk in a bit." Melico says as she starts moving toward the kitchen
>But as she nears the doorway, she turns down between a pair of bookshelves and toward the opposite side of the library. She snags a book and opens it to a random page, keeping her head turned down toward the pages. She moves quietly, trying to get the two men into view without being spotted herself.
>The two men start to talk to David at the front desk. After a moment, David holds up a finger and gets up, walking off. The two men stand and wait.
>They start to talk about... something. It's hard to tell at the distance she's at
>Melico makes her way to the second floor, grabbing a second book on the way. She moves to the balcony above the two men and sits in an unoccupied chair, trying to listen in
>"Just glad he's finally on his own two feet and in his own head again," the blonde one says
>"I know. You know he wasn't happy when I told him not to come," the grey haired one says, cracking a smile. His voice is a deep baritone only restrained from carrying by what must be a lifetime of practiced volume control
>"I'll bet not." The blonde chuckles
>There's a small pause in the conversation as the men continue to wait. Eventually the gray-haired one breaks back in."So how are Mary and Joseph doing?"
>The blonde man's smile widens. "Oh wonderful, though Joseph's got it into his head that he wants to join the navy." There's a note of pride but also concern in his voice.
>Mr. Windsor finally comes out from between two bookshelves and begins moving toward the front desk. "Hello Gentlemen, can I help you today?"
>Both men shake his hand.
>Grey haired man speaks first. "Mr. William Windsor, good to see you. I'm Superintendent Gregory Simpson, this is Sergeant Samuel Clarkey." He motions toward the blond man.
>Clarkey nods respectfully. "Hello sir."
>Melico continues to listen over the balcony, doing her best to stay out of sight. Now that Windsor had come, she's acutely aware of a risk that he might point her out if they ask about her. She turns the pages of her book, hoping to keep the facade of a library patron.
>Windsor's eyebrows raise a hair. “So they promoted you. I didn’t recognize you with the-"
>Simpson cuts in with a chuckle. “Wrinkles and grey hair?” He laughs a touch at his own joke. "It is good to see you again William. Listen, we have some questions regarding an ongoing investigation.”
>Windsor's eyes flick to the side; if either man notices his subtle change in demeanor they don't voice the thought.
>He holds up a hand. “In that case, we should continue this conversation in my office, it would be less distracting for the readers.”
>Simpson nods. "Of course."
>Melico stands from her seat, leaving her two books in the chair, and moves toward the stairs leading down. She weaves between the bookshelves quietly and makes her way back to the kitchen doorway, then back to the table where the others are.
>Coleo hurriedly, but gently, places the fossil back into the crate. "Cersei, we were about to go downtown for brunch. Would you like to come along? I'd love to catch up."
>Cersei nods. "Absolutely."
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>glances at clock
Oh hey. It's way later than I thought.
I'm going to have to leave it off here for tonight. The heat index is slated to be over 105 tomorrow and I'm going to be spending all day in an unconditioned warehouse full of hot machinery, so I gotta hit the hay.

I promise that there is actually a second combat coming. This campaign was on a pretty slow burn for a while but some stuff is getting set up for what's to come, so I hope you'll bare with me. Just a few more talk-y bits to go.
Please don't melt. Also stop apologizing for things that aren't violence being in your story.
>Also stop apologizing for things that aren't violence being in your story.

But more seriously, I'm maybe being a little over-aware of how slice-of-life the game is so far aside from the encounter at the tenements [as far as Nechronica goes, anyway]. Though now that I think of it, I might just feel that way because the games themselves have hit a few slow patches here and there, so the real-time gap between combats is probably way larger to me personally than it would be to someone just reading over the game. I'll try to keep that in mind as I keep working.

See you lads tomorrow.
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It is a full moon. I have turned into a ghost.

Depends on the GM and the pacing. There's been some games where, despite having sessions weekly, there can be no combat for months, where other games have one every 1 to two sessions. Though a general trend seems to be that there's more combat at the start while shit tends to get more spaced out as time goes on.
Ever played any games that go from start to finish in 1 or a handful of sessions?

Please do tell us more about your game set in post-apocalyptic Canada.

Yeah, those are relatively easy to pace and get done as long as you set aside enough time (4-6 hours if playing by text with a decent outline). Playing text with shorter sessions tends to have things drag out, ironically, because it takes everyone a bit to get going and with short sessions you barely have any time to make progress between the wind up and wind down. You also need to know how to keep PCs moving because you can have people take hours just talking, which has good and bad points but is ultimately bad if you want to get through your one shot in a timely manner.
Thank you.
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So Empyrean was climbing the tower behind t the party.

Where did she come from to get to the tower though? Did she escape the same storage facility Protoca busted Port and Tachi out of?
As a GM what are ways to encourage PCs to share or talk about their memories?

Memory fragments are an important part of the game.

In mechanical terms they improve a PCs madness point management potential since memory fragments effect the maximum number of madness points you can remove between combats.

Memory fragments are also a very useful way to drop-in information about the PCs and the world of the campaign/oneshot and things in it. This can lead to all sorts of interesting discovery, conflict, and character development.

However, sometimes to get the most out of memory fragments it's very useful for the PCs to share and talk about them.

What are ways and approaches to running that enable or encourage this?

There is a difference between giving your players and their characters time to do whatever, and doing things in such a way as to enable scenes where the characters can discus or open up about things.
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A Drug Eater with Extra Head is a Weezing.
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A party of 3 Drug Eaters is a Magneton.
This is cute and disturbing.
Very Nechronica.
There are some general things you can do, but it's probably going to be pretty dependent on your players to actually spill the beans to each other. Port and Protoca still haven't gotten confirmation from Tachi about the fact she was an Arachne pilot. Port has enough circumstantial info to figure out that Tachi was the one that accompanied Lily, and Protoca has almost certainly put 2 and 2 together also, but Tachi herself hasn't thought to talk about it. IIRC, she never even brought up the fact that she tried to go punch Apollo in his big stupid face on her last romp up the tower, which really seems like something most other characters would talk about fairly readily.

Some characters aren't going to be likely to talk about memories unprompted by their nature as well, even if the player might not hold any particular reservations about it. Imp and Melico, for example, are both pretty taciturn and could even be described as cagey. They have to be pried to share personal details most of the time even under optimal conditions.
Then you have Coleo who is completely convinced she's just a normal English citizen; anything oddball in her head is likely to get rationalized as a flight of fancy or half-remembered dream.

I think the biggest thing is having them contain immediately useful info, assuming you want the characters to be talking about them right away. Otherwise the info has to be useful or relevant farther down the line (and don't be afraid to poke your players if there's something going on that should ping their character's memory. People can be forgetful). Another helpful thing is having information in the memories be interlinked between characters, like how all three of the Port Campaign dolls have close ties to the Protector project but in varying directions, so each of them helps inform the larger picture of what's going on in the setting.

Hopefully that makes sense. I'm pretty wiped.
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>With Denver and Cersei in tow the group emerges into humid, slowly warming air and morning sun, leaving the library, Mr. Windsor, and the two plain clothed police officers behind.
>People move with purpose to their morning tasks, carts horses, and the occasional lorry move down the streets.
>Denver is doing his best to look natural while keeping his eyes and ears open. Cersei seems a bit tense, but is moving along and hasn't said anything yet, though Coleo can tell she knows something is up and wants to know what's going on
>Imp, detecting everyone else's uneasiness, walks weirdly rigidly. As if attempting to seem nonchalant but having no idea how. Her tail lashes, and her eyes dart rapidly about the street, though she doesn't move her head itself much at all.
>Coleo putters along aside Cersei, slumped slightly and occasionally lifting her glasses to rub at her eyes. The energy she had at breakfast is already starting to wear down now that they're out on the street. There are deep circles under her eyes. She turns to look back down the road, towards the library, before turning to scan the road and sidewalk across from them. "I wonder who the two men talking to Mr. Windsor were," she mumbles, more to herself than anyone else.
>Melico falls in stride next to Coleo and speaks, keeping her voice relatively low. "They were likely police officers. I overheard them talking about the officer that we found in the abandoned tenements."
>"What!?" Cersie starts in a low whisper, the tone of an older sister or parent not brooking being kept in the dark. She leans in a bit.
>Denver, turns around reacting to the movements behind him, and starts to open his mouth, in the process implicating himself and earning a glare from Cersie that puts him on the back foot, then she looks back to Coleo and Melico.
>Coleo's eyes go wide as dinner places. "Mel- Melico-!" She whirls around, all six hands held up placatingly, as if to shield her from Cersei's glare. "It's not what it sounds like. We- we-"
>Melico's eyes dart to Cersie before growing hard and cold, almost turning into a glare. Her face becomes expressionless as she speaks. "I sometimes go on walks around the town at night. A few days ago, I heard some commotion from the abandoned tenements down the way and ran over. I saw an officer and reported it to the police."
>"Coleo and Denver just wanted to look at the sky." Imp explains, attempting to be helpful, "Unfortunately, there was a murderer in the building, and they heard us fighting it. My chainsaw, specifically."
>Cersie holds up four hands calling for quiet. At no point raising her voice "In private. Let's find a private, open, place to talk about this."
>Having said that her mind shifts her next priority with oiled smoothness. "Are you in danger now, at this time?"
>Cersei is addressing this to all of them, but it's clear she's mainly focusing her attention and concern on Coleo and Denver.
>'Yes.' Imp wanted to say, but she held her peace - detecting that perhaps she should not have said anything at all...
>...and she figure'd they were in danger anywhere, so it was a moot point.
>Coleo's multitude of fingers snake together as she wrings her hands anxiously. She looks at Denver and then back to Cersei, though she has trouble meeting the older girl's eyes. "N-no. Or- I don't think so. The thing that happened last week- it's settled." Her jaws work nervously. The front of energy she was putting on earlier is completely gone now. She looks exhausted.
>Melico remains quiet, but keeps her eyes focused on Cersie's face. Her face is blank, concealing a mental turmoil of caution, suspicion, and building hostility.
>This is not good. The less people that know, the better.
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What he said is pretty much spot on. Some PCs just aren't going to share without a lot of prodding/teeth pulling.

Preying upon a fear or phobia, or having a PC see things related to their memories can help, as they will inevitably say something that gives away what's on their mind or the other PCs are really gonna wanna know what's got their sister acting so weird, or how the world reacts to them. Using Portanon's example as an example. If you wanted to make them being a pilot a part of the discussion, the security systems recognizing them as such, granting special permissions, and so on would be a good start for getting their sisters to ask questions.

You could also go the more malicious/blatant route of pulling horrors based on PC memory fragments and having savants/npcs talk about some sordid detail of someone's past.

It's actually been an IC problem in a current campaign
where literally no one, PC or NPC, talks about their personal problems and it's creating very real issues as no one knows what the hell is going on with the other person and can really only assume the worst.

Recent events in that game with everyone being subjected to their own personal hells, that others get to see, will certainly bring interesting consequences to the current state of affairs.
>"We're not gonna get jumped in the street for it." Denver says.
>Cersie breathes in, then out. "Alright then."
>She stands back up to her full height. "So where are we going?" she asks in a cool casual tone at a normal volume for a busy sidewalk.
>She reaches out and hugs Coleo around the shoulder, pulling the younger girl to her side gently with two arms. With one on the other side she pats Denver on the back twice. Denver seems surprised by the gesture from Cersei, though he seems more relaxed then he had been once the surprise passes.
>Coleo swings around and engulfs Cersei in a six-armed hug, giving her a tight squeeze before withdrawing. "We were heading over to Krag's place. The Seventh Son. We can find a secluded table to talk there."
>"Excellent. I've missed the atmosphere there," Cersei says evenly.
>As they approach "The Seventh Son" there is a palpable difference in the energy the place radiates.
>Almost always a beacon of positivity and comfort, for some reason it seems to overflow with good cheer and joy even from across the street.
>Coleo extends her forward two legs in an unconcious attempt to raise her torso (and therefore her head) over the passersby along the street as she peers at the restaurant. "It's quite lively today. I wonder if someone is holding a celebration? Perhaps a wedding or birthday?"
>As they pass inside they find the place is packed.
>There's is a small crowd in the far left corner surrounding a man who looks like a younger, even taller Krag standing in royal navy dress blues and a ship cap.
>He's regaling the crowd with a story about a confrontation off the shore of a place called Sri Lanka.
>Krag himself, two other young men who look similar to him, and a tall quiet blonde woman are among the crowd.
>Even the patrons sitting at tables eating their food seem to keep quiet in order to listen to the story.
>The order window is staffed by a young moth lad at this time.
Melico is going to pull this bug's limbs off one at a time.
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>There's plenty of distraction to keep anyone from listening in on anything they discuss over lunch.
>Coleo's torso seems to stretch like a flour sack as she cranes to see the man through the press of the restaurant. Her mood visibly lifts as she lays eyes on the man in the navy uniform. "Oh, Denver. Rasmus is back from his tour of duty! I wonder if he remembered to bring us back those souvenirs he promised."
>She looks ready to break off across the floor before she turns back to the rest of the group. Her eyes settle on Cersei, and she lowers herself slightly.
>"Or... maybe we can do that after we've talked."
>"I think I see an open table on the other side of the restaurant," Melico says as she begins to walk over, looking back to the rest of the group after a couple of paces.
[Imp makes a check on seeing Rasmus. She rolls a 9 of 10]
>Imp's eyes dart about the crowd and she shrinks in on herself. There are enough that she pays no mind to any in particular, and instead - with no conscious thought - braces and prepares to bring her saw up to hack as she darts to the nearest exit in the event of hostility.
>Denver follows Melico. Cersie gives Coleo a sympathetic look but inclines her head in approval at her decision, then she turns to appraise the location pointed out by Melico, and falls in behind her.
>"What's eatting you?" Denver asks Imp as they approach the table.
>Coleo watches Melico, Cersei, and Denver walk off. She turns to Imp, noting her change in posture. "I can go ahead and order, Imp, if you'd like to wait with the others."
>Imp nods. "That.... would be best. Crowds..." She grips her chainsaw tightly in her lap with both hands.
>Almost a perfect score...
>Coleo orders something simple; a plate of spiced meats and cheese with some thinly sliced bread, along with a pitcher of black tea for the table. Having ordered, Coleo snakes her way through the people and over to the chosen table to sit with the rest of her friends.
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>Denver inhales deeply though his nose and seems to remember his appetite, he stares at the plate longingly for a moment.
>Cersei interlaces the fingers of her two hands perched on the table, the other two taking tea."Now. Please, tell me what happened. from the beginning," Cersei says with calm concerned and deliberate pace.
>Coleo's six hands are set hanging along the edges of the table, only the top two knuckles on any finger visible. One finger taps against the wood nervously. "Uhm, well last week me and Denver wanted to go out and explore a little. We'd both had a long day so we wanted to get up on top of the old tenements, those ones on 9th street, and just y'know, hang out for a while and look at the moon."
>"But Melico and I were also out and about and happened to decide to explore the same building." Imp reported, focusing on the conversation in lieu of the crowd. "We found a man in a cage who turned out to be a police officer who had been kidnapped by what seemed to be a pair of serial killers with a thing for... appropriating parts." She pauses, somewhat awkwardly.
>"The killers surprised us. We reacted. Denver and Coleoptrata heard my chainsaw, and Coleoptrata recognized it. She decided to come to my aid, and Denver followed. We killed the killers, insofar as anyone in this world can be killed, and Melico took the officer to a nearby police storefront when he passed out."
>Melico breaks in. "From what we can tell, the two killers may not have been all there was. We found evidence that there may be a third involved, but have no concrete proof. As of now, we are leaving things to the police and trying to stay unnoticed in the investigation. It would be best if they didn't connect us to the event, but the officer I brought to the storefront had already seen Coleo and Denver. That's why we were eager to leave when the two officers entered the library."
>Melico keeps her gaze focused on Cersie's face, trying to ascertain her reaction.
So would revealing memories in the middle of combat and having those memories be relevant to the situation be a way to get dolls to share?
Man The NPCs in this game raise so many death flags.
I certainly hope not. She's Coleo's favorite bug!

>Coleo can't look at Cersei. Her hands are tied in a knot again as she stares down into her own 'lap' like it might hide her from Cersei's judgement.
>Cersei nods as the explanation peters off.
>"Oh, and they were disguising themselves as johnnies, but only sort of. That it to say they were freakishly lanky and busted up in the face so they looked like nightmares in uniforms more than the real thing." Denver pipes up.
>Cersei takes this in. Then leans forward and reaches across the table, laying a palm gently on top of Coleo's writhing mass of fingers.
>Coleo has progressively shrunken into herself as the explanation has gone on. She looks like she wants to die.
>Denver is watching Coleo too, though he doesn't have the reach.
>"Scutigera." Cersei says gently. Her cool tone replaced with something warm and soft.
>Coleo looks up timidly, trembling a little as she meets Cersei's eyes.
>"That was a very brave thing you did. I," she stumbles a bit. "Just, Christ. I'm glad you're still here." She gently squeezes Coleo's hands under hers.
>"The culprit's pieces' pieces would be in pieces if she were not." Imp declares simply, without much thought. "Pieces of pieces of pieces of pieces... You wouldn't be able to tell they were pieces."
>"That's- uhhhh. Thanks Imp." Denver says with an slightly nervous but genuine smile, having apparently decided that that must be a sign of friendship in the incredibly violent land Imp comes from.
>Imp nods to Denver, eye flaring momentarily with light. She was not lying, of course. Coleo was... Well. Coleo was not for taking parts from. If they wanted parts so badly... Imp's vengeance would ensure that even she could not put them back together again.
>Coleo squeezes back. "I'm glad, too. I owe a lot to Imp and Melico and Denver for being there, too."
In my experience trying to do fleshed out fights in nechronica tends to not go well. The story that comes out of it can be fantastic, but actually playing thrkugh it sucks because it's so slow.

Then again if I was a much faster typist and GM that may not be the case.

I was practicing with dictation software to raise my speed by my computer situation has been a dumpster fire for over a month and a half now and that's killed my ability to practice and make progress.

>It's actually been an IC problem in a current campaign
>where literally no one, PC or NPC, talks about their personal problems and it's creating very real issues as no one knows what the hell is going on with the other person and can really only assume the worst.

>Recent events in that game with everyone being subjected to their own personal hells, that others get to see, will certainly bring interesting consequences to the current state of affairs.

Please tell me more about the problem as it has developed in your campaign and how recent events are reducing the problem.
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>City of zombies
>raising death flags
I mean, I guess you aren't wrong.

>"So..." Melico rests her arms on the table and leans forward. "I'd like to be direct, given the nature of the situation. Now that we've told you everything, what will you do with this information?"
>Cersei lets go of Coleo's hands and turns to Melico, the cracks in her composure closing as the words flow.
>"Well if you think talking to the police would be dangerous then I will respect your wishes for the time being. Though I don't think you have anything to fear from Mr. Simpson and his boys. You saved one of their own, they probably just want to know what happened from your perspective and thank you."
>Cersei apparently has a rather different opinion of the police than Coleo or Denver, there being no resentment in her tone when speaking of them.
>Coleo blinks a couple of times. "Well..."
>Melico breaks in. "While I don't doubt your confidence in your police force, I cannot say I share that sentiment. Trust isn't an easy thing to give where I'm from."
>Coleo continues, "When his blindfold fell off, all he saw was me..." Her voice drops so low that even those directly across the table can barely hear her over the din. "... covered in blood." Her voice goes back to normal. "And then he passed out. We don't know what he thinks."
>"The last 'johnny' I saw tried to kill me." Imp shrugs. "But they weren't a real 'Johnny,' but the few before that..." They were probably still stuck under all of that rock, along with the rest of that legion.
>"Was the fight loud? You said Denver and Coleo heard your chainsaw-" Cersei begins. She leans a little closer to examine the strange device Imp takes with her everywhere. "-from the roof, didn't they?"
>"It is very loud." Imp assures. "I probably shouldn't use it here." Or the corpses would begin to pile.
>>"The last 'johnny' I saw tried to kill me." Imp shrugs. "But they weren't a real 'Johnny,' but the few before that..." They were probably still stuck under all of that rock, along with the rest of that legion.

I hope we get a flashback to Imp's adventures.
>[Imp makes a check on seeing Rasmus. She rolls a 9 of 10]

>Coleo makes a face. "We more felt that one. I guess, Imp, you hit a door or wall with it or something? But Melico's guns were really loud. There were whistles all up and down the block by the time we were done."
>"Then I think it would be pretty clear that you were his liberators not his tormentors," Cersei asserts. "But if that wasn't their line of thinking... Well hopefully Mr. Windsor can find out out what they think happened."
>Cersei looks back to Imp's saw. "Is that what it's for? Demolition? You know, I bet the fire department could use something like that, if it's faster than an Ax."
>Imp shrugs. "I have not found something it cannot cut through yet... but it..." She frowns. "It cannot be replaced. The factories are all... Inoperable."
>Cersei is now staring quite intently at the Chainsaw "Is that so? We could do some tests to see."
>Denver pokes Cersei in the side.
>"It would be a shame to accidentally ruin Imp's saw don't you think?"
>This deflates her a bit. "Ah, quite."
>"Oh, I also-" Coleo's face immediately reddens as she clamps her jaws shut. "Actually, that might be something to talk about in private."
>"Certainly," Cersei responds
>The background conversation level of the room raises and not too long after the group sees Rasmus approaching from across the floor, a large duffle bag slung over his shoulder.
>The rest of the Jorgenson's seem to be going back to their stations, though Krag does offer the group a friendly wave before going to retake his position at the order window.
>The young moth man who was holding down that position is now slowly approaching in that nervous way a young man may approach a young woman, going by the way he keeps consciously not looking at Cersei. He has an order pad and pencil in hand as he approaches.
>Rasmus' voice booms over the din of the restaurant. "Scuti, Denver, Cersie. How have you been? God, you're all so much taller. "

Looking forward to the next chapter.
The party didn't encounter any Empyreal creatures until entering the tower.

Interface A2-06 stated that Styx Subject Empyrean was locked away somewhere beneath the tower, so she came from the basement to steal everyone's cookies, hopes, dreams, and limbs forever.
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>Coleo's expression shifts to something between surprise and mild confusion. She offers Rasmus a friendly, if noticeably weary, wave as he comes towards the table. She smiles as he arrives at the table, raising herself up on her trunk as she extends it upward from the spiral she's settled into. Her arms are spread wide for a hug.
>"Rasmus! You're finally home!"
>And he does hug her, heartily. It's strange not feeling dwarfed by him anymore, but everything else is still the same, if a bit amplified by joy of reunion.
>"Oh-hohoho." It's something between a laugh and a cry, though much more the former.
>"How are you doing?" There's that knowing concern, another thing he seems to have inherited from his father.
>Denver meanwhile seems preoccupied with Rasmus' duffel bag, and says nothing.
>"Hmm." Coleo falls into Rasmus almost like she's hugging a giant teddy bear. "I'm doing okay. I haven't been sleeping very well. But I've had my new friends Imp and Melico here to keep me company, so that's been nice." She detaches herself from him, waving a spare hand at the two girls. "We just met last week."
>Imp hesitantly lets go of her chainsaw with one hand long enough to give a small wave before wasting no time in returning it to its previous ready position. This man... so close. "Do-" n't-- "you do?"
>Changing her phrasing at the last moment, Imp's hands clutch the chainsaw tighter while her eyes assess and catalog his features.
>Melico looks the large man over with scrutinizing eyes. Military. Navy? She turns toward him, placing her hands in her lap, turning to ensure that her revolver remains out of sight. "Hello. We're new in town. Coleo has been showing us around."
>Imp blinks, then blinks again as Melico interjects herself back into the world. Rather, Imp remembers the rest of the world exists. Clutching her chainsaw tightly, she staunchly - haltingly - looks away.
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For that? Not really. Logically, unless the enemy is trumpeting "THIS IS YOUR MEMORY DOLL" it's most likely going to get lost in the confusion unless it's something extremely blatant, like having the entire combat centered around it, which isn't necessarily bad, but you can't half ass that. Otherwise it's just a thing that happens in combat along with all the other shit.

To put it simply, most of the characters involved just don't understand what makes the other person tick or even what their deal is. It's such that a doppelganger showed up to stir trouble and ruin things for the PCs and no one really cottoned onto it until they decided to kill her for being an asshole, possibly more as an excuse as they tried to come to terms with what they did rather than as a well reasoned course of action.

It's a problem, but more an in character one that's had fun consequences. As a GM, it is very fun because the fuckery would have been harder to pull off if everyone was better at communicating. As it is, there's gonna be interesting conversations as people are being forced to come to terms with things, and those who don't talk
are likely gonna be questioned by others that are.
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>Rasmus and Coleo eventually break apart, Rasmus turning to take in the indicated newcomers. He nods to each of them.
>His eyes are friendly, but there is a sober respectful coldness to them "Well any friend, friend of Scuti's is a friend of mine, you found just about the best people to help you get settled in."
>He then smirks and turns to take his bag out of Denver's view, when the lad's eyes try to follow it, Rasmus waves. "Hello, Denver."
>This snaps Denver out of his near trance and he wriggles a bit in embarrassment "lo' Rasmus. Welcome home."
>"Hmm." Melico nods and turns back to the table. This might not be good. He seems competent. I'll have to be careful around him. He could be dangerous.
>"We're.. not trying to settle in." Imp responds, still looking deliberately at nothing.
>Big and wide, like a great old bear... Was that it?
>For a moment, she loses herself again. For a moment, she almost feels... something, and then it's gone.
>Rasmus and Cersei shake hands warmly. "It is good to have you back, I can't wait to hear all about your adventures Rasmus."
>"Likewise, Cersei."
>The young moth lady almost seems to glow at being treated like an adult.
>Imp's words seem to catch Rasmus' attention. "Not looking to settle? Stopping over on your way to America are we?"
>"Just want-" that touch? "-to go..." the coat? "...go..." the voice?
>Imp can't form a coherent sentence.
>Coleo giggles a little nervously. "Imp and Melico are both lost. Mr. Windsor and I are trying out to find out how to help them get home."
>A silhouette in The Door. A smile on her face. Imp blinks, the image sand in the wind. "...go home." She finishes, seemingly unaware of the missing time.
>Coleo turns and gives Imp a furtive look of concern, but doesn't say anything just now.
>"I can certainly understand wanting to go home," Rasmus agrees knowingly.
You and me both.
>He looks back over to Coleo and Denver. "I've got to go get settled in, The Pelican is in for a major overhaul so I should be home for a month barring the unexpected. Come by later Scuti, Denver. The rest of my things should be in by tomorrow."

>"I believe Miles is ready to take your order." he pats the moth lad on the back and turns to go.

And that's all for tonight. Hope you lads enjoyed the bits and bobs and such. I'll be back to post some more up tomorrow, barring something unexpected. You all sleep well (or don't. I'm not a Johnny).
As an addendum, the DM asked me to play the doppelganger of myself during that time to sell the illusion better. And because I enjoy being a dick.
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Some hints at things should be coming up before too long, though I'm not totally sure just how far Imp's player and the DM have gone towards fleshing out her adventures before the game. Truthfully we only pretty recently got a look at how things might be going outside of Homburg.

lol, sorry for the bait, anon. Imp's 'snapping' procedure is pretty deliberately drawn out. Though I do believe Rasmus won a strike or two in this interaction. Windsor scored the same as Rasmus did on the Imp-o-meter, so that's been kinda interesting, considering she lives at his house atm.

Might be doing your job just a little too well if they up and killed the doppelganger, you think? Pretty sneaky move from you two.

How did the party figure out it was a fake in the end? Something screwy with the anatomy?
The DM's goal was to slowly bully them more and more, which I did. At first I actually went too hard on them by accident but hey, it worked.
They did not figure out that it was a doppelganger. OOC, they figured that something was up after all the shittery from my end from a character that, while overall not the nicest at least didn't try to make enemies. After they killed her, they found a small area were they could repair themselves, then heard a scream. When they came back, they saw the doll they just killed stand over her own dismembered, frozen and burned body in shock. And after realising some big fuckery was going on, another copy of her showed up.
What does favor represent, From a mechanical ludeo narrative perspective ?

The necromancer's favor.
The default is that the necromancer is watching the dolls progress remotely and when they find there antics engaging they alter the situation to benefit them, or drive "Oooo-oooo this character would be more interesting if they had X!" So they conspire to have the doll gain X. It can be refluffed in other ways and generally the players and PCs aren't supposed to know the deep of how favor works in your particular campaign unless you find it useful for them to know.
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Favor comes in bottles now.
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For us it's dealer points.

We can salvage parts, but because out necromancer is dead, and didn't design her dolls to survive her, we actually need help getting reinforcement parts to stick nowadays.

This results in us bringing allies who mostly haul salvage, and sometimes our broken bodies, or those of our new friends after a fight.

Work, favors, and other things get us points with out parts dealer who has has a fitting shop to install parts on us well enough to make them stick and work.
Never really had a in-universe justification for favor since PCs tend to be disconnected/out of contact from the necromancer, or the necromancer just doesn't have that sort of direct control over the PCs.
Hope is the greatest bait of all.
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>not posting the whole thing
>Not posting the colored version.
Thank you very much.
Do you have further art and music insight to share?
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I'll have you know that Hope has been quite helpful and she is a precious cinnamon bun that deserves your respect.
If I was going to apply that album cover to the campaign you were talking about I think it would be "Everybody wants a piece of Apollo".
>And after realising some big fuckery was going on, another copy of her showed up.

Was this one also there to cause trouble?
How would you play a NPC that didn't know she was dead?
That depends entirely on the context of this NPC's current situation, and their view of the world.

Please give us some more information so we have context on the situation(s) we are giving advice for.
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I have a NPC, looks like a angel and just emerged from a culture tank and bonded to the first person they saw. The PC has a fetter twards her. Other than the wings she is completely normal. I guess she is completely innocent like a child, she looks younger than the other PCs (angel looks 6 or so). I guess essentially a Alice. Sorry if this is badly formatted I'm just talking from the top of my head
Aaand we're back.

>Later in the day you make the group returns to the library.
>It soon becomes apparent that the police have left. Mr. Windsor is eating some sort of salted meat and egg dish out of a small glazed pot. He eats slowly staring at the wood grain of the wall seemingly lost in thought, his shirt and tie are different from the ones they saw him in this morning.
>He smiles when he notices the group come in, though something is still weighing on his mind. "Welcome home girls. Denver."
>Coleo pauses for a heartbeat as she registers that Windsor has changed clothes, though she doesn't mention it. She makes a shallow curtsy in return of the greeting. "Thank you, papa. Did..." Her hands curl and uncurl as she tries to figure out what to say. "Did everything go all right?"
>"Yes. Simpson just wants to thank whoever saved one of his men, and took a pair of prowlers off the street. He'd also love to get the story from their perspective. I told him if I found out anything I'd be sure to let him know."
>Imp stays quiet, observing Windsor closely. Why would he have changed his clothes? Did he get into a fight?
>Coleo relaxes visibly, her upper body sinking a good inch as some of her tension unwinds. "Well, I'm glad to hear the officer is doing okay." She breaks away from the group and clicks up beside Windsor, trying not to obviously eye his lunch. "We should have some fresher food from breakfast left over, shouldn't we? Surely it's a bit too early to be getting into the salted meat?"
>She clicks a claw against the hard part of her chin. "I'm sorry. I would have brought something back for you if I'd known we needed groceries."
>Denver lets out a sigh of relief at that revelation. "Hoooowee, that's a load off." He finds a chair to slump into.

What are her memories like? What languages does she speak and does she remember learning them?

When you say she doesn't know she's dead what do you mean?

For example does she thinks she needs to eat and needs her blood to be inside her to keep functioning? Or that she thinks the world outside is still full of people that aren't undead?
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>Windsor shrugs absentmindedly. "I had thought to have a quick lunch. Ah, but I guess that didn't happen."
>If he got into a fight that may explain the sort of weariness he seems to be displaying, but he's not carrying himself in a way to suggest injury and he has no bruising, abrasions, or lacerations from giving, receiving, or blocking physical blows.
>"Nice shirt. Salmon looks good on you." Denver observes aloud. "Not sure I like the duck tie with it though."
>Coleo fails to completely contain her snicker. "It- it does look a little silly."
>Windsor laughs too. "Ah-heh-heh well I just grabbed what was first and front really. I didn't have much time to get changed."
>"Why?" Imp asks.
>He raises one hand to try to wave away any importance what he is saying as he says it. The other setting his spoon back into the ramekin.
>"I had a disagreement with a friend, he got a bit passionate and accidentally swatted the ink bottle off my desk into my breast pocket. I would have congratulated him if I hadn't been so sore at him already."
>Imp blinks. "...But where did the time go?"
>Coleo blinks. "With one of the officers? Or did Mr. Schmalturn drop by?"
As a refresher, that would be the flower salesman that almost called the police on Melico in the first session.
>"It was Irving," Windsor confirms. "We we're got into an argument over the plan to tear down the old milling quarter to make way for a park."
>He gives Imp a quizzical look. "What do you mean?"
>"Did Mr. Irving just leave?" She asks.
>"It was about-" he turns to look at the clock, which seems to have an eye widening surprise for him. "-almost an hour ago?"
>He moves quickly to get up. But then seems to think better of it, and settles back into his seat. "No. I might as well bring this up now." He says primarly looking to Imp and Melico.
>Coleo straightens up. Her shoulders draw together and her fingers lace over each other as she tenses.
Where do I buy the board game that looks like a particularly brutal Iron Maiden cover?
>"I think. I have to admit defeat. I don't have the means to determine your homeland"
>"I think our only hope, is London. If the answers are anywhere in empire, it would be there."
>"Getting the access isn't the problem. Arranging accommodations and length of stay is"
>"I have authority and connections to make the wealth of knowledge of London available to us, but I quite simply don't make enough to afford just going myself for an extended visit, much less a small group." Frustration, contrition, and a bit of shame filters into his voice as he says this
>It's alright." Imp assures, looking away, "I didn't expect you to succeed anyway." This world was like a snow globe wrapped in a one-way mirror
>Melico speaks up for the first time since entering the Library. "How far away is London and how much would it cost to get there?"
>Coleo's head snaps to Imp, her face a mix of aghast and offended. "Imp!"
>Imp blinks, honestly confused. "What?"
>Windsor hands over a newspaper sheet to Melico featuring, among other things, the costs of tickets to London by boat from the Humbourg docks, in the surrounding space are some scribbled lists and calculations, repeated with different values.
>There is distinct shortfall in all of them. Apparently costs of living, and simply lodging, in London is expensive. The cheapest plan falls short about 75 quid a week
>Melico looks over the newspaper carefully. 'I have no idea what the context of these numbers is, but from the sounds of it, it's something beyond our current capabilities,' she thinks to herself
>Coleo makes a sharp 'huff', glaring at Imp as she moves to look over Melico's shoulder and at the list. Her eyebrows pop up in mild surprise. "I guess that's normal for cities like London, but I forget how expensive it can be."
>"...We can just go on our own." Imp suggests
>Windsor waves that off. "I'm not going to just send the two of you away Imp, especially to a place like London. What if something happened to you?"
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I guess she doesn't remember anything, Like a newborn into the world.

ACTUALLY! That's much better than my original idea! She IS alive! She is a creature that was born into a hell hole and knows none of the world before. She can be protected by the party (Players all female) and be the motivation for the story.
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>Coleo's brows pop up even farther. "Alone? To London? Imp, London can be a very dangerous place. And most of the city is filthy."
>"Then we would adapt, and overcome." Imp says, simply. "Filth is irrelevant, and we know how to avoid fights we can't win."
>Melico turns to Coleo, "Have you been to London before?"
>"Uhm... well, no. But you see stories about it in the papers all the time, and the conditions for the poorer families there, I hear they're nearly destitute." She 'hmm's to herself. "I have heard the palace there is quite the sight though. And I've always wanted to see Big Ben."
>"N' I don't think Windsor could just give you a letter asking all the big wigs to help you out on his authority or as a favor to him 'honest gov'." Denver interjects.
>"Oh to see London. The sights, the shops, the learning, the history..." Cersei seems to have gotten just the tiniest bit distracted.
>"The smoke." Coleo sticks her tongue out and makes a face like she's a play actor pretending to be choked. "But the nice part of the cities would be fun to visit."
>"What if we got you two jobs?" Denver asks. "Either of you know a trade?"
>Melico frowns slightly. "Most of my experience is with firearms and weaponry. I'm afraid I've never been trained for any other profession."
>Imp shifts uncomfortably, "...I could chop wood? And buildings." And other things.
>"Does Vickers hire girls? I bet you could sell death for em." Denver says in reply to Melico.
>Coleo speaks next: "I'm sure you'd make a wonderful seamstress, Imp. You look after your clothes so well. Oh, but I don't know if you'd do very well under a master." Coleo taps a finger against the hard part of her jaw, tilting her head a little as she thinks. A thought strikes her. "Cersei, don't your parents own some land up London way?"
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>"Oh... that's right."
>"Maybe Daddy could arrange something. I'll have to ask." She works some of her fingers in thought.
>"I think, you'd have to come along, so I can show them who... they would be... helping." Cersei seems less than sanguine at the prospects of presenting Imp and Melico to her parents
>Coleo droops a tad at the prospect. "They are a little rough, aren't they?"
>"There hasn't been any point in 'cleaning up,'" Imp says dryly, "when the next day there's a dust-storm followed by a pack of ravenous man-eating hounds. And then locusts. And then... Too many things."
>"If anything," Melico adds, "we're more practically driven than anyone else."
>"That- I didn't mean it like that..." Coleo shrinks a little. "Sorry."
>"Impressions are important if you are seeking assistance from someone, Melico." Cersei tries to find the words to explain.
>"Have I given you a poor impression, Cersei?" Melico looks at Cersei with a cold and expressionless stare.
>After a bit of silence Cersei begins. "I feel like you may put my parents on guard, and so have them think in terms of protecting themselves and their family, instead of make them feel inclined to see you as a fellow person who could use their help."
>Melico blinks. "I suppose you are right. It's an understandable reaction."
>"...I do have nicer clothes." Imp says, almost offended. "I just don't want to get them ruined."
>"Oh that's wonderful! Tell me more," the moth says to Imp, seeming to welcome the positivity.
>Coleo almost rolls her eyes. "Imp, they wouldn't have to get dirty or damaged. Cersei's family are very upstanding people; we'd be perfectly safe visiting them to talk."
>"... Hm." Imp opens her picnic basket and pulls out a suit jacket. A tie. A skirt. Slacks. A vest. A hairbow...
>... There's still more visible inside
>"Not in the Kitchen please." Windsor says before pausing. "How are you doing that?" he asks
>"Yeah." Denver intones in wonder
>"That's amazing." Cersei says
>>If he got into a fight that may explain the sort of weariness he seems to be displaying, but he's not carrying himself in a way to suggest injury and he has no bruising, abrasions, or lacerations from giving, receiving, or blocking physical blows.

This is written wierd. Is someone saying it or thinking it, or are you quoting the GM describing things directly?
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You don't, Its a fan translated Japanese tabletop game. You can print out, cost me 30 or so dollars from UPS or 40 from FedEX. Don't Print it at home unless you like wasting money on ink printing 300 or so pages.

Imp is a timelord who sealed her memories away because she couldn't live with herself.
Quoting the GM directly there. Most of this is a direct copy of our text log, actually.
It's the busy part of the month at my work so I'm kinda wiped and not paying quite as much attention as I probably should be to editing.

Imp's treasure is her basket, by the way. It doesn't come up in descriptions a lot so plugging it here. It's a little picnic basket looking thing she carries everywhere.

>Imp shrugs. "You asked to see my nice clothes. These aren't the nicest, but..." They're very well cared for. There aren't even any noticeable creases from how they were folded.
>Following Windsor's apparent request, she starts folding them and returning them to the basket.
>Coleo's torso arches like a piece of leaf spring as she peers down at the clothes. "You really do have a fine collection." She looks back up to Cersei. "You see what I mean? When I say she could be a seamstress?"
>"Oh yes! You're quite good Imp." Cersei tempers herself a little. "That said, a more unified look is probably in order for going before my parents."
>Imp shrugs. "You asked to see clothes, not an ensemble."
>Her words are dismissive and her mouth carefully not smiling, but she's still clearly beaming with radiant pride.
>Cersei's eyes widen just a hair. "You have whole ensembles in there?" she asks with renewed interest.
>"Perhaps you should all continue this conversation in the guest quarters." Windsor says, finishing the last of his ramekin.

A bit later, in Windsor's bedroom.
>The door opens and through it comes a tired tired William Windsor, crisp shirt and slacks, smart hair and shoes,
>All ruined by a fowl tie.
>He moves across the space, undoing and removing the offending accessory as he goes, holding it in his left hand as he opens a cupboard with the right.
>He leans forward slightly, his eyes moving to a modest number of ties hanging from a rack mounted to one interior side. He puts away the one in hand and considers which will replace it.
>Having excused herself from the other girls, Coleo taps lightly along the hallway some way behind Windsor, trying to keep her footfalls quiet on the wooden boards.
>She stops outside his door, wobbling incisively for a moment before taking a deep breath in through her nose and rapping a knuckle twice against the door. "Papa? Can I come in?"
>"Yes you may." She hears him reply.
>She pushes the door open and creeps slowly in through the doorway, stopping with most of her trunk still hanging out into the hall. Her fingers are tied in a knot. It takes her a moment to work up the courage to speak. "I just wanted to- I suppose I wanted to check and see if you were doing well? Considering the argument between you and Mr. Schmalturn."
>"I'm fine Scutigera. You don't need to worry about that." He picks up a deep green tie before putting it back. "Just... two men letting their emotions get a step ahead of their faculties and better nature."
>Coleo's two forwardmost legs alternate tapping against the floor as she wrings her hands. "I understand, but it-" She grunts in frustration with herself. "I just want to be sure it isn't... more than the park? Last I remember it coming up it sounded like you two would be mostly in agreement and- I know Melico made a bit of a scene at his stand last week. I guess I'm just a little worried about..." She trails off, her mandibles clicking lightly against each other in time with her feet.
>"I suppose I'm worried that it isn't just the milling district."
>As he reaches for another tie, Windsor lifts a finger but then drops it. The expected admonition to not equivocate never comes.
>He puts on a slate grey tie in silence and turns around and sits at the side of his bed. A little grin tugs his face involuntarily at the site of Coleo stalled halfway through the door.
>He gives a warm and reassuring smile, dampened slightly with a tinge of guilt. "Oh, come in here."
I have a reloadable laser printer. The kind where you can just pour more toner inside, reset the cogwheel on the side, and it will happily run until empty because there no SCAM microchip in the toner cartridge telling the printer to stop working until a new toner cartridge is installed.
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>Coleo giggles a little despite her fidgeting and brings the rest of herself through the door, closing it behind her. "I guess leaving my back out the door was little silly."
>Windsor's countenance brightens for just a moment. "Well, just a bit."
>His tone shifts to something a little more serious. "You aren't wrong. Irving and I weren't arguing about the milling district. Irving is worried about us, about whether we should be hosting our two guests."
>"I thought if I had said as much, Imp may have decided to see for herself if Irving constituted a threat. Given his temper and her predilections, I thought it best to avoid that."
>Coleo sags a little at the truth. "I was worried it was something like that. I think the only time he saw the two of them was the first day they were here and Melico was... they were both very high strung."
>She pops up again; so quickly that her mandibles still haven't properly reconnected yet as she begins to speak. "But they're doing better now! Imp is still getting used to things, but Melico seems to be settling in nicely. And I don't think they're dangerous." She resists the urge to add 'to us' onto the end of her protestation.
>"They are doing better." He offers. "I am proud to see you taking responsibility and for helping them. I know you can see how they come from danger, and how they carry some of that with them."
>"Don't ever forget that, it's something that's always going to be with them. You mustn't forget, for their sake."
>She nods. "I know. I figure it's a bit like with Denver; he grew up in a rougher part of town than me and I know he got into a lot more trouble before he started coming to the library..."
>She straightens herself up a little, clicking her mandibles into their proper place as her hands untangle and move to smooth down the front of her shirt in an idle gesture. "Obviously it'll be more extreme with Imp and Melico but I can't just not help them..."
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Coleo's dad got interrogated, then fixed up, neuralized, and fed a false story.
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interesting. Good for you anon. Have fun printing
Thanks. I put a lot of work into finding just the right printer and managed to snag it before it went out of production.
Where the hell do you get your toner outside of cartridges for refilling?
Oh you can still buy toner in bottles and jugs online.
>Windsor leans forward a bit "Just remember to save some time for yourself."
>Coleo nods, smiling gently. "I know, I will."
>He nods.
>"How have you been sleeping?" He asks. Coleo can tell he knows something has been off, and apparently he's decided that leaving her to proceed as she sees fit is no longer the best approach to that situation.
>Coleo shrinks into herself. "Uhm..." Her claws click together. "Not- not very good. I've been having unsettling dreams."
>She raises herself back up. "But- but I should be feeling better soon, I think! I've been doing some reading on- on things like meditation."
>"Maybe talking to someone about your dreams would help," Windsor offers. "Meditation is good, but talking may help faster, and I imagine it's easier to find one's center with a rested mind."
>Coleo's claws keep clicking together. She won't look at Windsor. "I- maybe you're right. I've been meaning to talk to Cersei... maybe I can ask her."
>Just thinking about the dreams...
>She can almost taste it.
>Windsor takes a step closer, arms out in an offered hug. "Scutigera, I'm here. Whatever it is, I'm here for you."
>Coleo's fidgeting gets worse. Her legs start working up and down in waves and she turns to look around the room- anywhere but at Windsor. "I know. I know. But- but..." She whimpers something to herself.
>Suddenly she leaps forward like a coiled spring, engulfing Windsor in a six-armed hug. "I eat you in the dream! I never would but in the dream I- I-" She's holding onto him like he's a life preserver. She hiccups once. "I'd never do that."
>Coleo slams into Windsor with enough force to knock the wind out of his sails, but he hugs her back.
>He runs a soothing hand through her hair and down the back of her neck, again and again. "Your going to be alright. I know. I know you would never do that."
>"I've got you, and I'm not going anywhere."
>Coleo squeezes just a little tighter. "I know. I love you Papa."


Fin for now.
>>He runs a soothing hand through her hair and down the back of her neck, again and again. "Your going to be alright. I know. I know you would never do that."
>>"I've got you, and I'm not going anywhere."
>>Coleo squeezes just a little tighter. "I know. I love you Papa."


>"I've got you, and I'm not going anywhere."

He dies doesn't he?
>He dies doesn't he?
Sometimes characters just have a wholesome relationship with their family, anon. Life isn't an anime, sometimes things are just cute and not deathflag-y

But in the interest of not spoiling for those who don't wanna know, here's your warning.
Not as of yet.
>Nechron Thread - Metal Edition

Do you plan on storytiming in this thread.

I try to avoid submitting threads for archiving until all the OC is posted so that if it is something noteworthy I can include it in the tags and description for the thread in question.
Remember, everyone hates escort missions.

You may want to ask PortDM how they handled things with Hope because she's a similar character.
Let it be known that I write, and have been essentially all thread. But work on session nine isn't helpful to this thread, so that sucker punch slowed things a lot; can't be helped. I expect that by morning I'll have it ready and posting. Apologies if my silence keeps you in a perpetual state of blue balls, but I try to just focus on writing as much as possible, because unsurprisingly writing this much is just a matter of sheer man-hours.

Very nice image, by the way; I love it.

Thank you for letting me know. Sorry if I came off as impatient. I appreciate the time you put into this.

I had fun editing that image together and learned some things about eraser settings trying to get the the fade effect around the the cutoff of Adrian and Coach's body.

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>Remember, everyone hates escort missions.
Eh... that's kinda more of a vidya thing than a tabletop thing, and you can avoid most of the issue with some pretty basic steps.

>don't let the NPC slow down or get in the way of the players (very much)
A lot of escort missions suck because the escortees are stupid and blithely walk into enemy fire. You can make things way less frustrating for your players if you just make the escort NPC situationally aware enough to stay out of the way and keep their head down while everyone else goes too work, or even make them actively helpful (if not as powerful as a player). Hope has Vortex of Destruction in her back pocket, for example, and some madness management tools as well which makes her beneficial to have around even if she isn't a damage dispenser.

A note: having ignorant characters blunder into danger once in a while is not horrible, or even a bad thing depending on how you handle it, but your NPCs are going to need to possess the capacity to learn from their mistakes and avoid dragging the party into combat over and over. Don't be like MMO NPCs that just casually walk face-first into six hostile knights over and over again; most of your players are only going to put up with that once or twice.

>know your party and what they find appealing
I can't not play a hero-type character in most games and the DM is pretty happy to exploit this to his advantage. Tachi isn't really as 'knightly' as I am in RP but they tend to stick to good/neutral characters as well. The DM knows that if he sticks a vulnerable character in front of us then we're more than likely to try and help. And he knows how to make these characters something that we'll actively want to hang around with while out adventuring. Ostensibly your group is going to be spending a lot of time with this character, so it's particularly important that they don't find them annoying or frustrating to be around.

>Don't have the NPC be easy to instagib
Your players are going to mess up now and then, so try and keep a little wiggle room in your failure state before the NPC just gets kaboomed. It's heinously frustrating when a group or player does almost everything right and then one scrub manages to slip past and immediately cause a Game Over because the escorted NPC was actually constructed of paper mache and sweat the entire time. If you have a super fragile NPC as an escort objective then they shouldn't be permanent traveling companions and if you have a permanent traveling companion then they shouldn't be fragile.
I forgot to add:
>they shouldn't be fragile. Or at the very least they should be able to reliably gtfo if they get engaged on.
Perhaps Apollo should have built a new tower someplace else and moved his stuff into it, and then buried the leftover basement of the oldtower.

Not really true for pen and paper games, and that's assuming you're making having a weak NPC that tags along = escort mission. It's easy enough to hand wave things as "they hide/run/otherwise stay out of the way when they can see a fight coming," this can also make it more notable/tense when they do show up on the battlefield as it makes it immediately apparent that things are going wrong when a character typically able to stay out of the way can't get out.

Of course if you want it to be an escort mission, you can. Just understand that unless you have the necromancer with a lot of direct control over their actions, most parties in nechronica could just abandon/kill assholes they don't like or find are more trouble than they're worth.
Has your character's appearance ever caused them problems?

Our smallest party member tended to attract a lot of coddeling, which she didn't like, and hugging, which she liked.

All the time. Really, if your characters mutations/enhancements are causing at least minor problems, you're doing something wrong.
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What? Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!...

It ain't over now, 'cause when the goin' gets tough, the tough get goin'. Who's with me? Let's go! Come on!...


There was indeed an accident southbound on the Major Deegan at the Mosholu Parkway, an accident, a serious accident involving a tractor trailer and a car. It has been pushed off to the shoulder but now watch out there now because another flatbed truck is gonna have to come to clear it so yield right of way. Northbound on the B.Q.E., we've spotted that disabled vehicle in the right-hand lane before the Kosciuszko, not causing much of a backup. But further north down there on the B.Q.E. traffic is very heavy past the Kosciuzko all the way over to the L.I.E. The outbound Holland Tunnel extra heavy for you right now. Earlier there was a car fire at Hudson and Canal Street. It has been cleared of that, uh. Heading to New Jersey, the outbound Lincoln Tunnel looks a lot better for you. In New Jersey [ pause ] Hit the water, hit the water, hit the water [ sounds of a crash, then silence. ] REYNOLDS: O.K., we're going to play some music here, I think. Find out what's going on with the helicopter. Something happened there. It's a quarter of 5, 16 till 5 on WNBC, on the Joey Reynolds Show, checking an N-copter report from Jane Dornacker. We'll check in, see how they're doing here and then we'll come right back at you.
It is not morning. It is the afternoon, and I am really, really bad at time estimates. But all the same, Gravel is here; prior links provided if necessary. Now enough waiting, let's get to it.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/72655511/#p72732935 Session 1
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73453448/#p73480748 Session 2
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73453448/#p73509701 Session 3
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73798681/#p73848425 Session 4
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/73798681/#p73860863 Session 5
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/74251433/#p74289325 Session 6
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/74251433/#p74358587 Session 7

Last we left off, there had been a magnificently murderous brawl after Adrian hurtled through a garage door and a bomb exploded over bugged Russians. Now that there’s time to take in the scenery, they seem to have found themselves outside, since in front of the A-Team is the goddamned desert. Lamps on the wall and the moon alike provide light enough to see by, which lets everyone soak in all the gibs and bits of mushed Ruskis all over the ground. Closer inspection amid repairs reveals that they were indeed implanted with insects, which while not a surprise definitely does explain their aggression. Perhaps more concerningly, there’s a significant amount of blood trailing off into the darkness, and it’s dry enough it wasn’t from the fight that just occurred.

Intrepid investigation on Adrian’s part reveals… nothing except for confusion when she bumps her foot against shit she can’t actually see, until Aida provides her glowing lattice-tummy to helpfully illuminate a manhole cover deprived of its rightful home. Nearby is the pretty huge hole it presumably goes to, with the bloodtrail leading straight into it.
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“Might as well keep on going and see what we find,” says Adrian, picking up Aida. With the combined powers of Altina on her shoulder and a bomb in her hand, she descends with the entirety of the A-Team in tow, climbing down a metal ladder grafted onto the dirty concrete. It creaks under the group's weight as they go, but holds just fine while Aida kicks her feet lazily on the ride down. Sliding the manhole back into place before they drop down leaves them in pure darkness – or would, were it not for the power of Aida’s glowing stomach to serve as an efficient lamp.

Unlike the tunnel back at the office, Adrian finds herself landing on damp concrete when she disembarks the ladder at last, her feet thankfully free of any real gross shit. There's a lot more room here, and immediately beside the team is a lower level that houses the current they’d heard earlier. It’s so dark they can barely see either way that is presented to them, but considering the direction the team came in from the plant, it's safe to assume behind them is the water treatment facility and in front of them is the wild unknown. The blood trail continues into said unknown, meanwhile, though it’s become significantly smaller, as if trickling down as some corpse crawled away. On a brighter note, the water here surprisingly does not smell like the devil got home from the gym and left his socks on one’s face.

Adrian keeps going, undeterred, with bomb and bird alike; Altina is also not deterred by virtue of being lazy and not having to put any actual effort in, while Aida fishes out her nice little thermos of gothic juice from its place in her picnic basket and has a few sips while as Adrian wades into the nasty shit. Fortunately for the smaller members of the group, despite the current’s strength, the droplets barely reach over Adrian’s knees and everyone is safe from getting foul gunk on themselves.
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There’s only so far for them to go, it turns out, as the tunnel abruptly stops with large bars blocking the way. The blood trail vanishes into an especially derelict wall full of cracks that form a V shape; it’s hardly an obstacle to the kind of muscle this group possesses, as Adrian starts to ponder with a, “Hmmm… I could punch it.”

“I could blow it up!” Aida offers, not quite realizing explosions in such a confined space are ill-advised.

“I have a laser sword for an arm,” Altina says by way of reminder, even if she’s totally focused on the wrong thing when she adds, “I do not think bars would be that difficult to cut. Not like people!”

Further discussion on the topic is halted when Adrian just pokes at the wall and it abruptly topples over with a loud thump, filling the air with dust and dirt as it reveals an earthen tunnel. There’s brief puzzlement from the muscle, mild embarrassment from the bird at realizing what people were really looking at, and shrugging acceptance from Aida at how she doesn’t need to explode any heretical walls for Allah today before Adrian presses on – alas for her passengers that they have to disembark and crawl into the tunnel like their lead investigator instead of lazing about on her muscly shoulders, but so it goes.

The tunnel is long enough (and cramped enough) that time loses meaning for a bit as all anyone can do is keep crawling after a blood trail that grows ever fainter, sometimes cutting off entirely before it resumes; this happens a few times before the team hits a slightly more spacious dead end. Or at least what appears to be one, but for a quick look up revealing a wooden board overhead with some more blood splashed on it and light seeping through its cracks.

Adrian, full of tact, smashes wood. There’s a panicked gasp from above as light floods the crawlspace before Adrian sticks her head up through the fresh hole, accompanied by greetings of, “Hi, bleeding person!” from Aida.
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“Hello there!” Altina adds as well, politely extending a hand through the hole to wave at whoever resides above, in what turns out to be a cramped little wooden room with a dirt floor. There’s a small girl with incredibly long, fluffy hair sitting on a wooden chair in the corner, copious amounts of blood pooling beneath her thanks to a pair of completely absent legs, only sad, bloody little stumps remaining.

They do not take this sudden intrusion well, letting out a panicked, “H-how did the bikes fit in there? Since when do you speak my language?” One may thereby assume the cause of her legless state, who have been done one better.

Nonetheless the bomb is confused, clawing her way up the dirt walls to stare quizzically at the girl. “Bikes? Huh?” she asks, wondering how the fluffy one reached that conclusion. More important after a second is the problem she notices, and its solution. “You should grow back your legs! You need those to walk.” Not everyone is so gifted, Aida.

“Yeah, not bikes,” Adrian assures her flatly; it would be good if this girl put that knife down before the muscle's tone changes. Or at least stopped pointing it at the A-Team. If she couldn't handle the bugged Russians, the transitive property agrees the same is true of the party.

“Oh god, who are you then?” That is not a question that precedes a lowering of the knife. Luckily the group is always willing to parley.

With great enthusiasm, the bomb announces, “We're the bug-blower-uppers!” Some are instead the bug crushers. Others are the bug zappers. It's not a perfectly descriptive term from Aida.

Simpler is the muscle's introduction of, “Adrian. We smashed a buncha bikes getting here. We were looking for Eddy.”

“We do not like most Russians for they keep trying to slay us!” Altina follows up, lifting off into the air to crouch on Adrian's shoulder. “That we keep slaying them right back is immaterial.” As are the Russians once they've been reduced to particularly gory smears.
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By these admissions three, the girl finally looks calmed, no longer pretending the knife would do much. “Well, that's a relief,” she sighs out. “If it was one-on-one, maybe I'd handle it. But there were too many.” The economy of action is a harsh mistress, even if one is stronger than the lunkhead. Speaking of, “Muuka better be either dead or fighting. I was screaming her name the entire time.” You see, fluffy girl, she'd have to leave her post to help you. Can't have that, now can we? After a moment to fume, something clicks in her head. “... Anyway, what do you mean with 'looking for Eddy'? I mean, what would she even be doing at the water plant?”

There's a very simple explanation for that, “On going investigation.” And the muscle brings her up to speed in three words.

“No one told us about that.” Considering Muuka's been at that post two years straight, do they even- “Well, no one tells us anything, really.” No, evidently, they don't. Must be a lonely unlife at this place.

“Muuka was standing guard at the door,” Adrian keeps explaining, since the other muscle isn't here to do it herself. “She wouldn't let us in unless we fought her. She insisted there was nothing inside.” … There technically wasn't; the Russians were outside. Broken clocks.

“... That dumbass,” the fluffy girl curses, hanging her head in some combination of disappointment and disgust. “While she is correct and there really isn't anything worth looking in there for... She's still a dumbass.” A notion wholly unchallenged by the A-Team.

Instead Aida chooses to challenge something else. “But there could've been bugs!” she insists, still of a mind they could slip through undetected.

“Well, we went in and found the Russians,” the muscle also claims, even if she's wrong on account of a technicality.

Correct, comparatively, is the bird's merry, “And killed them most viciously!” Inside or outside, it's true their insides are now outsides.
From this all the girl concludes, “What, are you guys doing the sweep then? What is the committee even doing? You with them or what?” A fair guess.

Yet invalidated by Aida's informative, “We just blow up bugs because we need something to do. And because it makes Allah happy! That part's really important.” So it is, bomb. So it is.

“We adventure!” the bird appends with triumphant vigor. “Mostly to kill unfriendly things. It is enjoyable.” A hobby none could disagree with.

Carefully considering these corrections, the girl slowly decides, “... Guess you're not really from here. You don't look the part.” Was it the lack of black skin, or perhaps the absentee African necromancer meaning no new dolls can be created? Either way, she carries on, “But the radio said there was going to be a sweep, like, right now. This should be one of the first places they look over, even. I almost died back there!” Considerable frustration spreads across her face as she goes, for really, this is all quite absurd.

“It's the first place we checked, if it makes you feel any better.” The effect of Adrian's conciliatory offering is debatable at best.

And with the sweep concluded, Aida's very official report is, “But there weren't any bugs. Or any Eddies!” A dearth of such targets, to be sure, conjuring the consideration that, “Maybe we should go to the other water place.”

Rather than do so, Adrian wishes to remark, “There were bugs in the Russians...” The bomb will not deny such facts.

She will, instead, state, “Yeah, but we want the bug-talker!” … What. “The bug-talker. They talk to bugs, so they can tell them what to do.”

The fluffy amputee stares at Aida several moments, unsure if she's making up nonsense or not, finally just asking, “... I've only heard of bugs on the radio but... Are you for real?”
“And they're being quite the nuisance, with all the violence and murder they keep causing,” the bird is the first to pipe up, condemning the awful plague before quite gravely adding, “We're -very- for real.” Backing this claim up, Aida nods and nods and nods. Bug-talkers are quite real.

These are the sorts of revelations that get fluffy heads cupped by tiny hands. “Good god,” the girl breathes, overwhelmed. She finds resolve again in her chosen course of action when she eventually rises from her own palms. “... I'm gonna make that idiot carry me all the way to the clinic.” That seems the very least Muuka could do.

“I can carry you out, unless you'd rather take yourself.” Ever the collector of small shoulder passengers, the muscle offers herself in Muuka's stead.

“J-just take me back to the plant. I should be fine from there.” If Muuka doesn't complicate matters somehow. She makes some awful generous assumptions.

Those don't concern Adrian, who scoops the girl up with an, “Alright,” and no further ado. “What's your name, anyway?” she asks the passenger of her other shoulder.

“Mwamba,” the mass of fluff finally introduces herself, receiving Aida's name in turn as the bomb recalls her manners and slakes her thirst with meat juice. “... What's that you got there, Aida?” Mwamba queries, watching a trickle of red running down her chin.

“It's Rita's special stuff. It's really good.” Yet she can't seem to get most people to try it. Never let it be said she doesn't want them to; generously is the thermos proffered with an earnest, “You want a sip?”

So she does, taking it and several swift gulps, wetting her throat after a lot of unanswered screaming for her idiot of a sister to show up. “That really hits the spot,” the fluff sighs, handing the bomb her drink back.

Smiling at her compatriot in cannibalistic consumption, Aida is more than happy to announce, “It's nice to not have to be there to drink it!” while stowing the thermos once more.
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“Just use the door, it's faster than the tunnel,” Mwamba advises the muscle, cutting off her kneeling to return the way she came. Instead then the valiant meat miracle climbs out and ducks through the door with her shoulders full, Aida following closely after.

It's difficult to see much in the dark, same as before; in the distance one way are the masses of city lights, and in the other, the plant's own illumination faintly reaches this place. “Damn... how far did we head out?” Far enough that the distant cracks coming from the plant's direction might not be immediately obvious; but the A-Team is quite familiar with the sound of gunfire after the last few days.

“... We don't use guns, though,” Mwamba realizes as she listens to this. “Oh boy.” There's only one logical explanation, after all.

“Maybe Muuka's fighting now, just like you wanted!” The bomb helpfully supplies it, pleased the girl got her wish.

“I-I was just saying that!” And how quickly she retracts her statement. Such are the bonds of sisterhood, expressed in one fervent, “Hurry!”

With that Adrian hustles towards the sound, her avian passenger announcing, “Aha! Time to stop people with our violence, then!” Wouldn't that be lovely? But while the above ground path is doubtless faster, the gunfire grows sparse during the approach. By the time Lola's truck comes into view, it's stopped entirely. Said truck has a wide open driver-side door, which, when Adrian checks, doesn't reveal a driver.

Peeking in beside her, the bomb guesses, “Maybe she went to help Muuka fight. Let's go look!” In agreement, the stairs are ascended, the entrance exactly where it was left. Two flustered girls may be found before it, Muuka trying to catch her breath; in her crusade to perfectly imitate Adrian, she's perched the tiny trucker on her shoulder. Shameless, she is.

“You have all the fun without me?” the true muscle announces herself with, surveying a scene of splattered bugs and minuscule guts.
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Lola gives an immediate, incredulous, “You call that -fun-?” Neither muscle seems to see where she's coming from.

Muuka opening her mouth, however, rouses Mwamba to shout, “You dumbass!” It startles the nega-muscle quite effectively, as she takes in the amputee.

“What, what happened to you?” Disbelieving, Muuka is handed one bundle of fluff, whom she cradles. Lola takes this as the time to hop off that shoulder.

“It's most definitely not fun,” Lola mutters as she stuffs her revolver away. “I told you I'm just a driver.”

“Blowing up bugs is pretty fun,” Aida argues, not considering Lola's lack of explosive weaponry. When it's pointed out, she shrugs. It's unfortunate but that's not a problem the bomb can solve. The tiny trucker would have difficulty carrying a ton of lattices around, even if she could get them out safely. With no way forward there, the bomb has more important considerations. “We need to go to the other water place! The bug talker has to be there. Probably. I think.” Perhaps if she held more confidence in this, the parallel discussion would have paused, but it does not.

“Are you getting deaf?” the cradled fluff berates of the one holding her. “I kept calling your stupid ass.” At least there's a good explanation for why she never came, yes?

“I... May have been busy...” the nega-muscle admits sheepishly. And with what, Muuka? What, recently, may have occupied the attention of you and all, leaving them deaf to Mwamba's shouting? It's just impossible to say. “I haven't seen you in so long...”

Such a lament loses a great deal of potency when its retort is, “... Because you refuse to leave your post and you complained when I came over and left mine?” Muuka's is a hell of her own design. Not that she'd see it that way.

“I'm sorry. We can't go against orders, though.” By her logic she couldn't have even gone to help Mwamba, and thereby it can be seen as no logic at all.
Being so illogical, its quick counter is, “We can. And I'm going to prove it to you now. Because you're going to leave this post and carry me to the goddamn clinic.”

“... I don't think I should,” Muuka mumbles warily.

“I'M MISSING MY LEGS!” the angry amputee yells straight into her ear, the only structural fault in the armor that is the nega-muscle's skull.

“Okay, okay, I get it,” she relents at once, though not without looking conflicted over doing so.

If only that properly solved things. “That's a bad move,” Lola informs the bickering duo. “The clinic is probably going to be packed with guerrillas during the sweep. You'd have better luck with the farm or with Rita.”

Given the length it took to drive here, it's no major surprise that Mwamba concedes, “Well... That may be a little too much walking.” She'd like new legs just more than she'd like to force Muuka to suffer penance for her idiocy.

“We could just go to the hospital!” Muuka suggests, perfectly willing to exercise her legs. If only.

“The hospital was abandoned,” the trucker must now unveil. “You really have been living under a rock, haven't you.” It's impressive, truly, precisely how out of the loop this girl can be. And how dense.

For entirely sincere, the nega-muscle replies, “That's not true. I've been in my post all this time.” It misses something.

“So just in front of a door,” Adrian confirms, not believing a curve ball is coming – since it isn't.

“Yep, that's where it is.” What unlife must be to one so simple. Truly, Muuka is a marvel.

Now, what was that thing that Muuka missed earlier? “It may as well be the metaphorical rock, I would think.” Ah, yes, thank you bird; metaphor. Nega-muscle doesn't seem to have the concept down.

Confirmed in a baffled, “I don't get it.”

“Of course you don't,” Mwamba assures the girl carrying her. “You have more muscle than gray matter.” By an order of magnitude, in all likelihood.
To spare Muuka just a little, Adrian will helpfully point out, “Most people do.”

“I believe it is a tossup when it comes to me!” Altina states, considering her figure and also a not insignificant mechanical component. “And also Aida, I imagine. Moreso her, probably.”

“Anyway, biology aside, we need to get going.” Adrian is right. This venture has procured no Eddy, which isn't the most heartening of results.

To the end of relieving that sooner, the trucker asks, “Well, do you mind being a torso a bit longer? I'll drop you off at a medic after we're done. I'd really hate to split up when the town is crawling with these bugs.”

“I was more worried about the Russians. But fine. Where are you even going first?” The reservoir, of course, but there's a misconception to clear up really quickly before departing.

“If it makes you feel any better, those were Russians controlled by bugs.” … Come again? “Bugs can dig into people's heads and control'em. Anyway, we need to go.” Mwamba looks to have a hard time processing this.

Ever helpful, Aida reiterates, much more simply, “The bugs are the ones that make the Russians bad!” That, however, is all the explanation there's time left for, bomb soon after agreeing, “Yeah! Time to go, time to go!” To kickstart the process, she begins hopping down the steps, Lola skipping on after. Those of greater stature come next. There's no room for two muscles up front, so Muuka hugs Mwamba in the back with Aida. There would be room for a muscle and a bird up front, but Altina chooses to now perch atop the truck instead.

Lola still doesn't look very comfortable with that particular idea, but starts the engine with a, “Well, whatever.”

Altina spooks her before she starts driving, rather than after, leaning in the driver's side window real quick. “I appreciate this place to sit!” she cheerily informs Lola, then vanishing once more.

“... Good grief,” Charlie Brown Skin mutters, focusing on driving rather than Altina's peculiarities.
“Let her do what she wants, she's just a girl.” The muscle says that, but already she looks to miss the bird's company. Lucky for her, the drive to the reservoir is almost astonishingly short. It doesn't take long for its lights to come into view, nor does it take much past that for the perimeter to come into sight. It's clearly another gated complex, with another conspicuously open gate. This time, there's a reasonable explanation, and its jeep is parked on the road leading there.

“Uh, isn't that your friends' ride?” the trucker asks as she passes by it, double checking her mirrors.

Having a very clear view from the back, Aida's return shout is, “Uh-huh! They must still be here. There has to be something here!”

“Let's go find them! Either they're doing well and all is fine, or things are wrong and we can be heroes. Either is fine.” Bird. “First is preferable.” Okay, that's better. When the reservoir itself is reached soon after, it's a case of deja vu. The party has just been here; it is entirely indistinguishable from the plant on the outside.

“Should we stay here?” Muuka asks, deferring decision making to people with functioning brains.

Adrian's primary concern differs slightly. “Why does this place look exactly the same as the other one?”

“I don't know the answer to either of those questions!” Aida announces, hopping up and getting out to start exploring the same building.

“It's a building standard, don't think too much of it,” Mwamba answers Adrian.

“You might as well stay here, just in case something wants to take the truck,” Adrian answers Muuka. Thus the chain completes itself, and all queries reach satisfactory resolutions.

With a plan of action set, Altina springboards off the truck, spinning through the air and sticking the landing, as birds are wont to. “I find this idea agreeable,” she so casts her vote on leaving truck guards. “I would hate for us to have to walk simply because someone decided they were feeling thiefsy tonight.”
Glancing over to the steps and seeing a pair of Russian corpses – not our friends, thankfully – Lola decides, “That's a good enough reason for me.” The further she stays from conflict, the happier she is. The party heads to the entrance they know where to find, then. On the way, they see even more Russian remains. No one cares enough to do the math, but it looks like enough bodies – or chunks thereof – to account for the last of Buinov and Vulovic's deserters. That's one problem handled. Beyond the bodies, the other obvious difference as everyone ascends is a thick layer of black paint. It's been slathered all over the windows and even the glass double doors. When Adrian pushes those open, it's clear almost no light is getting in. In lieu of flashlights, the muscle takes up a bomb, the loli lamp illuminating just enough.

Inside, another difference makes itself plain under the combustive source of illumination. There are no stairs downwards this time, merely two paths left or right. Strain her ears as she might, Adrian can't hear anything down either; one thing that isn't different is the sound of rushing water, overwhelming the ears. “Any ideas?” the muscle looks to the party to ask, Coach then prodded by Aida. “What?” The bomb clarifies she thinks that direction is good; she doesn't actually cease poking Coach. “Stop that!” Coach snaps, while Adrian snickers.
So the bugs and Russians were not in the water treatment plant, they were hanging around outside the roller curtain door where back before the Appocalypse, trucks would pull up to take in or offload cargo and equipment?
“I would suggest splitting up, except that is both dumb and would mean we'd have someone in the dark who couldn't see anything. So!” Altina’s fingers point left, and then right, and then left again. “We have two blind choices! This is terrible.” The final direction of a bird’s finger is enough for Adrian, who leads on; would that she could punch the darkness, but it shall continue to harry. Her choice is proven to be a door, this one unlocked, which advertises its contents as 'silos.' And indeed, when she opens it, silos aplenty appear before her, each below the platform she now finds herself on, the overwhelming darkness obscuring where they might end, leaving them functionally infinite for all anyone knows. Before her is a hanging room – windows painted black, surprise surprise – and to the immediate right is a ladder going down. Rather eyecatching is the fact there's a white spot in the middle of the silos.

As soon as she steps in to investigate farther though, a shot rings out, ricocheting off the ceiling. “WHO THE HELL IS IT?” a vaguely familiar voice shouts from down below.

“Well, that's not very friendly!” the bird informs the unknown assailant with rather poor aim.

“Someone who will beat your ass if you shoot at us again,” Adrian informs the darkness, taking umbrage with the principle of a warning shot.

“She shot the ceiling, I saw it!” another voice shouts, to stave off the muscle's wrath.

“Don't care, I'll beat your ass,” Adrian reminds them, starting down the ladder to find out who, possibly, could be producing light in this abyss. Three silhouettes, two leaning against a silo and one seated on the ground. A puzzle, truly.

There's a scene of carnage to pass by before the figures can be seen properly. Silos everywhere splattered with blood, a coating of insect carcasses littering the floor; Adrian has to step over the body of one final Russian trooper.

“Oh, so it is you,” one of the voices speaks as she gets closer.
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“I told you I recognized the voice,” another chides the first.

“Took you long enough,” Eddy adds, the trio now visible as her, Buinov, and Vulovic in a startling turn.

“Man, another buncha people who had fun without me.” As if combat waits patiently for Adrian to arrive; would she rather they kindly let the bugs take root?

Indeed, Buinov reminds her, “We got here first, though.” The rite of dibs is time-honored and sacred; no thew is mighty enough to tear it asunder.

Eddy stands up at the comment, admitting, “Well, I wasn't expecting to have Russians on my side.” Unlikely allies, those, but clearly sufficient to save the day.

“Maybe they didn't get the bug-talker yet!” Aida realizes, the night still awash with possibility. “We can still get her.”

Africa's laziest translator surmises, “Oh, you mean the girl that works here?” Yeah, her. “You're a bit late for that I'm afraid.” Jerking a thumb at a mangled corpse behind herself, the uniform it wears is still recognizable, even in its tattered state. That's a water worker, alright. Welp. Damn. Awwwwww.

“Well, the bugs were here,” Vulovic lets the group know as they all express their disappointment. “So why are you late? We were a bit worried. We were waiting this whole time.”

“We found more of your defectors and had to take care of them.” Punctuating Adrian's statement is the slap of fist meeting soundly with palm, a meaning easy to take. “So that trip wasn't completely wasted.”

Certainly not in the mind of the beaming Vulovic. “Well, that's nice of you, friend,” she thanks the muscle of the group.

Seeing as we're already quite chummy, Eddy again figures, “So you and Rita are in with the Russians?”

Laying out the ground floor of it, the bomb's proclamation is, “We blow up the bad Russians and make friends with the good ones!” Like many of the A-Team's policies, it's simple and hard to argue with.

Seems to have been the idea, yeah. For what purpose? Only a smarter man than I knows.
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All Eddy can do in the face of this is shrug, not of a mind to complain about who got up to the rescuing. “Well, whatever. I was in a bit of a pickle there. It's fine as long as no one with slanty eyes finds out. Get it?” Of course. And that settles the matter. “Anyway...” Eddy grabs the lamp that, by its holy shine, led the party to this meeting. “Come take a look at this.” Where she leads with these words is the darkness of the silos ahead.

“We'll be staying put,” Vulovic comments as the group sets off, not bothering to rise.

“I'll shout if there's anything to kill,” Buinov assures the muscle, so she can go in full confidence she won't miss a scrap.

Following Eddy leads to a trip that stops at a silo, seemingly chosen at random. To it the girl gestures, indicating a ladder on its side. “Take a look inside, if you will.” With her own explosive lamp, Adrian does so. There's no lid on the silo, though whether that's strange or not, no one in the party is aware. Much more interesting is what's revealed when Aida's light pierces the water: soil. A massive bug colony buried inside the water, countless minute larvae swimming inside; obviously this particular colony doesn't produce light, else it wouldn't be so damnably dark in here. “Can you see it?” Eddy calls up from below.

“I see bugs!” Aida answers, voice excited and eyes glinting. “Can we blow 'em up?”

“Uh...” Eddy gives that one a second and decides, “I'm not entirely sure that's prudent. There's a lot of silos in here. How many bombs do you even have?”
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“What do you mean how many bombs?” the bomb asks, finding the idea that Allah's divine wrath can have a numerical value placed upon it nonsensical. “I am the bomb. It grows back.” … Excuse me? “I'm the bomb. It grows back. Allah has made it so.” Reiterating more slowly, Aida does not see what part of this Eddy finds so difficult, as the girl in question slaps her own forehead. Whose idea was it to turn the Muslims undead? Who gave them this power? Surely these thoughts run through Eddy's head.

“Endless explosions! With only a little recharge time. It is quite nice.” Below, the bird advocates for the efficacy of such divine retribution given a compact, unliving form.

For some reason, Eddy mutters, “For real...” rather than gape in awe of such deific destructive potential. Aida could blow up any and all silos that pose a problem. “As convenient as that would be, I'd rather just tell the committee and get this place burned. We have better things to do.” Oh, it'd only take all night, Eddy. What else could possibly need handling tonight?

“If we blew this all up, they'd just run us out of town for being destructive,” Adrian reasons, heaping more – and horribly false – points against this plan. The Colonel seemed like a perfectly nice, if somewhat dim-witted, gal. If she was told bugs were here, she'd be happy her flamers were spared the time and effort. There's surely plenty of other buildings they could be torching.

Indeed, Eddy agrees that Colonel wouldn't do that. She has entirely different reasons to not bother. “Or they'd take credit.” And how much time that would waste, then.

“They'd do both,” Adrian concludes, figuring the worst, entirely unfairly. If she's going to disparage the bimbo and her regime, she could at least do so over legitimate concerns.

“Ohhh, fine,” the bomb sighs sullenly, ceding the matter after all of this. “We won't blow up the bugs.” As the bomb sulks just slightly, Eddy redirects.
“More importantly, how are you related to the big guy who was on the news? Y'know, the murderer?” Odd question to have after investigating a water plant.

With a blithe reply of, “We aren't in the least, actually!” Altina casts aside the notion. Exchanging three lines of dialogue hardly makes that a lie. “This may be a surprise to you,” she does concede, since if you gave Adrian their weapon and clothes people couldn't tell them apart.

More surprising than the bird's denial is Eddy's slightly disbelieving, “That's not what it looked like, from what they said.” Huh? That's... well, that's news. Adrian climbs back down the ladder to have this talk face to face, Eddy slightly on guard now. But the flurry that comes is of words, not blows. “Well, I came here following the bug girl. And they ambushed me. I ran inside and was basically wandering around for a long time. There were a lot of bugs inside. Had to fight my way out. Then the bug girl caught up. Her head blew up and a huge red bug came out.”

Asking questions that would soon be answered anyway, Adrian cuts in with, “So what happened to it?”

“I fought it, obviously.” Shocking things unveiled by that probing. “But it didn't go smoothly. Until your friend showed up, of course. Smashed the girl into bits.” Well if Russians are fine when they provide an assist, why not this murderer? What's a little assassination attempt between friends?

“Damn, I was hoping to get the chance...” Having taken cues from the bird, the muscle continues to make asides as Eddy continues along.
“Then they said something about... 'Our foreigner friends are on their way. Look for the commander.' or whatever.” A case that grows only more curious as further facts are unveiled. “... And they left.” Well, the rescuing was done, so- “... And there were still a lot of bugs, mind you. So I didn't have a lot of time to process that.” Oh. No, that's a rather sloppy rescuing job, then. “Then your Russian buddies showed up and helped me mop up the bugs. I don't know who that is, but they spooked me real good.”

Finding pertinence again, Adrian's curious, “Any idea where they left?”

And indeed, Eddy saw that, “They jumped on the goddamn platform. Several meters. See what I mean by spooked?” By a little jumping prowess? Awful easy to spook, these Africans.

Disregarding that, Adrian sees her chance. “I guess I know what I'm going after. So which platform?” One problem, muscle.

“The one you came through.” As it turns out, the infinite void of silos is not hiding a number of platforms on which the murderer could have taken roost, like some bulky Altina imitation. Adrian is visibly and extremely put out by this, despite her silence. “What did you expect?” the translator asks with a shrug.

Gritting her teeth, what she desired and was denied is, “Something to smash.” But there's none of that here.

“Maybe they went right after?” Aida suggests with a shrug, as the only alternative that might lead to a showdown. She doesn't know how murderers think; bringing down Allah's wrath upon the infidels isn't murder, after all.

Eddy clearly doesn't find that likely, as she opts to offer alternatives. “I'm sure there's plenty to smash outside if the sweep is anything to go by. I mean, if those bug people are as organized as they seem to be, surely they'll come out during the sweep and fight back.” Doubtless, that. And what then follows naturally, Eddy? “... The Colonel is probably in deep shit.” Full marks.
Sometimes power plant efficiency is determined by how much fuel you consume for a given power output.

Other times it's the volumetric footprint and or the weight of the power plant for a given power output.

It also reminds Aida of another important fact from that meeting she attended. “Oh! There was a committee person that could be a bug-talker too! Maybe they're with her! Then we could go blow up a bug talker!” And who could pass up such an opportunity? Adrian?

“Guess we're going to go save a colonel.” Eager as always, eh? Altina?

“Oh, we're just going around rescuing -everyone- these days, aren't we? I feel so heroic!” A sentiment best saved for, well, saving someone. All credit presently with the Russians and the murderer for Eddy being fine.

“Well... The murderer did say to look out for the commander or whatever. Surely they didn't mean the Colonel.” There's enough evidence to figure they might have.

And, “Well, that sounds like a good reason to go to the commander, if nothing else we can go 'hey, there's bugs in the water.'” These are important things to let her know. There shall then be no further refutations on the matter.

Instead, such talk strikes a chord with Eddy. “Speaking of water. Since you split up, I assume you went to the plant. Did you take a look at the water there?” Boy did the A-Team.

Aida illustrates what they found upon the canvas of Eddy's mind. “It was all dusty like no one was ever there. And we didn't see any bugs. Except the ones in the bad Russians.” Her illustration is of nothing, as that's essentially what was found.

“Hm. I'll tell them to send someone to look it over, to be sure.” A second's thought has her appending, “You guys seem to always run into Russians,” almost impressed how thoroughly the girls have entwined themselves with these deserters.

Adrian's best guess on that is, “I think they're butthurt we keep killing them.” Butthurt? That's not a term Eddy recognizes. “Mad, hold a grudge,” the muscle informs her.

“Ah. That's a new term. Butthurt.” She lets that one percolate through the gray matter a moment or three before thinking to inquire, “... And your buddies don't mind?"
The bomb has her covered. “They're happy we're blowing up the bad Russians! 'Cause they were gonna blow 'em up anyway for being bad Russians.” Maybe she doesn't have Eddy covered, as she starts scratching her head.

“It so happens they keep trying to kill us,” the bird lets her know. “So we do ourselves a favor as well when we get rid of them.” Getting closer, that at least makes sense to her.

“They got the bugs in them which means it's cool to kill'em,” Adrian finishes off, providing Eddy with a eureka moment.

“Oh shit. I almost forgot. Could you do me a solid?” Why has that statement provoked a recollection? Why is she turning around to show her neck off? Why is there a hole- oh. … Shit. With that curse, Adrian begins on-site surgery, the process of which isn't comfortable, but Eddy stays put. With as little damage as is reasonable, the muscle manages to pluck out a red-striped bug trying to dig its way into Eddy's head. She really should have lead with that one, though. “Might wanna keep this one alive,” the patient states as she rubs the surgical wound. Why? “Well, since the murderer took the documents from the office, you can probably bring this over to Rita's and we can all figure out something or other about them.” Ah, yes, valuable intel because there's no documents. Right. Of course. Good work saving a bug in your head, Eddy.

Rather than make such bogus comments, Adrian instead chooses to check, “You sure you only got one in there?” At the same time, a few twists of her fingers snap the mandibles off the bug, so it can't bite on the ride to Rita's.

“... I hope.” Not the best of outlooks by Eddy. “Guess I'll have Rita check it to be sure.” Probably for the best; who knows how much she might have forgotten if they're presently taking over her mind?
“Well, we have another patient anyway, so let's go.” Pocketing the bug and finding no resistance to the idea, Adrian is first up the ladder out. The cryptic murderer fails to jump out of the shadows, so the trip back to the truck is quick, dark, and dull.

Upon arrival, Lola greets Eddy with a fist bump. “Lao Yue couldn't have given you the order,” the translator instantly assumes, “so I guess I have you to thank for this?” An understandable idea.

Dashed instantly by the trucker's, “She let me take the truck.” Huh. Strange to hear, isn't it, Eddy? “Can we head back, finally?” Signals are mixed there.

For while Aida opens with, “Yup! Time to go back!” what follows right after is, “And find that Colonel person.”

The curveball beans Lola right in the head. “... Wait, the Colonel? Where are we going?” Rita's first, of course. “Well, okay. Hop on.” The usual filing commences. Aida's in back with the water workers; Eddy jumps up front with Adrian; Altina chooses, again, to leap atop the roof, where she may feel the wind upon her as they drive.

“... Did she just?” Eddy turns to Lola to ask, as baffled by this habit as the trucker is.

Hanging her head, which slowly shakes, Lola's reply is, “Don't mind her. Seriously, don't.” She's trying not to, after all. It gets harder when others bring it up. Adrian does mind it, though, perturbation growing as she is once more denied a lap bird. “Yeah, yeah, that's very cute and all, you and your girlfriend,” the trucker remarks, getting the engine started.

With the first rumble, Altina's head pops, upside-down, through the passenger-side window. “I appreciate the sentiment!” she lets Adrian know, vanishing as swiftly as she appeared.
Thus can begin another generally listless drive back, with little in the way of interesting sights to see as the truck rolls on. Sure, there's more light than before, but that's presumably just those lamps the committee was supposed to distribute. The Russian jeep pulls up to the truck's side, Buinov looking to start a casual conversation. “Is it normal that only the left side is burning?!” Or maybe she's noticed that there's a giant cloud of smoke, thick enough to contrast even against the night sky, rising from the excessive plumes of flame covering half of this African town. No zoning out yet.

Adrian's attention is at least caught, as she turns to look at the collection of pyres to be found exclusively on one side of the town. “Huh... What's on that side?” she asks casually, not exactly as roused as the Russian.

“Uh, nothing in particular, I think,” the trucker answers as she glances out the window. “But...” She doesn't finish that thought; Eddy beats her to it.

“If only that side of town is burning, where the hell is the second company?” Not doing their job, evidently. “We split our forces into two to sweep the town,” Eddy explains, the better for all present to understand why the fire is normal, just slightly sparse. “Did the other company not reach downtown yet? Well, whatever. Keep going.” Lacking solid evidence for why all's quiet on one front, she decides to worry about this later.

Added to the sight of distant fire is the sound of distant gunfire – it comes from the same side, of course, absent elsewhere. “So is that our problem or not?” Altina muses, raising her voice over the truck's rumbling, on the off chance that's an issue. The answer back: nah.

“So we can get back to drinking,” the muscle figures, since Eddy doesn't seem that worked up. The vodka's all out of her system, after all. She needs half a bottle of absinthe as a top off, her thoughts are too straight right now.
“Well...” The translator maybe wouldn't go that far, reconsidering her position. “Maybe you'd want to see the Colonel before that, right?” Oh, right. That was on the list. Might lead to a fight. That can go over drinking on the list.

Breaking into the desert and the slums, the fire and gunfights veer a little closer. On their designated side, of course. Wouldn't want the other part of town getting rowdy. “Uh, are they supposed to be here already?” Lola wonders as the shots close in.

Three strikes, it's out of the question this isn't something going wrong. “Okay, this looks bad,” Eddy finally decides, coincidentally about the time the farm begins to come into view. No fire there, but wouldn't you know it, the other sort of fire is; the kind given to launching seven-point-six-two and other such calibers. Kuku didn't have any guns, however.

“Well, looks like we found tonight's entertainment.” Wherever a problem may be solved with violence, the muscle wants in.

Eddy doesn't see the point. “What, you wanna go there?” Even if she thinks there's a problem brewing, she doesn't believe Kuku is in danger just because of a bit of shooting.

All the same, Adrian cracks her knuckles, undaunted. “There's still some fight left in whoever's in there so let's not waste time.”

“It's a waste of time, I'm telling you,” Eddy insists, even as Lola slows the truck, to turn into the farm.

Aida will back the muscle up, though. “We can help Kuku and get chickens for a snack!” Exuberant is she at the thought, only moreso as she considers, “And maybe have a date too!” Wait, what? The fact the bomb thinks this is at all the time for dates completely stuns Eddy into silence past that, while Adrian laughs.
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“I think we might have reason to bring her along,” the muscle states as the dirt road billows behind. “Probably gonna use all the shit going on to get more bugs into people.” Well, those people probably won't be Kuku. Arrival sees her under fire from a number of guerrillas; simultaneously, everyone sees her blades shoot out of her head and into her hands, carving through the entire squad in a whirlwind of butchery that coats her in rather more blood and gore than usual. Wearing a big, dumb grin like an idiot, she waves at the truck, slinging droplets off her cleaver. No fight for Adrian.

“Hold on a goddamn minute.” Peering closer at the carnage as the truck pulls to a stop, Eddy realizes, “... Are these our guerrillas?” Black skin, shitty rifles, shoddy construction – is there evidence to the contrary?

“Maybe it was worth coming over.” Adrian has to try and find something, as she's very soundly denied another fight.

“They probably had bugs in them too!” This is the bomb's assumption as she hops out to wave at Kuku with a chipper, “Hi, Kuku!”

As various hellos are exchanged between butcher and A-Team, Adrian also gets out to inquire, “So why were they trying to shoot you?”

“Uhhh...” Sitting and trying to conjure a reason, Kuku is eventually prodded by Eddy, who'd appreciate she answer it, already. She finally arrives at a horribly unhelpful, “I dunno.”

As a bit of a suggestion, the muscle prods, “They didn't have bugs in'em or something?” Kuku is still focused on thought.

“Aren't they shupposhed to help ush? They jusht came and shot me... Maybe I wash being threatening again?” It falls then to Eddy to check some of the more intact heads. Holes, sure enough, perfectly snug to house a bug. “I don't get it.” The butcher blinks, incomprehension plain on her face. “Are theshe the bug people you were looking for?” A chorus of affirmations swiftly follows.
“Yes,” the muscle leads off, having a thought as she does so. “Maybe they figured out you could see them.” It's as fine a working theory as any.

“Yup! Those are bugs,” Aida adds, having little better to do than state something now known.

“Dead ones, too!” Altina follows up with a lovely little clap and a smile from her truck perch. “Nicely done,” the bird congratulates the butcher.

Out of all this, the girl latches onto Adrian's statement foremost, ruminating on it to find the understanding she lacked prior. “Ohhh. I get it. They're jealoush becaushe the necromanscher lovesh me. I get it. I get it.” Or they were just controlled by bugs. But no one chooses to disillusion her. That would be too mean.

With a heavy exhalation in place of a denial, Eddy claims, “I'm afraid we better get going.”

With this is the skyward staring butcher puzzled once again. “Didn't you come over to get schickensh?” she asks, not quite dripping with enough viscera.

“... No,” the translator answers bluntly, having a significant problem before her. “The whole town is like this.” Kuku's gaze turns downward with this, to the ground and the gore soaking into it.

“Maybe you should come with us,” Adrian suggests to the downcast butcher, “so you can find more people with bugs in'em.” A prudent thought, but one shaken off like Kuku's funk.

“I can't leave them here.” A bloodied knife jabs in the direction of the chickenmancer's beloved flock. “I have to protect them.” Conviction fills her voice, unable to be overturned.

“Right...” Adrian fails to see why poultry merits so fierce an emotion, but she won't fight further. Merely insinuate. “I can already see it now, we get there, everything's fine and then at the worst moment we find half the people are bugged.” Implications aside, she shrugs. At least that'd be a fun fight.
Eddy takes that time to board the truck, waving everyone in. “Come on. Rita and Lao Yue are probably in danger too.” Saying this, she realizes what isn't here: a jeep. “Speaking of which, where are the Russians?”

The trucker handles that one. “I think they didn't follow us here, they might have gone ahead without us.” Kuku takes that remarkably less casually, ready to give a repeat performance of her butchery skills.

The bomb forestalls any such considerations happily, letting Kuku know, “The Russians are nice! We don't have to blow them up. Just the bugs.” Denied the opportunity to get chickens this time, she insists, “We'll come get some chickens when we blow up all the bugs!”

With Kuku's, “Uhhh. Ho-kay,” of assent, the date is thus scheduled. “I'll be waiting for you, Aida.” Adrian gives the girl an odd look at this, Kuku tilts her head in response, and a merry Aida smiles and nods at the butcher, skipping back to her corner of the truck.

“Ooh, sounds like a date!” the bird calls from atop her roost, chin resting in palms, bobbing from side to side with an extra dose of cheer, even for her. “We'll be sure to get her right back to you!” Speaking of getting right back to someone, Altina gets right back to Adrian. Or it might be better said that Adrian gets her bird back, reaching atop the truck and pulling her down, planting Altina in her lap as she takes a seat. Settling in unperturbed, the avian prize raises no quarrel as the truck roars to life and Kuku waves it off.

The creaking of the wrungs embedded into the walls of this pipe make me worry about the build quality of this underground infrastructure.
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While (half of) the African town burns, the truck makes good time towards everyone's favorite bar. In a display of cockblocking possible only by a complete absence of such, what's found there is the remains of another massacre. The A-Team is just missing all the fights since leaving the water treatment plant. Buinov and Vulovic look disappointed with this, standing beside their jeep. Not far off, a fuming Lao Yue is screaming Chinese at the Russians, held back by Rita from doing more. As she might well, considering the LMG that the Chinese girl is carrying looks ludicrous attached to her; the shotgun slung over Rita's back looks much more sensible as a weapon. “Oh, hey,” Adrian remarks with immense disappointment as she disembarks. “People had fun while we were gone... again.”

“Everyone has such big guns!” Altina chooses instead to focus on this, as she has Adrian carry her out. “Sometimes I wish I had big guns like that.” She fails to consider what this would do to shoulder rides; having the butt of an HMG swing into the back of Adrian's head(s) with every step would get old fast.

Also unconsidered are the muscle's feelings on the matter. They're rather obvious. “I've got all the big guns we need.” Flexing for emphasis, her bragging is not really wrong. And as she brags, Eddy goes to Lao Yue's side, presumably to calm her.

Which frees Rita up to notice, “Oh, hey. People. People who aren't bugs.” A step up from her previous visitors, if the meaty Swiss cheese on her property is anything to go by.

With the arm not holding Altina, Adrian fishes out the live bug and hands it to the bartender. “Eddy said you should see this.” It trades hands with this, Rita looking it over for anything interesting.

“Oh, hey, it's a live one,” she comments without much interest. “Well, why did you bring it over?” She has failed to find anything interesting about the bug.

“Because Eddy said you should see it?” Adrian repeats, trying her best to keep up the ruse.
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“I don't really get why,” Rita frankly admits without a whit of care for the ruse. “We really understand most of what there is to understand from all the paperwork.” Admittedly, that inability to care likely has something to do with the furious Chinese argument it seems Eddy and Lao Yue are locked into. They're quite preoccupied.

All the same the muscle whispers, “Mind the mouth.” Best not to risk things, she feels.

Rita might as well ignore her in responding, “Don't worry about me.” Taking another look at the bug, she admits, “It would be a bit cute if I hadn't read all about what they do to people.” Her eyes flick to a large pool of blood by her feet. “... And seen it personally,” she adds then.

Still immensely bothered by this, the muscle gives a hiss of a whispered, “Should you really be talkin' about the reading?”

The argument which occupied Chinese attention is over; now Eddy's mediating – as well as translating – a discussion between Russians and Chinese. Still rather busy. Thus, fixing Adrian with her best confounded look, Rita answers, “... What do you mean? It's just Eddy.” The muscle's concerns do presuppose she would deliberately translate any of this for Lao Yue. “She doesn't care.” No problems, then. “... I hope.” Probably no problems, then.

Muuka and Mwamba choose now to actually get out of the truck, proving it's not just Eddy. “Long time no see,” Mwamba greets the bartender, having found a semblance of chill by now.

“Oh, you two.” Rita's eyes light up in recognition as she sees them, though she sounds a little surprised. Which is not a surprise, considering, “It's been what, two years?”

“Precisely two,” Muuka confirms. Really now? Precisely two? Seven-hundred-thirty days exactly? Is her brain entirely devoted to the precise tracking of time, or did even she get so bored even tracking time beca,e an amusing distraction? One wonders what her journal entries may look like. Best not dwelt on, perhaps.
“Why didn't you come here on your break?” Rita asks the duo, having missed the opportunity to offer them alcohol and liquid meat.

“We don't-” Muuka starts.

“Because Muuka's an idiot!” Mwamba finishes, cutting the other girl off immediately. It was only a semblance of chill.

Now, while Mwamba is entirely correct, she's not actually explaining things. “Muuka thought they didn't get breaks,” the muscle fills in.

“Ah-ha.” Rita understands. She also gives a smile that's undeniably uncomfortable for a moment. “... Well, at least you're strong. But you came here for some legs, I bet. Did the clinic get burned down or something?” Rather blasé about the possibility; but then, she has an uptick in customers if there's less locales at which to get stitched up.

Mwamba considers her answer a second, deciding on a cheeky, “... No, just wanted to see you.”

Its match is found in Rita's, “So no need for legs.” Each stares at the other a few seconds. The amputee cracks first, rather wanting those legs. Never one to turn down a patient that will just admit they are one, the bartender double checks, “You're the only one hurt?” Not exactly.

“The bug came from Eddy,” who has finished negotiations and meandered over, just as the muscle is informing Rita of this. Lao Yue does not look satisfied with whatever conclusion was reached, but our Russian friends don't look shot full of holes, so it seems things went as well as could be hoped.

“Right, I wanted a check up,” the translator confirms, to get the process rolling.

“Well, go right ahead.” Rita motions inside, as the process isn't exactly difficult. It has one step: requesting the surgery. So the bartender, her patients, and Lao Yue all vanish inside the bar.

That leaves the A-Team with Lola and the Russians, of which Vulovic comes up to them. “Are you going to get the Colonel now?” Yep.

Post-apocalyptic African infrastructure, man. What can ya' do? They work with what they have.
“This seems a sound idea!” the bird helps to confirm. Buinov gives a thumbs up, duplicated by Altina.

Adrian, too, proffers a thumb as she climbs into the truck. “Maybe I'll finally get some action.”

Aida also raises a finger; it's her pointer, however. “... Where's she gonna be, anyway?” Asking the real questions here.

To which Lola has the real answers. “... Well, if you're off to get the Colonel. I'm guessing we're going to meet up with the sweeping guerrillas.” She considers what this means, but regardless of disliking it, there's not an alternative. “... So... Straight into a warzone.” And the dolls thought they could escape war.

“They won't shoot the truck on sight, right?” Adrian confirms, just to be sure.

“The truck, no.” Handy to have an official African ride. “The jeep, I'm not so sure.” Its nationality is certainly troublesome. “... If they're bugged, they will probably shoot both.” Naught then to do but shrug, in truth.

One of these can be accounted for, at least, and Adrian's plan to do so is a simple, “That's why our Russian friends won't be coming with us.” Reasonable. Unnecessary?

“Well... If they stick close, maybe they'll be fine?” The trucker doesn't exactly sound sure enough of that to invalidate being safe about it.

Especially as it fails to account for something else. “Or the Colonel's Chinese friends won't care.” Frankly they might not. They didn't exude excellence before.

Still, it's a potent reminder to Lola, who'd not so much as considered it. “... Oh yeah, there's those brats.”

“And they're gonna be there,” the muscle is entirely sure, “because bodyguards.” Spies. “Potentially competent bodyguards and shitty spies.” Right.

Having pulled up to the truck and been listening to this conversation, Vulovic lets out an indecisive, “Well...” as she hems and haws over something, turning over an object in her hands.
“You might as well give it after all that,” Buinov tells her partner, much less concerned over whatever this gift is.

And these magic words get an, “Eh, fuck it,” and find Vulovic tossing something up to Adrian. A square black device with an antenna jutting out its top: a walkie-talkie. “Since we're really good friends now, guess you can use this.” By this act of grace, splitting up is a much simpler prospect.

“You are?” Lola marvels, having known the party barely more than half a week. That's a fast friendship there.

The bomb can explain this one, and quite easily. “We did blow up lots of bad Russians for them! That makes us friends, right?” Can one really say, with sincerity, that someone who would kill for them is not a stalwart ally and great friend?

Adrian ascribes this to other reasons. “Who wouldn't want to be my friend?” The reason is narcissism, a cocky grin on her face.

“Right.” Given that comes from Buinov, and given her bone dry tone, she can conjure reasons one may not wish to be Adrian's friend. Something about how recently she put in most of those new internal organs. But a tally of some two dozen or so Russians is worth one crushing hug.

“Guess we'll hit up the quiet side of town,” the other Russian suggests, wished fun on this venture. “Anything happens, give us a call. We'll do the same.” Like this, the Russians roll out.

The bird's voice follows them as they go. “Well, if you declare friendship, then clearly this means we must all survive to drink more terrible alcohol later. So feel free to call us if something goes wrong, yes!”

“This town really has gone to shit,” Lola sighs as she starts the truck up again. “Now we're working with Russians.”

“They're nice, though,” Aida calls from behind, not seeing the problem.

The problem is, “Maybe that's what they want you to think.” Lola may speak truth; what if they're also spies, but don't say as such?
“Then they're very smart.” While true, Adrian's response is in regards to Lola's statement, not this narration's question. Though it's likewise true there. Getting into a fight with the A-Team has generally proven to be a poor idea thus far. With such ruminations the drive gets into full gear. The fires haven't died out at all, of course, and there's a very obvious focal point in a particularly large fire, which Lola presumes is landmark enough. The warzone this leads her to is steeped in chaos, guerrilla having turned on guerrilla, who's bugged and not unclear as the truck careens past small skirmishes. “This is the part where Kuku woulda been handy,” the muscle laments, unable to jump out and rip one side to pieces. Flamers, riflemen, girls that don't seem to be guerrillas – all sorts are duking it out everywhere, so focused on each other they ignore the truck. Explosions and shots and splatters ring out; it's a warzone, alright.

Closing on the larger fire, it proves to be a three story building of some sort, once upon a time; by now it's a three story conflagration, painted anew in roaring reds and oranges. An entrenched position has been established near it, slightly quieter as the din of conflict gains distance. Guerrillas positioned behind a row of sandbags signal the truck, rather than light it up immediately. Good sign that they're not bugged. Slowing, Lola leans her head out the window to shout at the soldiers, “I gotta see the Colonel! I'm with Lao Yue!” There isn't really a consideration of these words. Not a process of thought to connect credential to person. It's more like the names themselves override the idea the group might be hostile, earning them entry and direction to a small tent, which Lola pulls up in front of. “Well?” she asks her intrepid passengers.

“Now we see if the bug-talker's here!” Clambering out the back, Aida lays down a simple plan of action, ready to blow up something more substantial than a bug or a bugged Russian.
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“I'll be here if you need me,” the trucker she assures the group. “Remember that both Rita and Lao Yue are vouching for you. And Eddy. She can't ignore you.” Ah, to know people of renown and repute, thereby greasing discussions. Wonderful.

“I don't know what we're going to do, and that excites me!” the bird declares with honesty as she's carried along by Adrian; perhaps she could stand to be a mite less honest.

Especially as a voice from inside the tent yells, “We can hear you from here, you know? Just come in already.” It's a cheeky voice, and entering proves it to be Niu Jiao's. She's seated next to a table, Niu Xiu doing her nails; off to the side the Colonel sits on a bed, looking very much desperate for leave to use it. “See? Not that hard,” the shitty spy comments.

The weary Colonel looks up, tried slightly past formal greetings. “Well, my good foreign friends. What brings you here? Hopefully not my fifth assassination attempt.” It looks an opportune time to try, doesn't it?

Rather than answer her, Adrian provides Jiao with a retort. “You know what's also not hard? Seeing there's bugs in your reservoir.”

“... Come again?” The bimbo doesn't quite perk up, but she's certainly listening. This is more for the plate, after all.

“There's bugs!” the bomb declares, masterfully unhelpfully. “Lots!” One presumes, numbers are the main virtue of insects. “In like, all the things!” That'll just have to do.

Altina takes the time to address the other concern, as if our lack of hostilities hasn't. “We don't want to assassinate you! If we did there would have been a lot more murder on our way in because we are not very quiet when it comes to something like that.” Having so explained we do not come bearing death, the bird's head cocks. “Also, yes, bugs. In the water. Plenty of them!” Might as well back Aida up.
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“I wanted to blow them up but Eddy said to let you deal with it.” And Eddy was right, Aida, because things have clearly gone straight to hell and all night was too long to spend detonating lattices in colonies of unborn bugs.

“Well.” The Colonel takes this news with an intake of breath roughly as sharp as a monofilament wire. “I guess we -really- are in dire straits. You see, during our humble sweep of our humble town, my humble self was ambushed by a cloud of insects. The scorches were pretty effective, but of course, some got in. Then they started burrowing in stomachs, then in heads. Then folks started exploding and shooting one another. It's complete chaos, I tell you!” Clenching a palm against her forehead, she gripes then, “Where the hell is my second-in-command when I need her?”

Niu Jiao can explain the girl's absence. “The second company is probably all dead,” she declares without much care, eyeing how her hand looks after Xiu's work.

Veiling but thinly her disappointment, Adrian's chosen remark is, “So things are going exactly as planned for you?”

“I don't think so,” the Colonel first counters her Chinese associate of dubious use and purpose, before turning back to the muscle. “Don't get me wrong, the purge would be messy but... We were not supposed to be fighting each other. Allow me to elaborate. We are the first company, doing the sweep along the southern edge of the city. Needless to say, there's a second company doing the same alongside the northern edge.” The Colonel seems to have gotten her own process wrong.

After all, “It's pretty quiet over there,” as Adrian makes sure to let her know. Not a single fire to be found.

“... Is that so?” Yep. If she was listening before, then she's all ears now. Drumming fingers ponder this news, over yet more flippant interjections.
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“Hah, they probably didn't make it past the substation. That big guy probably pulped them.” Blowing dry the polish of a finger's hands, the spy doesn't actually seem to regard this as a problem.

In fact, Adrian observes, “You sound happy about that.” It is true there was something of a laugh at the notion.

“It doesn't make a difference for the Emperor,” the careless little chink shoots back, not fazed in the least. “As long as the rails are secure.” Really. So all this Emperor wants is secure rails?

“Wouldn't the stuff going on here make that harder?” Why it just might there, muscle. It just well might. Absent a decent retort, Xiao gives a petulant dismissal, absolving herself of responsibility for that. She’s just there to decapitate the Colonel if need be, that’s it.

Said Colonel, having finished drumming, chooses now to speak up and confirm, “When you say things are quiet... Do you mean downtown?”

“You're really bad at this,” Adrian reminds the bodyguard executioner, resolving now that engaging her is a waste of perfectly good time. “Yeah, the downtown.”

Looking for explanations to this, the bimbo decides to start at, “... My guess is that they are busy on the outskirts.”

“Or completely annihilated,” Jiao calls over again, smiling at the lovely shade of jade green her nails now possess.

Having not thought to ignore her, Colonel opens with, “Let's not dwell on worst-case scenarios.” Oh, there are worse case scenarios, you silly bimbo. “But I've lost contact with my lieutenant. And the radio should be working fine.” Prodded by this statement, Aida's mind begins to work. That lieutenant is possibly important, but why?

“Huh, we figured you'd be the one in trouble,” Adrian remarks, without a great deal of thought for the fact that there's maybe half a mile at most to the front where the fighting's taking place.
Were one to consider that, they might realize that, “... Well, this is trouble. Just not as much.” And as the Colonel reminds the muscle of that, it finally clicks for the bomb.

“Ohhhhhhh. What if that lieutenant person is the one that could be a bug-talker?” she asks, then finding the actual worst case scenario.

Colonel stares blankly at Aida, dumbfounded by this abrupt and damning declaration. Awash in befuddlement she prods, “... Excuse me, young miss?”

“Bug-talkers!” the bomb repeats with emphasis, to be sure she gets it. “One of the committee people was one, maybe. I dunno which one.”

Now that wakes the bimbo up, leaning rapidly forward on her bed seat, much like she speaks. “Hold on a moment, you knew this? How? And why didn't you tell me sooner?!” There are perfectly reasonable explanations, received post-haste.

“Miiiiiiight be,” the bomb stresses, having experienced problems in this regard with Eddy's disappearance, outlined so. “We were gonna figure it out but then everything went crazy and now this.” This, now, is Colonel sighing heavily, learning of this very late into the game.

“You can't blame the little girl for your failures to check for traitors,” the self-proclaimed spy berates her, entirely without irony.

There's a problem with that. Anyone? Anyone got something? “You know, that's part of a spy's job.” Thank you, muscle; bad job ignoring her, though.

“Oh, please, what would a dumb girl like you know about espionage?” the master spy effortlessly deflects, having seniority in these matters.

She knows she only has to circle back to the last conversation, with one extra point for good measure. “The fact that you don't tell random people you meet that you're a spy and the fact that spies are for finding enemies both within and without.”

Now, that is a fine one-two punch of logic by Adrian. But has she considered the following? “You don't know anything.” There is no possible retort which may overturn an argument of that caliber.
Oh, I like that bottle design. Makes me want to buy some, empty them out, put a nozzle on the mouth and use them as bitter bottles or something.
“Oh and that dismissing people based on appearance is a bad characteristic in a spy.” Wait, yes there is, and one supremely efficacious. While these two have a spat, Colonel gets up and starts examining a map on the table.

“We're supposed to cut her head off if she betrays us. That's it. That's all spies do.” Jiao's stated punishment really falls flat. Why even bother?

The problem is again illustrated by the bomb. “But heads grow back anyway. Why is everyone so worried about losing their heads? I don't get it.” It may never make sense, Aida.

“So you're not even very good executioners,” Adrian thus surmises, taking this into account. Are these Chinese brats good at any of their theoretical jobs?

Fed up with these constant cracks at her competence, Jiao gives up with a petty, “Oh, shut up.”

“Yes. Spies, certainly not thugs,” the Colonel remarks of her... whatever these children are. They don't seem much qualified for anything. “Oh, Jiao,” the bimbo sighs wistfully, imagining a better reality, “why can't you be more like your brother?” … Hang on, brother? That's a boy? Are they both boys? They might both be boys, in retrospect.

The boy getting his nails done snips back at Colonel with, “He can't even speak your language.” Precisely. That's the idea. You've gotten there, lad.

“Helps him avoid looking like a fool.” Advocating likewise for Jiao's silence, Adrian is running just a little short of patience right now. “Anyway, I'm bored, so where can I go to punch shit?” Hers is a question shared by many, such as Colonel.
“That's what I'm trying to figure out.” Running a finger over the map, she narrows down locales, figuring where the forces are likely to be, assuming they still exist. “If the north is dead silent, that means it has been taken over or not reached by the sweep. And if the sweep didn't reach downtown... That means it stopped at the projects, near our office, at the water plant in the desert, or near the court, just before downtown. Plenty of options. Well, three, really.” Two, actually.

Adrian crosses the plant off with the further revelation that, “There were Russians at the plant, Russians with bugs in'em.”

Looking over from her map, and baffled to a mind-numbing degree, the blonde is stunned as things just keep rolling in. “... What else did you find that I should know?”

“There's plenty you should know and don't know.” And if Jiao acted remotely like any kind of intelligence agent, perhaps this could be avoided. But nope, he's just a walking guillotine.

Instead of snark, the bomb contributes something else useful, now recalling to add, “A band person could also be a bug-talker!”

“... Goodness, there's even one in the band?” Treachery's roots spread wide indeed, much to her surprise. “But how did you find out?” Through the best means possible, of course.

“Me and Kuku had a date and she told me!” Is there a more reputable source?

“... I'm not sure how Kuku knows that, but... I can't really doubt someone who was so close to our matriarch.” As seen, there is not actually a more reputable source. Also seen, Kuku has some grounds to claim others may be jealous of how much Africa's vanished necromancer was especially fond of her.

In the interest of keeping Colonel in the loop, the muscle adds, “Oh also that murderer guy was at the reservoir for a bit.”

One wonders by the tone this brings if she truly wants all this information the A-Team possesses. “... Great. So the murderer didn't leave town. Like I hoped.”
“I honestly expected them to come here. Wouldn't mind taking a crack at them.” And yet here there has been no great conflict, merely the dissemination of knowledge. Disappointment abounds for and from Adrian.

“Well, they already have the documents they wanted,” Colonel asserts with undue confidence. “All they could take now is my dear life. If I knew that fellow was so dangerous, I'd have them executed immediately.” A pity. What could have prevented this?

Not coincidentally, Jiao response with a smug, “I told ya.” And perhaps, just maybe, had he any habit of competence or useful suggestions, the advice might have been followed. Tired of this routine, Adrian yawns, catching the brat's attention for another suggestion. “If you're so bored, why don't you just get the hell out and go find the bugs?”

“We've been looking for bugs! A lot!” Those coinflips just keep coming up wrong, though. If the A-Team picked one of the possible locations, it's entirely likely it'd be a dud. Wouldn't some intel just be handy?

“Is that how you treat people who offer to help?” Were she not itching to tear something up – and also fond of an African or two – Adrian might well find that a good excuse to let them sort things themselves. It's working out so well, after all.

“That's how he treats everyone,” Colonel assures her, no fonder of the act. “Except Xiu.” Who could have seen such favoritism coming? How poorly mannered. “Indeed. I keep hoping they assign nice girls as my bodyguards, but instead I get him.” What a shame.

With a snort, the boy that was assumed to be a girl asserts, “Everyone knows girls can't fight. Wanna see proof? Look outside.” For no good reason, this comment draws from the muscle a hearty guffaw, directed straight to that Chinese face. “What's so funny? Meathead.” Oh, nothing, nothing at all, Jiao.
Okay, perhaps it is something, the bird finally waking up to claim, “I think you're just the right size to be bent in half.” A beautiful sight it might be, but it'll have to wait.

“... Come in, do you copy?” A voice, wreathed lightly in static, comes from none of the room's occupants – instead, it filters out the walkie-talkie Adrian was given. By the merciful gods above, that might just be a fight.

Excusing herself, the muscle starts out the tent, happy for cause to extricate. Altina's vibrant trill as she's carried away is, “... You know, I honestly thought you two were -exceptionally- cute girls~” With a wink, she disappears out the tent, just catching Jiao sticking his tongue at her.

“Erm, Adrian, buddy,” the device crackles again as everyone gets out, which Russian is speaking not entirely clear. “I think either the locals hate us because we're Russian or because they're bugged. We didn't stop to check their necks.”

An elementary problem to narrow down. “Well, considering the ones on this side are worrying about how they can't reach that side, it's probably the latter.” The Russians can rest easy with that one.

Instead they keep probing. “Did you see the Colonel chick already? Is she bugged?”

“No bugs here!” Aida butts in cheerfully, confident of this fact.

“Huh, I didn't think to check,” Adrian admits, and rather shamefully, given, “I figured the body guards were taking care of it.” 'Taking care of it' in Chinese parlance is just beheading someone, so, since she had a head, that's conclusive enough.

“We're near a bit close to the water plant. There's like a lot of them lined up on the edge of the desert. I don't like the look of this.” Awfully strange behavior, that

With one neat little bow wrapping its likely cause. “You think those are bugged?”
>“Let's go find them! Either they're doing well and all is fine, or things are wrong and we can be heroes. Either is fine.” Bird. “First is preferable.” Okay, that's better.

Hehe. Snarky narrator.
“Like I said, couldn't check. We assume they are. There was a really suspicious chick with a red armband who went into a big building here. We've been on lookout outside the building for a while now.” Awfully kind of them to sit and have a boring stakeout. If Adrian showed up to another massacre she missed, who knows what might happen?

“Just a red arm band? Nothing else strange about her?” It's true that's not a huge hint. But it's what they've got.

“Well, that's one feature that might give away she's the boss, isn't it?” Just plain red, though? They've gotta have something else. “There was probably something on it. Couldn't see from this distance. Her hairstyle is twin tails. That good enough for you?” Much better. That at least starts a description. One that Aida recognizes.

“Yeah, that's the person! Kuku said she was all weird like the other bug-talkers! There's gonna be lots of bugs to blow up!” Now if only this girl survives until the A-Team arrives.

To that end, Adrian assures them, “I'll be heading over, you all just hold tight. See ya.” Before she goes though, she does dip back into the tent, Colonel looking on expectantly.

If she'd like to know, however, she'll have to provide something in turn. “Hey, Colonel. You know anything about a girl with twin tail hair and a red armband? Because she might be bugged and she's currently over on the quiet side.”

Telling, it is, how the cowgirl's head hangs, supported only by her hands against gravity's fell hold. “I was hoping this was not the case. She's my lieutenant I was telling you about. The one leading the second company.”

“Oh, well, I'll just go over and rip the bug out for you then.” Adrian's practically a licensed surgeon, she's plucked so many bugs out.
It's not, however, that simple. “... If she's compromised there's a chance the entire second company also is.” There is the small matter of the very strange battle line of guerrillas. That's leaning more 'yes' than 'no.' “If that's the case... You are hereby authorized by the Committee to use any amount of force you deem necessary. We'll try to hold things down on our end.” Deputized and granted impunity, there's nothing left to be gained here.

Aida takes a long gulp of gothic, to energize herself for the copious retribution about to befall this lot. Then, it's hopping back to the truck. “Time to blow up bugs!”

“We're good to deal out explosive amounts of violence? Lovely~” Bowing from her seat of Adrian's muscled arm, Altina is carried out with a parting wave.

It's all the usual spots – and the muscle isn't giving up her bird – as everyone gets in their ride. Lola's ride, really, but it's their only means of transportation, and even if she'd rather stay out of harm's way, she can't give up this truck. Hence the resigned, “... Where are we going?”

Fishing out the radio again, Adrian holds it between her and Lola. “Hey, can you tell Lola where to go?”

“Uhh... it's a really big building near the edge of the desert. It's a bit before the water plant and the reservoir.” Not the most specific directions in the world, but it's enough to give Lola a guess.

“Does it have pillars on the front and some big stairs?” Well, yeah. “Alright, I know where it is. But where are you guys then?” A rendezvous plan is a good idea; it's also being handled by the Russians.

“On the other side of the road. Under our camo. Look, we'll just signal you when you approach.” Fine, fine. Lola gets her vehicle going, the thrum of its engine now drowning out Aida's happy humming.
Adrian hides no shred of her excitement at the prospects of a coming battle. “It feels like ever since fighting those Russians in the plant, we've just been running around telling people shit instead of doing shit, so let's fix that.” Who would hope for a peaceful resolution, anyway?

Altina agrees as well, leaning back into the fight-happy girl. “We will show them our violence is superior, by virtue of -us- being superior! It will be good.” Nothing could possibly invalidate this claim.

“But what if the people there aren't with the bugs?” Nothing likely could possibly invalidate this claim.

“Then we'll find someone who is.” Good to see Adrian's ready for the possibility.

“Sheesh.” This level of fixation on violence is almost disconcerting to the trucker; she can't imagine not wanting a simpler life. “You guys sure you aren't mercs?” she ponders, given the frankly obscene propensity for violence the A-Team has thus far displayed.

And with no hesitation at all, Adrian's retort is, “I don't recall saying we weren't.” That doesn't preclude having denied it at some point when she was blackout drunk.

There's other things in the way of the profession anyway. “Actually, mercs do things for money. So you're like, what? Hooligans?” Lola fails to comprehend something.

Aida's first point against her is, “We get to go get chickens and drinks later!” which is, to her mind, a wonderful paycheck after a hard night's work, offering murderous supplication to Allah. The bomb's second point is, “It's not like this place uses money anyway.” And how, indeed, does one receive monetary compensation when there is none? The A-Team didn't institute communism here.

“If you want to slap something derogatory on us, go with vigilante,” Adrian figures. Bit late to suggest it though; she and the rest were just given authority by an official presumably vested to do so.

“Is being a vigilante bad now?” Lola wonders, countering it from another angle.
>There are no stairs downwards this time, merely two paths left or right.

The layout of this building confuses me.

Are you saying it's the same external dimentions and lauout as the other building, but when you go inside it's too dark to see, the windows are Painted over with black, and instead of stairs or a catwalk you enter into a hallway that has one door on the left and one on the right?
Adrian's stance on the matter is, “Depends on who's saying it.”

“So if it's like that little Chinese girl, it's bad.” Spot on for the most part, Lola. Except that was a little Chinese boy. No one feels the need to correct her.

Adrian would instead like to take a step backwards. “Besides, we can't be hooligans, we haven't pointlessly vandalized anything yet.” One of these words is not like the other.

“I like how you fit the -yet- in that phrase.” Exactly, that one. Not the most promising of words.

“Hey, I might get bored or drunk enough to do it.” Woe betide this poor African town; even if the bugs are handled, shall the threat of muscled destruction loom over it?

To escape inclusion in such defacement – or just to say something, which seems likelier – the bird in this hooligan's lap states, “Mostly, I come along for all this because everyone else is also coming along for this, and if I didn't, then they'd probably all die, or I'd probably die somewhere, and besides I like everyone.” As Mwamba showed, being alone makes running into a fight a much scarier prospect. Best such sentiments continue.

All the while this conversation has occurred, the truck has sped along. Yet its path lacked any real sights to describe. Slums and deserts of repetitive passing; even the warzone was so focused on itself there wasn't so much a volley of fire through one of the windows. Now, however, the truck's occupants can see the building that was described. Pillars and stairs aside, the design of this courthouse radically simple – not to mention unfinished. Whoever runs construction here just can't get through a project. A ways off the road, Lola spies a red beret being waved like a flag; that looks like the promised signal, towards which the vehicle pulls. The first one out is Aida, who approaches Vulovic to offer a merry, “Hiya! You left the bugs for us, right?"
“... I guess,” she answers, having done so technically. “They're inside, right where we left them.” That's all the party needed to hear.

Alright, Adrian does have one particular. “Hey, you spot any of'em dumb enough to be standing alone?” Awfully high opinion she has of these bugged forces.

“Not really,” Vulovic reports, dashing her hopes of confirming anything. “The brunt of their forces is out in the desert, the missy with her entourage went inside. There were plenty o' them.” Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

“So that means we have a whole bunch of buggy people to slice up and a boss to rip a bug out of. Sounds good!” Having spent long enough being carried by Adrian, the bird now finds she needs to be somewhere else. Thus she springs off the solid surface of an arm, so that she can instead perch on a shoulder. Now the muscle's hands are free to punch, Altina announcing her satisfaction with an, “All righty!”

“Guess we'll just have to jump'em and then find out.” With any luck on the muscle's part, everything will devolve immediately.

Nodding, Vulovic gestures towards the courthouse. “Well, the ones inside are all yours. We're going to use your big truck to make a fortified position outside. Since, there's an army waiting close by and all.” Smart, that; also concerning.

To Lola, at least, who looks between Vulovic and Buinov, the latter already climbing into the back to get a start on making sure it counts as cover. “... Excuse me?” she asks, not appreciating the idea at all.

The external dimensions and layout are the same. Internally, it's very similar as well. To my knowledge, the actual building differences are: painted windows keeping it dark, no ladder down to the first floor on the catwalk, and the doors (which were present at the last one) aren't locked this time around. The machinery/supplies stored likely also differ, but investigations on that front weren't intensive. Point is: they're stupidly similar.
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“Sounds good, let's go.” Adrian does not bail the trucker out of this one, headed off to get her hourly dose of ripping and tearing.

“Have fun with the truck!” Aida cheers behind herself as she trails after, consigning Lola to whatever chaos her vehicle was just conscripted into. Unimpeded, the group walks towards and up the deserted court steps, their way forward barred only by a massive set of double doors. Adrian takes just a second to listen for sounds of movement on the other side – nothing. That just leaves looking. By her shove the doors slide open, revealing the courtroom interior. A long walk separates the entrance and the stand, with plenty of empty seats along the way, for spectators and jurors alike. Conspicuously absent are people, any people at all. Like the treatment plant, there's a thick layer of dust that suggests disuse. Not being on fire, lighting is dim at best, solved via the use of a blue, Islamic lamp. Raising Aida for such reveals sets of footprints, which Adrian follows up until they stop. Then the voice speaks.

“The jury,” it declares, to the tune of rustling and skittering behind the dolls. To glance behind is to see multiple squads of guerrillas, appearing from within shadows behind pews and inside corners, while a swarm of insects moves to cover the doors. “The executioner,” the voice speaks next, coming from behind the stand, there now found our missing lieutenant as she rises to her feet. “The judge,” she summons last, a deformed girl appearing from where such an official would preside. Floating in the air, she rests upon and melds with a seat of her own, a grotesque amalgamation of meat and teeth, reaching outwards with long, chitinous arms. A skull crowns her throne of meat, curved horns looking almost as harps. The executioner then snaps, guerrillas raising their rifles in sync, pointing them at the party.
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“And the bailiff, I suppose,” the judge finishes off for her as they do so, producing thereby a creaking from above. With a great crash the unfinished ceiling gives partly, a resounding impact echoing through the courtroom. Scattering dust and splinters in a great blast around it, the cause turns out to be a hulking machine, visible once the cloud dissipates.

Seeing this whole routine, a coordinated song and dance just to unveil all of the court's inhabitants, Adrian's honest feelings are, “All this for us? Touching.” Though catching the judge in the light, she has to say, “Damn, you're ugly.”

Said bomb also looks at the judge, declaring instead, “Yup! That's bugs! Do we blow them up now?” Words that hasten towards that, surely.

“A little more respect, insect,” the executioner demands of those before her. She doesn't appreciate the commentary.

The bomb appreciates her words however, in one sense. “But you're the bug!” she shouts back, unveiling this hypocrisy.

“I think calling people bug is our line, considering,” the muscle agrees, peering from corner to corner, looking for where Aida might be most destructive.

“Now, now,” the judge speaks calmly, turning to her compatriot, “let's not be too demanding of those who are about to be trampled.”

“It's funny you say that-” the bird starts, pausing as she considers that the other two have already slapped the executioner verbally. “And everyone else has pretty much said the same thing as I would, so!” She rounds on the judge instead. “It's funnier that you think we're not going to butcher you.”

For this heinous lack of respect, the executioner gives a cold, “Silence, lesser beings,” her temper not tempered by the judge's remark. “The Queen has bestowed upon us evolution!” she shouts with zeal, assured it has come with power beyond measure.
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“Indeed,” the judge agrees, watching her numerous limbs twisting and flexing within the air. “This form, hideous as it may be, will be quite efficient in slaughtering you lot. For the Queen!” A rallying cry for their rallying figure.

“Your queen must be -exceptionally- ugly if this is what she did to you~” Altina sings at the judge, insulting their leader without so much as letting her smile slide.

With a growl, the executioner voices immense displeasure at that comment. “Insolent wench, prepare to be crushed.”

Struck by an idea, just before tensions reach their boiling point, Adrian gives her comms a quick tap. “Hey, there's a lot in here, could you give us about thirty seconds then come in?”

“We're a bit busy in here!” comes the reply from on high, mixing with the report of significant gunfire.

“Calling for help already?” the judge taunts with grim laughter. “You really are hopeless.” Yet she has no idea why that happened.

With a shrug, the muscle simply says, “Oh, bother,” assuming a fighting stance. “I just wanted the truck to make a dramatic entrance.” Alas, her dreams will die.

As will the masses, for, “If there's a lot, there's a lot to blow up!” Jubilant is the bomb's cry, so many sacrifices to Allah here before her, not to be stolen by Russian hands.

Springing back and off of Adrian's shoulder, Altina lands upon her feet, arms cracking and unfurling to reveal her laser weaponry. “Who needs a dramatic rescue? Not us!” And now it's time to put that to the test.
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Seizing initiative, the executioner vaults atop and then off the stand, carrying through the air while drawing back a mechanically encased fist. Her momentum lands her right before Adrian, into whose stomach she drives that fist, exploding forward quite literally at the point of impact to gouge a hole in the muscle's abs as it sends her sliding backwards, dropping the bomb right there. Said bomb finds herself with the judge's focus, a chittering screech coming from the crowning skull atop her throne of meat, boring into and unsettling the girl's mind, hands clapped upon her ears to stem sound's flow.

Before the executioner can capitalize, Altina flies into action, a spray of laser fire sending enemy combatants diving behind splintering seats to avoid her blue wrath. Ample opportunity for Adrian to charge forward once more, giving as she got, a haymaker from the right crashing straight into the executioner when she gets up and sending her sprawling to the ground again with a ringing crack, even if she fails to tear through into flesh. Following her to the ground, one fist and then the other embed deeply into the courtroom's floor in jagged splinters that bear no blood, for the girl rolls out of harm's way to kip-up to her feet. As the two chase each other, the bird rounds on the judge, turning covering fire into dedicated fire; but the throne floats backwards and away, carrying her far enough back diffusion claims the lasers before they reach, fizzling into the air. Underneath this hail of ineffectual fire do muscle and executioner dart, one fury-fueled fist just missing the girl's back; with a lunge Adrian closes that gap, taking things to ground again as she smashes the wicked blade of an arm into the girl's chest. An oozing slurry spreads across the courtroom floor as all flesh gives in, the only thing left there the cracked, metallic skeleton that runs through the executioner's body. “-Payback's a bitch, ain't it?-” Adrian asks her with a mad grin.
The muscle doesn't have forever to gloat at her vengeance, leaning back and off the girl to spare herself the explosive wrath of that mechanized fist. It gives the executive time to get up again, which is perfect timing to jump up into the flying lightsaber of Alexis' force ghost; she twists aside at the first pass, cutting deep into her shoulders; she fails to expect its return trip, the twirling blade still at arm level, hewing both from the executive, landing within her pooled viscera with a wet thump. Looking at her half-ruined state, the only thing she sees to do in the immediate moment is duck past Adrian, delivering a forceful kick to the bomb, who's recovered enough to jump at the her; Alexis, through the power of the force, returns to sender. Aida's swiping claws get terribly confused in the chaos as she flies back and then forward, embedding themselves in her torso as she smacks right into the executive's face. Needless to say, being at ground zero of the resultant and crackling kaboom is not good for that face's integrity; nor does it bode well for the livelihood of the swarm skittering forward to provide aid, death in droves now theirs; neither is spared the front lines of the guerrillas, scattered bloodily backwards alongside the now charred wood they thought might suffice as cover. Allah claims much. Allah is pleased. With a hydraulic hiss, the bailiff finally rumbles to full and proper life; recognizing the sheer destruction wrought by that blast, it brings around an arm that launches a spiked net. Twisting and restraining, the net lashes together legs, anchoring itself by slipping through lattices and embedding spikes within open air internal organs.

(If you're wondering, "Does the Bailiff have a picture?" the answer is, "Probably, but damned if I can recall what it was." Its narration doesn't exactly give me a lot to work with.)
The executioner knows what she must do with this opportunity: flee, flee with all haste possible, for she is but legs casting themselves forward in panic. With the judge having flown beyond the reach of anyone's retribution, Alexis grants the bird flight, a rapidly raised hand casting the girl forward; yet no sooner does she touch down and sight in once more than a wire uncoils from the bailiff's other arm, wrapping around Altina's neck and flinging her back whence she came, the bird stopping herself by digging talons into a pew. Seeing no fight left in the fleeing executioner, Adrian gives a bellow of, “-SINCE MY PUNCHING BAG'S GONE, TIME FOR SOME MEAT!-” as she rounds on a squad of guerrillas. She uproots the fragment of pew one hides behind, the very act bludgeoning it into a smear upon the next row. Some reflexively raise their guns to fire, thinking they might beat out the incoming fling; some conjure their cowardice, thinking that to duck might save them; all are proven wrong, variably maimed by the splintering chunk of wood, but invariably ended. It's then, underestimated and underhanded, the executioner's fleeing legs turn back around, revealing they've managed to catch hold of a twin pair of pistols she dropped while being completely obliterated. What they fail to realize is they are not being ignored, and before they even get a toe to the triggers, a blue hail blasts out of Altina's arm; muscle sizzles and pops, metal bones melt away into slag, and two final lasers for good measure ruin the guns and cook off their loaded ammunition. Not exactly much left to inspect for bugs now.
Distinctly absent from this battle so far – Adrian radioing Russians notwithstanding – has been gunfire, guerrillas hiding as lasers fly overhead and their brethren are scattered by bomb and seat. Now is their moment, however. Squads rise and level their guns once more, pointing at the berserking girl crashing their lines. Sights line up, fingers twitch, and bullets tear forward... into the heads of other guerrillas, sailing all around Adrian as a pair of now literally faceless troops fall. The ones further back reconsider opening up at this sorry display, rushing closer and hoping proximity will spare them such an awful fumble. The dashed mass of bugs regroups finally, swarming all without end. Yet even in such great numbers, what are insects to the undead? Adrian shakes them off of steel arms, scattering them once more, bringing insects to their ends accidentally as she jukes around, the crunch of a crushed bug unheard in the chaos of combat. Another mass rushes over Altina, finding they have trouble so much as scaling her while she dances and twirls; the few that do find their mandibles insufficient to pierce even her skin, clinking as if against some alloy. Others see in the collapsed bomb, struggling to slice through the reinforced net, easy prey; they are proven wrong as efforts pause to carve down several which approach, their minuscule innards strewn about. Enlightened guerrillas peek their heads out from crouched positions, aiming low with a burst of bullets; holes find themselves blown into Alexis' legs by this revised attempt, stumbling her as she sweeps the ground with her saber.
>“Oh shit. I almost forgot. Could you do me a solid?” Why has that statement provoked a recollection?

Was this getting a memory fragment?
Having hidden away too long and accomplished little since her flight, the judge sees nothing to do but charge back into the fray with all the fury she can muster. Sharpened, chitinous legs stab with her momentum as she zips towards Adrian; with a spray of blood, said legs are caught as one group, digging into hands but briefly before the judge finds herself hurled to the ground, prone and vulnerable. The jedi's saber is staved off as bugs take flight, hilt clattering to the ground, several cut down; this does not save the judge from the muscled fist that comes next, its swipe decapitating both girl and throne, dirtying an already ruined floor with an ichorous splash. Trying to spare itself, the judge ascends again, pulling away from the muscle's infinite wrath; where fist cannot reach, a chucked bomb suffices instead as Aida latches onto the judge's fearsome legs, clawing without end, severing one after another, dropping to the ground only when none remain to keep her aloft. She lands right in front of the bailiff's arm, out of which explodes not a net, but buckshot, ripping through leg and chest to further bloody the girl. She lands with a thud, disoriented, the bugs seeing their chance. The bomb vanishes beneath the plague of locusts, hidden, gnawed upon, completely and utterly encased. Beneath them, she smiles. Before they've even stripped the upper layers of skin, she cuts at herself, a lattice fraying. Uncountable numbers of insects screech and die, a cluster of guerrillas thrown atop the conflagration for good measure by Alexis' whim, what isn't splattered instead cooked until char alone remains. Sailing forward from scrap of pew to scrap of pew, Altina solves the problem of the flying judge, one hail of lasers sinking into throne and chest, then another, the rapid influx of heat flash frying everything. The arms then left, all the judge has, are as subject to gravity's ire as anything else.
In spite of Aida's best efforts, an obscene amount of chaff still floods the house of law. Legs find themselves nibbled, rounds rip through chests, the bugs and the guerrillas not letting up. “WHOSE EXECUTION WAS THIS AGAIN?” the muscle screams, undaunted even as her careless charge finds her running headlong into bullets that drive straight through her. “CAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE THE JURY'S OUT ON THIS ONE!” The unliving wrecking ball tears her way through the group of guerrillas that couldn't get away if they tried, snapping off appendages and clubbing helpless foes into paste with their own extremities. The judge, barely extant, shall hardly pose more threat, especially not when Aida crawls over and turns her arms to minced meat. That leaves alone the bailiff, who has thus far seen little in the way of punishment. Knowing not fear, knowing not retreat, to unload its shotgun is all it can do, backed up by what few guerrillas have not been savaged, and bugs that seem to come without end. Alexis' saber flies forth, the aged metal of the bailiff's frame white hot as new, deep grooves are carved into it.

This was not, no. This was the narration asking why in the good goddamn that Adrian saying there were bugs in the Russians was causing Eddy to go, "Oh, yeah, totally forgot." Because frankly it is absurd to forget a mind-controlling bug has wormed its way into your head and needs removal with all due haste.
Altina pours blue as endless as the bugs into the bailiff as well, one of its limbs liquefied at the shoulder joint, crashing to the ground in a ruined heap. Clunking to the side with the best sprint it can muster, it puts its all into escaping the bird's frenzied shots, shotgun blazing back all the while. It finds its mark, birdshot acquainting itself with bird. That is not because of its impressive accuracy; Altina simply hasn't moved, accepting the assault to solely aim. She doesn't flinch and she doesn't falter, no matter the holes punched through leg and stomach and shoulder. She just keeps that smile great and wide as she trains her blaster-arm dead on the bailiff. “You think I fear injury?” she asks it, every pellet in a shell matched by a streak of blue; and every laser is worth so much more than one pellet. “I AM INSULTED!” Under this shout and under this withering fire, its chassis deforms and bleeds away, molten metal running down to legs that creak and groan, giving way as they too heat beyond any hope of solidity. What lands in the glowing, ferrous puddle is its shotgun arm, still trying to point at the bird even as exposed wiring sparks. Everyone else busies themselves fending off swarming bugs. Not Altina. She looks that shotgun dead in its barrel, pointed right at her eye; and with a smile, she makes sure it knows, no matter whether or not it can hear, “You will not be missed~!” Her words herald an explosion, the final laser lancing straight down its length; scrap flings far and wide as every shell it had left goes up at once, signaling that all relevant resistance is put down. And what does that leave? Insects. Leaderless, puny insects, which flee from all before them in justified panic. Their admission that the A-Team claims victory once again.
Taking stock, no one has been completely divested of anything – but there's no shortage of holes to be found. From the bite of mandibles to the sting of rifle rounds, a number of nuisances have had ample time to work at the dolls. Two of them work at fixing this, cannibalizing the gore to be found everywhere that they might regrow. Adrian works through the bodies of guerrillas, so ferocious in her consumption that she fails to realize she occasionally misses, ripping out her own regrowing entrails to munch on. Coach looks at her strangely, but makes no comment. Aida has picked up one of the judge's many legs, treating it like drumstick. “You think there's more buggy people to blow up?” she asks in the middle of one mouthful.

“I can certainly welcome them to try and come at us!” Altina declares, going around to unload a few pulses into any of the meat piles that have the audacity to quiver like there might be a bit of unlife left.

Her work is interrupted by Adrian, who, having successfully cannibalized – and autocannibalized – herself to an intact state, strides over and scoops Altina into her arms, breath heavy all the while. Into the bird's ear she whispers, “I'll fight better next time for you, you're too beautiful to do any less~” And then. Then? With her own blood upon them, with the chunks of entrails still between her teeth, Adrian plants her lips straight onto Altina's. There's a muffled noise at first as the shock strikes her, then another as the realization hits – but after several seconds, Altina returns the gesture, considering this fine. It's more than fine. This French display may be how their relationship officially begins.

And it begins right in front of Aida, who looks over from munching on her leg, unsure what's going on. But she would like to know, “What're you two doing?”
For an inappropriate amount of time thereafter, the kiss continues, ignoring the question. When Adrian finally pulls back and giggles, her response is a giddy, “Oh, something you do on a date~” She's no longer breathing quite as heavily, nor are her eyes quite so wide.

Hearing the one word that Aida can associate with relationships, this makes perfect sense to her, where many other explanations may have told her nothing. “Ohhhh,” she breathes in understanding, getting the idea at once. “Was this a date?” she wonders then, trying to recall whether or not any hand-holding was involved on the way to the courtroom.

“Close enough to one,” Adrian tells the tiny bomb, still holding onto her bird, looking into her eyes rather than looking over at the girl she's talking to.

Said bird is quite wide-eyed, still a little shocked at how abruptly becoming girlfriend and girlfriend was formalized. She has enough going on behind those eyes all the same to raise a finger knowingly, surveying the scene of carnage to calm herself. Her blithe wisdom is, “I do believe so! It counts if it's something both parties enjoy anyway. And I enjoyed this, so! Matter settled.”

“Speaking of, we should check on our Russian friends. Sounded like they were having a party too.” This is true. Mind made up, Adrian hauls her bird out the courtroom, leaving Aida pondering the mind-blowing implications of this broad definition of dating.
“I like blowing up bugs too!” she realizes, which is itself the catalyst for another explosion of understanding. “Does that mean we're all dating? Should I do that too?” She's not entirely sure, following after with the admission, “I dunno how dates work still.” She won't find her answers from these two. Has the post-kiss high deafened them? Has it faded, leaving them unsure they should tell her these things? Has some sight outside caught their attention more fiercely? Who's to say. The only certain thing is this session ends here, and that Aida now has a much deeper understanding of dating. Thanks, Adrian. You done good, kid.

Finally, having found a way to make this entry even longer somehow, the session is delivered. Like always, I hope the people enjoy. I am consigned to wakefulness this entire evening, so I'll be around to answer questions, between announcements that I Jet Nozzle an attack again.
Rule question.
Legions and Horrors take double damage from Dismember and Explosive, but does defending the base damage of the attack still negate the property like normal?

If I hit a Horror with a Melee 2 + dismember and it uses a Defend 2, does it take 2 damage or 0?

Damage multiplication comes first, so your example of Melee 2 + Dismember being countered with a Defend 2 would still leave the Horror taking two damage. Now, if the Horror counters with a Defend that negates Dismember, then the damage multiplication is nullified entirely and things proceed as normal.
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Makes sense. Thanks

et tu Autocorrect?
Does the GM remember how they started the bailiff? Did it have parts with stagger or had the rules about not giving enemy units parts with stagger already been translated by this point?

No stagger had been translated by that point.
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I wonder if Altina and Adrian were a thing before all this and they are in part acting on impulses that they don't realize have origins they don't remember.
For Port, no.
For Coleo, kind of. But... Not, uh, not exactly.

The tower's a pretty vast construct with a lot of intricate and rare equipment. And Apollo's also been fighting a forever war against a lot of rando factions while also trying to jumpstart a resurgence of the human race. Constructing a secondary tower is probably beyond its means.

There may also be some issues with moving Charon. Aside from the STYX fluid supply, the point she dropped the party off in was actually the cargo receiving bay; per the DM it's basically the only location on the station Charon can hit reliably. Moving somewhere else probably throws out that practice, leaving the Apollo station completely cut off from earth-born contact.

I'm really glad you managex to dig up the image for this enemy because words have a hard time doing it justice.
I like this thread.
>I forgot to actually start my story post
Oof. It really has been a long day. Just a short bit for today.

>With the sun still high in the sky, Melico browses the shelves of the library absently. With Coleo speaking to Windsor and Imp going through her clothes, she finds herself without a direct idea of what to do next.
>'Perhaps I'll re-read some of the city's history books again. Can't be too familiar. It might come in handy, even if it is all a façade.'
>She picks a few books from the shelves, and moves to sit at a sunlit table.
>As Melico pulls a book from the shelves a familiar black mop with green eyes looks back through the created rectangular portal.
>He grins. "Ello' Sifu, got time to impart some wisdom on this hopeful stud'nt?"
>Melico adds the book to the stack and moves on without a second glance at the smiling fool.
>"Certainly. Ensure that you know more than your target before challenging them. Approaching a target under-prepared or without proper intel will likely get you killed."
>"Proppa intel, s'like don't go in blind." He walks along repeating to himself quickly as he moves on the other side of the bookshelf to keep up.
>Then he speaks up again. "S'like notice how you've got a wheelgun?"
>"A decent observation, though perhaps not a clever one. Noticing I have a firearm tells you that I have the advantage, but you would want something that helps you."
>She sets her books at a nearby table and sits. "It would be better to try and find something you have that I do not or something I do not have that I should"
>Denver holds up one finger and bobs it forward and back as he thinks out loud. "I'm faster at a run, an I'd have lot's of concealment in here."
>"Slower than a bullet and you've seen me make tougher shots. Try again"
>"Ya left your cannon behind. Summ'in I could hit you with it cross the long space here I wouldn't have to fight ya. But If I miss I've gotta face you with a dislocated shoulder"
>"Am I gettin' warmer?"
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The Nechronica threads tend to be pretty cozy. Board can be a touch to fast for them though.

"Significantly. You've even identified a flaw in your plan with trying to fire it. A better strategy would be to shape the battle in your favor before it begins. Sure, you could hit me from across the way, but I'd just as likely fire back." Melico flips through one of the books in front of her, skimming the pages without looking up.
>"You were right in thinking the library had cover, but it's still a very open space. Consider instead the guest building. Mostly hallways and staircases if I'm not mistaken, multiple side rooms in close quarters."
>He nods along listening intently. "Ahya-huh. So I could ambush your from a closet But what about Imp? She'd probably be there. Maybe tell her Scuti wants to have a gabber in the library first..."
>"A sound plan given the information you have now. An ambush would even give you the opportunity to wrestle the gun from my hand. I might get a couple of shots off, but you would have still made this a hand to hand fight."
>She closes her book and moves it off to the side before looking up toward Denver for the first time since their conversation started. "Though there's no guarantee you would win that either."
>"Battle in the mind informs battle in the world." Denver's accent lessens significantly and abruptly. He seems to be citing something. "Wait, ay gonna to show me how ya move? I mean not in here, Bill'id skin us both."
>Melico stares at Denver blankly. "...Who?"
>Denver pauses for a touch and blinks. "Bill. Er William. That'd be Mr. Windsor."
>"Do they not have -diminyatives- where you come from?"
>Melico somehow manages to spin snark from a perfectly cool tone. "I hadn't heard that one before. I assume Coleo taught you what 'diminutive' means?"
>He grins. "Right. It's a shortened form of address or name connected to a longer name." There's that 'citation' voice again.
>"Mm." Melico stands and begins to collect the books on the table. "Alright, let's see what you can do. Help put these up first."
>"Yes sifu!" Denver stands up and scoops up several books carefully. Checking the tags and moving to put them away.
>After returning the books to their proper places, Melico and Denver head to the yard behind the library.
>It's a bright day out. Melico looks a tad out of place with her ushanka in full display in the summer heat and sun but the yard is private enough. Her and Denver find an open patch of grass to set up in.
>"Alright. You said earlier that you've been studying a martial arts manual. Go through some of the forms you've learned."
>"Right." He then stands feet shoulder width apart before arcing one forward and sinking down a bit and moving through a series of movements blocks and strikes, after coming back he practices a series of kicks in place.
>It's clear he's been practicing, and has tried to put together something that flows well. But its also clear this was pieced together by someone who doesn't fully grasp the intricacies of a proper kata, and has likely never seen one.
>Melico's expression doesn't shift at all through the display, or as she talks. "Your forms are terrible. I'm fairly certain none of them are proper. It looks more like you've stitched together random movements from the manual and made things up as you went along."
>"However, I can see that your movements are informed by proper styles. It's understandable that the proper forms may have been overlooked. They're more of a means of drilling and exercise than actual martial arts."
>Melico moves to stand in front of Denver. "At this point learning the proper solo forms would be more redundant than practical. It might be better to move to sparring forms."
>Denver almost seems to wilt but holds firm and stares Melico's judgement in the face. He brightens up at the prospect of being taught sparring forms.
>He straightens up and moves to do what she does, or as she commands. If he wasn't so focused, Melico almost feels he would be bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet in excitement right now.
>Melico mimes out multiple strikes toward Denver, first with her left fist, then her right leg, moving through a series while stopping short of hitting him.
>"I'm going to perform these strikes against you. You will also be performing these, so pay close attention."
>As Melico finishes the form, she steps away from Denver. "Go ahead and repeat the strikes to make sure you have them."
>"Roight." Denver begins to mirror her strikes back, but something seems off. His balance keeps wandering off and their's too much tension in his arms.
>He grits his teeth and keeps trying.
>He nearly nearly falls once, and growls in frustration at himself. "Wha' is this? Wha' m' ah' doin'?" he growls as he stops to look down at his paws.
>As Melico watches him move she quickly realizes he has trying to follow her a little too closely.
>His bone structure and dynamics aren't exactly the same as hers, and he's so focused on trying to mimic her that he isn't adapting the moments to his own body.
>He realizes he's stopped and get's back to it, though the problems remain. "I'm sorry sifu, I'll get it, I promise."
>A few more moments of futile mimicry. "Maybe if you show me again I can get it."
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If you mean "How they specifically look/others react to how they look." Yeah, but nothing specific comes to mind.

If you mean physical problems coming from being an abomination against God, then absolutely.

One girl was essentially a meaty Ironclad on a lot of tiny legs. When the party ran into stairs, they had to carry her up them like a mattress.

Another was a girl in the shape of a giant lizard that moved like one too. Big enough to be eye level with shorter dolls when sitting on her ass, though her lizard-shaped limbs prevented standing up like a normal person. Also her slurper-tongue was so long she had to have a lot of it hanging out of her mouth in order to speak. Enough that walking and talking was unpleasant as her tongue would drag across the ground.
>"I'm sure you think that, but we'll address the issues directly." Melico moves to Denver's side. "Take the stance for the first strike."
>As Denver takes his stance, Melico shifts his arms and kicks at his feet to push them into position. "Your arms are too stiff and your feet too close together. Your center of balance is different from mine, so you need to have a wider stance. Bend your knees more as well." She continues to adjust his stance until she is satisfied with the result.
>"Ah-ummm..." He raises his foot when she tries to poke it with her boot the first couple of times, before he consciously keeps it in place for repositioning.
>After that he seems to quickly adapt to the concept of Melico pulling and poking him into position.
>He begins to go though the strikes again and this time adjusts his own stance a bit when issues crop up, until he's moving through them without loss of balance or needless adjusting to stay centered.
>He's turning his fist a little late, but all in all he's adapting very fast now that he isn't trying so hard to do what Melico does exactly how she does it.
>He's gone quiet save for his breathing as he focuses on familiarizing and smoothing the movements.
>Melico watches Denver as he goes through the form, a scrutinizing gaze on her face. "Not perfect, but it will do. You should always keep biomechanics in mind when engaging in hand to hand combat. Both that of yourself and of your opponent. Understanding how each of you move can give you insight on how best to neutralize them."
>She then moves to stand in front of Denver, close enough to be within striking range. "I will now show you the defensive portion of this sparring form. Go through the strikes one at a time and I will show you the appropriate move to counter it."
>"Aye, sifu." He nods sharply. Then goes into the first strike.
>As the two go through the form, Melico shows each counter and advises Denver on why to use it. She goes through the set a couple of times to ensure that Denver is able to see and understand the moves.
>"Alright. Now that we've gone through the defensive movements, you are going to replicate them. Counter each strike and hold the position after each one. I'll correct any mistakes in stance or execution."
>He flows into the defensive half of the drill much more smoothly than the strikes. Melico's lessons on biomechanics have him adapting the movements to his own body immediately.
>He starts to grin as they cycle though these measured and habitual acts of repetitive physical violence
>"Alright, that will work. Now, we'll alternate patterns. You will attack while I defend and after we complete that pattern, I will attack and you will defend. We'll increase speed as we go." She takes the defensive stance. "Come at me whenever you are ready."
>Denver bounces up on his toes a couple of times giddily before settling back into position "Alright, alright and 'ere we go!"
>The hips drive his right fist forward in slow motion, beginning a the prescribed cycle of practice that rolls down and down amidst the green grass of the lawn beneath the mid-day sun.

All for now lads. You have a good night.
>How would you stat this?

Man I totally forgot about statting up a Cyborg Mega Emu!
>>74563504 >>74569641

>>74590972 >>74608563 >>74625404 >>74642236 >>74660160


Thread has been archived to sup/tg/.
>One girl was essentially a meaty Ironclad on a lot of tiny legs.

Can I get some more description of the layout and design of this character?
So this is what it's like being minor characters in someone's grand strategy game.
>The tower's a pretty vast construct with a lot of intricate and rare equipment. And Apollo's also been fighting a forever war against a lot of rando factions

When did it become clear to the party that the scattered military undead, warmachines here and there, and battles between zombies and robots were part of an organized ongoing conflict and not just wandering castoffs and occasional collisions between said wandering castoffs?

Also was the city you guys found Hope in actually territory that Apollo had lost to another faction?

I remember it was mostly filled with zombies armed with guns instead of robots, plus various fleshy undead including the one that injected Protoca with that stuff that made her stop regenerating, and automated heavy machinery that once served practical rolls in the city.
This thread had episodes of two VERY different animes play out in it.


If there are any Drawfreinds in this thread I would like to request Adrian and Altina kissing passionately atop a pile or corpses.

I would also like to request a separate drawing of Imp blushing and trying to look away from the viewer while resisting the urge to start her chainsaw.
>were part of an organized ongoing conflict and not just wandering castoffs and occasional collisions between said wandering castoffs?
The current impression is that there are both. A lot of the undead on the exterior of the city were just milling around and trying to mimic whatever they were last doing in life, but when we left the bunker we stumbled into that kind of massive battle between the Protectors and that other undead army that doesn't appear to be part of Empyrean's horde.

>was the city you guys found Hope in actually territory that Apollo had lost to another faction?
Yes. The city from the Cleoh flashback is the same one the girls encounter earlier in the campaign. Empyrean's forces were the ones that wiped out the old human and Protector presence there, but by the time the party had come around Empyrean had been contained and someone else had moved in.
How long it's been since Apollo has held a presence there is anyone's guess.
The character's age was 8 but the legs were those of a 5 or 6 year old and there were a lot of them along the bottom of the boat. She had a turret on the front that was her mortar and her head was in the back. She also had an extra head offset from the first, as well as elephant ears that would hit the extra head when she turned her head.

Overall, she was a very silly design.
She sounds like something Sid from Toy Story would make.
That looks Nechronica as fuck.
These are awesome.

I wonder if a prequel campaign set before Empyrean was contained could be fun.
So give them blood, blood, gallons of the stuff!
Give them all that they can drink and it will never be enough!
So give them blood, blood, blood!
Grab a glass because there's going to be a flood!

You're not wrong, that stuff's good inspiration for dolls/horrors.
I was going to say that that description made me think of the fishing rod with doll legs from Sid's house.

>Current objective: Survive
Could be pretty interesting, but I'm always leery of campaigns with forgone conclusions. Though I guess there's a lot of the Apollo world that hasn't actually been explored. Could be cool to see some of the other factions that sprung up.

>Could be pretty interesting, but I'm always leery of campaigns with forgone conclusions.

That's why you set the parameters so they're not, somehow. There's always room for a smaller story where the goal isn't to save the world, but save yourselves.

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