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/qst/ - Quests

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Previous Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2670323/
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Shooting+Star
Twitter: https://twitter.com/5th_Comms

You are Meteor Showa, and you nearly died. The same can’t be said of the other guy; there’s no “nearly” about it.

Meganeural Spectrod, the Maverick who so handily butchered you weeks ago, lies broken and exploded. Felled by a Final Strike between you and your mission partner Volt Batteram. Not so clever now.

“Crap,” you swear, “we gotta bring him with us.”

“Why?” Asks Volt.

“If we leave the body and book it back to Saltie, Repliforce will just sweep in and take it. Then we won’t get as many goodies for all this work.”

“Point.” Volt, slightly less trashed than you after the fight, picks up the remains of Spectrod’s torso and weighs it on his arm. “Damn, guy weighs nothing.”

You pick up a blown-off wing and that stupid boxcutter sword, which is now down to one chipped segment and evidently unwilling to generate more. “Ghosts don’t tend to,” you remark.

Extremely late missiles from the Metal Rhea assault vehicles whistle in from the south. Both you and Volt rush for the cover of the nonfunctional cyberspace pylon, though you take it at a limp. The missiles burst too far away from you to matter.

“Saltie,” you comm. “It’s Showa. Spectrod’s retired and Volt and I are seriously injured.”

“Well I’ll be,” Grit Assaultie laughs like a shaking tin can full of gravel. “Nice work, sheila, fine work!”

“Gonna have to hoof it back, though. We might need an escort to punch through.”

“No worries,” Saltie sounds like he’s moving, “with that bug swatted I’m finally clear to help Monitor and the lads button up the Gap. Won’t be a man jack left to trouble you. You safe?”

“For now, sure,” you wish you’d saved a Remote Koi for recon, “but I’m not sure how much more’s coming from the south. We hobbled a couple Rheas but they’re still active.”

A missile strikes the pylon to punctuate your sentence, but the tower is remarkably sturdy.

“And their aim is improving.”

“Then you’d better pop outta there,” Saltie’s comm now carries a ride chaser hum. “Don’t go dyin’ at this point.”

“Won’t. Showa out.”

“Moving?” Volt picks up Spectrod’s discarded arm.

“Yeah. Sounds like it’s a mop-up now.”


A kilometer to the north, a bombed-out casino rises over a racetrack for flesh-and-blood horses – one of the animals that humans took the greatest pains to keep alive. A few of them wander loose, oblivious to the danger they’re in. They whinny and scatter at your approach.
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“Saltie,” you comm, “we’re at... um, a horse track.”

“Copy,” he replies, over cracks of buster fire and the hiss of sandblasting. “Now just sit tight inside and we’ll pave your road back. Just don’t nick any poker chips down there!” He laughs at his own joke, but you hear real relief in it.

The lobby carries all the bright attempted class of a nowheresville gaming center. Checkered patterns and shiny brass feature heavily. Automated tables and slots await players who fled for their lives. A horse wanders through, dully perplexed.

You’re content to wait with Volt. His typical economy of language keeps him quiet.

>Initiate conversation.
>Poke at the games.
>Enjoy the silence.
Morning, everyone. Feeling more confident about where I am in the pre-planning for the remaining Mavericks, so off we go.

And hey, look at that, we're finally getting the iX Mega Mission story next year.

>attempt to talk to horses
I don't think Hunters get very many opportunities to interact with animals.
Seconding the Horse Whispering
>Check out the horse. Maybe make small talk with Volt at the same time.
hell make a game out of it. See how many reploids you can name that were based off horses and start naming all the horses her after them. If you can get volt involved the one who can name the most horses wins.
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You’ve never seen a real-life horse in person before. You have to admit you’re curious. The one that somehow got indoors investigates a discarded coin tub at the slots and snorts when there’s no food in it.

“Hey… guy.” You wave.

The horse regards you curiously and steps closer.

“Oh god it’s coming Volt what do I do.”

“It’s a horse.”

“That observation’s the opposite of helpful.”

The horse sniffs the air in your direction. You’re pretty sure they’re not carnivorous and wait why the heck are you worried. You step up and thrust out a hand to pet it, but it nickers and shakes its head away.

“Too aggressive,” Volt says. “Here.”

He stands perfectly still, one arm full of reploid parts, and extends his hand low. The horse investigates, sniffing at his palm. Without a hint of forcefulness he reaches up and pets the horse’s neck. It allows this.

“They can read hostility,” Volt gently notes.

“But I wasn’t being hostile.”

“He didn’t know that.”

“Huh. You work with animals much?”


You stay back so as not to spoil the moment. It’s… cute, almost.

“I knew a couple horses, reploids that is,” you start. “Aqua Kelpie, most recently. Nice guy. Gentle.”

“Tend to be,” Volt replies, stroking the horse’s mane. “Humans match us well, most of the time.”


“Y’know. Animal-types.” He pets the horse’s back. “They have myths, traditions, memes about animals. Sometimes they see a trait when we’re in matrix and think, no, this guy’s not a pig after all, he’s more of a ram. Some redesigns are cheap.”

You blink. “You?”

“Yeah. First draft of me was named Assault Hampere.”

You can’t help but laugh. “Oh no that was rude I’m so sorry.”

“No problem. They were right.”

You set Spectrod’s parts at a roulette table and sit down, just watching. “My sibs and I were the opposite. Bodies were going to be a line of koi, no matter what emerged in the matrix stage.”

“You fine with it?”

You shrug. “Eh, chassis swaps are more than I’m worth.”

“Not a no.”

“Heh.” You rub behind your head. “Well, there’s this dumb legend that says if a koi makes it over a waterfall after trying for a hundred years, it turns into a dragon. I always thought that’d be cool.”

“Already got the breath,” Volt smirks.

You laugh with him.

Ultimately the horse smells something more interesting and wanders off. Volt sits next to you and you settle into a brief quiet moment.

“Thanks,” he says, raising a fist. “For taking me along.”

“Sure thing.” You knock wrists with him.
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Saltie soon calls you in; the resistance at the bottleneck has been destroyed. In no time at all he sends a sergeant for you with two auto-follow ride chasers. You gather up the remains of your nemesis and ride back north through some impressive battle wreckage on your way to the forward position at the golf course.

Iron Monitor is there, green armor gouged and blast-scored but in one piece. Saltie’s looking fit as ever.

“So then!” He claps. “Ready to ship off?”

“Yep. Thanks for everything, you two are great. We saw your work on the way up.”

Monitor rubs his neck. “Could’ve used Saltie earlier, but the situation demanded he stay back.”

“No offense intended,” you assume Saltie would dislike being called Sir, “but why’s that? You seemed at least as sturdy as Monitor.”

“And I am,” he grins a mile of teeth, “but aside from being the designated last man standing, my special’s called Salt Pillar for a reason. Not a soul in Darwin wanted the bug nickin’ it.”

“Lucky for me I’m not special enough,” Monitor rolls his eyes but his tone – though battle-roughened – suggests a joke. “Nothing worth stealing, apparently.”

“What can you do?” Volt breaks his silence to ask, professionally sizing him up.

“Hit things hard,” Monitor appraises him right back.

“Really,” Volt smirks with interest.

Monitor taps his chest between the big red shield projectors. “My core’s the size of a football, which is good because my armor’s like wearing a Raiden. My special’s a passive called Maximum – all it does is manage my output and keep me mobile. I hear your slice of Fourth needs defense muscle? That’s me.”

Volt rubs his chin with a knuckle. “You box much?”

“Not a lot of practice,” Monitor rolls a shoulder. “All my sparring partners keep getting laid out.”

“That a fact?” Volt, oh no, thumbs at you in a way that lets him subtly flex. “Meteor could tell you how hard I put mine down.”

“And I’m sure her opinion’s a good one,” Monitor winks at you before planting his huge fists on his hips, “but I bet if you got inside my reach I could knock you out before the bell’s over.”

They stare each other down. The air between them seems to shimmer. You imagine dramatic katakana floating by.

Volt breaks the amicable standoff to nod approvingly at you. “I like him.”

“That’s the spirit,” Saltie pipes up. “Now, final bits. You two got a ticket straight back to Veracruz. Monitor here’s headed back to Darwin for repairs and the last paperwork, then he’ll be off to join you. Us, we’ll sweep up Repliforce and keep the Mavs from pulling this again. Think we’ll keep the pylon off, though. Now go home and get repaired already! You both look shot at n’ missed and shit at n’ hit.”
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Hours later, you’re fresh off the slab and leaving the operating room for the medbay proper when Deco tests your armor with a hug.

“I’m so so sooo sorry I couldn’t sit in with you like you did for me! I just got out of bed!”

“Come on,” you hug back, “I wasn’t that bad off.”

“It’s the principle of the thing, doof,” she peels off you. “Volt’s not out quite yet – something about hydromer damage. Turtle sent me to fetch you two for debrief and then I’ll be off welcoming the new guy.”

“Oh, is Monitor here already?”

Deco’s bubbly cheer starts to flatten. “Not yet. I hear you met him, though, is he nice?”

You shrug. “He seemed okay. Bet he’ll get on famously with Volt, though.”

“Yeah, punch meets sandbag, heh.” She twiddles one of her hair curls. “It’s a shame, though. If I knew about your mission, I’d have wanted to be there…”

>How come?
>No you wouldn’t.
>I agree, I could’ve used you.
>How come?
Salt Pillar.......reploid devs please. PLEASE stop trying to create physical manifestations of biblical punishments.

>I agree, you would have loved the horses
>I agree, you would have loved the horses


“Oh you would’ve come in such handy,” you touch her shoulder. “I mean Volt’s great and he saved my darn life even but you just have so much more range. Plus there were horses.”

“There were horses?” Gasps Deco, suddenly age ten.

“Just a couple. They didn’t like me though.”

“I bet you barged right up to them and went for a pet,” she laughs.

“Guilty as charged.”

“Oh the poor things.” She clasps your hand in both of hers, “You have got to take me next time.”

“Fair enough,” you smile. “Next time I’m deployed somewhere rural, I’ll take you along and buy you a cowboy hat.”

“You’d better,” she smiles back.

Volt walks out of an operating room, good as new. Deco quickly lets your hand go.


“Hey yourself,” you nod. “Deco’s on a fetch quest and we’re it. Want me to get Skittle?” You look back at her to ask.

“No need, they’re off at R&D working on the parts you two brought back.”

“Are they safe to get DNA from?”

“Guess you’ll find out,” Deco shrugs, glancing up at Volt. “He was a sword-type, right? Bet you could do some damage with one of those.”

Volt shakes his head, “I’m no good with swords.”

“Then get a spear,” you suggest. “You could call it the Ram Rod.”

Deco giggles. Volt rumbles a chuckle.

It’s not long before you’re back in the Command Room. Turtle occupies the bench-chair at the monitor screen, per usual, and pivots it as you enter.

“Don’t you have an office, Commander?” You joke. “I’ve barely seen you out of that chair all week.”

“Too many memories in there,” Turtle sighs, and you immediately regret asking. “Thank you, Deco.”

Deco salutes. “Glad to. I’ll be back for the meeting and bring our new buddy.”

“Two hours,” Turtle reminds.

“Yes ma’am,” Deco gives you a furtive glance and quick smile as she goes.
“Now, Lieutenant,” Turtle begins. “Lieutenants. I’m glad you both made it through.”

“Me too. But I really would’ve been roasted without Volt.”

“Back at you,” he grunts.

“Oh no you don’t, that compliment’s sticking right to you. No back-ats.”

“Fine, I’ve got my own. She made all the right choices, Commander.”

“Coulda been better,” you doubt.

“No back-ats and no peel-offs either,” Volt smirks.

“Dink.” You knuckle-tap him.

Turtle keys in something at the main terminal. “The fact of the matter is, you’re alive and well and a conditional S-class has been retired. Not only that, but Australia is now in a much better position to repel an occupation, and Sixteenth has something to chew on.”

Valence Proteus blinks in on a quarter of the screen.

“Ah,” he ahs. “Meteor Showa, Volt Batteram. We completed DNA deconstruction on the parts you two recovered eleven minutes ago. Still, I felt it of value to hear your debrief. Which I presume is impending.”

“Immediately, in fact,” says Turtle. “Step us through, won’t you?”

You do most of the talking. Volt gives his side of it where necessary; evidently Spectrod thought you were a stupid DNA resurrection at first. Ha!

Proteus offers not a word until the end. “And that was all he used in combat?”

“Yes sir,” you nod. “I honestly thought he’d have worse in his vee-wess, or even a larger one.”

“He did not,” Proteus strokes his flagellum mustache. “The remains of Meganeural Spectrod were equipped with a Variable Weapon Emulation System Dash Four. Hydro Comet: Aqua Kelpie, stolen personally. Soul Body: Split Mushroom, archival. Buster Sword: Swordsaint Tsubame, archival. And finally… Soul Format. It was not a core system as we initially suspected. Origin unknown, serial data unavailable, but most definitely an emulation.”

Holy crap. You hate to consider more Mavericks with that ability.

Volt beats you to the question: “From who?”

“‘From whom,’” Proteus corrects, “is a question to which Sixteenth is currently devoting itself. The implications are… troubling, as you might imagine. Regardless, I am confident we will have an answer within the next two hundred hours. Until then, proceed as normal. Batteram, good showing. Showa, I am satisfied with your field test of the anti-Format DNA-hardening measure. It will serve future projects well.”

“Glad to… be of service?” You guess. You didn’t really have a choice in being a guinea pig.

The upper three pupils on his eye dilate. “I should hope so. Turtle, handle the rest.”

Proteus’s corner of the screen blinks out.

Turtle tsks at his curtness. “Well. I’ll first repeat his sentiment in politer terms. Both of you did exceptionally well, given the circumstances. Your Maverick’s threat rating was conditional, but I’ve gotten you the high end in payout. You’ve earned it, as A-ranks.”
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Your heart fills with fireworks.

“A-ranks? Plural?”

“Plural.” Turtle stands to face you and shifts her tone to formality. “Lieutenant Meteor Showa, in light of your raw combat specifications, armament, past service experience, and performance with distinction on a Class S mission, Maverick Hunter Research and Development has assessed your combat rating as Rank A. You are hereby cleared to attempt live capture of targets Class A and below, per your discretion. Additionally, your preferred navigator will place you higher in his own queue. You are also cleared to request mechaniloid deployment when committing to future operations, pending availability.”

You’re feeling too sparkly inside to string syllables together.

“So in short, Meteor, congratulations,” Turtle sits back down. “Celebrate as you like, but don’t let your roster linger. Two hours until a status meeting. Dismissed.”

“Thank you,” you manage to squeak. You rub your hands and hustle to a terminal.


- S-Rank Mission Parameters Complete: 80,000z

TOTAL: 80,000z

This day just keeps getting better.

>Spend that zenny now now now.
>Go do something fun. (specify)
>Go do something fun. (specify)
Go see Skittle. For pleasure, not business--though knowing them theorizing on applications with their scrubs still in Spectrod's viscera likely counts as "fun."

Either way, though, Skittle saved us from Spectrod in the first place, let's bring this full-circle.
Off to work, will keep updated on voting.

And if 80k seems high, well, he was enough of an S to count. And those pay huge.

There are plenty of goodies yet to come from your remaining three Mavericks, of course...
This sounds like a nice suggestion.
>Go back and steal a horse
Or see Skittle, I guess.
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Not at all mutually exclusive, can confirm.
Don't read this wrong, but Skittle has a penchant for riding things.
I'm not saying it's time to become a cowkoi and cowgenderneutralfairy, and lasso some Mavericks while yelling 'Yeehaw'... but it totally is.
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Huh, I wasn't *that* far off.
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Volt whistles at a different terminal, at what you guess is his own payout. “Could get used to this.”

“Then I’ll advise Nouveau to forward you more Class S assignments,” Turtle lightly replies.

“Just no more with Geneva Fourth,” Volt shakes his head. “Those guys are [i]crazy[/i].”

“Welcome to the Fourth,” you rib him. “I’m gonna drop this zenny like it’s made of swords. Want to come along?”


“Right then. Volt. Commander.”

“Mm,” Volt nods a goodbye.

You hurry out and practically skip down the halls. You’re almost light enough for it, too, and not just in spirit. You beat the guy who beat you and got your old rank back. You haven’t regained all the functionality that you lost, but you’re still feeling stellar. Mavericks took from you, Repliforce took from you, and you gave back, oh yes you did… but this was never about revenge. It was about climbing back up. Climbing that waterfall.

You’re feeling half dragon already when you stride back into the medbay.

“Hey, is Skittle back?” You ask one of the nurses.

“Just a moment ago,” she replies. “Their Highness seemed off, though. Not themself.”

Heck. They’re probably mad because you didn’t take them along.

You thank the nurse and work on your apology as you cautiously approach the quarantine cells.

“Sorry, I just thought you’d die… no, no good. Sorry, I knew you’d hate the dialect… well maybe…”

You reach out and open the door to the upgrade lab.


The resident fairy demurely hovers in place, as if awaiting anyone. They smile. They bow.

“Hello and welcome to the upgrade lab! How might I be of assistance?”
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Their sweet little face beams with good cheer. Red flags fly high in your head.

“… Skittle are you drunk?”

“My goodness, no, this is a Maverick Hunter base! Tut-tut, for shame. I’m here to help anyone in the Fourth Unit with upgrades! Please take a look at the terminal!”

They gesture over, all smiles and charm. You tentatively poke their arm; it’s solid.

“Is something the matter, Miss Showa?”

The zenny drops. They’d never call you Miss.

“You’re Skittle’s... sibling?”

“Why yes indeed!” Their face lights up, and not just from the glittery freckles. “Golau Gwyfyn, pleased to meet you! You can call me Golau, it means Light, and it’s what Skittle calls me anyway. I came for a family visit, but they just seemed [i]so[/i] awfully busy I wanted to help them out however I could!”

“Sssso… they made you run their lab?”

“Not really running it, no.” Golau tilts their head and balances their cherubic cheek on an index finger. “I’m only the face actor, no different to my job back at the park. I still tell clients where to go and do my best to brighten their visit, I do.” They link their fingers and fold their wrists to one side. “Skittle says they’ll pay me in lollipops and jelly babies! Isn’t that darling?”

If you had teeth you’d be getting cavities. You cautiously peer out the door. “Do any of the Lifesavers know you’re here?”

“A couple gave me odd looks when I said hello and gave them pinwheels. You’d think they’d never seen toys before, the sillies.”

“Did they hold them out at arm’s length like they might explode?”

“Goodness, how ever did you know?”

“Intuition. So just this terminal here?”

“That’s right!” Golau claps. “They said all the data would be there.”

You bring up your file. A note blocks your progress.

"Bad news, fish-n-chips," it reads. "If you’re seeing this it means I’m still stuck with a stack of classified shit which only got higher with all the parts of Specky that you and Sheep Man dropped on R&D. Your cryomer splat leaked in and right fucked the getaway beamout trigger he had on him, which is why you had any parts to give at all and why you got such a payday on top of it.

"So, more bad news. Hydro Comet’s been confiscated for showing new viral traits, Soul Body was flat-out corrupted, and you’ll never but never be cleared to experiment with Soul Format or ‘Axis Slider,’ that blink-out trick of his. Everything else, though, knock yourself out. Pick from the menu and my happy bag of shiny sunshine there will show you how to install it.

"Oh, and no “inspiration” data surgery this time. One bite’s all you get, even for sabers. The DNA’s too sensitive – Blinky’s got his whole eye on it. ~ S "
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VWES (Select One):

>Whirling Sword
Ejects a slightly heavy one-meter solid-mass blade which immediately spins into a high-torque propeller of doom. By tilting your buster left or right upon firing, ordinary physics can cause it to veer to the left or the right after one second in flight. The high quality and high potential damage of this emulation requires high weapon energy. 8 shots.

>Whirling Wing
Whirling Sword but with a different structural composition. Bears less mass and therefore does less damage, but uses less weapon energy. 16 shots.

>Spectrum Blade: Progressive Knife
Spectrod’s regenerating boxcutter sword was actually part of his DNA expression. Taking this stock option for a VWES slot will form a blade of four sharp 20x20cm ceratanium segments from your buster, out of a total of 24. Repeated impacts will break the segments, and new ones will automatically generate from the bottom up. You may use the blade as a melee weapon or fire it. Switching VWES will sever the current blade and let it fall, so firing it before switching is recommended.

>Spectrum Blade: Buster Sword
The one VWES entity Spectrod carried that remained in a usable state, owing to upgrades he himself made to it. A high-phase beam saber, 100cm long and 30cm wide, emits from your buster with a maximum active time of 12 seconds. Simple yet effective, it takes up one VWES slot. Basic elemental synergy options available to ordinary beam sabers are available to the Buster Sword for double cost.
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>Spectrum Blade: Gaea Bolg
Applying “Progressive Knife” to your Gaia Sword instead of a VWES slot will transform the weapon. The beam blade will be removed in favor of generating a sharp-tipped, single-edged cyberwood/ceratanium stake. The stake is semi-permanent; once fired, it stays out for melee, but it can break under significant abuse or survive four seconds of being on fire. On sufficiently deep impact with a target, the stake tip will snap-grow multiple forking barbs, doing grievous internal damage. 8 stakes.

>Spectrum Blade: Harvester
Applying “Buster Sword” to your Gaia Sword instead of a VWES slot will transform the weapon. The blade will take on a triangular shape, still 90cm long but 20cm wide at the crossguard base. Tiny seeds suspended in a trailing EM field will follow the blade regardless of where it swings. On contact with solid objects, such as enemy wounds opened by the blade, the seeds will pop into baseball-sized chestnut-like cyberwood caltrops for added damage. The hilt is two-handed in order to accommodate a larger battery; maximum active time is 6 seconds.

>Spectrum Blade: Flying Cleaver
Applying “Progressive Knife” to your low-phase saber instead of a VWES slot will transform the weapon. The beam blade will be removed in favor of generating a single sharp 20x20cm ceratanium segment, out of a total of 12. The segment is very sturdy, such that even repeated hacking into armored targets will not break it. The cleaver blade may be severed from the hilt at any time, allowing you to throw it like an axe over medium distance.

>Spectrum Blade: Zanbato
Applying “Buster Sword” to your low-phase saber instead of a VWES slot will transform the weapon. The energy output will jump to high-phase and increase the dimensions of the blade: a triangular shape, now 120cm long and 30cm wide at the crossguard base. Basic elemental synergy options available to ordinary beam sabers are available to the Zanbato for double cost. The hilt is two-handed in order to accommodate a larger battery; maximum active time is 6 seconds.
VWES Upgrades:

>Old Growth:

Inspiration from examining Deepwell Orangutank’s grip strength on your arm has led to an advance in the density of Arbor Wall. Roots will grip a little harder, walls will stand a little stiffer, and the Gaia Sword stake will pierce a little firmer. 10,000z.


Scatter Seelie continues to meddle for your own good. For an additional equipment fee of 30,000 zenny, they have offered to take your Remote Koi and construct the ultimate fish drone from your siblings’ data.

GINRIN SHOWA: Tancho + Asagi + Kujaku.
>Damage: Mid.
>Defense: Mid.
>Range: Long.
>Agility: Unpredictable; high evasion. Can be switched to “sacrificial defense” mode at will.


>Energy Capacitor
A new part to your energy balance systems, similar to the one that made Spectrod’s “Axis Slider” possible, allows you to store a charge in either your buster or your throat and immediately switch it to the other. Switching VWES will not eliminate charge; if switching to a weapon that can carry no charge, the charge is simply juggled from one emitter to the other. 25,000z.

Deepwell Orangutank’s DNA featured a hardpoint, which you may now install anywhere on your frame. It can hold one Hardpoint Device of your choice. 25,000z.

Hardpoint Devices:

>Gear Holster
Doubles your Gear Slots from 2 to 4. A simple device, free of charge.

>RF Buster
Install a second buster, stock two-shot fire with stock upgrade potential. 5,000z.

>Charge Buster
Install a second buster, stock two-stage charge with stock upgrade potential. 5,000z.

>Saber Pack
Install a quick-charge pack for up to two high-phase beam sabers. Maximum active time for each saber is unaffected, but resets each time you holster them. 15,000z.

>HV Rifle
Corona Sphynx’s high-velocity-ammo rifle could be yours. Stock option punctures armor with solid projectiles. 15,000z.

Additional Weapons:

>High-Phase Saber
Uptunes your current lo-beam to a hi-beam. More destructive power per swing, but limited active seconds of use. 5,000 zenny.

>Additional Saber
Because why not? The stock option, low-phase 30cm, is 5,000z.

>Ceratanium Axe
The long-hafted axe of a woodsman, or perhaps a headsman, once carried by Arbor Elk. Though slower to swing than any beam saber, its damage is still equal to a low-phase blade. It can also parry other solid weapons, pierce energy-nulling defenses, and knock back foes of equal or lesser mass than you. Requires two Gear slots to carry and two hands to use. 10,000 zenny.

>Thagomizer Pick
On the logic that “it’d be right baller, like,” Scatter Seelie has offered to craft you a short-hafted pickaxe weapon modeled after Freezer Ostenops’s spiked tail. Though slower to swing than any beam saber, its damage is still equal to a low-phase blade. It can also parry other solid weapons, pierce energy-nulling defenses, and puncture armor with great precision. Requires one Gear slot to carry and one hand to use. 5,000 zenny.
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Weapon Upgrades:

>Fire Element
“Inspired” by Corona Sphynx’s DNA, Scatter Seelie has offered to add high-temperature combustion to any one of your melee weapons for added damage. 10,000 zenny.

>Ice Element
“Inspired” by Freezer Ostenops’s DNA, Scatter Seelie has offered to add an advanced cryomer compound projector – because “fuck the Leidenfrost Effect” – to any one of your melee weapons for added damage. 10,000 zenny.


With two Flex Architectures and one Armor Plating, your Frame has been upgraded to the maximum extent. Use it well.


You have three Mavericks left, and related upgrades to come. Spend or save as you will.
So I'm thinking:
>Old Growth: 10k
>Sinrin Showa: 30k
>Energy Capacitor: 25k

Save up for Hardpoint and a subsequent bonus.

It's that or swap Energy Capacitor for Hardpoint and pick one of the others--Charge Buster comes to mind as another source of solid, reliable damage, especially if it has its own independent charge system.
VWES related
>Spectrum Blade: Zanbato
I'll take a free upgrade to Zero's future sword.

> Hardpoint, 25k, -25k
> Saber Pack, 15k, -40k
> Energy Capacitor, 25k, -65k
> Save the rest of our Zenny.

I think it's time to get that Saber pack, especially if we're getting the Zanbato upgrade. Energy Capacitor would also be useful, and definitely save the rest of our zenny for later.
Definitely want
>Ginrin Showa
I'll leave the rest of the upgrades to people with actual planning capabilities.
Well hi there Gaea bolg! What's that? With old growth you leave a really hard to remove, penetrating and FLAMMABLE spike inside the enemy that would leave a nice path for our thermite breath to slide down? You're my kind of weapon!
10k for Old Growth
25k energy capacitor
This is going to take a while

>30cm wide
I took out a tape measure just to be sure. Holy HECK that is a big sword.
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>Holy HECK that is a big sword.

When I called it Zero's Future Sword I wasn't joking.
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A most dangerous triangle.
>Old Growth
These are the ones I'm sure of, leaving me with 40k

>Thagomizer Pick 5k
>Ice Element 10k
>Energy Capacitor
>Spectrum Blade: Harvester
Gaea Bolg sounds better for killshots, but the pick has armor pen. With only 2 gear slots, that leaves Gaia Sword as our main means of a reach weapon. 30cm length loss compared to Zanbato is pretty painful, but those caltrops should synergize better with getting on fire.

....I'm not terribly satisfied with this lineup, but I don't like what our melee situation would look like if we picked up zanbato.
Got an hour 'til I'm home, so I'll see what the votes are like then. Might even leave it overnight.

This can be a strong upgrade, and it was not guaranteed, so good job having and using his weakness. The payday would have been much lesser if you had just beaten him into escape, like the X3 wandering sub-bosses.
>VWES: Harvester or Zanbato
Will the saber pack recharge the aforementioned Spectrum Blade options?
Not speaking for everyone, but given vote volume I think it's fair to say the fish upgrade might be a lock. That'd put us at 50k afterward.

Old Growth also seems like a must, Arbor Wall has been so very good to us. Leaves us with 40k.

Capacitor I think we could wait on. Some of the higher-power saber options are pretty tempting but I think they necessitate Orangutank's hardpoint+saber charger. 6 seconds of combat use is not a lot.

There's also the charge system--how will it interact with hardpoint stuff that carries its own charge capacity? That could be a major aspect of our decision.

I had a friend over so I didn't closely examine our saber options, but I think Gaea Bolg has hellish damage potential (I mean, I'm definitely biased, I pitched the original version).

Literally all of them are great, but the greatest of them are also hampered by intense energy/time restrictions. Let's discuss that--the hardpoint seems like a must-have, the question is when and how we apply it. Thoughts?
It will, yes.

Hi-beams have a limited active use per mission. Hardpoint + Saber Pack removes that limit.
by the way

>Aqua Kelpie
is he alright?

I'll repeat my thoughts on Gaea Bolg:

It's a great option, it really is. The problem is what we're left with afterwards. Gaea Bolg means giving up on a long reach weapon entirely, and we're either left with a plain lophase or the Pick. With how much raw damage Gaea Bolg has packing, I don't think the Pick's armor pierce will really matter anymore.

If we grab Zanbato, then Gaia Blade doesn't pack quite enough punch and we lose out on armor pen.
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By the other token, if we opt to bring the Gaea Bolg and the Pick, we can create big old rents in the armor, stab them with the Gaea Bolg for maximum effect, get the brambles/thorns, and THEN set the motherfucker on fire.

That's a hell of a lot of damage, and we've got nothing but As ahead of us.
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It's like this. Right now you have a buster in your arm and a Melter emitter in your mouth. Both can fire at once, but only one at a time can hold a charge, because your body can only hold one charge at a time. Currently.

With Energy Capacitor, you can move that charge between two devices to save valuable seconds of windup, but only one device may use it at a time.

Adding another buster to a hardpoint (Charge, RF, or upgraded RF) just adds another device. The Energy Capacitor can handle it.


Aqua Kelpie was the discarded corpse you found in the intro stage. He was the commander of the 12th Tropical outpost that Repliforce attacked.You took a moment to send him off with a few paragraphs from Terry Pratchett.
This picture is retarded and I can't stand it.
What's wrong with it? I think it looks really good.
That's a lot of setup, though. I can see it working for Girtabomb, but I'm not so sure about humpback. And for all three of them, I think having the range to hit them at all is more critical.

changing >>2746249

>Old Growth

>Saber Pack
>Spectrum Blade: Harvester

thinking about Morpho for next fight, and the Pick will not be helpful there.
so at what point do we get the option to become a dragon? Is that when we hit S rank?
Might be when we figure out a way to fly. Whether by using Humpback's DNA to continuously generate a water sphere around us(at least in cyberspace), or some sort of additional thrusters and specialized fins from Morpho.
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Did someone say GAY BULGES?

As a fatefag I can't not pick that option.

>Old Growth
Just makes it even better
>Ginrin Showa
Because why not
As for the other options I'd like to get a saber pack but Gaea Bolg will make our hi-phase no longer benefit from having one, so...
Morning. Clopening is a war crime. Probable runoff vote to occur later. I'll still take votes in the meantime.
Cant clop, fish lay eggs.
I suspect what was meant was the employment warcrime that is a closing shift followed by an opening shift the next day. Though with talk of horses upthread...
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>Old Growth (10,000z)
>Ginrin Showa (30,000z)

Remaining Zenny: 40,000


Select one or neither:
>Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
>Energy Capacitor (25,000z)

Select one:
>Gaea Bolg (evolves hi-beam)
>Harvester (evolves hi-beam)
>Zanbato (super-evolves lo-beam)
>>Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
>Harvester (evolves hi-beam)
Your suspicion is correct. No horses involved.

... Well okay there's an equestrian trail near the park where I work, but other than that...
I know this vote's been up for a minute, but have we got discussion time before we commit to the vote? I kinda want to roll the ball around with other readers.
Screw it, gotta start somewhere.

Right now we have a very strong ranged game--buster, thermite rockets, raw thermite in a nearby splash, and the now-fully-upgraded koi. The biggest problem is only being able to really use one at a time.

Melee we've put some good investment into but comparatively it's very low, and Spectrod's data is definitely going to be a big booster however we take it.

Gaea Bolg looks like it's self-sufficient as it is. If we go with Harvester or Zanbato, we're going to need that saber pack, though, full stop. If we take Gaea Bolg, we might want to boost the other saber to a hibeam.

The other factor is the "inspired" cryo data booster. Applying that to a weapon for the thermal shock applications seems like a must-have.
How the hell did you get dubs then trips HC
>Gaea Bolg
>Energy Capacitor
Save the remaining cash.
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>Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
>>Gaea Bolg (evolves hi-beam)
>Energy Capacitor (25,000z)
wait.. looking at the zanbato properly and that we can further improve it with more data, guess I will go >Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
Zanbato instead.
I'm sure we can stuff another Mav into it and turn it into some crazy weapon.
True, but bear in mind we already did the "improved with more data" on the Gaia Saber, which is why it's been so strongk. I think it'll also have good synergy with the Energy Capacitor, whenever we get it, because we can build charge, switch to Prominence if something gets in close, and do the fire/stake combo.
Right, I need to go do things, so officially voting on the runoff before I bail.
>Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
>Zanbato (super-evolves lo-beam)

I'd really like to go for Gaea Bolg, but for the sake of not deadlocking us again I'll go for the Zanbato. I certainly don't think it's going to hurt us.
>Hardpoint (25,000z) + Saber Pack (15,000z)
>Zanbato (super-evolves lo-beam)

This honestly sounds like the best option to me.
Hmmm.. you have points, but at the same time there is another use for the Zanbato. It's larger size doesn't make me think of offense. It makes me think Defense. We could use it to block sabers and melee and go with a counter. If there was a way to add phase to it, it'd be a rechargable and rather nasty saber.
Its a shame we can only pick one. Gaea Bolg is a high beam with low beam longevity thanks to the spikes so long as we have stakes, and the Zanbato is a sort of super high beam.. though I am not sure if it's battery time is better or worse.
Votes locked, Hardpoint + Saber Pack + Zanbato it is.

Unfortunately I need to prep for shift change and then go home, so the post will happen later this afternoon.

Now might be a good time to start thinking about your next Maverick. Voting for that can actually start right now, because why not, but the decision point in the narrative will be later. There's time to think and rethink!


>Known Weaponry:
Clutch Bomb, Denial Vulcan, Beam Skate, War Tail
>File Data:
A hotshot pro racer allied with Repliforce and helped them take over the Maracaibo Battle & Chase Speedway. A neighboring automotive plant is producing heavy combat assets for what’s left of Repliforce. Go in and stop the enemy’s production.
>Available Support:
1st Advance

>Known Weaponry:
Chorus Cannon, Shock Lance, Depth Note, Bubble Net
>File Data:
A protective former 6th Unit squad leader who abandoned her post and allied with a crew of pirates. Her forces and supporters have based themselves on a South Atlantic wave-farm rig and declared it the Free State of Light, attracting criminals, ex-Repliforce, and other Mavericks. Dangerous alliances may form here; prevent them. Be advised that some of the undesirables are human.
>Available Support:
6th Marine Armada

ARC MORPHO (A-class)
>Known Weaponry:
Dancing Spark, Shining Spark, Photon Lance, Photon Glare, Falling Glass
>File Data:
A zealous SIGINT specialist and former 0th Unit member, calculating and fond of misdirection. Morpho and her Repliforce contingent are occupying an antenna array in the Andes and using it as a propaganda and coordination hub. Silence her lies and Repliforce loses a key tactical asset.
>Available Support:
2nd Reconnaissance
Chaser Girtabomb. I'm tired of these motherfucking victroid customs in my motherfucking stages.
I'm thinking Girtabomb. No more dash-equipped Victoroids and Giga Death. The maxed-out koi will help us mitigate speed differences.
I wonder what the upgrade would've been on a normal hi-beam.

>Chaser Girtabomb
Might as well.
>Chaser Girtabomb

Gotta go fast, everybody.
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It'd be nice to stop their propaganda and news hacks in their tracks, and having a SIGINT specialist mucking things up in the background has been asking for trouble.
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It’s a tough choice, but Skittle made it easier on you. Honestly, how could you resist a sword with that name?

Golau hovers in place, happily patient.

“Are you an engineer too?” You ask.

They smile. “A little!”

“That’s cute, Golau, but synthesis is harder than it sounds, and I want to take the hardpoint too. I’m pretty sure that’s not download and go.”

“Oh, well in that case I have full modification tailoring files on all of Fourth’s officers!” Golau holds out their arms and spins, shedding constellations. “They didn’t know how long they’d be, so I can follow instructions to the letter and square you straight away, I can!”

You’re wary of letting “a little” of an engineer under your hood, but there’s something infectious about Golau’s cheer, and you suppose they are Skittle’s sibling after all. What’s the worst that could happen?

“In that case, can you set me up with a hardpoint on my upper back and stick a saber pack to it?”

“Absolutely!” The fairy flits over to a tool rack. “And your DNA weapon?”

“This one,” you select, “Zanbato.”

“Ooooh that’ll be a fright, it will.” They flit over to a rack of saber parts. “Anything else?”

“Not right now. Gotta save just in case, y’know?”

“That’s so good to hear. A zenny saved is a zenny earned! I bet you’re such a positive influence on our Skittle.”

You decline comment as you sit on the slab.

“Soooo, tell me about yourself?” Golau gathers tools and spare cables.

“Wait, you actually want to talk?”

“Of course, silly! Why wouldn’t I?”

“It’s just that Skittle usually goes uh-huh and mutters and swears while they’re working.”

“Oh dear, I’ll have to appeal to them not to do that. It just does not do to waste a chance to make someone happy!”

How in the freaking world are these two related, you wonder.

You chatter and laugh with Golau Gwyfyn while the work is done. It’s certainly slower going than it would be with Skittle, owing to pauses while they check and double-check instructions, but by the end you have a plug-and-go hardpoint port on your back behind your head. Attached is a hexagon, four sides tapering flush with your armor and two sides ending in saber ports. Golau ensures that both your Gaia Sword and brand new Zanbato will fit.

“Just remember which side is which,” they remind you, “it can’t pivot.”

“Right. And if I wanted something else mounted there?”

“A quick switch, easy peasy. Here, try the Zed sword. Just be careful!”

You reach up and grab it. Golau flits aside. You point the crossguard and summon a triangle of death, a meter-long plasma spade humming louder than an ordinary hi-beam would… and casting a bright golden glow. You turn it over in your hand.


“Like lemon drops!” Golau excitedly shakes their fists by their cheeks. “Hit something troublesome with this and it will just melt away – hee hee, get it?”

The beam shrinks and fizzles, its time spent. You holster it like a boss.

“High up on the chimney tops?”

Golau laughs like sunlight. “Oh my, no wonder Skittle hasn’t introduced us yet! I wouldn’t let you go either!”

You pointedly clear your throat and head for the door. “Think I’ll be on my way now. Thanks for the work.”

Golau follows you out into the medbay. “Absolutely! Any time! Please call again, this was such fun!”

OH GOD THERE’S TWO OF THEM!” Someone shouts.

Panic seizes the medical professionals. Skittle has arrived at the other end of the room. Lifesavers drop what they’re doing and hide under desks and terminals. Nurses scream and flee into operating rooms. The rooms already occupied scramble to turn their windows opaque. Vitamin, lucklessly caught in the middle, looks between Skittle and Golau and takes off down the hall at a mad sprint. A breathless moment passes before you hear glass breaking in his direction.

Skittle thumbs their nose and sniffs.

“Somethin’ I said, like?”


“Everyone,” announces Turtle to the assembled in the Command Room, “it’s my pleasure to formally introduce our new heavy-defense melee and Requisitions officer, Iron Monitor.”

You and the other officers of Fourth Overland give him a smattering of applause, mostly from Deco. Faces you seldom see, Fourth’s behind-the-scenes warrant officers, look in from terminal screens. Flurry is among them, and Golf Niner, and members of the Cabochon series. The whole introduction assembly is new, and Turtle’s idea; you remember Jaguar gave you a friendly pound on the back and a “Welcome aboard, don’t live in the bar.”

You guess Turtle is thinking of him too.

“Though none can truly replace former Commander Jaguar, Monitor will be filling his tactical role on the field. At home, he will take over as Quartermaster from Windsor,” she indicates a Howlite watching remotely, “once he’s settled in. Please see him for equipment and deployment needs. Anything you’d like to add about yourself, Monitor?”

“No ma’am,” he looks around at all the faces. “I know my stuff, so you can rely on me, no matter what it’s for. Look forward to working with you all.”
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“Thank you,” Turtle concludes. “There’s much work yet to do. Let’s meet it together, Fourth.”

She closes the spectators’ windows and turns her attention to the central holoscreen. The higher-clearance material begins. “Now, as to the state of the Hunters more broadly…”

News clips and still images pop up, pointing to various locations. The Repliforce R and Maverick E feature heavily, some in the very same place.

“It seems that Major Quartus has no compunctions about allying with known Mavericks. We’ve confirmed sightings of Chemistree Dracaena, Ultravion Fly, and even Dark Necrobat working directly in tandem with the remnants of Repliforce Special Forces. They’re typical of the significant investment the Mavericks are providing in support of Repliforce offensives.”

“Opportunists,” Skittle grumbles.

“Quite. Their presence frees up resources for Repliforce proper. Expect any such areas of operation to be thicker with foes. If your roster includes one, keep in touch with your navigators at all times, and don’t be afraid of calling in deployments where tactics allow.”

One? Yours includes three. Heck.

“Can we call in partners too?” Deco asks.

“Not at this time,” Nouveau answers. “We’re more concerned with the quantity of their attacks than the quality, so Sloth feels that doubling up would be… inefficient.”

“Just Sloth?” Volt asks, the question loaded.

Turtle fires it. “Yes, and no one higher.” She brings up an image of Halcyon and his eminently punchable smile. “Against all logic and sense, Halcyon currently remains in office. Still. I’ve personally informed him, to his face, that until such time as the Oversight Council evicts his sorry behind, I will consider my chain of command to stop at Base Commander Sloth. I’ve also said as much to Oversight itself, in politer terms. You’ll notice I haven’t been fired for insubordination? This is because the majority of unit commanders and a plurality of base commanders have followed my lead.”

“With more by the hour,” Nouveau adds.
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“Which ones aren’t?” You ask, trying to feel out the shape of a possible schism.

“A minority,” Turtle waves off. “They’ll come around. But for now, I want to make clear that despite my… outspoken disdain for Alleged Commander Halcyon, there will be no repercussions for any of you if you disagree with me. You are free to form your own opinions of him, and neither holding nor expressing them will in any way affect future assignments, performance reviews, equipment access, et cetera et cetera. I’d be out swifter than Halcyon if I gave favors or demerits for political opinion, so I won’t. And if you feel that I’m doing so, tell me. I’m through tolerating it from him and I will not tolerate it in myself. Should I slip, I need all of you to keep me fair. Understood?”

“Yes ma’am,” you and the rest assent.

“Then that will be all. Stay safe out there. Dismissed.”

The group breaks up.

>Select your next Maverick.
>Converse with your friends.
>Do something else. (specify)

>Do something else. (specify)
I do want to have that chat with Skittle (and maybe see more of Golau) after we pinned our nightmare bug.
Agreed with this.
>>Do something else. (specify)
>Use Spazer Account to taunt our next target. In a stupidly polite, very Meteor fashion.
>ARC MORPHO (A-class)
I was gonna say I'm okay with dashing mechaniloids if it means getting that propaganda down faster

>Talk to Skittles.
Plenty of stuff. What they know of Soul Format, what kind of upgrades Zanbato could take, the next step in turning into a dragon tech, etc.

Skittle heads out first. You follow.

“Hey, wait up.”

“Funny, that’s my line,” they mutter out in the hall.

They keep on fluttering away, so you keep on following. “You’re upset I didn’t take you.”

“No, I was upset when Golau didn’t put my tools back the way I like. What I am with you is perturbed, trending up to aggravated. When Proteus put you on the case, I kept waiting and waiting for the call, ‘Hey Skittle, heck gosh, it sure would be stupid great if you could freakin’ help be beat the crap out of the guy who near murdered me.’ Kept waiting, I did, for you to call me in and let me get some goddamn payback, take the safeties off my fun guns and turn that friend-stealing son of five strangers into paint and vapor. Waited and waited. Then I got the signal that you were on-site with Shaun the Sheep. I just about wrote you out of my will.”

You didn’t even know you were on it.

“Skittle, you said yourself he could cut through a shield refresh. And I’m pretty sure he did. All you have is shields. You might’ve died.”

“I might’ve died a hundred times this month!” They throw their hands up, crossing into the skybridge overlook. “You think I mind might’ves anymore? And aside that, I’m your handler, dammit, I can’t keep you safe or alive if I’m stuck at home with my thumbs up the asshole I don’t have, and I sure as hell can’t kill who needs killing if you don’t trust me enough to know I know what I’m doing.”

“It’s not about trust,” you insist, “it’s just tactics. I can’t keep you safe or alive if I keep bringing you into fights with people tailored to your weakness.”

“You’re not my mum. All the Mavericks understand is violence, and I’d have made him know me, oh yes, and it’d’ve been full circle, like. Me taking the life from him, after he…”

They flit to a stop in midair. You seem to have an audience of a few regulars already lounging in the overlook.

“After he what?” You prompt.

They cross their arms. They huff.

“Talk to me, Skittle.”

They look up to the clear dome, to the baked-on message from your brief shenanigans pranking Deco several days ago. I LOVE MY FRIENDS, the message reads, at a slight diagonal.

“He took you,” they sigh, “but I took you back. It’s our goddamned job to excel at this violent future they gave us. And then you kept me from doing the best I could for you. It hurt. Just a little.”
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“I’m sorry.”

The tension in their voice fades with a chuckle. “No you’re not. You’re right thrilled, ‘cause how could you ever do without me, huh?”

“Oh, it’d be tough.” You step closer, and they allow it. “Nobody to swear for me. Nobody to turn me into the best war machine I could be. Except maybe Golau,” you tease.

“Christ in traffic,” they laugh, moving on, “Golau couldn’t fit you for real ultraviolence if they tried. They’re perfect for the mascot biz, not so much what the future needs.”

“They staying long?”

“Bit, sure. The old park’s down for maintenance. Some kid took a tumble out an unmoored teacup. Mascot had some free time and came to see their favorite sib, so I put ‘em up for the nonce.”

You pause. “Wait, favorite? Don’t tell me there’s more of you.”

“Just us. Why, the thought of it fill you with dread?”

“I just didn’t want Vitamin doing a swan dive out another window…”

You laugh together, and return to Golau. Despite what they just told you, Skittle is generous with their praise in your upgrades, and offers civil advice on how to do it better. They never insult or belittle their sibling, not even once. It’s a little strange to see, but you suppose everyone has their soft spot.

>Do something else. (specify)
>Speak with someone else. (specify)
>Select your next Maverick.
skittles, you cray.
>Select your next Maverick.
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See if we can pry some unprofessionalism out of Skittle. Activity-wise, not just dialogue and behaviorally. They're our friend, dammit, let's do what friends do.
>Despite what they just told you, Skittle is generous with their praise in your upgrades, and offers civil advice on how to do it better.

This is out of character.

Skittle would offer *criminal* advice on how to do things better.
For literally anyone else, sure. But Golau has an actual peaceful future, in Skittle's estimation, and they (Skittle) wouldn't want to teach things to ruin it for them (Golau).

The power of sibling emotional balance!
>Check Spazr/news
Does the public know that various Commanders have broken from Halcyon?
I would imagine that's something the hunters in general would want to keep under wraps for now. Infighting only shows weakness, and the hunters can't afford that at any time, but especially not now.
On the other hand, an obvious lack of faith might force them to replace him faster. If everything seems to be business as usual, it might just blow over.
Maybe, but it sets a bad standard for things and turns being the commander into even more of a popularity contest with the civilians. In the US military, active service members are not allowed to politically protest in uniform, nor are they really allowed to publicly denounce anyone further up their chain of command. This helps keep things in harmony and promotes an image of cohesion while quiet internal audits, investigations, and court-martials get rid of those who aren't beneficial to the army.

If Hal pissed the right people off, and I'm very certain he did, no amount of unit leaders publicly bitching about him is going to make much of a a difference in his eventual removal.
To expand on this, let's not forget that in addition to pissing off the people who oversee him, Hal has likely earned the ire of the two most important maverick hunters:

Zero - During the course of the Repliforce war, he was forced to fight and kill someone who was basically his girlfriend. He was likely against this stunt in the first place - and its catastrophic failure almost certainly has him PISSED. As the former defacto commander after Sigma's defection, Zero's word must still carry a lot of weight with the hunters. Not to mention his role as the leader of the hunter equivalent of the " 'oh shit' button" unit.

X - X hates unnecessary conflict, or maybe I should say X hates war in general. Because of the additional loss of life Hal's goof will incur, he is at the very least upset. Further, considering his bromance with Zero, he's probably a lot more than upset. And as the literal father of all reploids, there is no hunter more influential.
Back at work, yay morning shifts. Post to come sometime. Continue voting/discussion as you like.
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“… but leg conduits are denser,” Skittle indicates, “which is why I said to use them on the hardpoint tap.”

“I see, I see,” Golau cups their chin and nods at a blueprint of you.

“Not that your typical arm components would be insufficient, but leg bits let you add heavier junk later without running another set and filling up space in the frame.”

“I see, I see…”

You could watch Skittle being uncharacteristically helpful all day, but you figure you’re due a funtimes break.

“Hey, you two want to talk shop forever or go do something fun?”

“Fuuuun?” Golau inwardly gasps, their smile going right up to their hair.

“Now you’ve gone and done it,” Skittle pinches between their eyes.

“Oh, there’s lots of fun things to do,” you roll on. “Not a lot would be busy in the middle of the day, either.”

Golau clasps their hands under their chin and flutters over to you, eyes huge and sparkly.

“I’ve always wanted…”


“To ride one of those chaser things…”

Skittle shakes their head and makes frantic neck-cutting motions behind Golau’s back.

“They’re so pretty… and so fast…” Golau whispers, reverently. “I imagine they’re like roller coasters… you’re so lucky, riding them whenever you want… even Skittle had one for a while…”

They turn to Skittle, who instantly transitions from strangulation motions to an exaggerated thinking pose.

“I dunno, Golau, they might be all taken…”

“We can look,” you offer, teasingly helpful.

“We can,” Skittle shoots you a withering stare.

“Oh happy day, hooray hooray!” Golau speeds out the door, clapping merrily.

Skittle seems to be trying to melt you with their stare.


“You’ve given sugar to a toddler. If they hurt themselves out there I’ll fill your insides with confetti and beat you with your own tail ‘til the floor looks like New Year’s.”

“It’s sweet how you’re protective of them.”

Skittle’s anger melts into… you’re not sure what.

“They’re what I should’ve been. Head full of rainbows, eyes the thickest windows on a world full of good. A mirror brightly.” They blink, and the moment passes. “Let’s steal some fuckin’ bikes.”

You don’t actually steal them. The underground Requisitions garage, not far from the Eighth Hour, bustles with trucks coming in and out. HQ Veracruz is a physical shipping hub, after all, so a lot of material passes through. The insignia of 3rd Deploy is stamped on everything.

It’s an easy task to find a pair of ride chasers and sign out for them. You spot Windsor and Monitor in discussion by the loading bay, but you know garage procedure doesn’t require their eyes on every transaction. There’s just too many moving parts at any one time. You finish the e-paperwork and you’re on your way.
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“Right turns only,” Skittle insists, sitting behind their sibling. Golau’s face looks ready to explode from childlike glee. They rev the engine.

The ride is actually dull as heck, but the whooping laughter from the two-fairy chaser lets you enjoy it by osmosis. You have plenty of time to check your Spazer news aggregator on your HUD.

The brief service interruption earlier today was due to a hardware upgrade at our main office. We are proud to serve the reploid community as Earth’s premier social media network. Please enjoy our newly bias-free news feeds, updated user interface bar, and properly shaped user icons…

Mei Qi, Earth’s last panda, has successfully given birth via in-vitro fertilization, the WPRC has reported. The persistence of needless biological relics such as them has nothing on the righteous endurance of Repliforce and their Revolutionary allies…

The city of Maracaibo is currently enjoying only partial Repliforce assistance in its disaster response due to unwarranted resistance by local police and Hunter meddling, putting the entire population at risk…

The popular and charming President of the United States has bravely voiced support for Hunter Commander Halcyon, in clear defiance of what some rumors suggest is an imminent violent schism within the much-troubled organization…

Have you ever considered living a life free from government regulation? Do you enjoy the boundless horizon of possibilities that only oceanic habitation can offer? Do you own your own weapons? Then new employment opportunities may await you…

Should the Hunters distance themselves from the famously strident anti-reploid racism of their founder? They fight the Revolutionaries, true, but what originated the militarism of their conflict? Join us as we host an equal-time moderated discussion…

Freaking heck.

You do another lap of the HQ. Golau’s endless happiness splashes over you like rain on glass. You’re glad that they’re having a good time, but all you can think about is the work you’re not doing.

You return the chasers to their spots and sign them in.

“—And then we went WHOOSH, and then I made it go fast and it went BVVRRREE—”

Skittle pats them on the head. “Yes, our Golau, that’s very nice…”

“I’m heading back to it,” you announce. “You two take care now.”

“Of course of course!” Golau snatches your hand and hugs your arm. “You’re so nice! I can tell we’re going to be the best of friends!”

Skittle gives you the look of elder siblings everywhere. You understand it implicitly.

You march back to the Command Room, determination in every seam of your face.

Select your next Maverick.

Previous Maverick votes in-thread still count, of course.
that's not even subtle anymore, this is full control and that's horrifying
It's early yet in the Spazer takeover, but yes, your favorite social media site has been compromised. It's not the only such site, and certainly not the only source of news, but it reaches a lot of people.
>Arc Morpho
Bitch trashed our social media. Unforgivable!
Bloody hell. Media warfare is a bitch to deal with. While more speedsters are bad, if we want to clean shit up we are going to have to remove Arc Morpho before they make this even messier.
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Hrm. I began this post changing my vote, but now I'm not so sure.

As nice as it would be to tackle Morpho, remember she and Humpback are two of our "high" A-class threats, while Girtabomb is only an average. We only just got our rank back. We might be better served both getting another bite of upgrades from a relatively softer target, and denying future custom mechaniloid support to ease up our final customers.

Yeah, I'm going to make it official and stay with Girtabomb. Odds are good when we're back from that hunt we can get both the charge storage upgrade and drop 20k on an Inspired elemental upgrade for the Zanbato.
We should also keep in mind that Morpho and Humpback are probably working together. The longer we leave Morpho, the more meat shields Humpback's going to have to throw at us. Emphasis on "meat."

It also doesn't help that Humpback is probably Morpho's weakness, too. Like Flame Mammoth and Chill Penguin, except instead of scrubs they're A-rank bawses.

In short, we can't stop at thinking who to go for next; we need to think about the order of the last two as well.

If girtabomb is supplying Humpback with heavy artillery, that's just going to make it even harder to avoid hitting human combatants.

I think we should take out Humpback last, which means fighting Morpho without her weakness. And that means we need whatever Giratbomb can give us in terms of upgrades.

It hurts because I wanted to go for Morpho early, but she was too strong, and now it's too late for that.

Votes cast, line drawn, Morpho wins by a single vote, 6-5.

Post impending.
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You could name ten people you know well who get their news exclusively from Spazer. You trust them not to be fooled by the blatant propaganda, but how many reploids around the world would be nudged the wrong way?

More importantly, if Morpho remotely took over, it means her reach is spreading like so many butterfly wings. Repliforce's coordination could stand to be taken down a few pegs. And you’re pretty darn tired of running into comm jamming.

The greatest weapon in any war is information, and she’s gaining ground. Time to put a stop to it.

You make your selection.

“Commander, I’m going bug hunting. Again.”

“Much appreciated,” Turtle replies. “I know Second will be effusive in their praise, but remember you’ll be helping much of the continent as well. To say nothing of Spazer.”

“How’s the other news covering it?”

“Commenters on rival networks are suspecting the takeover is Trapdoor Spinner again. We’re not correcting them yet.” Turtle swivels her chair to you. “She’s former Zeroth, remember – we’d prefer to retire her before giving her free press. And though I don’t doubt you… should you fail, Seventeenth is next in the queue.”

“Understood. What can I take along for deploy?”

“For her? Nothing. Not that Requisitions isn’t ready, but reasons will be made clear upon landing.” Turtle swivels her chair back. “Show that traitor what real Hunters can do, Lieutenant.”

“Yes ma’am.”

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You beam down into familiar desolation. You know this rocky wind-blasted desert. You know that Andean horizon. Your GPS confirms it: you’re in the Atacama again, a significant distance north-northwest of the hunting park of the late Corona Sphynx. Your receiving site is less an outpost than a listening post, your beam-in pad nestled in a ring of rocks on a slope. A larger ring of cloak emitters receives the bottom of the faintly shaded bubble cast over the facility from its tallest antenna.

“ねえちゃゃゃゃゃゃゃん~!” A voice squeals, all the warning you get before your youngest sister gives you a real Deco of a hug.

“Asagi?!” You strain.

Blue and white arms embrace you as an orange and white face smashes its cheek to yours. “They didn’t tell me you had Morpho!”

“They didn’t tell me you were my support!”

“Oh those jerks!” Swift Asagi lets go to pound her fist in her palm. “First they stick a fish in the dang desert, then Spazer goes all agitprop, now this? Thanks Halcyon...”

“Why are we even in the desert? I thought Morpho was up in the Andes.”

Asagi beckons you indoors. “Oh, she is. C’mere, c’mere.”

You step inside. The facility is typical of 2nd Recon’s listening posts: small and cramped, more space given over to scanners and hardware than comfort. Asagi’s sleep capsule is plastered in Sanrio stickers. She scoots past it and takes the only chair in front of a wall-length terminal screen.

You see the problem immediately. While most of the map bristles with live data, a large chunk of the Andes is a solid black circle.

“That’s where your butterfly pinned herself,” Asagi points, right to business. “Basically every sort of signal trying to shove in gets interdicted. Couldn’t be more of an intel blackout for current status, but here’s an overlay of the site as of last month.” Outlines of satellite pits, dishes dug straight into the mountaintops, sprinkle the center of the blackout zone. “The facility is right in the middle, and the diameter of her coverage means she’ll see you coming. You take one step in and you’ll have her full attention.”

“The angry kind of attention?”

“Angry and buzzy.” Asagi brings up live footage. A few specks fly above the mountains. “Spy Copters and Bee Bladers on the rim, Metal Hawks further in, probably other air assets.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Not even a little. Some scraps of the Air Force linked up after Primus’s speech. You walk in, you’ll get swarmed before you’re over the first mountain.”


“Aaaand it gets worse.” She brings up recorded footage of a Hunter aircraft being shot down by a laser from the mountains. “That was a First Advance squad learning that she installed anti-air force beams.”



“So if I’m not walking, and flying’s clearly out…”

“Oh, I never said flying was out,” she grins.
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“Lookie here.” She zooms in on the map. Something or other is under construction on the flattened peak of a mountain relatively near the listening post. You recognize VTOL pads and mostly-completed hangars…

“Airport?” You guess.

“Airport. They’re building it as we speak. There are a couple heavy copters there right now, on standby. It’s outside the blackout, and with the steady increase of her signal strength we’re guessing it’ll stay outside for another week or so.”

“So you’re suggesting…”

“No, sis, I’m telling you that’s your way in. Hijack something big and airworthy and they won’t know it’s you until it’s too late.” She stands up. “And here’s how you’ll do that…”

She leans back her head and puffs out her cheeks. She spits a miniature asagi koi drone into the air – and then three more. The four of them orbit you.

You rub one under the throat. “Full set?”

“You bet. They still have the stock laser, but I loaded each one with a tuna and remora suite just now. Their range is unlimited, and they’ll stick to a mechaniloid and make it your super best friend. Or they can stick to a reploid and turn off their guns.”


“Isn’t it?” Asagi beckons a fish over and she pets it. “But don’t get greedy. Escort at least one of my babies to something big and you’ll have your ride in.”

“Then what?”

Asagi starts pulling cables out of strategic parts of her chair and connecting them to herself -- arms, neck, chest. “Well, then it’s up to you. The best and only navigation you’re going to get is my comm channel routed through my fish. I’ll use the whole post for a signal boost, but the most I can give either of us is each drone’s range of vision. I know they’re dodgy, but try to protect them. Lose them all and you’ll go in blind and deaf, so to speak.”

So it’s a stealth escort mission, at least for starters. You’re not wild about those, but you don’t see an alternative...

>Mission Start.

Any odds of other opportunistic assets we could capture?

What's our plan B if we're made too early?

Has she probed outside the defenses, do we have to anticipate a counterattack?
>Mission Start
anything on Morpho? style of fighting, weaknesses?
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All the ways that this could go wrong are clear to you.

“What if I’m spotted before I can get airborne? I’m not exactly built for stealth.”

Asagi plugs cables into her hips. “Then hurry and grab something anyway. At least it’ll cover distance. I’ll be in control of whatever my babies hack, so I’ll set you down before you’re shot down, sis, I promise.”

“Okay. Set me down where, exactly?”

Your sister tilts her head. The screen responds, bringing up a cascade of archival photos of the central facility, a bristly forest of comm towers rising from the dish arrays and giant radio telescopes. “With any luck, right on top of her.”

You lean on the back of her chair. “And with no luck?”

“Further back. The idea here is to buy you distance. The less ground you have to cover, the better. Expect a sky full of counterattacks until you get inside.”

“They really couldn’t spring for some deployment assists?” You shake your head. “Birds, planes, super-artillery?”

“Not with Morpho at the controls, no. They’d all get shot down or baffled and then shot down.”

“One last thing. Any opinions on her weaknesses, her style?”

“I’m about area tactics, sis, not fighting high-values. You know as much as I do.”

“So lightning, lasers, Zeroth-unit-style fakeouts… I’ll think of something.” You push off the chair. “I’ve had harder just today.”

Asagi reaches back and clenches as much of your arm as she can get a hand on. “Be careful.”

“I will,” you promise.

“I’ll keep Command in the loop. We’ve got some air power of our own ready to sweep in just as soon as the blackout goes down. Once you’re done, call back, then hunker down and let the storm pass.”

You hug your sister around the back of the chair. “Thanks. Love you.”

“Does Fourth always dither like this?” She jokes. “Get going.”

You do so.

Followed by a tiny school of fish drones, you leave the listening post and start climbing. You keep to low points, all the ravines and obscured lines of sight you can find as you scale the slope. It goes on a while.

“So,” Asagi pipes up in your ear, “you liking the drones?”

You climb into a crevasse. “They’re good. Tight formation, low profile…”

“I meant yours. The ones your fairy friend got from us.”

“Oh, right. They’re great, all three of your data packages are synthesized into the template now. They really come in handy. Even when I make ‘em explode.”

“Uhhh beg pardon?”

You climb out. “I had Skittle mod them to kamikaze into any target I want.”



“Showa my sister I love you dearly but please don’t explode my babies.”

“I’ll try.”

One of the drones smacks you with a tailfin.
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You crest the slope and spot the airport one valley away, a currently-small facility being built on a decapitated mountain. A Bee Blader trundles in – wait, no, that’s a Droso Fill-R, a Repliforce light-cargo transport based on an old paratrooper carrier. It looks a little like a fruit fly. A handful of workers, specks at this distance, rush to service it.

“Building materials,” Asagi comms. Her fish watch with intent. “They’ve got all the bodies they need to focus on construction. Expect more little airports up and down the Andes if they get their way.”

“Won’t happen,” you promise as you descend.

The hike is blessedly uneventful, save for overflights of more Fill-Rs that Asagi easily sees coming. The mountain valley bottom is sandy and scrubby and rocky and much more exposed than you like, but your quicker-cycle dash takes you to the steeper other side.

Asagi's voice cuts in. “Crap, flat to the rocks! Now!”

You don’t ask why. You make friends with a divot in the slanted rock wall, but keep your head up to see better.

A lone Knot Beret patrols a narrow trail some thirty meters above you. He and the trail are right between you and the most expedient path to the hangars.

>Take him out quick.
>Let him pass.
And thanks to my sister for Showa's new mugshot. I think I'll lead threads with it from here on.
>>Let him pass.
Morpho will be on that like nobody's business. Unless we can get multiple berets down across the whole andes, its not worth it.
>Take him out quick.
Asagi's drones don't count against the limit of drones we can deploy, do they?
>Let him pass.

If they're onto us, they'll either attack or play dumb. Either way, we're made. If they're not onto us, this is the only way we keep them from figuring out we're here.

And man, that portrait is good work.
Nope. Her four do not count against your two. They're her special weapon, so she's driving them.
>Let him pass.

This is a stealth misison, Snake. Anyway, if we take him out, we're caught anyway. Might as well take the risk.
I really like this picture of X.
>>Let him pass.
Our range options are not really stealthy and a missing patrol would call attention. If we are lucky, we can have Asagi drone four transports and use 3 as decoys.
>Let them pass

Also, Droso Fill-R, drosophila... That's good. That's real good.
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… This is a stealth infiltration, you remind yourself. What if he explodes too loudly?

You text-comm your sister. {He have friends?}

“Not nearby. You waiting?”

{Yeah. My LOS is crap, tell me when.}

A moment passes.


>[Flex +2]

Until now you’ve put your Flex Architecture parts to work by dodging. Only now do you appreciate how light you are and how quick you can move your weight. Your arm actually overshoots the drop-off and slams harder than you intended on the path. For a heart-stopping instant you strain to hear any footsteps, but the Knot doesn’t seem to be coming back. So you keep climbing.

Yeah, climb that waterfall, you motivate yourself.

The sheer slope gives way to another path. “Patrols coming, keep going!” Asagi rings in your ear, so you do. You can only trust her drones are behind you; they make no noise at all.

You reach the neck-stump of the headless mountain. The airport currently has four hangars, a fifth nearing completion and a sixth just starting. You’re on the side with the completed ones, which affords you some cover. Each of the hangar doors facing your side is shut and painted with a number, one through four. As you peer over the edge of the cliff, you see some Jammingers buzzing around.

You text-comm again. {Eyes in the sky.}

“Yeah, but look how most of them are aimed. Inwards. They’re work monitors, not specifically looking for you.”

{Didn’t think Repliforce needed whip-crackers.}

“Unless they’re not all Repliforce…”

You vault the edge, dash to the outside corner of a hangar and peer around. Reploids pass within view, and they don’t look like Knot Berets.


“Look across the way. More of ‘em on construction detail.”

Sure enough, the ones actually building the hangars don’t have the rotund profile of Repliforce grunts.

“Fewer than I might have thought,” Asagi continues. “No wonder it’s taking them a while to build.”

You look down the row of hangars. {I don’t see my ride.}

“They must be parked. I was watching the sky, I didn’t see anything leave.”

{Where’d they park the fruit fly?}

“It was number three, but there’s no telling how far it traveled. They might be doing maintenance on it or something, which would make it pretty hard to steal.”

{Okay, so first of all I need to see what’s in these hangars…}

Your Stealth level is currently 5. Suspicious actions will decrease your Stealth level, but so will the passage of time.

At a Stealth level of 0, all onsite hostiles will engage you.

Remote Koi can produce two drones to supplement Asagi’s four. Each one can unobtrusively cut into a hangar with their laser weapon and take a peek at the contents. More eyes on the case will produce better situational awareness. Your strategizing will proceed once all drones have finished their investigations.

>Produce additional koi.
>Keep the ones you have.

Send a total of…

>One drone…
>Two drones…
>Three drones…
>Four drones…
>Five drones…
>Six drones…

>One at a time…
>Half-total at a time…
>All at once…

… to investigate your choice of:

>Hangar 1
>Hangar 2
>Hangar 3
>Hangar 4
>The Jammingers’ positions.
>Your general area, for incoming patrols.

You may choose any number and combination of possible points of investigation, and send more than one drone to any.
>>Produce additional koi.
Send 1 Remote/Asagi pair to Hanger 3, and another pair to Hanger 4

1 Asagi is on
>Your general area, for incoming patrols.

While we keep the last Asagi. Can Showa investigate the Jammingers herself?
And to be clear, devoting drone attention to your surroundings will not decrease your Stealth level in and of itself. The fish will be subtle in their observation.

And "your strategizing will continue" is more accurate than "will proceed." You will have at least one more stage of planning after this one before going for grand theft aero.

Your line of sight is limited, being blocked by the height of Hangar 3 -- your cover -- and the proximity of the other hangars. The drones can fly up and peek over the top for vastly superior situational awareness.

The time of day is afternoon, for the record.

Sometimes mechaniloid names are just puns!
Okay, other way around then.

1 Asagi looks at the Jammingers, while Showa and the last Asagi look at the patrols and think about how to setup ambush/hiding points.
>Produce additional koi.
>4 drones
>half-total at a time
to investigate
>General area for patrols
Monitor what's going on outside for leads and general situational awareness. Take note of what's going on with the workers especially. Keep 2 of Asagi's koi in reserve.
>Produce additional koi.
Send a total of:
>Four drones
>One at a time
To investigate:
>Your general area, for incoming patrols.
>Jammingers' positions
>Hangar 3
>Hangar 4

Send our own koi to the further and riskier recon, keep Asagi's closer to our immediate areas.
Votes taken and synthesized, posting soonish.
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Decisions, decisions. You decide you can always do with more resources, so you pop out a pair of Remote Koi. The recent upgrades turned their patterning more toward yours, but dazzlingly shiny.



{Send 1 to watch the sky and 1 to watch patrols, give me a read on where workers are.}

One asagi drone swims up to the roof of Hangar 3. Another speeds down the hangar row, pausing at each gap to peek.

“Jammingers are on a dilating orbit. They’ll be right over your head in a couple passes, call it two minutes or less. Ground patrol is light, two pairs of Knots, but if they don’t double back their current vector they’ll be coming near you. Workers, I count ten. Item Carrier mechaniloid labor assistance. Lot of eyes, not all on the job. Mind the gaps.”

{Copy.} You look back and forth, then double back to the dropoff edge. {Get eyes on 3 and 4. Near corners. I have far on same.}

You send your own koi to the furthest edges of your targeted hangars while Asagi’s stay near. The ones tasked to #4 pass the line of sight gap between it and #3. The fish laser the doors, melting little holes to spy through. You, meanwhile, peer over the edge; there’s a path far below, and a pair of Knots heading toward the top – toward the backs of the hangars, i.e. you – in a leisurely procession.

Your koi-vision HUD indicates that there are two Droso Fill-Rs in Hangar 3 and nothing but a barracks area in Hangar 4, currently populated with three Knot Berets and one Standard playing a card game at a communal table. They don’t notice your spy. You hurry back to where you started, the corner of Hangar 3.

{I see flies in #3, security in #4.}

“Can confirm, but my angle shows two workers in #3 doing checkups on the left one.”



Your Stealth level is currently 5 out of 5. A single Droso Fill-R will easily accommodate you and all drones with ample room to spare. The contents of Hangars 1 and 2 are currently unknown.

>Withdraw/move some fish. Specify location to/from.
>Keep fish where they are.

Workers in Hangar 3:
>Distract them.
>Attack them.
>Wait and observe them.

Off-duty security in Hangar 4:
>Distract them.
>Attack them.
>Wait and observe them.

>Send an asagi drone to begin hijacking the unattended Fill-R right now.
>Not yet – you need more intel.
are those workers civilians or repliforce?
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I wonder if we could covertly sabotage the other fliers in such a way as to leave the damage unnoticed until they were scrambled after us.

Keep one set of eyes on Hangar 3 and one on 4, recall the others. While we drop eaves, see if we can scout out another favorable position to relocate to.

Send two more on clear-ish approaches to the other two hangars. First one, then the other, minimize detection chance.
>Not yet – you need more intel.
Show us what's in boxes 1 and 2

They're civilian models, at least, no clue if they're there willingly or not.
They're civilian Repliforce sympathizers put to work.

There would have been more present, with construction (and hostiles) at a more advanced state, had you not disrupted Arbor Elk and Freezer Ostenops's operations.
Start hijacking. Remote is on overwatch, ready to make a distraction or meatshield to protect the Asagi.

Withdraw the Asagi watching the Jammingers, and the pair in Hanger 4.

Send the pair to Hanger 1, and 2 Asagis to Hanger 2.
Vote's been up a while, but I'll see what the next half hour adds before I bake the next post.

And I might be getting ahead of myself here, but if the thread ends in a cliffhanger, I'll start a new one right away.
Workers in Hangar 3:
>>Wait and observe them.

Off-duty security in Hangar 4:
>>Wait and observe them.
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This could be touchy. Well, no, it already is. But you wonder whether the other hangars have something better or worse for you, on the logic that they might be on your tail once you secure your ride.

{Send two, staggered, peek at the presents.}

“On it.” One asagi moves out.

{Need opinion. Where to bug out if I have to?}

“Alleys between the hangars, or just clear over the side.” Another asagi moves out. Your own showas remain, keeping an eye on proceedings in Hangars 3 and 4. The Fill-Rs in #3 stay put while the workers on the far one step inside the fly’s cargo space, tools in hand. The round of poker in #4 goes to the Standard Beret. No real tactical change. Good.

{Idea. Ground the flyers I don’t use?}

“Possible. Got eyes… crap.”

{Plz exp.}

Asagi’s report comes quick and clipped. “High angle on Hangar Two, generator, active. One Spycopter, active standby, one worker occupied servicing. At least two Raider Killers, inactive, recharging. High angle on Hangar One, command loft, unoccupied. Two Bee Bladers, inactive, two workers occupied servicing, loading ordinance, labor assist active RT-55J.”

Frig. Those older heavy mechaniloids could cause some damage – whether working for you or against.

{My area?} You glance up at the overwatch drone.

“Ground LOS one minute if you stay there, luck of draw if you don’t. Air-sweep dilating, LOS thirty seconds. Orders?”

Your Stealth level is currently 4 out of 5.

>Hack one to ride. (specify)
>Hack one to ride and hack others to ground. (specify)

>Hack (specify) and call it/them to your aircraft.
>Hack (specify) and order them to attack (specify).
>Hack (specify) and cause a nonviolent distraction.
>Hack (specify) and disable them.
>Leave them well alone.
>Hack one to ride. (Droso Fill-R)

>Hack (Raider Killer) and order them to attack (second Raider Killer).
Fuck Raider Killers, so much
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...Here's a dumb idea. Could we go for a fakeout? Hack a Droso Fill-R, hack a Bee Blader or a Spycopter, and ride in/on that in "pursuit" of the empty transport?

I'd say hack the RT-55J as well; set it on a nonviolent distraction. It's more than sturdy enough to cause havoc for a long time.

I guess to put this into a coherent vote:

>Hack Spycopter to ride
>Hack a Droso Fill-R and call it/them to your aircraft.
>Ride the mechaniloid, have it "chase" and "shoot down" the Droso as if it's carrying an intruder. Shoot it down a long walk away from hostiles so they can't confirm it until you get there and hopefully send patrols by land.

>Hack RT-55J and cause a nonviolent distraction.

Ideally we send the Droso off on a wild goose chase, the mechaniloids are sortied after it, we snag a ride on the Spycopter as it exits the hangar.
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So so much.

Not impossible, if this vote gets support. You're describing a high-risk high-reward scenario.

Just remember that a worker is currently taking care of the Spycopter, and a Spycopter has no cargo area -- so you can't ride inside of it.
I'm down for this.
How large are Spycopters in relation to Meteor?
Does the Bee Blader have cargo space?
>Start hacking the Droso. Hide Showa in here?
>Hack RT-55J for nonviolent distraction, and to buy time to disable the Bee Bladers
>Hack one Raider Killer and be ready to destroy the other
>wait until we can recover the Asagis before lifting off

If needed, we can down the other Droso by lasering/hanabing the propellers.
Compaing to >>2754022, she's closer to Zero's height than X's. It's not inconceivable that someone her size could hide from several angles of view by tucking in tight on the underbelly.

Not for reploids larger than a rolled-up Ball de Voux. However, the bulk of a Bee Blader affords more space to hide line-of-sight for a clinging reploid.
This is me, im phoneposting at the moment.

Not sure i want to risk it. We can disable the generator to make an opening to cling, but it would be better to let the bee bladers follow too to raise less suspicion.

Id think id rather go slow and disable all the other aircraft.
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You assess quickly. You can fit best on a Fill-R, but you’d have the three attack craft to worry about, and surely the Spycopter would follow first… unless you were on it.

But that’s stupid, you think, they’d give it close attention… unless there were something else in the sky.

Gears start turning in your mind. You put the plan together even as you thought-text your sister.

{I’m leaving on Spy. Hack Fill at the same time.}

“Copy,” she replies. Asagi drones slip inside Hangars 2 and 3. “Why?”

You recall your koi from Hangars 3 and 4. {Send F out first. Make Spy follow, shoot F down. Buys time before they can 2+2.}


You dash over to Hangar 2. {Also. Hack 55J, make it dance around.}


{Will break BBs w/ own koi.}


So many moving parts. You grab your Zanbato and carve yourself three sides of a door in Hangar 2 even as your koi dart ahead to 1 and follow Asagi’s in. Her last drone sticks with you.

Your drone HUD shows your fish making bee-lines for the bees’ main propellers. In their peripheries you can see the RT-55J seize up and start doing a jaunty Irish step dance, spilling a crate of grenades in its arms. The workers on site don’t seem to approve. They don’t notice as your fish carefully laser-pierce the propeller shafts.

As this is going on, you push into Hangar 2 with a wary eye on the recharging Raider Killers.

The lone civilian-model green-plated technician at the Spycopter is engrossed in a portable terminal screen connected by a ribbon of cables to an access point on the attack craft’s rear VTOL engine. He mutters profanity in Portuguese, likely flummoxed by the sudden presence of an active hacking source. He probably doesn’t deserve what’s about to happen to him, but he wears a Repliforce beret, which makes it easier on your peace of mind.

“Forgive me.”

He looks up, annoyed by your interruption.

You make it merciful. The lemondrop-yellow Zanbato sticks through his chest and out his back. He explodes before the perplexed look you’ll never forget can leave his face.

“Sis,” you comm aloud, “ready?”

“Ninety percent. Okay done. Dispatching last one to open the door safe.”

The Spycopter opens its legs. The only way you’re getting out on this thing with cover is to cling to its underbelly. Asagi’s last drone breaks off from you to the hangar’s command loft.

“Recalling my koi,” you report as you climb and try to situate yourself upside-down. “You do the same.”

“No can do, exploded the 55J one to keep them from getting wise.”

“Doesn’t matter, three’s good.” You cling with every limb you have. “Give ‘em a show.”

You can hear the crash from here. One of the Droso Fill-Rs leaves the hangar by way of the very shut door. You can only imagine the panicking garage staff.

“Heh heh heh,” Asagi gloats, “look at ‘em run.”

“I’d love to but I’m getting way too friendly with this guy.”

You hear a vwiing of core activation. And then another.

The Raider Killers are stirring in their recharge docks. Their lights are on.

“Asagiiii get the door please?”

“Almost – there!”

Hangar 2’s main door trundles open, nice and smooth. The Killer Brothers step down onto the floor, just as smoothly. The Spycopter’s engines start whirring up.

“Come on, get this bug moving, they’re gonna see me!”

“Gotta make the response seem realistic!”

The pair of big spiky monsters march closer to you, and you really hope it’s just because they see the door opening.

They’re marching too fast. They’re going to see you…

So your Remote Kois give them something else to think about.


Two kamikaze fireballs smash into their backs, stumbling them. They turn back just in the nick of time and train their guns on an enemy that isn’t there. Asagi’s door-opener swims back to you and tucks under your chin.

The Spycopter takes off in hot pursuit of the rogue fly. You pass over the runway, over the landing pads, over the mountains, but from your perspective they’re all passing over you. Your ride’s spindly arms take aim – they’re each a buster cannon.

“Thanks for flying Air Asagi!” She chimes in your ear. “Keep all important bits out of the aisle!”

The guns are all extraordinarily loud, you immediately learn. The inverted Droso Fill-R takes heavy fire, but not too heavy, so prescient is its dodging. In a few moments it’s over, though: the carrier fly starts exploding and rises to the rocky top of the world like a dead fish.

“Can this thing flip over?!” You shout.

“Oh, requests? Well, Air Asagi loves its customers soooo much…”

“Don’t do it don’t you do it—!”

She dives your ride to the mountains and follows the peaks up and down like a roller coaster. Your protesting yells doppler around.

“AsaaAAAgi this is supooOOOsed to be a miiIIIssion gosh daaAAArnit!”

“Relax,” she laughs, her professional tension all but melted away, “just getting the hang of it!”

“I’ll hang you on a hook if you don’t level this thing off!”

“Fine, fine. Serious face, serious face…”

You fly at a more level bearing. You can see a pattern-breaking flatness in the peaks ahead.

“Taking you in,” Asagi reports, back to trustworthy. “When I say drop you freaking drop, understand?”

You shift your grip a little. “Got it.”
It’s not easy to see over the Spycopter’s mandibles, but it looks like you’re approaching two stationary Bee Bladers, both at long distances from you.

“Sending Repliforce F-O-F protocol…”

You pass between them. “Did it work?”

“You’re in.” Asagi’s voice buzzes a little. “Keep my drones close.”

You pass over rows of satellite dishes. Most are pointed straight up.

“Remote command signal,” Asagi warns. “She’s trying to talk to your ride and I can’t talk back.”

“Keep it moving!”

The engines whirr louder. “Totally am. Oh crap, I think – signal lock! Drop drop drop!

You release into freefall. The two navigation drones follow you down, not an instant too soon. A huge pair of force beams lances through the Spycopter at different angles, felling it in one crossfire blow. Your relative momentum keeps you clear of being rained on by wreckage, but you have a bigger problem: you’re headed for a big radio telescope dish. The beam cannons are placed on the far rim – and tracking you.

Their barrels glow with energy accumulation. They can surely fire before you hit the ground.

>Try to shoot both.
>Try to shoot one.
>Just focus on evasion.
>Try to shoot one.
We'll take some hits, but if we spread all 3+2 drones out the surviving laser should aim for just us.

I dont suppose remote koi can meatshield against this kind of fire?
>Try to shoot one.
It'll suck, but let's not get greedy.
>Just focus on evasion.
What's the point of having Flex 2 if we aren't gonna use it

>Try to shoot one.

I'd say go for evasives but we're trying to protect our fish payload.
>Try to shoot one.

Let's go for a definite hit.
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Only one chance to get this right.

You start charging your buster, pick the left cannon and spit a Melter Rocket. The cooldown prevents consecutive shots, so you take what little stored charge you have, chase the grenade with a green plasma comet and follow up with a pair of buster lemons. The kickback from your buster veers your fall.

“Showa, signal lock, signal lock!

Your grenade and buster shots punch into your targeted cannon and blow it up. The second cannon opens fire.

>[Flex +2]

You can’t dash in midair – that kind of thing requires much higher compression – but any dash system is just bursts of plasma from your feet. Nothing stops you from using them. You twist your body around, kick your feet straight up and fire your dash and buster at the same time. The force rockets you straight to the dish bowl faster than the cannon was expecting.

A beam as wide as your body streaks through the air. You feel the heat. The light strains your optics. But it misses.

And you land on your back so hard you bounce. You roll downhill a moment before you can claw purchase out of the concave ground. Both of Asagi’s remaining drones have survived; the one hacking the Spycopter managed to evacuate with you.

The radio telescope dish is deep and wide, rimmed with short signal towers. The cannon on the other end can’t seem to aim any further down than the rim. Outstanding.

This means, however, that you’re literally in a fishbowl.

“Two Bee Bladers inbound from your six,” Asagi warns.

You start running, avoiding the rim to keep well away from that beam cannon. “What else?”

“I can’t see much over the lip. Incoming Helits on your nine. And… oh.”

You don’t need her help to see it. A Mosquitus attack-helicopter mechaniloid crests the rim, directly in your way.

Three Helits, weak missilecopters, fly in from your left. They have a little more ground to cover before they’ll be in range to fire. You can hear the approaching Bee Bladers catching up to you, further behind. That cannon pivots around, just waiting for you to cross the lip of the bowl.

Stealth is irrelevant now, but you still have two of Asagi’s drones. They can hack any mechaniloid, but they’re also your link to her.

>Bold Approach: Try to hack something. (specify)
>Cautious Approach: Keep the asagis close.

>Offensive Advance: Fight everything.
>Defensive Advance: Get out of that bowl.

>Power Assault: Charged shots, big hits.
>Rapid Assault: Low-power shots, multiple hits.
Okay, this one I feel a little more sure of.

>Cautious Approach: Keep the asagis close.
>Defensive Advance: Get out of that bowl.
>Power Assault: Charged shots, big hits.

Break in the direction of the Helits while charging. Their missiles can get shot down and advancing behind a charged buster shot will screen our approach. Then we can plain dive for the ground out of the fishbowl killzone, out of the laser's path, and buy more time to contend with the heavy hitters. With the Mosquitus and Bladers we want to use high-volume fire from our koi contingent (probably deploy two of our own again), and burn them down one at a time while we save up for bigger hits.
I don't see mosquitus in the wiki
>>Cautious Approach: Keep the asagis close.
>>Offensive Advance: Fight everything.
>>Power Assault: Charged shots, big hits.
I'm pretty sure we're going to get burned hard if we try to hack the helicopter.

It won't take long to charged buster the helits safely, and we can send our Remotes behind us to kitekill the Bee Bladers.

Not sure how specifically to take out the helicopter, but as soon as we get out the bowl we should Fluid Dash to mess up their tracking.

What do you all think of trying to hack the AA laser and pointing it at morpho to at least get her to come out?
It's an alternate miniboss in one of the Doppler stages.


Also, happy Mega Man X Legacy Collection day, Switch owners.
X3 Doppler stage boss. Noteworthy because it's the only non-Mac boss door you can go through as Zero, and beating it with him causes it to crashland on him, critically wounding him. He gives X his saber for the remainder of the game.
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You start charging your buster and veer to the left, toward the deepest part of the dish. The Helits open fire, little missiles streaking out and racking down out of a fabrication core behind their eyes. Your charged shot busts through the volley as you pop out two showas.

“Close fire support only, sis,” you comm.


As you start uphill again the Helits break down in a barrage of big buster shots and speedy fish lasers, not nearly mobile enough to dodge it all.

The Mosquitus is a different story. It stays high, opens fire with its proboscis vulcan and throws down its buzzsaw tail after you. Asagi’s drones huddle in your leeward side but yours don’t – you set them to auto-defense and they do everything they can to eat bullets for you. Your armor layer no-sells the few bullets that get through, but your main problem is that saw.

>[Flex +2]

You dodge it handily and introduce it to your Zanbato. The sturdy spikes clash the blade on the first pass, but as it circles around to your back you swing hard two-handed and cut it in two. Your newly bulky pets finally pop under the bullet rain just as it stops.

You dash up the side of the dish. The beam cannon starts charging. The Mosquitus dives for you, spike-legs widening for a grab.

Your recent experience with swatting bugs convinces you to switch to Fluid Lockdown. Your target banks hard but the cryomer jet splashes over its front spike-leg. Its shields flash, and so does the beam cannon, impatiently shooting a straight line over your head. You doubt it’s a coincidence – they must be coordinated.

The remainder of your Lockdown shot splashes in a rough line between you and the rim. The instant the beam cuts off, you fire your dash and sail over the zero-friction splat. You go so fast, the concavity launches you in the air. Your momentum takes you right for the charging cannon.

Your hand is already on the Zanbato hilt when you pop out of the bowl. You land hard and cut harder, two-handed for speed. The beam cannon explodes.

“So cool,” Asagi comments.

Ahead of you stands another array of satellite dishes before the forest of towers and pylons, and you notice rectangular dots in the sky are starting to move toward you. A hail of bullets patters around and into you before you can plot a course forward. Your armor takes the sting, but Asagi’s fish dart between the gunning like minnows.

The Mosquitus is coming back for a dive, its saw tail has somehow regenerated, and the two Bee Bladers have caught up close enough to open fire down at you.

>Fight them here.
>Fight them while running.

>Attempt to hack (specify).
>Protect those fish.

>Arbor Wall: 12/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 5/6
>Remote Koi: 8/12
>Wellbore Drill: 24/24

>Gaia Sword: ∞
>Zanbato: ∞
>Gaia Sword: ∞
>Zanbato: ∞

>Fight them while running.
>Protect those fish.

Fire Arbor Walls onto the dishes to create overhead cover, set it on fire where appropriate, try to create obstacles for them to careen into or force them to bank to avoid, putting them right into the line of fire of your fish. Use Wellbore Drills to fill the air with unavoidable armor-piercing middle fingers.

Speaking of the koi, burn a few more koi to shoot back at them when we have to focus on running, and then sacrifice-hanabi them before switching of to other weapons.

Also, though I am unhappily home ill, I am very pleased to say that the X Challenge mode is fucking glorious so far. Very, very pleased.

I'm going with Hunter Command's suggestion here. Protect the Fish and Run & Gun. >>2755562

Also, you lucky bastard. I just got the game now and my Switch needs to charge first.
Luckies, the both of you. Gotta pick it up after work in several hours.

Tiiiiime to go.

“Let me bodyblock!” You shout, switching to Wellbore Drill and dashing away. The asagis hide behind you as answer the bullets with rock-grinding bits in triplicate. One of the drill-thirds smashes with wonderful satisfaction through the Mosquitus’s iced-over leg. The rest of its body gets chewed into by the spinning bits and its dive turns into a crash.

You turn and gun your dash. The Bee Bladers descend in their pursuit, dropping Ball de Vouxes behind to bounce and unfurl and chase in loping strides. You shoot behind your back, trusting that at least a few Wellbores will make contact – and the brief shrieks of metal on metal suggest that some do. Their engines thrum as they rise again, and you hear the release of grenades, so you stop short, whip around and spit one of your own.

The bees’ bombs go off around you, precise aim never being their strong suit. Your grenade flies right into the front one’s visor eye. Flames burst from its neck and you resume dashing to keep ahead of its crash.

You therefore enter the dish array too fast to avoid the collision.

Something tiny and fast cracks a quick sparking explosion against your neck. It stuns you a little with the bite of electricity. You look to see, but something else explodes to your right – the remains of a blue Jamminger, crossfired down by Asagi’s fish.

You take cover under a dish as the other Bee Blader’s vulcan fire peppers around you. The inverted umbrella takes all the rain.

“What hit me?”

“Dunno, too fast.”

“Too fast for YOU? Seriously?”

“One o’clock!” Asagi shouts.

>[Flex +2]

You snap up your buster and shoot down an incoming streak of light. The handful of wreckage dusts you.

“Hotarion guard-type,” Asagi rifles off. “Tiny, fast, got laserbutts.”

You switch to Arbor Wall and get moving. “And electric flavor.”

Twinkles from under the other dishes are all the warning you get before a swarm of the miniature Hotarions blazes for you. You plant a wall in their way and your loaner fish huddle with you. The lightning bugs smash against your strengthened wood and streak past.

And then the local forces start converging.

A blue Jamminger buzzes overhead and shouts in a woman’s voice: “Meteor Showa! Your reputation precedes you! Now let’s see you block a REAL swarm!”
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You don’t even have time to hate the sound of that.

The chasing, injured Bee Blader sprays the array with bullet fire. Missiles the size of your tail rain into and between the dishes – Metal Hawk ordinance, you’re positive. The dishes can’t take more than a few such slams. Additional Jammingers swing around nearby dishes and idle up above, each one surely lining up a ram. More twinkles to your left and right suggest another impending lightningbug sweep.

There’s some distance between you and the end of the array, the start of the towers. You see unclear movement over there.

>Heck with this, press ahead right now.
>Try to weather it a moment and wait for an opening in the barrage.

>Keep Asagi’s drones safe.
>Spend one to try and hack the bee.

>Arbor Wall: 11/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 5/6
>Remote Koi: 8/12
>Wellbore Drill: 16/24

>Gaia Sword: ∞
>Zanbato: ∞
>Heck with this, press ahead right now.
>Keep Asagi’s drones safe.

Now *that* is a lot of shit headed our way, I'd rather be moving.
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>Heck with this, press ahead right now.
>Keep Asagi's drones safe.

Let's make sure to be as unpredictable as possible, she's sure to be moving to cut us off and tax us further.

So let's see...

Metal Hawks go down easy, but they're ludicrously fast. Hotarions are in the same boat categorically, of course. Jammingers excel at making themselves underfoot.

Let's try for some disorienting chaos.
>Arbor Wall on one side of the dish.
>Wellbore Drill on the other. Attempt to fell it like a metal tree.

>Send two drones up to draw fire and return it, and then immediately Hanabi them into the Bee Blader, aim to crash it.

In theory we can force the dish to collapse in the direction we want, shielding us from overhead as we sprint beneath the moving canopy until we make it to another. The Blader crashing buys us more breathing room and might even land on some enemy air assets if they're thick enough.

While we're sheltered we can save a thermite grenade or charged buster shot to clear a long swath ahead of us on the move.

All of that, of course, is pending a "yeah you could try to do that" or "no that wouldn't work."
Can we hack a couple of those AA laser cannons to buy us time? I'm surprised nobody asked this yet.
I did. Noone supported.

>Heck with this, press ahead right now.
we can't slowly deal with those hotarions, I'm guessing

>Keep Asagi’s drones safe.
The cannons are definitely hackable, but at this moment there are none within range.
Yeah, there are many things you could try, and that's among them. If there's nothing impossible about it, nothing preventing you from doing it, then it's an option.
My vote is to run and gun (with more emphasis on "run"), but save Asagi's drones for high value hackable targets. AA guns, antennas to disrupt enemy orders/comms, doors, or large aircraft that we're running past/swoop in.

Keep hacking to a minimum: Morpho my know that we can hack assets or not, but once we take a HVT, she'll be on to us. Stay unpredictable. The longer we stay outside, the more forces she'll surround us with and with an airport nearby that won't end anytime soon.
Prior engagements make this a busy evening, but there'll definitely be another post tonight.
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Your umbrella of a satellite dish is already cracking under abuse. You need to get out of there, and you have just the getaway option.

“We’re leaving,” you tell the nearest fish drone, “stick close and dodge crap!”

You pave your way out with a Fluid Lockdown stream –

>[Flex +2]

—and clear the cross-flight of Hotarions. But that’s all you clear. A Jamminger electrifies its collision spikes and catches you in the chest, flashing your shields and seizing your joints for exactly long enough to catch a Metal Hawk missile and further knocking your shield battery. The stupid prop-top laughs and spins away, but Asagi’s drones counterattack and laser it down as bullet fire rains around you.

You make it under another dish and decide to do something about that bee. Two more Remote Koi swim out of your buster and take a pincer route to the ugly bug. You’re not playing now – you set them to ignite and crash head-on. A chain of explosions sends the Bee Blader down to earth, smashing into the dish just as you leave its shadow.

“Missiles in fours, onetwothree one,” Asagi advises, and just in time. Two Metal Hawks descend overhead, releasing their missiles in the pattern she read. You turn and aim long enough to fire twice: one Melter rocket grenade, one Remote Koi on a suicide run. Both fireballs catch the first missiles in the sequence, which detonate them and set off their immediate two followers. That leaves only two missiles, which you outdash –

Into the descending arc of an electrified Jamminger –

>[Flex +2]

Which you summarily bisect with your mighty golden sword on your way through.

The Metal Hawks stop firing as they shadow your run into the tower array. Spires and spindles and pylons and pikes thrust to the sky and fill it with information. They’re laid out in rows like carefully planted crops, probably for technical reasons you don’t get. The rows stretch far ahead and uphill to the peak of the mountain, where you spot a square structure. You hope it’s the control center.

“Run! Run!” An overhead Jamminger taunts. “But which way? Which aisle?”

“Shut up!” You saber a tower strut out of spite, but the tower doesn’t even lean.

Another one joins it and they speak in stereo. “Oh, am I too loud? Can you not hear your sister?”

You snap your mouth shut and keep dashing. {you safe}


{bug out if n}


“It’s N as we speak,” you can hear Arc Morpho smile through what is now three blue Jammingers. “You didn’t think I was blind to drone signals, did you?”

Her drones. They’re compromised. Morpho let them in. Everything you’ve spoken to Asagi since entering the blackout zone has gone through her drones and ridden the connection back…

She has to know where Asagi is hiding.
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“And speaking of bugging out?”

Electricity crackles up nearby towers. LED lines high up on the broadcast antennas light up in sequence. A hum on the edge of hearing grows louder.

You look to Asagi’s drones. They seem fine, not even an odd twitch.

“Showa!” Her fish look directly at you, her voice buzzy and washed out. “The beamout interdiction radius just jumped!”

“You’re in my net,” Morpho announces with winning pride. “Do me the pleasure of flapping about in anguish when my fliers bombard your navigator.”

You run. “Asagi! ETA?”

“Sat-cam’s not picking them up, I dunno!”

“Suffer in anxiety!” Morpho’s Jammingers laugh. “I hold all the information!

A pink Victoroid on the slope ahead dashes clear across your current aisle, evidently just to show you that it exists.

A beam cannon at the peak building slides on a rail to point down the aisle, straight for you.

You hear the missiles fire behind you, onetwothree onetwothree.

Moving parts. Moving parts.


>Arbor Wall: 11/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 4/6
>Remote Koi: 5/12
>Wellbore Drill: 16/24
How dense are the rows of towers? Can you just jump to another row right before the force laser fires?
Yeah, hacking an AA laser to shoot down some of the fliers going to Asagi sounds reaaaaally important right about now.

An arbor wall behind us, and another to either root or wall the passageway the victoroid just took.

Koi it up to shoot behind us, thermite any new baddies, and get hacking on those cannons.
Yes. They're basically just radio spires extending in rows uphill, so there's space to jump or dash between to reach a new aisle.

The Victoroid Custom you just saw at the other end will do the same. The cannon you currently see can rail-slide with ease to point down any aisle. Lingering in one spot too long will reward you with missiles.
Let's use Arbor Wall to block attacks that would force us to reposition to another lane and into a waiting crossup.

Advance by fits and starts across the dishes until the Victoroid gets close, then shoot Fluid Lockdown into its path to send it out of control and, for another few steps, out of our hair.

Koi to screen our backs as we move, and long range fire on the beam cannon or the Metal Hawk.
Also my bad, I was thinking Metal Wings, not Metal Hawks. That's just a little different.
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Also, I think that's not a bad idea. We want sisfish in a not-dead configuration. It should also warn us if the hacking is compromised as well as the comms.
I would buy that figure.
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It's based off the Figurarts one.

A friend of mine was kind enough to get it for me, and it's amazing.
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“Hack the cannon,” you order, side-dodging between two towers, “send both!”

“On it!”

You plant an Arbor Wall in the face of the aisle, pop two more koi and start charging your buster. The missiles strike the aisles, boom-boom-boom-pause-boom-longerpause, right first then left. A Jamminger swings down but your fish take it out with ease. Three, pause, one, longer pause. The cannon fires, but not straight downhill; the beam flashes down then swings up, scouring the entire aisle from bottom to top.

Three, pause, one, longer pause. You seize your moment, lean out of the gap to the next aisle –

>[Flex +2]

--and leap right back in the face of a second beam from a second cannon sliding in on a second, slightly higher rail. You’re warmed by the proximity, but not damaged. That’s definitely something high-value they’re protecting.

“On it yet?!” You shout, looking up and shooting your charged shot up and back at a Metal Hawk.

Streaks of Hotarion lights zoom through the upper parts of the towers, presumably going after Asagi’s fish. Her staticky comm reaches you, the broadcast centered on the drones, “Getting there!” Her voice loses even more quality. “Crap just lost one! This is crazy!”

You’re inclined to agree, as the Ball de Vouxes dropped by the Bee Blader finally catch up, cornering you in the gap between the towers. Two of them vault your wall while three more lope at speed from the other end – but one gets itself vaporized by a cannon beam.

You’re trapped. The one-two-three-one rhythm of the missiles pounds around you. The first beam in the walled-off aisle shoots once the second one’s is finished. The stupid deerballs close their pincer. The stupider Jammingers just hover and laugh. Your sister is in danger and there’s absolutely no way to reach her.

You have had enough.

You sic your koi on the Metal Hawks, the slow dumbfire arcs of the incoming missiles no match for your drones’ agility. You whip out both of your sabers and go to town on the Balls, carving up a sparky diving Jamminger too when it tries to exploit an opening.

>[Flex +2]

You climb the tower and kickjump for height. You clamber around to the aisle side, triggering the beam to fire, but you’re already on your way into the “shade” of the neighboring one. You catch a support strut on the way down, leap back into that aisle – cutting down Jamminger #3 that tried to ram you in midair – and dash at the cannon. Your koi, meanwhile, successfully laser into the buster-damaged Metal Hawk’s engines and send it crashing to earth. The missiles striking at your heels diminish by half.

You timed it perfectly, or so you thought. The lower-rail beam cannon should have had another moment to charge up, and indeed it did. The higher-rail cannon, however, did not.

It slides into place above its downcycle twin. Pointed at you. All charged up.
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>[Asagi Drone = 1]

Your beautiful sister saves you a ton of hurt.

One of her drone’s foreheads slaps into the cannon and sticks in place. The barrel rises and slides down the rail while firing, slashing through six or seven or you don’t care the towers are falling on you.

>[Flex +2]
>[Armor +1]

Tower halves and pylon bits crash all around. A long length of support strut whangs off your back. Your koi HUD shows you the beam grazed the other Metal Hawk, so you activate Hanabi and crash them into its flight system to finish the job.

The wreckage piles up, but you still see the glow of the unhacked cannon building up. You dash and jump and get out of its way.

The Victoroid Custom intercepts you in the next aisle with a high-speed tackle. Your shields flare.

>Cut it down.
>Advance on the sliding cannons.

>Protect Asagi’s last drone.
>Let her handle it.

>Arbor Wall: 10/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 4/6
>Remote Koi: 3/12
>Wellbore Drill: 16/24
>Advance on the sliding cannons.
>Protect Asagi’s last drone.

Arbor Wall obstacles for cover, and Wellbore Drills for sustained damage that we don't have to focus on while we try to not get beaten to hell.
Agreed. We should save some koi for the final fight. We don't know her weakness, but we got wellbore and walls to spare.
yeah let's do >>2758251
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You beat the custom Vic off you with a fist made of drill bits. The crunch as its face launchers grind off is just incredibly satisfying, but you don’t have time for follow-ups.

You race ahead as the unhacked cannon turns the wreckage in its aisle to slag. You toss an Arbor Wall behind you to slow the Victoroid’s pursuit.

“Sis!” Asagi comms. “Pull it off if you want it!”

“Not yet! Start charging!”

“But you’re right in the way!”

I can make it! Do it!

The hacked cannon starts building charge, and so do you. The unhacked cannon slides into place and builds as well, a second behind. You catch a few twinkles out of your peripheral vision.

>[Flex +2]

Three tiny Hotarions fly at the hacked cannon. You crack off a pair of buster rounds and shoot down two. The last one collides, but not into the commanding drone. It’s still under Asagi’s control when it reaches max charge. You spew a Prominence right into the lower cannon’s barrel, dash-jump over its explosion and land on the upper one.

You tuck your tail up, so as not to lose it.

The Victoroid Custom registers no emotion as it breaks down your old-growth Arbor Wall only to see the oncoming force beam.

You gently pluck the last drone off the cannon with one hand and stab your Zanbato deep into its barrel joint with the other.

“Still safe?” You ask the fish.

“Beamout lock’s still up,” Asagi’s relayed voice crackles. “Sat-cam shows Fill-R incoming. Hurry please.”

You let it go and charge up to the front door. The building is boring and square. The drone headbutts an entry pad and the terminal above blinks in a complicated pattern.

“Wish mine could do that,” you remark.

“No chance, yours was never a core system. Plus Recon let me add some real goodies.” The doors slide open and the fish disengages. “S’go.”

A short hall branches into side rooms you ignore. Asagi hacks the last door, which opens into a steep downhill slope. It’s not quite an elevator shaft, but deep recessed rail slots in the middle and sides of the slope suggests a movable platform or three, somewhere down there.

“Oh, nuggets,” your sister swears through static, “I lost visual. Do you copy?”

“I’m here.”

The drone looks back and forth, frettingly. “I think she fragged my drone on that last hack. I think I’m gonna need a fourth back here anyway. Showa, sister, I’m sorry, but I need to break contact.”

You grab the fish and kiss it.

“Do it. I’ll knock her out fast.”

“Love you.”
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The drone sparks behind the gills and falls to the ground. It starts rolling down the slope, down into the dimming shaft.

You chase after it, in that you plant your feet and shift your weight and carefully slide after it. The grade isn’t too steep to run down, but a too-forward center of gravity might pitch you over your feet and tumble you right into something nasty.

The center rail-slot arcs with power. You hear a rising rumble. Twinkles flare in the deep darkness.

>Bold Approach: Barrel in.
>Cautious Approach: Slide in.

>Offensive Advance: Favor beating down anything in your way.
>Defensive Advance: Favor blocking and evasion.

>Power Assault: Charged shots, big hits.
>Rapid Assault: Low-power shots, multiple hits.
>>Bold Approach: Barrel in.

>>Offensive Advance: Favor beating down anything in your way.
Considering her light tricks, I'm wary that a lot of what will show up will be decoys to tag us with the real hits.

>Rapid Assault: Low-power shots, multiple hits.
so go all out with aoe Wellbores and Fluid Dashes
>>Bold Approach: Barrel in.
>>Offensive Advance: Favor beating down anything in your way.
>>Power Assault: Charged shots, big hits.
>Bold Approach: Barrel in.
>Offensive Advance: Favor beating down anything in your way.
>Rapid Assault: Low-power shots, multiple hits.

Scoot 'n Shoot.
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Heck intensifies.
>Bold Approach: Barrel in.
>Offensive Advance: Favor beating down anything in your way.
>Low-power shots, multiple hits.

Lucky for us with the hibeams on infinite we can pretty quickly go for a big swing if we need to.

That said, let's keep an Arbor Wall handy if we lose our footing going down the slope. I'm hoping Flex 2 is enough here.
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Your sister’s life is on the line, what the heck are you doing putting friction on your descent into the butterfly garden?

You shoot an Arbor Wall ahead of you, and to the credit of its design the wall grows perpendicular to the slope. One or two Hotarions smash into it and zoom past you. You carve it off the floor, let it start sliding, then jump on.

Three Knot Berets ride the middle platform up, but you surf right on by before they know what’s happening.

This might be a dumber idea than you anticipated. The wall didn’t exactly come with a steering wheel. The right platform comes right up your alley, and in the low light you see a Victoroid Custom on it, supported by two blue Jammingers. Some sort of electrode on the side shoots a line of electricity across the slope into the far wall.

You duck low to decrease wind resistance and squirt Fluid Lockdown in your path. Your velocity becomes nearly ballistic. You kick backwards at the last moment and send a door-size plank of cyberwood crashing into the Victoroid so hard it topples clear off the edge and down and down.

You skid so hard your feet throw off sparks. The Jammingers’ spikes zap arcs between them like flying tasers.

>[Flex +2]

You dash-jump, swing your right-hand Zanbato and thrust your left-hand Gaia Sword. Your foes’ diving at you makes destroying them so much easier.

You misjudge your momentum, however. You stick the landing on the rail of the rising platform, snap it right off and land unbalanced. You bounceroll for a bit.


You drive the spiked hilt of your Gaia Sword into the slope, which buys you enough purchase to stop. You hear an explosion below and look down.

The left platform rises with a Giga Death on it and another device screening the slope with an electrobeam. The Victoroid seems to have tumbled straight into the beam and detonated.

You dash at a diagonal for the “safe” zone with the missile-heavy sitting on it. Left, right, center go its payloads. Jump, weave, dash goes your body as you open with a speedy grenade and follow with buster fire. You hope it’s enough to take the mechaniloid down before you arrive, but it isn’t –

>[Flex +2]

— not that it’s any sweat to dodge its slow missiles even up close. You swat the Giga Death’s arm off and let the rest of its body explode on weight of evidence as you jump off, down into the clear.

For lack of a navigator, you bring up your own instance of an archival map in your HUD. This comms bunker wasn’t Repliforce-built, but from all the new cables lining the corners of the floor, Morpho has definitely made it home. The strongest lights are comm screens and terminals, casting a piercing blue light over the Knot Berets abandoning them to attack you.
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You’re in no mood for their nonsense. Buster fire and another quickie grenade dismiss them. Three of the little Hotarions buzz in, but rather than collide they gather at the ceiling, point their thoraxes and streak thin lasers across the floor. You stay back, switch to Wellbore Drill and fire twice, spraying six bits. Grass would have put up more of a physical resistance than the little fireflies do.

Every monitor you pass suddenly switches its feed to a live cam coming over the mountains. You recognize the edge of the desert. Crap crap crap crap…

Every screen switches away to Arc Morpho’s winning smile. Her big sharp eyes are compound-lensed, her radial-antenna’d helmet a shocking blue, her skin a pale electric green with black lipstick matching the trim.

“Tired yet? By my count you should be nearing half health…”

“Shut up shut up!” You spit thermite at a lock panel and the doors obligingly open.

A purple, new-model Spark Gunner awaits you around the next corner. It squats down and releases a pair of electric orbs which race down the conductivity of the floor in your direction. You don’t have time, you don’t have time!

>[Flex +2]

You put everything into your dash, jump the sparks and land slashing. You know this new type, it’s sturdier than it has any right to be, but not if somebody were to jam a wedge-shaped hi-beam into its spark emitters.

“You’ve lost some weight,” Morpho taunts you on your way. “Recon officers are famously lightweight, too. The Raider Killers on that transport won’t take very long ripping her apart…”

Your map shows the control center has to be just ahead. You try not to listen. Two pairs of mini-Hotarions buzz out of holes in the wall and try to bank-security screen you with crossing lasers, but you fill the ceiling with an unnecessary amount of drill bits. Enough hit the bugs to put their lights out, and you charge for the door.

It opens at your approach and leads to a dark room. Whatever, you think as you charge up a Prominence, that’s the place, I’ll take it.

You expect sparks. You expect beams. You expect something to light up the night.

You do not expect the lids to open on a giant red eye.

LED lines light up along the walls, floor, and ceiling. The soft light reveals the Generaid Core, the bloodshot shielded optic set into a wall that’s definitely not on your map.

Four hatches in the corners of the ceiling open up. Two butterfly drones flutter down on jetpack thoraxes.

Their wings begin to charge energy…

“Farewell,” Morpho bids you over the intercom.


>Arbor Wall: 9/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 3/6
>Remote Koi: 3/12
>Wellbore Drill: 12/24
>Arbor Wall as many hatches as possible before they close
>Try to Wellbore Drill and Thermite the eyelids to keep them open longer than they want to be
Just need to hit the one big eye I think.

>Don't waste your VWES on the butterflies, quickly clear them out with buster and/or thermite
>If possible try to impale the eye with zanbato
Correct. It's ... broadly similar to the miniboss in the Storm Owl stage.
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and because this image is never not relevant
Oh good, I thought we were dealing with Rangda Bangda for a second.

I'll modify this one.>>2759657
>Don't waste too much VWES on butterflies, but clear them out quickly. A few Wellbore Drills should be okay, but conserve ammo where possible.
>Impale eye with Gaia Sword.
Walling the hatches should delay any more butterflies.
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Pardon the delay, busy day of convention prep.


You bring up a drill and farewell the butterflies – or try to. Only one takes a bit to the face and goes down, while the other angles its wings together and releases a shimmering force beam. The telegraphing helps you avoid it and another three-bit Wellbore takes it down. The spare bits clang around the walls and two ricochet off the eye, making the lids shut.

Two more butterflies and a blue taser-Jamminger drop out of the hatches. You shoot a Prominence jet right into a hatch-hole, burning through a butterfly and temporarily clogging the chute with molten metal. A swing with your Gaia Sword takes out the Jamminger and a few buster shots bring down the butterfly.

The eye opens. What is an enemy eye for if not to be poked? You dash over and thrust your Gaia Sword in; the clashing of plasma on shields adds more light to the room. The stake engages and sticks deep, but the eyelids snap shut and break it off.

Two more Jammingers and a butterfly drop in. Their strategy is clearly to stun then blast, wearing you down until the end. Morpho’s strategy is clearly to drop enough of them in with you until you make a mistake. You’d better not, then.

The divers dive, but the reach on your lemony Zanbato is just delicious and they go down in a blink. You dash for the butterfly and divide it along the wings before it can fire.

At which point Morpho dumps six more butterflies down the remaining hatches.

The Generaid Core’s eye opens.

Round 2:

>Prioritize the adds.
>Plug the hatches.
>Just burn the boss.
6, jeez. With that many, there's no point in the hatches anymore.

>Just burn the boss.
Prominence/drills, I think the eyelid will have a harder time shearing those off.
That's six total, two per hatch, not six per each hatch. I should've made that clearer!
>Just burn the boss.
I'd say a koi blitz to destroy the butterflies while we go to town with the Zanbato. If it's a hit or a hanabi, we trade the fish.
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You ignore the insects, swap your fist for a drill, jump up and smash it into the Generaid’s eye. Shield sparks erupt from the bits. The brief contact damage is brutal. The eye shuts, you land on the floor below, and in the same instant you spit at its eyelid covers and fire your drill over your shoulder at the spread-out butterflies.

Luck is on your side. All three spread-shot bits find a target and chew it to scrap before it can fire.

Which still leaves three.

>[Flex +2]

Your wide-set field of vision and twitchy reflexes let you dodge two, but the third beam rakes across the side of your torso and over your shoulder plating. Your shields strobe. You let them. You’re entirely focused on beating up a wall.

You hear the hum of charging beams move as the butterflies reposition. You don’t care about them. You grab your Gaia Sword and wait for that eye to twitch – there! Your buster pops out another Wellbore and you blacken the Core’s eye with it and your saber in the same blow.

That does it. The stake stabs deep. It won’t be blinking you off this time.

Elements of the floor and ceiling start exploding along with the wall. You retreat to the other end of the room and saber down the remaining butterflies for the fun of it.

With the Core blown open, you can see through parts of the substructure. There’s a hall beyond, matching your original facility map. Luckily cutting through wreckage was literally what you were built for.

You’re glad you already started charging your Melter when the Victoroid Custom slides in almost comically and points its buster through a hole.

>[Flex +2]

You shoot first. Metal-eating metal splashes straight through and weakens enough of the support for you to dash-tackle in and relieve the Vic-Pink of its face launchers. You fight with the relentless fury of a protective sister; one more Wellbore fist rips and tears into its hull and you finish it off with your left-hand saber.

You stow the sword on your recharge pack but keep the drill handy. A single Jamminger hovers just ahead.

“Well well,” Morpho speaks through it. “Focused. You’ll need that. I’ll tell you what, if you can last twenty-five—”

You shoot your drillbits at the mouthy mechaniloid and dash under its raining wreckage.

“I bet you can still hear me,” you speak up as you run, your buster humming to charge. “And I even bet you think leaving us for Repliforce was worth it!”

“Evolution requires sacrifice, Meteor Showa,” her voice echoes through the dark, computer-light-speckled final hall. “The future belongs to us.”

“Then enjoy your last minute of it, Maverick. Me and Asagi are both walking out of here!”
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The last door opens at your approach. The central control of the Andes Array is a donut-shaped room lined with and lit by comm terminals.

Morpho stands poised on the central display dais. The eight eyespots of her broad black-and-green wings, two high and six low, seem to focus on you.

Every screen shows the current room with a red dot in the corner. You’re on live, to the entire world for all you know.

“Betting words, Hunter. Give the gamblers at home a good show, hmm?”

She flicks up her wrists and opens her hands. She vanishes from sight – revealing the three beam-butterflies that had been building charge behind her.

Whatever’s on the table plays!



>Arbor Wall: 9/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 3/6
>Remote Koi: 3/12
>Wellbore Drill: 9/24
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Grenade straight downrange. Koi to either side, fan and flank.

Pay attention to what she goes for, and hope it's not us. We've made a pretty good showing of agility and melee prowess this run, so odds are good she's going to want to avoid a melee scrap.

Lean heavy on boss weapons for this one, I get the feeling we'll need them all. We should prioritize defense over ammo conservation, including burning a wall/fluid shot to avoid a hit.
The only trick she hasn't seen yet is Arbor Root, but I don't see a reason why she's let a flying seed hit her in the face.

Our fancy koi should be able to dodge most things, so I don't mind pulling them out now. Charge up dem thermite and send lemons at those butterflies.

I'm not liking those eyes. I'm willing to bet big money those things shoot lasers or some other kind of bullshit.
Odds are good. Her level gimmick has been lasers.

Fluid Lockdown may be helpful to arrest her movement if we can actually get a bead on her. I'd say feinting something into a Fluid Lockdown hit could pay out dividends in the long run but I doubt it's her weakness. Use lemons on butterflies. I agree with >>2761207
in that we should prioritize avoiding hits at the cost of ammo, though I think Arbor Wall would do a better job than FL for that purpose. FL could be used to close gaps though. If we get a chance to breathe, pop a drone or two and keep them on beam-butterfly patrol. Drills can help with that if need be. If Morpho gets close, open up a can of thermite on her face or hit with Gaia Sword or Zanbato. I get the feeling long range engagements will go to her, since she can warp around.
Area denial with our roots and denying her lasers would also help. As is we should look into boxing her in or make some cover.Wellbores will be handy for adds.
Root area denial would only help if she touches the ground, and she's a flier. Maybe hitting her with Arbor Wall directly could keep her from floating all over the place, though.
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Oh, her tricks aren't limited to lasers...
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Cyberspace? No. That was boring old active camo. A Melter grenade rockets out of your mouth straight ahead, striking the middle butterfly as you dodge left. The remaining two spin in different directions as they open fire.

>[Flex +2]

Hop one, dash-duck the other, easy peasy. You stay far and buster them down. Now where’s their mommy?

You seem to get an answer when three shuriken flash out of an upper corner. They’re too small, too fast, and you weren’t prepared.

>[Armor +1]

Oddly, the hit doesn’t hurt. Tiny shiny bladed butterflies stick into your chest, the floor, and a nearby monitor. You reach to pull out the one that got you, but it dazzles your body with electricity. Your flashing shields take the edge off the pain, but Morpho capitalized on it by breaking cover with her back turned to you. Angling her bright blue wing-backs.

>[Flex +2]

Flex parts, you suddenly learn, take much less time to recover from a stun. You dispatch a koi to close distance on her while you hurriedly gain more. Morpho releases a parabolic death beam from her back that chases you across the floor until your drone’s lasering her convinces her to stop. Another half-second and your tail would’ve been baked.

Your koi sticks to her, its laser laughably outclassed but hard-working, supplementing your nonstop buster fire. Morpho flings more shuriken at you, but these share a spreading chain of lightning, a taser tether between each. You duck under and dash – bless that upcycle. As you do, Morpho idly turns to your super-speedy drone, opens her human-like mouth and strikes it down with what looks like a coiled proboscis, fast as lightning and dancing with white-blue arcs.

She flits side to side, evading your next shots and grinning as she reels her tongue back in. The upper eyes on her wings flash a disorienting dazzle, and in the hard blink you clench in reaction, she’s gone.

You spit an ordinary thermite glob where she was, but she’s definitely not there anymore.

You look around. Your outer skin suddenly feels… fuzzy. Off in another corner, an arc of electricity zaps up as if from a pair of antennae. You know a telegraph when you see one, so you spike an Arbor Wall seed at the floor in your line of sight. A flash of lightning, with an angry thunderous rip of the world’s biggest and rustiest zipper, strikes not you but your barrier. The wood harmlessly courses with jumping arcs.

Wood. Lightning. A perfect fit.

Just as quickly as Morpho reappears, she fires two beams from her highest wingspots and slashes them across the room with apparent disregard for the equipment. The wall saves you, but the swing of beams cuts it down at the base.

Now it’s just you and her with space between.


>Arbor Wall: 8/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 3/6
>Remote Koi: 2/12
>Wellbore Drill: 9/24
>coiled proboscis
something something, wonder who she seduced with those

So the Arbor Walls act as grounding, which presumably stops working once they've been chopped off. Bless you cyberwood.

Grab the shorn arbor wall and kick it along a Fluid track, buying time to charge a Melter one direction and fire an Arbor Wall in another direction. Stab the Gaia Saber down beside us for another grounding rod.

We've got a tell for her biggest attack, and likely 2 means to redirect it. I think we've got enough info to start going melee. Use the last 2 koi on Hanabi/meatshield duty to let us get in close for some Arbor Root/Zanbato action. That should be enough to get past a superfly tongue.
Definitely start out with a fluid lockdown, I think we can close into melee for at least one hit before Morpho's forced to break away. Favor gaia sword over zanbato for now.
Depending on which projectile travels fastest, I say either hit her directly with FL or AW. AW acting as grounding for those lightning attacks is great, and we have more ammo for it. The drones might come in handy if we need to manage extra butterflies, but they won't be our heavy hitters. That said, I think Gaia Sword will be pretty effective against her. And if this whole thing's being recorded, it'll probably look really dramatic. That said, we should offer to take her alive if she's willing to call off the strike on Asagi.
I think she's been watching us since we landed, and studied footage of our fighting. She likely knows most of our tricks.

Don't forget she was 0 unit, that means she's both powerful and skilled. This isn't gonna be a fumbling powerhouse like Orangutank. I imagine her proboscis is like Chameleon's tongue, good luck dodging it if you're staying in range.

So I think we need to be unpredictable and switch things up rapidly. She hasn't seen us actually land a hit with Fluid Lockdown, that could be a start, but I suspect Arbor Wall is her weakness if we actually snare her in it. Let's focus on varying up our mobility with the Fluid slides and jumping from/with Walls, see if we can tag her with one.
No, we DID land a Fluid Lockdown on a victoroid custom. Like I said above, the only trick she hasn't seen is Arbor Root. Not that it matters much whether she's seen what Fluid does on contact. It's still mostly damage.

And I don't really plan on dodging the tongue so much as tanking it with the koi, I don't see many other ways to get in close.

We could ram with the cut Arbor Wall as a shield, but I'm concerned that it's too obvious and she'll use it to side swipe us in camo, hence kicking it instead.
Having the Koi tanking a hit like that is a losing trade: it didn't seem to deal much damage while our VWES or charge could be put to better use. Kicking an AW might work but I get the feeling it'd get sliced by lasers before it could do anything or that it would have a diminished effect from just hitting her with it/using it as a lightning rod. FL could get us in close but I'd rather see if it'll deal heavy damage. Not sure how well the drills would work but their spread could be handy for crowd control.
Hmm, now that I think about it, Fluid might interfere with her optic camo.

The kicked arbor wall is less about damage and more about zoning. We haven't seen any clones yet, but I'm guessing we should use the drills when she pulls them out.
Good plans going forward. Off to work now, post later this morning.

Heh heh.
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Her compound eyes glitter over her smile. She’s enjoying this.

You raise your buster to the right and boot the slab of cyberwood as hard as you can to the left. She takes the dodgebait, drops her smile when the slab spins at her and dodges back, but not fast enough to avoid the wood striking a thick “clong” noise against her wing.

Her shields go off – no way did you actually kick hard enough to merit that, and surely she’s not that allergic to a glancing blow of cyberwood. Her shield battery must be fine-tuned like Skittle’s. Wow you wish they were here about now.

Morpho screens you with two sets of arc-bridging shuriken trios, one horizontal and one vertical.

>[Flex +2]

Jump, twitch, land, dash, no damage. She backs up, but she runs out of room. You grab for your Gaia Sword but spray a Fluid Lockdown first for the surprise factor. The liquid arc swipes out, but she rises fast enough to only catch it across the ankles. Her shields flare anyway and her wingspots flash brighter still. You’re dazzled.

You come out of the blind-flash to see not one but four Arc Morphos, one to a corner. All of them dive for you.


But you have two swords.

You ignite both hi-beams and give her a spin like Spectrod’s final move. The blades destroy the three holoforms by eating the tiny butterflies generating them. The fourth Morpho pulls a forward flip and keeps coming.

You greet her with a Melter rocket. She greets you with an electric proboscis lash.

Your body seizes up under unknowable live-wire voltage coursing over and through you, shocking and burning, but Morpho’s own pained yells through your plain old burning helps your mood survive. Your LIFE core blares to you about “SUB 33%,” but your limbs are still in working order.

Both of you come out of the damage reaction at the same time. You stow the Zanbato, thrust the Gaia, switch to Wellbore Drill. Morpho throws non-electrified butterfly shuriken left and right, not even aiming, apparently going for saturation. She zips around less like a moth than a housefly, keeping well way from your blade strikes. She has to know what it does. She’s waiting it out!

You stick the saber into the floor and fire two drill-spreads at her. She goes totally on the defensive, slipping past every single one and flitting over your head as your stake snaps out of the hilt. You yank it free, turn to her –

“Fry, fish.”

She claps her hands once.

Every “missed” shuriken on the floor lights up. A lightning tide of electrical dome-bursts rolls out to you.
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>[Flex +2]

You chuck your Gaia Sword into the surge. The arcs snap directly to it, nice and controlled, giving you the cover you need to dash-jump over it all.

The fuzzy feeling of ionization prickles your surface. Her antennae are already sparking. She opens her mouth.

You switch to Arbor Wall and feed her a seed.

>[Flex +2]

She sees the woody football coming, snaps her mouth shut and blurs her wings to escape. Your follow-up seed falls to a crossfire of wing-spot beams, but your third is just too much for her big wings to avoid. The third seed smacks her left wing and cracks out into an octopus of constricting roots. She screams as the fragile wing snaps and crumples under the Old Growth pressure, snaring her second wing and mangling it too when it beats too close to the first. The damage is tremendous. Her shields strobe bright.

She lands on her feet, black lips curling livid across her green cheeks, sparks between her antennae arcing wildly. The crushed black-and-blue scraps of her former wings look even worse than you feel.

Sparks shoot from destroyed terminals, but those that remain show four familiar fish putting up a feeble resistance at trying to laser the Fill-R’s main camera while dodging off-screen buster fire.

You’ve grounded Morpho and taken out her beams, but now she looks as furious as a wounded animal.


>Arbor Wall: 6/12
>Fluid Lockdown: 2/6
>Remote Koi: 2/12
>Wellbore Drill: 7/24

>Gaia Sword: [unequipped]
>Zanbato: ∞
Oh thank fuck we had her weakness. We were screwed without it.

Okay, she's on the back foot but she can wear us down with attrition while we need to secure a finishing blow.

Dash in, draw Zanbato, screen with your last two fish. Have them go wide to counter any butterflies, and then immediately go in for a Hanabi.

The instant we "commit," we switch off and hit her with an Arbor Wall instead of actually waiting for the fish to impact. Make her think we're going for boxing her in with the fish to melee her.
Wood draws electric, sure, but bonus points for anybody who gets the other hint as to that particular boss order.
what the fuck that's a gruesome weakness

I'll support >>2762059

I'm waaaaay too sleepy to take stabs at the boss order right now.
>what the fuck that's a gruesome weakness

She's in good company with Armored Armadillo, Magna Centipede, and more recently Deepwell Orangutank.

Her wings are clipped but she's still dangerous.
Let's not forget Launch Octopus and Flame Mammoth (though technically the boomerangs aren't their actual weakness)
Don't forget crystal snail where you can beat him to death with his own shell.
As for weakness.. there are a lot of plants that eat insects. Many of which have sticky vines that would fuck over delicate wings.
Also; the wall grounds her attacks and also grounds her.
Concurrent MHQ thread!


Meanwhile in this one, any further strategizing?
Try to make arbor wall and fluid lockdown shots count. Be on your guard, she has some other tricks up her sleeve, I bet. The koi could be used for crowd control, but any melee we do should be with caution. That proboscis is pretty wicked.
Is there ANYTHING that can be done about the Fill-R?
yeah. Kill morpho here and remove the info blackout. It would allow everyone intel to support, or at the very least enable a beamout retreat.
Finish the fight first, THEN try and stop the Fill-R. This is the worst time to distract ourselves with trying to impact a fight elsewhere.
Supporting these
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This is it. Probably.

Two koi swim from your buster on its way up to your back. Your hand pops back out to grab your remaining saber.

She reacts with three hops backward. On each one she throws an electric-bridged trio of butterflies: diagonal left, diagonal right, straight horizontal. Her antennae spark up.

>[Flex +2]

The lines are quick, but standing on death ground, you’re quicker. Dodge left, dodge right, jump. Keep pushing ahead. Make her think you’re coming for melee. Set your fish aflame. Fly them in for a fireball pincer.

Fast as they are, Morpho actually strikes them down with a swipe of both arms and more of those infinite shuriken. Flame and lightning erupt to her sides. She jumps back, curls her fists. This is it. Thoughts latch together one at a time. They become your actions. Instant by instant.

You toss the Zanbato to your left hand. You catch it underhand. Your right hand retreats. You point your buster down and lay a carpet of Fluid Lockdown in your wake. She starts throwing more shuriken, three by three, line by line. Screening you to the last. You slide under the first line and switch to Arbor Wall on your way down and fire just ahead of you. Being that much closer to the ground, your fired seed strikes the floor and springs out instantly. Your feet crash into it from one side and an electric butterfly strikes it from the other. You kick out a dash even as the wall keeps rising, slip-sliding your back down the chilly gripping cryomer splat.

Morpho nimbly jumps over your wall, fists full of more butterflies.

It’s her last mistake. Behind the wall, she couldn’t see the next seed you fired.

The seed erupts, pinning her arms to her chest and squeezing the life out of her shields. She lands rolling, shrieking in anguish.

She rolls toward you. Too close.

>[Flex +2]

You dash back before her proboscis can make contact. It strikes like a whip and only electrocutes a terminal. The screen explodes. She flails her legs out, gets a toe on something solid and kicks herself prone. Even now, even bound from the waist up by thick roots, she still has fight in her.

You level your buster.

“Morpho. It’s over.”

She gets a foot under herself, pushes up, staggers back almost comically. She’s on her feet, unbalanced. The wood hugs like a straightjacket.

She pants for breath. Her eyes fade in and out. She’s just about had it.

“Drop the beamout interdiction. Now. And I’ll take you in. You don't have to die here. I’m offering you a surrender, because darn it that’s the difference between you and me.”

She breathes. She grins. The remaining terminals blink to a close-up of her face. Sparks jump from antenna to antenna.

“The humans lie. The Hunters lie. Fight on. Fight on—

Your last Melter grenade explodes into the wood, center-mass, touching off a fatal conflagration. She laughs, even now. As her shields blink in slow last-gasp fashion, she throws back her head and fills the world with her final propaganda.

“Rrrepliforrrrrce FOREVAAA—!!”

Her eyes break like glass as her antennae fire a pulse of electricity, an EMP riding a wave of lightning that rolls into and over you, knocking you flat and frying the terminals. The hug of the cyberwood does nothing at all to contain the explosion of her overloading body.

Your internal warnings scream loud enough to wash out the noise, her core failure now the only light in the room… which fades out, leaving you in pitch-black silence.

You can move, but the buzzing in your limbs doesn’t recommend it.

Lacking options, you stay down.



“Mh… Meteor Showa to Fifth?”

Dead air. You wonder how shielded this command bunker is. That slope went down a long way into the mountain.

You close your eyes. It’s about the only range of motion that doesn’t hurt when you try it.

“ … n…”

You reopen them for the sake of a letter. Same old darkness. You could mistake it for death.

“This is Meteor Showa. Say again.”

“ … chn…”

“I can’t—ow— no copy.”



“…m out. I’m out, m’okay. Blac..t’s gon… vd my life. Got s… rference…”

You push up, defying the protests of all your joints and their friends. Through the fits and starts of Asagi’s comm, she sounds pretty keyed-up, but hearing her voice is a serious load off your mind.

“I’m down in the control center. Way down. Sorry I scared you, sis. Just gonna… gonna stay here a bit, if that’s okay.”

“Cop… ike force is on… s way …ear out a… pick you up. … ay safe. … v you, sister.”

“Thanks. I love you too.”

You decide to just sit on the floor. Your infra-red eye-lamps paint the destroyed room in monochrome. Nobody there but you and a bunch of discarded butterflies. You hope, oh do you ever hope, that Morpho’s eff-you parting shot fried the entire base.

Fight on, huh?

It’s the only order you’ll ever take from Repliforce.
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>Meteor Showa gets some upgrades!

>With complete irrelevance to modern times, a social media platform loses a ridiculous market share!

>An unexpected invitation?!

Bookmark the archive for later viewing and voting: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Shooting+Star

And thanks for playing!

Thread is now open to questions and comments and speculation of any kind. I am here to serve.

So our fight went out live right? What's the world think about our favorite fish?
That remains to be seen, but the ratings were through the roof.

It did not go at all as Morpho expected, but perhaps in the end she was satisfied regardless.
That's what we're sure of, right?


New guess.
Wait, what would have happened if we did the Corona mission AFTER Halycon's gigantic PR failure?
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Morpho and Sphynx were quietly in cahoots with each other. Morpho controlled information, and Sphynx had quite a lot to give, such as a silently attempted negotiation between Halcyon and Colonel taking place in her park after the war had begun. The no-comms zone around the hunting park was actually Morpho's work. Also, like in at least one other instance on your roster, her motivations would have changed over time.

You caught Sphynx when she was still having fun. Toying with you to relieve the ennui of the rich. If she were still around after Halcyon's PR stunt went horribly wrong, she'd have leveraged everything to make Hal look the other way while Repliforce "invaded" her park, setting up additional assets "against her will," letting her screen out weaker Hunters that arrived to take out her hellpigs. She required only the best adversary. The most dangerous game she could get.

And as for the boss order, some parts are still a secret, but I can confirm that even HC didn't get what I was going for with three of them.

The Hellpigs Three and Corona Sphynx yielded fire VWES, which could burn the woods of Arbor Elk, which could conduct the electricity and crush the wings of Arc Morpho.

Hellpigs, Elk, Morpho.

Boar, deer, butterfly.

....you nerdy bastard.

I only know what youre talking about because of Summer Wars
Be thankful that Love Machine was retired by Sigma pre-rebellion.
With this new information.....


Hmm. If Morpho's stock VWES is the shurikens, I can imagine them shorting out rat king's smoke makers without exploding and leaving him awkwardly naked.

And I imagine sound would pierce Corona's shield way easier than bombs.

I don't think anyone's drawn any of the Mavericks faced so far, so fuck it.
Nobody has! Mostly because I don't want to dump too much work on my sister. But thanks for this! You're the first.
You're improving fast. Nice work.
Was Meganeural Spectrod supposed to be based on the air rod cryptid?
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Meganeura was the extinct giant dragonfly. The addition of one letter made him sound smart. Add Spectre + Rod and you have the surname.
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You did good with that concept.
Much appreciated! Lucky for Showa that she had his weakness and got a delicious payday out of it. And that none of her friends died.

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