>And we're back! Despite awkward shifts and the one-two punch of Ace Combat 7 and REmake 2 dropping inside a week of one another. Both are pretty great games. I'd certainly recommend.You can’t help the stilling of your heart, or the shock that jolts through you like you’ve been struck by lightning. It’s blurred, but there’s no mistaking it. Surely this is…“...dad?” you croak. Your voice is raw and hoarse; even to your own ears you sound like death warmed over. He tilts his head, a curious little look on his face even as he stares down at you. It’s… odd. You’re expecting him to give you that wry little smirk he gives when you answer a particularly difficult question.Then, feeling the strain, you blink…...and the illusion is gone.Grim sits in the space your father occupied scant moments ago in all his sour glory, and you feel a wash of bitter disappointment at the sight of his blocky, wrinkled old ass.“Sorry to disappoint,” he says in a way that makes it all too clear how distinctly unsorry he feels, “But I’m not who you think I am.”No. Of course he isn’t. There’s no way he could be. Your father died in a nameless back alley on a warm Summer evening. Much as you wish it were otherwise, even all this time later, this is the world you have to live in. The thought precipitates a fresh wave of sudden grief, and it takes a lot more than you’ll readily admit to suppress the urge to sob.He was all you’d had, damnit…As if somehow sensing your thoughts, Grim elects simply to sit and wait. You drag in a lungful of air and cover your face with a hand, collecting your thoughts.>Gotta be honest, old man, I’m flattered you seem to care.>I assume you want some kind of report?>So, how are the others doing?
>>3204139>I assume you want some kind of report?
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrostyZippoArchive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Paranormal%20Agent%20QuestFirst thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2907129/
>>3204139You know hardly anything about this frustrating old man, but you think you’ve gleamed well enough to know that this is almost certainly not a social call, and you’d be surprised to learn his arriving upon your regaining consciousness was a coincidence.No, no need for the old man to worry about anything. It was only a little bit of almost having your soul sucked through your eyes. Hardly so much as a scratch.The thought sours your mood and even as you open your mouth, you hear a bitter, near petulant tinge to your voice, “I suppose you want some kind of report?”The old man spectacularly fails to surprise you with a nod. You sigh and shift yourself into a sitting position, groaning with the effort it takes. Jesus, that really did do a number on you.“Take it easy,” Grim says, and you have to fight the urge to do a double take, “I know full well what you’re going through and you’ll be laid up here for at least another day. Honestly speaking, you were lucky you passed out when you did.”“Well, I sure don’t feel it,” you gripe, after blinking in surprise at the unexpected show of concern.“I’m sure you’ll reassess that thought when you consider the alternative was death in the very best of circumstances,” he tells you flatly. You purse your lips but find it impossible to argue.“Fine,” you gripe, “What do you want to know?”“Just what happened as you were leaving. Zafi and the others in your team have given me a relatively clear picture of what occurred for the most part. I must admit, I’m impressed. Suppressing an Imp without even a single casualty is no small feat.”“Nothing to it,” you say with a sniff. You are not satisfied with the implied compliment at all. No siree, “I just… gave it something else to try and hack at.”“And by doing so, allowed your team to finish it with minimal danger to themselves while the rift was successfully closed in the same moment. Not all leadership extends to taking to the front lines yourself.”“Yeah, well… glamour’s what I’m good at, so I just played to my strengths is all it is.”“And it worked. Well done.”Wow.“Don’t look so shocked,” Grim says, cocking an eyebrow at you--is that a smirk? “I’m not a slave driver, and I know when to give credit where it’s due.”You’re half-tempted to point out your mere being here is enough of a rebuttal to that first point, but you’ve laboured enough over that and it’s not like you’ll change his mind on it. So, instead, you decide on what to tell him first.>Tell him about that weird Major you bumped into who led the raid on the safehouse.>Inquire about the raid in general--pretty weird the SS seems to think you’re associated with the French Resistance.>Inform him about the psycho in black who almost whacked you.
>>3204448>Tell him about that weird Major you bumped into who led the raid on the safehouse.>Inform him about the psycho in black who almost whacked you.
>>3204448>>Tell him about that weird Major you bumped into who led the raid on the safehouse.
Righto, questions, questions. Writing now.
>>3204448Right, two individuals stood out most.“The raid was led by an SS Major. Fat bastard, wore glasses, went on a long speech when we first happened to bump into him in the street, which was pretty random. I didn’t get a name, but does that description ring any bells?”Grim tilts his head a fraction, presumably thinking, though you can’t tell if he’s trying to recall anyone by that description or if he’s debating on whether you need to know if he does.“I’ve heard a few vague reports of an individual within the SS who’s become a little too interested in matters less well known to the general public,” he says eventually, “No name provided, but it could be the same man. I’m afraid at this stage, I don’t know.”“You don’t know?” you blink in disbelief.“Contrary to whatever you might think, I’m not omniscient. I’ve also had increasingly little contact with my friends in the current German administration.”“That’s…”“Worrying,” he finishes for you, “Some of them were old friends of mine. Good men. I’ve put out a few feelers, but I suspect many of them will have been replaced at best.”“...and at worst?”His silent stare is answer enough, and you swallow, nervous, “So, uh. Any reason for this weirdness in Germany?”“None that offer any comfort,” he says, and you get the feeling that’s all he’ll say on the matter. Typical. So, you move onto the next person of interest.(Cont.)
>>3205754“As we were leaving, I got attacked. Had to keep the raiders busy so I whipped up a few things to keep them down until this psycho decked out all in black showed up. Blew straight through and winged me a couple times. Might have killed me if I hadn’t made it to the circle in the attic when I did.”“Psycho in black?” he raises his eyebrows at you.“Yeah, weird red shades, black face mask. Didn’t make so much as a peep and carried a goddamn sword--well, until I melted it to slag,” you add, feeling a tinge of satisfaction at the memory.He’s silent for a while, until he exhales gently through the nose and nods softly.“Thank sounds like Hank.”“Hank?”“A mercenary,” he elaborates, “One who mostly tends to work in our world. He’s generally employed in the same way one might drop a very big bomb on an enemy--when they need to ensure no one survives.”“Sounds like a nice enough guy,” you mutter, voice heavy with irony.“I’ve crossed paths with him and his team five times in the past,” Grim carries on, “Each time I have, the body count has been… astronomical. He is a killer without peer.”You swallow again, starting to get an idea of just how lucky you really were back in France.“So,” you start, once you lubricate your throat, “Why’s he not on our side if he’s that good?”He comes quite possibly the closest you’ve seen him to looking angry, as opposed to just dour.“He’s dangerous. He kills for money out of no other reason than he enjoys it. There is no trusting such a man.”Well, if he’s really that sure...Then a thought occurs to you, “Wait, you mentioned he had a team?”Grim nods, “Two others: Sanford and Deimos. The former is a killer in the same vein as Hank. He possesses a sorcerous tattoo on his back--an old, now lost practice that allows him to tap gently into several disciplines, though he mostly uses it to enhance his already prolific combat prowess. Deimos is unusual in that he tends to function--at least from what I’ve been able to gather--as a specialist and machinist. Don’t let that fool you, however. He’s no less a threat as the others, and is likely the finest marksman of the three.”Great. Three psycho mercs to worry about on top of everything else.“Would have been nice to know about these assholes beforehand.”“The last I or anyone had heard from them up until now was three years ago,” Grim shrugs, “I’d hoped that maybe they’d finally bitten off more than they could chew and died on one of their jobs. Now I see that was too good to be true. If they’ve been hired by the SS--or by this Major of yours, then this changes things.”>Changes things how? (TN??)>Great. More secrets. How long’s it going to take this one before it bites someone in the ass?>Comforting as all of this is, I think I should be resting, so I’ll just leave you to brood on all of this while I work on getting better.
>>3205760>Changes things how? (TN??)Granted we might not get much but at this point we're already in at the bottom of the ocean. Might as well be aware of how fucked we are.
>>3205760>Changes things how?At the very least the Major is in the know about magic. And well, if Hank is a walking bomb equivalent, hiring him to take out a Resistance group is a bit overkill.
>>3205928Especially since with resistance groups you want to capture and interrogate them, not kill everyone.
>>3205760>Changes things how?
"Changes things how, exactly?" you press.Grim gives you a long, sideways look, like he's mulling over whether or not to give you a straight answer.>1d100 Bo3 TN unknown
Rolled 16 (1d100)>>3206776
Rolled 2 (1d100)>>3206776
Rolled 39 (1d100)>>3206776
>>3206776You don’t expect him to give you an answer, but you still feel irritated when he shakes his head, mind clearly made up.“At this stage, I can’t say for certain.”Bullshit.He carries on, ignoring the stink eye you’ve fixed him with, “But we’ll need to tread extremely carefully around the Germans, I think.”Gee, thanks. Not like you couldn’t have worked that out for yourself. Naturally, of course, this sets your mind a-wandering to a certain teammate of yours. You ponder on Diedrich, and all you’ve seen of him in your admittedly limited time together…>Ask the old man why a man with no power to speak of is in an organisation consisting entirely of mages.>Ask the old man if he thinks Diedrich could be some kind of spy.>Nah, Diedrich’s damn near harmless. No need to subject the poor guy to this Grim’s kind of scrutiny.
>>3207549>Ask the old man why a man with no power to speak of is in an organisation consisting entirely of mages.
>>3207549>>Ask the old man why a man with no power to speak of is in an organisation consisting entirely of mages.Anti-Magic abilities?
>>3207549Actually, now seems like a good time to ask something that’s been on your mind for a while.“So, on that line of thinking: my teammate, Diedrich.”“What about him? Is there a concern you have?”“In a manner of speaking,” you mutter, “Mostly what a guy with not a speck of magic in him is doing here in an org full of mages.”“We’re not all mages here,” he says, and you find yourself a little surprised, “Much of our support staff are those who have had dealings but possess no power themselves.”“You’re dodging the question.”“I was about to come to that. I had no idea he was powerless until I saw him for the first time when you were about to head off on your first operation.”“I thought you handled recruitment?”“Only for certain special cases,” he cocks an eyebrow down at you, “You don’t really think I could have brought on almost nine-hundred staff--field agents, administrators, cooks, engineers, researchers et cetera, all on my own, do you?”Well, when he puts it that way…“I delegate, and one of those picked up your friend Mister Drescher. Ordinarily, yes, I would countenance benching him indefinitely, or even sending him back to the Wehrmacht--albeit with his memories altered.”“Buuuut…” you prompt.He pauses again, and you expect him to stonewall you again in typically blunt fashion. Instead, though, he decides to throw you a bone. Maybe he’s taken pity on you, seeing what happened in the closing stages of your escape from Nice. A part of you wonders if maybe you should try getting yourself banged up more often if it’ll get the old coot to spill a few secrets.“Do you believe in the concept of fate at all, Mister Bauer? Destiny?”>Why would I believe that I have even less control over my life than I do right now?>Your father believed little strands might pluck at a man’s life now and then. You guess you’ve picked up on that a little.>Sure you do--it’s why you’re finding your situation so fucking difficult to swallow.
>>3209319>Why would I believe that I have even less control over my life than I do right now?Alternatively:>No
>>3209319>I try to not think about it, just so that I don't feel like a character from a storybook.
>>3209319>Why would I believe that I have even less control over my life than I do right now?
>>3209319Gonna have to go with: >>3209382
Blurgh. Night shifts.Writing now.
>>3212639Don't die on us Frosty.
>>3209319“I try not to think about it,” you answer, “Mostly so I don’t end up feeling like a character in a storybook.”Another tug at the edge of the mouth on Grim’s side. Hot damn, you’re on a roll today.“That’s fair, I suppose,” he concedes, “Every now and then, however, individuals appear who have a little…” he pauses, “touch about them, would be the easiest way to describe it.”“You’re saying that Diedrich’s got this ‘touch’?”“He does.”“And you know how to make use of it, I presume.”Another surprise as he shakes his head, “It can take many forms, and never in a way one can predict. Even the best precogs can’t make any meaningful insights when an individual is so marked.”“Right,” you murmur, frowning, unsure at all if you like the sound of this all that much, “But it’s good, right?”“That…” he says carefully, “Depends entirely on the individual.”That is less than comforting, and also strikes you as a little careless.“So what you’re saying is that Diedrich could either end up doing something really great or really bad, and we have no idea what it is and no way of stopping it.”Grim nods.“That sounds like a hell of a gamble, and--knowing what I do on that very subject--I think I can tell you that the only gamble that’s ever worth taking is one that’s stacked in your favour.”“You’re correct.”“So Diedrich is still hanging about… why?”“Because whatever he is going to do will occur, irrespective of whatever I or anyone attempts to the contrary. There is no severing such a link. I have tried. The only course of action available is to let it play out and… try to mitigate any damage it may end up causing as best you can.”You feel like a lead weight has materialised in your gut, and you can’t help swallowing, nervous at the implication. Nothing else for it, you and the others in your happy little troupe are going to have to be extra vigilant around the happy little German camper.A cold chill settles on you as this leads to other considerations.“I… don’t have this touch on me, do I?”“Do you think I’d tell you if you did?”“I don’t know,” you reply, “I still don’t know what on earth to make of you, old man. I'm barely able to get a straight answer out of you and then you go and spill so much that it gives me shakes.”His only response is a grunt, and he picks himself up from his seat, using his cane to support his not inconsiderable heft.“Get well soon, Mister Bauer.”And with that, he takes his leave. Surveying the rest of the infirmary, you discover that you appear to be the only soul currently occupying this particular ward. You don’t know what to make of that, but you guess the privacy is nice.Or at least, it is, until you hear footsteps approach and a figure round the corner. You are thus greeted with the sight of…>Arnold>Naru>Iszolda>Zafi
Rolled 3 (1d4)>>3212683Fuck it.Rolling for dude/dudette
Rolled 4 (1d4)>>3212683Maybe not a popular idea but I really think we should ditch this joint. These people are insane, they sent us rookies fully expecting heavy casualties and only offer an offhand compliment when we didn't die. This organisation is going to get us killed before Christmas at this rate.I want to do it before we actually get attached to the chumps we're stuck with. Two reasons: I think it is in character right now, and 2: I think it'll be interesting and we'll lose the opportunity soon.
>>3212683>Iszolda>>3212731Well, *assuming* we ditch this place AND manage to somehow get away with it... it'd have to pretty much be mid-mission because the base is in Antarctica/South Pole(I forget which).
>>3212740I was mulling over the idea of asking the mute how his summon circle works- if we can use our illusions to sneak onto it when another team is deploying. A stowaway, basically. It's a pretty bad idea if it has to be drawn to send a specific number of people, wouldn't want to end up lost in the Warp. A little research wouldn't hurt.
>>3212683>ZafiGrim has ditched us, but we can complain to Zafi as a senior in rank.
Rolled 2 (1d2)One more night shift to go, then maybe I can work on unfucking my sleep schedule. H-ha ha.Tiebreaking 1d2. 1 for the Ruskie, 2 for the French bird.
>>3212683Zafi sashays along towards you, her smug little smirk nowhere to be seen, for once. Today is a day of surprises, it seems. She observes the chair already in place next to your bed and gives you a curious look.“The old man stopped by,” you explain with a shrug.“Did he, now?” the smirk reappears and she glances back to the entrance, “I didn’t see him leave.”That strikes you as a little weird. It must be showing on your face because she cocks a wry half-grin at you.“I think he likes you, you know.”Once your surprise dies down, you start grouching, “Got a damn funny way of showing it. Dragging me into this without so much as a choice; sending me off and almost getting me killed twice, and that’s just so far. This keeps up, I’ll be dead by Christmas. Either something will be snacking on my bones or I’ll have died of heart failure.”“I’m serious,” she says, and she actually sounds it, too. “You think he goes out to personally bring someone in on a whim?”“If that’s the case--”“I’m not privy to his innermost thoughts,” Zafi cuts you off with a sigh, taking a seat and crossing her legs. She’s gone bare legged today and you can’t help the wandering of your gaze at the motion. Catching you staring, the sly little smirk returns in full force and she folds her arms across her chest, leaning back in the chair. You have the good grace to at least look embarrassed.“Don’t worry so much,” she says with a dismissive wave of her hand, “You are hardly the first I’ve caught looking. You’ll not be the last.”Yeah, you don’t doubt that for a moment. You’re usually much more subtle about these sly peeks, certainly you’ve not had any such issue with any of the other women you’ve encountered in your life--even before all this weirdness. You’d almost joke that there’s some strange magnetic force at work. She’s not part Succubus, is she?“So,” she moves on, “How are you feeling?”>Like I took a walk through my neighbourhood blindfolded.>I’d actually really like something to eat and drink, now you mention it.>Could be worse, I guess.
>>3215047>Like I took a walk through my neighborhood blindfolded.
>>3215047>I’d actually really like something to eat and drink, now you mention it.
>>3215047>>I’d actually really like something to eat and drink, now you mention it.
>>3215047>Like I took a walk through my neighbourhood blindfolded.>I’d actually really like something to eat and drink, now you mention it.
>>3215047>>Like I took a walk through my neighbourhood blindfolded.
Aight, last night shift (hopefully) for a while now. Almost done with the next update and should be back to evening posts as well, now.
>>3215047“Like I took a walk through my neighbourhood blindfolded,” you mutter.“That tends to happen when you’re silly enough to keep your eyes open during the transportation cycle,” she muses.You manfully refrain from glaring daggers at her.“I should probably tell you that it was my ass that kept that psycho in black Hank from murdering your ass,” you seethe.You are gratified, and not a little worried, to note the way Zafi’s face literally drains of colour at the mention of the killer’s name.“He was there?” her voice is barely a whisper. Christ above, she sounds terrified at the prospect.You try to hold onto the vindictive spark, but tormenting a lady--even one who assuredly deserves it--has never been in you, and instead you release a strangulated breath, “Yeah. Not that I knew who that even was at the time, but yeah. I, ah… kept him busy while you got everything set up in the attic.”She grips your hand so tightly you’re almost afraid she’ll rip it off, girl’s a lot stronger than she looks, that’s for sure.“Don’t ever fight him. If you do happen upon him, or either of his two associates, you put as many walls in between you as you possibly can, yes?”There’s an intensity in her voice, the way those crystal blues are completely fixed on you, that gives you pause. How much trouble did this Hank give Grim and his mob before to inspire this kind of fear in a woman like Zafi?You try to crack a joke, try to ease the mood. Normally one would come right to mind and she’ll giggle and things will be all right.Now isn’t one of those times.So, instead, you swallow, nod, and say “Yeah. All right.”She releases a shaky breath and relinquishes her death grip on you, “Good,” she nods, sounding like she’s saying that more for her own sake than anything else.Desperate to find some way of raising the heavy mood, you settle on the obvious, “You know, I’m actually kind of hungry. I could use something to eat,” you pause, and then add, “Something to drink, too, now that I think about it.”Zafi draws back, nodding, seemingly as glad as you are to have something else to focus on, “Right. Yes,” she falls back into that smug ‘I-know-something-you-don’t’ routine, but there’s a brittle edge to it. She’s still rattled.“I think I can play nursemaid for a few minutes,” she says, “At this time, I should be able to snag you something from the canteen. Any preference?”“Just something I can chew into,” you say, honestly not bothered at all, as long as it tastes of something, “And some coffee, if it’s going. Black. No sugar.”(Cont.)
>>3217110She gives you an amused little grin, looking a little more like herself, before excusing herself. You try not to watch her go, but it’s a losing battle. There’s just something about her that draws the eye, even when you don’t mean or want to. A part of you wonders if maybe there’s some kind of active glamour she uses. You dismiss the thought out of hand. Now that you’ve encountered Naru, and with the devious Charm Zafi used to snare you, you’re a lot more on guard for that kind of thing. You’d know.Grunting, you put the thought from your mind, lay back in bed, and try to get some rest until Zafi returns with the goods. You try your best, but sleep, however fleeting, eludes you, and sure enough…>Arnold waltzes in with a shit-eating grin and what looks like a whole keg of beer.>Naru shows up looking grumpy and sleep-deprived.>Desdemona appears with JJ in tow, chipper as ever and sporting a vase of flowers.>Iszolda ghosts in, looking purposeful.>No one arrives. You’re left alone with your thoughts until Zafi returns.
>>3217112>Naru shows up looking grumpy and sleep-deprived.
>>3217112>No one arrives. You’re left alone with your thoughts until Zafi returns.
>>3217112>Naru shows up looking grumpy and sleep-deprived.I would have rathered Des, but Naru is certainly better than nobody.
>>3217112>>Iszolda ghosts in, looking purposeful.>>3217156Bruh there's an option explicitly for Desdemona.
>>3217112>Everyone arrivesFINAL DESTINATION PEOPLE!
>>3217185I'm pretty sure Anon meant only Des without JJ.
>>3217112>Everyone arrivesNot on purpose, just... everyone decided to drop by at the same time, or was swept up with one of the other people/groups.
>>3217112>Everyone arrivesBecause I want Zippo to wrack that brain
>>3217112>>Naru shows up looking grumpy and sleep-deprived.
>>3217185>>3217195Not quite. I just forgot how slow this board is when I made a vote before leaving to do stuff.I didn't want a three way tie or someone else voting for the most boring choice.
>>3217577Eh, that's fair Anon.
Well, all right then. Uh, probably going to need a bit longer to think on how this is going to spin. I'll get it done before I hit the hay, though.
>>3217112Wait… what the hell is all that commotion outside?“-eeping, you big lummox!”“An’ if ‘e is, we’ll turnabouts and piss off. I jus’ wanna ‘ave a peek, though. I mean, y’saw ‘ow ‘e was when we arrived back. Bloke probly needs some cheerin’ up.”That’s… unmistakably Arnold. The other voice sounds like…“Right, with a whole keg of beer?”Naru. Yup.“I do not understand the fascination with this beer.”Wait, is that Iszolda?“Of course the Russian princess doesn’t understand the drink of the common folk she stands above. Crazy little witch.”That last part is said entirely in German. Is Diedrich there as well? What the hell are they all doing here?“Aw, hush. Y’all be nice, now. We’re here to wish your friend well. If he’s asleep, we just leave him a few things and scamper on off to leave him to it.”Hold the phone, is that Des Fox too?Your bemusement is total as, sure enough, all five of them enter the ward and behold you sitting up in your bed looking awkward. You… really can’t think of any reason for them to be here.“Oh, great!” Arnold says with a grin, “Yer up. Makes things easier.” He’s… actually cradling a keg under one of those tree trunks he calls arms. What on earth did he eat to be capable of keeping that held in one arm? “Probably heard you stomping around a mile off,” Naru snarks, and you notice that her eyes are bloodshot and there are a set of bags under her eyes that you’d associate with a distinct lack of sleep.Iszolda and Diedrich, for the most part, keep silent, the former remaining fixed on you, while the latter looks very much like he got out the wrong side of bed, casting shifty looks in Naru’s direction every now and then. You get the impression he was probably dragged here by one of the others.Perhaps the most surprising member of the troupe, though, is the ever-smiling redhead co-leading alongside Arnold who carries a vase of flowers--how on earth did she even get one of those out here?“Well look at you,” she coos. Any wider and that smile of hers could power an entire city block, “Coming back after a big adventure all trussed up. Well, some good old fashioned TLC’ll see you right as rain in good order, yesiree, it will. Got this for you as a get well soon present,” she says, setting the vase down on a little side table next to your bed.(Cont.)
>>3218101“Uh, thanks, Des,” you say, and she beams at the response, very much ignorant of the evident confusion in your voice. Naru snickers and you catch her jabbing Iszolda in the side with an elbow. The taller blonde regards her curiously as Naru whispers something in her ear, only for Iszolda to give her a look you can only describe as perplexed. Working her jaw for a moment, Naru eventually just throws her arms up and shakes her head, muttering under her breath. Clearly something went over someone’s head.“Y’ain’t seen nuffin’ yet, Boss,” Arnold cackles, setting down his keg with a hearty thump that tells you it is definitely full, and retrieving an entire set of steins from… somewhere.“We are gettin’ fucked!” he declares, setting the steins down and a tap for the keg and hammering it in with a precision that spoke of much experience in matters such as these.“Arnold, language!” Des chides, slapping the big man on a meaty bicep, “And I don’t think the bar staff are going to appreciate you stealing one of their kegs in the manner you did.”“Aw, they weren’t usin’ it. B’sides, they got spares. Loads’ve ‘em as I saw.”“Not that any of them were going to say no to the seven-foot tall man-mountain bearing down on them, anyway,” Diedrich murmurs quietly.“Ugh, time I’ve been having, I could probably use a few drinks. Sign me up,” Naru groans, sitting herself down on the bed next to your own.“That’s the spirit, Shorty,” Arnold cackles. Naru’s response is to flip him a gesture you and every other person who grew up in NYC knows very intimately.So... the gang's all here. You'd be lying if you said you weren't... actually maybe just a teensie little bit touched.>Take a pick of three:>I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to be resting, actually.>Fuck it. When in Rome…>Uh, thanks again for the flowers, Des. Where exactly did you get them?>So… rough time, Naru?>Who dragged your ass here, Diedrich?>Looking pretty quiet back there, Iszolda.
>>3218111>Fuck it. When in Rome…>So… rough time, Naru?>Who dragged your ass here, Diedrich?
>>3218111>Uh, thanks again for the flowers, Des. Where exactly did you get them?Then as >>3218163 has it.
ٴٴ>>3218111>Fuck it. When in Rome…>Uh, thanks again for the flowers, Des. Where exactly did you get them?>So… rough time, Naru?>Who dragged your ass here, Diedrich?>Looking pretty quiet back there, Iszolda.
I'm so proud of you Zippo.>>3218111>>3218220>>3218163Supporting!
>>3218111You’re at a complete loss, before eventually you shrug.“Fuck it,” you say, ignoring the frown Des shoots you, “When in Rome...”“That’s the spirit,” Arnold cheers, already topping off the first stein and handing it towards your outstretched hand. You take a moment to admire the smooth, white head before taking a few gulps. It’s refreshingly bitter, and you take a moment to savour the taste.“Good stuff, eh? They don’t scrimp ‘ere, I tell you what.”“Are you sure you should be drinking?” Des inquires, pouting, “Y’all don’t want to mess with your recovery, now. And ain’t you on medicine or something?”“It should be fine. It’s not like I’ve been hooked up to anything,” you motion around yourself, “And I’m pretty sure I’d know if I’d been given anything beforehand.”She seems less than convinced but doesn’t labour the point, and you turn your attention back to Arnold has he fills up the rest of the steins he brought along with him, handing one out to each of the party. Naru accepts hers with almost childish impetus while Diedrich deigns to give a nod of what could even be gratitude when he is given his own drink. Iszolda takes hers, though peers down at it in puzzlement, while Des only reluctantly accepts the one offered to her after it becomes clear that Arnold just isn’t going to take no for an answer.“Nice,” Naru sighs, leaning back on the bed she’s acquired for herself, “I actually really fu--” she stops when she notices Des giving her a look, “...I needed that.”“Plenty more where that came from,” Arnold cackles with glee, draining the contents of his own stein in the time it takes to draw a solitary breath.“It is not bad,” Diedrich muses, “Clearly German.”“Aw push off. It’s English make, this is.”“Oh my God, stop iiiit,” Naru moans.“Looking like you’ve had a rough time there, Naru.”She gives you a tired look before jabbing a finger at Diedrich, “I had to babysit this little asshole for a whole twelve hours. Twelve whole hours. I had to deal with him freaking out on the verge of tears and he has the nerve to…”“I was not ‘freaking out’,” Diedrich denies. It’s more than somewhat laughable, given how poorly he was handling himself in the clock tower against the Imp.“That! You see?! Complete denial when I put my ass on the line to keep him from getting his head cut off! And do I get so much as a ‘thank you’ for my efforts? Noooo.”It occurs to you that Naru perhaps took your suggestion to look after the German as something of an order. Probably that Navy training of hers.“Diedrich, be nice. She did look out for you.”(Cont.)
>>3219802The man in question sours, hunching over and pointedly looking away from you and Naru. You’re pretty sure it’s some semblance of pride that’s giving him this attitude. No doubt he’s sour over a woman having saved him. You think they’re not especially big on that kind of thing where he’s from.“So, who dragged you over here, then?”“Do you really need to ask?” he wonders, sulking. Christ, what is this guy, five? Naru grunts, offering her stein to Arnold for a refill, having somehow gulped the contents down in the time you weren’t looking.“You could have said no,” you tell him, “I wouldn’t have felt offended.”He stiffens, and sighs, straightening up, “It… would not be proper for a soldier of the Wehrmacht to be amiss when the rest of his unit attends to their superior.”That was some severely awkward phrasing, but you think he’s making an effort, at least, even if he could afford to be much less of an asshole about it.“Well, thanks for showing up,” you offer. He turns to with an expression of distinct surprise before turning away again to nurse his drink. You share a look with Naru, who shrugs and continues gulping at her own beer.“So,” you say to Arnold, “What exactly was the occasion for you to start all this? Did I miss someone’s birthday?”“We’ve kicked some arse. We’re alive,” the big man says, boisterous, “Ain’t no more reason a bloke needs to get rat-arsed than that.”It’s a crude sentiment, but one you think you could get behind.“Sure,” you say, “I guess I can drink to that.”You raise your stein and Arnold clanks his own against yours.“Cheers,” he says, and promptly inhales the contents of his stein.“Cheers,” you repeat back at him and sup at your own.“Well, I don’t think I’m needed here, and I did what I came here to,” Des says, brushing down her rather flattering cream dress, “You boys and girls have fun now, but I should get back to it.”(Cont.)
>>3219807“Already? You’ve ‘ardly touched yer drink,” Arnold gripes. You notice Iszolda has placed her own drink down on the floor and edged it under Naru’s bed so it won’t be seen. You imagine that means she hasn’t acquired a taste for it.“No, he’s right,” you say, “Stay a little longer. Besides, I still haven’t thanked you for the flowers. Where exactly did you get them?”“Oh, we’ve got us a little greenhouse on the surface. Took some doing to get set up and warded right so the chill don’t freeze all the seeds to death, but they grow all kinds of wonderful fruit and veg up there. Why, a few of the other gals and I even got ourselves our own flower patch.”You have to work to stifle a guffaw. Of course the Southern Belle gardens.>Kind of surprised you find the time, Des, what with your particular job and all.>Not a fan of the local brew, Iszolda?>So, where exactly is this bar located, Arnold?>Holding up all right otherwise, Naru?>Try to coax a little more out of Diedrich.>Wonder when Zafi’s getting back with my food...
Had a shift dropped on me, looking like a long one. Probably not going to make an evening or morning update. Will get one up tomorrow evening. Sorry again, and see you then.
>>3219809>Kind of surprised you find the time, Des, what with your particular job and all.Yeah, a vote for something I want and not just to deny boring nothing options.
>>3219809>Wonder when Zafi’s getting back with my food...
>>3219809>Kind of surprised you find the time, Des, what with your particular job and all.>Not a fan of the local brew, Iszolda?>Holding up all right otherwise, Naru?
>>3219809just caught up with the thread- I can't believe I didn't make the connection to who we now know as Hank was. Cheeky bastard.Anyways, supporting >>3220069as well
I was hoping to be back and well, but the job took a distinctly sour turn and the long and short gist of it is that I ended up held up at knifepoint and turfed out of the building I was keeping watch over. I'm trying, but nothing's coming. I'm sorry. I'll try and put something up tomorrow morning.
>>3223332That shit's pretty traumatic, take your time dude.
>>3223332THE QUEST CURSE STRIKES AGAIN!
>>3223332Be safe man.
>>3222507What?>>3223332The fuck? Were you a security guard?
>>3225524Hank, Sanford, and Deimos. When I saw the picture for "Hank" I thought it looked familiar. Look up Madness Combat by Krinkels.
>>3227224I recognized it immediately and thought 'Oh you cheeky bugger'. Then I had a big laugh.
>>3227224Holy crap, I totally missed the connection!It'll be allright. There was a man who sought the Hank.
>>3227224I did, now that's a blast from the past. I used to play those every day during recess, I had no idea they were big enough to have fanart
>>3229437The art I used was done by the man himself, so if you want to get technical, it's not really fanart. I rediscovered the series literally a couple months back and just couldn't resist.Brief blogpoast: shit's sorted, or as sorted as it's going to be for the immediate future. I'm going to be talking to a load of people from and outside the company but the consensus seems to be that I did more or less everything I could have reasonably been expected to do in light of the circumstances. I've got to run some errands this afternoon but I'll aim to resume the run this evening.>>3225524Yeah. Usually though, the sites I'm sent to are a lot more placid. I was certainly not expecting the night to play out as it did, that's for sure.
Hoo boy, this was a long one.>>3219809“Got to say,” you muse aloud, “I’m kind of surprised you find the time to do all that, Des, what with your particular job and all.”“Oh, I always find time,” Des chirps away, “I just don’t have it in me to just sit still and do nothing. I’d just feel like I was wasting my time away,” she giggles, “Heck, my ma used to call me her little Hummingbird: always flitting about doing one thing or the other. Non-stop, non-stop.”You find that curious, given what you’ve seen of her job seems to be literally sitting still, though you suppose it’s not as if she’s idle doing so. You’re no telepath--for all you know, it’s extremely strenuous stuff.“So, what, you just keep going then? No breaks?”Des continues to beam even as she shakes her head. If you didn’t know it before, you’re certain now that this is a woman who simply has no off switch. Strangely though, you don’t mind. Her sunny personality is… nice.“Not a one, hun. There’s just too much for me to see and do and I want to see it all.”“Really? Seems like you’d not get a lot of opportunity to do much of that, being stuck here and all.”She shakes her head, and taps your nose with her index finger, “Just the opposite. Why, the furthest I’d been before Grim took me in was just a couple dozen miles upstate with some old girlfriends of mine. I’ve seen more of the world here than I ever would have if I’d stayed at home in Louisiana.”That’s kind of weird. You’ve, so far, been under the impression that Des is pretty much the lynchpin of the organisation’s telepathic communications network for its field teams. She’d mentioned that she’d gotten out and about beforehand, but even so, you’ve got a difficult time believing that Grim would risk losing a talent like hers.You decide to shift topics, filing what she’s just told you away.“So, you say you grow flowers. What exactly do you grow?” you ask, curious.“Oh, just a few things. Wouldn’t be fair for me to hog all the space, but I got my own little patch. A little bud of Daisies and a few pods of Beeblossoms to remind me of home sweet home.”You have no idea what Beeblossoms are, and Daisies have never really struck you as anything special to write home about. All the same, you don’t want to appear rude to someone who’s actually treated you pretty well, so you elect to simply smile and nod your head.“That’s nice, Des.”She dials up the wattage on her already bright expression and turns away to start fussing over the vase. You glance over to Iszolda, who stands almost statue-still by the bed, her foot tactfully concealing her almost-full stein of beer underneath the bed next to you.(Cont.)
>>3231078“Not a fan of the local flavour, huh?” you ask, daring to crack a grin.She frowns in puzzlement, understanding, however, comes swiftly and she glances at Arnold, who has, curiously enough, buddied up with Diedrich and the two are now exchanging words over drinks. Huh. You think there’s a saying regarding friendships and copious amounts of alcohol but it doesn’t spring to mind.“It does not agree with me,” she says, confirming that the man isn’t going to suddenly turn around and take offence. It’s a curiously more considerate gesture than you were expecting from her.“You could have said no. He might have sulked a little but surely he wouldn’t have been that offended,” you offer.“I wanted to try it,” she replies, tilting her head a fraction, “I was… curious.”“Right. Is that why you came here with the others, too?”“In a manner of speaking,” she nods, “Though I only met them just outside the infirmary.”“You were on your way to see me already?” you ask, blinking.“You said you would tell me what was on your mind at a later time in the Restaurant in Nice,” she explains. “I would hear it, as we are now no longer occupied.”Oh. Yeah. That.You scratch at your head, which still pounds, though you think it’s dying down a little. Beer’s already getting to work, it seems. You turn about, pointedly looking around at all the other people occupying the infirmary with you.“Not just now,” you say, “Not in front of a crowd.”“I understand,” she says, “I will wait, then.”You’re tempted to ask if she really has nothing better to do with herself, but decide against it. She seems perfectly innocuous enough, leaning against the bedframe, and it’s not as if she’s stirring up any trouble. Des actually potters on over and tries to stir up conversation with the Ice mage. Your gaze trails lower until finally settling on Naru, who is still lying down on the bed.(Cont.)
>>3231086“So, you holding up all right over there, Naru?”“I’m goddamned exhausted,” she groans, ignoring another chide from Des about her unladylike language, “I mean, where do you even begin with this shit?”“Well, at least you and Diedrich have some kind of training,” you offer.“Look at all the good that seemed to do him,” Naru says, jabbing a thumb in his direction, “Froze up and then broke down at the first sign of real danger.”Diedrich shoots her a baleful glare, which Naru gracefully returns by sticking her tongue out at him. His expression flattens and after a minute pause he scoffs, shakes his head and continues to sip at his drink, muttering rather unflattering things about her appearance and bearing in German. Judging by the way she squints at him, Naru’s well aware of what he’s doing, even if she can’t actually understand exactly what is being said.“Yeah, yeah,” she mutters, “Blow it out your ass, Jerry, and then remember who kept it in one piece back in France.”That shuts him up, and you think you see him colour.“So, what happens now?” she asks you.“How should I know?” you respond.“Well, the old guy put you in charge, right?”“Doesn’t mean he’s told me anything new, yet. Besides, I’ve been kind of out of it, if you remember,” you say, giving her a wry look.“Oh. Yeah. Well, what do you think happens now?”“You literally just asked me that and I gave you an--”“No, I mean what do you think happens now?”“Ah,” you ponder for a moment and settle for blowing out your cheeks and shaking your head, “I don’t know. Wait until I’m well and rested and get sent out on another weird suicide mission, probably. Rinse and repeat until whatever crisis the world has is fixed.”“Fixed? What does that mean?”Hm. You distinctly recall Grim telling you that he suspects some sort of outside influence in the amount of recent monster attacks. The thought was hardly comforting then, and after that moment you had with that Sleeper crystal in the Pacific…>Hell, if Grim told you, you guess it can’t be that much of a secret.>Uh, maybe she should ask the big man himself if she wants to know that much...
>>3231099>>Uh, maybe she should ask the big man himself if she wants to know that much...
>>3231099>Uh, maybe she should ask the big man himself if she wants to know that much...
>>3231099“Just something the old man said. He can tell you more if you want to know that much.”Naru holds your gaze for a moment, no doubt trying to judge if you’re yanking her chain or not. Eventually, she shrugs, “Yeah, no thanks. The old guy weirds me out as is. If that’s what he said I guess that’s what it is.”“You don’t think he could be lying?”“About something like that? Nah. If he was and someone found out about it, morale’d tank and no one would be able to take him at face value. Nooot really something you want when you’re running any kind of operation, let alone something like this.”Considering Naru’s words you find, surprisingly, that it actually lines up with the way he’s acted. He’s been obtuse and he’s certainly not telling the whole story, but you don’t think he’s ever straight-up lied to you. So far, anyway.Still doesn’t mean you like the guy.“Aw, Grim ain’t so bad,” Des chimes in, “He acts all gruff and prickly but he’s a big old softy at heart.”You share a look with Naru and both of you simply stare in disbelief at the red haired telepath.“I’m serious!” she protests, “I remember when he used to come around to visit, I’d always catch him out on the veranda late in the evenings staring at this old locket. I think it might have belonged to his wife or something cause he always looked real sa--She cuts herself off, cocking her head as if listening out for some faint noise that only she can hear. She then shuts her eyes, and then reopens them.Oh. Yeah. Telepath.“Sorry, sug, I got to head off. Duty calls.”“Not a problem,” you offer her a shrug and a friendly grin, “Thanks for stopping by, you really didn’t have to.”“Oh pish,” she waves a hand dismissively, “After helping me out with finding little JJ and keeping us both company, this was the very least that I could do.”Oh yeah, speaking of the kid, you didn’t see him come in with her.“Where is the little genius?” you ask Des, “Keeping out of trouble?”“Of course! JJ’s good as gold. He’s been down with them eggheads working on some ideas of his. I have to actually pop down myself to remind him that he needs to eat and sleep like any other growing young man his age.”Huh. Interesting.“Well, thanks again, Des. I’ll see you around.”“You surely will. You get better soon, now.”And with that, she turns and walks briskly out of the infirmary, leaving you with your team and a rumbling stomach. Huh, you really are pretty famished, actually...>Zafi shows up with food. Your hero.>Last-minute chatting with the team about life in general.
>>3233201>Zafi shows up with food. Your hero.*Mock swoons over-dramatically*
>>3233201>>Zafi shows up with food. Your hero.
>>3233254Supporting this idea
>>3233201>Zafi shows up with food. Your hero.
>>3233201>Last-minute chatting with the team about life in general.
>>3233201>>3233254Praise be to our saviour!
>>3233201And as if on cue, your guardian angel arrives with a tray loaded with goodies. You can make out the way the assortment of freshly boiled vegetables steam, soft and inviting. The roast potatoes look similarly divine; golden brown and crispy--just the way you like them. Finally is the meat portion--three perfectly cooked sausages and three generous slices what you think smells like… pork? Pork. Definitely pork. Succulent and sweet on your nose, the only thing that might make it all better is…Yeah, that looks like a little gravy boat. You think your opinion of the Frenchwoman rises a couple hundred degrees just with that little snag alone. There’s a glass of water and what you think is most likely juice just off to the side, which you’re also grateful for. You appreciate Arnold’s gesture with the beer, but it’s not going to quench a thirst in the same way.Of course, the others catch a whiff of the food as well, and all four extra sets of eyes fall on Zafi, who’s only reaction to the extra faces is a quirk of her lips and a raise of an eyebrow. She’s tied her hair up into a long, flowing ponytail to keep it out of the food. The change is… not a bad one, if you’re being honest, but then you doubt someone who looks as good as Zafi does would look particularly bad in anything.“I didn’t know the kitchen was still open,” Diedrich muses aloud.“Special service for the sick and wounded,” Zafi responds smoothly, giving you a wink. You immediately affect a swoon, the arrival of some no doubt pretty awesome food sweeping away much of your bad mood. Silver lining it may be, but the cooks seem to know exactly what they’re doing.“My goddamned hero,” you cry in falsetto.She giggles at your melodramatic act. Looks like you still got it.“Well, looks like it’s true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” she says, striding through the press of bodies.“Oh, that’s lush, that is,” Arnold notes, gazing appreciatively at the meal procured for you, “The pork’s bleedin’ brilliant, I tell you what. An’ the gravy too? Mm-mm.”“It was pretty great,” Naru agrees, “Hell, if I’d known agency food was this damn good, maybe I’d have found a way of joining up earlier.”Given her earlier griping you doubt she’s serious, and you favour her with a knowing grin that she returns.(Cont.)
>>3235351Zafi sets down the tray on your lap and, as soon as your hands grasp the cutlery, you’re digging in. It’s just as good as it smells, and even better than it looks. No question about it; in this moment, you’re in euphoria. Such is your food-induced bliss that you don’t notice the moment the others, sans Iszolda, pick themselves up and decide to leave to give you some space. In the heartspan it takes to demolish your plate, though, they’ve gone, leaving you alone with Zafi and the Russian ice mage.“I’m not sure the medical staff would approve of Arnold’s decision to imbibe in one of their wards,” she muses, “Much less drag one of their patients into it.”>Maybe you’re right. Still did it, though.>Aw, Arnold was just trying to cheer me up.>Well, you were taking your sweet old time, so...
>>3235352>Maybe you’re right. Still did it, though.>"No regrets!"
>>3235352>Aw, Arnold was just trying to cheer me up.
>>3235352>>Aw, Arnold was just trying to cheer me up.
Apologies for the late post, I was having all kinds of weird connectivity issues last night.Also a heads up that posting over this weekend will be slow as I've got a family event. We're probably reaching the time limit before this gets archived anyway, so I may just throw a new thread up come Monday whenever it is I get back from the folks' that day.>>3235352“Aw, Arnold was just trying to cheer me up,” you say, “Besides, if they really didn’t want me doing anything but resting, I’m sure they’ve have had someone check in by this point. One or two drinks won’t hurt.”Zafi hums, though you aren’t sure whether it’s in disapproval or whether she accepts your point.You observe her for a moment, standing to the side of your bed, Iszolda right behind her. The latter hasn’t made so much as a peep since Zafi’s return and everyone else left. Looks like she’s dead set on hearing your end of things. You aren’t sure whether you should be flattered she’s showing that much interest or sorry for her that this is the best she can think of to occupy herself.“Regardless,” Zafi says, “I think it may be for the best if you concentrated on actually resting up.”“All right, just let me finish my--”You stop as your eyes drift back down to your tray, and realisation hits you.There’s no coffee.>You know what, it’s fine.>Uh, Zafi? Forget something?
>>3237500>You know what, it’s fine.screw it, we can get all the coffee we want later. Acquire sustenance!
>>3237500>You know what, it’s fine.
>>3237500>You know what, it’s fine.Trust her palate on this.
>>3237500>>You know what, it’s fine.
>>3237500>You know what, it’s fine
>>3237500>Uh, Zafi? Forget something?
>>3237500You know what, it’s probably fine. It’d only keep you awake and you probably should be getting some rest soon, anyway.That is provided you’re allowed any.It’s strange. You’re normally not averse to company from a pretty face. Hell, you’d bet your previous self from a month ago would have tripped over his own feet to know the names of the two ladies occupying the ward with you. Of course, he also wouldn’t have known that one is a near socially-retarded ice mage while the other is… well, manipulative is one word. Like the old man running the show, you aren’t really sure what to make of Zafi. On a superficial, physical level, you want her, but you doubt that’s exclusive to you. She’s dynamite and she knows it, though you suppose any other attitude would be false modesty.On the other hand, she’s still the reason you’re here, and it’d be real goddamned easy to hate her for that. But then she goes and does a little thing like this. Not a massive thing. Something you probably could have asked some medical orderly to do for you. Without any prompting, she went out of her way to make you just a little more comfortable. Does she feel guilty? Is this another act? Or is this genuinely the way she is?You just don’t know.You finish your food in short order and wash it down with the juice. Cranberry. Hm. Interesting choice. Not what you’d have picked, but something about it mixes with the aftertaste of the pork in just the right way. Figures that she’d have an eye for food as well. You wonder if there’s anything she doesn’t have a handle on.You place the now empty glass back on the tray and notice that Zafi’s staring down at you with an unreadable expression. Not even that little whisper of a smirk graces her face.>Something on my face?>Penny for your thoughts?>Thanks for the food. It was good.
>>3238670>>Thanks for the food. It was good....She didn't cook that herself, did she?
>>3238670>Penny for your thoughts?
>>3238670>Thanks for the food. It was good.
>>3238670>>Thanks for the food. It was good.
>>3238670>Something on my face?