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/qst/ - Quests

Archive : http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=SRW+Quest

The last thread ended somewhat suddenly. We were in the middle of our first attempt at traveling through space, and only the helpful hand of our comrade prevented us from taking a one-way trip to the void. Let's resume!


[Your alignment shifts towards 'Revenge']

"Nice catch though, Joan! I thought I was gone for. I'll be in your debt."
"Ah, don't mention it," she tiredly replied. "As I said, just be careful from now on."

[Socializing Background] For now, showing your sincerest gratitude was everything you could realistically do. Showing hostility would clearly be unwarranted here, but overreaching and talking about friendship might even be more dangerous. Hard to tell if she's acting on a whim or not, and thus caution is probably the best policy.

It seemed, however, that the commander had no knowledge of what transpired. He could be heard shouting through the comm channels:
"Shirou Kabuto, Great Mazinger, scramble dash!"
Using the camera on the back of the Von Neumann's head, you managed to get a glimpse of the imposing castle of steel flying straight towards you, just before realizing you were already safe.

"Ah, by Zeus, you're safe!" he sighed in relief. "Just what I expected from a Flaming Skull," he continued, complimenting Joan's reflexes. "Still, what were you doing here?"
"Sorry, commander. I took off on my own to regain some familiarity with space flight. I guess I should've let you know."
"Well, no harm done I suppose. We could carry out the patrol together, and catch two birds with one stone."
"That sounds like a plan. Still, the Von Neumann has no Mobility Pack available at the moment. Will she be fine?" Joan asked.

"She'll have to make do," Shirou promptly replied. "Let's give this a shot."
Patrol duty proved to be rather easy for you to carry out. Moving in space was like moving underwater with the Exotic Maneuver activated: all in all, not too difficult. You, the commander and Joan simply flew in circles around the ship, making sure no threats were in sight.

Once back to the hangar, a peculiar scene unfolded in front of your eyes. The commander was patting his robot's shoulder with his comparatively tiny hand. Curious, you came closer to him and observed his actions until he took notice of you.
"Yes? What is it, miss Carlotta?"
"Ah, well, it just looked like you were having fun. I am sorry to disappoint, but I don't think the Great Mazinger feels your affection."
"Huh? What do you mean? Of course it does."
"No, I am telling you, it's just a machine?"
"Yeah, and like all machines it doesn't feel pain and doesn't cry. Still, there's something alive within it. Something that tells me that we share a burning friendship, something that tells me to defeat all evil. I am thanking that 'something'"
You slowly nodded. In its own way, it kind of made sense. You'd felt something like that before coming from the Von Neumann, and even if you were somewhat ashamed to put it into words, you could sympathize with his feelings.

"Indeed, you might just be right, commander," Father Matheus interjected, appearing of what seemed like thin air. "Some machines do have a soul. Much moreso than certain humans I've met. It's only thanks to the Mother of Machines I have a body."

>How can a machine have a soul?
>'Mother of Machines...?'
>Wait, what about that whole Valhalla business?
>Other [specify]
>>'Mother of Machines...?'
>Wait, what about that whole Valhalla business?
>>Wait, what about that whole Valhalla business?
>Wait, what about that whole Valhalla business?
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']

Father Matheus's comment left you thoroughly puzzled. Wasn't he the one giving an homily about reaching Gladsheim and riding over the rainbow?
"Then what about the whole Valhalla business...? I thought you and Mark belonged to the same faith?"

The priest shook his head. "I told you before, me and him have separate creeds. I was just the only person available on the station who could've officiated an Einherjar funeral. But my allegiance and my devotion lies with the Mother of Machines, just like I said. She saved me, and she nurtured me."

"And what... or rather, who would that be?" You asked, not any less confused.
The priest smiled before continuing.

"We don't know much about Her. Those who have in contact with Her, like me, can definitely feel a motherly touch in Her actions. That is not to say She easily grants favors, mind you. A goddes. A machine. She's both of those things, and She's the reason I am saved," he continued.

Shirou whistled in admiration. "You must've been in a pretty tight spot. I guess you owe her now."
"I do. It's the reason I am spreading Her word, though I am not sure that this is what She would want."
"And what would 'her' word be?" you asked, curious.
"That we must accept pain in life. Discomfort, hurt, sadness. Ultimately, it's our own sorrow that makes us who we are. I forgot that a long time ago. Rather, I was made to forget."
"Doesn't sound too enticing, honestly," you pointed out.
"It's probably not. Pain is the price of identity. That's what we teach."

"Very well, good job everyone," the commander said, hugging you both from behind. "Let's kick back and relax for a while, shall we?"
He then nonchalantly took off, whistling a tune you'd never heard before. Father Matheus bowed slowly, taking his leave in turn. Giving one last, confused look at the Von Neumann, you decided to leave as well.

The problem, however, was that you were not really familiar with the ship and its environment. All the corridors looked the same, and while navigating them wasn't an issue, telling them apart presented some complications. The kitchen, the hangar, the medbay and the main bridge, those places you could locate. Your room, on the other hand, was a tad harder to properly recall. Knocking on the wrong door would've probably been very embarrassing, and you weren't exactly looking forward to the ensuing banter.
Through a process of elimination and observation, you managed to find the pilots' quarters. In other words, you observed which kind of personnel went where, until you enough elements to deduce where your room could have been. The problem was, however, that you had not narrowed down the number of possible rooms.

The corridor had six rooms. The first one on the right was empty, you were sure about that, and right next to that was the one belonging to the commander. You were on the opposite side, meaning that there were three possible options. The only way left to find your room was to knock. Sighing, you thought to yourself that this wouldn't be the end of the world. You would have just apologized and moved on to the next one.

[Socializing Background] And in all honesty, this wasn't a tragedy nor the end of the world. Perhaps it was your self-imposed belief that you had to be on top of everything that was causing this storm in a teapot. Mustering your courage, you knocked on...

>The door on the right
>The door on the left
>The door in the middle
>The door in the middle
Assuming middle door person will know who their neighbours are.
>>The door in the middle
>>The door on the right
... the door right in the middle. It made sense, after all: whoever was inside was more likely to know about their neighbors on either side. Pleased with your conclusion, you moved in to knock, but much to your surprise, the door opened instead. It must've not been closed properly. Either way, upon accidentally opening the door, you realized the terrible mistake you made. The room was a mess: clothes, pieces of paper and broken vials laid on the ground indiscriminately.

In the complete darkness of the room, all that was visible to you was a massive figure injecting something in his arm, as well as what looked like litter plastered all over the floor. His iron grip around the syringe he was using made you wonder just how it managed not to break. His eyes met yours, briefly, and he smiled.
"Wrong door, Von Neumann. You're actually all the way to the right."

Taking a few steps back, you closed the door and followed Lukasz's directions. Just what was he doing in there? The scene had been burned into your mind so vividly that just closing your eyes was enough to catch a glimpse of it again. Rushing to your room, you started looking around. It seemed like someone had been in there before, considering the mess around you. Books were scattered and were now flying all over. A piece of paper collided with your face unexpectedly, eliciting a small cry from you.

Pulling it away, you decided to take a look at it. It was a puerile drawing, made by a kid that must've been in elementary school at most. It was a knight riding on a horse towards a tower. A red-haired, bespectacled woman was standing by the window, as if waiting for the knight to arrive. The caption above the sketch read. 'When I am older, I will marry my teacher.'

The simplicity of the drawing and the innocence of the young boy who must've drawn made you smile. Indeed, it felt almost like healing for the things you had been exposed to: the naive, genuine hopes of a kid shone brighter than any star in the sky for you in that moment.

Foreign gods, mechanic souls, injections of unknown substances, mysterious and potentially hostile civilizations: those were things an average teenager should not deal with and yet there you were. What little time you didn't spend on patrol or with the others, you spent thinking about the anomalies populating this universe. You thought about them when showering. You thought about them during Geschtam Jumps. You thought about them before going to bed. Day after day, your ignorance coupled with a desire to know was wearing down your mind.
And that wasn't all. Since getting closer to Pseudo-Nergal 5, you started getting headaches. Sharp, sudden bursts of pain would spread through your head, and while you did your best to conceal them, they were definitely affecting your performance and behavior. It was hard to explain their symptomatology: one second they were there, the second after they were gone. The closer the ship got to the planet, the more frequently you experienced headaches. Their intensity was also inversely proportional to you distance from the planet.

Indeed, it was your fear of what might've happened once the ship landed there that prompted you to take action and seek a remedy.

>Ask the professor. He might know.
>Ask for help at the medbay.
>Ask for help from your fellow pilots.
>Other [Specify]
>>Ask for help from your fellow pilots.
>>Ask for help from your fellow pilots.
>>Ask the professor. He might know.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']

Mustering your strength, you limped to the common room, where everyone was chatting and relaxing. Your sight started going out of focus, and everyone in the room begun looking like an indistinguishable blur.
"Uh... guys..."
You couldn't finish asking your question before collapsing on the ground, exhausted and in pain.

"Carlotta? Carlotta, oi! Keep it together!" Joan almost shouted, rushing to your side.
"Miss Carlotta, what is it?" Shirou asked, in an unusually polite tone.
"I... I don't know... I feel weak, I have a splitting headache and I don't know what's causing it..."

The cold hand of Father Matheus suddenly came in touch with your forehead. Confused and numbed by the pain as you were, you could've sworn he was murmurring some sort of prayer. Once he finished, the pain was gone. Dumbdounfed and surprised, you stood up.
"I am sorry guys, I have no idea what's gotten over me."
Commander Kabuto promptly placed his hand on your shoulder. "It's fine. I suppose things like these are to be expected, since it's your first time in space and all. Which reminds me..."

He gazed away for a second, checking a device on his wrist, before turning to face everyone.
"We'll be landing soon, soldiers. I will be waiting for you in the headquarters." He then addressed you specifically. "You don't have to come if you don't feel like coming. If you rest for a bit, I am sure you'll feel better."

Having said that, he left together with your teammates. Everything happened so fast that you had little to no time to realize it was happening. Taking a deep breath, you started thinking of what to do. Despite their recommendations, there was no way you could land them on the planet alone. You rationalized this decision by noting that given the uncertain environment, having every possible unit deployed was crucial. In reality, you were probably starting to develop a sense of responsibility, just like captain Mark.

'Ah, what the hell am I thinking... This was my chance to dodge a mission!' you mentally complained. Nevertheless, it still felt like going was the right thing to do. Having gathered possessions and equipments from your room, as well as having donned a pilot suit, you headed for the hangar for the final briefing.

Shirou was already there, telling the other members to be careful about the sudden shift in gravity and to take it easy for a few minutes after the landing. The rest was standard protocol: formation, rules of engagement and how to maintain contact with the mothership.

The captain had barely finished his speech that red sirens and alarms started going off. All the personnel was instructed to prepare for imminent landing, and despite the general commotion, it seemed like this was a rather ordinary procedure. Perhaps your point of view was biased, but you took comfort in the notion that Shirou would have said something otherwise.
The ship slowed down considerably before touching ground. After a few minutes, the planet's gravity kicked in and the engines of the spaceship died down. The mechanics and the rest of the technical staff helped everyone get into their machine and shared the weather report: apparently a sandstorm was raging outside, a rather common occurrence for Pseudo-Nergal 5. Nothing the robots could not handle, of course, but the hangar was still evacuated as soon as the hatch was opened.

The five of you would proceed in a diamond formation. Given the storm, the Hi-Drapearl would be forced to walk together with the rest of the team: a rather unusual sight, to be sure. The eerie silence and the poor visibility made for a rather unnerving atmosphere. The quiet was broken by the sudden light of a flare.

The team scrambled to assess its position: it wasn't coming from the ship, nor was it coming from any team member, of course. With caution, you approached the estimated position with weapons well in sight. An unknown audio channel opened through the intercom, transmitting nothing but static. However, the closer you got to your destination, the clearer the broadcasted messaged became.

"Warriors of PN5-2, do not shoot! We are the Meganoids and we come in peace! Please, give us a chance to negotiate!"

>Advise against negotiation
>Advise in favor of negotiation
>Suggest that the 'Meganoids' make themselves visible first
>Other [Specify]
>Advise in favor of negotiation
>>Suggest that the 'Meganoids' make themselves visible first
>Advise in favor of negotiation
>Advise in favor of negotiation


That's from Daitarn 3, IIRC.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage']

"Well, shit... what now?" Lukasz asked.
"I think we should give them a chance," you replied. Your opinion may not have been requested, but you felt that it had to be voiced nevertheless. "We are here for a scientific expedition, right? Let us speak with the natives. Push comes to shove, we'll fight them to the last man. But that's already what we usually do, isn't it?"

[Socializing Background] Shirou sighed. He was probably not troubled by the situation, but something in his voice gave away his relatively annoyed feeling. "Alright people, let's give this a shot. The signal is being broadcasted from a place just a bit further south of here. Let's go."

You reached your destination after roughly 15 minutes of traveling. The scene unfolding in front of you eyes was definitely weird, but not completely unexpected. A rag-tag milita of humanoids in blue suits, armed with what was at best anti-personnel weaponry, stood with their guns lowered and their hands raised. Mechanically, the voice kept repeating the same message through the radio.

"Warriors of PN5-2, do not shoot! We are the Meganoids and we come in peace! Please, give us a chance to negotiate!"

"I don't think they seem threatening. We should give them a chance," Matheus proposed.
"Yeah, I think the same," Joan chimed in.
"Alright, alright. Let's try to talk with them," Shirou concluded, trying to establish a channel with the locals using his intercom. "Meganoids, this is commander Kabuto of the Mazin Corps. I am the the interim captain of the battalion stationed on PN5-2, and I will handle the negotiations from now on. What do you request?"

"Commander Kabuto, it's an honor to meet you. I am lieutenant Kess of the Self-Defense Force. We just request a truce between our forces, and if possible, your cooperation."
"Cooperation? With what?"
"It was no accident you people just discovered our settlement on this planet. In reality, we have been here for a long time. We had to make ourselves visible to discuss an upcoming emergency with the humans on the second moon. We request your help in exchange for information."

"How do we know you won't break the truce?" Joan asked, irritated.
"You don't. That's the thing about deals, miss. I am afraid we are not acquainted, by the way. What's your name and rank?"
The way the lieutenant asked that question subtly questioned the authority of the commander. It wasn't overt enough to be reproachable, but it was definitely meant to be a jab.

"Lieutenant Kess, I accept your offer to negotiate. Me and three of my soldiers will now leave our machines and come down to parlay with you. Feel free to select up to three of your men to accompany you. One of us will stay behind, weapons aimed at the rest of your squad. Do us dirty and we'll turn this into a bloodbath. Are these terms acceptable?"
[Socializing Background] Shirou had responded to the enemy's provocation in the most brilliant of fashions. He reasserted his authority, made a show of power, and regained the upper hand in dictating terms. Sure, information was valuable, but this was to be an exchange between peers. He merely reminded them of this.

The Meganoids went quiet for a while, then the conversation resumed.
"We accept your terms, commander. We will be coming to the meeting unarmed. We trust you'll do the same."
"Of course we will. We have nothing to gain from killing you."

>Ask the commander to join the negotiation team
>Ask the commander to stay behind
>Warn the commander about possible ambushes.
>Other [Specify]
>>Ask the commander to join the negotiation team
>>>Ask the commander to join the negotiation team
Are we following the Infinity Timeline, or are we going to eventually recruit ZERO down the line?
This is not the Toeizinger continuity, however several hints have already been dropped on which continuity we're currently on.
>>Warn the commander about possible ambushes.
>>Ask the commander to join the negotiation team
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"I'd like to come with, commander Kabuto," you resolutely proposed. It didn't feel right to watch the others from a safe position.
"Alright Dubois, you can come. Chtograd, you'll be covering for us. That good?"
"Yeah," the man in the Solarion replied.
"Very good, then."

Much to your surprise, something the Great Mazinger's head took of and detached itself from the machine. "I'd like to help you get down, folks, but there's only room for one on the Brain Condor," Shirou explained apologetically.
You spent a few words to reassure him, then had the Von Neumann kneel and use its hand to lower you on the ground.

A quick check revealed that everyone had safely made landfall. Of course everyone was still wearing their space suit, given that the atmosphere on Pseudo-Nergal 5 was deadly for people. Just a bit further ahead Kess and his men were waiting, beckoning you to come closer. Still not used to this planet's gravity, you all started walking in their direction with unsteady steps.

And then it happened. Perhaps a veteran would have seen it coming, but judging from the expression on everyone else's face, they weren't really expecting it either. More soldiers came out of nowhere, all aiming their guns at you and at the rest of the committee.

"You there, in that huge robot! No funny business, or your comrades are done for!" the lieutenant shouted.
"Tsk. Serves me well," Shirou sarcastically remarked.
"Don't misunderstand us, commander. We did tell you the truth, but we need a bargaining chip to conduct this negotiation. Please understand, we don't want anyone to die," Kess replied
"Then what is it that you want?"

The man in the blue uniform pressed some buttons on a computer on his wrist, projecting an hologram through it. A bizarre creature, unlike anything you had seen up until that point, was floating in space. Part jellyfish, part octopus, part insect, it was just as amorphous as it was disgusting. It certainly didn't look like a Synapticon.

"Did you confirm a Blood Type Blue?" Father Matheus unexpectedly asked.
"We did. No doubt about it, it's an Angel, as recorded in your Euclid-Keter taxionomy."
"How the hell do you..."

"We know a lot. In fact, we know almost everything about you." Matheus's follow-up question was cut short by the Meganoid officer. "We think we know why it's coming here. Something... something ancient and terrible is sleeping on this planet. Something that must not be disturbed, at any cost. We believe this entity is similar to the goddess you revere as the Mother of Machines, except for its undeniable malice. You feel it too, don't you?"
The priest could only nod, reluctantly. It seemed like the aliens knew what they were talking about.
"Still, to suggest that something so similar to the Mother exists..."
"Make no mistake. This entity is on an entirely different level. It could use it sheer divinity to destroy this planet and its moons, if it judged them unworthy of existing. We have reasons to believe that it was on the verge of awakening during the incident of 15 years ago. Well, 10 years, if we calculate time from this planet's perspective."

"I don't like your contemptuous tone. You're talking about his religion, fuck's sake!" Joan unexpectedly protested. Before anyone could ask her to calm down, Kess intervened again.
"A woman of the Flaming Skulls, I see. You must've been the one who tried to interrupt the negotiations earlier, too. I have no intentions of disrespecting any creed, I am merely stating facts. However, do not believe us to be as blind as the rest of the people here. Your leader, Simon the Black, is just Banjo Haran born anew!"
"HOW DARE YOU CALL HIM LIKE THAT, BLUE DICK?" Joan shouted, just before lunging at him.

Several safety catches went on at the same time, and the Solarion aimed its guns at the decoy soldiers, who in turn cried in terror.
"Calm down! Everyone, calm down! You too, de Spycer" Shirou shouted, pulling Joan away from the lieutenant and helping him up. "Kess, out with it. What do you want us to do? Play your damn hand already."

"We have taken your mothership hostage. We want you to defeat that creature. If you don't, we will probably all die together. We can send you the data we have elaborated. We'll leave you free access to any information we have, hell, we would be glad to conduct this as a joint operation between the human and the Meganoid headquarter." For the first time, a hint of desperation crept in the officer's voice. "We just don't want to die, commander. That's all."

>Your migraines are testament to Kess's words. Vouch for him.
>Nothing you can do about it. Agree for now, retaliate later.
>Refuse to cooperate with treasonous scum.
>Other [Specify]
>Your migraines are testament to Kess's words. Vouch for him.
>Your migraines are testament to Kess's words. Vouch for him
Our not!newtype significance senses are tingling.
>Your migraines are testament to Kess's words. Vouch for him.
>>Your migraines are testament to Kess's words. Vouch for him.
>>Nothing you can do about it. Agree for now, retaliate later.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

[Socializing background] Something was off about the way the Lieutenant and everyone else was acting. Taking a look at the blue soldiers' face, you noticed that they were clearly tense. Indeed, something akin to fear and despair was gripping their hearts. Either that, or they were really good actors.

"They may be telling us the truth," you proposed suddenly. "There's something... something I feel. But I can't quite tell what is it."
Your eyes immediately sought Father Matheus'. He had been the one who helped you with your headhache, and now he was the one endorsing the Meganoids' explanation. There were plenty of reasons to suppose he was right.

Shirou sighed. He must have had realized by now what the best course of action was.
"Lieutenant Kess, people do reckless things when they're desperate. We will carry out this operation out of our own free will either way. We just ask to have our logistics staff analyze the data. And, uh... we need something to get back into space, so you have to let the ship go either way."

The alien looked satisfied and smiled. "That won't be necessary. Get in the robots, we'll be using a shortcut!"

And so the militia escorted the massive mechs through a huge cavern first, then through a complex underground network , giving you a tour of the underground town established by the Meganoids. There were surprisingly few soldiers around, whereas civilians freely circulated and occasionally pointed at your robots.

"We Meganoids are not fond of war. The place we came from, in a different universe, was almost completely destroyed by the wanton rage of a single man. We, the survivors, swore not to fight unless forced to. Our militia only exists because of external threats like the Angel you'll be facing," the lieutenant explained.
"How did you survive your native universe, then?" Shirou asked.
"Pure chance and luck. A portal opened, and we few survivors escaped. Now we are stranded here, within the evil grasp of the sleeping god-machine, and even so it's much better than where we used to be. Oh, here we are!"

The last tunnel you entered lead to a large, round room, big enough to make even the mechas your team was riding seem small. It was completely covered with technological devices of unknown nature, with several scientists monitoring and operating them. Some turned in your general direction, but none of them looked like they had no intention to stop working, not even to greet unusual guests. In the center of the room stood a circular hole, roughly covering a quarter of the room's area by itself.
"We built a Geschtam gate of our own!" the officer loudly proclaimed. "With this, we can relocate you into space immediately, saving us a lot of time!"
"Wait... how can we believe you at this point? For all we know you could've just lured us here to kill us and take over our ship." Joan pointed out.

Surprisingly, Kess rubbed his chin pensively rather than retorting aggressively. He then looked up, as if he had realized something.
"Very well then. I'll jump through the gate in front of your eyes, if that'll get you to believe me.
"Wait, isn't that a bit reckless?" Shirou inquired.
"Of course it is. It's like you said, people do reckless things when they're desperate. Just ordering my men to do it wouldn't quite be the same. It's fine. As long as I am not sucked in by the gravity well of the planet, I will survive."

>We can't let him jump like this, it's too dangerous!
>Alright then, let him jump
>That man has to jump. But I can still save him after we confirm his story
>Other [Specify]
>>Alright then, let him jump
>>That man has to jump. But I can still save him after we confirm his story
>>We can't let him jump like this, it's too dangerous!
Rolled 3 (1d3)

Rolling a d3 to determine the outcome.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

[Socializing Background] Letting that man jump was folly, but stopping him would have been an insult to his resolve. No, not just his. Taking a look around, you realize the mistake you had made: the Meganoid scientists were not simply frantically working. They were acting like a crazed colony of ants, pushing themselves to the utmost even just for a marginal improvement in their chances of success. These people were at the end of the rope.

Kess took a few steps on the rim, his back turned to the hole. He opened up his arms and started falling in reverse, not before giving out a military salute to everyone in the room. A few seconds later, a blinding light was emitted from the center of the room, bright enough to force you to cover your eyes.

"Well fuck me, that really is a Geschtam Gate." The usually quiet Lukasz commented. "Looks like we gotta keep our end of the bargain."
"I wouldn't want it any other way," Shirou said. "If you have no objections, the Great Mazinger will go ahead."
Everyone nodded. Being a leader was clearly a task Shirou took seriously, especially when it came to taking responsibilities. It didn't feel right to offer to take his place.

[Socializing Background] Thinking back, this was no different from when Mark refused to let you act as a decoy during your first, real battle. Being a leader means being responsible, for better or for worse, and he was fully prepared to face the consequences of his actions. You could only conclude that commander Kabuto and Lieutenant Kess both shared that mindset.

The Great Mazinger took a few steps towards the Gate, and then jumped. Not to be outdone, Joan jumped almost immediately after. Was she honoring her alliance, or was she just eager to prove herself? You had no clear answer to that yet. Matheus nodded with his head, as if telling you to go ahead.

Swallowing hard, you drove the Von Neumann to the edge before diving. After a few seconds of intense nausea and sensory overload, you opened your eyes in outer space, not too far from Shirou and Joan. The painful migraine that had affected you for so long was all but vanishing. Fighting wouldn't have been a problem.

It wasn't over yet. You came here to test a little something, not just for the lieutenant, but for your sake too. You quickly spotted his figure, floating aimlessly through space, and reached for it with the Von Neumann's hand. Holding him in the machine's palm, you moved the main camera to focus on his face.

"If you wish to kill me for what I am done, go ahead. I have no regrets," the alien officer said.
"Are you in such a rush to die? If not, I'd like your help with a little experiment of mine," you proposed.
The Meganoid cocked his eyebrow. He seemed interested.
Technically speaking, the procedure had a foundation in the theory of how Mirror Energy worked. If it is the power of replicating things then...Channeling whatever was causing your powers to activate, you opened something that looked like a tiny Geschtam Gate with the Von Neumann's free hand. Loosening the grip on the officer, you let him free. He waved at you before passing through the makeshift portal. "I'll owe you one," he calmly stated.

A few seconds later, the Solarion and the Simulacrum appeared almost together, and the intercom came to sudden life with news from the HQ.
"This is Prof. Deucalion speaking. Are you kids alright?" the usual, almost mocking voice asked.
"We're good. What's your status?" Shirou promptly asked.
"We're not doing too bad either. In other news, the Meganoids weren't lying and... ah? Uh? A guy just appeared out of nowhere. Well, ignore that. I have no clue how they managed to get this kind of equipment on their own, but their data ain't wrong. We gotta stop the monster."
"Speak of the devil..."

The monstrous and revolting shape was advancing, probably seeking to establish a collision course with the planet. This was all kinds of bad: not only was the creature likely extremely powerful, the team also had to fight while trying to avoid falling in the planet's gravity well.

Standard, anti-Synapticon strategies wouldn't have worked here. At the same time, just carelessly tapping into Mirror Energy would have left you exhausted without anything to show for it. It seemed like everyone else was sharing your concerns, considering that they did not dare moving.

>He who strikes first strikes twice!
>Why pull any punches? Let's have the Solarion fire.
>Ask the others about what they know.
>Other [Specify]
>Ask the others about what they know.
The enemy's gate is down.
>>He who strikes first strikes twice!
>Ask the others about what they know.
Might as well figure out a plan of attack before we rush into things
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"Well, any ideas?" you asked, feeling the sweat on your hands. "I've never seen something like that before."
"Considering it's an Angel, it's probably protected by an AT-Field," Deucalion explained.
"Huh? AT-Field? The same as the Simulacrum?"

"Indeed," Matheus continued. "Absolute Terror Field, the barrier that separates the 'self' from the 'others'. Both the Angels and the Mother of Machines have... 'weaponized' that concept, even though strictly speaking it's not a weapon."
"Father Matheus, in five words," Shirou asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.
"It's a protective barrier," the other curtly replied.

"Alright, for now let's have the Solarion fire at it," the commander ordered. "Fire at will."
"Roger that!"

The energy beam fired at the amorphous creature met an octagonal barrier and dissipated after a few seconds. The Angel was not only unscathed, it also looked it had no idea it was being targeted. It simply continued his trajectory towards the planet.

"It's useless!" Lukasz lamented. "I ain't even scratching that beast."
His outcry well reflected the general feeling of dissatisfaction and mild worry spreading through the group. The battle had all but began, and it was already an uphill struggle for you.

"Let's give this another shot!" Shirou replied with motivation. "The Angel hasn't taken notice of us yet, meaning we have can at least fire one more time before the real fight begins. Solarion, time until the High Density Cannon is reloaded?"
"It should actually be able to endure another round right away. The freezing cold of outer space is playing in our favor."
"Very good then. I'll get closer to it and fire at it with my Breast Burn."

"Wait, doesn't that mean..."
"Yes," Shirou responded before you could even finish your question. "Engaging the Angel will give away our position. It's a dangerous move, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. No?"
Unable to formulate a proper response to his argument, you simply complied with the new plan by taking position next to the Solarion and covering for it. In all likelihood, neither the Von Neumann nor the Solarion would become targets, but it was better to be safe than sorry.

The Great Mazinger dashed towards the amorphous alien using its Mobility Pack, called 'the Great Booster'. He was the one who would call the shot once in a favorable position, considering that the Solarion was just to act as a sniper for the time being. Several of the creatures' tentacles flied off in his directions as he got closer to it, but Shirou effortlessly dodged them all.

"Here we go, Lukasz! Shoot, shoot, shoot!" the commander shouted, probably desperate to nail the timing.
As soon as the beam was fired, the Great Mazinger moved away and flexed its arms, so as to further expose its chest.
Two different energy waves collided on the creature: one made of pure heat, probably discharged from the V-shaped sink on the Great Mazinger's chest; the other made of an unknown energy, a ray of destruction whose power you had witnessed time and again in the conflict against Synapticons. And yet, the beast was unscathed. Everyone, you included, cursed under their breath as Shirou hastily withdrew.

The Angel turned (or at least, it seemed like it did) in your direction. It had spotted new enemies and it would move on to eliminate them before proceeding any further. Depending on the perspective adopted this could have been either a bad or a good thing.
"We haven't given him everything yet!" Joan roared. "He hasn't gotten a taste of our true power. I say we strike him again."
"I doubt it's a 'him', but... sure," Matheus feebly replied.

"I approve of this plan. As soon as the Solarion is ready, we'll shoot at the Angel together. On your marks, soldiers!" commander Kabuto ordered. "We'll give this slimy asshole a warm welcome." He pointed with his finger above him, as electricity began forming between the horns of the Great Mazinger. He was probably going to employ the same attack he used to kill the Synapticon in the lake, something to do with thunder...

This, in turn, got you thinking of something you could have used to pack a bit more of a punch. Indiscriminate use of Mirror Energy surely wasn't advisable, but in this scenario it was hardly uncalled for.

>No restraints, no brakes!
>Alright, more than a warning shot and a bit less than a finishing blow
>Let's not overdo this.
>Other [specify]
>>No restraints, no brakes!
>>No restraints, no brakes!
>Alright, more than a warning shot and a bit less than a finishing blow

It's going to pull a 'this isn't even my final form' move on us 100%. Keep some in reserve.
>>Alright, more than a warning shot and a bit less than a finishing blow
Rolled 1 (1d2)

Randomizing: 1 is no restraint, 2 is moderate blow.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']

Aligning yourself with the rest of your teammates, you started imbuing the Von Neumann's beam rifle with as much power as you could. It wasn't exactly easy to gauge how much was 'too much', but a gut feeling stopped you at what felt like the brink of going 'overboard'. It's not like you planned to pull any punches, in fact, it could have been dangerous to use any less than the maximum output given that everyone was doing the same.

"Everyone, it's time!"
Shirou made the first move: letting loose the electricity he had accrued, he called for his Thunder Break to shatter the Angel's Barrier. This was followed by the Simulacrum's rapid fire and the Hi-Drapearl's unleashing of its torpedoes. Finally, the Solarion and the Von Neumann fired in unison two beams of comparable power.

All the attacks reached the creature's barrier at the same time, the brightness of their joint conflagration temporarily blinding you. When the light subdued, you tried to take a peak at the objective, squinting your eyes.

The Angel wsa still there, unscathed. His pristine form was a veritable mockery of all your combined efforts up until that moment. Everyone's morale was down in the dumps. Against the surging wave of pessimism stood Father Matheus, who suddenly spoke up.
"We have one last resort. It's not pleasant, but we must try."
"Tell us, Simulacrum. We're running out of time AND of options," Shirou implored.

"An AT-Field can contrast another AT-Field. If I could get close enough to the creature, I would be able to tear through its defenses, leaving it wide open for the Solarion's High Density Cannon. It's kind of a make it or break it plan."
"I am in," Joan promptly responded.
"If Matheus is up, I am up," Lukasz chimed.

The commander took a deep breath. It wasn't an easy call to make: it meant deliberately jeopardizing the survival of one of his teammates by using him as a bait. With a pained voice, Kabuto gave his assent to the mission.

Just like before, the Solarion would stay in position, but this time everyone was supposed to charge at the creature. The task proved to be a far cry from easy: the aliens' disgusting tentacles lunged left and right, trying to coil around the machines or outright damage them. Drawing the Fractal Blade and releasing the Probe Blasters, you prepared to fend them off.

Surprisingly, the tentacles offered no resistance to either of your weapons. It seemed like the Angel wasn't protecting its limbs, perhaps because it considered them to be expendable either way. This was useful information at any rate, and while it looked like everyone sort of figured it out on their own, it still held the potential to turn the tide of battle.
The onslaught of tendrils was relentless, and the Simulacrum seemed to be especially dependent on teamwork. It was slow, clusmy, and clearly not designed to fight in space. Its puny knife was all it had to fend off against the appendages of its enemy, so everyone tried to pay extra attention to its predicaments. Matheus wouldn't stop apologizing either, until Shirou asked him to shut up in a fit of rage.

Mere meters away from the monster's core, the Simulacrum finally deployed its octagonal, orange-tinted shield. There was a friction between the two conflicting AT-Fields, until mutual pressure made them both crack. The Angel reacted viciously and with extreme cunning, pummeling the Simulacrum and even going so far as breaking some of its limbs.
"Now, Solarion! Shoot!" the priest plead through the cries of pain.

And the beam did arrive, but...
What no one could predict was that the Angel would suddenly wrap its tentacles around the Great Mazinger and use it as an impromptu shield. The solid chassis of the mecha proved able to withstand the impact, but the Angel was still regrettably unscathed.

Your heart was beating in your throat, prompting you take action. Was the shield still down? What about the Commander, how was he? What was the wise thing to do here?

>Regroup first!
>It's wide open!
>Shirou, wait for me!
>Other [specify]
>>Regroup first!
>Shirou, wait for me!
>>Shirou, wait for me!
>>It's wide open!
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

If you want to defeat an army, start with the general. With the commander out of commission, your fighting capabilities were seriously reduced. To add insult to injury, the Great Mazinger was by far the best mecha your team could deploy. But that wasn't all. No, first and foremost Shirou was your friend. Had you been in his position, he would have rushed to save you.

A quick slash with your Fractal Blade would have been enough to sever the tendril holding Shirou prisoner. With this in mind, you charged at the monster and prepared to slice through its appendage, when the unthinkable happened. Perhaps reading your move in advance, the Angel shifted its AT-Field on the tentacles, not only rendering you attack useless but also shattering your weapon.

That had beenn the earliest warning you ever received when piloting the Von Neumann: do not break the blade. And yet you just went and completely destroyed it. To make matters worse, a strange, green light was now enveloping the tentacle holding the commander prisoner, turning the gelatinous limb and the robot into a bizarre cocoon.

"Von Neumann, it's dangerous over there! Withdraw!"
The order came straight from the HQ, and something told you that it was the right thing to do. Turning around, you dashed towards your team or what was left of it.

"What now?"
This was the question on everyone's mind, a question nobody dared to voice. The Angel was slowly pulling the cocoon towards itself. In the worst case scenario, it was going to absorb it. In the best case scenario, both the Great Mazinger and Shirou would be lost. Either way, it would have just been a prelude to a much greater tragedy to come.

"Comrades, let's try this again," Matheus proposed through his wheezing. "My AT-Field generator is still intact. If we aim at the tentacle rather than at the main body, it could just lower its guard."
"Are you insane? The Simulacrum is already in pieces, and you're on the brink of death. We'll think of something else."
"Oh yeah? Like what?" Luzkasz angrily shouted, before having a coughing fit. "Ah shit, it's one of those days huh?"
"I have a plan!" Joan continued. "The moonrise for PN5-3 is in 10 minutes. If we can hold out that much..."

"WE DON'T HAVE TEN MINUTES!" Father Matheus exclaimed. "I will be fine. Just toss me in its general direction and provide me some cover. This is not about whether I live or die, it's about whether tha abomination makes landfall or not."

[Socializing Background] An uneasy silence reigned for a few seconds. Then, finally, you broke it by opening communications with the HQ.
"Professor Deucalion, everyone, do you have any inputs? We're at our wit's end here."
A few more seconds of silence. Then the scientist's familiar voice responded.
"Strictly speaking, Simulacrum's plan is the safest. Maximizes the probability of success and minimizes expected losses. However..."
"Von Neumann, you're capable of harnessing Mirror Energy. Time and again you've saved the team, you can make miracles happen and we would need nothing short of one to end this battle without bloodshed. But I can't in good coscience recommend you go at it alone. You lack the training and you lack the understanding. Just stick with Father Matheus's plan."

Those were cruel words to accept. Were they implying that you did not possess the resolve to solve the situation on your own? Or were they implying that you lacked the will to work hard and understand your powers? In any case, time was ticking and decisions had to be made.

>Let's stick with the plan
>If only I had more power...!
>I can't let others die for me again, no matter what!
>Other [specify]
>>I can't let others die for me again, no matter what!
>I can't let others die for me again, no matter what!
>I can't let others die for me again, no matter what!

we can't keep losing people every damn mission.
>>If only I had more power...!
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"Don't... fuck with me!"
These words, overflowing with hatred an bile, seeped through your lips bypassing your brain. With next to no regard about plans, you the machine towards the Angel, ready to dash towards him and engage him again. Before the Von Neumann could move, however, the Solarion placed its humongous hand on its shoulder.

"Wait up, Dubois."
"Let me go! I can't let Shirou..."
"I SAID WAIT UP!" the giant screamed through the intercom. "You can't fight without a weapon."

Moving back slightly, the Solarion joined its palms and then moved them in opposite directions, making something appear out of thin air. "Psychic blade!"
A voice-activated command was input through the humongous machine, producing what looked like a metal sword which was then promptly tossed in your direction.
"This is... what little I have left. Use it well," Lukasz plead, wheezing.

"I won't disappoint you," you promised before beginning your crazy dash.
The Von Neumann was set on a collision course, aimed at the tentacle which was slowly receding towards the core of the Angel. If intuition served you well, the beast must've been protecting both the Great Mazinger and itself. You had to make it through the AT-Field somehow.

AT-Fields: shields generated by atavic fear. And yet, whose fear was it really? Was it the alien's? Or was it yours? If the latter was true, then the solution was simple. Fear is a defense mechanism devised by evolution to keep the individual safe. But evolution could not foresee that man would have found a way around it. Yes, those two things weren't opposite, rather they were complementery.


If the enemy had erected a wall out of fear... you just had to crash through it with your courage!
Concentrating vast amounts of Mirror Energy around the Von Neumann, you used it as a ram to tear through the enemy's shields. After a few seconds of futile resistance, the orange octagonal field receded, leaving the creature exposed. Seizing the moment, you used the Solarion-made sword to amputate the tendril that had coiled around the Great Mazinger.

The lump of metal, flesh and mysterious energy was now ominously pulsating. It was unclear whether or not the commander had survived, but someone had to verify that. Mustering your remaining energy, you dashed in its direction, calling Shirou's name out loud. No response came, and cold sweat started dripping from your brow.

"Von Neumann, get back at once!" Deucalion shouted from the HQ line. "If that thing explodes you'll be a goner."
He was making a good point. In case of a deflagration, there would be nothing you could do for your comrades either way. So why did you come here in the first place? As hard as it was to admit, it was the result of one of your 'gut feelings'. Something compelled you to come closer, something unfathomable.
To the careless observer, the cocoon might have looked like it was on the brink of eruption, brought to paroxysm by the mysterious energy coursing through it. But the truth was much different. It wasn't a ticking bomb, no, it was an egg about to hatch, and once it did, it would have brought new life with it.

Powerful wings of metal tore through the membrane, and massive arms of steel ripped the lump of flesh to shreds. A new, glistening Mazin Robot stood in its place, its height and mass vastly surpassing the old Great Mazinger.
"Sorry for the wait, miss Carlotta!" the familiar voice greeted you.

[Socializing Background] Fighting back the tears of joy, you tried to give him a reply.
"Not at all. Welcome back, commander."
"How's everyone?"
"The Simulacrum is unserviceable, and the Solarion's pilot is too fatigued to continue the battle. It's just us and the Hi-Drapearl now."

Speaking of which, Joan rushed to your side to greet the commander. True to her character, she mockingly scolded him for taking a break in the middle of a battle.
"Alright, Dubois, de Spycer! Time to teach this bastard what my new Mazin Emperor G can do!", Shirou proclaimed.
"We have to lower its shield again and then shatter its core. That's what Father Matheus told us to do," you explained.
"Ah yeah, I heard that bit. So, do you ladies mind if I go ahead?"

>Not at all.
>Yeah, actually. No way I am going to let you steal a march on me!
>Shirou, let's do it together!
>Other [Specify]
>Shirou, let's do it together!
Hell yes tag team with Mazin Emperor G
>>Shirou, let's do it together!
>>Shirou, let's do it together!
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

Before the Mazin Emperor G could move on ahead, you moved the Von Neumann to stand by its side.
"I won't let you go in alone again. Shirou, let's do it together!"
"Alright! Listen well, Carlotta! Photon power is the light of potential! With that potential, make way for the future!"

Commander Kabuto's speech might have sounded pompous and self-important, but it was actually his method of communicating you what to do. Mirror Energy functioned by understanding the underlying idea that was being replicated. In other words, Shirou was telling you to emulate Photon power, the source of energy for the Mazin Robots, in order to tear through the angel's AT-Field


"Understood! Let's burn him to a crisp!"
Focusing again on whatever was the catalyst of your power, you absorbed as much Mirror Energy as possible, before repurposing it
"Ready?" he asked.
"READY!" you replied.

Shoulder pressing against shoulder, the Von Neumann and the Mazin Emperor G prepared to unleash their final attack.
Two beams of pure light came through where the Von Neumann's face would have been, if it had one, whereas something akin to the Great Mazinger's Thunder Break was being produced by Kabuto's machine. They combined shortly before hitting the AT-Field, piercing right through it and then through the Angel.

The combined beam melted the creature away before penetrating its spherical nucleus, causing a blinding deflagration. It was done. The enemy had been slain. The Von Neumann and the Mazin Emperor G were holding each other, both exhausted.

The celebrations coming from the joint headquarters were so loud they were clogging the intercom. It was difficult not feel considerable relief at the defeat of the Angel, especially considering that it had been your toughest battle to date. Sprinting towards the Simulacrum and the Solarion to check up on their pilots, you found Joan already waiting there.

"Guys, how are you doing?" you asked, worried. "Deucalion said a recovery ship is already on its way. Hang in there."
"Ah, I am just in pain, but I am fine," Father Matheus replied.
"Same here," Lukasz chimed in, as scorbutic as usual.

[Socializing Background] In the privacy of the Von Neumann's cockpit, you smiled to yourself. It was painfully clear that they were acting tough, and it was very nice of them. They didn't want to make you worry, but they weren't exactly lying either. All in all, they were good people.

Those two syllables alone, pronounced by Joan, were enough to make your blood run cold. It wasn't just that she wasn't the kind of person to joke around during serious situations. You could 'feel' something too. Something truly unnerving.
"Hi-Drapearl? What's up?" commander Kabuto asked, cutting to the chase.
"It's that thing over there," the girl feebly replied, pointing her finger at a distance. Another strange creature was floating in space, just behind the remnants of the Angel. Could it be that you were so engrossed in the battle not to notice it?

It was a form so utterly alien that even just gazing at it would fill anyone with otherwordly discomfort. Its body looked like a coin laid on its flat side and whose center had been hollowed out, with several insect-like legs joined together where the hole was. Bright green streaks ran like veins from its faceless head to his pseudopods.

The girl whispered that name in what sounded like a strange combination of fear and withheld anger. Just how many people did she hold a grudge against? Well, it wasn't thime to think about that now.
"Commander, orders please!" you implored Shirou, desperate to solve the current predicament.
"It's no good! The Mazin Emperor isn't responding!" he replied, just as angry and frustrated as you were.

You gulped. It was down to the Von Neumann and the Hi-Drapearl now. You really weren't feeling up for a fight: the struggle with the Angel left you all but devoid of energy. Pushing yourself might've resulted into passing out - or even dying, for that matter. The former had already happened, and as for the latter, you were in no rush to experience it.

It was pointless to dwell on it, anyway. Fighting was potentially deadly, yeah - but it was also far less deadly than just standing by while Joan dealt with the mysterious creature alone. Steeling your nerves, you moved to confront the creature when...

"Von Neumann...?"
It was Joan speaking. You never heard her speak in that tone of voice before.
"Yes? What is it?"
"I know I've been kind of a cunt to you. But I still need to ask you a favor."
"What are you talking about?"

Something aobut the way and the tone in which she asked her question was making your hair stand on end.
"Don't interfere. This is my fight."
"YOU HEARD ME!" she shouted, in a more recognizable angry tone. "This doesn't concern you. Get lost."

>Alright, I'll assist the retreat.
>Please, let me help you.
>This isn't funny. Be rational!
>other [specify]
>Please, let me help you.
>Please, let me help you.
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>Proceed to take the first swing
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"Joan, please come to your senses. We must fight together if we want to win."
"No, I know what I am doing and I don't need help! If you want something to do, bring the wounded to safety. I don't care. But don't interfere."
"Joan..." Your plea was but a whisper. At the same time, you realized that Joan had a point about the 'wounded' and started ferrying the Mazin Emperor G at safety distance.
"I.Am.Begging.You. This does not concern you. None of this concerns you. Don't you get that you're in the way?"

"Hi-Drapearl, what the fuck are you up to?" Deucalion asked, in a fit of rage.
"Joan! Answer the HQ!" Shirou added, in a commanding tone of voice.
"We can beat it. We just need to use the Cygnus Song Protocol," the girl calmly responded.

"For fuck's sake Hi-Drapearl, we don't have time for your stupid bullshit! It would take weeks just to assemble the paperwork for..."
"Nobody said anything about the paperwork. PN5-3 dawns in 40 seconds."
"Yes, and...?"

Deucalion was getting increasingly more nervous with every comment. He wasn't just worried, he was straight up furious. Whatever they were discussing about must have been extremely serious.
"Do you remember the After War machine we found in the lake? I don't know how it got there, but it was something me and captain Mark worked on. You get it, don't you?"
A moment of silence ensued, broken by the incredulous scientist. "You cannot be serious."

"Oh, I am extremely serious."
"Kabuto, do something! Give her an order for fuck's sake, you're her commanding officer!"
"Don't bother, Shirou! I can overrule your authority as the Assigned Corrective Officer. Cygnus Song Protocol, activate!"

Shirou grunted in visible frustration, while professor Deucalion kept asking the girl to stop, in a tone which was weirdly in between the mad and the pleading.

The vocal recognition mechanism integral to the Hi-Drapearl must had been activated, as several, drill-like objects started protuding from the machine's chassis. The wings it used to switch into aircraft mode started turning on themselves and revealed to be plated in a highly reflective metal.
"I pity the bastard who's coming for us. You thought this was a mere Grapearl, huh? Well, let me school you on the difference."

Suddenly, a celestial body you had never paid attention to became visible just behind PN5-2. The Hi-Drapearl positioned itself to be perfectly aligned under it, with its right hand pointed upwards, and then the weird drill-like objects started spinning.
"Good! Microwave, confirmed. Hi-Drapearl, spin on!"

In a bizzarre fashion, the antennae-like drills withdrew, replacing the red robot's right hand with a single, larger drill.

No one could move a muscle. No one could move their machine. Everyone was powerless in front of what was occurring. The Hi-Drapearl was almost propelled by its now oversized drill-hand, rushing at a breakneck pace towards it enemy. The collision occurred very far from where you were standing. Only the Mazin Emperor G was standing marginally closer to the location of the impact, and the shockwaves from the deflagration sent it flying towards you.

The Hi-Drapearl had pierced right through the creepy alien, just before an explosion engulfed them both. You had a feeling that everyone, just like you, was staring at the aftermath with bated breath, waiting for the weird, irascible, proud girl to reemerge along with her mecha.

But she didn't. Joan de Spycer never returned from her mission. Her final words kept echoing in your mind.
"Fake? I'll show you fake, assholes. This is custom."

>Work our ass off trying to make sure Shirou doesn't bite it
>Joan charges in and gets offed by an ASL
k then

Not going to miss her because she was an absolute bitch, but if these are the metal alien things from the Gundam 00 movie then we might be facing assimilated Hi-Drapearl later on.
>Its body looked like a coin laid on its flat side and whose center had been hollowed out, with several insect-like legs joined together where the hole was. Bright green streaks ran like veins from its faceless head to his pseudopods.
I don’t think it’s one of the ESL, though I don’t really know what it is. Maybe one of the Anti-Spirals, but I don’t recall one of them looking like that either.
The quest setting feels like the dumping ground of a bunch of universes that suffered a bad-end, where things didn't go according to canon and ended horribly. I almost expect that time travel is going to come into play at some point.
I think so too.
Have a bump OP. I love SRW and this quest is the first of it's kind.
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A recap of the series that I can identify, along with some baseless speculation:

Big O - Roger and Dorothy showed up earlier on. Might just be units-only given that we haven't heard anything about the Domes yet, but we still don't know much about the state of this Earth.

UC Gundam - Matheus has been making references towards Amuro as a spiritual figure.

AW Gundam X - The mobile suit found in the lake had a Satellite Cannon strapped to it.

Diebuster - Post plot. Lalc's part of our group.

Evangelion - The Angels are still a thing, and the Simulcrum's an Eva.

TTGL - Second half. Hi-Drapearl was a Grapearl model, the interlude in Part 2 was pretty clearly Simon, and the Anti-Spiral just showed up.

Mazinger - Shirou and the Great Mazinger - now the Mazin Emperor G. Not sure how Mazinger's continuity works, but given the recent SRW games I'm expecting shenanigans from ZERO.

Dangaioh - I think the Solarian is like the Dangaioh, or at least they use the same attack? All I've got.

New series:
Daitarn 3 - Apparently where the Meganoids are from?

Anyway, looking forward to Part 4.
>AW Gundam X - The mobile suit found in the lake had a Satellite Cannon strapped to it.
This part is wrong: the model in the lake was recognized as being AW, but it had no satellite cannon. The reason why was explained just a few posts ago: the Satellite System was implanted on the Hi-Drapearl.
There were also other references to UC gundam, like for instance Afranche Char
Now I'm sad.
Were you fond of Joan, or...?

BTW guys, I am currently writing an epilogue for this part, it'll drop today or tomorrow.
Fuck Joan. Bitch was a cunt.
She was getting to be less of a cunt at the end there. Doesn't really excuse her previous behavior, but she was at least improving.


There were two things you learned upon returning to the base.
The first was that Shirou Kabuto had no restraints when it came to crying. He spent his last day at the base in mourning. The poor sod wept over Joan's death more than anyone else. It was so heartrending that people would would get sadder just by looking at him.
[Socializing Background] One thing was for sure, though: he wasn't faking it. Everything about his sorrow was sincere. He wasn't exaggerating or putting on a show. Not a tear he shed through his red, swollen eyes had been a fake.

The second thing you learned was that Shirou Kabuto was roughly as old as you were. The bubbly young man had looked in his mid-twenties to you when you first met him, but medical records conducted on him when he returned to the base revealed he was actually in his late teens. Granted, this surprised no one but you. Perhaps the real lesson had been that people age much faster during a war.

And war was everything the poor boy had ever known. Before leaving, he hugged you so tight you thought you were gonna crack a rib. He asked everyone to take good care of themselves, and then took off on a Governmental spaceship. You skipped dinner that evening, wandering through the base to deceive your own hunger. You stopped in front of a large window, facing the Third Moon.

"PN5-3 is beautiful when it's full, isn't it?" a familiar voice asked.
Turning around, you noticed professor Deucalion standing with his back against the wall. Just how long had he been there? You quickly realized you didn't care. Giving him an answer just as plain as his question should've gotten him off your case.

"Indeed. Truly beautiful."
"It's rather curious that a newbie was able to outlive two seasoned veterans. Odds weren't really in your favor."
Making sure not to be seen, you rolled your eyes. What did he want now?
"I suppose. It's a shame, really. Joan and I were starting to get closer."

You and Joan were never gonna have a girls' talk, or a sleepover, or a gossip evening. You were never going to build a friendship with her. Just now that she'd seemed like she had stopped hating you! Regret almost brought you to tears. So why was that asshole still wearing his poker face?

"Aren't you getting ahead of yourself?" he coldly asked. "You were still the Von Neumann's girl to her. The one who was operating the enemy's machine. It's just that she had recently lost one reason to hate you."
"What do you mean that?"
"After you returned from the mission by the lake, she checked your medical records. They reported you were a virgin. It was like a boulder had been lifted from her shoulders."
You looked at thim, bewildered. Was this sexual harassment or...? You couldn't make heads or tails of what he was getting at.
"Mark Venedig spent his last evening with you. Joan grudged you for stealing her last chance to sleep with her boyfriend. Even if Mark's choices and circumstances were beyond your control, she rationalized her loss by hating you even more. A part of her was horribly afraid the two of you had slept together."
"So that report..."
"Meant nothing, of course. But it mellowed her out. A thin, useless membrane somewhere in your vulva was the discriminant. Funny, isn't it?"

"I don't think it's funny at all," Father Matheus replied, walking down the corridor and in your general direction. The sudden apparition of his dark silhoutte startled you. What was with people and popping out of nowhere today?
"Mark meant the world to Joan. And she was rude to Carlotta, that much I'll admit. But even if I can't justify her, I can at least understand her. Can you, professor?"

The priest's usually mild tone of voice was uncharacteristically charged with hostility that night. Was he protecting the honor of his fallen comrades? Or was he just itching for a fight?

"I understand that we humans are fickle creatures. Or do you disagree with me?"
"Your statement is generic and contrived. It wouldn't deserve a proper counterargument, if not for the fact that it has already been formulated. Joan died to stay true to her faith. She believed in the Gurren Brigade's creed. She believed in Mark's way to be a leader. And more than anything else, she believed in herself. Such blazing faith could also be called 'a knight's pride'".

"Is faith something so ephemeral that a single medical test can shake it - or promptly reassure it?"
"Yes, it is. Just like the flame of a candle, it wavers when a cold wind blows. You're missing the point, though. It's not about how much the flame trembles, it's about how much you strive to keep it lit. You do not understand the hearts of people, prof. Deucalion. It would be better for you to stick with small talk. So, isn't PN5-3 beautiful?"

The professor clenched his fists. Had he been had? Was he frustrated because of that?
"Yeah, it's beautiful. If I could, I'd crush it with my own two hands," he replied.
>Shirou leaving
Aaah I hope he shows up again later. He'd a cool guy.

Also wondering, could we have prevented Joan's death if we reached out to her some more before hand? We did miss a big friendship flag when she saved us earlier.
Thanks for running.
I think we could had saved her, but predictably her attitude stopped that dead cold.

Now I want a SRW that's about just as dark as this.
Feels like it could have been like with Lal'c, where the best outcome needed a certain amount of 'Joan points'.

Which I kind of like, to be honest.

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