Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=SRW+QuestLast thread, together with Shirou Kabuto, leader of the Mazin Corps, we fought and defeated an Angel threatening to lay waste to planet PN5 and its moons.-------------------------------------------------------------- Careful. Careful now.A voice was obsessively repeating those words in his mind. It wasn't him, of course, if anything he'd tell himself to calm down. He had projected the machine in the first place. He had built, tested and patented it. Little did it matter that the military hierarchies washed their hands clean of his creation, it still was undoubtedly a state-of-art machine. No one knew how to operate it better than him. He sighed and took a little break, swiping the sweat off his brow. In his heart of hearts he knew where the problem lied. This procedure was child's play, especially because he was the one in charge of it. It was a mere formality. What was to come, on the other hand, was nothing short of terrifying. He gulped, steeling his nerves.The computer said that the procedure had been inputed correctly. He felt little relief in knowing that. It was the common human tendency to being risk adverse: he already considered the procedure as a realized gain, the only thing he was afraid of was a prospective loss. A timer popped up on the display. The waiting time would be huge. Would it prove to be a hurdle? Or would it rather be the wiggling room he desperately needed? It was too early to say. Adjusting his white coat, he left the room and headed for the corridor where his accomplice was waiting...======================================================================================================================"Hey! Hey! The big mister over there! Can you explain it again?"Carlotta Dubois was a woman of reasonable patience. That's what you liked to think, of course, and frankly speaking it wasn't exactly the most unrealistic opinion to hold of oneself. To be more precise, in your opinion patience was a scarce resource whose consumption largely depended on the people you were dealing with. Old friends, family, and kind people in general had a slow consumption rate. On the other hand, people like the little girls sitting in front of you at the table would exhaust it all in a matter of seconds.Not only were they extremely loud, but they also seemed to be unable to grasp the easiest of concepts. Even Father Matheus was scraping the barrel. Clearing his throat, he decided to try and give an answer in lieu of an exasperated Lukasz."Girls, we've already gone over this. I am sure correction officer Rukino is also...""I don't care, really."Saki Rukino, who had come together with the little girls, was as beautiful as she was insufferable. In that very moment, rather than helping the rest of the team, she was busy taking care of her manicure. You couldn't stifle a sigh.
>>3522822The blonde little girl, which was usually more quick on the uptake, was biting her nails in frustration. She hated being in the same position as the ditzy redhead. The dark-haired little girl, instead, looked like she was profoundly uneasy. The air was tense. Only the redhead had a broad, dumb smiled plastered on her face. This whole situation was giving you an headache, and the thought that it could very well be permanent was driving you nuts. >Father, if you please. >No, I insist. Captain Rukino, you do this.>I'll explain it, but this is the last time.>Other [specify]
>>3522822>I'll explain it, but this is the last time.
>>3522823>Father, if you please. Glad to see this quest is back. Also, what is Valvrave doing here?
>>3522823>Father, if you please. >ValvraveHeck yes>SakiHeck no. Haruto and L-Elf when.
>>3522823>Father, if you please.
>>3522823>No, I insist. Captain Rukino, you do this.
>>3522872>>3523069>>3523082>>3523091>>3523993[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage']With pleading eyes, you turned to Father Matheus. "Please... could you take care of it?"He smiled like a man told to explain his daughters why it was rude to chew with their mouths open would. Clearing his throat, he begun."Lately, our friends on PN5, the Meganoids, have observed a strange phenomon. A large cluster of different alien species is being driven towards this Solar System, and we have no idea why. We say 'being driven', but we do not know what's driving them. All we know is that they're coming here. We have reasons to believe they're scared. Be it as may, the forces on our base are simply not enough to deal with them. That's why we asked for reinforcements, and we're glad to have you here."The priest ended his speech on a diplomatic note. Was it a thinly veiled attempt to have miss Rukino take responsibility? "But...but... Papika does not get it..." the red-haired girl said, with an apologetic look on her face. It was clear that the blondie was reaching the limits of her patience too, because she flipped at her teammate's words. "For crying out loud! Aliens are coming to kill us if we don't kill them first! What's so difficult to understand?""No, Yayaka, I understood that. I just think... if they're scared and we kill them, aren't we the ones being mean?""A commendable thought, albeit somewhat naive," Father Matheus chimed in. "But such considerations only apply to lifeforms who are able to share the same form of 'common sense' as we do. It may well be that some of those aliens might be moved only by their primal insticts - their lizard brains, so to speak. They're just as afraid of the Anti-Spirals as they're eager to slaughter us." It was clear that the explanation had not convinced the young Papika, who was now frowning just like the rest of the soldiers stationed on PN5-2. The only one with an air of absolute detachment around her was miss Rukino, who seemed to be utterly unconcerned by the events unfolding.[Socializing background] Bitterly did you regret thinking of Joan as a queen bee. It was too late when you realized she was just a girl trying to balance the weight of her ideals against her growing feelings of jealousy and the sudden pain caused by loss. Saki, on other hand, was the ultimate primadonna, a staunch egotist with eyes for no one but herself.It was mortifying to think that she, together with the three little girls, would have served the role of correction officers. You had received the news from Matheus and Lukasz, who informed you that the team you were part of was composed of former war criminals. In order to keep an eye on them, a loyalist, corrective officer had been assigned to the base, with nigh-unlimited decisional power over the lives of their subordinates. Until her death, that role had been covered by Joan de Spycer.
>>3524028"Still, it's rather surprising if you think about it. When we first met, you guys shielded me from her. You could've been executed on the spot for insubordination." you told them back then."Nah. We were acting on the captain's orders. Joan and Mark had agreed that he would be in charge of military operations, whereas she would remain in control of bureaucracy, administration and, well... all that jazz, I guess. It might sound messed up, but it was for the best, really. Mark was by far the best tactician of the two. Joan knew this and decided to capitalize on his talents." That lengthy explanation had come from Lukasz himself. It was rare to see him so chatty, so you tried to asking him more questions, such as why were the three of them branded war criminals or why did other people took over Joan's role once Mark had passed away.However, the stoic giant returned to his usual one-liners, complaining that the title of war criminal had been thrown around by the Central Government like confetti after the Civil War, and briefly mentioning that both Lal'c and Shirou held ranks surpassing that of the deceased ensign. Then the furneral began, and you had no more opportunities to talk. It was profoundly unnerving that your fate - and indeed, your life, was now at the mercy of the whims of a fickle woman. You started thinking of how to deal with it. >Question her leadership >Force her to confront her responsibilities >Attempt to appeal to the little girls >Other [Specify]
>>3524029>Question her leadership
>>3524029>Attempt to appeal to the little girls
>>3524029>>Force her to confront her responsibilities
>>3524040>>3524055>>3524073>>3524088[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage']Regrettable as it were, there was really no chance but to try and deal with the trio of children. It wasn't like you had the luxury of choosing, of course, since the alternative was, well... Saki. It felt kinda dirty to try and persuade little girls, susceptible as they normally were to the words of an elder. Still, it felt like a small price to pay for safety - and possibly your life and the life of everyone else."So, girls, this is all probably new and confusing to you. But don't worry, we'll pull through somehow. Just remember that we've been here for a longer time, and most of the time we know what we're talking about. Please take our opinions and recommendations into consideration from now on, ok?" you asked, as coquettishly as possible."Eh?" Papika asked, confused. "But we're in charge here, aren't we?""Of course we are," Yayaka chimed in, angered. "We know what we're talking about too, miss Dubois. And unlike you, we have more than just a few weeks of experience. Don't think you can fool us so easily.""But I wasn't trying to fool you," you replied, telling a bit of a white lie."No, but you certainly undermined us," the usually calm Cocona pointed out. "I get why you would, but please refraing from doing that from now on."Instinctively, your eyes darted back and forth, looking for approval from your friends. Lukasz was as stone-faced as usual, while Saki was still staring at her nails. Only Matheus gave you a meaningful glance. "Alright, I am sorry. I shouldn't have done that," you apologized. The girls looked like they accepted your apology, with Yayaka being the only one still showing signs of reticence.With nothing else left to say, you excused yourself and left the cafeteria, heading for the hangar bay. Apparently the technical staff had gotten around 'fixing up' the Von Neumann, and they wanted to give you some new information on how the machine operated. It wasn't pleasant to leave the discussion like that: it still felt like you had just made a fool out of yourself. But turning back now wouldn't have accomplished anything. On the other hand, an enormous, never before seen concentration of hostile lifeforms was headed your way. Learning how the Von Neumann operated would've helped deal with that.As soon as you got there, you caught a glimpse of prof. Deucalion and prof. Isomäki confabulating. It didn't last long, however, because they quickly noticed you and motioned to come over. It wasn't often that you were asked to join their talks, but this was probably just about the Von Neumann.
>>3524405"Miss Dubois, we were waiting for you," the petite woman said, greeting you."Oh, sorry. I hope you didn't have to wait for long.""It's fine. More importantly, let's discuss the changes to your mecha unit," prof. Deucalion said, cutting short the chit-chat. He took a few steps in the direction of the black robot and started explaining the changes made, pointing to the areas affected by them."We've equipped the 'head' unit with vulcan guns. These should ideally give you an edge during close-quarters combat. They're not meant to be a primary weapon in and of themselves. The Satellite Communication System, SatCom for short, has been harvested from the wreckaged Hi-Drapearl and partly reconstructed. Whenever PN5-3 is in sight, it should slightly boost the efficiency of the SALUTE System. Finally, we're working on a replacement for the Fractal Blade. Until then, please keep using this modified beam rifle. It has been equipped with an energy knife, effectively letting you use it as a bayonet. Phew, I guess that's all." It was a lot of information and it was coming all at once. You were having some problems processing all of it, especially the parts concerning the SatCom. As far as you knew, Joan had died in mysterious circumstances. She dashed to fight the enemy on her own, but what killed her? The impact? The enemy, through mutual assured destruction? Or perhaps it was a malfunction of her 'custom' component?There was a non-zero probability that your former comrade in arm had been done in by her own robot. As long as it persisted, you didn't intend on fighting with the Von Neumann. >Let's see how they react to vague accusations >Tough as it may be, I must discuss this with them >I will voice my refusal right now >Other [Specify]
>>3524408>Let's see how they react to vague accusations
>>3524408>Tough as it may be, I must discuss this with themI don't remember if the Grapearls had any flaws in them that would lead to a mutual death-kill with an Anti-Spiral, so I'd like to check that out. Also good to see the Valvrave girls have their head in the game at least.
>>3524408>I will voice my refusal right now
>>3524408>Let's see how they react to vague accusationsSomething's very off here. Let's sound them out.
>>3524423>>3525055>girlsOnly one girl here is from valvrave, Saki.>>3526086>>3526115[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage']Something felt off. Possessed by something you couldn't even define, you decided to investigate their motivations."Really strange... a former pilot on my team is KIA, the most important part of her machine is retrieved and reinstalled... things aren't adding up.""What do you mean, Carlotta?" prof. Isomäki inquired. "You were here when we retrieved both the sunk After War model and the remains of Joan's Hi-Drapearl.""Oh yes, that I saw with my own two eyes. But wouldn't you agree that her death is -at least from my perspective- shrouded in mystery?""I believe your worries could be assuaged by an explanation," Deucalion interjected, intervening on behalf of his somewhat annoyed colleague. She had assumed a standoffish pose, after all, perhaps under the (not entirely false) assumption that you were provoking her. "Which I don't really mind giving, by the way, but let's keep this quick. Flaming Skulls are allotted only a limited consumption of Spiral Energy -their personal interpretation of the Unified Power- for combat use. Requests for large quantities must be lodged in advance, and a request to withdraw all remaining Spiral Power on one's 'account' is called Cygnus Song Protocol. Are you starting to get it?""Joan de Spycer used the SatCom to bypass that procedure...""Bingo," the man replied, tilting his head slightly and smiling at you. "But the SatCom is an imperfect machine. Its use for the Cygnus Song left it like a broken faucet, still leaking droplets of energy."You narrowed your eyes, scratching your chin. It was all coming together now. The SatCom would've boosted the Von Neumann little by little, without the risks that a large outburst of power would've entailed. That, however, didn't explain neither how nor why Joan died."So what happened to our former correction officer, if she wasn't killed by her final attack?" "Probably destroyed by the ensuing explosing. ASI tend to scatter into explosive bits upon death. I don't think she intended to survive, to be honest. There's a reason why it's called Cygnus Song: Flaming Skulls don't want to live a life devoid of battle."'A life devoid of fight is without meaning.' That was the cruel creed your friend had subscribed to. It was difficult for you to imagine why anyone would want to live like that, but then again, you and Joan came from two different worlds and two different backgrounds. Fanatical as it might've been, perhaps her faith meant salvation for her. Lost in thoughts, you eyed the Von Neumann's faceless head. You had seen it change shape several times before, an integrated function of the SALUTE System. It looked like a Gundam, like a Buster Machine, like a Mazin Robot, and many more you had not seen yet. But did it have a face of its own, behind that thick metal curtain? Or was it destined to be an imitation forever?
>>3526200Sighing, you told yourself it didn't matter. It was still the best machine stationed on the base, except for the ones piloted by the corrective officers. If nothing else, it would have been entertaining to see them in battle. It was strange. The old you would've probably kicked and screamed upon knowing that she had been thrown in a life or death situation, but now all you could feel was a bit of pre-battle anxiety.What had changed? What changed you? It would have been lovely to reflect on that question, but your train of thoughts was stopped cold in its tracks by Father Matheus, who bumped into you. "Ah, miss Dubois. I have a little favor to ask of you," he said, strangely agitated. His usual, polite self would've apologized first, so something must've occurred. >Mind your manners, Father.>What's going on? >Look at where you're going! Sheesh. I am listening. >Other [specify]
>>3526202>What's going on?
>>3526202>>What's going on?
>>3526267>>3526387>>3526607[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']Cocking an eyebrow, you greeted him and prepared to ask some questions."You seem in a hurry, father. Is there something I can do for you?""Ah, yes actually. And by the way, sorry for bumping into you. I should pay more attention to where I go." "Don't worry about that. Come on, let me have it.""Well, the gist of it is that Lukasz is sick. He needs his drugs, and now that the cat's out of the bag, I thought you could help him. He said you've seen him on the ship."The image of your teammate injecting a weird substance flashed through your mind briefly. It was one of the most disturbing things you'd seen in the previous days, something you struggled to come terms with. This was a rare moment of calm before the storm, and it was precisely because of this reason that your mind, which would've been otherwise busy, was now feverishly dwelling on that particular. Speechless and absent-minded, you nodded.Father Matheus apologized, said that he would've done it himself but that the technical staff was waiting for him to conduct maintenance on the Simulacrum. Come to think of it, the weird, symbiotic relationship between that man and his machine was another thing you knew next to nothing about. The priest excused himself before you could pursue any further question, telling you that the medicines Lukasz had requested were waiting for you at the medbay.The nurse handed a small box to you, warning that the contents were fragile. You thanked her and proceeded towards the pilots' quarters, wondering about your teammate's condition. What could've bent a man as big and strong as him? Was it stress? Was it a fulminant disease still unknown in your world? Or was it a form of PTSD? You quickly ruled out the disease. Matheus said 'drugs', not 'medicines'. This meant that he was dealing with problems related to his mental states, which was even more worrisome, considering how secretive and taciturn he usually was.[Social Background] Was he bottling up his frustrations? Was he afraid to open up to the rest of his squad? Or did he just think that he would've been a burden to everyone else if he did? Either way, these lines of thought would be sure to aggravate his mental state, if he were holding them. Still mulling about these things, you reached his room. Hesitantly, you knocked on the door, just to see it slide open right away. The massive frame of private Chtograd suddenly appeared, making you flinch in surprise. Before you could spill the contents of the box, he grabbed your wrists to keep them steady, then grabbed the box and withdrew in his room.
>>3527754"Do you... need help with that...?" You tentatively inquired."Nah. I should be fine," he replied, laying the box on a nightstand and then opening and closing his hands rhythmically. "Thank you."His room was just as dark and messy as his cabin on the spaceship. Did the cleaning staff just not swing by, scared by the prospect of angering him? That was unlikely. Lukasz knew how to be abrasive, but he never struck first. There was always a way to notice his annoyance before being reprimanded. In that exact moment, he was staring at you. It was his way of asking you to leave, or to speak up if you had anything to say.>Say nothing >What are those drugs for? >Teach me to administer that drug. >Other [Specify]
>>3527755>What are those drugs for?
>>3527755>Teach me to administer that drug.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>3527770>>3527885gonna toss a coin to find out
>>3527770>>3527885[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]"Well... maybe I should learn how to administer those drugs. You know, just in case..."The man took a deep breath, then nodded. "Alright. Watch closely." The procedure seemed fairly simple: he didn't need to dose quantities apparently, for he just took the cocktail and injected it in his veins using a sterile syringe."I am sorry you had to see me like this... again," he whispered, visibly stunned by the effects of the drug. "Some people... really love riling others up.""Saki Rukino?""Saki motherfucking Rukino. The audacity on the bitch, making fun of the tragedy at the Hammer of the Gods... Sorry, I am trailing off.I need to sleep. Would you mind leaving me alone?" Sighing, you left the room. There was a lot to be worried about if the teamwork was this abysmal. PN5-2 faced its greatest threat to date, and no amount of big robots would've made up for a lack of coordination. Just as you were thinking that, you saw the three little girls running in your direction, chasing and screaming at each other. Were they playing? The blonde girl, Yayaka, was reprimanding the other two. "YOU TWO! LOOK WHERE YOU'RE GOING!" she screamed, and much to her chagrin, they didn't seem to be paying attention. They really should have, however, because a few seconds later the red-headed girl rammed into you. Despite seeing the girl charging, you were too slow to dodge. Luckily it didn't hurt, but Papika seemed to be in pain."Are you ok?" you asked, kneeling a bit and helping her up. "Ah! We should be asking that!" Cocona replied. "Sorry. We shouldn't be running through the corridors.""See? I warned you about that," Yayaka chimed in. "Just be glad it's not that other stuck-up woman."The three girls occupied together the position of 'correction officer', together with miss Rukino. This meant that their orders held the full authority of their rank only if they were issued through a consensus. If Deucalion's speculations were correct, they had been sent there from the Central Government just to appease a request for reinforcements, whereas their 'joint rank' was an ad-hoc creation the military had come up with to justify their presence there. In other words, no one else could be spared."Were you girls in a rush, or were you just playing around?" You asked, curious."Ah! We wanted to see the black robot you pilot, actually. We're very curious," Cocona answered."I see. Well, I am sorry to say this, but I can't make it transform at will just yet. You'll have to wait for the battle to see that.""Eeeh?" Papika looked like she was thoroughly disappointed. "That's boring."Shrugging your shoulders, you tried giving an explanation."Nothing we can do about that. To transform, the Von Neumann requires a lot of Mirror Energy and an emotional response connected to the object I want to copy. That's why I am telling you it's not easy.""Ah! Then, you can Flip Flap too, miss!" Papika responded, elated.
>>3529082"Flip... flap?""Yes! When your impedance goes to zero and your heart fully synchronizes with someone else's, that's Flip Flapping!" Cocona enthusiastically explained. You nodded, taking mental note of all of this. It must've been one of those theories that Deucalion mentioned and which supposedly were just part of a whole. Only the blonde girl seemed to be somewhat displeased.[Social Background] No, it wasn't displeasure. It was more like... embarrassment? That must've been it. After all, if the three of them worked together, this could only mean that she used the power of 'flip flapping' too, whatever that was.Returning for a second to more pressing matters, you reminded yourself that the little girls held considerable authority on the base. Perhaps it was time to ask them for a favor now. Strange as it might've been, they were probably less fickle and self-centered than Saki.>Ask them to offset any death sentence >Ask them to offest any suicidal order >Ask them to offset endorse any one of your suggestions during the battle as official order >Other [specify]
>>3529089>Ask them to offest any suicidal order
>>3529089>>Ask them to offest any suicidal order
>>3529089I can't believe I didn't recognize the Flip Flapper squad until this update. You absolute madman, SRWQM. >>Ask them to offest any suicidal order
>>3529102>>3529132>>3529400[Your alignment has shifted towards Revenge][socializing background] Steeling your nerves, you prepared to attempt diplomacy once again. Making the same mistake twice was the epitome of stupidity. You had to deal with them as if they were your peers. Clearing your throat to catch their attention you prepared to start."Excuse me, girls. I would like to apologize for my behavior earlier. It wasn't polite of me.""We already went over this. It's water under the bridge," Cocona reassured you."That may be so, and in that case, I am thankful. But the truth is, I don't just want to apologize. I am here to ask a favor as well. Please, don't let anyone charge into their death. Sacrifices must be unavoidable, but they should be our last resort.""Are you asking us not to endanger your lives?" Yayaka asked, suspicious."That'd be impossible, and foolish. But you're our correction officers. All I am asking is that you don't give suicidal orders, as much as possible.""It's fine!" Papika proudly proclaimed, spreading her arms far and wide. "We will absolutely not let anyone die! Absolutely!"You smiled. A clumsy promise it may have been, but it was enough to discern their true disposition."Well then, we're off," Yayaka announced, dragging her fellow pilots by the scruff of their necks. "Von Neumann or not, we still have to make sure all our machines are working properly. We'll see you around. Bye, Carlotta.""Bye!" the other girls repeated, waving at you.As the the correction officers took their leave, you sighed in exhaustion. It had been one thing after the other that day, with barely any time for you to catch your breath. Exhausted, you decided to head back to your room and rest for a bit. The base felt emptier than usual that afternoon. Only the underground facility you mysteriously accessed upon your arrival had felt as devoid of life. Granted, there weren't nearly as many people on PN5-2 as the facility could've hosted, but even the severe understaffing -by now familiar- could not explain the sudden desert the headquarters had turned into.Funnily enough, you still managed to possess what was possibly the only single room in the pilot's quarters. The constant presence of an odd number of female pilots had been playing in your favor. Considering the caliber of the newcomer officers, it was hard not to consider this a blessing in disguise. Or perhaps it was better to describe it as a silver lining.Either way, you were all too happy to let yourself in and lie down on the bed. Rummaging behind the pillow, you looked for the weird, childlike drawing found in the room you slept in while onboard the spaceship. Much to your dismay, it looked like it was missing. Its absence hit you more than it should've. Was it just the pain of having lost something? Bizarre. It was barely more than a piece of scrap paper to you.
>>3530390Disappointed and tired, you fell asleep. Once again, all you could see in your dreams was the metal abomination floating through space, a shape that would likely terrify anyone who'd see that in real life. Thankfully, it was just a recurring nightmare. Yeah, nothing more than a nightmare. The hunger you were feeling and that woke you up was proof of that.Clearly, skipping dinner had not been the brightest idea you ever had. It was hardly surprising that you would now feel hungry all of a sudden. But would the cafeteria still be open and serving for a lost lamb like yourself? That was anyone's guess, at that point. >Head to the cafeteria >Try to return to sleep >Check if anyone else's awake >Other [specify]
>>3530392>Check if anyone else's awakeTwo is better at persuading the kitchens to have mercy than one.
>>3530392>>Check if anyone else's awake
>>3530392>Check if anyone else's awake
>>3530491>>3530537>>3530569>>3531157[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']The first order of business was verifying whether or not someone else was awake. After all, not only is dinner best enjoyed in company, but kitchens should also -in theory- be more responsive to the prayers of two or more people rather than just one. The best way to do this would be to nonchalantly walk past their rooms and check if any noise could be heard, besides snoring.Unfortuantely, that didn't seem to be the case. Everyone was either uncharacteristically silent (except for Lukasz of course) or sleeping like a log. Resigned to your fate, you decided to visit the cafeteria anyway, hoping to find something - anything edible, at all. That proved to be a bit of a more fortunate enterprise, however, as a young staff member you'd never seen before gladly served you some of the leftovers for the day. Thanking him from the bottom of your heart, you left for your room and returned to sleep, this time with a full belly. The following day a meeting had been convened to discuss the strategy for the upcoming battle. This time, the Meganoids from PN5 would join in video-conference, to give some insight from their observations. Furthermore, a technical staff superintendent was sent from the Central Government Military Headquarter to assist with the mission briefing and with the maintenance of the machines for the operation.He was a man no taller than three feet, with disheveld white hair and vivid red skin. His heterochromia was barely noticeable, due to the welder glasses he always wore. His size was inversely proportional to his ego, but despite his occasional delusions of grandeur, rumors in the base had it that he was more competent than he let on. It was thanks to him that the Von Neumann was repaired and improved, and it was thanks to him that noticeable progress was being made on the Simulacrum. He made sure to relay this information himself, of course, but as a matter of fact no one denied it, meaning that it must've been the truth. [Socializing background] You could, however, completely sympathize with the feelings of the technical staff. There is no worse feeling than having to deal with a genius who is also keenly aware of how competent he is. A magniloquent braggart is easily dismissed, not quite so a pompouss prodigy.Unsurprisingly, nothing noteworthy emerged during the meeting. Nothing that you did not already know, of course. There was no proper plan in motion because of the sheer amount of uncertainty involved: some alien species might've been immune to this or that weapon, some others be entirely focused on their escape rather than on the battle, and so on.
>>3531328In the grand scheme of things, regrettably, this made no difference. Trespassers had to be eliminated, or the battalion deployed on PN5-2 would've been held responsible. Similarly, immune aliens had to be dealt with one way or another. The absence of a plan didn't mean that you pilots did not know what to do. Rather, it meant you had no idea of how to carry out your tasks efficiently. Only the officers looked like they were completely immune to the widespread climate of pessimism. Saki Rukino, impassible and unconcerned as always, and the little girls trio, who had been infected by Papika's overflowing enthusiasm, stood out like sore thumbs among all the somber faces in the room and -more in general- at the base. You, on the other hand, desperately needed something to do. Something that did not involve mission control or mechanical tests, if possible. Taking a deep breath, you evaluated your options.>Check up on Lukasz >Face Rukino >Discuss the situation with Deucalion >Other [Specify]
>>3531332>>Check up on Lukasz
>>3531578>>3532176>>3532496[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']Maybe a functional team was something a bit beyond your grasp at the moment. Even so, efforts could be made so that everyone would be on their optimal level to fight. For instance, you could check up on Lukasz. During the meeting, he always looked like his mind was elsewhere. Was he trying to reel in the pain?You decided to visit him, and once in front of his room, knocked on his door."Who's that?" he asked bluntly."It's me, Carlotta. I just wanted to know if you're fine.""Ah... yeah, I am fine. Sorry, I can't really open the door at the moment. The room is a mess.""No, no, don't worry. If you're fine then all's well," you concluded, ready to leave. But before you could, he called out your name as if trying to get you to stay, even just a second longer. "Carlotta... Thank you." It was unusual to hear him be that meek with words. It felt like you were seeing a part of him one wouldn't usually get to see."You're welcome." Departing from the pilots' quarters, you were surprised to see a familiar figure standing right there by the exit."Congratulations, miss Dubois. You truly are making progress.""Father Matheus...! You surprised me," you reprimanded him. "Were you eavesdropping?""Of course not. That would be impolite. But I am certain you did the right thing."You cocked an eyebrow, confused. "And what makes you so sure?""That talk you just had... it was about the battle, wasn't it? Sorry, I expressed myself poorly. What I meant to say is that you talked with Lukasz to ensure us the best odds of winning the upcoming battle. Am I wrong?"Despite how much you hated admitting it, he was right. What happened to 'diverting your attention from the operation', as you resolved to do in the meeting room? "Well, it's not that strange is it? People want to survive, and I am no exception. And in this case, surviving means fighting."""You're wrong. There's another option, there's always been. What happened to returning to your own world?""...!"That question felt like a sudden blow. You were not expecting him to bring that up, and what was worse, you had no real comeback."Well, I'd like to. But we both know Deucalion will just tell me he can't send me back.""That's probably true. But you haven't asked or thought about it. Have you?"Another well assested blow. He sure knew where to hit to make it hurt. Sighing, you prepared to concede."What is it that you want, Father? I consider you one of the few reasonable people around here. Please, don't turn unnecessarily adversarial. Not you too.""Far from that. I just wanted to compliment you for your courage. Sorry if it came out wrong."
>>3532584You shook your head. "No, it's fine. I may have overracted. Still... courage, huh? What part of me is courageous?""The part of you that stands up and fight.""Is that courage? Or folly?""Do you think we are going to die in our battle against the aliens?""We may, yeah.""But it's not certain. See? You're not a fool. A fool would charge in even if the probability of success were zero.""And what if that probability is almost zero?""Then you'll have to use your courage to make up for it.""'Courage', huh? Lal'c used to talk about guts and hard work, said it was the most important thing in the world. But I didn't expect the same kind of praise coming from you."The priest smiled. It seemed like he was enjoying the conversation. "And it is indeed not the same kind of praise. Hard work will bring you far in life, that's for sure. But courage is different. Courage is the prince of all virtues. To be brave, to be courageous, means to take the first step. Without taking the first step, you can't work hard, or achieve whatever you wish to achieve." "You have a point. I suppose I misunderstood your philosophy then. I thought it was about pain and individuality and so on.""Oh, you did not misunderstand that part. Identity brings disparity, and disparity brings pain. To decide to bear with that pain is, ultimately, courage."You gave him a cocky smile, as if to tell him that he had won the battle, but not the war. He read you as if you were an open book, and that was your specialty. That smile was your way of issuing a formal challenge. Sooner or later, you'd return him the favor.The man seraphically smiled back, then turned around and left, probably busy with his own errands. In hindsight, this had probably been the diversion you needed. With less than a dozen hours remaining before deployment, you...>Hit the library, see if you can figure something out >Visit the hangar, run some simulations, help the mechanics out >Train in the zero-G room >Other [specify]
>>3532585>Visit the hangar, run some simulations, help the mechanics out
>>3532585>>Train in the zero-G room
>>3532585>>Visit the hangar, run some simulations, help the mechanics out
>>3532648>>3532680>>3532719>>3532750[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']All things considered, working on the machine until the very last second was probably the best thing to do. Outnumbered as you were, you simply couldn't afford to have any machine be even remotely faulty. Persuaded of this, you headed for the hangar, where you spent the last part of the day helping the mechanics work on the Von Neumann.You also helped with the maintenance of the other machines, trying to understand how they worked in anticipation of the battle. Finally, you spent the last hour or so in simulations, fighting against different alien species listed on the Euclid-Keter manual.The departure from the base on the following day felt like attending your own funeral march. It was an austere procession that involved the pilots, the technical staff and the mission control staff quietly heading to the Arcadia-class battleship, loading the robots and all necessary supplies before taking off through the Geschtam Gate. No patrol rounds were organized, and no plan of engagement was formulated: everyone was simply told to take off and to stand together. Miss Rukino's robot was sleek and green, and it had something that looked like a gown around its waist. It was a 'medium' robot, something comparable to the Simulacrum or to your own Von Neumann. The Great Pacoya, on the other hand, was something out of a Soviet laboratory fantasy. Absolutely massive, towering even above the titanic Solarion, it looked like several cubes and other regular geometric shapes thrown together. It was an utter and complete mystery how that worked. The man called 'Pops' informed you that the high mobility package of the Hi-Drapearl had been harvested as well and implanted last minute on your Von Neumann. The black robot was now more maneuverable in zero-G environments, but it lacked the capacity to transform into a fighter. You thanked him for the information and prepared to launch into outer space. The pilots placed the five machines directly in front of the spaceship (and, by extension, the base). A massive swarm of aliens was already visible to the naked eye."Let's start by cutting down their numbers," Saki announced. "Solarion, Great Pacoya. Fire at will." For Lukasz, of course, this meant business as usual. But you had no idea what this entailed for the Great Pacoya before you saw it in action. Large, wing-like panels deployed behind its back, as thread made of pure light spread out around it. "Good, the dimensional anchors are working... at least it seems so. You're good to go, girls, give it a shot!" "Understood!" the three girls replied to their fellow correction officer in chorus. The diamond-like shape on the Great Pacoya's chest light up, and the rest of the body followed suit. The machine was glowing as if it were another star. Electric discharges ran through it, before the robot finally released the energy it had been accumulating. "PACOYA NOVA!"
>>3532824The two beams of pure energy flew towards the enemy at a surprising speed. When they hit them, they hit them hard. Holes were now visible in the enemy formation. It was too early to celebrate, but this was a remarkable result for what was, for all intents and purposes, just a preliminary strike. As miss Rukino gave the order to repeat the attack, you started thinking on how to best use your own machine.>I will do nothing I wasn't ordered to do >I can use the SatCom to boost their attack! >Maybe I can try harassing their flanks >Other [specify]
>>3532826>>Other [specify]Suggest using the SatCom to boost their attack.
>>3532826>I can use the SatCom to boost their attack!
>>3532826>I can use the SatCom to boost their attack!So.. Larger pew?
>>3532852>>3533888>>3534900[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']Both the Solarion and the Great Pacoya were doing an excellent job at keeping the enemy at bay, but it wasn't nearly enough. They needed something to pack a bit more of a punch. Breaking formation, you placed the Von Neumann between them."Huh? Dubois, what are you doing?""To you guys, I will grant you power!"Metal threads sprouted from the Von Neumann, linking it to the adjacent machines. The SatCom system was slowly but surely empowering you, and you'd use that energy to empower your friends."Twin Satellite Booster, armed and ready!""Solarion, fire!""Great Pacoya, fire!"The two beams departed at the same time. Not only were they faster than their earlier counterparts, they were also massively more destructive. Unfortunately, this depleted the Von Neumann's reserve of energy 'pilfered' from PN5-3."Von Neumann," miss Rukino suddenly called. "Can you do that again?""I am afraid not, it'll take me a while to recharge." "Alright, then come with me. We'll do some advanced scouting." The 'gown' of the Carmilla started moving, as if it were little spider feet, and propelled her towards the enemy. Deploying your mobility package, you followed her to the best of your capabilities."Ah, this is bad. The mothership has to retreat, or we'll lose it," she remarked."Enemy scouting party!" Matheus suddenly shouted, alerting you. "They're on your nine!"A small patrol of aliens had indeed parted ways from the main force and was coming to greet you. The Carmilla released its two spinning wheels, killing a few unlucky ones. You, on the other hand, had to make do with the beam rifle and vulcans.Suddenly, the Carmilla stopped moving, as if its power were down. The machine that had been graciously dancing through the star was still like a toy whose batteries had run out."Fuck! I am overheating!" "Huh?" you asked dumbfounded."I have no time to explain! Help me!" Was that an order? Or was she begging for her life? You decided it was no time to find out whether you had a sadistic streak in you or not. Instead, this was the perfect time to carry out a little experiment. Deploying a probe blaster, you controlled it so that it would neatly attach on her back, then moved it towards your position.Just as you expected, the probe blaster had no difficulties dragging the green robot around and away from danger. "Hey, what are you doing? How are you absorbing heat so fast?" the pilot asked, a hint of irritation on her voice."I have an idea!" you cockily replied."Fine, whatever, just get this thing off me already! I can move!"It was time to move on to phase two. Detaching the probe, you instead moved it upon the Von Neumann's breast. The probe blaster had functioned like a heat sink up until that moment. But a certain machine you observed had been capable of using its heat sink as weapon, and you thought that this just might've worked the same way.
>>3534925Flexing the robot's arms in order to move them from harm's way and to expose the chest, you turned the Von Neumann around and prepared to put your theory to the test. "BREAST FLAME!"Once again, your prediction turned out to be correct. A wave of concentrated heat was released from the probe blaster, engulfing the chasing aliens and burning them to a crisp. It was a plan you were pretty proud of, something you wished Shirou could have seen for himself. "Thank you," Saki said, sounding almost sincere for the first time since you met her.[Socializing Background] "You're welcome. Miss Rukino... no, Saki. We need a plan if we are to make it out of here alive. If not for us, do it for yourself. Please, give us your orders.""For my life?" Saki laughed cynically. "I don't much care about that. I should've died a long time ago."Regrettably, this wasn't the moment to give her some life counseling advice. You had to shake her up a bit, but you promised yourself you would've made up for it once back to the base. "But you didn't! And that maybe means something. Call it god, or fate, or destiny, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you're alive, right here and right now. What do you intend to do?"Through the communication channel open between the Von Neumann and the Carmilla, you could see her expression turning more resolute."Alright. I'll do it. Stil... this would be much easier if we had a trump card of sorts...">Leave it to me! >Trump card or not, we can win if we fight together >We need no trump card, competent leadership will carry us through. >Other [specify]
>>3534926>Trump card or not, we can win if we fight together
>>3535051>>3535063Our quest for being the biggest boomer that ever boomed continues on a thread that is not on autosage >>3535095