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Thread in autosage: >>3522822
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=SRW+Quest
Quick summary of what's going on: The enemy is encroaching your position, they massively outnumber you, and you're basically up shit creek with no paddle.

[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"It's not over yet, miss Rukino! If we work and fight together, we have a fighting chance."
"Oh come on, please don't give me empty platitudes like 'teamwork is our trump card'."
"That's... not what I meant..."
She sighed, then continued. "Look, I appreciate your spirit. But teamwork also means understanding one another, no? So please... try to get me."

She was right. She probably understood the situation as well as anyone else, if not better. Maybe it was presumptuous of you to try and instruct her. What's more, your power depended on understanding others, so she was right on that account too. Taking a deep breath, you tried to gather whatever Mirror Energy you had left to spare.

An image was taking shape in your mind, that of the trump card Saki had envisioned. Before lecturing others, people must improve themselves. Before fighting any enemy, you must first defeat your own weakness. And so, you plunged the blade of the beam bayonet through the Von Neumann's abdomen.

A van opened, exposing the robot's engine. Mirror Energy in destructive quantities was being deployed on the blade itself.
"What in the... oh, by the Gods...! EVERYONE, STAND BACK!" Rukino ordered, panicked.
You pulled back the bayonet, and used the energy accumulated on it to release a potent shockwave. Strangely enough, this was the first attack you used that did not rely on vocal activation - and yet, it was perhaps also the deadliest yet, literally decimating the enemy forces

The aliens had been dealt a terrible blow. But a proverb goes that quantity is a quality in itself, and they certainly had no shortage of quantity. What was worse is that they were coming closer, meaning that the Solarion and the Great Pacoya only had one or two more rounds in the chamber.

Time was running out. Everyone was in formation again, but it mattered little. Without any more hesitation, you took your beam bayonet and aimed it at the closest alien. With grim determination, the Carmilla prepared to do the same, with its spinner knuckles. A grunt coming from the Simulacrum notified you that Matheus was ready too.

Another blast was fired at the aliens, another hole appeared in their formation. The Solarion fired a few seconds later, while the Great Pacoya recovered. It was a joint attempt at never stopping the barrage fire, but as you expected, it wasn't quite enough. The enemy was now upon you.

"Carlotta Dubois. Do you want to become a star?", Saki asked out of the blue.
"Huh? What does that mean?"
"You see, to become a star, you need to be a good dancer. Choreography is essential."
It was clever. Very clever, in fact. Had she come up with that plan just a few minutes ago, after witness the capabilities of the Von Neumann? That certainly was impressive. You never even considered that possibility yourself. Admittedly, it wasn't Einstein-level reasoning. But it was easy, it worked, and it came at the exact right time. In other words, it was clever.

The enemy was upon you, too close to be targeted by the two large robots long-range beams. The risk was that the other machines would be affected by the ensuing explosions.
"Not yet."

Everyone held position, perhaps aware of your plan by now. It was something that had to be executed with perfect timing, lest the spaceship be damaged. Three of the Von Neumann's probe blasters attached themselves on the back of all the other robots besides the Carmilla, with the fourth one still resting on its shoulder.
"Not yet."

The aliens had arrived. It was difficult to judge distance in space, but they were probably just a few hundred meters away at best. Some of them were slimy, some of them had a much more defined anatomy. None of them was even remotely anthropomorphic. 'Figures,' you thought to yourself. Either way, something much more important required your full attention.

All the probe blasters activated in unison, scattering all the robots apart. Taking full advantages of the holes in the enemy formation, you snuck those machines behind enemy lines, beginning a mad flying circus and keeping them at a safety distance. The Carmilla was the only exception, more than capable of handling it by herself thanks to her spider legs.

The plan was working. The aliens were being driven away from the ship and towards the mecha. What they couldn't account for was that each one of them had effectively two pilots on board.
"Carlotta! I am almost there!", Saki suddenly said. "Let's hit 'em with the switcharoo."

The probe planted on the Solarion's back suddenly dragged it upwards (if there even was an upwards in space) and away from the enemy before dropping it. Now at a safety distance, the Solarion could shot its ordnance rounds unhindered. Meanwhile, the probe attached itself on the Carmilla's back, draining its heat and releasing it as white-hot fire upon the enemies, seconds before returning to the Solarion and dragging it away from the encroaching enemies.
It was a neat trick, of course, but it required superhuman precision. Even the tiniest of mistakes would've lead the team to a complete wipeout. In that very moment, a familiar intercom channel opened again.
"Miss Carlotta Dubois? We have news. It's urgent".
"Lieutenant Kess? What's wrong?"

"You're wasting your time there. Those aliens are too many for you guys. At this rate you'll be annihilated."
"Tell me something I don't know!"
"How about the fact that our proximity scanners revealed an Angel in the swarm?"
"Well shit, that sure isn't something I was hoping to hear."

"It's indeed regrettable. But listen to me: there's a chance that Angel has mentally subjugated the other aliens."
"So if we get rid of it, we get rid of the swarm."
"Bingo. It's a big if, of course but..."
"It's better than nothing at all. Thanks, Lieutenant."
"Don't mention it. Good luck."

>Take care of this on your own
>Ask Father Matheus for help
>Double-check with mission control
>Other [specify]
>>Ask Father Matheus for help
>Ask Father Matheus for help
>>Double-check with mission control
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

There was no time to lose. Opening a direct channel with Father Matheus, you decided to enlist his help. After all, he was the only who demonstrated to have the same 'sensibilities' as you.
"Father, I need your help. We need to find an Angel, and fast."
"Oh, shit. Are you for real?"
"I AM!"

"Alright, give me a moment."
He was granting your request, so it felt only fair to grant his. He must've needed some time focus and concentrate, so you decided to cover for him in the mean time. The Simulacrum would've stopped moving, if not for the probe blaster carrying it out of harm's way. How long could you keep up that juggler's performance?

"Father Matheus!"
"There is none! Or rather, I cannot find it. He's either hiding really well, or... I have no idea. I certainly do not register his presence."
"Did you double-check?"
"I did!"

Frustration was rising: were the Meganoids deliberately spreading misinformation? This wouldn't be the first time they took advantage of you. It was hard to process all of this while at the same time keeping the flying circus in full swing. The events, however, were headed for an unexpected turn.

"Eh?! What's going on?" Papika shouted, as if unaware that the Great Pacoya had been tossed and that it was now floating upside down. "There's a zone with impedance 0, deep within enemy territory. What is that?"
There was no time to translate it, but you understood perfectly. 'Zero impedence' must've meant full understanding, and if Father Matheus was right, that meant no idenitity. In other words, mind control. The science behind Mirror Energy explained that different instruments measured the same thing, just giving it a different name.

"Great Pacoya, you're large and in charge. I need you to open a way for the Von Neumann," you pleaded.
"Leave it to us!"
"Coming right up!"

Having received their consensus, you used the probe blaster on the Great Pacoya's back to move it into position. The massive robot released another beam in the target area, showing you the easiest way to reach the Angel. It was time to remove the enemy King from the chessboard.

"Solarion! Can you give me the usual?"
"Coming up!" Lukasz replied, as he concentrated everything he had to produce another one of his psychic blades.
Suddenly the video communication channel was cut, as the pilot could be heard coughing. A wet sound was echoing, like that of a man spitting.

"Chtograd! Status report," Rukino demanded
"I am fine, but sorry Dubois, this is as far as I can go."
What the Solarion tossed in your direction was a clump of shapeless energy, something with no purpose nor utility. Much to your surprise, the last remaining probe reacted to it, projecting a field around it.
"An I-field..."
You had seen this phenomenon at work before, but back then the field only worked to shield you. Now, it was shaping the clump. The light generated by this process forced you to look away. Once it was over, there was no more probe, and no more clump: they had fused, turning into a glowing, golden hammer.


Holding it with both of the Von Neumann's hands, you bolted towards the alien overmind, passing through an increasingly narrow corridor left by the Great Pacoya's beam. The Angel must have understood it had been found out, and he was redirecting its minions against you. Just when you thought you were done for, the spinner knucles of the Carmilla came in your aid, slaying those who had dared come too close. With a final sprint, you closed the distance between you and your target.

It stood there as if keeping a safety distance from its slaves. Most of its body looked like an inverted cone, a bizzare throne on which a fetal-looking shape was sitting. The homunculus was staring right into you with its only eye, while the other one was swollen and orange in color. In an instant, you realized it was its nucleus.

Wielding your new weapon with renewed conviction, you prepared to bring this battle to a swift conclusion.
"Black like mourning is the machine I pilot, but the hammer it's grasping shines with the light of hope!"
Holding it above the Von Neumann's head, you swung it down against its AT-Field

The impact was brutal, and if not for the empowerment coming from the SatCom system, it would have shattered both of you robot's arms. But the AT-Field was yielding, cracking below the immense pressure you were applying. Once its protection faded, you passed to phase two.

Something had pierced the Angel's core, and when you pulled the hammer away, it dragged it out of its body. It was now floating in the empty space between the Von Neumann and the creature, which responded by sprouting tendril from its cavity, all headed for the nucleus.
Before it could regenerate, you had to give it a final blow. One final swing of the maul.

The impact shattered it, turning its body into specks of dust. All the other aliens must've felt the psychic feedback, for their bodies exploded much in the same way. The hammer dissolved, leaving only the probe blaster in its place. It was done. What was the next order of business?

>Check in with your teammates
>Check in with mission control
>Check in with the Meganoids
>Other [specify]
>>Check in with mission control
>Check in with your teammates
>Check in with your teammates
>Check in with your teammates

Jesus, if the Von Neumann can pull the Goldion Hammer out of it's ass, no wonder they were so scared of it.
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

First thing first: make sure that everyone was fine. That was what Mark would've done. Opening a joint intercom channel, you decided to confirm that for yourself.
"Is everyone fine? Please come in."

"Von Neumann, this is the Carmilla speaking. Everyone is doing alright. Care to explain what possessed you to act on your own?"
"It was sink or swim. We had no other choice."
"And what if we sank?"

"I didn't think of that. We were just buying time anyway. My gamble paid off."
"You do realize the odds were against you, don't you?"
"I do. I made up for the difference with courage." Looking at your monitor, you could see Father Matheus smiling, pleased. Saki eventually gave up this fruitless conversation and issued the order to return to the base.

Once back to the battleship, you couldn't help but notice how tense everyone was. Not just technicians, usually worried about fixing right away an issue that would take a long time to remedy otherwise, everyone else looked on edge too. Needless to say, all pilots were immediately summoned on the main bridge for an 'urgent meeting'.

An exceptionally somber Deucalion proceeded to fill you in.
"I won't beat around the bush, folks: PN5-2 has been compromised. Enemy spies have infiltrated the moon, and possibly the planet."
"Are you kidding me? What was security doing?" Saki asked, visibly angered.
"Taking care of orbital defenses, of course. Need I remind you that our attention was focused on larger threat? Perhaps if your friends at the Central Government didn't starve us of manpower and supplies..."

"Alright, I get it. No point in crying over spilled milk, and besides, my ears will literally bleed if I hear you complain for one more second. So, what do we do now?"
"We land this ship carefully in one or two days. The sooner, the better. And we pretend we know nothing, of course. They must believe their plan has succeeded."

"Woah, one moment here," you intervened. "Enemy who? Aliens?"
"Independentists," prof. Isomäki explained.
"Oh, dang, alright. But then why would they come here? I mean, I know this is a planet on the outer rim of the Empire, and a full scale invasion would make sense. But why send spies or infiltrators? Do they not know how poorly garrisoned the base is?"

"Oh, trust me. They know," Deucalion responded.
"Then why?" you insisted.
Slowly, you started to notice that everyone was staring at you in lieu of answering. And then it dawned on you. "Ah."

A mysterious, prototype-level technology no one knew how to operate, but which could potentially turn the tides of war. Did they need any more reasons to invade? You felt stupid for not taking such an obvious possibility into account.
"As I was saying," the bespectacled man resumed, "We need to be careful. We must, at all times, act under the belief that the person in front of us is either a spy or someone brainwashed to serve the spies. This includes people on this ship. Later today I will pass on a codeword that can be used to confirm your identities. I suppose that's all for now."

"Are we implying that we should act as her personal bodyguards?" Saki inquired, somewhat peeved.
"I am implying that you should keep your eyes open, correction officer Rukino. I just thought it would helpful to know who the enemy target is."

>I can take care of myself
>Feel free to ignore me, you'll be the one held responsible
>A better way to see this is that we can look out for each other
>Other [specify]
>A better way to see this is that we can look out for each other
>A better way to see this is that we can look out for each other
>A better way to see this is that we can look out for each other
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

"I don't completely agree," you retorted. "I think we ought to look out for each other. I may be the target, or maybe not, that doesn't matter. If everyone is looking out for everyone else, we'll have a stronger network to rely on."
"Oh great, she's gone full hugbear mode. Meeting's adjourned folks, I'll contact you all later. Try not to think too much of rainbows and unicorns."

Following Deucalion's theatrical exit, however, your teammates voiced their approval for your proposal, with the little girls being the most enthusiastic advocates. All that was left to do now was to come up with a suitable plan. Gone were the days in which you were all talk and no walk: now it was time to take your responsibilities. Figuring that a good night's sleep would help you think more clearly in the morning, you headed to your bedroom. Unbeknownst to you, you were about to be one-upped.

Later that evening, a knocking on your door woke you up.
"Ah, this sure brings back memories. Come on in," you said, still in a daze.
The light coming from the corridors was undiluted pain for the eyes, and you were barey able to make out three little shadows standing on the room's edge.

"Ah, it's you girls. What's up?"
"Well... we kinda came up with a plan to counter the spies. The plan is ours, but you gave us the inspiration," Yayaka said, flustered.
"Can we come in?" Cocona asked.

You nodded, sitting up on the bed to look a bit more presentable. "Let me hear."
"Well, we thought that we could share something that only our real selves know... that way, we would be able to recognize impostors," the raven-haired girl explained.
"Yeah! The other pilots agreed as well. So? how does that sound? Are you in?" an overly excited Papika pressed you.

"Ok, yeah, I suppose it makes sense. A sort of two-steps identification process in case the codeword gets leaked. I am in," you confidently said.
Not missing a beat, the red-headed girl grabbed your hand and dragged you out of bed. "Come on then, the others are waiting."
"Ah, wait, I am still wearing my pajama...!"

Regrettably, your complaints were in vain. A meager consolation was finding out that everyone else in the room arranged for this informal meeting was just as fashionable as you. Saki was particularly flustered, clearly uncomfortable with wearing a casual attire and no make-up.

"Wait a second!" she protested. "I thought this was an officer-only affair. What are these guys doing here?"
She probably had arrived just a few seconds earlier than you. Yeah, that would've explained why she hadn't noticed Matheus and Lukasz sitting on the sofa, still half-asleep.
"There's no point in doing this if it's just the four of us," Yayaka replied. "Please, bear with it."
"And it's a good chance to become friends!" Papika enthusiastically added. Admittedly, her innocence was touching. Nevertheless, Cocona gently reprimanded her for being too forward.

"Alright, let us begin," Matheus proclaimed, as if suddenly snapping awake. "Don't worry, I am a priest. I am used to hearing confessions."
"Oh? Sounds like someone doesn't want to go first. Do you have a deep, dark secret you can't tell us? C'mon, I want to hear!"
Those words must've triggered something in Saki, because her attitude suddenly did a 180. Not even the little girls were as curious and eager to start.

>Well then, I guess I have some favors to return
>It's ok, he can go first.
>Nah, Saki will go first
>Other [specify]
>Well then, I guess I have some favors to return
>Well then, I guess I have some favors to return
>>Nah, Saki will go first
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

Clearing your throat, you decided to take the first step.
"It's fine. I can go first. My secret is..."
"Hold your horses, young woman," the priest stopped you. "Saki hasn't voiced it, but she has a point. I can't demand your trust without showing you that I trust you first. Thus, allow me to go first."

You gave him a nod, and he took it as his cue.
"Alright then, looks like I can't back down. This might count a bit as cheating, since Carlotta and Lukasz already know about this. But the truth is, I lost my body. What I have now is simply a replica generated by my robot, the Simulacrum. The Mother of Machines gave it to me. Satisfied?"

All the girls were looking at him wide-eyed, mouth agape. "That's... really something, I guess. Well, who wants to go next?"
"I will!" Papika shouted, raising her hand. "My secret is that I love Cocona very much!"
"Hey, wait...! That's not a secret!" Yayaka protested. "It doesn't count."
"She's right, you know," Cocona commented. "You have to say something others don't know already."

The red-haired girl looked like she was deep in thought, then snapped her fingers as if she had something figured out.
"No one knows, but my old name is Papikana! Does that count?"
Everyone else nodded in approval. It was something the spies might've already learned about, but it was probably unrealistic to expect anything more from her.

"What about you, Carlotta? What's your secret?" Saki asked
"Well... something you might not know is that I am an orphan. I never knew my real mother or my father. So if you want to find out whether or not I am a body double, ask me about my family members. Easy, isn't it?"
"Ah... I am an orphan too, actually... I used to live with my grandma..." Cocona replied. "I guess I have to come up with something else."
"It should be fine, really," Matheus said, trying to calm her down. "As long as it's only the two of you..."

"Truth be told, I am an orphan too," Yayaka pointed out. "but it's fine. The organization I used to work with is called Asklepios. No one but Papika and Cocona should know about this."
"Orphans, huh... what a blessing in disguise," Saki nonchalantly considered. "Well, guess it's my turn to fess up now. There is a boy I like, his name is Haruto. I doubt anyone knows of him, though."

[socializing background] Normally this would be the moment to ask her everything about her crush, and indeed the little girls were already squealing in excitement, bar the blondie. But something felt wrong: why would no one know about her lover, or love interest? Was he...

"Hey, big boy! Your turn to talk!"
Saki's imperious speech forced you to return to reality. What would the silent giant confess? After a few seconds of deliberation, he whispered something.
"... we weren't wrong."
"Huh? We can't hear you, speak up," the officer goaded him.
"We weren't wrong!" he repeated, almost shouting. "We weren't wrong. The Mirage Knights never endorsed the folly of the Independentists. We just didn't want to fall into the grasp of Simon the Black. That's all."
"Uttering that name is treason." Saki coldy remarked.
"Your treason can lick my balls! Wanna hear a secret? Here it is: fuck the Central Government, fuck Afranchi Char, fuck Simon the Black and fuck the Independentists. Does that give you enough material to work with?"

>Let's calm down, everyone.
>You went a bit overboard, didn't you, Lukasz?
>Yeah, screw them!
>other [specify]
>Let's calm down, everyone.

>Fuck everyone
I see Lukasz is in the super robot mindset already. Why care when we've obviously gonna beat all parties up with our mechs down the line anyway?
>Let's calm down, everyone.
>Let’s calm down, everyone

>Lukasz is a Mirage Knight
Well that just opens up a whole load of questions, if they’re the same ones from FSS. Like, what the hell did Simon do to piss them off that they sided with Char, of all people, and where the hell is Amaterasu that he let that happen? Did we miss a cage match between a Jagd Mirage and Gurren Lagan? I need answers, SRWQM!
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis' ]

"Perhaps I should get you executed," Saki proposed nonchalantly. "We don't need someone whose loyalty is uncertain."
"Lukasz's loyalty is all but uncertain," you retorted. "And Lukasz, don't forget that Joan and Shirou both trusted the Central Government, to a degree. They can't all be rotten, can they?"
"Miss Dubois here is correct. We cannot afford to fight among each other," Father Matheus proposed. "Let's keep the calm, ok?"

Be it as may, apparent peace had returned to the meeting room. The mood was ruined, and no one felt like staying around. Having confirmed each other's 'security question', everyone returned to their room. It had been a long day, and no one felt like fighting another battle, verbal or otherwise.

The morning after, Deucalion announced that the ship was scheduled to make landfall in less than 10 hours, slightly ahead of schedule. All talks about spies and infiltration had ceased, especially since official channels were being used to broadcast information to and from the base. This whole situation felt bizarre and surreal. Even more than usual.

It was surprising how quickly a human could adapt to radically different circumstances, but what was even more surprising is how little it took to throw her into disarray once again from her precarious equilibrium. Much in the same way, you had adapted to fighting unfathomable creatures on your robot, but having to face enemies without the comfort of your 'armor' was distressing to say the least.

Sighing, you felt like an idiot for not taking that self-defense course your friend Anne told you about. Less than half a day was far too short a time to learn how to deal with armed enemies. Possessed by these nefarious thoughts, you were scouring the corridors of the spaceship, wandering aimlessly from room to room.

Someone must've noticed your nervousness, because a hand reached your shoulders and caused you to freeze in place.
"What's the matter?" a familiar voice inquired.
"Ah, Saki. It's nothing. Just a bit worried about the situation going out of control... I have no experience with mano a mano, you see?" you replied, smiling faintly.
"It's fine. We have the numbers, plus some tricks up our sleeve. If they're saboteurs, chances are they will just damage the hangar and your robots which -frankly speaking- are no state-of-art machines. It will be fine."

"I am not too sure I like that. Matheus IS his robot, and the Von Neumann..."
"The Von Neumann won't be destroyed by some amateurs with firecrackers."
"What if they're really aiming at me...?"
Saki held both of your shoulders, forcing you to turn around and look at her in the eyes.
"It'll be fine. We'll cross the bridge when we get there. Getting worried about it now won't fix anything. You're a pretty perceptive girl, and you can take care of yourself. And if push comes to shove, I'll show you what a member of the Golden Seven is actually capable of."

With that cryptic remark, she let go of you and winked, before leaving and going on her way. That felt... odd. It wasn't the first time an organization you knew nothing about was brought up, but what left you thoroughly puzzled, more than anything else, was her sudden change in attitude. You feared that, just like it happened with Joan, you might've seriously misdjudged her. Was there time to make amends? Was there time to get to know her better?

These thoughts occupied your mind for the rest of your trip. As soon as the ship landed, however, you switched gears, and started considering what was in your power to do to counter the spies' activities.

>Check my room first
>Talk with the mechanics
>Grab some dinner at the cafeteria
>Other [specify]

All in due time. You already have some hints that could help you figure some of this shit out.
>Grab some dinner at the cafeteria

You feared that, just like it happened with Joan, you might've seriously misdjudged her. Was there time to make amends? Was there time to get to know her better?
Kek are we're literally failing every single character's flags here. Oh well might as well have some last minute chats to anyone in the cafeteria. Safety in numbers and all.
>Grab some dinner at the cafeteria
Kind of feels like the cafeteria is our default nowadays. Not that that’s a bad thing, though. Food is always good.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

The cafeteria was a place you visited often, for a reason or another. Recognizing any unfamiliar face shouldn't have been too difficult. With your senses in full alert, you walked the way from the hangar to your destination, trying to look as incospicuous as possible.

Once there, you began your silent mission. Grabbing a tray and some food, you sat down and began to eat, occasionally taking a furtive glance around.
"My, you're not very good at this, are you?"

The sudden arrival of Saki Rukino startled you. It seemed like you both had had the same idea.
"Ah, am I making it that obvious?"
"Well, you'd fool the average person. But we'd like to presume that our infiltrators are not 'average people'. Better never to underestimate your opponent."

The girl was sitting across from you, like Joan used to. It was a wound that hadn't fully remarginated yet. What did the girl in front of you stand for? What were her thoughts, her grievances, her ambitions? She had built a wall of pride to shield them all, just like previous correction officer did. Perhaps there had never been a chance to befriend her through these turbulent times. But there certainly was a way to make things right.

"What is it?" she suddenly asked, forcing a strange smile. "You're giving me a weird look."
"Saki... make sure to properly return 'home'. To that boy you like. Promise me, ok?"
She must've realized what you meant, for she gave you a more sincere smile and nodded. "I promise. Don't get so worked up about me."

Collecting her trash on the tray, she stood up and bid you goodnight. Technically speaking, it was the right thing to do. Your position had been compromised, to a degree, and what's more, you could still feel the fatigue from yesterday's battle.

The exhaustion piled up with what little work you mananged to accomplish on the base, thus you opted to return to your room and go to sleep. Unfortunately, the anxiety and the fear that someone or something might be lurking in the dark made for very bad companions for the night. As a result, you kept waking up and then falling asleep.

Dawn came all too early on that god-forsaken moon. Crawling back to the cafeteria for breakfast, you met your teammates, all equally sleep-deprived. After a successful mission the base would be in jubilation for the following one to two days; that morning, instead, the atmosphere was all too somber. Did they knew that you knew? Was counterespionage going to turn into a staring contest, in which whoever blinked first would lose?
Leaning forward to whisper among each other, you all confirmed your real identities. Having ascertained that everyone was whoever they were supposed to be, you proceeded to trade informations. Unfortunately, no one of you turned out to have found anything substantial. Most of what people deemed 'suspicious behavior' could be chalked up to a number of circumstances, thus it was difficult to tell the evidence apart from the false positives.

Frustrated, you decided to end meeting there for the moment, in mutual agreement that you would reconvene for lunch. The girls bolted out the room first, chasing after Papika, whose enthusiasm could barely be contained even in a situation of such grave danger. Moved by genuine concerns, you decided to follow them.

Stalking them, you found out that this was a wild session of 'you're it!' initiated by the red-haired girl, with the two other girls accompanying her in order to prevent incidents. There was absolute silence throughout the base, only broken by the noise made by the trio and by you. One, two, three, four: you counted four different people walking, yourself included.

Gradually, as your ears grew accustomed to the noise, you started hearing something else. Slow and deliberate, it was almost like...
Turning around as quickly as you could, you saw absolutely no one. You weren't being followed then. The girls were now further away, so you had to step up your pace, and just when you did the fifth, unidentified noise repeated.

A scream came from the other end of the corridor, just around the corner. Rushing towards it, you noticed that the girls were gone.
"Fuck!" you swore. The others had to be alerted! You made a sudden U-turn and headed back to the cafeteria. At least, that was the intention, but a soldier in a black uniform that looked like a biker's suit was now waiting behind you, his gun aimed and ready. Just where the fuck had he been hiding? No time for that, you had to think of a solution, and quickly.

>Raise your hands and surrender
>Run for it!
>"Who are you? What do you want?"
>Other [specify]
Small mistake here, the alignment has shifted towards 'Heritage'. My bad.
>Raise your hands and surrender
We don't have the physical powers to tank bullets or the physical prowess to outrun them. Shame.
>"Who are you? What do you want?"
>Raise your hands and surrender
We can’t do anything, but if the girls can still Flip Flap that might be enough to get us out of this.

Not yet, but I’m holding out hope for using mirror energy to copy G Gundam or Giant Robo wuxia shenanigans. What’s a Super Robot Wars quest without silly OP martial arts?
[Your alignment has shifted towards Heritage]

It was game over. Raising your hands, you signaled that you had no intention to fight.
"Who the fuck are you?" he suddenly asked, his voice betraying true bewilderment
"Huh? That's MY line!" you replied, equally perplexed.

"Ah, who gives a shit. Bite the dust, bootlicker!"
As the man steadied his aim, you closed your eyes, scared. Was this the end?

A loud bang echoed through the corridor. Had the gun been fired? Were you dead? No, that couldn't be right. Turning around and taking a closer look, you noticed that the soldier laid now on the ground, a crack through his helmet. Besides him stood Father Matheus, in a martial pose of sort.

"Whew... you saved me out there. Thanks."
"Heh, no biggie. It's been a while since I last had the chance to practice some good Baji Quan. More importantly, where are the girls?"
"Disappeared somewhere. I am sorry... I lost track of them."

He flashed a smug smile, more self-satisfied than he had any right to be.
"Good. They've taken the bait."
"What the hell? We're using little girls as bait?"
"Of course not. They have hypnotized Papika and think we do not know about it. Come on, we must rendezvous with Lukasz," he said, grabbing your wrist and dragging you away.

"Wait, wait, what the hell is going on?" you asked, still confused.
"The endgame is here. The spies know they've been found out, and now it's showtime. It's a matter of who gets whom first."
This was bad, really bad. Much worse than you had expected. And above all, how came that everyone else but you knew what was up?

Frustrated, you kept the pace with the priest, still madly dashing from corridor to corridor. Then, after what felt like an eternity, you finally caught a glimpse of the enormous man running in your direction. "Lukasz!" you screamed, seconds before realizing he wasn't alone. Next to him stood... you. Or rather, a girl that looked exactly like you.

A sudden chill went down your spine. It wasn't just a figure of speech: something cold had been pressed against your nape. Lukasz did the same, urging the other girl to move forward.
"Alright then, time for the security question. Tell us about your parents."
"I have none," the doppelganger in front of you promptly replied. "I am an orphan."

Silence. The noise of safety catches going off. You didn't even have the chance to respond, and yet...!
Two shots exploded. The clone in front of you collapsed, her face melting off and revealing that of a boy in his teens.
"He must've been on the ship. That damn Deucalion...! How did he miss a security breach of this size?" Matheus complained.

>Wait a second, how did you...?
>To die so young. What a waste.
>Good. What's the next step?
>Other [specify]
>To die so young. What a waste.
With the death of Joan fresh in our mind this must rattle us more than we liked.
>To die so young. What a waste.
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']

You weren't listening. His face was the only thing being slowly burned in your mind. Young. Like the men Deucalion killed. Like Mark. Like Joan. Your knees budged, and you had to fight the instinct to puke. Everything about this was profoundly distressing. With what little was left of your control over your legs, you leaned against the wall, breathing heavily.

A hand reached your shoulder, massaging gently as to comfort you.
"I know it's tough. But we must go. Those girls might be in danger, and they need us," Matheus explained. "You and the girls are Newtypes. Hate the word as much as you want, but they've had to endure as much as you, if not more."

You nodded. Newtype isn't something someone decides to be. It's a label placed upon you without your consent. As such, perhaps someone was aiming to strike at the little girls because of who they were, not because of what they did. With renewed resolve, you stood back up, ready to continue the mission.

"By the Gods, if this isn't a fool's errand," Lukasz complained, moving the corpse of the deceased spy away. In the deepest recesses of your mind, you were still screaming, mad with terror and revulsion. But the need to continue the mission and the desire to help Cocona, Papika and Yayaka was now stronger than anything else. Right now, you could still keep your wits about yourself.

The worst was yet to come. There certainly were more spies scattered around the base. What if it came down to you to kill one of them? Could you stand to act as an executioner? Perhaps mecha fighting had desensitized you to killing. For a pilot it was something distant, 'clean', even safe. But killing in cold blood a man who stood a few steps away from you mere seconds earlier ... that was on a whole other level.

"Alright, the shortest path to the hangar is this way. Follow my lead," Matheus said, suddenly breaking the silence.
"Hangar? So we're dealing with saboteurs, right?" you inquired
"Don't be stupid. Who would try to sabotage the last line of defense between man and... well, whatever's out there?"

"Then why the hangar?"
"That's where Papika is instructed to meet them. We're gonna pull the rug from under their feet," Lukasz responded. "But we don't have much time. The girls might already be there, and if they are, it's game over for us."

Too tired and out of breath, you decided not to pursue the matter any further. After all, there was still a whole lot of running to do. Corridor by corridor, room by room, you tried to get to your destination as fast as you could. At times, you had to stop and lie in wait to elude the spies' surveillance, rare occasions that you exploited to rest. You were completely out of your element.
"Over there!" Matheus suddenly whispered. "That's the door to the hangar! We made it!"
It was perhaps too soon to feel relief, but you couldn't help thinking that maybe there was still hope. That is, until another masked man in all black appeared, barring your path to the door. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. This was game over.

He was holding Saki in a chokehold with his forearm, pointing a gun at her head with his other hand.
"End of the line, bootlickers. Not another step, or I'll use her brains to paint the walls."
"Saki!" you instinctively shouted, frightened to the bone.

"Shut up!" she responded, a glint of pure malice in her eyes. "Do as you're told."
"Yeah, good girl, tell 'em how it is. Kneel down, with your hands behind your nape. Got it?" the man taunted.
A sudden squeeze around your wrist caught your attention. Lukasz was trying to lean closer, even by just a few millimeters.

"Get behind me. Now," he ordered. "Just fucking do it," he added for good measure.

>Comply with the man's orders
>Comply with Lukasz's orders
>Try to save Rukino on your own
>Other [specify]
>Comply with Lukasz's orders
>>Comply with the man's orders
>Comply with Lukasz's orders
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

Cold sweat was pouring from your brow. You were scared, of course, but the correct course of action was perfectly clear to you.
Slowly and imperceptibly, you tried to take a step back.
"Hey, you! Don't move! Do as I say or she's a goner, ok?"

Swallowing hard, you stopped. Shit, were you guys pushing it too far? What would've happened to Saki then? Nevertheless, Lukasz was still pulling you. The mismatch between your hesitation and his strong pull caused you to lose your balance and fall backwards.
"STOP! I SAID STOP!" the man frantically ordered again.

And then it all happened in a flash. Matheus took a few steps forward, and the soldier unloaded the entirety of his pistol's magazine in Saki's head. Blood splattered everywhere and you couldn't contain a scream. The officer's body laid on the ground, her eyes barred and unmoving.

You scrambled to stand back up, fighting through the utter madness of the scene you had just witnessed. Your insides were a mess, and your mind had been thrown into utter chaos. Shit, were you actually struggling to breath too? No, no, you had to regain your composure. It was imperative.

The spy attempted to reach his gun, but the priest's extremely violent and aggresive fighting style managed to block his arm first, and then turn it behind his back forcefully. The man screamed in pain as Matheus tried to force him on the ground. A mere seconds away from succumbing, he reacted by kicking him and breaking free of his hold.

Surprisingly, didn't seem to affect the priest much. He hadn't been pushed away significantly, and in fact he was in a position to strike again. Wrapping his left arm against the enemy's stomach from behind and the right around his neck, he lifted him up slightly and squeezed.

Even if the soldier was wearing an helmet that completely covered his face, his screams of agony were still audible. He kicked and flappes his arms, trying to hurt Matheus, but it was all in vain. His spine was about to break, but it seemed like it wasn't happening fast enough for the priest.

Letting out a bloodcurling howl, "ZONUDA!", he dug his teeth deep into his shoulder. The soldier's uniform was quickly soiled by his own blood, but he still refused to die.
"You're going overboard. Let me end this."

Uttering these words with Olympian calm, Saki stood up, dusted off her clothes, reached for the man's knife and pushed it down his throat. "See? It's cleaner and faster this way."

This sequence of events was so sudden and so quick that you had no time to process it. When all was said and done, all you could do was kneeling on the floor, profoundly disturbed.
"Why... how...?"
Nothing made sense. Corpses don't just stand up and walk. So just what had happened?
"I told you, Carlotta: never underestimate a member of the Golden Seven," the officer replied, unfazed. "Guys, can I have a status report?"

"We eliminated a body double they made of Carlotta, and we've been sticking to the plan so far. What about you? Everything in order?"
"Yeah, so far so good. One of them got me, as you can see, so I decided to play bait. I almost feel bad for these guys. It's clear they've been sent to die."
"Well, it's us or them," Lukasz remarked, taking the soldier's helmet and handing it to you. "Wear this. You're gonna need it."

>Wait, wait, explain!
>Alright, let's move
>I am being used as bait too, isn't it so?
>Other [specify]
>Wait, wait, explain!
>>Alright, let's move

>Hammer Hell
>Mother of Machines
Oh, Matheus worships Makoto, can’t believe I didn’t see it earlier. It’s neat, but if she stayed a Zonder, then what happened to Gai? Did he catch a terminal case of Bad End? What about Final and the 11 Masters of Sol?
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Let's roll a die to break the tie. You're 1.
you're on the right track but you're not quite there yet.
[Your alignment shifted towards 'Synthesis']

Donning the helmet just as you were told, you took a deep breath. There would be time for explanations. There would be a time in which they could tell you exactly what happened and why. But now was the only time you had to save the little girls. Steeling your nerves, you nodded to the rest of the team. You were ready.

Everyone entered through the door as silently as possible, quickly taking refuge behind a crate. A quick peek around revealed that the hangar was all but fully occupied by the men in black uniforms. One of them, functionally identical to everyone else if not for a mantle wrapped around his slim figure, stood next to a beautiful woman wearing all white. Her hair was long enough to reach her shins, and what was more, it was green like grass. An alien, perhaps?

Either way, the two of them looked like they were in charge. As further evidence of that, a small group of soldiers were standing at their sides, guarding them. Papika, Yayaka and Cocona, all seemingly comatose, were walking towards the man with the mantle. If the others were to be trusted, they were merely faking it.

"Welcome, my little informants," he greeted them with an arrogant voice. "Did you follow my instructions? Are they coming?"
"Yes, they are," they simultaneously responded in a flat voice.
"Fantastic. Then, all conditions for the success of this plan have been cleared."

"I wouldn't be so sure of that!" the red-haired girl retorted, switching to a fighting pose. "The time's right! Flip Flapping!"
Something about this struck you as profoundly absurd. Why would they wait to be right in front of the enemy leader, exposed and defenseless, to attack him?

But then you realized. All of this had been a part of a meticulously laid plan. Nothing had been left to chance. The leader of the enemy soldiers and his escort. The three girls with their fake hypnosis. They were all where they were for a specific reason. All of them were standing in front of... the Von Neumann!


With you nearby, the SALUTE System activated, simulating an environment in which the magical girl trio could freely access their power. Glowing with pure light, they transformed and struck a pose, ready to take on any enemy. As soon as the order to fire was issued, they gave proof of fantastic teamwork.

Papika projected shields and floating bubbles that absorbed bullets and stopped any enemy who thought of coming closer dead in their tracks. The bubbles were then deflagrated, stunning and throwing any assailant away. If you had to make a comparison, those shields and bubbles seemed to function similarly to probe blasters.
Cocona, instead, engaged enemies in close combat, wielding a mutable weapon that seemed to change shape according to her wishes. At times a sword, at times an hammer, in some rare circumstances even a knife or a lance, she used all of them with uncanny mastery and with the commendable care not to hit any deadly spot.

Yayaka worked as a collant, providing melee support when Cocona was in danger, and helping Papika hold up her barriers when enemies threatened to pass through them. It was probably the most mentally demanding task, as it basically came down to switching her style to suit the situation.

And as for you, it was getting increasingly difficult to just stand there and watch.

>SALUTE system... full power!
>Von Neumann, crush them!
>If my impedance goes to zero, then...!
>Other [Specify]
>>Von Neumann, crush them!
>SALUTE system... full power!
>SALUTE system... full power!
[Your alignment has shifted towards 'Revenge']

Shifting your focus on the Von Neumann, you attempted to give full power to the SALUTE System. Eyes closed and fists clenched, you were offering all you had to the girls. A purple light was shining, probably emitted from the engine you'd seen some days before during the battle against the Coordinator Angel.

When you opened your eyes, the battle was over. All that was left was for the leaders of the infiltrators to surrender. Their hands were already raised, and the girls were making sure that they could pull no stunt on them. Giving you a final warning to stay put, the others left the cover of the crates too and aimed their guns at the enemy.

"This is as far as you go, ladies and gentlemen," Saki announced. "Any last words?"
"No, wait, don't kill them!" Cocona plead. "They surrendered!"
"There's no surrender for war criminals."

Understanding that the little girls would shield the enemy, Saki opened fire before Papika could deploy her barrier, shooting the apparent leader and the woman at his side. The girls screamed, begging her to stop, but to no avail. A bullet passed through their head and they laid on the ground, lifeless.

Saki turned towards you, giving you a thumb up. The plan was a success. You, however, had seen too much death and bloodshed. The adrenaline rush was over, and now everything was coming down together. You were about to have a panic attack, and the fact that you could recognize the symptoms only served to throw you into further panic.

What happened later was probably a blessing in disguise, for it broke you free from that pitiful state. Laughing maniacally, the enemy leader stood up, his helmet broken and one of his eyes visible. It was purple, with a strange symbol right below the pupil.
"Lelouch vi Britannia commands you: do not bring us any further harm!"

The little girls undid their transformation immediately, and the rest of your teammates dropped their weapons, raising their hands.
"You've been quite naive, Saki Rukino of the Golden Seven. Did you think you were the only one possessing immortality?"
"How... why... you here!" She was at a loss for words. Did she know him? Was that man a big shot? And why was his command enough to make everyone obey? This was terribly confusing.

"Don't waste your time calling reinforcements. My order has been already broadcasted. You know what this means."
"You absolute piece of trash," Saki retorted, still livid with anger. "Just how far ahead did you plan?"
"I've recently changed my philosophy. In an unstable universe such as this one, it's irrelvant and even harmful to plan ahead. Instead, you must configure your plans so that they can withstand catastrophic turns of events. And that's just what I did."
"Alright, spare us the gloating," Matheus intervened. "What is it that you want? The Von Neumann?"
The man called Lelouch laughed bitterly. "Who would want a piece of trash like that? I know very well that you're hiding..."
"Lelouch. Someone's here," the green haired lady intervened.

Fuck. Shit, fuck. Had you been found out? What now, then?

>Those orders mean nothing to you! Prepare to fight!
>Come out and surrender
>Prepare to negotiate
>Other [specify]
>Prepare to negotiate
>>Prepare to negotiate
>Prepare to negotiate
We're outgunned, and the second option seems doesn't have any uses to me.
[Your alingment has shifted towards 'Synthesis']

Balling your hands into fist, you frustratingly contemplated the events as they unfolded. The mad chase, the hostage situations, the showdown at the hangar. What had been the point of overcoming all those adversities?In the end, you managed little more than being a dead weight upon others. So much for 'looking out for each other"! Useless, you had been nothing more than useless.

But if your hunch was right, there was still something you could do for the others. If the infiltrators had no use for the Von Neumann, that could only mean that they were after you. It was time to bite the bullet. Having prepared yourself mentally, you were ready to get out and negotiate.

In that exact moment, smoke bombs were tossed in the hangar. In the ensuing confusion, some gunshots could be heard as well as a peremptory order to cease fire. Someone grabbed you from behind and pinned you down, behind the cover of the crate. Before you could scream, he whispered "shhh!".

The smoke was dissipating, and you noticed he wasn't wearing the soldiers' black uniform. He must've been someone from the base.
"Who is there? Come out with your hands out where I can see them," the leader commanded.
"Relax, relax. It was just an experiment. I wanted to see if smoke bombs counted as 'harmful' for your Geass. I suppose I wasn't blocked because I had no intention of harming you."

"Professor Deucalion...?" the other man asked, flabbergasted. Indeed, the voice could belong to no one else. He stood up, dragging you with him.
"Mr. Lamperouge," he said, responding to the greeting.
"Pleased to see you're still doing fine."
"The pleasure's all yours," the scientist coldly replied. "so, what do I owe the visit to?"

"Stop playing dumb! You know very well what we want. Hand it over, or..."
"Or what?"
A gun's safety catch went off. Something was pressing against your head. Were you being... held hostage by the professor?

"Oh? What do you hope to accomplish by threatening your own men?"
"I have a little surprise for you, my friend. You were perfectly right about plans. Commendable approach indeed. Now Carlotta, if you could please remove your helmet."

Your heart was beating like a jungle drum. Just what was happening here? Were you going to get killed? Why was he aiming that gun at you? Everything was spiraling out of control, in a situation that was utterly unreadable to you. You felt like there was no choice but to comply, and so slowly but surely you removed the helmet.
The enemy leader must've removed his own helmet earlier, given that his handsome and aristocratic face was now fully visible. As soon as he saw you, his eyes widened and his countenance turned into a mask of grief.
"No... that's impossible... how...? You're not supposed to be here."


"Yeah, you're right, maybe I should just kill her on the spot."
"NO! Don't you dare do that, Noah Deucalion! Lay a hand on her, and I'll make you wish you were never born."
Deucalion whistled before responding to the man's provocation. "Bloodthirsty, aren't we? Gather your men and get out of here, Lamperouge. This is checkmate. Or do you want her to die? She could have been your sister, you know?"

"DO NOT bring my sister into this. You...!"
The green haired woman placed a hand on his shoulder. "It's over, Lelouch. They won this round. We must retreat."
"What is it? Have I wounded your knight's pride?" the bespectacled scientist insisted, clearly trying to get a rise out of him.

But Lelouch did not take the bait. Instead, he placed his hand over the woman's and issued a withdrawal order.
"Tell your men not to follow us if they don't want to die."
"Tell your men to get their dumb ass out of my base if you want the girl to live."

An uneasy stalemate between two people who did not intend to back down, broken by the ruthlessness of the most callous of the two. As the last of the black soldiers left the hangar, their leader turned around, issuing one final proclamation.
"Noah Deucalion! I will remember this, and I will surely return!"
"Yeah. I am counting on that."



>Next Update
The Epilogue, as soon as I have time to finish it
>Next Thread
As soon as the other one gets archived.
Thanks for running!

Mind if we get a rundown on our synthesis/hertiage/revenge scores?
coming right up as soon as I get home lads.
Here it is, sorry for the late.
SYN 59
REV 14
HER 18

It felt weird walking like that. You could clearly feel its weight on your bottom, but you dared not touch it, else what would have been the point of concealing it? If someone noticed it, though, it would have been game over. Gulping, you strengthened your resolve and marched on.

This was all Deucalion's plan. He noticed the hypnosis and undid it. He told everyone how to act. He instructed them not to let you on the plan. He was the one who devised the entire charade that lead you to the hangar, and he was the one to come up with a last-minute solution when the enemy King threatened checkmate.

'She could have been your sister'

The thing was heavy, but your goal was getting closer and closer. People were greeting you with a nod, unsuspecting. Was it working because he did not consider you a threat? Impossible. That man always had his guard up. No way you could just surprise him like that. Even if your life was on the line, you...!

And just as the black-clad infiltrators left, you noticed it. A gun, abandoned on the floor by friend or foe. It did not matter. It was your key to get some answers. Bruteforce was a perfectly legitimate method to get your way in this world. As such, you took the gun for yourself and hid it in your pants.

'She could have been your sister'

Knocking on the door, you waited until his familiar voice would grant you permission to step in. It took less than expected, as if he were the one waiting for you instead. It certainly did not look like that, however, given how busy he was rummaging through his office, as if searching for something.

"So?" he asked, without a single hint of friendliness or care in his voice. Perhaps bothered by the silence, he hastened to produce an excuse for his earlier behavior. "Of course I wouldn't have shot you. Don't be silly. I just needed you as a bargaining chip."
It was an effort to cut short the discussion before it could even begin. He clearly did not think someone could take issue with his way of solving problems.

'She could have been your sister'

"Is that all? If you'd excuse me then, I have to..."
No. It was not all. You had enough of being pushed around by this man. And when push came to shove, you...
Aiming the gun at the man, you released the safety catch. It was showtime.

He raised his hands with an unimpressed look on his face. Not even the risk of death was enough to to shake his cool attitude, apparently.
"Woah, there. Put that thing down, you..."
"No. Not yet."

"Not...yet?" he inquired, cocking his eyebrow. "Then..."
"Not before you tell me about my brother."

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