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/qst/ - Quests

Previous thread; >>3567338
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=SRW%20Quest

Summary of events in this session: A Getter pilot has joined the fighters of PN5-2 to repel the Anti-Spiral invasion, lead by former scientist Pyrrha Naamah

[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

"Is that so? And what makes you think that?"
"I can feel it in my guts. I could feel it in your machine. Mirror Energy can be anything, even Getter. You just need to refine..
"I don't want that. I am no messiah. I have no interest in fitting withing the boxes you have laid out for me, be it that of the messiah or that of the Newtype. I don't want to cross any boundary or be reunited with any obscure power. I don't want this responsibility to be pushed on me!"
"Why not? Are you not trying to defeat the enemy coming this way?"
"Well yes, I am. What's your point?"

The girl closed her eyes, smiling cockily.
"Can't you see? To fight a great power you must acquire and ever larger power. To 'fight the power' simply means 'to overpower'. Granted, different kinds of power exist, but the substance does not change. I am convinced that you're the Messiah. If I am right, no one will stand against us."

"And what if you're wrong?"
"Then before today's over, we will return unto Getter."
"So that's how it is, huh. Victory or death."
"It is regrettable," she said, shrugging. "But that's always been the way of the Universe."

Giving her a cynical smile, you got out of bed and headed for the bathroom, where you changed into your pilot suit. You took one last look in the mirror. Miroku said that the mirror is a terrifying instrument, and indeed, it was hard to prove her wrong. The image you could see reflected was that of a frightened, insecure girl.

You looked away, unable to bear your own gaze. No, that couldn't have been you. You weren't that pathetic. You'd prove that by getting out of there and facing your fears, just like always.
"Well, miss Nagare... no, Miroku. Let's put your theory to the test."

The girl simply answered by flashing you one of her crazy grins. It must've been contagious, because you were certain you were grinning just like that, now. Emboldened by your own resolve, you left the room together with her and headed for the spaceship, which had already been set up and was now ready for takeoff.

Saying that you had gotten used to the Geschtam Jump was a bit of a stretch, but certainly it no longer felt as alien as before. It was much like getting used to flying on aircrafts, in a sense, with the significant difference that civilian aircrafts aren't usually attacked by extraterrestrial lifeforms.

Space was there as usual, greeting you with its cold and dark vastness. Was being there a privilege or a condemnation, considering how many people gave their lives to reach for the stars in your universe?
The enemy armada was nowhere to be seen: not from the porthole in your room, not from the main bridge, and not from the long-range telescope installed on the Ark.

The only steady supply of information was coming from PN5, and from the Meganoid Observatory to be even more precise. According to their estimates, the enemy units were roughly half a million. It was such an overwhelming disadvantage that the battle might've already been over.

But you weren't going to accept that quietly. Getting one's mind shatterd and their body used as a tool far exceeded the bleakness of death. Rather a corpse in space than a puppet in some mad scientist's hands. It was time to move out.

>Head for the bridge, check out the enemy formation
>Launch on the Von Neumann
>Gather the other pilots and discuss with them
>Other [specify]

>Head for the bridge, check out the enemy formation
>Head for the bridge, check out the enemy formation
[Your alignment has shifted towards Heritage]

The bridge was the center of operations of this ship, meaning that information about the enemy's position and movement was likely only available there. Deucalion and other staff members were displaying a projection of what the Meganoids reported on a huge screen, and the result was something like a tactical map.

"You guys should be deploying already," he commented when he saw you arriving. "Take full advantage of your long-rage weapons. At least in that we have them outgunned."
"Yeah, yeah, sure. We will. I just thought that checking up on the enemy formation would have been beneficial."
"With all due respect, I don't believe we are in any position to strategize."

The man turned around and gave you a military salute. It was your cue to leave. As much as it was irritating to agree with that condescending prick, you had to admit that he had a point. No amount of fine military strategy would have saved you from this kind of situation.

Seeing your friends in the hangar, on the other hand, was a lot more comforting. Everyone was carrying out the final adjustments on their machine, but they all looked ready to go. The Von Neumann had already been prepared for battle and was just waiting its pilot. Entering its cockpit, you opened a few intercom channels to speak with the rest of the team.

"Please hurry up whatever it is that you're doing. We will launch momentarily," you announced. "We'll take a diamond formation. I will be in the front, Matheus and Miroku in the middle, and Lukasz in the back. We'll do what we can to reduce their number from a distance."

The most standard of standard plans, but no objection was raised. No de facto officer was left on the base or on the ship, but it still felt somewhat 'dirty' to be issuing orders to people with more experience than you. The four of you launched, assumed the position, and prepared to strike. Immersed in absolute silence, you attempted to gauge the enemy position before giving the order (the order? For real?) to fire at will.

The calm was broken by a coughing fit: Lukasz was choking, and struggling to breathe. It seemed like he had no time to cut the audio channel like he usually did, and for the first time you could actually see what was going on in his cockpit. Blood was pouring from his nose and from his mouth as he desperately tried to reach his emergency dose.

"Lukasz!" you screamed, turning the robot around and dashing towards his direction. But before you could reach him, he had already medicated himself. He was now lying with his back pressed against his chair, breathing heavily.
"Matheus... Carlotta... I think this is it."
"What? No! The battle hasn't even begun yet!" you protetested.
"I know. I am awfully sorry, miss. Nagare, you were wrong about something: Frankenstein is the creator, not the creature. Either way, it is true that it will kill me because I failed to give him a partner. I have no regrets, however. I couldn't feed someone else to this beast."

"Lukasz, please, what is going on? I don't understand."
"Carlotta... I haven't known you for long, but you are a decent enough person. I'd like to share a little something I've learned with you. See, many people around us have stepped in the cockpit to fight for a noble cause or ideal. What I want you to know is that fighting to protect someone you love is just as much of a valid reason. Even if you're not reciprocated."

There was no doubt about it. Lukasz was dying. Whatever had been consuming him for all this time was now just wrapping up its work. However, he looked serene and peaceful. His usually stoic expression was now relaxed into a smile.
"Matheus... thank you for putting up with my bullshit. This is where we'll part."

The enemy fleet was encroaching. They were barely visible by now, but even so their number seemed astounding, and even if you had been warned about that, you still couldn't wrap your head around it. How was your team going to fight with only three pilots? The situation was getting direr by the second. Worst of all was the feeling that you would have wanted to comfort your friend in his last moments, but coming up with a plan was just that much more important.

"The rainbow... the rainbow that Mark was always talking about. I can show it to you guys. We can use it to defeat the enemy," Lukasz whispered.
"What? You had something like that concealed? Why?" Miroku asked, upset.
"Heh... it will wreck the machine the second I use it. I don't particularly want to die in battle... but given the circumstances... it's better than dying like a sickly dog."

"Lukasz," you intervened, returning to your senses. "Let's do it. I'll help you however I can."
"That's the spirit. Let's go out with a bang," he responded, laughing softly. "You're a miracle girl, Carlotta. If anyone can make it work, it's you."
"Thank you. I don't feel like I deserve the praise, but... what should I do?"
"I need a lense. The bigger the better. Can you do that for me?"

>Coming right up!
>How about a boost from the SatCom?
>No, what we need are several lenses!
>Other [specify]
>>How about a boost from the SatCom?
>>No, what we need are several lenses!
>No, what we need are several lenses!
[Your alignment has shifted towards Revenge]

"You plan to use that energy beam of yours to deal a decisive blow, don't you?"
"I do," he responded.
"Then, I have a better idea. I'll scatter many smaller lenses instead, and create a net of burning glasses."

Closing your eyes, you focused on the incoming armada. It was clearly visible in your mind, and you imagined an immense field of reflecting, convex lenses placed between the Von Neumann and the enemy. Mirror Energy took care of the rest: the why's and the how's weren't meant to be known to you.

"Friends of mine, look closely!" Lukasz called out, having understood that his request had been granted. "The Sun that set at the Hammer of the Gods is no more, but I have etched his glory upon my heart!"
The Solarion's cannon began charging, but it was easy to notice that something was wrong about it. It was causing the entire machine to shake like never before. Its armor coating and even some of its inner mechanisms were falling apart.

"Join me on my way to hell! SOL CANNON, SEVEN SWELL!"

The impact was nothing short of devastating. A power blast of light blinded you, forcing you to look elsewhere. The massive beam split up into many deadly smaller rays, reflecting on the mirrors and making short work of the invaders with impressive speed and violence. The galactic horizon was quite literally littered with explosions, and it seemed like the refractions would continue forever. When the wave of destruction subsided, you turned to where Lukasz stood just a few minutes earlier.

All that was left of the Solarion were bits of metal floating through the endless space. He was no more. But this was no time for sentimentalism: the best way to honor his memory was to defeat the enemy he fought until the bitter end. Decimated as it was, you nevertheless had no intel about the enemy armada.

Tapping on the touch monitor located right in front of you, you opened a communication channel with the Meganoids.
"Meganoids of PN5, this is private Carlotta Dubois. Requesting an estimate on the size of the enemy forces."
"Dubois, this is Lieutenant Kess. Everyone here is pleased to know you're fine. We're currently waiting for the telescope to adjust. We'll keep you posted."

This was proving to be more of a nailbiter than you anticipated. Every second that passed felt like an eternity, and judging from the radio silence, the others must've shared your sentiment. Matheus was bending forward, holding his joint hands over his head. Miroku, on the other hand, was grinning as confidently as ever.

"Dubois, this is Kess. We have the information you requested us!"
That voice was like a thunder shattering the calm of a rainy day. Just what kind of news did they have in store for you?
"Conservative estimates place the current enemy fleet size at roughly 1000. That number might be much lower, though."
A thousand? Impossible! If that were the truth, the Antispirals would have lost the almost totality of their forces. Granted, it was too early to call it a success. But if four against half a million was an impossible battle, then 3 against a thousand would have been 'just' very difficult.

Still, this felt extremely vindicating. 'You damned monster! May you look upon my friend's sacrifice with as much horror as the grief I feel!' was what your heart was screaming.

"I am afraid that's not all. We have located what looks like their commander. It is currently in the process of absoring the remains of the units you destroyed. Moreover, all units have gained considerable speed, with the commander stil lagging behind. We wish you the best of luck with the current situation. Over and out."

The news were a bit of a mixed bag, you thought, but overall they were somewhat reassuring. The crux of the matter was now how to deal with the incoming enemy.

>Attempt to use Mirror Energy
>Ask your teammates for suggestion
>Harass the enemy with hit-and-run tactics
>Other [Specify]
>Ask your teammates for suggestion

>We lose a teammate every time we sortie
Food guy was right, we really ARE the angel of death. I expect the good father is next on the chopping block then

Was there a way to prevent any of these deaths.? Joan I'm thinking maybe, if we bothered to spend time with her beforehand, but could we have saved Mark and Lukasz?
>>Ask your teammates for suggestion

Hey there Eureka 7. Also, did you just make a bunch of NPCs to introduce us to the setting and then mercilessly murder them after you didn't need them? Because that is really what it's looking like. Plz not Mattheus, he's a good egg.
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

"I am at a loss..." you candidly admitted. "Dealing with the aliens last time was only possible because we managed to take their leader out. I don't think it will be that easy this time around."
"We should capitalize on the surprise effect and launch an assault."

Weird as it may have been, the proposal had come from no one other than Matheus. It was a matter of course that Miroku would second that, but it was rare to hear such a straightforward strategy be proposed by the most cautious man in the unit.
"So we dive head in and hope we make it out alive?"
"No, we attack the survivors while they still don't understand what got them," he replied, arming his knife an accellerating.

A suggestion you wanted, and a suggestion you had received. Splitting the already exiguous forces would have been a mistake, so you decided to follow them and support them. The probe blasters on the Von Neumann's back activated and prepared to fire.

The plan seemed to be effective: by covering each other's back and making up for each other's weakness, you were consistently whittling down the enemy forces. On a more poignant note, what was truly worrisome was that the enemy 'ASI' would only produce a modest explosion after death.

This was profoundly different from what happened to Joan, and it was enough for you to suspect that she might've died in vain. Be it as may, those thoughts would've been just dead weight while fighting. For the moment, you focused on carrying on the strategy devised together.

This was not to say that you weren't, at the same time, paying close attention to the movements of the enemy commander, which were slow and sluggish at best. It did look like a field of debris was now orbiting around it in a spiral-like shape, possibly to facilitate absorption. The Meganoids really did deserve credit for the precision of the information they divulged.

Still, the current plan was starting to show all of its weaknesses. More than once were you or one of your comrades saved by a probe blaster, just in the nick of time. The enemy was slowly but inexorably surrounding you, and the benefits granted by the advantage of surprise were beginning to fade.

It was thus agreed that the three robot units would, for the moment, withdraw and disengage, looking out for a better moment to resume the offensive. Running some basic calculations and trying to stay on the conservative side of estimates, you supposed that less than a hundred ASI had been destroyed. The plan might've been successful, but it certainly wasn't efficient.
"With Lukasz gone, we've lost our long-range artillery support. At this rate, we'll be overcome while Pyrrha is still in her current 'dormant' state," you explained. "That would be complete and utter defeat. Unfortunately, we have no better plan at the moment."
"There might be a way," Miroku implied, scratching her chin. "How much Mirror Energy can you spare? And how much can you syphon from PN5-3?"

The response would've taken but a few seconds to elaborate, under normal circumstances. But right now... something was amiss. The link that existed between you and the mysterious energy was not quite severed, but it felt like it was absent. It felt like something just barely out of reach, frustratingly so.

As for the SatCom system, it was steadily supplying the Von Neumann as always. Whether or not that was enough for Nagare's plan, however, that was a completely different matter.
"I should have enough. What are you thinking of?"
"My Black Getter Mark III has a trademark weapon, the Tomahawk. I could absorb it back into the machine, and if enough power is supplied to it, generate a massive, beam-like version of it. How does that sound?"

"I am opposed to it," Matheus intervened. "If we were to do that, we risk making contact with the commander's cocoon. If that were to happen, there's a chance that it would react. And then we'd have to fight with more enemies than we originally planned to. It's simply too reckless."

"At this rate we'll go nowhere!" the Getter girl protested. "We have to try, or we'll lose either way."

>Matheus's right, let's stick to the plan
>Miroku's right, it's make it or break it
>Both options are unsatisfactory. We must radically change our approach
>Other [Specify]

I am screencapping you guys' comments because I want to hold a Q&A session when the quest is over, and these are hot pieces I absolutely want to address as soon as they don't fall into spoiler territory.
>Both options are unsatisfactory. We must radically change our approach
>Miroku's right, it's make it or break it
>Both options are unsatisfactory. We must radically change our approach
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

It felt like both of them were in the right, for different reasons. And yet, neither of their solutions seemed satisfactory to you. If Matheus's was low risk - low reward and Miroku's high risk - high reward, then it just meant you had to aim for a low risk - high reward strategy. It was time to take control.

"Miroku, for now let's stick with the plan. Matheus, pay attention to my signal to withdraw."
"Roger," they responded as one.

And so, once again your robots went into the breach, looking for holes into the enemy formation to destroy isolated and lost units before they could regroup. While this strategy was certainly functional, once again the overwhelming numerical advantage possessed by the Anti-spirals tipped the scales in their favor.

At this point, you issued an order to retreat, leaving some of the Probe Blasters behind. Then, having reached a position of relative safety, you releaved the ace up your sleeve.
Turning around, the Black Getter Mk III emitted a powerful Getter Beam which ricocheted off the probe blasters and tore and inflicted massive damage on your foes. Leaving the core of the plan unchanged, you integrated an idea that Lukasz's sacrifice had given you. Given the current circumstances, there was no better way to honor his memory.

The situation had definitely taken a turn for the better. The battle felt more manageable, and not just because the enemy numbers had diwndled. And yet, something was still stopping you from tapping into Mirror Energy. Even though Deucalion said you would've had no problems with that...!

More pressing was the issue of the spiral. A whirlpool, with Pyrrha at the center, was absorbing all the carcasses left behind by the dead ASI. Said spiral was getting bigger and thicker, and the same could have been said about the cocoon growing in its center. It seemed that the death of each minion was instrumental in empowering the boss.

The others looked like they had noticed too, but you were left with no options. Killing the ASI meant feeding Pyrrha, and not killing them meant dying. In other words, the team was caught between a rock and a hard place. Certainly, having to consider such an issue while also holding on for dear life must have been taking a serious toll on your fellow pilots.

It was no surprise that Miroku suddenly snapped and headed straight for the twisting helix of detritus. It was understandable, given her character, but you'd still have preferred to discuss the subject with her beforehand. Matheus tried to scream her to stop, but it was too late. Taking careful aim, she used a beam to strike a point of the spiral far enough from the nucleus. Her objective was probably just trying to halt the flux of materials and resources flowing to the apparent commander, or at least discovering how the scrap reacted to an attack.
The consequences... were surprising, to put it mildly. Not only did the whirlpool twist faster, but enemies started fleeing and heading towards the center out of their own volition. Were they going to feed her? Or were they just protecting her? Either way, it looked like that move had just awakened the sleeping giant.

Feeling somewhat lost, you tried to take a few more shots at the hostile forces, who had been kind enough to turn their back on you and act like sitting ducks. Unfortunately, in one piece or more, they joined the spiral regardless.
"Fuck! What do we do now?" you asked no one in particular.

>I must get away!
>Rally and regroup!
>Might as well hit the core!
>Other [specify]
>Rally and regroup!
>>Rally and regroup!
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

"Get away! Everyone, get away!" you called out. "We must rally and regroup."
Following your command, the other two robots withdrew and joined the Von Neumann in its retreat.
"What is it, Carlotta? Shouldn't we try to smash the enemy while it's weak?" Miroku inquired, confused.

"That time is long gone. Something... something ominous is coming," you responded, as sincerely as you could. It certainly was a flimsy explanation, but the words to properly describe your sensation were escaping you. It was as if a rotten flower was about to bloom in your stomach, if you had to use a simile. But Miroku would have probably not understood that.

Suddenly, before you could even try and articulate your thoughts, an explosion shook the horizon, sending shockwaves through space. With the ripples came the horrifying realization that the conflagration would have engulfed you, had you been even a few seconds too slow to call for the retreat. Thankfully everyone was unscathed, but it was too early to celebrate. Indeed, the rotten blossom you had anticipated had in fact occurred.

Standing where the cocoon stood was a creature, several times larger and taller than even the Solarion. A strange, layered armor covered its body, whereas a bizarre helmet, scaled and almost conical, protected its faceless head. Its disproportionately long arms presented the same scaly pattern, and terminated in large, clawed hands. In contrast, its legs were short and wobbly.

It was an absolute abomination, and whate made it even more terrifying was the complete lack of resemblance to any creature you'd been fighting up until that point. And then, just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it started speaking.
"Move, vermin."

"We won't budge an inch!" Miroku responded, as hot-tempered as usual. "This is the end of the line for you!"
"Pathetic. Nagare Miroku... you're still blind to the undiluted evil of Getter. People like you could never hope to understand."
"Then we'll just have to settle it with our fists!"

[Social Background] "Wait! Pyrrha Naamaah! It's you, isn't it? Can't we settle this without fighting? What even are you trying to accomplish here?" you pleaded. The enemy would have probably declined the offer, but it was worth making even just to understand the degree to which the former scientist was still in control of herself. What you ended up getting, though, was much more than you bargained for.
"That voice... you must be my daughter, aren't you?"
"Huh? What? No, I...?"
"'I come from a different place,' is what you're thinking. That's exactly right. But you're nevertheless my daughter, and there's no mother who wouldn't recognize her own children. Carlotta... is the name they have given you. I see. Well then, Carlotta, why do you oppose me?"

"I am not your daughter! And I want to go back home, that's why!"
"That's a lie," the creature seraphically replied. "But I don't blame you. Everyone has been lying to you. Noah in particular, he's been such a deadbeat dad. But don't worry. I am here now, and you need not be afraid anymore."
"The only liar here is you! Professor Deucalion already warned me about your tricks!"

"But he was the one who tricked everyone to begin with, and now he's managed to involve you into his web of lies."
"Carlotta, keep your guard up," Matheus suddenly intervened. "She's manipulating you, and..."

The creature vented her frustration by tossing the Simulacrum away, moving her arm at a surprising speed given its size. The chromed robot had no time to prepare or defend itself, meaning that the impact dispatched it far from its original position.

>Chase after him
>You'll pay for that!
>Had you not been rambling, he wouldn't have interrupted you.
>Other [specify]
>A strange, layered armor covered its body, whereas a bizarre helmet, scaled and almost conical, protected its faceless head. Its disproportionately long arms presented the same scaly pattern, and terminated in large, clawed hands. In contrast, its legs were short and wobbly.
Does it similar to the Granzeboma? That's the only thing that comes to mind.

>But you're nevertheless my daughter, and there's no mother who wouldn't recognize her own children. Carlotta... is the name they have given you. I see. Well then, Carlotta, why do you oppose me?"
And suddenly this is Flip Flappers. Neat.

And for the vote:
>>Had you not been rambling, he wouldn't have interrupted you.
To hell with your monologuing!
>Chase after him
>Chase after him
Yeah we've already fulfilled our quota of dead teammates for this battle. Go after him and regroup.
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

Turning the robot around, you chased after the Simulacrum ith reckless abandon. If that angered the Antispiral, then all the better. She would pay for harming your friend. Thankfully your objective wasn't that far away. Despite its considerable accelleration, you managed to close the gap before it was too late. On a closer inspection, it seemed to be mostly intact. Either way, Matheus must've felt the hurt for sure.

"Father, are you ok?" you asked, worried.
"I've had worse," he feebly replied.
"My dauther, heed my words. They are toying with you."
"That's not true!" you cried in anger. "You're not... you've never been my mother!"

"But you feel -- no, you know this to be the truth, don't you? Keter, that senile old man, saw the truth behind what we were doing. We had to dispose of him. And we had to create the perfect vessels for Mirror Energy. And so..."
"SILENCE!" you shouted, angry beyond belief. "I don't care for your nonsense. Turn tail and return whence you came from, monster. The base my friends laid down their lives to protect is behind me, I'd sooner die than let you lay your hands on it."

"Oh, is that so? That bluff won't work on me. It is indeed a shame, but I won't leave before I have taken what rightfully belongs to me. And that includes... YOU!"
Launching her arms forward, Pyrrha attempted to grab the Von Neumann. It was a miracle that your reflexes reacted to the threat in time, else you would have probably been crushed by her claws.

Her assault continued, and being equipped with no proper melee weapon to speak of, you were having having difficulties fending off her attacks. The others joined in the battle, trying to support you, but they were often brutally rebuked by the monster, tossed aside by her long limbs and her tail, which had remained concealed up until that point.

All things considered, this was not even the worst enemy you had to deal with. Judging from its size and the thickness of its natural armor, chances were that it could have been much weaker than the Synapticon in the lake, even. And yet everyone was struggling to subdue it.

Worse of all, your Mirror Energy was nowhere to be found. Where was the Hammer you used last time? Heck, even just that powerful kick that Lal'c taught you, or the photonic beam Shirou showed you. None of them seemed to be 'available' to you right now. It's as if they had been placed on a nightstand, and you were trying to grab them without getting out of bed. That was probably the best way to put it.

Be it as may, the situation was quickly slipping out of control. The enemy was pressing ever forward, single-mindedly aiming for your robot, meaning you had no time to formulate a strategy. Thankfully, your allies came through: the Simulacrum took the last blow meant for you using his AT-Field, then the Black Getter took the two of you away.
"We won't make it at this rate, guys," you explained. "Something is stunting me. I don't know what is it, but I can't wield my power. I have no excuses. The responsibility for this falls squarely on me."
"Keep your head in the game, Dubois. We still got a long way to go," Miroku replied. Perhaps it was her attempt at encouraging you,and truth be told, it wasn't even the worst you had seen.

Pyrrha was advancing towards the three of you at considerable speed. A moment of respite, that's all you had to spare.
"You guys have more experience than me. Does that thing have a weak spot?"
"Maybe it's somewhere below her. I say it's worth a shot."

>I'll go get it
>I'll be bait, you go get it
>Let's try to buy some time, until the SatCom refills me
>Other [specify]
File: download.jpg (8 KB, 214x236)
8 KB
>Does it similar to the Granzeboma? That's the only thing that comes to mind.
Did not mean to ignore this question; it's more similar to a faceless hydralisk (pic related), if it makes sense.
Okay, I can see that in the descriptions now.

Not really sure about this one. How about:
>I'll be bait, you go get it
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

"I agree. We should try it. I'll distract her, she wants me anyway. Now go!"
Matheus and Miroku agreed and immediately rushed towards their goal. Perhaps spurred by the sense of urgency pervading everyone, they miraculously avoid getting shredded to pieces in their journey.

"Hey! It's me you want, isn't it? Then come get me!" you taunted your foe, shooting at it with your beam rifle.
"It is not me you should be fighting, my daughter! Aim that gun at the accursed servants of... what?"

[Social Background] You figured out the enemy right away. The kind of person who loves hearing her voice more than anything else in the world, or in other words, someone with a penchant for monologues. The perfect distraction consisted in little more than giving her the attention she so craved.

An explosion right below her testified that the plan had worked - but the lack of reaction spoke of its uneffectiveness. The enemy stood unflinching, her long arms attempting to grasp the rogues who dared pull what must've been nothing more than an annoying prank for her.

"Foolish creatures!" Pyrrha cried out, gloating. "Do you not understand how everything, down to your simplistic perspective, is limited? This universe can only truly be at peace once I have acquired the power I deserve to wield."
"We'll see about that" Miroku retorted, already prepared for another offensive.

Her trusty tomahawk in hand, she charged towards the enemy, aiming for one of the crevices in her carapace. Once again, her offense was thwarted before it could even begin. The monster easily intercepted her and then tossed her aside with no significant effort on her part. It was like trying to dig through stone with a piece of wood.

"How much longer? How much longer will you insist on fighting me? Your attacks are as reckless as your journey on the cursed path called 'evolution', and they, too are destined to fail."
"A vile entity like yourself simply does not understand evolution!" Nagare protested, still trying to regain control of her machine.
"Quite the opposite. My understanding of it far surpasses that of a feeble mind like yours."

Their confrontation was entirely one-sided. Miroku did not seem capable of gaining the upper hand, not even during the arguments she kept instigating. Holding her weapon using both hands of the Mk III, she charged at Pyrrha again, letting out a terrifying battlecry.

Grabbing your beam bayonet, you decided to join her assault. Even the Simulacrum was now wielding its knife. A three-pronged strike, nothing you hadn't tried before. But there was no alternative, given the current state of the Von Neumman.

It looked like the attack would repeat as it usually does, with your forces easily dispersed. However, capitalizing on the distraction offered by you and Matheus, the Black Getter feinted before it could be smacked away and used its beam to strike in a weak spot of the carapace.

The enemy cried out in pain, and used its hands to cover its chest.
"You impudent whelp! That does it, if you fail to see the extent of your own stupidity, I will have to extirpate you!" she shouted, enraged. With a nimble movement, she captured the Getter and began tearing it apart, limb by limb. Having removed its head, she tossed its carcass behind her back, panting heavily.

Powerless and defeated, you could only watch the scene unfold in dejection. A burning sensation of hatred was starting to spread within your body. Something in your heart of hearts commanded you to hate the former scientist known as Pyrrha more than anything else in this world. Right now, your priority was...

>Take advantage of the enemy weakness!
>Recover Miroku!
>Attack, attack, and then attack some more!
>Other [specify]
>Recover Miroku!
>Recover Miroku!
[Your alignment has shifted towards Synthesis]

With almost supernatural reflexes, you moved to recover what was left of the Black Getter. Unexpectedly, Matheus rushed to your side and helped you fend off the enemy attacks in your joint efforts to recover Miroku. The intercome channel was still open, showing a wounded, bleeding girl. She was hurt, but she was alive.

"Miroku, we're sending you back," you declared, attaching a probe to her cockpit. "We'll take it from here."
She nodded wordlessly. Pain was probably damping her rage, which was still very visible on her face. The last thing she wanted was to retreat. But there was no way she could've impacted the battle either way at that stage.
"Good... luck...," she whispered.

The operation took but a few seconds. There was no time to spare. The Antispiral were creeping ever closer.
Frustrated, you moved one of the probe blasters on the Simulacrum's back.
"Matheus, we'll be giving a new sping to an old technique. We'll do it like Miroku did, and strike the enemy's blind spots. Are you ready?"
The Simulacrum nodded. Perhaps Matheus was struggling to keep up. After all, the fatigue the robot felt was the fatigue he felt, since they were one and the same.

The show had to go on, and that meant using every last drop of whatever you had to spare. It's not like you were blind to his pain, it was rather that you were attempting to be blind to your own, too. Miroku's exploits proved that the enemy's reflexes could be beaten, and that she, too, had weak spots. All that was in your power to do, was to hit those spots as hard and fast as possible.

And thus, a sad, two-people flying circus began, attempting to dodge Pyrrha's limbs while counterattacking with probe blasters and fire from the beam bayonet. The AT Field was extensively used whenever you happened to miss your timing, providing fast and efficient shielding.

For the first time, it felt like progress was being made. Every time the self-proclaimed Antispiral suffered damage, she would emit a strange noise, akin to that of a wounded animal. Never had you been a person for schadenfreude, but this felt oddly satisfying. The creature was weeping and lamenting its fate. It was music to your ears.

You fired, fired, and then fired some more. In that ecstatic state, it was as if the bliss was never ceasing. Laughing madly, you launched assault after assault, for the first time feeling the sinister touch of the Getter. Something, however, was calling you back to reality.
"Carlotta! Carlotta!" Matheus screamed, shaking the Von Neumann. "Carlotta, come back to your senses!"
The scene unfolding in front of you was nothing short of terrifying. Pyrrha was -indeed- cackling endlessly. It was not a cry of pain. It was an hideous, hoarse guffaw. She hadn't been wounded, she had been tickled.
"I am sorry. I realize it is in poor taste to make fun of your opponent. And yet, how was I to show you the absolute folly that is opposing me, the Antispiral?"

Her claws lunged forward again, grabbing the Simulacrum and sinking deep into its chassis. Matheus screamed in unadultered pain. With a resolution caused by deep despair, you shot at your own comrade, freeing it from the monster's grasp and carrying it as far away as possible to safety.
"I am sorry, Matheus," you lamented. "I have been careless."

The intercom monitor was showing the priest's face covered in blood. He looked like he was on the verge of death.
"Father Matheus! Please, answer me!"
"Carlotta... Dubois..." he whimpered. "Will you grant my final wish?"

>No! I can't bear to lose you too!
>Whatever it is, I'll do it for your sake
>So you, too, are abandoning me.
>Other [specify]
>No! I can't bear to lose you too!
>No! I can't bear to lose you too!
[Your alignment has shifted towards Revenge]

"NO! I just... we just need to carry you to the Ark. That's all, I'll just attach a probe to the Simulacrum and... please... please don't leave me, I can't stand to lose you too..."
But your flow of thoughts was blocked by the chromed machine holding the Von Neumann's wrist. Matheus was shaking his head.

"I am tired, Carlotta. Too tired. I have been living all these years wondering why the Mother of Machines had saved me. I think I will never know, but I'd like to think it was so that I could meet you and the others. Thanks for being my friend. I'll go thank the others personally, so won't you help me with that?"

Fighting back the tears, you considered the priest's plea. 'Not many people have the privilege of choosing how they'll die', his eyes were telling you.
"All right. I will do it," you finally agreed.
"Very well. Here goes nothing."

Opening the hatch on the Simulacrum's chest, Matheus flew out of it and rested on the Von Neumann's hand.
"What are you doing, Father? Please return inside at once!" you pleaded. Perhaps there was still a chance to give its corpse a proper burial.
"It's fine. The thing you're holding right now is just a terminal, and it contains a gift straight from the Mother of Machines. It's our trump card. We have no time, she's getting closer by the second."

"Alright. Instruct me."
Matheus' body was twisting and turning, bending far out of shape. His voice, however, rang clear and ture through the intercom.
"Do not be afraid. I am right here, I am still fine. Once the transformation is over, you'll be holding a lance in your hands."
"A lance?"
"Well, sort of - it will be long, red, slim, and two-pronged. It's still a lance, however. I want you to toss it at Pyrrha with all of your might."

There was no need to ask him about the consequences. This was probably farewell.
"Thank you," was all you managed to utter.
The hideous transformation was continuing unhindered. The coalescent mass your robot was holding was becoming more definite by the second. Indeed, it was turning exactly into what the priest had described. Soon, both arms became necessary to support it.

A final, psychic scream notified you that it was time to strike. With a mournful shout, you threw the red lance as instructed. It descibed a bizarrely regular arc, accellerating on its own as if it were self-propelled - nay, as if it had a will. It was a sight to behold, in a sense. Probably the second greatest display of grace and elegance you'd ever seen on the battlefield.

If the tossing of the lance had been an artistic performance, then its piercing of the beast must've been the climax, its'gran finale'. She howled, in genuine pain this time, as you felt Mirror Energy was returning to you. It was time to go back to the basics: acquiring speed, you prepared to drive the lance even deeper inside Pyrrha's carapace.
As you predicted, the lance had now completely sunk in her natural armor, as she writhed in pain flapping her arms around.
"WHY? WHY HAS THIS COME TO PASS? I am your own mother! Do you not understand that this - all of this was caused by the invaders? Those madmen chased after the power of evolution, and threatened to destroy the world! And when Keter, too, joined their ranks, I had to dispose of him, I had to save my research! Without me - without US! There's only destruction! Forsake the accursed teachings you have received!"

Her suffering was making her movements more erratic. To dodge them, you imitated the movements of the Carmilla, dancing on the fabric of space itself. "Naamah Pyrrha... I have never met my real mother or father. But I cherish the people who adopted me into their family more than anything else. As for my teachers, though... they've never been any less than the cream of the crop!"

Placing one of the Von Neumann's hand on the opposite elbow, you cried out "ROCKET FIST!"
Something you'd never seen before happened: the forearm flew as a missile, pierced the enemy chest and then returned to you.

From the hole in the Antispiral's chest, a sudden beam of purple light flew towards you.

>Shields up!
>Fire back!
>Other [specify]
>Fire back!
[Your alignment has shifted towards Revenge]

If that's how it's gonna be, then you won't falter - you won't budge an inch!
Collecting energy from the SatCom as well as from your inner reserves of Mirror Energy, you aim the beam bayonet at the Antispiral and fire. The beams of energy collide, exploding upon entering into contact with one another.

The light engulfs everything you can see, to the point of hurting. Instinctively, you cover your sight with the palm of your hand. Around the same time, someone starts poking your shoulder. It's an annoying sensation, so you chase their hand away.
"Come on Carlotta, you can't afford to lie on that bench forever!"

You recognize that voice: it belongs to Veronica, one of your friends from school. Lazily, you get up and look around.
"What... happened?"
"You were hit by a ball while we were doing PE. You've been resting for a while now, saying your head hurt. Are you ok? Do we need to bring you to the infirmary?"

Things weren't really adding up. Last thing you remembered was a terrible fight that claimed the lives of your friends. Ah, yeah, but didn't that man called Deucalion promise you'd return home in case of victory? Then, no problem. Things were just back to the way they used to be.

Taking a few moments to assess the situation, you decided that yes, going to the infirmary would probably be the best course of action. In the first place, it was debatable whether or not the fevered visions you had of a fight in space were reality or an hallucination caused by the impact.

Everyone was as kind as you remembered, escorting you to the nurse's office and telling you to take the time you needed to recover. Yes, it felt good being back home. It felt good being outside of a geopolitical struggle you understood nothing about. It felt good not having to risk your life piloting a machine beyond human understanding.

In fact, so good that you were seriously tempted just to take a nap. A foreign sensation of fatigue had taken over your body, but you remembered reading somewhere that it's not wise to sleep right after enduring skull trauma. What was next period? Maths, or perhaps French? Nothing you could handle in your current condition, either way. Maybe the teacher would've turned a blind eye if she knew you were injured. Alright, it was decided: you would have rested without sleeping for a while, and then returned home as soon as you felt better.

No one was around. Good. Stretching your arm, you reached for the pocket that held your mobile phone. Things that you wanted to check included the time and date, but also news on social media and on instant messaging services. And besides, surfing the net beat lying in bed motionless and sleepless by a significant margin.
Pictures and videos of animals doing silly things greeted you almost instantly on the world wide web, and the pleasant sensation of being finally back home was starting to envelop you like a warm, fuzzy blanket.

The idyll was broken by the harsh noise of the nurse screaming out your name.

Oh, great. Who was it now? Must've been one of the teachers, making sure you weren't dodging class. Those hardasses, couldn't they just let you be for one day?

>Let's be responsible, who is it?
>I am sick, I don't want to see anyone
>Put the phone away, prepare to put on an act
>Other [specify]
>Put the phone away, prepare to put on an act
>Put the phone away, prepare to put on an act
[Your alignment has shifted towards Revenge]

Sighing, you consented to the visit, making sure the phone was nowhere to be seen. It was time to play sick, and in all honesty, it wasn't even the first time you did that.
A loud set of footsteps echoed through the room. Many people had entered, and one was walking towards you.
"The audacity on this bitch! She's enjoying her little holiday trip, isn't she?" a familiar voice asked. A few seconds later, the curtains surrounding the bed you're lying on spread open.

Standing there with her arms crossed was Joan, as foul-spirited as usual. But she wasn't alone. Mark, Matheus and Lukasz: the rest of the gang was with her, just a little bit further down the room. The sight of them jolted your senses alive. Slowly, the warm sensation you were feeling started turning oppressive and uncomfortable. Mark's words, on the other hand, hit you like a cold, refreshing shower.

"Did you enjoy the break? It's time to finish your job."
"Ah - I suppose I got sucked in a sappy dream. How shameful," you reprimanded yourself.
"Hey, hey, that's water under the bridge. Focus on what you can fix, not on what you regret," an unusually jovial Lukasz replied.

"The Antispiral has lured you into a dimensional labyrinth. Seems like your guard down, be careful when handling Mirror Energy," Matheus added. "That... 'thing' can use it quite well"
The scene was incredibly surreal. You had made peace with the idea that your friends were gone - so how were they standing right in front of you?

"It's better not to ask yourself useless questions," Mark commented, as if he had seen right through your mind. He placed a hand around your shoulders as he continued talking. "Let's just say that two old friends showed us the way to you. More importantly! What is this nonsense about dying in battle? Did you forget we agreed you'd return home?"

His tone betrayed restrained anger, but it was like that of a father worried for his child. No, it was that of a friend looking out for his comrade. It was undeniable that dying had been on your mind, what with all the people you had to leave behind. And perhaps being exposed to the reality of war had taken its toll on you.

"Listen, this school... is an amazing place. There's nothing like this in the planet I come from. It's normal you'd want to come back here. So don't feel too guilty about this. Just go and kick that wench's ass. Ah, but dying is absolutely forbidden. We'll seriously get mad." Everyone nodded in unison, going along with his motivational speech. "Got it?"
"Yeah. I will do my best," you timidly replied.
"Are you guys done getting buddy-buddy with each other?" Joan asked, faking irritation.
"Oh come on, there's no need to be that jealous! We're just friends."

"Thinking of it, wasn't this the same thing he told us about Joan, Lukasz?" the priest asked with an impish smile.
"Is that the comment a man of the robe should make?" he propmtly rebuked his friend, laughing out loud.
It was all so beautiful. It was all so tragic. They could've had fun like normal friends do. They could've joked, they could have laughed, they could have fought and made up. And now all of it was gone. What for? The ambition of a woman who wanted to be god? That was the moment you swore an oath to yourself - to eradicate the creature who denied your friends' happiness, no matter the cost.

[Social Background] It was time to part ways. They could not say this explicitly, but you could read it in their eyes. And you could read that they, too, did not want to go. But there was no other choice. Before that, however, there was something you wanted to ask.

>Will we ever meet again?
>Was this really all my fault?
>Can I really beat that?
>Other [Specify]
>Will we ever meet again?
>Will we ever meet again?
[Your alingment has shifted towards 'Heritage']

"You guys... we'll meet again, won't we?"
No answer came. Everyone was looking at you with a smile of compassion, and you knew all too well what that meant. Suddenly, Joan stepped ahead and places her index finger on your breast.
"Of course we will meet again. We'll meet anytime you want, as long as you keep us in here."

It was an emotional answer, surely not something you were expecting of her. It was so out of characters that the others couldn't help laughing out loud. Mark placed his hand on your shoulder, Matheus held your hand, and Lukasz placed his over your head. It was their final farewell.

A strange sensation started spreading through your pocket. It was as if the Von Neumann was being built around your body, incorporating your former comrades within it. And then, once it was completed, it flew in the sky with an accelleration you had never witnessed before. Such was the strength of the G-forces that you passed away.

Return to reality was as sudden as it was painful. And then, like a cherry on top, came terror. When you came to, the monster was no more. Her twisted, blasphemous shape had been left behind like an useless, empty husk. In its place stood a dark flame in the guise of a humanoid. It looked like a knight whose flesh had merged with its armor, which flickered and danced like fire.

"Oh? Rather surprising, and somewhat disappointing. I was hoping to let you end your life peacefully, lulled by the sweet memories of your school life. But it seems like you prefer suffering, instead."

The Antispiral still towered above you. If possible, it had just gotten larger since your last confrontation. Its detached tone of voice seemed to indicate that whatever was left of the woman named Naamah Pyrrha had been utterly consumed. In all likelihood, she would have no longer called you 'daughter', and that was a net positive. There was no more need to talk with her, either way,

Just as you suspected, the new Antispiral was all walk and no talk. Its reached for your mecha trying to grab it, only to be repelled by a disciplined barrage of fire unloaded by your bayonet. Immediately, new limbs started growing in place of those she had lost. Right away, it was clear that the opponent was quite the hard one to deal with.

A different approach was in order. Accumulating Mirror Energy and leaks from the SatCom, you shrouded the Von Neumann in a film of pure energy and prepared for the enemy's attack. As its hands reached for you once again, you reacted by mounting a deadly cross-counter. Obviously, there was no way your mecha's limbs could stretch that far. Instead, the motions of the punch caused the stored up energy to be unleashed. "KAISERIN NOVA!"
Unfortunately, at this point there was no way to dodge the incoming fist, shrouded in black light and ever-shifting. The impact caused a whiplash in the cockpit, hurting you, but seeing the enemy suffer just as much was thoroughly vindicating. For the first time, Antispiral tasted pain: the light of the Nova had severed its arm at the shoulder. What's more, it gave no sign of regenerating.

Granted, that attack had taken all you had to give, and then some. But so far, it was the only winning strategy. There was no other option but to wait and to strike again. Sadly, it seemed that the enemy wouldn't have let you do as you pleased. Splitting its only remaining upper limb, it created a flurry of appendages. Soon, you were unable to dodge them and became trapped in its makeshift cage.

"Ah, I certainly have to thank that witless buddy of yours. Had he not thrown the lance, I would have never surpassed my pitiful, sluggish, corporeal form." The cage became tighter. The Von Neumann was no longer responding, trapped as it was between the bars. "And yet, how could we blame him? He was merely a soulless machine."

That was going to far. No one could be allowed to be left alive after slandering his sacrifice in that crude way. If only you still had...!


"Ah, but of course...!" you whispered. It all came back to you. A weapon? You had no need for such a trivial thing. "I am sorry, guys. It seems like I'll have to break my promise to you."

One last push.
The belt of the Von Neumann projected a beam that tore through one of its arms, bent in an innatural shape. Now you had more freedom to move. Aiming it just below the cockpit, you gave one more command.
A short yet terribly sharp sword protruted. It was useless in combat, but it could have been used to tear the lower chest armor plating away from the mecha you were piloting. Its pulsating core was exactly where you remembered it.

"Hey, Pyrrha or Antispiral or whatever your dumb ass name is! Guess what? Matheus was the one who knew about souls and shit. I know nothing. But I can assure you something."
The cage was growing tighter again. Time was running out. You grabbed the core and pulled it out, letting it stand just barely out of that improvised prison. "THIS VON NEUMANN MAY BE A SOULLESS MACHINE, TOO -- BUT IT CERTAINLY HAS A HEART!"
Matheus's creed was that interacting with others could be painful, but it needed not be. All people needed was a bit of courage to deal with the hurt.

Lukasz lived and died to protect his love. He might have never been acknowledged for that, but it did not matter. For him, loving was enough.

Joan fought for what she believed in. She knew very well her ideals could have turned out to be wrong, but she put her faith in them nevertheless.

As for Mark, he met his fate on the battlefield, carrying out his responsibilities. His extraordinary devotion was what allowed you to live on.

All of these feelings certainly came from their hearts. All of these feelings, together, are what a knight's pride is made of.
As for you...

Robotic fingers tightened their grasp over the core, on the verge of breaking.
"Stop it! What are you doing?" your mortal adversary pleaded at last. But it was too late. With a smirk, you signed its death sentence.
End of Part 5 - EPILOGUE.

A pure green Getter sun dawned on Pseudo-Nergal 5, a beautiful morningtide that could be beheld from all satellites orbiting the planet. The phenomenon did not last long, but it certainly fascinated all astronomers and scientists who happened to observe the phenomenon by chance, by mistake or by luck.

Several hundred thousand lightyears away, someone else was observing that same scene unfolding on a screen in the halls of the Parliament. The death of the Anti-Spiral was being broadcasted for all the MP's to see. Cheers and shout of jubilations erupted through the room when the analysis incoming from PN5-2 confirmed that the enemy had been in fact annihilated.

And then everyone held their breath, gazing at the silhoutte standing against the dying light: the Von Neumann, its arms folded above its chest, its cockpit partially exposed. Due to an inexplicable phenomenon, the thick black coat that covered it had vanished. Instead, the robot glistened now in the purest of whites.

"SILENCE! SILENCE!" a man clad in a white robe shouted, trying to restore order. "What are you celebrating for? We're only half-way there. The *real* Anti-Spiral is riding that robot! We still have a duty to put it down!"
"With all due respect, Prime Minister Adai, we are done taking orders from you," a congressman protested. "You did nothing to help that base face the catastrophe you've carried over from your world. Why should we keep following and obeying you?"

"How dare you! Everyone here knows full well that preparations to send a relief force were well underway! If only..."
" 'Ifs' do not make history," another man protested. "It was the robot you convinced us was our enemy that saved them. Not you."
Fumbling through his pockets, he produced a letter and he waved it for all to see. "This is a motion of no confidence signed by a qualified majority of the members of the parliament. Rossiu Adai, you're hereby relieved of your duties as Head of the Cabinet and First Counselor of the Empire. A military tribunal will decide of your fate."

"You ungrateful....!"
The man in white clenched his fists in impotent rage. Was that the end? In that very moment, the doors of the Parliament slammed open. A commando of men wearing all-black, with a flaming skull emblazoned on their shirts, stormed inside aiming its guns at the politicians. Following shortly behind them was a man wearing an elaborate uniform, his long, dirty blonde hair fluttering at every step he took.

"Supreme Commander Viral..." Rossiu commented with a smile. "Just in the nick of time."
"Yeah, you're kind of in a pinch," the other replied. "Let's get the hell out. We'll deal with the traitors ourselves. AS FOR YOU FLABBY, COWARDLY LARD-ASSES! ONE MOVE AND YOU'RE DEAD!"
That was more than a simple threat. The politicians muttered and protested, but they were nevertheless standing up with their hands raised. A few warning shots were fired to create a ruckus, and using the cover created by the bullet fire, the former Prime Minister escaped together with the assault team.

"This is sure nostalgic," he remarked, dashing through the corridors.
"Can't agree more! But the real battle begins now. We still need a Chief of Operations aboard the Kamin Terminus. What says you?"
The man called Rossiu flashed a smile to his rescuer. "Just who the hell do you think I am?"


Thank you all for joining me! Next session will be the quest's finale. It will be up as soon as I have some time to master it. Don't miss it!
Good to know that Rossiu is still a cunt.

thanks for running.
It makes me mad that I couldn't bump the thread one last time, I hope people still see the ending + epilogue.
That was a fun ride, and it kinda feels like we're out of the prologue now. Can't wait for the next go.

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