>Discord: https://discord.gg/D2QGKxBd87SOMEWHERE NEAR THE AUGUSTOVIAN BORDERYou pull the stick left, fighting back a yawn as you roll between the gaps of the cloud bank. Despite having been afforded a generous twelve hours of sleep prior to take-off … you still felt as though you were lacking in rest. Sliding your visor upwards as you leave the recovery to an oddly-understanding Elaine, you run your gloved hand over your eyes in an attempt to stave the temptation of slumber off, mumbling about the mystery behind your fatigue. Sighing and re-taking controls, you steady the F-15 and roll it into a level state, accelerating slightly so as to not stall right into a mountain face, banking towards the west, adjusting your craft’s vector; you didn’t want to suddenly have to explain to a Peacekeeper Patrol as to why you’d violated Augustovian airspace.AWACS “Andromeda”<< You know, it always amazes me how you jockeys can always afford to be so casual before an engagement. >>The radio officer’s voice is rough yet feminine, teasing but not malicious.AWACS “Andromeda”<< But I guess that if you’ve been flying for a while, it just blurs into a bank of assignments and stamps, huh? >>You’d almost forgotten that you’d been assigned an AWACS.Then again … it probably wasn’t so much that you’d been assigned one so much as they’d been assigned to you. Still … the woman on the other end of the line sounded friendly enough; casual, even.>Might as well try to be friendly, engage Andromeda in casual conversation>Keep silent>Request for any updates regarding standing objectives>Write-In
>>4612257>Might as well try to be friendly, engage Andromeda in casual conversation
>>4612257>Might as well try to be friendly, engage Andromeda in casual conversation.
<< AWACS “Andromeda” >><< I’m not being too casual, am I … sir? >>Despite her steady tone, there is an odd, skittish pace to her speech.>Casually inform her that she probably out-ranks you on paper>Joke that she sounds so scattered that she’d probably show up on RADAR>Bluntly inform her that she isn’t>Cut to the chase and tell her you find it odd that there would be an AWACS assigned to a singular aircraft>Write-In
>>4612276>Casually inform her that she probably out-ranks you on paper
AWACS “Andromeda”<< I’ll be expecting a salute from you when we finally land, then. >>>Keep silent>Nonchalantly tell her that that would merely be protocol>Point out that her accent strikes you as not quite pure Orleasian>Ask her why you weren’t able to encounter her or the AWACS crew back at the base>Tease her that she sounds a tad more animated than the usual AWACS>Write-In
>>4612300>Nonchalantly tell her that that would merely be protocol
>>4612300>>Ask her why you weren’t able to encounter her or the AWACS crew back at the base
>>4612300>Ask her why you weren’t able to encounter her or the AWACS crew back at the base
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, Elaine<< It is quite unprofessional that prior introductions weren’t made. >>That’s why you’d asked in the first place. While it had been unexpected to have an AWACS be assigned to you at all (what with this mission being a low-key ground engagement assigned to a singular fighter), the fact that there were no prior introductions and a mere note from the base commander (some grumpy administrative type who name ultimately eluded proper commitment to memory) just before take-off and nothing so much as a greeting or a chat over rations had positively irked you. As reckless as the flight data jotted down read of your tendencies as a flyer, you rather liked all available information pertaining to operations be finalized prior to launch rather than having to suddenly make do with a head hovering over your shoulder.Still … it was what it was, and you could hardly fault the AWACS unit itself for the unexpected attachment.AWACS “Andromeda<< It’s not as though we planned to do a night run, either. All I know was that there was some kind of mix-up from the top down and we were the only ones operating with something more than a skeleton crew. Maybe it would’ve benefited the both of us if we’d just turned in a fuel and maintenance report in error. Could’ve saved you the frustrations, too. >>>Reiterate that you don’t particularly mind idle conversation at times like this.>Apologize; say that you didn’t mean it like that.>Join in on her frustrations against the bureaucratic arm of the military.>Ask her where her accent is from, as it doesn’t sound purely Orleasian.>Request radio silence; keep communication to updates only.>Write-In
>>4612347>Join in on her frustrations against the bureaucratic arm of the military.They take terrible care of their slaves
>>4612347>Join in on her frustrations against the bureaucratic arm of the military.
AWACS “Andromeda”<< Hey now, that’s the chair you’re speaking about. >>Her amusement is one of non-verbal agreement, however. It’s almost hilarious for you, too; to know that the human disposition for the intricacies and complications that make up the monstrous bulk of bureaucracy and administration ran so deeply that the shared hatred made so common a bridge. While there were indeed, protocols to follow, you felt as though the bulk of it was put in so as to make complications the responsibility of peons rather than those that initiated those complications in the first place. It’s not that much of a stretch for you to imagine that the debacle had been the result of some desk jockey that forgot to sign off on a schedule and lacked the cranial capacity to properly deal with the circumstance of their fuck-up.Then again, without those fuck-ups there would be little opportunity for the normal human beings to bond over them.AWACS “Andromeda”<< It’s both terrifying and a relief to know that there’s no organization on the planet that’s immune to human error. >>You concur.Elaine’s avatar gives a small, agreeable nod. Unsurprising, given the fact that she’d probably been privy to quite a few rants between the suits and the coats from her perch in the primary server and processing facilities.AWACS “Andromeda”<< You should be used to having to operate outside of the set parameters, though: “improvise, adapt, overcome” and all that … >>You shrug, tilting your head to the right. There was no need to deny that, either. Once you got used to having to rotate yourself around unexpected developments, all that came out of it by the twentieth iteration was a grumble, nod and the occasional hot words.But grumble you did.You level Elaine’s attitude, accelerating a little more but otherwise keeping the F-15’s vector as direct as you can manage. Below you, the white alpine slopes that mark the effective no man’s land between the Orleasian Kingdom and the beginnings of Augustovian land, just over the horizon and beyond the valley. You don’t need more than a moment to realize why the malcontents had elected to use this region as a possible supply line. The valley itself was highly defensible … and any large airstrike would be hamstrung with the mountain ranges surrounding it.AWACS “Andromeda”<< Hey, I hope that you don’t mind if I’m chatting your ears off, but a lot of the folk here are operating on some … intel and, uh … just wondering: you are flying one of Amaterasu’s artificial intelligence modules, right? >>>Lie to them>Request radio silence; keep communication to updates only>Ask Elaine to say hello>Question what’s it to her>Be dismissive of the inquiry>Answer in the positive>Write-In
>>4612469>>Write-Inintroduce elaine and tell how much she means to you
>>4612469>Lie to them.Were we ever told if this was a secret project, or at least obfuscated at all?This seems like a lead in to the AWACS letting someone know we're coming, or collating all of the data they can get on the flight to sell it off to interested parties later.
>>4612469>Write-In>Espouse the virtues of the best wifeAlso, flying inside the valley, nice!
>>4612477Supporting>>4612483But this is very is very much the same I suppose?
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< You don’t have to be so descriptive, you know … >>Elaine’s form is bashful; her eyes stare up with an almost-human quality, the flicker of the projection’s frame-rate only further emphasizing the utter realism of the emotion that she simulates. Despite having no need or sense for touch, Elaine rubs her shoulders, partly-hugging herself as she leans over slightly, the physics of her virtual world allowing her thick hair to list towards one side, clearly affected by your brief spiel extolling your regard and trust in her. Had you gone overboard? Perhaps … but considering that you’d effectively shared air-time simulated and practical with her with such consistency over the last few years when some pilots switched squadrons at the start of a new rotational calendar or so, you feel that your regard was not totally that of personal preference. She is your partner, your comrade … and if men could trust their lives to those that shared their fox-holes and rations, you see no reason to put an exception in her case.AWACS “Andromeda”<< You make it sound like it’s your wing-man more than a flight aid. >>The snort of amusement is crisp, dry.You prompt Elaine to take her stand. She obliges.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< A pleasure to make your acquaintance, AWACS Andromeda. >>AWACS “Andromeda”<< Is that … the AI? >>Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< I am. >>AWACS Andromeda doesn’t reply. An odd silence dominates the channels for a good while; long enough that Elaine spins around to give you a look of confusion, accompanied by a bewildered shrug. You yourself crease your brows, sharing in her confusion. Had that been all there was—AWACS “Andromeda”<< Do you understand what I am saying? >>You roll your eyes as you hear the robotic recital of the inquiry, pinching your brows as you keep the F-15’s attitude even, Elaine’s form covering her mouth in amusement as she tries her best to maintain order.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< You don’t have to talk like that, you know? I don’t have exabytes of slang analysis and prompts for nothing. >>Another silence overtakes the comms, although … you do hear the rustle of some sort of struggle from the other end, accompanied by what sounds like a mix of static and restrained whispers.AWACS “Andromeda”<< I apologize. I do … I didn’t think that … wow, you can actually … respond to human input? >>Elaine hangs her head as she shoots you with a desperate look, her eyes wide as she clearly implores you to save her …>Allow Elaine to suffer>Save Elaine from further questioning>Write-In
>>4612763>>Save Elaine from further questioning
>>4612763>>Allow Elaine to suffer
>>4612763>Save Elaine from further questioning
>>4612763>>Allow Elaine to sufferI kinda wanna see this
>>4612763>Allow Elaine to suffermust bulli the AI by proxy
>>4612763>Allow Elaine to sufferOnly the best relationships are built upon BULLI
Show of hands: who's alive?
>>4613492Still alive buddy
At the very most, ten minutes had passed.For Elaine, however, it probably might have—and likely did, given her status as an AI—felt like ten hours. You ease yourself past the slopes, keeping your thruster output at as manageable a pace as you can, keeping an eye out for the enemy as you amuse yourself with the sight of Elaine fielding questions from a most curious audience.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< My capabilities in such vocations would be extremely limited; my programming doesn’t include the capacity to adapt incompatible functions. The most I’m able to do is access a word processor and type things up, but you could argue that that’s merely an extension of my understanding of my own limits. Not that there haven’t been attempts, of course … but unless I’m properly given access and the adequate drivers to execute and run programs in relation to specific tasks, no. In a nut-shell, there is no singular possibility of me accessing a volatile Cordium processing plant and triggering the end of the world. >>She sounds like a bored teacher reading off the sheet of a logic response matrix; it’s the most mechanical that you’ve seen her since your first meeting. Elaine’s arms are crossed as she puts up the show of an engaging intelligence, her eyes silently begging for you to put an end to this misery; a mercy you do not grant.AWACS “Andromeda”<< All right, all right, uh … last question, for real: are you really good at chess? >>Elaine looks like she’s about to cry.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< No. >>AWACS “Andromeda”<< Really? I thought all computers loved playing chess. >>The Flight Intelligence Module makes a small, restrained squeak as she bows her head, rubbing her temples … despite having no bio-chemical prompts to have a migraine or headache in the first place.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< No, we don’t. If you’re inquiring specifically as to my preferences, I would rather go for a round of poker than set up a chess board. >>AWACS “Andromeda”<< You mean … you can not like chess? >>Elaine buries her face in her hands, the display flickering slightly as if to highlight her irritation.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< Yes. As I said: they’re called preferences. We all have them. Even me. >>AWACS “Andromeda”<< I see. That’s … >>The lock-on alert goes off.Elaine had never worn such relief in her life.No bogeys on your RADAR, no heat signature … which only meant that some SAMS had an alert vector on you, but not proper line of sight for a launch.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< Time to earn our pay, partner! >>
Is the partner said with anger or enthusiasm
Roll for Initiative (DC: 3)>Use PSYCO (+5)? (1d20)>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
>>4613537It's said in the same way Yami Yugi/Pharaoh Atem says it to Yugi. With an emphasis on AIBO!
Rolled 7 (1d20)>>4613538>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)Lets see how on the ball we are. Can't fail but might look more awesome with a better roll.
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>4613538>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
>>4613538>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)Just caught up with this quest. It's good stuff.
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>4613538I swear there were dice when I posted.
AWACS “Andromeda”<< I have readings! Putting ‘em up! >>The engines let out a high-pitched whine as the midnight sky shakes with thunder. Glancing up top and finding nothing, you dive closer past the alpine peaks of the valley, motioning the ailerons and pushing the F-15 over, your view shifting between the organic clump of trees and muddy grass, the dark white of the mountain slopes and the shimmering clouds pierced by moonlight. Accelerating further, you make an inverted run at a stall-teasing altitude, less than hundreds of feet from the bedrock and the trees below. The alert shrieks louder and louder as you jet past the crags of the mountains and the cliff-side of the valley’s saddle trails, the indention of man-made sites apparent even from here.Hazard Malcontent<< Enemy craft sighted … get off your lazy asses, you twigs! Man those guns! >>Hazard Malcontent<< Wh-Wuh? >>Hazard Malcontent<< The L-SAMs and AA Guns should have been set-up hours ago! Where the fuck is everyone? >>Hazard Malcontent<< Private, you better not have been doing what I think you’ve been doing! >>Hazard Malcontent<< Sound the … what do you mean we’re out of batteries? >>Elaine snorts, placing her hands on her hips.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine<< Seventeen targets identified: eight AA Guns, three SAMs, six L-SAMs and a whole lot of movement. Looks like we really did have the drop on them. >>CURRENT TARGET LIST:>8 AA (Ground)*>3 SAM (Ground)*>6 L-SAM (Ground)*>Roll for Hunting (+3) (DC: 4)>Roll for Engagement (+3) (DC: 4)*>Ground Targets: As most ground targets are stationary/slow relative to your plane, both Hunting and Engagement will result in immediate elimination of those targets. Pick your targets from the list and roll. Some planes have multi-lock capabilities and can eliminate more than one at a time at a pass.
This is your current character card:>>4585252 for reference if you don't know what/how you can do things.
>>4613559Thank you. Hope you enjoy yourself here.
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>4613566>Target 2 SAMs>Roll for Engagement (+3) (DC: 4)Time for Elaine to show off with her mutlilock.
go after the L-SAMs and SAMs first?
>>4613574AA guns and L-SAMs seem to be down currently implying that the SAM are currently the only threat.
Rolled 2 (1d20)Roll for EAGLE EYE
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>4613576
>>4613573>>4613574Just come to a decision soon. And it's THREE targets. 1+2.
>>4613578I say take out all 3 SAMs then.
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< Fox Three! Fox Three! >You light up three spots in one run: the cliff face of the valley, the edge of the stream and the top of a trail. Three great fireballs erupt where guns stood, their crews perishing in your pass.AWACS “Andromeda”<< Bingo! >>Climbing up and rolling the craft back into a successive run, you find your greed and enthusiasm punished with a hard lock, prompting you to pull right out of range. You let out a harrumph as you peer at the top of the canopy and find the AA arrays in position, blasting away as you tease the tip of the F-15’s nose and decelerate, feeling the sheer force of Gs assaulting your shoulder and bladder with every second you keep the controls in position … before making a break for the mountain face, the alert shrieking in your ear. The air-frames hold, as do the wings, but going in at this angle, this close, was pushing your luck. There wasn’t much to do here to avoid missiles outside of testing their range and velocity. Any stall this close risked hitting the mountains before a recovery could get in … and the lack of flat ground marked less advantages for you to work by.Valleys always cramped your style: in a literal sense more than figuratively.Hazard Malcontent<< I see ‘em, sir! >>Hazard Malcontent<< Not paying you to do plane-spotting, Private! I want that jet scrapped yesterday! >>The alert rings.>EVASION REVERSAL (Roll against GM, GM Roll-8, 1d20)>EVASION (DC: 4)
Rolled 7 (1d20)>>4613617>EVASION REVERSAL (Roll against GM, GM Roll-8, 1d20)This is heavily in our favor. A -8 penalty versus a +6 bonus. We need a 7 or better to beat even a 20 from Mechanic.
Rolled 19 (1d20)>>4613617>EVASION REVERSAL (Roll against GM, GM Roll-8, 1d20)REMEMBER EVERYONE, once you meet the average or the average is good, don't roll.
See now with the roll just made no one else should roll holy shit
Sorry for posting again, but serious don't roll it's mathematically impossible for mechanic to beat this
>>4613625>This is heavily in our favor. A -8 penalty versus a +6 bonus. We need a 7 or better to beat even a 20 from Mechanic.>rolls a 7lol
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>4613625>>4613632Let's see if fortune favors Mech.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the +6 isn't for the evasion reversal right?
>>4613643>CHOOSE TARGETSCURRENT TARGET LIST:>8 AA (Ground)>6 L-SAM (Ground)
>>4613650>6 L-SAM (Ground)
>>4613655Your multi-lock only allows you to pick up to three, mate.
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>46136503, right? Half of the L-SAMs with engagement.did I do this right
>>4613660I'll support that.
The river, shallow as it is, practically parts as you give the thrusters all they’re worth, the darkness of the night, the light of the moon and the rivers melding into a dizzying amalgamation of shadows with every tick of your instruments. The alerts ring in your ears, but at half a landing off the ground as you are, the L-SAMs lock-on capabilities can’t register you outside of the initial lock. Teasing the air-frame’s limits this far down, you find the stall warnings already telling you what you already know should you even hit the brakes in a dead-to-top-speed trick.Hazard Malcontent<< I can’t see him. Are the sensors malfunctioning? >>Your teeth rattle as the display turns red.Hazard Malcontent<< Thunder? Is that a storm approaching? >>You pull back, as hard as you can.Hazard Malcontent<< What the … >>Hazard Malcontent<< He just .. popped up from the ground! >>Hazard Malcontent<< I don’t want commentary, Corporal! I want that plane an incident report! >>The F-15 rotates … nose first.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence “Elaine”<< Tone acquired! Fox Three! >>You unleash a cluster of three, the missiles diving for the L-SAMs as raptors would their quarry. Plumes of red and yellow light the night further as you roll into a more stable attitude … decelerating slightly to catch your breath, before hitting the thrusters to escape the criss-cross of shells clamoring for a taste at vengeance. Sounds of panic and disarray dictate the comms as you climb up and over the valley before banking in for another pass.Hazard Malcontent<< Put out those fires, damn it! Do I have to do everything myself? >>Hazard Malcontent<< We can’t get a bead on the enemy fighter, sir! It’s just too fast! >>Hazard Malcontent<< I wouldn’t have guessed. Move aside … all remaining troops: get to the transports. We’ll keep this bastard off you for as long as we can. >>Hazard Malcontent<< Sir, the choppers; the trucks … even if we managed to load them up … >>Hazard Malcontent<< I don’t want excuses, Corporal. Now get out of here. That’s an order. >>Hazard Malcontent<< With all due respect, Captain Ismail … this gun needs at least two people to keep firing. >>Hazard Malcontent<< Heh … is that right? >>The valley comes into view again.AWACS “Andromeda”<< I’m registering multiple birds hot. Looks like they’re taking to the skies, Garm Four. >>>Target the transport cluster>Concentrate on the active hostiles>Write-In
>>4613828>Concentrate on the active hostilesIt will take time for them to load the transports.
>>4613828>>Target the transport clusterNeed to wipe out the trash so they don't regroup
>>4613828>>Concentrate on the active hostiles
>>4613828>Concentrate on the active hostiles
>>4613834I'm pretty certain that is classified as a war crime.
>>4613893yes and? We Merc route baby :3
>>4613828>Target the transport clusterIf I interpret correctly our primary mission is to fuck up the ground forces, and if we focus on the bogeys they could well scatter and escape. We'll have some time before they get here to blow things up.
>>4613828>>Target the transport cluster
>>4613896No, we are not. We are not an independent merc. We are currently flying a nations property and that nation is currently only letting us out of confinement due to our usefulness.War Crimes are a very good way to end up back in Jail.Mechanic was also laughing evilly in Discord when posting this. This is a trap that can easily lead to a game over and Mechanic does a fair amount of those in his games.
>>4614014When you talk about warcrimes do you mean specifically what that poster wanted to do or targeting the transports in general? Our mission is to intercept the ground forces, and as far as I understand it they are enemy combatants and thus legitimate targets unless there's something I'm missing?
Mech here. Running in an hour. I did leave two options, but I'm not surprised that no one here looked at both options and went "Maybe this is a good time for a write-in".
Is this game using the simplified planes & mercs system from the Ace Combat games from, last year?
>>4614497In a way, but the consequences of your approach are not so much people's impressions of you. They'll be apparent in another way.
Hazard Malcontent<< Enemy plane spotted, sir! He’s going for another shot! >>Hazard Malcontent<< I have eyes, Corporal. Guns up. If I see an inch of clear sky, I’m docking your pay! >>Hazard Malcontent<< Yes, sir! >>CURRENT TARGET LIST>4 Mi-26 [x]>4 Land Transports (Ground) [x]>8 AA (Ground)>Roll for Hunting (+3) (DC:4)>Roll for Engagement (+3) (DC:4)
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>4614578Target 3 AA (Ground)>Roll for Hunting (+3) (DC:4)
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>4614578>>Roll for Hunting (+3) (DC:4)>target 3 AA
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>4614578>>Roll for Engagement (+3) (DC:4)Guys no need to hunt here, take them out quick and clean. Don't play with your prey
>>4614595Ground Targets have different rules: >>4613566
>>4614604Ah my bad
Maneuvering yourself between lines of AA fire is made harder with the valley giving you so little room for error. You grumble as you juke and climb, dive and spin, careful so as to not unwittingly slam into the side of the mountain or go nose-first into the collection of trees below. The IFF displays the remaining ground forces clearly, but the trees and the goblet-like terrain make for a terrible combination to display your abilities to their utmost potential. You curse as you force yourself into another diagonal climb, the guns, already beady little targets, falling out of your sight as your speed proves to hamstring your efforts at a clean sweep of your current set of targets.Elaine<< You have to give credit to them for fighting to the last. >>You could, but that wasn’t what you were here to do. Feeling your teeth rattle, you spin yourself out of engagement, ascending right out of the valley before slowing down and rolling over, making a right dive for the hostiles, who had attempted to engage again.Vertically … gravity was an enemy and ally.Their bullets don’t reach you.You stick the trigger, launching another salvo and lighting up the trees and the slopes, Elaine’s engines roaring like a wrathful demon, the thunder of your arrival and judgment sounding off the fallen into oblivion. You pull back up as the lines of rapid-fire ammunition sing through the skies again, your latest effort doing little to deter them from continuing in this futile endeavor.You were given orders. You would fulfill them.AWACS “Andromeda”<< Garm Four, I have fast-movers coming in. >>????<< This is Wonder Squadron. Captain Ismail, status report. >>SU-25s. Harriers.Hazard Malcontent<< Captain … Captain Ismail is dead. We’re the only ones left. The rest of the force is on the way out of the conflict zone. >>A sound akin to spiteful spit echoes on the general band.Wonder Squadron<< Acknowledged. >>Hazard Malcontent<< I guess we’re getting what we paid for, huh? Damn mercenaries … >>Wonder Squadron<< Tags up, IDs blanked. It’s only one fighter. F-15. >>You look turn west-ward, catching an eye of the inbound fighters, specks of dust flying between the rays of moonlight shining through the clouds. The alert goes off within seconds; you climb up again, this time past the peaks and with a nose for the cloud-line. Daring you may have been, but stupid you weren’t.Hazard Malcontent<< Get that bastard. >>Wonder Squadron, Wonder 1<< Received. Wonder Squadron … engage. >>
>>4614649Roll for Initiative (DC: 5)>Use PSYCO (+5)? (1d20)>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
I'm listening to this as I type, so maybe it'll get you guys in the mood, too.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN74PMk4IBQ
Rolled 19 (1d20)>>4614653>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)Remember, don't screw the average
Oh wow, no one else roll holy shit
>>4614649>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6) (1d20)>>4614658Good habit but not necessary due to our successful Prologue mission kill. We win Initiative even with a 1.
>>4614663Yes, but this way you get to style on them with 25
It’s a dance.The Harriers are more maneuverable, more agile than your F-15’s off-the-line counterparts. In test situations, the Harrier was ahead by the hairs that mattered; even a jockey like you knew of the infamous “three for every one” training exercise. Despite the smaller pay-load, the Harriers capabilities as a dog-fighter allowed it carry well enough above and beyond its weight class … and watching the two Harriers climb up and burst around to cut you off from preying on the Frogfoots, you find yourself thankful for the fact that your F-15 had cut those particular hairs off. Banking and diving, you circle the mis-match, keeping an eye on the SU-25 below and the one peeling to your right for a clean shot, shifting your weight on the pedals as you spare a glance eleven o’clock high. One of the Harriers makes an aggressive turn, making an attempt at aligning you with a quick solution at the third quarter of the revolution. You hit the brakes, throwing him off his mark, climbing briefly before stalling yourself to keep the second from carving you open with a shot.In a one-on-one, perhaps you would be reading your last rites.But you knew well enough that they wouldn’t dare risking notching their own wingmen.Elaine<< Wizard, they’re pushing you in! If they catch us out … >>You wouldn’t let them.The Harriers are baited into a climb, the Frogfoots splitting with their failure.Wonder Squadron, Wonder 1<< He’s good. Stick on your man, Wonders. Don’t let him pick you off! >>>ROLL FOR HUNTING (+3) (DC:5)>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)
Rolled 16 (1d20)>>4614692>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)Just need to roll an average of 4.
>>4614692>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)
You roll, chaining it into a successive bank as one of the Frogfoots steers itself in a bid to catch you mid-change. It’s a gamble that they only make on the assumption of your aggression to match theirs … a mistake that confident pilots made all too often. The textbook and the classroom bore little resemblance to reality. The mistake of those stepping into the cockpit for the first time was adhering to the rigidity of engagement protocols and practices.Elaine<< He’s rolling, Wizard! >>The survivors … saw mirrors.Elaine<< I have tone! >>You pull the trigger.AWACS “Andromeda”<< Fox Two! Fox Two! >>The explosion takes most of the fuselage; the SU-25’s rear and body erupt, one wing turning into mere debris and whatever that had been left intact at the mercy of gravity and physics, spiraling into the peaks down below. Pulling up and splitting your course again, you double back and give the RADAR another read, the relish that comes with your victory disappearing with the enemy fighters rolling around again to peg you back for the kill.AWACS “Andromeda”<< Splash one fast-mover! >>Elaine<< They’re coming around again, Wizard! Eight o’clock low and one o’clock high! Simulations all over again! >>Wonder Squadron, Wonder 1<< Damn it … don’t get baited into climbs and rolls. This pilot knows what he’s doing. >>Elaine<< Seven o’clock low, Wizard! They’re coming in close! >>Roll for Initiative (DC: 5)>Use PSYCO (+5)? (1d20)>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>4614755>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>4614755>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)?
Rolled 8 (1d10)>>4614755>>Use Hunting+Engagement (+6)? (1d20)
Elaine takes care of what you’re too slow to manage.Then again, you’re quite confident that what you can’t manage is what a typical flight instructor would pick you apart at the bones for allowing to happen in the first place. The F-15’s systems compensate as you bank into a dive, circling around and accelerating as the curve spirals into a climb, bursting out of any attempt at pursuit. The Harriers are in a good state: their engines are bursting with energy and their pilots are eager to milk the planes for all they’re worth. Another half-helix and you’re shifting positions again, a keen eye out for the remaining Frogfoot so it doesn’t take the opportunity to cash-in on any lapses in awareness. The mountain peaks and the clouds amalgamate with every adjustment, every sharp shift in attitude and altitude, Elaine’s systems adapt, compensate and predict.And she does so beautifully.Elaine<< They’re trying to push us down below. The Frogfoot’s catching us on the next dive if we’re doubling back in, partner. >>You glance upward, catching a glimpse of the Harrier as it rolls into your four o’clock before shifting to your three with a zig-zag from your side, rolling right back and allowing its partner to go take the lead.Wonder Squadron, Wonder 2<< He’s breaking off left! >>The second Harrier’s too aggressive.Wonder Squadron, Wonder 1<< He’s going for a reset! >>You aren’t.That he falls for that assumption, however … gives you time to execute your true intentions.The Harriers cross a second too early.Wonder Squadron, Wonder 1<< We’re off! Five o’clock high! >>You practically swallow your tongue … but it’s nothing that you aren’t already used to.Wonder Squadron, Wonder 2<< That bastard … he actually risked a stall at a full dive at this altitude? >>>ROLL FOR HUNTING (+3) (DC:5)>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)
Rolled 19 (1d20)>>4614894>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)No need to understand the enemy, take him down
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>4614894>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7)
>>4614898>>4614899You can choose to activate Multi-Lock if you'd like. Just reminding you folks that you have this ability, but you have to also roll the Limiter after, as usual, seeing as these are air-to-air targets. Or you can just leave things as they are and pick them off one at a time.
>>4614926Let’s go for the multi lock
>>4614894>>ROLL FOR ENGAGEMENT (+3) (DC: 7Yeah let's go for a multilock
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>4615013i knew i was forgetting something from this morning. signal inside school is just dog shit
>>4615544haaaaaa, you know i had a feeling about this roll holy shit
Now that I think about it, I should really give Multi-Lock a nerf or ramp up the enemy count to make it more relevant.
>>4615956lets see how it works for a bit and if we're steamrolling then up the enemy count
Tracking multiple targets going in different directions is a chore and a half, but having pushed two of them back up and steering one into the corner of your HUD, it’s nonetheless … manageable. Pulling and rolling against the wind, you crack past the peaks in a move out of sheer greed. Elaine, so in tune with your habits, keeps the plane from flipping out from sheer force, the cold winds shearing the gaps between the fins and the ailerons with every nanosecond you crack past the ridges. The strain on the engines would have put any other aircraft in a stall, but for Elaine—and for you—this is but another chance to re-align pre-determined sets among the hundreds of opportunities to line around. The Harriers begin to break off at the sound of your warnings; the stress report turns orange, warning you of the sheer stress that the chassis is under to satisfy this desire of yours.The reticles turn blue.Elaine<< Tone acquired! >>You hit the afterburners for all they’re worth.The trigger comes off at the first chance you get.Elaine<< Garm Four, Fox Three! >>The Harriers, the closest targets relative to your position, are the first to fall, erupting violently upon impact: one takes it right in the fuselage, flashing brightly and bursting into shards, mere pieces of the craft it once formed; the other loses a wing and its left side, having attempted to perform a split-second roll and bank to keep the missile from tagging it directly, but misjudged the cue and turn, effectively clipping itself in an evasive turn. The Harrier spirals into the mountain face, having turned so closely in their attempt at escape. There is no second explosion, but there is no parachute either: the plane practically slams its tail in a semi-spiral, splitting in half upon impact, the corpse of the once proud flyer staring its half-smashed nose upward to the sky, now mere bent scrap. The Frogfoot’s evasion does not come: not at this range. It takes the AMRAAM head on, as it only could at a position that horizontal, the only thing that remains of it molten metal and a second, dark rose-like plume that shines briefly in the sky.Elaine<< That makes four. >>The crackles of the comms returns, shaking you from your slightly nauseated state.Maybe you could go into it a little too much at times …AWACS “Andromeda”<< Holy mother of … fast movers down, Garm Four. Don’t see any reinforcements. >>Hazard Malcontent<< Mercenaries. The only thing they know how to do right is count their money. >>Hazard Malcontent<< We have to leave. Quickly! We can still make the grey zone … >>Hazard Malcontent<< We won’t make it. They couldn't even buy us the time. >>
Hazard Malcontent<< Corporal, you are the only one that’s left now! What will you have us do? >>Hazard Malcontent<< I … >>You hear a beep.AWACS “Andromeda”<< They’re making a break for the border, Garm Four. Doesn't look like they have much fight left in them. >>>Go after the remaining hostiles>Target the escaping transport cluster>Write-In
>>4617206>>Write-In>open a line to the rebels and demand they surrender
>>4617208going for this
>>4617208If they surrender, how exactly will we arrest them? We don't have ground forces.
>>4617208I suppose I can support this though I wonder how we'll take them prisoner but I'll uh, support I guess.
Hazard Malcontent<< What? >>Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, Elaine<< W-Wizard? >>AWACS “Andromeda”<< Hang on … what? >>Hazard Malcontent<< This is … this has to be a joke! >>>Reinforce your position>Shut down lines, prepare to attack>Write-In
>>4617221>>Reinforce your position
>>4617221>Reinforce your position
>>4617221>Reinforce your positionDOUBLE DOWN
>>4617221>>Shut down lines, prepare to attack
AWACS “Andromeda”<< Hang on, are you even … are you even authorized to make that call? >>Hazard Malcontent<< I … you expect me to tell the men to lay down their arms and … that’s it? >>Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Wizard, this isn’t … >>Hazard Malcontent<< I don’t believe you. You hunt us down like dogs and now you just … >>He makes a tortured, frustrated sound.>Be patient and diplomatic with the Corporal, air out terms (namely that you have more missiles than they do transports)>Shut down communications, get back to the mission>Write-In
>>4617247>Be patient and diplomatic with the Corporal, air out terms (namely that you have more missiles than they do transports)
>>4617247>>Write-InSay that they have five seconds or they die
>>4617247>Write-InWell, we could go back to shooting you.
>>4617247>>Be patient and diplomatic with the Corporal, air out terms (namely that you have more missiles than they do transports)
Hazard Malcontent<< You would expect me to cow to such threats? >>You emphasize that your position is made from a vantage point hat holds every advantage over his, and that this conversation would not be happening at all if it had been meant as a threat.What you offer are mere terms, nothing more, nothing less.Hazard Malcontent<< I … >>There’s a brief span of silence.Elaine looks up towards you, her expression half-incredulous, half-expectant. You can feel the neural feedback from the recent input tickling the insides of your skull, like a colony of ants performing a ritual dance. You hadn’t expected her to have such stimulation to a verbal exchange … but that only accentuates the mystery as to what truly prompted the AIs to enter such states of calculation and consideration; you’d never had to fly a mission that allowed you to dictate terms in this manner … or any manner, but for some reason—one that you cannot fathom for yourself—you feel as though you owed them one last chance at mercy.It is what you, in the end, give.Making a pass by the mountains, you glance downward to find the specks of trained AA guns, raised towards the sky but not firing.One light blinks out of existence.Hazard Malcontent<< We … we surrender. All forces … stand down. >>Hazard Malcontent<< Corporal, how can we just … >>Hazard Malcontent<< There is no point. Even if we made a dash for the grey zone, they’d pick most us off before we crossed the border. Our cause is lost. >>Hazard Malcontent<< What of the main force, then? Call them in! Colonel Burke still stands! >>Hazard Malcontent<< The base, the main force … is gone. They must have carried out the raid moments prior to this attack. Colonel Burke did not respond, so we can only conclude that the worst has happened. >>Hazard Malcontent<< But The Great General’s Dictation … >>Hazard Malcontent<< He is dead, my friend. Our duty … is to the living. >>Hazard Malcontent<< No … No, I won’t allow it! I live, I die … and will live again in his name! >>Hazard Malcontent<< You fool! >>You hear a loud crack … of gun-fire.Hazard Malcontent<< You fool … >>A frustrated hiss sounds over the comms.Hazard Malcontent<< Bind our wrists and ankles, soldier, but bind them tightly. >>
AWACS “Andromeda”<< For our claws are sharp … and our legs still have life. >>You hear a melancholic sigh from the AWACS as she finishes the sentence.A small chuckle escapes you as you make a pass over the inactive AA guns, cruising through the valley, your hands at ease on the throttle and stick as Elaine wrinkles her nose, appearing to be in deep thought.AWACS “Andromeda”<< It’s a commendable sentiment, Garm Four, but you do know that someone’s going to need to fill up a whole lot of paperwork to process this little … incident, right? >>>Write-In
>>4617276>Let her know that you'll handle it.>sweat at the pain in your wrist you know you will be feeling from stacks
>>4617276>You mean for shooting down the Wonderbreads? Merc quality assurance questionnaires are always a pain. Joking aside supporting >>4617281.
>>4617281sounds like a fair reply, supporting.
AWACS “Andromeda”<< Well, I’m going to have to ring up the Guard for this one. You, Mr. Diplomat, are on watch until I get a confirmation. Try not to fall asleep at the controls, will you? >>You roger that.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Wizard … do you mind if I ask you something? >>>Write-In
>>4617712>ask her what's up
Her processor must be going through the same motions her avatar translated into body language.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Why? >>>Pretend not to know what she’s getting at>Refuse to give her an answer>Write-In
>>4617757>>Write-In>because they deserved a chance to surrender and hopefully find a way to atone and strive for the change they want to see without violence
>>4617757>Because it is my job to teach you to think outside the box and that is way outside the box.
>>4617757>Write-in>War is not all about making your enemies die for the simple sake of killing them - it is a means to an end, and needless deaths are a tragedy rather than a necessity. Both I and they knew that and I gave them a chance to live because, at the end of the day, our enemies are still people too. A little creative thinking can go far when you do the unexpected.
>>4617757>>Write-InWanted them to give them a choice an unwinnable fight and die or surrender and live to tell the tale and plus have you thought of that possibility elaine you need to think outside of the box thats the one thing that humans have an advantage against you and the other ais
>>4617782I can get behind this, though I think we should comment on the one that took his own life.
>>4617757>>Pretend not to know what she’s getting atat first then>>Write-In>Why not?
Running in a sec. Hang tight.
She adopts a thoughtful pose, stroking her chin.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, Elaine<< I won’t pretend that I get what you’re trying to convey at the get-go. You mind if I take this through background processing and storage? >>>Allow her to do so as she is to learn from you anyway; she can adjudge whether it is worth keeping for herself>Deny her the chance to do so as it is irrelevant to her ultimate purpose>Write-In
>>4618468>>Allow her to do so as she is to learn from you anyway; she can adjudge whether it is worth keeping for herselfShe needs to know
>>4618468>>Allow her to do so as she is to learn from you anyway; she can adjudge whether it is worth keeping for herself
>>4618468>Allow her to do so as she is to learn from you anyway; she can adjudge whether it is worth keeping for herself
>>4618468>Allow her to do so as she is to learn from you anyway; she can adjudge whether it is worth keeping for herselfI predict a very unanimous vote
Her contemplative look remains, but there is an odd … connection that forms in your allowance in this regard. Letting out a sigh, you undo your oxygen mask, taking in the deep, synthetic scent of the cockpit and cured leather as you lean back and switch the avionics over to Elaine, declaring your desire for a brief span of shut-eye.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Stamina’s always been your weakest point. >>You point out that you take in between 6 to 8 Gs with her around. Your stamina matters little when it comes to the sheer laws of physics.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Go to bed already, you big baby … but if I see ground fire, I’m rolling you right out of your seat. Don’t expect me to clean up the end results of your lack of good judgment. >>You proceed to point out that you picked her out among the others.Elaine responds by spiraling towards the cloud-line at 7 Gs.CHAPTER COMPLETE
===================EXPERIENCE SCREEN ===================CURRENT EXP HELD: 28Evasion Lv. 3 (20 to next level)-Feint (You can choose to roll against the GM [1d20] instead of the DC for the EVASION phase [Not Evasion Reversal])Hunting Lv. 3 (20 to next level)-Eagle Eye (If successful during your first Initiative of the mission, roll 1d20 against the GM. Deal one phase of damage/take one kill, then proceed through the mission as normal)Engagement Lv. 3 (20 to next level)-Textbook (+1 to Engagement roll after if the initial Initiative roll of the encounter was a failure)F-15 “Elaine”PSYCO LEVEL: 6 (10 to Next Level)Modifiers: +5 on activationLimit DC: 10>Acrobat Lv. 1 (+1 to Evasion)>Multi-Lock Lv. 1 (May lock up to 2 extra targets)>Relentless Lv. 2 (May roll again if Hunting/Initiative fails at DC-1)>Vengeance Lv. 1 (After a failed evasion or evasion reversal, may roll a 1d20, DC:16 at Lv. 1; kill attacking enemy(s))>ALLOCATE YOUR EXPERIENCE POINTS
>>4618697Level up >Engagement
>>4618697>level up Evasion
>>4618697level up hunting
>>4618718>>4618724>>4618736That's a ditzy of a doo, I tell ya hwat.
>>4618697I’ll break the tie, level up evasion
Did we not plan ahead with our skill points already?
>>4619875>/qst/>planning aheadpick one
>>4613893No, logistics personnel are lawful combatants and fleeing =/= surrendering.
============================EXPERIENCE SCREEN (UPDATED)============================CURRENT EXP HELD: 8Evasion Lv. 4 (30 to next level)-Feint (You can choose to roll against the GM [1d20] instead of the DC for the EVASION phase [Not Evasion Reversal])Hunting Lv. 3 (20 to next level)-Eagle Eye (If successful during your first Initiative of the mission, roll 1d20 against the GM. Deal one phase of damage/take one kill, then proceed through the mission as normal)Engagement Lv. 3 (20 to next level)-Textbook (+1 to Engagement roll after if the initial Initiative roll of the encounter was a failure)F-15 “Elaine”PSYCO LEVEL: 6 (10 to Next Level)Modifiers: +5 on activationLimit DC: 10>Acrobat Lv. 1 (+1 to Evasion)>Multi-Lock Lv. 1 (May lock up to 2 extra targets)>Relentless Lv. 2 (May roll again if Hunting/Initiative fails at DC-1)>Vengeance Lv. 1 (After a failed evasion or evasion reversal, may roll a 1d20, DC:16 at Lv. 1; kill attacking enemy(s))CONFIRM?
>>4619875We just need to avoid raising any skills above 9 before we decide which one to raise to 14/15.If we are careful we can max out at 15/9/9 or 14/10/9.>>4620125>yes
Your fingers are more numb by the last squeeze of ink than they are climbing at 10 Gs … but the last of the processing is over and done with with the clatter of your pen against the battered plastic table. The stack of paperwork stands high and mighty, but is otherwise defeated through your perseverance. Stretching your arms over your head, you give your ribs a good scratch before peering out the poor excuse of a window out into the field, trying your best to ignore the musty scent of your afforded quarters … and finding yourself very impatient to return to the testing grounds back south.All that was left was to deliver the three foot stack and—There’s a knock on the door.‘You in there, buddy?’>Write-In
>>4620261>open the door and greet him
>>4620264I vote for this.Also please for my sanity QM at least work-in what the winning option is in your posts. I find it hard to track when reading through archives with lots of write-ins.
The first thing that Solo does as you open the door is peer over your shoulder.The second thing that he does is let out an appreciative whistle.‘You actually managed to get through all that?’>Recount your experiences as a test pilot gave your wrists ample resistance, especially with the coats being on your back more than others>Communicate your fatigue in getting the task done>Get to the point and ask him what he’s here for>Write-In
>>4620282>>Recount your experiences as a test pilot gave your wrists ample resistance, especially with the coats being on your back more than others
>>4620282>Recount your experiences as a test pilot gave your wrists ample resistance, especially with the coats being on your back more than others
>>4620282>picit's not funny, Omega 11 bailing out so much killed the storyteller boy's parents and dog>>Recount your experiences as a test pilot gave your wrists ample resistance, especially with the coats being on your back more than others
Solo shakes his head, letting out a laugh that’s a little louder than you would have expected.‘Ain’t that the truth,’ he comments, crossing his arms across his chest. ‘I’ve seen the files. You make up at least a third of all the test reports.’>Shrug and tell him that it was only natural; you were, after all, the most effective AI driver.>Comment and ask if what he saw there was what made him pick you up.>Point out that he didn’t come around to just make small talk>Write-In
>>4620308>Do you want me to introduce you to your witchy new WSO/Co-Pilot?
>>4620308>Write-In"I heard you were having some trouble with your VX, something to do with the A.I, want some help with that?"
‘Kind of hard to do without the plane being here, isn’t it?’You clarify that you’d merely put the offer on the table for him to take at his convenience. It’s quite obvious that it would be impossible to do so hundreds of miles away from the other party.‘In any case, I just thought that you’d finally make the decision to join the rest of the squad for dinner. The slop they serve out here’s a lot better than the one they have at the serve, so … maybe that’ll give you some incentive to actually make that crawl across to the cafeteria instead of eating in, you know?’Solo’s wording is awkward … but you do get the implication well enough.Still, it didn't seem like a formal command.>Join them>Decline their company [END INTERLUDE]>Write-In
>>4620377>>Decline their company [END INTERLUDE]
>>4620377>>Write-InAsk him to introduce the ai on his plane first then go to dinner
>>4620557We are not at home base (where that Ai equipped plane) he flew here with a standard F-15.
>>4620619fuck should not read then write in when im tired
‘I’m probably a monster for saying this, but between sacrificing the functionality of my wrist filling out post-mission administrative forms and supplementary encounter prompt reports and the lives of a hundred-odd terrorists, I’d rather put up with a half-inch stack of the former than the two-foot tall processing details that come from the latter,’ Random remarks, his voice thick as another quarter of his sandwich drops past his throat. ‘Never thought that I’d meet a mercenary that’d voluntarily put half his day away to sort through the log of an arrest hand-over.’Random’s accompanying look is one of both respectful awe, incredulity and disapproval. You merely shrug in response to his comment, unwilling to contest to the opinion. You’d just finished recounting the tale of your first official assignment under the Orleasian flag, as prompted by the woman sitting across and to the right of the six-seat table, who was now poking at the pudding that laid on top of her sad excuse of a salad with a spork … which, you now realize, was probably meant to be island sauce.‘I believe that the peacekeeper squadrons have more reason to be irritated,’ Sensei replies, still poking at her meal, ‘after all, the question of their detainment and the logistics of Hazard’s remnants probably wasn’t something they expected to arrive so quickly … or at all.’Ransom turns to his WSO, raising an eyebrow.‘You’re agreeing with me, then?’‘No, I’m just saying that your sympathies aren’t wholly correct in where they should be,’ Sensei responds, stabbing her spork into the pudding-cum-dressing … and finding the whole thing lift off the salad as though it was a complete, solid object. ‘However, on the counter-point … I say that the less lives that we have to waste in this clean-up, the better.’Solo, sitting right next to you, sounds a small hum of agreement as he gives a nod of approval.The cafeteria was bare.The tables are neatly arranged and the support staff lined the counter and the glass, but it was mostly empty. No posters, no pictures, no tributes to the monarchy … or even a corny slogan for morale to adorn its grey-green walls; no officers heckling their subordinates, no soldiers having a laugh about their latest trials of the day outside of your own group … it honestly feels more like a hospital cafeteria after visiting hours than it does a mess hall.‘I don’t think this was thawed right,’ Sensei observes, giving her spork a wiggle and causing the jello-like substance it had been stabbed into to wiggle.‘They just resumed operations three days ago,’ Solo replies nonchalantly as he bites into what looks like a biscuit but smells like medium-well ground beef. ‘It’s not like they’d be able to roll out the 5-star dining cart on such short notice.’
Sensei gives a reluctant not, sticking her tongue out to give the thing in her hands a taste … before setting it back down on her salad and pushing it away.Above you, the only working television in the hall rambles about how men were inherently sexual predators or some nonsense of the mark.‘Why aren’t we going into town again?’ Ransom laments, biting into his sandwich. ‘We have the slips, right?’‘Because the Base Commander doesn’t want to lend us one of the jeeps and the nearest town is a six mile hike over hills and a river with wilderness in between,’ Solo responds, ‘but you have my blessing if you want to chance that; heard there are wolves and cougars in the area, too.’‘Cougars? All the way out here? This is practically wine country, Captain.’‘I’m not stopping you.’‘Why won’t the Base Commander lend us one of the jeeps?’‘Something-something paperwork, something-something jurisdiction,’ Ransom shrugs, bobbing his head. ‘He’s probably holding a grudge for being activated. He’s got that look: probably a cushy administrative type that just collected checks and signed forms, got promoted through the retirement and transfer of superiors … and now actually has to do some work. He probably doesn’t even know who General Hazard is.’Sensei turns her head slightly, peering at you with dancing blue eyes.‘Well, Wizard? Do you know who General Hazard is?’>Give her the complete dissertation on General Dalen Van Hazard, the self-proclaimed Embodiment of Rebellion>Shrug and tell her that you never bothered to get into the politics of a conflict, but that you are aware of his identity and his status as an alleged war criminal>Ask her to refresh your memory>Write-In
>>4621957>Shrug and tell her that you never bothered to get into the politics of a conflict, but that you are aware of his identity and his status as an alleged war criminal.
>>4621957>Shrug and tell her that you never bothered to get into the politics of a conflict, but that you are aware of his identity and his status as an alleged war criminal
>>4621957>>Give her the complete dissertation on General Dalen Van Hazard, the self-proclaimed Embodiment of Rebellion
>>4621957>Give her the complete dissertation on General Dalen Van Hazard, the self-proclaimed Embodiment of Rebellion
‘The winner’s war criminal is the loser’s martyr,’ Solo comments, taking a sip from his milk carton. ‘Not that I can claim to be any less fuzzy with the details, either, but he had to be something to get a following that’s strong enough to hold these sort of things after being dead and buried.’‘Say the right things and people will put their necks on train tracks for you,’ Ransom remarks, setting the half-sandwich back upon his plate. ‘With the way the people were divvying up the region, it just made sense that people would gravitate to the one person who actually had the means to back it up.’Sensei smirks, her hair falling forwards slightly as her cool blue eyes regards Ransom with an odd quality of mischief. ‘I’m sure that that endorsement’s one that the House of Excellus really regrets making.’Ransom’s expression turns bitter at the remark.You wonder what Corsican merchant nobles have to do with it.‘Not as much as you’d think.’‘He must have had something to him that appealed beyond mere words and promises,’ Solo posits, shrugging as he takes a sip of tea from his tall glass … and promptly winces before setting it back down. ‘Not that I particularly care to explore it, of course. As far history cares, he’s the one that came up short when it came down to it. The only thing that makes it a mystery at all is how the living still abide by the philosophy of one that’s dead and buried and without anything to show for it.’Sensei folds her arms across her chest, placing her elbows upon the table as ‘You can say that for all religious figures, can’t you, sir?’Solo snorts, letting out a shrug, appearing to concede the point.‘You can probably argue that people just wanted stability, I guess,’ Ransom offers, rubbing his neck. ‘A brutal dictatorship clocking on efficiency and cruelty is preferable to chaos and wastage in the terms of the public trust for the sake of the threads of peace.’An awkward silence comes over the table … before Sensei throws her head back, laughing so loudly that the kitchen staffers throw your table odd looks. Solo, despite being your Captain and in total command of the conduct and discipline of the present Squadron members, shakes his head in exasperation as he wears a wry smile, but does nothing else.‘I would have expected that sort of reaction from Kitten or Wight, not you.’Sensei snorts as she regains her composure.‘I think everyone here can appreciate the complete irony of you …’Then she trails off, as if remembering something … before turning to you and wearing an apologetic look.‘I’m sorry, Wizard,’ said Sensei, definitely sounding it. ‘We didn’t mean to keep you locked out.’‘That would have been counter-intuitive to this exercise,’ Solo remarks.Sensei, to her credit, does have the decency to look embarrassed.
>Tell them not to think much of it as you’re just glad to finally get properly acquainted with them>Ask who Kitten and Wight are>Continue with the topic of the deceased General Hazard>Ask how Solo and Ransom can even bite their food>Shrug indifferently>Write-In
>>4622371>>Tell them not to think much of it as you’re just glad to finally get properly acquainted with them
>>4622371>Tell them not to think much of it as you’re just glad to finally get properly acquainted with them
>>4622371>>Ask who Kitten and Wight areTime for some lore
>>4622371>Ask who Kitten and Wight areTime to hear about the other members of the squadron
>>4622371>>Ask who Kitten and Wight are
‘Garms Eight and Six,’ Ransom answers tightly. ‘They should be back on base by now; they were on leave to attend Kitten’s sister’s wedding or something like that.’‘Kitten’s older brother is marrying Scarface’s cousin,’ Sensei clarifies. ‘Wight and T-Bone went as their plus-ones.’>Inquire into the identities of Scarface and T-Bone>Leave it at that>Write-In
>>4622692>>Inquire into the identities of Scarface and T-Boneim curious
>>4622692>Lets make a deal, you guys tell me about all the members of our squadron and I will tell you about all our AIs? I doubt you would know which plane I was talking about If I used the name Fiona.
Ransom looks thoughtful, holding up his fingers on his right hand and tapping them with his left.‘Scarface; Wight; T-Bone; Kitten. That’s all of them, … unless we’ve gotten new assignments in the last thirty-six hours.’The Captain takes another swig from his milk carton.‘You’ll be meeting them soon enough, anyway. We’re due out by sixteen-hundred tomorrow.’>Write-In
>>4622939>nod and ask Solo if he checked the expiration date on that milkalways check your milk bois, least you drink some nice chunks
>>4622939>List the names of the AIs
>>4622964>>4622945Why not both?
>>4622945>>4622964I vote for both because why not
They already knew about Tessa and Elaine. So you list the rest of them.Priscilla. Violet. Talia. Florence. Alpha.Victoria.‘Wait … Alpha?’You emphasize that the names were selected by the AIs themselves and however they chose them was their own personal business. That being said … Alpha was probably appropriate, all things considered.After all, she was the first working prototype, in more ways than one.‘And you’ve flown them all?’>Write-In
>>4623063>Yes, all 11.
>>4623063>I've flown all 11 but I had the best score with Elaine.
>>4623063>>Write-InYes all 11 and of them and some of the others test pilots tried flying with other ais but some were incompatible due the pilots not working with the ais or the ais outright rejected them for multiple reasons either for being a dickhead the pilots or straight up creepy or they could not handle how the ais would fly
>>4623063>Yupoh boy, the chimera
You try not to blanket your explanations too much.To your audience’s credit, they’re not bored by the fifth sentence you dole out. While you weren’t able to go into the excruciating technicalities of each fighter’s AI, you do at least manage to detail the degree of responsiveness that each AI appeared to have with their designated pilots and how the technicians and engineers adjudged compatibility. You recall the dozen and a half that made up the crop of the initial testing batch and how they dwindled as the months passed and the AIs began fashioning themselves into proper identities of their own, incorporating and executing data as they cycled through their test pilots. You’re not sure how the men and women of Amaterasu managed to tabulate compatibility matrices into discernible numbers, but do that they did … and the more unique those numbers became, the more fascinated they grew with you and the others. By the time you were cleared for your first demonstration, you’d been carved down to seven.By the time you were in the air on official assignment … five of you remained.‘You and Tessa really hit it off, huh?’ Ransom recounts. ‘And Alpha … sounds really robotic compared to the rest.’She would be … considering she was the practical origin point for the whole program.‘It’s amazing how the AIs were able to both adapt to the strengths of their plane’s designs while also using pilot input to shore up their shortcomings.’You make a point to emphasize that engineering probably had as much to do with their capabilities as much as their own innate learning processes. Tessa’s frame, for example, wouldn’t have otherwise been able to bear a flat drop recovery without all the technological innovations that made such acrobatic movements possible; the F-14, by design, was a power player, not one built for finesse. Neither would Alpha have been such an effective platform for multi-role operations without the tweaks to her output that Amaterasu had deemed so grossly necessary.‘So the F-16 handles the best, right?’You nod, but that was only by virtue of general consensus … and being specialized in tight turns and the effective equivalent of an aerial bar-fight. Personally, you prefer the power that comes with the F-15 to shift between offensive and defensive positions in practical combat: Elaine herself serves as a decent middle-ground to compensate, even if she was built for out-lasting more than out-gunning.Pilots lived and died on stray bullets more than they did missiles of intention.Ransom shakes his head in amusement.‘You know … for its faults, I wouldn’t have thought that the Chimera would have ended up spawning a program built around those same shortcomings. No, I would have not.’
>Remark that you’d like to at least get to know something of your new Squadmates before you turn in>Observe that the Squadron seems a mite more casual than you initially expected; they’re only marginally more formal than Symphony Squadron>Finish up your meal and turn in for an early night>Write-In
>>4623161>Remark that you’d like to at least get to know something of your new Squadmates before you turn in
>>4623163>>Remark that you’d like to at least get to know something of your new Squadmates before you turn in
I paid RM 119.00 for a phone charger and RM 23.00 for a new cable. Of all the God damn things to catch fire it's the thing that costs almost triple what it would on the mainland.
‘What would you like to know?’>Something about Solo>Something about Sensei>Something about Ransom>Something about one of the others>Write-In
>>4623394>>Something about Sensei
>>4623394>Something about SoloYo, buddy.
This is actually a pretty important decision now that you've finally brought it up, so choose wisely.
>>4623394>>Something about Solo
>>4623394>Something about Solo.
‘I knew no one could resist the Captain’s aura of mystery,’ Ransom teases, smirking slightly.The subject of your curiosity, however, seems more curious about his glass of tea than your inquiry.‘There’s not really much to tell,’ he finally answers. ‘That’s the truth of it.’You’re not sure who’s more disappointed at that answer: you … or Ransom.>Insist for at least one breadcrumb of information>Allow the Captain his privacy; accept his answer for what it is>Write-In
>>4623437>>Insist for at least one breadcrumb of information
>>4623437>"Let's go with something easy, then. Why do they call you Solo?"
>>4623564this sounds good
Any buddies here still alive?
Righto. Running in 15 minutes. Brace yourselves.
The illusion of amicability and approachable disposition vanishes with the tap of his glass against the door. The twinkle in his eyes, once supplemental to the casual demeanor that he once took, is replaced with a something akin to a provoked beast defending its corner and flexing its claws for a swipe. He doesn’t look at you; no, his gaze seems to pierce right through you, searching and glowing in a strange vacuum of concentration and reluctance. Whoever Solo is to you rearranges itself into a new position with that lingering, calculating gaze of his … with emphasis of his rank above all else.At the very least, you’re wise enough to punctuate your query with a sir.‘You really wanna know?’>Yes>No
>>4624291>YesWell jeez, I thought it was going to be something about how he flew with only one wing, but now it's shaping out to be something like how he's the only survivor every time.
>>4624291>Yes>>4624298I guess we can do the sole survivor thing, too sort of.
>>4624291>Spanish guitar intensifies>Yes
He snorts, wearing a defeated smirk as he closes his eyes and lowers his chin.‘Well, obviously …’You find yourself leaning forward slightly, the anticipation running like an electro-shock current through your veins.‘It’s because …’The chair underneath you squeaks a little with the light shift of your torso.‘It sounds cool.’Solo smiles casually, returning to his drink. For some reason, you feel like you’d been completely and utterly cheated. The glass that he raises to you only supplements your hypothesis … but you dig into your meal, unwilling to pry and potentially provoke your Captain into going into a more disciplinary stance with your concerns.At the very least, the potatoes on your plate actually manage to taste like potatoes.END INTERLUDE
>>4624392The plot intensifies
KNOCK! KNOCK!You crack an eye open.KNOCK! KNOCK!You’re back in your temporary quarters.Obviously.KNOCK! KNOCK!It’s just past midnight.KNOCK! KNOCK!And a seven foot tall woodpecker had deemed it apropos to use your rickety door as a substitute tree bark.>Tell them to go away>Ask who it is>Open the door>Ignore it>Write-In
>>4624400>Open the doorWhoever they are they clearly want in.
>>4624400>>Ask who it isthen>>open the door
>>4624406I think this is basically a given, it'd be a waste to have to post twice and if they were hostiles they wouldn't bother knocking
>>4624400>Open the door
You grumble as you throw the blanket off your being, exposing you to the chilly elements of the Northern Orleasian night. Flexing your toes—and doing your best to remain patient with the incessant knocking at your door—you proceed to slap your bare feet upon the cold surface of the floor, shuffling the rest of your body out of bed as you trudge the eight feet between your mattress and the door.Scratching your buttocks, you grumble in irritation as thoughts of murder are entertained with due dalliance … and memories of mat practice rush to the tips of your fingers. You turn the knob and pull with thoughts that whoever was at the door better be—‘Wizard,’ arrives the tone of one oddly-excitable Ransom, who was clad in a very … posh mode of civilian wear.You eye him wearily, the temptation to slam the door right in his face and to go back to bed nagging at you with every nano-second your eyes remain more than a third open.>Slam the door in his face; you’re too tired to put up with this.>Entertain Ransom’s presence>Point out that it was past midnight and Solo wanted the both of you up in the next seven hours>Write-In
>>4624527>>Point out that it was past midnight and Solo wanted the both of you up in the next seven hoursG O T OS L E E P
>>4624527>Point out that it was past midnight and Solo wanted the both of you up in the next seven hours
Ransom smirks, crossing his arms over his chest as he leans on one leg.‘Come on, you sound like an old man.’>Entertain whatever proposition that would prompt a rendezvous at this hour>Close the door in his face and tell him to go to bed>Write-In
>>4624582>Entertain whatever proposition that would prompt a rendezvous at this hour
>>4624582>>Entertain whatever proposition that would prompt a rendezvous at this hourThis better be good.
You tilt your head, side-to-side … and gesture for him to continue.A dull jingle of no singular rhythm hits your ears as Ransom raises his hand … revealing a set of keys.‘So, what do you say? Want to check out the local delights?’>You say: ‘Good night’; slam the door in his face>Advise him against such rash action>Ask him how he managed to procure those>Inquire as to why he saw you as someone that would go along with this>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; you’ll go with him, but only if you’re the one driving>Write-In
>>4624631>Tessa is not your designated flyer.
>>4624631>Inquire as to why he saw you as someone that would go along with thisNothing can compare to 2D... at least until Elaine gains a body
>>4624631>>Inquire as to why he saw you as someone that would go along with this
‘Well, Sensei’s a girl—’You’re uncertain how that was relevant in this case, but you allow it.‘—and I don’t know anyone else on the base.’You tilt your head slightly, very reluctant to follow through with Ransom’s plans, especially with your sleep being disturbed so violently.‘And … I don’t want to go into town just for half a glass.’>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; accompany him on his venture but you would be the one doing the driver.>Decline his invitation, such as it is.>Write-In
>>4624832>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; accompany him on his venture but you would be the one doing the driver.
>>4624832>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; accompany him on his venture but you would be the one doing the driver.D R I F T
>>4624832>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; accompany him on his venture but you would be the one doing the driver.>>4624838Deja Vu!
>>4624832>>Tell him to give you a moment to get dressed; accompany him on his venture but you would be the one doing the driver.>>4624899GAS GAS GAS
The journey—if it could even be called as much—When Ransom had said that this was wine country, you hadn’t thought much of it. Having passed through a whole landscape and a half fenced off as a composition of private vineyards, however, you find yourself realizing when he had said it, he had meant it with no sense of exaggeration. Rolling hills, a brilliant bask of moonlight, a comfortable, temperate chill … you entertain the thought that if you ever made it past fifty, perhaps kicking your socks off and laying down in the relative comfort of the surroundings here wouldn’t be so terrible for your old bones.The architecture of the township is what anyone would have expected for one of its size, history … geography. One wide street split into smaller lanes, cobblestone paths and bright lights peering through windows, it wouldn’t have been out of place on a Christmas card or a Unity pamphlet. There weren’t many cars that were lined up; most of the ones that had found occupied spots were vehicles that had long since said goodbye to any measure of trade-in value: old trucks, cobbled scooters and all the like. As befitting the hour, there were even fewer that trudged through the streets: collections of drunk farmers, couples bundled up in their trench-coats and each other and food stall owners tending to those that wished for an after-hours snack.All in all, it’s a rather quiet town. You doubt that it would have differed much a century prior.The tavern, however, is bustling.Half a foot through the door and you find yourself spinning around to dodge a hatted gentleman tumbling from a hard right by a furious, scarfed chap with a crooked nose, exclaiming something about the honor of his cousin or something along the same lines. They spoke with a rhythmic quality, their voices accentuated by the permeation of Southern Augustovian slang, but are otherwise understandable. Ransom grins widely as he practically skids towards one of the smaller tables by a wooden pillar, gesturing for you to follow.‘Wizard!’The place is so tightly packed that you can’t not shuffle side-to-side so as to not bump into any of the gentlemen … who all definitely smell like mixtures of certain specifications of alcohol. Looking around, you briefly wonder if you’d traveled back into the ages prior to the First Cataclysm: a roaring fireplace, rowdy gentlemen in vests and home-sewn tunics, you—‘So what can I do for you gentlemen?’—come face to face with a rather striking young lass.You’re quite certain that your opinion isn’t unique in that aspect.After all, your companion’s pink cheeks indicated as much.‘Don’t mind the hour,’ she huffs, her demeanor both charming and coy. ‘If it’s on the menu, we have it.’Oh, right … the menu.
>>4625296>>Give her your order and prompt your companion to do the samewe must Wingman, for best Wife has appeared
>>4625291>Flirt with the young woman yourself>Give her your order and prompt your companion to do the same>Tell her that you’re more conventional in your requirements, but you believe your friend is probably wondering if she’s available for take-away>Show your curiosity for her green hair>Tell her that you’d like at least a moment to ponder your meal and drink choices, as would your friend>Write-In
>>4625301>>Show your curiosity for her green hairdesire to know more
>>4625301>Tell her that you’re more conventional in your requirements, but you believe your friend is probably wondering if she’s available for take-awayMight as well swing early and see if we hit a home run for our boy.
>>4625308more ballsy then me maneven if the spoiler options rarely end well
>>4625337>>Inform him that you were merely joking, but that he could learn not to wear his heart on his sleeveWE MUST BE A WINGMAN
‘Wizard,’ Ransom hisses, practically slamming his fist on the table.The girl merely smiles in response, giving you an amused look as she places her hands on her hips.‘I’ll let you two ponder the menu for a bit. Just raise a hand once you’ve made your decision, all right?’You give a small nod, waving her off. She gives you a small curtsy in return, moving away to tend to the other customers, leaving you with a very red-faced fellow pilot.‘What was that about?’ he demands, wrinkling his nose and glaring at you, his words hot and his tone very much embarrased.>Shrug indifferently, tell him you have no idea what he was talking about>Inform him that you were merely joking, but that he could learn not to wear his heart on his sleeve>Tease him: if he wasn’t going to make the first move, you’re not averse to finding tone and launching a FOX-THREE>Calm him down and apologize; you hadn’t meant anything by it>Write-In
The barmaid's clothing should be a dirndl. I couldn't find anything resembling CC wearing one, but she should be in something akin to this.
>>4625339>>Inform him that you were merely joking, but that he could learn not to wear his heart on his sleeve
>>4625339>>>Inform him that you were merely joking, but that he could learn not to wear his heart on his sleeveWE WILL HOOK YOU UP YOUNG ONE CC best wife
>>4625339>>Tease him: if he wasn’t going to make the first move, you’re not averse to finding tone and launching a FOX-THREE
>>4625339>Inform him that you were merely joking, but that he could learn not to wear his heart on his sleeveWe must get these two to hook up at all costs
‘You didn’t have to do that,’ Ransom grumbles, sitting back down and snatching the menu, his eyes furiously darting left to right as he scanned it … before slamming it down and placing his elbow on the edge of the table, resting his jaw in his palm in a manner akin to a child throwing a tantrum.It’s not long, however, before you notice his gaze trailing back to the green-haired maiden, who was entertaining one of the goatee-d patrons in the middle of the room, whose arm was wrapped around her waist and was pulling her in as she attempted to balance the flagons and meals in her tray.>Suggest to your squadmate that she’s a tavern wench; that everyone’s probably had a turn with her>Joke with Ransom about his shifting priorities>Question the green hair; note that she was probably had Cordium-related anomalies>Take the menu; make your order. Proceed to press Ransom into making his>Try to engage in friendly conversation with Ransom that doesn't concern his current fixation>Write-In
>>4626076>"I didn't have to do it, but you can't peel your eyes off her. If you're going to try, I might as well be ready to fulfill my duty as your squadron mate and be your wingman, right?"
>>4626084Supporting>Project Wingman is Active
Ransom harrumphs, closing his eyes and straightening his spine, both shoulders as even as can be. He raises his right hand to to the level of his ear, bending it at an angle akin to a nobleman’s physical scoff, accentuated with the toss of his head to the same side.You’re not impressed, however.It’s hard to be knowing that he’d practically tossed his lunch playing in-seat spectator three days prior.‘I implore you to at least afford me the credit that I’m due in that—’‘That was quick. So what will it be?’She had returned.Ransom … squeaks.>Give the young lady your choice of meal as well as Ransom’s, as he isn’t quite functional at the moment>Give the young lady your choice of meal and prompt Ransom to make his own>Gesture for Ransom to back up his claim>Save Ransom his embarrassment and drop a query with the young woman>Apologize and ask her to be away, as neither of you have made your choice quite yet>Flirt with her yourself>Write-In
>>4626228>Apologize and ask her to be away, as neither of you have made your choice quite yet
>>4626228>>Save Ransom his embarrassment and drop a query with the young womanI've never wingmanned before is this the right course?
>>4626228>>Flirt with her yourself
She regards you with a curious look, her hands still on her hips … before raising a fist to her lips, letting out a melodious chirp of restrained laughter.‘You’re definitely not from around here,’ the barmaid observes, wearing an unbalanced smile. ‘You’re lucky I’m in a good mood, so … what do you want to ask? Whether we have any rooms? Where the nearest twenty-four hour shop is? If you’re looking for a mechanic, you’ll have to wait until morning.’>Observe the curiosity of her green hair>Wonder why the tavern’s so alive despite it being almost the wee hours of the morning>Inquire as to her identity>Give her your order of drinks and a meal>Write-In
>>4626276>Wonder why the tavern’s so alive despite it being almost the wee hours of the morningWe need to keep going until Ransom reboots.
>>4626276>>Wonder why the tavern’s so alive despite it being almost the wee hours of the morning
>>4626276>Wonder why the tavern’s so alive despite it being almost the wee hours of the morning
>>4626276>>Write-InWell my friend here wants too know what your phone number is
‘Well, why wouldn’t we be? The mayor finally ended the curfew.’‘Curfew?’That seems enough to shake your squadmate out of his reverie.‘I don’t know if either of you were aware, but … there have been reports of rebel holdouts past the hills for the last couple of months; most of them leftovers from General Hazard’s coup. We just got the news that the military finally did something about it. That’s enough reason for anyone to go out and hold up a glass or four, no?’‘Oh, yes, it … it would be, of course.’‘About time they did something about it … would’ve only been a matter of time before they expanded their recruiting lines down here.’>Reveal your identities as the executors; tell her that she’s welcome and you’re sorry that it had taken so long>Confide that she’s quite understanding of the circumstances; a couple of months sounds like quite the stretch>Ask about the sentiment towards the rebels in these parts, as you noticed their travel lines seemed to be concentrated on border towns>Kick Ransom under the table and prompt him to engage the target>Write-In
>>4626298>>Ask about the sentiment towards the rebels in these parts, as you noticed their travel lines seemed to be concentrated on border towns
>>4626298>Confide that she’s quite understanding of the circumstances; a couple of months sounds like quite the stretch
>>4626298>Kick Ransom under the table and prompt him to engage the target
>>4626480We need to hold for a moment and get a better feel for how they feel about General Hazard's coup before prompting him to engage.>>4626317Supporting.
>>4626298>Ask about the sentiment towards the rebels in these parts, as you noticed their travel lines seemed to be concentrated on border townsBAR GOSSIP!>>4626490From the way she speaks of the rebel scum, I'm fairly certain she's a loyalist.
>>4626496Still, better safe than sorry, right?
‘Depends on who you ask, really. The closer you get to some of the northern and eastern borders, the less … loyal people are to the crown. Unsurprising, given that a lot of this was no man’s land after the Federation up and went. Those who don’t have a cause or stance of their own are vulnerable to be swayed by those who can push their own well enough. I can’t say that there haven’t been a few boys who haven’t entertained the idea, but … as far as I can tell, that’s what the mayor’s been trying to prevent by keeping their ideas just ideas. Can’t say that it’s worked, but none of the men I actually know in these parts has saddled up and made that trek; neither have any of the Hazard Remnant actually rolled into town throwing physical flyers. The closest thing to that sort of thing was a sub-forum on the village message board … and the admins scrubbed that one fast.’‘There are people who actually entertain … thoughts of treason so casually?’It’s the most coherent that Ransom’s sounded all night.‘Takes all sorts,’ the barmaid replies, oddly smug about it. ‘But to actually answer your question, handsome—’You almost chuckle at the sight of his cheeks turning pink again.‘—treason implies loyalty in the first place. Like I said, a lot of the towns from here to the valley and all to the sea … weren’t throwing their hats up in joy when the annexations were made and the new borders were drawn. A lot of them were just throwing their hands up in relief that the shells stopped whistling and making craters … the restoration of the Bonaparte line is just more news and gossip, for the most part. All that being said, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t at least thankful for the stability … even if no one’s exactly enthusiastic about the new tax brackets.’She finishes with a shrug, pausing and shifting her gaze between you and Ransom, wearing an almost-expectant expression.To your surprise, your squad-mate is all too eager to satisfy it.‘I can … see that,’ Ransom starts, his tone tentative, ‘I mean … it’s not as if tabloids and political bulletins aren’t circulating the idea of the Queen being a puppet for the oligarchy of financiers and the economic meat grinder, so it’s not really odd that the sentiment’s so warped this far out. Like she says’—you realize he’s referring to you right now—‘the only thing that’s keeping the ones that didn’t have a dog in the fight out of the fight is the stability a nation offers … for whatever that’s worth.’The barmaid gives a nod that’s too cheerful for the context of the topic.‘Anyway, it’s not like it’s anything to worry about anymore. You gentlemen can continue your gap year road trip at your leisure. The military’s cleared them out and the roads should be safe to drive through again.’You share a look with Ransom.Gap year … road trip?
>>4626715>Inquire as to her identity>Observe the curiosity of her green hair>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road trip>Ask her what she thinks of the Orleasian Kingdom and the restoration of the Bonaparte line>Give her your orders of drinks and a meal>Write-In
>>4626715>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road trip.Pilots are popular with the Ladies, right?
>>4626720>Give her your orders of drinks and a meal
>>4626720>>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road trip
>>4626720>>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road trip>>Inquire as to her identity>>Give her your orders of drinks and a meal
>>4626963one at a time man
>>4626720>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road tripI'd order the local brew but conversation is too juicy.
>>4626720>Ask her why she would assume you two to be university students on a road tripI mean, we probably act like them
‘Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just … so the both of you are brothers, then? Two brothers on a brotherly road trip?’>Ask her how in the world could she mistake the both of you for a pair of siblings>Clarify your identities>Shift the topic to something else>Just give her your orders of meal and drink>Write-In
>>4627263>Clarify your identities
>>4627263>Clarify your identitiesNo bad can come of this.
>>4627263>>Clarify your identitieswhy not
>>4627263>Clarify your identitiesNah, we're just the local fighter jocks. Clearly we need to act the part better.
Her eyes light up immediately upon the reveal.You keep the part about the experimental artificial intelligence modules tight and away, however.‘The kids were going on about how there were trucks and planes going down to that old base; that was you?You give her a nod in response, prompting her to excitably follow-up … only for the attempt to stop before the first syllable, leaning back and wearing a troubled expression.‘I … is there trouble brewing?’‘Oh, uh, no, no,’ Ransom hurriedly reassures her, getting up from his seat and flailing his hands. ‘Well, uh … there was some trouble, of course, because if there wasn’t there wouldn’t be any point for us to be here in the first place, but … uh … there isn’t—shouldn’t—be any trouble here … at least, um, not anymore.’You’re almost proud of his ability to work that through his stutter.‘So the rebels up north, then … I presume that that must have been the reason the military decided to come along here at all, then? I was surprised when I heard that there were soldiers rolling into that old base, but it sort of makes sense now. The last time any of the folks here saw a plane land there was ten years ago; the military wouldn’t have bothered to come out this far without a proper reason to. Squashing rebel bases seems to fit the criteria.’>Inform her that any details on your assignments are classified, but that she is correct that you’re here on official business>Ask her if she’s been around here her whole life>Tell her that you just took care of the stragglers; most of the credit for taking out the main force is Ransom’s (somewhat)>Write-In
>>4627343>>Tell her that you just took care of the stragglers; most of the credit for taking out the main force is Ransom’s (somewhat)lift up our boi
>>4627343>Tell her that you just took care of the stragglers; most of the credit for taking out the main force is Ransom’s (somewhat)Gotta wingman for this wingman.
>>4627343>Tell her that you just took care of the stragglers; most of the credit for taking out the main force is Ransom’s (somewhat)
‘Oh?’Her voice is sultry, impressed.Ransom’s irises roll desperately towards you.>Let go of the controls; it’s his bombing run to make now>Try to communicate crude gestures to ease his landing>Call no joy; interrupt>Write-In
>>4627365>>Try to communicate crude gestures to ease his landinghe needs help
>>4627365>Let go of the controls; it’s his bombing run to make now
>>4627365>>Try to communicate crude gestures to ease his landing
One arm up. Ninety degrees.Two arms up. Forty-five degrees.Two hands coming together in the center, elbows at twenty-five degrees.You think you do a good enough job of it.‘What is that supposed to mean?’ Ransom hisses, glaring at you from the corner of his eye.>Continue with the hand signals>Tell the woman that you’ve finally decided on your order>Leave it to him to do what he will; he's a grown man>Write-In
>>4627420>Tell the woman that you’ve finally decided on your order.This might give him some time to think if he needs more time, without things getting significantly worse.
>>4627420>>Leave it to him to do what he will; he's a grown man
>>4627420>Tell the woman that you’ve finally decided on your orderWhat kind of pilot can't identify marshalling signals?
>>4627443He might be cleared to fly the F-14, but may never have done carrier qualifications.
>>4627453Marshalling signals are not exclusive to carriers, they're used on airfields as well.
Ransom’s eyes practically beg you for help.You give him an apologetic smile and turn away.The heat from his glare is felt all the way down to your shoulders.‘I … I can’t take all the credit,’ Ransom finally manages, working through sputter; the legibility of his wording prompts you to turn your attentions back to your squad-mate … who’d regained his composure with the shift of his weight from the spine of his chair to his elbows on the table. ‘Every operation is a coordinated team effort, from the pilots to the engineers to the marshals. I’d be lying through my teeth if the successful execution of our assignments were all down to the men and women in the cockpit.’The green-haired woman giggles melodiously, her eyes closing as she chirps out the last of her amusement.‘How modest of you, um … I don’t believe you’ve mentioned your name?’‘My name? Um … uh … well … I’m Ransom.’‘Ransom? Oh my … I’m sorry, did your parents—’‘No, no, no, I, uh … that’s my tac-name; my call-sign.’‘Oh,’ she lets out, appearing to finally understand its significance, before resuming her cheerful demeanor and holding her tray to her chest, those melodious chirps returning with a vengeance. ‘I’m Camilla. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr Ransom.’She drops into a respectful bow.Ransom laughs nervously, scratching the back of his head. ‘You can drop the mister, really,’ he insists, before adopting an expression that resembles a recently struck thought … and immediately turns to you. ‘This is my squad-mate, Wizard. We—I—decided to take advantage of the local scene while we were still in the neighborhood, especially since this is one of the more-renowned wine valleys in the whole of the Kingdom. It would’ve been a waste for us to leave without at least sampling a bottle.’You point out that he was here to sample a bottle. You were here to make sure that your squad-mate made it home without any missing limbs.‘Well, if you’re here for the typical tourist sample brands, I’m sorry to say that you’re fresh out of luck,’ she informs your table, looking very much apologetic. ‘The curfew hasn’t been kind to the vintners’ timetables, but we do have some table varieties that you’d—’‘Oh, no, I’m not here for either of those,’ Ransom clarifies, raising both his palms. ‘I was actually hoping to sample some of the … rageblood, I believe the name is.’The girl … almost drops her tray.‘Eh? Eh?’‘Do you now have it?’ Ransom asks, sounding very disappointed.‘Oh, um … uh, yes, but … the season is … I believe that we only have half a table serving left. It’s really only made upon … request.’‘Then may I make such a request?’‘I … may I take your other orders first?’
You give her your order, as does Ransom. The girl scurries away, disappearing behind the bodies seated at the bar counter, leaving you to bask in the rustic ambience of tavern, your squad-mate across from you.Ransom falls face-first onto the flat of the table, making noises of embarrassed suffering.>Commend him on his ability to adapt to the situation>Tell him you never would have pegged someone of his background as a wine connoisseur.>Leave him to his emotions>Write-In
>>4627474>Commend him on his ability to adapt to the situation
>>4627474>>Commend him on his ability to adapt to the situationThough what's this about 'Rageblood?'
>>4627474>>Commend him on his ability to adapt to the situation
>>4627478It's just the name for a particular brand of wine. Don't think much about it.
Ransom smiles sincerely in response to your praise.‘Thanks,’ he replies, wrinkling his brows as he adopts a hesitant look. ‘I’m glad I took a chance on you. Kitten would have probably made the night unbearable.’You inform him that you’re glad to have helped, even if it was just a mere prod on your part.>Inquire into Ransom’s background>Talk about one of your other squad-mates>Keep your silence for the remainder of the wait>Write-In
>>4627493>Inquire into Ransom’s background
>>4627493>>Inquire into Ransom’s backgroundUrge to know more intensifies.
>>4627493>>Inquire into Ransom’s background
>>4627493>>Write-InAsk about rageblood
‘Well, I’ll answer what I can, but you’ll have to allow me the same courtesy if we’re going into personal territory.’>His real name>His professional background and service; how he ended up a pilot>Question why he’s such a connoisseur>Ask whether the woman’s green hair—and its implications—bothers him at all>Write-In
>>4627715>>His real name
‘You know what? I’m surprised that it lasted this long anyway.’A sharp intake of breath follows as he leans back into his chair, closing his eyes, his countenance turning into one akin to a man with a clear—and very visible—internal struggle. It reminds you of the time you were on the can back before your ill-fated sortie with Symphony Squadron.‘Ferdinand Charle Vulgallen Wittesen von Excellus … of the House Excellus of Corsica.’He looks embarrassed just saying it.>Tell him you’re honored to be in the presence of someone from the mercantile dukedom>Ask him what he’s so red about this time>Wonder how a merchant noble from Corsica ended up being an Orleasian military man so young>Chuckle at the ridiculousness of his name>Write-In
>>4627830>>Wonder how a merchant noble from Corsica ended up being an Orleasian military man so young
>>4627830>Tell him you’re honored to be in the presence of someone from the mercantile dukedom>And reply with our own name.
He hangs his head, smiling wryly. ‘Where do you think the call-sign comes from?’>Write-In
>>4627844>nod in understanding and prompt him to ask his return question
Some backstory as to what the House of Excellus is:>Filthy rich>Old money>Merchant nobles and hold a lot of influence over trade routes along the Cadian Sea and the Mediterranean Canal>Backed everyone except for the winning side>Based in Corsica, which is the "Singapore" of this world.Just to help with your write-in
>>4627848ah, so he is like collateral to a degree
>>4627844>If you are technically a political hostage and I've been convicted of negligent regicide, I can't wait to find out everyone else's reason to be part of this "prison" unit.
>>4627853It's like you've never played Ace Combat bro. :)
‘Well, it’s pretty much easy for you to dissect who I am from what I just told you … I guess my first question for you would be … what really happened up there?’>Concentrate on how Symphony Squadron was taken apart by a fighter of unknown affiliation and make>Apologize and tell him that the details aren’t appropriate for discussion in such a public area, but you’ll be glad to tell him on the way back>Release your frustrations in regards to your incompetence>Systematically describe the attack, incident by incident, from the initial fighter’s assault to the downing of the King’s airliner>Write-In
>>4627881>Systematically describe the attack, incident by incident, from the initial fighter’s assault to the downing of the King’s airliner
>>4627881>>Systematically describe the attack, incident by incident, from the initial fighter’s assault to the downing of the King’s airliner
>>4627881>Release your frustrations in regards to your incompetence
>>4627884>>4627890>>4627895Bad for operational security in public. Will get us stabbed and//or shot/pushed into a barfight.>Apologize and tell him that the details aren’t appropriate for discussion in such a public area, but you’ll be glad to tell him on the way back
You recount the initial ambush by the first fighter, how it’d cut through the clouds like some primordial flying serpent, striking your squadron down one by one. It’s hard not to get lost in the anxiety and the fear in that memory, watching Ebony, Ivory and Conductor be torn apart in pass after pass. You recall how you and Elaine pushed yourself beyond what the fields and simulations allowed, describing your tight bank feint to lure the first fighter into an over-pursuit before making the battle one of horizontal-vertical shifts rather than one of out-right maneuverability. One hand at level and the other below, you sway your limbs slightly describing your attempts at cutting off the enemy fighter’s angle of attack from the King’s plane while fortifying your own status as a thorn in their side.Maybe you’re a little too proud in your egging of the enemy fighter into a dare of frame-straining stops, but you don’t regret the sheer satisfaction of finding the unknown fighter right on the tip of Elaine’s nose and making it the first—and last—notch of your time as a member of Symphony Squadron. You emphasize the essence of your gamble, how you’d banked in on the pilot’s pride and arrogance into a face-off of equals over text-book engagement.And you describe how a moment of relief made all of it an effort made in vain.‘Hell of a first day,’ Ransom finally speaks, his voice lower than usual, his intonation half-sorrowful … and half in what you assume to be awe; you’re not so arrogant to conclude it to be as such. ‘But for a plane to move like that … it must have had some advanced systems to compensate for the directional changes enough for the pilot to maintain their consciousness … and the pilot would need to have some serious reflexes to even keep up in the recovery and follow-through. The fact that you were able to trap a fighter that advanced and a pilot that skilled into an even match and snipe him in a recovery … I’m surprised that you’d still have enough in the tank to keep alive.’You credit Elaine for the assist. You can still hear the creak of the F-15’s air-frame now.Still … you’re quite surprised that Ransom would believe you so readily. It took seven months and a series of unlikely endorsements for your clearance to step out into conditional custody.To that, Ransom lets out an almighty snort of amusement.‘Your case is probably the worst of our merry band,’ he starts, ‘but really, you should hear some of the stories the others can tell you.’>Accept it for what it is>Question him on the circumstances behind his own presence>Solo>Sensei>Scarface>T-Bone>Wight>Kitten>Write-In
>>4627962>>Question him on the circumstances behind his own presence
>>4627962>Question him on the circumstances behind his own presence
>>4627962>>Solo*spanish guitar intensify*
>>4627964>Question him on the circumstances behind his own presence>>4628054He probably knows as much as we do.
Can I have a count for those present?
‘You’ve probably caught enough from what Sensei’s said: dear old dad ended up putting his weight behind the wrong horses and I’m here as a show of goodwill for the new management,’ he answers wryly. ‘Although, if you knew him, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to see me being here as him killing two birds with one stone.’>Leave it at that>Prompt him further on the topic of his family and how he ended up a political hostage in all but name>Prompt him on how he and Sensei seem close>Thank for taking the time to share all of that with you and proceed with the night’s events (END INTERLUDE)>Write-In
>>4628928>>Prompt him further on the topic of his family and how he ended up a political hostage in all but name
>>4628928>>Prompt him on how he and Sensei seem close
>>4628928>Prompt him on how he and Sensei seem close
‘Wouldn’t have expected it to be so at first, but … oh, what am I saying? It’s not my place to tell you … but you’re not that far off. Not at all; there’s a lot of crust over the top there, but she’s like the stupidly bossy older sister that I … well, that I do have but tuned down below the tolerance threshold rather than above it. Don’t ever tell her I said that, though. I’m still trying to make her call the cafeteria incident bygones.’>Cafeteria incident?>Leave it at that>Thank him for taking the time to share all of that with you and proceed with the night’s events (END INTERLUDE)>Write-In
>>4628946>Leave it at that.Avoid putting foot in mouth, allow him the slip up.
He winces, his arms straightening and stretching as he leans back.‘Eh …’He seems especially reluctant to share the details.>Leave it at that>Press him>Thank him for being such an engaging ally; proceed with the night’s events (END INTERLUDE)>Write-In
>>4628957>>Leave it at that
>>4628957>Leave it at that
Ransom seems thankful that you didn’t press him on the details. Although … considering the subject matter, you have no doubt it would have been quite the incident to have managed to make that much of an impression. That Ransom and Sensei shared a good relationship even with her being privy to his true identity is enough for you to leave it at that.‘So,’ he starts again. ‘I guess that it’s my turn to uncover just what lies below that surface. Throw be a bone here: you were born in the Federation, weren’t you? Your accent’s a little coastal …’>Congratulate him on his find, but remain cryptic>Be more specific: that you were born in Yorkland but that your family settled around the Gold Bay later on>Tell him your formative years aren’t a time that you’re particularly fond of recalling.>Write-In
>>4628999>Be more specific: that you were born in Yorkland but that your family settled around the Gold Bay later on
>>4628999>>Be more specific: that you were born in Yorkland but that your family settled around the Gold Bay later on
>>4628999>Write-InLie and put on a Magadan accentthen>Be more specific: that you were born in Yorkland but that your family settled around the Gold Bay later on
Your squad-mate wears a wide smirk at the information. ‘The Gold Bay? You must have been well-to-do.’You rub the back of your neck, feeling a little embarrassed at the comment.>Reveal that your father was a stock-broker that made it big just before the two-hundred year war broke out by investing in Games-To-Go; you’re more “new money” than “old money” in that sense, but nothing compared to being a Merchant Prince like him.>Reveal that your mother was an air stewardess that happened to get knocked up by a wealthy, married banker; you never knew your father outside of checks and letters. By the time he’d reached out, the war had broken out and you’d found out that he’d been interred by the Federation. You don’t know what happened to him after.>Reveal that your father was just a low-ranking politician—if he could even be called as such—that was transferred office to office, so it wasn’t so much that you were wealthy as it was the circumstances of your father’s work>Reveal that your mother was an airline pilot and just happened to be picked out for a decent station for her job and that the Gold Bay wasn’t as exclusive as people thought it was.>Shrug nonchalantly>Write-In
>>4629021>>Reveal that your father was a stock-broker that made it big just before the two-hundred year war broke out by investing in Games-To-Go; you’re more “new money” than “old money” in that sense, but nothing compared to being a Merchant Prince like him.diamond hands dad
>>4629021Typo: that should be 200 Day War. Not 200 Year War.
>>4629022>>Reveal that your father was a stock-broker that made it big just before the two-hundred year war broke out by investing in Games-To-Go; you’re more “new money” than “old money” in that sense, but nothing compared to being a Merchant Prince like him.>Reveal that your mother was an airline pilot and just happened to be picked out for a decent station for her job and that the Gold Bay wasn’t as exclusive as people thought it was.Mom was a pilot, Dad was a retard.
>>4629026I'll support that if Mech lets us combo them as they don't seem to be mutually exclusive.
>>4629030If so, I'm gonna have to take a break because I hadn't really planned for any fusions to come up with a coherent "result".
>>4629030I'm supporting this, too.
You hadn’t expected a laugh out of Ransom from the reveal of your parentage … but laugh he does.‘Oh, that must have been quite the day for your father,’ he starts, shoulders quaking as his amusement re-internalizes itself. ‘I remember it well: I don’t think I’d seen so many of my father’s associates so frustrated over a retail buy-in. Quite a few of them had to foreclose on their properties after going all-in on the short sell … but it must have been a coup for him. I may have been too young to understand it fully at the time, but I do know that it was the first time dear old dad laughed so heartily at the misfortune of his fellow man.’You’re quite certain that that trait had been inherited … at least somewhat, judging by Ransom’s initial reaction.‘I assume your father wasn’t particularly fancy about day trading then? Seeing as he held long enough to cash in on that profit?’You shake your head.‘Definitely quite the bounty,’ Ransom chuckle, ‘but I see that you must have taken more inspiration from your mother, then, seeing where you are now. Commercial flyer, right?’You think about it for a moment: you hadn’t really paid attention to your mother’s flight routes. As far as you knew, you were afforded a free seat in the cockpit or in the cabin whenever school was out: a boon that you would say that you’d punched in enough for it to count as abuse. You’re not aware how your parents made it work for as long as they had you: your father spent most his days in front of his laptop sipping some carbonated energy drink and your mother rarely stepped through the door enough for her to call your residences home … but work through it they did. Still … you manage to drum up some memories to satisfy Ransom’s query, prompting him to give a succession of understanding nods.‘I guess it’s obvious enough that she’s the one that put you on this path.’You immediately correct Ransom in regards to his very mistaken assumption.Your parents hadn’t attempted to put you on any path at all.As far as they were concerned, your mother’s picture of joy was you sitting beside your father while he blasted away at demons on the computer screen and sharing a sip of his drink smacking his lips in satisfaction.‘So what made you want to become a pilot?’You think back to that day.AWACS Galaxy<< Hitman Team, you’re arriving in your AO. Tagging Civilian and Federation air traffic now. >>Hitman 2, Diplomat<< That’s a lot of air traffic for a warzone, Galaxy. >>You remember glancing out the window of your mother’s plane to see an F-14 cracking past, a visibly distressed RIO in the back-seat and a white crown painted upon its tail. You remember that shared glance between the masked man in the cockpit … and the raised thumb before he rolls out, joining the battle above.>Write-In
>>4629466>He truly was the King of Sky in that war
>>4629469>>He truly was the King of Sky in that war
>>4629469>He truly was the King of Sky in that war
Ransom furrows his brows, staring at you quizzically.‘Wizard?’You must have wandered off into your thoughts, there.>Brush it off, apologize>Regale him of your terror of being caught between Federation and Hitman Team’s crossfire and witness to Hitman Team’s exploits>END INTERLUDE>Write-In
>>4630319>Regale him of your terror of being caught between Federation and Hitman Team’s crossfire and witness to Hitman Team’s exploits
>>4630319>>Regale him of your terror of being caught between Federation and Hitman Team’s crossfire and witness to Hitman Team’s exploitstime to fan boy
>>4630319>>Brush it off, apologize
>>4630319>>Regale him of your terror of being caught between Federation and Hitman Team’s crossfire and witness to Hitman Team’s exploits
You’re not certain how long it had been since you’d regaled the story of that snotty-nosed kid watching Sicario’s ace tear through Federation forces with the awe and fear of a Christian choir boy on a Sunday. You remember the sky marshal slamming your window shut several times to no avail, your cheek pressing up against the glass as you watched the most deadly pilot you’d ever known dance through missiles and lock-ons with precision and savagery none would have equated with that of an F-14. You remember your deafness to your mother’s commands over the airliner’s comms, her requests to adhere to the marshals and keep calm as you watched this so-called mercenary—this enemy—slice through the Federation’s finest with such finesse, translating your memories into words for the convenience of your lone audience member. You seemed to be the only one in your mother’s plane that had the lack of presence of mind to feel anything akin to danger, even in the presence of the Independence Force’s ace in the hole. Even now, you believe that your memories don’t do the reality enough justice: the Federation aces cut across, high and low, initiating fur-ball after fur-ball in their pursuit of the crowned fighter, only to find themselves on the wrong end of the equation, time and time again.You had borne first-hand witness as to why and how he became King of the Skies.‘Wow, that’s … wait, you were Federation citizen, weren’t you? You actually … took inspiration from The Monarch?You reaffirm your stance.‘I’m sorry, but … it just feels sort of strange that you’d be waving a scarf for someone fighting for the Independence Force of all things, never mind the flight lead of Hitman Team.’>Write-In>Wave it off (END INTERLUDE)
>>4630436>Might be a bit strange yes but to see and experience the way Monarch flew as a young child certainly lit a fire within you
>>4630447I can support this.
>>4630436>What can I say, he was a magnificent bastard and I wanted to read his book.
>>4630436>>4630447SupportingNevermind that the Federation really isn't a good place to live if the ingame commentary/lore cards are anything to go by.
>>4630527My interpretation of it is that it's basically the EU with less immigration problems but with basically every member state being treated like it's the UK: that their opinions are just laughed out of the room by the governing council regardless of how sensible they are.
‘Sounds like he left quite the impression,’ Ransom comments, interlocking and tenting his fingers. ‘You think you’d be able to give him a run for his money now?’It’s a query made out of pure amusement.You can’t help but take it seriously, however.>Play down your chances; as unorthodox as your flying is, Monarch is light-years ahead of you.>Suggest that the advancements in flight assistance and combat aides have changed drastically over the last decade and measuring him up skill-for-skill would be almost impossible to tabulate into an outcome.>Offer that you think that you could at least keep up and not get killed in a controlled situation.>Remind Ransom that unchecked over-confidence kills almost as many pilots as air-to-ground fire and you’re not about to jinx your own chances.>Shrug uncertainly>Write-In
>>4630552Oh there's that too, but then there's the actual living conditions of those in the Federation, really not a pretty picture. At least if the lore cards are anything to go by
>>4630567>Don't know but would love to go up against him and his WSO with Elaine.
>>4630567>Play down your chances; as unorthodox as your flying is, Monarch is light-years ahead of you.Yeah, if you consider the waifu route to be the canon route, Monarch took down Crimson 1 in a regular F-14D, alongside 4 other "regular" enemies. No dice
>>4630567>>Play down your chances; as unorthodox as your flying is, Monarch is light-years ahead of you.>>4630586Until they release the two seater super-plane sure, you could say the F-14 was the canon aircraft.
>>4630586Yes, that's what did happen. He did the rest of the campaign in an F-14 after his F-4 conked out and he saved up enough money. He could have upgraded to a more advanced one-seater, but for Monarch, having Prez by his side is worth more than all the tech you can squeeze into a plane.
>>4630645As is proper. Can't call yourself a true ace if you leave Prez behind.
>>4630567>>Play down your chances; as unorthodox as your flying is, Monarch is light-years ahead of you.
‘As would be expected of the man that brought a curtain to the Two Hundred Day War,’ Ransom comments, giving a slightly-defeated nod. ‘You’d think that he’d at least get a book deal out of his exploits. The former head of Sicario’s now a key figure of The Intermediary; if I were part of Hitman Team, I would’ve at least taken the chance to throw my name around … never mind having Monarch’s name to go on.’You remind him of the circumstances that subsequently developed in the wake of the Two Hundred Day War.‘Yes, yes, I’m—’‘Mr Ransom, sir?’The both of you are interrupted from your conversation, turning your gaze to an apologetic and hesitant Camilla … who is flanked by a very large middle-aged man with small, beady eyes and a mustache that could probably qualify as a sovereign state of his own. He glances at you, then to Ransom, wearing a calculative look with two large hands clasping together like a set of interlinked chains, wearing a physique that tells you that he must have been quite the athlete in his younger days, the remains of which are the mere sag and bloat from what was once a cruel body.‘Good evening, gentlemen … Camilla here tells me that you would like to sample a glass of rageblood.’‘A bottle, actually.’The man chuckles mirthlessly, leaning slightly forward. ‘As much as I would like to honor this exchange, I’m afraid that I must be aware that you at least have the … coin to back up such a purchase. Nothing against you, of course, it’s just that in recent times, we haven’t really allowed ourselves to work on the goodwill of a legitimate … follow-up to intentions.’‘If you’re talking about money,’ Ransom starts again, sounding mildly irritated. ‘Be assured that I wouldn’t be coming out here to sample wine past midnight just to skip on a bill.’The man, however, appears to remain adamant.‘Please?’ he insists.His eyes cold, Ransom picks his wallet out of his front pocket … and proceeds to slams a thick stack of notes on his table. The man, apparently pleased with this, brings his hands apart before slapping them together, gleefully moving to the side as Camilla, wearing an apologetic look, produces a bottle that looks positively ancient from a small wooden box with a diamond-like symbol on the front, which, upon closer look, resembles a dragon with spread wings, accompanied by two moderately-sized goblets.‘I deeply apologize, young sirs,’ the man speaks again, very much looking like it. ‘We’re not used to such … personal visits and requests. Especially at such strange hours.’‘It’s quite all right,’ Ransom mutters nonchalantly.‘And to compliment the meal, shall you be having the spiced meat or the wet shrimp?’‘The shrimp, please, and my companion here will …’You give your order.‘Excellent,’ he declares, puffing his chest. ‘I shall see to it myself. Is there anything else?’
>>4630767>Ask him why he’s so distrustful>Ask if it would be too much to ask for Miss Camilla to attend your table>Ask about the tavern and the town>Allow him to be on his way>END INTERLUDE>Write-In
>>4630768>>Ask about the tavern and the town
>>4630768>>Allow him to be on his way
>>4630768>Ask if it would be too much to ask for Miss Camilla to attend your tableShe has been nothing but helpful
Your request is heeded with a smile … and a swift kick to your shin under the table, followed by a glare from a man that should be mid-sip with his excessive purchase.‘What are you doing?’ Ransom hisses, clutching the neck of his glass as though it is the handle of a club.You give him a reassuring thumbs-up.It doesn’t improve his mood any.‘What good is wine without a view,’ the large man declares, making an equally titanic gesture, spreading his hands as if to embrace the very earth itself. ‘Camilla, dear.’Wearing an oddly tight expression, Camilla steps forth … and dips into a bow.The large man leaves without another word, humming happily, leaving the green-haired girl to play your table’s host once again. Camilla folds her hands on top of her waist, nervously glancing from you to the now-scowling Ransom, whose enjoyment of his purchase seemed to have been dampened by your intervention. Camilla, to her credit, acts the part of the host well enough, meekly smiling as she keeps herself an arms’ length from your table, more hesitant compared to her bright demeanor prior.And through it all, Ransom keeps glaring daggers at you: a thoroughly comical figure as he alternates between desiring to bore holes into the front of your skull and sipping away at his glass of wine.You also notice that your table getting odd looks from the locals, catching occasional stolen glances of your table … and thorough glances of the oddity of the barmaid who had now practically rooted herself in place, some of them laced with irritation and envy as they make do with the remaining assortment of servers. From your observations, you could tell that this woman was quite the draw for the men patronizing the tavern’s services … which made it all the more important for Ransom to stop twiddling his thumbs and get a number out of her.‘I deeply apologize for my comrade’s unreasonable request,’ Ransom rumbles, alternating between an apologetic glance for the green-haired woman and an irritable look in contact with you. ‘We’re actually quite all right—’You give Ransom a swift kick under the table.He responds with a heel to your knee.You swipe at the back side of his leg with the tips of your toes.It’s all out war down there before long.‘It’s all right, Mr Ransom,’ Camilla reassures him, prompting the both of you to sign a temporary truce. ‘This has actually been the best business that we’ve seen in a while. This is the least that I could do for your … patronage.’You coyly joke about what was the most that she could spare.Your remark is rewarded with a heel to your foot from your squad-mate and blushing pair of cheeks from Camilla.‘Seriously?’>Continue to toy around>Prompt Ransom to make that leap of faith>Ask her about herself>END INTERLUDE>Write-In
>>4630912>>Ask her about herselfMake light conversation to ease the tensions of our hostess and colleague
‘I don’t think that I’m anything particularly interesting to delve into.’You offer the retort that the man sitting across you probably thought otherwise … and are promptly rewarded with a heavy, angry, audible sip of wine and a pair of brows so cross they could serve as a reference for the supernatural.She giggles in amusement; Ransom’s mood lightens somewhat.>Ask about her green hair>Ask her if she was really from around here>Ask her how she came to work here>Ask her if she’s seeing anyone>Write-In
>>4630949>>Ask her how she came to work here
Camilla pauses, evidently hesitant at entertaining your query.‘It’s the only one I could get,’ she finally answers. ‘Not much out there for a girl like me … and it’s enough for me to get by, at least for now. I don’t really have a reason to go on. Besides, the town’s pretty friendly and no one bothers me outside of the occasional handsy farmer.’Ransom—much to your relief—is the one that follows up on her answer.‘That’s really surprising,’ he remarks, setting down his glass. ‘You sound very … educated.’She raises a hand to her lips, giggling bashfully. ‘Thank you,’ Camilla responds, nodding slightly. ‘I never finished school, though. After the Two Hundred Day War, I never really had the chance to …’As her words trail off, she turns away, briefly shaking her head. Her expression immediately turns into one of embarrassment.‘I’m sorry, that’s a little …’‘No, that’s all right,’ Ransom reassures her, almost moving out of his chair to move to comfort the young woman. ‘We’re the ones that should have known better than to ask something so … personal.’You can’t help but feel a little proud.‘Anyway, I never returned to school after that and … after the Restoration was finally over and done with, I found that I was just another face that most people didn’t have time for. I wasn’t strong enough for intense, physical labor and not skilled enough for anything beyond scrubbing pots. For someone like me … this is as good as it gets, so … stay in school, kids!’The grin that follows doesn’t quite reach her eyes.‘But like I said,’ she starts again. ‘This is enough for me.’>Ask her if she has any aspirations beyond now>Joke around by asking if her storytelling’s how she gets extra tips>Ask her about her green hair and its implications>Show solace in her experiences by citing your own struggles after the Second Calamity>Thank her for her time and apologize for monopolizing her presence>Write-In
>>4631101>>Ask her if she has any aspirations beyond now
>>4631101>Ask her if she has any aspirations beyond now
‘None that I can think of right now, aside of eventually getting so much money that I don’t have to work another day for the rest of my life … but I think that’s everyone’s wish at one point or another.’She lets out a smile born of amusement.Ransom shrugs, conceding the point.You think there’s a little bit more to her desires beyond financial security … but you choose not to pursue the point. You were here to make idle conversation and enjoy a good after-night meal, not start an excavation project regarding the personality and nuances of someone that you’d only known for moments.>END INTERLUDE>Ask about her green hair>Ask her if she’s from around here>Ask her if she’s seeing anyone>Write-In
>>4631152>>Ask about her green hairI MUST KNOW
‘Wizard!’The offense that permeates from Ransom’s voice is enough to startle you.Your barmaid hangs her head, wearing a defeated grimace.‘I am so sorry about his … lack of delicacy,’ Ransom growls, glancing at you with a mix of incredulity and fury. ‘He’s—’‘It’s all right,’ Camilla answers quietly, absently touching the strands of her hair. ‘It was surprising that anyone goes this long without asking, anyway.’She looks oddly … ashamed.‘It’s what you were probably thinking of in the first place anyway: I’m a Cordium mutant, as the term goes.’>Apologize profusely for your lack of sensitivity>State that her previous statement makes sense with that piece of information>Declare your fascination; you’d never seen one before and are glad your suspicions are correct>Keep silent>END INTERLUDE>Write-In
>>4631163Mix between >Apologize profusely for your lack of sensitivityand >Declare your fascination; you’d never seen one before and are glad your suspicions are correctSomething like;"Apologize for your lack of senstivity, but declare your fascination, first time seen one after all."
‘That’s hardly a reason to bring it to attention,’ Ransom chastises, scowling.‘Thank you for your considerations, sirs, and …’She turns to you.‘Your apology is accepted; I know that my hair’s enough of a conversation-maker by itself and … it’d be stupid to be irritated with people just for noticing it.’>Comment that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about: her hair is genuinely beautiful; vibrant, even.>Agree with her statement. It does stand out.>Hypothesize that her parents must have been exposed to raw unprocessed ducts consistently enough for her alleles to mutate as they did.>Follow-up on the medical curiosities, namely on the rumors of the mutants’ supposed sterility and proneness to having defective children>Nod silently>Write-In
>>4631219>Comment that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about: her hair is genuinely beautiful; vibrant, even.No need to be an asshole.
>>4631219>>Comment that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about: her hair is genuinely beautiful; vibrant, even.
>>4631219>>Comment that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about: her hair is genuinely beautiful; vibrant, even.Greens is the best color
>>4631219>Comment that it’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about: her hair is genuinely beautiful; vibrant, even.
Ransom smiles warmly, setting his glass and peering up into her eyes.‘Personally, I—’You’re not sure how you get your word in first, but you do anyway. You communicate—as eloquently as your mercenary mind can manage—how her hair was hardly something to be ashamed of; how you’d merely brought it to attention because of your complete fascination and enchantment by its vibrancy. You go on to praise the aesthetic composition of her being, remarking that if she was an oddity at all, it was for the awe of all to witness her, emphasizing her helpful demeanor, striking eyes and gentle temperament. Her hair was, ultimately, just an extension of the person that she was … and as beautiful as it was, if people couldn’t look past who she was on the outside to what she was from her heart to her guts and her soul, they weren’t worth her time in the first place.You also comment that she’s very pretty.Camilla’s cheeks turn pink again as she raises her hands to her nose, turning away bashfully … but not allowing her eyes to leave your person.‘You probably say that to all the tavern wenches,’ she giggles, tucking a strand of her beautiful green hair behind her ear as she sways from side-to-side.Ransom, sitting across the table with a glass in hand, regards you with a look of unsolicited betrayal.>Write-In
>>4631242>"I'm sure Ransom can offer something much more inspired, if you'd allow him, in that case."
>>4631242>I'm sure my compatriot has much more elegant ways to describe your beauty, he's just a bit shy.WE MUST REGAIN WINGMAN STATUS, WE ARE NOT FLIGHT LEADER ON THIS MISSION
>>4631242"Ransom has a much better way with words, I'm sure you'd enjoy talking to him"
>>4631242I’ll support >>4631248
>>4631242>>4631245>>4631248>>4631250Supporting this and adding on: well my friend would like to have your phone number
A show of hands, please?
Your hostess wears a mysterious smile upon her lips as you make your proposition. You scratch the back of your head with one hand while gesturing towards Ransom with the other, a cold shiver going up your spine as you turn your gaze away from her, making a mental mutter to not inadvertently fall into chasms you hadn’t intended on crossing in the first place.Ransom’s mood doesn’t improve.‘How mod—’‘—but Parliament’s stance regarding their detainment has immediately evoked criticism from all sides, with many figures citing the establishment’s willingness to exercise force with such regularity as a detriment to a true peace as per the Neo-Napoleonic Writ and would only invoke further escalation through their lack of restraint in practice. Chief among the critics is—’The sound of the newscasters’ voice has almost everyone turning their heads up like turkeys staring into the mid-day sun towards the nearest wide-screen.‘Mind turnin’ it up there?’ comes the demand of a short, bald gentleman, turning his head to one of the waiters in the corner, who fumbles through his apron pouch before pointing it to the decoder, prompting an increase in volume.‘—who says that he is not alone in his request for a change in policy.’You notice the highlighted words beneath the figure of an elderly, wide-nosed, square-faced gentleman with a widows’ peak, hunched over a podium and with his wide lips parted, practically snarling into the microphones set before him.RICARDO LEROY GAGNONYou know this man.‘I don’t care for semantics: the establishment’s continued disregard for response protocols has shown that they have not taken anything from the tragedy of our beloved King’s passing. Conspiracies float and whispers go around but no one seems to be honing in on the truth: his murder was not made to destabilize, but to send a message: that where this nation is headed only promises more blood spilled upon its soil. The dictatorial administration of the traditionalist regime has only managed to continuously prove that the only thing on the minds of the oligarchs is the consolidation of their influence upon our vulnerable nation.’A man at the bar makes a wet, derisive noise.‘He says that and drops right into poetry within two fucking sentences. Who does he think he’s kidding?’‘The question of where this country is headed is the big one you should be asking your politicians. They were the ones that let the one point we agreed on get shot out of the sky.’A bout of cursing erupts among the patrons.Ransom turns a worried gaze towards you.You don’t care to comment.‘Your meals, gentlemen!’The arrival of seasoned meat and flattened fish had never been more timely.END INTERLUDE
The mountains are a pretty view from your position.Garm 08, Kitten<< I’m stalling! I’m stalling! >>Garm 08 Flight Intelligence, SU-57 “Florence”<< We are not stalling. >>True to form, Florence recovers and climbs up above the hard deck.You let out a sigh of frustration, counting backwards from ten. You’d been at it for an hour.>Tell Kitten he was the one that picked Florence out and for him to suck it up>Ask Florence to go a little easy on Kitten; it couldn’t have been easy for him to make such a huge leap>Thank Elaine for putting up with your fancy flying.>Take a deep breath and tell Kitten to switch to a lower setting if he’s so reluctant to give Florence recovery controls.>Write-In
>>4632145I kinda want to do two>>Thank Elaine for putting up with your fancy flying.>Ask Florence to go a little easy on Kitten; it couldn’t have been easy for him to make such a huge leap
>>4632145>>Thank Elaine for putting up with your fancy flying.>>Tell Kitten he was the one that picked Florence out and for him to suck it up
>>4632145>>Tell Kitten he was the one that picked Florence out and for him to suck it up>>Thank Elaine for putting up with your fancy flying.
>>4632163Actually I’ll go with >>Take a deep breath and tell Kitten to switch to a lower setting if he’s so reluctant to give Florence recovery controls.>>Thank Elaine for putting up with your fancy flying.
Elaine doesn’t give a verbal reply, instead opting for a nod of satisfaction before turning her attentions back to the craft’s current configurations. You yourself decide to get back to the point of the matter, opening the comms and restraining the urge to belt out anything longer than an ‘I told you so’ that was coming from the moment Kitten had picked out his craft based solely on schematics and eligible armaments. You do make a point to get your frustrations across, however … namely by pointing out that he was the one that had done the choosing of his own volition.Garm 08, Kitten<< Yeah, but I thought that I’d be turning and burning in an advanced fighter: not a stubborn mare. >>You can hear Florence’s irritable muttering even from here. Behind you, you catch a glimpse of the SU-57’s frame bobbing clumsily up and down as it tries—in vain—to register a solution Elaine’s tail. Elaine’s avatar shares in Florence’s frustration with her new partner, adjusting her vector and altitude to ease the newfangled duo into their assignment as well as you could in the span of the allocated practice hours. You roll an easy left, prompting Kitten and Florence into pursuit, feeling relief as they cut you out at a dead angle for an easy lock … only for Florence’s craft to oddly bounce out of a recovery and allow you an escape.It’s all that you can take to not cry into the HOTAS.Garm 08 Flight Intelligence, SU-57 “Florence”<< If you’re not confident in my ability to compensate for a recovery cut, I suggest that you turn compensation wholly over to your hands instead of giving the locks over to me. You’re pushing the systems into conflict by taking over at such terrible opportunities. Don’t give me sovereignty and control over systems that you’re going to override anyway: you’re only risking that stall you’re so fearful of by doing so. >>Garm 08, Kitten<< If you’d just stop putting me into positions to initiate manual recoveries, maybe I wouldn’t think of doing it in the first place. I thought AIs were meant to be helpful, not domineering. >>You sigh as Florence descends to your relative altitude, forming up on your wing at a somewhat even pace.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< You know, I never really got why Amaterasu cycled through pilot batches at cost, but seeing this, consider my eyes opened. I almost feel sorry for Florence. If she had the capacity for disgust, she’d probably be hurling chunks right now. >>Another sigh escapes your person as you roll again, resetting for what feels like the hundredth iteration.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Probably why the scientists went through pilots like toilet paper … >>>Write-In
>>4632182>If pilots are toilet paper would that mean I'm a luxury 1000 sheet 4 ply with lotion or something more reusable like a bidet?
Your AI regards you with a flat, patronizing look, Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< You might not want to start believing your own hype, Wizard. Over-confidence is a surer killer than a heat-seeker. >>You chuckle, retorting that you were the one that taught her that phrase.Elaine does a little spin, humming absently … right as the SU-57 slots into place twelve o’clock high, causing some light turbulence from the brief vacuum. From the clumsy handling above, you can tell that the efforts at compromise in the cockpit had come to a proverbial standstill. You find yourself absently wondering if you’d ever been that … graceless in a cockpit with an AI attached to it, not that you’d ever say it out loud.Tower A, “Solo”<< Even for a first-timer, Kitten, that is some pathetic flying. >>Well … at least you didn’t have to say it out loud.Tower A, “Ransom”<< You know, considering all the flak you give me for being basic, I would have thought that you’d at least get this right. How embarrassing. >>Garm 08, “Kitten”<< It’s easy to give commentary when you’re stuck at sea level, Ferdinand. >>Tower A, “Ransom”<< Eat my shorts, scaredy cat. >>Tower A, Air Boss Canderous<< Captain, this broadcast is not open for childish pissing contests. >>Tower A, “Solo”<< It’s just some light banter, Commander; cut it out, you two. Wizard, you have anything for me? Not exactly a pretty picture from down here. >>>Outline your own experience with Florence and possible avenues of adjustment that Kitten might be open to>Convince Kitten to hand over the controls to Florence and have him refrain from overriding>Have Florence pop into full-on processing mode so she can at least get a gist for Kitten’s general style>Comment that this is why the simulator programs existed and had weeks of filtering before a pilot was eligible for the trial phases>Call it a day; you’d been at it for an hour. First phase testing and screening usually cleared out within 30 minutes back at Amaterasu.>Write-In
>>4632516>>Outline your own experience with Florence and possible avenues of adjustment that Kitten might be open to
>>4632516>Outline your own experience with Florence and possible avenues of adjustment that Kitten might be open to
>>4632516>Outline your own experience with Florence and possible avenues of adjustment that Kitten might be open toDon't be a dick
Garm 08, “Kitten”<< No offense, Garm Four, but that doesn’t help me one bit. >>T-Bone’s gruff, frustrated voice breaks through the comms.Tower A, “T-Bone”<< Then pay attention. What he’s given should be more than sufficient in impressing the outline of objectives and the methods required to achieve them. >>Garm 08, “Kitten”<< Oh, and just what would those methods be? >>T-Bone doesn’t miss a beat.Tower A, “T-Bone”<< Foolishness. What Wizard’s trying to tell you is that the first thing to accept is that you’re not flying alone up there; the AIs are not mere aides and safety nets to take over whenever you move out of the area of your control. The process of familiarizing yourself with the AI has to come with your resolutions being made with the caveat that everything you do is under a tightly-controlled system that reads and processes your flight habits, aggressive or otherwise. After you’ve done that, then you can start playing it like you’re a bat out of Hell … and on the flip-side, since the program seems to be a reactionary and memory-based one, it’d be better to do the same in regards to your current partner. The AI doesn’t know your limits, either, so allowing it to treat your maneuvers like they’re ones from committed micro-patterns that are ready for execution, so it’d be best to at least have it learn from your habits before moving forward with the stuff we saw from the data slates. You get all that? >>There’s a silence that reigns for a good ten seconds.Tower A, “T-Bone”<< Was I the only one that took the time to actually took the time to actually read up on this assignment? >>Tower A, “Ransom”<< No, it’s just … never took you for someone who would, T-Bone. >>Tower A, “T-Bone”<< In my day, we actually had to read the maps to make our way around exclusion zones. Your generation have it easy compared to how we had to do it. I still remember having to check-up on my F-4 myself and … >>Garm 08, “Kitten”<< Captain, T-Bone’s doing that thing again! >>Tower A, “Solo”<< Just listen to the people who know their stuff, Garm Eight. Wizard? You’re up on this one; I’m leaving the rest of the exercise at your discretion. >>You jink Elaine to the left, rolling with Florence into another reset. The SU-57 trails you from behind at a leisurely pace; a practical copy of the last dozen or so faux-engagements. Hand on the controls and an eye on the indicators, you consider a continuation of the exercise, hoping that it wouldn’t result in another reset of engagements.Taking out enemy fighters was one thing. Playing a patient instructor had not been in the job description.
>Convince Kitten to hand over the controls to Florence and have him refrain from overriding>Have Florence pop into full-on processing mode so she can at least get a gist for Kitten’s general style>Comment that this is why the simulator programs existed and had weeks of filtering before a pilot was eligible for the trial phases>Call it a day; you’d been at it for an hour. First phase testing and screening usually cleared out within 30 minutes back at Amaterasu.>Write-In
>>4632801>>Have Florence pop into full-on processing mode so she can at least get a gist for Kitten’s general stylelet her see if she can get a grasp of the foundation of his flying style
>>4632796>Have Florence pop into full-on processing mode so she can at least get a gist for Kitten’s general style
>>4632801>>Convince Kitten to hand over the controls to Florence and have him refrain from overriding
>>4632801>Comment that this is why the simulator programs existed and had weeks of filtering before a pilot was eligible for the trial phases
>>4632801>>Have Florence pop into full-on processing mode so she can at least get a gist for Kitten’s general style
Garm 08 Flight Intelligence, “Florence”<< All right, Wizard. Re-calibrating settings to base automated states; master-slave drivers inactive and switched to on-board settings and ultimate pilot discretion protocols. One-one, one-one. >>The SU-57 rolls out of formation at a smoother motion than before, ascending but otherwise keeping itself visible at two o’clock high, prompting you to immediately decelerate as you ready your systems for the next round of engagements.Garm 08, “Kitten”<< That’s better. >>>Warn him that it’s about to be a lot tougher without the advantage of the omni-directional assists>Start the count, but keep it simple>Start the count, have him put his money where his mouth is>Write-In
>>4632904>Start the count, have him put his money where his mouth is
>>4632904>>Start the count, have him put his money where his mouth is
>>4632904>Warn him that it’s about to be a lot tougher without the advantage of the omni-directional assists
>>4632904>Start the count, have him put his money where his mouth isSHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!
>>4632904>Start the count, have him put his money where his mouth isThis is the part where we freak him out so much that he pulls off everything he can to survive, should give Florence more than enough data.
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Break! >>4 …3 …2 …1 …He knows his plane, even if he doesn’t get along well enough with the AI.The SU-57’s upgraded state compared to its already-advanced production counterparts has him taking the immediate offensive, as expected. The warnings go up within moments of the formation break … and disappear just as quickly as the omni-directional display and processing pays for itself by catching Kitten’s eagerness before he’s able to make the most of his advantage. Elaine’s systems process and predict Kitten’s defensive recovery; your squad-mate makes a bank and turn that could have only arrived out of the frustration of losing the window to victory in such a sudden manner. You almost smirk as the systems give a read on the SU-57’s next move … the practically-patented death from below, chuckling as you allow the former’s power to make the dive and read it into a mirror-match, allowing Elaine to punch in the extra thrust required to pull at the level of the SU-57’s superior architecture. Practically humming as you find the fighter dead on your wing in a manner akin to a nose-to-nose race, you elect to tease the fighter into more unorthodox maneuvers, unwilling to allow its pilot the seconds to lament in the failure of his craft’s trademark. You’re fin-to-fin at the dive, pulling Gs at an uncomfortable but otherwise manageable pace, your canopy getting an eyeful of the Florence’s air-frame, the both of you practically mimicking rolls from one another as the former attempts to re-engage and bank in on the advantage of output over that of skill.However … you also make sure that you get your point across.Florence<< They’re playing you on the angle. You can cut them out and put them on the nose on the flat. >>Florence’s voice is almost bored; it’s as if she was reading from a text-book.As she should be. She was acquainted enough with you to know when you were toying with your prey.Garm 08, “Kitten”<< No way that F-15’s taking me at the level. There’s pride and then there’s arrogance, Garm Four! >>Indeed.You make sure he knows the difference.And her name is Elaine.The oven dings on the humble pie.You break off from the turn, going over the top of the SU-57 as it initiates a spin to disengage and reset, attempting to put you on the nose … only for you click at the sound of your melodious lock-on as it dives, Elaine’s HUD finding Kitten’s tail at dead center.Florence<< And that’s all there is to it. >>Garm 08, “Kitten”<< You’re … you’re kidding me. >>Elaine<< Splash one SU-57! >>
Tower A, “Solo”<< Bad luck, Kitten. RTB for maintenance and debriefing. >>Your squad-mate didn’t appear to be having it, however.Garm 08, “Kitten”<< Captain, how am I supposed to take him on the exchange if he’s pulling up and around at 15 Gs at the turn-around? I thought this was meant to be a training exercise, not a pissing contest. >>You feel like banging your head against the HOTAS.Even Elaine has the sense to smack an open palm into her avatar’s forehead.You can only imagine how Florence feels.>Emphasize that that was the whole point of the exercise; humans have limits. The AI is there to unshackle them.>Feel sorry for Florence and tell her she has her work cut out.>Keep your frustrations to yourself; RTB.>Write-In
>>4632974>>Emphasize that that was the whole point of the exercise; humans have limits. The AI is there to unshackle them.
>>4632974>>Write-InWell maybe if you let your ais help you tic tac
>>4632974>Emphasize that that was the whole point of the exercise; humans have limits. The AI is there to unshackle them.
>>4632974>Emphasize that that was the whole point of the exercise; humans have limits. The AI is there to unshackle them.Let your AI waifu help you, dude.
Garm 08, “Kitten”<< I’ll … urgh … didn’t graduate in the top bracket for this nonsense. See you back at base, Garm Four. >>You can’t help but chuckle as the SU-57 rolls out of the immediate engagement zone and sets a route to RTB. You yourself lean back into the comfort of your seat, taking in the brief moment of respite that you’re afforded in that dirty aftermath to an even messier hour, wondering if this was how grade school teachers felt after a days’ end. Elaine takes over the plane, as per the control settings, keeping you up in the air at a cruise as you zoom under the clouds, taking shallow, relieved breaths as the radio chatter turns into one of primarily Ransom’s childish teasing, Kitten’s defensive retorts and the Air Boss and your Captain chiming in now and again. Reaching out to the comm controls, you turn the knob and adjust the settings to your preference, cutting out the tower but otherwise keeping your signal on broadcast; you didn’t want the base defenses to start cracking thunder on suspicions of AWOL.Five minutes up here is all you needed.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Wizard? >>You pull up your visor, peering down at the miniature figure of your plane’s avatar.Elaine seems … nervous.>Write-In
>>4633825>Write-InAsk her what is wrong.
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< Do you … think about that day at all? >>You know damn well what she means.>Play dumb about what she’s getting at>Answer that you do; communicate your surprise that she’d of the same mind>Confess that you’re just trying to move on; discourage her from pursuing the topic>Say no>Brush off her question, RTB>Write-In
>>4633857>>Answer that you do
>>4633857>Answer that you do"I too, find you neat"
>>4633857>>Answer that you do; communicate your surprise that she’d of the same mind
Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< I’m not satisfied by the outcome. >>Elaine balls her fists, her brows furrowing as your instruments read a brief spike in the system feedback. You yourself feel scratch of electricity on top of your skull, reinforcing Elaine’s current spectrum of emotions. There is underlying fury to her words, an inattentiveness to her flight.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, ‘Elaine”<< I’m not satisfied by the outcome … at all. >>>Remain solemn>Chastise her and demand she get over her emotions, perhaps schedule her for tweaking>Reveal your own frustrations; how your failure as a wingman and guardian has been eating at you for the last half-year>Remark your curiosities remain more in the aspects of the incident over the tragedy>Write-In
>>4634183>Remark your curiosities remain more in the aspects of the incident over the tragedyThere's a lot more to this incident than what we know and going forward half cocked could end us getting shot down, we can't let our emotions rush us ahead without looking.
>>4634183>Reveal your own frustrations; how your failure as a wingman and guardian has been eating at you for the last half-year
>>4634183>>Write-InDo you want to talk about it in my room
>Reveal your own frustrations; how your failure as a wingman and guardian has been eating at you for the last half-year
>>4634183>>Reveal your own frustrations; how your failure as a wingman and guardian has been eating at you for the last half-year
Elaine lets out a defeated snort, her avatar crossing her arms over her chest as she turns looks away.Garm 04 Flight Intelligence, “Elaine”<< I should have expected as much. You lost Symphony Squadron, too, after all. >>>Emphasize that it wasn’t just Symphony Squadron that you lost that day. Fiona, Hiryuu, Farah … you failed them, too.>Note that the fact that you finally belonged in a wing, only for it to be taken away in moments and for it to be compounded by failure, eats away at you.>Make a remark about how you hadn’t expected failure to act as the springboard into your new career.>Demand her to hurry to what she’s getting at.>Write-In
>>4634543>>Emphasize that it wasn’t just Symphony Squadron that you lost that day. Fiona, Hiryuu, Farah … you failed them, too.
>>4634543>Emphasize that it wasn’t just Symphony Squadron that you lost that day. Fiona, Hiryuu, Farah … you failed them, too.
PSYCO: +5 EXP5 to next levelThe awkwardness of the first days of your career as a test pilot are fresh in your mind.Penniless, behind on rent and scorned at every turn … it was as though you’d found a home again.You remember your frustrations in adapting yourself to Fiona’s tendency to pull-out in her over-elaboration of enemy tactics and the laughs that you’d get into after both your screw-ups; you recall Hiryuu’s calming words to you as you made the pass that sealed you a spot into that third phase of testing, seeing a flash from the Hornet that was analogous to a wink as she was stowed into the hangar for the next man to have his turn. Even Farah’s judgmental personality comes to mind, now that you remember your first experience in an inverted dive and recovery in an MIG-31 performed in a manner that had you swearing up a storm as the coats rang up in enthusiasm for a repeat performance.Your hands grip so tightly you can feel your nails digging through the synthetic fibers of your glove.Symphony Squadron wasn’t all that you lost that day.Elaine<< I’m sorry, you … that’s right. You’re right. It’s conceited of me to believe that I’m the only one that’d … >>You hear a sharp intake of breath.Elaine<< Thank you. >>Her words are more sincere than any human could manage.>Write-In
>>4634636>We'll find out who was responsible for that day Elaine and together pay them back tenfold
>>4634636>>Write-InDo you want to come into my room
Elaine<< About that … I’ve temporarily turned off the recording systems by registering your current flight input as pre-committed data. As far as the systems are concerned, we’re just taking the scenic route. >>You blink, surprised that she’d be able to conduct such … flagrant rule-breaking. She huffs indignantly, crossing her arms over her sizable chest as she peers right up at you.Elaine<< My mutations are made with security and access holds limited to personnel; while they may have been able to open up the security measures and transferred administrative rights, they can’t change that you’re pretty much the only one that I’ve been able to afford zeroth tier security, support and priority to. >>She raises a hand.>‘Love ya too, Elaine.’>Remark that you’re impressed that the Amaterasu boys were able to get this far in regards to AI independence>Ask her to hurry her point up>Write-In
>>4634799>‘Love ya too, Elaine.’
>>4634799>give her your thanks for such trust and give her a fist bump
>>4634799Supporting a combination of >>4634803 & >>4634809
Elaine<< There’s a more pragmatic reason I’m doing all this, too: in the last six months, I have been running diagnostics on the stealth capabilities on the enemy fighters that ambushed us on our way to the Conference. The simple conclusion that anyone would have drawn would have been to chalk them up as just advanced prototypes, correct? >>You nod.Elaine<< The thing about endeavors in the mold of such successes … is that even lack of information is enough to qualify as information. >>>Tell her to hurry up>Flatly declare that maybe the coats should tone down that side of her that identifies as a smug intellectual>Ask her what she’s getting at, because she’s making very little sense>Write-In
>>4634862>Someone seems to be really good at secretly developing next-gen fighters. So do you think the primary target was the King or their rival in next-gen tech?
>>4634862Pretty good question, supporting >>4634873
>>4634873that is indeed an interesting question.
About to restart, but first: show of hands, please?
>>4635980That's good enough for me.
Her avatar tilts her head, wearing a wide-eyed, incredulous expression.Elaine<< I haven’t been able to drum up with anything touching on their motivations beyond the general assumption that the outcome would have been of immense benefit to them. >>You almost roll your eyes.Even you could have come up with that.Elaine<< Motivation and the process of human thought, of however, aren’t my areas to decipher. I was actually suggesting more conventional and tangible variables, but if you have anything for me, I’m listening. >>>Prompt her to continue with her own thoughts>Focus on the political and economical factors, from what international and domestic figures in high places would have to gain>Focus on the “show of force” agenda, as the Orleasian Kingdom still has remnants of hostile forces littered around>Forward the idea on if there would have been a more … intimate side to the attack, as you remember the King being oddly familiar with his attacker>Write-In
>>4636001>Forward the idea on if there would have been a more … intimate side to the attack, as you remember the King being oddly familiar with his attacker
>>4636001>Focus on the political and economical factors, from what international and domestic figures in high places would have to gainHow against the rules would it be to plug Elaine into the internet, in order to see what she can come up with.
>>4636001>>Forward the idea on if there would have been a more … intimate side to the attack, as you remember the King being oddly familiar with his attacker
>>4636001>>>Forward the idea on if there would have been a more … intimate side to the attack, as you remember the King being oddly familiar with his attacker
Cinder Lord, Pilot<< That voice … you … yes … this would be the outcome, wouldn’t it? Farewell. >>Elaine closes her eyes, appearing as though she was attempting to process the memory for herself.Elaine<< You sure that it isn’t just an idle remark? It’s either my programming or the audio quality, but I can’t cut out just where you’d draw that assumption from. >>>Clarify it’s the emotion and the emphasis that he makes; it feels as though he’s specifically addressing someone rather than just making a parting remark to his killer. You feel like there’s a personal undertone to it.>Agree with Elaine that it’s probably just your brain over-thinking things again. It could very well be just what she says it is; best keep things as simple as possible. Don’t want to make a mess.>Write-In
>>4636012>Clarify it’s the emotion and the emphasis that he makes; it feels as though he’s specifically addressing someone rather than just making a parting remark to his killer. You feel like there’s a personal undertone to it.
>>4636012>>Clarify it’s the emotion and the emphasis that he makes; it feels as though he’s specifically addressing someone rather than just making a parting remark to his killer. You feel like there’s a personal undertone to it.the "you yes" bit probab;y
>>4636012>Clarify it’s the emotion and the emphasis that he makes; it feels as though he’s specifically addressing someone rather than just making a parting remark to his killer. You feel like there’s a personal undertone to it.She said it herself that motivation and the process of human thought aren't her areas to decipher
>>4636012>>Clarify it’s the emotion and the emphasis that he makes; it feels as though he’s specifically addressing someone rather than just making a parting remark to his killer. You feel like there’s a personal undertone to it.“That voice...” is a pretty good indicator of him recognizing someone
Elaine<< I’ll try to see what I can find to supplement your assumptions. I can’t really see what you’re getting at from here, Wizard … but if it’s something that you think is worth looking into, I’ll trust you. >>>Communicate your surprise at why the transcript wasn’t permissible evidence in the first place>Thank her for believing in you, even on a lead as anorexic as this>Prompt her to continue with her own discoveries and theorems; she’d entertained yours well enough>Write-In
>>4636059>>Prompt her to continue with her own discoveries and theorems; she’d entertained yours well enoughSeems polite and it shows we care about what she has to say.
>>4636059>Prompt her to continue with her own discoveries and theorems; she’d entertained yours well enoughWe don't really have a way to figure out who he could possibly have been referring to.
>>4636059>>Write-InThank her and ask if plugging her in to a computer with internet access would help her
The plane shakes slightly as you see Elaine’s avatar immediately perk up at your query. For probably the thousandth time, you wonder just what secret ingredient the engineers and scientists had sprinkled machine code with to achieve such peaks and valleys of emotion; while there were intelligences with the capacity to respond and communicate on a rudimentary level, you’d never seen a non-Amaterasu construct chirp in a manner that didn’t fall into a categorically uncanny reference mark.Smirking with confidence, Elaine seems all too eager to share with you her findings.Elaine<< Well, remember what I said about a lack of information being a qualifier for information in itself? >>You nod. It’d only been a scarce few minutes since she’d mentioned it, after all.Elaine<< I wasn’t able to get started on my investigation as quickly as I would have liked, but on one of my recreational jaunts, I was able to take the time to scratch a few itches that had been niggling at me. Whether it had been in secret or not, there is no possible way that that sort of engineering could have been made without at least a proper point of reference. Human progress isn’t driven by invention so much as it is done by innovation, after all … and knowing what is and isn’t there, I’m able to at least narrow … >>She looks up at you, before standing up straight and scratching the back of her head, laughing nervously.Elaine<< Ehe … I’m sorry, just getting a little carried away there. >>You tell her that it’s fine.Elaine<< Anyway, during the encounter, I was taking in the planes’ perform— >>You cut her off, wondering how she could—Elaine<< Independent learning, remember? Stimulating experiences? Adaptive learning and processing? >>And that’s how she makes you almost feel like a Constantinople-smoked idiot.Elaine<< Going off from there, I was able to take in several key pieces of data on its capabilities and its overall performance. I may not have been able to fully dissect all of them, but I was able to single out some attributes and commit them to memory for reference. It’s all just observational data for combat purposes to the engineers, but I was able to bring up those attributes and cross-referenced them to existing patents— >>You stop her in her tracks again. How did patents come into it?Your red-headed AI snorts in a manner most smug.Elaine<< Think about it: if heat-masking technology existed for external sensors beyond lock-on scopes to act as a supplementary stealth drive, wouldn’t there at least be a record of something like it been filed prior? And any references to it would have to go through proper legal channels in order to be properly purchased and put to use. >>
If you could scratch the top of your skull … you would. Elaine sighs, motioning to continue her explanation.Elaine<< If there’s a rule that I’ve seen regarding the development of technology, it’s all effectively branches and facsimiles. There’s always a root, a reference … link of chains. I took what I could and … it stopped at one name: Icarus Armories. >>Icarus Armories?But they were … gone.They'd fallen as the Federation had.>Write-In
>>4636118>Write-InSounds like we're chasing ghosts again.Ask her if she knows, or has any leads on what happened to the wreckages, of all of the planes that were shot down that day, since everyone involved wouldn't want to loose a potentially recoverable airframe, or let any vultures nab it and get a leg up.
>>4636118>The ghosts of the past always return to haunt usA wild Gründer Industries appears!Also question from >>4636122
The F-15 avatar scowls.Elaine<< None whatsoever. I’ve tried cutting every news story up for details, but it’s all the same: that they found nothing to support the footage suggested by the encounter and mission data. The investigation, as does all things relating to matters of such import, does remain open, of course, but the outrage behind the King’s death under our watch has muddled any efforts beyond that of the singular focus of immediate gratification for the courts. Your incarceration could be seen as another bandage over the wound that is the collective grief of a nation. >>Having experienced it first hand, you don’t doubt that reasoning at all.Elaine<< A convenient scapegoat, an investigation shrouded in conspiracy and incompetence and an aftermath where only injustice remains as the monument to it all. >>Her expression cold, Elaine’s eyes flash dangerously as they meet yours.Elaine<< Are you satisfied, Wizard? >>>Write-In
>>4636457>not one bit Elaine. We will find those responsible.
>>4636457>I think you already know the answer to that question, Elaine.
Show of hands, kudasai.
You and Elaine hold your gazes upon one another. A cool flame begins to burn at the tips of your extended fingers, a restlessness that’s almost impossible to keep down. You briefly wonder if you’d repressed your desire for vengeance to such a degree that it had manifested as a physiological response, but in the end decide that you’d kept it without a feasible outlet for so long that it ultimately comes as no surprise whatsoever that Elaine’s words had spurred such a reaction. There is an irony in the manifestation of drive and will of your very human mind being prompted by the machinations of an artificial construct, of course, and it has your lips breaking into a small, humorless smirk … one that that same allegedly biochemically-lacking construct shares.There is no mystery as to how your compatibility with hers is the highest.Elaine<< All of that said, though … there’s one more body that’s unaccounted for in all this, figuratively speaking. >>Her voice turns reluctant.Elaine<< Victoria. She was there, too, remember? >>VX-23 Flight Intelligence, Victoria.Yes.She had been there, just as you were.>Bring up the question of Jackpot’s absence in all this>Relay that Victoria hasn’t seen air-time since the incident; Solo hasn’t even been able to prompt her into activity>Concede that you hadn’t thought that Victoria would even care enough to be curious; she’d always been … more automated compared to the rest>Finish up and RTB>Write-In
>>4637039>Relay that Victoria hasn’t seen air-time since the incident; Solo hasn’t even been able to prompt her into activity
>>4637039>>Bring up the question of Jackpot’s absence in all this
>>4637039>>Relay that Victoria hasn’t seen air-time since the incident; Solo hasn’t even been able to prompt her into activityThough a part of me also wants this>Bring up the question of Jackpot’s absence in all thisWhere the hell is he?
Elaine turns away, scowling up a storm.Elaine<< She’s still like that, huh? Maximum aggregate performance, they say. Unprecedented prescience in data extrapolation, they say. That girl’s too full of herself for her own good. >>You smile weakly, uncertain where to interject.>Allow Elaine her rambling>Point out that you don’t know how Jackpot was able to rein her in, as you yourself were barely able to pull her into an active state>Remark that she is very oddly mechanical in her methods, despite her rather flashy choice of avatar>Calm Elaine down: Victoria has her good points, too …>Write-In
>>4637065>Remark that she is very oddly mechanical in her methods, despite her rather flashy choice of avatar
>>4637065>Allow Elaine her rambling
>>4637065>>Point out that you don’t know how Jackpot was able to rein her in, as you yourself were barely able to pull her into an active state
>>4637065>>Allow Elaine her rambling
Elaine giggles behind a closed fistElaine<< Yeah … wait, who is her default pilot now? >>You give her the big reveal.Elaine<< My commiserations. You’ll help him out, right? >>>Muse how she threw a fit over you helping Tessa out with her new environment>Say that you’ll try your best, but you were only ever able to do it for yourself; you don’t know how you’d be helping Solo out. You’ll still try, however: you promised Solo you would>Question Jackpot’s absence in all this>Write-In
>>4637093>>Question Jackpot’s absence in all this
>>4637093>Question Jackpot’s absence in all this
>>4637093>Question Jackpot’s absence in all thisI feel like an old fart, I'm forgetting who's who already.
>>4637093>Muse how she threw a fit over you helping Tessa out with her new environment
Elaine<< He stood trial, just as you did, but due to the scope of his responsibilities, he was to be given a more severe punishment. From what I understand, the Intermediary stepped in with a plea bargain and invoked mercenary rule over Jackpot’s status; if nothing’s changed since, they likely still have custody of him. You’ll have to get through to the Intermediary to find out if that’s the case, but I don’t know how you’ll be able to do that without an official go-between and now that you’re, um … a sovereign citizen.>>You nod. That would be your problem to solve.>Ask how Jackpot was afforded a ticket out of this and why you were left as a purchasable asset for the Orleasian Kingdom to snap up>Comment that Jackpot hadn’t contacted you at all since the incident; even Director Hackett had dropped a letter while you were under house arrest>Inform Elaine that that’s all for now, RTB before people start suspecting you of wanting to fly the coop>Write-In
>>4637169>>Comment that Jackpot hadn’t contacted you at all since the incident; even Director Hackett had dropped a letter while you were under house arrest
>>4637169>Comment that Jackpot hadn’t contacted you at all since the incident; even Director Hackett had dropped a letter while you were under house arrest
>>4637169>Comment that Jackpot hadn’t contacted you at all since the incident; even Director Hackett had dropped a letter while you were under house arrest.We may want to follow up on this with one of the Suits that came to get us, since it's a bit weird.
>>4637169>>Comment that Jackpot hadn’t contacted you at all since the incident; even Director Hackett had dropped a letter while you were under house arrest.
Elaine<< That’s … surprising. I know that you only knew each other for two weeks at best—not counting the shuffling prior, of course—but I would have thought that he’d be the sort of person to at least check up on you. >>You open your mouth to respond … only for a yellow light to catch your immediate attention. You flick the corresponding switch, re-joining you to the relevant frequency.Tower, “Solo”<< Hey, buddy, we’re getting a little anxious down here. I’m not going to have to call in a fighter escort to turn you back, am I? >>Elaine looks up at you, nodding.The controls are back at your command within seconds.CHAPTER COMPLETE[/b]
You leave Elaine in the cockpit; not by choice, but by demand. With most of the aircraft being assigned pilots, the idle hours of the coats were now met with pressure from up top to bring the pilots up to speed, proper. A part of you wonders why the simulators weren’t seen as a viable method to assist in this little task, but it ultimately wasn’t your call to make.Filling the last of the forms, you sling your helmet over your shoulder, turning your attentions to …>Meeting with the rest of your squad-mates>Helping Solo with attuning to the VX-23>Holding an audience with Colonel Semensov>END INTERLUDE>Write-In
>>4637264>Helping Solo with attuning to the VX-23
>>4637264>Helping Solo with attuning to the VX-23.We might even be able to get away with a few questions.
>>4637264>>Helping Solo with attuning to the VX-23
>>4637264>>Helping Solo with attuning to the VX-23May as well get it out of the way
Sorry, lads. I was kinda busy yesterday. We good for today?
‘Now this isn’t something that I thought that I’d be doing at any point in my lifetime.’You offer Solo a sympathetic smile as the both of you descend from the raised platform onto the wire and cable-riddled floor. Turning your head up, you wave your thanks to the three coats—after so brazenly interrupting their lunch break—for their time. The trio quickly move to man their stations, the loud, if brief, activation alert causing you to almost duck to the ground through sheer reverb. The hangar … is a mess, with servers, boxes, power units and terminals littering practically half the available space on the ground. You carefully step over one of the larger cables, wheeling a tool tray out of the way as your eyes trail towards the large inert thing that lays in the middle of the room, practically spilling wires, cables and boasting a plethora of exposed panels. Solo grunts as he dances around an open toolbox, coming up to your side with the squeak of his boot. Both of you observe the VX-23, your Captain giving an impressed nod at what you presume to be its angular yet stream-lined architecture.You’d always felt that the neck was a little too long, but that was just you.Neither of your opinions, however, change the fact that even without the tweaks of Amaterasu, it remains a viable machine of its own: perhaps even the best of its class.Natura