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File 151063938465.jpg - (344.00KB, 2048x1937, Evening Stroll.jpg) [iqdb]
28316 No. 28316
Previous Thread: >>28002

[X] Go for a walk in the plant

The rest of the rabbits more or less head directly for the stairs up to the dorms once we get down to the main area of the plant. Not sure what they have planned, if anything at all, but I know that Sumi and Ringo at least aren't the types to go to bed this early. I'm not really that worried about them finding anything to occupy themselves so much, but it makes me feel a little better that Yuzuki will be around to make sure they use to pass the time isn't too disruptive or anything. As for myself, I'm feeling like I should take a bit of a walk.

Granted, I've already spent a pretty significant portion of today out of the company of all three of the rabbits around me. It's not like I'm already sick of them, just that I feel like I wouldn't mind another chance to think by myself. My talks with Ringo haven't gone poorly, all things considered, but they haven't really resolved the situation one-hundred percent either.

And yes, I'm well aware that the bulk of the responsibility for making sure that anything does actually get resolved is on me. The possible unfairness of that is definitely not lost on me.

Rather than following along with the rest of the group as they start up the stairs, I stand aside and let Sumi pass me by. Both she and Yuzuki notice the gesture, which makes them react enough that Ringo catches it too. "So, I think I might wander around by myself for a little bit, if that's okay," I tell nobody in particular. Ordinarily I would have to ask Ringo, but with how little she seems to be enforcing the chain of command lately, I just say it in general to the group instead.

"I'll tell you right now, there ain't much to see," Sumi warns me, looking out the door to the stairwell with an unimpressed look on her face. "Even if you poke into the areas they don't want you to poke around in, it's all nerd stuff. Nothing flashy or interesting really."

"You do know that we're restricted from full access for a reason, right?" Yuzuki clearly already knows the answer, but still starts the inevitable scolding with a rhetorical question.

"Yeah yeah, they don't want us getting cancer or blowing something up or whatever else. I've heard it all before," Sumi doesn't even look up at Yuzuki as she moves back out of the hallway. "Not like I jumped into the plant itself or anything, I just had a look at stuff around here."

Yuzuki sighs and shakes her head at that, but surprisingly doesn't push the argument. Weird, I was kind of expecting her to be more persistent about the rules, but it looks like she's letting it drop for whatever reason. What's done is done I guess, and while I know that it won't make much difference to try and argue with Sumi, Yuzuki usually goes for it anyway just based on the principle of the matter.

I guess this is fine too though. No need to drag out an argument for no reason. "That's not really what I'm after anyway," I say. "I really just want to walk for the sake of walking."

"Coulda done that up top," Sumi points out, though the problems with that idea are obvious enough that even she admits to them readily. "But I guess it's warmer and less dark and spooky or whatever down here. Yeah fine. You do you, and anybody else you want to do," Sumi shrugs then starts heading up the stairs. I wasn't really looking for her permission though.

Luckily, Ringo also seems to agree. "Yeah, it's fine," She seems pretty neutral on the idea, though maybe it's a point in her favor that she's not asking to come too. "Err, I'll wait up for you then?" She asks.

Right. That's definitely... Well, there isn't really any getting around the question of sleeping next to Ringo or not, even if I delay it for now. That's fine though. Once I clear my head a bit, it'll probably be easier to talk that bit out. Hopefully. "Sure," I nod to Ringo.

Ringo gives me a quick thumbs up, then her and Yuzuki turn to head up to our dormitories, leaving me alone. I'm not really relieved by that or anything, but I guess it's more or less what I wanted.

I check the signs around me, trying to decide where to go when the destination doesn't actually matter all that much. Don't want to go down toward the reactor, obviously, so that's out. Don't want to go back up to the surface either. That leaves either the path toward the library and research labs, or the way to the cafeteria and eventually the rest of the underground.

Honestly, the idea of talking to Yamame very briefly crosses my mind, but I dismiss it almost immediately. Too long of a trip all the way out to the underground capital, and no way to know if I could even get in contact with her either. She could by busy don't something or sleeping or whatever else. Even if she did say that she wants me to visit her again sometime, I have a feeling that doing it right at this moment would only complicate things. Brainwise, that is.

So yeah, I think I'll just... Not even go that way for now. With that option crossed out, I head in the direction of the library, records, and research labs.

-

Despite saying that I want to walk around by myself to clear my mind, I don't really feel like I'm using the time very well. I'm not really sure what to focus on, and the fact that I'm in an unfamiliar environment kind of keeps me a little occupied, at least enough that I can't completely devote myself to my thoughts.

Okay, no, this place isn't that unfamiliar. I've been idly running my hand along the wall as I slowly make my way through the halls, and it mostly is just more of the same that I've seen anywhere else in the plant. Dull colors, the occasional door, labelled or not, and a complete lack of other people. Really does remind me of some of the more permanent military buildings back on the Moon. The kinds that are a lot bigger than they need to be considering how few people are actually occupying or doing any work them. A lot of resources and materials used for not much reason, as far as I can tell. Not really my place to tell people how to spend their budgets though. Especially when they're the ones paying me.

But um, yeah. See this is the kind of thing that I was thinking about. It doesn't have much substance, but it occupies my mind enough that I can still keep track of where I am as I head deeper into the plant facilities. There are still signs around, so I don't think I'll get lost, but it still doesn't hurt to pay attention. Where the hallway leading out of the plant to the underground is more of a straight shot with a few rooms off to the side, this section of the plant appears to be just a bit more complex. There are more extra hallways leading off to different spare rooms and laboratories. Places with signs saying stuff like pressurization research, turbine testing, coolant pump development... It's pretty much way over my pay grade, but I'm not really here to check this stuff out anyway.

So what exactly am I here to do then? I haven't really gotten that far on that. Keep getting distracted by the sightseeing, even if I'm only reading signs. Need to switch back into actually clearing up some of the leftover problems in my brain. Maybe I can't immediately solve the big issues like the thing with Ringo or what I'm going to do about going back to the Moon, but there should be other things that I can sort through to make myself feel better.

I guess that the big order of the day is my powers. There are some big changes there, and trying to think about the implications is kind of daunting. Just from the practice session with Sanae, the reactions that I saw from Ringo, and the comparisons that I can make mentally with data I already have, it seems like I've suddenly rocketed into being the highest fire power member of the team. That's not to say that I wasn't already. If you ignore danmaku, then yeah, having more control over my powers doesn't matter that much. It was between super strength and gunshots, and while there are pros and cons to each, in most situations my powers would usually come out on top of that debate.

Now, with more finesse in what I'm actually doing? More ability to pick and choose what I'm summoning? More time to actually look at the bulllet dimension thing without getting a headache? Yeah, the others can't really compare to me offensively. Not that I'm trying to sound arrogant or anything. The others obviously have utility from their abilities that I can't get anywhere close to. It's just that objectively, I am the most powerful. There isn't really much argument to be made against that idea.

That worries me a little bit. Partially because it's another excuse for Ringo to be lazy, but also because it's another thing pushing me to pick up her slack. It's not really that hard to notice that I've already been doing that a lot lately. When Ringo doesn't care to make a decision or push things along, I do it for her. When somebody needs to be proactive and get things done, I'm the first one there. I don't really know when or why this started, maybe shortly after we came to Earth in the first place, but either way, it's not normal. That's not to say that it's bad, I suppose. Ringo is obviously intending to stay here, and in that case, she can't exactly lead the unit anymore. If she's trying to step down a bit to let me gradually get used to taking charge...

Err, that only works if I want to lead the team though, doesn't it?

Aaaand just like that I've run into that issue again. The bit where I don't know if I want to stay here or go back to the Moon. I feel like I'm hitting this subject pretty often. It would really be easier if I could just come to a conclusion on it, but-Woah!

I come across another intersection of hallways just in time to almost run into somebody rounding the corner toward me. I manage to avoid a full on collision, but my legs trip over this other girl's, causing me to stumble and almost fall to the ground. From the thump sound behind me as I regain my balance, the other party had it worse. I turn around to check the damage, only to find Rika laid out on her stomach, neck and head angled up enough to read a clipboard she's holding out in front of her. If I didn't already know it wasn't the case, I could almost believe that she was lying there on purpose. As it is, it just looks like she meant to fall over.

"Are you okay?" I'm taller than her, so it's no surprise that Rika was tripped up more by us running into each other. I stand over her nervously, not sure if I should help her up or what.

"Fine," Rika responds, still looking over the paper on her clipboard. It kinda looks like plans or blueprints to something, but I'm not close or technically versed enough to figure out what. "This angle actually helps a little bit. Good perspective. Very artistic, like I keep saying," Right, now that I have time to remember, Rika was the one that was kind of difficult to understand completely, wasn't she? "Good morning, by the way."

"Err," Morning? We're not even close to that. "Evening," I correct her gently.

"Evening still?" Rika rolls over ninety degrees onto her side, turning her neck to look up at me. "Crap. They're not gonna take me seriously like this. Working away like crazy, you'd expect me to lose track of time and at least work all night, but I'm almost done with what I wanted to do. Doesn't look nearly as impressive if it's not an all-nighter," I... What? Rika sits up abruptly, crossing her legs and staring at her clipboard. "Nope, nope. Guess I'll have to rework this again. Not going to have kappa think that I half-assed this."

I'm... Kind of a little bit lost here. She was working on something, assumed that it took her all night, so she decided it was done. Now that I've told her that isn't the case, she thinks that will make her look worse somehow? I'm missing something here. "What um, what are you working on?"

Rika frowns, looking up at me for a moment, then holds up her clipboard. "Here."

... Yeah, this means nothing to me. Just a bunch of lines, symbols, and numbers. There aren't even any notes that could give me context about what I'm actually looking at. "I don't really know anything about this um... This stuff."

"Do any of us, really?" Rika asks what I'm pretty sure is a rhetorical question as she pulls the clipboard back down to her face. "No, I didn't think so. Not like these. Not like this. Trying to reproduce it, but the Moon is weird. They do weird circuit things. Weird machine things. Brilliant. Pretty. But weird. You, you're weird."

"... Sorry?" Not my fault that Moon tech is massively far beyond Earth stuff.

"Apology acknowledged, not accepted," Wow, that seems a little harsh, but there's no real intensity to Rika's accusations of my guilt as she stands back up. She brushes her pants off a little bit, then gives me a serious look. "Do me a favor? Distract me for a bit. I do good work when I'm distracted. Or hungry. Or other conditions apply. Or just when I do work really. It's all good."

"Um?" Before I can even really process the request, Rika has already given me a half hearted beckoning motion to follow her, then started walking away. She doesn't even look back to see if I'm following or anything.

Err... This isn't exactly what I came over this way for, but maybe it's still okay to go along with it. Rika is clearly a very outside perspective. If she wants me to just distract her, maybe I could get her input on things? I mean, I don't really have any idea what she's doing, but it's not really my job to know, as curious as I might be.

On the other hand, I don't really know how long this is going to take, and it's not like I'm being forced to follow her. She still hasn't even looked back at me, so I doubt she cares that much what I actually decide to do.

[ ] Talk to Rika about the Moon
[ ] Talk to Rika about the Dream World
[ ] Talk to Rika about the plant
[ ] Talk to Rika about my problems
[ ] Talk to Rika about something else (write in)
[ ] Don't talk to Rika, just keep walking

Multivoting is on as usual.
Expand all images
>> No. 28318
[X] Talk to Rika about the Moon
[X] Talk to Rika about the Dream World

Hmmm... not sure we want to vent to Rika about our personal problems, might just want to keep it mission-focused for now.
>> No. 28319
[x] Talk to Rika about my problems
>> No. 28320
[x] Talk to Rika about the Dream World
[x] Talk to Rika about the plant

Smalltalk with a side of relevance.
>> No. 28321
[X] Talk to Rika about the Dream World
>> No. 28323
File 15108987781.jpg - (488.10KB, 800x800, Inspiration from strange places.jpg) [iqdb]
28323
[X] Talk to Rika about the Dream World

"O-okay uh, wait!" Sheesh, she really isn't giving me much time to think this over. I have to hurry to follow along before she disappears down one of these random hallways that all look the same. Even if I don't think that I would get lost, I definitely wouldn't be able to figure out where Rika's going if I lost track of her. Everything is too similar, and I'm not even sure where I would want to start looking. What does Rika actually do aside from generic science engineering stuff?

Obviously I'm not dumb, but that doesn't I'm well versed in scientific concepts. Research and development was one of those rare fields that the lunarians actually made sure to work on for themselves, rather than pushing it off to the rabbits. Personally I think that we could have done a good job with it, but it's hard to argue with the results. Even if you only look at the stuff that Eirin Yagokoro developed, lunar technology really is orders better than anything I've seen down here. Unfortunately, that gap just makes it even less likely that I'll have anything in common with Rika right now. Even if she says that I'm just here to distract her, what should-?

Oh, there's an idea. "Um, you know about the Dream World, right?" I think that's a pretty relevant subject, considering it's kind of the goal right now. At least in the more immediate sense. I speed up a little bit so that I can catch up and actually be in a decent range for conversation.

Luckily, Rika's a bit shorter than I am, so it's not that hard to close the distance just by having longer legs. "Deep down, everybody does," She answers vaguely, not even turning her head my way. Her eyes are on her clipboard again. I'll try not to let that bother me I guess.

"But I mean, you have some kind of specialization in it, right?" I don't recall exactly how Kanako described the credentials, but she definitely did count Rika as someone with some kind of expertise. If she had a choice, I have a feeling she would have preferred to consult Rikako instead. "It's your work that's going to let the portal get us to the lunar capital, right?"

"Probly," That's not even a real word, but okay. "It'll probly work."

"Right," I'd really like her to be a bit more confident. At the very least she shouldn't sound less sure of things than I do. "Well if it does work, what can you tell me about what comes after that? I've been there once, but we were just passing through an approved channel. It was supposed to be a lot safer than anywhere else. What is the rest of the Dream World like?"

Rika looks up from her clipboard for a moment, staring forward as she keeps walking. She fidgets with the thing a little bit, apparently trying to think of how to answer. "Dark," is what she settles on. "You can still see though, which I always thought was weird. You see what it wants you to see usually, but when you're not dreaming, how does it work?"

Err, I'm kind of missing some of the thought process there. "What it wants you to see?" I repeat.

"Subconscious," Rika answers with a word that doesn't really explain anything. "It's not your friend, not anyone's friend, doesn't even have any friends. Can you imagine that? Don't know how it works either, but it knows what it wants you to see somehow, and that's what you get to see when you dream. That's how the Dream World works, at least that part of it. Collective subconscious. Everyone's connected to it and through it," Okay, I kinda get that a little bit more, but there's probably a better way to explain it than that. "But it's also its own place, because you can go there with your body."

"Right, through portals and stuff," That's part of the plan and everything, but it doesn't really answer my original question. "And what was it like when you went there with your body? Err, you did do that, right?"

Rika pauses mid stride, holding her foot up for half a second before it comes down stiffly. I see her blinking a couple of times, though she doesn't appear to be looking at much of anything in particular. "Different. World of Fantasies," She mutters, almost more to herself then as a response to me. At least she continues after that. "That's what I call it anyway. Full of ideas, fantastic ones, scary ones... Way too much inspiration at once, I'm still trying to work through it all from the first time I was there... And every other time hasn't lived up to the hype... Hype while sleeping doesn't work, by the way. It's irritating. Distracting from the point. Not the good kind of distraction either."

"Um..." I'm really not sure that I follow. I'm also not sure how to ask for more information. Is she saying she went somewhere other than the Dream World?

We continue through the facility quietly after that. Rika goes back to staring at her clipboard after a minute or so, awkwardly trying to scribble on it while walking. From what I can see, she's making a bit of a mess, but it's apparently good enough for her. She never erases or corrects anything as far as I can tell. Either she's not making any mistakes or she's just working around them.

After another couple of minutes, I realize a couple of things. Firstly, I'm not being a very good distraction. It's hard to feel too badly about that though, considering Rika is kind of strange to talk to, and she's not doing a good job of keeping the conversation going either. I decide not to say anything about that, but there's definitely another point that I want to bring up. That's the second thing that I realize. "Um, am I even supposed to be back here?" There haven't been any signs about the area being restricted, but I haven't seen any signs like that anywhere. In fact, I'm not sure if such signs actually exist.

"Supposed to?" Rika repeats. "Nnnnope," Crap crap crap... "We're gonna send you back in a few days though."

What does that... Oh, so I just started panicking for nothing then. That's not exactly new, but I'd still rather not have done it. "Err, I was more talking about this part of the plant..."

Rika just shrugs as a response, then falls back into silence. Not really reassuring.

Yeah, I can see why Sanae said that Rika can be a little difficult at times. She hasn't really given me much of a concrete answer for anything. Maybe I could be pressing her harder, sure, but feeling like you're constantly having to force a conversation just to keep it going isn't exactly a fun experience. Doesn't help that I know very little about Rika in the first place. Rikako and Kanako could handle her by having authority over her to do so, but I don't have that.

Still, she asked me to be a distraction, so I'll keep trying for at least a little bit longer. "Okay, so, World of Fantasies then?" I prompt her, hoping that she'll give me a little more to work with.

Rika nods, glancing up from her clipboard again as we turn another corner. "Might have been something wrong with me, or maybe not. Probably just something different," she mutters. "Always always always went there dreaming as a kid. Not normal, but I liked it. Go to sleep at night, wake up with all these ideas. Things that I can build. Things that I have to build, because nobody else is going to do it if I don't. Doesn't give me a complete picture, so I gotta fill in the blanks while I'm awake. That's where the art comes in, I think. I'm a good artist."

Huh, some of that was surprisingly a little more lucid. I'm getting a bit more of an idea of what's up with Rika, though I still don't quite understand the whole World of Fantasies thing. Maybe it's something that you have to see to really get, but if I take her word for it, Rika's behavior starts making a little bit more sense. Just a little. "So then-"

Before I can get more clarification, Rika turns and opens up one of the doors nearby. Before I can even read the words on the sign above to see where we're stopping, a streak of white and red zooms out of the doorway with a high pitched noise that sounds like a girl yelling "NYYYYOOOOOOOOOM!". I jump back in surprise as the blur passes by me, narrowly avoiding whatever it is colliding with my head. "What the-!?"

"Oh, that's where Mimi-chan was," Rika says calmly, looking past me to wherever that thing sped off to. After a second, something occurs to her, making her turn back and stare at the door that she's still holding open instead. "Hm... How did she even open the door in the first place?"

That's the first thing she's worried about? I almost got my head taken off! "What was that?!"

"Mimi-chan," Rika repeats, not even looking up from the door, as if it was going to give her an answer to her question.

"And Mimi is?"

"Mimi-chan," Rika repeats. For a moment, it seems like that's all the response I'm going to get. Once Rika finally gives up on the door revealing its secrets to her though, she speaks again, offering slightly more of an explanation. "An intercontinental ballistic missile. Kind of like a pet but she doesn't make as much of a mess. At least, I hope she didn't make a mess, or if she did, I hope it's a good one. Ruukoto always ruins all the good messes. Doesn't get the distinction. Pleb."

"I um, okay, What!?" As much as I want an answer, I don't get one before Rika has already headed inside the room.

Well if she's not here, I should be able to groan out loud, right? Sure. Let's go with that. I could use a good groan right now. Maybe some time to compose myself too. Yeah, just a moment.

...

A ballistic missile? As a pet?

I have many questions.

Before I follow Rika into the room, I make note of the sign saying what I'm entering. Hangar, upper entrance? How does that work if we're underground? What would they even need to put in a-

Oh.

What.

... I now have many more questions.

The hangar itself isn't the surprising part. While I didn't expect a room like this to exist in the first place, its appearance isn't that weird. It's kind of similar to the storage area that we stored the broken drone in. Long metal catwalks surrounding the perimeter of the place, with another freight elevator allowing people to get up and down. Where that room had had shelves and storage though, this one is full of mechanical parts in various states of disrepair, tools for taking them apart, and equipment for moving stuff like that around. Yeah, that all seems normal enough. Not that big a deal.

So why are there two GIANT ROBOTS?!

Taking up a large portion of the back wall, set in behind even the outer rim of the catwalk, there are a couple of cylindrical silos. Standing inside each of those, thankfully not moving or anything or they would be even more intimidating, are a couple of humanoid, golden and red, giant robots. If they're almost from floor to ceiling in this hangar, that means they're what, three stories tall? More than that?

I just... What do I say to this?

"Second one's not finished yet," Rika calls out, suddenly floating up to the walkway where I'm at. She's riding in some black orb thing, but I can't see what it actually is from this angle. She's too low. It looks like a big ball with wings. Not really sure what the wings are for though, considering they aren't flapping and the thing seems to be hovering just fine. I'd be surprised enough about that thing if the giant robots weren't overshadowing it just a bit. "The circuits giving me trouble, specially since I have to base the new one off the old design. Kappa stuff. Doesn't match my design sense at all. Messy, but luckily the original doesn't do very much. I can make a lot of stuff on my own. That's what I was working on during some downtime tonight."

"I..." Yeah, still speechless here.

Rika floats up a little higher so that she can actually see over the railing of the walkway. She stares at me as I try to think of what to say, looking like she doesn't at all understand why I'm surprised, or maybe more like she doesn't even realize that I am surprised.

[ ] Um.
[ ] What?
[ ] Why?
[ ] How does...?
[ ] ... Cool.

Multivoting still fine. Also write ins.

Hey I did a second update this week again! I'm getting back into it!
>> No. 28324
[X] Um.
[X] How does...?
[X] ... Cool.

...I probably should've been, but somehow I was not expecting either Mimi or the robots.
>> No. 28325
[X] Um.
[X] How does...?
[X] ... Cool.
>> No. 28326
[X] What?

Might as well get it spelled out in character as well as to us, the readers.

[X] How does...?

Because I have to know how they work. Do they fly? How many pilots? What kind of weapons do they have? Are they both still steam powered? How much of an improvement is Great Hisoutensoku upon the original? Does it have a Rocket Punch?! It had better have a Rocket Punch! Seriously though, the entire update could be spent detailing those two and I for one would not mind at all.

[X] ... Cool!

Because at the end of the day, that's all that really needs to go into a proper Super Robot. Making it as cool as possible is paramount from a design perspective, and everyone knows that chicks dig giant robots. Actually, there's a thought...

[X] ... Will either/both of them be combat ready by the time we head out?

I don't want to get my hopes up, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't at least ask.
>> No. 28327
[x] What?
[x] How does...?
[x] ... Cool.

> Mimi-chan
> pet

LMAO. I fucking love this story.
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