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50302 No. 50302
It is the dead of winter in the Plateau of Leng, the coldest, most inhospitable land in Gensokyo. When you came here two weeks ago, the sun set; by the time you leave in three and a half months, it will still be night. You can't complain, though. It's for science.

Weyland-Yukari is the 'Soak's leading research, development, and manufacturing outfit. They've got their moist, cavernous gaps spread out over everything: medicine, action figures, sticker books, the works. To keep their product lines nice and gravid, they've funded a string of research stations spread all throughout Gensokyo, from its most urbane and domestic to its most wild and esoteric, the better to lop off samples and reverse-engineer the whole place. Some might call it measuring the marigolds, the antithesis of magic and beauty. But those people are jerks, and Weyland-Yukari pays, like, ungodly well. Like, seriously. That's why you signed up.

Mind, you didn't sign up for this place exactly. You were looking to serve some time in one of the furthest outposts, some place that saw hardly any action. Easy money, right? What would you have to worry about out there? You weren't signing up to hunt monsters, after all, and the wilderness would be nice and serene compared to the hustle and bustle of city life. When you stepped out of that helicopter and saw the shape of Station Fun In The Sun in the dying light, you had a feeling you might've bit more off than you could chew. Then you set foot in the station and walked past the station's murderers, Reimu and Marisa. They were on their way to the labs, and they were dragging behind them a monster so hideous a momentary glance at it made you puke in a water fountain. That set the tone for the first two weeks, and some people still haven't let go of it. Cough cough, Mystia cough cough.

It's the dawn of your third week Station FITS. You've gotten your routine down, you've gotten the names of your co-workers down, and you can finally sleep without focusing on how you're sharing a room with seven other women, or how tremendously loud the vile, soul-shredding noise of the wind is through the walls of the station. But even after a brisk shower and a hot breakfast, things aren't seeming right.

It's not just you. Everybody's on edge. FITS is pacing and nipping and scratching at everything, and you know exactly why.

Last night, Chief Researcher Nitori rounded up some men (well, not that there's any actual men around here, but whatever) and drove on into the dark. Seems she had a bad dream and... acted on it. Hell of a thing to wake up a bunch of ladies for, hell of a thing to journey into the night for At 7 am, after four hours of silence and worry, she finally called back in--the team was safe, and they had something.

That was a few minutes ago. It's going to be another hour before she returns. Looks like this is the calm before the... whatever it is about to happen.

This shift is gonna suck.

...

You know, it's going to suck even more without getting our introductions out of the way. Who are you, anyway? (The options not taken will become NPCs.)

[ ] Ginger Sling, Teatime Chef and Dessert Cook. You are a candy demon with command over sweets; you make sure that tea-time is fully staffed with tasty treats and ensure that everybody has an amazing dessert at dinner. In a pinch you can cook up non-sweets pretty well too. Power-wise, you can create decent candy out of thin air and cook existing ingredients into the best candy anyone's ever tasted, you know the quality and contents of any sweet you taste, and you can blast foes and engage in danmaku with an assortment of candy-themed abilities. Your signature spell card is "The Savoy Truffle," an elegant tapestry that mires your foe in a thick maze of shots.

[ ] Smokeweed Everyday, Chief Medical Assistant. You are Medical Officer Eirin's right-hand-woman and have the unenviable task of growing and managing FITS's medical marijuana supply--not an easy task, because for some mysterious reason everyone at FITS is either afflicted with mild glaucoma or Rastafarian. As the tsukomogami of a hundred-year-old bong, you command the growth and development of marijuana, cause weed to grow from scattered seeds in an instant, hybridize seeds at will, and engage foes with blasts of weedsmoke. Your ultimate spell card technique is "Arabian Crime," because it gets you so stoned. You also have an ever-full, ever-ready bong, which you can use like a bong (i.e. to get high).

[ ] Anna Walker, Accountant. You are a banker from Boston. It's an exchange student kind of thing. You can speak no less than five languages: English, Japanese, Norwegian, al Bhed, and Klingon. Aside from your power to be an accountant and your wearing of glasses, you have no other unusual talents or abilities. You are reasonably healthy though, and you are less high than the rest of the base since weedsmoke makes you sneeze.

For reference purposes, a list of base personnel follows.

Head Researcher Nitori Kawashiro
She had a bad dream but it appears to have paid dividends! Wacky!

Medical Officer Eirin Yagokoro
It's always invasive surgery with her. Everybody hates her so much.

Maid-ical Officer Sakuya Izayoi
She keeps the base tidy and sterile. She also has command over time, which you would think would get her a better position here, but whatever, right?

Headmaster Hong Meiling
She corrals the base's yukkuris. She says she can kick things, but has yet to demonstrate this skill.

Murderers Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame
In case something needs murdered, they're here.

Fire Distributator Rin Kaenbyou
She's got the keys to the fire box. Don't interpret that dirtily.

Company Representative Chen Weyland
Sent here because she is too adorable to tolerate elsewhere. Can be found on her tricycle, honking.

On-Site Reporter Hatate Himekaidou
She prints the station newsletter. That's all she does, the lazy bird. That and play Elder Sign(tm) Omens on her Samsung Galaxy III(tm) smartphone, running Android(tm) OS. Available now for 4 local currency!

Padre Saigyou Ayakashi
The on-site religious officiate. An absolutely trustworthy and capable tree, full of good advice and perfectly safe to sleep under with your neck uncovered.

Mecha-Maid Ruukoto
This charming atomic simulacra was introduced to help the crew let off steam. That was a horrible idea. The worst. The people of Fun In The Sun are animals. Animals. They are animals to each other. Do you know what they'll do to a woman whom they know is a woman, flesh and blood, just like them? Can you fathom what they'll do to someone they know is an object? Every day she prays for death. Can you give it to her? Entry last edited by: PleaseKillMe at 3:33 am

Misc Base Personnel:
Cirno Terwilliger Battlebox, Rumia Blöödgrÿndÿr, Suika Ibuki, Raisin Inaba, Terry Inaba, Patchouli Knowledge, Mystia Lorelei, Alice Margatroid, Wriggle Nightbug
No. 50303
[X]Anna Walker, Accountant.

Everyone knows Bankers from Boston get the most points!
No. 50305
[X] Anna Walker, Accountant.

The other two sound too gimmicky. At least Anna has some potential for character development.
No. 50306
>Raisin and Terry Inaba

... So, I'm going to go out on a rabbit's foot here and guess that you had some bad luck involved with spell-check or something?
No. 50307
>>50306

[Trolling]Nope. Just checked OP's Deviantart page, they are his original characters, and his Gaia avatars.[/Trolling]
No. 50310
[x] Ginger Sling, Teatime Chef and Dessert Cook.

We'll be so damned popular.
No. 50311
>>50306
When they signed up for Weyland-Yukari some idiot intern misspelled their names. They don't mind, mostly.
No. 50312
[ ] Ginger Sling

Lets cook some bitches some souffle. Bitches love souffle.
No. 50314
[x] Ginger Sling

food shenanigans are go!
No. 50317
[X] Anna Walker, Accountant.

A candy demon? On a base that has yukkuri? In this genre? NOPE.avi

>her Samsung Galaxy III(tm) smartphone, running Android(tm) OS.
Why does Hatate have that antique?
No. 50320
[X] Anna Walker, Accountant.

Eh, she seems more interesting to me than the chef.
No. 50321
[x] Ginger Sling

Heh, "Smokeweed Everyday," I'd almost vote for that just because I heard the song, but I prefer candy.
No. 50322
[X] Ginger Sling, Teatime Chef and Dessert Cook.

This needs to happen.
No. 50323
I had a feeling it'd either be a tight race between Anna and Ginger or a landslide for Smokeweed.

I (the OP if it weren't obvious) honestly have no personal preference for player character so I'm eager to see how the vote turns out.
No. 50325
[x] Smokeweed Everyday, Chief Medical Assistant.
No. 50327
[X] Ginger Sling, Teatime Chef and Dessert Cook.

Smokeweed is tempting, but it's clear that it won't be winning.
No. 50328
[z] Anna Walker, Accountant

Just because.
No. 50331
[x] Anna Walker, Accountant
Bonus points if she diverts funds to the IRA frequently..
No. 50336
[X] Ginger Sling, Teatime Chef and Dessert Cook. You are a candy demon with command over sweets; you make sure that tea-time is fully staffed with tasty treats and ensure that everybody has an amazing dessert at dinner. In a pinch you can cook up non-sweets pretty well too. Power-wise, you can create decent candy out of thin air and cook existing ingredients into the best candy anyone's ever tasted, you know the quality and contents of any sweet you taste, and you can blast foes and engage in danmaku with an assortment of candy-themed abilities. Your signature spell card is "The Savoy Truffle," an elegant tapestry that mires your foe in a thick maze of shots.

Candy master? Fuck yeah!
No. 50337
So a crossover with The Thing? Well, this will be interesting.
No. 50339
[X] Cirno.

Because if you're going to be fighting the Thing, being able to freeze everything to Absolute Zero is the way to go.
No. 50350
OP here! Voting is closed, Ginger just barely ekes ahead! Next part up in a mo'.
No. 50352
File 137020183467.png- (1.20MB , 1024x768 , photorealistic beaver.png ) [iqdb]
50352
Ginger Sling

Seven AM. Another tequila sunrise.

Funny thing, it turns out sweet cocktails count as sweets. If you wanted, you could slam back as many tequila sunrises as it took to let you sleep through this miserable experience, but alas, Fun In The Sun needs you to be awake, sober, and quick with a pan. Your talents are wasted on breakfast, but these sons of bitches need something to go with their bacon and sausage and eggs and it may as well be your pancakes and waffles and muffins. You make some fine goddamned muffins.

See, that's the joke. God literally damned you. Little demon humor, there. It definitely doesn't keep you up at night wondering if in fact the only afterlife waiting for you is endless cold misery, punishment for the audacity to be born with horns and featherless wings and command over sweets.

There's not a designated head chef in FITS. If things need to be cooked it generally defaults to Hong Meiling if it's Chinese, Sakuya if it's fancy, and whoever feels like it if it's anything else. Since Hong Meiling is out feeding the heads and Sakuya went out with Nitori it's down to just you and Reisen. Reisen does her work quickly, adequately, and without complaint, which is more than you can say for the bulk of these motherfuckers.

Not a lot of hungry bellies in the seats today, a handful of generic researchers so boring and interchangeable that you never bothered learning their names. The only notable people here are Cirno, Rumia, and Mystia. Team Shortbus. Mystia is--decent enough, you guess, but apparently the local freaks find her delicious and she has never failed to be targeted first on an expedition. She's pecking at a bran muffin and pondering eggs, perhaps the morality or grossness of eating them. Rumia has not eaten anything that was not meat since she cycled in here last summer, and is presently gnawing on an irregularly-shaped hunk of it, something you could swear was from the specimen freezer. And then there's Cirno, putting away a third bowl of cereal. During her evaluation, she failed the mandatory Turing test and had her rights taken away; her official job description is "unmanned aerial drone." She's not getting paid, she's never going home, and when she retires she's going to be recycled. It would be tragic, if you didn't hate her so very much.

Cirno finishes her cereal and tromps up to you. "S'more!" she says, holding her bowl high overhead. You snap your fingers. A rain of sugar-draped corn flakes with marshmallows and slices of banana falls into her bowl, followed by a brisk pour of milk. She trundles back to her table without so much as thanking you.

"What do you think about the Nitori situation?" Reisen says. Her rabbit ears are tucked tight against her head as part of the comically gigantic hairnet she wears; she's cleaning some of the plates, waiting to see if anyone else is coming in for breakfast.

"It's got people too nervous to eat, so I can't complain," you say.

"Sigh..." Reisen says. She really says "sigh." She sighs when she says "Sigh." She makes her own onomatopoeia. Sometimes you wonder where the hell she picked that up. You wonder about a lot of things lately. You can thank candy powers for that; nobody has asked you to do anything but cook and maybe spot them a bushel of buckeyes for movie night, they'll pay you back real soon, honest. This has given you a lot of time to smoke some of Smokeweed's amazing weed (for your glaucoma, cough cough), sip mimosas, and hope to whatever god is listening that Patchouli Goddamned Knowledge isn't going to show up and destroy your chance at happiness again.

Patchouli Goddamned Knowledge. That fatass book-reader. Every time you remember she exists you want to flense her and fry everybody some funnel cake to celebrate. You can only imagine how indispensable she is to the whole science process for no-one to have beaten you to the punch. Just remembering she exists puts you on edge. She could be squeezing through that door any minute now. If you leave you could save yourself a lot of heartache.

"...Christ, I need a break," you say.

"You've been here fifteen minutes," Reisen says.

"I'm a delicate flower. I must be handled gently and also my glaucoma is acting up."

Reisen glares at you.

Hm...

[ ] Excuse yourself. It looks pretty slow right now anyway. ([ ] Maybe five more minutes, though.)

[ ] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie. ([ ] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)

[ ] Write-in!
No. 50353
[x] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
([x] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)

Eh, might as well get to know her.
No. 50354
[X] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
([X] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)
No. 50356
[x] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
([x] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)
Wonder what's he have against Patchouli?
No. 50364
[X] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie. ([X] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)
I like this character and her personality!
No. 50366
[X] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
([X] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.)


Cirno's eating TOU meat? Uh oh.
No. 50367
[x] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
([x] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.
No. 50368
[X] Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie.
-[X] Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.

>>50366
No, it's Rumia doing that. Cirno's eating cereal, and was apparently mistaken for a chatbot.
No. 50371
Votin' closed! Looks like a real landslide in favor of chumming up with the rabbit. Update comin' soon!
No. 50372
File 137023691743.gif- (16.82KB , 160x120 , mukyu.gif ) [iqdb]
50372
Stick with Reisen 'til she's outie. Conjure up a round of drinks on top of it.

"...it can wait," you say. You shrug and look out over the breakfast crowd. Seven AM was a bit early, true, and abandoning her to face Patchouli alone would not win you points. "Need a drink?"

"Yeah," Reisen says.

"What's your poison?"

"If if I said 'carrot juice' would that be terribly stereotypical of me?"

"Maybe, but who really cares." You call up a tall glass of carrot juice and hand it off to Reisen. She nods at you and takes a long sip. You conjure yourself a tequila sunrise and down it in one go. Warmth spreads through your limbs. It's a little early to drink, but it's a little early to remember that Patchouli Knowledge exists.

"Watch the drink, chief," Mystia says, "don't wanna upchuck in another water fountain." She drops her plate and cup in the public used-dishes sink, though, so whatever. Her and the rest of Team Shortbus head back out into base, up to whatever it is got scribbled on their schedules.

Breakfast continues at a steady pace as the base wakes, bakes, gets the munchies, and eventually remembers where the mess hall is located. That's always how it goes at base--big as the mess hall is, big enough for everyone to eat at once, it's rarely even a quarter full. People at this base are always busy, and foodtime has to elbow its way in where it can. You say your heys and what's-ups, you churn out a delicious array of doughnuts and French toast and waffles, and sweet Christ, it's her.

Patchouli oozes her way through the door. Five foot two, eighteen stone and four pounds. You hold your breath, partly to steel yourself, partly because, judging by the reaction of the generics she's walking past, she's not had a shower yet.

"G'm'rning," she says.

"Hey there... Patch..." says Reisen.

"I would like," Patchouli says, "ten pancakes, and some bacon, if you please. And I want you to make them, of course."

"Why are--she can make you pancakes immediately, you know that, right?" Reisen says, nodding her head at you.

"She doesn't make 'em right," Patchouli says. "So hurry up, breakfast is almost over."

You sidle on over to reach the open bacon package, but Patchouli shakes her head.

"Nuh-uh. You don't make anythin' right."

"Come on, Patch," Reisen says, having to mix pancake batter for the first time this morning, "you know Anna's gonna give you hell for this."

"Hruff. I'm used to it."

"It's bacon," you say, "any idiot can cook bacon and I'm not an idiot."

Patchouli glares at you in silence. She glares at you fatly, and she glares at you overweightly.

"You can't seriously be that--I mean, what the hell are you gonna do if I do make that bacon? Just not eat it?"

She nods.

"So somebody else can have it."

She shakes her head.

"Well what the hell do you think you can do? You're on the other side of that--bar--thing--that keeps people from just reaching over and grabbing food! I'm gonna cook that goddamn bacon and you're going to--"

"It's fine, Ging, I got it," Reisen says, doling out five globs of pancake batter on the griddle. "You just make sure everybody else gets fed, alright?"

There is nobody else. Everybody else either ate here, ate from their personal food stores, or aren't hungry. Or are out on the ice with Head Researcher Nitori. It's just Reisen, yourself, and Patchouli, standing there, waiting for her food, eating it silently as it comes out. When Reisen finishes, so too has Patchouli, rolling the rest of the bacon in the last couple of pancakes and wandering off.

Reisen cracks her knuckles "Well, I handled that pretty well!"

"That was absolutely disgusting," you say.

"Oh, you did not just talk shit about my pancakes." Reisen turns back to the griddle, but you slide in ahead of her soaping up a rag and preparing to clean up.

"Not you, her." Cleaning up is the least you can do, right? Patchouli. That fatass book-reader.

"Well, that goes without saying." She watches you get started on the cleaning, then heads over to the sink to get to the dishes. "Gotta say, can't wait for that maid to get back here. I mean--hell, it's almost eight, right?" A quick glance at the clock shows it's 7:52.

"Not like they're gonna be back at eight on the dot," you say. "Besides, Sak'll chew us out if we slack off."

"Like Anna's gonna chew out Patchouli?

"Gross. I did not need that mental image."

The two of you make a good cleanup team. It's a few minutes past eight by the time you finish up, Reisen tossing a towel in the used towel hamper. "Two points!" she says. "When's your next shift?"

"Eleven. Lunchtime, ya know."

"Right. I'm not back on the clock 'til Nitori's back--"

Pchooooo. The lights shut off.

"--son of a bitch!"

The emergency lights flicker on a moment later, bathing the base in dim red glow. "Attention. Attention." The warm, steady voice of Rin Kaenbyou comes over the base's loudspeaker. "Hold position and wait for the power to return. In order to conserve fuel for the emergency generator, we will be shutting off the emergency lights in t-minus fifteen seconds. The geothermal batteries should be charged for regular operation in t-minus fifty minutes. Please address all complaints to whoever is using 10,000% of their daily energy allotment. Those with any leads as to who is using up all of this energy should report to Ms. Walker. Information which con--" And with a snap you are plunged into absolute darkness.

After a moment Reisen hits the light on her cell phone. "Son of a bitch," she repeats.

You slap your forehead with incredible force and intent. "You know what?" you say, glancing at where you suppose the fourth wall would be if this were a TV show. "Fifty bucks says that Patchouli is behind this."

"The hell makes you say that?"

"Because she's Patchouli and terrible."

"She's a picky fatass, yeah, but that's not proof she's eating electricity right out of the sockets."

"Call it a gut instinct." Reisen starts making her way out of the mess hall, and you follow behind her.

"You call it a gut instinct, I call it you being pissed that she doesn't like your cooking."

"Eh, maybe fifty-fifty."

"Listen, lady, either we can go on a goose chase to see if Patchouli is somehow eating electricity now, or we can go outside and meet Nitori when she comes back. It's not any brighter in here than it is out there."

"It's not any brighter," you say, "but it's substantially less windy. And snowy. And it's warmer."

"...point." The two of you plow through the swinging double doors of the mess hall and step into the hallway. There's a couple of generic researchers camping out in the hall, reclining against the walls or on the floor and napping or chatting. In the surprisingly powerful light of the cell phone you can see the pristine gray-speckled tiles of the floor, the smooth white walls set with notices and maps and warnings. It's warm for now, but it's gonna get uncomfortably chill by the time everything comes back on.

"Speaking of fifty-fifty. On one hand, maybe you're right and Patchouli just blacked us out and Anna will pay you cash money or, I dunno, hot lesbian sex for sussing out Patchouli's wickedness. On the other hand, maybe you're wrong, and you could be out there greeting Nitori with hot cocoa and fresh muffins which she and the rest of 'em will be sorely wanting."

"Hm."

Reisen shines the light down end of the hallway, then the other. "I'll let you choose. Not like either of us have someplace to be right now, anyway."

[ ] Let's go after Patchouli. ([ ] Let's get Anna first. [ ] Let's barge straight in!)

[ ] Let's go wait for Nitori.

[ ] Write in an answer!
No. 50373
[X] Let's go after Patchouli. ([X] Let's get Anna first. [ ] Let's barge straight in!)

Nitori will still be gone by the time we get back, and Patchouli will still be eating all our fucking electricity.
No. 50375
[X] Let's go wait for Nitori.

I think the real culprit is Smokeweed's sunlamps.
No. 50379
[X] Let's go after Patchouli. ([X] Let's get Anna first.)

Yeah, why not?
If I read it right, Patch should be around 84 kg 1.57 m and a BMI of 34. She's really let go.
No. 50381
[X] Let's go wait for Nitori.

Let's get in the good graces of everyone else before pissing people off.
No. 50382
[X] Let's go wait for Nitori.

Never hurts to suck up to the boss.
No. 50386
[X] Let's go after Patchouli. [X] Let's get Anna first

I absolutely do not want to be anywhere near Nitori and her TOUs when shit starts going down.
No. 50390
>>50379
Give or take, yeah. I did choose stone to make her actual weight as opaque as possible, being as it is a unit whose value in local pounds varies depending on where you are, and local pounds measuring a varied amount of weight depending on where you are. I'll reveal the exact weight I had in mind should sweet Patchouli Ifimovich Wilfordbrimley Knowledge depart from this mortal coil.
No. 50401
I'm gonna have a cutoff for votes at... eh, sometime in the evening. Let's say eight central. If the tie hasn't broken by then I'll leave it to the hands of Mr. RNG.
No. 50402
[X] Let's go wait for Nitori.

Seems more likely for something terrible to happen where she is, and I doubt we'll be the first ones to die.
No. 50403
Thank you, pere tiebreaker, and also thank myself for losing track of time.

Next part comin' soon!
No. 50407
File 137040561445.jpg- (76.86KB , 619x605 , hong mee leen.jpg ) [iqdb]
50407
Let's go wait for Nitori.

You spend a good long while tumbling your thoughts through your head. Finally, you thrust your hands up. "You know what? I feel like being appreciated for my cooking. Let's have us a bosswait."

"A damn fine idea!" Reisen says. She takes your hand--apropos of nothing--and the two of you plow your way through the darkened base. There's no need to guess where to go; the garage is where the team launched off from last night and where they'll be arriving today.

One might assume an arctic base is cold, sterile, and inhospitable. In this case, one would be wrong, so very very wrong. Fun in the Sun's halls sport a multitude of maps and landmarks--posters, little works of art in niches built into the walls--to give a better sense of place and layout, and to make it all feel less like a laughably fragile bulwark against incomprehensibly vast forces of nature and the arcane and more like a laughably fragile grade school where there are no windows so the bone-splitting cold can't leak in and the elephant-sized spiders can't see that there are moving things inside and subsequently smash its way in to devour everyone.

You pass by a room with a light on. Inside are none other than Reimu and Ruukoto. You and Reisen pause, because this is definitely going to be good.

Ruukoto has a little plastic crown over her maid headdress; the words CHESS KING are spelled on it in bright letters. Her glowing eyes light up a game in progress on the table they're sitting at. Reimu is nursing a bottle of bourbon and eying the pieces, a thousand elaborate strategies burning through her neural pathways. After a pregnant pause, her hand hovering over the board never quite settling on any of the finely-carved wooden pieces, she finally selects a knight. Then she moves it across the board to Ruukoto's king, knocking it over. Only now do you realize this is the first turn of the game.

"Invalid move," says Ruukoto.

Reimu leans over the table, pops open Ruukoto's chest compartment, and po's one out fo' her dead homies right in the circuitry. Ruukoto spasms and twitches, smoke rising from her torso as she sputters pained nonsense. "Cheatin' bitch," says Reimu, taking a quick swig from the bottle and watching the show.

"Man, I bet she is hating the hell out of that third law right now," Reisen says.

"Don't you mean first?" you say.

"She doesn't strike me as the robot holocaust type. She's just a maid, you know?"

"I'm just a candy chef and I could fuck you up pretty bad if I wanted to."

"What, you wanna fuck me up, Ginj? Movin' pretty fast, aren't you?"

"Nah, you're cool. Just saying, you kick some dogs enough, they start biting back." The two of you leave Reimu to her robot torment.

The garage is good and spacious; here rest the station's assorted vehicles, half of which are off on Nitori's dream chase. The winds and the shantak birds make flying inconvenient at best and suicidal at worst, making armed flying vehicles the transport of choice around here. There's one on-base Skyranger for emergency rescues and base transfers, but the rest are snowmobiles, heavy-tracked ATVs, and yukkuri sleds.

Speaking of yukkuri sleds, Hong Meiling is here, sitting on a couch-sized Reimyukk around a campfire someone's built in a shallow pit, toasting marshmallows on a base-issue marshmallow-roasting prong. With her are Chen Weyland and Tewi Inaba, chewing on s'mores. There's a couple generics, but who cares about them?

"Hey there," you say, sidling up to the fire. It's chilly in here, even with the door closed. When they open it'll be like getting smacked by the hand of winter. "Anybody need some hot chocolate?"

"Yay! Chocolate!" Chen says. Her face is already a mess of chocolate smears and marshmallow strands.

"Rabbits get two hot chocolates," Tewi says.

"I'm sure they do," Reisen says.

"G'mornin', Ginj," Meiling says. "It's pretty dark out, eh?"

"Like the devil's... thing... that... is dark." You create some heavy-duty biscotti cups, fill 'em with hot chocolate, and hand 'em out between the gathered FITSians. "Don't forget to fill out your ration receipts, okay, kids?"

"Rabbits get double rations if they want it," Tewi says. She takes a sip from both of her hots chocolate.

"'course they do, hon," Meiling says, scraping one of her toasted marshmallows on the lip of her cup and into her drink. "Gotta wonder what's causin' it all, huh?"

"I bet it's Patchouli," you say.

"Any reason?" Meiling says.

"It's 'a gut instinct,'" Reisen says. "Isn't that right, Ginj~?"

"Well, if you put it like that, it sounds like I have it, how do you say, out for Patchouli."

"You an' everybody else here, hon," Meiling says.

You and the crew jaw around a little bit, waiting out the darkness and Nitori's continued absence with small talk and delicious food. You munch on the biscotti cup as you down your drink until you're down to a sake-sized cup filled with a tasty chocolate-and-cookie-crumb sludge. Maybe you're biased, but goddamn, do you make a delicious cup. Your nerves steady at last.

Then the Reimyukk suddenly sniffs around and makes a low, nervous "Yuuuuuu..."

"Eh?" Hong looks down at her head. "What is it, Cumfartz?"

Cumfartz scoots out from under Meiling and speeds off into base.

"The heck..." Meiling says. "He ain't been like that before. Not in a long time, no siree--"

The garage opens. The sudden blast of freezing air hits you first, the campfire guttering and casting the whole garage in darkness, before the sound of the machinery kicks in, the massive doors peeling upward and allowing a torrent of snow to flood in--first flakes of snow that strike your cheek like tiny shards of glass, then light, blessed light, as the small convoy of craft return home. By the time the garage doors shut again your campfire has been snuffed out and the floor is coated in nearly half a foot of snow.

Hopping off the lead snowmobile is a small figure whose blue pigtails and regular hat flop free of her enormous outer hat as she peels it off. It's Head Researcher Nitori, back at last. Her face is pale and rosy-cheeked; you can see how dry her skin is from here, lit as she is by headlamps and a couple of floodlights snapping on behind her. Her eyes are half-lidded and heavy. Her smile stretches from ear to ear. "We found something," she says.

After a moment's hesitation you salute, feeling it appropriate. "Good to see you home, m'am," you say. "Drinks? I have 'em."

"No, no. I'm fine. You--" Chen barrels into her for a massive hug, knocking her over. "--hurf!"

"Welcome back, Nitori!" Chen says at near-scream level, her tails wildly flailing in the air.

"Thanks," Nitori says, out of breath. "Please climb off me because I think you snapped my back."

"Oh--sorry." Chen climbs off, tails between her legs.

Sakuya is suddenly next to Nitori--one instant empty air, the next the tall, imposing silhouette of the Maid-ical Officer--helping her to her feet.

"It's fine! It's fine. Come. You have to see this, all of you." Nitori gestures for you all to follow her.

"I'll--you go on ahead," Meiling says, "Cumfartz just ran off on us. Hope the lil' guy hasn't knocked over anythin' important." She flips on a flashlight in her pocket and heads back into base.

"This is boring, I'm leaving," Tewi says, wandering off into the darkness without a flashlight.

"...w-well, that's three of you..." Nitori says. Sakuya finishes brushing snow off of her. "I have three of you, right?"

"Totally," you say. Reisen nods. You and Chen--well, Chen takes the lead, bouncing ahead of the rest of you--to the largest vehicle in the center of the convoy. It's the specimen hauling truck, its flatbed occupied at present by a slab of ice. Marisa stands astride it, working her magic and flash-flaming the surface. Sheets of water pour down the sides of the oversized ice cube. Even through the torrent you can see a shape suspended in the ice, dark and huge.

"It was--it was so vivid," Nitori said. "I had the most awful nightmare, you see. I dreamed I was, well, that I was stuck in a block of ice, still alive. But I wasn't able to move, wasn't able to breathe, couldn't even blink. I could look around, but the ice pressed against the--the skin of my eyeball--so looking around hurt, it felt like rubbing my eyes against a glue trap. And the dream, it just kept going and going, it felt like I'd been stuck in the ice for years." She gazes at the cube of ice almost longingly.

"That's a hell of a nightmare," Reisen says.

"That's a cuss," Chen says.

"Eh," says Reisen.

Nitori nods. "When I woke up, I swear, all of the magnets and compasses in my room were pointing in a specific direction--I mean, not north, not south, but somewhere else. It was only for a minute but--it was a sign, you know? It had to be. It wasn't just a dream. It was a message. Something told me what I had to do."

Marisa takes a moment to flex her fingers and catch her breath. "Makin' good time here, boss!"

"Don't thaw it out all the way just yet. We don't want to risk harming it!"

"--so, you found a monster out there, frozen in ice?" Reisen says. "Like one of those mammoths?"

"Yeah. But. It's alive." Nitori's blush is now less from the cold and more from pride. She's virtually golden now. "And it's not from the 'Soak."

That takes a moment to sink in.

"So... it's from outside the barrier?" you say.

"It's from outside this planet."

You blink. "Really?"

"Yes. We--we went northeast. We kept going for hours, but. We found it. When we got close all our compasses started to point towards it. It was just, just laying there, dozens of meters below the ice." She lets out a long, slow breath. "Frozen in ice for--thousands, millions of years. It was frozen maybe a few yards away from its ship. That ship... the length of a city block, the shape of a horse dildo."

Everybody stops. Especially Marisa.

"What's a horse dildo?" Chen says.

"It's... a... thing... that lets grown-ups do their taxes," Reisen says.

"Oh, okay."

"It. It looked like that, to you?" Marisa says.

Nitori looks around. "I--we--but--I mean we didn't talk about it because we all knew it was really weird but--wait, wait, wait." She shakes her head. "So you mean--what do you mean, exactly?"

"I mean that wasn't a horse dildo," Marisa says. "It was a Teledildonics Vibra-Luxe Ultra-Wand."

The generics all start shuffling and mumbling. You hear an array of different objects. "Left hand" is a popular one.

Nitori looks at her feet. She clasps her hands and twiddles her thumbs. The ice that melted off of the block freezes over.

Sakuya clears her throat.

"Uh... let's just take a look at it, okay?" Nitori says. She climbs up the truck's ladder while you and Reisen hover up to the platform, because you can do that.

The block of ice looks, eh, give it about four feet high, four feet wide and nine feet long. Marisa's smooted the surface, and burned through the cloudy outer layer. You can make out the shape of the thing inside, just barely--enormous, maybe eight feet or so, and it's broad and stocky. It's not quite symmetrical, and its silhouette is distorted, perhaps by thick fur, perhaps by matted lumps of tendrils. It's not perfectly horizontal, either. It looks trapped in the midst of thrashing, its legs kicking against the permafrost, one arm propping up its torso, the other reaching for the sky, the head--

The head is closest to the surface of the ice. It is close enough to the surface that you can make it out in detail. Admittedly, you've seen a lot of monsters. Not just while you've been here at base; hell, you've seen fewer monsters up here than back home. But this doesn't quite look like a monster. Most monsters you see, they're, well, monsters. Big, dumb, maybe possessed of animal cunning or yukkurian wisdom if they're particularly intelligent. This thing, though. You can recognize that expression. It's an expression unique to sentient creatures. It's a look of pure, explosive, howling fury.

That brown hair, frozen in place, matted and spiked. Those eyes, all three of them, brilliant crimson and--yes--glowing, glowing even now, though dimly, through its prison of ages. Its ancient three-lensed glasses. Its green leaf hat with little bells.

"Son of a bitch," you whisper.

"Damn," Reisen says. "If I found this in a dildo, I'd just put that dildo right back."

BOOM. The base rattles and shakes. Sounds like something outside just exploded.

"Sweet Christ!" Reisen says, grabbing the sides of the ice block for stability. "Somebody just drop a bomb on us?!"

"Oh, hey, something exploded!" Marisa hops off the block of ice--in fact, takes a flying leap onto the snow-drift-caked floor. "I'll be right back, gonna see what it was."

"Somebody--somebody, get the ice!" Nitori says, hands out as if that would allay the rapidly-brewing panic. "We can't just leave it here if something's... blowing up, outside!"

Marisa slams her fist on the EMERGENCY DOOR button. A door large enough for one man to charge courageously through opens up in the garage door. "Hey, guys, anybody wanna help me make things stop blowing up? Takin' volunteers!"

Reisen looks at the block of ice, then at Marisa, then at you. Looks like the burden of do-things is on you still.

[ ] Follow Marisa out into the snow and help prevent further explosions.

[ ] Help Nitori drag the block of ice someplace safe.
No. 50408
[X] Help Nitori drag the block of ice someplace safe.

It's too cold outside. Best to stay in the fragile school instead of the howling wilderness.
No. 50409
Same guy who posted >>50408, I'm wondering does this story take place on Earth or in the future? We read terms like "outside the barrier" and Gensokyo but some of the phrases like "most inhospitable land in Gensokyo, and "Plateau of Leng" make me wonder if "Gensokyo" here is another planet or colony world or something?
No. 50410
>>50409
It takes place on Earth, inside Gensokyo, but Gensokyo is a bit larger (basically the size of Russia in terms of land mass, give or take) and with wildly different environs.

Gensokyo is much more modernized, and sorta resembles an 80s vision of a cyberpunk dystopia, except the technology is roughly modern-day Earth and there's magic and monsters around. And it's powerful magical beings in charge of megacorps instead of regular dudes in charge of megacorps.
No. 50411
[x] Follow Marisa out into the snow and help prevent further explosions.

This cannot be a coincidence. What are the chances of a random explosion just as soon as we take this thing inside?
No. 50413
>>50410
Interesting. Sounds kinda-like a modern day version of Shadowrun.

If Gensokyo is like this, what is the Outside World like? More advanced but a dystopia? Starfaring?
No. 50418
[X] Help Nitori drag the block of ice someplace safe.

What could possibly go wrong?
No. 50419
>>50418
Want a list?
No. 50423
[X] Follow Marisa out into the snow and help prevent further explosions.

She seems to have more imagination than Nitori. I mean, horse dildo. Come on Nitori step it up.
No. 50428
>>50413
I haven't given much thought to that yet, although I have a feeling it looks a lot like really bad cyberpunk flicks like Johnny Mnemnoic.
No. 50429
[x] Follow Marisa out into the snow and help prevent further explosions.

Let's check it out.
No. 50439
Next part imminent! All that remains is some proofin' and setch.
No. 50442
File 137055250052.png- (14.80KB , 400x400 , false hound blues.png ) [iqdb]
50442
Follow Marisa out into the snow and help prevent further explosions.

"Well, come on!" you say, landing on the snowy floor. "No time like the present!" You charge for the door. You regret it almost immediately--you've got a heavy-duty jacket on, and snow pants under your sarong, but your wings, head, and hands are bare. You can hear, after a moment's hesitation, Reisen land behind you and run to catch you.

You plunge through the door into the eternal night and--oh, dear, it's not so dark out here now, not with that pillar of flame and smoke about half a klick out and a powerful searchlight combing the snow. The searchlight is attached to--yeah, that's an airship. Not the biggest of airships but you recognize that style, baroque and organic, plated with ceramic painted in colorful patterns. It's an al Bhed airship. There's an al Bhed camp a few kilometers out, further from the relentless insanity of the Plateau of Leng.

Stone, feet, kilometers. You are incredibly inconsistent with your units of measurement. You've lived long enough to see a couple come and go; sometimes they get mixed up.

Machine guns chatter, chasing the spotlight. A heavy cannon follows the light too, too, and judging by all that steam radiating off of it it must've been the one that fired that still-burning pyre back there. "Shit," you whisper.

Marisa, gods bless her, waves at the airship. "Hey! Yo! Dudes! What's goin'--" You can barely hear a foont noise before a grenade bursts in the snow not three feet away from her. She flinches. "Dude, uncool!"

Well, they're shooting at your co-workers now. Lucky for you, and unlucky for them, you have an idea. With a flap of your wee little wings you rush into the air. The wind's not as bad as it was a minute ago--you only have to fight it a little. You rise into the air and Jesus it's even colder, like diving into a tub of ice water in a freezer. The airship pivots in air and holy shit you can see it turn towards you, see four machine gun turrets swing in your direction--

You also see one of the ship's turbines. No use holding back. You whisper a word of power and a heavy, sticky glob appears in your hand. You give it a toss against the wind, praying that the glob of taffy will--

You sink a three pointer. The taffy bomb explodes, flooding the turbines with sticky candy. That sends the big flying som'bitch spinning of into the night--

And then Marisa explodes it. A blast of light and heat, blue in color, the size of an SUV, smashes into its underside and then you're on the ground, sunk about five inches into the snow, all sound replaced by a pained ringing. You blink flecks of that awful razor-sharp snow from your eyes and raise your head.

Razor-wire agony curls tight around your brain. Ow, ow, ow, fuck, ow. The remnants of the airship smolder and burn in the snow. Funny, you don't see Marisa or Reisen out--

A strong arm lifts you out of the snow by the nape of your coat. The sudden movement makes the coil of wire yank ever-tighter. You're raised up and brought face to face with a--a man. Of all things, a man. Rarer than hen's teeth around here. You wonder how many Marisa just blew up. He's got pale skin, wisps of blonde hair at the edges of his singed hood, jagged tattoos along his cheekbones.

"Ou! Hekky!" he barks, his voice cutting through the ringing. He gives you a message, throughout which he keeps saying "hekky." And then his head is gone, and you fall an inch or so, and somebody catches you, and they set you on the snow.

Between the blinding pain and the confusion of what the hell just happened it takes you a moment to ascertain what's going on. The al Bhed's corpse lays sprawled on the snow, his head neatly severed, and behind you is--oh shit, Sakuya's behind you. Remarkably bloodless. She's caught you with one arm. The other holds one of her many, many sharp machetes, soaked red from tip to hilt.

You blink. "The fuck was that?" you say.

"Yo! Brown girl!" Marisa says, giving you a hefty slap on the back. You wince. "Nice goin' there settin' me up for the win!"

"Setting you for--the what now?" you say.

"You know, weakening 'em so I didn't have to, like, aim and shit! That was great of you, ese! Gonna get you dinner one of these days!"

"...uh..." you say. "Are--are any of those guys alive?"

"Not anymore, man." Marisa points. There's another decapitated body in the snow, one near Reisen, who's still on the ground looking mighty shocked (and partly snowed over). Sakuya's marching through the powder towards her. "I got most of 'em, then Sakuya pinged the two that bailed for me. Ain't that nice of 'er! Not like she had to, I totally could've melted 'em or something." Sakuya props Reisen back on her feet, dusts some of the snow off of her.

"Did. Uh. Did it occur to you that maybe we could ask why they were shooting at us?"

"'Cuz they're dicks, duh. Whatever!" She sets off for the door. "See you later, ese. Don't work too hard!"

Reisen stumbles over to you. "That was brave," she says. "That was--what did you do up there, anyway?"

"Gummed up their engines. Thought we could ask them what the hell they were doing once we fished them out of the ship, take 'em back to the al Bhed..." You rub your temples. "Jesus Christ, my head is killing me."

"It should be, yeah." Reisen takes your hand and walks you back inside.

"Yo, folks, no need to worry!" Marisa says to those still in the garage. "I totally handled it. You can pay me later, because I'm amazing and I can wait like that."

Nitori is on one knee, scratching the scruff of a Reimu yukkuri. Frisky little guy; he's shuffling around on the floor, shaking caked snow from his hair and accessory. He has a daring little scar on his fat pastry cheek. "What was it?" Nitori says. "What--who did you murder?"

"Eh, some al Bhed, whatevs." Marisa makes a dismissive hand gesture.

"The al Bhed were shooting at us?"

"Looks like it, yeah."

Nitori looks down at the yukkuri. "Why were they shooting at us? They've never given us any trouble before. We've sent them wine and fruit assortment baskets."

Marisa shrugs. "Whatever. I'm gettin' a drink. You're welcome an' shit." She wanders off into base. Behind you, Sakuya shuts and locks the door.

"Well, that's settled," Reisen grumbles. "For now, at least. How are you feeling? Intact?"

"Reasonably." You peer at the big ol' head. It's lying on its head-back and letting Nitori rub its underside, all pink from shuffling and hopping through snow for--however long it may have been out there. Hmm. You didn't see any yukkuri sleds among the convoy, and you didn't see any yukkuri going out into the snow when the garage door opened. It's definitely not Cumfartz, for he lacks that rather dashing cheek-scar. "You know that head?"

"I can't really tell," Reisen says. "I don't pay that much attention to our yukkuris, you know?"

Nitori finishes petting the yukkuri and stands back up. "Alright, then... suppose it's time to pack up the ice cube."

Seems you have a couple things to take care of.

Pick three. Choose one to do first. (Extra options don't count against the pick-three.)

[ ] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([ ] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)

[ ] Head to Eirin's to get patched up.

[ ] Take the yukkuri to Meiling and figure out its story.

[ ] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([ ] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)

[ ] Write in a suggestion.
No. 50443
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message.
-[X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.

I want far away from that Yukkuri and that ice block.
No. 50444
>>50443
It's pick three, holmes! That's just one so far. Though I suppose you can pick less than three if you want to avoid the ice block and the mystery skull.
No. 50446
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([X] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)
[X] Take the yukkuri to Meiling and figure out its story.
No. 50447
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party.
[x] Head to Eirin's to get patched up.
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)

In that order.
No. 50449
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([X] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)
[X] Take the yukkuri to Meiling and figure out its story.

Oh boy, this is going to get FUN.
Wait, 'stone' is a measure unit!? I thought it was some kind of adjective for emphasis or something.
No. 50450
>>50449
It's a real, albeit antiquated and nigh-uselessly inconsistent, unit of weight!
No. 50452
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([X] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)
[X] Head to Eirin's to get patched up.
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)

Priorities: get the acquisition squared away, get ourselves healed, then figure out what that al Bhed was saying.
No. 50454
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([X] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)
[X] Head to Eirin's to get patched up.
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)

We need to get healed and figure out what the al-Bhed guy was saying.

Incidentally is al-Bhed another corporation operating in the Plateau of Leng like Weyland-Yukari?

Oh also considering the name and power of Weyland-Yukari, and presumably other corporations here, is there much trade with the Outside?
No. 50455
>>50454
They're a cultural/racial group plucked straight from the breast of Final Fantasy X. Because I like doing crossover jokes and thought that somebody speaking al-Bhed and actually being important because of it amused me.

These al-Bhed are here to R&D weatherproofing and extreme conditions gear. Some of them are here doing menial labor for various moderate criminal offenses, but nothing too much to worry about unless you're a quasi-magical construct full of tasty, pilferable elements. Until now they've been totally on the level with Fun In The Sun.
No. 50457
>>50455
Are they native to the Plateau of Leng, being its Inuits, for lack of a better term?
No. 50458
>>50457
Nay, they're islandfolk originally, from one of the islands in Gensokyo's Sea of Infinite Horrors. There are Inuit-equivalents in the Plateau of Leng, though--the Spiders of Leng. They're intelligent spiders ranging from horse size to elephant size. They are ornery sombitches.
No. 50459
[X] Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. ([X] Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.)
[X] Head to Eirin's to get patched up.
[X] Head to Anna to translate that message. ([X] Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.)

Did the al-Bhed call us nigga?
No. 50462
>>50459
Indeed they did. And that's why the rest of the message has been kept from ye until you hit up Anna for wisdom. If you hit up Anna for wisdom.

Though yeah statistically it looks like you're gonna hit up Anna for wisdom.
No. 50474
File
Removed
(friggin' finally jeez)

Make some sweets and hot drinks for the search party. Offer to help bring the ice block in, too.
Head to Eirin's to get patched up.
Head to Anna's to translate that message. Tell her about your Patchouli hunch, too.

You take a deep breath, cradle your head, and say, "Hey, Nitori."

The kappa, mid-stride in slumping to the ice block, turns back to look at you.

"You guys were out all night looking for that thing, right?"

She nods.

"You all could use something hot and sweet, right?"

"...is that... an invitation...?" Nitori says, blushing.

"...Right, no, it wasn't. I mean would you like hot drinks and, like, muffins or something?" You point at the various generics and--you don't point at Sakuya, it would be rude and she just decapitated two men before you could blink. "That goes for all of you! You can't possibly have eaten well out there." It is incredibly hard to focus with that concussion and the ringing ears and such, but you suppose you might as well do what you came out here to do.

Nitori nods. "A-alright. Yeah. That'd be nice. You want some, little guy?" She looks down at the yukkuri, who simply offers a cocky grin and hops off into base. The little beast is cocky even when it hops. It's all, what up, I got this. Cockiness is catching today.

So begins the process of feeding the crew. After a night on the ice and the whole "explosion" thing nobody's terribly talkative, and most of them are visibly exhausted from all that marching and searching and God knows what else they were up to, but ain't not a person here turning down hot muffins from nowhere and tea, sweet coffee, or hot chocolate in edible cups. It's suddenly hard to look at those headlights on the vehicles, so Reisen helps you distribute the stuff, the sweet little creature. You make yourself another hot chocolate, though you'd really rather be knocking back something harder. Knowing Eirin, she'll give you something you can't take with alcohol just to spite you. Or she's going to crack your skull open and tinker with your brainpan, one or the other.

Once everyone's fed, you shuffle over to Nitori, who's sitting on the steps of the specimen truck. She finishes munching on her hot chocolate cup, slurping up the sweet sticky slurry at the bottom before popping the whole rest of it in her mouth. "Hey, Nitori," you say. "You guys need help with that block of ice? Movin' it and all?"

She shakes her head. "Mm. We're sendin' for Suika. She can do all the heavy lifting. You..." She looks you over. "You've done enough, alright? But thanks for asking."

You nod. It was worth asking, at least. "Okay then. I've got something to--" The strength leaves your legs, but you manage to catch yourself on the side of the vehicle. "--I got something to do."

"Eirin, right?"

"How'd you guess."

"The concussion, that's a big tip."

"I'll... I'll just be going then, sir."

"Good luck. And thank you."

Reisen's arms slide under yours, and she props you up into a standing position. "Should I find you a wheelchair, little lady? Or should I just walk you around like one of Alice the Goon's horrible little dolls?"

"A wheelchair would be more dignified," you mutter.

Reisen giggles. "Horrible little doll it is."

Good news: the power's back on. If you suddenly weren't really sensitive to light--thank you, concussion--you'd appreciate it more. You smell Suika walking past the two of you and toward the garage. You're pretty sure it's impossible for vodka to actually spoil, but "spoiled vodka" is the phrase that always pops to mind when you smell her walk past. Maybe that's the smell of her liver in freefall.

"Hope she doesn't breathe too hard on that block of ice," you say. "She could sterilize whatever's inside."

It's a long, agonizing trip, but when that distinctive smell hits your nose you know you're near Eirin's pad. Reisen pops open the door and you slide your way inside. "Mornin'," you say.

"I appreciate how you didn't append that with 'good,'" Eirin says. "Because I won't be having a good morning, day, or night until whoever it is that's eating our fucking electricity gets dragged outside and lit on fire."

Eirin's Pad, also known as the hospital, the medbay, and (because of Smokeweed) the greenhouse, is a clean, orderly office, totally unremarkable save for the black-painted door covered in tacky black velvet paintings through which you can hear soothing music. The antiseptic clean-smell of a doctor's office is, likewise, mingled with the heady aroma of fresh weed. You stumble onto the patient's table and take a seat.

"What've you gotten up to now?" Eirin says.

"Concussion, I think. An al Bhed airship exploded pretty near my head."

"Any unconsciousness?"

"Maybe a second or two. Light sensitivity, headache, dizziness..."

"Alright." Eirin gestures and an assortment of long, gleaming instruments appear in her hands. "Hold still, this should only take a moment."

"...sh-shouldn't you be using anesthetic?" you say.

"What are you, a pussy?" Eirin says. And she is upon you.

A few incredibly unpleasant minutes later and the good doctor finishes using a little clamp to pinch your scalp back in place. There's an itch running along your hairline, but on the bright side, your headache is gone, replaced with a faint itching on your brain from the sensation of air conditioning blowing over it.

Still, you're going to need to drop by Smokeweed's before you go.

"You're welcome," Eirin says, shoving you off the table; you manage to land on your feet. It's a lot easier to focus and coordinate now. "That should undo the long-term effects of suffering a concussion. Means the next one you get's going to be like your first time. Isn't it romantic." She gestures for you to leave. Emphatically.

"Jesus," Reisen says, "you alright?"

"Yeah, I do," you say.

"...you mean 'yeah, I am,' right?"

"That's exactly what I meant. Ex-actly. Sorry, my glaucoma's acting up."

"I know what you mean. I think I need to get closer to Almighty Jah to comfort myself in this trying time."

The two of you pop into Smokeweed's greenhouse. This used to be a storage closet, but part of Smokeweed's idiom is expanding grow closets into grow warehouses. Behind the velvet-covered door is a sylvan glen of pot--indica plants taller than your head, grow lights like constellations in the dark ceiling overhead. Wading through the thick, aromatic plants leads you to Smokeweed Everyday, lying back on a lawn chair, grooving to the song playing from her old-school ghetto blaster* and reading a nice fat copy of A Contract With God. She glances at you with wide, lavender eyes. "Hey there," she says, voice smooth and sure. "You're lookin' rough today."

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuDh_LiLE1E

"Yeah, feein' pretty rough," you say, sitting in another lawn chair next to Smoke. "Almost got shot at, definitely got exploded near, Nitori brings in some frozen three-eyed freak from a space marital aid, and Patchouli makes my rabbit friend here fry up a pound of bacon and twelve pancakes while I watch, helpless and afraid."

"Hi," Reisen says sitting on the other side of Smoke. "Sakuya got blood on my good coat."

"Now that's just rude," Smokeweed says. "That calls for--ah, what would you like?"

"Just--just a joint should be fine," you say.

"Same here," Reisen says.

"A'ight." Smokewed slides a bookmark into place and hops to her feet. Humming along with the music, she strides on over to a large chest of drawers incongruously set to the side of the clearing, pulls out a drawer, and builds a fine pair of joints. She strides back over, taking her good time. Building tension. Standing between you, she gives each joint a kiss on the tip, lighting them, and hands one to each of you. "L'chaim."

"L'chaim," you say. And enjoy a nice slow burn.

***

So, anyhow: Anna.

After some time unwinding with Smokeweed, you and Reisen head over to Reisen. Headache gone. Itching gone. You feel smooth. You feel fantastic. You feel a bit hungry, but you're a candy demon. You pop a blob of caramel into your mouth and chew away. Don't wanna spoil your appetite. Shit, it's almost lunchtime. And Reisen's checking her watch.

"I'm technically back on the clock, you know," she says. "I should be checking with Nitori, see what she needs done." Reisen's not got an official job on the base. She wound up being Nitori's gopher for jobs too menial for Sakuya to sully her fine white gloves. Friggin'. Workin' on base. You like Reisen. You think about all those times you've passed her in the hall, sat near her in the library, times you fucked over her plans in Fiasco, and yet never had the foresight or time to say "hey, wanna have lunch together?" or "maybe we could be partners next time." How the hell much time have you wasted not getting to know this person?

Two weeks. You've passed her maybe five times, sat near her three times, and screwed her over twice, once for each of the weekly sessions of Fiasco you've played. And that makes one time you've spent a good amount of time with her. That gets you giggling for some reason. The numbers, man.

"After this," you say. "Won't be too long at all."

Anna's office is neat, but human. There's none of the quiet menace of Eirin's place. There's piles of paperwork, stacks of folders, the dinosaur desktop computer humming away at her desk, and though it's all orderly, all nice and orderly, it feels like a human being makes use of it every day of their life. Anna's at her desk, in fact, hurridly typing away, pausing only to adjust her glasses. "Sorry," she says as you two enter, "a bit busy today."

"Well, it's kind of important," you say. "Did you hear the explosions?"

"There were explosions?" She glances at you and Reisen. "What exploded?"

"Nothing of ours--"

She gets back to typing. "Thank God."

"I mean I almost exploded, jeez! I got a friggin' concussion when Marisa blew up a friggin' al Bhed airship!"

"Oh, hell," Anna says. She scoots away from her desk at last, vaults it, and goes to check on you. "Did you go to Yagokoro's? The insurance premiums will go through the roof if you have untreated--"

"Yes. She cut my head open."

"You poor thing." She checks your hairline. "At least you can't tell..."

"Yeah. It's a tragedy."

Reisen mumbles something you can't quite hear.

"So, the al Bhed thing..." you say.

"--right! The al Bhed! You said--they tried to explode you? What happened?"

"I don't know," you say. "One of them grabbed me and he said something to me. And then Sakuya sliced his head off before he could elucidate."

Anna bites her lip. "Jesus. That's--what did he say? Can you sound it out, phonetically?"

"It was something like..." You snap your fingers. Maybe you should've saved the weed for after. "Somethin' like... 'oo, hecky, drid hecky rait kadooma... voondo.. leegack.'" You rattle it around in your head a bit. "'Vundo leegack, hecky. Drid-k ick seeho ick vwin doc.' Then... yeah, he said, 'It drid-k da nempa, hecky.'"

Anna's got one hand on her temple, gently rubbing it. "Alright... so, first off... be careful when you say 'hekky.' Second... let me right this down." She vaults back over her desk, does some clicking around on her computer, and gets to typing. After a few moments, she nods. "Alright. Yeah. That's a good reason to make something blow up." She sighs. "So, how much do you know about al Bhed holidays?"

"Clooooose to nothing?" you say.

"Yeah, same here," Reisen says.

"Right. Sling, have you served any baked goods to Anikka Reyzau lately? The al Bhed woman who works here, the blonde?"

You do some more thinking. Jesus, why do you have to do so much thinking this high up. "Man, we have so many blondes on base I can hardly keep them in order. Other than Marisa and Auntie Alice the Hateful Thing."

"The--one with the tattoos and the goggles?"

"Not ringing any bells.

"Right. Anyway. This particular blonde hasn't been asking for your baked goods, and the reason why is because it's the al Bhed Festival of Liberation. It's the so-and-so anniversary of the final death of their ancestral enemy and they're all about throwing parties and eating ritual al Bhed glorycakes." She clears her throat. "What that al Bhed told you is that somebody here--a yukkuri, I think--just stole forty al Bhed glorycakes."

"That's--a lot, right?"

"It's like stealing Christmas."

"Damn."

"I think I'll go sort that out right quick," Anna says. She gets back out of her chair--maybe she's getting in her daily exercise, heck if you know why she's up and around so much--and straps on her flamethrower. The flamethrower was her best friend and only confidante back when she started laying down the law. It's a flamethrower nearly as old as the base, trusty and proven. Etched along the barrel is the phrase IGNIS AURUM PROBAT.

You had something else to tell her, didn't you? Shit, what was--

"Uh, hey," Reisen says, standing in front of Anna as she gears up. "Maybe you shouldn't be so quick with the flamethrower, right? It's a little--uh--I mean, that's kind of much, isn't it?"

"If there's one thing I've learned," Anna says, "the people of Fun In The Sun are good only for being threatened with combustion and eating all our electricity."

That's what it was! Yes! "Wait, wait!" you say. "I know who's causing the blackouts!"

That gets Anna's attention. "Who?" she says, unlatching the flamethrower's gun.

"Uh--right. I might've been a little hasty saying 'know.' But. And call me crazy. I think it's Patchouli who's doing the, uh, electricity-eating."

Anna looks at you. "You're sure of that."

"I--guess I am, yeah. I mean, she's Patchouli, right? She's--she's fat and awful."

"She is." The pilot light ignites. "She is fat, and she is awful. And now you have me in a quandary. Because whoever is eating all our electricity deserves to burn, but if I burn someone who's innocent, the hit we take to our funding will be entirely unacceptable." She flicks the pilot light back off. "Tell you what. Bring me some proof, and I'll settle her affairs." She gazes at the flamethrower's nozzle with some longing.

You suddenly wonder if you should've kept your mouth shut.

"R-right. We'll be right back with some proof, Anna. All the proof you'll ever need."

With much hesitation she holsters the gun. "Alright. Don't take long. Mama's in a burning mood."

You and Reisen make a quick exit.

"Well, then," Reisen says. "What the hell do we do now?"

Choose one of these:

[ ] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[ ] Keep up with Reisen. Nitori's probably not got anything important going on anyway.

And one of these:

[ ] Go after Patchouli.
[ ] Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.
[ ] Head back to the kitchen, the hell with all this.
[ ] Write in!
No. 50476
>"What that al Bhed told you is that somebody here--a yukkuri, I think--just stole forty al Bhed glorycakes."
>"That's--a lot, right?"
It's as many as four tens.

[X] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[X] Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.

Remember the one with the cheek scar Nitori was petting? That's the little Luther.
No. 50477
>>50476
The full original al Bhed was "Ou, hekky! Dryd hekky rayt cduma vundo lygac. Vundo lygac, hekky. Dryd'c yc syho yc vuin dahc. Yht dryd'c dannepma, hekky."
No. 50481
[X] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[x] Go after Patchouli.

Mama's in a BURNING mood.
No. 50492
[X] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[X] Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.
Rather interesting how Reisen here isn't Eirin's assistant primarily.

Also why was Eirin's method of curing a concussion to cut open Ginger's head?
No. 50493
>>50492
She's got super surgeon powers and can in fact heal concussions and their long-term effects with a few minutes' worth of surgery.

The limitation of her idiom being that it's gotta be surgery. As for why she doesn't use anesthesia... she has an intense loathing for pretty much everyone on base since she could be out in the wild fixing people instead of patching up boo-boos for a shithole research station. Little does she know she's been sent to this shithole research station specifically to keep her and her many sharp objects away from normal(-ish) people.

"Intense loathing" is a running theme at Station Fun in the Sun. Either Weyland-Yukari doesn't examine their employees' psych profiles too closely, or they do, and this is all some greater meta-experiment.
No. 50494
[X] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[x] Go after Patchouli.

Stay far, far away from THE TOU.
No. 50503
[x] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[x] Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.
No. 50504
[x] Keep up with Reisen. Nitori's probably not got anything important going on anyway.
[x] Go after Patchouli.

I'd like to investigate Patchouli's lead, and I'm afraid we won't get Reisen back if we let go of her.
No. 50521
Next vote's the tiebreaker! Then the next part gets writ.
No. 50526
[X] Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
[X] Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.

Disrespecting the arts of a baker? That, little headpastry, is UNACCEPTABLE.
No. 50533
File 137096177998.jpg- (36.67KB , 400x400 , china and the chocolate chickens.jpg ) [iqdb]
50533
Let Reisen go. She's back on the clock, anyway.
Go after the yukkuri who stole forty cakes.

"...Well," you say, "I think it's about time you got back to Dear Leader."

Reisen purses her lips. "Mm. Yeah."

"Go on ahead, I'll handle this." You weigh your options carefully. Maybe it's all that sugar hitting your stomach at once, but the thought of going after Patchouli right now makes you queasy. Especially with Anna being all... flamethrower-y. That can wait until later, you suppose. Right now you have a potential international incident to defuse.

"It's been real," Reisen says.

"Yeah. A real... hour and a half, give or take. Don't be a stranger, alright?" You give her a pat on the back. She gives you a crisp nod and marches off to look for Nitori. You take a moment to catch your breath, clear your thoughts, chillax, and make your own odyssey.

The yukkuri pen is close to the heart of the base, where it's warmest. Heads thrive and stack gaily in warmth, and in case of power loss or compromise of the base, they'll be nice and warm until things get sorted out. It's the same logic that has the individual bedrooms near the heart of the base, and the mass bunkrooms--where you and the other low-rankers sleep in a great big snake nest--built against an outer wall, its back to the wind and cold and ravenous frozen horrors. You've heard Eirin and Nitori discussing that very setup while they were on lunch; Weyland-Yukari base planners call it the "fill up on bread" principle.

My, are your thoughts cheerful today. Maybe that thing in the ice block got to you.

You hear music* as you approach the yukkuri pens, mixed with shouts of encouragement and directions from Meiling. Once you step through the plexiglass door leading there, a wave of comfortable warmth and a delightful fresh-baked scent washes over you.

* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8B-LuaDsYg

It looks like exercise time for the heads. The yukkuri pens are actually better-furnished than your bunkroom, the floors padded and covered with a thin, soft carpet, the walls brightly painted and set with motivational posters about loyalty, honesty, and respect. Meiling, dressed in a lighter and sportier getup, leads fifteen of the base's sixteen yukkuris in some advanced cardio. The sixteenth is sitting in one of the baskets at the back of the pen, wrapped in a towel and sipping a tall glass of sugar water and looking cocky as all hell.

You wait for the song to reach its conclusion before you make your presence known.

"Good show, guys!" Meiling says, "But don't rest yer little feet just yet, we got one more set comin'! An' then it's the cooldown."

You clear your throat.

"--Ah, hey there, Ginger!" Meiling says, spinning to face you. "'Ow's it goin'?"

"It goes good. How's Cumfartz?"

One of the Reimus bounces up. "Yu!" it says.

"Oh, he's doin' just fine," Meiling says, giving him a brisk pat. "But he's not the only one who had a little adventure today. Sex Sleuther just got back in from out and heaven only knows what that little scamp was up to."

"I think I have a pretty good idea," you say, stepping between the ranks of heads, past Crumbles and Lemon Squares, past Marmot Detective and Noah's Shark, to the cocky-looking head in the towel and basket. "I think little Sex Sleuthor was up to tricks last night."

"He actually ran out this mornin'," says Meiling.

"Whatever time he went out, he was up to tricks all the while!" You pick the head up and glaaaare. "Weren't you, Sex Sleuthor?"

"Like you're gonna get anything outta me, pal," little Sex says.

"Holy shit a talking head!" says Dancing Lamprey. That's a Chenkkuri.

"Do you know who it is that you're screwing with, head?" you say.

"A candy witch with stupid-looking wings?"

"You're stepping on the toes of Ginger Sling, née Madhuri Johar. Ring any bells?"

Absolute silence. From everyone and everyhead in the room.

"... I'm an apsara with command over sweets. Emphasis on command. It is well within my idiom to do the most horrifying of things to you, o bean paste bun, if I so wished."

"I bet you could, fatty."

Meiling swats him on the back of the head. So, the back of him.

"Ow! Jeez!" he says.

"Bad head!" Meiling says. "Behave yourself aroun' Miss Sling or whatever that was or I'm openin' the deluxe punishment bag."

"Fine, alright," Sex says.

"So." You give the head a little shake. You can hear some faint rattling somewhere inside him. "Let's not pussyfoot around. Cough up the stolen cakes."

"Stolen cakes...?" Meiling says.

"You'll wanna put me down first, bro," Sex says. You do so, and step back. The rapscallion gestures, in its inimitable yukkuri way, for everybody else to scoot back some too. Sex Sleuthor rocks back and forth a few moments, and then, with a thunderous hork! coughs up a rack--well, multiple racks on a rolling frame--of forty elaborately-decorated cakes.

"Those look like pies," Meiling says.

"Anna says they're cakes," you say.

"Anna says I need to cut down on my bun consumption," Meiling says. "Pardon if I dont take 'er as the foremost authority on foodstuff around here."

"You do eat pork buns with maple syrup," you say. "Maybe she has a point."

Meiling crosses her arms. "You watch your tongue, Little Miss Cakemaster."

"So," Sex says, "nobody sayin', 'hey, Sex, thanks for the cake party?"

"Those cakes are sacred al Bhed something-or-other cakes!" you say, pointing emphatically. "These are sacred and I got shot at because you thumped off with them under cover of darkness!"

"Hey, I got exploded at too, lady. It wasn't any more fun for me!"

One of the Patchoulis oozes over to the cake rack and starts to slurp upwards. You, Sex, and Meiling shoot it a simultaneous glare, and, upon getting the hint, falls off into a gloopy puddle before rollslurping off.

"Man," you say, "At least that Patchouli can take a hint."

Meiling giggles. So does Sex. The mood is defused a bit. That could work out in your favor.

"Alright--not that we didn't both get shot at," you say, "but maybe, just maybe, it would be rude of you to slide off with all these sacred cakes. Why did you even steal them? I could make you forty cakes. Right now. Give me a minute."

"Really," Sex says. Sounds like a disbeliever.

"Watch this," you say, and with a little thinking and mana-shaping and chanting you create a stack of forty cakes next to the rack of sacred pie-cakes.

"Son of a gun," whistles Sex, "you really did."

"It's what I do."

That same Patchouli globs over to the nearest cake. "Ut, ut." You snap your fingers and the cakes disappear. "Not until you return these cakes to the al Bhed. And, like, get proof that they're not going to invade or something like that. And I want you to apologize. And you're going to miss out on the cake party because you were rude enough to steal forty sacred cakes."

"Could you maybe stop like throwing incentives and disincentives at me?" Sex says, "Because it's like, gimmie a sec to make a decision, jeez, lady."

Anyhow: long story short, Sex hoovers the cake rack back up and Meiling scoops him up into a pet carrier. "Sorry he gave you such a hard time," Meiling says. "Awful wrong of 'em to."

"At least we can get things sorted out now. I mean, honestly, the really hard part is them forgiving us for exploding, like, however many of their guys were on that airship. That's all on Marisa, though."

Meiling bites her lip. "Marisa, huh?"

"Marisa."

You sense another decision looms ahead.

[ ] Join Meiling in returning the cakes, it looks like she could use help.
[ ] Handle the Patchouli thing at last, the last thing you need is another blackout.
[ ] Get back to work, you've had enough weird trouble today.
[ ] Write-in!
No. 50534
[x] Join Meiling in returning the cakes, it looks like she could use help.

More Meiling is good.
No. 50544
[X] Join Meiling in returning the cakes, it looks like she could use help.
Dammit Sex Sleuther it was just terrible to take 40 cakes, that's four tens. Anyways maybe this situation can be defused out if he apologizes.

Are all yukkuris here male or are there female ones as well?

Since Eirin, Tewi, and Reisen are on base are other Eientei cast members here as well like Kaguya, Mokou, or Keine?
No. 50552
[X] Handle the Patchouli thing at last, the last thing you need is another blackout.
No. 50561
[X] Handle the Patchouli thing at last, the last thing you need is another blackout.

Let's deal with that lardass.
No. 50562
>>50544
There's lad and lady yukkuri on-base. Marmot Detective and Dancing Lamprey are girls! There's not a big concern about keeping their numbers down since yukkuri reproduction is 100% mysterious even to heads themselves and seems to just sorta happen in inexpressibly weird ways when the time comes to make little ko's.

Also! Kogasa is the head of Horizon Research and Development, a sub-company of Weyland-Yukari devoted to genetic engineering. They're the leading sponsors of the Survival Horror Leagues of Gensokyo. Mokou was the head boss of the Horizon Horrorterrors until they traded her for Fireball. She took that pretty personally and quasi-retired from bosshood. At present she's playing golf, but she's vividly terrible. People are starting to suspect she actually hadn't played any golf before her first tournament. These people are correct, and they don't say that to her face because she will light them on fire.
No. 50564
>>50562
Do they ever have to deal with those home invasion type yukkuris the "shitheads" as I've heard them referred to?

And Kogasa doing genetic engineering? Huh well she can certainly make surprises for everyone that's for sure.
No. 50570
>>50564
"Shitheads" are merely a myth told by dumb people who want to feel superior to (mostly) harmless bun monsters. There are yukkuri who play the real estate market pretty viciously though.

We-e-ell, Kogasa mostly pays people to genetically engineer for her, while she slaps anti-competitive patents on the results and keeps all the money they make.
No. 50574
It must surprise them.

But hey, they should have read the fine print.
No. 50575
[X] Join Meiling in returning the cakes, it looks like she could use help.

>That's all on Marisa, though.
Don't forget the guy Sakuya decapitated.
No. 50585
Vote cutoff! Next part soon, though I'll be busy this weekend, so it may be a bit.
No. 50743
File 137196123135.png- (162.00KB , 546x418 , collectabomination.png ) [iqdb]
50743
Join Meiling in returning the cakes, it looks like she could use help.

Patchouli will just have to wait. Going all the way to the al Bhed base is going to be a hell of a process in and of itself, and you doubt Meiling could handle it alone. Step one: you're going to need permission from Nitori. With any luck she won't redirect you to Marisa. Or, for that matter, Sakuya. You'd blocked that whole "decapitate a guy less than a foot in front of you" thing out already. Sakuya is sort of a traumatizing person to be around.

After doing some asking around, you find that Nitori is in the primary bio-research lab, the one which houses the main specimine freezers. You, Meiling, and Little Sex make your way there on the double.

The bio-research labs are the most modern thing on the base, even a little cutting-edge. The floors are smooth tile, the walls flat, featureless, and painted a pleasant pale green. The freezer takes up the back wall, looking like an oversized sandwich machine from an automat. The containment cell facing the freezer door is, of course, the thing Nitori pulled out of the ice.

Nitori herself is sitting on one of the dissection tables--perhaps against regulation, but it's got the clearest view of the beast. Likewise Eirin is seated in an uncomfortable-looking plastic chair next to the table, picking at some instant ramen out of its cardboard cup. Reisen's here, but she's busy returning some of those cutting-edge devices to their slots and niches. It's a taller order than it sounds, because they're so cutting edge they verge on witchcraft, and making sure they don't spew hard radiation or explode while spewing hard radiation requires appeasing their machine spirits.

Which means "Thuvan throat singing," you pervert.

"--oh. Hey, Ginger," Nitori says, still staring at the thing in the ice. "Thanks for the chocolate earlier. It really... it really hit the spot, you know?"

"I know," you say. "Hate to interrupt, but we've figured out why the al Bhed got on our case. Little Sex here stole a bunch of sacred cake-pies right."

"He's been very bad," Meiling says, giving him a disciplinary hug. Little Sex makes a distressed meowing noise. "And he's going to apologize, and give them back their cake-pies. Isn't that right, Little Sex?"

"Yes, m'am," grumbles Sex Sleuthor.

"Ah. Right. That's--that's good. I wasn't sure how we were going to handle that. The fewer things blowing up around our heads, the better." She manages to tear her glare away from the thing and turn to you. "I take it you're asking for permission to go over there?"

You nod. "Yes, m'am."

"Well--maybe you could invite them over here. Could you make some of those cake-pies?"

"If I had the recipe, yeah."

"There you go. We can have a cake party, apologize for all the murder and blasphemy. Maybe hash things out between them and Marisa, too. You can't get that angry when you're eating cake, right?"

"Cake party's fine by me," you say. Of course, the recipe may be a cultural secret forbidden for outsiders to know--but you're a damn apsara of sweets and cocktails and baked goods and you're pretty sure the al Bhed have nothing against Hindu mythological beasties. Surely they'll trust you with it. "We'll be off, then."

"Good luck," Nitori says, going back to looking at the thing.

Eirin hands you the empty ramen cup. "Toss this somewhere, okay?"

You stare at the empty cup, then take it. Nobody got anywhere by defying Eirin's wishes. Not since Sunnymilk called her a jerk. You don't want to think about what she did to Sunnymilk. Christ, you work with a bunch of scary people, don't you? You fistbump Reisen on your way out and head to the com room, where Hatate should be busy either laying out the newsletter or playing that damn game again.

"That was nice of you, dear, with the cup and the cake party," Meiling says.

"Didn't have much of a choice," you say, tossing the cup o' noodles in a trash can you pass.

"It's still nice that you did it, hon. Y'don't lose points for bein' polite."

"Right. I'm just glad this whole weird day is coming to a head. If the worst thing that comes out of all this is a cake party and weird dreams about that thing in the ice block, I'll be outrageously happy."

The power shuts off. It doesn't just shut off, actually; you hear a massive snap as the base plunges into perfect darkness. When the emergency lights don't kick in and the intercom doesn't crackle up, you slowly realize that this isn't just another blackout.

"...Meiling?" you say.

"Y-yeah, hon?" she says.

"You have a cell phone with a flashlight, right?"

"Yeah."

"Might wanna use it."

"It's in my fanny pack."

"So get it out of your fanny pack."

"I gots to hold on to Lil' Sex, dear! If I let 'im go he'll just get up to mischief."

"It's true, I will," he says.

"...Fine." A fanny pack. For a Chinese girl Meiling is so, so white trash. You swear an oath against Canada as you pull a heavily-padded cell phone from her (sigh) fanny pack and get that shit casting a strong beam over the pitch-black base.

The silence hits you. The silence and the sound of the wind scratching at the ceiling. The machinery of the base have come to a dead stop. This... uh, this hasn't happened before.

"...this is bad," you say.

"Y'think, Ginj?" says Meiling.

"I think."

"We should keep goin', though. I think she's got like batteries, Hatate does, so we can still do calls and such."

"Well, hell, it's a place to go."

You grope your way through the base. You pass a few generics on your way to Hatate's, but the atmosphere is a little more nervous than earlier. Usually it's a couple days between blackouts, and a little free juice to say "calm down everybody."

"Don't suppose the thing in the ice did this?" Meiling says.

"How could it?" you say, but then you remember Nitori's story about her dream and the magnets. "...Well, it might not be completely out of the question."

"Oh." Meiling frowns. "I'd hate to be right."

The com room has about as much room to move as a walk-in closet, the majority of the room taken up by gigantic, ancient, but reliable and juice-efficient devices. It's very slightly brighter than the re-power-outed base, with a few pale, flickering lights on assorted consoles and the glow of Hatate's cell as she plays that damn game. She's sitting in a plush, wheeled office chair in the middle of the massive machinery.

"Hey!" you say.

"Hay's for horses," Hatate says.

"Motherfucking neigh, the power just went the fuck out!"

"Noticed," Hatate says, "potty mouth."

"So--do you have any idea what the hell's happening? Any comms or calls or anything?"

Your phone and Meiling's buzz. Text message! Hatate tilts her head at Meiling's phone. The text is from Rin.

"Reserve batteries completely dry. Something is directly draining all of our geothermal power and I have no idea why. Est. loss of ambient heat in two hours. Will be coming by with fire. Pray."

"Well, hell," you say.

"Pretty lame, yeah," Hatate says. "What else you want."

"Excuse me," Meiling says, "but we'd like to put in a call to the al Bhed base, if we may."

"Not a problem," Hatate says, returning her phone to her chest holster and gliding her seat over to one of the heavier-duty comms.

"See? No points lost for politeness," Meiling says. She nudges you into the room now that there is in fact some room. Hatate tunes the radio to the al Bhed base's signal and sends out a request for communication. A few moments pass in utter, desolate silence. Then...

The radio clicks. "Rammu?"

"Cib, pedlrac. E rayn oui kud lyga ecciac yht cred."

"Oayr, cusa rayt cduma vundo lygac--"

"Yht dryd'c dannepma. Pid fa lyikrd dra rayt yht dra lygac ynah'd aydah."

You really wish you'd taken that class in... when was the last time you went to college? Right, '83.

"Frelr ec knayd yht ymm. Pid fa luimth'd cdub res palyica cusa vydycc ryc paah aydehk uin amaldneledo yht huf uin bufan bmyhd'c kuehk hu--"

Static, then silence. The comm comes to an abrupt end. Hatate swivels in her chair to look at you. "Things might not be okay over there."

"Define not okay."

Hatate swipes her finger across her throat.

"Why?!"

"Juice issues."

Son of a bitch. "Can you ask them what--"

"I wouldn't expect us asking them anything. Anytime soon."

Son of a bitch! "Well, what the h--" You can feel Meiling's eyes on your neck. "--eck are we gonna do now?"

Hatate stares at you. "I dunno. What are we gonna do, busybody?"

Sex Sleuthor yu's at you ominously.

Well, hell, what are we gonna do?

[ ] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing. ([ ] Face Patchouli at last.)
[ ] Just freaking find a place to sit and sit there already Jesus Christ.
[ ] Write in!
No. 50752
[x] Construct black licorice summoning circle to call Mokou in for warmth. Or Fireball. Whichever's easier.
No. 50754
[X] Just freaking find a place to sit and sit there already Jesus Christ.

The only thing worse in a horror movie than rushing in is splitting up. And we're seemingly starring in Alien.
No. 50756
[X] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing.

>>50754
Sitting around in the dark isn't a good idea either. Especially since it's about to get cold.
No. 50758
[x] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing. ([x] Face Patchouli at last.)

Well, let's do SOMETHING.
No. 50763
I just found an online Al-Bhed translator. It makes the Al-Bhed conversations a lot more hilarious.
No. 50765
[X] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing.
No. 50769
[X] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing. ([X] Face Patchouli at last.)

Even if it's not her, you can burn all that fat for warmth.
No. 50770
[x] Construct black licorice summoning circle to call Mokou in for warmth. Or Fireball. Whichever's easier.
No. 50772
[x] Before everything completely goes to shit, make sure Hatate gets a summary of our perfect storm of horror foreshadowing out to HQ just in case anything nasty happens.
No. 50817
[X] Get to the bottom of this power outage thing. -[X] Face Patchouli at last.

Let's deal with the fatass to end all fatasses.
No. 51066
File 137236206245.jpg- (87.48KB , 640x480 , hoary hammer of the gods.jpg ) [iqdb]
51066
Before everything completely goes to shit, make sure Hatate gets a summary of our perfect storm of horror foreshadowing out to HQ just in case anything nasty happens.
Construct black licorice summoning circle to call Mokou in for warmth. Or Fireball. Whichever's easier.
Get to the bottom of this power outage thing... and face Patchouli at last.

"...Put a call in to home. I've got a report to make."

Hatate shrugs and gets to doing exactly that, yanking out the emergency microphone on the emergency contact radio. A red light burns on the radio's console, barely illuminating a warning that frivolous use of the emergency phone may result in significant penalties, including but not limited to termination of employment and termination of having a tongue or thumbs. With that in mind, you take up the mike and wait for a signal from Hatate.

The radio hisses with static, a sound shockingly loud in the dying base. A low electronic beep sounds, followed by a prerecorded message from some anonymous intern repeating the warning printed on the side of the radio, though with more emphasis about the tongue thing. You take a deep breath and wait for the second beep to leave your message.

"This is Station Fun in the Sun, Ginger Sling reporting. Early this morning Head Researcher Nitori Kawashiro, accompanied by a contingent of on-site personnel, departed for an unknown position out in the Plateau of Leng following what she thought was a prophetic dream. The dream was accurate--she found something out there in the ice, what she claims was a spaceship of extrasolar origin. The team returned to base with an organism preserved in ice; as far as I can tell their claims of extrasolar origin are accurate.

"However, after storing the entity, Station FITS's power outage problems culminated in a total loss of power. Fire Distributater Rin Kaenbyou has informed us that the generators are no longer taking energy and the batteries have run entirely dry. I am about to investigate..." You lick your lips--suddenly quite dry--and steady your nerves in the brief moment of silence you can afford to take. "...the potential cause of the outage. While it is possible the extrasolar entity may be the cause of our energy problems, I believe they may be due to the actions of Infomancer Patchouli Ifimovich Wilfordbrimley Knowledge.

"Kaenbyou estimates we have less than two hours until our ambient heat is exhausted. I have little choice but to investigate now and hope that my supposition is correct. If I... if I or anyone else at Station FITS does not check in in the next four hours, assume that disaster has struck and send help.

"Sling out."

You kill the connection and hand the mike back to Hatate, who sticks it back where it goes and gets back to her game of Elder Sign on her phone. "Rad speech. You can go now."

"Thanks. Wish us luck in making sure we don't die."

"I've lived a full life." Hatate glances up from her phone. "Have you?"

You decide not to answer that and scoot your way out of the comms room (Meiling having already given you ample room to do so because she's just nice like that). "So is it really that nice Patchouli girl who's been causin' us such a ruckus, hon?"

"I like the part where she consigns us to a frozen death and you still call her 'that nice Patchouli girl.' Or the part where you put 'Patchouli and 'nice' in the same sentence."

"It's not nice to judge folk, hon. That's all I'm sayin'."

This isn't really worth getting hung up on, so you find yourself a little nook. Time to build yourself a little portable fire. It's already starting to get cold, though maybe that's your imagination. Or a gnawing sense of panic as you slowly realize what it would mean to run out of power in the Plateau of Leng, left to perish beneath a sky starless and bible-black.

You weave yourself a little pentagram from black licorice, about the size of your palm. You hold it to the ceiling and invoke a traditional Gensokyo prayer to famed SHL superstar Mokou "The Toaster" Fujiwara:

"I hereby agree to the end-user licensing agreement for the Toaster Torch(tm) Multi-Use External Combustion Engine! I wish to purchase the 24-hour license for the 'Nice 'n Easy(tm)' Medium Flame!"

Your words of prayer reach The Toaster's ears as she tries, desperately, to study on what the different clubs in golf do in time for her quarter-finals game. Your inquiry provides a much-needed distraction. She charges your Weyland-Yukari account 24.99 LC (plus tax) and doles out a little black magic.

Your pentagram erupts into ghostly blue flame, which soon coalesces in an ominously-pulsing orb just a few inches above it. The cold is beaten back with a goddamn sledgehammer. It's an even heat, and your hand's no hotter being a couple of inches from the flame than your head is a couple feet. Sorta like being in a microwave, come to think of it.

"It's getting kind of hot in hurr," Sex Sleuthor unhelpfully proposes.

"Might be a bit overkill there, hon," Meiling says.

"Maybe!" you say. "But I feel like overkill."

So armed, you lead Meiling (trailing at a respectable distance) to the nest of dread Patchouli. The way there is virtually empty, other than Cirno bumbling around like normal. And smelling like she rolled around in wet garbage again. You pinch your nose shut and stride that much faster, damn near jogging in fact.

"Little bit lonely 'round here!" Meiling says, keeping pace by taking somewhat longer steps. You've never seen her kick anything, but it looks like she could kick things pretty well. "Guess they're all huddlin' for warmth and such."

"The smart thing," you say, almost walking past Patchouli's room. It's impossible to miss, the door adorned with a black velvet painting of Elvis painting a black velvet painting of Jesus painting a black velvet painting of Elvis painting a black velvet painting of Jesus, ad infinitum. Death is an Act of Perception, Lance Carpenter, 1995. Electron microscope analysis confirmed that Jesuses paint Elvises paint Jesuses paint Elvises down to the subatomic level in defiance of physics. It's a certified miracle. Or, at least, the original is a certified miracle. This is a print. A black velvet print.

"Well then," you say, "no time like the present." You knock.

"I'm fine," Patchouli yells. "You can go."

"Hey, Knowledge," you say. "Know anything about the blackout?"

"I know everything there is to know, you can go."

"Including the part where you did it?"

"I--I did not do it! Continue walking!"

"Alright then..." You tickle Sex Sleuthor's little bellyfoot. He giggles uncontrollably and hiccups up a cakepie. You bring it near the door, which opens so fast it nearly rips free from its hinges. Patchouli snatches the cake and slams the door on--nothing, actually, as Meiling crosses the yard of distance between her and the door faster than you can blink and keeps it propped open with a kick. Her foot's planted on the door at eye level. Patchouli attempts to close the door harder. Not much progress there.

"Patchouli, sweetie," Meiling says, "if you could, would it be alright if we took a look around? We won't be long, hon, I promise."

Patchouli puts her whole weight behind shutting the door, but that exhausts her pretty quickly. She soon falls back into her room, huffing, puffing, and feeling around for a fork. Meiling nudges the door open and you're free to enter.

The place smells better than you thought it would, but it still smells like spilled soda, cigarette smoke, old people, and cheap-ass cigarettes. The floor is clear of everything but spilled-drink-and-melted-ice-cream stains, but every other available surface is piled high with long-term-borrowed cups, dishes, and utensils, coins, books, pens, stacks of coffee creamer, jam, and jelly, and one (1) laptop computer on the bed, flanked by mirrors, personal hygiene products, and also Patchouli lying on the bed and eating the blessed cake as loud as she possibly can.

It is remarkably warm in this room. Like, even discounting that magic fire a foot or so from your head, it should not be this warm, especially with the power off and the generators dead. "So, Patch. Remind me what you're here to do."

"MMmrphrrmmrpmphm. I'm the One-Week Mage. Fire, water... all that stuff. I'm good at it." She sets the empty cakepie tin on a pile of dishes near her bed. "Very good. I help with the base."

"See, here's the thing..." you say. "Fire and metal are on your list of things you can do, right?"

"Mhm."

"Seeing as how our geothermal generators are currently not giving us any energy, and yet your room is warm as shit, I have a suspicion that at the very least you could be doing more to keep us from freezing to death, and that you may in fact be the source of our woes."

Patchouli snorts. "These accusations are baseless."

Sex Sleuthor starts making a low, angry yuu-sound. He fidgets and bounces in Meiling's arms.

"Alright then. If these accusations are so baseless..." You point at her laptop. "Then why is your laptop's 'plugged in' light on?"

Patchouli glances at her laptop. "Um--it's broken."

You attach one end of a tether of taffy to the power cord on Patch's laptop and another to the wall facing. The plug flies off, the laptop making an obnoxious BEEP and the "plugged in" light blinking off.

"Uh--you--fixed it? Thanks?"

"That cord's goin' into the floor," Meiling says, pointing. Taking her arm off of Sex lets the guy wiggle free and start pacing in circles on the floo', yuu-ing loudly and with unquenchable anger. "An' I don't thin Lil' Sex likes it."

"Bark! Bark! Bark!" says Sex.

Patchouli crosses her arms. "You don't have nothin'."

Meiling pulls up on a handle near where the laptop's power cord enters the floor. The piercing drone of a dozen dozen computer rigs and a wave of heat rises from the trapdoor Meiling flings open.

"That's--uh, a wine cellar," Patchouli says.

You lower yourself into the trapdoor, Sex barking into the hidey-hole all the while. The trapdoor room is nearly the size of Patchouli's room, and it's piled high with computer equipment, all linked to a single monitor. The computer equipment is all plugged into a gigantic power strip, the power strip plugged into a glowing blue hole labeled BASE ENERGY, next to a sparking, fading red hole labeled AL BED (sic) ENERGY. The screen is a readout of--

Oh no. She can't--but she is. It's right there, how much she's gotten done so far today. Impossible. But here it is. You take a few pictures with your camera phone--you're gonna want this proof in a moment.

You barrel back up the ladder. "Jesus fucking Christ, Patchy's been eating our goddamn electricity to mine bitcoins!"

Meiling gasps.

"That's why I been barkin' like hell, come on son!" Sex Sleuthor says.

Patchuoli purses her lips and shakes her head. "Nuh uh. You can't prove it."

You point to a large hand-written poster on Patchouli's wall labeled BITCOIN MINING PASSWORDS, SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AND LIST OF WEAKNESSES. Wherein she lists the password for her Bitcoin wallet and mining rig, her social security number, and that she goes through enough insulin to make a Loch ness monster hypoglycemic. And that she's abnormally flammable. Good to know.

Patchouli scoots over about a foot, partially concealing the poster. You snap a picture of her attempting to conceal her evidence.

This is simply not a tenable situation.

[ ] Alert the authorities. ([ ] Including Anna.)
[ ] Handle Patchouli yourself.
[ ] Write in!
No. 51067
[x] Alert the authorities. ([x] Including Anna.)
-[x] But first, unhook that equipment. Maybe the generators can recharge.
-[x] Also, drag Patchouli before Anna, so she can't run away.

Well, now we just need to survive until power is restored.
No. 51086
[ ] Praise the sun.
[x] Alert the authorities. ([x] ESPECIALLY Anna.)
[x] Confiscate all conveniently-available insulin of Patchouli's.
[x] Seek front-row seats to the incineration.
No. 51089
[x] Alert the authorities. ([x] Including Anna.)
-[x] But first, unhook that equipment. Maybe the generators can recharge.
-[x] Also, drag Patchouli before Anna, so she can't run away.
No. 51095
[X] Alert the authorities. ([X] Including Anna.)
-[X] But first, unhook that equipment. Maybe the generators can recharge.
-[X] Also, drag Patchouli before Anna, so she can't run away.

Gee, gluttony, greed, pride and sloth. The seven deadly sins are not a checklist, Patchouli. At least she doesn't seem to be showing lust.
No. 51102
[x] Praise the sun.
[x] Alert the authorities.
-[x] ESPECIALLY Anna.
--[x] By means of dragging Patchouli before Anna personally.
---[x]But unhook that power strip first.
[x] Seek front-row seats to the incineration.
No. 51150
[X] Give it a little bit after all her shit's unplugged to see if the power starts coming back.
- If it doesn't, politely ask Patchouli to fix it.
-- If she's uncooperative, mention considering deterring Anna from immediately burninating her if she does.

[x] If confiscation of insulin seems to be making her die on the spot, permit Patchouli just enough to survive until the execution. It's more fun that way.
No. 51196
File 13725479578.jpg- (261.21KB , 500x500 , cup of patch flan.jpg ) [iqdb]
51196
Do all of that stuff we just went over, kay?

You've got business to take care of. 280-some-odd pounds of trouble. She's ornery and she hates you and you just uncovered her master plan and fat and stupid or no, she's still a pretty wicked magician when she wants to. You need to get her to somebody who can handle her, and you need to give her a reason to not explode you while getting her to somebody who can handle her.

Lucky for you, those voices inside your head that don't sound like you and who have been feeding you advice all day have a plan. You steal a glance at Meiling, then dart your eyes over to the trapdoor. She nods. Plan: initiated.

"Patchouli," you say, "you're going to unplug all those computers right now."

"Like hell I am," Patchouli says, putting an arm over her social. A little bit. "I have like five hundred LC in bitcoins!"

The bitcoin computers make a loud beep.

"...like 260 LC in bitcoins!

Another beep.

"...like 280 LC in bitcoins! I'll retire rich! It's a growth industry!"

"It's a goddamn energy hog that a money-embezzling pedophile made. And you've consigned us all to death by windigo!" You take an accusatory step forward and extend an accusatory arm and an accusatory finger on the end of your free accusatory hand. Is it your middle finger? It may very well be. You are in an angry mood and have no time for trifles.

"Well--I'd like to see proof of it. Homeboy."

"God take every last one of you why does nobody in this fucking base know I'm from India?! It's an entirely different set of goddamn stereotypes! You know what?" You send a taffy tether into a large bag of insulin marked PATCHOULI'S INSULIN FOR NOT DYING (the irony is not lost on you) and whip that shit back into your hand like Indiana Jones. Patchouli realizes what's happening and reacts about three seconds too late. "I'm taking the ball and going home, cracker."

"Come on!" Patchouli says, rolling out of bed, "It's gonna be time to shoot up in like any time now and stuff."

"I~ don't~ really~ caaaaare~!" you sing, hefting the bag of insulin bottles with a terrible lack of care and a terrible ampleness of noise.

"But--but I do!"

"Still~ don't~ ca~re~!" you sing, turning from Patchouli and taking a few steps out of the room. You hear a sound like a rhinoceros being chased by a jabberwocky. That would be Patchouli running after you and burbling with incoherent rage. That's your cue to briskly jog. "Handle it!" you shout over your shoulder, Patchouli stampeding after you into the corridors of the base.

Patchouli seriously books it for a few yards before she slows to a crawl, huffing, puffing, and very literally sweating oily, overweight snails. She's a veritably Steinian vision of horror, or so you would assume if you weren't enjoying a brisk jog and absolutely not looking behind you and merely going off the smell of gasoline and the sound of snails crushed in rolls of fat. (The joke is that Patchouli is outside a woman's expected weight level. That's the joke we're going with here. It's very literary.)

Right. So Patchouli can't kill you because you have her insulin and she can't catch up with you because she's Patchouli. Now all you have to do is find somebody in charge. Man, with your Toaster Torch(tm) getting the hell out of dodge with a panting hellbeast on your tail is easy-peasy even in a pitch-black base. You don't even mind that being-microwaved sensation! Or the fact it seems to be cooking those snails Patchouli is sweating. And it's making her sweat bunches. When you are done here you're going to summon up a shitload of zombies and--

Idea.

You call up a zombie. A tall, fruity blend of several rums, brandy, pineapple and lime juice, not a shambling corpse. You take a bolstering swig, then ignite the outrageously alcoholic beverage and pour it out behind you. Newton's first law kicks in; Patchouli simply cannot stop herself from skidding and sliding directly into the flaming liquor puddle, her whole body going up in a roaring pylon of flame before she trips over her own feet and crashes to the ground, cracking the tile.

Patchouli flounders on the ground a bit, giving off thick, greasy smoke. It smells like a sublimated pulled pork sandwich up in hurr. A flaming snail pathetically attempts to slither away, and that's what finally gets you to act. You sigh, yank a fire extinguisher off the wall, and get to blasting her until the flames die down. And the snail, too. The snail's okay! You watch it slither away, oddly entranced by its escape.

Patchouli tries to inch her way forward to the insulin you set down near, but not too near, the Toaster Torch(tm) about five feet further down the hall. You pluck your prize and your light source away from her. "Now what is the lesson here, Patchoui?"

Patchouli looks up at you. "That you like to wave your pancreas privilege in my face?"

You wag your finger at her. Maybe it's your middle finger again. "Don't fuck with the Celestial Maiden of Sweetness." You take a few steps over her prone body and get to looking for somebody who knows what they're doing.

First, though, you return to Patchy's room. Meiling meets you halfway there, Sex Sleuthor in hand. "Oh, heya, Ginger! You're lookin' healthy, did you handle that nice Patchouli girl?"

"You called her nice again."

"It's not nice to judge, dear."

"...whatever. Anyway, she's on her belly and lightly singed--"

"Is that what I was smellin' then? It's like somebody tried to cook bacon that got rotten."

"Yeah, Jesus. I thought Cirno smelled bad." You pinch your nose.

"Oof, somebody's gotta teach that little lady not to be afraid of showers."

"--Right, so, I hate to get off the topic of why our coworkers can't take a goddamn bath now and again, but did you handle that bitcoin mining rig thing? Like I implied, with my eyes?"

"Yahuh. I pulled the big ol' plug on the whole mess. With any luck we'll be right as rain, right Little Sex?"

"You shoulda let me blow it up," Sex says. He sticks his tongue out. A hand grenade is balanced on it. When he notices the two of you staring, he sucks it back in. "What? You work here, you just lit Patch the heck on fire. It's a hazardous work environment and a head's gotta keep himself safe."

"If I tickled you earlier..." you say, "...could you have... instead of the..."

"Yeah. It woulda been possible. All things are possible to those who have faith in the Lord."

Mental note made.

"Hello."

You all look at the new voice. It's Anna! Her hair's kind of unkempt, and her glasses are a bit crooked, and her flamethrower's pilot light has been lit. Her finger is caressing the trigger.

"Hey, Anna," you say. "I've got a surprise for you."

"Is it Patchouli?"

"Almost." You pull out your phone and show off your newest photos. "I got you some photographic evidence. And Patchouli."

Anna tilts her head. "That's--I guess I'm impressed?"

You flip your phone around. Ah. Vacation photos. Whoops. You flip over to the right pictures and make another mental note to get the others the heck off before someone else sees them.

"Ohhhh." Anna nods. "Okay. That's nice. I'm going to murder her." A tongue of flame leaps from the hose, sending Meiling and Sex flinching back a few feet.

"Wait, wait wait wait wait!" you say, throwing your arms up. "We've got her where we want her, we've got her computers unplugged, we have her insulin--" You jangle her insulin about. "You know what this means, right?"

Anna's head tilts the other way. "We... can... make it a huge spectacle of it?"

"The best spectacle." 2x fingergun!

"That's brilliant. Legitimately brilliant. Thank you, Sling." She offers you a crisp bow.

"Any time."

"Still." Anna kills the pilot light and engages the safety, then holsters the hose. "That means we have to drag Patch someplace convenient."

"Right. Dragging Patchouli. Great idea. Ready to help, M--" Meiling's gone. Sex Sleuthor is gone with her. That Canadian son of a bitch!

"Come on, then!" Anna says, cracking her knuckles. "Let's do some heavy lifting!"

Anyway, some time passes. You very deliberately try to forget everything that happens as it happens, moving on autopilot as you and Anna kick-roll Patchouli into a large tarp and drag her through base, you slightly in the lead with the Toaster Torch(tm), Anna slightly in the rear hauling both her share of Patchouli and her flamethrower. You admire that girl's dedication to that flamethrower. You also fear that girl's growing codependent relationship with that flamethrower.

By the time you ditch the tarp and Patchouli into a pit in the rec room and slide the grating over it, your muscles ache and your stomach is roaring for food. You stumble onto a chair facing the projection screen, shock white against the calm green walls of the rec room. You reflect on the starkness of the wall and rejoice. Suddenly your issues are over. There is absolutely, positively nothing else that could go wrong today. Not even one thing could get in your way. You can check out. Go on autopilot. Stop paying attention. Maybe sneak off and get a nap in before the--

"Hey," you say to Anna, who stands over the grating admiring the fruits of her labor. Anna looks up at you. "When is it going down? The, uh. Trial, I guess."

"Mm--it's movie night. So after that. And we can make an evening of it."

"Wonderful. That's--" You check your phone. Sweet Christ it's half past three. Movie night starts at 7 on the dot. You better get moving if you want food and anything like sleep. "--right. I'll see you then. Thanks for the help."

"Thank you for your help. If you hadn't sussed out Patchouli we'd be doomed."

"Hey, don't jinx us," you say, scooping up your Toaster Torch(tm). "You never know what else is gonna pop up today."

"Hey," Patchouli says, "could you hand me some of that insulin?"

Anna gropes around the bag, fetching one of Patch's spare needles and an insulin bottle, drawing a load and handing the needle to Patch through holes in the grating. "Don't gobble it up all at once," Anna says.

"I'm supposed to," Patch says, gettin' her injection on. "This is discrimination. I have type 1 diabetes, I was raising money to get more insulin with those bitcoins."

"I'm sure you were," Anna says, hanging the insulin bottle bag off of a hook on her flamethrower's backpack. She leaves the rec room--and the emergency lights kick in, bathing the base in a dim glow.

Then the speakers start back up, a staticy buzz that quickly turns into the voie of Rin. "Power is gradually returning," Rin says, sounding quite relieved. "We'll be back in business by dinner time, just you wait." The intercom cuts out. Then it un-cuts-out a few moments later. "Oh, and I just received a text from Ms. Walker. Tonight's showing of Winnie the Pooh: Too Smart for Strangers will be followed by the summary execution in flame of Patchouli Knowledge for numerous offenses against the base. So that should be fun."

It should be fun, yeah.

Before you shamble out of your chair and head to the mess hall--and hope that not too many people want something sweet to go with their glad-we're-not-going-to-die lunch--you take a moment to raise the Toaster Torch(tm) high and praise the sun whose face you will not see for months yet. When its light falls on you again, you pray, may it fall on a woman wiser and stronger for her experience in this base.

[ ] Anything to do before movie night? Write it in!
No. 51204
[x] Send a quick message to base, letting them know that everything is under control.
-[x] While you're at it, check up on the Al- Bhed.
[x] Maybe a quick report to Nitori. Just peek your head in the door, see if she's not too busy.
No. 51227
[x] Send a quick message to base, letting them know that everything is under control.
-[x]Let's take care of that Al Bhed thing, finally.
--[X]Bring either Reimu or Marisa with us, just in case the Al Bhed had managed to reclaim their ship's black box.
No. 51287
File 137273801013.png- (3.57KB , 239x99 , c1f11df5c942ff19559235c54e064ea1[1].png ) [iqdb]
51287
[x] Send a quick message to base, letting them know that everything is under control.
-[x] Let's take care of that Al Bhed thing, finally.
--[X] Bring either Reimu or Marisa with us, just in case the Al Bhed had managed to reclaim their ship's black box.

[x] Provided adequate safety, muse upon our Indian heritage in available downtime.
No. 51300
Vote cutoff! Update comin' tonight~

I had a dream about The Tou the night before last. No kiddin'. It was a musical.
No. 51306
>I had a dream about The Tou the night before last. No kiddin'. It was a musical.

You're going to have to summarize this now, you realize.
No. 51320
>>51306
Well, seein' as how I fell asleep last night before finishing the update... I'll wait until after the update's posted though, in case of spoilers.

It's gonna be a long one!
No. 51337
>>51300
I read this, and I can't help but imagine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8faq5amdK30 with Touhous.
No. 51347
File 137291955119.png- (36.79KB , 392x373 , not much here.png ) [iqdb]
51347
Update part one!

Send a quick message to base, letting them know that everything is under control. While you're at it, check up on the Al- Bhed. (Bring either Reimu or Marisa with us, just in case the Al Bhed had managed to reclaim their ship's black box.)

But first, you slouch on over to the mess hall and help yourself. Given that everybody just got done hoping they wouldn't all perish ignobly, and the power still hasn't fully returned, those hungry have got Mecha-Maid Ruukoto to put on a big pot of noodles. She doles out a bowlful for you with a smile and a whispered "Please kill me." You find yourself a comfortable seat and get your goddamn eat on because you deserve it after the everything that's happened since you've woken up. You spot everybody a round of something tasty, because that's what you're here for, and stride out of that cafeteria full and with a warm glow about your cheeks.

For all that hell you just went through you feel remarkably good. Maybe it's that swell of emotion for doing your job well, maybe it's because you're finally starting to fit in at the base, maybe it's the zombie you knocked back setting your brain on a very languid, peaceful sort of fire. Hard days make peaceful nights, and all that. Just a few more errands and you're cruising from here to Patchouli getting lit on fire. Who knows? Maybe Reisen will be there.

Funny how you started off wanting to ditch the poor rabbit. Amazing what a few brushes with death and Patchouli, who is like death, can do for a relationship. And there you go thinking about relationships. I mean, come on, yourself, you're not that desperate for companionship.

Well, maybe you kind of are. It's been a few decades since your last steady and that ended on some pretty brutal terms.

Maybe it's the cabin fever talking. Maybe it's the alcohol. Maybe you're desperately lonely and desperately in need of somebody to snuggle up to. Maybe you're stuck in a romantic comedy and all the viewers at home are waiting for the big kiss.

The Sorrows of Ginger Sling: Love and Laughs in the Frozen North: And Sometimes Bitches Get Stitches and Scary People Blow Up Non-Scary People In Huge Misunderstandings.

...you should probably swing by the comms room before doing anything else.

Hatate is, given who she is, surprisingly busy, typing up a storm on her phone. You knock on the door frame. "Hey, there," you say.

The tengu grunts at you.

"Can I put in a call back to home base, tell them we're okay?"

"Already did."

"Well--thanks. Did you ever get in contact with the Al-Bhed base?"

"Yup." She stops typing long enough to spin the knob on the radio until a mournful tune with eerie, wailing singing pipes up out of nowhere, bursting out of the static with enough suddenness to spook you. "Hear that?"

"...yeeeeah?"

"Sending song. Automatic. Black box function in case of catastrophic failure and total loss of the base. Wild guess is that they used one of those unstable-ass magic engines and it exploded once Patch knocked it out of whack. Those al-Bhed that didn't get exploded got frozen or monstered. Ghosts and echoes 's all that's left."

Your good mood gets torpedoed. You think back to earlier today, the first time you could've gone after Patchouli, and now you can only wonder if you could've made a difference for those poor sons of bitches if you'd only thought to follow your gut.

"...shit," you mutter.

"The ice is uncaring," says Hatate. She shuts off the radio and gets back to typing.

You inch out of the room, place your back against the wall--the elbows of your wings digging in to the cold, smooth plaster--and slide down until you're sitting. You cross your arms over your knees, bow your head, and try to make sense of the world.

At some point, the emergency lights blink off--and are replaced with the even white light of the real lights. When sitting alone in the hall makes you feel more vulnerable than alone, you climb to your feet and stumble to the showers.

You can hear two of the showers blazing away with pleasantly hot water, but the smell hits you before the sound. From the smell of it you're not the only person to decide to take a power's-back bath--somebody must have dragged Cirno in here to blast the stink off of her, then emptied a bottle of Febreeze trying to defeat it. It overwhelms the natural odor of the locker room. You'd never thought you'd wish the locker room would smell more like a locker room, but your life has taken a lot of odd turns today. You strip, towel up, and step ino your bath slippers, creeping to the showers and seeing which is available.

As you approach, one of the shower stalls opens and Rin steps out. Shes looking pretty haggard, and can you blame her? She pauses at the sight of you. "Wait... you're--you're Ginger Sling, right?"

You nod. "Yeah."

"You're the one who just saved us, aren't you?"

"Well, me and Meiling. And Reisen helped me out earlier. And... uh. That... head." You trail off.

Rin gives you a pat on the shoulder. "You've done well by the whole base. Go on, wash your face. Take a rest."

You nod. Rin heads to her locker, her tail waving idly under the hem of her towel. You open the door to her vacated shower and take an immediate whiff of Cirnostink. You're torn betwen wondering why Rin would want to shower where Cirno bathed last and lamenting that Cirnostink's taken up the warm shower. A pre-warmed shower is one of the greatest joys one may know in an arctic base, and Rin's nose is just made of sterner stuff than yours. Or, since she's from Hell, she's used to worse.

You slide into one of the unoccupied showers and get to bathing. Step one is turning on the hot water and waiting for the tile floor to go from "wow, they called the fire department!" to "tolerably warm." In the interminable time between the former and the latter, you have all the time in the world to think about the last time a lot of people died horribly because you didn't act in time.

A long time ago, you went by Madhuri to people who weren't yukkuris you were threatening with sucrourgy. These people didn't ask for your help; they prayed for your blessing, and you would bestow it, and they would shower you with praise and worship, and the fires of their faith burned bright in your heart. In this way you lived, loved, danced, and sang alongside your sisters for four hundred years, alight with celestial bliss.

Perhaps it was your command of all things sweet that got you the job--perhaps one of your sisters talked you into it. It's been a hundred and fifty years, and the specifics of the event evade you at the moment. One way or another, you wound up as one of a myriad of liasons with the East India Trading Company. They seemed nice enough; all they really wanted was tea, after all. Tea, and enough organization, enough civilization, they said, to keep it running smoothly. They had gifts to give: sweets from other lands, far away, and fine liquor likewise. They spoke calmly and at length. They admired your beauty. They applauded your dancing.

Why wouldn't you trust them?

You hardly paid attention to the workings of the Company. You let them carry on, you accepted their offerings, and blessed their tea. It was a while before the prayers turned to invectives, the love of the people turned to hate, and the flame of faith burning in your chest guttered, dimmed, and perished. By then, though, it was far too late. The mechanisms you helped put in motion had grown too enormous for you to stop; their influence too deeply entrenched for something as small as you, a mere celestial maiden of sweetness, to remove. The British did not set up their industry at your doorstep unprepared; their gods followed them in, and their gods were strong.

You have few memories of those years. You... did a lot of drinking. The fine wines and aged wiskeys the British gave you. Then whatever you could lay hands on. It was't enough; you forgot the details, the whys and the hows, but you remember what you felt, what you lived through, all too keenly. You remember your sisters' love turning to hate across one particularly long, horrible night, and you don't know why. You remember throwing yourself on the mercy of your fellow gods, receiving nothing in return, and you don't know why. You remember seeking sanctuary with the East India Trading Company, only to be chased into the night by their gods and warlocks, your contribution to their cause now another worry as the stirrigs of rebellion began to tear their centuries-old business apart.

You remember casting off your own divinity. You remember why quite precisely: to shut out the litany of men and women and children cursing your name. That's how you got the horns. And the wings.

Things get blurry for a decade or so after that.

And Marisa stirs you from your reverie. "Outta the way, white guy comin' through." She grabs you by the hair and throws you out of the shower, stealing your nice, pre-warmed bath from you.

"Hey!" you yell, "I just fucking saved your ungrateful sorry asses!"

"Whatever, homeboy," Marisa says, slamming the stall shut on her.

"At least hand me my wing soap!"

"You don't need wing soap."

"My wings are exposed to the elements and very tender! I need special soap so I don't chap like a motherfucker!"

"Yeah?" Marisa sticks her head out of the stall. "Well, why don't you head on to Patchy's room, root through her shit, and get yourself a nice big bottle of Bag Balm for your udders, because you are also fat." And with that she shuts the door again.

On the bright side, you are substantially less depressed. On the down side you are substantially more pissed off.

You take the angriest shower of your life.

Next time: Maybe a quick report to Nitori. Just peek your head in the door, see if she's not too busy.

[ ] Write in? Write in.
No. 51351
[x] Well, fuck Marisa. Take some time to think of a nice way to get back at the bitch without her knowing it was you.

Because I don't know. Bitch has to pay, but who wants to piss of the base MURDERER personally?
No. 51359
Hm. Interesting. How odd that Rin wasn't bothered by Cirnostench. And more than that, Marisa wasn't this big of a jerk earlier, when the Al Bhed attacked. Kinda makes you wonder...

Ah, but I'm just being paranoid.
No. 51363
>>51359
I wouldn't be surprised at ALL if it was alien Mamizou trolling for laughs.
No. 51364
[X] Well, fuck Marisa. Add as much sugar you can get away with into her bath to give her a yeast infection.
[X]Head over to Smokeweed's, your glaucoma's acting up, qnd you want to be in the perfect mood to celebrate Patchy's burning alive.
No. 51366
[x] Don't piss off Marisa. She's acting like a complete dickweed, but she DID save our life earlier. Let's just consider that little debt settled.
- [x] Besides, even if we're subtle, she's probably clever enough to trace anything sugar-related back to us.

[x] Take solace in the fact that we did use proper caution based on our lack of information in the Patchouli situation, regardless of the consequences; all we had was a hunch that whole time, and there were plenty of other problems cropping up with clearer solutions.
- [x] Besides, things might have gone worse if Meiling wasn't there as backup...
No. 51381
File 137299224524.jpg- (155.14KB , 730x1100 , touhou by name tow hoes by nature.jpg ) [iqdb]
51381
Maybe a quick report to Nitori. Just peek your head in the door, see if she's not too busy. Further: Take some time to think of a nice way to get back at the bitch [Marisa Kirisame, the atomic murderer] without her knowing it was you. Or maybe don't because you could get in trouble and she did technically save you earlier? And don't be so hard on yourself, hon, you did the best you could. Meb'd you can talk it over with that nice Smokeweed girl, she always knows how to get you happy again. --Meiling (please enjoy these pumpkin spice cookies, they're good for your bones, don'tcha know)

Admittedly, your options are limited. If you wanted to kill Marisa, and right now you sorely do, you'd have to catch her unaware, and do it fast enough that she wouldn't have time to destroy you. You mull it over a bit. In the end it's two to one for revenge, if you had to quantify these things in any way. You know, there is a petty bit of revenge you can take right now. And why not?

You focus on the showerhead, and with an uttered invocation, plant a big block of sugar in the pipes. Not a solid block; plenty of holes so that the water briefly sputters, but soon resumes its flow. Marisa might notice the water getting sweeter. But she won't notice that yeast infection until it's far too late to put two and two together. Hopefully.

With that you begin taking the angriest shower you have ever taken. You have to say that the part that made you angriest was where you had to soap up one of the walls and rub your wings against them because Marisa has your wing brush, too. When you step out of the shower you're clean but still pissed and wishing you had anything like the guts or ability to take a more direct revenge on Marisa. Goddammit, you saved the base.

...You know what? Goddamn right you saved the base. Marisa would be--would probably be dead now if it weren't for you. Even if she's a huge racist ass, you're still demonstrably superior to her in the "not getting everybody killed" department. Sure, you could've acted faster. You could've gone on a hunch. But there was a lot of shit going down, all kinds of it all at once. There was no way you could know that the Al-Bhed were in danger, too. It's sad that you couldn't save 'em, but you can't beat yourself up too much.

You double know what? Fuck that Kirisame cracker. You don't need a trivial cracker-ass cracker like her getting you down. You're going to keep your head high and your wings proud and slightly chapped and your glaucoma is acting up so better head over to Smokeweed's and then you're going to get some affirmation from Nitori because she's the one person you're supposed to respect whom you actually do.

You gussy up in your finest blouse, your warmest sarong, and get to struttin'. Because you are a beast who's ready to strut.

And also ready to treat your glaucoma.

Give or take thirty minutes of treating your glaucoma later suddenly you're in the base's chapel! How weird! You totally don't even know how you got here, sitting in one of the pew and sipping on a mimosa the size of your head. In fact, you don't think you've ever seen the inside of the chapel. You only know it's the chapel because there's stained glass windows depicting Jesus's crucifixion in gruesome, fetishistic detail, a nun in a bikini drinking straight from a bottle of tequila, and Padre Saigyou Ayakashi cradling Nitori in its branches.

"Thank you, Padre," she says. "It's--some days I just don't know what to do."

The Padre emits a message on a broadband telepathic wavelength: It Is Good That You Have Doubt For It Means That You Are Open To Suggestion And As A Higher Being I Command That You Sleep In The Warmth Of My Arms That I Will Make You Die.

Nitori crosses herself and slides out of his bough, the razor-thorned branches clasping at her futilely. "I'll remember your words always." She takes a few steps down the aisle before noticing you. "Oh! Hello, Ginger."

"Huh? Oh. Right. Hey there," you say.

"Are you looking for spiritual guidance?"

"I... don't... know?" You take a sip of your mimosa. Fresh-squeezed orange juice and Santana DVX; is there no drink more mellow than this?

"If you are--you better hurry. It's almost time for the big show."

Oh right, Patchouli's probably gonna get incinerated. Unless Anna's figured out how to fill that flamethrower with acid. She's been meaning to. "Ehhh, I can always get spiritual guidance later."

Submit To The Will Of The Devouring Branches Please, the Padre says.

You follow Nitori down the aisle while Saigyou rustles impotently. "So yeah, that was a trip. The whole... base... thing."

"It was. Thank you again. You've more than earned your paycheck today. Remind me to put in a word to base to up your pay, in fact."

"Really? Thanks a lot... you... wacky... turtle... person..."

"Kappa." She smiles. "Glaucoma acting up?"

"It was. Not no more, no m'am."

"I can see that."

Suddenly you remember what you were going to ask. "Oh! Right. Hey--Nitori. How's the, how's the thing you have on ice?"

"It's locked in the lab's deep freezer, and the lab's locked up too. I guess it's silly to be afraid of it melting, but... Eirin examined its biochemistry and there's something like a 60% commonality between our genetic structure. It's not impossible that it might carry pathogens that can affect people from Earth."

"Really?"

"Really."

"That's--that's pretty heavy."

"The heaviest. We'd call in someone from home base, but a storm's rolling in. We won't be able to communicate for... however long it takes. We're thinking it's going to be 'til the morning, at least."

"Phew. Good thing--" You step through the doors one moment; the next, a strong pair of hands are picking you up by the shoulder and planting you a few feet away. Oh hey, it's Sakura Izayoi, the scary time maid. She glares at you in her typically hateful way, brushes her hands, and takes her place at Nitori's side.

"We'll see you later," Nitori says, somewhat apologetic, as Sakuya leads her off.

"Hey, Ginj," Reisen says, stepping forward and--giving you a hug. Man, you should not be this pleased about getting a hug from Reisen. "Thanks for saving the day again."

"No problem," you say, reciprocating the hug. "How's tricks?"

"Is--hey, is that a jab at the...?" She wags an ear at you.

"Oh--oh, definitely not. Sorry. Crap, I didn't mean..."

"It's alright. You just got your glaucoma treated, didn't ya?"

"Oh yeah. I treated it so hard it's in remission."

"Mm! Hope it doesn't sneak up on you again, that'd be terrible. I might have to get back in touch with Jah if that happened."

"Airie," you say. And laugh. "God, that's--we just did that, didn't we?"

"I think we did. Hey, what's that you're sippin' there?"

"Ah--it's a mimosa. You want one?"

She grasps your drink-holding hand and maneuvers the glass to her lips. She takes a quick sip. "Oh yeah. That sounds delightful."

A fat glass of orange juice and Santana DVX appears in your free hand. "Drink deep and enjoy," you say. "We're finally off the clock."

Reisen takes the glass and draws a deep sip. "Yeah. That sounds great. Hurry up, we're missin' the concert."

"Concert?"

The two of you head off, hand in hand, to the rec room. The sound of fuzzy guitar and drums greets you as you get closer. Ah--sounds like Mystia's little band is playing. Mystery Cult, that's their name. Mystia on lead guitar, Chen on drums, Tewi on bass, Cirno on a keyboard that isn't plugged in so she can do whatever she likes and nobody cares.

"Go you monster, back to space
I don't like your haunted face
All right!
Go you monster go!
All right now,
go you monster, go!"


It's early and movie night has yet to begin. The rec room is normally pretty roomy, but they've shoved the tables and the couches near the back and You and Reisen find a nice set of seats near the back and, for the first time all day, really get to relax.

Other members of the base file in and take their seats. Nitori's in the front row, though Sakuya appears to have gone off to do whatever it is Sakuyas do. Probably to sharpen her knives. Eirin comes in next with a six-pack of tallboys in hand and plops down near the middle. When the band finishes up they move their instruments out of the way of the screen, and, as if waiting for them to stop, a flood of generics, along with Meiling.

Meiling doles out bundles of pumpkin spice cookies to everyone in attendance, first to those in the seats. She gives an extra helping to you and Reisen. "There y'go, sweeties!" Meiling says, "You've been very good today, I do so hope you like 'em. Eat 'em up, they're good for your bones~"

"Thanks aplenty," you say, untying the little plastic twist-tie and helping yourself to one. Man, for someone who eats pork buns with maple syrup she can really cook. Also, the timing was perfect, 'cause you've go the munchies like--man, like you got a lot of 'em.

Soon, the movie starts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NKPrNEO6uo You and Reisen eat the heck out of your pumpkin spice cookies and hand out treats and drinks to folk in need of them. It's a pity nobody ever tips you, because you would be raking in mad tips if they did.

On screen, Winnie the Pooh dispenses a few hints on how not to get molested. "--and always be sure to tell your mommy and daddy," says the cheaply-made, partially articulate costume.

"B-b-b-but Pooh!" the smaller, cheaper, even-less-articulated Piglet costume says, "I'm s-s-s-tarting to think that my mommy and daddy aren't real!"

"Oh? What makes you think--" With a gentle scare cord and a snake-like hissing noise, Winnie's big fake head splits open, revealing a taxidermied Goliath bird-eating spider. The costume, spider and all, bursts into flames and ambles off. You swear the actor's screaming hasn't been fully removed from the sound mix. Winnie the Pooh, wearing a colorful plastic flamethrower now melting near the nozzle, steps into frame.

"Oh, bother," Winnie says, "it looks like a shape-changer tried to take my place!"

"P-p-p-p-pooh!" Piglet says, the head fixed not on Pooh but on wherever the guy who got lit on fire went off to, "I thought that was you back there!"

"I bet you did! Sometimes you'll find that people you know and care about have been replaced by creatures which are almost-perfect copies. It can be very scary if your mommy or daddy have been--"

Piglet's head pops off, revealing several taxidermied rattlesnakes tied together to form a head. Winnie incinerates the guy. He tries to run off-screen but soon trips in the big plush costume; the smoke and licks of flame are just barely in frame when another Piglet walks in from off screen. "Oh, hello, Pooh! I went to get a drink of water just now! W-w-what did you have to say about p-p-perfect replicas?"

"Oh, bother," Pooh says, "now I'll have to start from the top!"

The film pauses. A text box appears on screen: "To purchase the Too Smart For Perfect Imitations DLC for Too Smart For Strangers, please log in to Weyland-Yukari Live." Groans and thrown handfuls of popcorn fill the air. Mystia turns the lights on and tinkers with the projector.

"Alright, alright, so it looks like movie night's ending prematurely," she says. "But look on the bright side! It's time fo-o-o-or an execution!" Cheers and applause. Anna Walker, who's been waiting outside since around the halfway point of the movie, steps in, taking a few bows. Mystia helps her pull back the cover from the grating, the grating from over the pit, and a handy lever nearby to raise the floor of the pit until it's flush with the floor of the rec room. Anna's flamethrower is trained on the center of the platform the entire time.

Patchouli's been busy. Whatever else you can say about her, and trust me, you can say a lot about her, she can do some surprisingly good sewing just by ripping up her jammies and using the three insulin needles she's gone through as improvised knitting needles. Unfortunately, she appears to have used her jammies to knit a scandalous semi-swimsuit which fits her quite snugly. With a faint snap she twists herself around into a perfect boobs-and-butt pose. Acres of stretch marks and cellulite glare at you from her ghastly-pale, lunar-surface skin. You feel a part of your soul die.

"Llllllladies," she purrs.

"Ms. Patchouli Knowledge," Anna says, shouldering the flamethrower, "you have committed numerous offenses against the base. Among them: Damage to primary power source, minimum sentence: summary execution; damage to emergency power source, minimum sentence: summary execution; illegal consumption of electricity, minimum sentence: summary execution; theft of utensils from mess hall, minimum sentence: deduction of utensil cost from final paycheck; and attempt to evade summary execution through seduction, minimum sentence: summary execution. Do you have anything to say for these accusations?"

"I've been framed," Patchouli says. She appears to be stuck in the boobs-and-butt pose.

"Right. Uhm." She looks around. "If you're particularly young or don't think you want to watch me light Patchouli on fire, you should probably--"

"Ow!" Tewi yells. She jumps up in her seat, holding her hand up. It looks like somebody went to town on it with a staple remover. "Cirno bit me! She put a spider in the popcorn and it bit me!"

"No I didn't!" Cirno says. "My mouth's here and I don't know where a spider is!"

Anna sighs. "Just--somebody get her a bandage or something, we can talk it over after the--"

Those sitting near Cirno get the hell out of the way, screaming or gasping or swearing or all three. The whole room gets stirred into a ruckus and soon the only ones in the middle of the room are Cirno and Tewi herself, Tewi still on the chair, Cirno--looking at her hand. What in the hell?

"The hell's..." Reisen says from next to you, leaning forward in her seat.

Cirno turns around.

Her fingers have doubled in length. Long spikes or thorns or--or teeth--grow out of each joint, punching through her fingernails. Her fingers wiggle and squirm like a nest of worms exposed to sunlight.

"I... I didn't mean it..." Cirno says. Tewi stares at her in absolute shock, frozen in place. You cant blame her, because what the fuck?

"Uh... Eirin?" Mystia says. "I... I think... I think Cirno needs help."

"Stand a-goddamn-side," Eirin says, pushing her way through the crowd. "I've got this." She pulls a sewing kit from her pocket. "Hold still, this'll all be over soon."

Cracks appear down Cirno's forehead, diagonal ones that cross one of her eyes. "I didn't mean it..." she says. Small, lashing tentacles flicker free of Cirno's new headcrack, widening the gap. "I didn't meeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeEEEE!" Her head splits open, her brain no longer a brain but a mass of what looks like raw meat and staring eyeballs and tiny hoses. A thin stream of blue liquid lances out and across Eirin's face, right across her eye in fact.

She reels away, acrid smoke peeling from the liquid. "Jesus fucking Christ MY FUCKING EYE!" she screeches.

Out the corner of your eye you see Reisen drawing a pistol. "Alright, fuck this," she hisses, just as Cirno plunges her mutated arm into Tewi's chest, burrowing straight through in a second, bone chips and blood flying everywhere.

Oh son of a bitch you are way too high for this.

[ ] Join the battle against the Cirnoid. ([ ] Write-in a combat suggestion!)
[ ] Get the hell away and let the fighters handle this.
[ ] Write-in!
No. 51383
[x] Keep in mind the part about alien pathogens. We do NOT need Infected Eirin making shit too.

[x] Join the fight against the Cirnoid!
- [x] Well, sort of. Try to stay out of harm's way and take potshots if it's safe. Or help the injured get the fuck out. Like Eirin, for starters. But be careful with her.
No. 51388
[x] Keep in mind the part about alien pathogens. We do NOT need Infected Eirin making shit too.

[x] Join the fight against the Cirnoid!
- [x] Well, sort of. Make as much taffy as you can to fire at Eirin, Tewi, and Cirno and tie them down. Ideally, you'll nail them separately and get them in the corners of the room.

[X]Get the door, too. We need to Quarantine this shit; Anna's here with the flamethrower, so she can take care of disposal.
No. 51397
[x] Join the battle against the Cirnoid.
-[x] Summon lumps of sugar directly inside of its bloodstream and turn it solid. THAT should slow it down.
No. 51492
[x] Keep in mind the part about alien pathogens. We do NOT need Infected Eirin making shit too.

[x] Join the fight against the Cirnoid!
- [x] Well, sort of. Make as much taffy as you can to fire at Eirin, Tewi, and Cirno and tie them down. Ideally, you'll nail them separately and get them in the corners of the room.

The situation is bad, we got multiple potential infectees inside a room, with chaos about to follow.
No. 51538
Vote cutoff! An exciting battle awaits!
No. 51618
File 13734137608.png- (320.92KB , 1027x965 , savoytruffle.png ) [iqdb]
51618
I'm gonna go ahead and say that the next update may be a smidge later than I thought. A whole lot of stuff came up today and it feels like my brain and my heart have been on two tilt-a-whirls going in opposite directions.

By way of filler, here's Ginger's stats in the Wild Talents game system and, for the brave, Ginger's concept art! If you like your mental image of Ginj don't click and you will be spared my hideous inability to draw.

For comparison's sake, a normal human is 100 points (2d in every stat, 20 skill dice) and a standard talent (that is to say, superhuman) is 250 points. 1d is below average stat and basic training in skill, 2d is average ability/training, 3d is above average, 4d is exceptional, 5d is peak human ability. Hard dice are always set to 10, the highest you can roll. Wiggle dice are set to any number after the other dice are rolled.

Ginger Sling [250]
Candy Devil (Natural; Power Theme) [5]
Stats: [75]

Body 2d
Coordination 3d
Sense 2d
Mind 3d
Command 3d
Charm 2d

Base Will 6 [3]
Willpower 6

Skills [60]
Athletics 4d, Block 3d, Brawling 2d, Dodge 5d, Knowledge (cooking) 5d, Perception 3d, Persuasion 2d, Stability 3d, Stealth 3d

Miracles

Devil Flight (U) 6d+2wd [14]
Useful: Take to the skies! Extras: Duration +2. Flaws: If/Then: Need room to flap wings -2, Willpower Bid -1. (1/2/4)

Candy Witchery (ADU) 5d+3wd [85]
Attacks: Candy blast! Extras: Spray +2d. Flaws: If/Then: Must have a free hand to point -1, Shock Only -1, Willpower Bid -1. (1/2/4)
Defends: Defensive candy shell! Extras: Duration +2, Range Capacity +2. Flaws: Obvious (hard candy shell) -1, If/Then: Melts in water -2, If/Then: One candy shell at a time -1, Willpower Bid -1. (1/2/4)
Useful: Blinding cloud of sugar. Extras: Variable Effect +4. Flaws: If/Then: Candy theme -1, Obvious -1, Willpower Bid -1. (3/6/12)

Divine Spark (D) 4hd [8]
Defends: Assume her old form, briefly. Extras: Duration +2, Interference +3. Flaws: Backfires -2, Direct Feed -2, If/Then: Ends if she directly physically harms someone -1, Obvious -1. (1/2/4)
No. 51760
File 137370793367.jpg- (139.71KB , 800x800 , a reisen in the sun.jpg ) [iqdb]
51760
BATTEL ONE
Music for a fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2qY1hoIKtM

Reisen's first shot shocks you out of your slack-jawed state; she neatly severs Tewi's arm at the wrist, the bullet then plowing through her midsection and right between a handful of generics, finally smashing into a wall. Holy shit, what if she hit somebody and got Tewi's germs in--

Germs. Shit.

You kick some chairs aside to clear you some room, then work your magic with Sugar Sign: Everlasting, walls of jawbreaker-matter slamming over both the exits of the room. Generics fling themselves at the walls, Mystia pecking and Chen scratching at them. All the while Reisen fires round after round after round into the Cirnoid as it tries to rise into the air with Tewi's corpse hanging off its limb. "Hey!" you shout over the constant crack of Reisen's handgun. "Nobody is leaving this room!"

"You heard the girl!" Eirin cackles, "Nobody's leaving this room ALIVE!" She's ripped her skirt and fashioned a strip of red cloth an eyepatch. The flesh peering from under it is blackened and still smoldering. This gets people ducking and trying not to get shot or spat on instead of trying to escape. You take cover behind a Miami Connection pinball table and watch the fracas, gathering energy for another spell.

Reisen's constant shooting accomplishes little other than tearing bloodless holes through the Cirnoid's dress and chipping off flakes of frosty skin. The Cirnoid pukes up a larger, wider spray of ice-acid (icid?) at Reisen--but a flung chair smacks into the beast's head, sending the freezing puke splattering against the wall.

"Spitting is rude, little lady!" Meiling declares, "Keep it up and you're in for a time-out!"

"Shoot the goddamn thing!" you shout at Anna, who's done absolutely nothing but stare in slack-jawed shock. She's the only ordinary human not cowering or screaming.

"But--but--" she stammers. "What if I--"

The Cirnoid pirouettes in midair, Tewi's corpse finally detaching from its arm and flopping onto the ground. Cirno's Tewi-killin' arm is now a bouquet of toothy muscle-fiber whips that make terrible cracking-ice noises with every flick and lash. It turns to Anna and shrieks, preparing to charge.

Anna whips the flamethrower's nozzle up and looses a tongue of flame at the Cirnoid. It dodges with a flap of its crystal wings, the ceiling blackening and the paint curling but the As-Best-Os!(tm) fire retardant safety foam inside holds strong. The Cirnoid slings its tentacles at Anna, sending a cloud of bloody teeth her way--Anna twirls around, putting the tank between her and the barrage, and leaps for cover behind Patchouli, who's still stuck in that boobs-and-butt pose and still nearly naked and still inching her way across the cold floor and having a time of it. And now she's riddled with bloody teeth. She says something about thin privilege and swears she's going to report all this to her headmates.

"How am I supposed to hit that?!" Anna shouts.

"Hedge it in! Corner it!" Reisen says, her and Meiling keeping the Cirnoid from getting a shot at the generics. "We've got it locked up!"

"This only has ten seconds of fuel!" Anna says, "I can't just hedge it in!"

"I got this!" you shout, leaping from cover and breaking into a twirling dance between generics and thrown chairs. You shout a word of command and lay down Sugar Sign: Sweet Blood on the Cirnoid.

Its movements begin to slow and grow--chunky, for lack of a better word. Its shrieking becomes labored and its muscle-fiber tentacles grind to a halt, every motion sending what looks like red dandruff snowing to the floor. That would be the sugar filling up her veins. Soon she's dead in the air, laboring to do so much as kick its little arms and legs, freeing Reisen up to really lay into her. She lands a shot right on the Cirnoid's breastbone, then literally hammers it in with a hail of follow-up shots, splitting open the beast's chest and revealing a menagerie of furry, mouthed, screaming organs foaming at the mouth with sugar-saturated blood.

And finally Anna scales Patchouli and bathes the Cirnoid in flame. Its many mouths howl in pain, a sickeningly sweet odor rising from her melting, caramelizing body. Anna empties the flamer's tank in an eight-second burst; when the stream of flame coughs to a stop the Cirnoid is reduced to a barely-recognizable mutant lump that looks like a half-melted cartoon-character-head-shaped popsicle. Its wings crack and drip to the floor and the whole mass falls to ground, splitting into jagged, melting, burning lumps.

You take a deep breath, get a nice whiff of the corpse's odor, and hurl.

Mind, you've been thinking about hurling since the Cirnoid's head popped open. But now seems like a good time to catch up.

Meiling pats you on the back. "There, there, hon. Let it all out." You take her advice. When you have nothing else to empty onto the floor she offers you a napkin.

"Thanks," you say, dabbing at your mouth. For the first time in your life--well, the first time recently--you regret having drunk so very much tequila.

"Anytime, sweetie. ...little pun, there..."

Heads start to rise. Reisen edges closer to where the largest chunk of the Cirnoid landed, pointing her smoking-hot pistol at it. She nudges it with her boot. Nothin'.

"It's over," Reisen says, her voice... suspiciously steady, given the way her gun's quivering in her grip. She blows on the barrel and returns the gun to its holster on her thigh.

"Jesus Christ," Nitori says, her voice small. She's pressed against the corner, her eyes locked on the Cirnoid chunk nearest her. "What was--how--what in--"

Meiling's chair-tossing antics have, more or less, cleared the floor. The generics crowd either end of the rec room; in the middle lie the fragments of the Cirnoid. And Tewi's body. Reisen steps out to the center of the room, and comes to a stop at Tewi's severed hand. She kneels, staring at it, entranced.

After some hesitant edging and some urging from Meiling, you take a spot by Reisen's side. Tewi's hand, lying there on the floor, seems so small. Tewi, lying a yard away in her blood-stained pink dress, her eyes open and staring, her ears limp, her chest shredded open, she looks all the smaller herself. You can finally look away when Mystia lays the cover for the pool table over her.

"...need to..." Reisen mumbles. "...keep it... safe..." She's pale and trembling.

"Uh--Eirin?" you say. Eirin's pulled on a long pair of rubber gloves and is in the midst of dissecting the Cirnoid's corpse using the sewing kit she pulled earlier. Son of a...

"Eirin!" Nitori says. "Please, get some--please store the--store the thing someplace sterile! And--and get something for Tewi. Now."

Eirin grunts. "But I got a boo boo. Can't I cut up the monster to make me feel better?"

"You're getting infectious material all over the rec room!"

Eirin mimics a yammering mouth with her left hand. "Fine. Candy Girl, would you be so kind as to unblock the doors?"

Meiling steps over Patchouli, heading to the larger exit at the front. "Don't you worry none, hon, I've got it." She lines her hand up with the center of the jawbreaker wall. "Alright, one good kick and..."

Tewi sits up.

That... that just happened.

Tewi fusses about, pulling the cover down to her shoulders. She takes a stre~tch and yawns. "Aaaah. That was a nice nap."

"--Tewi? Tewi, are--" Reisen says, quietly, her hands over her mouth.

Tewi nods. "I was just pretending!"

"I--Tewi, I'm--" Tremors overwhelm her body. "Oohhhh, Jesus, I sh-sh-shot your h-h-hand off..."

Tewi shrugs. "It happens! We got that sary girl, you know."

"I'm standing right the fuck here," Eirin growls.

"Right--right!" Reisen says. "Oh, God, Tewi, I'm so--"

You latch on to Reisen, keeping her from running to Tewi, before you realize that you're doing it. It's only later, when you have a chance to think about it, that you realize it was the smell finally hitting your nose. That rolled-around-in-garbage Cirnostink. "Don't!" you sputter. "Cirno was--"

Mystia reaches Tewi before you do. She swishes the cover away in one dramatic flourish, revealing that Tewi's gaping chest wound is now a gaping chest mouth, an intestine-tongue lolling out of it.

Tewi shrugs. "Okay, I lied." In a blink of an eye she's on her feet--and in the next she's got Mystia's head in her chest cavity--and by the time Reisen's gun is leveled at the horror and everybody is freaking the fuck out again the Tewinoid's bitten Mystia's head and right arm clear off, her chestmouth busy slurping up the rest of her body.

When Reisen doesn't loose a few dozen shots at the Tewinoid, you step up to bat. "Hey! Terry!" you shout.

The Tewinoid faces you. She's grown about a foot in height, new muscle groups and bones growing onto her small frame, and she's still consuming Mystia. "It's Tewi," she says, taking a menacing step towards you. Oh hey, she didn't immediately leap onto your head and bite it off. She does have about sixty more pounds of Mystia dangling out of her chestmouth. She slouches toward you, still growing, stepping past Eirin, who's using all this excitement to keep dissecting the Cirnoid.

"I bet it is." You crack your knuckles. You have her attention, now all you have to do is tie the beast up with taff--

The concussion wears off before the ringing and the dazzling do. Still, you can hear enough to tell that there's less screaming, except from Nitori, and there's now a large, smoldering hole in the rec room, and--

"Ginger?" That would be Reisen. "Ginger, are you...?"

"Okay? Yeah... I think I am..." You feel Reisen pull you to your feet. "God, if I ever get... wait, what was that?"

Reisen's hands point your head to the middle of the room. Through the haze of smoke you make out some familiar silhouettes. Including one with a pointy, pointy hat.

"--whatever," Marisa says, "I handled that shit."

Nitori doesn't quite speak so much as sputter in rage. "You--you careless, irresponsible--"

"I can back her up," Reimu says, "she handled that all kinds of ways. Plus that was only like, 1% of the Master Spark she can manage."

Your vision clears. The Rec Room's been cored by a Master Spark, and despite the best efforts of the As-Best-Os!(tm) there's a fire smoldering in the wall. Whatever remains of the Tewinoid is a fine ash filling the air--Jesus Christ, Marisa, what if just breathing that shit could--

"Now listen here, young missies!" Meiling says, interposing herself in the Nitori/Reimu/Marisa argu-scussion going on. "If you're going to use violence you use just the right force for the problem! You don't just go about throwin' down spells when you hear shots and screams! Did you even--"

"Hey," Marisa says, jabbing Meiling in the chest. "I don't tell you how to do my laundry, so don't tell the murderers how to murder people. And last thing I checked I'm the nuclear power on this base and we won World War II, so if you lecture me again I'm gonna drop a third one on your ass, Charlie Chinaman."

"Shit yeah," Reimu says, high-fiving Marisa.

Honestly, education standards in the 'Soak have just plummeted lately.

Meiling falls silent, but she looks no less defiant.

"Whatever," Marisa says, "we out. Call us if you need more shit killed." The Station Fun in the Sun murderers strut out of the hole they made.

"Well," Eirin says, suddenly at your side, "that was a clusterfuck. By the way: hook for a hand now." She lifts her left arm, which in fact now terminates in a handmade hook-hand. You can see the shadow of that hand burned onto the wall along with the shadow of the Tewinoid.

"--uhm, no offense," you say, "but. Is it alright if you don't breathe on me."

The one-eyed, hook-handed Eirin takes a half-step away from you and Reisen and pulls her cold mask over her mouth. "Right. I'll have to get my gas mask." She cackles. "Oh, yes. It's Eirin Day at goddamned last! You sons of bitches need me for this!" She skips out of the giant hole in the wall, humming a Rob Zombie song to herself.

"...I don't even fucking know," you say. Reisen nods.

You look out the giant hole. The generics who remain flood out of it. Nitori walks Chen out, the catgirl's eyes wide, blank, and unfocused. The poor thing's barely able to put one foot in front of the other. Soon it's just you, Meiling, and Anna, and--

"Patchouli escaped, didn't she," you say.

Anna nods slowly.

"Son of a goddamn motherfucking bitch."

"God," Anna says. "If I'd--I should've--saved some for--"

"It's not your fault, dear," Meiling, giving Anna a good, strong hug. "You did your best."

"Right. You didn't know it wouldn't take that much or more to stop the, the thing." You join the hug. Reisen does too.

Anna blushes. "Th-thanks. I guess... it's been a hard couple of weeks..."

"It's been a hard day. For all of us," you say.

Reisen nods. You feel a dampness on your arm--oh. Reisen's crying. Not just crying, trembling and whimpering as streams of tears run down her cheeks. She tries to say something, but it's lost to inarticulate blubbering. Gradually the hug-focus shifts from Anna to Reisen as the rabbit finally lets the dam burst and throws herself into a full-body weep.

Eirin skips past the hugball, humming the same song to herself and vacuuming up Tewinoid ash and Cirnoid drippins with a handheld unit. On her way back to her lab she pauses to say, "By the by, if you want to do the whole dead-rabbit-thing, I've got your kid sister's hand." She waves her hook, shaking a heavy-duty plastic bag filled with Tewi's hand. "Toodles~!"

That catches Reisen's attention.

Well then. What the hell are you going to do now?

[ ] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. ([ ] Plus, Eirin may be infeted. And she's definitely too happy about all this.)

[ ] Check with Nitori. Something needs to be done--if not about the things, then about Marisa and Reimu.

[ ] Check with Hatate--sounds like you could use a call back to base.

[ ] Hunt down Patchouli and make sure she's punished for her wicked misdeeds.

[ ] Write-in!
No. 51761
[x] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. ([x] Plus, Eirin may be infected. And she's definitely too happy about all this.)
-[x] Ask Meiling to track down Patchuli.
No. 51777
[x] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. -[x] Plus, Eirin may be infected. And she's definitely too happy about all this.

Jesus Christ this is one fucked Gensokyo.
No. 51785
[x] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. -[x] Plus, Eirin may be infected. And she's definitely too happy about all this.

Honestly I'm not that happy with how the situation was handled. Most of it's not our fault since we're not actually in charge of the base. But well we could have avoided Mystia dying and no doubt many more after this post if we were all more paranoid and careful. Shoot those probably infected first? Anyways, Eirin got sprayed with Cirnoid brain fluid, Patchouli got hit by bloody teeth, Cirnoid and Tewoid got sparked, sending their ashes throughout the room. I'm not even sure what happened to Mystia's corpse, and it turns out the now dead Tewi was Reisen's kid sister. There should be a quarantine, health checks and the station should be armed 24/7 in case of infected. Instead everyone's being dispersed and allowed to spread around the base. I can't really see that being changed at all though, considering the uncontrollability of many of the residents in the base.
No. 51786
>>51785
Oh and I suppose Eirin's really happy about this because the emergency is health related and everyone has to listen to her now. As the foremost health expert in the face, she gets to probably go study this new parasite or whatever, and probably get infected and turn into one herself..
No. 51787
>>51786
Perhaps we can talk to Anna after this, see if we can institute some safety measures? The food eatery area is probably a big danger zone, not to mention anywhere with lots of vents.
No. 51791
>>51785
Mystia's half-eaten corpse was vaporized up along with the Tewinoid and most of the Cirnoid.
No. 51793
What a delightful clusterfuck!

I can give Eirin some benefit of the doubt about her motives but she's still suspect; she's the only one who's been more than nicked and hasn't gone berserkar on us yet.

Patchouli would be best left to Reimu or Marisa, because she deserves nothing less than murderization. Especially if she's infected, in which case who knows what she could pull off with all that mass?

Anna would be a good candidate for making handling the situation less dumb but she's a bit stressed out right now.

Therefore...

[x] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. ([x] Plus, Eirin may be infected. And she's definitely too happy about all this.)

[x] Ask Anna to come talk with us once she's feeling better. ([x] She's the best person to try and put SOME sort of rules in place...)

[x] If we happen upon one of the Murderers, tell them that it might as well be open season on Patchoulis if they're feeling bored.
No. 51794
[x] Take care of Reisen. She needs help, badly. ([x] Plus, Eirin may be infected. And she's definitely too happy about all this.)

[x] Ask Anna to come talk with us once she's feeling better. ([x] She's the best person to try and put SOME sort of rules in place...)

[x] If we happen upon one of the Murderers, tell them that it might as well be open season on Patchoulis if they're feeling bored.

People have been talking about the ashes but wouldn't the ashes be dead? If the Master Spark put enough heat into the Cirnoid and Infected-Tewi to turn them into ash, wouldn't whatever infectious material they have be sterilized?
No. 51802
>>51794

It depends. If whatever it is infects based on bacteria or viruses, it's probably fine.

Alternatively, it could also be the thing that Nitori found. Which is an extraterrestrial that managed to survive the heat and pressure of planet impact. Some of its infectious material might be able to survive a Spark.
No. 51822
>>51802
>Survival traits of the Mamizou-Thing in the ice
Yeah, about that...

>It was frozen maybe a few yards away from its ship. (Source: >>50407)

Sounds to me like the Mamizou-Thing was inside the ship and tried to bail after the crash, then froze.
No. 52072
My internet is back! One more day for you fine freaks to vote and plot and then work begins on the updaaaaaaate.
No. 52562
File 137499338049.png- (2.13KB , 554x385 , well damn.png ) [iqdb]
52562
As above, so below.

There's a lot to do, but only so much time to do it.

"Meiling," you say, "Patchouli is out there and she may have been infected by that Cirno-thing."

"Infected?" Meiling says.

"Well, you saw it too, right? She--" You cover Reisen's ears. That is, you loop your thumbs around the base of her ears and hope that's enough to muffle sound. You're no rabbit-ear-nose-and-throat doctor. "--she changed Tewi just by stabbing her in the chest. And she managed to lodge some teeth in Patch. Find her and stop her without getting in her bite radius."

"Alright, dear, I'll get right on that."

"And--if you see one of the murderers, tell 'em it's Patchouli-killin' season."

"Yes, dear, I'll tell them exactly that, in those words." Meiling offers a crisp salute, worms her way out of the group hug, and heads deeper into the base.

You un-cover Reisen's ears. "Anna--take a powder, clear your thoughts, get some more fuel for your flamethrower."

Anna nods, shakily.

"And when you can, see if you can't find Nitori and get a--some kind of a--I dunno. Some kind of a quarantine set up. Just in case."

"You don't think..."

"I'd really rather hope it didn't get to that. But if it's even slightly possible for the infection to be airborne, we could all have been infected and not know it." You gesture to the empty halls. "Seeing as how everybody wandered off I have a feeling that we'll have to rope off everybody and hope for the best."

Anna bites her lip, but nods again, and without another word decouples from the hug and shuffles off to her office. You and Reisen are alone. She hasn't let go of you yet.

You give her an encouraging pat on the back of the head. "So... uh. To Eirin's?"

Reisen nods.

"Alright. Let's go to Eirin's." You lead her to the infirmary, arms around and supporting her. (Though you do press one of your wings into service in holding her up too. You aren't exactly the fittest of candy demons/fallen apsaras.)

You know, it's only been about a minute since Eirin left your sight (weird, isn't it? It feels like a week and a half), but she's already put up plastic sheeting, rows of DO NOT CROSS emergency tape, and filled the hall with a dense mist that smells like antibacterial-gel-scented perfume. Ducking under the tape and through layers of plastic curtains, you and Reisen emerge in Eirin's infirmary damp and thoroughly purged of germs.

Eirin's locked herself in a large shatterproof glass cage and is hard at work examining samples of the Cirnoid and Tewinoid. Oddly enough, Smokeweed has left er grow warehouse, waiting by a closet full of supplies and idly puffing on a joint. "'ey," she says, waving at you.

"He-llo, monster and rabbit~!" Eirin says, waving with her new claw hand. She also had enough time to strap a gas mask on and replace one of the lenses with a black cap. You can only wonder how long she's been waiting for just this sort of situation to emerge. "I see you've come to the safest place on the base~"

"Yeah, we have," you say. "You said something about--"

"Right, right. Smokey, you know what to do~" Eirin hums a little song to herself as she yanks a massive, ominous device from a crevice in the wall and lines it up with a petri dish full of Cirno liquid.

Smokeweed clamps her lip around her joint. "Right." She closes the supply closet, knocks twice, and opens it on a new room, small, radiating warmth, and dimly lit. Sitting in a small, clear box on a small, wooden table is Tewi's preserved hand.

Reisen's breathing grows heavy. You have to use both wings to help carry her--her grief seems to have its own gravity. Smokeweed helps you carry Reisen through the door, wherein she regains her strength, lunges at the table, presses her cheek against the glass and descends into wracking, full-body sobs. You stand back and let her--well--work it out. Nothing to do now but give her a little time to cry.

As horrible as it sounds, this is all incredibly uncomfortable.

"Go on," Smokeweed says, nodding out the door. "Before you go--would she object to me praying for her sister in Yiddish?"

"If I recall she's in a Serapis mystery cult," you say.

"...and... who are they, and do they have a thing against Jews?"

"...I was hoping you'd know, actually."

"Well. If she wants me to stop, she can tell me to stop." Smokeweed clears her throat and waits for Reisen to cry herself empty. You slip out the door for a moment, if only so you can check in on--

"Eirin," you say, whispering just above the sound of Reisen's weeping, "what exactly is going on?"

Eirin looks away from the giant analysis device. "With the things or the hand?"

"...Either."

"Alright. Hand first!" Eirin raises her hook. "Rabbit people have inherent passive magical abilities, which for whatever reason seem to center themselves in the hands, feet, eyes, heart, and pituitary gland of the rabbit in question! The rabbitfolk believe the soul resides in a rabbit's dominant eye, hand, and foot, and it is imperative to preserve them after a rabbit's death!"

You wince. "So, Marisa vaporizing most of Tewi..."

"Destroyed two-thirds of the little Inaba's soul, O yes. I can only imagine that Reisen is..." Eirin coyly rests the tip of her hook on her lip. "...hopping mad."

"If you weren't behind all this glass crap I'd hit you for that."

"Why do you think I've got it down? Anyhow, that hand of Tewi's should be preserved as per rabbitfolk tradition! Reisen's got nothing to worry about. Other than the monsters and the murderers, anyway."

"Speaking of monsters..."

"Ah, I've just begun my analysis. But I can tell that these samples are dead as it gets. So there's that."

You sigh in relief. "So, we didn't get infected by all that steam and ash."

"Of course, I could have been infected, and thus what I'm telling you is what the little voice in my head is telling me to tell you the better to catch you off-guard later and convert you into a secret biological time bomb."

"...are you, in fact, hearing a little voice telling you to tell me all of that?"

"Oh, I've always heard voices. They got me through med school and they haven't failed me yet, unless they've just been subverted by an infectious extraterrestrial organism. Which is what this is, by the by!" She taps the viewscreen on the device. Adjusting your position you can see a strand of terrestrial DNA, colored white, red, and blue, next to what looks like a Spirograph doodle, colored yellow and gray. "Sulfur based, antimonic acid base chains for its genetic coding. I have no idea if that's even supposed to be possible but it would explain the smell and the propensity to bloom like a meat flower when it's showing off. And check this weird shit."

She hits a few buttons, and a third icon appears in the middle of the viewscreen--the spirograph unspooling into a double helix, a mimic of the double helix on the left but for all those gray-and-yellow riders. "So far as I can tell these things are kill-and-replace, but they're not 100% conversions. About six cells outta ten seem to be mutated, at least stuff that I'm reasonably sure used to be muscle or bone. If Little Miss Nuclear Option hadn't vaporized most of the matter at hand I'd be able to tell how infiltrated the nervous system is... including that all important bundle at the top of our spines!"

"...so you can tell if they're faking, right?"

"Oh yes. They could hijack the subconscious and some motor centers. They could replace the brain entirely. Could be they stay clear out until it's morphing time. Next time you find one, if you find a next one, knock on wood praise the Lord, try to get me an intact brain, won't you?" She chuckles. "You know, I haven't tested my blood yet. I don't even know if it could work. The hell of it is, if this thing really is inside my brain, it could just tinker with my optic nerves or memory, tell me I'm seeing what I want to see. I could lie to you. I could lie to everyone, even myself. And I wouldn't know 'til I pop open. How fucking hilarious is that?"

You pause.

Eirin tilts her head. Her gas-mask-festooned head.

"I'm gonna check on Reisen."

"You do that."

"How the hell did you do all this in, like, two minutes."

"I'm horribly overqualified for this position, We-Yu sent me here to get me out of the way. I swear, do one too many shits-and-giggles surgeries and they just flip the fuck out."

You check on Reisen. Her face is puffy, red, and tear-stained, but she seems to have gotten the worst of it out of her. She's sitting cross-legged across from Smokeweed, who's holding her hands and leading her in prayer. "...thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night," Smokeweed says, her smooth, strong voice flowing smooth as a calm river, "nor of the arrow that flieth by day, of the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor of the destruction that wasteth at noonday..."

It takes a while longer for the prayer to conclude. "...from the brook by the wayside he will drink, then he will hold his head high."

"...amen?" Reisen says.

"Amen."

"That got a little weird," Reisen says in a small voice.

"Spend two thousand years getting murdered by everyone around you and you get a little angry," Smokeweed says. "Anyway--you feeling better?"

Reisen nods. "A little."

"Good. Gotta keep strong. Your lil' sis wants you to make it out of this."

Reisen notices you and waves. You wave back. An alarm shreds the brief silence.

Rin's voice is quavering and a little too fast. "Uhm--uh--we have--there's--there's been a containment breech. The thing is no longer frozen in the ice. We--whoever it--we have no idea what's happening and I'm sorry and I'm sorry and--"

There's a momentary scuffle. Nitori takes the mike. "Everyone, stay where you are and don't move an inch. Everybody who was present for the incident ten minutes ago, report to--uh--report to a location to be designated soon. If you have a cell phone or walkie talkie or other method of wireless communication ensure it's on and charged or batteried and stay in contact with at least tw--at least three other people at all times. If possible. I don't know..." She sighs. "Things are--unpleasant. Dessert Chef Sling, please report as soon as you can. You--you seem to have your head on straight, just--give us advice. Where should we start the quarantine? What should we do?"

Your cell phone suddenly feels extremely heavy in your pocket.

"...So, did she get promoted or something...?" Smokeweed says.

"Sounds like it," Reisen says. "I hope you get a pay raise out of it." It occurs to you the redness in her eyes may not entirely be from crying.

You fish your phone out of your pocket, take a deep breath, and call Nitori. "Hello?"

With a faint click Nitori's phone is plugged into the speaker system. You can tell because you can hear your own breathing echoing through the base.

"Uh--" you say, and hear yourself say a moment later. "First... until the crisis is solved we're enacting plague containment protocols. That's the emergency filters on all the vents, everybody makes their own food, all that shit in the handbook. Sorry for swearing. Second, this is indeed infectious, we don't know through what vectors yet, but it can be subtle enough that there are no ways to tell until it's too late, and those who are infected turn into horrible monsters that kill people with incredible easiness. That's a thing, by the way, if you haven't heard. On that topic, maybe we should like... be handing out guns... so we can kill each other if we have to."

You take a moment to compose yourself. "--Christ, this is weird. Uh. Patchouli Knowledge is a possible infectee and she's an asshole on top of it, so make sure to kill her as dead as you can when you see her. For... prizes. Sorry for swearing again. And, uh--"

Well, you have the mike--and you have to pick a place to stick all the potential infectees. There are three locations that come to mind...

[ ] Send 'em to Smokeweed's grow warehouse. Pros: Easy to keep them calm, close to Eirin. Con: If it falls, goodbye infirmary. And goodbye weed.

[ ] Send 'em to the largest bunkroom. Pros: Plenty of room, can be exposed to the freezing cold for emergency disposal. Cons: Will need reinforcement, small chance of escape.

[ ] Send 'em to the shark room. Pros: Well-defended part of the base, there's a shark you all periodically forget to feed. Cons: Dangerously close to Alice's sewers, there's a shark you all periodically forget to feed.

[ ] Write in advice and ideas and all that!
No. 52563
Too tired to feel like I can make any real decisions, but two pieces of advice:

Shark tank is a bad idea. Tossing infected to sharks means infected sharks means they're all over Alice's sewers. Unless water fucks them up, but that can be tested through other means and relocated if effective.

We probably want Hatate to set up a black box just in case. Preferably one that can't have stuff deleted from it so future spreading of infection doesn't wipe it.
No. 52564
I will pend my vote/quarantine advice/decisions until tomorrow, where I will go to work and ask my colleagues on what they would do in the theoretical event of an infectious monster outbreak at a remote artic laboratory.

Other than that I really liked that update, we got promoted (yay, we better get a payrise for this) and it looks like some of our discussion was reflected in our actions, really cool of the author to do that.

Also I'm a little iffy of the 'stick everyone in one room' thingy, I mean if only some of them are infected then wouldn't that mean they'd probably turn once everyone was inside and start rippin' and tearin'? Then again what else are we supposed to do? Proceeding as normal would only result in people getting picked off, and it's not like we have a multiple compartment room that we can store portions of our group in.

Btw how many people do we have living here anyway? I mean, once we can obtain a proper specimen sample we can start screening individuals, but at the same time we have the conundrum of having said dissections and checks being performed by Eirin, who is possibly a dormant infected and also the only person who can do the examining. So she better be uninfected or we're all boned.
No. 52565
[x] Send 'em to the largest bunkroom. Pros: Plenty of room, can be exposed to the freezing cold for emergency disposal. Cons: Will need reinforcement, small chance of escape.

I don't think the risk of losing the infirmary is worth it, and the thought of an infected shark horrifies me. Besides, reinforcing the room will give some people something to do. Idle hands, and all that.
No. 52567
>>52564
In addition to the 15 surviving, named, non-tree, non-robot personnel, there are 30 generics manning various positions under the named characters.
No. 52597
I also think that splitting up to some degree might be a good idea. Personal favorite is using the bunks for main storage/busywork and the infirmary as a research/fallback position.

Start with getting everyone gathered at those two places, whichever people are closer to, and take a head count. Once the situation's stable-ish, the goal is to have a Murderer at each position (or at least the Infirmary) as primary defense, then reinforce both places with those available; if there are too many at the Infirmary, send a well-guarded party to help at the bunks (and for having-space reasons). If somehow nothing happens by that point, then check if Eirin discovered anything; if she absolutely needs more bugflesh, assemble a hunting party and/or try to expand the secured zone to reach between both bases.

As for safety/quarantine procedures, recommend travel between the two places only in groups, and preferably accompanied by a Murderer or numerous armed guards - if only after the groups are gathered. But right now, mad rush to the safe zones and get more info about the situation.

[x] Tell 'em to get to the big bunk or infirmary, whichever's closer or easier. Travel in groups if at all possible, and grab stuff that would be useful if it doesn't bog you down. Avoid trouble and try and alert the others if you find anything weird... or people turning into monsters.

It would be wise not to mention it in her presence, but having Eirin's experiments observed by others may be a slight countermeasure to potential infection messing with her memory: If her conclusions about the beast contradict what someone else observes from the experiment, it's the infection fucking with her head. And even if it's careful to avoid that, that forces it to let her be a little more honest. Victory either way, so long as we have more than a handful at the infirmary and can spare the eyes.

Also also, Ruukoto may be our secret weapon. Actually, she probably is unless she's a bioroid or something - Eirin's already said they infect by dicking with DNA, not general information systems like the electronics I'd expect from an android. She's the best candidate for handling potentially-infected materials, but probably too frail and suicidal to trust with fighting if we can help it.
No. 52598
[x] Tell 'em to get to the big bunk or infirmary, whichever's closer or easier. Travel in groups if at all possible, and grab stuff that would be useful if it doesn't bog you down. Avoid trouble and try and alert the others if you find anything weird... or people turning into monsters.

Hey, I like it! Good point with Ruukoto, are there any other abilities that the Touhous we have on the are that might be useful? Sakuya should be helpful with her time stop, and Alice with dolls, though we gotta be careful that the important people remain unharmed.
No. 52599
File 137508078131.jpg- (46.19KB , 346x402 , horror of the floatdoll.jpg ) [iqdb]
52599
>>52598
For convenience sake: our available pool of Touhou powers, and their power level in this particular Gensokyo!

* Sakuya can stop time, though if she wants to interact with somebody she has to drop out of time stop to act on 'em. She's still wickéd fast and thus incredibly difficult to put down.

* Rin makes fire with her mind. Good for sterilization or just keeping warm.

* Nitori is a gadgeteer and has a handful of weapons up for grabs. We'll go over which next time, so as to not confuse the vote pool.

* Chen is adorable!

* Hatate can boost or maintain signals through all but the worst storms the Plateau of Leng can fling at the base.

* Patchouli is powerful, but presently wounded, low on insulin, nearly naked, and an asshole. Wriggle only has her aquarium full of bugs to manipulate up here in Leng (and also Leng spiders, but those wouldn't fit in the base). Rumia's darkness powers are of unknown utility against the things, and her propensity for eating things may backfire. Suika has powerful multiplication and size manipulation powers, but these would make her a nightmare to fight if she were infected. And then there's Alice.

* Auntie Alice the Hateful Thing is part of the Weyland-Yukari's Autonimous Lifeform Independent Conception Experiment. Yukari Yakumo, prior to her ascension, lived next door to a charming woman named Alice Margatroid; matronly, kind, and caring, Yukari came to call her "Auntie Alice," and Alice was proud to wear that name. When Yukari was twenty-two, Alice's life came to a premature end when she was stabbed fifty-six times by a crack whore while Yukari watched. With her last breath, Alice requested that, no matter what happened, for Yukari to keep Alice in her heart forever, and also to immediately take revenge on the crack whore who stabbed her fifty-three more times than she paid for.

Yukari, in mourning for her fallen friend, took a sample of her DNA and hired the crack whore on the spot as part of her startup company Yukari Yakumo Science Industries. Later, once Yukari ascended and YYSI merged with Weyland Ill-Conceived Monster Experiments, she set about cloning Alice Margatroid dozens of times, tweaking her DNA dozens of ways, and assigning one or more Alice to each outpost and WeYu function who'd take them.

At the time they were drafted into the ALICE experiment, Station FITS had a choice of two: Muscle Alice, who was remarkably swole and powerful, and Auntie Alice the Hateful Thing, a grotesque morlock. Station FITS's choice was obvious--but the Survival Horror Leagues totally outbid them, so they got stuck with Auntie Alice, whom they stuck in the Alice Sewers. Before the things made life interesting, it was Auntie Alice's peering, beady eyes, and the sound of her hideous talons, and the signs left by horrible little living dolls made of drain hair and garbage, that filled the dreams of those who work at Station FITS.

Nobody's really talked to the Hateful Thing or tried to think too hard about her, so if she could help or hinder in the campaign against the things is anyone's game.
No. 52600
What about special powers that Tewi and Mystia had, if only to get an estimate of how good the infections have been at making use of those?

And what kind of 'signs' do Alice's dolls leave? I'm not eager to write her off, but if she's implicitly hostile...
No. 52611
>>52600
Mystia had a hallucinatory scream--very useful for debilitating enemies. The Tewinoid would've obtained use of this power by consuming Mystia. It would've been useful against the things due to forcing them to sacrifice certain senses in order to battle efficiently.

Tewi's power is still available, if any of us have the audacity to ask Reisen to borrow her dead sister's hand. (Reisen's power, incidentally, is infinite ammunition, if you didn't catch that earlier.) As befits a rabbit, Tewi's power is (spoiled for how much you're gonna kick yourselves over realizing you missed it) the power to obtain complete daily nutrition just from eating cockroach eggs. A power she was obviously loath to capitalize on before, but would've been intensely handy in your service (probably).

Alice's horrible little dolls tend to leave a lingering gruesome odor, trails of soapy water (as they and their master like to spy on people in the shower), and strands of hair.
No. 52613
>>52611

>They like to spy on people in the shower.

OH GOD.
No. 52657
>>52611
Then maybe Alice knows how Cirno got infected! We first saw- or smelt, rather, her in the showers, a known area that Alice's dolls spy in!
No. 52662
[x] Tell 'em to get to the big bunk or infirmary, whichever's closer or easier. Travel in groups if at all possible, and grab stuff that would be useful if it doesn't bog you down. Avoid trouble and try and alert the others if you find anything weird... or people turning into monsters. 
No. 52736
One more day to vote or murmur, then work begins on the next installment (which 'opefully won't take as much time).
No. 52738
How 'sharable' is Reisen's unlimited-ammo ability? If she can restock the ammunition of a weapon via either presence or temporarily holding one, she might combo beautifully with Anna's flamethrower.

Sounds like ALICE is a creep but unlikely to be dangerous. She'd be very useful for information-gathering purposes... if she can be trusted. Or understood. Has anyone been able to speak with her in any manner? Has anyone even tried?
No. 52741
>>52738
There's two ways she can share her abilities.
1) Borrowing somebody's weapon and using it herself.
2) Cutting off a part of herself--specifically a piece of flesh or bone about the size of, oh, just throwing a size comparison, a finger, preserving it (to make sure it doesn't spoil and lose its power), and giving it to someone, sharing her power with them until it rots.

Now, no. 1 is the easier, but Reisen's preferred style is more athletic and bullet-y, while Anna has the most practice and endurance. You'd be putting them at a disadvantage to get the advantage of Infinite Delightful Flame. On the other hand, there are surely parts of Reisen she wouldn't mind parting with, and you can retain both ladies at their full power. The trick is, what part of a rabbit can you take away that she won't mind missing? And would she be open to the suggestion?

The choice is yours, and yours alone.

Also, there's been some limited communication with Auntie Alice the Hateful Thing. She appears to speak the language, but all anyone's heard her speak are whispered nursery rhymes and their names as she watched them sleep. She is probably intelligent enough to converse with, but also outrageously creepy. Again: the choice is yours, and yours alone, as to if to pursue her... and who should in fact pursue her.
No. 52803
>>52741
What does Auntie Alice look like?
No. 53066
File 137576772947.jpg- (255.76KB , 614x819 , the face of the medical profession.jpg ) [iqdb]
53066
"...you know, I'm not sure anybody's actually gotten a good look at Auntie Alice," you say, snapping out of those micro-fugue-states you've been slipping into lately. "Huh? What? Right! Right. So, everybody, listen close, here's the plan..."

You lose focus. The world grows blurry. You know what's happening--it's been ages since you've been here last. The sound rises unbidden and the magic begins.

Son, yo' ass is in a DOIN' THANGS MONTAGE.

Unfortunately your montage music budget fucking sucks, and this is the best you can do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uigHV-gOHxs

In a way it's the perfect song, because nobody wants to drag out the montage any longer than need be. You can see it all unwinding in a series of short, stitched-together images:

Generics walking side-by-side, hauling armor plates and aluminum siding, chatting nervously and pointing guns at anything that moves out the corner of their peripheral vision.

The murderers casually striding through the halls, chugging ghetto blasters and firing off a dozen rounds every time they turn a corner.

Meiling, Sex, and Cumfartz peering around a corner, still looking for Patchouli, before ducking back behind the corner to avoid getting shot by the murderers.

Anna frantically pumping propellant into one of the flamethrower's tanks, pausing to wipe steam from the lenses of her glasses.

Smokeweed, a bleary-eyed Reisen, and a trio of generics watching Eirin at work, Reisen chewing absently on a protein bar as she does so.

Nitori and Rin welding improvised dividers in place in Bunk Room Alpha, the turtle using a little hand-held welding tool, Rin with a blazing point of flame at her fingertips, a bunch of Suika-ettes holding the assorted heavy sides of metal steady as she does so.

Chen gently pounding on a drum, looking, as the poet said, impossibly alone.

Sakuya smoking crack.

And at last, the montage ends on you, getting another phone call. You answer it once you shake off this second mini-fugue you settled into. If it turns out that Eirin isn't infected, you should really get her to see if you took another concussion during that master spark. "H-hello?" you say.

"It's me," Nitori says, "things are starting to settle down over here. We've got twelve people in here--myself, Rin, Chen, Suika, and eight of those other people. How about you?"

"We're getting better," you say, glancing at the infirmary. Only three of the quarantined were near the infirmary, lucky for you--including that one al-Bhed on the base. She's taking this pretty well! "I think Eirin's hit the limit of what she can learn from a puddle and some ash, though. We watched her while she worked so we can make sure her findings are right--you know, in case she's infected."

"What all do we know?"

"The alien cells were dead, so sufficient heat can kill them. It's probably not air-borne, but food- or water-borne isn't out of the question. We're going to have to make our own food and boil our own water."

"That's gonna be fun, but at least we've got a pyrokinetic over here. We've got four walls keeping us good and divided, we've got general contentment and peace of mind, and--actually, have you seen either Reimu or Marisa?"

"Nope, nada."

"Well, that's--encouraging. Biggest guns and they're not on-hand. Speaking of biggest guns... we've got most of the guns on base here right now. Anything tries to infect us, we're gonna give 'em lead poisoning."

"That's good to hear. Between us, we have..." You trail off as Anna storms in, wiping disinfectant mist from her glasses and muttering about how everything's going for the glasses today. "Three guns. One big one, two small ones with unlimited ammo."

"I've got bigger ones, you know," Reisen says. "Like, over in my... bunk..."

"Where's your bunk?" you ask.

"Oh, bunk room beta. No. 103. It's got a bunch of bunny stickers on it."

"Okay, it's in a non-quarantined bunkroom."

"I've got an idea," Nitori says. "You're not infected, right?"

"I--hope I'm not, anyway."

"Right. So I've got two ideas."

"Spit 'em."

"One, last time I checked, we have us a robot on this base."

"We do! Pretty sure she wants to die, though."

"She's not dead yet, and that means she can ferry vital items from one zone to the next. If she's a robot, she can't catch being-a-monster. You just have to find her and tell her to get started. Idea no. 2..." She whispers into the phone. "I happen to have stored a few of my gadget guns in Ruukoto's room. You've got a choice of three."

You nod, realize that she can't see you nod over the phone, and say, "Nod nod..."

"And, uh, then I guess once we get armed we can move on to the next phase of the operation."

"What's the next part? I thought I was doing the parts. Am I doing the parts?"

"Well, you're helping out with the parts, I mean clearly you are, but I thought the next part was going to be obvious. You know, the, the, the killing-the-monsters part."

"Yeah, that... that sounds reasonable."

"I mean, where even is the monster? It could be anywhere, and we've got like a million guns and Orin and you've got like two guns and twelve seconds of Anna. So you gots to get some guns, hon!"

"...sooooo why only the one gun, hon?"

"Because if you take more than one the gun case is rigged to explode."

"...Right."

"What can I say, I'm thorough."

"Uh-huh. Alright, I'll get right on that. Robot, guns, and--" You remember your gnomic utterance from the start of the upd--the initialization of this particular moment in the day. Night, actually. It's getting pretty close to midnight by now. "--motherfucker, what about Alice?"

"W-what about her?"

"Who else haven't we seen yet in all this mess?"

"...crap, you mean the TOU might be down there with her?"

"...The tow?"

"The Trans-spatial Organism, Unknown."

"Cute."

"Well, we got done early and we got bored."

"Roger dodger. So, that's..." You sense an impending Decision Time looming ahead. Man, it feels like you just got your last one settled. "That's something else on the itinerary. I'll--decide how to handle it in a minute."

"Choose well," Nitori says.

You hang up and analyze the team.

"Yo yo yo yo~" says Eirin, washing her hand and scrubbing her hook. "I'm ju~st about out of things I can learn from dead cells! So, you know, unknown territory here."

"I'm going out to get to Ruukuto and get some guns," you say. "And--well, Meiling's still out there, I guess I'll keep an eye out for her too."

"I'm going with you," Reisen says, darting up and trying to draw her pistols before leaning against the glass barrier. "I--I'm really going, just. Give me a bit."

Smokeweed pats her on the back. "You should really be getting some rest, rabbit. All that heartache, you're gonna be popping off all the time. And, uh, you did smoke an awful lot of weed."

"I shoot better on weed," Reisen grumbles, pushing herself off the barrier.

"Sure you do," Eirin says, "and Sakura does all her best maid-ing on crack rock and Suika has to punish her liver before she does any heavy lifting. Buncha junkies, all of you, with your weed and your liquor and your crack and your anesthesia!" She scoffs. "I get high on life and an extra organ grafted to the base of my spine that continually pumps beta endorphins directly into my brain." She scoffs (2x SCOFF COMBO). "Suck on that, blood-brain barrier."

"Been waitin' to tell us that, haven't you?" you say, helping Reisen onto her feet.

"Oh, yes. Have I told you how amazing I feel?"

"Seventeen times the past ten minutes," Smokeweed says.

The al-Bhed woman chuckles. "Syh, ev oui luimt uhmo caa dra yidrun'c hudac nekrd huf.."

"Shh! Spoilers, lady!" Anna says.

"What?" you say.

"Huh?" Anna says.

The al-Bhed generic takes another drag from her gigantic blunt.

Reisen blinks. "So, uh... are we going, or..." She leans against you, less to urge you on and more to keep herself propped up.

Yeah. Looks like it's time for another critical decision to be made. It is a charged situation and all, you should be ready for an increase of snap decisions and more brisk moments in between them. Anyhow!

Choose one from each pair.

Set One: Who's going with you?
[ ] Reisen. She can handle herself.
[ ] Somebody else--name one (or more, to have a proper posse).
[ ] Go alone, disregarding your own advice in the name of minimizing danger to others.

Set Two: Who's going after Alice?
[ ] Yourself and whoever you bring or don't bring.
[ ] Nominate someone(s) from your group.
[ ] Nominate someone(s) from Nitori's group.

[ ] And, of course, there's always writin' in.
No. 53072
>"Syh, ev oui luimt uhmo caa dra yidrun'c hudac nekrd huf.."

Translation: "Man, if you could only see the author's notes right now.."

Also, Sakuya does crack. Alice got killed by a crack whore.

Just, you know, throwing it out there.

Set One:
[X]Reisen. She can handle herself.

Set Two:
[X]Nominate Sakuya, Eirin, and Rin fron Nitori's team.

Sakuya can stop time to scout ahead, Eirin can identify what's likely to be infectious, and Rin can 'sanitize' with fire as needed.

This leaves Smokeweed to watch and Anna to watch our place, and Nitori and Suika to watch theirs.

We should probably assume that Meiling, her yukkuri, and the Murderers are infected until proven clean.


...WAIT A SEC. Did Eirin even manage to scan us or the Dormitory team for signs of infection?
No. 53081
>>53072
Scan? Buddy we havent even developed a way to tell if someone's infected or not. That's why Eirin wants us to bring her a carcass and why we're leery of her possibly being infected and giving us misinformation. Also, why do want to bring the base doctor/scientist out for a field op in potential dangerous territory?
No. 53083
[x] Reisen. She can handle herself.

Reisen's a known factor. We should keep her close.

[X]Nominate Sakuya and Rin fron Nitori's team.

For time-stopping and burning. But Eirin should stay where she is. Ww don't know for a fact that she isn't infected yet.
No. 53127
[x] Set 1: Get a target for Reisen to show us how sharp a shot she is while high. If she actually DOES shoot better/at-least-pretty-good on weed, take her along. Otherwise, take Smokeweed.

Flamethrower won't be as useful in larger areas or for extended outings (in case there's multiple run-ins), and Eirin is too valuable/risky to send adventuring.

[x] Set 2: Is Chen any good as a diplomat? Her cuteness may be helpful in convincing Alice to help, if she's uncertain about it. If Chen has any chance of being helpful there, send her along with Nitori and one or two of the generics. Those would be good candidates to check things out anyway.

Suika's method of combat/power is risky for infectability, so it would be better to have her on defense until we know more about what we're up against. Rin seems a little panicky and shouldn't be (functionally) unaccompanied on a dangerous trip. But Nitori has her head on straight. Who thought Sakuya was there? She was never mentioned.

Write-in exploits:

[x] Ask Nitori if there's a way to disarm the explosives on her gun case, and/or how well the guns would hold up to the explosion if it were set off. Best get one now so anyone infected can't risk it (or dies in the process), but if we can dislodge the others later it'd be good to know.

[x] Where is Reisen's bunk locked? Is it closer to Nitori's location or ours? Whichever adventuring crew is closer should hunt for some of the weaponry if they can access it and Reisen's okay with them browsing her stuff a bit.

[x] If anyone's willing to dare calling the Murderers or Hatate (or anyone else missing), try to do so and get their location. Hatate is PROBABLY fine, considering that we still have at least an in-base signal.

[x] Whether we take her or not, make sure to give Reisen a hug before we go too far.

Who else/how many are we missing, anyway?

Is there a reason Eirin called the Maidical Officer "Sakura" rather than Sakuya?
No. 53201
>>53127
Officially, it's because she hates Sakuya most of all and will willingly get her name wrong to get on her nerves. Off the record, I fucked up.

Hm... speaking of which, here's a little bitty miniature update just for your thorough questions~ In the interest of full disclosure and answering questions that may have slipped my mind!:

* Nitori confirms she can disable the explosives when they have some time and inclination. The explosion would destroy the stored weapons and their attempted thieves alike--she's thorough. And last but not least Chen is definitely adorable enough to parley.

* Ruukoto's storage room is located near the hangar bay, so you'll have to go out of your way to get to her.

* You ring up Hatate, who gives you a brusque response: "Right. Still here. You guys like to keep me busy, you know that?" She's holed up in the comms room still.

* Sakuya has a cell and a walkie on her. A check-up reveals that she's out in the base scouring for Patchouli, trying to ensure she's dead. She's near the chapel on the other side of the camp, but for obvious reasons she could get where she's needed lickety-quick. Hmm...

* Wriggle is likewise equipped. She's holed up in the beta bunk room--coincidentally, where Reisen's guns are located--but otherwise hanging with a couple generics, telling stories and squeaking in terror at the smallest sound. They've reinforced their bunk somewhat but are mostly just hiding. The medical bay is located near the center of the camp, so you're closer to the beta bunkroom than the alpha is to the beta. You are also closer to the yukkuri pens than to either bunkroom.

* Rumia ate both her cell and her walkie a couple minutes after she was first issued them. We can only guess where she may be.

* Meiling answers her call in a whisper: "I'm a little busy right now, hon, but don't worry, no mean little guy's bit me or anything." She's maintaining her exact position as a secret in case Patchouli is listening in.

* Patch is totally unaccounted for... as are the Murderers.
No. 53205
Is there any reason to believe Patchouli would be ABLE to listen in through the signal or something like that? Or is Meiling implying that she's hiding from Patch right now?

Presumably Hatate is still penned up in the comms room because she needs to be there to make our signals work, right? Or is she just being really stubborn about not going somewhere safer?

I'm willing to guess Meiling is trying to secure the heads' place since she's such a nicey... it may be worth stopping in there first. Especially if it's on the way to the bunks. ... and check with Eirin whether they're DNA-based, or too deep a mystery of the cosmos to be a risk.

Wait, how many generics do we have on-hand at the Infirmary? Just the Al Bhed girl?

I'm honestly not sure where Sakuya's skills would be best used, or if it's worth daring to give her orders (or even suggestions). Maybe suggest stopping by the reinforced areas every once in a while to make sure things are going okay...?

Actually, if it's that far a trip to find Ruukoto, Sakuya might be able to take care of that part herself in a more timely manner than anyone else. And while Ruukoto may be immune to infection, she isn't immune to getting bitten in half by titanium-strength sulfur bones - getting her somewhere safe, fast, is a priority. And if Reimu's been infected it wouldn't be surprising for her to go after her favorite plaything - and if her plaything is hiding in a well-defended gun nest, all the better chances of not being completely slaughtered in the process.

Does Sakuya get along especially poorly with Chen, Rin, Nitori, Ruukoto, or Alice?

Recommended route of attack: Head for the head stables to check in and see if that's what happened to Meiling, then on to Ruukoto's or Reisen's, whichever the headpens are on the way to.
No. 54903
File 137780935645.jpg- (60.05KB , 570x420 , double slap.jpg ) [iqdb]
54903
Add Reisen to your party once her utility is proven. Nominate Sakuya and Rin to locate Alice. Pick up weapons and Ruukoto, and check on the heads on the way if you can.

You contemplate your options thoroughly. You send a text to Nitori: "Can you throw Rin and Sack at Alice? It'd save us a trip." While waiting for a response, you look up at Reisen, Smokeweed, and the three generics.

"You can't seriously shoot with that much weed in your blood," one of them says. "Like, seriously?"

"Throw somethin'. In the air! I will shoot it, and you will be amazed." Reisen draws a pistol with her left hand, twirling it for emphasis. "One hand, off hand, I'll be amazing."

"Fine," the second generic says, pulling a clay pigeon from her pocket and tossing it underhanded at the door. Reisen closes her eyes and shoots. The pigeon smashes to pieces.

"...som'bitch!" the first generic says.

"Ruf syho rynt tela oui ryja eh Venaynsc (becdumc), fredao?"

Reisen flashes the V-sign with her right hand. Though maybe it's a pair of bunny ears?

Either way, your phone rumbles. Nitori's response is brisk: "Sure can." That's one load off your mind. You return your phone to your pocket and trace a map of the base in your head. Hang a right at the yukkuri pens, four doors past the elaborate mural depicting Yukari Yakumo as the Spirit of Victory. Lay claim to one of the guns inside the gun case, send Ruukoto after Reisen's guns... another decision occurs to you, but that can wait a little longer. You've got a plan of attack now.

"We'll be right back," you say, taking Reisen by her non-gun-wielding arm. "Hold tight, message if something goes wrong."

"Sure thing," Eirin says, prepping a cup of espresso for herself at a machine you were pretty sure she was using to bombard the TOU's cells with gamma radiation. You suddenly feel yourself desiring to drink the shit out of that coffee. You glance at your phone. It's--huh. It's ten minutes past midnight. Feels like it should be later.

Once you and Reisen clear the heady antibacterial fog and spit and wipe the stuff away from your mouth and eyes, you remind her of the time.

"Jesus," she says, and falls into silence.

"When we get back," you say, "we should have some espresso, you and me. Espresso and coffee cakes... you ever have gooey butter cake?"

Reisen sakes her head. Her long lavender hair brushes against your shoulder. That shouldn't make you as excited as it does, especially given the wild shit going on.

"It's great. Sort of crumbly, sweet, but not too sweet. The texture's the real reason you eat it, it's got the best texture ever, all soft and creamy and crumbly."

"I like the sound of that," she says. "If I said I really like carrot cake, would that be too stereotypical...?"

"Not at all. Maybe we could have espresso and carrot cake soup."

"Mm. That would punish."

Reisen smiles... just a little bit. "Thank you."

You pause in your stride to give Reisen the strongest hug you can manage while keeping it platonic. Reisen's the one who snuggles her head onto your shoulder, brushing her ears against your face. "We're gonna make it out of here," you say, "and we're going to write a book, and make a million dollars."

"Right. But first we've got to kill some monsters."

The hallways are unsettlingly empty. Your footsteps are disproportionately loud. The filters on the air ducts lend a hissing, whispering tone to the air conditioning; even alone it sounds ike someone's plotting behind your back. Reisen eventually draws her other pistol, steeling herself to shoot at anything that so much as twitches.

Nothing twitches in her presence so far. You hear some rustling and yu-ing as you near the yukkuri pens. Those poor disembodied heads. Through the plexiglass door you see a multitude of heads eagerly scampering around, yuuing their little heads off. And by their little heads you suppose yuuing their little themselves off themselves.

You crack the door open and stick your head in. "Uh--hey?" you say. The heads cease their scampering and stare at you with pleading eyes. "How are--is something wrong?"

One of the heads, a Rin-kkuri, rolls to a stop in front of you. "Mister!" she says, "Big Miss Meiling isn't here and she's been gone a while and the whole place really smells funny! Not funny ha-ha! Funny-like-a-clown! The scary kind!"

"Hey, there," you say reassuringly. "She's on a little errand. She's just fine, don't you worry."

"But we do, we do!" The Rinkkuri bounces around in terror. "All sorts of bad things might be going on out there!"

"...Yeah, I'm gonna be level with you, it's pretty bad out there."

"How bad?"

"Like. Imagine the worst thing you can."

"Not enough butter."

"...it's significantly worse than not enough butter."

The heads collectively gasp. A few of them faint. Roll over onto their backs. The back of their heads. The back of themselves. So, they really do roll over onto their backs.

"...Just keep your--yourselves on straight, alright? Meiling will be here any time now. She's just gotta kill Patchouli."

"Mukyuuuuuu," mukyuus the Patchouli-kkuri with stern disapproval.

"Yeah, same to you." You close the door. It doesn't quite close, seeing as how the Rinkkuri is lodged in there. You open it a crack and the wee beast pops right out into the hallway. "...hey there, little guy..."

"Hey! Can I come with you, misters? I don't wanna get stuck waitin' in there!"

"...You know," Reisen says, kneeling, "Eirin's wanted to take a closer look at one of these things for a while."

"I bet she has." You scoop her up with one of your wings and plant him on your head. You'll figure the thing's gender out later. "What's your name, little guy?"

"It's Fingers, mister! Furiously Freaky Franky Fasthands Forlorn Fundament, the Five Fingers of Flesh, Faith, Fear, Fortitude, and Face."

"I bet it is. Tell me, can you smell that smell more clearly now that you're out here?"

"Yahuh!"

"Good. And can you tell me if you smell it really, really strongly?"

"Yahuh."

"Fantastic. Fingers, you're going to be our little traveling partner."

"Yayhuh!"

"That thing is just dangerously cute," Reisen says, giving the thing a good petting. "If nothing else it might give the things diabetes."

So armed with a small, humming disembodied head version of Rin, you stalk toward Ruukoto's room, ready to get behind Reisen at the first sign of things that need to get shot. The halls are still disconcertingly quiet. The echoes on your footsteps are still disconcertingly loud. It sounds like somebody's following you, and your several dozen glimpses behind you only serve to confirm that all this silence and aloneness is making you outrageously paranoid. Or the thing following you is really good at hiding. Either way: this shit be wack.

Your proximity to Ruukoto's room is signaled by the print of the Yukarian Victory Mural plastered on the wall. A print of the Mural is required in every public building in the 'Soak, in a high-visibility location, by law. You and Reisen slow down to take a gawk at it, because it's definitely something that demands a slow-down to gawk at.

The Yukarian Victory Mural shows Yukari Yakumo as the Spirit of Victory, standing atop the trampled and bloodied gods of man, carrying the severed head of Hope in one hand and a case of Natty Light in the other. In the background, mountains of children burn alive, the rising clouds of smoke and ash forming the words "THE GAME" in the bloody skies. The painting's second-most-noticable feature is Yukari's tasteful nudity; tasteful, other than the first-most-noticable feature, her three-foot-long, jet-black, veiny, straight-razor-studded penis. Which appears on all portraits of her, by law.

Ruukoto is gazing at it. The print in general, I mean. Or is she staring directly at that thing you're conspicuously trying to avoid staring at? Also, oh, hey, it's her!

"Oh, hey, it's her!" Reisen says.

Ruukoto flinches, holding her hands up before her face. "Please, be quick..." she says.

"Er--no, it's fine," you say, holding your hands up. "We're not going to hurt you. Promise."

Ruukoto advances from a flinch to a cringe. "I--I just replaced my pain receptor nodules in my lower back. I-if you want, y-you can pretend that you're hitting me in the k-kidneys and it'll--it'll really hurt, I promise!"

"Jesus Lord, what do the murderers do to you?" Reisen says.

"I have an itemized list," Ruukoto says, still locked in a cringe. "There are 475 entries. Entry one: Marisa Kirisame asked if I had a urethra. I told her truthfully that I did not. She held me down while Reimu Hakurei went looking for a power drill--"

"--oh, damn, you can stop right there."

Ruukoto does not stop right there. You've seen Patchouli next to naked and also Cirno exploding into a meat flower and what Ruukoto relates to you now is the most sickening thing you've perceived all day.

"Incident one ends. Incident two--"

"--would you like a not-getting-tortured-by-Marisa-and-Reimu thing to do, Ruukoto?" you say.

"--yes, m'am?" She slightly unflinches. "Can--can I wear a little hat when I do it?"

"Sure. Anything you want."

"W-what is it? That you want me to do. M'am."

Reisen steps in. "Bring me my footlocker from bunk room beta, bunk 103. The one with bunny stickers! And if anything bad's happening to the people hanging out there, bring 'em with you, alright?"

"Yes, m'ams!" Ruukoto straightens and offers a curt salute! "Where shall I be delivering these arms and possibly people?"

"To your room," you say. "We'll be there acquiring some situational... er... rifling through Nitori's gun cabinet and waiting to see if bad shit's going down."

"Okay! Good luck!" Following a brisk curtsey, Ruukoto reaches into her pockets and pulls out a small crown-shaped cartridge labeled GETTING THINGS KING. She slots it in just behind her maid headdress and gets scooting.

Because relating this particular misadventure is taking way too long, let's skip ahead to you getting into Ruukoto's room. It's pretty decently-sized since it's where her charging station, repair and maintenance gear, and spare parts are kept. It still smells like burning circuitry in here from Reimu's game earlier, all the promo posters have been defiled with graffiti insinuating a variety of acts Ruukoto performs and how much she is to be compensated for performing them. Her spare parts have been broken with hammers and peed on. Judging by the wear and tear of the repair tools, you can only imagine how they've been misused. Damn, the murderers are goddamned mean.

There's also a dented, abused gun safe that looks like it's been kicked around like a hacky sack, presently partially embedded in a wall. "Here we go," you say. "You know, I haven't really trained in firearms all that much."

"You'll be fine," Reisen says. "You know the basic rules, right?"

"Don't point it at things you don't want shot, uh, fingers off the trigger 'til you're ready to kill something..."

"Yeah, yeah. I'll show you anything else you need to know."

"Thanks." Your hand hovers over the handle. There doesn't seem to be a combination lock or a key or anything else--just a handle. Hesitantly you plant your hand on it. It goes from cold to warm, and after a moment of applying pressure it pops open with a soft hiss. Must be some kind of mad-science thing.

You see three choices of armament inside the safe. You realize this probably wasn't where Nitori kept her high-end firearms.

Reisen's cell rings. "Hang on..." She checks it. "Rin? We're getting a call from Rin." She answers! "Hello? ... ... So where's Sakuya? ... ... Really? That doesn't seem... hey, uh, fingers crossed, but you don't think... ... Good point. Right. I'll ask. God luck." Ka-hang-up!

"So, what's the plot twist?"

"Sakuya went off to do her own thing, Rin has no idea where she is. Rin's in the Alice sewers alone."

"Damn!"

"Which leads to the question--"

"--oh yeah."

You know exactly what kind of choice is at hand. First, choose one:

[ ] Go after Rin and help her out. ([ ] Go alone, [ ] Send Reisen.)
[ ] Once she gets back, send Ruukoto after [ ] Rin or [ ] Sakuya.
[ ] Wish Rin luck and stick to the plan.
[ ] Write in a better plan!

And now... choose your legendary weapon of power.

[ ] Gas-Powered Stick. Advantages: Never runs out of gas. Disadvantages: It's a jive-ass stick.

[ ] The Uboinik. Advantages: Fires shotgun shells hella fast. Disadvantages: I wouldn't waste my time trying to explain the loading mechanism to you--your primitive mind could never grasp its complex nature: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI50Ekjbpmc

[ ] The Party Cannon. Advantages: Shittons o' damage over a wide area, extremely festive. Disadvantages: Close range, slow reload, really goddamned heavy, may get people irrationally angry or irrationally excited for reasons you cannot grasp.
No. 54908
[x] Go after Rin and help her out.
-[x] Go alone

[x] The Uboinik.

Well, we can't just leave Rin on her own, and Reisen should be the one to wait for poor Ruukoto- it's her gun cases and all. As for the shotgun: it's a shotgun.
No. 54914
File 137782522452.png- (743.69KB , 970x736 , Reimu_Shock.png ) [iqdb]
54914
[x] Assuming there's no way to call her, leave Ruukoto a note telling her that we went to rescue Rin before she gets eaten. Tell her to head to the medbay to get a briefing of the situation from Eirin, and to make sure to get ahold of a way to call us or Reisen once she's safe.
- [x] If possible, be smrt and call her for the same instructions. We should have done that earlier...!
-- [x] If there's really no way to inform Ruukoto, first resort to yelling at people over the phone rather than risking leaving alone: Try calling Sakuya and asking what the hell she's up to leaving Rin alone like that. If that fails, attempt to advise Rin over the phone for a few minutes while hoping for Ruukoto's quick arrival.
--- [x] If Ruuokoto's taking her time after all that... have Reisen wait for her and keep in phone contact while searching for Rin with Fingers. Ask Gunbunny to catch up with full armaments and whatever other backup she has handy as soon as Ruukoto arrives, barring any phone message to the contrary.

[x] After that, phone Eirin and company to update her on the plan. Reconsider if she seems to be planning to abuse the poor robot.

[x] Without messing with the box's contents, see if there's any indication that the gas stick would be useful for more than smacking people. Does it even extend or anything?

[x] Once weaponry and other plans have been arranged, favor leaving with Reisen and other available entourage over leaving solo. If there's other available entourage, brief them on the situation on the way.

[x] Interrogate Fingers in downtime!
- Has s/he encountered the weird bad smell before?
- Does it smell similar to anything/one else s/he's seen before?
- Are there any other yukkuri that might be willing to help out tracking the scent?
- Would they be able to tell if Meiling was nearby? How about Rin?
- Stupid question: Do yukkuri tend to get sick if they're around other kinds of people that are sick? (Rough way to estimate DNA-based-ness)
No. 54957
>>54914
I'm pretty shocked myself at all this detail.

[x] Go after Rin and help her out.
-[x] Go alone

[x] The Party Cannon
Because a weapon like this deserves a vote, cumbersomemess and logistical difficulties aside, at least we'll look even more awesome shooting/missing.
No. 54964
[X] >>54914 's plan.

This story is ridiculous as fuck and I love it.
No. 55000
[X] What >>54914 said.

Must obey the wall of text. (But seriously, it's a well thought out plan, and I have no objections.)
No. 55068
Re: Gas-Powered Stick!

There are small instructions written beneath each weapon's mount. Cryptic as they are, and in Nitori's famously terrible handwriting, they give you an idea of what to expect!

PARTY CANNON
RT: FIRE
RB: HANDLOAD
B: HIT

UBOINIK
RT (tap): SINGLE
RT (hold): AUTO
B: BAYONET

GAS POWERED STICK!!!
RT: HIT
RB: BLOCK
LT: THROW (USES UP STICK)

There is a small illustration next to "THROW." It depicts a stick figure kappa waving its arms in panic saying "CAREFUL WITH THIS!"
No. 55069
While the uniqueness of 'block' there made me briefly consider, I would expect a decent firearm to have at least some components that would be usable for that in an emergency, even if it would damage the weapon. Especially when damaging the Nuke Cane likely means detonating.

The Party Cannon may be entertaining, but the weight worries me; we need to be reasonably mobile and able to keep up with life. So...

[x] Favor the ol' reliable Uboinik shotgun.
No. 55233
Finally gonna get around to writin' the next part! (It's been a heckuva week at work.) This is just an announcement askin' those that seconded the Uberplan if they also wanna vote for the Uboinik or if they want to hedge their votes on more esoteric hardware.


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