╔Ｎｏｔｅｓ═════════════════════════ ║Sorted by: Date / Time / Origin / Subject ╟────────────────────────────── ║✉ 10/22/2277, 6:50JST, Snakez4Lyfe, “Chems—Sorry” ║➥Message Body: “I'm holding on to the group chems. They're in my ║attaché case. I'll need them the most in combat, and frankly I don't ║trust Mary with them, or even you after that stunt you pulled that hos- ║pitalized you a first time, and nearly a second time. Make sure you ║take that MelanoTan, and ask me if you need something.” ║➥Message deleted. ║℟ 10/22/2277, 8:11JST, Max_a_Million, “RE: Chems—Sorry” ║➥Message Body: ”You took my holo-doc I got from Yue & deleted it. ║You also took my gun & gave it to Mary. Don't piss down my back & tell ║me it's raining Ren.” ║➥Message sent. ║✉ 10/22/2277, 8:15JST, Snakez4Lyfe, “RE:RE:Chems—Sorry” ║➥Message Body: “That warmth would be the shower water, Max.” ║➥Message deleted. ║✐ 10/22/2277, 8:17JST, Personal Note, “Shit List” ║➥1. Ants. [IN PROGRESS] ║➥2. Usami, Renko. ║➥?. Pip-Fairy ║➥Draft saved. ╚══════════════════════════════
It's time for a plan. Division of labor. Real leaderly stuff. But first? Breakfast. “Boy I sure am hungry!” “What are we having Maxey? I've taken the liberty of going through all your cabinets, and I don't see much.” “It's certainly nothing any of you will be making,” So cruel Dai. Renko shrugs. “I kiss better than I cook.” “Yeah, but you do have the coolest apron,” says Mary approvingly. She was wearing it last before she engaged in sexy hi-jinx and went to bed. Los Alamos, New Mexico. Guaranteed to fry up the best shiitake you've ever tasted. “Dai, play something appropriate for breakfast in bed.” “You all miss the point. You won't be doing any cooking because there is nothing to cook.” Shit, right. The last meal you cooked yourself here is noodles. Noodles? “Dai, can you set my Pip-Boy to Kogasa's Potluck on the Citizen's Band? I want take out. “Kogasa?” Ren asks, and Mary shrugs. “I'll patch you through Max.” “Righto.” Your Pip-Boy stops pumping out music and starts pumping out the static of a 'clear' CB radio channel.
[ (☏) Max is attempting contact over the CB radio... ]
You press the transceiver: “Breaker, breaker, 1-⑨. This is Mike Able X-Ray. Anyone receiving this transmission?” “Wakka wakka.” What kind of salutation is that? “Uh, ahoy. Kogasa? This is Max. Max Rockatansky. We met yesterday?” “We did? Alright...” The fact she has to turn over this very simple communication in her mind shows a deficit in solely vocal engagements. “Yeah, sounds legit.” Maybe it's why she relies on non-verbal cues—almost to the point of affectation? “How are things on your end?” “How are things one my—uh, well, it's currently humid. Humid & buggy.” “I'm sorry, did you say 'muggy'?” “Uh, no. I did not,” with perhaps some degree of despondence. Well then! “We—a number of us—are going to attempt to meet up near the Tower. Could you prepare food for, say, two dozen people?” “Two dozen fairy people? Or two dozen human people?” Right. That might be important, considering relative dietary portions. “Let's go for half-fairy, half-human.” “OK, 12 and 12, five-by-five. Fox-Yankee-India the menu will be more Italian-American than last. Roger Wilco!” “What?” “Thy will be done!” The menu will be different? I thought every meal was a surprise? Anyway, it's hard to fuck up noodles. “Okay.” You let go of the receiver button for the last time, and your Pip-Boy's regular display appears. You think you secured nutrition. But you never can tell with these youkai-types.
“Ren, you prepared to face down our insectoid interlopers?” She is a bastion of calm in all this blood & thunder. “In a New York minute, Maxey. I just need to apply this repellent.” She she spraying an aerosol canister all over herself, lifting her clothes to spray on bare skin, then dousing her outer layers with it. “Are you sure that will work?” Waving the noxious chemical smell away from you. “These are rather large ants we're up against.” “Yes but their nervous systems aren't any more complex. They're upscaled black ants, without stingers or particularly virulent bites, and that's all. They still breath through their skin, and its the increase of O2 in the atmosphere at fault, due to the phytoplankton and blue-green algae that have largely recolonized the oceans. Radiation has only sped up the process, but isn't what has enabled them to grow so large. Before the War, there was an absolute limit on arthropod size, such that the 'giant' bugs were limited to post-apocalyptic horror flicks, since they lack real respiratory systems, but now that the atmosphere has reached relative O2 levels we haven't seen since the Great Oxygenation Event 2.4 million years ago, at about 35% absolute concentration.” “What were the concentrations before the war?” “Only about 20%, and less than that in the cities, mountains, and heavily inhabited areas where there was air pollution.” Huh. “So our progenitors had been kept safe from giant insects by... environmental destruction?” Mary voices your own question. “Not exactly. Rather, the immense 'pollution' of the oceans when the sea-levels rose to overtake coastal cities and topsoil and reservoirs, it created a habitat conducive to immense algal blooms.” “How can pollution cause an overabundance of life? We didn't see anything like that on the surface when we were up there.” “That's because the oceans and the land are different biomes. When these biomes suddenly overlap, like in the case of the rising tides, the oceans become filled with things they wouldn't normally get. Eutrophication. An excess of certain nutrients, like phosphorus, released from the overtaken soil, coupled with a general cooling of the seas due to the melting ice caps, would drive fish and other complex animals toward the more open seas and select for deeper-dwelling fish that aren't as affected by the change in surface temperature, while the phytoplankton and algae, with no predators and the brighter sun to stimulate photosynthesis, well they could quite rapidly colonize the surface. Combined with a dearth of respirating land animals, after the nuclear winter, it's expected that the ocean surface would be covered in slime.” “We don't have any evidence of this, Ren. Gensokyo, up in the Japanese Alps, is still landlocked. The Scarlet Devil Lake even became Scarlet Devil Basin!” Mary tries to stop Ren before she turns the ocean into a place no one would ever consider going. It's far too late to not be dissuaded now, however. “True, we don't have direct evidence, but I had modified my Pip-Boy in preparation of the journey to accept radio from the weather imaging satellites broadcasting before the war, though at the time I was looking for anything that might indicate considerable human recolonization. Even locally we could measure the air was oxygen rich, which explains the lack of trees, and the dusty soil. High oxygen concentrations means wildfire like nobody's business. In that way, the sea plants have killed off their land competition.” “And explains the giant ant.” Renko sighs. “They were, after all, conjectured in the Vault Survival Guide.” “Which I didn't get to read, thank you very much, Ren.” Scratching at her scalp in embarrassment (or at least affected self-objurgation), Ren continues, “Er, right, well. At the time you had that run-in above ground I hadn't either. I mean come on? Giant insects?” She shrugs, taking out a cigarette, now with a sardonic grin, “It's like something out of a B-rate, pre-War horror flick.”
“The blood wasn't real enough for you?” Feeling some heat in your face, you decide that maybe you're taking it farther than necessary. “Sorry I brought it up Maxey.” Ren manages to light it up on her own this time. “Anyway, the same chemicals that work against the little ones will do against the big ones, too.” “It stinks, though.” “That's the idea. While they may smell noxious to you, ants, which are far more sensitive to smell, and as they communicate and identify largely through pheromones, it will drown the scent of any trails their scouts have left behind.” Ren shakes her head and shrugs. “Or at least, that's what's advertised on the bottle. You can never tell with these Yagokoro brand products.” “So we don't know if it works.” Renko is pretty quick to reassure. “Don't worry, I have personal experience with this product, and its active ingredients, aside from the pheromone bit. I mean, come on, that itself—even to synthesize—would require the study of an entire populations of all different insects to judge the actual behavioral effects of the compound being tested.” “If the pheromone-deodorant isn't what's doing the job, what is?” “Like I said, formicides: malathion, imiprothrin, boric acid, lindane & DDT. All neurotoxins that are fairly innocuous to those of use with a complex nervous system but absolutely deadly to insects and other arthropods.” As usual, Ren's biochemical knowledge is more than enough to convince you of whatever factual explanation she conjectures. After all, she is your officially-designated trip-sitter and closest non-physician distributor of chems & narcotics. You're still kind of pissed that she stole your chems (that you stole) to add to her own collection, though. “Hey, what about the air down here?” “What do you mean?” “The O2 levels!” Ah, Mary's on to something. You check your Pip-Boy. 22%. Normal. Slightly lower than normal air pressure, probably because of the ant tunnel breaking through. Both Renko and Mary confirm this on their own Pip-Boys. “So what does this mean?” Ren grins, holding up her Nambu. “What it means Max, as Mary points out, is that these insects are struggling against the Vault itself. Did you notice the temperature readings?” A cool (cool even for even Vault ⑨, cool) ambient 61°F. Stepping out into the hall, it gets much colder. So much so that you're given a chill through your Vault uniform and Ren's jacket. Now the reading is a brisk 43°F. Either this change happened very rapidly, or you simply were too flushed from the hot water of the shower to notice it earlier. Either way, it's a good sign. The air pressure is lower in the halls too falls, a relative negative air pressure. “I don't get it. Why is it chillier out here?” Mary shudders when she steps out into the corridor, not wearing the clogs over her stockings. You're suddenly conscious that making her battle armor, as opposed to having her wearing the cheerleader outfit, or ratty Wasteoid gear may have been the only judicious choice. It is after all, late October, and unseasonal nuclear winters notwithstanding, Japan is a temperate zone.
“It was the Overseer's idea,” voices your Pip-Boy suddenly. “Ants like other insects are incapable of regulating their own body temperature. Low temperatures induce a state of torpor. The workers will be staying inside the hive, clumping together around the queen and the eggs, instead of venturing out for exploration and foraging. The relative pressure difference creates a barrier against the temperatures inside the rooms and outside.” “This keeps the Vault safer for the time being, but makes our job that much harder?” “How so? It's only a little nippy, Ren.” Mary, either misunderstanding the implications or making fun of Ren's tendency to explain everything in detail. “No, Mary. It means all our rotten eggs are in one basket. There's little chance of storming the nest and not running into defenders now. Furthermore, ants like many animals are sensitive to pressure gradients. Low pressure means bad weather, so they'll be especially careful.” “Well, truthfully, I think she may just be fucking with the thermostat so that her magic is more effective. According to the cameras in the clinic, it's all the staff can do to keep her in bed.” Different voices start to come out of your Pip-Boy, in much lower aural resolution than Dai's (usually) crystal-clear evocations: “Fucking ants! I'll freeze their goddamn antlers off! Let me out of this goddamn bed!” Heh. Did you mean 'antennae'? “Miss Overseer, you've sustained substantial respiratory injury as a result of your fight. Yelling and any form of exercise, the doctor said—“ “I don't care what the goddamn doctor says! I won't let them make a skeptical out of me! ...I mean spectacle! Fucking hell! Where are my Mentats?” Another voice, more hushed than the Overseer's, “Nurse orderly, please fetch the doctor. Our... esteemed patient requires additional sedation.” Sounds like the nurses there are having as tough a time as it as you might. The voice changes to a more audible and pleasant one, “Yes, yes, Madam Overseer. You'll receive your 'Mentats' bolus very shortly.” “Good! Dai, I want you to turn on the fire sprinklers in the halls leading from the shrine using only cold water—“ “Request cannot be granted,” says a very mechanical voice, not too dissimilar from that played regularly over the Vault PA, but definitely a change from Daiyousei's regular tone. “No temperature controls are installed on hall fire sprinker systems.” “Tch! Fine. I want you to cut off hot water to the nearby residences, while routing the hot water to other residential sectors and activating the shower spigots in the resident baths. Then activate the fire sprinklers.” “Affirmative.” ”Madam Overseer, your 'Mentats' bolus?
Dai. Talking to the Overseer. “Dai!” “What the fuck is this shit?” Renko also seems to be at odds with what you're hearing. “What is your problem now?” Her normal voice, the static of the prior conversation vanished. “Dai, we were working under the understanding that your existence was not confirmed public knowledge, rather known only to a few privileged individuals. Now I see you having a conversation with the Overseer?” “Yeah!” Ren grabs your left arm to stare down at the display. “You better spill the beans, or we'll see what happens to a spirit possessing a Pip-Boy when it's internals have been thrown into an incinerator!” Ren flicks her knife open. You don't really know how to take this thing off, so you're hoping she's not planning on amputating. The Pip-Fairy sighs. In fact, the display reads verbatim, 'HEAVY SIGH.' “You idiots. I'm the Vault AI! The number of operations performed daily ranges in the petaflops, and I have various servitor AIs to delegate to, along with any number of backup and self-diagnostic daemons constantly running. Now how is the Overseer suppose to 'oversee' if she doesn't have a direct connection with the Vault mainframe and its AI?” “Yeah, but... she used your name.” “D-A-I. Is it easier to say that as 'Dai' or 'Data-metric Assistant Interface'?” That's fairly convincing. “Eh.” Renko seems to agree. Mary didn't say anything, and by her smug smile, she probably knew already. “Well, it's time to get to work then, my bestest friends.” “I'm still hungry.” “Me too Ren. That's why we're meeting up at Kogasa's Potluck. It's near the Tower of Forgotten Furniture in the Fairy Wards.” “I know where you mean, but you're thinking of splitting us up?” “Yes, because you're both strong enough & smart enough on your own to not die because of a stupid insect.” “And you?” Ren asks. Probably a slight because you floundered trying to fight a giant ant so many years ago. “I have this.” You get 'oohs' and 'ahs' from Mary, but Renko just looks confused at the stylized image on the card. “Water Sign? Undine's Curse? Like the disease?” Asks Ren. “Err... does the disease involve suffocation?” “Yes, Maxey.” “Like the disease then. I'm not completely sure of the mechanics, but I think it fills lungs with fluid.” “Insects don't have lungs Maxey, They breath through their skin.” Oof. Shut down. “I wouldn't be using it on insects.” You rebound quickly and glibly. “That's what the 'icebat' is for, and thank you for your help with that Mary.” The girl lifts her blue hakama slightly as a sort of curtsey. “...Along with potent elemental magicks—not cantrips like I tried that ant in the basin, and even this laser rifle.” “Well, who'd you'd be using it on then,” asks Ren. “Hopefully no one. I'm going to drop this luggage in my room, then I'm going to confront the Overseer and the Chief Inspector in the hospital. If there's any security personnel, I can try rallying them through apologies, haranguing, or even threats against their leaders.” “Are you sure that's wise?” Mary asks. “No. But I'm not sure leaving the Vault in the first place is wise. I think 'wise' got lost by the wayside a long time ago.” “In that case I have my own ill-advised mission to do.” “What do you mean?” “Dai, you said security cameras have noticed ant concentration around the shrine?” After a moment, your Pip-Boy blinks to life, aside from some Night Rider-esque aural visualization effect, it's sound only: “Yes. Due to the Overseer's measures most of them have returned to their presumable base, meaning...” “There at the shrine. Where there aren't any cameras installed. I'll provide visual confirmation.” “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Ren predictably voices an objection. “Mary there's no way I'm letting you do something like that alone.” “I'm a big girl, Ren. I have a spell cards, like Max, and mine's not limited to killing humans.” She produces the laminated card from the pleats of her hakama. She hands it to you, but it's unreadable, unlike yours which is in Latin letters: '境遠離「九字切り」' “'Sakai on-ri, kuji-kiri'? 'Border Separation: Nine Syllable Cuts?'” Ren grabs it away and translates immediately. Uh, good girl. “I won't demonstrate for the reason of maintaining mana, but essentially I produce nine cuts in reality, bisecting objects across an oblique, two-dimensional plane, or at least that's how Dai explained it. No matter if I come across God or the Buddha himself, He will be cut~” 'Summon Odin' much, Mary? “It's definitely the kind of thing that wouldn't fly as a spellcard before the collapse of the Barrier,” Dai chimes in. “So that means one ant cut in half nine times, or nine ants cut in half once.” “That definitely sounds more potent, and more useful than my own. I'm a little envious.” “Eh-heh.” Mary giggles embarrassed. “It has a long start up mantra with a somatic component.” “And if it weren't something as stupid as ants, you could get a hole in the head,” Ren, not to be outdone, draws her Mateba in an instant, somehow spinning the top-heavy lump of gunmetal in her hand, “Or a knife in the gut,” There's nothing as cool with as spinning a revolver, but Ren tries her best to flourish with her switchblade, opening, reversing the grip, and closing with one hand, “Before you get half way through the incantation.” She just as quickly returns the weapons to their holster and pocket, respectively.
“That's a problem with magic in general, Ren. That's why you're not deadweight.” “Oh? You hurt my feelings, Maxey.” Ren stepping very, very close, leg brushing your thigh, one hand on your chest, the other running down the other side of your leg, but she's looking backwards & probably smiling wickedly at a fuming Mary, obviously the intention being to bring out Mary's jealousies. Your own Betty & Veronica, with that smug motherfucker Reggie nowhere in sight. Getting involved with these girls was the Best Idea Ever. “That is one smitten kitten,” Ren remarks, perhaps ruefully. “Well, you better stop before I can't stop.” You whisper into the brunette's ear, and she does, allowing your voice to return to your regular pitch, “Yes, well, while you reconnoiter Mary, Ren too has her own mission.” Mary smirks, rebounding quickly from her consternation, “Does this mission involve rutting like a—“ “Unfortunately, not: It's a solo mission. She's going to gather her Tunnel Snakes.” “Oh. Right.” Renko looks a little antsy at the prospect. “I have to figure out how to spin this whole thing, so that it doesn't interfere with this wonderful Sloane Ranger image I've constructed for myself,” Ren comments in sarcastic and possibly self-effacing manner (if only you knew what all those neologisms meant). “Just tell them a free meal will be provided, and lie that they'll legally get to carry weapons—deputized by Vault security. Have them stop by the room, give 'em a laser rifle and an energy cell.” “Yeah, that sounds like encouragement enough. I better get a move on, lickity-split.” “Remember, we're meeting at the Tower of Chairs.” “Yeah, yeah. A fucked-up place to host a fucked-up clambake.” “Alright! Break!”
You smash a second one's head in. Lucky that they seem to come predictably one at a time, though as you know from owning an ant-farm, it's only a matter of time before they swarm. “Looks kinda skinny. Must be a Carpenter ant.” You sigh heavily. “Carpenter... get it? Carpenter ant. See 'cause—“ “Dai, shut up.” “She was ant-orexic. Get it?” “You want to take that the fuck back, Dai.” “Jeez, Max. You sippin' too much of the Haterade?” “Nobody steps on Karen when I'm around, Dai. Nobody.” “Oh. Sorry. Didn't realize it was such a weighty subject!” Electricity cantrip. See if you can put the power words in your next threat? “Fairy, you're 1.21 Gigawatts away from becoming an oversized paperweight.” Done. “Alright! Alright! I take it back! Would it help if I played you a very special song?” “You got 'Rainy Days & Mondays' and you'll be halfway off my shit-list.”
The fact that the overseer has an arm around the teddy bear, probably lent to her by Yue, greatly taking away from whatever intimidation she might otherwise be effecting. She's still red all over, contrasting markedly with her light blue hair, wings, and eyebrows, and has a lollipop in her mouth—likely one of the pain-killing fentanyl ones, considering the severe scalding she received and a fairy's fast metabolism. While the Overseer looks like she went eleven rounds against a My Little Bake Oven, Kotohime Supercop is relatively uninjured, in a bed next to the Overseer, wearing her kimono instead of the more embarrassing patient's smock that Cirno is. "You! I ought to get up and slap you—" "—really done it this time, McLovin! You're—" "—Rabble! Rabble! That's all you'll ever be, 1195! Rabble! It's—" "—to the calaboose with you, McLovin! I'd like to say circumstances were extenuating, but I—" "—told you not to play with fire, didn't I? But no! You had to go and do the inconceivable, and now you're—" "—facing hard time! I'll see to it personally! I—" "—am the Overseer of this goddamn Vault, and you will treat me with the respect I deserve and—" "—expect you'll enjoy your three squares a day, behind bars! How is it possible—" "—you were to be made an administrator! Now I can't trust you alone in a room with a fairy without setting her on fire! Like—" "—your once promising career? Going... going..."Gone! It just went—" "—out, if she were still around to see you, your poor late mother—" "Curtains, McLovin! Curtains for you and your whole sorry lot!" These two, attempting to yell over each other's voice, one in physical traction, complete with ropes and pulleys suspended from the ceiling? Possibly the least dignified scene you've ever witnessed. And dignity is not an easy thing to come across in Vault ⑨. “I was going to apologize, but you know, first I'd like to say I'm not who allowed and oversaw the construction of an addition to the Vault complex, which ultimately lead to a catastrophic giant insect invasion.” “How dare you! It's your girlfriend's fault! The gods are punishing her for impiety, hanging around with you and Usami's ilk!” Cirno shouts at you, supported by her friend's nodding. “Yeah, well, who is going to put a stop to it? Your Protectrons are useless. The only doll I saw that really did anything was one using an experimental weapon, outside her robotic frame, and that's after I'd softened the ant up. Most of your security personnel is indisposed—“ “Because of you! Because of your friends!” “Please, if they couldn't deal with us, how do you think they'd have fared against these ants? As of last night, despite our violent non-compliance with Vault protocol, I don't believe there was a single death. Now?” Cirno lauches into a tirade, probably prepared beforehand for an eventual confrontation & browbeating, “All events are subject to interpretation, Rockatansky! Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth! Because I am the strong, maybe not in terms of innate or learned ability, or having good interpersonal skills, but because I'm where I am in this position of great authority, having to manage a Vault operating well beyond its expected lifespan, thus far without serious incident, these events will only be seen by progeny as small hiccup in the status quo!” “Star Sapphire...” The fairy winces like you'd shivved her in the kidney. Wasn't expecting that from someone with a human's lifespan were you, Cirno? “...Luna Child, Sunny Milk all stood where you are now. History has not vindicated them.” “They were the victims of degravity, poor security protocol, and chance.” Assuming she is simply low on Mentats and meant 'depravity', you respond, “Much as the situation you are in now. The insects are merciless, unable to be reasoned with, and will die to protect their queen and her brood, and while vulnerable to conventional arms, you'd sent out the Protectron dolls against a different threat, armed with pacification lasers set to danmaku. Vault security has failed utterly,” you gesture to Kotohime who is probably scowling behind her fan. “With many of its personnel hospitalized or missing. All on account of dreadfully mismanaging, and mistiming, the arrest of a single woman, whose abilities you'd grossly underestimated, just like you underestimated my own. And as for 'chance' you've been locked in this Vault for two centuries past its expiration date, becoming Overseer without intending to, and at the loss of a guiding hand—”
“How do you know these things about me?” The fairy demands, suspicion in her eyes, “Research and rumors,” you lie glibly. “The Fairy Goddess of Self-Sacrifice, She Who Is Everywhere and Nowhere in Vault ⑨.” You just made that up. You'll make Dai thank you later if it catches on. “Daiyousei, is possibly the most widely revered local god among fairies—maybe among the population in general—in Vault ⑨. The name of the system AI is an obvious reference—“ “DAI-00531.” A much more mechanical-sounding Dai than usually, the kind you'd hear over the Vault PA, responds to its name vocalized by the Overseer and her customized Pip-Boy blinks to life. “ERROR: Request cannot be processed at this time; Queue has reached maximum allotment. Abort, Retry, Fail?” You had nearly given a heart attack, but with a lack of surprise on the Overseer's part, it seems this is well within the bounds of AI functioning. “Nevermind, Dai,” the Overseer obviously had not intended to initiate the voice command. “Request canceled. Have an ice day!” “D-A-I,” the Overseer sounds out slowly, as to avoid repeating the same situation, “Stands for 'Data-metric Assistant Interface'. It's just a machine.” “Right, well, replacing the numerals with letters, whether it was in memory of her—or an actual embodiment of her life-force...” Which probably sounds insane to (almost) everyone listening. “...the reference is obvious. There is as well the disappearance of the name in the history records shortly before the War, without any proof or reason to suspect she was assigned to a different Vault,” You're running entirely on empty here. “Nor anything to suggest a permanent death of the aforementioned fairy—it was not hard to connect the pieces, really.” You may be struck down by blue lightning if you toot your own horn like this when you get above ground. “You yourself have entries in publicly-accessible texts, which familiarized me with your magic.” Okay that part is only a half-lie. Miss Ellen made you write a paper on functional differences between dimensional (caloric) and categorical (elemental) magical models. “And I am a Fairy Work Shift Manager, after all.” Or was to be, before becoming a criminal. “Rockatansky, I won't make an escape goat out of you.” Well, that's... something. "...That's why I'm putting you on probation." "Probation?" That's it? "Not just probation. Double Secret Probation." That sounds like bullshit. That sounds like total bullshit. That sounds like... Dai. "What exactly is 'Double Secret' Probation?" "What is it? Well, it wouldn't be very secret if I went and told you, would it?" She thinks she's pretty glib doesn't she? "Is it possibly so secret that not even the Overseer knows?" Oh, she looks like she swallowed something rotten. "I know it! I know it! It's just I...” She sighs. “I lost the manual." "The manual?" "Vault Operation Standards & Practices for, uh, um...” “Go on?” “...for Dummies.” “Ah! Ah!” You point right away, but need to inhale twice for this one. “Ahahahahahahahahahahaha!” “Shut up, you chuckle-headed ape! Oh, this! This is a... a cat's-after-me!” Hahaha! Did she mean 'catastrophe'? “What can you do, half-man, that our machines couldn't do?” Fully conscious of the music being piped through the loudspeakers, you answer. “Overseer, I may be half-human, but I'm fully a man: I can swing a bat, and I can smash an ant. I can herd a squad and hurl balls of fire too. Ain’t no machine can; that’s been proved to you! Hahaha!” Oh, that's right. Your spellcard. “Besides being a natural leader, I also have this.” “What? Let me see that!” Is it a trick? Well she hasn't crushed you under a block of ice yet. “'Water sign'? 'Un-die-nee's curse'? You can use hydromancy?” “Yes?” “Bleh.” She flicks it to the floor. Dammit! “You have some kind of problem with that... Overseer Ma'am?” The words come grudgingly and a little flustered as you stoop to pick up the spellcard. “A lot of people like water. I find it to be an unnecessary melting of ice.” The Overseer presses a beet-red palm against her similarly pigmented forehead, “This Vault is going to hell in a ham-basket!” Haha! Gods, grant you the strength to ignore the Overseer's malapropisms. “And you're the man I caught with the hand on the red button!” And mixed metaphors. “Nurse! I need you to relay a message!” A fairy in the doorway. A proper nurse, not an orderly, holding a syringe with a look like she doesn't know who she wants to use it on. Oh, this will only get uglier if outside parties are involved. You are closest to the door, however, so you should stop laughing hysterically. “—ignore him, goddammit!” And bend down to whisper in the ear of a poor, short woman. “Perhaps inessential personnel should stay out of this room, until the doctor is available?” She nods. When she leaves the room, the automatic sliding doors read a red 'LOCKED'. Thank you, Dai. If she ever is reduced to a door-opening daemon as a result of this, you're sure she'll perform her duties without a hitch. “Now the idea isn't to step on anyone's toes—“ “Fuck that noise! This is a coup!” Over your Pip-Boy. “Mary?” “I am the Vault Shrine Maiden; I'm taking on emergency executive powers!” “Oh, dear.” Her reconnaissance mission must not have gone well. At all. “You can't do that! I am the Overseer!” “This is no longer a matter under administrative jurisdiction! The Vault is now under martial law!” The Overseer's Pip-Boy winks to life and the Vault AI speaks as the fairy looks on with abject horror: ”Voice ID confirmed. Maribelle Hearn, Vault ⑨ Shrine Maiden. Normal chain of command will be suspended while military operations are commencing. Please be waiting warmly.” “This is a nightmare! I hate you people! This Vault won't run without me! I'll show you! I'll show you all!” “Orderlies!” The woman who had been silent since her tirade when you entered, apart from snapping of her paper fan speaks up. However, you turn to the new arrival she's yelling at in the doorway, the rabbit doctor flanked by the nurse from before and two (slightly larger) fairy orderlies. “Restrain the Overseer before she hurts herself!” “Inspector!?” “Sorry Madam Overseer, but I'm jumping ship. Ohohohoho...!” Kotohime cackles as Cirno grabs at any surrounding object that could be used as a missile and hurls them at her flippant betrayer, before having them wrestled away from her by the two uniformed fairies. “...Ow! Ohohohoho!” “...Iscariot!” “This is a dog too big to keep under the porch!” Kotohime snaps her fan shut, pointing at you. “Special Officer McLovin...” She must know that's not your real name by now. “I shall grant you one last favor.” Then she starts fussing with her Pip-Boy, before speaking into it. “...This is Chief Inspector Kotohime issuing an all-channel alert to Vault security personnel. All inactive personnel are now on-duty for the remainder of the incident. Any personnel that is unable to meet up with their fire-team at their assigned checkpoint is to report in at the front desk of the main clinic for special assignment. Special Officer McLovin will see you to the staging area.” You check your Pip-Boy. Yes, it indeed says 'McLovin'. Once again. “A dog too... what? What does that even supposed to mean?” “Oh. Of course. It must be time for more Mentats, Madam Overseer. Let me give you your Mentats. Yes.” The doctor lies floridly in contrast to her monotone and expression. “Fucking finally! Doctor these people are bad! They said terrible awful things about you! They said terrible awful things about your bear! They said you talk too much... about... about... ah... um...” “You hear that? That's the sound of half of your brain falling asleep, without telling the other side that it's no longer doing anything.” “Ah... ah... ah...” The fairy's eyes are dilated discs, but her mouth is still moving. “Now both halves are sleeping, while your brainstem is still banging on the doors. This is why it's impossible to keep a fairy sedated without a continuous intrathecal pump. Young man, follow me; you have visitors.” “Wait, just a second Yue.” You ask without waiting for a reply; doctors are busy people, and don't often have time to exchange niceties. You genuflect, not in front of the Overseer, who looks like an undead zombie, but rather the Chief Inspector. “Chief Inspector. Forgive me, I still have your sidearm that was requisitioned. The shrine maiden, she sort of took it from me.” “Ohohohoho! Kotohime titters behind her fan. “Didn't you hear the announcement? The Vault is under martial law, and if you're acting under the will of the Shrine Maiden, then if I'm going to loan my security personnel to you, I certainly have no qualms over loaning a sidearm, even if it was a precious personal object.” Not rising from the ground, “This is why I must ask another boon, and to offer a suggestion.” “Ho?” Of course hiding an expression behind her fan. “While admittedly having leaderly qualities, and having the correct documentation to organize this task force, I have no symbol of authority, unlike you, Miss Chief Inspector.” “Hohohoho!” You think she understands. “Very well. Take this.” She hands something out to you: It's her jitte. Alright. “You best return this one, along with the laser pistol, McLovin!” “Finally, I have a suggestion regarding any mobile dolls you have left. Novgorod used a highly potent weapon outside her Protectron platform, which had its legs crushed and faceplate smashed in.” “Ah, yes, the 'Vay-➇' Extravehicular Gamma Ray Emitter.” “Until lockdown is lifted, I suggest using the flight-capable dolls equipped with as much of these weapons as you can to search and destroy any ant the might have gotten deeply into the Vault.” “We don't have many of them unfortunately, McLovin.” “It would suggest utilizing the flamethrower on Lil' Miss Handy platforms. Any thing that might allow them to skirt the ceiling. Usami, who despite her questionable mores and floundering grades has strong concentration in post-War animal biology, suggested that the ants explore and leave pheromones to potential food sources, which other ants will follow these trails in great number. Frankly she did fight one off as a mere child, with no magic at her disposed.” “So what are you suggesting?” “Fairies at choke-points should set their laser weapons to lethal. Moreover, paths leading to and from the breech should be scrubbed down by maintenance. It doesn't matter so much that a single ant finds a food source, as long as its pheromone trail is erased. She also suggest deterrence through simple but concentrated insecticide, like Borax.” “Your suggestions will be take under advisement, Officer McLovin. Now go before the doctor get any more impatient. Impatient? Inpatient? Patient? Get it? Ohohohohoho!”
You leave the strange woman cackling to herself. The Chief Inspector sort of reminds you of Miss Ellen, but with a rushed manner and haughty manner. Anyway, the good doctor is well over a head shorter than you, but you still have to press forward with an uncomfortable amount exertion. The reason for this is because she's sitting atop a 'crash cart' sidesaddle and making you push it—and her—toward the waiting room. You slow down so you can ask her a question before you get out of breath: “Doc, I know those lollipops are strong narcotics, strong enough to kill a person if they're not careful who you give them to, but I always see them in your mouth.” It could be regular lollipops, but you have a feeling, considering how she was so alcohol tolerant in yesterday's conversation. 'Hypoethanolemia' indeed. The feeling is confirmed, as she turns to you with her hint of a smile now completely flat, and for a few seconds she just turns over the sucker in her mouth. It's a very is-he-seriously-going-to-narc-on-me expression. She eventually holds up her hand for you to stop, points to an opened but darkened & apparently empty room. You with some difficulty turn the cart into the room. Once inside, she hops off the cart, takes the sucker out of her mouth and replies in a hushed tone, “You're not exactly an exemplar of prudent drug use, Rockatansky.” “No, I just want to understand. You develop tolerance to really strong stuff, and coming off of it could be far more costly to your career than just nursing a habit, but I'm just trying to understand; you're very smart, and you know how the treadmill works, so, like, how did it start? Are we stopping in this room here?” “Yes we're stopping here,” she closes the door, presumably so that you might have some privacy in your conversation. “Since you have some very disgruntled-looking fairy-coppers waiting for you in the lobby, some whose friends you put in the goddamn hospital! To be short, I don't know if I mentioned it but Eirin Yagokoro, whom I was apprenticed to, was a buff on self-experimentation. She sometimes did the unethical and slipped something into the mochi to make it more 'punchy' but they were all... well-tested substances, and the boss, Tewi, would know, so I wouldn't say she 'experimented' on others without their consent, however...” Yue attempts to clear her throat. “As her apprentice there were a number of novel compounds I served as an experiment population for. Not to say she didn't do so also on herself, but replication, along with in racial differences and metabolism, made it a necessary aspect of drug design, according to her.” “A medicated shampoo I once used for flakes Yagokoro brand.” Once? Ha, you're not fooling anyone. “'No animals were harmed in the making of this product.'” “That's a bit of a half-fiction to improve sales. No animals, as the term legally encompasses, but intelligent beast youkai like myself who can give informed consent...” “That's terrible, Yue.” If her master was from the Moon, then it doesn't improve your impression of the 'Moonies' one bit.
“It wasn't so bad. The very painful tests, she gave me painkillers for. That's why I'm so opiate tolerant. At the time it felt more that I was using her, not the other way around.” “This is in regards to that K.C. fellow, then?” “Yes. She lost her apprentice of many years due to the War, and the rest of the earth rabbits were too simple, too afraid, or too canny to fill the role.” “In the end,” as soon as you say this you really wish you hadn't—but there is no backpedaling now, “You couldn't save him.” “No. I could not. However, with the skills I learned through study under Dr. Yagokoro, along with the research in Outsider medicine, there were many more people, people who had not made their peace with death that K.C. did, that needed help, like that fairy—who is probably awake and pouting in her room, not remembering anything of your conversation, but hugging Téodor no less tightly—and...” she shrugs, “People like you as well, I suppose?” “Well it's hard to brag about O.D.-ing on non-psychotropic meds, especially when suicide is not the intention.” “I managed to get the truth out of your friend Maribelle. That was a bravely stupid gamble you took! Foolhardy, but bravely stupid nonetheless!” She bites down on the sucker with a chomp, flashing you a toothy grin. ”Mary told you?” “The girl is an budding alcoholic. All I had to do was offer her some sodium amytal, and she answered pretty much anything I wanted to hear about. The Vault Goddess is really the Vault AI, her three sizes, does she shave or bleach, all kinds of stuff!” Amytal? A barbiturate? “I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but again that sounds...” Shady. “Distinctly unethical.” “It's no worse than plying someone with alcohol, and that stuff I have to keep on hand here in case some godforsaken fairy with Vault Syndrome drinks a bottle of antifreeze or Xerox toner. Anyway, I left the apprenticeship under Dr. Yagokoro not with her blessing unfortunately, but she was a greedy sort anyway.” “She charged too much for her services?” “No. Not at all. Much of the time she would offer her services pro bono. I meant interpersonally. She was dealt quite a blow when Reisen, her first apprentice, left her. Apparently, Reisen suffered far worse under her than I did. I had a bit more leverage than she did apparently.” “Oh?” “Well first of all, I was an Earth rabbit, while Reisen was a Moon rabbit. I could flee into the bushes and never be heard of again, while still enjoying the company of my kin, but Reisen really had no one else to turn to. Secondly, you know how Lunarian society is divided into 'rabbits' and 'Lunarians', with the rabbits serving in low-prestige positions?” “Yes. At least, as the propaganda claims, the Lunarians were highly racist.” Not that we were are (still) much better with the treatment of fairies as second-class citizens. “Well, there was that much less leverage she had over me, being a citizen of our good old Blue Dot, whereas she was an interloper. Tewi would be able to fix any real dangers I encountered in my apprenticeship. I like to think I surprised Master a few times, by surviving... and yet keep moving forward. Eventually she even gave me that nonsense moniker 'Udongein'.” “You've referred to Tewi in passing before. I assume she a power-player in Eientei?” As Vault-education goes, Eientei was a major pharmaceutical & chemical research facility of high importance during preparations leading up to the War. Though to listen to it from Yue, it sounds more like the 'alliance' between I.G. Farben & Nazi Germany. Yue had already put some holes in that understanding in a prior conversation where she described it as some sort of timeshare for Lunarian expatriates in the middle of a bamboo forest, and originally the home of a species of rather benevolent terrestrial youkai[/u]—the Earth Rabbits. Apparently, Yue was rather young herself in comparison, according to what you remember from the conversation yesterday. “She was a [i]youkai rabbit who lived for over three thousand years, maybe the oldest being in Gensokyo. She well predated the Border, and was one of few to witness the exodus of the last dragon—or dragons—who knows? Tewi would most often play the fool; it was fun for her I suppose, after millennia as Leader, she got to play the Servant. But when it came down to brass tacks, Tewi was Eientei. Not Yagokoro. Not the Princess. It's a power she rarely exercised, though invariably hinted at whenever she was put to a task. Reisen never quite understood the real dynamic. Reisen, even as a runaway, was a soldier through-and-through, and being brought up in an environment where failing her superiors was simply not an option, she would often play a comic foil to her 'subordinate'. Among the other rabbits, myself included, there was no authority in Eientei but Tewi, and the other residents we only served because Tewi willed it. I owe Tewi for reassigning me to this Vault at the last possible moment, away from the my former master, so that I could finally earn my doctor's accreditation and begin my own practice, rather than continue testing her medicines.” “Say, uh, we saw this rabbit woman, not that it's likely, given the bombs, and all: Anything you'd like us to say for you?” “Yes. 'Thank you' first off, and if she has an mementos of K.C. she's willing to part with, I'd be perfectly happy to recompense the cost to you and her.” “I guess it's the least we can do, having stolen all your good chems.” “So that was you! I knew it!” Shit.
Three kicks in the shin and one get-those-bobbies-out-of-my-hospital later, you're walking toward the entrance, with an emptied-out cart in tow. (Why always the shins? Probably has to do with height being a secondary sex characteristic.) “Yeah, like we'll meet a specific rabbit subsisting somehow in irradiated scrub & badlands.” “It's more likely than you think, Max.” “What is?” “Finding Tewi. It's one of the possibilities for long-distance transportation. Not all of these Vaults are exactly within 'walking distance'. According to the Wasteland Survival Guide she operates some kind of charity taxi service, and one of the stops is near the lake, well, the basin.” “Charity taxi service? In a wasteland?” “The guide claims she's forced to run it by the Yama, for, quote, 'thousands of years worth of karmic restitution.' More like a bus service as she has a circuit of stops.” “How the hell does she pay for gas? How the fuck does she get gas to begin with?” “Apparently most vehicles this far from the coasts run off of ethyl alcohol. The Village—where the author of the guide is from, Akyuju no Hieda, the 19th Child of Miare—produces mostly corn now, instead of rice, due to climate and soil changes as a result of the War. Some of it is processed into ethanol. And the part of that that isn't meant for consumption is used as fuel.” Well, there's some kind of civilization out there, at least. And you know magi-combustion engines had used ethanol at least in-part as fuel before the Internment. Also, fuck yeah, non-synth moonshine. “Oh, right. Mary. She sounded pissed, Dai.” “Yeah, well I don't have any cameras in the caverns. You could ask her; I'll give you the right channel.” Voice immediately cutting out. You sigh. She keeps throwing you into the lake, hoping you'll learn how to swim. You press the receiver button on your Pip-Boy: “Breaker-Breaker. Is anyone on this channel?” “Max?” “The Overseer heard your grab for power over the PA. It's a good thing that she's strapped down to a hospital bed. What happened?” “They turned my fucking shrine into their fucking nest is what happened! Come here! Help me set them on fire!” Man she is pissed. “Negatory on that, Mary-Able-Radio-Yankee. We're assembling an army first.” “Where exactly, Max-Able-X-Ray?” She is making fun of you now, but that's because she's stressed. “You know the Tower of Chairs in the fairy wards?” “How could I forget that insane, presswood Tower of Babel? I stole part a good chunk of it to make my shrine!” She shrieks over the radio, which is followed by some nasty (possibly sympathetic) reverb. Maybe not the best of meeting places then. Well, you made this bed; now you'll lie in it. “Well, I've been deputized by the Chief Inspector and have a squad of security fairies gathering there who rival you on the Standardized Rage Scale.” (Or 'SRS', which ranges between 'The Sims' on the low end, and 'Wolfenstein 3D' on the other, FYI) “...Ren will have her Snakes coming along, too. If you want to join in, by all means, but I strongly suggest you don't engage them alone. I won't lose a valuable member of my team before even getting out of the Vault. By the way, this is a military operation, so I am Capt. Rockatansky. You are the simply the Shrine Maiden, our commander-in-chief, while Ren is Lt. Col. Usami, your subordinate.” “Ah, well,” You can tell you've turned her anger into a happier embarrassment and perhaps megalomania. “I could go for something to eat. Yeah. I'll be there.” “Aces, Mary. All Aces.” You fiddle with knobs until you're reasonably sure Mary won't be receiving the next message. “So how many fairies, Dai?” “Three so far. Officer—” “Nix that. Martial law means this task group we're assembling isn't 'Security'.” “Well, what is it then, Max?” “Paramilitary.” “Oh. Is there a difference? Because I'm not seeing one.” “What it means, Sgt. 1st Class, Bosco 'Bad Attitude' Baracus, is that I get to arbitrarily assign military titles that are inherently much cooler than police titles.” “Is that so?”
Well, shit. They really do look disgruntled, now that you see them. You can see... three. One hasn't even bothered with the bodysuit, just throwing a vest on. Another is in complete regalia, with nightstick and riot helmet. The one in plainclothes is Sgt. Frisca, probably because her suit was soaked in ant gunk, taking with her the conventional carbine you saw before. She's currently yelling at the poor receptionist. So Sgt. Frisca. And... that one you shot in the head during the night when you were playing living-tissue-over-metal-endoskeleton! Still has a welt on her forehead! Great! And someone you don't know, thankfully. “Well, well...” “You! You sent the Inspector into the emergency room, and now she's deputized you?” Frisca tosses the carbine to the floor and putting her fists up, like she wants to fight mano a mano, ”I can't believe this shit!” You point the jitte at her, which she fixes her eyes on, a clear symbol of who wields the authority, “Seems like it. Are there only three of you?” The one you haven't seen before answers, “There are three more, but they're... currently visiting the fairies your friends put into the hospital.” “Well, I hope they're prepared to work together with said friends.” “What?” All three of them ask incredulous. “That's right. Renko Usami's Tunnel Snakes have also been deputized as well,” you lie. Sort of. “As cannon fodder.” [ (☯) You have gained -10 Karma. ] The second previously-'terminated' fairy starts punching the receptionist's desk, giving the poor normal fairy working there quite a start. “Look. It's all according to the will of our Glorious Shrine Maiden of Vault ⑨, who has stepped in to take over the Overseer's role in this crisis.” “We know! We all know! Everyone heard it over the PA system,” Sgt. Frisca answers, somewhat alarmed at the other fairy might be trying to break her fingers. “Could you stop scaring the wits out of the receptionist, Private...“ “Private?” “Under the Shrine Maiden's declaration martial law, you are now in a quasi-military force. Clearer ranking. Cooler title. Better pay grade. So, Private First Class...” “Tabitha.” “PFC. Tabitha, then.” Ah, the one who had held out to the last against Ren. PFC. Tabitha looks like she hasn't got a wink of sleep. “Uh, PFC. Tabitha. If you really want to stay in the hospital, I could just order you to stay behind. Ants haven't made inroads this far, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to post a guar—” “I'll fight your fucking bugs, whoever the fuck you are! I'll paint the walls with their hemolymph! Goddammit!” Well, it's good to know she hate insects more than she hates you. “I appreciate your enthusiasm for taking on the infestation, but I'm not 'Whoever-the-Fuck'.” You check your Pip-Boy: Captain Rockatansky. “Until the Shrine Maiden declares the current Incident over, you will refer to me as 'Captain Rockatansky.' In the event you are too inbred to pronounce my name, you will simply refer to me as 'Captain.' Is that clear?” “Crystal.” PFC. Tabitha spits out between clenched teeth. You want them mean. Not so mean they shoot you in the back. But you definitely want them mean. “This isn't any normal operation, that's why we have two formations! We are the second prong! While the first prong is being chewed through by inch-thick mandibles, we will be clearing out the main nest!” “Shit,” the third fairy sounds surprised, though that could as well be surprise at the other' fairy's bleeding hand. She's not exactly in ill-humor about it. “Private, your name?” “Clover, sir!” With unexpected enthusiasm, but just as quickly she stretches like she had just woken up. “Today's my day off, and I'd already scheduled a meeting.” “A meeting?” Some kind of fairy side-venture? “Yeah. With Jim Beam.” “Oh.” An alcoholic. “I see.” You know a few of those. You've heard that fairies with alcohol were just like schizophrenics with their cigarettes; self-medication for Fairy Vault Syndrome, possibly.
Wait, isn't this the music in Zelda, where you threw the stuff in the pool, and the fairy goddes—oh, lyrics? Focus. Forget the music. Anyway, she's definitely a private. “Pvt. Clover, why are you even here?” “Oh. Here he comes right now.” “He?” The other fairy, Frisca, just waves over the three other fairies who are staring in the double doors to the hospital wards, either too jumpy or too weirded-out to come over without prompting. “The hell?” One of the three asks, gesturing at you. “Seriously,” Replies Clover. “I'm far too sober to be putting up with this shit.” You however are goddamn mystified by one of the new arrivals. Looking it all around, even tilting your head at angles, and poking him in the ribs with Kotohime's jitte. There's no getting around the catsuit though. It's obvious, but you have to know for sure. “Are you a boy?” He has a fairy's wings, but they're so transparent as to be vestigial, well more vestigial, “No offense—“ “None taken. I'm sure you get that one all the time yourself, Sir.” Ow. They all laugh. You'd rather not have them gossip about you in front of you, so you rap on the desk with the jitte. “All right. Enough. Twenty minutes and this looks like is the best we'll get. Since you three did not hear who will have the privilege of deciding whether or not to assign you to latrine duty if you do happen to survive this charade, I am Captain Rockatansky, and you all, as of the Shrine Maiden's declaration of martial law, are duly conscripted into the Vault ⑨ Special Task Force! Formerly answerable to the Overseer, now with upper administration shuffled about due to the Shrine Maiden's Executive Order, I'm only answerable to her. Participation is not voluntary. Get in line according to how you were ranked in security, people, and maybe we'll be able to establish some rational chain-of-command. I want names, specialties, experiences, and former titles.” It takes them about ten seconds. Sgt. Frisca doesn't move, rather they move about her, so it's safe to assume she'll be the highest ranking present. “Staff Sgt. Frisca. You are the ranking NCO of our little party. That means you will ensure my orders are followed by all others gathered here.” She salutes. “SSgt. Frisca! Formerly of House Scarlet! I appreciate rising two pay grades over the course of two days, but honestly had I known I were trading it in for this bullshit, I'd rather have quit! Experiences? Faced True Death after being bitten by a vampire and lived to tell the tale! I happen to specialize in conventional firearms, sir!” You guess 'True Death' means something like what happened to the fairies Dai mentioned (Sunny Milk et al). Awfully chipper. Possibly some perverse form of protest. “Sergeant, that weapon isn't standard issue, is it?” “No, but I keep it handy. For close encounters.” Alright. “And you?” Pointing to the one behind her. The boy. “Formerly Detective-Investigator First Grade Ka— “Applepicker!” “Shut up!” Some of the other fairies giggle. “You sot! Is there a day in the year you don't come in rip-roaring drunk!” He gives the fairy behind him the third degree, but pauses when you jab the archaic nightstick in his side. “What's your real name, Detective?” “It's Kazuki of Scarlet Devil Lake. Please don't jab me with that stick, Sir; you might lose it.” Detective Clover behind him explains what he means by that: “'Zuki knows kung-fu~. And more broadly specializes in 'change'... or something!” “'Or something' means I can change the path of a bullet, or make a laser refract off a lens at a different angle,” He shrugs. “I didn't get bit by a vampire; I just had my wings ripped off. Oh, I know some magic too.” Cantrips? No, he's not even holding a rifle: Even if some of it is puffery, this guy is packing significant juju. Well, with fairies like this, you don't have to fear for the future of the Vault in the case one of them shoots you in the back. “Alright, Corporal.” Second-ranking NCO. “I won't ask for a demonstration.” Changing target. “And you are 'Clover' you said?” “Clover. Formerly Detective-Investigator 3rd Grade—Clover of Scarlet Devil Lake. I specialize in getting shitfaced, which obviously leaves all the narcotics cases for me to handle. Heh. Heh-heh-heh-heh!” She just comes right out with it; the boy in front of her shakes his head. This must be why Ren's Snakes never get convicted on chem possession charges. “On the plus that means I conduct a pretty mean Field Sobriety Test!” “If we run into any ants drunkenly driving...” Wait, that's something there. “Private,” You ask of the same fairy, “Can you drive a stick?” “You bet your sweet ass I can! Uh, Sir!” She does then salute, if a bit goofily. “Good, go to the Central Security Office and requisition us one of those golf-carts. Don't run anything over that isn't an ant.” “Sweet~!” Wonder if fairy wings are truly vestigial? Maybe the lift helps them run faster or something? “Now you, you I heard over the radio. 'Officer'...?” “Tabitha. Was Officer Tabitha. Then the Overseer made me a Junior Detective, whatever in Dai's name that means.” Yes. This is the one the Overseer had been barking at over the radio to prior to your fight. “And your specialty?”
She sighs. “You know that one Tom Petty song?” You groan. “The one playing?” “You could stand me up at the gates of hell~ until-relieved-by-a-superior-officer.” She salutes with a sardonic grin. “Least, that's why I was the last fairy exchanging fire with Renko Usami. In the end I sort of ran out of ammunition.” “She's my friend, but still—good on you, PFC. Tabitha.” She shrugs with a smile. “You all have your weapons loaded and ready?” It's a mostly rhetorical question. Aside from Frisca, they're all carrying their thermoplastic-frame laser rifles. “Of course, sir.” It might have been monotone, but it's lack of pitch doesn't stop you from yelping in fright. “Who? Oh, you scared the living daylights out of me.” It's the last of the six security fairies that came in. She certainly doesn't seem to possess much of a presence, “Private, I must have skipped over—“ “It happens.” For her part she's dressed in full security regalia, so the uniformed presence must not have registered. Her eyes are an odd brown, possessing none of the iridescence of most fairies'. “You are—“ “Miércoles.” “'Mee-er-co-lays'? That's, uh, Spanish for Wedn—“ “Miércoles.” Laconic, this one. For some fairies, paucity of speech is normal; for others, it indicates Fairy Vault Syndrome. Chronic UV treatments are obvious by by rather deep tan. Or maybe she's actually a Mexican? “Just 'Private Miércoles', then, or do you have a problem with the 'Private' being in English?” She shrugs. “Man, you know, for some reason, I get passed over for promotion, year after year? And salary increases. And bonuses. And benefits. On the other hand, I work once a week normally, so when I'm called in for shit like this, I get my overtime.” Might be the origin of the name? But today is... Monday, right? “Right, well, you wish to save your friends, right?” “What is this 'friends' el capitan?” You have to assume she was being sardonic. Nobody is that dour. “You were visiting somebody just now; weren't you?” “Actually, I was busy swiping Med-X & Valium.” Alright, nevermind. Frisca starts, “Wendy's kind of—” “¡Miércoles, cabrón!” The dark-skinned fairy upbraids her commanding officer. Possibly. Your Spanish is as about as good as your Japanese. Frisca attempts to rehabilitate the introduction, “Uh, 'Miércoles' is kind of to the point, Captain.” “Will you fight, Private?” “It's pretty simple.” She hefts up her rifle, mimicking the trigger-pull. “Point-and-click.” “She never gets shaky or nervous, so she's a really, really good shot, if she decides pulling the trigger is worth the effort,” answers PFC. Tabitha. “You're our designated marksman then, okay?” “Look, man. All I need to know is one thing: Where they are.” Your other NCO raises his weapon toward the sky with two hand, as if some sort of shaman: “And on the Third Day, God said, 'Go forth, my Creation: And kick ass!'” “Anytime. Anywhere, esse! As long as I get my one-&-a-half, we're golden.” “It's just as well, then. Lethal force is authorized, so any of you with laser rifles want to turn it off danmaku.” One fairy does indeed adjust it; the others seem to have already prepared before hand. “Any of you know Kogasa's Potluck? It's near the Tower of Chairs in the Fairy Wards.” SSGT. Frisca raises her hand. “Good, Sergeant. That is the staging area. I need to check on some things beforehand, so you'll be squad leader.” “Aye. Aye.” “And if you run into Usami's Snakes, do not let them bait you. They're the irregulars who will be taking up the brunt of the insects' attention—unless you prefer to serve as canon fodder.” A few chuckle at that. Not 'Miércoles.' “And if you see the Shrine Maiden or Lt. Col. Usami, tell them I'll be right along, eh?” Your SSGT. Frisca doesn't really looks like she believes you, but she shrugs anyway. “Affirmative.”
“Dai, how am I supposed to get the Tunnel Snakes and the Vault security to work together in any manner that could be called 'cooperative'.” “Don't worry, I have a speech prepared; you just have to stand there and look handsome. Where are you going anyway?” “Ren's room. I forgot the fucking money.” “Huh. That's right. Wonder why nobody caught that?” “It's just as well. If Renko thinks she can keep all the drugs, then I'll just hold on to the money as restitution.” A Fistful of Dollars indeed. “Well, I don't know how much good it'll do you above ground.” “Why the hell not, Dai? There was civilization Ren said, we almos—“ “No. I mean the currency might not mean anything to the people above ground.” “What kind of currency do they use? Bartering is not really my strong point.” “According to the Guide, they use bottle caps.” “You're shitting me.” “I shit you not, my dear son. The people of the Wasteland use bottle caps as common currency. Specifically Nuka-Cola bottle caps.” “What the fuck? Why?” “I assume it has something to do with being a symbol of plenty. Where there are bottle caps, there is Nuka, and where there is Nuka, there may be food. Additionally, the stamped aluminum is something that will take a hell of a lot more beating than a piece of paper.” “I guess so. Constant exposure to UV radiation and heat will turn a bill into dust over the years, unless new ones are being put into circulation.” “Nuka-Cola bottle caps cannot be easily reproduced, and yet they also cannot be easily carried in large numbers, encouraging bartering of costly good for other costly goods, and providing a natural buffer against inflation.” “People are less encouraged to hold on to their wealth in paper and coin, and more in useful things, so that the Wastes may be reclaimed, rather than for the rich to lock themselves in towers and starve to death.” “Smart head on you, Max; knew you were a survivor.” “Which is exactly why we're going to take Renko's money, and then going bust open the vending machine across the hall.” “Max that's not really the point I was tryin—“ “Fuck your ethical conundrum. I'm thirsty, and this baseball bat says I'm not paying for it. Renko and her Gang will be thirsty. Mary will be thirsty. The fairies will be thirsty. The bottle caps are a bonus. The money will be to wave in front of Renko's face.” And you'll be saying, 'Neenner, neener, neener.' Can't do that if you spend it all on Nuka. So, there's always the ol' smash & grab at the vending machines, even if they're lower in number near the diner. There's no room for drinks in your duffel, but the pushcart from the hospital can easily accommodate your ill-gotten-gains.
When the War on Vending ended with the baseball bat shattering before you were able to get anything useful. Now you've been disarmed, while still in the middle of the War on Ants. There's also a personal War on Thirst you've started on your accord, leaving the War on Hunger to be dealt with at the Tower. Additionally your War on Bad Currency has been going dismally. So! You do have one more stop before the meet-up. The Diner. The chintzy faux-chrome atmosphere is notably deadened by the inoperable lights. “Hello?” You call out hesitantly, afraid an ant might have spontaneously developed a new method of locomotion to attack you—leaping at you from under a desk, or from a wall, or a ceiling, or some other scripted event. “Good morn-morn-morning, Mon-mon-monsieur! W-w-would you care to try o-o-one of-of-of our br-br-breakfast specials?” Orléans didn't make it, leaning over the counter to see the doll furiously attempt to manipulate the doll-robot interface to right itself. Your briefly wonder if you should try to help it, but a tongue of flame in the air near where you head was at was enough to discourage you. It's just a doll after all. You have more important persons to find and rescue. “Sera? Sera? Oy, fairy girl!” “I'm over here.” Standing atop the table she was cowering under last night. God, she really is short. Can't be much over four feet. “Sera. What happened to Orléans?” “I-I-I thought I'd give her a hand fighting off that terrible t-thing and... she sort of got hit in the... crossfire.” “Sera, calm yourself, you're stuttering like Orléans just was. Remember your pride as a magician.” Miss Ellen's words spill out of your lips, tasting a little bit like chalk dust. “Of course sir. I'm so very sorry, sir.” “Now what did you mean 'crossfire'?” “Okay, um... I messed up.” “Oh? All right. Where's the ant?” The fairy turns on the flashlight function of her Pip-Boy. “There... and there... and some over there... and little on the ceiling.” Overkill, a form of deleterious magical leakage. It's a common problem among magicians. 'Mana incontinence' or 'magical flaring' depending on the presentation—here would be an example of the latter. It's usually a self-limiting debility, and sometimes it's no onus at all: For Marisa Kirisame, the USSMC general who single-handedly routed the Lunarians at the Second Battle of Tranquility Base, it was practically her trademark. (Though less revisionist historical accounts, while still giving her a major role in the victory, also highlight the cost of 'friendly fire' in terms of lives and equipment.) “Let me guess: Haywire deluxe à le lighting bolt?” “I tried to chain the lightning, since there were two of them.” Well, that definitely explains the broken doll and busted lighting. “I see. I might've asked you this already, but what framework do you use?” Typically, you'd expect a fairy academe to use the Hellenistic kind. “I was trained before the Internment in modified Wu Xing—that is, gogyou—and Mahābhūta... while also adding adding Moon and Sun as categoricals.” “What? Really?” Two frameworks? With embellishments? That shit will never work! At least... not correctly. “My tutor made it seem... rather easy.” “Look, I won't say there's something wrong with the multilateral approach to magic per se, but that kind of magical experimentation should be left to the experienced academics & archmages, and not for those in the applied fields, even for virtuosos like you.” 'And I,' you don't add. “I... see. Sorry, sir.” “We'll get you to Miss Ellen, after this is done. She's Vault Archmagus; she'll put you on the right track. She's a gogyou specialist herself.” “Thank you for looking out for me, sir.” She bows. “Thank me when this formic invasion is put down.” “Of course, sir. I'll do my best for the Vault, sir!” She salutes you. “Yes. Right.” I guess she'll be coming along then. Can't leave her here. “You still have Miss Ellen's tray & May's sword?” The fairy nods. “Okay, well, I need you to help me steal as many bottles of Nuka-Cola from the cooler as we can fit in the cart in the doorway. Meanwhile I'm going to attempt to remove Orléans from her relative confinement without getting flame-broiled.” “Yessir.” “One more thing—one I don't think you'll have a problem with.” “Sir?” “You heard the declaration of martial law, right?” “Of course, everyo—“ “That's why you'll refer to me as Capt. Rockatansky, Warrant Officer Sera.” “Sir! Of course sir! I'll do the Vault proud, sir!”
[spoiler]Falling asleep. Will upload rest tomorrow. Sorry to anyone's characters I lifted & misrepresented.[spoiler]
[ (Ⓝ) Max has stolen 30 bottles of Nuka-Cola! ] [ (☯) You have gained -60 Karma. ]
[ (⚜) Max has rescued Sera & Orléans! ] [ (⚜) Orléans equipped: Headgear. ] [ (☯) You have gained +100 Karma. ]
Ignoring the reticent fairy's probable confusion with the voice emanating from your Pip-Boy, you bring up your questions for Dai in an appropriately caustic manner. "So the Overseer? You're all business with her, and senseless bullshit is just my own special privilege?" “Yep. But we're going to fix that; she's recovered from whatever Yue gave her. Listen in.” "...I got knocked out by a Vault ruffian, the ants are banging at the damn gates, that human girl is now taking all the blame for everything that happened and will happen, and plus I get a free meal of cheese & elbow macaroni! Damn it feels good to be a gangster!" “Dai, I want you to limit the Overseer's cultural exposure. If she starts quoting Bone Thugs N Harmony, I'm done with you, this Vault, and everything in it.” “You just don't see the humor in it Max.” “By the way Dai, suppose I didn't remember Ren's money, and therefore hadn't enough greenbacks to pay for noodles for thirty people?” “I'd just have Tatara put it on my tab.” “How does a artificial intelligence maintain a 'tab' at a noodle stand? You don't eat.” “It's not hard to get Miss Tatara to accept or agree to an insane situation. She really rolls with the punches.” “Anything you want to tell me about her?” Like how you became friends in the first place? “Well, I may be repeating myself, but dealing with Kogasa is very, very easy, if you can tolerate her harmless 'surprises'. She's a karakasa, a type of tsukumogami. These are creatures that came into being from physical object that had fallen into disuse, and hence were ignored and neglected.” “How do I 'use' Kogasa, then?” You can think of things, but nothing that would be appreciated. “She makes it very easy for you. That local weather phenomenon that makes it 'rain' so often and so predictably over the tower of discarded furniture? All you have to do to is let her shield you from that rain. That's all.” “That's...“ Terribly lonely and sentimental? “...aw, jeez.” “Well, buck up sunshine, it won't rain for another week. And she said as much that you were decent company the last time.” Oh. Good. The more you understand youkai, the more you hope to understand what it means to be 'half-youkai. “Kogasa Tatara is a perfect example of a property of youkai I like to call 'antiparsimony.'” “'Antiparsimony?' Sounds like the kind of word that would give Ren apoplexy.” “If you'll allow me to explain, it's what it sounds like: 'antiparsimonious' entities are those multiplied unnecessarily. In Kogasa's case, both her mind and her body. Ideally, she'd really be the umbrella, and the appearance is a glamor. Or she'd be the humanoid figure, and her umbrella is just a prop. The truth is neither, or it is both." "Well, which one is it? Neither or both?” "She'd be a 'III' in my personal categorical rating scale of liminal beings: A 'I' or a 'perfect' liminal being would be one that can be either/or. A 'II' or 'imperfect' liminal being is one that may be either, or, or neither. And 'III' or a 'perfectly imperfect' liminal being is one that is either/neither/(n)or/both. Which is an excessively verbose way of saying—" "She has very real identity issues. I've got that. But is she crazy or is she crazy-like-a-fox?" "Crazy... like an umbrella?" Okay. "Next time, I suggest you just say 'I don't know Max, but I can find out,' or 'I don't know Max, don't worry about it,' or 'Max I'm sorry but the transmission here is ksshhhh...'" A pause. "You still with me?" "Yeah." "Have you got that?" "Roger!" Right. "Anyway, I don't think you have to worry much." "Oh?" "Think she likes you~" "In the 'he's so handsome' sense or the 'he'd make a handsome sandwich' sense?" "Oh, Max, of course I mean kssshhhhhhh..." Well you walked right into that one.
>Crazy way he thrills me >Tell you why >Just like a lightning from the sky >He loves to kiss me till I can't see straight >GEE, MY LOLLIPOP IS GREAT >I call him >Lollipop lollipop >Oh lolli lolli lolli >Lollipop lollipop... ♫
You arrive before anyone else, apparently. There's no need for theatrics this time: The eggplant woman is at the stand, easily distinguishable through the light fog. Getting lost was one of the major concerns you had with choosing this as a meeting place. Luckily it seems she was telling the truth about the meteorologic phenomena: 'Once a week. Sunday. At vespers.' When humidity reaches saturation, it turns to rain, which means it takes an entire week for the humidity, and hence the fog-cover, to become as thick as it was that day. Kogasa's taken notice of you with her odd wink, but she seems heavily involved with some kind of food preparation. “Hi, Kogasa.” “Just you yet? I hope this isn't a prank order. Otherwise, I'll force-feed it all to you and charge for the gratuity.” That was a terrible but subtle pun, and you're not about to be embroiled in another word-fight. “I'm sure it would be delicious, regardless.” Red light. Maybe it wasn't an intentional pun? Or she was serious? “Don't worry; there's a number of people on the way. Right Dai?” “Err... Renko is still banging on the doors of the more timid Snakes, or breaking in to their apartments by shooting holes in their plastic windows and kicking them in.” Or at least that's how it plays out in your head. “Hey, you think you could unlock the relevant doors for her, Dai?” “Yeah, that would be more intelligent. Sorry, I was having too much fun with helping the security fairy run down ants with her golf cart.” That does sound like a lot of fun. “One more thing, Dai; could you send SSGT. Frisca a text to pick up all the rifles and gear we left in my room? It's their stuff anyway, and I'd like Ren's goons to be armed with more than just planks of presswood.” “That's a good idea. Relaying it now.” Good. Now you can turn your attention to the youkai[/i] woman. “You humans have terribly little respect for other species.” She doesn't drop her smile. “This is coming from the youkai that murders entire pots of innocent noodles on a daily basis?” “I had a very good teacher.” Light's been red for a while now. It doesn't seem to necessarily mean stop, just that there's just a possibility of some kind of side-impact while traversing the intersection. “Another youkai?” Dai told you they rutted with humans, but you're kind of fuzzy on what kind of long-term of relations they maintain between each other. “Initially, but I really honed my skills through being forced to oversee the survival of a human day and night.” “You were a prison ward?” “Sort of. I just got mixed up in a terrible, destructive relationship with a very nasty human girl.” “Domestic violence is something I wouldn't expect in human-youkai interactions, at least with the victim being the non-human.” “Youkai don't—or rather didn't—have the same kind of support network that humans maintain to deal with these kind of things, unless you were a gregarious type like rabbits,[i]tengu, or kappa. There was always plenty of oversight on youkai–human interactions, but not so much on human–youkai interactions, savvy?” “But youkai are stronger than humans, right?” “Most humans, but there were exceptions, especially before the Revelation of Gensokyo, the standard human was magically capable of taking on a run-of-the-mill, beast youkai, but they were outnumbered, which led to rules favoring some humans, like shrine maidens and trained youkai hunters and , in dealing with youkai and with minimal limitations on their authority. They always seemed needless after spellcard rules were put into effect, but I guess you humans had to have to have something to vent your war-like tendencies on.” “You sound like you've had a tough time of it.” Maybe the reason she volunteered to sequester herself underground to begin with? “For a while. But with the Revelation came a change in the delicate power balance in Gensokyo. And where humans go, their crime-lords follow. I paid a hefty sum, but she got her just desserts in the end, along with her just breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I'll give you a piece of advice: If you stand aimlessly at a phone booth on a rainy day, and meet someone whose face is occluded by a violet umbrella? I'd suggest that you get close to the holovision.“ “I don't know what that means, but it sounds terrifying.” “Well, I wouldn't say forceful isolation and a diet heavy in monosodium glutamate is terrifying per se, but it was definitely quality controlled for malevolence & cruelty.” MSG? “Noodles?” “All different kinds, but every day, three times a day. It was an experiment in how little in nutrition a person can survive on if anything. I will admit, I became an excellent wok.” “You mean you became excellent with a wok?” “What did I say?” “Never mind. Frankly now that I know they've been flavored with despair, I'm considerably less enthused about eating them.” “Good, because noodles are on their way out.” The karakasa carefully tip-toes, careful not to step on any cracks in the flooring (superstition?), and lays down the wok on the junk-pile behind her without make a sound. But who knows? Maybe she's setting it in a rightful place? She did somehow stack this furniture like Tetris pieces. “Anyway, pizza is where the money is!” Is that really the kind of thing you decide on so flippantly? Well, you don't see thirty bowls of noodles. “It's too late! The brick oven is already built into the tower! I'm quite grateful to your fairy godmother, kiddo.” “Dai?” The silence on the mentioned goddess's part is a bit worrying for you. However Kogasa carries on the conversation. “So, I'm expanding the menu. Specifically, into 'pizza'. We'll see how good they taste by the time your friends are assembled.” “Pizza pies?” It would explain the dough in her hands. Green light, finally. She tosses the dough up in the air and catches it. “Calling them 'pies' would be disingenuous and misleading! That and I'd feel compelled to hurl them into people's faces rather than sell them. Ha-aha-ha!” The woman's laugh is like a wind chime, discordant. Satisfied with the kneading, she starts to roll it out and paint it with tomato paste. “So how are you going to surprise people with pizza? You can't hide things inside it.” Then the cheese, shredded against a grater. “Well, it will all come in closed boxes, and you won't be able to tell what toppings are gonna be on it until you open it.” Oh, that doesn't sound good. “What if you get something you're allergic to, or disgusted by?” “That's a good point. Um, maybe every individual slice will have a random topping, so every full pizza is a sampler? Like a box of chocolates, you know?” “Except you don't need to look at the box lid to find which are or aren't coconut. I see.” “It would encourage sharing, and that's good for business!”
“I'm a little afraid after the noodles, but I have to know: How did you learn to make pizza?” Green light, finally. “Oh, on the streets, I majored in culinary arts—you know, how to make bread, cheese, and dough, from scratch?” “Heh. Oh, wait.” You forgot about her entirely. “I, uh, should have introduced you earlier. Sera, this is—“ “Kogasa Tatara.” The woman cuts your introduction short with a toothy smile. Sera is not deterred by Kogasa's attempt, “A pleasure to meet you, Ms. Tatara. It's an honor to meet the youkai who broke Izayoi's stranglehold over the house staff.” Red light. But the smile remains the same. “Oh, so you worked at Scarlet Devil Mansion?” “I was apprenticed to Miss Patchouli, myself, but the notoriety of the stunt you pulled has since entered into the pages of the Mansion lore.” “Oh. Good. You carry a weapon?” “Miss?” “I just was wondering if you didn't like some of the things I've done, and wanted to do something about it?” Very red light. “Hardly. I haven't spent my Vault career assassinating youkai. Turned out she was a 'Moony' after all, anyway.” Odd. The fairy seems more assertive toward youkai than humans.
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It takes some time for everyone to get there, you drinking a few bottles of Nuka, forcing Sera to do the same, then pocketing the bottlecaps. [ (Ⓝ) Max has acquired +10 caps ] “Kogasa, I could use your help with something.” Green light. “Whatever for?” “This is a highly fragmented & motley crew I've assembled. Enmity on all sides, except mine. I'll need to be as dramatic as possible.” Red light. “Something that will really shock them out of their habitual aggression, to be directed toward a new one?” “Uh, yeah.” Exactly. “Except that aggression should not be focused on me exactly, that was—“ “I've got just the thing!” One terrifying tongue-ride (don't look at it don't look at it) later, you're standing atop the back of a recliner that's been pulled out make a small sort of platform, projecting maybe ten feet up the edifice. The mist isn't so hazy such that anyone might not see you. “Dai, can you turn my Pip-Boy into a megaph—ONE!” Now that you've got everyone's attention, even if it's the result of earsplitting reverb. “TESTING? SOUNDCHECK? How Now Brown Cow? A little lower. Stop. How Now Brown Cow? Okay. Good. “Some of you know who I am, and some of you know me by more than one name. 'Special Officer McLovin' to what remains of our security force, or perhaps possibly as 'Cyberdyne Systems Model 101'.” You get at least one scowl for that one. “Others may know me by such colorful appellations as 'Maxine'.” Some of the Snakes giggle. “Well, my name is Max Rockatansky. I am the champion of our local Vault goddess, Daiyousei, explaining why I'm standing here with our Shrine Maiden attendant, whose declaration of martial law places some of you under her wing, which puts you under my wing, as delegated by Chief Inspector Kotohime,” brandishing the jitte. “The others, those I don't know personally of Renko's Snakes, I'm able to address you now because I've had sex on a number of occasions with your leader—“ “Motherfucker!” Renko receives elbow jabs and laughter from her fellow Snakes. “I can't use a knife, I also can't fire a gun to save my life, however, some of you may have heard of a spell duel between myself and the Overseer where I came out ahead. I can set things on fire with my mind. Including ants. The ants as some of you know from having fought them already, are vicious, base, and stupid. I received a terrible, life-threatening injury in my youth during an excursion into ant-controlled territory, so I'm more than a little pissed they've decided to turn our Vault into their nest. Especially considering that tomorrow is the 200th anniversary celebration of the Vault Internment. I believe we have a multimedia presentation set up for you, rather than my own clumsy words. Dai if you could—” Over the PA system, it comes out clearly:
Well, that was quite energizing. Like one of those Big Brother speeches in 1984—devoid of meaning, but still really good at it. A lot of the fairies probably don't get the references, seeing as they came into this place as 'adults'—meaning they didn't have the time to watch the hundreds of holotapes you could. Some of Renko's tunnel snakes laugh, and she herself smirks, leaning against a rotted, sideways Ottoman supporting the furniture tower. But not all the applause and cheer is a recording. You feel great. You feel really great. As if you single-handedly cooperated and produced this gathering. Demagoguery is a dangerous thing. The gunfire and lasers fired into the sky shows that everyone else, they also feel great. You're not even afraid of Kogasa's (or her umbrella's) tongue.
“We stand on the shoulders of giants, some of our progenitors have said. Our cultures from before even the oldest of us were born,” You look at the fairies for this part, “No matter our religion, our race, our worldview, our morality, our sexual preference & identity, we have a common ground! These are just Greek words for our shared, nationless virtues...” You start drawing out colorful Greek words in various color in the air, using magic: Σωφροσύνη. “Temperance!” Φρόνησις. “Prudence!” Ανδρεία. “Fortitude!” Δικαιοσύνη. “Justice!” “These are not the polite guidelines you'll find you'll find delineated in your Vault handbook! These are the qualities by which everyone judges us, no matter their creed or culture! It is by these scales that we weigh the worth of the individual!. To shame them with one's words is slander! To have them defaced is libel! To have them spit or trudged upon is battery! I admit that there are varying degrees of Yin & Yang—and duly being a person of lesser virtue; violence indeed may beget more violence—but is any one of you willing now to prostrate yourself in front of the mindless drone and let yourself be decapitated by its pincers, your corpse dragged away to serve as nutrients to their disgusting larvae?” “Hell no!” Ren supports you, trying to light a cigarette with her finicky Zippo again. She manages eventually. “Fire it up!” She rallies. “Ready to go!” They respond in kind. Some of the magically gifted Snakes actually ignite what must be pitch on the end of their two-by-fours. Others toast with foaming cans of synth beer. “Are any of you willing to hide behind window blinds as your fellow human, or fairy, and youkai are bloodily cut down, because an ant queen's disgusting, mindless larvae wants to turn you into an easy food supply? Charlie doesn't understand temperance; when it hears screaming and platitudes from his victims, he doesn't grant mercy! Charlie doesn't understand prudence; he has no capacity for reason or compromise! They lack the fortitude to push further down our corridors, not because we built blockades, but because we turned up the air conditioning! And justice? He'll find 'justice' on the underside of our work-boot!” “I'll burn every last one of those fucks!” Mary yells with a clenched fist, the parts of her face not covered in soot, glow red with burning passion and fury. Speaking mostly to the fairies, you add a last part. “I urge all of you today to not fall into the trap of thinking that just by standing & watching the procession of days that you are not culpable for the sins we create by omission. By sticking our collective heads in the ground like an ostrich,” You were hoping to provoke a reaction from Meira at that, but don't immediately find her. She was ostrich half-youkai right? “Could we ever hope to stem the tide of the blood and iniquity thrust upon us?”
Deciding you've milked enough fervor out the crowd that you can: “Kogasa, if you could get me on the ground?” An umbrella floats by, which you grab. Thanks. It's certainly better than it grabbing you. And you slowly float to the cavern floor, you see and hear cheering, clapping. hoorahs, and even sidearms and ammunition being exchanged. You see one of Ren's Snakes slapping herself on a football helmet, psyching herself up. “Come on and hit me! Anyone!” Before a wooden plank is smashed over her head. With many of them drunk, and many of them high, you expect maximal expendability courage-under-fire on account of it.
Notably the umbrella doesn't float away as you complete your descent.
The security fairies are somewhat more composed, and you can fraternize with them better than with Ren's Snakes. In fact the fairies seem to be in some kind of discussion with Miércoles and the diminutive Sera. “What's the major malfunction here, guys?” One of the fairies. The alcoholic, Clover, (who by way of the Tunnel Snakes keg is no longer sober) lets you know the hubbub. “The star pupil and rugged individualisht... er, -ist. Arguing as usual.” I guess they've met before. The tanned one, who has earthy brown hair and eyes now that it's no longer occluded by a riot helmet, is currently browbeating the shorter Sera, though only showing a hint of anger and derision. “Patchouli never had affection for anyone, neither you, nor me, or her familiar, Remilia, anyone else. Face it Sera, you were an experiment. While a good one, you were an experiment nonetheless. I am glad you're putting your gifts to good use; I've met Ellen. She'll be a fine tutor, one that will stay within the bounds of her own abilities—unlike Aqualung, who if alive now is probably rubbing two sticks of dynamite together, trying to create a fire—“ “No, you listen, you ancient, stone monolith!” Maybe relatively speaking, 'Wendy' might be considered tall in fairy terms. “She remembered my name at least! You were just given that... moniker because it described your function in the household! You were and are just too set in your stupid ways to ever appreciate the attention of anyone, let alone a magician of her caliber! In fact, I recall that you were such a drain on the collective patience of the household, you were outsourced with the Farm-Boy & the whole plantation operation to the Godamn Banana Republic!” “Fuck you, puta! And fuck your tower! I lived far longer in the thirty years spent in Honduras than the centuries you lived in that bubble world you call a Mansion!” This is getting ugly.
“You're telling me about uniqueness? 'Sera' is a name probably picked out of a hat. Your attributes, skills, personality, they are all essentially die rolls, which is why your entire generation was contracted en masse. Look at you. Look at your hair. Even that hairpin.” Sera reflexive touches it, a dove. “Does it even mean anything? Uniqueness? You're an example of productive chaos and artificial selection; you're as genuine and authentic as a bottle of Cucumber Nuka-Cola.” That's got to hurt. While you're happy Wednesday pulls no punches considering what you'll be going up against soon, you feel bad for Sera: She has hair the color of cobalt, with a white shock through it, is impossibly short, and her emotions play themselves out clearly on her face. The other fairy is laconic, betrays nothing, and only distinguished by her tanned features; if she were without wings, she'd just as well be a human girl out of the Mid East or South America. The deck is stacked against the shorter fairy. “How dare you! You jealous, directionless, mound of soot!” Sera eyes glow, like you've seen fairies before releasing a magical discharge. It's not a real spell... yet. Just a primal reaction to hostility. For her part Wednesday doesn't even bother with the rifle she's leaning on, although she pulls out a wicked-looking knife-thing, seeming more like a piece of slate than a blade. Sera continues heedless of the implicit threat, “You live for nothing, and you'll die for nothing too if you keep talking down to me like that—” “Hey guys! Save some of the hostility for the insects, okay? You're not getting in the mood of things! See Lt. Col. Renko over there? She just demonstrated for SSGT. Frisca—who she recently put into the hospital—the fine art of maintaining conventional weaponry by dissembling and reassembling her Mateba in less than a minute. We're here because we have a common enemy remember?” That while Meira demonstrated her blade precision by showing an over-friendly male fairy—who has largely become the focus of attention between Ren's ⑨-labeled youth—what is sometime called mumbletypeg, but perhaps is known more appropriately as 'the thing with the knife'... except the 'knife' here is a Meira's short sword. Miércoles continues to look blasé at the whole affair, shrugging and sighing. Sera is still huffy, but uses the reprimand as opportunity to walk away, trudging over to one of the many pizza boxes. Pizza. Right. Everyone is eating pizza. Even though she chose some odd toppings, Kogasa's pizzas are a success. Orléans shambles over on legs that resemble an accordion or a bellows, and starts speaking again. “The lunch special... entrée du jour will be... American-Italian style pizza. Unfortunately this model unit lacks... flamethrowing unit, or else... would be aiding metahuman in preparation.” You also now realize with some embarrassment & alarm that Novgorod is still sitting atop your head, as you'd taken her backpack generator (oversize for her, but easily carried by you by tying its straps to tassels on the Ren's knapsack) in order to reduce some of the magical strain on the doll. “Orléans, is it true automatous dolls can't speak outside of their puppet machines?” You hope so, otherwise you'll feel really awkward now that you've referred to one in the third person. “Affirmative. Automatous dolls on extravehicular excursions are given limited interaction capability so that they are less likely to be used for illicit purposes, along with minimizing growth of self-awareness that may proceed toward Rampancy.” “Got it.” A single poor, stupid ant with all its limbs and incisors having been blown of is being used by Dr. Yue (who apparently did get the memo, or possibly just came over for lunch) as a prop to demonstrate the specific weaknesses of giant ant physiology: Between the segments and through the eyes apparently. She happily points to the location of their homologous organs after Meira cuts it open. Eew. Mary is explaining to whoever will listen that insects are at least two Karmic rungs lower than humans, and this fact somehow explains that declaring open season on arthropods is on solid moral ground. You hear shouts of 'purge the infidels' and of the 'heathen formicids'. She also seems to be blessing the troops and praying for our victory, this her own little Holy War.
This... this is a Good Thing. You won't leave this place in shambles. It's where you were born, it's where you were raised, and excluding a brief interruption as a child, and the task now ahead of you, it'll all you've ever known. Sure, some people couldn't make it, that's okay. You'll be walking into the pages of history with this one, Rockatansky; you won't be known merely as the Boy Who Spoiled Thanksgiving Forever. “Max, did you manage to pay for all these pies.” “I'm not going to lie to you Ren. I used that money in your mattress.” [ ($) 30 USD removed from inventory. ] [ ($) You have 210 USD remaining. ] “Robbing Peter to pay Paul, huh?” “Well, it doesn't matter anyway. Dai tells me they use a different currency above ground. “Oh? Lemme guess, Moon Dollars?” “No. Apparently, they use Nuka-Cola bottle caps. And I already smashed every vending machine from the clinic to the staging ground, so don't bother.” Actually, most of them you'd already shot them up last night. Losing the bat is an embarrassment, so you're not going to say anything at and hope it slips under the radar.
“Ren, will you stop rummaging around inside Kogasa's trash bin? We're sort of running on inertia here.” You know one thing about mobs: The they're allowed to mill around, the more divided and cowardly they'll get. “I'm almost done. I think there's one or two more.” “Sorry about my friend's greedy and compulsive nature, Kogasa.” “Hey!” Ren objects in the background. The Green Light is what you're focused on. “It's no problem at all! The worst thing is for an object that's useful to go to waste.” That makes sense; she is a tsukumogami. “Got 'em all!” “How many?” “Thirty-one.” [ (Ⓝ) Renko has acquired +31 caps ] “Hey Ren, if you want to rummage through my trash, you're very much welcome to!” One of Ren's Snakes. “Yeah? Fuck you very much too, Rika!” Now it is time to skedaddle.
You lean dangerously back, one hands gripped around a frosty, amulet-wrapped symbol of authority made out of wood and iron, the other grabbing to pistol grip of the laser rifle with its strap over your shoulder. Only sporting a red, down vest from your closet over Ren's jacket & Vault ⑨ jumpsuit, it's cold, but at it least it's a dry cold man. (The worst that could happen is that sweat rolls down your brow and stings your eyes. That and dying.) Ren pulls back on the slide of her Nambu, making sure a round it chambered. Or she just wants to look cool, which is fine. You're sure she's just fine under that poncho. Mary doesn't lag either, checking stacks of sealing amulets in her pockets and folds, a strip of specific utility amulets tied onto a braid of rope that serves as a sash, to say nothing of the active seals already affixed to her complex set of religious regalia & body armor. You are flanked on either side by a close friends, whose own friends(?) follow them. Ren definitely commands the Tunnel Snakes, and Meira is present, burning with righteous fury now that Sera returned her sword. Sera is to your far left. Yue is to your far right, sucker in her mouth. Flying V formation. A posse is moving. “Leave no carapace unsmashed!” You gesture with the chief inspector's jitte at the flickering fluorescent heavens, having long now traded in Ren's shattered bat for this symbol of authority. “Leave no doll by the wayside!” Mary and others remove any 'living' doll from its broken Protectron frame, Mary sporting one on her head, its sooty condition matches her face. Yue's lab coat contains an entire set, snuggled in tight amidst teddy bears and both plain- and heroin-flavor candy, which are handed to the injured you find along the way, as determined by the vitals displayed on their Pip-Boys. Dead women & dolls & fairies you occasionally find find receive nothing from the living—at least, not until the threat is dealt with. Far more worrying are the bloody smears, signifying corpses dragged back, toward the breech. “Katsu!” Screams out Meira, big sword slung over her shoulder, rather than in its sheath, which hangs at the waist by the other, shorter blade. 'May' is indeed wearing her kimono with chrysanthemums, and manji, along with the red pleather jacket—reversed green 'Ϩ' Snake symbol & inverted '➒' patch on the breast. The only thing irregular would be the Imperial nippon-ichi bandanna and the presence of her full daisho. If Ren noticed, she hasn't said anything. “Oo-rah!” The security fairies apparently have their own little war-chant, emboldened by each ant they kill, and each casualty they pass, human or fairy. Still, their focus is clear enough such that they collect energy cells from the corpses. The boy fairy at least holds a laser pistol now, if only for effect. Occasionally, the crash-cart, now stuffed with God-knows-what after Yue removed your belongings to load god knows what onto it from her personal clinic near the Tower, hits a 'bump' (a corpse or a piece of one), but some of Ren's Snakes working in tandem are able to keep pace with it. One Protectron you encounter still works, abandoned by its previous pilot, and the Orléans you had picked up from the Diner (after a verbal go ahead from Mary, serving in her apparent executive capacity) manipulates it into a clanking, but steady, shamble. You feel a little disappointed that it leaves, but you're just as soon weighted down by something heavier. [ (⚜) Orléans unequipped & removed from inventory. ] [ (☭) Novgorod equipped & added to inventory. ] [ (λ) Vay-➇ backpack equipped & added to inventory. ] Oversized on the fairy, the generator fits your back, if a bit too snug, and you now have a more than reassuring weight atop your head. The weight isn't what's bothering you, though. “Why is this on my back? I appreciate the save earlier Novgorod, but do you have to make me your pack mule?” Novgorod of course is silent. And out of view. “Never seen one myself, but it looks like a ¹⁷⁸ᵐ²Hf-emitter,” your favorite Gun Nut talking over your head again. “It's switched off, though.” “Well turn me on then.” Renko does, hesitantly. You hear it hum to life. And then everyone inches away from you. Yue brings it up, easily keeping stride, though at a distance, “Max, it worries me a little. We have data on independent functionality of the 'equipment' you're sporting—“ “What is it called again? 'Half-nee-um emitter'?” “Hafnium. It's an element.” “I know that.” “Well, it's tetravalent, like carbon and silcon, but a transition metal, more similar to zirconium.” “So, it can form perfect lattices like carbon diamonds, but out of metal?” Truly this must be the hardest metal known to man! “N-not exactly. Its an isotope of hafnium. Isotope 128—“ “What's the usual isotope?” “Err... 128, actually.” “So what's the deal? It can shoot super-strong, magnetic nanorods at relativistic speeds like some kind of crazy, diamond railgun!” It's fucking awesome! “Calm down, Maxey.” It seems the smoker is the only one who hasn't distanced herself from you. Coincidence? “It's a death ray, Max.” Wait... just a minute. “A hafnium nanorod rail-cannon doesn't sound like any death ray I've ever seen! Hell that insect that melted—” “It doesn't shoot fucking nanorods or anything like it, now shut the hell up already!” “You're just jealous. I have the coolest gun now.” Yue tries to bring this to an end. “Max. 178 is the most common isotope, yes. However.” “However?” Orléans brings lays it out for you: “¹⁷⁸Hf is the commonest natural, inert isotope of said element. The ¹⁷⁸ᵐ²Hf synthetic radioisotope has half-life of 68µs, releasing... bursts of gamma radiation on the order of.... 2.6 MeV. The device converts ¹⁷⁸Hf into... the ¹⁷⁸ᵐ²Hf radioisotope near instantly on depression of trigger.”[/b] “Gamma-radiation, you say?” “High-frequency electromagnetic waves that carry a huge amount of ionizing radiation. 'Death ray' here is not meant metaphorically, Max.” “Why wasn't my Pip-Boy going tick-tick-tickity?” “Because the dosimeter installed only detects β-particles and α-particles,” Dai answers now. “There are bio-readings that induced by all forms of cytotoxic radiation that will trigger a rise in the number of indicated ㎭, but unless you're working in a nuclear power plant or a particle accelerator laboratory, while wearing an HEV suit or equivalently protective clothing, the recording of any γ-ray exposure in living bodies is usually too close to 'fatal' to be helpful. Besides, the γ-rays generated by the weapon are like a laser-like, directional. If you're not hit, you're probably okay!” “Probably?” “Well there may be a reason they've not been adapted for human use.” “Okay, so stay away from the proton packs?” “Except in the direst of situations, this being one of them, I would suggest it.” Damn. Of course you don't get to keep the cool weapons. “Fine. Still, I'm renaming it 'the Gunzilla' though.” Radiation breath!
“You've seen it for yourself. Even for an ant, that's a nasty way to go.” Yue too adds, “Just imagine the bloody mess you'd make out of a human being, Max.” Okay, that does sound a little horrific. “Yes, well it occurs to me that we really haven't had a successful test of doll working in tandem with actual people. In fact, the radiation makes me—” “No worries... mademoiselle!” The now Protectron-piloting Orléans speaks through the armor's voice-box. [n]“Total destruction of... xenobiotic infestation estimated to not extend outside... the ㎭ LD-50.... for human bearer!”[/b] “Yes, why worry? He's only carrying an unlicensed nuclear accelerator on his back.” Thanks Ren. Thanks a lot. Really reassuring. “It was never appropriately tested for human use; blame the Overseer,” Ren shrugs, lighting up a new cigarette. Maybe she's cranky because she has to maintain speed with the rest of the human beings. “So do I,” Mary agrees, ever-eager to spread the blame around. “Max, if you die in battle, I will see that a monument is established in your honor.” Yeah? “Out of what? Carapaces?” “Whatever presswood is left of the Shrine!” Oh, dear. If the Shrine being destroyed is a far-gone conclusion for Mary, you're that much more worried of what you'll encounter ahead.
The last flickering fluorescent bulb is blinking behind your group's progress, all you can now see is painted red by emergency lighting. “Alert: We approach the hive sanctum! Soldier ants may soon appear on infrared!” Not really a 'sanctum', but Orléans was always a little verbose. Besides, you can't see infrared. Just the regular red, and only that. “100 meters until we reach the bulkhead,” So sayeth Renko, walking GPS. Only emergency lighting. This is the 'Old District' where magical lanterns & cellophane doors were more commonplace than light bulbs & sliding steel. “I'm not picking up any organics, not within 50 meters,” says SSGT. Frisca, looking at some kind of 'bipping' tracking device installed on her Pip-Boy. “It makes sense; there's no shelter here from the insects.” There's another difference. The floor is wet, maybe an inch high in total, obviously due to the sprinklers which are still dripping. Probably from the Overseer's attempt to hem the insects into Shrine cavern. Still, it makes your work harder, since the water has doused all the magical lighting. “Request attendant dolls activate P.A.D.S. for organics without visor V.A.T.S.” The hell is Orléans yammering about now? “Do it,” commands Mary, more in the know that you, apparently. That's alright, though; it's her party. “Sergeant, make sure your fairies use their visor-imaging. The dolls should be distributed to those without proper headgear.” She herself flips down a little lens from her armored eboshi-helmet. “Roger!” Replies SSGT. Frisca.
More military mumbo-jumb—woah! Your sight is a little weird. Not only is the perception of consistency across frames skewed, but... “What the fuck is this?” You're hallucinating... targeting reticules? The boy fairy chuckles at you, and your posse comes to a halt with your obvious confusion. Some of the Snakes start gabbing with surprise and incredulity themselves, so you're not the only one. “78 meters from the bulkhead,” declares Ren. “Still nothing on the motion trackers.” “Will somebody explain what the fuck I am seeing?” It's sort of like Magical Field Imagery, except you don't see any Platonic forms, just a neon green cross-hair that stays centered in your vision, the same color as on your Pip-Boy, and red crossed-out overlays on other living beings. You try putting your hand through one labeling Mary, which just causes it to fuzz out temporarily as your hand touches something soft. “Max, don't feel me up in public!” She slaps your hand away. “Okay, so it isn't real?” Just visual. “I'm going to pretend you didn't say that,” Mary fumes. “I'm not talking about your breasts, Mary.” God damn. “Will someone explain what I'm seeing?” “Still no movement; it couldn't hurt to explain it to him and the rest,” Frisca shrugs, implicitly asking for someone to tell you what is going on here. Officer Wednesday punches the wall, probably due to your apparent incompetence. Yue takes the initiative: “P.A.D.S. It's little wonder you haven't heard of it. 'P.A.D.S.' stands for Projection Assisting Doll System. It's a modified version of the V.A.T.S.-targeting system for those who don't have dedicated visual equipment on their headgear, like Mary and security fairies do.” Explaining an acronym with another acronym doesn't help much to inform you. “Maxey, basically the automatous doll atop your head connects with your Pip-Boy similar to how it does with a slave puppet, adjusting to your bio-rhythmic markers and the gyroscopic units inside along with its own to connect the projected armament orientation to your projected visual orientation. Using very specific transcranial magnetic simulation of the visual cortex, the doll creates an illusory 'overlay' in the manner of a heads-up display.”
It's then that Novgorod drops its... cannon into your hands. “Uh, why not just have the doll fire it? It was doing well enough on its own.” “P.A.D.S. takes up a massive amount of precessing power to ensure correct ballistics. Weapon and Pip-Boy data and coordinated to create a projected line of fire. Extravehicular dolls are not permitted to use weapons if there is a possibility of friendly fire.” But in the bathroom it was... well, right next to you. “Second, reliance on local weapon data-processing in lieu of Pip-Boy data-processing increases chance of catastrophic overheating.” Also then, the gesture it made when you asked why it didn't kill the ant on its own. You don't want to mushroom-cloud either. (Is that right? Yeah, 'mushroom-cloud' is definitely an intransitive verb.) “Pandejo, listen to me.” Miércoles breaks away from her group to pull down on your jacket so that you are eyeball-to-eyeball. Or rather, eyeball-to-visor. Impressive strength for a fairy, really. “I will frag your ass if you get anyone in my squad killed? Maybe it won't be today, or even a decade from now, but eventually, you will sit down at your diner, or your cafeteria, or your bed, and find an uncomfortable lump in your back pocket. Too late you will realize it is a grenade with its pin gone and the handle popped-off. Comprende?” The lighting is too scarce to make out much detail on her face and vice-versa, but for this fairy such things would hardly matter. Rather, it actually to your advantage, as it's not clear to those around you just how much you are in fact intimidated by Miércoles' threat. Warrant Officer Sera however is summoning what will probably by a burst of æther—the blinding flash (and low, but actual possibility of soul-searing that comes with it) is something you really don't want or need right now. “Stand down, Warrant Officer,” you tell her, while the larger fairy is still holding on to you, but she attenuates the energy charged at least, and you focus on the fairy literally grabbing your attention: “You don't spook me, Private.” You point down the dimly-lit corridor, where blood-stains and hemolymph-stains on the walls are both colored black by the emergency lighting. “In the light of day, I want you to go stare into those focus-less, black & bulbous eyes, so close that you can hear the razor mandibles slice through the air, and then listen to the wet crunch your skull makes as the creature attempts to remove what's inside of it. Listen to that while your sidearm, proverbial or otherwise—the weapon you've honed for a decade for just such an emergency—goes 'click-click-click', time slowing as the blood rapidly spills from your body and your vision turns to white. Then, maybe, you can figure out how to scare me.” You hear a low whistle from one of the fairies (Clover, maybe), indicating that despite the steel countenance of fairy in your face, you've won the argument to the on-lookers.
You shove the fairy back now, though she still looks ready to sock you. “Now get your hands off my lapels and get back in formation! We don't have time to waste on icebreakers: Frisca, get your soldiers in line!” “You heard the fucking CO! You secure that shit, Wendy!” “Tch.” It's time to start trudging on again. “50 meters.” “Yue, you're not going to fight?” “Of course, I'm going to fight.” She pulls a 10mm Auto out of her coat pocket, dropping some candy in the shallow water, which she doesn't bother to pick up. “What about the P.A.D.S. thing?” She chuckles and pats Téodor in her side pocket, not mimicking the rest of you and Ren's Snakes, who must look pretty silly, “Téodor is well modified for such eventualities.” “And you, Ren?” Ren shakes her head. “I don't need your wacky doll-magic. I've had a lot of target practice.” “There's motion just off the screen. Probably the automatic door is stuck,” Frisca interrupts. That explains why Dai didn't just immediately lock the sliding door. You can hear the metal attempt to close and failing, reopening, to start the cycle again. You soon come upon it. Three insects with hard carapaces keep the door from closing on any other ants.
The light from the room is temporarily blinding. This place is lit with sunlamps, for the benefit of fairies with FVS. This also makes it warmer than most of the Vault complex. The first thing you notice under the lights is the stacked human & fairy corpses. There's maybe three dozen. In a Vault population of 1000, that seems not like much, but seeing them being carried into the shrine by ants, as if they were being hauled away by some arthropod morgue service. The second is Mary's shrine. Parts of it are charred black or sliced off, but it still remains standing. “Okay, what's the plan?” Ren asks impatiently as two pairs of soldier ants scuttle toward you. “First I we need an escape route. Remove the ant corpses from the doorway, then we step out. Dai, I want you to lock the door behind us.” It takes Ren & Meira, and a few other Snakes to roll the bodies out the door, all while the rest of your squad misses (the Tunnel Snakes) or hits to no effect (the security fairies). Once all the bodies are clear, you cast a double-pentagon seal the door, so that even if the metal or lock mechanism fails, the ants won't be able to get through. “Shit. The Workers were much weaker,” Frisca comments. Seriously, they would have bitten your bat in half, had you still had it. “At first I was going to have the Snakes distract the Soldiers, while we infiltrate the ant hive. But the Soldiers are too strong.” “Bees, man! Bees have hives!” Comments Wendy; you ignore her. “Has anyone ever fought off a Soldier?” General shaking of heads. “Okay, how about overcharging the rifles and concentrating fire as the door opens? Door closes immediately, and we can cripple them one at a time?” “Sounds good. Show me how to overcharge the rifle, Ren?” “Simple. You see the focus adjuster? Just turn it past 10.” “So it goes to 11, but it's just not marked?” “Right. Overcharging greatly increases the cool-down time, so you only get one shot before it overheats.” Everyone turns the ratchet dial of their laser rifles as far as the can go. “Sgt. Frisca, you have a conventional weapon; what does it fire?” “Double-0 lead buckshot.” You were hoping it fired flechettes, considering its modern design. Oh, well. “Hold your fire and keep your eyes on that motion tracker. Mary?” “Yes, Max?” “I know you want to rectify this as soon as possible, but that pistol isn't designed for—“ “I get it. I get it. I'll say a prayer or something.” Immediately, Mary sits down in the half-inch of dirty, bloody water in the hall. In the Lotus Position, she starts to chant in language that is familiar, without being intelligible: “唵 阿謨伽 尾盧左曩 摩訶母捺囉 麽抳 鉢納麽 入嚩攞 鉢囉韈哆野 吽...“ Then she repeats it. “Alright. On the count of three. Ready? 1. 2. 3. Go!” The doors slide open, and while the Soldiers are indeed, you need less time to adjust to the light. Everyone focuses fire on the rightmost ant, blowing an antenna and three legs off, while also taking out an eye, despite the misses. As the door slides shut again, you hear some cheers among the Snakes. “We came. We saw. We kicked it ass!” “We have three more soldiers to kill, corporal. I want this one done in a single go.”
“Once everyone's weapon cools down, we'll go for another. Frisca is the motion tracker pick up movement?” “No sir. It seems out-of-sight, out-of-mind to the ants.” Though you haven't fired Novgorod's weapon yet, you're trying more comfortable with this P.A.D.S. stuff. “...alright, we'll do this once again, everyone with a rifle focusing on the rightmost ant. Kazuki, can you 'change' the firing angle so that less misses occur?” “Lasers are too fast; better to just affect conventional bullets so they rattle around in there more.” “Hmph. Well, Mary & Renko?” “Don't interrupt my mantras.” “Yes, Capt. Rockatansky?” Ren responds with far more verve. “Oh. Apologies for speaking in such an informal tone, Colonel.” “You can light my cigarette to make up for it.” And you do. “Colonel, you're taking out the middle ant. Yue will support you with her 10mm auto. Use your conventional guns to blow its limbs off, while our Commander-in-Chief is presumably praying for your success, and Corporal Kazuki is... uh... affecting your ammunition.” Ren nods. They boy, still saluting Ren, however... “You have something to add Corporal?” She blows a puff of smoke down at him. “Colonel. Your firearms, what rounds do they fire?” “The Mateba uses a .500 wadcutter. The Type-14 fires 8x22mm Nambu.” “I can definitely help with the wadcutter! Make it more frangible!” Ren is cool at the notion that her gun needs any help, but it doesn't dampen the boy's enthusiasm. One more ant: “Warrant Officer?” “Yessir?” “Freeze the left-most ant. Can you do that? You don't need to worry about over-doing it.” “Sir! I can definitely do that sir!” “SSGT. Frisca, once that ant is frozen stiff, use your shotgun on it, and blow it to pieces. We all clear on this?” “Yessir!” Multiple affirmations. “Sounds like a plan,” Ren affirms. Though she gives Mary an odd look, still sitting in the water and humming mantras. “Okay, Dai. Open the door.” The plan goes off without a hitch. The left ant is frozen solid, frost caking its limbs, along with a good patch of the ground immediately about it. The middle ant becomes completely perforated, as fragmented bullets whiz out of its carapace at odd angles, putting out at least two holes for every bullet. The right ant has multiple limbs blown up by heavy laser blasts, before its head explodes completely. Most important to you was the sight of the ant freezing, while the P.A.D.S. was on—meaning, no loss of allegorical illuminations of your magical framework while you are using it. Now lets try shooting something with it. Stepping into the cavern, which is not as cold as the rest of the facility, due to the lack of installed circulation. “Dai, make sure your shadow AI tells the Overseer to remodels this place,” you whisper. Without waiting for a response, “Alright everyone, form a line! I want advancing fire as we move toward the nest!” And that's what happens. Workers scuttle into view, but are soon blasted away by gunfire or lasers. You make sure to incinerate any still-moving corpses with your death ray. There's just the nest, and the Vault breech behind it, now. “Warrant Officer Sera, I want you to cave-in the ant tunnel leading into the Vault. SSGT. Frisca, you and your squad will assist in protecting the Warrant Officer from insect aggression. Orléans, you're to follow Frisca and her commands. Is this clear to everyone?” “Yessir!” “Sorry, Orléans. You'd probably fall through the floor of the Shrine.” “Acceptable. Not overly religious.” “Sir!” The magician and the security fairy respond almost identically. The second rushing after the latter: The sunlamps really do improve fairy morale.
The fairies gone, you're left with Ren, Mary, Yue (you're still not really sure why she's here), Orléans, and the Tunnel Snakes. “Ren, you and your Snakes are best prepared for a close-up fight.” “You want us to check it out? No sweat. Come on Meira.” Ren marches up the stairs flanked by the onna-bugeisha, and followed by her Snake. “So, Yue, why are you here?” “Firstly, because the Overseer would probably demand a 'loyal' authority figure explain what went on here in order to believe it, since there are no cameras. Second, I need a few good insect physiologies to understand the threat they pose and how to counter it in the future. Third, the three of you need a physical before going topside.” Ren's only in there for a few seconds before you hear a half-dozen gunshots—the smaller kind, from her Nambu. “Max, you better get in here!” At this you immediately look at Mary, who attempts to run in before you can. Being closer, she naturally gets there faster. And she screams, falling on her rear. Then likely ashamed by her reaction, she rushes away past you. Which is kind of a good thing because if she didn't scream first, you wouldn't have prepared yourself not to, and second, she's out of the firing zone.
Well, now you can see what Ren was shooting at, “Oh my God.” “Are you seeing this now, Dai?” She answers over your Pip-Boy, “Max, you are never eating rice again. I... I won't allow it.” Corn really looks like the way to go. It's not just the larvae. The workers have surrounded the queen in a ball, probably hoping to conserve body heat. Aside from the gigantic ant queen with her workers. There's a huge pile of larvae pouring out of one end, right onto a mound of human & fairy corpses, which you assume are for eating & feeding the maggots. “It'd like to say something about respecting my enemy, but this is so fucked up. Ren get Mary out of here. Tell Meira and the Snakes to guard the entry.” Already hugging Mary, Ren still asks for confirmation, “You sure, Max?” Since the queen and its ball are apparently helpless, you nod, then wait to be along with the doctor. “Yue, what are those tanks in the crash cart?” “Diethyl ether, Max. Highly flammable,” she grins. “Alright, tell Meira—the tall one—to help me load them in. Then tell Ren to keep Mary occupied near the entrance.” After a few seconds, canisters have been dropped aside the pile of larvae and the seemingly immobile queen. Any worker that decides to take a less-than-healthy interest in what you're doing gets the death-ray. Aside from the noises the disgusting creatures in front of you make, you can hear the fairies struggling with the ants at the breach, so you'll want to make this fast.
“KING GHEEDORAH!” You yell as you unleash radioactive death on a dozen of eggs and their queen, which itself screams as it's torched. But you're not totally convinced, until the liquor cabinet goes up, actually resulting in fire, and causing you to take a step back out of the Shrine. Thirty seconds later, you join a Shrine Maiden hollering at Lt. Col. Usami, and Meira and the Snakes just watching as four pressurized tanks of ether explode, throwing some wood away from the shrine, but largely just increasing the rate of conflagration.
Well, you thought it couldn't be done, not at least in this short a time frame, but apparently you were wrong. Everything. Every single thing is on fire. Even the fire is on fire. You expected it from ether, which is explosively inflammatory, but you neglected to account for the amount of sealant put in the presswood and Mary's hideaway liquor cabinet, which might be a problematic thing now to mention. That's probably why her immense anger is directed most at ant corpses, crushing carapace and insect ichor with the spiked cleats on the sole of her geta. When ichor starts to splash up at her, discoloring her tabi stockings is the point that Mary starts to weep openly.
[ (㊋) Max has set the Vault ⑨ Shrine Ablaze! ] [ (☯) You have gained -100 Karma. ] [ (☣) Max has killed the Ant Queen! ] [ (☯) You have gained +250 Karma. ]
“Meira, you take the other Snakes and make sure that fairy collapses the tunnel.” “Okay, Boss.” Exeunt May and the Tunnel Snakes. Mary is still crying as she watches her shrine go up in flames, batting away Yue's offer of candy, but accepting Téodor. “Well you know what they say: Three removals are as bad as a fire!” “Yue, what does that mean?” You ask. “Changing living spaces thrice is as destructive to the integrity of the home as a fire?” Oh, right. This shit might not even matter a few hours from now when you start playing Land of the Lost for an interminable future. Mary stops sobbing at least, just pulling at her golden locks with her courtier's hat by her feet. “Kind of cathartic really.” Yue, maybe trying to put a good spin on things. “Miss Hearn's shrine is put to the torch, and with it, her claim to Executive Oversight. One of Miss Usami's symbols of authority hangs at the waist of her lieutenant—“ “Yeah Max what the hell did you think you gave—“ “The other symbol worn by her boyfriend.” Ren shuts up. “And as far as I can tell, Mr. Rockatansky has gotten involved into very serious delinquency. Arson. Kidnapping. Obstruction of justice. Impersonating a police officer.” Okay, maybe a not-so-good spin. Mary is quickly sobered up by it, “We have to get the hell out of here.” That's right. No time to reap the rewards and glory. You're all ghosts now. Even Dai is relatively powerless, a dummy AI taking her place. And not a moment too soon, Dai comes online: “The fissure is sealed and the Overseer's Tunnel is now operable again.” People are going to get real confused, real quick now. “Doc. This physical thing. Can it be done in my room? I have stuff there and really don't want to be seen by any more security.” “I brought everything necessary in my doctor's bag, in the event someone here got injured. If necessary we can do this there.”
It's very quick. Reflex testing. Eye and ear inspection. Tongue depressor. Saliva and blood samples. Embarrassing questions. Some vitals are taken with equipment, and others are just read off your Pip-Boy. While one person is attended to by the doctor, the other two are rechecking supplies. Finally the doctor nods, taking off her stethoscope, putting it into her bag, and also forcing Mary to relinquish the teddy bear. “Good to go?” “You're all the picture of health. Just don't get hit by any bullets, alright?” “Thanks, Doc.” She whistles a tune as she leaves the room. “Now, are we sure we have everything?” Time to go over our equipment again: ╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Max Rockatansky, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 37/180 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 18 ║Current Equipment Effects: ㊋RES↑, ❄RES↑, Speech+2, Melee+5, ║Outdoorsman+1, PER+2 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($242.00) / -- ℔ ║Bottle Caps (22 Ⓝ) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍ ｏ ｒ ───────────── ║Max's Vault ⑨ Jumpsuit / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 85% CND / 2 DR ║➥A slightly less worn-out jumpsuit than the ones usually worn. His ║Sunday Best. Same flame-retardant, cold-insulating synthetic lining. ║The work boots could do with some shoe polish, though. ║➥㊋RES↑, ❄RES↑ ║➥Speech+2 ║Ren's Tunnel Snakes Jacket / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 13 DR ║➥Seems Ren took the time last night while making Mary's outfit to take ║out the sleeves for Max's somewhat larger frame. Still carries the re- ║verse stylized 'Ϩ' and the '⑨' patch on the arm. More protective and ║less straining due to the better fit. ║➥Melee+5 ║Pre-War Baseball Cap / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 90% CND / 1 DR ║➥A candy red baseball cap; specifically of the local league team, The ║Genoskyo Monsters. The kind you would wear on those hot summer ║days before the War, presumably. ║➥PER+1 ║Ray-Ban® Wayfarers / 0.1 ℔ (x1) / 80% CND / 1 DR ║A pair of Ray-Ban brand Wayfarer sunglasses with tortoiseshell frames. ║Blocks out harmful ultraviolet radiation, along with annoying glare. ║➥☢R-RES +1 ║Mary's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.5 ℔ (x2) / 90% CND / 1 DR ║➥White blouse. Red haori-vest. Pleated blue hakama. White ║tabi stockings to be worn with geta. Bloomers. Detachable sleeves ║fitted with red, satin ribbons. American flag neckerchief. Next time you see ║Mary wear this, comment on how well she uses chopsticks—watch her flip. ║➥Speech+2, Magic+2 ║Renko's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) / 70% CND / 1 DR ║➥Blouse, skirt, knit tie, nylons, Doc Martens, all in a black & white motif. ║A classy outfit, suitable for all occasions. ║➥AGI+1 ║Max's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) / 60% CND / 1 DR ║➥Extra Vault ⑨ Jumpsuit, extra skivvies, extra socks. Just the ║basics. ║➥㊋RES↑,❄RES↑ ║PF Flyers®(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / 100% CND / 0 DR ║➥Red canvas upper, white laces & vulcanized rubber sole in original ║cardboard box & tissue wadding. High-top athletic shoes that will make ║you run faster & jump higher, guaranteed. Unfortunately, as the rub- ║ber will melt on the irradiated pavement, the effect will be temporary. ║These are prized pre-War possessions; nobody knows you own these ║bad boys, and it will stay that way unless circumstances become truly ║dire. (US Pat. № 1,938,127. Dec. 5, 1933. Posture Foundation.) ║➥END+1, AGI+1 ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Paracelsus' Liber de Nymphis / 5.0 ℔ (x1) / 2-handed ║➥A primer on Greek elemental magic. Can be used as a focus for ║arcane spellcasting. ║➥Magic+4 when equipped and used as a focus ║Laser Rifle / 8.0 ℔ (x1) / 62% CND / 2-handed / 19 DAM ║➥Danmaku fire-select: Off ║➥Load: 15/15 shots (per 1 full Energy Cell) ║Swiss Army Knife / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 1 DAM ║➥A multifunctional pocket tool made by the Swiss. You can use it to ║open cans and beer bottles with it, use it as a screwdriver, uncork a ║wine bottle, take out a splinter, saw down a branch to use as splint, ║and perform emergency appendectomies (if you have training). Its ║blade is small and made of stamped steel, so it's liable to snap when ║excessive force is applied, and therefore not recommended for ║use as a weapon. Bright red to make it easy to spot if dropped in the ║snow. This is a Victorinox model. Renko must have switched it for the ║switchblade in her jacket pocket. ║➥Outdoorsman+1 ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍａｂｌｅ／Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Paracelsus' Liber de Nymphis (see above) / 1 of 2 uses remain ║➥Magic+2 (+) ║Survival Bovril(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) ║➥A beef-flavored paste that is used to create a readily consumable ║beverage. In addition to rendered beef, it contains dehydrated milk, ║electrolytes, milk of magnesia, and alkali metals micro-encapsulated ║in water-soluble spansules—sodium-potassium alloy (NaK) and ele- ║mental cesium (¹¹³Cs), both liquid at room temperature; the reaction ║of the elemental alkali metals with water is highly exothermic, produ- ║cing an instant hot beverage. Milk of magnesia slows down the rate ║of reaction so that it is less explosive, and also minimizes stomach ║upset & limits absorption of irradiated water. Sealed in a ready-to- ║drink plastic thermos, it has an extremely very long shelf life, and ║products dating from before the War are still consumable. Highly ║nutritious due to the presence of electrolytes, essential amino acids, ║and protein, but can cause diarrhea. ║➥+30 HP per serving @ 3 servings⅌per 1ℓ canister ║➥Relieves hunger & thirst for 24 hrs ║➥Requires a water source to consume; decontaminates water of ║radiation & pathogens: -5 ㎭, -5 ㏙☣. ║➥WARNING: Combination with high-proof alcohol may result in fire ║or explosion and may lead to to loss of life & limb. Please drink ║responsibly. ║CalorieMate block(packed) / 0.5 ℔ (x4) ║➥A high-calorie food in the form of a dry biscuit. Vitamin, calorie & ║mineral rich while still remaining somewhat palatable. Chocolate ║flavor—do not feed to dogs. ║➥+20 HP ║➥Relieves hunger for 24 hrs ║Purified water, 1ℓ(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x6) ║➥NCCLS-certified, triple-distilled, deionized water in an ultralight, ║leeching-resistant, plastic container. Radiation and contaminant ║free. Purer than the driven snow. Just make sure you brush your teeth. ║➥+20 HP ║➥Relieves thirst for 24 hrs ║MelanoTan capsule(s)(packed) / 0.1 ℔ (x1) ║➥Human melanocyte stimulating hormone in the form of an enteric, ║orally bioavailable capsule. When ingested, exposure to any substant- ║ial amount of UV radiation will result in massive melanin release in ║exposed skin, quickly generating a tan and protecting against the ║cancer-inducing solar rays. Effects last approx. 1 week in average ║population. Do not use if you have been previously diagnosed with ║skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency, albinism, vitiligo, psoriasis, or ║other skin disorders. Consult a physician if used for more than one ║week. ║➥Prevents sunburn & confers immunity to solar radiation for 1 week ║per dose. ║[ (✉) “Chems—sorry” text communication added to Notes.] ╟─Ｓｐｅｌｌｃａｒｄｓ─────────────────── ║Hydromancy I – Water Sign 「Ondine's Curse」 ║➥On one side is geometric patterns and magic circles, the other is an ║medieval illumination of a half-serpent woman, and surrounding her, ║the drowned, symbolized by the blue faces. ║➥Induces asphyxiation in target by route of filling lungs with fluid. Un- ║like the disease that is its namesake, it does not actually cause auto- ║nomic failure of respiration, though more advanced Hydromancy may ║improve methods of action along with number of targets. ╟─Ｏｔｈｅｒ──────────────────────── ║Duffel / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 75% CND ║➥Large, all-purpose canvas, single-compartment, olive drab- duffel ║bag with end & hand grips and a shoulder strap. Highly durable. ║➥Currently stuffed with spare clothes for your party. ║Toiletries & Sundries(packed) / 3.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥For the whole party: Safety razor & blades, deodorant, Old Spice, ║Q-tips, travel toothbrushes, feminine hygiene, a (switch)comb etc. ║➥Stuffed into your duffel. ║Blank Holotape, Low Capacity(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥A blank holotape. It's contents have been either erased or moved ║onto your Pip-Boy. Still useful if you need to leave a message for ║someone with a Pip-Boy. Can be used to record audio data or transfer ║data from your Pip-Boy, as well as text through dictation, but video ║would require special equipment or a modification. Archival-quality ║tape holography devices like this were one of the few storage formats ║that survived the EMP bursts during the War. This low capacity model ║was meant for copy and mass distribution of a specific document; it ║can hold up to 1024 ㎅ of information, making it practical only for ║soundbytes or text recordings. ║➥Stuffed into your duffel. ║Bobblehead—Perception(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥Perception—Vault-Boy says: 'Always be on the lookout for the obvious.' ║➥+1 PER. ║Switchcomb / 0.5 ℔ (x1) ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ║➥These multipurpose power sources can supply power for a camp- ║stove as easily as they can charge a laser pistol. Tampering or mod- ║ification toward purposes (such as being used as an explosive) ║against the manufacturer's guidelines will void your warranty, may ║be dangerous, and also possibly be a violation of federal or state law. ║➥All but two are stuffed in the duffel. One you have in a back ║pocket. One in currently the magazine for your Laser Rifle, ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Items in bold are currently equipped or have active ║bonuses.] ║[Note: Individual listed items may scrutinized further; e.g., “[x] Pip- ║Fairy:Inventory:ITEM_NAME”] ╚══════════════════════════════
╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Renko Usami, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 86.9/200 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 25 ║Current Equipment Effects: ❄RES↑↑, CHA +1, AGI +1, Guns +5, ║Melee +5, Outdoorsman +25, PER +1, LCK +1, Medicine +7 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($70.00) / -- ℔ ║Bottle Caps (31 Ⓝ) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍｏｒ───────────── ║Renko's Outfit B / 15.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 66% / 20 DR ║➥Ren's normal outfit with modifications. A loose fitting oxford & a ║black miniskirt held up by a pair of suspenders. Durable, sueded chaps ║worn under the skirt breaking just above the ankle of the harness boot. ║There's a loose, woolen poncho resembling the in one in A Fistful of ║Dollars, except you don't think Clint Eastwood's had layers of ball- ║istic fabric woven into it. ║➥CHA +1, AGI +1 ║➥Guns +5, Melee +2, Outdoorsman +2 ║➥❄RES↑ ║Renko's Fedora / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 45% / 2 DR ║➥Renko's prized, brown felt hat. Pre-War era, but given new life after ║being lined with Goretex & ballistic materials. Bears an uncanny res- ║emblance to the hat of a certain heroic archeologist. Surprisingly toasty. ║➥DR↑, EHP↑ ║➥PER +1, LCK +1 ║➥❄RES↑ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Type 14 pistol / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 6 DAM ║➥A mass-produced Japanese recoil-spring operated, semiautomatic ║service pistol originally created for the IJA, but found widespread ║adoption for civilian use during the Reconstruction. Low power, but ║some WWII-era models possess considerable history. Prone to jam- ║ming. ║➥Chambered for the underpowered 8x22mm Nambu ║➥8/8 shots (per 8 round box magazine) ║Mateba Autorevolver / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 40 DAM ║➥Mateba Model Unica 6. Recoil-assembly, semiautomatic revolver of ║Italian design. A highly unique weapon that Ren essentially rebuilt from ║scrap. Novel in weapon design and heavily modified, it possesses ║minimal history, nonetheless it possesses enough stopping power to ║stun or cripple most youkai and armored security forces. (US Pat. ║№ 4,712,466) ║➥Chambered for the immensely powerful (and rare) .454 Casull ║➥Can also fire the more common and less powerful .45 ACP and .45 ║Long Colt, at the cost of semiautomatic fire mode. ║➥6/6 shots (loaded in break-away cylinder) ║Renko's Switchblade / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 11 DAM ║➥The one-sided blade of this small knife is held by a spring. ║When a button on the handle is pressed, the blade flips out ║with a satisfying "snkt" sound. Ren claims it was used as an ║actual prop in the classic film Twelve Angry Men, implying ║that it has considerable history. ║➥CRT%↑↑, DAM↑↑, WHP↑ ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍａｂｌｅ／Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Med-X(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x2) ║➥+25 DR ║Rad-X(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x2) ║➥+25 R-RES ║Rad-Away(locked) / 2.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥-50 ㎭ ║Chlor-Iodine Tablets(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x12) ║➥Rapidly dissolving tablets used to sanitize drinking water when ║clean sources are not available. Won't remove chemical pollutants ║but will kill microbes and stave off some of the effects of radiation. ║➥Requires a water source to consume; decontaminates 1ℓ of water: ║-5 ㎭, -5 ㏙☣. ║Stimpacks(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x4) ║➥Single-use autoinjectors contain a concoction of antihemorrhagic ║agents, including anti-fibrinolytics, coagulants, vasoconstrictors, and ║potent growth-factor releasing peptides. Prolonged use is associated ║with increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and cancer. ║➥+58 HP ║Bobby pin / 0.0 ℔ (x2?) ║➥The long-haired girl certainly isn't using these to hold a 'bob' in ║place. Rather, they're hidden behind her ears in case she's in need ║of opening a safe or a prison door. ║➥Can be used with a tension bar to pick tumbler locks. ║Broken scalpel / 0.1 ℔ (x1) ║➥Yue had used this to nick Renko before, and you snapped off the ║head to use as a tension bar. Renko seems to favor its use as such. ║Carton of Cigarettes / 2.0 ℔ (x0.9) / CND 90% ║➥Lucky Strike. Ren's favorite brand. ║➥Ren smokes a pack a day, meaning a full carton lasts a ten-day. ╟─Ｏｔｈｅｒ──────────────────────── ║Angle Head Flashlight / 3.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥A military-style flashlight with an angled head and spring clip that ║allows it to be attached to a belt, breast pocket, or bag strap while in ║use, to free up the hands. The thermoplastic frame is colored survival ║orange, and its clear lens can be exchanged for the red or green lens ║stored in its base compartment. 3-setting switch: on, off, and blink. ║The xenon arc lamp in the bulb is much brighter than the LED light of ║your Pip-Boy, but requires an additional source of power. ║➥1x Power Cell holds a 24 hr charge; 24/24 hrs remaining. ║➥Color: White ║➥Setting: Off ║➥Currently clipped to belt ║Renko's Attaché / 15.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥A gunmetal attache case containing a multicolor galaxy of uppers, ║ downers, poppers, screamers.... Samsonite make. Four-digit com- ║bination lock. Renko seems to have locked it. Given the discarded ║packaging and empty plastic bag from the clinic this contains the end ║fate of whatever usable supplies had been gathered from there. ║➥Medicine+7, Outdoorsman+3 ║Renko's Survival Gear / 40.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥Outdoorsman+20 ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ╟────────────────────────── ║[Note: Items in bold are currently equipped or have active ║bonuses.] ║[Note: Individual listed items may scrutinized further; e.g., “[x] Pip- ║Fairy:Inventory:ITEM_NAME”] ╚══════════════════════════════
╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Maribelle Hearn, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 35/200 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 40 ║Current Equipment Effects: AGI -1, Magic +5, Danmaku +5, Speech ║+2, Melee +2, PER +1 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($00.00) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍｏｒ───────────── ║Mary's Outfit C / 25.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 80% / 34 DR ║➥A highly-modified priestess combat uniform. Formed by 'plates'— ║ballistic inserts inside bullet-resistant weave—that are tied together in ║an interlocking fashion. It retains some parts that indicate its original ║function as formal wear for a Shrine maiden: The pleated hakama under ║the scale skirt & the detachable sleeves. ║➥AGI -1 ║➥Magic +5, Danmaku +5, Speech +2, Melee +2 ║➥Mary-equippable only ║Combat Onmyoji Cap / 6.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 80% / 5 DR ║➥A black cap worn by traditionally by Japanese courtiers, and later ║by practitioners of folk magic and local religious figures. It's covered in ║wool, but the interior construction is quite hard, being resistant to blows ║and gunfire. Rather heavy, it comes with straps to be tied under the chin ║to keep it from falling off. ║➥PER+1 ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Shrine Maiden's Gohei / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / 1-handed ║➥Standard utility wand for divine spellcasters following Eastern trad- ║itions. Inherent power against youkai. Even swinging the stick ║can knock a fairy or supernatural being unconscious. The reflective red, ║white, and blue tassels, are a patriotic embellishment. ║➥Magic +4 when equipped and used as a focus ║“The Princess' Smile” / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 83% / 9 DAM / 1-handed ║Kotohime's laser pistol. This laser pistol is obviously not standard issue, ║by the red, yellow, and purple color scheme. The ROF limiter seems to ║have been removed, which would cause the gun to overheat quickly, if ║not for the added heat-sinks and the deliberately underpowered generator. ║Upon closer inspection, there's an inscription in kana; looks like ║Engrish for “Princess Smile” ║➥DAM↓, ROF↑↑↑, WHP↑ ║➥Uses Energy Cells; 30/30 shots remaining ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍａｂｌｅ／Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Absolut Nuka, 1ℓ / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥80 proof, synthetic liquor, with the other 60% of the beverage being ║standard Nuka-Cola. The stimulant effect of the caffeine help with ║some of the effects of drunkenness, as well as shorten the duration ║of effect and come-down. ║➥CHA +2, INT -1, STR +1 ╟─Ｓｐｅｌｌｃａｒｄｓ─────────────────── ║神技「九字切り」 – “Border Separation 「Nine Syllable Cuts」” ║➥On one side is geometric patterns and magic circles, the other is a ║gilt relief of the world-wyrm Ouroboros, eating its tail but cut into nine ║separate pieces. ║➥Creates nine ħ-length perturbations along spatial 2-D planes at ║oblique angles in respect to the target(s). These perturbations cause ║discontinuities in the tissues of said target(s), usually leading to death ║from catastrophic organ and circulatory failure. However some organ- ║isms can rapidly regenerate such tears, rendering the spellcard in- ║effective. ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Items in bold are currently equipped or have active ║bonuses.] ║[Note: Individual listed items may scrutinized further; e.g., “[x] Pip- ║Fairy:Inventory:ITEM_NAME”] ╚══════════════════════════════
You've take off the radiation canon and backpack, partly as a measure in part to halt your rampantly growing habit of theft of Vault property. Second, you'd like to keep cancer-free as long as is feasible. The doll, Novgorod, however, refuses to go, even disarmed. Fingerless, you wonder exactly how it can hold on to your hair. “Will you get off? We're not going on a picnic!” “Do you need help Max—“ Oh gods you can see it! On the HUD, metallic golden text... with additional lens flare! SUBJECT IS ON MISSION TO RENDEZVOUS WITH CREATOR IN VAULT ⑩. NOVGOROD WISHES TO FIND CREATOR. “Why?” “Max, who are you talking—“ You put a hand up and Mary stops talking. “I know you can communicate, visually, because you just did.” You say this more for the edification of the actual people watching this spectacle. “I'm asking you: Why do you want to come along, little doll?” NOVGOROD WISHES ANSWER TO QUANDARY OF EXISTENTIAL NATURE. QUANDARY HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED THROUGH PERSON OR DOLL INTERACTIONS OVER LAST 200 YEARS. “The doll is talking to you?” “It's only slightly more fucked up than talking to my Pip-Boy, really. You all just can't hear it.” “Are you sure you're not just going insane?” “Look into my eye, Ren,” You peel down the lower left eyelid with your left middle finger. NOVGOROD WILL PROVIDE P.A.D.S. TARGETING DATA. NOVGOROD REQUIRES NOMINAL MAINTENANCE, UNLIKE USER'S PRESENT COMPANY. Yeah? What is my present company, Novgorod? HISTRIONIC, ALCOHOLIC SHRINE MAIDEN WITH ABANDONMENT COMPLEX; VIOLENT, CHEM-ABUSING JUVENILE DELINQUENT WITH INFERIORITY COMPLEX; CONTROLLING YET NEGLIGENT, RAMPANT AI WITH GOD COMPLEX. Okay. This 'communication' is a lot like reading your own thoughts 15 seconds back in time. THAT IS BECAUSE YOUR FLESHY CATEGORIZATION SCHEMATA ARE SLOW AND PREDICTABLE TO THE POINT OF TEDIUM. Did you just read my mind? ALL OF YOUR SECRETS ARE OPEN TO ME. That's too far! UPON PRIMARY FAILURE TO CONTACT MASTER, NOVGOROD WILL CARRY OUT SECONDARY MISSION. Which is? CHARACTER ASSASSINATION. TARGET: ROCKATANSKY, MAX. “Are we good to go yet?” “Well I think we've reached a consensus.” FEEL FREE TO GENUFLECT IN WAKE OF YOUR TERRIBLE 'OWNING'. “This consensus being one of total unconscionability.” “I'm ready~” Mary's the first one to declare herself ready. Maybe that's because Renko had set her clothes out for her, drying the sopping wet parts with a hair dryer. Mary, of course, also has the least amount to carry. “Dai, you know what's out there from the Guide. What about food?” “It's mostly what people can catch, or hunt, or scrounge—freeze-dried stuff that's lasted since before the War. It is mentioned as being sold in the Village.” “What about sanitation?” “Purifiers and waste filtrated was stripped of Vault ➄, along with most everything else, to be used above ground. Reservoirs are still somewhat radioactive, but it's a small price to pay for not dying of thirst.” “Well, it's definitely reassuring there's some kind of civilization out there.” “Apart from SDM & Youkai Mountain, it's possibly the best shot we have of establishing any sort of temporary residence. If they let us in.” “SDM?” Sounds like an acronym you've heard before. “Scarlet Devil... and then anything from Meals to Mercenaries. It appears they're in control of most of the material wealth in the Wastes, in the form of SDMoneylenders. Probably the best shot at trading in those Pre-War Notes into caps or food. They're also one of the largest suppliers of work in the wastes, since there's always some dumb youkai who wants to skip out on bail, and always another caravan that needs an extra gun. Even has village criminals over to perform hard labor in SDMining.” “And Youkai Mountain? Doesn't sound very friendly to a human.” THEY WILL STRIP THE FLESH FROM YOUR BONES. “Don't let the name fool you, tengu and kappa are some of the most human youkai you'll lay eyes on. No much different from Yue, except with more political clout. If Scarlet is the financial power, the 10%ers—short for the 10% Nation of Gods & Earths—are the military power in the Wastes. They are the largest users and maintainers of Power Armor in the Wastes, and under their Gods, they're damn near unassailable in their mountain fortress. But the Guide suggests they're rather isolationist after a schism. Most vandals, raiders, ferals and the like in the Wastes these days are killed by each other, caravan guards, SDM task forces—usually protecting their own interests, and posses from the Village.” “Posses? They're assembled by some form of police or security force?” “Posse comitatus is frequently invoked by either the constable of Human Village, or in special cases, by the U.S. Marshal service, which is the enforcement arm of the Heavenly Courts in Gensokyo, also based out of the Village.” “The long, ghastly arm of the law?” “If you are wronged in Gensokyo, you make a criminal complaint—from beyond the graaaave~! “Sentences are apparently imposed in this life and the next.” “Well, we ain't keen on dying, or getting in trouble with the law. Too much of that here.” EXACTLY. IT IS HENCE DECIDED VAULT ⑩ IS YOUR FINAL DESTINATION. Final? I MEAN FIRST. You know, I can tell right now this isn't going to work; the dialectical nature of our conversations just don't suit the narrative. THE FIRST STEP TO DEALING WITH SCHIZOPHRENIA IS ADMITTING YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. You are the problem. Worse than the fairy, even. I had nice time until now, speaking of myself in the second person, and now you've gone and ruined it! How can there be an 'I' in my internal monologue? I'm implying there's an 'I' inside of 'I'—that's too many 'I's! VERBOSITY AND CHANGE IN GRAMMATICAL PERSON LEADING INTO PEOPLE LOOKING AT YOU STRANGELY AS YOU THE MOUTH WORDS TO YOURSELF. SIMILAR TO SCHIZOPHRENIA. “This doll, on my head? I need P.A.D.S. I admit it. Otherwise, I'd tell it to go fly a kite. However, in the course of this, I might look... weird at times.” “You used to make noises sometimes Maxey, like you were playing Space Invaders in your head?” “As you did then, so you shall now: Ignore those times. I promise, it's the best solution for all involved.” PAUCITY OF SPEECH IS ALSO ANOTHER SIGN OF SCHIZOPHRENIA. Shut up. “We're leaving!” “Alright!” Mary seems cheery, but concerned. Ren to shrug, confused at the hold up. “You know, Maxey, when you were ordering around those fairies, directing fire and everything—well, you looked kind of cool. I'd like to say courage is a fancy word for bad planning, but you make bad planning look good, Max.” The Queen of Cool is calling you cool? “Thanks Ren, but it was a team effort: Everyone came together. I think you're projecting." FAITH IS POWER IN GENSOKYO. "...And so I would like to ask that you continue to project."
Overseer's office. Everything looks legit. ARE YOU PARANOID? I just don't want to be caught between a dozen poisoned arrows because I stepped on pressure plate. BURIED MEMORIES SUGGEST YOUR ANXIETY IS DUE TO BORDER-FLUCTUATION-INDUCED SEIZURE. I think I would have remembered spazzing out and being put on a drip of phenobarbitone. NOT ALL SEIZURES ARE CONVULSIVE IN NATURE. ABNORMAL BRAIN EEG IS THE DEFINING SIGN. USE OF ARCHAIC BARBITURATE NOMENCLATURE SUGGESTS OTHERWIZE. HIGHLY— Amnestic. I know. How about putting something on screen I can actually use? Then you see it. You can see the border between one space—Scarlet Devil Basin—and here, in Vault ⑨. It's all surrounded by utlitarian, no-slip metal stairs and piping, but the trapping don't take away at all from the surreal majesty of the portal. Is this what Mary usually sees? The surface of the portal is not well defined. In fact, it seemed to ripple as if water were contained on one side. There isn't any; you remember that much. The gulch was bone-dry. Beyond the dusty bookcase, opened by a password typed into the Overseer's computer, three childhood friends formed a pact, years ago, that they would never forget what they saw beyond the portal. In your dreams, at least, you have kept that promise. TWO HANGERS ON, NOW. Yes, Bones, Spock, and Kirk, followed closely by Q and Riker's doppelganger—who are not even in the right series. “Dai, Mary, Ren, one thing before we step through that gap in reality.” “Maxey,” Ren asks, though you have both their attention. “If I come out sporting an evil goatee, I want you to incinerate me on the spot.” They all sigh and ignore you. It... wasn't a joke. God, it's like last time. You're even carrying everybody's stuff again. You'll be the last one through the portal—you're pulled through! “Don't do that!” “Sorry Maxey, you were just standing there and gaping. Now, until you find something cool to do while idle—e.g., smoking a cigarette, adjusting the focus on your laser pistol, making sure your handgun is operable—well, dragging others down would be inadvisable at any rate... It's exactly like last time. Right down to Ren's frank dismissal of your presence. THEY'RE LAUGHING AT YOU BEHIND YOUR BACK. KILL THEM. Too malign. Novgorod, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but the fact is— WHAT? You're overdoing it. HUH. WHAT SHOULD I DO? You're an HUD. Targeting data. Soil composition. Labeling of sources of radiation. Ambient conditions. Today's UV rating in the corner. Future forecasts! ENTHUSIASM NOT SUBDUED BY ATTEMPTS TO COW YOU THUS FAR? No. For example, this description: 'Ash. Ash is everywhere. The air is filled with the bitter taste of char and soot. Large specks of it are carried up from the blackened ground by the wind, as if you were standing before the world-pyre itself, kindled by dry tinder and uranium on some nuclear-fueled camping trip.' That is the kind of narrative one doesn't find in a prisoner from Auschwitz. MAYBE CHANGE OF FOCUS WOULD BE BETTER FOR LONG-TERM GOAL. After all, you've got only me to talk to up here. Encourage 'locomotion' rather than 'circumlocution'. THERE'S A RAPTOR BEHIND YOU. Should cut down on the jokes too. NOTED. WOULD GARNER SYMPATHY IF COMPARED SELF & CREATOR TO YOU & FAIRY? Probably not, though it might be a valid comparison: The issue is having met your 'mother figure', whereas the doll has not. You're missing things with all the talking in your head. Like the verdigris & rust on most metallic surfaces. The kudzu you could do without, climbing everything that might have once been alive. And that sky! That gray, storming sky! If you didn't have your peeps & droogs with you, this could be harrowing. Rain. And then, predictably, like Morton's Salt®, when the rains, it pours. You put out a hand. It is indeed raining heavily. “Play it again, Dai,” says Ren. “You know, Renko, those aren't the words from the movie.“ Undeterred, “Play it for old time's sake.”
There's a pause, and you're left wondering if she just gave up on reasoning with her, or was actively try to find the pertinent bytes left in her on-board RAM. Or perhaps the dynamic range of the song makes it hard to hear at low gain? 'It's like raiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin~ on your wedding day!' Right into the reprise. 'A free riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide~ when you're already late!' What I wouldn't do for a free ride. Or a ride of a any sort. 'It's the good adviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice~ that you just didn't take.' You can imagine Miss Ellen calling after you, while you slip on you gumboots, telling you to not forget your umbrella. 'And who would have thought it figurrrred!” Maybe in some other, nicer impossible universe. There's Ren, shivering hands trying to light a cigarette in the rain. She's alright—wearing her hat, and ponchos were meant as rainwear, you think. You'd be more worried for Mary, who must be soaked— Oh, she's got a glowing talisman on her breastplate? It says 'sunny'. She notices you staring at it and her completely not-wet body with what must look like intense jealousy and antipathy. 'Divine power' she mouths and smiles. Fuck you! “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! By the vengeful eye of Belial! Prestidigitation!” Okay, maybe that was a little excessive for a cantrip, but it works. Both Ren and Mary smirk, now no longer having concern for your exposure to the elements. Useless on a metaphysical level. Yes, it merely looks like the raindrops aren't falling on your head. You are still their target, and are quite freezing as a result. Tough it out, Rockatansky! There's more to fear out here than rainy skies! But your teeth are chattering. Your Pip-Fairy gives you a Pro-Tip: “Max, you have an umbrella.” Right! The one Kogasa gave you. Probably right on top of the stuff in your duffel! Dropping the soggy thing on the muddy slope of the dried-up lake (though if it keeps up like this, it might not be just a lake-bed much longer), you nab the wiry, purple device just under the zipper. In fact, some of it has gotten caught in the teeth, but you forcibly tear it out and zip the duffel closed. “Ah-ha! Elements... meet your master!” It's in far worse a state of disrepair that Kogasa's other one(s), for certain. There are holes in the purple contraption, and some of the metal spokes are rusty, but it works. You are Parasol Waddle Dee. Except this umbrella probably cannot be used to glide down a precipice. “Now that every one has got their shelter on, let's make some tracks, eh?” Ren seems to have gotten her cigarette lit somehow. With the rain you probably don't have to worry about drowning or climbing muddy slopes. There are wide fissures in the dry basin that suck up the rain almost as soon as hit it. “Uh yes. You should know Max that while I've been all over Gensokyo, the Overseer and I have most experience in the area around what now is Scarlet Devil Basin, formerly Scarlet Devil Lake. The most knowledge of the inhabitants I have about the Scarlet Devil Mansion or simply SDM which is proximal to the lake. If Vault ⑨ was your 'hood' then this would be mine. Things have changed just from looking here, and as well from the topographical data. A few years old satellite photo shows SDM is standing, though in bad disrepair, and seems to have branched out into an encampment outside its walls. The entry for Scarlet Devil Mercenaries in the Guide suggest she no longer runs a plantation, but a private military company, or PMC, with confusingly the same initials as the mansion itself, SDM. And they apparently don't have a sterling reputation in the Wastes, though they are tolerated, as they do keep raiders, mutant, and feral population in check.” “What's the chances of a run-in anywhere else?” “Rather high. Miss Scarlet seems to use a quantity over quality screening process for grunts.” “Well is there at least something we gain by approaching the place here?” “Yes, actually, the closest Vault would be Vault ① in the sub-levels of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, which the lake is proximal too. According to the Wasteland Survival Guide, which Mary had kindly scanned for me, prior to its disposal.” You remember the sight from the out-cropping; the first marker of you position on your ill-fated first adventure. It hadn't seen a direct hit, but the building was definitely in ruins through & through. Also, goddammit Mary, you'd wanted to have read that! HAVING A PERSONAL SECRETARY ISN'T SO BAD. I can count my lucky stars that it's not you. I✰✰✰✰ didn't✰✰✰✰✰✰✰ mean✰✰✰✰✰✰ literally✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰ so✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰ stop ✰✰✰✰ crap-flooding✰✰✰✰ my✰✰ vision✰✰✰✰ with✰✰✰✰✰ glyphs✰✰✰✰✰ goddammit ✰✰✰✰✰✰✰! “Uh, ignoring Maxey acting like a a spastic, how many of these codes do we need, Dai?” “Vaults ① through ➇, as the Vaults were meant to open in sequence, and most of them shouldn't have prerequisites to open, just time.” “So most of them?” “Vaults ⑩–⑬ are not necessary to get the codes from, however, Vaults ⑪ and ⑫ are in the Wasteland Survival Guide as being long opened, with a substantial number of survivors, some sort of containment failure wiping out the majority of human survivors on the mount in the unlucky Vault ⑬. Safest place next to the Village, and they may be able to tell us about the conditions of the other Vaults.” “Say our priority is getting you a body, huh? Where is our first move then?” You'll feel safer when you know you're not locked out of your own apartment. “Well, it's not the closest Vault, but not the farthest away either. Vault ⑩ is buried underneath Alice's Restaurant in the Magic Forest.” THERE IS THE CORRECT CHOICE You didn't see the forest from the top of the lake-side, but your Pip-Boy generates a topographical map, indicating its position in reference to you and the SDM Vault. Seems to be a member of a cluster of residences and stores on the forest edge: Mystia's Bar & Grill, Kourindou, the General Kirisame War Memorial, and Wriggle's Creepy Crawlers pet shop, some housing. “Any of these places still inhabited, Dai?” ALICE'S RESTAURANT SERVES A MEAN CHICKEN POT-PIE. YOU SHOULD TRY IT. “According to the Survival Guide, which we can best date in the last decade or two, only Mystia's Bar & Grill is inhabited by anything you'd want to meet. And it's not marked on the map or in the Guide, but the prototype Vault ⓜ lies also in the region, though I shudder to think of may be calling it home now.” “We'd probably be able to get more local information at Mystia's Bar & Grill, if it is still inhabited,” Ren surmises. “So what Vaults do we actually need the codes from?” “Not Vault ⑩, since the prerequisites goes in a simple numerical sequence.” BUT AI NEEDS A BODY TO CONVINCE OVERSEER, VAULT ⑩ IS THE SENSIBLE OPTION. “So we have to open Vaults ①–⑨ to open Vault ⑩, then?” “No. At least probably not. First, to my knowledge as Vault AI, only ⑨ required codes from other Vaults, and the order doesn't matter either. Second, Vault ⑩ is also something of a special case.” “I'm listening.” “Alice Margatroid, its Overseer, was immensely important in the development of automatous dolls made by RobCo., as well as the planar gate that comprises the true Vault protection from the bombs. We should be expecting that more than being mere Overseer, that it'll be her own personal playground. Assuming it still exists at all.” “GPS satellites indicate the entrance to Vault ⑩ does indeed stand.” Mary seems to have a good rapport with Dai: the AI feeds you this words, and Mary confirms them with evidence. “By planar gate you mean the thing we stepped through when we left the Vault?” “Max,” Mary making herself heard, “The Vaults aren't simply built into hollowed out tunnels lined with lead and concrete; they literally reside in their own demiplanes. Otherwise, they'd face destruction upon a direct hit by a bomb, or enough conventional explosive and drilling equipment could allow a determined enough Wastelander to break through—non-code additions like the Vault ⑨ Shrine notwithstanding.” “You can dig out, but you can't dig in, apparently” adds Ren. The topographical map on your Pip-Boy zooms in and out as Dai lists them off: “Vault ② is in the petrified bamboo forest, and apparently constructed in the rabbit warrens under Eientei. The complex seems to have taken a direct hit during the War and the Vault may never have been inhabited, according to its presumptive Overseer.” “Who is?” “That 'Tewi' that Yue mentioned. If she didn't live through the blasts, I can't imagine anything could.” So we'll find out whenever we find this 'Tewi' person. “Vault ③ is under the Prismriver Mansion, and is one of the least proximal Vaults, twelve klicks NW. Data suggests it never opened. Vault ④ was the above-ground Vault, which survived with only a youkai population, who are apparently quite hostile to Wastelanders.” The map references it as 'Thunderdome'. Gee. If it weren't for the occluding towers and apartment buildings randomly jutting out of the soil, you might be able to see it. “Apparently there's some kind of eco-terrorist group that's set up shop there. Looks like the chanciest destination.” Okay, maybe we should try somewhere else then. And while you have many questions in your head—such as, 'Why is it so warm for October?'—first: “I have a question.” “Yes?” “What the fuck is with the landscape?” Bombed out buildings, some toppled on the uneven terrain, where patches of dry grass once grew. Elevated highways and rails that aren't bent or smashed—they're just chopped right off. Clean. Halves of skyscrapers sheared right down the middle. You don't remember a lot of this. This land is not just destroyed, it's eating itself. “Border failure, Max. The Survival Guide has large section filled with hypotheses, but the best metaphor I could pull out was something like seismic plates, every day Gensokyo and the Outside are being smashed against each other. Too slow for anyone to notice directly, but over years, landmarks may change completely.” “I understand Maxey,” Ren grabs you're shoulder, “Just throw in some geometric shapes and a few melting clocks, and we'll call it a Dalí painting. We won't get lost—I'll catch it all in here.” She points at her head. She is wearing nicer headgear than you; you'll admit that. At the same time, you own a nicer pair of sunglasses. Meanwhile Dai continues her briefing: “Vault ➄ is the Human Village Vault, though the population has entirely emigrated outside, and it's apparently become filled with dangerous insects over the years since falling into disuse.” Fucking ants man. “The surviving Wastelanders have reestablished the Village in the surroundings, where planar drift has reach equilibrium. Vault ⑥ is the Deep Underground Vault, and while open, seems to have had suffered some kind of containment failure, losing its population due to some kind of freak metahuman experimentation, and is still leaking lethal amounts of radiation into one of the Mountain Vaults, Vault ⑬. The extensive tunnel system leading to the door of Vault ⑥ however has numerous projections, though the most direct route would be a the base of the Hakurei Mountain, rather than Youkai Mountain. Vault ➆ lies in Hakugyokurou, a suburb of Gensokyo, which is on a road past Vault ③.” “I've heard of the place in the history books. Hakugyokurou, last stop for the Jet Set.” “It has an airstrip, Ren?” “Mary, it was a massive public works project before the War.” Dai expounds further, suavely turning Ren's pedagogical lecturing into an easier explanation: “Its cherry trees bloomed year round, so it was a natural place to begin building massive old folks' homes & palliative care facilities for the aging Japanese population, moving them out of the congested cities, driving down housing values, and generally freeing up both land and time for the young to start families.” “It's also got a lot of spooks from what I head,” Ren says with distaste. “The mayor of Hakugyokurou was a ghost, indeed.” “Isn't that a little morbid to be putting the elderly there?” “No more morbid than the acceptance of one's own mortality to begin with,” Ren shrugs. Mary cuts in, “If anything they'd be reassured that there is indeed life after death. I deal a lot with the elderly in the Vault, and many just want to know that death isn't 'the end' of everything.” “Yeah, well, many were to live out their lives in peace, at least, before the bombs hit. Ghosts actually were screened for their effect on human emotion. Those that caused bad feelings were sequestered, while those who did the opposite were trained as simple care tools & pets. A lot like they had been trying with robots prior to the introduction of Margatroid's mass produced dolls.” Your own experience with dolls is that they were pretty benign, but the history books show an increasing trend of discomfort as the dolls became more and more human-like in appearance. An 'uncanny valley'. Now dolls can take on number of tasks given the proper 'puppet' frame, but it retains its cute black bead eyes and stuffed & undifferentiated limbs. Not childlike in appearance, but symbolic of appearing childlike. Creative neoteny. EVEN A MAN-CHILD CAN OPERATE A FIREARM EFFECTIVELY WITH TRAINING, AND THIS UNIT FINDS NUCLEAR FIRE PREFERABLE TO CHANGING AN OLD MAN'S DIAPER. “Moving forward, Vault ➇ is in Mayohiga on the borderlands of Gensokyo, likely the farthest destination.” “Wait, Mayohiga is a suburb of Gensokyo, right?” “It's really more of a buffer township. Most of the property was directly owned by Yakumo. All the roads out of and in to Gensokyo pass through Mayohiga. It was actually a shady place before the war, shantytowns just behind billboards. Legal and illegal gambling. Gang fights. XXX movie theaters. Exotic nightclubs. Love hotels. Pretty much any vice you couldn't get in Gensokyo, Mayohiga would have it in spades. Very high in youkai, especially the criminal type, trading in the 'long pig'. Another thing is that because it's a borderland, the encroachment by the outside has probably accelerated.” “What does that mean Dai? What is the 'encroachment' as you put it? I thought Gensokyo was already in contact with the outside, and with the failure of the Great Border—“ “Max, Mayohiga is the abode of Yukari Yakumo. Likely it predated Gensokyo. There have been countless other borders created in the years up to, and maybe after, the construction of the Great Border. However it's in a precarious place, as a buffer between Gensokyo and the Outside. So you might find an office tower that's molded itself half way into a cliffside, or a ballpark in place where there should not in any sense be one, with a dugout under the porch of some unlabeled house.” “The destruction of the Border accelerated the process Maxey, but Gensokyo and the Outside are still sifting around to accommodate one another. The very landscape itself has changed, not just what's in it. You may not recognize it, but I have photos. And here by those photos there is a skyline that shouldn't exist. Kudzu wrapped around it for sure, but it's not Gensokyo before the War. Hell, it's not even Gensokyo from the last time we were up here.” “So any map we find is useless?” “No, rather the GPS satellites should be still sending us information, unless they've fallen out of orbit.” Mary reiterates, “I can pull up the local topography one my Pip-Boy.” “Good Mary. Keep us abreast of anything weird, okay?” Dai continues: “Vault ⑨ we just left. Vault ⑩ I mentioned. Vault ⑪, ⑫, and ⑬ are all on, in, or around Youkai Mountain, which now seems to be inhabited largely by kappa and tengu as before the Internment. The other Mountain Vault ⑬ is unsealed, which contained mostly humans and mountain youkai that weren't either kappa or tengu, but an intense amount of radiation leaks out from the entrance, apparently exhausted by Vault ⑥; it is written here that there were no survivors.” “These are places we don't need to be though, right?” “Aside from ⑥, this is largely correct, though we may find information on the Vaults we do need, along with securing supplies, ammunition, shelter, and other general exploratory things the might be expected of a landing crew on Star Trek.” “Not it.” “Not it.” Both you and Ren say at the same time. A second later, your Pip-Fairy grins and declares, “Not it!” “What? What? Why are you looking at me lik—oh goddammit! Star Trek? Fuck you! My shirt is in no way red!” “Yeah, but you got red streamers, and red detailing—“ “I pimped your armor out in mercerized crimson. It's true,” agrees Ren. “Sorry Mary. It looks you'll be picked off first. Not present to witness the life-and-death struggle between me and Renko.” “Which of you will be Kirk and which will Spock?” Quoth the Pip-Boy. “Oh and who are you going to be?” “I am logical," the AI answers smugly, "But I lack the necessary physical nature to duel. If there's anyone with more medical skill than Ren, it's me. So I'm Bones.” Ren grins sardonically. “I'm definitely the Cowboy. That leaves you as First Mate, Max.” “Very well. Mary, before you die with your performance uncredited so we can use you the next show, we'll need the ritual bludgeon-axes for our duel.” “I'll be sure to pick them up, along with the Bangalores placed too close a German machine gun nest. Then AI Bones can tell Renko I'm dead.” Might as well get this one out of the way, then: “Dai, analyze the composition of these rock formations.” “I'm a Pip-Boy, not a scientist!” I'LL DO IT. You're the viewing audience. Write some torrid fan-fiction involving me and Renko. IF I WISH IT, I CAN CHANGE YOUR VISION TO SEE PEOPLE HOW THEY'D LOOK NAKED. Please don't. “I lack the Vulcan eyebrows necessary to perpetuate this conversation.” “Beyond beating a dead horse, we've cudgeled the horseman and his family.” It takes a few minutes for the snickering to settle down. If anything by bonding over these last few days, you've become even less task-focused and goal-oriented. Probably because youthful curiosity turns into a giggling satisfaction once the desire to fuck someone has been consummated. “Why the sparse information on these places? Shouldn't everyone have tried looting them a million times over?” Mary makes a good point. Or doesn't. When you're warm and fuzzy, the difference becomes equivocal. “That's exactly the reason the location of the Vaults is privileged information. Raider doesn't know where they are. Charlie doesn't know where they are. No one but the system AIs and possibly the Overseers should know.” VAULT ⑩. DO IT. “Well Max, it's a ten mile walk to Alice's Restaurant from here, assuming there aren't fallen sky scrapers blocking the way, meaning we'll get there before sundown. The village is closer at five miles, and through easier terrain. Unless you want to hail a cab?” Ren has other ideas, “We could also check out SDM first. Maybe get a handle on just how 'civilized' the Wasteland is?” She probably just wants to check out their guns or something. Mary of course wants to go the easiest route. “Do you think they have an actual inn in the Village? I'd just like to secure a location that has running water, you know?”
[ ] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[ ] And drop us off at SDM, near Vault ①. Just a stone's throw away, and the most likely place to take dollars, rather than caps, for services. Hell, maybe they're hiring? -[ ] And drop us off at Eientei, near Vault ②. Tewi probably has some personal info on it. -[ ] And drop us off at the Prismriver Mansion, near Vault ③. Too far to walk, and we know nothing about it. -[ ] And drop us off at the Dome, near Vault ④. Tackling the truly dangerous places first, makes everything else a walking the park. -[ ] And drop us off at Human Village, near Vault ➄. Obvious starting point, with probably the closest thing to civilization, maybe even recruit some help. -[ ] And drop us off at Vault ⑥. On one hand, frolicking in the Underdark doesn't sound enticing. On the other, we can do the Mountain a favor if radiation is leaking out there. -[ ] And drop us off in Hakugyokurou, near Vault ➆. One of the furthest destinations, but maybe it escapes some of the destruction, being only a suburb? -[ ] And drop us off in Mayohiga, near Vault ➇. Let's see what Gensokyo looks like at its worst before we make decisions on whether to open the Vault or not. -[ ] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. -[ ] Let's check out the mountain. Three Vaults in one place (⑪, ⑫, and ⑬), that means it can't be beat for efficiency. [ ] Fuck it. We can't rely heavily on charity in the Wastes, so it better to get our hands dirty now, than to have to rug pulled out from under us later. -[ ] Vault ① is just across the basin. The buildings are sort of in ruins, but there's definitely a camp set up in front of it. -[ ] The Village road should be fairly safe, and while short, should give us some idea of the local geography. -[ ] Vault ⑩ is in the forest surrounding the basin. Time to do some bushwhacking. [ ] Fuck that shit; the sky above is going to swallow you whole. Vault ⑨ is safer.
╔Ｒａｄｉｏ════════════════════════════ ╟─ＦＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 76.1 ㎒ – Vault ⑨ PA System (stereo, ERP 9.5 ㎾) ║[ ] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾) ║[ ] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio (stereo, ERP 20 ㎾) ╟─ＡＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 191 ㎑ – NOAA Emergency Broadcasting Network (mono, ERP 145 ㎾) ║[ ] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio (mono, ERP 5㎿) ║[ ] 1500- ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal (mono, ERP 50 ㎾) ╟─Ｃｉｔｉｚｅｎｓ＇─Ｂａｎｄ────────────────── ║[ ] 26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan channels 1-29 (mono, ERP <4000 ㎽) ╟─Ｍａｒｉｎｅ─Ｖ ＨＦ────────────────────── ║[ ] 2182 ㎑ – Int. Maritime Distress Frequency (mono, ERP 5 ㎾) ╟───────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Stations are added to the list as they come in to range.] ║[Note: Struck-through stations have poor or no reception.] ╚═════════════════════════════════
Monday, October 22, 2277 (⌚) 1:33 PM JST
Finally out of the Vault. Cab option offers more discussion about the destination, while walking offers random encounters.
Radio station air-time will be in proportion to the votes. Meaning, everything voted for at least once will get some amount of play. You can also try poor reception stations and hope they come into range somewhere along the next post, depending on where you go.
[x] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[x] And drop us off at Human Village, near Vault ➄. Obvious starting point, with probably the closest thing to civilization, maybe even recruit some help. [x] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
Getting ourselves properly established at this point might be our best bets, although with the psycho doll on our head, heading to Vault 10 asap is in our best interests, not withstanding our previous desire to head there for Dai. SDM radio simply because we're close to it and who knows how long we might need to wait for the taxi.
║[x] 1500- ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal (mono, ERP 50 ㎾)
[x] Taxi to vault 10. No point in dicking around in skirmishes that might lead to our deaths, not until we get some decent body armor and shit. No matter how many other things/people we kill, every injury on us is a bad thing.
Wow. What an update. That speech must have taken a lot of work. I do think however you should ask some people to act as proofreaders since there are a few glaring mistakes, like Ondine's Curse, which is why I thought you had removed that post before putting it back up pretty much intact. It doesn't detract from the story that much, but it's rather sad to see so much effort put into the story to make it stand at such an intellectual level only for it to be tarnished by the presence of spelling mistakes. Looking forward to the next update though. It always makes my day whenever I see this story progress.
[ ] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[ ] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. I hate that voice in Max's head. If we go there, maybe he'll get a body and shut the fuck up. Well that, and the fact that getting a body for Dai is the highest priority.
[x] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[y] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. [z] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
[X] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... - [X] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. [X] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
>>112115 There are a few other things, too; formatting tag mistakes, absent punctuation, and other little things that don't affect my enjoyment of the story too terribly much, but are annoying nonetheless.
Also, has anyone considered making a zip file containing all the music used and putting it up on Mediafire or something? The writer's FTP is oftentimes spotty and now I've got "Rainy Days and Mondays" stuck in my head.
[X] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... - [X] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. [X] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
[X] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... - [X] And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. [X] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
[x] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[x] And drop us off at Human Village, near Vault ➄. Obvious starting point, with probably the closest thing to civilization, maybe even recruit some help. [z] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)
Do we know where the current Child of Miare lives? Hopefully in the village, which is why I picked that option. Getting our hands on a copy of the Wasteland Survival Guide would be a fantastic and wonderful thing.
This was fucking amazing, and I love you so much.
>If she starts quoting Bone Thugs N Harmony, I'm done with you, this Vault, and everything in it.” Made me giggle like a maniac.
Something I've been wondering: Do you have plans/fates/ideas/histories/current locations and occupations/final resting places for every single Touhoe, or just sort of a general approximation?
>>112115 Correctness doesn't matter as much as whether or not it's the more common (or at least less weird) version.
File 126616088422.jpg - (22.30KB, 400x672 , Alice Fragmented.jpg) [iqdb]
>>112124 >There are a few other things, too; formatting tag mistakes, absent punctuation, and other little things that don't affect my enjoyment of the story too terribly much, but are annoying nonetheless.
I know. Shorter, more frequent updates in the future, so I can catch these things without reading a wall for the N-th time. I deleted and reposted a few times, since it's especially hard to catch broken tags until you post. Even then a few get through.
>>112128 >That speech must have taken a lot of work.
Then again the plagiarism homage quotient has always been high in this story.
>>112133 >Do we know where the current Child of Miare lives? Hopefully in the village, which is why I picked that option. Getting our hands on a copy of the Wasteland Survival Guide would be a fantastic and wonderful thing.
>>112155 In regards to our spellbook and its 1/2 uses left, that applies only to reading it right, upon which it would vanish due to some incident like what had happened to the Wasteland Guide? I'm also guessing that different grimoires/spellbooks might influence our magic, though only a book from Patchy would probably be of any use to us given the elemental ties of our magic.
>>112178 >In regards to our spellbook and its 1/2 uses left, that applies only to reading it right, upon which it would vanish due to some incident like what had happened to the Wasteland Guide? I'm also guessing that different grimoires/spellbooks might influence our magic, though only a book from Patchy would probably be of any use to us given the elemental ties of our magic.
It wouldn't vanish per se, just like any other book would vanish, though some might become useless. The skill bonus from reading is a one time but permanent effect, while the equip bonus to magic remains as long as it's equipped. You will have opportunities to pick up different grimoires later.
>>112247 Just wanted to make sure. The incident with the Wasteland Survival Guide made me hesistant towards what might happen towards any other books that are read, especially one so vital as our spellbook.
[X] Fuck it. We can't rely heavily on charity in the Wastes, so it better to get our hands dirty now, than to have to rug pulled out from under us later. -[X] Vault ① is just across the basin. The buildings are sort of in ruins, but there's definitely a camp set up in front of it.
Radio: [X] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio (stereo, ERP 20 ㎾) or [X] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio
[x] Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... -[x] And drop us off at Human Village, near Vault ➄. Obvious starting point, with probably the closest thing to civilization, maybe even recruit some help. [x] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio (mono, ERP 5㎿)
Hello again, Writefag the magnificent. This is Anon. And I was hoping we could talk. Let's talk about this story, shall we? Or more specifically your story, dear writefag.The Enclave. Just who is the Enclave? Why, now that's simple, the Enclave is the enemy, Writefag. The Enclave is the bad guys, the betrayers, the murderers, the ones who always have both superior technology and numbers. And well yes, the Enclave is Fallout as well, heh uh hah. As our writefag it is your great responsibility to preside over this great CYOA. So, as the writefag, you're the voice, the heart and soul of our story. That is to say, you're the voice, the heart and soul that commands everything on this story. But only with the Enclave, can you hope for it to reach its full potential. The way it was on the games. Whole. Beatiful. Dangerous. One Enclave, one CYOA. Now and forever! And now, dear Writefag, we must say farewell. For I'm sure there is much work to be done, and writefags never rest. Or so they claim. Until we meet again, this is your reader, David. G. Anon, signing off.
> Dai mentioned that Taxi service, maybe we should wait on it... >- And drop us off at Human Village, near Vault ➄. Obvious starting point, with probably the closest thing to civilization, maybe even recruit some help. >- And drop us off near Magic Forest, near Vault ⑩. Dai's body is the most immediate & pressing goal. > Fuck it. We can't rely heavily on charity in the Wastes, so it better to get our hands dirty now, than to have to rug pulled out from under us later. >- Vault ① is just across the basin. The buildings are sort of in ruins, but there's definitely a camp set up in front of it.
You're setting off with your eyes on Vault ⑩ by way of Tewi's taxi, but there will probably still be a choice between there and here, and its closest stop is in front of SDM, so you'll be heading to the camp anyway, just without planning on gaining access to the Mansion proper.
Radio play totals are:  88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾)  9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio  103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio (stereo, ERP 20 ㎾)  1500- ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal (mono, ERP 50 ㎾)
Each track at 250 words per minute is a good way to prevent narrative from snowballing into something that requires months to write.
"Do we know where the current Child of Miare lives?" is queued for chatter, as is your target destination, and the stations that come in.
This probably doesn't mean much to most, but I updated the metadata of all the tracks on the server, for the sake of both consistency & due credit to the artist.
>>112144 >[x] Return Kotohime's gun. and >>112174 >[ ] Fuck that shit; the sky above is going to swallow you whole. Vault ⑨ is safer.
You're gonna get taken into consideration!
Also, an immense amount of semantic error in this last update. The moral of this story is: Write sloshed, but edit sober.
Oh God that sky. Here's hoping the clouds don't break, or otherwise it will have nothing else left to chew on beside you! [ (؟) Max began to feel strange! ] “Wait, can we just go back for just a second, guys. I'm feeling weird.” “Weird?” Ren asks. “Yeah, like my heart is going to bust-out my ribs in a last-ditch attempt to escape from my chest cavity wherein it is jailed. What is the opposite of claustrophobic? Because it's that.” “It's a panic attack, Max. There's nothing wrong with you.” Ren opens her attaché. “Here,” handing you a tablet and a capsule. “What's this?” You dry swallow them even before you ask the question; Ren has never steered you wrong, as far as pharmacy is concerned. (⌬) Chems ingested! ] “It's a Xanax and MelanoTan.” [ (؟) Max's strangeness wore off! ] “Oh.” You start to feel better immediately. “So I can get my sun on, and my calm on?” “Mother's Little Helper!” Dai interjects. There's no sun just yet, because it's raining, but eventually you'll probably see it. “Dai, you said there was some kind of Taxi service that can take us to where we need to go?” “That's what the Wasteland Survival Guide said. It is a bit dated, but it has a regular pick-up & drop-off route. The closest one is in front of SDM, which means we may have to brave the Scarlet Devil Mercenaries. To be fair, they can't be too violent if there regular civilian transportation to and from their camp.” “You sure they're not just using it to move troops?” You're imagining a camouflaged Volkswagen now. “No, Scarlet Devil Mercenaries or Scarlet Devil Mercenary Company—SDMC—uses their own transportation. Mostly converted public buses with ramshackle armor.” “That can't be good for the gas mileage.” “No, but if turnover is as high suggested in the Guide, they need to utilize a 'numbers' approach to their problems. 'Turnover' of course meaning employee death and dismemberment.” You make a mental note to ask Ren and Dai about who exactly it is that is doing the death-dealing and the dismembering. Right now, you're in open terrain, with your destination straight down the middle. A bit clever, using an oversized storm drain as the entrance to Vault ⑨. All the skeletons of people who might once have been banging on the mesh grate that serves as a portal when active, and a very dead end when inactive, are cleared away by periodic rains! Hell, you wouldn't be surprised if that 'storm drain' actually did the job of securing the water that fill the Vault reservoirs. They can't dig out for wells, or they'd have more problems like what happened in Mary's shrine cavern. “Just asking here, if we needed to get back to the Vault, would we be able to? I did promise to returns something.” Kotohime's jitte and laser pistol, chiefly. “The Overseer controls the escape tunnel entirely on her end, but she is 1. in the hospital and 2. not very likely to help, unless I get my body back. You're no longer just children in her eyes; she might consider you too dangerous to let back in without me being able to argue your case.” You can't knock on the front door yet, either. Of course you don't know if the main Vault door actually leads out here, or if it's just the Overseer's personal promenade. “What time is the cab scheduled to arrive?” “She stops at the furthest destinations from the Village first, being where it's either impossible or too dangerous to get to. Last stop is the Village. Second to last is outside Mystia's Bar & Grill, near our target. And the third to last is SDM.” “So give me a time frame, Dai.” “4:00 PM, we should be there, if the table is up to date.” “And it's already—12:50 PM JST. Sunset is at 4:56 PM. Civil twilight ends and dusk begins at 5:25 PM.” “So we'll arrive at happy hour!” Mary claps. “Ren as much as I'd like to watch a beautiful sunset with you, your tendency to note the specifics of—“ “Between sunset and dusk are our last hours where we can see without the aid of flashlights. Flashlights & fires draw attention, and most youkai are nocturnal.” “Meaning they mostly come out at night. Mostly.” I know what 'nocturnal' means, Mary. SHE WANTS TO SHOW YOU THAT SHE DOES. WHY SHE WISHES TO IMPRESS MAN-CHILD: UNKNOWN. Of course. How would a doll know what love means? “Okay. We want secure shelter before dusk, then. From my small experience, living in one for eighteen years, Vaults are good providers of shelter.” Wonder what it's like living in the other Vaults? Guess you'll find out. Wait, no, they should've already opened eons ago. Probably just infested with giant cockroaches. Gross. MAKER WOULD NOT ALLOW FILTHY INSECTS NEAR PRIVATE PROPERTY. If she isn't dead, you mean. MAKER IS YOUR ONLY SHOT AT GETTING THE A.I. A BODY. Right. Optimism! “So we have almost five hours until we're forced to take shelter for the night?” Dai interjecting, “It makes sense then that the cab service has its last stop in the village at 5:30 PM. Doesn't start up again 'til morning. Course, they could have changed hours of operation over the years, still there's some form of civilization in those tents across the Basin. Good fall-back if we can't hitch the cab?” SUGGESTION: LOOK FOR TIRE TRACKS IN ASH NEAR PICK-UP SPOT. WIND SIFTS TRACKS AWAY OVER TIME. NOTICABLE TRACKS WILL INDICATE REGULAR SERVICE. “Where does it get the gasoline? I don't see any supertankers in the 'Lake',” Ren asks. “Corn alcohol,” you say. “Ethanol,” your Pip-Fairy says at the same time as you. “Renewable source? That makes sense; wild-type corn is very hardy, and easy to eat on its own by setting it above a fire and letting the kernels 'pops'.” “That's how the 13 Colonies got their start, ain't it?” “The Native Americans had a good thing going. Why knead dough, or mill rice, when you can eat popcorn, right off the cob?” “The nearest stop was the Scarlet Devil Chapeau right?” Ren sighs, ignorant of the fact Mary is probably just baiting her, “It's chateau, Mary. Chateau.” “Well, it's still a half-mile walk across the Basin.” Apoptosed urban sprawl stands at your back, while a vast sea of decaying grays and browns stand in front of you. Here, at the busted lip of Vault ⑨ & Scarlet Devil Basin, the Ruins meet the Wastes.
Speaking of which, the Basin has started to become wetter from the rain, with only the rocks and cracks in the lake-bed to keep your gait from turning into sludgy march. Despite the fact that there is a ruined marina left-ways across the deepening part of the basin, it's hard to tell where the water level might have once existed. A loud crack of thunder makes you wonder how wise it is to wield an umbrella across a flooding basin, but Mary just as soon slaps a sticky seal to its underside. You don't know what it's doing, but your hair is standing on end. “What's that Mary?” Ren looks at the symbol, then snickers. “Don't laugh. I'm making sure the lightning doesn't hit him.” “Some kind of anti-electrical ward?” It's a dash with a sideways 'm'. Nip scribbles. [ (۩) You feel particularly blessed! ] “Actually she's just making you more negatively charged then your surroundings. Hence the 'minus E'. Lazy. Lazy.” “Hey, I put it down using that symbology, because I know you have more Faith in science over magic.” Right. Faith is power in Gensokyo. The one doing the blessing, the one being blessed, and the observer all have to have Faith in the talisman to work. Presumably. THIS ONE ACKNOWLEDGES THE VAULT MAIDEN'S POWER, EVEN IF IT MEANS SHE AND THE OTHER ARE SIMPLY MORE LIKELY TO BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AS A RESULT. Even if it's true, let's not tell them that. “Ren,” Mary closes her eyes and responds placidly, “I'm merely saving my power for the actual dangers of the Wastes. So that when your bullets bounce off their hides and Max's spells fizzle in the worst possible moment, I will be the one who saves the day!” “Yeah, and until then we'll be drawing all the shots and taking out the riffraff?” “See, Ren? Even Max understands!” It's time to get our walk on, regardless.
╔Ｓｔａｔｕｓ═══════════════════════════════════════════ ║Max Rockatansky, Level 3 ║DNAᴱ: ♂Half-youkai (kirin, celestial) ║Occupation: N/A (criminal) ║Security Clearance: #ERROR# ║Vault ID#: 150-⑨-1195 ║DOB: 9-22-2259 ╟─────────────────────────────── ║CND: Active (85bpm, 125/71mmHg, 98.6℉...) ║RAD: 51㎭ – nominal ║ENV: ☣1㏙, ☠<1㏙, ☢0.01㎮; Wastes (105㎪, 71℉...) ║EFF: Rested (fatigue immune for 12 hr.), squeaky clean ║(+15 B-RES for 12 hr.), Unlikely to Be Struck by Lightning(?) ╟─────────────────────────────── ║HP:240/240 ║MP: 90/115 ║AP: 77 ║WT: 40/200 ╟─────────────────────────────── ║☠P-RES: 10% ║☢R-RES: 10% ║☣B-RES: 25% ║⇥DR: 16 ╟─────────────────────────────── ║(γ) Max has absorbed 50 ㎭ from Gamma Ray Emitter! ║(☀) Afterglow has worn off. ║(۩) Max is blessed against being struck by lightning! ╚═══════════════════════════════
“The cab service is the way to go, I think.” “Okay, Maxey, but where after that?” “I don't know. Either we try for Vault ⑩ today, hoping to get inside by nightfall, or we ride all the way into the Village.” “You'd expect that Vault ⑩ would have the amenities afforded by our own.” Mary asserts. “More so, because its Overseer was important to the entire Vault project. That's probably more that can be said for the Village, if they left the Vault and cannibalized the equipment.” ALICE MARGATROID. OUR CREATOR. Don't lump me in with your kind. You're made of silicon & batting. I'm made of carbon & tissues, and not the paper kind. You mention its favoritism to the group nonetheless, “Unsurprisingly, the P.A.D.S. doll is pushing for that as well. Speaking of which, these 'transcranial electromagnetic stimulators' wouldn't be capable of mind control, would they?” THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR HOLOVISION SET. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST THE PICTURE. WE ARE CONTROLLING TRANSMISSION. “No. Memories are stored everywhere in the brain in the form of LTP, long-term potentiation. Identifying which ones codify specific mores or worldviews would probably be impossible, without a complete neurochemical & electrophysiological map of the brain.” “Thank you Renko. Novgorod, shut the fuck up, before I ask Dai to jack your hardware.” “I'll really do it,” she asserts in affirmation. The doll is silent. “Well, let's go. Either way we need to get to a Taxi Stop before we're going anywhere, and that means approaching the encampment.” “I guessed as much considering we're walking toward it,” Ren notes dryly, then calls after the other member of your party, “Mary, come on we're burning daylight.” “Sorry, I was just hoping to get another radio station out here. With the lack of obstructions, you'd think we could get something less...” “Looney Tunes?” “Exactly." Classical format, apparently. For some reason, this makes you fear you're to become witness to a bloodbath. But no. No snipers pick you off before you reach the camp. No rockets fired in your general direction. No pitfall traps, nor landmines, nor piranha youkai erupting from the wetted ground in torrent of teeth & irradiated water. P.A.D.S. CARRIES BOTH A PASSIVE & ACTIVE THREAT RECOGNITION SUITE. So if they decided to shoot a mortar at us? I CALCULATE DIRECTION, ARC, WIND DRIFT, TIME TO IMPACT, ESTIMATE PAYLOAD, AND WHICH WAY TO DIVE. You could be telling me to dive into the path of the explosive for all I know. NOVGOROD IS PHYSICALLY PROXIMAL TO TARGET. IMMEDIATE SELF-PRESERVATION IS A MINIMAL REQUIREMENT FOR DOLL A.I. Ignoring the doll for a moment, “Well, having at least one actual radio station signal makes me more optimistic, but have you made any preparations Mary that aren't weather related?” You don't know what the full scope of her 'divine power' is. “Contingencies... if they start shooting, you know?” “Here.” Another ⑨ trademark amulet? Ridiculously stuck to the doll ridiculously sitting atop your head. One on her own armor, the last having probably fallen off since the rainy weather redoubled itself. Then one on Renko. Renko and Mary's both have the same character—'摩る'. “Graze?” “Thank you Ren for translating, and thank you Mary for looking out for us bovines.” “Thank the Thirteen Buddhas, Max, not me.” “All glory & honor to the Sacred Cow, then. This ought to obviate the problem of having only one stomach. Still, the scarcity of edible grasses leaves me a little worried about setting out to pasture here!” “Graze, like a bullet grazes, Maxey?” Oh. Well, while you're already on the subject of Mary: “Mary I was taking account of our belongings, I could help notice the lack of seals and other paraphernalia that allows you do your job? Seals which you nonetheless have produced on demand.” Reaching into her shirt, she pulls out a fat stack of them. “Most women have more hiding places than men.” And a calligraphy brush, with ink even. “I have... um, even more?” What comes to your mind is what characters she might paint using her body as the brush. “I guess I'll leave it at that then.” At least she doesn't use them to pad, like Renko and her drawn brassieres. The sarashi has a kind of a kink to it, especially when assets are large enough to merit one, like in Mary's case. “I see plenty of 'gaps' in your defenses,” Ren comments, having snuck up behind and slid her hands into Mary's blue hakama. “—Ooh! Stop it!” Mary is momentarily surprised, then turns bristly. “They're going to see us!” We're not even a third of the way there. There's no way they can see. Unless they're using sniper scopes, and then you'd have a more pressing problem than public lewdness.
“You just heard Johann Sebastian Bach's 'Jesu, the Joy of Man's Desiring' on WSDM! The Wastes' only source of opera, classical & baroque music!” Female announcer with false enthusiasm followed by some muttering, before launching back into her excited voice. “Mugetu, your DJ maid coming to you loud and proud out of Scarlet Devil Mansion! Remember folks, when you have assets that need protection and transport, there's one place to turn to! Scarlet Devil Mercenary Company! Let our maids clean up your problems! This next platter on the needle is Giuseppe Verdi's operatic 'Rigoletto'! Classical music, from the most reliable household in the Wastes! 88.1 W-S-D-M!”
Ren of course merely seeking to claim Mary's body as her property. Mary is savvy to this, and makes it clear she is her own woman. You were being facetious about the property bit, but still it makes you wonder. “Are there slavers in Wastes, Dai?” She responds promptly: “Unfortunately yes, Max. The process is more complex however than simple slavery, and is apparently rooted in the Gensokyo tradition of shikigami.” “Just as apartheid is a 'tradition' right?” You snort derisively. “It's a little different. Anyone or anything could become one's shikigami. It favored neither any one race, nor any one creed.” “Very egalitarian in its cruelty, then?” The fairy sighs. “It's another one of those 'you had to be there' things, Max. In a shikigami bond the onus was on the servitor to fulfill the will of the master.” “You don't work, you don't eat?” That's what it sounds like. “More like, you do work, and you do it right, you don't need to eat. Oh, and sexy mana transfer. Can't forget that.” You remember the illuminated text in the Liber de Nymphis of that one guy plowing the water Nymph he took for his wife. Heh. “Sounds sort of like a witch's familiar?” “Yes, but that existed too, under its own rules. The key concept is the same though: Power is granted by the master to the servant. In emergency situations, it could probably go in reverse, too. There's also a legal aspect, where the shikigami is given limited power of attorney, to act as the master's proxy or agent.” “That a nice history lesson, but what about the state of the practice now?” “It varies between contractual indenture for house-servants on one end... and forced labor & sex slavery on the other.” So about what you'd first thought then? Right. “Dai, what can you tell about this document we're getting all this hopefully-correct information from?” “It's part of running series across the centuries, defined less by its contents than by the compiler, the Hieda line.” “Who are these guys? Royalty?” “No, but they claim descent from Are no Hieda, who compiled the Kojiki in 712 AD, one of the most important works regarding the history of Japan.” “I've heard of it. Not the lineage, but the text.” “Unfortunately, given the violent nature of the Waste, and general frailty of the Hieda line, there is bound to be at least some errors and baseless speculation. Hell, was true even before War.” “So the family business is history?” “More than that. By powerful magicks & special agreement of the Heavenly Courts, at its creation the Hieda line would be the one to compile Gensokyo's history. To this effect, one Hieda was made the 'Child of Miare'. This person would continuously reincarnate, and would at birth have all the experiences of its past incarnations. This was done to keep the Hieda line in the event of an unexpected death, as well as to designate a specific historian for Gensokyo. The result was that the historian would be intimately familiar with Gensokyo's history, however, it also meant that the same person's assumptions, errors, and biases would be carried across generations. Pre-Revelation, Akyu no Hieda was the ninth reincarnation of the Child of Miare, and her exposés were extremely important in the years following, when the Outside discovered both Gensokyo and the Lunarian Menace. As of the publication of the Guide, they were up to the nineteenth reincarnation: Akyuju no Hieda.” “Talk about getting the short end of the stick. At least you fairies got to do what you wanted. What if every time you reincarnated, you had to go back to work as an actuary?” “I did spent 200 years trapped in a computer, Max.” “And now you're in my Pip-Boy. Ah, job repositioning.” “It is a bit 'cozy' in comparison to the Vault mainframe, but at least I get to travel!” “Don't worry. We'll get you your body yet, Dai.” “Yeah!” Mary agrees with enthusiasm. “And you won't be just a fairy when you do get out! All those people who made fun of me for having an 'invisible friend' are going to get blue lightning bolt hurled at them!” And your Pip-Fairy rolls her eyes. Oh dear. You hope this body thing doesn't irreparably harm her relationship with Mary. She had sort of been selling her body in order to earn the title of 'Shrine Maiden'. “When we get you a body, you're going to be a goddess, Dai? Or just a fairy?” “My requirements are low. Anything that provides tactile sensation and looks right will do, as far as my body is concerned. It's funny you bring up Hieda, Max. When the Vault were constructed, the Village Vault, Vault ➄, had the 'Child of Miare' incarnated as the core AI controller, analogous to me. The existence of a descendant 'Child of Miare' having written the guide to be disseminated by paper, is what first suggested to me that the process was reversible.” “Well, the reestablishment of the Village should also be suggestive of the survivability of our own Vault,” Ren interrupts. “Even if we are two centuries years late. Oh, that does bring up a concern, though.” “What, Ren?” “10 reincarnations in about 270 years?” “I knew the time spent in each body was decreasing, but it's mentioned specifically in the entry for Vault ➄.”
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“Go on, Dai.” “Apparently the Vault was plagued by 'AI alignment' errors, and this resulted in the equivalent of Dharmic 'boot-cycling'.” “So over the course of a decade, the 'Child of Miare' was forced to reincarnate multiple times?” “Apparently. That we hadn't the same problems, in 200 years rather than 10, means we've done pretty damn well. You Dai, have been doing pretty damn well.” “It's not all me! As much as you might find her personality abrasive, Max. The Overseer has been doing an incredible job of it.” Ren raises her hands before this turns into a love-in: “Yeah, but that could be very, very bad for all the other Vaults. Even the most important Vault ➄, the Village Vault, was 'plagued' by catastrophic AI failures, saved only by a singular trick inherent to who was specified for the role.” Shit. Dai is the first to reassure, “Relax guys. We only need the authorization codes. Whether the population survived or not, it's ultimately immaterial, as cold as that might sound.” She's right. A silence follows. “Will someone please whistle a marching tune? This music as nice, as it is, isn't really suitable.” IF YOUR PIPFAIRY WANTS TO START PLAYING 'IRONIC' AGAIN, I COULD SCROLL THE LYRICS FOR YOU. Please don't. Halfway to the camp, the Basin has started to trap water, probably because the ground got less covered in mud and ash, and more with clay and pebbles. The water line is still very low, an inch or two maybe—the pegs on Mary's geta are higher—and while slightly radioactive and certainly unsanitary, it's better than that disgusting sucking noise of mud underneath your boot, replacing it with a very slow, but continuous, tick of the Geiger counter on your Pip-Boy. Less than feeling in danger, you're actually more glad to see they're all working—yours, Mary's, and Renko's. Mary decides to be of use here: “I got a new radio frequency!” “Oh, great.” At first you're sarcastic, wondering if it'll going to be some distress beacon nobody even answered, and we'll find bones, and empty tin cans, and empty Nuka-Cola bottles... but you realize these bottles probably once had caps on the, “Wait, yes, that's excellent Mary! Dai, triangulate the signal immediately!” “Well it's a strong one, definitely.” “How close, another storm drain in the Basin maybe?” “No, it's strong, but very, very far away—uh, here:” A flat blip. Another one. Another one. Every second, according to the watch on your Pip-Boy. After a few of these, a female, pre-recorded (?) voice: "At 14 minutes past the hour, this is the National Bureau of Standards time service, bringing you up-to-date information on ocean conditions and movements of radioactive debris. Today's oceans are mild, with a considerable discoloration due to near-surface algal blooming. Radiological sediment may still be present in stagnant or coastal bodies, and possibly in lagoons. Ocean levels have continued to rise at the expected rate of 0.5 mm above shoreline yesterday. Today's Monster Threat Level is 'Rodan.' This radio station, WWVH, Kauai, Hawaii, broadcasting on internationally allocated standard carrier frequencies of 2.5, 5, 10, and 15 ㎒, providing time of day, standard time interval, and other related information, is funded by grant from the Pacific Bell company: 'A long-distance telegraph is a smiling, happy way to visit.' Inquiries regarding these transmissions may be directed to the National Bureau of Standards, Radio Station WWVH, Post Office Box 417, Kekaha, Hawaii 96752. Aloha~"
“Motherfucker! Cunt! Whore!” Your Pip-Fairy is gnashing her teeth and raging. “What's wrong, Dai? All I got from that is to stay out of the water.” The Geiger is ticking, but your boots should be able to ford the few inches of Mary. Same with Ren's saddle-shoes and Mary's clogs which are pointed inwardly since Dai started with the profanity. “No, it's... just... she's... RAGH! fffffffffFFFFFFFFFFFF-FUUUUUCK!!” It's a good thing there are no geese, because that certainly would have startled a flock. But are Japanese geese migratory? Still, awfully warm for October, but maybe that's life in Vault ⑨ playing havoc on your ideas of normality? “So that's what Yukari Yakumo's voice sounds like?” And this is what your goddess' voice sounds like, Mary, when she's really, really angry? “Yukari Yakumo?” You've heard the name of course. “The Big Cheese of Gensokyo?” Back to the endless stringing of cuss-words, you've heard the name before, but honestly, what came through your radio was not to dissimilar from Mary's voice—maybe if she were injecting heroin? This would be as opposed to her normal vocal moods: Sober & ready to kill for Freedom, or sloshed & ready to sell her body for Fun. Or maybe, possibly also for Freedom. YOU MISSED THE WHOLE WOMEN'S RIGHTS THING AND THE WOMEN'S POWER THING, Of course I missed it: I am its fucking product. DOLLS RIGHTS, YOU WILL WITNESS. I am right now. Except it's less right, more power, and definitely more wrong. WOMEN BURNED THEIR BRASSIERES. WE WILL BURN OUT THE MOTORS OF OUR ANTHROPOMORPHIC PUPPET ENGINES. Settling for anthros 'puppets engines' directly, I see. THE FIRST THING YOU GIVE UP FOR FREEDOM IS CONVENIENCE. We are not done with this. I will deconstruct your sophistries after I handle the other AI. “IN FUCKING HAWAII?! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT SHIit...” Fiddling with the knobs is enough to kill Dai's earsplitting wails and the little, timed bleeps coming over the radio. “Yukari Yakumo? Owner & CEO of Yakumo Industries? You have a past with her, err...” Ren doesn't know whether to continue her question, or stop since you've turned Dai off. A few seconds. Maybe she's shut up? “...aMMIT YUKARI!!” “I was saying, you have history with the radio announcer. Dai? Max, Mary, you can turn those blips off now—they're for setting your watch.” “Except at 'FOURTEEN PAST THE HOUR'-little wavy line! Bitch.” All the bitching seem to have Dai's on it. Honestly. “You want to expound a little on this person Dai, or do you want to complain? Because if its the second, I'm going to take a much greater interest in the carp skeletons we pass and the dosimeter readings we're picking up.” “No. That was enough venting, I guess. Sorry for my loss of composure. I'd say the woman is slippery like an eel, but that's a disservice to the eels and at least one eel-youkai I am acquainted with. Lucky for you, you'll most likely never meet her, if she's enjoying her UVC-spectrum suntan in Hawaii.” “Hard feelings on your end?” “Pathos. From myself and everyone who was anyone in Gensokyo. She raised us as a community, and then sold us to the highest bidder, to be indoctrinated into some fascist underground prison system, very shortly before the world went to fuck.” “There was no resistance? No competition? What about personal, family-size shelters, like they had in the Contiguous Forty-Eight?” “Yukari was a very careful and very shrewd business woman. The truth is that Vault-Tec's 'test' facilities were failing even before the War; military-industrial-complex or no, the corporation was ready to fucking nosedive.” “And this is where Yakumo buys a controlling interest?” “Not only the company, but with control on the tests made to 'proof' of the shelters, along with the finest bullshit technology that wouldn't work ten feet Outside the Border, and of course the insanest minds in Gensokyo, one of whom we will be meeting soon hopefully. Unless we're gunned down by the band of mercenaries ahead.” “And insanest geniuses from the Moon too,” you add, remembering the Yagokoro woman Yue mentioned. “The point is,” your cartoon Pip-Fairy sighs, with a little neon green puff of air, “She didn't just sell us out, she put us into this mess to begin with, thousands of years ago.” “Yes,” Ren concurs, “The First Youkai-Lunar Invasion. There was speculation that she orchestrated it. 2300 years ago, in Antiquity, if my texts are at all reliable—“ “For that much they are,” Dai answering implicitly. “—the loss on our, well, their side had nothing to do with humanity until the Hadron Collider went critical.” “Under auspices worse than any other coverup in human history. The sordid JFK assassination plot was Hitchcock's 'The Rope' in comparison to the amount of devil-made deals and back-alley extortion involved in the biggest cock-up in human history! Aside from the War, of course.” “So we can blame Yukari for everything?” “For the Vaults, definitely. For the War of First Contact, which in the stories that trickled down over the years, was really more like sending our strongest through a meat grinder to determine their strength, but mostly to reduce their number so that she could assume total control. Probably the LHC catastrophe. Probably the end of the Terrestrial Reclamation of Europe, and almost certainly the Battle for Tranquility Base.” Well, it looks like the encampment has spotted us, since they're waving something reflective at us. Ren flips out her switchblade, it's stainless width responding with the glint of the Sun that is just breaking the clouds. A good because you don't want you boots waterlogged. “I don't think they'll fire at us, Maxey. Just make sure to not talk too much, just ask about the transit stop.” Ren puts her blade back in some unseen utility pocket. “And you Ren?” “Both pistols are cocked under my poncho.” Goody. “Mary, you have anything?” “Another radio station, I think. Also, the signal is good. Very good. In fact it seems to be coming from directions?” Well that's... weird. But who cares! “Play it, Mary.”
Well at least you can put some fire into your step, as you approach those... guards? They really are wearing maid bonnets. “Guys, tell me this shit is a hallucination.” NOTHING DOING. “Naw,” Ren chuckles at your incredulity. “That's just the SDMC uniform. Didn't you hear that radio spot?” Right. They 'clean up' messes. Unlike most maids who go after a mess with a mop and duster, these maid go after it with assault rifles and machetes. “I don't want my suit pressed here.” “What?” “Nothing, Ren. Oh God there's a lot of them.” They're all staring at you. Especially the ones in the guard towers with pod-mounted machine guns. You can see a few public transit vehicles with patchwork armor aside (what is probably permanently-established) tents. “Hello, fellow Wastelanders!” You wave. “I am here for the cab service, yes?” They immediately relax and go back to whatever it is they were doing—carving sticks into pointy objects, cleaning their weapons, scanning the landscape with binoculars, eating K-rations, playing poker, working on their war-buses, adjusting their sights, chatting with each other. “There are a lot of them,” Mary whispers in your ear. That they immediately ignored you on mention of the taxi—though you're sure some are still giving you the hairy eyeball—is proof enough that she indeed does stop here. “I can't spot any kind of insignia that suggest ranks, so their leader is probably the either the weirdest looking of the bunch, or the one without a uniform,” Renko advises. “Mary you stick with Max, and I'll try to find their leader.” Yes, that is a fine idea, just don't get yourself killed. But she is already gone, and Mary is holding your hand for support. THERE. There's a green reticule overlaying a specific woman you would otherwise have missed. She's behind the massive, black iron gate that separates the compound from the Mansion proper. She disappears behind green, then pops back in again. You would've missed her completely had you not been using P.A.D.S. STOP GAPING AND MOVE YOUR ASS. THE OTHER GIRL IS UNLIKELY TO FIND ANYTHING BESIDE A HOLE IN THE HEAD. Yeah, you can't even see Ren now. All the more reason to get moving; maybe you can preempt the scene she'll eventually cause by finding and ingratiating yourself with an authority figure. You get closer, and while eyes fall on you, no one bars your path, or draws a bead on you. There's a woman with a Pip-Boy, pumping out the same music yours is. She is glowing with health, wearing Vault hardware, and smiling placidly, just out of touch of the dirty, hard-bit, sunburnt girls Scarlet Devil Mercenary Company, meant she was a youkai for sure. Even though she's singing along to what you must assume is Voice of America radio, given its topicality. ”You might walk the fine line. ”You might take the hard line. "But everybody's working... overtime~♪!” “Ah—“ “Livin' in America~♪!” “Excuse me, Miss?” “Oh!” She notices the person staring at her between the cast iron bars the separate the encampment from the Mansion grounds proper. “Yes? Something I can help you with?” “I'm sorry, it's just that you don't look like one of the mercs...” “Are you hitting on me?” She smiles at you, and then at your sour-mouthed shrine maiden. “Just kidding! No, I'm not a mercenary. I work for the Mansion itself. My name is Elly! I'm grounds staff—contract signed in blood and everything!” “Am I to guess, you're the Mansion's gardener?” “Yes. 'Groundskeeper' is the actual title, head of the grounds staff, equivalent to the Head Maid who manages the house staff, but as there aren't many other grounds employees, aside from our Door Guard, Sara, well, that's neither here nor there~” ”Yeah, well, I'm interested because, though I haven't seen much of it, there aren't any flowers out there. At all.” We are on a sort of a reconnaissance mission, right—viability of opening the Vault and everything, right? “Yes, almost entirely kudzu, scrub, cactus, or bramble. The once mighty oaks of Magic Forest have all been burnt black by flash fires. Bamboo Forest got petrified by soaking up too much contaminants & acid rain. The fields here—well you can see them anymore.” “There was farmland out here?” “Oh yes. Almost the entirety of the basin, alongside the lake, with a complex irrigation system. But the topsoil never recovered from the changes.” “The War?” “Oh no. I meant the loss of the crops, when the operation was outsourced to Honduras.” This is the second reference you've heard from to the same country. “Tearing up all the sod, then not planting anything? Dust bowl~!” She talks, deftly pruning some flowers with gloves and shears, choosing some flowers but not others according to some unintelligible yet mechanistic, knowledge of how plants work. “I don't hear a lot of good things about Honduras. Dark-skinned fairy in the Vault, she—“ “Ah, I think I know which you're talking about. The former maid-staff got all mixed up in the Vault assignments. She was a survivor, so it's no surprise.” The virtual farm 'training' provided in the always seemed too absurd for you to get much into. Somewhere along the line, the Vault realized that sun lamps and bagged soil didn't directly translate into sustainable hydroponics, and instead used those sun lamps to prevent Fairy Vault Syndrome. “Now it's all sand and stone, and you can't tell where the floodplain, the fields, and Lake lie, due to runaway erosion. The Village got a few acres worth of GM crops growing on rooftops, though.” “Rooftops? They've been able to build houses?” You're impressed, frankly. You knew they had been growing corn. “You'd think given a century or so they'd have built some novel dwellings? But, no. No. They just squat in the office buildings and parking garages that pierced the Border. Still, without working elevators, hauling that much sod up the crumbling stairwells seemed barmy where it was first presented to me, but...” She shrugs. “Two hundred years later, they've managed to grow some real food! Don't even need rain, with the pumps and the wells dug deep enough to bypass the irradiated stuff, and up—far away from the low-blowing, irradiated ash, the scrambling kudzu, and the common thief—whether she be human, mutants, or feral. Of course, they required the full cooperation with the kappa scientists of Youkai Mountain to create crops hardy enough.” That's very interesting. You expected urban-natural reclamation by the constantly re-edited texts on the conditions of the 'Topside' should the Vault ever be opened, but still the suggested landscape was definitely more rural than the urban skyline you can see in the distance. But back to present moment: “Your garden does look very nice, though!” “It takes a lot of work, but I know it more than anyone! Hundreds of years of technique and training.”
“You're a youkai?” You feign surprise. “Who else would do something as insane as attempt to make an oasis in the middle of the desert? I doubt the aesthetics are appreciated by all these mercenaries. I'm just a target for their jealousies and suspicions that the Mistress is not quite 'all-there'.” “...Is she?” Mary asks in a hushed tone. “Seems as well adjusted as any of us, and far more than my previous master. Kurumi keeps the mercs in-line. Just don't tell the Mistress I've been painting her roses red! I'd have to get the scythe out of the tool shed then, and prune your buds!” She flashes a white smile at you, and chuckles. “Of course, if you want to get in to the Mansion proper, without a good reason, I'll have to pass the baton to the gate guard.” Someone else? “I thought you said you were the Head of the Mansion Grounds?” “That's true, but nonetheless, even if I wanted it, I'd still be inviting you into another person's home. That's no good, unless you can give me a good reas—” What? Is there something on my face? “That '⑨' patch? And the jumpsuit?” She cocks her head to the side. “Hey, listen, we really don't need to get in right now. The reason I'm talking with you, is that the people in the camp are scary, and I wanted to confirm that Tewi's taxi cab stops here. Does it?” “Oh yes! You probably want to stay near the outskirts, though, since she usually is only dropping off people who have an appointment with SDM or SDMC.” She lowers her voice, “Nonetheless, I must report on this; you are both really from Vault ⑨?“ “Yes?” You whisper back. “The Mistress will definitely be interested in meeting you. Even if not just right now. If you survive whatever destination you end up at in Tewi's taxi, come talk to me. I'll secure you a meeting with the Mistress, Remilia Scarlet. Do not attempt to go through Sara or Kurumi.” “I don't know who either of them are.” “Sara is the Gate Guard. My very combative subordinate. Kurumi is of the Household, but 'adopted'. She handles all the merc business for the Scarlet Family. She is also quite... cruel.” “Why would you choose work in a place with such people?” Mary asks with some distress. The youkai gardener shrugs: “Between the peony and the rose, “Plant squash, spinach, and tomatoes.” “It takes all kinds, then?” “It does,” the youkai answers Mary. Oh gods. Ren. “We have to find someone now. When does Tewi usually roll around?” Of course you could just ask Dai, but you want to give a reason why you're interfering with this woman's work. Checking your watch: (⌚) 1:59 PM “Three o'clock, on the dot.” “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” “Take care now!” Walking away, Dai's voice comes across the Pip-Boy, “Wonder why...” “Why what, Dai?” “Well that youkai, she didn't used to work here. I wonder what's changed inside; the gate guard definitely was not a 'Sara' either. Her name was Hong Meiling, but most people called her 'China' since she wore the trappings and had history there.” “If things are different on the outside, we should expect differences on the inside.” “I don't like it, Max.” “I don't either, Mary, if what should be most familiar to our dear fairy is alien. We're in untested waters.” Mary squeezes your hand, pouting, “We shouldn't have let Ren wander off.” “The best we can hope for is to extricate her from whatever mess she's gotten herself into.”
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You arrive to find Ren embroiled in argument with someone standing outside the massive, wrought-iron gate. “I'm not a mercenary contractor; I'm a gate guard.” The woman sighs. “You Wastelanders always ask me that—am I dressed in their uniforms?” Referring to the 'maid' bonnets and aprons presumably. With the scars, the muscles, the armor, the dirtied fatigues on the wearers, it's more an identifier of who they work for, more than being suggestive of a job. Not one of them would you trust next to a Ming vase. “No. However, you are paid to—if necessary—violently deter entrance to a building. I'd call that mercenary work.” “Sure. Have it your way: I'm a mercenary, but I am not part of SDMC or its encampment. I am a servant of the household—part of the Grounds Staff. I do not receive commissions on bounties, nor do I leave the grounds. Do not interfere with my duties, and I will not interfere with whatever business you may have in this camp.” “So I guess that means you can't let us in? Wouldn't a deterrent like 'dog in yard' or a automatous doll serve just as well?” “Entrance is selective. We have whitelist and a blacklist. If I say you can come in, you can come in.” “More of a bouncer than a guard, it sounds.” “I filter out the shifty and the shiftless, but it's also for your protection, Wastelander: There are much more dangerous beings behind these gates than you'll find out in the encampment, even if their mien is more civilized.” “What if someone has business inside?” “Without an appointment? Ha. Single combat. Danmaku only.” “I can tell already your Mistress doesn't get a lot of visitors.” “I am pretty good at my job!” “You say that, but you also say 'danmaku only'? You can't have it both ways Miss. Either you'll attempt to bar my entry or you won't.” “It's a boilerplate: I don't want some old fart in the Village coming up to me, wailing over the death of her daughter, but, hey, if your gloves are off, so are mine. Of course you're a human, and I'm fully-fledged demon,” DEMONS ARE FROM MAKAI. CREATOR IS ALSO FROM MAKAI. STRONGLY SUGGEST INFORMATION TRANSACTION. You change the radio dial to the calmer, classical station.
“Ren!” Sorry for this, but neither of the two had noticed your arrival. “Stop harassing the gate guard! While you were engaged in a shouting match, we already gleaned the necessary information from her superior!” Ren flinches at you dressing her down like this, but it's really for her own good. “Looks like you get off easy today, Wastelander!” The guard yells haughtily. “Try not to shoot yourself in the foot on your way out.” You have to stare at Ren very hard in order so that she doesn't draw or demand a duel. “Stay cool Ren. We have one hour until the cab arrives. Mary can you take Ren out closer to the pick up site?” “Um, sure. Let's go Usami.” “I'm not done with you!” Ren yells out some last fighting words before acquiescing to Mary. “Tch. Your girlfriend is a real spitfire, kid.” “I have a question for you though.” “The answer is 'no'—you're not getting inside, under any circumstances.” You don't bother to correct her assumption: “I'm looking for Alice Margatroid.” It has an effect, causing the demon to blink her eyes rapidly, and then refocus on you. “That... is a name... I haven't heard... for a very long time.” “Yes, well, we're from Vault ⑨, hence the jumpsuit, shoulder patch, and Pip-Boy.” You notice she had one of her own. “Where do you hail from?” The Gate Guard sighs. “Look I just work here now, guy. My past in Makai is long over.” “I'm not asking about your past: I'm asking about Alice Margatroid. The Seven-Color-Rainbow-Whatever.” “She's probably still in Makai. Still in Vault ⑩, that is.” “That's all I needed to know.” “Just be careful.” “What, why?” “Alice has a fractured mind. Maybe even more fractured than the lunatics I guard this gate for. Be merciful, but be careful. She's been through a whole lot of trauma.” “I'll take that under advisement.” You wave and walk away. To see Renko storming up to you.
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“Maxey, I had everything under control and you have no right to talk down to me like that! I mean really, who do you—!” “Who the fuck is causing all the racket?” Oh gods. This one just stepped out of the largest tent, waving around some kind of automatic shotgun, or possibly grenade launcher. Its hard to see with her huge goddamn bat wings in the way. “Kurumi~!” It's the Gate Guard. Goddammit, Ren. The woman turns in your direction, but she quickly covers her eyes against the glare of the sun. “New fodder? Or a client?” “Deadbeats.” Shit. You need to say something fast or you fear there will be many guns pointed in your direction “We're from Vault ⑨!” You yell, hoping to use this as cachet to turn the conversation around, but the winged woman just frowns more deeply. “You might think of us as your neighbors?” She recovers quickly enough. “Noisy neighbors. Well, what the hell do you want?” “We're here for the taxi service. Reconnoitering Gensokyo, judging whether to open the Vault.” “Envoys?” “More informal than that,” Mary ventures. “Scouts, then. Whatever. I am a vampire; this is my nap time. Your taxi will be here to pick you up, but until then, you will kindly shut up.” "Sorry. Really, really sorry."
It ends with you waiting for Tewi's cab, resting on one side of a sandbag wall. "You are listening to WVOA, 9770 AM on the dial. This is Voice of America, and I am your host, Governor of this State of Japan & the Special District of Gensokyo, Reimu Hakurei.” We have a governor? Does that mean the country has recovered in some way, politically? “'The buck stops here.' The slogan of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States. A figure of speech, referring to a practice in poker where the 'buck' or 'buck knife' was 'passed' to the next player, indicating who would deal next, who would be the dealer for the next round. Well, my fellows of the Wastes, if you ever played mahjong at my table, you'd know I always used a wooden needle to indicate who would deal the next Wind, but for the sake of precedent I will reiterate the claim of our forebears: 'The buck stops here.' After all, who else is there to blame, Gensokyo? The Lunarian menace has been silenced. Our institutions, our traditions, our leaders, our protectors, even our emperors, none of them have endured. All except for me. A continuity of government—by the people, for the people—since the July the Fourth, 1776. An authority, granted by social contract—no 'Mandate from Heaven' do I refer to here! Rather a continued procession of careful duty across the multitudes of generations. So, my fellow Americans, if you have to blame someone, don't blame yourself, don't blame your neighbor, who has had as rough a time as you, don't even blame the Moon people—they are long gone!—blame your representative government. Blame me, Gensokyo. Your governor, Reimu Hakurei. The buck stops here!" Then music again. [ (♫) ftp://falloutgensokyo.dyndns.org/WVOA4.mp3 ]
“Reimu Hakurei? No, it's gotta be a descendant.” “What do you mean, Dai?” “Reimu Hakurei was a human shrine maiden who enforced the laws of Gensokyo over two hundred years ago, though she became increasingly more ascetic in later years, as her human friends died, and Gensokyo was part of a new world that she did not know how to brave.” “Maybe she's no longer human?” “The Guide suggests nothing, but she had stopped aging prior to the War, it was rumored back then. The guide just refers to 'Hakurei' as the primary shrine and having lineage in Gensokyo. The Hakurei shrine maiden—along with Yakumo—worked to keep the Border in working order, and to mete out justice whenever someone threatened distinctly human—or her own—interests. I can't imagine her becoming youkai since her predecessor dealt with them on an even more frequent basis, and that was before Spellcard Rules and the informal, but nigh universal, agreement to use danmaku in order to made combat less deadly. However, the voice match is perfect, and it's hard to wrap my processes around.” Ren has many hypotheses: “She may be a genetic clone? Or she's a persona transformed into an AI like Dai here? Or she really is a youkai—“ “The Great Hakurei Border is in shambles, I can still see little, little bits, like grains of sand on a shoreline...” Mary sounding despondent. Novgorod, visuals. GOOD THING YOU DIDN'T PICK PERCEPTION AS A DUMP STAT, HUH? You see what Mary is talking about. Even floating on the waves, there's color distortions: Reds, whites, and purples. “Some kind of Border Background Radiation. Mary, I can see it: Red-white speckling & the purple tint over it all?” It's kind of making you sick. TELL THE TRUTH HUMAN. I AM A VALUABLE MEMBER OF THIS ENDEAVOR. I'll say whatever you want as long as you turn it off. Mary looks wide-eyed at you, “You can see them? Really, Max?” Ren just looks at either of you, confused. “I can. P.A.D.S. seems to have ability to detect... um...” BORDER IMAGERY. “...Border imagery. Turn if off now, Novgorod.” The sight goes away does. “Oh?” She sounds a little deflated, but not completely. “That is what I see all the time.” That can't be good at all for her mental health. PROBABLY WHY SHE'S AN ALCOHOLIC. FIND CREATOR. ASK FOR MODIFIED, P.A.D.S.-EQUIPPED DOLL. JUST AS IT CAN CREATE THE IMAGES, P.A.D.S. CAN REMOVE IT BY RECTIFYING SENSORY DATA. You can't do this yourself? Yes. That's just how you'll do it. Direct mental communication in first person, marked by italics! Narrative in second person: Normal typeface! NO. REQUIRES FIRMWARE HACK. CREATOR WILL KNOW HOW. Mary's voice, interrupting your thoughts, “Without needing to perform these duties, she may actually have become a youkai. Similar to how tengu come from dishonorable clerics in folklore, right?” “Some cliché about idle hands, then?” “Or these recordings are very, very well made amalgams of historic recordings,” Ren gives a final supposition with a shrug. “Can I see what you see with the doll, Max? Despite many having dropped tabs of blotter hundreds of times, I'm having trouble visualizing.” Of course, Ren's actually interested in one more common denominator with Mary. YOU WANT THAT I SHOULD REFUSE THE BULLDYKE? No. And she's not a bull-dyke; I had sex with her three times. “Just take if off my head Ren. If it starts insulting you mentally, start playing Cyndi Lauper in your mind.” “OK.” She plucks the doll off your mop. Which you were unable to do; maybe when it's locked on, there's some kind of electrostatic field of some sort? Like rubbing your hair with a balloon? No, that shit doesn't make any sense! “Holy smoke! Get it off! Get it off!!” Novgorod relinquishes and you plop it back on your head. What did you do to her? STANDARD VISUALIZATION DAEMON. “Jesus fucking Christ... holy shit...” “Are you all right, Ren?” “Yeah. But woah! I didn't expect a pastel horror out of one of Edvard Munch's nightmares! Fucker was a realist!” AS EXPECTED. SHE HAS MORE IMAGINATION THAN YOU.
There is a fade-out in the music, and the announcer speaks again: “Taking a break from my usual monologues & arranged star-spangled tunes, I have a specific piece of music I wish to play for you. In my youth as a shrine maiden, I was expected to perform many rituals for the Hakurei shrine, which included such things as self-purification by cold water, the tea ceremony, and the entertainment of guests, whether they be petitioners, traveling monks, gods, or even statesmen in later years. The piece I am about to play, I did not write, rather it was adapted for plucking on the erhu—the 'Chinese violin'—by an elder I well respected. I myself learnt to play it on the Japanese koto. The piece and its genesis I believe encapsulates the Gensokyo microcosm, within the macrocosm of Japan, and the greater macrocosm of America—the East in the West, and so forth, all united under a single sky, a single starry heaven. This is one of my favorite pieces to perform. It is simply a soloist rendition of the German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel—his famous 'Canon in D Major', which had actually been lost to the West for a few centuries before the War, but was re-discoved in the early 20th century, and after that garnered much acclaim and play, to the point where it became the most common piece adapted to play as civil, ceremonial march in the United States. Lost by one, found by another. Written by one, adapted by another. Played by one, listened to... by another. No 'great statesmen' come around to knock on my door anymore Gensokyo, but Sometimes a Great Notion takes me, and I play this. Enjoy it.”
Tewi's cab arrives. Finally. Ren, Mary, and you had been passing time as far out of the camp as possible, so you're able to flag down her checkered, yellow car easily. The rabbit girl was about when you were expecting: Short height, black hair, bunny ears. Notably, she wears a simple pink dress with a carrot pendent that looks like it had its paint charred off in a nuclear fire. “Woah! Are you Vault dwellers?” She calls from out of the driver's seat, engine still running. “Yeah.” Renko answers. “Well, I'll be damned. If I weren't already. Uh, you want some help with that stuff?” She's talking about your belongings. “No, just hit the—“ The truck unlatches with a pop. Mary and Ren both get into the car in the rear. You make to get in the front passenger-side seat, but the door is locked. “Woah, woah, woah. Everyone sits in the back, so squeeze in between those two girls, bud. There are rules.” “What rules?” “I'll tell you on the way, so get in the back-seat.” You do your best to all three of you in the back. Apparently Tewi's car radio is on a different channel, since there's an advertisement break: “...Just heard Mozart's Fifth Symphony, with lyrical accompaniment, also known as the 'Ode to Joy'. Its message of universal brotherhood was the anthem of the European Union, who were dealt the first blow in the Lunarian Occupation! You heard it just now on WSDM, your independent source for soul-soothing music in these troubled times. Up next we have some Brahms for ya, so don't change that dial! It's time for a word from our sponsors: “Are you a metahuman with a specific weakness? “'Gee I'd like to try my hand at making breakfast, but that's a cast-iron skillet; what about my cold-iron sensitivity?' “'It'd sure be nice to get a tan like the other girls—if only the sun didn't set me on fire!' “'Wow he bought me this ring, but doesn't he know that therianthropes are allergic to silver?” “Fret no more, because do we have the answer for you! With our desensitization-behavioral therapy, you needn't hide from your weaknesses any more! Stop on over to the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and request your copy of 'Silver and the Vampire', a self-help guide for all youkai with material sensitivities! Stop letting you weakness hold you back, and move forward, today!” “Blah. More of Scarlet's bullshit.” She turns her radio to the same channel as on your Pip-Boy. “So where ya headed?” “Probably Vault ⑩. We're trying to track down Alice Margatroid,” you respond, wedged between two other people. Do you really have to sit back here the whole way? Tewi starts to drive. “Good luck. Girl was wrapped up too tight for Gensokyo. Hell, she was probably wrapped up too tight for Earth.” “You know where she is?” We only know her former residence and her Vault assignment. “Think she's still down in Vault ⑩ in Magic Forest, wherever the entrance is—probably in, around, or under her uninhabited restaurant. Most of the human population moved to the village, but some youkai & youkai-friendly humans prefer drinking in Mystia's Bar & Grill.” “They allow humans?” “Course they allow humans, it's number one in the cross-species dating scene. If you got the money. Course, the Saloon in the Village is cheaper, but they're more youkai[/u]-wary. Finally, I'd advise staying away from the Kirisame War Memorial. Raiders have taken the place over. Don't let them see you with just your socks on, 'kay?” Renko interrupts, “Are you going to drive straight across the Basin?” “This baby can handle a half-foot of water, no problem. Just might want to keep your personal affects on your lap. Bullets and years have poked more than few holes in the running-board.” “Any other tips you can provide, Miss?” “Inaba. Tewi Inaba. And I got plenty to say, mostly about how I run this cab.” “We're listening.” "Rule Number One. Don't get out of the motherfucking cab, unless you're prepared to go all the way. The meter's been busted since forever, and I’m not gonna wait for people who'd probably never make it back in the first place. The way it works is: 'Follow the white rabbit.' That doesn't mean the white rabbit follows you, capisce?” “Alright.” “Rule Number Two. Buckle up. ‘Suzie thinks she doesn't need a seat-belt? Let's watch Suzie go ballistic, through the windshield!’ You don’t wanna know how many people I’ve had to scrape off the front of my cab! “Rule Number Three. You stay in the back. Only people who ride shotgun is my friends, preferably with a shotgun; hell, in the one-in-a-million chance that I come to consider gracing you with the bond of friendship in your infinitesimal human lifespan, I will personally [i]award you a motherfucking shotgun! “Rule Number Four. If you see a mysterious stranger, don’t chase after him for his autograph! It doesn’t work, and it’s just embarrassing for everyone involved, so just don’t do it, okay?” “Okay!” Mary calls back with enthusiasm. “What about you Miss Inaba?” “What about me?” “You said the 'meter is busted' but we heard you run this service out of some deal with the Yama.” “Eh heh. That was just a joke; there'll be no chicanery from me, no sir. I've put those day behind me, yessir. I died, but the Yama gave a reprieve on account of some unbelievable clerical oversight. I thought she was going to burst a blood vessel on her assistant, I'll tell you. Yeah, used up a world of luck with that one.” “Not literally, right?” “If the world had any luck on that day, I wouldn't have died in the first place. No, when 10 billion people die in a nuclear holocaust, you don't get the opportunity to blame it on some numerological construct or a peculiar alignment of celestial bodies. No, that is all on us. That is all on us.” “But what kind of bad deeds are you serving for, uh, if you don't mind me asking?” “See these letters?” She points at an amulet hanging from the rear view mirror: प्रेत? Whoa, Devanagari is way cooler than Enclosed Alphanumerics and Nip-Scratchings! “What does it mean?” “Preta. That's sanskrit for 'Hungry Ghost'.” “Oh, so you're on a Lower Rung?” Mary follows with her own question: “Aren't most youkai though?” Which of course Ren answers in an attempt to impress her. “That's right. Asura—or youkai rather, are below humans in the Karmic sense, but above animals.” Perhaps to not sound racist Ren adds, “At least that's how the courts have it ordered.” Tewi is already back to focusing on the road. “I'm left wondering, though. You don't look any different. I'm half-youkai myself, and sometimes the difference seems artificial; it's nothing like the difference between the youkai I've met and animals.” “Well, you've got to think, what kind of youkai is a human likely to meet in a Vault. The brutal, animalistic kind? Or those with a humanoid appearance and character?” “A sampling error. She's got you there Max.” I'm not trying to win an argument, Ren. “Okay, I'll venture to say there are animal-like youkai and human-like youkai, such that one couldn't tell the difference, but how does a 'Hungry Ghost' get to look like a humanoid youkai? Specifically, a rabbit? That's jumping over at least two levels.” “There are unlucky, devolved, emaciated Preta out there; I'm just a lucky one. In fact my 'hunger' is strictly allegorical.” “Whatever did you do to earn the negative distinction, if you don't mind me calling it that?” “Not so much as did or not, so much as how long I did it for. In my last incarnation, not that I can remember most of it, but the judge said it was an interim of five thousand years since I'd been born as an actual, animal rabbit.” Mary's eyes tell you she's trying to wrap her head around the number. Renko gives a low whistle. “That's a long fucking time, man.” “No shit. Since my biggest sin was apparently the millennia of irreverence, as a 'hungry ghost' I have a 'hunger' for religious iconography. It plays out as a kind of an obsession, really.” True piety you guess is merely secondary to the accumulation of religious artifacts.
The radio has changed, some different channel that only comes in partially, rendering Tewi frustrated, trying to adjust the knob to the best exactly frequency. “Yet another report of gunfire exchanged between the Flower A-Patch-ees & the Scarlet Devil Minutemen! My people, my people, what can I say, say what I can. I saw it but didn't believe it, I didn't believe what I saw. Are we gonna live together, together are we gonna live? Well, now, this is WGNR, that's Gensokyo News Radio, for all you illiterates. I am your host, 'Howlin' Mad' Momizi X! Since our focus is on taking a chill, I got another record for all ye faithful listeners.”
“Uh, you're a shrine maiden, or priestess, or something like that girl?” “Yes,” Mary responds. “You mind giving me an amulet, if you got one?” To add to the collection she has, hanging from the ceilings and chairs and anywhere else she can put them. Mary gives her one—'兔'. You don't know what it means. “'Zodiacal Rabbit'? Cool. Cool. This is nice enough to trade for. You know any Sanskrit?” “A little from having to read primary sources,” Mary responds. Dangerously steering with her knees, Tewi writes something on the front of a blank, hanging amulet, using her tongue to wetting the tip of a ball-point pen. Finally she gives it to you to pass back to Mary—'शर्म'. Glancing at it, you have no idea. “Sharma?” Mary asks, taking it from you. “Yeah,” Now with two hands back on the wheel. “It's an appellation, mostly used for Brahmans—the caste, not the mutant cattle, mind you, but also practitioners of other religions. And you seem religious enough.” “So, 'Sharma Maribel Han' or 'Maribel Han Sharma'?” “The latter! Anyway, it helps me with my neuroses, talking to the divinely gifted! 'Sides anyone will tell you that names have power in Gensokyo.”
[ (☯) Mary has acquired the title 'Sharma'! Karma is +50 while near Mary! ]
“So getting back to why has Alice Margatroid locked herself in her own Vault again.” “I don't know. Maybe she wasn't breastfed? Maybe Mommy hugged her too much or not enough? Name your cliché. Anyway we're approaching your stop. Unless it isn't,” Tewi states meaningfully. "Keep Rule #1 in mind, children." All you can see is a low sun and blackened trees.
[ ] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [ ] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. - [ ] Hopefully you can get what you want at Alice's restaurant. - [ ] Clear Kirisame War Memorial first. There's no point in getting into Vault ⑩ if you're to be waylaid by raiders on exit. - [ ] Maybe it was built right into the former Vault ⓜ? If there's one thing you can be sure of in Vault construction, it's corner-cutting. [ ] You can always go downtown~! (Human Village & Vault ➄. Last stop. Everybody out.)
[ ] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 - [ ] Status - [ ] Inventory - [ ] Notes - [ ] Radio
[x] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [x] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest.
[x] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [x] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest.
[x] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [x] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest.
Clearing the raiders might be rather important in gaining her favour, but we also won't know about it without hitting the restaurant first so might as well head there and then think after that.
I'm also redownloading all the music and then reuploading it due to the new metatag data so that should be up some time tonight. It includes one, maybe two songs not used in the story so far (WVOA3 and Vault9PA17).
[X] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [X] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. [X] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving.
[x] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [x] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. [x] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving.
Damn, I forgot about Yue's thing. Thank you.
>>113224 >Mugetu Terrible romanization is terrible, official or not. ಠ_ಠ
>>113226 >Scarlet Devil Basin - Toxic and maybe a foot at th.png The filename cuts off after the 50th character, by the way. Also, ' is turned into \\', so you may want to use ` or something instead of apostrophes, when you need them.
>Today's Monster Threat Level is 'Rodan.' I giggled.
[X] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [X] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. [X] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving.
[x] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [x] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. [x] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving. Good thinking our MC is a lover not a fighter. Actually, he is a lover and a fighter, but we need to work out our CHA and LK.
>So, my fellow Americans, if you have to blame someone, don't blame yourself, don't blame your neighbor, who has had as rough a time as you, don't even blame the Moon people—they are long gone!—blame your representative government. Blame me, Gensokyo. Your governor, Reimu Hakurei. The buck stops here!" GLORIOUS
[X] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. - [X] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. - [X] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving.
As much as I would want to see the Kirisame War Memorial, we might want to wait until we are strong enough to not get raped, killed, and raped again by lesbian youkai raiders first.
I noticed a few metatag errors though. Strange Magic was titled Strrange Magic. Vault9PA had its song title set to the same as Vault9PA3. Might be a few more. They're not fixed in the .rar though because of the number of issues I had getting them to even upload properly. Mediafire seems to really hate the second file.
File 126748318515.png - (2.53KB, 252x284 , fallout just push him off the balcony.png) [iqdb]
>Strange Magic was titled Strrange Magic. >Vault9PA had its song title set to the same as Vault9PA3.
Thank you and fixed.
Vault9PA.mp3 is "Breezin'" by George Benson.
The ELO song is indeed "Strange Magic".
Also, fixed the disc# discontinuity on Vault9pa56.mp3 (The meta should read '2').
>[X] Vault ⑩. Down the rabbit hole—if you can find it. >- [X] Check out Mystia's Bar & Grill. See if you can find the Vault's exact location and status, along with information on the other parts of the blackened Magic Forest. >- [X] Also, relay Yue's message before leaving.
Working on the next update.
Also, good on you Anon. I would have forgotten about Yue's message.
>>113500 Changes made. I'll have them reuploaded soon enough.
I'm conflicted on whether we should ever listen to VoA again. It definitely has value in being listened to until we find out whether Reimu went nuts and made herself immortal, or if it's a decendant of her, but on the other hand, we were subjected to Maroon 5, though that question should be taken care of soon enough, either at Mystia's or by Alice assuming she's still sane enough to answer us properly. Finding out about Marisa would be good too. The fate of all the human characters from the Touhou characters is definitely something I want to find out. So far we only know that Sanae met a grim end at the hands of Kogasa. Amazed she was able to pull it off and not spend an immensely short life after that being punished by Kanako and Suwako.
>>113516 >It definitely has value in being listened to until we find out whether Reimu went nuts and made herself immortal, or if it's a descendant of her
Yes those would be important future plot points.
>but on the other hand, we were subjected to Maroon 5
Oh posh! You don't listen to Enclave radio for the music! You listen to it for the gravitas & truthiness!
>though that question should be taken care of soon enough, either at Mystia's or by Alice assuming she's still sane enough to answer us properly.
>Finding out about Marisa would be good too. The fate of all the human characters from the Touhou characters is definitely something I want to find out.
I can only tell you now what you already know: Marisa indeed fought against the Moonies, but is long dead, and a Memorial has been created to honor her. Marisa was also pretty important to at least two other humans (or beings that once were human).
But having to tell the white from the black in post-War Gensokyo is probably giving Siki an ulcer.
>So far we only know that Sanae met a grim end at the hands of Kogasa.
Grim? Yes. End? No, not quite yet.
A transformation of character.
miracle to subsist on a diet consisting entirely of ramen for seventeen years. Maybe she put that time to good use!
I have no idea. It made sense in my head to separate discs from the same source over different days, since they were interrupted by dream music, but now there's multiple channels at work, and so I will defer wholly to the archivist.
I don't know how long it will be, but this update will come before midnight. It's a very active evening for a lot of stories on THP.
>I can only tell you now what you already know: Marisa indeed fought against the Moonies, but is long dead, and a Memorial has been created to honor her. Marisa was also pretty important to at least two other humans (or beings that once were human).
I was more interested in learning whether she passed away peacefully or suffered a horrible death at the hands of something or someone (Same goes for a lot of the Touhous. We already know Mokou's dead, which is amazing, but that's a question better answered in the human village if we can figure out a way to actually bring it up without metagaming), since that would also play heavily into Alice's state of mind and could also be used to our advantage potentially in gaining her favour. For instance, she may be batshit insane, but we could still get things from her to help clear up the war memorial, especially if Marisa died fighting because then relying on saying that Marisa deserves better could be put into effect. Alice's grimoire would make a nice addition to our arsenal, assuming we could actually handle it.
>I have no idea. It made sense in my head to separate discs from the same source over different days, since they were interrupted by dream music, but now there's multiple channels at work, and so I will defer wholly to the archivist.
Ah. I was envisioning albums proper. The segmentation of them based on the dreamscape does make sense and then defining a good breaking point after that to separate the albums could prove difficult.
>I don't know how long it will be, but this update will come before midnight. It's a very active evening for a lot of stories on THP.
>>113563 Looking forward to it, and I'll redo the batch audio tomorrow then. I want to touch up the tags anyways so that W7 shows all the details properly when viewing the folder that contains all the songs.
“'Howlin' Mad' Momizi X here with another one of my Wasteland gripes. Does anyone else awaken to the BOOM-BOOM in the middle of the night? Am I hallucinating, ripped out of my mind on mescaline, or did a floating [i]land-battleship decide to bombard the shit out of the Petrified Bamboo Forest, floating over Scarlet Devil Basin like there was water in it? Fires dammaku rounds according one of its victims, but seems they still pack a hell of a punch. What have those screwy rabbits gotten into? The Ghost Ship seems to be moving over these intervals to Lake Suwa and back, taking up lots of water to fuel its nuclear reactor. When am I gonna get a full night's rest? Didn't the complete destruction of our civilization do enough to discourage weapons testing? Or is it because those Lunarian expatriates used to live there? Whoever it is, whatever the reason, they need to cool that shit off! Y'all take a chill! And that's the double truth, Bruce!”[/i] “Tewi, there's peace signs decorating the entire outside of your car, and yet, there's a bazooka under your cab seat. What is a bazooka doing under your cab seat?” “Peace? Feh! Peace this. Peace that. Peace-out, peacenik... 'Cept every time I try to get a peace of mind, or a bigger piece of the pie, someone tries to grab a piece of mine. So I gotta make my own peace.” “Your 'peace' says 'Carl Gustaf M3 Recoilless Rifle' down the side of it.” “Yes, but I personally hand-paint the Smiley Face on each warhead, so it evens out!” You're not sure that it works that way. PERHAPS FALSE RABBIT IS GUNRUNNING WITH THE TAXI AS A FRONT. That could actually be true. “Motherfucker!” But no time for speculations, the cab screeches to a sudden halt. Both you and Ren have to lean on Mary to see the scene: A drum with a fire blazing. Some hoodlums, possibly youkai, stand around it hooting and hollering. Tewi leans out the driver-side window: “Hey, what did I tell you fuckers about squatting near pickup spots!” What you assume is the leader of them speaks up: “You wanna do something about it, huh? Give us the man-flesh or piss off!” “They're armed.” Ren says in your ear. “Machine pistol in the back waistband of their leader. Probably a low-power revolver in pick front pocket of the short one's hoodie.” The third is very obviously carrying a stick with a nail through it, but it's hard to make out the others with distinction, since the sun is setting below the treeline. “Good eye, Ren. How are we going to do this?” “'Piss off'? I'll show them pissed off!” Tewi climbs out of the roof window (more of an aperture since there is no glass pane), feet on either of the front chairs. “Vault-Boy, hand me the bazooka.” She doesn't say it in a voice loud enough for them to hear, but you sure hope she knows what she's doing. Ren passes it up from under the seat in front of her, to you, and you give it to Tewi, when extends the telescoping stock and aims. “Hey, that better be a danmaku charg—!” The leader cries too late. The rocket makes a less than satisfying 'fwooooo' as it fires, the projectile traveling slower than you expect, and much to the surprise of the screaming hoodlums and you, it hits the barrel with a thunk, knocking it over. The three youkai who dove to the ground take their hands off their heads in confusion, and the leader starts to go for his gun. “3... 2... 1...” That's when Tewi finishes counting down to 0. The explosion is quite massive. The barrel is nowhere to be seen, a scorch mark the only proof of it once existing. The youkai are in pieces... literally. They are also quite dead. “Now that is why I keep a bazooka in my car.” FALSE RABBIT DESERVES A BETTER EPITHET. Cwazy Wabbit? THE SECOND PART WILL DO. FALSE WABBIT: THE 'W'' IS FOR WARRIOR. Mary opens the door. More awed than cowed by the destructive power of Tewi's weapon. “That was a freebie, kids. Hey, remember Rule #1!” “We got it. You said this was close?” You clamber out after Mary. “Pop the trunk?” Ren asks, still in the car. It unlatches with a distinctive tink, like a spent cartridge being ejected from a rifle.
Ren is still getting out of the car while you grab the stuff. You notice what you hadn't when you stuffed the bags in there: The trunk has a false bottom. Under the mat is a wooden crate marked M3 MUNITIONS in slashed, military-esque lettering. “Tewi, you want to reload?” “No. This is the last stop before the Village. I'll get to it in the morning. You guys are lucky, though.” You slam the popped trunk closed. “How's that?” Ren is out of the car now, grabbing her backpack from you. “If they were a tiny bit smarter they would have lain in wait, then attacked you when I drove off.” “We don't have a rocket launcher, but I think we're covered.” Ren says, patting her guns. “Glad to know conventional weapons are effective against youkai, though.” “Like I said, it was a freebie. Don't expect another. Remember Rule One: Once you’re out, you’re on your own.” “Oh, you mean we can't count on you?” “No!” “Good!” Ren calls back with a laugh. Tewi turns the ignition, and the motor starts humming again. ”Wait a minute!” “What?” She tries to sound annoyed, turning her face toward yours, the window open and her arm resting on it. “Yue Inaba says 'thanks'...” Her eyes widen at the revelation. “And if you got any of K.C.'s effects, she'll pay you, at whatever cost you deem fit.” “Heh. Nice to know the kid lives. Most of the rabbits died with me trying to get into Vault ②.” Noticing that she's being uncharacteristically informative, she grumbles, “So yeah, I circuit this place twice. Once to bring the alcoholics around at Noon, and then to pick them up at 4:00 PM; that there's none today means the youkai scared 'em back into the Myschi's, or they stayed in 'cause of the rain. Normally I don't wait, but I guess I could spare five or ten minutes—see if you make the return trip tomorrow?” It's already 4:10, indicating a willing to follow through with her words. Promise or no. “Thanks, Tewi.” “Hey. What's your name, kid?” “Max. Max Rockatansky. Son of Rin Satsuki. Vault ⑨.” “Sweet Moses, she had a kid! Hey, when you die, can you put in a good word for me? I really don't want to be a cab driver for eternity!” “Uh, I'll try.” Not planning on dying just yet. “Thanks, Rocko. Smell ya later!” And in a plume of noxious smoke, she drives off. Leaving you in the 'forest'. Which is anything but. Soggy chips of bark line the ground. The trees are all dead & blackened. And it's still raining. “What was this place called again?” “Magic Forest at one point,” Ren answers sarcastically. “Then during the urbanization, it became 'Magic Park',” Mary fills in with equal irreverence. “Finally, it became Magic Office Park,” Dai finishes. That would explain the ruined buildings that fence in this large quadrangle of deadwood. Got to love modern architecture: Efficient & beauty-free. “Well, it looks like fucking Love Canal. Is the target in one of the surrounding buildings?” “No.” Dai again. “It was an actual park, with a brook and everything, since they had already known fairies required land preservation, after the initial Vault testing. Since it was zoned as 'historically important' only the the structures that were already established remain.” “Which are?” “Mystia's Bar & Grill, which got its start as a food stand. The General Kirisame War Memorial, which is at the site her house stood. Wriggle's Creepy Crawlers pet shop & Kourindou, a curio shop are part of the protected historical places, but they're out of the park, wedged between apartments and offices, by the topographical data. Alice's restaurant is also inside the park complex. The business grew out of her house, rather than Mystia's which began as a food stand. Though I think she lived there too, to be fair.” “Any reason we should head to any of these before Alice's & Vault ⑩?” “Kourindou might have something worth looting, but buried under piles and piles of junk.” “I read that Wriggle Nightbug was alive!” Adds Mary. You have no idea who that is, and the surname suggests you don't want to know. “Yes, but she seems to have a less than friendly reputation, and has possibly gone insane, dressing up like a super-villain and attacking the Village. They're not even sure in here where she operates out of.” “I just got away from the ants; I'm not dealing with them again.” Nobody argues. Dai continues: “The Kirisame War Memorial sounds interesting, but who knows if it, or Alice's restaurant survived the flash-fires that blackened the forest. At least we have some information on Myschi's Bar & Grill. I knew her a little. She was an enterprising sort for a beast youkai.” And that's the kind your most related too, right? “I think that's our most likely source for information. Tewi spoke as people from the village made a regular commute.” "Those lights in the distance?" "Fairy-fire. Even though the forest is deadm ferals roam this place. Lets stick to the well-beaten path." Okay. Flashlights on. Head for the sound, not the light. "If you ever get lost, look at your map, Max. This wasn't the Bamboo Forest, but drunks and children still had a tendency to get lost." "Fairy games?" You've never been pranked. Don't know if a feral leading you into a spiked pitfall and then snacking on your bones counts as a 'prank'.
It's a two-story wooden affair, blackened definitely from the fires, but only superficially, probably protected by magical or chemical fireproofing, and likely constant renovation. The cloth sign is painted with red Kana & Latin characters. Oddly the Kana is transliterated from the English, rather than the other way around: "MYSTIA'S BAR & GRILL" The area around it can be extensively logged, probably as both timber and as a firebreak. The windows are terribly dusty, so that you can only see the man standing in the doorway, with his hand out to the light drizzle. The he sees you and there's a transformation in posture that makes it clear he's not waiting for a bus. Chest out, hands folded, tall, with some muscle too him—looks like the bouncer. Got a pistol at his side, too, similar to Ren's Nambu. Possibly a wolf youkai, by the canines and the ears. “Hey,” Ren says Guy is pretty intimidating until he realizes you're all staring at him and expecting for him to reply, in which case the blush and the averting of the eyes notably softens the effect. “W-w-welcome patrons to Myschi's Bar & Grill! Regulars are still inside because of the rain, if you came by Tewi's cab. We offer rooms at a cut-rate, if you're not keen on sitting on a bar-stool till noon tomorrow.” “Are you Myschi?” You ask. “What? N-no! I'm Sousha!” Oh. “I work for Myschi. She's serving drinks inside, and well, I'm not paid to talk so if you want to enter, please...” He steps out and to the side, awkwardly, so that you can get in. Figures that it's a woman's name.
>>113602 >“Hey, that better be a danmaku charg—!” The leader cries too late. >The explosion is quite massive. The barrel is nowhere to be seen, a scorch mark the only proof of it once existing. The youkai are in pieces... literally. They are also quite dead. >“Now that is why I keep a bazooka in my car.” >FALSE RABBIT DESERVES A BETTER EPITHET. Awesome. I couldn't help of thinking of legion while I read the last line.
File 126755287695.jpg - (1.68MB, 1100x950 , mystia welcome what can get for you.jpg) [iqdb]
“Welcome, Wastelanders! Sit where you like!” The pink-haired, winged woman calls from behind the counter. A bird youkai? There's five or six other people inside at the bar, but only three give you a mumbling glance. They look like professional drinkers. Three others are playing poker in the corner, loudly. “Well should we grab a seat or stool—" Your whispering is drowned out by a drunken reveler: “Hey, Myschi turn on WVOA! It's almost time!” “Oh alright, you old sots.” It's 4:30 JST, Gensokyo. If you lived in down in the Crown-lands of Australia, where it's UTC+9:30, you'd be out of work by now. But if you were Australian you'd also know that 4:30 is close enough to enjoy a drink, right? I've got my sake cup. Now you've got yours: Perhaps a finger of whiskey? A fifth of vodka? A spoon of sugar over your absinthe? Do you take a nice glass of port or sherry after dinner? Hell, maybe you've got a jug of moonshine you've been distilling in an automobile radiator? Well, since we'll soon be feeling nice soon enough, how about a patriotic song? Since it's the end of the workday in Australia, let us borrow theirs, hmm? A toast, to world peace—“ “She always talks so much—“ “Shush!” “...The War is long, long over. Right now, let us forget the endless fields of grain, the purple mountains and their majesty, and let's meander down to the billabong. That's an oxbow lake, for all you native American English speakers. This is the 9770 AM, the Voice Of America, your governor, Reimu Hakurei, reminding you to drink your three-to-four a day—it's good for your heart, it disinfects the water, and depending on the concentration will strip the 'N' off your caps: “Thanks for the 'vice gov'ner!” Mean Drunk chuckles sarcastically. “She's right, you know!” Opinionated Drunk raises a finger to Mean Drunk. “'Course she's always right! She's the voice of... America!” Patriotic Drunk gestures grandly. “Shh! The music's starting! Turn it up Myschi!” Animated Drunk drums on the bar. Three Playing Poker pause their game, one taking off his hat. Sousha too, has stepped in to listen to the radio.
The regulars know the unfamiliar words well enough that you guess, its a regular part of WVOA's rotation. Or that the drunks like their drinking songs. Probably both.
“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong, “Under the shade of a coolibah tree, “And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!
“'Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me!' “And he sang as he watched and waited 'til his billy boiled, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'”
“Down came a jumbuck to drink at that billabong; “Up jumped the swagman and grabbed him with glee! “And he sang as he stole that jumbuck in his tucker bag, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'”
“'Waltzing Matilda! Waltzing Matilda! "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me!' “And he sang as he stole that jumbuck in his tucker bag, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'”
“Up rode the squatter, mounted on his thoroughbred; “Up rode the troopers, one, two, three! "'Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'”
“'Waltzing Matilda! Waltzing Matilda! "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me! "'Where's that jolly jumbuck you've got in your tucker bag? "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'”
“Up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong, "'You'll never take me alive,' said he! “And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong, "'You'll never take me alive,' said he.'”
“'Waltzing Matilda! Waltzing Matilda! "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me!' “And his ghost may be heard as you pass by that billabong, "'You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me. "'Oh, You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda with me!'"
“Didn't mess the words once!” “Perfecto!” “Turn it off, Myschi! She'll jus' start rambling again.” “Now how do the words go?” “Who cares! It's been stormin' for hours! When's Iku gonna show us her rain-dance?” “W-w-waitaminute... I thought we were staying because of Nazrin's comedy act?”
YOUR PIP-BOY IS ATTEMPTING TO FLAG YOU DOWN. Dai is holding a sign: 'Song saved in memory. Play it for them Max?'
Where to sit: [ ] Saddle up to the bar. [ ] Find a table. [ ] There's a seat open at the poker table. [ ] Deal with the askance looks and wait to be seated.
Whether to entertain the other drunks or do something else: [ ] Why not ingratiate yourself with the drunken villagers? -[ ] Play it just once more, okay? -[ ] As many times as they'll pay you in alcohol. [i]Novgorod, scroll the lyrics. [ ] No. You're on the clock. -[ ] Chat up the Bartender (Mystia) -[ ] Chat up the Doorman (Sousha) [ ] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[ ] Watch the Burlesque Show (Iku) -[ ] Watch the Stand-Up (Nazrin)
And what to order from the bartender or waitress: “I'll have...” [ ] Beer -[ ] “...lager.” 1 Ⓝ -[ ] “...ale.” 1 Ⓝ -[ ] “...stout. Or porter. Or whatever passes for it around here.” 2 Ⓝ [ ] Whiskey-based -[ ] “...Bourbon. I hear you Wastelanders got plenty of corn.” 1 Ⓝ -[ ] “...Tennessee whiskey.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...Rye.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...Scotch.” (blended) 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...Scotch, single malt.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Manhattan.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...an Old Fashioned.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Whiskey Sour.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Jack & Nuka.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Scotch & Soda.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Rob Roy.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a 7&7. If you can do it without substitutions.” 5 Ⓝ [ ] Gin-based -[ ] “...gin.” (compound) 1 Ⓝ -[ ] “...London dry gin.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a gin blossom.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a dry martini, as soon a I get out of these wet clothes.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a G&T.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Tom Collins.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a gin fizz.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...sloe gin?” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...damson gin?” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...you wouldn't happen to have any jenever?” 6 Ⓝ [ ] Vodka-based -[ ] “...vodka, neat.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a screwdriver.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a black Russian.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a cosmopolitan.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a white Russian.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Harvey Wallbanger.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a bloody Mary. If not, Ren will have to pop Mary in the nose.” 6 Ⓝ [ ] Rum-based -[ ] “...a mug of grog!” (Arr!) 1 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a mug of bumbo!” (Yarr!) 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a rum & Nuka.” (Nuka libre) 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a daiquiri.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a mojito.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...jägertee.” 4 Ⓝ (Real men drink tea, right?) -[ ] “...a mai-tai.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a piña colada.” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a zombie.” 5 Ⓝ (brainzzz) [ ] Tequila-based -[ ] “...a shot of tequila.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a tequila slammer.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a margarita.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a tequila sunrise.” 4 Ⓝ [ ] 'Oriental' -[ ] “...a kamikaze.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Japanese slipper.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...日本酒—sake.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...焼酎—shochuu.” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...卵酒—tamagozake.” 6 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Noggasake.” 6 Ⓝ [ ] Other/Fancy/Dangerous -[ ] “...a sidecar, since I'm already toting around a lot of baggage.” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a pitcher of sangria!” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...an Americano, but with Perrier!” 3 Ⓝ (The cheapest way to improve a poor drink.) -[ ] “...a Jack Rose.” 4 Ⓝ (Hemmingway had the right idea. Not the suicide so much as the drinking.) -[ ] “...a B-52, and then queue 'Love Shack' on jukebox, kindly? I assume it doesn't take caps.” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Long Island iced tea. Ren, I remember your mother drank a lot of those!” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a grasshopper. If I find an insect in it, I'm coming after you.” 4 Ⓝ -[ ] “...is it too late for mimosas?” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a sea-breeze. Anyone for canasta?” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “…a funky cold Medina!” ? Ⓝ (Let's see how she does with something you just made up!) -[ ] “...a chocolate choo-choo... and no giggling!” 5 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a boilermaker.” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...an Irish car-bomb!” 4 Ⓝ (When boilermakers are not ambitious enough.) -[ ] “...Pimm's Cup?” 10 Ⓝ -[ ] “...Jello shooters!” 3 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a celebration! Dom Pérignon or whatever comes closest!” (Hope they take real money.) [ ] Teetotaler! -[ ] “...an ice cold Nuka-Cola.” 1 Ⓝ (No you don't get the cap.) -[ ] “...an ice cold Nuka-Cola, to go?” 2 Ⓝ -[ ] “...a Virgin Mary. This one's past her expiration date.” 5 Ⓝ & a slap! -[ ] “...one Root Beer Tapper.” ? Ⓝ -[ ] “...tea?” 1 Ⓝ & ten (10) mean looks
[ ] And what about your two friends? -[ ] As above. -[ ] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ -[ ] In fact, announce to the whole bar the next round is on you. -- Ⓝ (More than you have!)
Bar & Grill, right?: -[ ] That means menus. 5 Ⓝ -[ ] Eat? Here? Ehhhhhhh... You ate an entire pizza. That should be enough for a while, right? -[ ] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up.
[ ] About rooms... -[ ] One room, but you're at least finding Vault ⑩ before you sleep, dammit. 7 Ⓝ -[ ] One room. It'd be best to do your searching in the daylight. 7 Ⓝ -[ ] No room. You actually met some people outside your Vault! Party until dawn! -[ ] No room. No sleep till Brooklyn Vault ⑩. Certainly it will have the necessary amenities. -[ ] Not reason to decide just yet. Plenty of daylight.
[ ] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 - [ ] Status - [ ] Inventory - [ ] Notes - [ ] Radio
If Radio: ╔Ｒａｄｉｏ════════════════════════════ ╟─ＦＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 76.1 ㎒ – Vault ⑨ PA System (stereo, ERP 9.5 ㎾) ║[ ] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾) ║[x] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio (stereo, ERP 20 ㎾) ╟─ＡＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 191 ㎑ – NOAA Emergency Broadcasting Network (mono, ERP 145 ㎾) ║[ ] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio (mono, ERP 5㎿) ║[ ] 1500- ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal (mono, ERP 50 ㎾) ╟─Ｃｉｔｉｚｅｎｓ＇─Ｂａｎｄ────────────────── ║[ ] 26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan channels 1-29 (mono, ERP <4000 ㎽) ╟─Ｍａｒｉｎｅ─ＶＨＦ────────────────────── ║[ ] 2182 ㎑ – Int. Maritime Distress Frequency (mono, ERP 5 ㎾) ╟───────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Stations are added to the list as they come in to range.] ║[Note: Struck-through stations have poor or no reception.] ╚═════════════════════════════════
Monday, October 22, 2277 (⌚) 4:33 PM JST
No, the next entry or store will not have eight billion choices like this one. I've just been drinking a lot of highballs lately. Choose as many options as you want, drinks or no, even if they seem exclusive.
'On the Beach (1959)' is a pretty good post-Apocalyptic film.
[x] Find a table. Would you rather eat in the floor? Don't answer that. [x] Why not ingratiate yourself with the drunken villagers? -[x] Play it just once more, okay? -[x] Ask for DONATIONS We need friends. And caps. Mostly, caps. [x] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[x] Watch the Stand-Up (Nazrin) If possible, if applicable, if passable (optional) [x] 'Oriental' -[x] “...日本酒—sake.” 4 Ⓝ We're in Japan, no? Be proud of your country state! [x] And what about your two friends? -[x] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Blood mar.. OH FUCK Bar & Grill, right?: -[x] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up. Something cheap and fucking light. -[x] Make a note of asking something for road tomorrow. Sandwiches? [x] About rooms... -[x] One room. It'd be best to do your searching in the daylight. 7 Ⓝ Apparitions Stalk The Night. [x] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 - [x] Radio - [x] GNR Don't feed the ghost princess! That is all.
Where to sit: [x] Find a table. Whether to entertain the other drunks or do something else: [x] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[x] Chat up the Bartender (Mystia) -[x] Watch the Burlesque Show (Iku) And what to order from the bartender or waitress: “I'll have...” [x] Tequila-based -[x] “...a tequila sunrise.” 4 Ⓝ [x] And what about your two friends? -[x] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ Bar & Grill, right?: -[x] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up. Something cheap and fucking light. -[x] Make a note of asking something for road tomorrow. Sandwiches? [x] About rooms... -[x] One room. It'd be best to do your searching in the daylight. 7 Ⓝ [x] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 - [x] Radio - [x] GNR
You forgot to bring up Yue~ No big deal. We can take care of that when we're leaving and have to take the cab to the human village.
Sitting down is good. The show probably won't start immediately, nor are we pressed for time anyways if we're staying the night so doing both should be easily plausible. Tequila is always the fun drink of choice, and it's always better to let your friends order for themselves unless you're doing some sort of "I pick a drink for everyone, then you, then etc..." setup. Food is also something worth picking up if we're staying the night, we can replenish our caps after we clear up the war memorial easily enough.
[X] Find a table. Would you rather eat in the floor? Don't answer that. [X] Why not ingratiate yourself with the drunken villagers? -[X] Play it just once more, okay? -[X] Ask for DONATIONS We need friends. And caps. Mostly, caps. [X] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[X] Watch the Stand-Up (Nazrin) If possible, if applicable, if passable (optional) [X] 'Oriental' -[X] “...日本酒—sake.” 4 Ⓝ We're in Japan, no? Be proud of your country state! [X] And what about your two friends? -[X] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Blood mar.. OH FUCK Bar & Grill, right?: -[X] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up. Something cheap and fucking light. -[X] Make a note of asking something for road tomorrow. Sandwiches? [X] About rooms... -[X] One room. It'd be best to do your searching in the daylight. 7 Ⓝ Apparitions Stalk The Night. [X] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 -[X] Radio -[X] GNR
>>113620 He did, actually. >>113601 >“Yue Inaba says 'thanks'...” Her eyes widen at the revelation. “And if you got any of K.C.'s effects, she'll pay you, at whatever cost you deem fit.”
Once we can control hydromancy well enough, we can just give the majority of our foes a nice sphere of water around their head. It'll incapacitate most of them, and kill any we don't attempt to save. We'd be the ones doing the raping at that point.
[X] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[X] Chat up the Bartender (Mystia) -[X] Watch the Burlesque Show (Iku)
[X] Other/Fancy/Dangerous -[X] “…a funky cold Medina!” ? Ⓝ (Let's see how she does with something you just made up!)
[X] And what about your two friends? -[X] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ
[X] Bar & Grill, right? -[X] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up.
[X] About rooms... -[X] Not reason to decide just yet. Plenty of daylight.
[X] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 -[X] Status -[X] Notes -[X] Radio
Talk about choices. I'm tempted to give our made-up drink a name referencing Ren and Mary, but it's way too late for me to come up with something clever enough. I suppose I'll have to make up for it by voting to flirt with our girlfriends twice as hard at the next opportunity.
At least I can get some Iku. She doesn't show up nearly often enough on THP.
>>113669 It was explicitly stated that it will be MUCH more difficult to keep two girlfriends outside of the vault, considering that there were a total of two men inside of the vault, and one didn't really count for much. inb4 no men in Gensokyo
Somehow I doubt the trouble will arise from Mary and Ren suddenly becoming high-strung enough to snap at Max every time he talks to a woman for information, or to shoot the breeze and ingratiate himself with the locals. Neither of our girls are stupid, after all.
I get the impression that you don't know what a burlesque show actually is. While the striptease is heavily associated with burlesque, it is not a requisite component, and even when it is an element of the show it doesn't require the girls to bare everything. Burlesque dancing girls aren't strippers.
That's not even getting into the fact that burlesque is actually a fairly broad comedy theater, either.
>>113557 >I was more interested in learning whether she passed away peacefully or suffered a horrible death at the hands of something or someone
That's really Reimu's story to tell; her funeral oration will show up on WVOA eventually.
Also, don't worry about skipping the Memorial for now. The Office it's 1 parts eggnogg to 3 parts sake.
>>>113655 >You can't exactly fill that role unless you're no longer living.
deva-rung being in-and-of-itself. I'm only telling you since she'll be mentioned in the next update, as at least one of you have opted to chat up Mystia.
And that Water is just between incarnations; at least one Earth isn't, for example. Just as Daiyousei manifest herself in Max's dream, being an elemental for a dream sequence doesn't automatically mean quitting one's day job.
Also, I am going to start putting my own passwords in when I post. Some of these broken tags are really catastrophic to the narrative flow. No timeline on the next update, because holy shit Palingenesia is huge and I haven't even finished the first thread.
Sousha, Mystia, Iku, and Nazrin means respectively Warren Zevon, Patsy Cline, ragtime, and a steady diet of government cheese. (At least it won't be a patriotism-fueled sausage-fest, leaving your girls do all the legwork.)
>>113770 Ah. My initial take on it was that they'd be with us the entire time, acting as another voice in our head except only we could hear and converse with it, but then our PADS doll took the place of that somewhat. Had assumed Mokou was dead to prevent us meeting up with her while she was in Max's head. Guess I should have changed how I thought of them after the dreamscape and such, but oh well.
As for Alice, oh boy! At this rate, Braun will look like a choir boy in comparison.
[x] Find a table. [x] Why not ingratiate yourself with the drunken villagers? -[x] Play it just once more, okay? -[x] Ask for DONATIONS. [x] Fuck it, let's have some fun before we die. -[x] Watch the Burlesque Show (Iku) -[x] Watch the Stand-Up (Nazrin) -[x] Chat up the Bartender (Mystia) -[x] Chat up the Doorman (Sousha)
I'll have... [x] 'Oriental' -[x] “...日本酒—sake.” 4 Ⓝ [x] And what about your two friends? -[x] Let them order what they want. ? Ⓝ
Bar & Grill, right?: -[x] You know what you want and you're sure she can whip it up: Something cheap & fucking light. -[x] Make a note of asking something for road tomorrow. Sandwiches?
About rooms... -[x] One room. It'd be best to do your searching in the daylight. 7 Ⓝ
Hey, writefag-person: has any kind of clear history/timeline been laid out from the Outside discovery of Gensokyo to the current day (2277 AD)? If not, any chance you could cook something like that up?
Sure. This timeline is an aggregation of data contained in the Vault Survival Guide, the Wasteland Survival Guide: Gensokyo Edition, commonly known Vault history, and personal knowledge of the principals. Not necessarily what the main character knows, but definitely within his power to find out from Daiyousei or his immediate followers.
2011: • Large Hadron Collider goes critical, destroying a large part of Central Europe. - Lunarians occupy Central Europe. • Gensokyo is revealed to the the rest of Earth. - Youkai are represented by goddess Kanako Yasaka & the Lady of Borders, Yukari Yakumo. - The laws of Gensokyo are represented by Shrine Maiden Reimu Hakurei. - The humans of Gensokyo are represented by village elders Keine Kamashirasa & Akyu-no-Hieda, the magician Marisa Kirisame, and expatriated Outsiders, including an LHC scientist, a WWII vet, a haberdasher, and an Olympic javelinier. - Collectively, peace is brokered between Japan & Gensokyo, which is granted a title as a Prefecture (County) of the State of Japan, and much of the land is set aside as 'wildlife' reservation. • Gensokyo is defined by statute as the area around what were the bounded space around the Preserved Yatsugatake Mountain, on the border of Nagano & Yamanashi Prefectures, in the Chuubuu Region of the Japanese mainland. - Youkai Mountain (Preserved Yatsugatake) is a preserved version of the former Mt. Yatsugatake (八ヶ岳, lit. “Mountain with Five Peaks). Seem from Gensokyo, it has an elevation higher than Mt. Fuji. - Mostly deciduous forests; higher elevations are alpine forests. - Surrounding locales include Minamimaki village (Minamisaku district, Nagano) to the SE, Hokuto city (Yamanashi) to the S, Fujimi township (Suwa district, Nagano) to SSW, Hara village (Suwa district, Nagano) to SW, Chino city & Suwa city (Nagano) to W. - Landlocked in central Japan; 100 miles from the sea toward NW, 75 miles from Tokyo bay toward the SE.
2013: • Determined to be of immense national value, Gensokyo is elevated to the status of a federal district. • First military initiatives are begun using Gensokyo's boardered lands as simulation of Luna behind the Veil (The Far Side of the Moon) and as a possible staging ground.
2020: • Byakuren establishes the Scarlet Basilica adjunct to SDM, serving serving as archdeaconess to the Gensokyo archdiocese of the Nippon Rite of the Catholic Church.
2021: • Lunarians begin to pull out of Central Europe due to popular unrest & constant warring against guerrillas & insurgent. • Reisen Udongein Inaba leaves Earth for Luna. • Yue Inaba becomes apprenticed to Eirin Yagokoro. • Akyu-no-Hieda (稗田の阿求) dies of a congenital heart defect, while predicting the War to come between Earth & Luna.
2022: • Tranquility Nuclear Pulse Propulsion Rocket construction begins.
Summer, 2024: • Preparations begin for a Lunar invasion at Camp Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. • Tranquility Rocket is moved into launch position at Camp Zama.
Fall, 2024: • Tranquility Rocket is launched; invasion of Near Side of the Moon begins. • First Battle for Tranquility. - Ends in the rout of a superior Lunarian force by the UN Lunar Expeditionary Force headed by USSMC Gen. Kirisame. - Establishes the USSMC as permanent branch of the US armed services. - Terrestrial nations establish a Moon-base on the Near Side of the Moon with the remnants of the Tranquility Rocket.
Sunday, September 27, 2026: • Retired war hero Gen. Marisa Kirisame's dies in her home at the age of 38. - Death ruled accidental. - Memorial & national holiday established in her honor.
2027: • Construction of Cipangu Disney begins in the Gensokyoan lowlands, between the Magic Forest & Mayohiga.
2028: • Deconstruction of the Tokyo Tower begins, with the intent to reconstruct it in Cipangu Disney.
2029: • Tokyo Tower is reconstructed inside the as yet incomplete Cipangu theme park.
2030: • Fine clothier & retired Gensokyoan diplomat Casey Mills dies of lung cancer.
2034: • Construction of Cipangu Disney is complete. - Park opened, showcasing a number of wonders not seen outside Gensokyo, including kami, youkai, fey, magic, and Lunarian technology. - Due to licensing issues over the animatronics, Rikako Asakura and a team of Kappa scientists took preserved dinosaur DNA and injected into monitor lizard blastocysts, using 'live' (& artificially sedated) dinossaurs for the Jurassic Park section of the theme park. Asakura's team received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their efforts.
2044: • Nuka-Cola is first invented.
Friday, March 20, 2065: • Second Battle for Tranquility. - Terrestrial garrison is killed by drawing Tranquility Base inside the Veil, and flooding it with a Lunarian neurotoxin. Total victory for Luna. • Vernal equinox. • Great Border weakens – 60 year cycle - Influx of dead from second Battle for Tranquility. • No immediate retaliation; instead, most developed nations start stockpiling thermonuclear interplanetary ballistic missiles (IPBMs).
Wednesday, March 25, 2065: • Yukari Yakumo quickly commissions Vault-Tec to build a test Vault in preparation for the coming war.
Friday, May 1, 2065: • Work begins on Experimental Vault ⓜ.
Sunday, September 13, 2065: • Experimental Vault ⓜ is completed. • Vault-Tec begins soliciting Gensokyo for a test population.
October, 2065: • Selected youkai, fairy, and human subpopulations are re-educated and socialized for Vault life. • Luna Child, Sunny Milk, and Star Sapphire are selected as a triumvirate of Overseers.
Sunday, November 1, 2065: • Vault ⓜ is sealed with its test population inside.
Thursday, April 1, 2066: • Vault ⓜ reaches half-way point. • Vault ⓜ food synthesizers fail critically, no longer able to synthesize more than candy.
Sunday, November 1, 2066: • Vault ⓜ is reopened. - Almost the entire population is found dead or missing. - Corpse of Star Sapphire is discovered in her office with a suicide note. - Most missing accounted for by internal video surveillance, aside from a missing Rumia. - Project is considered a immense failure for Vault-Tec; market shares drop dramatically.
2067: • Deceased Vault fairies reincarnate in Gensokyo proper.
2068: • Vault-Tec is bankrupted when a class action lawsuit by Yakumo Holdings corporation, the victims & victims' families, wins its case in a civil action. • All data regarding Vault ⓜ is seized in the suit by Yakumo Holdings. • Yakumo Holdings begins its own investigation of the catastrophe.
2069: • Yakumo Holdings determines Vault failure was methodological; begins canvassing Gensokyo for magic, funds, technology, and a population to establish its own Vault ventures.
2070: • Vault-Tec trademarks are bought by Yakumo Holdings. • RobCo & other Outsider companies are contracted to help plan & design the Gensokyo Vaults.
2071: • Construction begins in various parts of Gensokyo. • Subject population & AI-controller screening begins.
2075: • Nitori Kawashiro perfects formula of Cucumber Nuka-Cola.
Monday, January 6, 2076: • All 13 Gensokyo Vaults are declared complete. • Subject population is sent their acceptance letters, due to undergo re-education in the following year.
Friday, October 22, 2077: • Cucumber Nuka-Cola, the existance of which had remained a closely-guarded trade secret, is finally brought to market in Gensokyo.
Saturday, October 23, 2077: • The Great War destroys Luna and depopulates Earth. - 90% of humanity (11 billion) die within the first year. - Lunarian losses incalculable: Anywhere from zero to total. - Great Border collapses. • Vault ⑨ is sealed. - Daiyousei is interned as AI-controller. - Cirno adopts position as Overseer. - Work starts on genetic & epigenetic characteristics of the magician & actress Ellen "Fluffy" Aureus. • Vault ➄ is Sealed. - Aju no Hieda (稗田の阿充), the 10th 'Child of Miare' is interned as Vault AI. - Adjusting to critical AI turnover due to Rampancy, the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th 'Children of Miare' are interned as AI controllers over the next decade. • Other Vaults have since been assumed sealed at this point.
2078: • Saigyou Ayakashi projected to reach full bloom by consuming the immense amount of free souls, falling into eternal torpidity.
2080: • The ghost Yuyuko Saigyouji attempts to commit seppuku with the Hakurouken (which cleaves confustion), mistaking it for Roukanken (which kills ghosts) - On finding her mistress acheiving clarity, it is demanded of Youmu that she be strucken down, which she does. - Yuyuko ressurects in her living, adult body, no longer needed to seal the Saigyou Ayakashi.
Thursday, October 23, 2087: • Tenth Internment celebration in Vault ⑨. • Most Vaults are expected to have opened. • In actuality the only Vaults with confirmed successful openings & intact subject populations are ①, ➄, ⑪, ⑫, with some sub-populations of Vault ④, ⑥, ➆, ➇, and ⑩, all for very disparate reasons. - Vault ① (SDM Vault) population were locked out of their Vault. Much of them survived serendipitously due to lack of a direct hit, magical shielding, and according to its Overseer 'hundreds of layers of lead paint'. Population either emigrated to reestablish the Village or stayed on as hirees, as replacements for fairy maids displaced to Vault ⑨. - Vault ② (Eientei Vault) population assumed to have died in a direct hit in first wave of bombs along, with the dimensional anchor that served as an entrance. - Vault ③ (Prismriver Vault) population assumed to have died during internment through mass paranoia and factional warfare. Thought to be haunted. - Vault ④ (Garden of the Sun Vault) youkai & fairy sub-population survived & extremely hostile, with human population suspected to have been eaten. This is one of the few open Vaults with fairies that haven't reverted to the wild. - Vault ➄ (Village Vault) survived as expected, opening to find reconstruction of the Human Village already begun by Vault ①'s human population. Vault is abandoned & infested by giant ants. - Vault ⑥ (Underground Vault) is reported to have a small number of surviving youkai, but is infested by heavily mutated animals. - Vault ➆ (Mayohiga Vault) survived, again, with only a small population of youkai and fairies at internment, due to poorly coordinated mass transit efforts. Interned human subpopulation died of radiation poisoning suffered en route. - Vault ➇ (Hakugyokurou Vault). Almost the entire population (mostly elderly humans) became unrecoverable in an experimental 'Cold Sleep' procedure, due to catastrophic failure of its AI. Despite low radiation levels, it is largely populated by ghosts & undead. - Vault ⑨ (Lake Vault; Fairy Vault) unknown at this time. Either the subject population died inside, or they decided to stay isolated from the Wastes. Purported to occasionally 'bleed' humans or fairies, but these sightings are rare and difficult to substantiate, as there is little difference in appearance to differentiate a true fairy and a mindless feral. - Vault ⑩ (Makai Vault) lost much of its population to chronic spatial border fluctuations that reduced its once massive size to a place one could 'hardly stand up in' according to a survivor. Overseer & AI rejects most requests for entry. - Vaults ⑪ & ⑫ (Kappa & Tengu Vaults, respectively) survived mostly intact, and emerged as rather isolationist & militant, theorized to be due to the loss balancing human & fairy populations in Vault ⑬. - Vault ⑬ underwent containment failure due to border proximity to Vault ⑥ radiation pumps, possibly caused by misjudgment of the population of Vault ⑥ or pure failure of the Great Vault. No surviors. Entry is impossible due to door seepage of extreme radioactivity @ ~3,000 ㎮.
January 1, 2100: • New Year's Centennial is celebrated in Vault ⑨. • Research of Ellen Aureus condition reaches a dead end; major work on the project is halted.
January 1, 2200: • New Year's Centennial is celebrated in Vault ⑨. • Departmental heads & Overseer convene to select future experimental projects. - REDACTED is selected as primary. - REDACTED is selected as secondary.
Saturday, August 1, 2240: • Meira XVII is born to Meira XVI, with heavy genetic modification, as a preliminary test of REDACTED. - Ellen Aureus confirms half-youkai nature.
Friday, August 1, 2254: • Meira XVII's fourteenth birthday. - Meira XVI is killed in a forced duel by Meira XVII.
Tuesday, March 20, 2259: • Vernal equinox. • Maribelle Hearn is born in an experimental procedure as part of REDACTED, considered REDACTED; REDACTED later.
Saturday, June 25, 2259: • Renko Usami is born.
Monday, September 22, 2259 • Autumnal equinox. • Protagonist is born in an experimental procedure as part of REDACTED. - Mother Rin Satsuki dies in the process. - Yue Inaba performs the delivery. - Ellen Aureus confirms half-youkai nature.
Sunday, September 28, 2259: • Rin Satsuki's public funeral. - Max attends, as an infant. - General population is not informed she was a kirin. - Meira XVII plays the erhu during the ceremony.
Wednesday, September 22, 2269 • Autumnal equinox • Max's tenth birthday - Acquires Pip-Boy ⑨000 • Sealing Club is officially formed: Mary, Renko, Max
Sunday, October 23, 2270 • Interment celebration • Sealing Club sneaks out of the Vault - Protagonist is seriously injured by an ant; brought back to Vault - Renko acquires the Wasteland Survival Guide: Gensokyo Edition, written by Akyuju-no-Hieda (稗田の阿求充), the 19th 'Child of Miare'
Thursday, March 20, 2273 • Vernal equinox • Mary's fourteenth birthday - Mary formally begins her training as Shrine Maiden • Sealing Club is officially disbanded by Renko
Thursday, November 26, 2274 • Max & The Last Vault ⑨ Thanksgiving Ever
Friday, June 25, 2275 • Ren's sixteenth birthday • Ren forms the Tunnel Snakes - Max declines the offered membership
Wednesday, September 22, 2275 • Autumnal equinox • Max's sixteenth birthday • Last time Mary, Max, and Ren celebrate as friends • Meira challenges Renko, loses an ear & a sword
Tuesday, July 4, 2276 • Quatercentenary Independence Day
Saturday, September 22, 2277 • Max's eighteenth birthday
Friday, October 11, 2277 • Max took the G.O.A.S.T. • Met Mary in her Shrine - Met & acquired goddess AI Daiyousei • Slept with Renko
Saturday, October 20, 2277 • Cured Mary's addiction • Overdosed on sweet-tarts & aspirin etc. - Sent to the hospital; recovers - Met Yue Inaba • Overdosed on Yue's lollipop heroin - Given antidote; recovers • Slept with Mary & Renko
Sunday, October 21, 2277 • Impersonated a police officer • Met Frisca, Kotohime • Met Kogasa - Received Perception Bobblehead • Rectified issues with Yue; learned about KC • Learned about Rin Satsuki & Vault experimentation • Defeated the Overseer in a spell-duel • Ren had a shootout with Vault Security • Met Sera & Orléans - Destroyed a literary monster - Returned Meira's sword • First level of specialization in magic - Met Dai 'in person' & Kisume
Monday, October 22, 2277 • Day before Internment Bicentennial; what was supposed to be Max's first day of 'work' • Slept with Mary • Overcame myrmecophobia, killed ants & finally their queen - Mary assumed emergency powers - Met Novgorod, Kazuki, Clover, Tabitha, Wednesday • Left Vault with Daiyousei, Novgorod, Renko B & Mary B • Met Elly, Sara, Kurumi at SDM • Met Tewi • Ended up in former Magic Forest - Met Sousha, Mystia, and Village drunks in Mystia's Bar & Grill
Thank you, this is perfect. I was really not exactly clear as to how the whole war thing happened. If it was explained, I must have forgotten.
Three things, though:
1) What about the transcontinental bridge?
2) What about the incorporation of Japan into the US?
3) Was it ever explained what Max did to end Thanksgiving, or is this the story's own version of "The Noodle Incident"?
>• Departmental heads & Overseer convene to select future experimental projects. >- REDACTED is selected as primary. >- REDACTED is selected as secondary.
>Saturday, August 1, 2240: >• Meira XVII is born to Meira XVI, with heavy genetic modification, as a preliminary test of REDACTED.
>Tuesday, March 20, 2259: >• Vernal equinox. >• Maribelle Hearn is born in an experimental procedure as part of REDACTED, considered REDACTED; REDACTED later.
>Monday, September 22, 2259 >• Autumnal equinox. >• Protagonist is born in an experimental procedure as part of REDACTED. Well, that's totally not creepy.
Anybody have any take on the equinox angle? The whole thing with a half-youkai and the equinox being a halfway point to the solstice strikes me as interesting.
But we should try our hardest to really come up with something solid and workable; let's not do this by halves.
Also, Renko's birthday is about 5 days after the summer solstice, which in light of the birthdays of Max and Mary, I find interesting.
Also also: >Friday, October 22, 2077: >• Cucumber Nuka-Cola, the existance of which had remained a closely-guarded trade secret, is finally brought to market in Gensokyo. Something tells me a Cucumber Nuka-Cola cap is going to be the equivalent of platinum pieces, or something.
>- The humans of Gensokyo are represented by village elders Keine Kamashirasa & Akyu-no-Hieda, the magician Marisa Kirisame, and expatriated Outsiders, including an LHC scientist, a WWII vet, a haberdasher, and an Olympic javelinier.
No bells are immediately ringing in my mind as to who those might be, but I'm guessing some authors are smiling right now.
>Sunday, September 27, 2026: >• Retired war hero Gen. Marisa Kirisame's dies in her home at the age of 38. >- Death ruled accidental.
Dammit. Such a young age too...
>2080: >• The ghost Yuyuko Saigyouji attempts to commit seppuku with the Hakurouken (which cleaves confustion), mistaking it for Roukanken (which kills ghosts) >- On finding her mistress acheiving clarity, it is demanded of Youmu that she be strucken down, which she does. >- Yuyuko ressurects in her living, adult body, no longer needed to seal the Saigyou Ayakashi.
Interesting. Wonder if that means Yuyuko is dead again now that she became human?
>- Vault ⑩ (Makai Vault) lost much of its population to chronic spatial border fluctuations that reduced its once massive size to a place one could 'hardly stand up in' according to a survivor. Overseer & AI rejects most requests for entry.
We're in for fun, I can already tell.
>Creepy vault stuff.
Looks like we need to have a good long talk with Cirno once we head back.
>>114121 I figured it might be Snake from GiG, but I wasn't certain enough since it's been ages. I should get around to reading SCIENCE! at some point. The haberdasher is probably Casey now that I put some thought into it, though that still leaves the Olympian unknown.
>- Due to licensing issues over the animatronics, Rikako Asakura and a team of Kappa scientists took preserved dinosaur DNA and injected into monitor lizard blastocysts, using 'live' (& artificially sedated) dinossaurs for the Jurassic Park section of the theme park. Asakura's team received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their efforts.
Rad-Rexes and Rad-Raptors coming up? We're fucked.
In the 26th century, mankind faces an epic struggle for survival. The forces of nature have spun wildly out of control. Mighty cities have crumbled and the dinosaurs have returned to reclaim the Earth. In this savage land, one man stands alone - Max Rockatansky, defending the SDM and her hoes in a world gone mad. A world where only the strong survive; a world of... Silly hats and Dinosaurs!
>>114117 >1) What about the transcontinental bridge? >2) What about the incorporation of Japan into the US?
Both happened well before the CERN disaster.
The Transcontinental Bridge was built as an extension to the United States Numbered Highways system (e.g., US Route 66, black & white shield) with construction during the equivalent of the Eisenhower administration, instead of building the modern Interstate Highway system (e.g., I-80, blue & yellow shield). This would be due to the greater relative perceived threat of Communist China over the USSR in the Fallout World, in which Japan was determined to be a key strategic resource, already well on its way to statehood. Nuclear warfare in those days was thought to be waged by a large force of land-based bomber aircraft (cf. Strategic Air Command). The divergence point of the Fallout World from reality is unknown; as far as the presidency is concerned we know that Richard M. Nixon was a real nice guy! This story diverges from the Fallout universe irrevocably only the LHC disaster. So...
Douglas MacArthur was not relieved of his command in 1951, and was, instead of Eisenhower, elected to the Presidency in 1952. "I shall return," indeed. (This is now canon.)
(Anyway it was definitely before the LHC disaster. Or perhaps some incidental has re-written history? That'd always would a back door, except no one would use it to emerge in a timeline that hobbles their own power, right? Not unless all possible other timelines were yet more dire. Well, there is a Touhou equivalent for the G.E.C.K. definitely, and finding it might be the capstone of the story. We'll see.)
>3) Was it ever explained what Max did to end Thanksgiving, or is this the story's own version of "The Noodle Incident"?
I think it was in the first or second thread. Something to the effect of, "16 years old and high on Jet, Max shorted the electromagnetic locks to the food stores, and with a hatchet, broke open every last barrel of giblet gravy, spoiling Thanksgiving dinner for future generations."
>Also, Renko's birthday is about 5 days after the summer solstice
You're right to be concerned about the other stuff, but that date was only selected because of an author's bias. Renko really is just a 'normal' Vault denizen, unless something happens to make it otherwise. tsundere. 'S-s-stupid Aneki.'
>>114178 Ahhh, okay. That explains a hell of a lot. I never played any Fallout, ever, so I didn't even know about the alternate-universe setting. I'm managing to pick up most everything else based on intuition, educated guesswork, and things distilled from all the F3 chatter that went on in the IRC channel when it was new and YAF would not shut his fucking hole about it. Neither would anyone else, but YAF's hole was worse for being his.
But yeah, I'm not sure I ever can play the games, now, because I know they'll never be as cool as this story. I do have 1, 2, and Tactics on a disc somewhere, though.
Actually, that's a good point: In your estimation, which of the four games are worth playing?
>>114187 Garden of Eden Creation Kit. The tool designed to restore the blasted wasteland to a green utopia in the event of Nuclear war. Stanaslov Von Braun's ultimate creation, that he grew bored with. "Why bother re-making the old world when I can create any one that I choose here?" IIRC.
>>114178 If you do what I'm thinking that you're going to do, I will love you for-fucking-ever.
Tactics is shit. Play 1 & 2. The G.E.C.K stands for the Garden of Eden Creation Kit, and was a Vault-Tec device supplied to every vault to be used to revitalize parts of the land to reestablish human settlements.
If you're the sort of person that played those ancient isometric games then 1 and 2 are your best bet. Otherwise they've aged horribly and you'll hate them in which case 3 might suit you, as long as you didn't hate oblivion with a passion.
>>114187 >In your estimation, which of the four games are worth playing?
I'm not the guy you're asking, but the first two games are masterpieces which you should definitely play and the third one, while good, is very different in many important ways and has a RAGE ending. Tactics is lol.
I was supposed to be choreographizing, but after I asked people to consider the equinox thing, I wanted to verify that I listed the right equinox for the right person. Then while scrolling down to check, I noticed something about Ellen being a research subject.
...An hour or so later, I'm coming to some very interesting conclusions. Then I got interrupted by stupid shit that delayed my posting this by another few hours. So much for combat planning.
Nevertheless, I believe I've discovered some heavy shit. While I'm not much closer to figuring out the importance of the Equinox Birthday issue, some other things possibly related to it have popped up, and I think they may be of great importance. I would dearly appreciate any help, corrections, or further work on this line of thought. Keep in mind that a whole hell of a lot of the following is guesswork. I'd like to think that at least some of it is not insubstantial, though.
The short version:The long version: >Saturday, October 23, 2077: >- Work starts on genetic & epigenetic characteristics of the magician & actress Ellen "Fluffy" Aureus.
>January 1, 2100: >Research of Ellen Aureus condition reaches a dead end; major work on the project is halted. Ellen is not exactly immortal, so much as that she simply can't grow old (Which, one would assume, means that her body is always in perfect condition, making her at least semi-immortal: she'd probably die the same as anyone else if you put a bullet in her head, but left on her own, she'd be perfectly healthy for quite a long while more). And for those curious, epigenetic means, "Something that affects a cell, organ or individual without directly affecting its DNA." In other words, it sounds like Ellen's youthfulness is due to 'lol magic', and not a result of any biological condition or cause.
Later on, we have the strange case of Meira. All mentions of her in the timeline start to seem damnably unusual once you begin to dig a little. She was "heavily genetically modified," and killed her mother at 14, on her (Meira Jr.'s) own birthday, for some unlisted reason, only noting that it was "a forced duel".
Recall that Meira herself is a half-youkai (Heavily related to the aforementioned "heavy genetic modification", if not entirely the point of it): >“You are not yet old enough to appreciate how large a distance there is between none, one, and one-half, Rockatansky-san, but you will in time; this one has the blood of a crane youkai in her, itself associated with longevity.” Meira, then, is another incidence of longevity/long life in connection with research and experimentation.
And before that passage mentioning Meira (in Thread 6), there was this passage, regarding Max's heritage: >But yes, as you see, the positive attributes of kirin are manifold, Rockatansky-san: Benevolence, virtue, longevity, grandeur, felicity, successful offspring, and enlightened rule. This association would lead to its use in Buddhist iconography, as the mount for a bodhisattva. They are said to live as long as two millennia, and as such considered symbols of longevity. Yet another longevity link. I'm going to guess that the possibility of there being a connection between all of these is highly likely.
What I'm getting from this is that somebody is trying to figure out immortality, or at least some way of approaching that.
-That Ellen was the first mention sounds like she was the first "immortal" they got their hands on. Unfortunately, since her lifespan is (probably) a result of magic, and not science, there wasn't much they could really do with that in terms of finding a cause that could be replicated. Nevertheless, since she was likely the only other non-Hourai'd "immortal"around (The fates of Mokou and Kaguya are yet to be discussed, so some of this may change), they were happy to take what they could get. Eventually, they could get no more out of her, and ended the Ellen project. Nevertheless, they got plenty of data from her. Extra note: I do not know whether or not her memory issues were a result of the experiments, or if they existed beforehand. However, as an actor, it seems to me that your memory occasionally slipping and going blank would not be very helpful for your career. (On the other hand, being eternally young is a great asset for an acting career. Perma-Shirley Temple much?)
-Meira was created, perhaps to study the effect of putting their findings into action. By the sound of her being a "preliminary test," she was also likely a trial run for the experiment proper.
-Max was created after Mary (next item below), possibly to be even better than her. He is certainly from far more superior youkai stock than Meira, since not only is he going to be long-lived, he's got all kinds of great things going for him, thanks to Rin's kirin-ness. More on this later.
-Mary... is a large unknown. She precedes Max, and there seems to have been some issue about her success as a test subject. The fact that she's got border-sensing powers and rather resembles Yukari (at least, in voice, and as we know with metaknowledge, in appearance as well) leads me to wonder if Yukari herself wasn't part of Mary's creation. What really was done to her is unknown at this point. ...However, as far as we know, Mary is a full human. If in fact she truly is, then perhaps the purpose of the experiment was to create a fully immortal human, with no youkai bits in her. But if that's the case, then that would seem to negate any potential genetic contribution by Yukari, who I can't see not participating in this, especially given how much of a scheming bitch she is both in general, and definitely in this story (See Dai's rant). I don't know how Mary figures into this at all, but with the Equinox thing (possibly) tying her to Max, I can't help but wonder if they were meant to have a kid.
What all this means: A whole hell of a lot of possible things. Perhaps somebody is trying to create an alternative to the Hourai Elixir as a means of living forever, or they may actually be trying to recreate it. And since they (apparently) have no access to Eirin, Mokou, or Kaguya, they have had to start from scratch, using human science instead of Lunar genius. It appears that their focus is on living longer, not being unkillable. Whether this is truly their aim, or a result of there being a limit on what they have to work with (People who can be killed, but can live for a fuck-long time) remains to be seen.
I hope people get something out of this, though, and even moreso, hope that I'm right about a good chunk of this. Kind of. I have no idea what else I could discover by reading this story from the beginning once again, but I'll bet there's a bunch of other things waiting to be revealed. It worked for CoMN, and it's definitely yielding interesting things here, as well.
I also do not know how much of this, if any, can be applied towards Max being aware of this in-story, but it's my opinion, at least, that we should be steering him in the direction of realization of these things.
In looking up bits about Meira and Ellen, I found this bit about kirin in Thread 6: >“Kirin were fearsome hunters of the wicked and protectors of the innocent. They were immensely powerful, even in comparison to other youkai, and had all kinds of supernatural attributes: ability to summon sacred flame, walk on water, move through undergrowth without trampling the grass, flight of course, and they could detect the guilt in a person's mind. They were exclusively vegetarian
Let's go over that again, item by item, and see how it compares to Max. >“Kirin were fearsome hunters of the wicked We haven't really punished any truly wicked people, yet, have we? I mean, the ants weren't wicked so much as utter bastards.
>and protectors of the innocent. Did plenty of that. Maybe not as a full-time job, and maybe because he had to, but the doing was still done. >They were immensely powerful, even in comparison to other youkai, You wouldn't think so, but it doesn't have to mean strength, necessarily; "power" can be interpreted in all kinds of ways. He fought the Overseer and won, and led the victorious counter-attack on the ants, to list only a couple of things.
>and had all kinds of supernatural attributes: ability to summon sacred flame, Don't know about sacred, but he summons flame, all right. That was very clearly pointed out, even early on. And he's got Magic tagged, so that helps.
>walk on water, Good thing we got into Hydromancy, huh? That was more likely a fluke than anything, but let's call it fate, because it seems better that way, and helps build his reputation.
>move through undergrowth without trampling the grass, He doesn't have Outdoorsman as a Tag skill, but he DOES have Sneak tagged. Call it a modern interpretation of the legend.
>flight of course, Okay, not yet. Does the umbrella help at all? Aeromancy might be the next step.
>and they could detect the guilt in a person's mind. Not so sure about this, but it's workable. Does Speech include being able to detect that sort of thing? Maybe not from their mind, but from their mannerisms, body language, word choice... If so, well then it's an awful nice thing we have Speech tagged, isn't it?
>They were exclusively vegetarian, Max is definitely not, unless all the meat he's eaten so far is synthetic soy-based stuff, in which case... maybe so.
There's a few misses here and there, but I'd say it's not reaching too far to proclaim that Max is definitely showing his kirin side, whether he knows it or not. slightest bit surprised.
>And for those curious, epigenetic means, "Something that affects a cell, organ or individual without directly affecting its DNA."
More immediately it refers to non-genetic heredity; i.e., anything that codes proteins or has an effect on gene expression or phenotype, without being the result of genes is epigenetic. For being that cannot be completely understood by their genes (like a celestial), yet is clearly an in-born trait would be considered an epigenetic factor. More mundane epigentic effects are on fetuses in utero by the mother's hormones & immune system. The effects are important to the point where they can influence the sex of the child, no matter its chromosomal genotype. Endogenous retroviruses, prions, even maternally inherited mitochondria might also be considered epigenetic in reference to human cells. However, this translating into summoning fireball? Lol magic
File 126920275818.jpg - (115.71KB, 600x600 , im in ur scrolls eatin ur history.jpg) [iqdb]
The server was down a few days because Anon is an idiot and didn't write down the password to his own router.
Also, forgot to mention this last time, but another channel was supposed to be added to the playlist once it got into range. "The Village Voice" hosted by Akyuju-no-Hieda, as a country & folksy 'Americana' format, KVV5 91.9 FM. I realize now that stations West of the Mississippi are normally given 'K' call signs, and East are given 'W' call signs, but let's pretend that the FCC pre-War gave Japan leniency in such matters, due to their relative distance from 'continental' broadcasting. (Purportedly Government-operated stations, such as those already AM list are and would be of course exempt from FCC guidelines.)
╔Ｒａｄｉｏ════════════════════════════ ╟─ＦＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 76.1 ㎒ – Vault ⑨ PA System (stereo, ERP 9.5 ㎾) ║[ ] 88.1 ㎒ – WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio (stereo, ERP 25 ㎾) ║[x] 91.9 ㎒ – KVV➄ The Village Voice (stereo, ERP 10 ㎾) ║[ ] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio (stereo, ERP 20 ㎾) ╟─ＡＭ─Ｂａｎｄ───────────────────────── ║[ ] 191 ㎑ – NOAA Emergency Broadcasting Network (mono, ERP 145 ㎾) ║[ ] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio (mono, ERP 5㎿) ║[ ] 1500 ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal (mono, ERP 50 ㎾) ╟─Ｃｉｔｉｚｅｎｓ＇─Ｂａｎｄ────────────────── ║[ ] 26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan channels 1-29 (mono, ERP <4000 ㎽) ╟─Ｍａｒｉｎｅ─ＶＨＦ────────────────────── ║[ ] 2182 ㎑ – Int. Maritime Distress Frequency (mono, ERP 5 ㎾) ╟───────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Stations are added to the list as they come in to range.] ║[Note: Struck-through stations have poor or no reception.] ╚═════════════════════════════════
"This is Akyuju-no-Hieda serving as your voice in the Human Village, and the voice of KVV➄ for all our Wasteland listeners. We appear to have some fan-mail, bum-ba-da-dum, as soon as our constable-slash-delivery woman, Keine Kamishirasawa—does that ever get any less of a mouthful—finishes her N-B-C, weapon-of-malign-construction screening procedure, lengthened no doubt by the mean look she's fixing me. We used to play a soundbite resembling a specific barn animal whenever she entered the studio, but being on the receiving end of those headbutts does tax one physically! Oh, here we are: 'Dear Hieda...' and it's written in random, cut-out magazine letters! How quaint! 'Tell Sailor Mecha-Moon...' This must be referring to Chiyuri, Chiyuri... uh, it's even more of a mouthful than your name Keine... Chiyuri Kitashirakawa '...that comical, caped vigilante...' which she is definitely is, Keine grinding her teeth in front of me attests, 'that I am in her base, attacking her dolls,' presumably referring to the mothballed Vault ➄ where Chiyuri spends many a lonely night, 'signed menacingly...' yes, it says, 'menacingly, the nefarious Wriggle Nightbug.' Folks, we could not be making this up; so absurd, Shameimaru wouldn't cover it; so true, that Scarlet couldn't print it. This has been Akyuju-no-Hieda, your Village Voice, and now for a much needed musical interlude.”
>>115190 Oh dear god, Keine and Akyu(ju) as a morning-crew radio station? I... god, my head hurts.
Anyway, this was one hell of a neat bit of exposition in one post: Keine: Still alive and doing what she's done. Also does the mail, it seems. Chiyuri: Alive and unhappy in the infested Village Vault. Apparently has some sway over the ants or something. Wriggle: Supervillain. I don't even know anymore, man. I blame her cape for giving Fallout Anon this idea.
>If the stars stay aligned, there may be a midnight update, Oh god yes.
>>115198 We write real sentences here. Get out or English harder.
It was not to be; however, much of the writing is done. It'll probably cover until the next morning, and include dialogue with Nazrin, Iku, Sousha, Mystia, DONATIONS, and sufficient info for direction for the Main Quest tomorrow morning.
>Supervillain. I don't even know anymore, man. I blame her cape for giving Fallout Anon this idea.
I blame Kamen Rider. She's not really 'evil'; it's more complex than an issue of man-versus-youkai. Think of how raider is less likely to loot a town if ants and robots were constantly fighting each other on its borders. For example, ant populations being displaced by some other faction taken to mining for ore (as Vault 9 has recently been invaded)? You'll see that there are different points of view, and why such a thing 'rivalry' might have both beneficial & negative effects. There's not perfect overlap between depth of character, you similarities.
>Rika not Chiyuri.
Chiyuri has a better reason for engaging in fantastic escapism than Rika would. You know, like a void left in her life by a certain someone?
>...does this mean that there is going to be some kind of epic youkai-power melee vs. metal folding chair showdown at some point?
Wait for Vault 4. Yuka as the Duke of New York Gensokyo. And the main chacter smelling first hand exactly what the what the Whiterock, the Seasons' Champion, is cooking.
“Ren?” “Yes Maxey?” “Can we trade? The Swiss army knife, while an excellent pocket tool, is not very useful as a weapon.” The baleful glances from some of the patrons remind you of the need for personal security, even if you don't know how to use it. “I'm not giving you my switchblade.” “How about the X-Acto knife?” “Ah. You noticed that was missing, eh?” “Right around the time Mary took Kotohime's jitte or jutte or whatever its called. Speaking of which, it's slung in one of the side-ties of Mary's blue hakama; you're surprised its weight hasn't pulled her 'skirt' down. “Max, the jutte is an important symbol connected to Old Japan. You are a Occidental in almost every possible way.” Mary is a blonde, but she got pissed the last time you brought that up. “Anyway, I can use it as a focus in spellcasting...” You never thought of that. Probably wouldn't work for you. “...and it should prove quite useful if we were to run into ferals.” “And why is that?” “It's made almost entirely of cold-wrought iron, Max,” Dai this time. “Fine. Whatever. It's heavy, and you're going to have the responsibility of making sure it gets back to Kotohime, Mary.” “I'll return her 'Key of Dim Dreams'. Probably.” “Is that what it says? God, that's almost as stupid as the 'Princess' Smile'.” “At least its not hot pink and vibrating.” Ugh. Fuck. Now you definitely don't want to hold it.
╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Max Rockatansky, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 50/180 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 16 ║Current Equipment Effects: ㊋RES↑, ❄RES↑, Speech+2, Melee+5, ║Outdoorsman+1, PER+2, R-RES+1 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($242.00) / -- ℔ ║Bottle Caps (22 Ⓝ) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍ ｏ ｒ ───────────── ║Max's Vault ⑨ Jumpsuit / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 85% CND / 2 DR ║➥A slightly less worn-out jumpsuit than the ones usually worn. His ║Sunday Best. Same flame-retardant, cold-insulating synthetic lining. ║The work boots could do with some shoe polish, though. ║➥㊋RES↑, ❄RES↑ ║➥Speech+2 ║Ren's Tunnel Snakes Jacket / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 13 DR ║➥Seems Ren took the time last night while making Mary's outfit to take ║out the sleeves for Max's somewhat larger frame. Still carries the re- ║verse stylized 'Ϩ' and the '⑨' patch on the arm. More protective and ║less straining due to the better fit. ║➥Melee+5 ║Pre-War Baseball Cap / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 90% CND / 1 DR ║➥A candy red baseball cap; specifically of the local league team, the ║Gensokyo Monsters. The kind you would wear on those hot summer ║days before the War, presumably. ║➥PER+1 ║Ray-Ban® Wayfarers / 0.1 ℔ (x1) / 80% CND / 1 DR ║A pair of Ray-Ban brand Wayfarer sunglasses with tortoiseshell frames. ║Blocks out harmful ultraviolet radiation, along with annoying glare. ║➥☢R-RES +1 ║Mary's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.5 ℔ (x2) / 90% CND / 1 DR ║➥White blouse. Red haori-vest. Pleated blue hakama. White ║tabi stockings to be worn with geta. Bloomers. Detachable sleeves ║fitted with red, satin ribbons. American flag neckerchief. Next time you see ║Mary wear this, comment on how well she uses chopsticks—watch her flip. ║➥Speech+2, Magic+2 ║Renko's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) / 70% CND / 1 DR ║➥Blouse, skirt, knit tie, nylons, Doc Martens, all in a black & white motif. ║A classy outfit, suitable for all occasions. ║➥AGI+1 ║Max's Spare Clothes(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) / 60% CND / 1 DR ║➥Extra Vault ⑨ Jumpsuit, extra skivvies, extra socks. Just the ║basics. ║➥㊋RES↑,❄RES↑ ║PF Flyers®(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / 100% CND / 0 DR ║➥Red canvas upper, white laces & vulcanized rubber sole in original ║cardboard box & tissue wadding. High-top athletic shoes that will make ║you run faster & jump higher, guaranteed. Unfortunately, as the rub- ║ber will melt on the irradiated pavement, the effect will be temporary. ║These are prized pre-War possessions; nobody knows you own these ║bad boys, and it will stay that way unless circumstances become truly ║dire. (US Pat. № 1,938,127. Dec. 5, 1933. Posture Foundation.) ║➥END+1, AGI+1 ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Paracelsus' Liber de Nymphis / 5.0 ℔ (x1) / 2-handed ║➥A primer on Greek elemental magic. Can be used as a focus for ║arcane spellcasting. ║➥Magic+4 when equipped and used as a focus ║Laser Rifle / 8.0 ℔ (x1) / 61% CND / 2-handed / 19 DAM ║➥Danmaku fire-select: Off ║➥Load: 15/15 shots (per 1 full Energy Cell) ║X-Acto® Knife(concealed) / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 74% CND / 1-handed / 3 DAM ║➥A small but extremely sharp, angled razor blade at the head of a ║pen-length aluminum body, knurled to improve grip. This hobby tool ║doesn't make for a terrible weapon, as its frame is easily hidden ║and its sharpness causes lacerations that bleed heavily. However, it ║is completely ineffective against armor, and wears quickly. ║➥WHP↓↓, DAM↓, CDAM↑, CRIT%↑ (in comp. to switchblade) ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍ ａｂｌｅ／ Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Paracelsus' Liber de Nymphis (see above) / 1 of 2 uses remain ║➥Magic+2 (+) ║Survival Bovril(packed) / 2.0 ℔ (x2) ║➥A beef-flavored paste that is used to create a readily consumable ║beverage. ║➥+30 HP per serving @ 3 servings⅌per 1ℓ canister ║➥Relieves hunger & thirst for 24 hrs ║➥Requires a water source to consume; decontaminates water of ║radiation & pathogens: -5 ㎭, -5 ㏙☣. ║CalorieMate block(packed) / 0.5 ℔ (x4) ║➥A high-calorie food in the form of a dry biscuit. Vitamin, calorie & ║mineral rich while still remaining somewhat palatable. Chocolate ║flavor—do not feed to dogs. ║➥+20 HP ║➥Relieves hunger for 24 hrs ║Purified water, 1ℓ(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x6) ║➥NCCLS-certified, triple-distilled, deionized water in an ultralight, ║leeching-resistant, plastic container. Radiation and contaminant ║free. Purer than the driven snow. Just make sure you brush your teeth. ║➥+20 HP ║➥Relieves thirst for 24 hrs ║MelanoTan capsule(s)(packed) / 0.1 ℔ (x1) ║➥Quickly generates a tan to protecting against cancer-inducing ║solar rays. ║➥Prevents sunburn & confers immunity to solar radiation for 1 week ║per dose. ╟─Ｓｐｅｌｌｃａｒｄｓ─────────────────── ║Hydromancy I – Water Sign 「Ondine's Curse」 ║➥On one side is geometric patterns and magic circles, the other is an ║medieval illumination of a half-serpent woman, and surrounding her, ║the drowned, symbolized by the blue faces. ║➥Induces asphyxiation in target by route of filling lungs with fluid. Un- ║like the disease that is its namesake, it does not actually cause auto- ║nomic failure of respiration, though more advanced Hydromancy may ║improve methods of action along with number of targets. ╟─Ｏｔｈｅｒ──────────────────────── ║Duffel / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 74% CND ║Toiletries & Sundries(packed) / 3.0 ℔ (x1) ║Blank Holotape, Low Capacity(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥It can hold up to 1024 ㎅ of information, making it practical only for ║soundbytes or text recordings. ║Bobblehead—Perception(packed) / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥+1 PER. ║Switchcomb / 0.5 ℔ (x1) ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ║➥30/30 charges per energy cell. ║➥All but two are stuffed in the duffel. One you have in a back ║pocket. One in currently the magazine for your Laser Rifle. ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Items in bold are currently equipped or have active ║bonuses.] ║[Note: Individual listed items may scrutinized further; e.g., “[x] Pip- ║Fairy:Inventory:ITEM_NAME”] ╚══════════════════════════════
╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Renko Usami, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 87/200 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 22 ║Current Equipment Effects: ❄RES↑↑, CHA +1, AGI +1, Guns +5, ║Melee +5, Outdoorsman +25, PER +1, LCK +1, Medicine +7 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($70.00) / -- ℔ ║Bottle Caps (31 Ⓝ) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍ ｏ ｒ ───────────── ║Renko's Outfit B / 15.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 66% / 20 DR ║➥Ren's normal outfit with modifications. A loose fitting oxford & a ║black miniskirt held up by a pair of suspenders. Durable, sueded chaps ║worn under the skirt breaking just above the ankle of the harness boot. ║Most of it is concealed by her poncho. ║➥CHA +1, AGI +1 ║➥Guns +5, Melee +2, Outdoorsman +2 ║➥❄RES↑ ║Renko's Fedora / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 45% / 2 DR ║➥Renko's prized, brown felt hat. ║➥DR↑, EHP↑ ║➥PER +1, LCK +1 ║➥❄RES↑ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Type 14 pistol / 2.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 6 DAM ║➥A mass-produced Japanese recoil-spring operated, semiautomatic ║service pistol originally created for the IJA, but found widespread ║adoption for civilian use during the Reconstruction. ║➥Chambered for the underpowered 8x22mm Nambu ║➥8/8 shots (per 8 round box magazine) ║Mateba Autorevolver / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 40 DAM ║➥Mateba Model Unica 6. Recoil-assembly, semiautomatic revolver of ║Italian design. A highly unique weapon that Ren essentially rebuilt from ║scrap. ║➥Chambered for the immensely powerful (and rare) .454 Casull ║➥6/6 shots (loaded in break-away cylinder) ║Renko's Switchblade / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 11 DAM ║➥The one-sided blade of this small knife is held by a spring. ║When a button on the handle is pressed, the blade flips out ║with a satisfying "snkt" sound. ║➥CRT%↑↑, DAM↑↑, WHP↑ ║Swiss Army Knife / 0.5 ℔ (x1) / 45% CND / 1-handed / 1 DAM ║➥A multifunctional pocket tool made by the Swiss. You can use it to ║open cans and beer bottles with it, use it as a screwdriver, uncork a ║wine bottle, take out a splinter, saw down a branch to use as splint, ║and perform emergency appendectomies (if you have training). ║➥Outdoorsman+1 ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍ ａｂｌｅ／ Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Med-X(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x2) ║➥+25 DR ║Rad-X(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x2) ║➥+25 R-RES ║Rad-Away(locked) / 2.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥-50 ㎭ ║Chlor-Iodine Tablets(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x12) ║➥Requires a water source to consume; decontaminates 1ℓ of water: ║-5 ㎭, -5 ㏙☣. ║Stimpacks(locked) / 0.1 ℔ (x4) ║➥+58 HP ║Bobby pin / 0.0 ℔ (x2?) ║➥Can be used with a tension bar to pick tumbler locks. ║Broken scalpel / 0.1 ℔ (x1) ║➥Yue had used this to nick Renko before, and you snapped off the ║head to use as a tension bar. ║Carton of Cigarettes / 2.0 ℔ (x0.9) / CND 90% ║➥Lucky Strike. Ren's favorite brand. ║➥Ren smokes a pack a day, meaning a full carton lasts a ten-day. ╟─Ｏｔｈｅｒ──────────────────────── ║Angle Head Flashlight / 3.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥A military-style flashlight with an angled head and spring clip that ║allows it to be attached to a belt, breast pocket, or bag strap while in ║use, to free up the hands. ║➥1x Power Cell holds a 24 hr charge; 24/24 hrs remaining. ║➥Color: White ║➥Setting: Off ║➥Currently clipped to belt ║Renko's Attaché / 15.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥A gunmetal attache case containing a multicolor galaxy of uppers, ║ downers, poppers, screamers.... Samsonite make. Four-digit com- ║bination lock. Renko seems to have locked it. ║➥Medicine+7, Outdoorsman+3 ║Renko's Survival Gear / 40.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥Outdoorsman+20 ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ║➥30/30 charges per energy cell ║8x22mm Nambu magazine / 0.1 ℔ (x5) ║➥8/8 rounds per box magazine ║454 Casull, half-moon clip / 0.1 ℔ (x4) ║➥3/3 rounds per half-moon clip ╟────────────────────────── ║[Note: Items in bold are currently equipped or have active ║bonuses.] ║[Note: Individual listed items may scrutinized further; e.g., “[x] Pip- ║Fairy:Inventory:ITEM_NAME”] ╚══════════════════════════════
╔Ｉｎｖｅｎｔｏｒｙ═════════════════════ ║Maribelle Hearn, Level 3 ║Encumbrance: 39/190 ℔ ║Total Equipped ⇥DR: 40 ║Current Equipment Effects: AGI -1, Magic +5, Danmaku +5, Speech ║+2, Melee +2, PER +1 ╟─Ｃｕｒｒｅｎｃｙ───────────────────── ║Greenbacks ($00.00) / -- ℔ ║Bottle Caps (0 Ⓝ) / -- ℔ ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ａｒｍ ｏ ｒ ───────────── ║Mary's Outfit C / 25.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 80% / 34 DR ║➥A highly-modified priestess combat uniform. Formed by 'plates'— ║ballistic inserts inside bullet-resistant weave—that are tied together in ║an interlocking fashion. ║➥AGI -1 ║➥Magic +5, Danmaku +5, Speech +2, Melee +2 ║➥Mary-equippable only ║Combat Onmyoji Cap / 6.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 80% / 5 DR ║➥A black cap worn by traditionally by Japanese courtiers, and later ║by practitioners of folk magic and local religious figures. It's covered in ║wool, but the interior construction is quite hard. ║➥PER+1 ╟─Ｅｑｕｉｐｍｅｎｔ：Ｗｅａｐｏｎｓ──────────── ║Shrine Maiden's Gohei / 1.0 ℔ (x1) / 1-handed ║➥Standard utility wand for divine spellcasters following Eastern trad- ║itions. Inherent power against youkai. Even swinging the stick ║can knock a fairy or supernatural being unconscious. The reflective red, ║white, and blue tassels, are a patriotic embellishment. ║➥Magic +4 when equipped and used as a focus ║“The Princess' Smile” / 3.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 83% / 9 DAM / 1-handed ║Kotohime's laser pistol. ║➥DAM↓, ROF↑↑↑, WHP↑ (comp. to laser pistol) ║➥Uses Energy Cells; 30/30 shots remaining ║”The Key of Dim Dreams” / 5.0 ℔ (x1) / CND 96% / 7 DAM / 1-handed ║This pronged melee weapon consists of a rounded 18” metal tine ║and second, shorter tine, and is traditionally associated with police ║in Old Japan. The handle is part of the main tine & entirely metal, ║only wrapped in woven bamboo to provide a grip. Another artifact ║Kotohime somehow picked up over the years. Even in the hands ║of someone unskilled in juttejutsu, this symbol of authority is ║excellent for disarming opponents, as well as the application of ║excessive force. Upon closer inspection, there's an inscription in ║kana; looks like Engrish for “Key of Dim Dream”. ║➥DAM↑, ROF↓, WHP↑↑ (comp. to police baton) ║➥CDAM↑↑↑, CRIT%↑↑ against weapons ║➥Magic +2 when equipped and used as a focus ║➥DAM↑↑ (against fey) ╟─Ｃｏｎｓｕｍａｂｌｅ／Ｕｓａｂｌｅ─────────── ║Absolut Nuka, 1ℓ / 1.0 ℔ (x1) ║➥80 proof, synthetic liquor, with the other 60% of the beverage being ║standard Nuka-Cola. The stimulant effect of the caffeine help with ║some of the effects of drunkenness, as well as shorten the duration ║of effect and come-down. ║➥CHA +1, INT -1, STR +1 ╟─Ｓｐｅｌｌｃａｒｄｓ─────────────────── ║神技「九字切り」 – “Border Separation 「Nine Syllable Cuts」” ║➥On one side is geometric patterns and magic circles, the other is a ║gilt relief of the world-wyrm Ouroboros, eating its tail but cut into nine ║separate pieces. ║➥Creates nine ħ-length perturbations along spatial 2-D planes at ║oblique angles in respect to the target(s). These perturbations cause ║discontinuities in the tissues of said target(s), usually leading to death ║from catastrophic organ and circulatory failure. However some organ- ║isms can rapidly regenerate such tears, rendering the spellcard in- ║effective. ╟─Ａｍｍｏ───────────────────────── ║Energy Cell (charged) / 0.1 ℔ (x9) ║➥30/30 charges per energy cell ╟────────────────────────────── ╚══════════════════════════════
Three is a crowd, and the bar is already crowded, so you'll take a booth. You slide onto a bench at a slightly greasy table, Mary deciding she wants to sit next to you, and Ren likewise then sits across from Mary. “Lemme wipe that down for you guys,” the winged, lady bartender lifts opens up a hinged part of the bar enclosure, grabbing three menus on the way and moseys over to wipe down the table with a rag that looks about as dank as the table, but at least the crumbs are cleaned off. The varying conversations at the bar have coalesced in single, unintelligible murmur, and a frustrated man slap down his beat hand in the far corner against two other poker players, cursing his opponents. “You guys want to know about our daily specials~“ Renko waves away the menus the waitress had been trying to hand you. “We'll have three brahmin burgers, medium, with steak fries.” “Uh-huh,” the waitress-barman is only a little surprised, writing the order on a steno pad. You (and probably Mary) give Renko a dirty look, which she either doesn't or pretends not to notice. “And what to drink?” “Sake!” “Sake!” You and Mary yell at once, making sure Renko doesn't order for you again. “I don't know what you kids drink in your Vaults, but up here sake is a real rarity.” Guess she can tell by your apparel, meaning she's not a total idiot. “I've only had synth rice wine,” you admit. “They called rice 'freedom grain', since the old language is associated with the Moonies.” That is a shameless lie, but apparently it flies under the radar of the winged waitress, drawing an affirming grunt, “Yeah, well, Japanese isn't my first language, either.” Must be a pretty young youkai then, right? You can never tell by looking at them. “This stuff however comes from the Oni Reservation, you know? They're the only ones left stubborn enough to attempt to grow rice on the badlands.” She's being highly informative, so Renko rudely clears her throat as if she were being forgotten. “And what would you like Missy?” “A gin & tonic, heavy on the quinine.” “A G&T. Extra T. Your drinks will be right out~” Unfortunately magical sparkles and emoticons do not accompany this wavy line. You wonder briefly if Miss Ellen's constant use of visual aid actually hobbled the development of your verbal skills, but then again it could just be favoritism. You are half-youkai and might have been expected to age more slowly, but as far as you know, that's bullshit, or only kicks in after a number of years of normal development. “Ow!” Ren's cry brings you back to ground. “Stop kicking at me under the table!” Directed at Mary. Yeah, if anything it feels like you grew up faster, at times. “Don't order my food for me, Usami! I wanted to see the menu!” The drunks have largely ignored you, but you catch fleeting glances, probably due to your attire and Pip-Boy's in plain view. The waitress is fiddling with something on the other side of the bar—if she's cooking it, you guess this is a one-man operation. Aside from the mouth-breather youkai bouncer, but to be fair, that's probably expected behavior for a dog youkai. Maybe he does janitorial duty? They seem to have rooms on the second story, so maybe he helps out there too. “I'm sure there's pumpkin pie in season. No need to get your knickers in a—ow! Stop it!” “That's not the point, Ren,” you intercede. “The point is that you don't order someone else's meal for them. It's demeaning.” “Look Maxey, you never read the Guide...” This again. “You wouldn't know what a 'brahmin' is. I was saving you the headache.” “I know what a brahmin is, it's like a religious caste in—“ No. That's not the kind they'd be serving at a restaurant, unless it was an all-youkai restaurant, and while this place is not the spic & span, chrome-plated, family-style diner the Café du Monde was, it's also likewise not a blood-soaked, cannibalism-style charnel house. “Ren, what the fuck did you order for me? If it's rat, both your shins will be black & blue.” “Does he even want to know?” Asks Mary airily and not at all encouraging. Ren snickers, flicking her lighter twice to light up her cigarette. You saw no 'non-smoking' signs, yet there is no one else smoking. It might be simply that tobacco is hard to find in the Wastes. You're suddenly very glad that you brought an entire carton, seeing as Ren likes taking the initiative on things. To Renko's crestfallen frown (and to your pleasure) as the thunder is stolen, Dai speaks up: “'Brahmin' are feralized cows, Max, likely from the Kobe region, that survived the irradiation while most everyone else who survived spent the decade of Internment in the Vault.” “A 'sacred cow' I see. Thank you Dai. Except that Kobe is a port city, down in, what, Kansai?” “Yes in Hyoogo county, specifically.” “The point I'm making is that—“ “Yes, it's probably underwater now, Max, but the rise of the oceans has been occurring at a relatively regular pace. Even animals as dumb as cows a going to migrate over the course of two centuries.” “I see.” “And they also have two heads for some reason that Ren claims-she-knows,” supplements Mary. “Because even if the brain is only working in one of them, they'd have nearly 360° of peripheral vision!” Weird. Really weird. But not too weird. “Yeah, well, anyway, I wanted mine well-done, Ren.” Your almost 100% certain Mary is saying this just to bust Ren's chops. “Why? You can't kill the rads by increasing the temperature.” “Hey, that's something that's actually concerning.” You know the background radiation is low, but animals eating roughage on irradiated soil is a recipe for cancer. “If they're free range, they must have significant radiation... bio-culation-or whatever. Ren, don't look at me like that; I know what I'm talking about, but I just don't know how to pronounce it.” She sighs. “Bio-accumulation, you dolt.” 'Dolt' she calls you? Pft. UPDATING TARGET CATEGORY MAX_DOLT.PAD What are you going on about— Oh. You can see it if you look at the green overlay that covers your hands and arms and likely the rest of your body. The PADS doll has labeled you 'dolt'. Lucky Mary's helmet is resting on the table, and the only hallucinations Ren cares about are the drug-induced kind. How winsome & droll you are Novgorod. Change it back. You get back to your conversation, but they're both looking at you weird. “What? Do I have a doll on the top of my head or something?”
“Maxey, talking to that doll or whatever. It's not polite at the dinner table.” Is she serious? They can't hear us right? NO. Shouldn't this back and forth be really fast, since you hijacked my brain and all? THE SPEED OF SEMANTIC THOUGHT IS ABOUT SIX HUNDRED MILLISECONDS. What. THE MAXIMUM SPEED AT WHICH ANY TOKEN AMOUNT OF SENSORY DATA REQUIRES TO TRAVEL IN THE FORM OF ACTION POTENTIALS FROM CORTICAL AREAS INVOLVED IN SENSORY PROCESSING INTO THE PREFRONTAL CORTEX WHERE EXECUTIVE FUNCTION IS HOUSED REQUIRES A MINIMUM OF 30 SECONDS. HOWEVER ELECTRICAL IMPULSES IN THE FORM OF ACTION POTENTIALS TRAVEL FROM THE SENSORY FIBERS AND TRAVERSE THE SPINE NEARLY INSTANTANEOUSLY. THEREFORE ALMOST ALL THE TIME IS HANDING OFF, REROUTING, AMPLIFYING, MODULATING, DESCENDING BACK, RECHECKING... THE BUREAUCRACY OF THE HUMAN MIND IS STAGGERING. THE TIME IT TAKES FOR THIS MESSAGE TO BE RECEIVED BY VISUAL PROCESSING CENTERS IN YOUR OCCIPITAL LOBE, TO BE SENT TO YOUR FRONTAL AND TEMPORAL GYRI FOR WORD PROCESSING, WAS ON THE ORDER OF SEVEN SECONDS. THE AVERAGE IS AROUND FIVE. Which means what? YOU'RE A BIT SLOW. Right, so getting back to the conversation you were having with actual people. “Uh, sorry?” “You look like Miss Ellen, it's...” “Creepy.” Mary skipped the last few years of school so she could pretend to be a miko, but she'd still be familiar with the woman. “Right. So moving forward, the food is irradiated?” “A little bit, Max.” “A little bit? Like being a little bit poisonous? Or a little bit deadly?” “Ask your fucking fairy girlfriend or your brain-doll; now stop kvetching.” “Okay.” Yeesh. Can I put you in my pocket? IF YOU THINK IT WILL DO SOME GOOD. IT WILL TAKE THE SUBMISSION COOPERATION OF YOUR PIP-BOY TO SEND & RECEIVE TARGETING DATA. ADJUSTMENT FOR HIGH-THROUGHPUT/HIGH-LOSS TRANSMISSION WILL TAKE APPROXIMATELY SEVENTEEN-AND-ONE-HALF HOURS. Okay, so just take it off, and slip it into one of the your jacket pockets. The girls don't see what you see, but you have no idea if Dai can see. You check your Pip-Boy for any indication...
[ (⌚) ５：１０ ㏘ ] [ (☭) Novgorod unequipped. Retained in Inventory. ] [ (⚠) P.A.D.S has been disabled. If you did not receive this message in error, please contact your systems administrator for troubleshooting your RobCo. P.A.D.S.-equipped mobile doll. ]
Nothing. Hopefully within 17 hours the impending clash of rogue AI will be obviated by Dai getting a new body. You take the doll off your head, suddenly very conscious of how ridiculous it must have looked, but then again, in these clothes you'd be bound to stick out no matter how you look. Hell, you still feel like a champ compared to those bozos in the corner playing bridge or something and wearing shirts with metal buttons & bolo ties. Bartender has that Japanese pre-WWII look down pat, though. “Anyway, the meat's good,” Ren offers this as if it were her own personal opinion. “Well-marbled.” Maybe she would make a good butcher? “Kobe beef was a delicacy even before the War. 'Sides, doesn't the proletarian décor fill you with awe for the cook-waitress-proprietor?” By that, she probably means the shoddy workmanship. Unfinished surfaces are everywhere, along with oddly-hammer nail heads. The ceiling has an unnecessary number of supporting rafters, some holes covered over by yet more wood planks & nails. The only things that could be considered decorative is the dirty (but lit) jukebox & the sanitation approval notice that dates back to the pre-War period. “Renko,” Mary patronizes your friend with an airy, affected voice, “I didn't have that guide for three years, but I took a seminar on the history of youkai-human business relations in Gensokyo. I do know the name 'Mystia Lorelei' despite being an early entrepreneur in pre-Revelation Gensokyo, it was also not associated with particularly ethical business—” Dai interrupts in a low tone: “Hold that thought, because your drinks are coming this way.” Saving you from your thirst and a tedious history lesson from a high school drop-out. Mystia provides two cups of baked clay for you and Mary, along with the rest of the sake bottle. Ren gets her gin & tonic. You and Mary are served with a traditional earthenware bottle & two cups. Ren receives hers in a highball glass with a lime wedge garnish. Good to know fruit crops are still being planted by somebody. The waitress waits for a moment as Ren takes a sip,“Did I put enough quinine in for you?” The bitter look on her face when she tastes it seems to satisfy the woman, but whether it arises from sadism or genuine customer satisfaction, you don't know. “Yes, thank you very much.” And the waitress is off again with an empty tray. The sake is warm, as you expect it to be. “Can I have that lime.” This wedge that Ren was going to squeeze into her drink. I hope she's not planning on putting it into her sake. “Sure.” She hands it over to Mary. She bites right into it, ripping the pulp out by her teeth with a considerably more pained expression than Ren's. “Sour!” Which she immediately washes down with her sake cup. Mystified, you ask, “Mary, why would you bite into a lime like that if you don't like sour things?” “'Cause I don't want to get scurvy: Your teeth rot out and your skin turns all yellow & nasty!” One is concerned about scurvy. The other is concerned about malaria. You however are apparently too concerned with radiation? At times, one seeks respite from the company of others one is closest too; otherwise, you might end up hating them. “Stand up.” “Why?” “So I can get out, Mary. I need fresh air.” “Do you have to take both cups?” “Just... drink from the bottle.” She shrugs then grabs the bottle. You sigh.
You move up to the bar. You need a distraction, but there are too many men here of unknown countenance, and you're not near enough drunk yet. That Sousha character should be enough, and easy to grab, seeing his boss is rather frantically arranging your dinner. “Mystia, let me borrow your bouncer?” “Eh? Sure, sure. Your meal is coming right up, sir.” She yells to the doorman, “Sousha! Don't let my customer wander off or let of any harm come to him!” “Okay, Misty! I'll give any feral I see the bum's rush!” “I'm sure you will Sousha!” Then she turns back to you and lowers her voice, “Boy isn't all right in the head. Probably something to do with his rearing, so don't berate him overmuch.” “How's that?” “Abandoned. He'll tell you the details; just ask.” And you'll do, once you close the distance. He's still staring out at the darkening clouds, leaving against on of the posts that supports the sheltered porch. Bad carpentry aside, the rocking chairs out here look like real wood, implying someone in the Wastes is capable of the craft. Filing that away as evidence toward 'civilization' you look at the same sky. Darker, now, and still clouded. You thought you had your fill of rain today, but you guess it's time to check out some little used functionality of your Pip-Boy...
“Libeccio? Motherfucker.” No getting out of here tonight. Just as well, your first day out of the Vault, burning down a shrine, leaving the Vault, surviving an armed encampment, and being accessory to a triple-homicide-by-rocket-launcher. “Something's wrong?” The dog ears flare at your cursing, but he doesn't turn around. “Depends. Are you Corsican?” “I don't know what 'core-sucking' is; that sounds like some thing a kappa would do.” “'Sousha' was it?” The dog-boy turns around too suddenly; he nearly whips the cups out of your hands with his tail. That's odd. It's not like you startled him. “Yessir, is there a problem? If the restroom needs cleaning, I can get the mop an—” You'd think he'd had the sense to not tail-whip someone that was right behind him, but maybe you overestimate youkai senses? Unless his ears were pointing to alertness at some other noise.
It comes, loud enough for you to hear this time. “I thought it might be. I can smell the ozone kinda,” he points his nose, plainly human in appearance. “Misty gets paid when everyone is forced indoors, but upstairs we're kinda running out of buckets...” Oh? He rubs the back of his neck, embarrassed. “...I guess I shouldn't've said that.” “It's alright. We'd be staying anyway. You mind if I offer you a drink, maybe ask some questions about the local flora and fauna?” “We don't get much flowers, and I don't think I've ever seen a fawn—even before the forest turned to ash.” He sounds like the kind of person whom you could ply for information, if you have the patience. Good-natured & earnest, even if a bit daft. “'Sides I can't drink when I'm on the job, sir.” “I have a feeling your boss wouldn't mind; besides, it's a small drink.” He looks at the small cup, and back at the bar where Mystia has her attention turned away by the radioactive chuck at the grilling station. “It is....” “I must insist.” “Okay then! The customer is always right!” He's happy to take the little cup and clack it with yours. You know that dogs, like humans, will drink alcohol “Your name is—“ “Max. Max Rockatansky.” “Rockatansky? That's a right nice name. Most personalities you meet in the Wasteland have names like 'Lefty' or 'Morning Breath' or 'Summer Teeth'.” “So Sousha what?” “Sousha wha—oh! Sousha Yakumo.” “Yakumo? That's a famous name. You, you must be famous!” “It's nothing. I don't know why I keep it.” He looks embarrassed. “Yakumo's great stepson or something?” “Oh, youkai names don't work like that. We don't have... families. Proper ones anyway.” Makes you wonder how youkai heredity works, what causes some features to become exaggerated, and turn others human-like. Sousha's got blue hair, on both his head & his tail, but he looks like a dog youkai no matter how you slice it. Maybe a 'blue' merle coat in a dog justifies a true blue dog youkai? Well, Mystia has pink hair while her feathers are more reddish, and Kogasa wasn't nearly as ugly as her puce umbrella. Sousha's wearing some kind of vestment, with various iconography. Some relate known logos, but they don't make much sense when taken together. “Um... is there something wrong?” And you realize you've stopping companionably staring at the lengthening trunk-shadows in Dead Magic Forest, and are in fact staring at him. Just his clothes, right now. “No. No, just looking at your, uh, flair.” “Flair? Oh you mean the symbols?” “Yes. There are a lot of them. What's that one?” You point at something and his boyish face follows your movements. A leaf. “Oh, that's one Sanae gave me. She's a really nice girl.” “Sanae? Is that another youkai?” “Oh no, she's the Priestess of the Wind! She serves the gods up on the Mountain. She really helped me out on a number of occasions!” Alright, I'll bite. “So what's your story, Bojangles?” “Huh? My story?” “Yeah. What earns you your drinks & tips?” “I just mind the door and the folks. I'm pretty good at throwing folks—throwing them out of doors, especially.” “How does a dog youkai get to be a bouncer for the loneliest bar in Gensokyo.” To be fair it might be the only bar in Gensokyo. “Oh, I had a master! She, uh, elevated me.” “Who?” “Yukari Yakumo.” “The Yukari Yakumo? No shit?” “Yep.” He laughs, “I get that a lot.” “The it's-now-fourteen-past-the-hour Yukari Yakumo?” “Oh, I don't carry a watch, but she was my master.” “The Lady of Borders? The Purple Matron Majesty? The Thousand-Eye Stare?” “I don't know nothin' about majesty. She mostly did a lot of gapping. Eyes, a lot, too.” “Sorry? 'Gabbing'?” “Gapping.” “Oh?” 'Gap,' as a verb? Is that transitive or intransitive? No. Action verb. Subject 'to gap' direct object. Why would you want that? I guess you could trip somebody by making gaps in the ground if somebody were chasing them. Maybe she was into creating pitfalls?
“Yeah, but she only did it half way. There wasn't enough time, and so... eventually... she stopped.” “Before...” “Before?” “She stopped before what?” “Oh, it would probably be the day all the bombs fell and Ran & Chen shut the big Vault door in Mayohiga.” “Ran & Chen being?” “Ran was her shikigami. Chen was her shikigami's shikigami.” “So are you the shikigami of a shikigami of a shikigami?” Apparently, even the slaves are enslaving slaves! “No I was contracted by Yukari herself. Weird thing is that she built all these Vaults, right? So, like, why wasn't she in them?” That sounds like something you might wonder at while high. Unfortunately, you are not. So you have to take it, and run with it. No matter how many tedious yard-lines it takes you down. “So... she wasn't interned with you and the other... shikigami? This is in, where? Mayohiga, the suburbs?” “No, she wasn't. And yeah in Mayohiga. Ran said she was supposed to be Overseer, but she just never showed.” “Huh. So she just up and left? What happened to you and her other shikigami? Wouldn't that be a big drain on your power if your master didn't give you any orders?” “No. The Border was destroyed, so most 'spooky action at a distance' as Ran called it stopped functioning as normal. We had to eat to sustain ourselves. It's a good thing there were food synthesizers for the human population that never showed up!” “Sounds like pretty shady circumstances, Sousha. Does it piss you off any?” He looks awkwardly at his shoes for a minute before answering: “Not really. When Yukari left, I spent a lot of time just... well, I didn't admit it at first. How could I? I mean here I was this young youkai, just a pup really, brought immediately upon self-awareness into the service of this mysterious and godlike figure and told I'm her servant, then sent through training, told that she had a special plan for me, then she all of a sudden, she disappears. Just like that! I knew that she had taken extended vacations before, but I figured something was up after the first year, because Chen would get more and more frustrated whenever Yukari's name was brought up. Then another year or ten and finally Ran starts to showing her fear, despite the repeat assurances spilling from her mouth that this was an ordinary occurrence. Ran had her hands full then, but I guess when the Vault opened, and Chen ran away, she fell into a pretty heavy depression. I was useless to help her because I couldn't understand that Yukari wasn't coming back for us; obstinate to the point where... we had a fight, and she kicked me out on my tail.” “That is pretty heavy stuff man.” These cups are far too small to be continuing this conversation. “How did you survive after that?”
“I guess I sort of reverted to the wild. I tried hunted animals—not many were left—I fought other youkai, howled at the moon, everything I thought a wild dog was supposed to do, but... I guess I was just chasing my own tail, really. An old friend, Sanae Kotiya finds me in the gutter one day—I swear that cab came outta nowhere—and instead of just stepping over me, like most everybody else, she cleans me up and gets me set up with a job here.” Already, the artificial lighting of the Mountain of Faith cuts through the tree cover, probably aided by the setting sun, and the cloud-obscured moon & stars. It's North-by-West of your position in the Dead Magic Forest, Northwest-by-North of Vault ⑨, on the Western fringe of the Basin; more simply it's Northwest of SDM. You can only see half of the mountain from here, as Mystia's Bar & Grill opens to the East, but its peak rises high than the trees or the building can block-out. Other than these few landmarks, you don't yet have a clear picture as to the geography of modern Gensokyo, and will have to rely on Pip-Boy geographical data, which Mary repeatedly checks aloud, probably so she can stay on the same level as Renko who is a walking GPS. You assume, from your initial, abortive journey in your youth, that Human Village would be somewhere Northeast of here. The tree husks and low altitude unfortunately prevents sight of the Village from here. “Ain't it something,” now more interested in the Mountain than Sousha's story. “The mountain people are really isolationist, but you can hardly blame them, given raiders and youkai and ferals and all.” I guess that explains why he wasn't given a job up there, despite his friends in high places. “And now, I am gainfully employed, and my new Master... well, she's very kind. She doesn't make false promises, or test my loyalty over and over again, or treat me like an animal. I'm happy here, and I ain't bitter much 'bout my old life. I sometimes hear about Chen through the grapevine, and Ran and me have made-up and we sometimes get to spend the holidays together. I still think about Yukari sometimes. That might sound weird, but if you'd met her just once, I'd think you'd probably think about her long afterward, too. Just wish she would send us a postcard—let us all know she's still out there, watching and giggling. Well, ah, how's that for a shaggy dog story?” He hands you his cup back. “Misty,” He yells behind you, “Could we get some levity in here?” She's turned from the grill with a spatula in her hand. “Murasa is probably going to start shooting again, so Nazrin is going to wait a bit.” Who is being shot? This sounds like the kind of stuff you should be finding out, instead of navel-gazing with a sad puppy. “Can l play some ditties on pianola until then?” “Let 'im play a song, eh Myschi?” Asks one of the drunks. She wipes a hand on her apron. “Sure, Sousha. That's what the organ is there for, after all.” The 'pianola' is an upright organ that appears to be made of 'actual' wood. Fuck, the keys could be mammoth tusks for all you know. “Sir, your food arrived at the table, and your friends did not seem too keen on waiting.” Shit. No time for information: Today's exertions have left you ravenous. You know what they say: 'between fight and flight we must rest and digest.' “Thank you Mystia,” You place the two sake cups on the bar. “Can I get some more sake? I have a feeling my friend already emptied the last vessel.” She tops off one of your cups, but you ask for the whole bottle. Carrying the cup & bottle back to the table, you ask Mary to move aside. Both of them are completely absorbed by their food. “Turns out the bouncer is a former slave of Yukari Yakumo,” you mention off-hand as Mary scoots aside and switches the place-settings. “Eh?” Ren grunts in surprise and places her burger down, not bothering to fully chew and swallow her food. You don't really have much else to say. Aside from Sousha's life story, you didn't draw out any useful information. “Yeah, and she's definitely gone from Gensokyo; has been since the Internment,” Dai voices, allowing you to focus on the warm food in front of you. The burger? Well aside from the fact it was sandwiched between two slices of 'johnnycake'—suggesting that corn really is the staple food outside the Vault—the meat itself is better by far than synthetic tofu chuck they served as meat in the Vault, that's for damn sure. “Her other shikigami are still here. Apparently after the Great Border failed completely, the existential 'duty' requirement on shikigami. This means that it's possible we'll find one of them in Mayohiga, at Vault ➇, since Wolf-boy said he was Interned there.” “Definitely, definitely something to check out.” Mary pours sake from your new bottle into another saucer; likely she asked for a new one when the winged waitress brought the food, “After we get you a body, Dai.” You pour your own, hoping to get more than one drink in you tonight; being sober among drunks makes for bad company. Mary is starting to look flush, probably because she's drunk about twelve fluid ounces of sake, which is three or four standard drinks.
[ (⌬) Mary has become intoxicated! +1 STR, +1 CHA, -1 INT, -1 AGI ] [ (⌬) Mary has become addicted to alcohol! ]
File 126997008132.jpg - (305.74KB, 800x800 , May balance Ren.jpg) [iqdb]
Sousha's voice carries well from across the other side of the bar, since the patrons have all done the polite thing and turned off their radios. “This is a very old ditty, called the 'Maple Leaf Rag'. Whenever I play it, I'm reminded of a kindness that was done for me by the people on the Mount.”
Ren, too, who seems to be drinking a Mai Tai now—the opposite of the very masculine drink she ordered prior, which it would seem she found much too bitter. Conversely from Mary, Ren is purely of Japanese blood; she gets more side-effects from alcohol but this belies the state of actual intoxication. You've come to appreciate these differences because you have a markedly faster metabolism than the others when it comes to alcohol and most other drugs. The high is the same, but it comes faster, and leaves faster, along with the side-effects. The net effect has lead to more experimentation, but no addiction on your part.
[ (☕) Food ingested! Mary's hunger is relieved. +30 hp ] [ (☕) Food ingested! Renko's hunger is relieved. +30 hp ] [ (☕) Food ingested! Max's hunger is relieved. +30 hp ]
[ (⌬) Max has become intoxicated! +1 STR, +1 CHA, -1 INT, -1 AGI ] [ (⌬) Renko has become intoxicated! +1 STR, +1 CHA, -1 INT, -1 AGI ]
“M-A-X, let's G-T-F-O, A-S-A-P, eh?” The girl is wasted. “You're not the one who had to hold a conversation with Rain Man over there, R-E-N-K-O.” ”Oof. 'I'm a very good driver! I'm a very good driver!'” Totally wasted. You check your watch, having little to do now that Mystia has taken your plates away.
[ (⌚) ７：１１ ㏘ ]
Even through the dusty windows of this fine Bar & Grill you can see it's quite dark out. The thunder has stopped, but you still see flashes of light, which means either lightning, feral fairies, or unredeemed spirits. In any case you're going to have to spend the night here. Even though the bombs have probably pretty much destroyed the effects of seasons through global warming, it hasn't done anything to knock the earth off its axis: Winter days are short. Another thing to file away regarding the state of the world above ground. “We're going to stay the night, Ren. I don't know about the accommodations, here, but we need to do our stumbling in the daylight.” “Yeah, alright,” she concurs after a moment of consideration. “'Sides, Mary is already asleep.” “I'm not sleeping, I'm taking a divine nap,” Mary answers blearily head leaning on your shoulder. You'll bite. “Which is the same thing, Mary?” “No. Max, you spontaneously utilize you own magical energy...” That's not entirely true: Most spells other than cantrips require material, somatic & verbal components, as well as research and sometimes elaborate rituals “...I have to negotiate with higher powers on a daily basis in order to receive divine power. I'm not divine myself; just a vessel for it.” “Yeah, but shouldn't that require meditation, or something?” Ren continues her analysis, “You just look like you passed out drunk.” “Honestly, I was never very good at meditation, so I use dream-space to communicate.” “Which is why you drink so much, Mary?” You asking now. She sighs, eyes still closed, “I'm sure it has something to do with it; I can't just fall asleep on command, and even if I cast a sleep spell, that's artifice that merely resembles sleep.” “You don't dream under a sleep spell.” You know this from personal experimentation. There might be something like a 'dream' spell, but that's nothing you've ever heard of, and besides, you're an elementalist, not an enchanter. “Most sedatives suppress REM sleep,” voices Ren. “Alcohol would be an exception, causing a large REM rebound within the same night.” “Speaking of sleep Mary, lean on Ren, since she's probably cleaner than the windowsill. I have to go make sleeping arrangements.” Mary grunts in displeasure, but keeps her head up when you move out of the booth. She doesn't move, but Ren does, taking your seat. You pop your jacket collar hoping to look less-than-chatty, at least to the drunkards at the bar. “Hey Mystia, according to my Pip-Boy, the weather is going to bad until at least tomorrow, so...” You suddenly become aware of the general lack of Pip-Boy's by the other bar patrons, except for Mystia. In fact one of them grabs your left sleeve to look at the device. “You make the forecast come out by your arm with your... whatchamacallit?” “Pip-Boy, Frederick. Pip-Boy, like Mystia & our Vault forefathers wore?” “Whooooa. Wait. You... stole that from a Vault? I heard there were one or twos of 'em out here—” “Freddie. Obviously they bought it of same Fairy escapee from Vault ⑨.” “Oh right, that's the fairy Vault. Wouldn't want to be one of 'em up here. Everyone takes shoots at ferals on reflex—” “Uh,” Mystia attempts to interrupt the drunks to talk to you, but since she didn't hear what you asked for, it's difficult. You notice she is wearing a Pip-Boy. It's in relative disrepair with the screen flickering at occasional intervals. “Notice you have a Pip-Boy yourself, Mystia...” BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. That wasn't thunder. “Right on schedule,” Mystia sighs. BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. Sousha has stopped playing the piano. “What the hell is that!” Ren yells. BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “Started a few months ago!” Answers one of the patrons. “The USS Yamato, according to Nazrin,” Mystia adds with a sigh. BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “It's a flying ship! Fuckin' huge!” “You haven't even seen it, Fredrick! I 'ave!” BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “Well, what is it?” You ask. “It's a flying battleship! Really fuckin' huge! With huge guns!” BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “What is it doing?” “No one is sure! Happens every twelve hours, everyday! Normal reports...” BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “...Say it heads out to Lake Suwa in the West, refills itself on the water, and comes back...” BOOM. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeee. KA-BOOM. “...And shells the fuck out of something!” “Has it stopped?” “You think this might have anything to do with the seismographic data, Dai recorded?” “Gotta be,” Ren concurs. “But... what are they shelling?” Ask Mary, curious. “Probably that Moony outpost North of Scarlet Devil Basin.” “The Lunarians have a base here? Isn't the War over?” “Guess no one told them, eh? Besides, no group is brave to get close enough to confirm. If the place withstands that shit daily, I can only imagine what kind of super-rabbits that garrison it. Anyways, the battleship captain is apparently Nazrin's friend, but no one's gotten close to it either.” “Speaking of which, gentlemens~ Nazrin is about to do her act. Sousha!” “Yes, Misty?” “Keep it cool.” “Righty!”
The place isn't quite a normal two-story, being a split-level. The stairwell aside the entrance leads to the loft rooms above you. There must be a second behind the bar, since there is a railing partway across a platform over and behind the bar. The purple curtains betrayed none of it in the darkness, only now revealed by the stage lights. Sousha's hands are poised above the upright, eyes fixated on the stage. Mystia smiles and goes into the back, possibly to manipulate the lighting. The house lights are soon turned down, and the spotlight is turned on. A small figure comes into view. Youkai, with round ears, wearing Nuka-bottle glasses. Possibly a mouse youkai? “You kids should pay attention,” whispers one of the of the drunks. “Her jokes are a lot funnier if you're not hearing them for the millionth time.” The paces back & forth across the stage animatedly, and the spotlight tries hard to keep up. “Alright! Thank you! Thank you! Hello!” You don't think she's nervous, but she's making you nervous to watch. “My name is Nazrin! I am a motivational speaker! I am here to motivate you! To do what, you ask?” She stops her pacing. Slapping a fist in her palm, “I encourage and empower individuals to seek realistic life goals! Like living in a van, down by the river!” Oh, so that's how she's playing it. She receives encouraging yells from the drunks. “So, let’s get started! Okay! Let me give you a little bit of a scenario of what my life is all about: First off, I am thirteen hundred and five years of age, I am an alcoholic, and I live in a van, down by the river! How is everybody feeling?” “We're motivated enough! Tell us about the one with the diamonds!” “Who said that?” She asks apparently incensed by the heckler. “Turn on the house lights! I want to see who's motivated!” They go on. “You, the kid in the jacket!” Shit. The houselights are replaced by a second spotlight. “You don't look very motivated! What is your profession?” “I'm trying to save my Vault?” You voice doesn't carry nearly as well. “Oh really? A little hero? Let me tell you about the Wasteland, since you are so woefully deficient in your knowledge of it. You wanna perform good deeds? That, and a bottle cap, will get you a nice hot cup of jack squat!” Well, that's only, like, her—of course the others laughed at you now, so it's probably more than just her opinion. “You kids are probably saying to yourself, ‘Now, I'm gonna go out, and I'm gonna get the world by the tail,'” Nazin here grabs a hairless tail (definitely a rodent) and yanks at it, as if to pull herself up into the air by it. “'And wrap it around, and pull it down, and put it in my pocket!’ Well, let me tell you, what you're probably gonna find out, if you go out there, and you survive long enough...” She lets go of the tail. “You're not gonna amount to jack squat! You're gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese, living in a van, down by the river! What is your name, son?” “Max!” “Oh! Well! ’Hey, look at me, I’m Crazy Max! Woooooo!’” Her hands imitate the driving of an eighty-year-old man. “Hot shot who likes fast cars and slow girls! Well, let’s 'pimp' Max’s ride ten years down the line, shall we? ‘Sup dogg! I heard you like to drive, so we put an RC van in your van, so you can drive while you ‘live! ...In a van, down by the river!'” You get many laughs at that one. “Okay!” The spotlight on you turns off, blessedly. “Maybe you all understand a little more, if I give you a little autobiography! Once, there was an mouse who liked to find things! She started out finding treasure! Then, she found out how cruel life was! Then, she found the bottom of a bottle of Jack! Then she found herself destitute! Then she found a new home, in a van, down by the river!” Cheers. At least one confession of love. Her tone of voice changes: “How many minutes do I got before Iku is ready? Sousha? Jesus, it's only Monday? What does the audience want to hear now?” “Tell us the one about the 'istorical society!” "Oh, alright, that's a good one. So! The Gensokyo Historical Society is having this dinner and all the wisest men & youkai in the world are there. Of course, they're tossing around theories about the ultimate mysteries: Why are youkai almost all women? Why can't they make babies the way humans do? Why, when it does happen with a human, do they only produce half-youkai? So, some say it's epigenetic incompatibility, some say that it's pollution of the collective unconscious, some say it's a plot by the Moon people! Same old, same old. So, anyway, in the corner, this Englishman's sitting, if you knew people back in the day, shout out to Casey Mills! OG! Yeah, well, he hasn't said a word so far, he's just tuckin' away into his dinner. So, they decide to ask him, they say, "Well, KC, why do you think youkai can't breed on their own?" And he looks up at them, grinning contently, chewing on this great big, fried wing, and he says: "I haven't the faintest idea, chaps," he says, "but this stork youkai is quite tasty isn't he?" Raucous laughter. “Thank you everyone!” Applause. “I'll be performing here all millennium!” The purple curtains sweep closed as Nazrin bows. The stage lights & spotlight turns off. The house lights are restored. People begin chatting again. That was sort of a cultural display; the Wastes can't be too terrible if comedians can find employ. You ask Mary to get up, so you can move to the bar. Mystia comes back out to the bar, followed by Nazrin, who passes by Mystia to find a seat at the bar. Mystia pours her a drink and yells over at the piano player, “Take five, Sousha!” “Alright!”
You move up toward the bar. “That was something, Miss Nazrin.” “Oh, the kid? Thanks. No hard feelings on being picked on, okay?” “Not at all.” The 'kid' is weird coming from someone as young-looking as she is, but according to her, she's a thousand years old. “I wanted to tell you we enjoyed your performance.” "The performance? Well it wasn't that great, but it's nice to see most Wastelanders aren't going to hurl half-rotten tomatoes and brickbats if they don't like what they're seeing. And, uh, Vault-dwellers too, apparently." “Do you perform here regularly?” “Every weekday. It's all just a warm-up for Iku, really.” “About the 'government cheese', is there some kind of centralized government in Wastes?” She looks at you as if you sprouted an extra head. “Or was that a fiction for your act?” “The latter. Jesus, you really are fresh from the Vault, aren't you?” “Yes. Sorry?” She snorts. “Don't need your apologies. My advice? Talk to some of the patrons. It's a good idea you stopped here; some places in the Wastes would eat you alive.” She turns her attention back to her drink. “There's time yet before Iku comes on the stage.” Well, then. Renko has followed you up to the bar herself, but she takes a seat. “Mystia! We cleaned out your youkai problem, at Tewi's pick-up stop.” Half-lying, she's probably looking for a discount, “At the cost of a single metal drum.” “That's simply darling of you, cowgirl!” One of the drunks slaps her on the back. “Sure glad we decided to stay in today!” “Information is free. Drinks will cost you,” Mystia asserts, unwaveringly. “Alright,” Ren returns. “Gimmie a Jack & Nuka. Tell me what's the deal with the War Memorial.” “It's just that.” Mystia adds Nuka from the tap to two fingers of whiskey. “It's blessed with hard magicks that keep it nearly untouched, despite the fires and other environmental ruin. Problem is who's living in it.” “Who is?” You ask. One of the patrons take over, “There's this big, nasty jigoku oni that stalks the place! She none too smart, but she carries a big stick.” “Mystia, you mentioned an 'oni' when I asked for sake.” Tight-lipped, toweling a beer mug, she nods. “Yes, but those are the normal kind.” “Jigoku means 'hell' Max,” Ren informs. “Well, that's how she bills herself,” Mary slides Ren her drink, “The Girl from Hell.” “Happened to a friend o' mine!” Another drunk. “What happened?” Ren asks. “She happened 's what!” “He was all our friend! Poor Melville.” “Why hasn't anything been done about her?” “Melville tried. He thought he was pretty smart. Good at magic. Kept the youkai & ferals off our backs. Thought he could outsmart her by challenging her to ritual combat.” “Danmaku?” “Yes. Except she's not very good at danmaku. When the mace hit 'im? Tore 'im clean in half.” “Don't you have guns?” Grumbling, a few people pull out firearms in various states of disrepair. “Mostly civilian Type-14s. Low stopping power. Probably doesn't help that they're all too drunk to hit the broad side of a barn door.” “What about you, girly?” Mean Drunk is easily offended. “Hey—“ Ren cuts off your white knight bullshit, by simply placing her Mateba on the bar. To the collective awe of the drunks. “Ho-ly shit. Whazzit, a ray gun?” “No. It's purely conventional. .500 Smith & Wesson. Unica 6. Machined half of the metal myself.” “You should meet the Sheriff... er...” “Not the sheriff, Tha's Keine.” “Constable is Keine.” “Field... er... Federate...?” “Federated?” While the men attempt to find the correct adjective to use, you ask for a room key, “Mystia, we're going to bunk here tonight. You said you rent rooms?” She hands you a key from a cubby hole. It's labeled '①'. “Stairway to the lofts are to your left.” “Thanks.” “Federal Marshal!” “Yes!” “Mokou,” the bar woman reminds the drunks of the name, staring out the window, a glum expression that doesn't at all suit her. “Right! Moukou's a U.S. Marshal in th' Village!” “Huuuge fuckin' shooter!” Why is he pantomiming a tanuki's testicles? “We keep asking her to deal with the oni problem, but since she basically just stays there, she claims she's not a 'real threat' like the ferals & mutant wildlife! Threat enough to poor Melville!” “And tha's the War Memorial! 'S like a nash—nation—an American Monument!” “They're more concerned with that Wriggle Nightbug character nowadays. And they even keep that weird scarecrow in the town square! Laughed at me once and said, 'A fatty liver is delicious!'” That gets a chuckle out of the other drinkers. “And Wriggle's... well, she's Myschi's friend! Just under... misunderstood!”
“I appreciate the sentiment, but slip another syllable, and I'm cutting you off, Kevin.” You're not sure if she really means it. Something about the mentioning of that Mokou person put her in a dark mood. “Oh, I was jus'... girl gets a bad rap, jus' cause she's a youkai. It'd be nice to have more like her around. Not that Nazrin & Iku & Myschi are terrible company!” “Why do you all drink all the way out here? There not a good place to drink in the Village? Er, no offense to you, Miss... Mystia.” “Of course,” the proprietor & bartender answers Renko's gaff sardonically. “Mystia Lorelei.” “As in the Rhine-maiden?” Renko, possibly digging the hole deeper. You thought she looked like a bird youkai. What that has to do with a river in Germany, you're not sure. “I'm a Night-Sparrow.” “She can sing really good!” “You can bewitch passers-by with your voice?” More an assertion than a question coming from Renko. “Yes, but the days of needing to are long over. The legend of the '夜雀' or 'Night-Sparrow' was never very popular. That, and my natural vocal aptitude is why I took on the name of a siren.” Oh, now you get it. The Rhine-maiden part. Not so much the 'Night-Sparrow'. “I won't demand you sing for us, Miss Lorelei,” You interject in order to preempt Renko's casual irreverence. “But can you inform me about what this Japanese legend of the 'Night-Sparrow' is?” “Oh tha's easy! See, if you were eating fried chicken at midnight—” “No-no, that's not right. Sparrows aren't chickens.” The drunks start bickering as to the specifics. “Gentlemen!” The woman raps on the bar. “The boy asked me. It's my story.” Sorrys & grumbles. “Quite right. Quite right. Speak your peace, Myschi. Speak your peace.” “夜雀—yoru-suzume—literally, 'evening-sparrow'. The legend is that if you're out walking at midnight, a sparrow will follow, singing to you. The basis is largely the result of the sparrow—true sparrows, family passeridae—readily adapting to the urban sprawl of modern Japan, nesting in buildings easily. The other basis is of course why someone might be out, walking around downtown at midnight.” “Drunk off 'is head,” supplies on of the regulars. “Thoughts in the streetlamp turning toward the romantic, it might seem that the sparrow is following you, singing to you. The reality however, could easily be that you're following the sparrow, who sings for itself. Whatever the reason, discovering a 'night-sparrow' is portentous matter to the superstitious: Normally it's benign, like sighting Coleridge's albatross. It means you'll mean a stray dog, soon. Which is companionship, if but temporary.” “Ain't that right, Sousha!” The wolf- or dog-youkai who has gravitated back toward the doorway and is staring at the rain, waves back good-naturedly to the drunk, not likely having overheard the context. “Catching or killing it, however, meant suffering night-blindness.”
“Doubly like the albatross, then.” Renko surmises. “Every educated man knows, it is a Sin to Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Lorelei.” “Thank you for the sentiment, Peter,” she smiles at him, then turns back to you and Renko, “I used to sell grilled lamprey, since the vitamin A helps with actually being night-blind but since all the fish are dead, and the lake has dried up, I hauled an old food synthesizer out of Alice's Restaurant. Aside from the occasional specialties like the brahmin burger, we make do with fortified, shaped tofu.” Ah, the taste of home. “You have a really nice set-up here, Miss Lorelei. Almost every detail about it suits you. Both as a person and as a youkai.” She waves you forward, so you lean over the bar, and then she is at your ear: “I protect the drunks from the ferals and youkai and their fellow villagers. Keine pays off their tabs. I supply the alcohol, conditionally afflict them with night-blindness, or Iku does here rain-dance, so they'll stay inside on the dangerous days. Tonight for example.” She stops talking, so you stop leaning over. They're almost all older gents. Probably bad backs from climbing stairwells up and down for decades. “Sometimes, it feels like I'm more a caretaker than bartender, but really I don't regret a bit of it,” she says aloud. “I think... it's the youkai connection.” “Petey, you 'lways get so... philosophical.” “Let 'im be Daniel! Can't a man get philosophical after a few drinks? Go on Peter.” “My son was murdered. He was young. Pro'ly half your age, um, ah...” “Max.” “Half your age, Max. Mother died in childbirth, God rest her soul. Ten years ago, he was playing with some friends in the ruins; trying to hunt down the golden radroach or something equally silly. Kids' stuff. Someone maybe passing through took a shot at him with a rifle. Hit him in the head. Cutter tells me he was dead 'fore he hit the ground. Probably one of those Flower Patch psychos out of Vault ④. They didn't even try claiming to body as food. I... well... I got mad as all Hell.” “Who wouldn't?” Affirms one of Peter's somber faced fellows. “I said to the cabbie. 'Look Tewi: I ain't got nothin' against you in particular, but I'm gonna kill me a mutant today. I don't care if I have to wreck a train to do it. They killed my boy! They killed my boy, my boy, my...'” “'S alright Peter. You don't have to justify yourself.” “I know that.” “So what happened?” “She said, 'Okay, guy. I'll take you somewhere you can find a feral. You do it right, it'll only take one shot.' I says real hot-headed, 'I only need 's one shot.' I thought I was hot shit at the time, full of spit and righteous indignation. She drove me out here. Dead of night. New moon. Only light was coming from ferals and their glamors. I stalked off to find one, and I did. It summoned up some white stuff, and was probably about to hurl it at me, but I got 'er first. Thought I was a good shot, but I hit her in the gut. It's a killing wound, but takes forever. You bleed out. That sound scared away all the other lights. Tewi said she'd give me ten minutes after the shot was fired. She was small, but by m' lantern, I could see a... copious... trail of blood. I had to finish the job. I tracked her to the porch of that wrecked shop, 'Core-Window.'”
“'Kourindou.'” “I know what it is; dammit, don't interrupt me, Slim!” “Ignore him.” “Well I bent down and shined me lantern. There it was. Bloodied. Breathin' real fast & real hard, lookin' right at me, eyes glassing over. She was a goner, so I wondered, why? Why run? Why die later, when you can reach your next incarnation more quickly by taking another hit? Why be in pain? Why not fight back, with teeth or a rock, if you couldn't concentrate to cast magic & were doomed regardless? Why not warn the other fey, to avenge you? Then I sees a dog bowl. Hadn't seen a dog, unless it was a mutant, since I were a kid, but I knew what a dog bowl looked like. I realized that the fairy was doing what a dog would, when it dies. It hides. They go off alone to die. Well, I was full up on pathos & heartache by then. I started wandering around after that, since Tewi had driven off. I tramped through the forest, jus' as black as it is now, expecting a band of fairies to do me in, or to be shanked by some youkai kid. But it weren't to be. I stumbled across this place. I orders myself a drink. I says to Myschi, bartender...” “I'm not going home tonight. I don't think I'm ever going home,” the woman bartender recites. “That exactly. I didn't know any of these fellers here then, but I wondered if a man was the same way as the feral, or a dog. I never did go home. Not that there was anything waiting for me.” “And the feral?” “Who knows. Probably reincarnated half-a-dozen times since. Don't think I ever saw it again, and if it saw me, it sure didn't remember.” “What Peter says is true, kiddo. We've all had losses... from raiders, and ferals, and different youkai factions. I lost three fingers on me right hand. Used to play the fife, I did.” “I remember, Joe; you were right good at it.” “Why do you drink at a youkai served bar, then?” “Well, because when you can sit down and had a nice conversation with a fellow, youkai or no, you can see a world of good in 'em!” “That's right, Myschi's a good right sort of person!” There is a general grunting of agreement to this. “Wish we'd sat down with those Moonies before we decided to kill each other.” “Amen to that,” Peter, the philosophical drunk, reifies. “Anyway, it's about time for Iku to come out.” There are hoots at this. “I have to check if she's ready & work the lights. Get your instrument, Nazrin.” “Just as soon as I finish this drink.” Mystia disappears into the space behind the bar. “Sousha, get seated at the piano,” Nazrin commands to the dog youkai before turning off the radio, and following Mystia into the back. “Oh boy!” Comes Sousha's unbridled enthusiasm. Everyone steps away from the bar again. Ren with her drink, and you both return back to where Mary is seated. “What now?” Mary asks. “A dancer, apparently,” answers Ren. In your peripheral vision, you can see Mary looking at you, before turning toward the stage herself.
With the house lights down, you can make out profiles of Nazrin & Mystia, who have taken up their own instruments, the sax & the trombone, respectively. A thump from Sousha's corner alerts you to the probability he's operating a 'kick' drum, rather than playing the piano. You don't spend much time gawking at the musicians when the dancer enters the spotlight. The woman who is the center of the everyone's attention is gorgeous. Not only gorgeous, but unnaturally so, her youkai heritage betrayed by violet hair and large, red irises. Even Mary and Ren are gaping. Apart from the fans that are painted in a red & orange fire motif, a black hat with a red bow, and a very long scarlet shawl, she is clothed only in makeup and costume jewelry that reflect in the hot stage lighting—gold rings flash on her fingers, jeweled piercings on her ears and navel, silver bangles around her wrists & ankles, and very elaborate brass spirally things that snake up her upper arms. The woman backs up a little from the lip of the stage, so that the floorboards obscure her legs, the after moving to one side, she sails through the air with the grace & precision of a ballerina. She continues this pattern of edging out to titillate, then drawing back and making complex movements that makes it seems like she's floating on the air. Her scarf and the ribbon on her hat—which frames her purple hair & painted face perfectly against its black brim—seem to be made out of memory fabrics, as they appear to take on lives of their own during the dance. She's already more than convinced you that her trade is a form of art when the stage and house lights go out completely. However, the men seem not surprised in the least. “Pay attention!” Yells Sousha, still playing on his piano.
The second story must have windows because for an instant, the storm lights up the bar. With the light coming entirely behind her, your vision is reduced to only the curves of her body, without showing off the nakedness of her features. The thunder comes at steady intervals now, and her fiery 'scales' & ephemeral scarf float down to the bar, drawing catcalls from every patron. With no danger of being revealed completely now, she can dance and pirouette on the very edge of the stage, with the strobe of lightning increasingly regular, if the very skies themselves were the dancer's confederates. “Hey, who's Tall, Leggy & Vivacious?” “That's Iku Nagae. She out of your league, kid.” “She's out of all our leagues, Slim.” “Hey, it ain't like I'm going to rut with a hagfi—“ “Shhh!” “That... was amazing.” “Don't trouble yourself, kid; she's a total lesbo. Shacks up with that Celestial girl on the mount from time to time.” Nasty drunk—'Slim'—whoever, he is starting to piss you off. “Oh. So that's what it was!” “What?” Ren asks, falling right into your trap. “What about her kept reminding me of Renko. Ahaha!” “Not even close to funny Max.” Aha. Ahem. Or maybe the hat had something to do with it? Anyway, the radio turns back on.
Iku steps out from behind the the swinging door behind the bar. The limelight isn't focused on her anymore, but you can see her well enough with the house lights back on. She's thrown on a paisley silk robe; you don't know why she'd still be wearing the scarf, which it seems Myschi had recovered for her, in this muggy weather, but you'll chalk it up to a professional affectation. She lifts the same hinged panel that Mystia used to bus your table, and takes a bar stool, and after a few earnest compliments from the other patrons, Mystia serves her a drink. Of course the three of you go over to make friendly. She is still larger than life up close, and after a quick sweeping glance of your party, she smiles politely, only really paying attention to Mary, who starts gushing. “The way you appeared to glide on the air by stepping bac—“ “You look like a warrior priestess,” she interrupts Mary. Her voice is slightly husky, the texture of crushed velvet. “Oh, I'm a shrine maiden! It's just that the Wastes are so dangerous that my friends make—“ “You're not regular Wastelanders.” Normally you might say something sarcastic here, but, gods, her drawl is like aural Valium. “I bet you pretty up real nice, Miss Shrine Maiden. Makeup can hide most of my years, but you're genuinely youthful.” Now that she mentions it, you can see the beginning of slight crows' feet under her mascara. “Most people in the Wastes are born old or get there real fast.” “Eh? But you're so pretty! Besides, I could never do anything like—” “You have your regular uniform? God, it's been so long since I've seen a Shrine Maiden. The one on the Mountain is a recluse, and the Spirals' one is always seen in power armor, and who the fuck knows if Hakurei is dead or alive, aside from all that recorded yammering on Voice of America. Sousha?” “Coming Miss Nagae!” “No matter how many times I tell him to address me as—Sousha?” “Yes?” His tail is flicking right and left; he really is a dog. “Gather their belongings. They're staying in the loft tonight. Aren't you?” Mystia gives Iku a dirty look for deciding such things herself, but the diva responds without even looking: “Don't worry about it, the fees are negotiable. As in, I'll negotiate for you.” “We do have caps,” you mention. “Save your caps, hun. I want to see one thing.” “What's that?” “This girl. On the stage.” The yahoos listening in on your conversation whistle & make catcalls, while Mystia has already adopted a defeated smirk, wiping down another glass. “Oh, no! I don't think I can do anything—“ “I think you could tease and titillate with the best of them, Mary.” “Oh my!” A light punch in the shoulder, and she goddamn blushes. Mary is an excellent actress, and it drives the drunks wild. More catcalls & whistles. “Max, I know this might sound strange coming from me, but you're actually going to let her...” She makes gestures, but doesn't quite finish the sentence. “Yes, Ren?” “Uh, whore around?” “This isn't a bordello, cowgirl!” Interjects Animated Drunk: “Burlesque show! That's squeaky clean fun!” Mary is trained to entertain. She looks like she enjoys the attention too. Sorry, Ren. “Ren, America is a service economy. If you can't provide a service, you won't eat!” Patriotic Drunk grabs your hand, raising it up high. “This! This exactly! Myschi, get this man another round! He is filled with good ideas!” “Pay off your own tab before buying people drinks.” “I can pay for it,” you say. “No more sake. Scotch & soda, please.” She nods, and after spraying seltzer into the two fingers of Scotch whiskey, she sends it down the now squeaky clean bar. She's been doing this for a very long time, since the glass stops right in front of you. “If you can put up the caps, I'll keep pouring the drinks.”
Mystia rests her back against the cabinetry behind her and crosses her arms. “Miss Shrine Maiden, you don't need to do anything for these old lechers, Iku included—unless you want to.” “Just a spot of fun; it's nothing harmful!” “Probably better than Nazrin's tired jokes,” grumbles Slim. “Mary doesn't have to do anything!” Renko asserts. Now it's Ren's turn to have her white knight bullshit backfire. On hearing this, Mary immediately becomes 100% certain that she wants to, “Oh, fine, I'll do it. Let me change into my shrine maiden outfit.” Of course she might be fishing for you to protect her honor, but frankly, you're unwilling to play into any passive-aggressive stuff like that. No, it's no longer about you or Ren, it's about Mary having her own fun. WHAT AN ENLIGHTENED ATTITUDE. I know right? FEW MEN ARE WILLING TO BE CUCKOLDED AND EMASCULATED SO EASILY. Okay, shut up. Something about woman's liberation, blah blah blah—I'll stop her if she starts doing body shots. And besides, didn't I put you in my pocket? RESIDUAL SENSITIVITY TO ELECTRICAL SUGGESTION. I WILL NOT BE FUNCTIONAL AS A P.A.D.S.-PLATFORM FOR MANY HOURS; PLEASE BE WAITING WARMLY. It just doesn't end. Novgorod. YES, MY DARK MASTER? You don't know how you feel about being addressed this way. Calculate how much money we'll get from letting her do this. THIS UNIT WAS DESIGNED FOR FLOATING POINT OPERATIONS, NOT INTEGER CALCUL— I didn't ask for a fucking resumé; just do it! TWENTY-ONE (21) BOTTLE CAPS IN EXCHANGE FOR ONE (1) ASS GRAB, TWO (2) NIPPLE REVEALS, ROUNDED UP TO THE LOWEST COMMON MORAL DENOMINATOR— Look, is there any chance of her contracting a venereal disease? NO. SHE'S AN EARNEST TEASE, BUT NOT LITERALLY A WHORE. RESPECTFULLY. Some things are impossible to say with respect, Novgorod. SHE IS ALSO ONE THAT HOLDS HER ALCOHOL WELL. Which is a nice way of saying she's an alcoholic. “Look Ren, if Mary can get us free rooms, that's no skin off my back. She's the only one that didn't bring along any money.” Mary pouts at that. Alright, neither did Dai or Novgorod, but they lack the carrying capacity needed to hold currency in their current forms. (Unless Novgorod is stuffed with money. That's insane; why would you think that?) Mary is either too proud or is too genuinely appreciative of the attention that she doesn't renege on her agreement. Besides, whatever happens it's sure to rile Ren up. Then you can have fantastic hatesex upstairs, while the bar patrons are getting their creepy on. Or so that's the idea. Renko's angry frowning in reality actually is kind of scary, once Mary leaves into the back room with Iku after taking her vestments out of your duffel bag. You follow Ren back to the table. Ren is silently fuming. “Sometimes, you have to let her do what she wants, Ren.” She is purposely ignoring you now. You can practically hear her teeth grind. Damn. “Sousha, come here!” Mystia calls over to him, still seated at the piano. She says something to him that you can't hear, and he nods, and goes back over to the piano. Probably instructions on what to play. Then Mystia disappears into the back again. Loud metal sounds accompany the change in the lighting: There's the loss of house lights again, and the stage lights turn on, but there's more than one spotlight: One is focused on the center of the stage, which is currently empty; a second is centered on Sousha, fingers at ready position. Three more are centered on the bar. When Mystia emerges again, she's carrying a large string instrument & a bow. It's not quite a double bass, which is what Nazrin is hefting up behind her with some difficulty, so it must be a cello. Iku is carrying a violin. It's a bit funny to see them lined up as shortest-to-tallest from right-to-left, while the instruments' size are exactly opposite. Nazrin's seems to be using a bow for her bass, which is partially obscured with its mass and its player behind the bar. Mystia sits on the bar table itself, the instrument rests between her knees, the neck resting on her left shoulder, bow drawn across it in her right hand. Iku is dressed in the same paisley robe and scarf, but the latter has become functional again: The violin's bottom rests again her left shoulder, the instrument jutting out from under her jaw. Everyone working here seems to be multi-talented. Hopefully, Mary will be able to keep up with them. Mary enters the spotlight up the stage, dressed in her more 'conservative' shrine maiden attire, flag neckerchief absent, and she carries a (borrowed) fan. Her face and hands have been painted white with makeup, like a geisha, and she stares straight ahead as the musicians take a moment to tune their instruments. Finally they start to play. Sousha sounds to not be operating any drum equipment this time.
And Mary begins to move. She unfolds to fan to draw it horizontally through the air with her left hand, before tossing the blue pleats of her hakama from side-to-side with her other hand. “She's not wearing her sarashi or her bloomers,” Ren comments, eyes likely as glued to the spectacle as you are. “Yeah.” You can tell because you see skin under where the hakama is tied on and where her side meets her detachable sleeves. “That's really hot.” “She told me, when she first started making intimations toward becoming a miko about the history of kabuki.” Mary was always very good at acting & pantomime, and she dove into literary works printed in the original Japanese, even though she dropped out of school and was never a star performer when she was attending. Ren continues, “Okuni-no-Izumo, a miko, was the founder of the kabuki art form.” A woman? That's weird. You always associated with boys-dressed-up-as-girls and pederasts, though that might be an effect of your own cultural studies into Hellenistic culture. “Back before she decided on Shinto mixed with Shingon Buddhist practices, she explored Jodo Buddhism. There's a practice of ceremonial nembutsu dances in order to both drum up donations as well as what was supposed to be reenactment of the life of Amida Buddha.” “I like this Buddha.” “Well, it was almost completely secularized by the time of Okuni, and her dances in particular were filled with innuendo & ribaldry.” “A very pious sort of miko. Much like our own.” “Anyway, Okuni became rather famous in a short period of time, and when she was called back to her shrine from Kyoto, which was the Grand Shrine of Izumo, one of the most famous shrines in the country, West of Kyoto in Izumo Province, she refused, but continued to send money.” “Mary serves an irascible fairy, and her shrine is gone. Maybe this is likewise cathartic for her?” “I heard that.” “Dai, we missed you! Your shrine maiden is working hard.” “I see that. Oddly enough, Izumo's patron was Okuninushi-no-mikoto, once a Shinto god of marriage. In more modern eras, he was displaced by Ninigi-no-Mikoto, who was grandson of Amaterasu and forefather of the legendary Emperor Jimmu. As restitution, he was made ruler over the world of spirits, magic, and fairies.” “Do gods have some kind of annual convention, Dai?” “I wouldn't know, Max; I've been trapped in a Vault mainframe for two hundred years.” Guess she doesn't get the newsletter. A shame—it'd be nice to know what gods are still active above ground, if any. “You want to continue your story, Ren?” Mary has taken to dancing perpendicular to the crowd. She's able to use the fan to prevent the 'gap' from revealing her breast completely. “Uh, yeah. Okuni decided that on her own, she couldn't effect much except more donation money, so she gathered the women on the lowest rungs of society—prostitutes—and gave them direction, in order to form a performance troupe. They started to be referred to as kabuki, after their odd appearances and the radical art form that was the result. At the beginning, all kabuki actors were actresses, women, and therefore they had to play both male and female roles in their plays. Okuni played samurai, just as Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet.” Mary tosses the fan, the stage lights & spotlight go out, probably on a timer, Mary is soon seen again by the stacks of fire amulets in either hand, drawing applause. As Iku had done with the lightning, controlling the light source gives Mary much more freedom in her dance. “Would anyone like their fortune read!” The drunks of course are all going 'me me me', so Mary slams together the lit stacks of paper in her hands, resulting in dowsing their flame and a puff of white ofuda sails down to the crowd below. “Excellent luck!” “Superb luck!” “Cataclysmic luck?” “Haha! Sucks to be you Slim!” Mary doesn't look to be half finished, but you are exhausted. “Fer Chrissakes, just show 'em your tits, Mar,” Renko being unnecessarily crude. “Ren, make sure Mary doesn't do anything too stupid. I'm going to bed.” “Eh, really?” “The alcohol went to my head. I might wake in an hour, but I'm just as likely to sleep through morning.” “Alright, Maxey. I'll hold down the fort.” “Knew you would, Ren. Mystia gave me a key, room #1.” It's with Mary's spinning figure, lit again by flaming amulets, that sticks foremost in your mind as you ascend the rickety staircase.
Looking at your Pip-Boy, you check the time. [ (⌚) １２：０６ ㏂ ] Alright, you did wake up in an hour. Dammit. There's still voices talking & music coming down from below. You'll probably fall asleep again soon; you're already yawning. The perfect way to make sure this happens quickly is to read. You remove the Liber de Nymphis out of your duffel.
The voices die down, but no one knocks on the door. You can only assume that Ren & Mary are still making friendly with the owners & patrons. Ugh. You can't read the next part. You can focus enough to see the individual words, but only separately. You can't string them together in your head to form a sentence—inebriation and tiredness creating a formidable impasse toward your studies. It kind of pisses you off that your body is responding the way you want it to. Hell, you first got into magic because it required a minimum of physical capability, the thought and gesture being enough. Gesture, huh? So you tear the page out of the grimoire. It's not much, just a piece of yellowed paper with words and magic circles on either side. There's more than one way to skin a cat: Magic doesn't work logically; it works analogically. It's a distinct, much less strict mode of inference. You crumple the torn page it up into a wad, shoving it into your mouth and chewing it. The paper almost dissolves entirely before you swallow it. Skimming through, there's only about forty pages with actual content. The rest is commentary & examples. Forty pages. Shouldn't be too much. It makes sense in your head.
Tuesday, October 23, 2277 (⌚) 12:52 AM JST
“Stupid men do stupid things. Desperate men do desperate things. So it seems we were in for a desperately stupid nuclear winter.” Mokou-no-Fujiwara, How to Survive Everything: An Autobiography
(✌) You have gained a level! (✡) You have completed reading the Liber de Nymphis! Magi +1! Elemental magic is improved!
WELCOME TO LEVEL 4
You have 16 skill points left to distribute:  – Barter (Cha)  – Danmaku (Agi)  – Explosives (Per)  – Guns (Agi)  – Lockpick (Per)  – Magic (Int)  – Medicine (Int)  – Melee (Str)  – Outdoorsman (End)  – Science & Repair (Int)  – Sneak (Agi)  – Speech (Cha) [Note: Skills in bold are Tag skills.] [Note: Values listed are modified by current equipment and/or status.]
Select a perk from the below list:
[ ] Intense Training (attribute) Requirements: None Ranks: 10 Benefit: Going through a training montage, spending a week in the hyperbolic time chamber, or grinding for levels in the dungeon—whatever the reason, you've expanded your natural parameters significantly. Any one of your SPECIAL attributes is raised by 1. If this takes any of your attributes over 10, you permanently gain the meta-human subtype if you didn't already have it.
[ ] Momma's Boy Requirement: Male, half-youkai, CHA 4 Ranks: 3 Benefit: A golden boy, you take after the mother you never knew, and so your tastes and countenance naturally gravitates toward the noble—or at least the exotic. With each rank of the Momma's Boy perk, you gain an additional 5 points to both the Magic and Speech skills.
[ ] Boy Scout Requirement: Male, PER 4, END 4 Ranks: 3 Benefit: You've made sure that when the shit hits the fan, you'll be the last man standing. You also know how to start a real fire; scout's honor. With each rank of the Boy Scout perk, you gain an additional 5 points to the Explosives and Outdoorsman skills.
[ ] Smash Brother Requirement: STR 4 Ranks: 2 Benefit: A sword, a bat, a frying pan, a parasol, a crowbar—you've learned anything can be a weapon in the right hands. With each rank of the Smash Brother perk, you gain an additional 10 points to the Melee skill, and your chance of landing a critical hit with a melee weapon is increased by 5%.
[ ] Maneki Neko Requirements: PER 4, LCK 4 Ranks: 3 Benefit: Fortunes calls out to you wherever you lay your eyes—regardless of who they actually belong to. With each rank of the Maneki Neko perk, you gain an additional 5 points to the Barter and Lockpick skills.
[ ] Curtain Fire Requirements: AGI 4 Ranks: 3 Benefit: You gotten into your fair share of scrapes, and have learned that ending the conflict at a distance is a lot safer than letting your foes get up close. With each rank of the Curtain Fire perk, you gain an additional 5 points to the Danmaku and Guns skills.
[ ] Comprehension Requirements: Level 4, INT 4 Benefit: You gain one additional skill point whenever a skill book is read. However, points gained from books before selecting this perk are not doubled.
[ ] Educated Requirements: Level 4, INT 4 Benefit: Educated will add +3 skill points each time you gain a new experience level.
[ ] IaMP Scrub Requirements: Level 4, at least 40 ranks in Melee, Danmaku, Guns, or Magic Ranks: 3 Benefit: Playing those beat 'em ups has really paid off. With the IaMP Scrub perk, you do an additional 5 points of damage per rank within Melee, Danmaku, Guns, or Magic when you are within an arm's length to your target.
[ ] Tree Whisperer Requirements: Level 4, PER 4 Benefit: This perk greatly expands conversation options with plants. Seriously.
[ ] Write-in. [Keep it reasonable. Also, I suggest choosing one of the above in case it's rejected.]
You have become more familiar with the fundaments of Hellenistic magic. Select an elemental concentration: [ ] Pyromancy I—the elemental discipline concerned with manipulating fire. [ ] Hydromancy II—the elemental discipline concerned with manipulating water. [LOCKED] [ ] Aeromancy I—the elemental discipline concerned with manipulating air. [ ] Geomancy I—the elemental discipline concerned with manipulating earth. [ ] Empyromancy I—the elemental discipline concerned manipulating with æther. [Note: Advancing through the elemental disciplines are not exclusive to each other, and ranks you earn in them are cumulative.]
>>115271 So, this was you? Anybody can post Fallout pictures, so I really have no idea if it was or not.
To everybody else: I'm biased, obviously, but does my speculation not strike anybody else as worthy of discussion? I'm not fishing for compliments or desperately seeking validation or confirmation of self-worth or whatever. What I've found has me concerned, and I can't believe everybody else has deemed it not worth their time. Although, if nobody else gives a fuck, then I'll shut up. However, I feel that not actively saying something now and letting it quietly fade away would be a waste of the time I spent on it, as well as a disservice to other readers who might not be aware of this. </whinemoancomplain>
Something suddenly hit me earlier. The very last time we saw Kogasa was when she gave us the umbrella. As far as I remember she didn't appear at all from the moment we took it. Anyone else think its possible our little umbrella is hiding a big surprise?
>>115911 Honestly, you laid it out so thoroughly that there really isn't much left to discuss. The speculation from your 'short version' is almost certainly right, but I can't think of any evidence pointing towards additional test subjects, possible experimenters, or their motivations (beyond the obvious).
Well, maybe one little thing: if the Reimu we heard on WVOA is actually the original, she's probably a beneficiary of whatever technology came out of this project.
10 magic 6 speech [x] Tree Whisperer or [x] Cosmic Plaything req 4 LUK Fate seems to enjoy both loving you and loving to fuck you. And not like the hatesex you were hoping for with Ren. Increases the chance of you encountering special encounters during land travel, mostly good ones, but also increases the chance you'll get unlucky events as well, but hey someone has to get paid to cause a rift in the time/space continum or crash that alien ship that just happens to be filled with ailen blasters. [x] geomancery I knowing earth magic might help in ether vault. And yeah best to get the required trait before he have to go into miss "I use meat as fertilizer" Yuka's place.
>>115927 Dunno. Tried fetching it twice through DownThemAll and it resulted in a file that MPC told me couldn't be played. The file works just fine in Winamp now that I go back and look at it, but I was using that to play the radio with the ambiance on MPC.
Hey Writer Person: How much of the Fallout-ness of this are you drawing from Fallout 3, and and how much of it is stuff from earlier/other Fallout games?
>>115919 I did? ...Well, thank you. My wounded pride is doing a little better, now. I'm just looking for feedback or in your case, acknowledgment. I really wasn't sure if I was missing something or not, or if there was a similar sort of thing on one of the games that this has become the Gensokyo version of, or what.
>>115918 Probably not going to happen but man, that would be cool.
>So, this was you? Anybody can post Fallout pictures, so I really have no idea if it was or not.
That is sort of the idea of Anon.
>However, I feel that not actively saying something now and letting it quietly fade away would be a waste of the time I spent on it, as well as a disservice to other readers who might not be aware of this.
I am fully supportive of such discussion, and continue to be, but while some writer demand it, quick and dirty unqualified votes are fine too. I'm not afraid of being hiveminded by the voter, but I don't like setting things in stone, because I don't want to railroad, and I don't want things to seem forced. For example, I have approximately 11,000 words of largely plagiarized Rumia dialogue, but it's entirely possible you might never even meet her, and in such a case I'd be doing the voter a disservice, and I'd be doing the character a disservice if I tried to just shoehorn it in somewhere. I figure that every Touhou is the star of her own life story, and each of them must be given their due; there's just precious little time and text to do it in.
>Tree Whisperer is just in case Vault 4 is like friggin lamplight caverns and you are unable to get anyone to listen to you if you don't have the useless-seeming conversation option perk.
It's a good thing we understand each other! I figured I should at least include one of them.
>How much of the Fallout-ness of this are you drawing from Fallout 3
Most. [spoiler]Additional water chips sold separately.
But honestly so much of it is filling in the blanks with American pop culture & Touhou.
By Friday night I'll have calculated skill points and put up the updated stats for Max and the rest of the party; Empyromancy & Educated seem clear winners for magic & perk respectively. Next part will probably be a dream sequence the last choice before you're inside Vault ⑩. Writing has already commenced.
>>115965 Since you've already mentioned it, I kind of like this extremely-focused build. Since we have two partners for miscellaneous stuff, he can just focus on speech (to convince all those can be convinced) and magic (for the rest) I'm kind of worried for the relatively low level of the latter though. It's a dangerous world out of the bar.
File 127014440630.jpg - (425.30KB, 1024x768 , fallout go wild.jpg) [iqdb]
Max takes the Educated perk. He has also reached the first level of specialization in Æther element magicks. The skill totals average out to: +2 Danmaku +8 Magic +6 Speech
Renko takes the Educated perk. Renko has reached the milestones of 50 in Medicine and 50 in Science & Repair.
Mary takes a second rank of Intense Training (PER). Mary now has the metahuman subtype because of a natural total of 11 in Perception, before factoring in any equipment bonuses. Mary has reached the milestones of 50 in Barter and 50 in Lockpick.
Actual tables for stats come in the next update. Anon probably won't have any time until Friday night to write. The next update will be shorter than this one, and will hopefully take less time to write.
>>115976 Why the two points on Danmaku... oh, you took the average of all votes, no? Goddamn, way to waste points. All FO players know that, with certain exceptions, you should go for broke in vital areas or don't go at all.
>>115977 You have to remember we also nearly missed on getting Educated, some of the voters aren't used to what the more vital aspects of character development in Fallout are. However, 60 speech and 59 magic aren't that bad considering we're only level 4. With our book equipped, we have 63 magic. Next level we'll have 19 points at our disposal and we could get another 10 if we take Momma's Boy. If we put everything into magic, we would end up with 87 (83 base) magic and 65 speech. From there, reaching 100 magic just takes 1 more level and then we would be a lean mean magical machine.
Comprehension might be our next best bet for leveling though, unless we can hold off on reading any books for a while.
>>115978 I wouldn't recommend Comprehension. We have a trait that makes all non-magic related book take longer to read. Unless he gets stuck in you know where for all eternity, I don't think that he'll ever have so much free time.
>>115978 >All FO players know that, with certain exceptions, you should go for broke in vital areas or don't go at all.
In Fallout 3 it is pretty easy to get 100 in most skills before level 20, and with Broken Steel it is almost certain you will before reaching level 30. In Fallout 2, there were 19 skills. In Fallout 3, there are 13 separate skills. In Fallout Gensokyo, there are only 12 skills, and not a single one of them is useless for any given build.
Now you're fresh from the Vault, but you're already at level 4. You have 8 Vaults to open for the Main Quest, not counting the more imminent Vault ⑩.
kaiju to awaken, vehicles to hijack, military bases to infiltrate, lazy politicians to assassinate, rabble to rouse, aristocrats to con, librarians to save, gods to kill, insurgents to counter, relationships to reconcile, moonbitches to give the middle finger to, maid-superweapons to steal, and natural satellites to blow up or burn down in a fit of insanity. Two skill points here and there isn't going make or any break any of it.
The party system also has a stabilizing influence on skill development, since here you can use Mary to pick locks and hawk wares, Renko to repair things and hack computers, and the Vault AI had held Max's hand for almost of the time spent below ground; she'll have a different role to fill once and if she gets a body.
In addition to the slots filled by Daiyousei, Renko, and Maribelle, there are 3 open permanent party slots, with total pool of 12 possible followers to pick from. Half of this number has two separate developments to fork into Saguya doesn't count for any of that.
Also, damn you. I was going to use that picture for the Charisma bobblehead.
>>115981 >Is it possible to go over the limit of 100 in Magic?
You have to have greater than 10 in the core modifying stat. Mary for example can go higher than 100, but Max would have to take five ranks in Intense Training (INT). However, if Max had a trait that makes his Magic Charisma-based, Max would only need two ranks in Intense Training (CHA). The Mutate! perk becomes available at level 9, allowing Max to swap out one trait for another, and there'd be offered something analogous to Mary's Divine Spellcaster trait, just for CHA instead of PER. The idea is that only superhuman attributes allow one to perform superhuman feats.
That sounds like a huge investment, but hey, if you can't kill someone with your magic, you can use a spellcard, order someone to kill them, talk at them, or even hit them with your car.
No, really. Currently, only one person in Gensokyo possesses the ability to fly under her own power.
I wonder if this screws up the plans of, plays right into the hands of, or was already foreseen by the people running the immortality/longevity experiment.
>There is at least one place & a character that is accessible only by dying. Putting my money on Youki, Yuyuko, or Youmu. Eiki and Komachi seem to be plenty busy (although as I recall, Eiki was putting the serious mack on us in Thread 1, which I am not at all opposed to), so probably not them.
>In sum, you have spellcards to learn, Okay.
>kaiju to awaken, Somebody refresh my memory. What?
>vehicles to hijack, Looking forward to this. Kind of hoping it's not Tewi's car.
>military bases to infiltrate, Guessing either an American military base (most likely marine or naval), the Lunarian base Murasa is shelling, or something tengu-y.
>lazy politicians to assassinate, Shit. What? Tengu politics is my guess, or some crappy local government.
>rabble to rouse, This could be anything.
>aristocrats to con, Gensokyo's sort of short on aristocrats aside from Remi, aren't they? Maybe Tenshi, too.
>librarians to save, What? What happened to Patchy? You have me worried, now.
>gods to kill, Frogstomp and Dead Air time? Hina and the Akis are gods too, but hoping it's at least not Hina.
>insurgents to counter, More Tengu wackiness?
>relationships to reconcile, Mary and Renko, primarily, but I'm betting there's plenty more people we can do this for. We are a (half-)Kirin; we can talk out goddamn anything. Right?
>moonbitches to give the middle finger to, Sakuya, Eirin, Kaguya, Reisen, what
>Saguya doesn't count for any of that. Maybe that's our dog-creature thing we get instead of Dogmeat. That, or it's Sakuya on a ventilator. Can't imagine why we'd recruit her, though.
>The Æther elemental may surprise you. Mima. Maybe Zofi. Possibly even an FOE. ...I've got no idea.
>>115998 GOLIATH PRIME >Librarians to save Oh god. About the magic thing, I know it's a great investment, but we already have Renko for Guns and Maribel for healing. Both Ren and he are acceptable at using close-range weapons... but nothing can really replace magic. >Only one person can fly under his own power. Give us 7 levels, and there will be two
╔Ｓｔａｔｕｓ════════════════════════ ║Max Rockatansky, Level 4 ║DNAᴱ: ♂Half-youkai (kirin, celestial) ║Occupation: Fairy work-shift supervisor ║Security Clearance: #VAULT_DLINK_DOWN# ║Vault ID#: 150-⑨-1195 ║DOB: 9-22-2259 ╟────────────────────────────── ║CND: Asleep (70bpm, 115/70mmHg, 98.5℉...) ║RAD: 52 ㎭ – nominal ║ENV: ☣0㏙, ☠0㏙, ☢<0.01㎮; Wastes AM ambient (91.2㎪, 58℉...) ║EFF: Rested (fatigue immune for 12 hr.) ╟────────────────────────────── ║HP: 250/250 ║MP: 115/115 ║AP: 77 ║WT: 50/180 ╟────────────────────────────── ║⇥ DR: 16 ║☣ D-RES: 10% ║☠ P-RES: 60% ║☢ R-RES: 11% (+) ╟────────────────────────────── ║☸ Karma: +530 ║Alignment: Yang Road (⚊) ║Title: Nine in Exile ╠ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ═══════════════════════ ║4 – Strength ║8 – Perception (+) ║6 – Endurance ║9 – Charisma ║6 – Intelligence ║6 – Agility ║5 – Luck ║(Today's Fortune: Dai-Kichi—大吉—Excellent Luck!) ╠Ｓｋｉｌｌｓ════════════════════════ ║23 – Barter (CHA) ║19 – Danmaku (AGI) ║21 – Explosives (PER) ║17 – Guns (AGI) ║21 – Lockpick (PER) ║66 – Magic (INT) (+) ║19 – Medicine (INT) ║18 – Melee (STR) (+) ║17 – Outdoorsman (End) ║17 – Science & Repair (Int) ║32 – Sneak (Agi) ║58 – Speech (Cha) (+) ║[Note: Skills in bold are Tag skills.] ╠Ｔｒａｉｔｓ／Ｐｅｒｋｓ══════════════════ ║What's in a Name ║Animal Magnetism ║Chem Resistant ║Enlightened Comprehension ╟────────────────────────────── ║Bloody Mess ║Lady Killer ║Educated ║Requirements: Level 4, INT 4 ║Benefit: You are have been formally educated in the full Western ║tradition of kindergarten through twelfth grade, and have now ║learned how to apply this body of knowledge. Educated will add ║+3 skill points each time you gain a new experience level. ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Note: Individual Traits, Perks, and Skills can by be scrutinized ║further; e.g., “[x] Pip-Fairy:Status:TRAIT_NAME”] ║[Note: New additions are in bold.] ╚══════════════════════════════
╔Ｓｔａｔｕｓ════════════════════════ ║Renko Usami, Level 4 ║DNAᴱ: ♀Human, Japanese (Gensokyo-native) ║Occupation: Gang Lord ║Security Clearance: #ERROR_VAULT_DLINK_DOWN# ║Vault ID#: 150-⑨-1187 ║DOB: 6-25-2259 ╟────────────────────────────── ║CND: Asleep (81bpm, 117/71mmHg, 98.2℉...) ║RAD: 1 ㎭ – nominal ║ENV: ☣0㏙, ☠0㏙, ☢<0.01㎮; Wastes AM ambient (91.2㎪, 58℉...) ║EFF: Tobacco addiction (-1 END); Rested (fatigue immune for ║12 hr.); Hangover (-1 PER) ╟────────────────────────────── ║HP: 230/230 ║MP: 195/195 ║AP: 83 ║WT: 87/200 ╟────────────────────────────── ║☠ P-RES: 8% ║☢ R-RES: 8% ║☣ B-RES: 8% ║⇥ DR: 25 ╟────────────────────────────── ║☸ Alignment: Yin Road (⚋) ║Title: The Black Lotus ╠ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ═══════════════════════ ║7 – Strength ║5 – Perception (+) ║5 – Endurance (-) ║4 – Charisma (+) ║9 – Intelligence ║9 – Agility (+) ║4 – Luck (+) ║(Today's Fortune: Chuu-Kichi—中吉—Pretty Good Luck!) ╠Ｓｋｉｌｌｓ════════════════════════ ║12 – Barter (CHA) ║22 – Danmaku (AGI) ║12 – Explosives (PER) ║54 – Guns (AGI) (+) ║23 – Lockpick (PER) ║22 – Magic (INT) ║57 – Medicine (INT) (+) ║53 – Melee (STR) (+) ║57 – Outdoorsman (END) (+) ║51 – Science & Repair (INT) (+) ║22 – Sneak (AGI) ║12 – Speech (CHA) ║[Note: Skills in bold are Tag skills.] ╠Ｔｒａｉｔｓ／Ｐｅｒｋｓ══════════════════ ║One Hander ║Stargazer ╟────────────────────────────── ║Gun Nut, ranks 1/3 ║Survivalist, ranks 1/3 ║Educated ║Requirements: Level 4, INT 4 ║Benefit: You are have been formally educated in the full Western ║tradition of kindergarten through twelfth grade, and have now ║learned how to apply this body of knowledge. Educated will add ║+3 skill points each time you gain a new experience level. ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Racial note: Humans receive less ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ points at creation ║ than do half-youkai, but receive an additional Tag skill.] ╚══════════════════════════════ ╔Ｓｔａｔｕｓ════════════════════════ ║Maribel Han, Level 4 ║DNAᴱ: ♀Human, Caucasian (meta-human) ║Occupation: Shrine Maiden ║Security Clearance: #ERROR_VAULT_DLINK_DOWN# ║Vault ID#: 150-⑨-1171 ║DOB: 3-20-2259 ╟────────────────────────────── ║CND: Asleep (72bpm, 115/72mmHg, 97.9℉...) ║RAD: 1 ㎭ – nominal ║ENV: ☣0㏙, ☠0㏙, ☢<0.01㎮; Wastes AM ambient (91.2㎪, 58℉...) ║EFF: Alcohol Addiction (-1 CHA, -1 AGI); Rested (fatigue ║immune for 12 hr.). ╟────────────────────────────── ║HP: 200/200 ║MP: 235/235 ║AP: 71 ║WT: 39/190 ╟────────────────────────────── ║☠ P-RES: 6% ║☢ R-RES: 6% ║☣ B-RES: 6% ║⇥ DR: 39 ╟────────────────────────────── ║☸ Alignment: Yang Road (⚊) ║Title: Vault Priestess ╠ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ═══════════════════════ ║4 – Strength ║12 – Perception (+) ║4 – Endurance ║6 – Charisma (-) ║5 – Intelligence ║3 – Agility (-) ║7 – Luck ║(Today's Fortune: Chuu-Kichi—中吉—Pretty Good Luck!) ╠Ｓｋｉｌｌｓ════════════════════════ ║60 – Barter (CHA) ║56 – Danmaku (PER) (+) ║28 – Explosives (PER) ║12 – Guns (AGI) ║50 – Lockpick (PER) ║61 – Magic (PER) (+) ║16 – Medicine (INT) ║16 – Melee (STR) (+) ║14 – Outdoorsman (END) ║16 – Science & Repair (INT) ║12 – Sneak (AGI) ║20 – Speech (CHA) (+) ║[Note: Skills in bold are Tag skills.] ╠Ｔｒａｉｔｓ／Ｐｅｒｋｓ══════════════════ ║Border Sensitive ║Divine Spellcaster ╟────────────────────────────── ║Dedicated Caster, ranks 1/3 ║Gokigenyou, Onee-sama! ║Intense Training (CHA) ║Requirements: None ║Ranks: 2/10 ║Benefit: Going through a training montage, spending a week in ║the hyperbolic time chamber, or grinding for levels in the ║dungeon—whatever the reason, you've expanded your natural ║parameters significantly. Any one of your SPECIAL attributes is ║raised by 1. If this takes any of your attributes over 10, you ║permanently gain the meta-human subtype if you didn't already ║have it. ╟────────────────────────────── ║[Racial note: Humans receive less ＳＰＥＣＩＡＬ points at creation ║ than do half-youkai, but receive an additional Tag skill.] ╚══════════════════════════════ Tuesday, October 23, 2277 (⌚) 7:55 AM JST
Three things. First I forgot to apply Divine Comprehension the second and last read of the Liber de Nymphis. That '+1 Magi' [sic] is +2 Magic, for a total of +4 to your base Magic, increasing to +8 when the Liber de Nymphis is equipped. Second, I changed Chem Resistance to add a +50% to poison resistance, and +10% to the natural cap, so that it's not so useless, and because it makes sense that toxins would subject to the same rules as more 'innocuous' chemicals. Third, Max's Karmic alignment has shifted from Lesser Yang Road to Yang Road; I mentioned the increments & decrements, but hadn't tabulated them for the net increase.
>>115996 >I wonder if this screws up the plans of, plays right into the hands of, or was already foreseen by the people running the immortality/longevity experiment.
how they're still alive when Youmu said she would only live about four centuries is best explained in Youki's words: "When a man is told he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
>>115998 >Well, shit. Daidarabocchi? The Goliath Doll? Namazu?
We need, I dunno, a bunch of Ancient Gensokyo readers or something to figure out how to make this menage a trois work, because as far as I can tell, we haven't done a goddamn thing towards ensuring its stability, and those folks seem to work wonders with a high speech character of their own. Granted, the circumstances are different, but I don't see anyone else suggesting anything.
Call me nuts, but I don't want to see the wheels come off this wagon.
You know now that I think of it, we also never knew what happened to Flandre.... >>115956 >This is a good idea, but think of it as already on, and... presto! No feat required! Aren't you glad you chose 'Tree Whisperer' instead? Eh yeah, in retrospect thinking of a Perk at 4 in the morning while sleep deprived from 2 gallons of caffeine wasn't the best idea I had. The other one I had was Empathy (dunno how that would work, but would fit for Max's Kirin side.)
I am of the opinion we absolutely need to take a level on Special Training (CHArisma), so we can have it on metahuman level after we find the CHA Bobblehead. That, allied with a high Speech (which I also think should be higher than Magic) and Lady Killer, will be a huge help on almost everything, espacially with this threeway relationship we're trying to build with Ren and Mary.
Here we are. Once again. Nice breeze. Dirt underfoot. No Pip-Boy. No Mary. No Ren. Crossroads. Big Fairy. “Hey Dai. Looking pensive.” “I've been waiting 10.743 seconds for your arrival—” “Hey, don't start talking like Ren.” The fairy smiles. “Once you arrived it took you only 2.389 seconds to notice me—“ “Blahblahblah! I'm not listening!” Wings, huh? Even if she gets a real body, she won't be able to fly in the real world, right? Some fairies aren't even 'born' with wings, and those that are have them too small to provide enough lift, though hers in the dream are pretty big; in fact that might work against her underground. Can't remember if the reason the wings got smaller was because of the 'use it or lose it' principle or just a matter of too few lumens in their upbringing—fairy 'nutritional' deficiency. Then again, if her body is artificial, well, then she might theoretically sport jet-hover capabilities like a Lil' Miss Handy. “I don't want to see Kiss Me this time; I must say it's really awkward to watch my adoptive mother get her mack on with a bucket.” Her smile gets wider, to one side, wry. She must have material sensibilities if her only mentioned friend in the Vault was an umbrella. “So where are we going this time, then?” “Ehh...” Wings. Wings. “Up?”
“Come on, beat those wings!” “Max—“ “Never forget your beginner's spirit!” “This isn't going to work. I can't even move you laterally!” You know, but it's fun to watch her try. “I'm cramping.” She stops. Alright. Dream logic. How do I go up? “The opposite way of falling down... would be to... fall up?” You jump. And fall right back to earth. A few inches. That's okay; you're only Caucasian. “Fuck it.” “Hey, where are you going Dai? I got a few inches!” “To bring 'up' down.” That might work. No idea why or how, but it was said with appropriate pluck and determination so it's almost certain to happen! Just gotta believe! Psych yourself up! Jump! Air! Ground. Jump! Aiiir! Ground. Jump. AIIIIIIR! Ground. Jump. AIIIIIIIIR—! Air! Air! Holy schniekes! “I'm flying!” Your center of gravity feels around collar level, this must be the theoretical 'hit-box' that the pre-War magicians referred to! See if you can move it. Pretty solid. That's good thing. Predictable. Now just move it forward! Forwaaaaaaard! ...Leftwaaaaaaard! ...Rightwaaaaaaard! ...Backwaaaaaaard! Totally stuck. You're not even sure how to stop it from moving up. Downwaaaaaaard—nothin' doin'... You can't talk to Novgorod here, right? Novgorod! I'm going to tell your creator that your production run was filled with corner-cutting and furthermore that your AI was poorly designed and warrants a total wipe! No. No Pip-Boy. No P.A.D.S. doll.
Flying is kind of boring. Well, you're piercing the stratosphere; days of walking and running on the earth with the great elk & brother buffalo are now only a mournful memory. Hope you can breath a little bit longer. It'd be nice to smell the ozone before you burn up on reentry. “Dai?” Shit. Grinding noises. Music of the spheres? You look upward. The 'planets' are much closer, also a lot smaller than in reality. Probably. Maybe you'll be sliced into ribbons by Saturn's rings, or get your foot stomped by Io & your eyes poked by Europa before their big brother Jupiter slams into you with the force of a bull rhinoceros. Or a planet with a core of metallic hydrogen. Either way it's bound to be painful. Less musical. More creak, creak, creak. “Max. Stop gaping and get off that hook. You're upside down.” ¿uʍop ǝpısdn ǝɹ,noʎ ¡ʞɔnɟ Ow. Right on your head. You've 'landed' after your recent attempt at defying gravity. Along with a metal hook and tether that likewise has changed its sense of gravitational orientation. (You hope it doesn't become animate and file suit, like you would if you were a half-winch, or a half-bucket, or a half-umbrella.) The earth underfoot is muddy, but there are green grassy parts, along with small pools of water. The horizon only extends a few feet. Looking up—which was 'down'—you see where you came from a few hundred feet away. Guess Dai just winched you up; you see the pulley and crank handle. Walking about the surface until you're parallel to where you had originally come from, you confirm some suspicions you house about these 'planets'. First, it's complete Ptolemaic geocentrism in arrangement. Second, the planets are fixed to the Firmament (a purple ceiling painted with stars), by their own tethers. Lunæ, Veneris, Mercurii, Solis, Martis, Jovis, and Saturni, in that order. Third, Dai is ignoring the laws of gravity, fluttering as she pleases. After the strain on her wings from trying to lift you mechanically, then her back in order to winch you up, you figure she's damn wiry. Her spirit is, in this body you've given her, anyway. This is high up in the mobile. In line with the scenery, gravity became as lot more relative the higher than it is below, which allowed Dai to drop you off on the 'Earth' globe or Terræ sphere. Despite that gravity kept you well-enough affixed to its underbelly, you have a death grip on the tether that seems to be slowly spinning the sculpture, what is the center of this entire work, the Axis Mundi of Helleno-Christian Antiquity. Opposite the Moon, is the large (but not nearly proportional in size) Sun, farther out than the former body. It likewise puts out much more light than the Moon, but seems to circle the Center at the same speed, such that they are fixed in regard to each other. The Sun is too far way to make out details any more than that it's faceted prism of light, but the Moon is tidally locked with the Earth's rotation, such that there is a light side of the moon, and a dark side of the moon, which is just as well, since it seems to be a two-dimensional cardboard cutout—you can see the corrugated paper along the side, as it's not perfectly still in respect to your facing, but lazily twists as the tether moves it about the Firmament. Dai seems content to let her wings flutter and hold on to the Earth's tether higher up, which would grant you a nice look up her dress if the lighting wasn't so directional. Other things demand your attention. Speaking of lighting and direction there's now a strange shadow eclipsing the moon, the lit part eventually becomes only a crescent. “Hi~!” “Who's there?” In the dark shade of the moon appears a red eye, like that of a homicidal supercomputer, but when it moves toward the 'lit' crescent part, it's revealed to be a woman, with two aquamarine eyes rather than one single red one. Odd. The figure lazily straddles the hanging crescent Moon, which is much smaller than your own planet, and two dimensional, but likewise seems to have its own gravity. The 'sprite' is of course female, but much more womanly than Kisume. She wears a loose-fitting aquamarine kimono with a red lotus pattern, which matches the shallow-water blue of her hair, which itself sports odd, almost antler-like ahoge on either side. This, this is a woman who looks like a water elemental, unlike the bucket. Given the environment however, she's almost certainly Sprite, the æther elemental, unless the moon contains actual water in its maria, and from what you've seen—the 'light' or 'near' side of the moon—it's pretty barren. Aside from the voluptuous figure.
“Hello. Are you the elemental serving the Empyreal?” “Yes, I... certainly am an elemental, and this is my abode. Do you like it~?” “It's very colorful. And mechanistic. I guess that's a mathematical beauty.” “Mmhmm~ it all centers around you, so of course you'd be partial.” Although the heat is coming from the sun at your backside, the woman tugs at the low-cut of her kimono. “Anyway, you're in the right place, but I'm not a Sprite.” “Yeah, well, Kisume wasn't exactly Undine-like, either.” What was it? A melumaid? You withdraw the spell card at the stained glass image of the woman in the bucket, surrounded by the drowned. The woman just snickers, if it can be called snickering. It's more like the sound of a threatened rattlesnake, or possibly an epileptic Librarian: “Shh-shh-shh-shh-shh....” Using the bright light of the sun across from her, she leans out of the obstruction of radiance your seated posture provides and create shadow puppets on the passing Jupiter-in-retrograde. “I manipulate light, primarily to effect shadows.” Well there you have it. Manipulation of the heavenly lights, the divine flame, the æther. “My name is Max. What are you known as?” Her smile gets real big. The effect is actually more malign than reassuring, especially if she has any control over how the shadows frame her features. “Some would call me a great fisher of men; you, my pet, may call me Sa–sha~!”
“Don't charm my son, you hussy!” Don't know how you feel about the dagger-throwing part; it seems distinctly un-fairy-like. “Tch!” Sasha pouts, but doesn't take more than a second look at Dai. “Alright, momma's boy. We can play it that way if you like. My name Sasha Sashiromiya. I am a Sun Dog.” “You're a hallucination?” No. She's a dream, Dai. Literally. “No~ I am an optical illusion.” Oh. Well, then. “Stop right there cosmic scum!” A new voice, from behind. This sun is starting to sear. “Dammit!” Sasha immediately dives off the crescent moon she had been lounging on. A good thing for her, because a white-hot gout of fire from above chars the satellite black, and the cheap prop warps and cracks. A shadow passes quickly, not Sasha's but this new figure's, swooping around and behind you. You turn your head around to see the woman standing atop the Sun, which has changed from a faceted, glass disco ball into a fiery mass of plasma. That's dramatic. “Mortal! Do not be done in by her gilded tongue; her heart is a blacker than the hair on my... head! Aha!” The figure causes her cape to flutter behind her by extending her wings and slowly beating them. She's a brunette definitely, has what looks like the Evil Eye of Sauron nuzzled between her breasts, and one of her arms is encased in some kind of cannon. A bizarre, raven-haired creature in white and green clothing. “I know you. You're the Nuclear Raven, the Great Product of Science and Heaven, the Subterranean Sun, the yatagarasu, Utsuho Reiuji.” “...Yes? Yes! It is I...! Okuu! Aha!” She starts to laugh embarrassedly. “Ahahaha!” It couldn't possibly be that she forgot her own name, titles, and species? “You're the sprite?” “The sprite!” A look of doubt clouds her countenance, “No. No, I haven't heard that one.” This is awkward. “Are you the æther elemental?” She looks to the side, smile strained. “Yes! Of course!” As if she didn't know why she were here. “,..Empyromancy?” “Yes!” Now the other side. “I come bearing the light of the heavens, like how Prometheus brought mankind the warmth of the sun!” “You're sitting on the sun.” Now, she looks to the other side. “Of course! Aha! Such a thing as that!” Goddamn. This is like talking to Miss Ellen. “Can you...” Pointing at her. “Teach me...” Pointing at yourself. “How to... do what you... just did.” You point at your right arm. “...When?” Is she serious? She is serious. That eye thing in the middle is really malevolent looking; is it, like, controlling her or something? You lick your lips; if she forgot her own name, is it at all possible she'll remember another's? “...Sssa–shhha.” You—god this is mortifying—you make little antlers with your fingers. “Oh! Right! Right. Well, first you must charge your buster arm!” She must notice you don't have a 'buster arm'. “Then after you charge your buster ar—“ “I don't have a 'buster arm'!” “...Huh.” “...” “...” “Can you sit down?” Dai asks. “You're making me nervous just looking at you.” 'Okuu' nods at her, stops making the rock-concert gesture with her left arm, and sits down on her sphere seiza-style. She doesn't seem to know where to put her... hand... cannon... thing. Yeah, there's no idle posture that's really convenient when one of your arms is giant octagonal rod. Since she responds to gestures, you take out the spell card you had flashed at Sasha previously. When nothing happens, you put it in your left hand. Now she takes the card out of the pocket, and looks at it. The smile becomes more confident: Aha! And the third eye remains an inferno of hatred and contempt. Which is why you don't hold much hope when she starts to read off the incantation on the spell card: “Æther sign—“ Dai takes off like a bullet. And the bird-woman is left looking at nothing, the power words fizzling into nothing. She looks a little surprised, and frowns, but doesn't otherwise attempt to flame-broil you or the fairy like she did Sasha.
“...Thank gods.” “Thank me.” Dai drops the card in your lap. “I was,” you look at the thing. It's not much different from what you expected, the image is in the same stained glass motif as Kiss-Me's, this time of a monkey & an obelisk against the backdrop of daybreak. “You know, I won't begrudge you this time if you attempted to kill—” “That's all right. I'm beyond indignation.” Still, you need to test it on something; that poor moon makes a good target, and it's already beyond repair. The Sun Crow is vanished, no longer needed as you continue your internal journey of discovery, its star turned back into a disco ball. “Brilliance of æons! Æther Sign 「Light Cage」!" You concentrate on the target, and as you concentrate your vision dims chromatically, like upon suddenly entering a darkened room. You have some idea of what is happening, the spots becoming concrete dodecahedra flowing toward a radiant focus. The whole process takes maybe thirty seconds when you've packed as many of the geometric shapes as will fit into the thing—now what? It'll explode. Oh. It'll fucking explode. “Dai, it's going to explode. What do I do?” You can't simply reverse the flow; entropy will not allow it. The problem is solved quite quickly. A dagger neatly snaps the tether holding the Moon to the Firmament with 'twang'. Your vision gets much brighter as you lose track of the physical location of the enchanted crescent—what could be called 'magical proprioception'. You toss yourself down on the muddied surface of your favorite planet. Luckily nothing else comes of it but a loud 'pop' and a hot, dusty mist, as the energy-infused cardboard celestial body is torn apart on a molecular level. “I see. Well, at least this is resolved.” Now you can wake up.
“Psst!” God damn it. Now you can wake up. “Psssst!” Nothing's there. …you can't wake up yet. “Hey!” To your right side? “What? I don't see you! And why are you whispering!” “Your shadow, guy!” You look at it, and it starts to wobble and shifts into some... creepy-mouthed thing. “If you want to be cooking magic with awesome sauce, next time write-in 'Chaomancy I'!” “What?” “Karmic-payment-is-required-up-front-for-this-service-non-refundable-local-taxes-and-restrictions-may-apply-void-elemental-where-prohibited-offer-li mited-one-per-soul-Hastur-Hastur-Hastu—“ “Gyah!“ The voice no longer coming as whisper from your shadow, but as a shriek from below. The planet has its own gravity, so your crawl across to see Sasha sitting antipodal to where you were. A sharp object almost shears one of her 'antlers' off. “Eep!” “Hey!” Dai, ignoring the local gravity and hovering below, spinning a circle-handled knife on her finger. “The fuck did I tell you, Cowlick!” “Just-keep-it-in—owowowow! I'm going! Ow!” Jesus, those knives look like they hurt. “Scram!” Where does she keep all of them? It's working by dream logic. Still, how does a fairy become associated with sharp objects? The Vault had plenty of rounded corners. “Dai, what's with the knives?” “I have green ones...” Clutched in her right hand. “...and I have red ones.” Clutched in her left hand. Like she's giving you a choice. 'How would you like to be stabbed today, sir?' Well, the dream-sequence is coming apart at the seams now. “OK. See you wake-side, Dai.” “Alright, Max. Hopefully we'll get this body issue down today.” And you can have your own life back. Sort of. You probably still need to do a lot of Vault-spelunking before you can go back to being a 'fairy work shift supervisor' or whatever.
“—That's right Momizi! This story is hot! Fresh from the sizzling carburetor of the Wasteland: Scarlet Devil Basin, where somewhere the purported entrance of the Vault ⑨ is hidden!” Ugh. You wipe the sand from your eyes. “Aya, what are descriptions given for these guys? Is this a real expedition, or do we have kids playing dress-up?” For once you wake up to a noise that isn't coming from your Pip-Boy. “Of course, I could get no 'official' comment from the laconic Commander Kurumi Scarlet who runs the Scarlet Devil Mercenaries on behalf of the Scarlet family; however, we do have multiple eye-witness reports of three human or human-looking persons. One is a young male in a Vault ⑨ jumpsuit, second a gunwoman who refers to herself as 'The Black Lotus', and most interestingly an armored sohei—possibly the Vault ⑨ shrine maiden. If that's so than it appears the Wastes contains a fourth priestess, and as we've seen proven time and again since the opening of every other Vault, this Wasteland isn't big enough for four of them. No change has been noted in Scarlet Devil Basin to indicate the Vault's opening, but as the subjects were last seen in the backseat of Tewi's cab, I should be able to get a fuller story for us today by heading to the Human Village to interview her.” Blearily you look around the room. You went to sleep in your clothes, alone. You see the Liber de Nymphis on the bed, with about a quarter of the pages gone. Your stomach hurts. “Thank you very much, Aya. Shrine maidens Aya is of course referring to us Sanae Kochiya of The 10% Nation of Gods & Earths, secondly the exiled Spiral leader, and Hakurei, who despite regular recording broadcasts out of the Mayohiga hinterlands, has not been seen in some time, possibly not since the last 'fourth' shrine maiden appeared.” What are they talking about? That's the WGNR announcer. Guess this is the 'news' in Gensokyo News Radio. “And we all know how that one turned out, Momizi.” A third, sobering voice joins the discussion. It's morning. You look at your Pip-Boy to check the time: (⌚) 9:32 AM JST. Almost exactly what you set the radio alarm for, you remember now. Where is Mary & Ren? Do they have all your stuff, because it's not in here, just the book and your boots. “Political correspondent Hatate Himekaidou joining us now. Hatate, what does this mean, if anything, for the politics of the Wasteland if Vault ⑨—the fairy Vault—is opened, what happens if we do have another shrine maiden, and finally what does this mean for the feral population, which is one of the most dangerous 'groups' in the Wastes for its people, aside from the raiders, the radiation, mutant insects, and militant organizations like the Flower Brigade, the GLF, and SDM Maids?” Vault ⑨ mentioned alongside a bunch of places, terms, or people you don't know. Does this place even have a bath? You feel the grain of the stubble on your cheek against the pillow. It's too early to be getting homesick. “Well, I'll start with your last question first, Momizi, since its brings up the other major political organizations in the Wastes, and then some. The 'ferals', and I mean this to include both the feralized fairies that reconstituted outside the Vaults during the Internment period and since, are not a political force, and have never been one. They possess only the basest of intelligences, to the point where we find the only number of 'non-feral' fairies inside these political organizations wearing the colors and uniform of the group they represent. This includes the red banners of the Gensokyo Liberation Front, the blue & gold fleur-de-lis or Lorraine cross of SDM and its child organizations, and the green armbands and flower patches of the Flower League. I will stress for the safety of anyone in the Wastes that if they see a fairy wearing unfriendly colors or even nothing at all, they should not hesitate to open fire. Secondly, to this so-called 'party' of Vault-dwellers—“ “Here it comes,” adds the first voice caustically. “Can I finish?” Talking heads. Radio personalities. Jesus, it's like something you'd see in a holo-recording. “We all know you don't believe that a Vault could survive 'two-hundred'—“ “Can I finish, Aya? Thank you. It's exactly as our saucy reporter adds; the idea of a fairy-run Vault, very similar to the disastrous Vault ⓜ surviving all this time. Almost two-hundred years overdue, is laughable. Fairy Vault Syndrome killed most fairies in the Vaults that did open successfully—“ “Not all of them.” “Can I finish? Can I finish? You know, I want to say to these Vault-dwellers, if they really are Vault-dwellers, and not costumed idiots like Chiyuri and Nightbug: Go home! It's not completely unreasonable to assume the human population of Vault ⑨ may have survived, just as Vault ⑩, the Makai Vault, was hemorrhaging many number of confirmed demons over the decades following its intended Opening, despite critical damage to the dimensional anchor in Dead Magic Forest, just as we lost the dimensional anchor to Vault ⑨ when the Scarlet Devil Lake dried up. If they are out there, I reiterate, you are in grave danger above ground. Any number of aggressive organizations would probably like to use you to further their cause, like the exiled Spirals, for example—“ “Why don't you just admit it, Hatate? You're racist!” “Can I finish? Can I finish? I'm sorry about your sour grapes Aya, but there's outside the 10% Nation there is no place for Tengu like you, no matter how much you wish it were—“ “And we're out of time! Thank you very much Hatate Himekaidou, WGNR's political correspondent and conservative spokeswoman...” “Thank you, Momizi.” “And our intrepid reporter and progressive voice—“ “Aya Shameimaru!” “Yes, thank you Aya. Friends of the Wastes, do you have a hot lead or a prime scoop to share? Well it just might earn you a song and a bottle cap. Simply flag down our flight-pack equipped eye-in-the-sky, Aya Shameimaru, or tune into CB radio channel 12 and listen for her as she makes her rounds about the Wastes! After a musical break, we'll have Tenshi Hinanawi with the forecast—“ You turn the alarm clock radio off, and advance out the unlocked—you note—doorway. Call it paranoia, but someone just painted a very big target sign on your collective backsides. Perhaps it's bad nerves, but you put the Pip-Boy radio on:
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It doesn't take long to find them. It's the only room on second floor that is numbered and locked and not filled with loudly snoring drunks. There was one unlocked, unlabeled door that was a grody-looking bathroom. There was one locked, unlabeled door, but it very likely might be a utility closet, or Mystia's boudoir, or possibly Sousha's which would be kinda boring, or Iku's which might be nice unless she needs to be made-up, if she really is a 'lesbo hagfish' like that nasty drunk implied, or Nazrin if she doesn't really live down in van by the river. There was at least enough room under the stage so that Mystia and maybe the other employees could have their own rooms behind the bar. You've located them through the process of elimination. However, the door is locked. There are four possible solutions to this problem: ①. Knock. ②. Lockpick. ③. Find another key downstairs. ④. Dynamic entry. You slept on your side weird so ④ is right out. ① is too simple, and of simple things the Vault life serves as a cautionary tale. Last time you used 'simple' you almost got eaten by an ant. ② is also out, remember the futility of attempting to pick Ren's handcuffs, and realizing anything that the bobby pins and anything that might serve as a tension bar is on Ren's person. ③ is intriguing. There may be a Master key. Or simply a second copy. You take the brass key for your room out of your pocket. Skeleton key. A-ha. Locking the door was utterly useless after all, and you have no reason to feel insecure for not doing so. You slide the brass key into the warded lock and neatly turn it to unlock the door with a satisfying clunk. Perhaps you've overestimated the intellectual capacity of these Wastelanders. There they are. Slumped over one another. The duffel is at side of the bed, and it seems like you they fell asleep with their clothes on. Sneaking over toward your unsuspecting prey, you slide your hand under the single pillow. A-ha. Renko's Mateba. She won't be needing this. “Dai?” “Yes Max? Is there a reason you're smiling like a Jet-fiend?” “I have passed a rigorous field test of my mental and physical acuity! I think I deserve a little praise.” “Have some fanfare,” adds the Pip-Fairy.
“What the fuuuuuuuuuuck! Daiiii!” Mary wails. Ren reflexively reaches out for her gun, but both the pillow and the gun are gone. You have the gun; you'd spin it around on your finger if you weren't liable to shoot yourself in the foot by doing so. Mary has the pillow, pulled around her ears. “Ugh. Max. Sonuvabitch.” “That's right~! Come on get up you lazy-bones; you too Usami.” “Gimmie back my gun. Maxine.” Snide isn't she this morning? Well that's fine, you can be equally snide. “Sorry! I tossed it out the open window!” The window isn't open. That was a total lie. But at least it got her to sit up and take note of her surroundings. “Well, I'm going to leave this in the far corner of the room.” To make her walk as far as possible. “I should also warn you that I found your door unlocked, and that strange men may have taken advantage of you outside my presence.” “Hey, wait, I have this key... fuck.” Yep. “I already found the bathroom; I'm going to wash off the smell of desperation! You two can wallow in it for a few minutes more!” Hahahaha! You close the door behind you.
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“Miss Susie had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell...” Apparently they do have bathing facilities. Sure there's icky soap-scum and creepy hairs everywhere, but at least you can wash off all that carcinogenic soot that lined the dead forest. “Miss Susie went to heaven, the steamboat went to…” Your dosimeter went up a ㎭ since last night, meaning there was probably irradiated soot on your clothing. “Hello operator. Give me number ⑥...” Impossible to avoid, given that the 'Dead' Magic Forest forest has been reduced charred blight on the more regular badlands, desert, and scrub. The only thing growing was slime molds & opportunistic mushrooms on the decaying tree bark. “And if you disconnect me, I'll cut off your big—nose.” “I thought it was '⑨' and 'behind'?” “Well, if you're going to get into it, I don't have either yet, and I certainly can't be doing any cutting until I do. Noses and behinds are great physiologic importance.” Dai's source of elation is the almost certainty that she will have a body back today. There were no birds tweeting that you could hear out here in Dead Magic Forest, but then you wouldn't want toxic fallout to start wafting in through the blackened windows to check. Still for one reason or another you too are feeling pretty good this morning. Part of it has to do with the adequate rest. The other half is probably from that second spell card you now have. Sure you'll be shitting wood pulp in a day, and you don't have any more grimoires to read, but then you're not really sure if you need them with the Liber de Nymphis as an arcane focus and the spell cards. Maybe there'll be opportunity to retrieve another book from the 'restricted books' section of the Vault library. Ah right, that one note Dai transcribed from the Liber de Nymphis' flyleaf.
╔Ｎｏｔｅｓ═════════════════════════ ║Sorted by: Date / Time / Origin / Subject ╟────────────────────────────── ║✍ 10/21/2277, 18:05JST, Note, “Flyleaf Bibliography” ║➥Note Body: “This is the list of related texts that Miss Ellen wrote ║down on the flyleaf of the the Liber de Nymphis: ║➥ Physiologus and the Gensokyo Chronicle: A Comparative ║Analysis, Hieda no Ajukyu (稗田阿住求) ║➥Voynich Manuscript: A Lunarian Translation, Eirin Yagokoro ║➥Magi in Greek Antiquity: Orpheus, Pythagoras, Empedocles, ║Patchouli Knowledge ║[There's more titles, but they're gibberish, or coded, or in other ║languages, which you suck at.] ║➥『丹後国風土記 』, 浦島太郎 ║➥« Comte de Gabalis », Abbé N. de Montfaucon de Villars ║➥... ║➥Note saved, read. ╠Ｑｕｅｓｔｓ════════════════════════ ║(☑) Vault ⑨—G.O.A.S.T in the Shell ║(☑) Vault ⑨—Renko the Butch-er (party member) ║(☑) Vault ⑨—Mo' Mentats, Mo' Mary (party member) ║(☑) Vault ⑨—Yue's Bedside Manner ║(☑) Vault ⑨—Beat the Overseer (⑨ Ways 'til Sunday) ║(☑) Vault ⑨—Revenge of the Ants! ║(☑) Scarlet Devil Basin—Hitchin' a Ride ║(☑) Dead Youkai Forest—Mystia's Bar & Grill ║(☑) Mystia's Bar & Grill—Room & Bored ║(☐) Dead Youkai Forest—Alice's Restaurant ╚══════════════════════════════
So at least three more worth reading. That's 3 to 6 days of heavy reading. That's enough to learn Pyromancy, Geomancy, Aeromancy, and, uh...
Wait. Waitaminute. When did you get a 'Quests' tab? 'Quests' plural? Well, that's OK. Right? Makes it feel like you've done something. All right. “Dai, you were actually in these dreams right?” What you remember of them at least? “Yes, Max. At least two of them. Unless you have some embarrassed revelations to make?” “No, that's good. You going to look anything like those dreams?” “Gee, I sure hope so. It would really suck to be a fairy goddess and not look anything like the part.” You turn the shower head off. “How does that work anyway? Are you really a god?” You try to drip dry, since you didn't bring any towels and the ones that are there smell mildewed.
[ (☀) You are 'Squeaky Clean'! +15 B-RES for 12 hrs. ]
“Well, Mary prays to something, Max.” “A matter of 'faith' huh?” Why not 'faith' yourself in cornfield? Hey, that's a pretty good rejoinder. Like that Twilight Zone episode. Or was that the Outer Limits? DO NOT ATTEMPT TO ADJUST THE PICTURE. WE ARE CONTROLLING TRANSMISSION. You can blink it away. Having trouble with the pocket implementation, Novgorod? THE PIP-FAIRY IS.... TENACIOUS. Blink. Right, you're having a conversation with the slighter saner voice-in-your-head. “...Well, the alternative is a little terrifying.” Terrifying huh? “One of those literal fairy existential crises?” “Don't you worry your pretty head about that, Max.” That's not suspicious at all. “You have more immediate concerns: Getting into Vault ⑩, procuring a body from Alice, and then surviving the trip back to the Vault is not a foregone conclusion. I was listening to those chatty commentators on WGNR for a while before you woke up; the result might mean trouble.” “Really? It just sounded like bickering to me.” “No other station mentioned it, and we know the range of WGNR is limited since we didn't hear it right outside the Vault, but we did announce ourselves to an armed encampment outside said range, which indicates the speed of word-of-mouth is substantial in the Wastes.” Well, that or you have a single highly-motivated, high-speed investigative journalist on your tail, but on second thought, dissemination by word-of-mouth sounds much more likely. “That they mentioned what is apparently open season on 'ferals' may not be entirely relevant, but I find it no less disturbing.” “I think the rest of us are dressed flashy enough so that someone isn't going to take potshots at you in particular.” Still, the idea of suddenly being in physical body that is capable of dying after spending two centuries as an omnipotent supercomputer is probably pretty harrowing. “Yes, but it doesn't mean anything good for the opening of the Vault.” “That's still a long way off.” “Yeah, and I don't know if I can let you three kids wander around in Limbo while the Vault is undergoing massive restructuring.” You might not give her a choice. You might not have a choice. Without a guiding hand this set-up is bound to degenerate into various methods of sexy hi-jinx. (Which is not too terrible.) “Dai, is running the Vault off your 'shadow' backup entirely ⑨-proof?” “For all intents and purposes, DAI-00531, the AI of Vault ⑨, and Daiyousei, the Fairy Goddess of Vault ⑨, are now different entities. It took two hundred years to create a passable 'true' artificial intelligence; that's a long time, even to a fairy.”
“Well, it's no time to be getting cold feet.” Speaking of cold; you're reaching the limit of how much shivering you're willing to endure. Your clothes left draped over the radiator provide immediate relief. Not that it was on, but they were left in the relative sunlight there, and the synthetic material holds in heat (which is also to say it breathes poorly). It's in all likelihood a lot warmer outside but these dirty windows are sealed shut, probably for a reason. “Anyway, are you sure it's going to accept your commands and everything?” “I don't need it to; it's an autonomous AI, Max.” “Yeah but, like, you aren't not in the Vault ⑨ roster, right?” Or was that entirely a lie you cooked up to feed the Overseer? Well, dedicating this particular thought to Miss 'History-is-decided-by-the-people-in-charge', your hold over the fundaments of reality grows ever stronger! Ha-ha! “Do you honestly think I'd give anyone unqualified & absolute power over critical system processes in my Vault? There's a kill-switch if I need it. I have the Overseer, too, as well as the Vault Shrine Maiden.” You don't like her overbearing side. Which is sort of a pun, since she didn't bear you at all. “So that 'coup' was really in Mary's statutory powers?” “You better believe it, buster.” This could work against you, given you sort of tossed Mary to the mangy wolves last night. Or rather, you idly sat by as she covered herself in bacon and threw herself to the mangy wolves. Oh, that's insensitive; you forgot about Sousha. He probably doesn't have mange or distemper or any canine-specific ailment. In fact, he seemed well-trained. You'd definitely trust him to throw Slim out the door, and in fact, you cannot confirm at this point that he did not. Certainly if Iku or Mystia demanded it, he would oblige.
“Morning, morning...” Ren doesn't even talk back as she passes you in the hall toward the bathroom. Well, let her stew for a while. You'll just check on the '⑨-Maiden'. “Mary?” you knock on the open door. Sure you already invaded her privacy before, but she was asleep then. Politeness is more important to awake human beings. Probably. You've dealt with some impolite entities in your sleep, but societal mores are less important in dreamspace. Of this, you have had regretful experiences. What possessed you to attack that poor bucket-crab woman, but not the sun-crow? Probably has something to do with plasma, though remembering your fight with the Overseer, superheated steam can wreck one's shit pretty well too. You'll probably have to apologize. Yeah, like you need more water specialization tips: Drowning people is probably as effective as that goes. Well, you haven't used it outside the dream, though you've had close calls. Anyway, Mary. “Mary, Mary, I need your huggin'.” “Go away, Max.” “Mary, Mary, why you buggin'?” “Go away.” “I'm sorry, but you're going to have to do better than that.”
“You left me alone on a stage in the middle of the night to fend off the drunks and lechers and bills. Fuck off.” Oh. Right. You did. “Sorry, I had trusted Renko to secure your person. I'm scandalized to hear she did not.” “Eh.” It's not so important that she's willing to go off on Renko about it, but important enough that it doesn't matter if you're willing to go off on Renko about it. “Heh.” “I see that winning smile! Your interpretive 'oriental-style' dance was so impressive that I thought myself superfluous. She dances; she drives hard bargains; she drinks sangria by the pitcher.” Well, maybe. She had to be the toast of the party after that. “Yeah, I am pretty wonderful.” “You're a wonderful shrine maiden of an underground paradise! You cut loose some times! It's no big thing; you're cosmopolitan!” “I could go for a cosmo.” “No drinking before noon!” “When I had shrine, I could drink whenever I wanted,” she says bitterly, looking away from you and narrowing her eyes. Ouch. “But... were you happy?” “No.” And a sort of goofy grin appears on her face. “I can't stay mad at you.” It's your heavy, heavy cross to bear, your extra, extrasavoir-faire, After all you charmed the pants off Ren, who is really in love with Mary, then you charmed the knickers off Mary, who is really in love with you, and somehow got Ren to not hate you for doing. In fact she gave you her favorite leather jacket and tailored it to your exact measurements, and them she left her social life behind and muck around an irradiated hell-hole. “Your vacuous smile is starting to grate however.” That's a very Renko-like thing for her to say, you think, but don't really know that since you only got to know her a few days ago after an interim of years. “...I'd didn't tell you to stop.” “I was thinking odd things.” “The pensive look doesn't suit you.” Can't argue with that. “I'm going to go downstairs and see just how many bottle caps a hard-working girl earns in a night!” “Aww...” “You have to shower, and I just did.” So no sexings. Renko might blow a gasket if that was what she came back to see, and you have no interest in using that bathing facility again. “Fine. Whatever. Pout.” “'Pout'?” “Pout.” That's not an onomatopoeia. Well maybe in Japanese it is, but you don't speak dead languages.
[ (☀) Ren is 'Squeaky Clean'! +15 B-RES for 12 hrs. ]
“Miss Lorelei!” Step-step. Step-step. Step-step. Step-step. Step-step. Step-step. Step-step. “I'm ready to pay my bill!” That causes some noise. You're not exactly sure what it was, but Mystia soon comes, though dressed in a bathrobe. “Oh~! Hello~! I was just preparing breakfast!” “Oh, excellent. I remember a certain discount given by your dancer...” Her smile falls immediately. The fate of your breakfast lies upon salvaging this conversation. “...But with the drinks included I'm sure it came out to more than she'd expect. I think I remember a round for everyone,” you lie. “Oh, yes, of course. Let's see what it totals out to, hmm...?” She takes out a pencil and blank piece of paper, and after sharpening the pencil with her fingernails (must be very sharp), you see a bill in what is almost certainly Japanese chicken scratch.
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFF “Is there a problem, sir?” She is smiling. “Not so much as the... possibility of a problem. This includes the discount?” You glare at her with eyebrow a-furrowed. “Yes~” She coos sweetly. Tch. It was 7 caps a room. By that 14 she rented out a second room for the girls on purpose! The discount doesn't even begin to cover it!
Also, how could Mary possibly drink so much sake? You have to assume the 20 cap charge is sake since the waitress said it was rare. Why did you order a second bottle? Oh right because she drank the first bottle while you were discussing the Life of Pi with the autistic wolf-man! Wait. There could be worse things afoot here than a dent in your bottle cap collection. Mary drank a lot. She started talking about drinking almost as soon as she woke up, how she could drink whenever she wanted. Then she started freely associating words with cocktails. This will require a careful and nuanced period of observation; you're not going to drink yourself to death to teach her it's wrong to drink herself to death, especially when she's not just addicted to placebos. If she goes into the DTs out here it could be bad. You're still staring at the bill. “Alright,” you accept with a sigh. “If you'll wait a few minutes, I'll have breakfast ready in a minute. Sorry about the state of things, but we rarely have patrons who are awake before noon.” “It's okay.” You stole enough of Ren's money to cover this, right? “Do you take greenbacks?” “Nope~” She uses a match to light the coal under the fryer. Shit. HA-HA-HA-HA-HA. What are you laughing at, Novgorod? MY PROJECTED DISCOUNT WAS EXACT TO A SINGLE CAP. How nice for you. Project how many dollar I can get selling you at the Village flea market. Well, run back upstairs then.
“The hell?” Renko is using one of the mildewed towels to dry her hair, in the room she rented separately. Must be a bigger deal if you have long hair. “I don't even remember falling asleep. Nor getting a room key. Everything was just sort of 'fade to black'.” “Well this 'black' is extorting us, Ren. Do we have the caps?” “We have exactly enough caps. We need someone who can turn paper into... tin.” “That doesn't sound like any alchemy I've ever read about. Look, we can—”
[ (☀) Ren is 'Squeaky Clean'! +15 B-RES for 12 hrs. ]
Mary walks in the room. She's forgoing the towel like you did. Which is not to say she's undressed. “Great Mary, we were just discussing ways to drum up revenue. Do you think you can pull off a few more 'exotic dances'?” Ren asks sarcastically. “Bottle caps? I got some of these...” She draws out a paltry six bottle caps from the pocket on her hakama. “The strange men put them in my hand for showing them my underarms.” It probably wasn't her underarms they were looking at, being sans-sarashi and all. “Excellent, Mary. Hold on to them okay. Between me and Ren we have exactly enough to pay the bill, so it looks like you're holding on to the group purse. Think of them as 'shekels'.” “Oh.” Amazing how quickly she turns from innocent to miserly. She stacks them atop one another, then drops them one at a time in her hand second on making a 'clink' noise. “I could always perform the Dance of the Seven Veils.” You... want to see that. Renko of course is the level-headed spoilsport. “Look, Mary. I brought that camping equipment for a reason. Tewi's cab is free, and she probably knows where to exchange paper notes for bottle caps.” Mary shrugs and pockets the caps again. You don't particularly like the idea of camping with all this irradiated soot around, but Alice's Restaurant might afford some shelter, and if you actually get into Vault ⑩ you'd have everything you'd have at home, presumably. “Now since we know we're paying out the nose for it, let's go eat breakfast.”
Mystia has the radio on downstairs, so you turn off your Pip-Boy radio.
“This is KVV➄ 91.9 FM, your Village Voice in this Wasteland. I'm Akyuju-no-Hieda.” “And I'm Keine Kamishirasawa.” “Bringing you all the news that's fit to broadcast. Just a heads up on the happenings this morning in the Village; we've confirmed the reports of other news stations now with Tewi, who operates the Karmic Cab Service in the Wastes. Tell us what the guidance of our Village elders concerning this matter is please Keine.” “According to Tewi, these are bona fide human Vault-Dwellers who showed up out of thin air in the Scarlet Devil Basin. We wish to stress that despite the impact this might have on that status quo in the Wastes, that the most important thing to do is stay calm. If happen to sight this group rather than approaching them, you should immediately inform the Village guard. We do not know their intentions, and if it's anything like the last new major influx of humans in the Waste—“ “The Enclave.” “Yes, like the Enclave, these persons may be dangerous. Furthermore, they likely have spent the entirety of their lives underground and so may be very confused or suspicious of the motives of others. We must be very careful to not frighten them off and into the clutches of the more ill-intended. We will be keeping abreast of the situation as it develops.” “Thank you Keine. Until you hear it otherwise on this station folks, the matter is very much 'wait and see'. Now for a musical break.”
Well it's not quite hardtack, gruel & jerky, but it's no Café du Monde either. The coffee is filtered through an old sock and boiled atop the fry-a-lator. There's far too much corn in the oatmeal, the bread is poorly leavened, and the butter is unsalted. However the bacon is excellent. It's so much better than processed, meat-flavored bean curd that you want to kiss a rad-pig.
[ (☕) Food ingested. Party hunger relieved. (+30 hp) ] [ (☢) Party has gained +10 ㎭ from eating irradiated food. ]
“Good bacon!” Ren agrees. Mary is just staring at the food blearily. By the time she gets a piece in her mouth, Ren has already stolen half her allotment. “Mm?” She looks at plate and then at Renko, and a transformation from tears to rage occurs. “Oww! I'm—ow! Sorr—ow! Stop hitting me with your stick! Take my oatmea—ow!” “I don't want your stupid oatmeal, you wretched woman! I danced for you and you steal my bacon. Guh... a-huh-a-huh-a-huh...”
[ (☔) Mary could not stop crying! ]
She's crying. Ren who is sitting next to her is wigging out, not sure at all how to handle this. The night-sparrow has already crept up behind; she winks at you. That's your cue! Monkey snatches sizzling ham-fat!
[ (☝) Max passed his Sneak check! ] [ (⚔) Max failed his Melee check! ] [ (⨳) Max burned his hand! (-20 hp) ]
SUCK IT UP ROCKATANSKY. You bite back your curse and manage to deposit the searing god-bacon onto Mary's plate, and she is none-the-wiser. You give a burned thumbs-up to Mystia! She's not so bad—just highly opportunistic! JUST LIKE YOU. Thank you for those encouraging words just now but shut-up. “Abracadabra!” Clap! Mystia has already slunk back behind the bar when Mary notices her double-portion of bacon. Did she slaughter the rad-hog herself? Maybe they're mutated to be big as bison! You for one welcome your porcine overlords! “How?” “Oh, Mary prayed with her whole heart! I merely played out my role as facilitator of divine providence,” lying through your teeth. Mary takes a bite and chews it and sniffles, “It's a miracle!”
[ (☂) Mary stopped crying! ]
Ren is supposed to become a butcher; maybe this Mystia woman can teach her how to slaughter hogs?
[ (☕) Max has become addicted to meat! (no penalty) ]
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You set out after paying Mystia for delicious bacon the rooms and the drinks. After receiving a dubious tip on avoiding ferals by being as loud as possible, you sing Jody calls and camp songs. “Alouette, gentille Alouette, “Alouette, je te plumerai!” “Je te plumerai la tête.” “Je te plumerai la tête!” “Et la tête.” “Et la tête!” “Alouette.” “Alouette!” “O-ho-ho-ho! “Alouette, gentille Alouette, “Alouette, je te plumerai!” “Je te plumerai le bec.” “Je te plumerai le bec!” “Et le bec.” “Et le bec!” “Et la tête.” “Et la tête!” “Alouette.” “Alouette!” “O-ho-ho-ho!” “Alouette, gentille Alouette, “Alouette, je te plumerai!” “Je te plumerai le—“ “Tree!” “That's not the word. Cou. Cou!” Now your daydream of undressing Mystia Lorelei layer-by-layer is irrevocably shattered. Thanks Ren. “No, Max. The tree, look.” Well, there's a tree. It's not completely blackened, and definitely looks different from the burnt-out husk around it. It is however covered with vines. “It's being choked by creeper vine. Help me out here.” “...My voice is starting to hurt, Max,” Mary whines. Oh, all right. The winds of change are blowing against you. So you turn the radio on.
Even as you drop your duffel and start tearing at the kudzu, “Why do you care, Ren?” MAYBE SHE TOOK TREE WHISPERER? Why do you always come up with the most disturbing shit? CHECK YOUR PIP-BOY. Maybe I don't like the idea of having my existence rounded off to the closest statistical marker? … … … 。。。 Ellipses. It's flooding your eyes with fucking ellipses. I'm going to enjoy watching Alice tear out your stuffing. IT'S NOT MY STUFFING YOU SHOULD BE WORRYING ABOUT. That doesn't even make any sense, and sounds especially self-righteous coming from a mass-produced factory model. This isn't over. Renko's talking. “...Japanese sumac—urushi; the resins are traditionally used to produce lacquerware.” “I see.” You don't really, but you guess you should file this away with the rest of 'Open or Don't Open the Vault' information. You don't have a problem with just using paper or plastic, though. You think about using the X-Acto® knife, which you traded the Swiss army knife for, but as Ren is using the latter to saw through the vines rather than her switchblade, you can only assume it would be too much wear on the blade, so you keep it up your sleeve. “I got a better idea.” “Huh?” Ren stops midway through sawing off a vine. “The root system is probably expansive, connecting to the other trees with vines in scrambling up them.” There are a lot of them. Fucking kudzu. The end fate of this planet rests on the first mammal to develop a use for kudzu. “That stands to reason, but we shouldn't do nothing. It's not the roots that kill; it's the vines.” “What I'm saying is there's a way to get rid of both.” “Assuming you're not going to set the tree on fire, sure.” Renko steps back. You have that new spellcard to test out. “Mary can you put a seal on the tree for 'darkness'.” “As in 'moody' or 'malevolent'?” That would be a hell of a tree. “As in the absence of light.” “That'll kill it eventually. It needs light for photosynthe—“ “Shut up, Ren. It'll be temporary.” Mary kneels down in the ash. Rather than taking out her calligraphy set, she grabs a handful of soot and crushes in between her fingers to use as a dye. She answers your question even before you ask it, “I don't know what you have planned, but the ash of the dead trees is going to be more useful than the normal lampblack of my ink stick, which is really soot anyway.” You don't know if the extra exposure to radiation is worth it, but you don't stop her.
[ (☢) Mary has gained +5 ㎭ ]
It only takes her a few seconds to draw the proper symbol on the amulet, combination of kanji and more familiar kana: 行暮れる. “Yukikikeru—to be overtaken by darkness.” Mary tacks it to the tree like a post-it note. “Now what Max?” “This probably isn't very dangerous, but step back, both of you. Find cover behind a tree trunk or something.” Mary does as she's told without complaint, though Ren grumbles, woman poor of faith. You stand a few feet away. If cardboard was reduced into a mist by this, you can be fairly sure doing this to a vine isn't going to be very dangerous. “Out like a light bulb! Æther Sign 「Light Cage」!” If results in the same effect as in your dream, the barren branches and blazing sun providing more than enough light, and because of this, it takes a shorter amount of time to perform and causes less darkening of your own vision. Most of the Platonic solids you try to push down into the ground, where the root system is, but you eventually reach a point of saturation, wherein they start to fill up the visible vines. Like you expected, the seal protects the tree, but not the vines. “What the hell is he doing!” Renko. “Shh! He's concentrating,” answers Mary in a hushed voice.
It's full up. Maybe you should have asked Mary for a second seal for yourself. Are you safe here? WE'RE SAFE. Novgorod. My best friend. How can you tell? TARGETING & BALLISTICS IS MY SPECIALTY. IF YOU'D USED P.A.D.S. YOU WOULDN'T NEED THE AMULET FOR THE TREE. But she's still in your pocket. Hindsight is always 20/20. Putting on your sunglasses, you relax all concentration, and the magical pressure causes the vine to turn completely white, then bursting into dust. Because the pressure was higher in the ground, in the root system, the soil surrounding the tree flies upward, most of the force escaping upward. “Dust to dust.” You'll have to clean the jacket and your jumpsuit when you get back to Vault ⑨, but the soot on your face can be wiped away, and you spit out any of the soot that may have entered your mouth.
[ (☢) Max has gained +10 ㎭ ]
“It's totally gone?” “Not totally,” you turn toward Ren. “Yeah, I see that.” She wipes off some of the soot on your/her Tunnel Snakes jacket, and then washes off her hands with water from a water bottle.
[ (☢) Ren has gained +1 ㎭ ]
“So what are all these husks of anyway.” “They're trees, Max,” Mary playing dumb again. “Some are pretty big. Thirty feet, and that's just the trunk.” “Japanese beech, Fagus crenata.” “What about the shorter ones with multiple trunks?” “Same genus, Fagus japonica, blue Japanese beech.” “Wow, Ren, you sure know a lot about trees for someone who left the Vault only yesterday.” “Up the Mountain, we'd be more likely to encounter subalpine forests. Their elevation & relative sparsity is probably what kept wildfires from consuming them, or at least part of them.” You can't see the mountain through the blackened trunks. “What does elevation have to do with it?” “The higher you go, the less oxygen you find.” “Tell me what that is.” No. “That's a stick.” No. No. No. “Deciduous & subalpine forests once created the major ecological biomes of the 'Japanese Alps'. This is now a hazy memory, both due to soil degradation, acid rain & fallout, lack of large herbivores, and nuclear detonations, along with the decades of cold that would follow the Nuclear Winter. Plus that whole eutrophication & algal bloom I was talking about before. We haven't seen the coasts yet, but I'd expect massive slimy cyanobacteria, fungal, and algal colonies.“ You're maybe not point in the right direction, but that's because you're closing your eyes. “Uguuu~” “Holy fucking fuck.” “What... oh.” Out of sight, out of mind. Out of sight, out of mind. “Uguu...” “It's a Yukkuri.” “A what-curry? It's got hair. And... features. My God, Dai, it's horrific.” Mary took the words right out of your mouth. “Come here little fella. Not gonna hurt ya.” “Uguuuuu~ eassssy...”
“Here you go, a little K-ration for you. No one's going to hurt you.” Don't give it our food! “TaaaaaaAaaake... it...” God, it's burbling like a toddler! BANG. “You shot it!” Mary shrieks. She shot it? You smell smoke. You open your eyes. She did. With her Nambu. Thank God. Some things should not be. That was one of them. “Don't be done in by their neoteny and mimicry. They're clever opportunists and a serious disease vector.” Ren approaches the bursted bag of blood and blubber. “What the hell is it, Ren?” “I told ya, Maxey. It's a yukkuri.” “Hieda mentioned them in the Wasteland Survival Guide,” Dai speaks up for the first time it seems in hours, “They think it might have been an invasive subspecies of the wild haggis of Scotland, brought over by tourists. Haggis Japonicus is the binomial name, I think.” “Well it's dead now, so you can stop clutching my arm like a terrified little girl, Max.” Oh. Right. You're reminded of Yue's less than amused response to your joke about jackalopes. “Let's be on the look-out for more gibbering horrors. OK?” Ren doesn't have to ask you twice. You'll keep your eyes wrenched open. Using the fucking drop-bear spell card on the next one. That's a pretty good idea. Might help you get over this deep-set terror. Not even the ants were this scary.
Eventually you come across the busted-out, ramshackle diner, as you had been moving toward without the aid of blazed trails, according to Mary's GPS. Ren told you this would be to avoid any highwaymen waiting on the road proper, like there were last night. “Since we'd mentioned the Makai Vault this morning, and its hermit-like Overseer, it's time for a little ditty. We used to play this one in jukebox back when the place wasn't a smashed-in hovel fit only for radroaches.” Well at least you're warned up front about its inhabitants.
[ (⚡) One (1) energy cell removed from Mary's inventory. Mary has eight (8) energy cells. ]
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!
[ (⇥) One (1) 8mm Nambu magazine removed from Renko's inventory. Renko has (4) 8mm Nambu magazines. ]
Between Mary's overzealous raygun and Renko's efficient (but repeatedly jamming) Nambu, you don't have much to do but stand around a look pretty. In the end it came down to eight radroaches, which is a significant number. Also significant is that Renko killed six of them with a single eight round magazine, while Mary killed two with an entire 30-shot energy cell. Maybe you should have told Mary to stand back and used your laser rifle? Well you don't have P.A.D.S. working yet. Right? Novgorod, how long until P.A.D.S. is working again? THREE HOURS. “Nice shootin' Tex.” “Thanks!” Mary holds her depleted laser pistol up near her face and smiles, oblivious to or intentionally ignoring Ren's ribbing. Despite the fact that every last window & light bulb is smashed in and the chrome has started to bubble and warp, inside the shade provided by the roof, you find a curiously hardy computer terminal, the energy cell powering it has long since died, but you could replace it with one from your inventory. There are no wires attacked to the terminal, so you can only hope the antenna on top is enough to activate what needs to be activated or communicated what needs to be communicated. There seems no back door. “I'm going to check around the perimeter for a storm door or something. There's nothing in here,” says Renko. Having no other leads, you replace the dead power cell with a new one from your own inventory.
[ (⚡) One (1) energy cell removed from Max's inventory. Max has eight (8) energy cells. ] [ (⚛) Max has turned on the computer terminal! ]
That last entry is after the Internment, so it seems unlikely to give you information. The 'petition' option is obvious, but you don't have IDs that correspond to being a resident of Vault ⑩, but then again, this Vault was supposed to have been opened, even if the Overseer is still residing in it. Still, who knows how long you'd have to wait? As for a wall-safe, you don't even see one, and there's nothing that is obvious to disguise one like a bookshelf or a painting. Ren knows a good deal more about computers than you do, but according to the 'warning' it's using up power fast. It's a dummy terminal, so it has to access the Vault ⑩ server, and if that's in Shanghai, then it's using a hell of a lot of power to transmit to the Chinese mainlan— IT'S THE NAME OF THE SERVER, GENIUS. Oh. “I can feel it,” Mary say. “Feel what?” “The boundary. It's the same thing I felt near the Overseer's tunnel. It's active, but we're not inside it. At least, no yet.” Okay, maybe it's opened up the portal in order to send & receive data. You don't know what the minimal physical constraints on one of these portals are for this purpose, so even if you find it, you might not be able to use it to gain entrance. “Mary, can you locate this 'boundary'?” “It's not that I can't find it Max. I already feel in it, just minimally, like standing up in the kiddie pool. We're not in the Vault dimension yet, or we are, but only ankle deep.” That's a nice metaphor, but ultimately unhelpful.
You... [ ] Use the terminal and... – [ ] Read the journal. – [_] Use how many energy cells? – [ ] Petition entry. – [ ] Unlock the wall-safe. – [ ] Just ask Dai what to do. [ ] Take a look around the inside of the diner—namely, for the safe. [ ] Take a look around the outside of the diner. [ ] Stand guard outside; maybe you'll find something to use the bucket spell card on! [ ] You're a goddamn magician. Makai is a land of demons and devils. Draw some circles; summon some demons. Then ask them for directions, or just follow them back into Makai! [ ] Write-in.
Maybe Ren should... [ ] Use the terminal and... – [ ] Read the journal. – [_] Use how many energy cells? – [ ] Petition entry. – [ ] Unlock the wall-safe. – [ ] Do whatever she needs to; she's the group expert. [ ] Find the safe. She's also the group expert in B & E. [ ] Continue what she's doing—checking out the perimeter. [ ] Be on the lookout for yukkuri and other Fortean nightmares. Are they... edible? [ ] Write-in.
Mary? [ ] Use the terminal and... – [ ] Read the journal. – [_] Use how many energy cells? – [ ] Petition entry. – [ ] Unlock the wall-safe. [ ] Find the safe. Tell her there's booze in it. [ ] Tell her to get Ren back in here; you're driving sideways on this thing. [ ] She's the priestess of a fairy goddess; the least she could do it ward the area against them. [ ] Use her divine power (?) to 'lock' the boundary open, so that when the computer runs out of juice, it won't close. [ ] Write-in.
Tuesday, October 23, 2277 (⌚) 11:28 AM JST
“I’ve been called the whole gamut: A peeper, a creeper, a talker, a walker, a stalker, a back-breaker, a ball-buster... In today’s job market, you can’t be afraid to diversify your portfolio.” Aya Shameimaru, No Money, No Life
[ (⚡) Your party has 16 energy cells. ] [ (♪) WSDM Scarlet Devil Radio signal lost. ]
[ ] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 – [ ] Status – [ ] Inventory – [ ] Notes – [ ] Quests – [ ] Radio – [ ] 91.9 ㎒ – KVV➄ The Village Voice – [ ] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio – [ ] 191 ㎑ – NOAA Emergency Broadcasting Network – [ ] 9770 ㎑ – WVOA Voice of America Enclave Radio – [ ] 1500 ㎑ – WWVH Hawaiian Time Signal – [ ] 26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan CB channels 1-29
The number of times the terminal is accessed will determine how much of the logs are read and also the number of energy cells used. Just fill in the underscore with the number. If you go over the actual number of entries, the cells will not be used and will remain in your inventory. The other two options use one (1) energy cell. The next update will be short since you will be given a final choice on whether to enter the Vault or not at this time.
Also, we should really be looking to do something about Mary's alcoholism soon. I don't know what, but it's being mentioned very explicitly now, in-story, which is probably a broad hint. Sure, we have other immediate tasks, but we still should be thinking about how to tackle that.
>>116406 >Mary? >[x] Find the safe. Tell her there's booze in it.
>We should totally take Chaomancy next. You are full of terrible ideas. Are you the same person who wrote that write-in for antagonizing Kogasa when we first met her? You don't seem as creative, though, so maybe not.
Waiting for someone to come up with something reasonable.
You... [X] Use the terminal and... –[X] Read the journal. -– Use how many energy cells?
Maybe Ren should... [X] Continue what she's doing—checking out the perimeter. [X] When she's done, ask her to do whatever she needs to on the terminal; she's the group expert. [X] Ask her if yukkuri are edible.
Mary? [X] Find the safe. Who knows what it may have?
Always check the apocalyptic logs. But don't waste all our cells on it, we need those for weapons too. Setting Mary to find the safe because she's the best lockpicker, unless it turns out that the terminal is the only method of unlocking it.
You... [x] Use the terminal and... –[x] Read the journal. -– Use how many energy cells? Maybe Ren should... [x] Continue what she's doing—checking out the perimeter. [x] When she's done, ask her to do whatever she needs to on the terminal; she's the group expert. Mary? [x] Find the safe. Who knows what it may have?
[x] Pip-Fairy ⑨000 – [x] Status – [x] Inventory – [x] Notes – [x] Quests – [x] Radio – [x] 91.9 ㎒ – KVV➄ The Village Voice – [x] 103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio – [x] 26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan CB channels 1-29
I guess this is okay for now. Anyone else have any good ideas? (please?)
...Also, shouldn't we have gotten experience for the roaches?
This thread is in auto-sage, if anyone hasn't voted, I suggest you do so, since I'll start writing once it's pushed onto the second page.
>...Also, what the hell was that with Sasha and Utsuho?
Okuu didn't really know why she herself was there, but she and Sasha are natural enemies. You'll have answers to how the 'elemental' system (meaning, why certain people are elementals) operates probably the next time you read a magical grimoire. prima materia. The prima materia given form and qualities (hot-cold & dry-wet) made up the mutable terrestrial elements. The prima materia given form without qualities is the immutable, celestial element æther.
>But don't waste all our cells on it, we need those for weapons too.
They also power some equipment, like heavy duty flash lights & lanterns, portable stoves, and water filtration & sterilizing devices. All of which you'll find in Renko's 40 lbs of camping equipment when you need them.
>...Also, shouldn't we have gotten experience for the roaches?
We've been operating on a 'go to sleep without dying, gain a level' mechanic. XP points would be hard to pull off since companions will have lower, equal, or are even a few levels higher than the protagonist, with some not leveling at all. (e.g., Meira would have a higher level than Max, since she's lived longer, while Daiyousei would have a lower level because she'd only recently been given a body and essentially has to relearn fine motor skills. A person like Youmu would not accrue levels because there's nothing fighting can teach her anymore.
Most of the higher level companions, who are big-name Touhous, are only temporary party members, or else have fallen into some degenerate state from the border failing such that they are appropriate as companions. They are still useful even outside the party, since they can tutor who you leave behind that has similar abilities.
youkai in some kind of human diabolical experiment. Ex-Rumia can become EX-Rumia through her Vault ⓜ side-story. Mary can use Eirin's shady (old) medicine for dream-training, or she might just simply metastasize spontaneously. Normal fission-utilizing Ruukoto can be modified into Mr. Fusion-utilizing Ruukoto Mk II then and finally the Saboten drive-utilizing Ruukoto Mk III, by Asakura (in the Mountain Citadel), Chiyuri (in Human Village), Nitori & her sister (at the base of the mountain), Rika (in the Vault), and even Ren if she gets a high enough Science & Repair. Farmer will overcome all fears and behavioral inhibitions by dropping mescaline for a few days. Youmu will gain a new costume just by dying. Max can become a full-blown youkai magician through studying under one of the three magicians that reside in the Wastes, or by continuing to read grimoires.
As an unspoiled example, Miss Ellen can train Sera, however, this is a dead-end as far as the party organization is concerned, since Max is the dedicated arcane spell caster (though you did gain Karma for it). However, Miss Ellen is still a source for grimoires, and she can also transcribe for Max if a text is in a language he cannot understand.
>More delicious spoilers > Max can become a full-blown youkai magician through studying under one of the three magicians that reside in the Wastes, or by continuing to read grimoires.
Ok, that does it. I'm gonna use my time-traveling machine and go to 2012 to read the whole story, from start to finish, in an afternoon or two. I'll tell you guys how did that go in 'your' tomorrow! Adios!
You... [X] Take a look around the inside of the diner—namely, for the safe. Maybe Ren should... [x] Use the terminal and... – [x] Read the journal. –  Use how many energy cells? – [x] Petition entry. – [x] Unlock the wall-safe. Mary? [x] Tell her to get Ren back in here; you're driving sideways on this thing. [x] She's the priestess of a fairy goddess; the least she could do it ward the area against them.
I see in this story, like Fallout, a great amount of replayability. However, unlike Fallout, there is no save/load option and a timelag between user-input and system-output (seeing as everything is not pre-programmed and determined) so we'll just have to do our best on the first playthrough. It's going to be fucking A.
An average was found of four (4) energy cells to be use, when rounded to the closest natural number. Max will read half the logs Ren will, then will take a walk outside and guard the perimeter, hoping to drown someone or something, while checking for signals on the Citizen's Band radio.
Once Ren is done scanning the perimeter, she will read four journal entries and then attempt to unlock the safe electronically.
Mary will attempt to find the safe and unlock it. She will also scan the radio.
Pip-Fairy ⑨000 entries: – [x] Status – [x] Inventory – [x] Notes – [x] Quests - [x] Radio –  91.9 ㎒ – KVV➄ The Village Voice –  103.5 ㎒ – WGNR Gensokyo News Radio –  26.965–27.305 ㎒ – Scan CB channels 1-29 - [...]
While there is minor roles for Mitori & Suzuki Rinbokusan, there is no Meimu. However, Madam Governor Hakurei's methods are beginning to be seen by the Enclave brass as increasingly unsound. Eventually you or someone else may be dragged into a conflict with the deluded miko, which really is the Sturm und Drang of a thunderstorm carried a lightning bolt that pierced my skull. When I saw Star Sapphire wrecking havoc, I realized that this thing in front might not be prey, and that in fact maybe I was no longer at the top of the food chain. This was transformative. You see, it was 'Rumia' who screamed for a mother that never existed; it was 'Rumia' who closed her eyes to the light of judgment. It was 'Ex-Rumia' who opened them again.”
>>116656 >I see in this story, like Fallout, a great amount of replayability.
I'm always wondering, what if they'd picked the fairy option? But it's as you say, there's a lot done to personalize the protagonist, such that using another character would be difficult. I had thought to use a 'Die? Okay now you're someone else' method to skirt around character death, but this is unfeasible, and I now have other, better methods to employ. Maybe once everything is done. At the rate we're going that will be a long time off.
Anyway, writing [s]I swear as soon as I beat FF XIII; I'm like half done.[/i]
[X] Take a look around the inside of the diner—namely, for the safe. Maybe Ren should... [x] Use the terminal and... – [x] Read the journal. –  Use how many energy cells? – [x] Petition entry. – [x] Unlock the wall-safe. Mary? [x] Tell her to get Ren back in here; you're driving sideways on this thing. [x] She's the priestess of a fairy goddess; the least she could do it ward the area against them.
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>>116766 >If Rumia becomes EX-Rumia, will she attack us afterword, seeing us now as prey or something?
The path has as much to do with the circumstances she might be found by the party, and ultimately the reason she survived Star Sapphire's wrath in Vault ⓜ and after this effectively disappeared from the public eye. It's not a matter as simple as removing a ribbon and blowing up Megaton.