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File 153075712323.png - (38.08KB , 800x800 , 968.png )
891215 No. 891215 ID: bfb318

Wiki and previous threads: http://tgchan.org/wiki/AsteroidQuest
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/Lagotrope

>"Arza, Penn."

Vanski says our names less to get our attention, and more to buy time to construct what he's going to say to us.

>"You won't be talking to the CAI directly. ASE - that's the Alliance of the Silhouette Empire - are hooking the CAI up to a data output terminal, which you will be reading off of."
>"No talking to the CAI directly? Really?" asks Arza.
>"Take it up with ASE if you have a problem with that. There is a dedicated CAI study lab. There will always be a guard there to walk you through through the entry and exit procedures. You'll both be in guest room number 5."

He walks around the desk to us.

>"And remember that no matter who gets access to protect or study the CAI, the CAI remains mine."

This insectoid alien, who's gotten insensibly close to us, waves us off with his clasper.
287 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 907190 ID: b1b4f3

>>907187
That was already answered in ITQ. One of the earliest questions in fact.
>>
No. 907205 ID: 094652

>>907151
This is Vanski's personal lab. I expect they are working on cloning vats here, along with memory simulacrum data for various species, among their other dubious scientific pursuits. There's no better place to break established worldbuilding rules than mad science.
>>
No. 907213 ID: 10c408

>>907205
established canon dictates otherwise. If they had the means, material and even the materiel to clone anyone, of any species and make an army, they would have had much better security forces other than a gaggle of crazy rokoa brain dart victims, a nanite controlled war hive and an almost endless tide of arkots whose cyro sotrage facility is failing.

The OPA-3A facility isn't nearly as gloriously rich with resources, personnel and capability as you assume it to be, it is, in-fact, established to be quite the opposite.

>>
No. 907218 ID: afdebc

Take it to questdis. >>/questdis/126071
>>
No. 907990 ID: de6d84

"May I get through?"
>>
No. 910620 ID: 2625d3

>>906045

I'm farly certain this is someone you want on your side, no matter what your plan is.
She appears socially ungraceful, yet also optimistic to converse with you despite the likelihood that you're a hardened criminal (inclining me to believe she is open to making, or even looking to make friends).
These two things would make her especially susceptible to manipulation, as well as persuasion.
That or she is acting strangely and blocking the door to cover for someone or something.

Either way, she's an easy mark.

Play any leverage you can find, and I guaranty you'll be able to sway her too your side.

But, you did say you didn't want to let yourself become amoral.

Basically just think of me as the voice of the "cold-hearted professional". I'll see you through whatever needs too be done, but you're hands will get dirty.
>>
No. 910665 ID: 977456

And there is no reason that you can't do that and also be an honest ally to her. A reputation of betrayal is a long-term problem afterall. It isn't as though there is any point in hiding that you are being guarded around her, and offering her assistance will increase the likelihood of her reciprocating. An ethically-honest friendship is compatible with your self-interest.
>>
No. 910829 ID: bd52c5

>>910665
Yes, you're right.

This is what I mean. The thought of an honest relationship didn't even cross my mind, despite the fact that, by far, that would be best.
This has been another reminder of how much of a cold-hearted bastard I can be. I'll have to work on that.

I redact my previous suggestion, and second befriending the walking muscle mountain.
>>
No. 912382 ID: 97210d

>>910829
Seconding this, the biggest ones always give the best hugs.
>>
No. 916236 ID: bfb318
File 154665152480.png - (22.30KB , 1000x800 , 1008.png )
916236

"May I get through?"
>"Ohyessorry!"

I walk in. There's only one light active in here, and I think it's because the other lights in the room are burned out. I set my goggles to lighten the display appropriately.

If this neumono is as bad at social interaction as I've been, then there is a decent chance she is self conscious about her size, of which I'm curious about. I can get around this by asking what she was doing at medical, but this risks her asking me what I'm doing here. But I can get around that, perhaps by asking...

"Are you here as a bodyguard?"
>"Oh, no..."
"Oh?"
>"Um, oh, I'm just here for a physical, since I had a growth spurt lately." I don't need empathy to see she's making an understatement. "I think I'm okay! Than - er, sorry, you didn't ask."

I very obviously did ask, though I didn't exactly get the answer I was looking for. I'll approach this from another angle.

"Are you a bodyguard?"
>"N-no, why?"
"You have the physique of one."
>"What's that mean?"
"You look strong."
>"Oh, thanks! I take drugs."

There it is.

"What's your name? I'm Penn Hoff."

She starts to make an 'R' sound, then chokes on it. This is a sensitive question.

"Nevermind. It's not important if you don't want to."

There's a mix of emotions. She may want to say her name, but can't for some reason.
>>
No. 916237 ID: bfb318
File 154665153331.png - (19.39KB , 800x800 , 1009.png )
916237

A neumono walks into the room. He stares at me, blankly. It's an awkward silence, but I think the awkwardness is between him and the large one.

"... yes?" He asks me.
>"My name is Dr. Penn Hoff. I'd like to have my eyes scanned, and study various biological parts of myself."
"Who sent you?"
>"Vanski."
>>
No. 916238 ID: bfb318
File 154665154003.png - (32.99KB , 800x800 , 1010.png )
916238

He leads me to a room, and walks to a computer.

For a second, I see the large neumono's data still on the screen. I read some key facts.

Her name is Rokoa D-1.7, AKA 'Ramella'. Her list of drugs and medications looks more like a directory than something any single person would use. One of them is an immune suppressant.

I also notice lower that her residency is just a few doors down from mine.

The neumono closes it. Then he opens up another file. He gestures for me to look at it, and I don't think he cares much whether I do it or not.
>>
No. 916239 ID: bfb318
File 154665154858.png - (14.46KB , 900x600 , 1011.png )
916239

Despite all this time, my racist head still has to manually put the words 'neumono scientist' together. I put that aside, and the fact that he must have known Likol.

The data form on the computer looks like it's a different sheet than the one for the neumono.

That doesn't matter much. I see all of my data. Name, previous names, schooling, friends... there's more tabs. They have my family tree. There's people here I didn't even know about. On another page is... they have my zeny bank information? Why, and why do they put it on a doctor's form?

More tabs, and though they don't slap their emblem on it, it's pretty obviously information supplied by the Silhouette Empire. Profile pictures of me throughout my life, growing up. Damn, I even think that one was on my birthday.

Then, pictures microscopic closeups of fur, blood, sweat, horn dust, skin, saliva, and so on. Scans of how I walk and move, using video bug technology they put in... places where I had as few clothes as possible to get in the way.

Then I look at my own eye. The shot was taken... several years ago. I think I remember it. I thought it was just a big flying bug that stopped it front of me for a second. But it had a full retinal scanner inside.

If I knew they were doing this.... then they'd have pictures of my puke piles, while they were at it.

>"This is what we have on you already." The neumono states. "If you still want equipment to study yourself, I can pull some out."
>>
No. 916242 ID: b1b4f3

>>916239
Ask why your bank info is on this form.

Anyway, yeah they have information here but it's quite possible some of it is fabricated or altered. Do your own tests.
>>
No. 916243 ID: 86eb65

Get a copy of this if you can.

As for our own doctor stuff. A high res scan of your eyes maybe. A simple retinal scan would not tell you much without a proper optometrist scan.

Why do we need this stuff again? Do we really want to get more info about our genetics right now?


As for the "Rokoa" that name is familiar. Some snow hiver that worked with Polo to take down Vanski the first time right? This is not her. Some experiment based on her maybe?
>>
No. 916244 ID: 094652

>>916239
What's disgusting about this is that they worship your body yet see your mind as a disease or a distraction. Invasive data collection like this is what you'd expect from a paranoid mad scientist organization, so if you're feeling that invasion of privacy you can just look at the easily accessible video logs that Vanski records of himself [insert inappropriate stuff here] in his personal quarters just to make sure he's not targeted for assassination. In organizations like this, clothing is merely armor, and if plating was transparent Vanski would build the whole inner facility out of it.

But there's no tabs on your purchases, no closeups of the emotional reactions to the movies you've seen, no extensive analysis on any crucial personal events they recorded that could register a shift in your personality. No psyche profile whatsoever. They're obsessed with the body of their reincarnation and they see you as a detriment to the emperor finding his way in. The doctor's form for your finances just hammers that home.

Screw the Alliance over. It's obvious they won't acknowledge there's a person in your body until you pretend to be their god.
>>
No. 916245 ID: c7f906

Add 'nuke that data' to your todo list before you leave this place.
>>
No. 916246 ID: 0c3c2c

>>916239
Say you'll need to use the scanners anyway. Also ask who puts bank info on a doctor's form, that's just begging for security breaches.
>>
No. 916247 ID: a9af05

>>916238
>Ramella lives a few doors down from Penn
It might be interesting to visit her and get to know her a little better.

>>916242
>Do your own tests.
Good idea.
>>
No. 916251 ID: afdebc

>On another page is... they have my zeny bank information? Why, and why do they put it on a doctor's form?
Financial status sometimes correlates to medical information? More likely because this is just a portion of a larger dossier on you. This is the medical portion of it, but SE obviously is interested in everything.

>>916239
Let this be a warning to you. That's the kind of survielance that's possible in public. It's going to be worse here in a mad science base. You have to assume you're being watched, listened to, and recorded at all times. Makes it hard to speak openly.

>>"This is what we have on you already." The neumono states. "If you still want equipment to study yourself, I can pull some out."
You might learn something, but its a safe bet whatever you learn here, SE is gonna know in short order.
>>
No. 916255 ID: 91ee5f

>>916238
>Her name is Rokoa D-1.7, AKA 'Ramella'. Her list of drugs and medications looks more like a directory than something any single person would use. One of them is an immune suppressant.
So she’s been experimented on. Do you think you can sneak a look at more of those reports to get more details on what they did to her?

>I also notice lower that her residency is just a few doors down from mine.
I think you should go visit her sometime. Both of you are so awkward, you’d probably be good awkward friends together. And to be honest, I think both of you need a friend.

>>916239
>"This is what we have on you already." The neumono states. "If you still want equipment to study yourself, I can pull some out."
Yeah, it might be best to do your own tests.
>>
No. 916264 ID: 2202fb

Try to probe this guy to find out if you can strongarm him into telling you about that big neumono. Maybe we can sabotage the effort if it is something we want to sabotage. We can probably get immune boosters easily enough.
>>
No. 916275 ID: daffb0

There are surely more tests that can be done beyond these. The most obvious would be athletic tests, since you've been avoiding doing that sort of thing your whole life in case someone found out you can do unusual things. If they've been studying this neumono woman's growth spurt, they probably have equipment for studying things like muscle strain, joint stresses, flexibility, heart rate at rest and during exertion, and so on. Simple video cameras aren't going to be able to have measured everything together properly, especially tiny hidden ones. You're not a medical doctor, so you'll want to ask one to give you suggestions. Maybe a zoologist more than a doctor? You'll also want a full body scan to see if you have any unusual internal structures. Like, when was the last time you had a simple x-ray? Anyway, point is, though it looks like a lot of information, there's a lot to be found out and examined properly, including a good deal of stuff that can only be done properly with your cooperation. I don't think these people would know proper methodology if it asked them to tell it how it felt to sit down before and after it bit them in the ass.

More important might be mental tests, which they seem to have mostly ignored. You've studied psychology so you might be able to handle that sort of thing yourself. Imagine yourself as an AI and think how you would test your capabilities. You might want assistance with that, too. Remember, Penn, everyone knows who you are or has immediate access to it, here, so hiding anything that's already in that file you saw (did it look like he had to go through any security to do that? Didn't seem so) will only be to small and temporary advantages, and only with people who didn't have any pre-existing interest in you.

That said, you don't really want to give everything out for free. You can't do anything about the information on this computer, but when you're doing more tests, you could try see if the results of those can be made secure. Have a look where the information gets automatically loaded and find out if you can adjust that. Vanski won't complain so long as he has access to it, it's the silhouettes you want to keep it from. See if you can change how the machines are hooked up so it only uploads the info to your goggles, or to a file you can encrypt and then give Vanski the key to. If you had time to wait, you could possibly cook up a simple guardian AI for it?
>>
No. 916307 ID: 1e3468

This guy doesn't seem like he's going to be very helpful beyond getting you the equipment, the big girl however seems quite eager to answer your questions for someone walking around a secret underground crime base, perhaps if she's still nearby you could get some information out of her while you're reading through your own dossier? Telling her that you think you're staying close to her residence and pretending to be lost/asking her to guide you there when you're done here could get her to stick around.
As there seems to be some awkwardness between them, perhaps the big Neumono's continued presence might get the guy to leave which may give you some opportunities to use this computer as you please.

Maybe ask him to get the equipment before you try and get rid of him, just in case you decide to use it.
>>
No. 916405 ID: 15a025

>"This is what we have on you already."

I feel like we can assume any tests we do here are going to be added on to this.

Play it safe and just ask for a copy of this for now.
>>
No. 916415 ID: 39e3f1

Ask him who he is and what he does. If he is a medical man, as seems wise, ask him what he feels is missing from the information presented. You might get another peek at your new big friend's information by checking an example of what info is available on someone who's actively tested.

Things that can't be reliably known through illicit observation would include:
- How sharp your senses are, and what range they have - these would require your feedback.
- Your aptitude at specific, systematic mental and physical tests - things you would know are a test when you do them. These would produce far more thorough, reliable and useful information than any passive observation.
- Any test that would require large or bulky equipment or would otherwise have been noticed, e.g. CT scans, x-rays, etc.
- Any test measuring response to extreme or unusual circumstances, e.g. resistance to disease, resistance to radiation, severe injury, extreme starvation or thirst, pregnancy, blood loss, hormones, drugs and so on. You probably don't want to do any of these yourself, but fresh blood/tissue samples, allowing observation of living cells, might provide answers for some of them.
- Any test that would require you to do something abnormal - stretch as far as you can, try to lift objects too heavy for you, sit and do nothing/meditate for long periods, etc.
- Any questions regarding experiences inaccessibly to anyone but you, e.g. can you consciously think about multiple things at the same time, do you have lucid dreams more often than a normal person, can you stop yourself thinking of a pink rhinoceros, that sort of thing.
- Any action, or reaction or interaction with certain things, that you would have specifically avoided before. Do you react to (or provoke a reaction from) ancient imperial technology, do you have control over normally autonomic processes in your body, etc.

Try to think back to your grandmother and the things she did with you. If I remember your memory right, she told you that she had discovered your eyes were one of the least remarkable things about you - that was what she was covering up. So there should be something that she covered up, and which would be there to discover. Unless you're some sort of gradual/limited shapeshifter and your intense desire for a normal life activated some sort of self-disguise, but then your eyes would have changed. Unless your belief that they couldn't change caused... well, keep an open mind, I guess is the point. Start by checking the things that people would obviously try to change first with genetic engineering.

As for the information already there, take a look at the info on your eyes. I'm curious as to how your pupil can look so bright, almost glowing, without interfering with your vision. That's quite a trick, and seemingly to nothing but cosmetic purpose. Can you see in the dark? You might be able to and not know it if you've never sat in severe darkness for a long enough period for it to become active. Alternately, can you see well in, or recover more easily from exposure to, very bright light?
>>
No. 916827 ID: 58c855

Ask him about Likol.
>>
No. 916833 ID: daffb0

>>916827
I think before asking him about Likol Penn could be polite and ask for his name, and if he's fine to help her out, and other niceties.

>>916239
>Despite all this time, my racist head still has to manually put the words 'neumono scientist' together.

Just think about all the other people in this place who call themselves "scientists", and save your contempt for someone who's earned it.
>>
No. 922433 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155063480590.png - (83.79KB , 800x800 , 1012.png )
922433

"I'd like to."

I probably don't need to, but I should see if I can learn a thing or two myself.

"Who puts bank info on a doctor's form?"
>"Your guess is as good as mine."
"Also, what's your name?"
>"Is my name not available on your goggles?"
"I assume it is, but that's too impersonal for me. I'd like to be introduced, not shown."
>"Is there a reason to have it be personal?"
"I liked Likol. I'd like to hear about him later."
>"... I'm Ciphik. Biomechanics, mostly. I'm busy now, but one of us can tell you about Likol, if you ask the right person at the right time."
"Thank you. Do you mind helping me?"
>"No."
"Is the equipment here secure? That is, will they be added to this document?"
>"Not unless you want it to be."
"I don't want it to."
>"I have to keep logs of equipment usage, but what exactly was recorded can be discarded." I don't think he's lying.

He nods and brings out some equipment, and stays within earshot to help me operate much of it. I'm trying to figure out what else might be unique about me. The only obvious thing is my pair of eyes, but grandma told me that they aren't remarkable at all, just cosmetic. Even though they glow, they don't seem to change my vision much, except there's a bigger blindspot in the center. If I shut one eye, it's pretty bad, but it's not noticeable at all with both open. I've seen ancient imperial tech in a museum and once in a class - I wonder if the SE set that up. There was no reaction from it or me, aside from my own fear that there would be a reaction.

Now I test the threshold of my senses, stretch and lift weights, and other things that I didn't see covered in my documents. The documents, which I notice, are purely physical data. There's nothing about my psyche, so I take a few mental tests while I'm here. He notices that, and brings out a brain scanner.
>>
No. 922434 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155063481955.png - (13.37KB , 800x800 , 1013.png )
922434

>"There's a few oddities here." Ciphik explains. "But not by much. It's one belenosian brain. Normal looking, really, it just lights up in a few unusual spots in a few areas, but seeing an uncommon pattern in a brain isn't uncommon. Everyone's special, after all. I'll pass it to a hivemate. She's interested in this sort of thing."
"Thank you." Grandma already did brain scans, but she never told me much about any results.
>"Don't thank us yet. This isn't a priority, and we're so busy."

He says 'so busy' with an edge of desperation.

Ciphik sounds friendlier than he did earlier, but I'm sure I'm overstaying my welcome. I save the data to my goggles and do my best to make sure it's wiped from the machines.

>"Come back whenever."
"Thank you, Ciphik."
>"I said... nevermind. You're welcome."
>>
No. 922436 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155063484995.png - (89.27KB , 1200x800 , 1014.png )
922436

I leave.

As I turn the corner, I see an old man in a wheelchair, down the hall from where I came from. It's the same man I saw when I first walked through this base, and the only person I've seen with no available data on them.

>"Hello." His voice is deep, and sounds like he has to put a lot of effort into it. "I would like to speak with you about Raush and Arza. Please come with me."

My first question is why he's come down into the neumono laboratory to speak.
>>
No. 922438 ID: 86eb65

Because he was looking for you and knew you were here. Also he probably wants to talk alone without the entourage we saw him with earlier.

This guy is probably important and we should politely chat with him and find out what his deal is.
>>
No. 922440 ID: b1b4f3

>>922436
Alright, curiosity leads us onwards. Time to find out who this is.
>>
No. 922441 ID: c1212a

>>922436
>My first question is why he's come down into the neumono laboratory to speak.
Go ahead and ask.
>>
No. 922444 ID: afdebc

>My first question is why he's come down into the neumono laboratory to speak.
Because the wise old sage coming down to wait for an audience with the neophyte queen is a classic power play. It at once shows you a measure of deference and respect by him, while making it hard for you to just brush it off. Social-fu. (It worked for Chejop Kejak with the Scarlet Empresses).

You should probably go with him. You'll have to face ASE eventually, you might as well hear their pitch.
>>
No. 922446 ID: 2735ca

He's being reasonably polite, so you shouldn't be rude. However, blithely walking off with him is probably unwise, both in the obvious ways and also in terms of setting social boundaries and precedents.

Say "Let me check that I'm not needed", which should be reasonable, and use messaging (which I assume must be available) to ask Arza about this. The messages are probably logged and available to everyone with the authority, so you can't be open with them, but if you send something like "Arza an elderly belenosian men in a wheelchair is asking to speak with me about you and Raush, do you want me for anything soon?" then probably Arza will know who that is (or gather just from him being a belenosian that he's probably SE, at least) as well as being well up on your situation and feelings, and he will probably give you an excuse to leave. Hopefully. If he doesn't then it's possible he thinks you actually should talk to him.

If Arza doesn't reply at all, you can say you're not getting a reply and that you need to go check on him because of that. If this guy starts insisting you don't need to talk to Arza or applying some similar pressure then that will give you an opening to make it clear that you are Arza's assistant and any requests for your time or presence are to go past him.

Also it would be entirely reasonable for you to just say "I don't know you, sir, and I'm sure you understand the recent murder makes me wary of blithely following strangers". That would involve outright admitting you don't know who he is, though, so don't pull that one out unless you need to.

If you want to be extra polite and "friendly" you could offer to speak to him a little on your way to your work. Maybe offer to go a longer way around if he seems like he has something you really want/need to hear? Could offer to push him, too, if that's a thing you still do with wheelchairs.
>>
No. 922447 ID: 2202fb

Remember that we need to keep befriending and possibly hijacking Ramella on our priorities as well.

--

Seems like chatting with this guy is fairly railroaded for now (which is fine). Stay evasive and dont give any info to anyone unless it absolutely wont have repercussions. Dont be too defensive though. Additionally, be as firm as you can.

--

Could you describe your blind spot some more? Is it as if your muzzle is longer than it should be or like your eyes arent where they actually are?


Also, you are really flexible.
>>
No. 922450 ID: 2735ca

By the way, just something for you to make note of and remember: them having no psych info on you is a bad sign. If they were at all interested in recruiting you or getting you to do any work for them, they should have been paying attention to your personality and mental capabilities. It's possible they do have that information and it just wasn't in that system because it's only for physical stuff, but... you already saw a ton of non-medical stuff. If you could see they have your bank details and educational history and so on, but there was no sign of evaluations like how you react to authority or how well you work with others? Then they're thinking of you as a body, not a person.

Or someone is messing with you. I wouldn't rule out the idea that someone around here wants to make sure there's a wedge between you and the SE. Manipulating what you see to shape your attitude. Keep it in mind.
>>
No. 922458 ID: 977456

It's... probably crazy but... have you ever made a serious attempt to read or transmit telepathically? Telekinesis? Predict the future? Sense an object's past? Cite imperial authority to a C.A.I.? Will your wounds to heal faster? Command the disembodied voices that order you around to punch Vanski's face...
>>
No. 922472 ID: e8a82c

Because he came here for you specifically.


Play along, but get ready to bolt in a heart beat if he's not alone.
>>
No. 922486 ID: 0c3c2c

>>922436
Talk to him, it might help. Also, let's be honest, it's a welcome distraction.
>>
No. 922487 ID: 679a6d

Do keep in mind that the goggles listed him as an affiliate for Silhouette Empire. Caution is advised.
>>
No. 922514 ID: 977456

Can you manually add him to the goggles to keep track of them? If not, can you add the chair?
>>
No. 922605 ID: caf1de

ha ha we're not going anywhere with you
>>
No. 922607 ID: 91ee5f

>>922436
Isn’t that a guy that’s a part of that cult that worships you? Yeah, it might not be best to go somewhere with him.

Then again, you’ve gotta confront these guys eventually, so maybe you can just speak to him here in the hallway instead of in the elevator with him.
>>
No. 922608 ID: 10c408

>>922514
We don't know where that data is stored, exactly. It's probably an ASE creation, which is why his specific information blurb is a freaking blank box.
>>
No. 922609 ID: 91ee5f

>>922607
Upon closer inspection, I realize that he’s not in an elevator, so just ignore what I just said.
>>
No. 922610 ID: 977456

Mind the sudden yet inevitable ambush from the side-corridors.
>>
No. 922616 ID: 10c408

>>922607
They don't worship Penn. They have a fundamental belief about how things should be for the belnosian race and unfortunately for Penn that belief essentially means she is their holy freaking grail of data/progress that needs to be contained, studied and validated without any outside influence by any party who objects to their plans.

particularly Penn herself.
>>
No. 922625 ID: a6dc58

For the moment it might be good to hear what he has to say. After all, the fact that he's important enough to be not be on identified on the network means he likely is, or has influence over, one of those politicians that Raush mentioned were trying to get direct access to the CAI. It could be good to listen to him...though following him somewhere could be dangerous. Perhaps politely see what he will say from a distance first.
>>
No. 922918 ID: 5fc3a0
File 155097208423.png - (15.45KB , 800x800 , 1015.png )
922918

I don't want to blindly go with him on command. I'd like to make an excuse, like make sure Arza doesn't need me, but I didn't see a phone around here, and Arza broke my cell phone after we buried neumono.

He notices my hesitation.

>"I have questions about why Arza spent all day away from the laboratory when he's claimed that was his sole purpose here, or the things Raush spoke to you about."
"You came down this far into the base just to ask me investigative questions?" I have some hunches why he did, but I'd like to hear his own response.
>"Are you nervous?"
"Should I be?"
>"You are are an upstanding young lady speaking to a man of the faction who has attempted to kidnap you in the past, located in a research laboratory full of criminals. Not just that, but you came here by traversing empty, dimly lit halls, all alone. You should be more than nervous. What were you thinking? Why did you come here by yourself?"
>>
No. 922922 ID: 86eb65

Would having a convoy of guards with me honestly help much? Meeting in a well lit place with lots of security cameras? Somehow I don't think so.

I came here to help Arza. And maybe learn more about myself. Could be the worst choice I ever made but its the one I went with.

I am new to all this and would very much listen to any advice you have about the situation.
>>
No. 922923 ID: 10c408

...yeah, he's trying to spook you and fish for information. The ASE wouldn't dare be so bold as to detain you this soon after your chat with Vanski.

If he's not in-between you and the way you came from to get to the labs, it's time to start walking away.

"I have my reasons that do not involve the ASE. Now piss off."
>>
No. 922927 ID: afdebc

>>922918
"Interesting, you're confrontational. I expected the soft sell. You had the opportunity to try and sell your faction as sympathetic after one of your own was killed in proximity to me."

>>"I have questions about why Arza spent all day away from the laboratory when he's claimed that was his sole purpose here, or the things Raush spoke to you about."
Then you should ask Arza.

>What were you thinking? Why did you come here by yourself?
"If you're having difficulty predicting or understanding my behavior, I see little reason to improve your psychological profile of me and up the odds of your next kidnapping attempt."
>>
No. 922928 ID: 91ee5f

>>922918
>You are are an upstanding young lady speaking to a man of the faction who has attempted to kidnap you in the past
>attempted to kidnap you in the past
You’ve seen all of the data they have on you. They have the capability to kidnap you anytime they want. If they wanted to kidnap you, they would’ve already kidnapped you.
>>
No. 922929 ID: 3cc68c

If you want to know about Arza's business you can ask him yourself.

I will talk about Raush if you ask nicely though.

As for what I am thinking?

Well after what happened to Raush I could ask you the same question. A old man in a wheelchair traversing the dimly lit halls alone? In a base full of horrible criminals no less. By any account you should be nervous as can be.

So I am not nervous for probably the same reasons you are not. (lets hoping his reason is he does not know any better)

(also we need to get a bodyguard. Ask for the big white neumono lady to be assigned to guard you)
>>
No. 922930 ID: 2735ca

"If I should be nervous about all those things, then I should probably be nervous about answering questions, shouldn't I?"

But if you want to be polite and/or give an impression of honesty (which might be useful), tell him there aren't any safety measures you can take, anyway. What are you going to do, ask some trustworthy person to loan you their trustworthy guards? Hide away and not go anywhere at all? Where could you even hide, here? So there's nothing you can do, and if there's nothing you can do what point is there in being nervous?

There's a danger that if you don't answer him on what you're doing down here then he'll bother the neumono for that information, which you don't want. So tell him you were very interested to see what information they had on you in your file. Putting a slight edge of accusation/displeasure into your tone could deflect him a bit, and leave him with the impression you just came to see what they had on you.

>I didn't see a phone around here, and Arza broke my cell phone
... I guess this is the consequence of insisting your goggles and all the other bits of technology on your person be wired and not wireless. Though, wait, how did your goggles get loaded with the information to display names above people's heads, then?

I mean, they must have some sort of wireless network down here, right? What kind of laboratory complex doesn't have wifi? You need on-demand access to databases for like, research stuff. I mean you shouldn't be allowed to have phones down here, that makes sense because of the whole secret criminal base thing, but they'd need an internal system for themselves. And if they had wi-fi they would have some sort of in-base messaging system. Right? It would be ridiculous if they didn't, how would they expect to get work done at any modern speed? Write it on paper and stick it in vacuum tubes? This is a place of (criminal) business, here. People need to, like, send reports. Do accounting and stuff. I mean, maybe they don't? You could take advantage of that.

Anyway Penn you need to get yourself a device for access to the network here. I was kinda working off the assumption you had something of the sort the whole time.
>>
No. 922931 ID: 5fc3a0
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922931

"I have no more reason to be nervous than a lone old man wandering the halls in a wheelchair, after what happened to Raush. I doubt a convoy of guards, a well lit hall, and a camera would help me anyway."
>"Then I suggest you not wander far. You are valuable to ASE, and as a result, you are valuable to anyone who wants to have something that ASE wants. That is everyone here. You cannot trust anyone, and you are out of your element."
"My element doesn't matter. I'm here to help Arza. If you want to know his motives, ask him yourself. I'm not going to help you improve your psychological profile of me, especifically not if you're already having difficulty predicting or understanding my behavior."

He stares me down.

>"Let me made a prediction of your behavior, then. You don't want to be here. You never did. Arza tricked or coerced you into coming with him. Am I correct, Doctor?"
"Think what you want. I'm surprised you didn't take the opportunity to sell your faction as sympathetic, after one of your own was killed so closely to me."
>"Sympathy? We have attempted to kidnap you. We have spied on you relentlessly. You are a somewhat naive college girl underneath your cold facade, but not so naive that you would have been won over by an ASE member being killed."
"If you don't have a point to trying in trying to scare me, I'm leaving."

I say that, but he's still sitting in front of the door I took on my way in. Leaving involves walking by him or finding another way out. Either way, I should ask Arza about a wireless network around here, unless they're so paranoid about the CAI's capabilities that this place is completely wired. Even my goggle data was put in with a data plugin by Arza.

>"My point? You are trapped here. You've come here without any advantage over us, while we have every advantage over you. You have your own reputation to uphold, family back on Belenos, and friends even closer, such as Roxie. All of which we can hold over you. One way or the other, you will cooperate with us. I am obviously not a benevolent man, but while I could have you kidnapped at any time, I would still like to see you cooperate willingly. If you understand, then come with me. There is something I would like to have you look at."
>>
No. 922932 ID: b1b4f3

>>922931
This is a good chance to see some of the inner workings of ASE. Keep your enemies closer...
Also tell him you want to start talking to the CAI directly if there's something he wants from you. There has to be some give and take if you're going to work with... the director of ASE, I assume?
>>
No. 922938 ID: 9125e0

I say fuck him, but we might just have to fallow him. You should go back and ask Ciphik if he has a phone? Then try to call Azra for the ok. If not possible Fallow him but make sure you have a weapon of some sort, Mind the shadows and vents. This is also a good time to learn more about ASE and OPA, But remember that questions kill.
>>
No. 922941 ID: afdebc

>Leaving involves walking by him or finding another way out.
It would be pretty poor design from both a safety and security standpoint if there were only one way in or out of this block. Not really worth it to spite him, though.

>Either way, I should ask Arza about a wireless network around here, unless they're so paranoid about the CAI's capabilities that this place is completely wired.
That has its own risks, since any wireless device you're accessing can be hacked.

>>"My point? You are trapped here. You've come here without any advantage over us, while we have every advantage over you.
[sarcasm]"Yes, which is why leaving the army I brought along for protection behind when I went to walk the dark halls was so foolish."[/sarcasm]

>There is something I would like to have you look at.
"Show me what you've got to show me."
>>
No. 922943 ID: 86eb65

And we both know why you never really tried hard to kidnap me before. Because deep down you don't want me to hate you and you are to scared to push that hard.

Having me join you willingly is your dream I bet.

So here is your chance to convince me. Lets hear your pitch on the way to whatever this is you want me to look at. I have spent my whole life looking over my shoulder at you idiots. Would be nice to finally find out exactly what you want.
>>
No. 922945 ID: 2735ca

"My reputation was ruined the moment I was brought here. If this base was found and I got out right now, even this barest interaction with criminal scientists would be enough for belenosians afraid of what I am to push for me to be under house arrest the rest of my life. My family I'm sure are under watch, just in case their genes do the same trick again, and with your wonderfully detailed files on me you should understand already that my family and I couldn't care less about each other by this point, in case my leaving to an entirely different planet didn't tell you as much. As for my "friends", I have school acquaintances I barely knew outside study groups and one roommate who was effectively my maid. She was probably fast enough to call in my abduction that she's under watch as well. In other words, just because I don't credit your organization with enough intelligence to realize it on its own: my reputation, family and "friends" are not worth what you'd have to spend and risk to use them."

"Since I've clarified that, let me clarify further: yes, since you seem to want me to acknowledge it, I am afraid of you and your people. It is the same kind of fear I'd have for a toddler with a loaded gun. What I feel more of is contempt. As a scientist, I am open to revising my assumptions, but so far my impression of you is a group of people trying to rebuild a demonstrably failed system that existed on the scale of a mere star system when we live in a galaxy. A group of people who call themselves scientists but wear black coats because they care less about the practical reasons for wearing white than they do looking impressive and intimidating."

"The fact of the matter is, sir, that I have such a low opinion of your group's competence at this point that, even with all your intimidations, I would be more afraid for myself and the things I care about if I did work with you. After all, Raush was with you, wasn't he? We've seen how that ended for him. Prove me wrong on that, first, and then perhaps you can try scaring me again."

"For now, if you have something you want me to look at, you can make a request for my time with my boss. Or you can try bribing me. You'll have to account for the price of the insurances I'd need, though."
>>
No. 922947 ID: b970b2

I think we should go with them, if only to learn more about ASE. However we're in a bit of a awkward spot at the moment, by showing resistance they think they need to bring up what points of leverage they can use against us. So going with them just indicates that those might be effective against us.

>>922941
This actually works pretty well, it establishes that we're not afraid of them, while going with them.

>>922945
Too wordy. Keep it simple, by addressing each of their points in turn they can infer that we care enough about each of them to try and make them think they're not important to us. And trying to intimidate them when they know we have no leverage over them in return seems ill-advised, it's basically daring them to test the levers they have.
>>
No. 922950 ID: de6d84

>>922941
Short and simple, I like this.
>>
No. 922951 ID: 465a14

as much fun as imagining speeches where you totally own people is they don't fit here so I'll go with >>922941
>>
No. 922952 ID: 15a025

I'd say go with him, but make sure to watch your surroundings and keep a mental map of things on your way.
>>
No. 922953 ID: 2735ca

>>922947
It is a bit wordy, I admit, but it's a sentiment I still think Penn should go for.

Just something along the lines of "dude you couldn't keep one of your most valuable guys alive, I have an extremely low opinion of you for that and many more reasons and unless you prove otherwise I'd be more scared being on your side than I am of your threats" would be nice.
>>
No. 922954 ID: 10c408

Noope. Don't go with him. do not. Just. No.

Bluff your ass off, Penn.

"No. If you insist on being between me and that door, Vanski's eventually going to start asking questions about why I'm late to report back to him."

Give him a few seconds to gauge his reaction.

Whether or not he caves on this, we're gonna get some information on how much clout the ASE has with Vanski.
>>
No. 922955 ID: bad12e

>>922931

Man, his diplomacy desperately needs work. Creating ultimatums and threats before even presenting a lure? It's far easier to just inform us that there is something he wishes for us to see; appeal to our very naivety and curiosity he goes on so much about ...

That said, ask him what it is. Then we'll decide if it's interesting enough for a naive college girl to wish to see.
>>
No. 922956 ID: 2735ca

Like, if Penn does represent some sort of ideal to them, the idea that she looks down on them would really hurt. These guys are basically the belenosian equivalent of neo-nazis, they're hungry for pride, they want to be cool and scary, they want to be big boys, they have insecurities. If Penn can trick them into trying to impress her, that could spin into a big advantage. And, while obviously Penn doesn't want to try "reform" them, if she makes some attempt to redirect their ideology she could at least plant the seed of a splinter faction in their organization. Cause some civil war. These kinds of people are always ready to start infighting, and the more effort they spend on each other the less they'll have to mess with her or resist the authorities.
>>
No. 922958 ID: 470289

Go see it.
>>
No. 922963 ID: 91ee5f

>>922931
>There is something I would like to have you look at.
“Is it an old man on the floor next to a tipped over wheelchair?”

Please don’t actually say this, it was meant as a joke!

But seriously, Penn, you’ve got to find someone in this place that you can trust to be your bodyguard so that you don’t have to always be looking over your shoulder every time you walk down the hallways!

>>922956
>try to turn them against each other
I would love to see these guys tear themselves apart if we can get that to happen.
>>
No. 922966 ID: 0c3c2c

>>922931
Hmmm. Idea: Have the Neumono move him out of the way.
>>
No. 922976 ID: 91ee5f

>>922966
What Neumono? Penn and the old guy are the only ones here.
>>
No. 922990 ID: 2007b6

>You are valuable to ASE, and as a result, you are valuable to anyone who wants to have something that ASE wants.
All these threats are a distraction from the hard fact that you've still got sole control over something the ASE seems to want more than anything: your own personal attention. Tell him if he's got something so important to show you, he should schedule an appointment and/or mail you all the relevant documentation like a normal sane scientist, instead of trying to corner you in an alley like a cheap thug. Then, walk away.
>>
No. 923035 ID: 2202fb

>>922931
Rain-check.

You are kind of vulnerable as you are now. When you do go, you should wear a needle-proof layer under your clothing along with a respirator.
>>
No. 923080 ID: fd2d31

Any surveillance or nearby potential witnesses?
If no, then why not kill the old goat?
worst case, it would send a message that you don't Fuck with Penn without getting hurt.
>>
No. 923093 ID: 2870a3

sorry >>923080
but are you serious?
please be a joke because that is the worst idea to exist
for so many reasons no do not do that
the worst case situation is so much worse than penn getting "street cred"
>>
No. 923112 ID: 2202fb

>>923093
Aww, but that good street cred

But seriously, this is a very bad idea.

--

We shouldn't walk past this guy cuz he could easily inject or spray us with something.

Could we see if we could chat with the big neumono for now?
>>
No. 923137 ID: 39e3f1

Instead of actually kill him, we metaphorically kill him. Like "hey bro I know you guys probably look down on the soft sciences, lemme give you some psychology insight, threatening someone won't work if they think everything you threaten them with will happen anyway if they do what you say. You already told me there are people who'd want me just to spite/bribe you guys, no reason they couldn't try the same threats, and if you want to offer me protection then ok let me just ask Raush how good you are at that oh wait"
>>
No. 923159 ID: bcc41d

"It's true. You have many advantages. Behind the veneer, surely I am just a scared girl, out of her element, vulnerable - but these advantages are not that new. You have always had resources, and opportunities, and have stopped short earlier. So, the scared girls thinks, what has really changed?

Who do you think is being played here? Me, for coming? Or you, for your attempt at coercing me once you became aware I was here? I had reasons to join Arza. You have reasons to try to coerce me. Who's to say you're not being set up here? Isn't that why you are not, in fact, coercing me, merely implying that you have the means to? Or is it all out of courtesy to our host, who also has some interest in me and can monitor our conversations?"

Wield Vanski's interest in you as a weapon. They can't kidnap or harm you here - this is HIS place, and if they want to be welcome here they can't just out-and-out snatch one of the people he may end up relying on to get the CAI working again.

>>922931
Is that visor removable? Reach out and pluck it from his brow. Hold it at an angle that lets you have a quick look at what it's saying and what he's looking at right now (take pictures with your own visor). Then plonk it back on his noggin. Seek refuge in audacity.

"Forgive me. I was curious whether it was bionic or not - and, to be honest, whether you shared my eyes. I cannot be the only one you've found before."
>>
No. 923164 ID: d8f1e9

Go with him to see what he's got, minimal talk.
>>
No. 923167 ID: 363437

Speeches and ultimatums look like childish outbursts.

Ask him why you should go with him. The last thing he just said was to not trust him and that wandering these hallways with strangers was stupid.

Is he extending a offer of protection? What do you get out of going with him?
>>
No. 923194 ID: b970b2

>>923080
No. ASE are fond of cybernetics, there's nothing to suggest that this guy isn't augmented enough to defend himself if we attack. Remember, he's saying we're foolish for going on our own, but he feels safe enough to confront us on his own. Which might mean either he's competent enough to defend himself, or has guards and such hidden.

>>923137 >>923159
Can we not give them reasons to test the points of leverage they have on us? Belittling, disregarding them, or insulting them is just posturing they can see through. I don't us to wake up next morning and be given a box with Roxie's ear in or something as a warning to comply and follow their instructions.
>>
No. 923199 ID: bcc41d

If Penn is going to be pushed around, she should explore the limits of her capacity to push back and what all this means. Sure, we can find out what this dangerous fellow has in mind - although it's a risk trusting and following him - and we can soften and shorten the response with respect to the criminal organization he's a part of and the threats he's making, but I disagree - and Penn should disagree - with the idea that they have as much power over her as they imply they do.

If that was so, she'd already be in their hands and with far less choice. Old man goat here indicated as much - they're not that interested in playing nice and they know plenty about her already thanks to their surveillance efforts. Why then suggest they're still playing nice because they want her to help them 'willingly'?

There are surely reasons - practical and political - that they have not managed to effectively wield these threats against Penn before. Why would the nature of those threats change when she is herself all of a sudden closer to them? The people they are threatening are still where they always were. Rather, why didn't the nature of the threats change? You'd think, right now, that physical threats would be more pressing. If they're going for 'oh we'll get your future, your family and your dog/neumono, too' instead of 'do as we say or we'll break your knees', that is something to note. Perhaps it's just their psych evaluation figuring out what threat would work the best, but... their current level of coercion is nothing they couldn't have done at any time before.

Which, thankfully, must mean that breaking your knees is not high on their list of available options. At least not presently.

Penn should give them the impression that certain threats do not scare or impact her, precisely so that these threats become less useful to them and thus gets less used. It might be posturing, but it's no less effective than, apparently, what they're doing right now. Penn turning up here changed shit in regards to the threats they posed against her reputation, family and friends. They could've sent an anonymous message titled 'ASE' and this would have had about as much impact. In fact, they probably have one written and waiting, if not already in the mail.

>>923167
An ASE representative turning up being cryptic and threatening and for once being an adressable factor and not just this vague shadow hanging over her life is probably of no help when it comes to resisting making big speeches and ultimatums, I'd say... but I'll cede that the response should be kept civil and short.

Really want to have a peek at the insides of that visor, though.
>>
No. 923219 ID: 470289

Ask for something you want in return for doing what he wants willingly. He might be willing to get you something menial for him but important for you. No clue what that'd be though.
>>
No. 923289 ID: c0641d

Honestly, if we think we can get away with it, I'd waste this guy while we have the chance. Surely, there are corners of the base where there isn't enough hackable tech to justify a camera? "I suggest you follow me, first."
>>
No. 923292 ID: 2735ca

>>923289
He's almost certainly some sorta cyborg or something, though. He's in a wheelchair, but that in itself is super suspicious given that medical technology for belenosians especially is super advanced, like "just grow me some new legs and stick em on" advanced if I remember right. Maybe his legs don't work because of some experiment gone wrong or something, but that doesn't mean the rest of his body isn't full of stuff.

Actually, that makes me think of a new angle on his questions. He's down here alone, so maybe he has some reason to think he's fine on his own, like he has some hidden thing to let him take care of himself. Maybe he's wondering if Penn's behaviour means she has some hidden means of taking care of herself.
>>
No. 923819 ID: 574c72

"You talk about "we", but you're here alone. How do I even know you represent your whole organization? Someone like you should have an assistant anyway, and if you were intending to threaten me with the ASE's power, you should have someone at your shoulder as proof of your backing. It's not like you're going to act out those threats your own self, is it? You're also awfully willing to burn any chance of good will from me. Yes, you've tried to kidnap me, but your ultimate goals haven't been clear. There was still a chance of converting me over time. Going straight to threats seems short-sighted for a large group... but maybe not for an individual with their own plan."

"Tell you what: I'll ask the neumono where I could find one of your compatriots. We'll go visit them and see if they agree with you. Not too much of a diversion, right?... In fact, why don't I call out some of the neumono anyway?"

Best case scenario: There's someone he doesn't want to know he came down here, and with the neumono as witnesses who can't effectively lie, we could blackmail him and simultaneously get on their good side by splitting the benefit of that with them.
>>
No. 923827 ID: 10c408

>>923819
That's not going to work.

For one, the neumono here are highly unlikely to go along with trying to play the unauthorized access game.

and for two... You want to try and get this guy busted for unauthorized access by... fetching another ASE clown? We'd have better luck getting someone who actually works for Vanski that isn't an arkot.

And for three, he's still in-between us and our point of entrance that we'd need to go and fetch someone.
>>
No. 923853 ID: 7d9d06

I think we should listen to his magnificent beard.

I mean I think we should listen to him. He seems like a reasonable beard. I mean guy. I meant guy.
>>
No. 923868 ID: c1212a

I know there's already one person here who doesn't give a damn about any of that. Your power is more tenuous than you say.
>>
No. 924562 ID: 574c72

>>923827
The point of it is to maximize the chances of finding an ASE member who's not in on it with this guy, which he probably doesn't want, as opposed to asking him to call a backup and getting someone who's in his pocket. Besides that, though, the journey up towards a lab where such a person would be would bring Penn along areas where she could just run away relatively easily. We go up there "with" him, see?

Like... worst case scenario on what Penn is is that she's a ready-made brain transfer vessel for someone else to download themselves into, which is backed up a bit by the ASE having all her physical and potential-identity-theft-related information but not notes on her mentality/personality. Given that possibility, then, she should be very wary of an old wheelchair-bound ASE belenosian asking her to go off somewhere in an evil laboratory with him, right? And him dashing down here to do it the moment she's alone would suggest maybe the ASE doesn't agree among themselves who should get her, since they only have one of her and there are probably a lot of them who want a new body.

If we confirmed all this as being the case then it might be an idea to try set up and pull off a fake brain transfer where we kill someone and pretend they overwrote Penn, but that'd be kinda risky. They're not going to do that sort of thing without multiple people overseeing the operation. If this guy wanted to do it then he probably has some goons waiting somewhere to spring on Penn and strap her into the machine.

I mean there are other possibilities for what's going on here but a little paranoia in the evil crime science cave is probably wise.
>>
No. 924601 ID: 977456

>>924562
Ooooh yeah, that is my kind of paranoia. Penn, he is definitely planning to body-jack you. Clean your goggles and use the reflection to subtly check behind you. They have probably hacked the personnel tracking system the goggles use. Remember that horns, beards, and robes all make for great leverage in a fight, but that robes can conceal weapons.
>>
No. 924602 ID: a9af05

>>924562
>>924601
>Steal Penn's body and put someone else's mind in it.
You know, there is such a thing as being a little too paranoid, right?

And if that is what they planned, then what are they going to do with Penn, leave her as a brain in a jar?

It would honestly be much easier for them to attempt brainwashing instead of body stealing.
>>
No. 924618 ID: 977456

>>924602
They will want personal power. There is a huge difference between controlling the emperor and being the emperor.
As for difficulty? Modifying a brain directly requires insane amounts of data and ludicrously precise tools. Manipulating its own systems requires control, resources, knowledge, and most of all time, which complicates all the other needs, especially when dealing with a freak instance that apparently they lack mental data on. Brain-transplant requires surgery and some adapters. It also avoids many vectors for mental correction that imperial biology might possess.
Penn's brain will be dissected for study. People have an amazing capacity for focused self-worth. Replacing an uncooperative brain with your own enlightened genius is an easy step even if it is your god's brain.
>>
No. 924639 ID: 2735ca

>>924618
>>924602
Brain transplant? How unsophisticated! Remember, these guys have access to salvaged ancient imperial belenosian technology, and are the most likely people to know how to use it, given their obsession with it and lack of restrictions. The old imperials were AT LEAST able to transfer people's minds to robot bodies, and it's not a stretch to think they could download those minds back to bio brains again, too - at least into one that was specifically designed to accept that sort of thing. Like Penn's might have been.

Of course, if I was the sapphire emperor, and went to enough trouble to stick a mark of ownership right on my clone-vessel's eyeballs, I'd have taken steps to make sure anyone who wasn't me who tried to move into one of my vessels got a nasty surprise. Maybe something along the lines of "whoops, you didn't input the password, now your mind is the one that gets taken apart and its knowledge stolen", but it's too high a potential price to risk.
>>
No. 925426 ID: 58c855

Threatening Roxie and your family is crossing a line. Maintaining your reputation is not nearly as important as them. Show him exactly why it was a mistake for him to assume that you'd be easy to manipulate.
>>
No. 925980 ID: e95cec

>>922947
I kindof agree with this guy's points. In general, it seems like trying to verbally own this guy may just cause more harm of one variety or another.

If feasible, maybe see if you can call Arza from the lab. Dunno, really.
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