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910512 No. 910512 ID: 891b91

Chapter 0: >>/questarch/886861

Discussion: >>/questdis/123379
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Dead_Dust
Inventory: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Dead_Dust/Inventory

Yesterday was a blur. They ended up keeping you in the infirmary overnight, so they could monitor your health; between the frequent examinations and the steady trickle of well-wishers showing up to ask how you were doing, you didn't get much opportunity to make sense of your current situation, let alone ask any of the growing number of questions floating around in your head. Of all the things puzzling you about this place, the people themselves are the greatest mystery. They've been friendly and welcoming, sure; but sometimes it feels like they find you familiar in some way. They keep calling you Sigarzghar,, too, and you have no clue why.

But these confusions don't trouble you -- you find the others more worrying, such as why you were in a coma for three days, or why all your posessions are missing from your pockets. You wonder how long you'll be stuck in this place, but you don't have much in the way of leads to figure out where else to go -- there're Delaney and Quincy over on Gansett shelf, the tentacle twins on the Concourse, and... that's about it. You're not sure how you'd get to either of those places from here, so you certainly feel stuck. Right now, more than anything else, you need answers.

You suppose that's why you're waiting here. They discharged you from the infirmary shortly after you awoke this morning, and led you here, telling you that Cider has invited you to her quarters to discuss a few things. You get the impression she's in charge around here; surely she can help you make sense of why you're here and how you arrived, and perhaps what to do next. At the moment there's already a visitor in there with her, judging from the muffled sounds of conversation; you wager it's been 20 minutes already, and you hope it isn't going to take much longer.
76 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 918938 ID: 053cbb

I think the most important thing here is to remain collected. An emotional outburst would get you nowhere. Try to breath, organize your thoughts, and think about what you want to say.

I think you should ask what happens to you next; what kind of process exactly does she want to send you through? how long does it take? Can you leave at will?

Ask that last one very carefully, phrase it hypothetically. If pushed, state that you have friends you would wish to see on the outside, but don't name names whatever you do.
>>
No. 918964 ID: caf1de

i wanna know why we were in a coma

>>918889
>>918880
yeah what was with those fucking dogs
>>
No. 918986 ID: e51896

"I apologize if I sound frustrated, but I didn't much appreciate being put in a coma. couldn't a phone number, or a alarm or something sufficed without the knockout? Or at least a written warning of me being put in a coma after looking at the glyph? I felt a little bit lied to..."

>>918938
this. Lets just stay calm. No need for outbursts.
>>
No. 918988 ID: 10c408

>>918964
Drug mules from the looks of things. They were gonna get busted so they freaked out and started flushing the goods.
>>
No. 918989 ID: fd2d31

Goddamn, imagine carpetbombing enemy population with aerosolized raw Taffa and pamphlets with carefully crafted glyphs.
Ultimate non-lethal weapon.
>>
No. 919012 ID: a9af05

>>918847
If she can fix us so that we don't get brainwashed anymore, then I say that we should let her fix us!
>>
No. 919056 ID: ac10e5

No yelling. Stay calm. Even on the diminishingly rare chance that these people have it in for you, an outburst isn't going to do anything positive for your situation.
>>
No. 919064 ID: 158da5

>emotion is bad
It makes people empathize with you! If she's actually legit she'll care if we're upset. If an emotional outburst actually hurt things, this is a situation we definitely need to escape.
>>
No. 919115 ID: b1b4f3

>>919064
You can express anger without yelling.
>>
No. 919118 ID: 158da5

>>919115
And that could be interpreted as unfeeling, or intimidating. Is that what you want to do, or who you want Penny to be? I like an emotional, fiery Penny, personally.

[spoiler]I'll leave it there, any more definitely needs to go to the discussion thread.[/thread]
>>
No. 919205 ID: 30f4b7

Well, the fact that they seem pretty culty and they're obviously willing to employ mind control to drag people in against their will, rather than just seek them out and offer help raises so many red flags.

....ask to be let go. See if they'll either help you get on your feet, keep their hooks in you, refuse to let you go, or throw you out without help so you have no choice but to come to them.
>>
No. 919207 ID: 10c408

>>919205
The flyers are a method for seeking out and trying to help. Yes, it's mind control but so far this could be so much worse than waking up in someone else's personal clinic.
>>
No. 919288 ID: 2202fb

>>919207
That is what it looks like on the surface, but who knows what may be underneath that.
>>
No. 919289 ID: 10c408

>>919288
We're going to need time and information to figure that out one way or the other. Oh hey look, we've got both right now.
>>
No. 919295 ID: df5c09

Say you're glad that you got a genuine Vesper Society glyph page and not some malicious impostor page. You say this because just thinking about it a bit, you think it'd be easy for those with nefarious intent to make glyph page books that look just like the Vesper Society's except for a different glyph. You assume the Society has to have had such trouble before and those in it who distribute the books are always on the lookout for fakes.
>>
No. 919736 ID: 891b91
File 154910882376.gif - (186.54KB , 1024x1024 , 1-003-1.gif )
919736

I changed Cider's text color to grey to make it a bit more readable when using tgchan-BLICK's invert colors feature.

"Fine," you acquiesce, settling into the couch and folding your arms, "I don't remember anything before four or five days ago." Or much during the past three, thanks to you, you think to yourself, suppressing the urge to say it out loud. "But why put me in a coma for three days? Don't you find that worrying?"

"It is worrying, especially because we haven't figured out what caused it." Cider sighs -- you get the impression she was hoping you wouldn't ask. "It's never taken more than a couple of hours for newcomers to wake up, once we've deactivated the glyph's programming. Until you came here, that is. Our best guess is that there is something unusual about your dust's structure -- but as for what it is, or why it's there, we don't know. What's important, though, is that you're here now, safe with us."

"Okay, you say I'm safe, but what about those glyphs? Didn't you say you'd fix things so they wouldn't affect me?"

"Our capture-glyph patches the vulnerability automatically, actually. We think it should have been successful in your case, but we're a bit wary of testing it out to make sure. I think you should... be careful around glyphs for now, just in case."

"Well, that's reassuring. Are there any other mind control devices out there that I should know about? And how do you know there aren't people making fake copies of your glyphs, to get people like me?"

She either ignores or doesn't notice your sarcasm. "None that we know of. If they exist, we're as in the dark about it as you are. As for counterfeits, traffickers have tried it before, so we make the rounds pretty regularly to swap out our books. With the right equipment, we can test them and find out what they're programmed to do, so when we find fakes we pass them off to the authorities. It's not a perfect solution, but it does help make counterfeiting a bit more trouble than it's worth, for them."

"Great. So I guess I need to become a, uh, 'jarmu' to get out of here?"

"Penny, becoming a jarmu is about more than 'getting out of here.' It's about grounding yourself in a community and, within that context, coming to learn who you are, independent of the qabel who came before you. Will you then be able to leave Red Shelf of your own accord? Yes, not because we let you, but instead because you'll be truly capable of making that decision for yourself."

"I've already been 'discovering myself' and managing on the outside just fine, so far. The fact that I made my way from the ruins of the old city to the Concourse on my own demonstrates that I'm pretty capable, if you ask me. I've even made a few friends along the way, one of whom I was on my way to meet before your glyph threw a wrench in my plans. So I think I'm more than capable of handling life on the outside, and I'd like to leave."

"Penny... please, let's not make this difficult," she pleads, her placid demeanor breaking slightly to reveal an image of genuine concern. "At least give our way of life a chance, I promise it'll help you more than you think."

"Well, if I play along and do things your way, maybe you could take my experience into account and expedite things a bit, at least?"

"It isn't my choice to make, I'm afraid. Graduating a sigarzghar to jarmu is decided by a majority vote among all qatras, so the most I could do is put in a good word for you with the others. And I can't do that in good conscience until I'm convinced you're ready to thrive in the outside world."

You sigh -- your frustration is rising, but you're doing your best to remain calm. "Okay, then," you respond coolly at first, before tempering your demeanor, "what do I have to do to become a jarmu? More importantly, how long does it take?"

"As I said, becoming a jarmu is to become a part of our community, and through that come to understand who you are as a person. Family is an integral part of that, and to that end our community here is split up into seven dars, or houses, one of which you will join. As a member of a dar, you will take part in its collective responsibilities to the community -- and be compensated for your work, of course -- in order to learn a trade you can use to support yourself in the outside world. While our community is fairly tight-knit overall, your housemates will naturally be those you grow closest to, forging friendships that help complete you as a person." She takes a moment to finish her tea, setting the mug aside. "Eventually, based on your progress, the qatras leading your dar will recommend you for graduation to jarmu. The amount of time it takes to reach that point varies from person to person, but in most cases it takes between two and five years."
>>
No. 919737 ID: ad51b8

... OK THEN! These jobs, can you give some examples on what they are and how much do they pay. Is it at least minimum wage or are they more like internships where I should be happy to be getting anything at all. I'm not expecting a high paying job like a doctor or anything but I do want to know if I'm at least getting the same wage as an unskilled worker like a factory worker on an assembly line who could at least make enough to live off of or if I'm living off charity with a few bucks thrown my way here and there.

Also how much does room and board cost? Both for living in one of these dars and... I don't know a cheap apartment. I want an idea on what the poverty line is around here.
>>
No. 919741 ID: dd5242

Look I acknowledge that going back now is probably dumb without any actual skills but at least It’s real, it’s hard to take your “offer” as anything but a joke or a scam when I seemed to be doing well enough on my own.
You’re basically asking me to give up on the life I was partway through building myself so I can do it again but in a “safe” gated community where the big bad real world can’t hurt me. I know it wasn’t much of a life yet but i’d only just started.

But how about this... I’ll spend a day or so here to see what it’s like and decide afterwards whether or not I stay for real, sound good?
On an unrelated note, where are my things?
>>
No. 919742 ID: fd2d31

Sounds more and more like a petty but creepy cult.

Time to tell her that if she doesn't allow you to leave right here, right now, no strings attached, then it's nothing more than that.
>>
No. 919743 ID: 158da5

Five years? Definitely a cult. That's the kind of time frame that by the end of it, they're going to say "no no, you need another year, at least!" and never let you go.

But it's way easier to escape if they don't know you want to. Also maybe there's others who want to leave. So lie and say you'll give it a shot.
>>
No. 919745 ID: 10c408

...Yeah, this basically is a friendship cult. Everything that Cider here is offering comes with some very massive, sprawling strings attached. Five years is a hell of a long time to work with when your goal is to convince someone that yes they can leave but they should totally stay instead.

Lie and say you'll go along with it.
>>
No. 919747 ID: bddb0f

>>919736

Take a deep breath and re-calm down. At least it was an honest answer.

State matter-of-factly and without (much) rancor:

You, Penny Ainsley, being of sound mind and body feel just fine - surprisingly, perhaps, but you do - and not to belittle the work of the Vespers, but you do not want to stay on Red Shelf for years of 'pseudo-familial integration'. You want the independence to move around - and you want to talk with people you've already met. You had a line on a potential job and information on what may be a missing person from down in the Old City to pass on. In a pinch, you have holo addresses you could call or send messages to.

You get what the Vespers seem to be about, but you don't seem to require their services as they intend to give them. If they really want to help, then yeah, there's plenty they could do for you that you'd want and you'd even repay it with work or money, but if Cider wants you on board for a years-long process... she should sell you WAY harder on why this is to your benefit. Cigar tzar or zombie - you are apparently high-functioning enough to not act as a child (or worse). Your main stumbling block is your ignorance, and that, thankfully, has a fairly simple cure.

Now, what happened to your stuff?

And, in her breadth of experience with sufferers of Taffa Syndrome, do people tend to remember anything from their old lives?
>>
No. 919750 ID: c0641d

"I... get the feeling arguing with this is pointless. I still have some questions, though:"

Start counting on your fingers.

"1: Getting the potentially easy solution out of the way; are you legally allowed to hold me here against my will?

"2: What's your policy on contact with the outside? I want to let my friend know I'm okay at least, and if I can't finish the investigation I ended up inadvertently starting, I can at least turn in my evidence and testimony to someone who can. I'm pretty sure the victim's employer will be interested in picking up the lead.

"3: Can you tell me what each dars specializes in? I'm particularly interested in information services or investigative positions, as that's what I feel I'm best suited for.

"4: What's the fastest it's ever taken to graduate to Jarmu? I'm just curious about what the current record is right now."
>>
No. 919751 ID: 91ee5f

>>919736
>The amount of time it takes to reach that point varies from person to person, but in most cases it takes between two and five years.
This is the point where, if you’re drinking your tea, you spit it out is surprise! Also known as a spit take.
>>
No. 919752 ID: b1b4f3

>>919736
So this is like college, where you're not allowed to drop out.
Well, you have one advantage here. You might be able to recover more memories. Tell her you'd like to make investigating your unique condition your first priority, since you remembered something during your coma. Something related to one of the items you were carrying. Where are those, by the way?
Also yeah ask what kind of jobs you can train for. May as well get some training while you're here.
Lastly ask how you can use email. You don't know your own address.
>>
No. 919754 ID: 2202fb

Remember to inquire as to the possibility of your past-self being murdered. While self-inflicted amnesia may be the most common, it seems like it would be fairly easy to assassinate someone without a trace.
>>
No. 919763 ID: df1b0b

"Is there a sorting hat that picks my dar? Because if there is, I am NOT ending up in Hufflepuff." Say this in a comedic deadpan. (Is that too meta?)

Go for a noncommittal sarcastic response. Don't make it backhanded. I understand how frustrating all this is, but Cider is obviously entirely convinced of her own self righteousness. The harder you push, the less she'll listen. If you try and say 'this is unfair' she'll respond sympathetically, but in her mind she'll immediately write you off as a 'lost sheep' in need of guidance.

Agree to jump through her hoops, but continue to sound apprehensive, or she'll become suspicious.

We'll figure out how to escape later.
>>
No. 919782 ID: 2202fb

>>919763
emphasis on escape.

This seems to be a safe place for now for us to take control of our mental and cyber security.
>>
No. 919792 ID: 10c408

>>919782
As was just mentioned, the glyph should have patched the security hole in our head it used.

Given that our case is out of the norm, though... Well, it doesn't sound like Vesper has the facilities needed to investigate our coma instance further.
>>
No. 919795 ID: 15a025

>Two to five years
This is sounding more and more like a trap.

Seconding asking about if they can legally keep you here.
>>
No. 919810 ID: 2202fb

>>919792
We are not in control. We have been told they fixed it, but until we have access to our own interworkings to see what is there, we are not in control. We dont just want a pre-setup pc, we need to be a power user!
>>
No. 919815 ID: 10c408

>>919810
It's not a good idea to perform anything remotely resembling brain surgery, on yourself. We also can't trust Vesper with it, so long as we're under their friendly thumb. The best case is that we get out, re-establish ourselves elsewhere and then quietly start doctor/technician shopping.

Let's not outsource our desktop upgrades to this place, their couch smells like sex and they might be daft enough to fully enable cortana, mcafee and goodness knows what else when we asked them to install linux.
>>
No. 919824 ID: e51896

Lets not talk about what we saw during our coma, specifically that building we saw before waking up from the coma. If we plan an escape at some point, and they remember you talking about that building, they most likely will know that you will head that way at some point.
>>
No. 919839 ID: 2202fb

>>919815
I am saying we can learn to do it ourselves while we are relatively safe here and then escape once we are done.
>>
No. 919854 ID: bad12e

>>919736

Well, let's discuss options and scenarios:

All of this sounds a little too good to be true. We've only seen two, maybe three other people in our waking time here, yet she talks about the place as though it's huge and large enough to house a hundred people or more -- a commune, essentially.

Which is fine, and getting paid to do some basic duties and just live a while is probably better than we can get outside, BUT -- and this is the important part -- being stuck here in a place we know nothing about, and know next to nothing about ourselves, for an upwards of five years ...?

That's asking a lot of someone who may have just "survived" suicide.

On the other hand, we could leave, because Cider has given us every indication that, while severely reluctant, we are allowed to do so. But if we do so, there's no knowing if this glyph thing isn't going to turn us into a walking space-case again and we know nothing.

So in that cases, courses of action: we ask Cider about our stuff, where it went, and if there was anything on our person -- like a mysterious bottle with a faded label -- which might give us a sense of who we are or were.

From there? The success rate. How many wake up in a pit down on the surface with nothing but a bottle of some kind of medication and their "dust" or whatever it is sprayed all over the ground in front of them, and then manage to miraculously become this "jarmu" thing through what sounds a lot like a form of group therapy?
>>
No. 920132 ID: 834378

I'm all for staying here, as that's definitely the best option for us now, but we first need to take care of the unfinished business that we left behind. We need to get the dustbender back from Quincy (or at least tell her that she can keep it), we need to contact Delaney with the evidence, and inquire about their agent Moira.

So tell her that you'll agree to her wishes, under the condition that she lets you talk to a few people on the Gansett shelf first.
Altho, I suppose all of those could be done right here, through holo, while Delaney can simply send someone to fetch the evidence case.
>>
No. 920539 ID: cbcfcb

Agreed, we should stay for now but stay on guard and find ways to escape and learn what Vesper really is. Be patient and dont give away your plans. It's likely others may have similar plans as well...
>>
No. 920542 ID: 05ebc7

It might be worth taking advantage of anything they give you for the time being, although I'm worried about if they have any procedures to prevent runaways. They can't be so stupid as to not anticipate such attempts.
>>
No. 920543 ID: 05ebc7

Also, you're gonna have to play it ICE FUCKING COLD. In a manner of speaking. They probably expect you to start out that way and then slowly subvert you somehow. But above all, you cannot let them do that. Trying to 'fit in' also runs the risk of 'becoming the mask'. You don't know what you were, but you at least know what you are right this second- you create who you are every day you live. THAT'S what's important.
>>
No. 920552 ID: 2202fb

Found a thing that may be relevant:
http://vesper.org/
>>
No. 920560 ID: 10c408

>>920132
Sweet summer child...

if this really is a cult, we're never going to be allowed to do any of that. We'll likely be unable to even have a phone and any computers we're allowed access to will be loaded with a keylogger and other such things.
>>
No. 920561 ID: b1b4f3

>>920560
Why are you spoilering that? If they start restricting our freedom then we escape. Don't act like we can't say no once we say yes. The only time that's applicable is when contracts are involved.
>>
No. 920562 ID: 4294c6

Everyone freaking out about being trapped here are missing the fact that they took control of Penny's body to bring her here. If they wanted to do something sinister, then they wouldn't have ceded it back to her.
>>
No. 920564 ID: 0e2ebe

>>920562
That's not how cults work. Getting us here is all they really need to ensure, after that it's all emotional exploitation.
>>
No. 920579 ID: 891b91
File 154980116670.gif - (297.10KB , 1024x1024 , 1-004-1.gif )
920579

Your stomach drops at hearing that figure. "Two to five years?!" You're lucky that you haven't touched your tea, otherwise you probably would have sprayed it all over the place.

"Yes, Penny. I understand that may be a little shocking to you, but keep in mind that we are essentially helping you build your personality and identity up from practically nothing. It's lengthy and takes significant effort, but the end result is much better than the treatment offered elsewhere. We seek to help you create genuine memories, rather than the soulless, artifically-constructed ones they force on our kind in hospitals."

"So my choice is between being forced to live here for up to half a decade, or having phony memories forced on me? What if I don't want to go through with any of this? Are you even legally allowed to keep me here against my will?"

"We are legally obligated to keep you here, in effect. Or, rather, you are required by tripartite law to stay here with us or go to a hospital, due to your condition. If the police had found you before you used our glyph, you would have been taken to a hospital -- and one of us would have visited you there, to try to convince you to come here instead. I refuse to keep anyone here against their will, however, so if your heart is truly set on leaving, we can bring you to a hospital and leave you in their care. I apologize if that doesn't seem like much of a choice."

"Well, you're right about that -- it doesn't feel like much of a choice. But I guess I'd rather be stuck here for years than having some doctors mess around in my head, so... I guess I'll stay here and play along." It's a lie; you have zero intention of remaining here any longer than is necessary. While these people strike you as a bunch of cultists, you think you'll probably have better luck escaping from them than from a hospital. Maybe you can even find a few others who want out, too, and take them with you. "But before, um, my coma, I was trying to get to Gansett Shelf. I'd still like to go there, if possible."

"Wonderful!" Cider practically beams at the news, and there's no outward indication that she suspects your lie at all. "I know all too well how frightening this all is, but someday you're going to look back on this decision and realize it was one of the best you've ever made. Mark my words! As for visiting Gansett Shelf, I'm sure we can arrange for a chaperoned trip sometime soon. Now, shall we get started with getting you settled in, or was there anything else you wanted to know?"

"Well, I had a bunch of stuff on me before I used the glyph, but after I woke up yesterday it was all gone. Where is it?"

"Don't worry, all of your things are in your temporary quarters. Our standard procedure is to go through newcomers' possessions, just to make sure there isn't anything dangerous or illegal. While you had a couple questionable items, it was nothing that we could justify confiscating; the objects you've collected are part of the beginnings of forming your own identity, so we try to tamper with it as little as possible."

"Questionable?" You ask.

"Just a couple minor things. One was a medicine bottle, we think, although we weren't able to identify what it might have held. I assume it was just some junk you grabbed for one reason or another, but it did raise a couple eyebrows. There was also the evidence case -- there was some blood inside it, so we cleaned that out since it was a biological hazard. Out of curiosity, did you already have these things when you first woke up?"

"No, I found them in an abandoned shop." It's a partial lie, but you think it's probably for the best if she thinks you just happened across the vial. "So uh, is there a sorting hat that picks which dar I'm joining? Because if there is, I am NOT ending up in Hufflepuff." The look of confusion on Cider's face tells you the joke flew right over her head.

"Hufflepuff? Is that a reference to something, or..?"

"It is, it's a reference to --" you pause when you realize you aren't sure what you were referencing. "Um, I don't remember, actually."

Cider chuckles knowingly. "Ah, well, don't let that worry you. It's very common for a new sigarzghar to find small fragments of their qabel's memories left over here and there. They'll fade over time, like dreams."

"Oh," you reply, mulling it over for a moment. You suppose that explains the vision you had during your coma -- just a sliver of your past self's memory that wasn't wiped out completely. "Well, anyway, I meant to ask how you choose which dar I'll join."

She smiles. "The choice is made mutually between you and the dar's leadership. The qatras in each dar will decide whether their dar should invite you to join them; you'll be given a day or two to become acquainted with those that invited you, and then you'll announce your decision at your ismijiet -- your naming ceremony -- where you'll take on the name of your dar, becoming a fully-fledged member. I expect that tomorrow we'll have some invitations for you."

"Do the dars specialize in certain fields?"

"Yes, actually. Dar Ormi serves as the shelf's administration and local government; dar Nevian specializes in finance and commerce; dars Blin and Zahra handle maintenance of the shelf, with dar Blin focusing on engineering and dar Zahra focusing on construction; dar Grixti staffs our eateries and cafeterias; dar Balzan is home to our artists and entertainers; and dar Funtana -- my dar -- is our medical and spiritual center."
>>
No. 920580 ID: 891b91
File 154980118409.gif - (422.13KB , 1024x1024 , 1-004-2.gif )
920580

You start to ask about the kind of pay offered by the various dars, but you're interrupted by someone knocking suddenly.

"Come in!" Cider calls to the door, prompting it to slide open.

A very fluffy, maned creature steps into the room. "Cider, Polenta's waiting to see you downstairs--OMIGOSHISTHATTHENEWSIGARZGHARAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Her voice becomes an energetic shriek as she bounds over to you and scoops you up into a bear hug.

Cider doesn't miss a beat -- apparently this is very normal behavior for this person. "Wow, it's already eleven? How time flies!" She observes your helplessness for a moment before continuing. "Penny, this is Jarmu Rosalyn, one of my aides. I'm late for a meeting with Qatra Polenta, so I'm afraid I have no choice but to cut things short. I'm sorry for not giving you more of my time, please know that my door is always open -- well, figuratively speaking -- so feel free to stop by anytime you'd like to have a chat. Now, unless there is something on your mind that truly can't wait until later, Rosalyn will take things from here and help you with moving into your quarters and getting acquainted with life here."

"Your name is Penny? That's so cuuuuuuuuuuute ahahaha!" In her excitement, Rosalyn squeezes you a bit tighter than you'd prefer.
>>
No. 920584 ID: 10c408

Start shaking your head back and forth since your arms are pinned. Hopefully they'll get the hint and at least relax their hold on you.

Any who... Whether or not Cider bought our lie, ask if Rosalyn here is going to give us a tour (without further bear hugs) and answer questions.
>>
No. 920585 ID: ad51b8

DOWN GIRL DOWN!
>>
No. 920586 ID: fd2d31

>>920579
>"We are legally obligated to keep you here, in effect. Or, rather, you are required by tripartite law to stay here with us or go to a hospital, due to your condition. If the police had found you before you used our glyph, you would have been taken to a hospital -- and one of us would have visited you there, to try to convince you to come here instead. I refuse to keep anyone here against their will, however, so if your heart is truly set on leaving, we can bring you to a hospital and leave you in their care. I apologize if that doesn't seem like much of a choice."

"So you're gonna play-pretend with a "us versus them" scenario that you're the better choice despite being 2 to 5 years worth of ball-and-chain? what about conveniently leaving a window open or doors unlocked so that I can leave without all the hassle from either choices? or doesn't that fit with your "benevolent ruler" image you like to cultivate?"
>>
No. 920587 ID: 10c408

>>920586
ffs don't actually call them out on their bullshit. We trying to be sneaky about getting out from under their thumb.
>>
No. 920588 ID: 158da5

>>920580
Tell her to be gentle! Geez, gotta wonder (out loud) how helpful someone this excitable could be.
No extra questions right now, for Cider.

>>920586
Are you serious? We just lied about wanting to stay here, it would be a terrible idea to ask how we could leave illegally.
>>
No. 920593 ID: bcc41d

Ponder the unsettling fact that you could easily fit your head inside Rosalyn's toothy maw. Offer a pained "Ex-squeeze me." to hint to her that she should perhaps stop breaking your back as if readying to stuff you into her mouth like a broken pretzel.

Say that it's nice to meet her - your full name's Penny Ainsley - once she lets go, and offer a more normal handshake. If she's an aide to Cider, you'll want to stay on her good side to get gossip and information from her - not that I think this will be hard, the way she's acting. (Must've embraced her new identity perhaps a little too enthusiastically.)

You'll want to learn more about the Dars and what they do, but my immediate impression is that Funtana - Cinder's spiritual/medical one - and Blin/Zahra - engineering/construction - could be good ones to join. The former because we appear to have a few vague memories intact that seem to indicate scientific, biological/dust knowledge, so training medical know-how might be in our bailiwick and could trigger additional memories. If any skill-memories survived, that'd be a useful way to shortcut some of the training-for-life they seem to think you require.

The latter, Blin/Zahra, because if they're surveying and constructing things, they'll have hovercars or whatnot. If we really want to make a break for it off this shelf one day, having access to those could be handy.

Request that Cider think about two things, no need to answer right away:

1 - Is it possible to form new Dars, to start a focus on new skills and industries? This will indicate a go-getting attitude that may lull Cider even more into a false sense of security regarding your acceptance to stay here.

2 - Are there temp jobs for the Dars that you can help out with, given the community festival that's apparently taking place soon? That way you can get to help out and experience multiple Dars' ways of doing things before you decide (and you get to scout out what they actually do and which might grant you the best means to escape, if you so wish).
>>
No. 920594 ID: 91ee5f

>>920579
>dar Grixti staffs our eateries and cafeterias
Hey, Penny, since you seemed to be envious of Cider‘s body, maybe going into the food business would help you get the same curves that she has?

>dar Funtana -- my dar -- is our medical and spiritual center.
Then again, you could also get into the medical studies to get access to body mods, if you want to get some curves that way.

>>920580
>In her excitement, Rosalyn squeezes you a bit tighter than you'd prefer.
“I.....can’t.....breathe!”
>>
No. 920601 ID: 094652

"Stop playing Rubik's cube with my skeleton!"

Also, they don't know Terra A.D. 2000 pop culture. That's not weird. What is weird is that you do. Keep using references and see if they can jog your memory.
>>
No. 920606 ID: bad12e

>>920580

Teeth. Teeth. TEETH.
>>
No. 920608 ID: ae9056

Ask if anybody else got admitted to Vesper within the last few days.

Don't tell them this but I remember when we first woke up, there were a few other unconscious just like we were. And then later we saw some authority figures come down presumably to the place where you woke up to. Perhaps they bring those unconscious people here to
>>
No. 920615 ID: cbcfcb

I'd aim for Balzan primarily, with Blin as a backup, also be sure to ask if it's possible to modify... assets?
>>
No. 920616 ID: 158da5

If this doesn't end in self acceptance we will have failed Penny.
>>
No. 920617 ID: 86eb65

Motorboat the excited lady.
>>
No. 920618 ID: 05ebc7

Dar Ormi actually might not be a bad one; with this you'll be plugged into all the know regarding the local politics, useful information to have...and manipulate, if possible.

dar Nevian would be similar, but you'd have to really work that silver tongue- you could make powerful allies by slipping someone a few extra bucks in their paycheck here and there later on (or maybe skim a few cents off the top for you), or maybe doing some 'creative accounting' to make sure projects that would benefit you happen. dar Blin would be excellent if you wanted to figure out escape paths and general lay of the land, and dar Zahra for if you want to know structural weakpoints and get your hands on potentially high quality tools for digging.

With your own emergent skillset, you might be more brainy than brawny, though, and while dar Funtana might seem like a good fit for that, you'd be under the direct and most CERTAINLY watchful eye of the boss lady herself (even if she'll be pretending she's not to look nice), so I'd not recommend that one.

On the whole, I'd recommend dar Ormi, if only because I think it fits with her analytic style of thought.
>>
No. 920621 ID: 5bdd53

Dars Blin and Funtana both seem good because they use more brains than brawn, but offer more practical skills than the other brainy dars. Preferably Funtana over Blin so we can learn more about Dead Dust, because it seems like there's something seriously messed up about people having "dust" in them that can "die" and it doesn't sound natural at all. Funtana and Blin seem like our best bet for going back to that old, dead city we found ourselves in before we came here, and I think there are mysteries there we have a destiny to investigate.

Hug the excited lady back, cause if we're gonna be stuck in this cult for a while we better start making friends.
>>
No. 920622 ID: 05ebc7

>>920621
As stated, I don't like the idea of getting into dar Funtana simply because we'd be under the perview of High Leader Cider herself, and we'd probably get away with far less 'questionable' things (that would allow us to better prep for escape) than we would if we were a degree or two separated.
>>
No. 920623 ID: b1b4f3

>>920580
Ask to be let down please.
>>
No. 920624 ID: 080aaf

Just buy yourself some space in the hug with your hands. Also try averting your eyes. This isn't such a bad place to stay, all things considered!
>>
No. 920643 ID: a9af05

>>920594
All of this.
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No. 920667 ID: 834378

Well, hug her back I suppose. Also, motorboat, but without motor.

"Hello soft lady~"

Seems she likes to meet new people? Ask her if she always gets this excited.

As far as choosing a dar goes, as Cider said, let's wait to see which invitations we get and get more info on the dar's.
>>
No. 920673 ID: c0641d

I think Ormi might be the best fit for our mindset. They'd be the closest to security and information services, after all.
>>
No. 920675 ID: 864e49

I still think we should mention that there were three others that got taken away, as well as those two foxes.



And also maybe ask what their policy on fraternization is?
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No. 920681 ID: 2202fb

Ask about martial arts. While they definitely aren't a militaristic organization, martial arts is more than just fighting. They probably have something to some degree.
>>
No. 920777 ID: 7f0aac

>>920580

Once all the TEETH aren't so close to your everything, we should ask Cider which house she feels we are most likely to enter — essentially a thinly veiled way of asking what she thinks our personality is or will be.
>>
No. 920850 ID: 4c908d

Cheep like a small mammal in distress. Like a hamster or a rabbit.
>>
No. 920856 ID: bad12e

>>920850

Perhaps like a ... cutebold?
>>
No. 922053 ID: 891b91
File 155049047486.gif - (273.79KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-1.gif )
922053

>Ponder the unsettling fact that you could easily fit your head inside Rosalyn's toothy maw.
>Teeth. Teeth. TEETH.
You quickly regret thinking about this, and silently hope that you haven't stumbled across a den of cannibals.

Wriggling your body, you attempt to buy yourself a little more breathing room, but Rosalyn's strength is too much for you. "I....can't.....breathe!" You gasp out, hoping she'll ease up on you, but apparently she can't hear you over her own shrieking!

>Motorboat the excited lady.
>motorboat, but without motor.
You get a crazy idea -- frankly you're a little embarrassed by it, but drastic times call for drastic measures. If you can't get through to Rosalyn with your voice, maybe you can communicate through her chest! You jam your face into the mounds before you; while her breasts are fully concealed beneath her top, the soft, stretchy fabric quickly gives purchase as your snout plunges into the pillowy depths. They're remarkably soft, and as you begin violently shaking your head left and right -- made more difficult by the heftiness of her chest -- you can't help but think that in a different context you might actually enjoy this.

Your lips graze past a nipple poking through the fabric, thick and stiffened from the sudden attention, eliciting a loud squeal from Rosalyn.
>>
No. 922054 ID: 891b91
File 155049048774.gif - (474.58KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-2.gif )
922054

She bursts out laughing and loosens her grip on you, nearly dropping you in the process as she hastily sets you down. "Whoa, nelly!" She cackles, idly massaging her breast. "That's the friendliest welcome I've had in months!"

Cider chuckles. "Roz, I'm pretty sure that was Penny's way of telling you it was time to put her down."

"Damn, I might have to hold you upside-down next time!" She notices your immediate look of concern. "Kidding, kidding!"

"Um, how about we start over? It's... nice to meet you, Rosalyn." You raise your arm up, offering your hand to her. "Not to mention, um, interesting. I'm Penny Ainsley."

Roz grasps your hand and gives it a firm shake. "Rosalyn ta' Balzan, but just call me Roz." She flashes a toothy grin whose exact meaning eludes you. "Seems like we're doin' things a little out of order here, but eh -- when in Rome!"

When in Rome? It sounds familiar, and you know what the expression means, but... Rome? What is that, exactly? You feel like you should know, but you're drawing a complete blank. You decide to dismiss the thought for now, but it still prods you a little from the back of your mind.
>>
No. 922055 ID: 891b91
File 155049050058.gif - (344.23KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-3.gif )
922055

"Well, Penny, it was very nice meeting you," Cider interjects, "but I really need to get changed for that meeting. Rosalyn will take things from here and help you get settled in."

Roz nods in agreement. "C'mon, let's go scope out your room."

With that, you follow her out into the hall. "So, do you always get that excited, Roz?"

She grins sheepishly. "Yeaahh... kinda. People say I overdo it, but I really, really can't help it. I just love it when we get newcomers!"

"Oh, speaking of," you add, "Has there been anyone else new here in the past few days? Or am I the only one?"

"Funny you should mention that! A new girl joined us a couple days ago, and you two'll be rooming together 'til your ismijiet. Her name's Mint, and she's a real sweetie!" Roz frowns a little. "The past couple days've been tough for her, though. She's been getting some killer nightmares, they've really done a number on her mood. So, y'know, be extra nice to her, okay?"

"Okay, I'll try." The two of you start heading down a flight of stairs. "So uh, that's it? No one else?"

"Nah. Before you and Mint, the last time we had newcomers was maybe a few weeks ago. Why do you ask?"

"Well, when I woke up a few days ago, I was in a room with a few other people. They all had the red powder on them, like me, but they were still unconscious. I saw them being led onto a ship later on, so I thought maybe they'd ended up here."

"Did you see a metal spine kinda thing on their backs and running up their head?"

"I saw guy putting something like that on one of them, yeah."

"Ooh, ouch. I hate to break it to ya, but those people? They were hollow. Like... the lights are on but no one's home."

"You mean they're braindead?"

"Nah, not braindead. They just took such a big overdose of taffa that it wiped 'em out completely." She continues speaking as the two of you start heading down a hallway several floors down. "The spine thing controls the hollow body, makes it easier to move 'em around. I hate to say it, but by now some guy's prolly fixing 'em up for the black market."
>>
No. 922056 ID: 891b91
File 155049051455.gif - (320.90KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-4.gif )
922056

Roz finally stops at a fairly nondescript door. "Anyway, here we are, room 136!" She chirps as she swings the door open.

The room is relatively small, with a bunk bed pushed up against one wall and a closet, standing mirror, and a couple chests of drawers bordering the opposite wall. Ample light streams in through a bay window, which spans the width of the room. A thin, lanky girl sits on its cushioned seat with her back to you, gazing outside.
>>
No. 922057 ID: 891b91
File 155049052586.gif - (266.93KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-5.gif )
922057

"Mint, sweetie," Rosalyn calls out cautiously, "We have a new friend for you -- this is Penny, she's a sigarzghar too... you two are gonna be roommates for a little bit, okay?"

"...Okay," Mint finally responds in a tiny, forlorn voice. She doesn't so much as turn her head to acknowledge you.

"Is there anything I can get you? Something that'll help you feel better?"

".....No thanks, I'm fine." She punctuates it with a small, despondent sigh.

"Okay sweetie, well, you just let us know if you need anything at all, okay? We wanna help you."

"I know, thank you..."
>>
No. 922058 ID: 891b91
File 155049053783.gif - (376.98KB , 1024x1024 , 1-005-6.gif )
922058

"Alright!" Rosalyn starts again, her previous enthusiasm fully returned. "How about we get you out of this ratty old thing --" she tugs at your jumpsuit for effect "-- and put together a wardrobe for you, hmm?"
>>
No. 922059 ID: ad51b8

no that's... wait, how long have we been wearing this thing? Yeah, maybe some fresh clothes will be nice. hell while you're at it ask if they have a shower or a bath around her that you can use. I mean sure we're planning on ditching these guys when we can but doesn't mean you can't take advantage of the free room and board they're offering.
>>
No. 922060 ID: bcc41d

>Motorboat save
This becoming a thing made me chuckle.

>When in Rome
Ask Roz about the saying. Does she know what it means?

... and if she doesn't, what does it mean that you both kind of knew it? That you were once part of the same culture or group who used similar idioms?

>>922058
Sure, you wouldn't mind a second set of clothes, but you'd like to keep the jumpsuit. It's got deep pockets and if you pick one of the worker dars, you may as well save some money on getting work clothes.

Say, that's a thought. Does receiving the clothes, food, room and board put you in some kind of immediate or long-term debt? Obviously you're not receiving everything for free... are you? How is that kind of stuff tracked here?

(When you remove the jumpsuit, check the innards for a tag or logo for signs of manufacture or even sharpie-written name initials - the clothes you were wearing when your old self overdosed are a clue in and of themselves of who they used to be.)
>>
No. 922061 ID: 91ee5f

>>922058
Can we also get some food? Being asleep for a few days without eating means we’re most likely starving right now!
>>
No. 922063 ID: 834378

>wardrobe
Sure. How do we go about picking our wardrobe? I hope they have some options because my mind is empty. Except for some sort of standard crop top with thicc boardshorts.
>>
No. 922064 ID: e51896

>>922060
>Say, that's a thought. Does receiving the clothes, food, room and board put you in some kind of immediate or long-term debt? Obviously you're not receiving everything for free... are you? How is that kind of stuff tracked here?
If I remember correctly from the previous thread, isn't Vesper non-profit? I think we're fine as far as money goes.

Scary, human (or rather people) trafficking on those hollow people. That could of been us if things got worse. I hope those people weren't someone we knew in our past life. If so, we might have to save them maybe.

anyway, Mint has been having nightmares? we had a dream while we were unconscious that felt very real. Perhaps ask if sigarzghars tend to have weird dreams often. (Don't mention what you saw in your own dream. keep it a secret)

also, I'd leave Mint alone until she feels better. Let her approach you when she is ready.

Lastly, the clothing, we'll get new clothes, but ask if we can keep the jumpsuit for later... (unless she literally tears the jumpsuit off your body, as she seems very forceful... oops, try not to think about how lewd that is)
>>
No. 922067 ID: 124d9b

If we are changing clothes, we should look for clothing with lots of pockets on the top and bottom, for inventory space. Just planning ahead.
>>
No. 922069 ID: f1a100

Rome is or was a city-state in Italy. At one point it was an empire that encompassedthe entirety of the mediterranean. By the way, what planet are we on?
>>
No. 922070 ID: 05ebc7

>>922058
Wardrobe good, would like to keep the jumpsuit, though. The pockets are hella useful.

As for what kinda wardrobe? I think we're more cool with stuff that's comfortable, yet practical. Pockets are a must on all things, and it needs to cover us well enough. Maybe something light, yet with darker colors for casual wear (and fashionable contrast).

>>922060
Agreed, but don't put it so harshly. Just ask 'do I owe anything for all of this?'
>>
No. 922071 ID: 05ebc7

>>922067
>>922064

I'm thinking she'd look good in cargo pants? Shirt is variable. I dunno about a jacket or anything like that, though.
>>
No. 922074 ID: b1b4f3

>>922058
Ask her what her belt's for.
>>
No. 922078 ID: fd2d31

>>922071
So what? camo colored cargo pants, tanktop and pilot jacket?
>>
No. 922082 ID: 094652

>Rome
Oh good, you're not the only one with dead knowledge from a planet your qabel could never have experienced under normal circumstances. Ask if they have any theories about these phrases - maybe it's just cosmic alien dust that siggies are susceptible to when they reincarnate.

>New wardrobe
"Does it come with a bra, or is that also an alien concept to you? No, no, I like your prominent independence from support."

>Mint
"Roz, did you hug the joy out of this fluffy little pastry?"
>>
No. 922100 ID: 2202fb

>>922058
Wow, she is not ashamed of her body.

Get something utilitarian
>>
No. 922102 ID: 2202fb

>>922078
how about sports bra and cargo vest
>>
No. 922105 ID: fd2d31

>>922102
>sports bra and cargo vest
So next you're gonna say army boots and a punk haircut along with the cargo pants, just to complete the 90's punk hacker look?
Punk hacker Penny.
>>
No. 922106 ID: fd2d31

>>922105
Shit, i forgot the fingerless gloves and color tinted sunglasses, can't go without them.
>>
No. 922108 ID: 2202fb

>>922105
need that good pp
>>
No. 922109 ID: 05ebc7

>>922078
Sounds nice, actually!

>>922082
Also let's not talk about that out loud.
>>
No. 922110 ID: bad12e

>>922058

Let's keep the jumpsuit but make it look a bit less like our GRANDMA's jumpsuit.

Cool onsie-thing with more of trunks (just above the knee?) and shorter sleeves because we aren't afraid of showing off our TOTALLY SOFT AND SNUGGLEABLE BODY.

And maybe a neat top as well, like those cool jackets worn open, like you see on cool characters.

... oh, AND UNDERGARMENTS, PLEASE GIVE US SOME UNDIES ALREADY, TOOTH LADY.
>>
No. 922134 ID: fd2d31

>>922110
Since you're obsessed with showing off the soft floof, then it'd make more sense to trim clothing down to something like a two-piece sports swimsuit, strapon thigh pockets for carrying things and maybe a optional jacket if the inherent floof isn't insulating enough against the elements.
>>
No. 922136 ID: 2202fb

>>922134
might as well just go naked.
>>
No. 922181 ID: 158da5

Clothes would be great. Underclothes especially.

Also could she quickly give the definitions for the more unique words when she says them? Just to get us used to them.
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