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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.
570 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 944000 ID: cb6404

>>943975

Okay, hold the fluff up. "Rare body?" What is THAT supposed to mean?

Because as far as we know, we were always like this, from the moment we woke up covered in dust in some dingy basement somewhere wearing a jumpsuit out in the dead city.

So if she can tell us what any of that might be, who or what we are, THAT would be something to consider.

I know, I know, we've previously resolved to keep quiet, but I kind of feel like right now is a good time for Penny to be upset with Millie's ... everything. Especially calling attention to something we've already said we're uncomfortable with. So why not? Let's lash out a little. Be the diminutive firebrand nobody expected (and maybe win some more respect from Roz).
>>
No. 944002 ID: 1fd9ec

>>943975
Thinking about it, maybe we can turn this on its head. She clearly wants to be seen as someone of importance, and someone who's superior or has knowledge.

We want that knowledge, of course, but that doesn't mean we have to come straight out from a position of weakness. We want to control the conversation, not react to it. If we ask her to tell us, we put ourselves under her position as well because she could do something like ask a favor from us for giving us valuable information. What we need to do is make her WANT to tell us outright; make her figure that the ACT of telling is the reward, as opposed to anything given post-so.

My suggestion? Play the situation completely straight, like she's a subordinate just getting too pushy. We know she's trying to bait us, so just nod and be like 'Thank you. Wait over there, I'll be finished after a bit and then you can tell me what's going on.'

Otherwise, no sell it. Make sense? Means we approach her at a time and position WE give, and she has to abide it, else she runs foul of social contracts that make her out as a negative. If she decides to be petty and say nothing else after this, we can shrug and be like 'well, alright. Guess it's not that important, then?'
>>
No. 944003 ID: 91ee5f

>>943975
>rare body
“Hey! Don’t draw attention to my flat chest! I’m really sensitive about that!”
>>
No. 944007 ID: be926c

>>943975
"Straight to negging? You should have waited instead of spoiling my first impression of your entire Dar."
>>
No. 944008 ID: 015bf2

Consider what this means. If a gossip is interested in us because of our 'snow-white fur' and 'rare body', it may be because our past self used to be someone famous or notorious in the right circles. We already know we may have worked for a detective agency. We know changing your body is possible, with the right tools. Were we this person, or did we change ourselves to look like one for some reason?

I'd honestly like it if we pursued this without burning bridges despite Millie being all Millish. Knowing or not, Millie IS giving us hints at things we want to know and figure out - things that Roz wants to keep from us for philosophical reasons, or 'our own good' - and making an enemy of Millie just because of what she's doing (being condescending, manipulative and nosy) may be contrary to our own goals of getting out of here and investigating how our past self ended up how it did.

She's also the first person we've met who seems to be more giving lip service to the creed of the Vespers, indicating that there are members or factions that hold other things more important than the Vesper tenets. Roz and Cider at least gives the appearance of holding them in esteem.

Millie is dar Ormu - in administration, a place where allies would be useful - and is on the path to becoming a Quatra - in other words someone who has chosen to stay with the Vespers after they were 're-educated'. We've also experienced that she has the manners of a manipulative gossip with airs - although we have no idea of her skills as of yet. This gives us a somewhat bad impression of her, and by extension, her dar. Still, there is a possibility that we might - more or less guiltlessly - trick her into being a source of information and freedom for us, even have her as a tits-for-tats contact if we can stand or deal with her attitude.

I think at first she spoke to you to appeal to you - recruit and bring you into her dar's sphere of influence while you were still a blank slate - and annoy Roz, but when you spoke back and tried to shut the conversation down she seemed surprised. Either she's unused to people talking back at her - i.e. she's in a privileged position and has gotten arrogant, or new recruits tend to be less assertive (the statistics from our sample of one agrees). Then she made comment that something about you is unusual, to bait out a response.

So.

Don't ask directly about your body (we want to know, but Roz clearly wouldn't approve and might try to shut down the conversation), but give her a weary look (Don't think sexy thoughts!) before chuckling softly, as if you just thought of something. Pretend as if she's been on the money.

"Haha, on that note, you should've seen how Matteo reacted when we met. Practically jumped out of his skin!"

Pause, as if mulling something over, and try to sound as if you're attempting being pleasant despite your weariness.

"You know... it feels like my body, but it also sort of doesn't, too. Isn't that curious? Anyway, I'm sorry for being short with you Millie, I'm a little overwhelmed and the way I arrived did me no favors. I just need this bath badly, I think. So please, let's talk another time. Before Rosalyn tries to eat you - and not in the good way!" (God dammit brain, not to the gossip while in the nude!)

A response like that may serve to soothe Millie's ego and set us up for later conversations. Namedropping an actual Quatra's name may encourage her to spill something else before we leave for the pools.
>>
No. 944013 ID: 1fd9ec

>>944008
I'm backing this because it's basically what I said but in more detail and more eloquently. Thank you.
>>
No. 944014 ID: b1b4f3

>>943975
We can ask Roz what she means. Right now I think her intentions are clear- she wants you for your body.
>>
No. 944028 ID: 18f1c5

>>943997
>Millie clearly didn't give two shits about Penny's request
She said "Fine". She literally just agreed to Penny's request.

>>944008
I agree that the best course of action is to try to make friends, not enemies. First impressions hardly matter.
>>
No. 944040 ID: 10c408

>>944028
"you are one of those rare individuals who come to us already talented and capable, I'm certain of it!"

"Please stop"

"I suppose I can't blame you -- after all, you have been through a lot, haven't you? I can only imagine the trouble you must have run into before you arrived at our doorstep, especially with such a... rare body."
>>
No. 944047 ID: 15a025

Tell her the only thing rare about your body is going to be seeing it if she doesn't chill.

Then Ask Roz what she's talking about.
>>
No. 944050 ID: 015bf2

>>944040
There is no question Millie is being rude, intrusive and is attempting to inelegantly influence Penny.

The question is whether Penny uses the blabbermouth's attitude to figure out more, now or later, or whether we shut her down to show we don't tolerate her behaviour. In our current position there is little obvious benefit to the latter, other than Roz - and others' - possible approval, but I think there's a reason why Roz herself isn't shutting down Millie harder than she is. Millie may have some level of support - or something about the Vesper organization - that is allowing her to get away with this sort of behaviour. Or she may just be a very pitiful, insecure individual who gets on everyone's nerves, but is put up with because everyone's supposed to be given a fair shot at a new life. We know so little, after all.

We can still shut Millie down at any point in the future if she becomes too much. In the meantime we can also look into the mechanics of doing so, for example through "Who do I threaten to talk to if someone like Millie becomes too pushy again?"
>>
No. 944070 ID: 86794b

In general, I agree with trying to make friends rather than enemies, even if you don't really like the person - if nothing else, it tends to be more productive. She also seems like a source of information. If you can express cautions interest in hearing more once you're done showering etc., that might be the most productive. How EXACTLY to do that, I'm not sure.
>>
No. 944080 ID: 10c408

I'd like to rescind my earlier suggestion to shut the social door in millie's face by stalking off to a stall.

instead, we should start asking some pointed questions... To Roz instead since shower time is being interrupted. This will no doubt make Millie snap and say something she shouldn't and could possibly get in trouble for.

I suggest starting with asking if fawning/ogling over the sigarzhar's in an effort to recruit them is standard practice or frowned upon.
>>
No. 944134 ID: ce39da

I agree with asking Roz some questions, but have this prepared if Millie continues to be pushy: "Alright, that's it; I'm done. I was already considering Dar Ormi as my best fit, but I'm starting to reconsider after this little stunt." Then switch to a shower stall after you're done delivering that "you fucked up harder than you thought was even possible" style verbal nut-shot.
>>
No. 944150 ID: 93184b

So, in case we decide not to go with dar Ormi, then what else? I have to think dar Nevian would be the next best thing in terms of influential possibility for the shelf, while dar Blin may help with learning how to craft things.

I sincerely hope this girl doesn't turn us off dar Ormi, however. We could use that kind of overall power.
>>
No. 944156 ID: 10c408

>>944150
As cinder explained... The houses/dar's send their invitations to us and then we pick them. That hasn't happened just yet and Millie is evidently trying to meddle with our choice by dangling information and hoping we'll bite in the middle of a shower.

We might not actually get invites from all of the dar's.
>>
No. 944174 ID: 02d8f4

>>944156
Hm. In that case, we have to be careful. Don't want her to try and proverbially slam the door in our face.
>>
No. 944176 ID: 10c408

>>944174
She's not a Qatra yet though. She's still a Jarmu. and from the looks and sounds of things she's trying to curry favor from the actual qatra's for a promotion by getting us to pick Dar Ormi over the others because we're evidently special.

Either that or trying to poach us into Dar Ormi because we're special for whatever reason and there's some kind of inter-dar rivalry over the newbies.

(or both of the above, though I'm pretty sure it's more the former than the latter)
>>
No. 944346 ID: 30f4b7

So what you're tryont to say is... you view me as an object to be possessed. Yeah, seems like par for the course given my absolutely MARVELOUS treatment upon getting here.

Then clam up angrily and refuse to talk. If Roz asks you later imply you were subject to mistreatment before meeting her. Refuse to say who it was for fear of retaliation.

Manipulative? Yes, but can eventually be turned into making the boss bitch look abusive, and get Roz to view us with sympathy.
>>
No. 944371 ID: 10c408

>>944346
...That lie is not going to hold up against any scrutiny, at all, for the following reasons.

1: we already asked Roz for holo access to try and get in touch with someone we met before we looked at the gylph.

2: anyone else who could have possibly mistreated us from before we used the glyph who most likely have been a slaver and yet we weren't caught somehow.

3A: it couldn't have been anyone visiting us while we were under the medical dar's care because the staff would have noticed.

3B: and it wouldn't have been anyone on the staff because the constant influx of visitors and the other staff there would also have noticed.

Of course, we don't have to lie here. Clamming up after shutting Millie down is more than sufficient, but throwing in a baseless lie is only going to cause more problems than it would theoretically solve.
>>
No. 944373 ID: b970b2

Ignore her.

Yes you might be able to get info here, but that's at odds with trying to relax. We don't know whether she's leaving the baths or just entering, and she doesn't seem like the kind of person you can tune out easily.
>>
No. 944652 ID: 891b91
File 156802837111.gif - (337.97KB , 1024x1024 , 1-019-1.gif )
944652

You turn to Roz. "Is this how everyone treats new sigarzghars, or is it just her?"

Millie interjects before Roz can respond. "Penny, I am only trying to help--"

"Listen, the only thing rare about my body is gonna be seeing it if you don't chill," you snap, interrupting her. "You should've waited instead of spoiling my first impression of your dar. I'm done talking to you."

A faint "You go girl!" echoes from one of the shower stalls. Apparently you were raising your voice.

She shoots a fiery glare your way in response. "Well, I never--"
>>
No. 944653 ID: 891b91
File 156802839410.gif - (267.29KB , 1024x1024 , 1-019-2.gif )
944653

Millie cuts herself off as she regains composure, her expression softening into a sly grin. "Mmm. Fair enough," she chuckles.
>>
No. 944654 ID: 891b91
File 156802841438.gif - (271.66KB , 1024x1024 , 1-019-3.gif )
944654

"Do forgive me for my persistence," Millie continues as she grabs her towel. "I thought you and I might... have something in common." She lifts her ear to reveal a small hologram.
>>
No. 944655 ID: 891b91
File 156802843379.gif - (254.76KB , 1024x1024 , 1-019-4.gif )
944655

"But I shan't bother you with such things anymore. Should you decide you'd like a tour of Dar Ormi, do look me up, hmm? Until then -- ta-ta!"

With that, she disappears into the locker room.
>>
No. 944656 ID: 891b91
File 156802845070.gif - (521.32KB , 1024x1024 , 1-019-5.gif )
944656

You and Roz stand there quietly for a moment. Roz is visibly uncomfortable.

"Sorry about, uh... her, Penny," Roz finally says, breaking the awkward silence while she dabs excess water out of her hair. "She wasn't always such a bitch, we used to be best fuckin' friends. But ever since she decided she wanted a transfer to Ormi, it's been like she's a completely different person."
>>
No. 944658 ID: 0efe8e

She just loves to drive that bitch nail in deep doesn't she? On the bright side her being a cunt prevented us from feeling self conscious about the whole nudity thing.
>>
No. 944659 ID: ce39da

Show Roz under your ear. "Do I have the same scar? If I do, remind someone to chew her out for trying to get me interested in my pre-taffa history. I honestly would like a tour of Ormi, just with absolutely anyone but her."
>>
No. 944661 ID: e7dcb0

Is it the power and privilege of being in Ormi that changes someone, or is it more literal? Could be a bad plan to court them if it's the latter.

Anyway, ask Roz if it was a gradual or sudden change. And if she knows why you're rare.
>>
No. 944662 ID: f3c77f

Let’s not ask roz to check our ear, we’ll just do that in a mirror when we’re alone, cards to our chest and all that.
>>
No. 944663 ID: 10c408

Quietly ask Roz to see if she can see about getting you a hand-held mirror, then go back to bathing.
>>
No. 944668 ID: e51896

Certainly hope Millie doesn't try to steal our clothing after such comments about us having a rare body... nah, she couldn't, she doesn't have your key after all. Certainly nothing to worry about.

That "you go girl" from one of the stalls... did it sound like a male, or female? looks like Millie isn't all that popular around here to get that response from our argument.
>>
No. 944669 ID: e51896

>>944668
Also, we'll check under our ear ourself. Don't let Roz check.
>>
No. 944670 ID: e7c7d3

Just forget about all that for now and relax, and what better place to relax than in a bath!
>>
No. 944678 ID: b1b4f3

>>944656
She might BE a different person. Maybe she got some memory implants and those altered her personality, despite the memories not feeling quite right. Or she just learned something life-altering. Or in the worst case that's someone else who body modded themselves to look like her?

Also yeah, gotta find a mirror. ...holograms show up in mirrors right?
>>
No. 944681 ID: 9d50cc

"She's hardly subtle, isn't she? All that "ooh let me vaguely hint at things, aren't you dying to know" stuff. So either she's really insecure and wants to feel superior or she was trying to get something out of me. Does she think I'm stupid, or does she think that about everyone?"
>>
No. 944682 ID: be926c

>>944656
Well, might as well point out the elephant in the room and ask what that mark she flashed was.
>>
No. 944769 ID: b3c4cf

Millicent seems like a pretty mysterious person. Why would she choose to engage Penny at this time? There has to be a special reason for it. We should definitely try to get someone as cunning as her on our side.

Ask Roz what she thinks Millicent's agenda might've been. Also, if what she did was against any guidelines Vesper might have.

Other than that, finish taking a shower and then go to the spa.
>>
No. 944780 ID: f15663

Y'know, it's weird. At first I was annoyed by her, but now that I've thought about it for a bit, I think her blatantly self-serving and egotistical attitude is kind of amusing. In a 'we could use her' kinda way.

We should try to find her later and 'make amends'. Would like to figure out that mark on her ear first, though. If she's really that high on herself, and she's a newbie looking for clout, that might be an avenue we can exploit.
>>
No. 944885 ID: c0e130

>>944656
I say let's use a mirror to check for the mark when possible. Can always tell others about it later, while you can't un-tell it.

If we've got a lot more shampooing to do, let's do it in a private stall. Roz is free to join us, if she wants to.
Would've been a good opportunity to get off - shame slugthot had to ruin the mood.

>>944780
No - never trust a THOT
>>
No. 944904 ID: 560cb8

>>944885
...where was it said to trust her? It read to me like the exact opposite. Manipulate her using her ego against her.
>>
No. 944915 ID: 58b4f3

>>944656
Ask Roz if that comment about you having a "rare body" was an insult directed at your lack of feminine curves of any kind and how rare it is to see someone without any curves at all?

Because you are now very self-conscious about your body right now.
>>
No. 944983 ID: 32b5ec

>>944915
Fairly sure she's already concerned about her body, despite how cute it is.

I'll fuckin' break through reality and suck on that DFC to convince her if I have to.
>>
No. 945093 ID: 15a025

Ask Roz if she can tell you anything about Ormi, or what any of that was all about. If she doesn't know or want to talk about it. Try and cool off and enjoy the rest of your shower.
>>
No. 946430 ID: 891b91
File 157018609455.gif - (477.83KB , 1024x1024 , 1-020-1.gif )
946430

>That "you go girl" from one of the stalls... did it sound like a male, or female? looks like Millie isn't all that popular around here to get that response from our argument.
You think the voice sounded female. It certainly seems that Roz isn't the only one around here who thinks Millie's a bitch.

>Certainly hope Millie doesn't try to steal our clothing after such comments about us having a rare body... nah, she couldn't, she doesn't have your key after all. Certainly nothing to worry about.
For a moment your mind wanders to the possible consequences of putting Millie in her place like you just did, but... you try to stop worrying about it. If she does steal your clothes, well... you still have your towel, and Roz would probably go grab some spare clothes for you.

>Is it the power and privilege of being in Ormi that changes someone, or is it more literal? Could be a bad plan to court them if it's the latter.
>She might BE a different person. Maybe she got some memory implants and those altered her personality, despite the memories not feeling quite right. Or she just learned something life-altering. Or in the worst case that's someone else who body modded themselves to look like her?
You really don't know what to make of Millie -- according to Roz she changed a lot, and you can't help but wonder whether someone or something changed who she was -- or maybe even replaced her. The realization that it might actually be possible sends a chill down your spine.

>Millicent seems like a pretty mysterious person. Why would she choose to engage Penny at this time? There has to be a special reason for it. We should definitely try to get someone as cunning as her on our side.
You aren't sure whether Millie's cunning or just an asshole, but whichever it is she seems like she could cause you a lot of trouble if you get on her bad side -- she seems to be the manipulative type and you'd wager Ormi is one of the more powerful dars in this place. Whatever you do, you think you'd better be careful about how you deal with her.

>On the bright side her being a cunt prevented us from feeling self conscious about the whole nudity thing.
Maybe being annoyed distracted you from your discomfort in the moment, but now that distraction's gone, so... you hastily throw your towel back on. Roz seems oddly quiet.

"...What was all that about?" You ask, breaking the silence finally.

"... I dunno," Roz shrugs, seeming a little subdued herself.

"Was that 'rare body' thing an insult? I know I don't have big, uh, assets, so... was she just trying to make me feel bad?" The thought of it is actually starting to piss you off a bit. "I mean, what the hell, I'm new to this whole thing, the last thing I need is to be made to feel bad about myself--"

"Nonononono," Roz interjects, clasping her hands around yours, "don't listen to her, she's just a bitch! Penny, you're super super cute, there's nothin' wrong or weird or 'rare' or whatever about your body! You should know that!"

"...Thanks, I guess you're right," you sigh,. "But what was the deal with that hologram under her ear?"

"Hey, how about we just hit up the spa and forget about all this? Millie's just tryin' to get into our heads 'n mess with us, but we don't have to let 'er win!" Roz tugs your arm gently towards the doorway. "C'mon, let's go get our shampoo on!"
>>
No. 946433 ID: ad51b8

... wow she could fit your entire head in her mouth if she wanted to. Not sure if that means you're just to damn small or she just has a really big mouth.

anyways it does look like she's clearly trying to distract you although I'm not sure if she's trying to get you to stop asking to many questions or just trying to get herself to focus on something else as she doesn't want to think of slug gal. Either way I really don't have any idea on how to get her to tell you more about what just happened short of forcing the issue but I'm pretty sure we don't care enough right now to cause a scene so let's just do what she just said to hopefully help her calm down a bit.
>>
No. 946434 ID: 094652

Lick the underside of her mouth, then ask about any cavities.

Also, you'd like to go dancing.
>>
No. 946436 ID: 2df440

>>946434
kome no

we do that later when we're together in bed :P

anyways, just... go to the spa for now. then you and roz can talk about things like cute girls and how long until you can see some cute boys??
>>
No. 946439 ID: 6dace0

>>946430
Obviously distraction, but this isn't the place to pursue it anyway. Accept it gracefully and we'll put a pin in that holotattoo question for now. Maybe look into it ourselves later.
>>
No. 946440 ID: 3d59b1

Climb onto her shoulders and let’s go down to shampoo town!
>>
No. 946442 ID: e7c7d3

You don't want any poo on you, even if it's just sham poo.

Yeah, just continue with the cleaning. You have too much on your plate to stew over yet another mystery.
>>
No. 946448 ID: cb6404

>>946430

Return the hug and agree. Roz doesn't seem to want to talk about it much, so let's not press to hard right away.

We can always casually ask again on the way back, where fewer people are likely to overhear things.
>>
No. 946461 ID: b8f107

The whole "rare body", "something in common", thing may just be because Penny and Millie have similar skull structure? Seriously, head shape and ear shape are almost identical.
>>
No. 946462 ID: 81cd19

Ok, but you're washing my back.
>>
No. 946473 ID: 7fb87a

>>946430
Geez you can just see right down her throat at that angle can't you
>>
No. 946518 ID: c0e130

>>946430
"Answer my question. What's with the hologram?"

Y'all need to stop focusing on her maw, ya fuckin' degenerates
>>
No. 946519 ID: b1b4f3

>>946518
This. Let's not let her deflect so easily. If she wants to talk about it later in private, that's fine.
>>
No. 946537 ID: 0fae41

I think we've forgotten too much already. Let's go somewhere else to discuss, but let's discuss. And also shampoo.
Switch to first-person camera again
>>
No. 946541 ID: c15cc3

>>946439
This. Don't forget the question, but file it away for now. This is spa time.
>>
No. 946561 ID: c063e9

Lean in while you're shampooing each other and say "I get you're trying to be nice, but I don't really have the sort of body issues that would let it bother me. It's more that she was trying to string me along to get something out of me. Speaking of which, I noticed you dodged my earlier question. I can understand if you'd want to speak privately, but don't thing I'm going to let this drop."
>>
No. 946591 ID: 15a025

Ask if that hologram thing was something we need to worry about now and then leave it there for now. Shampoo up and go enjoy the spa with Roz.
>>
No. 946670 ID: 19da47

Stay close to Roz for now she seems really nice so far. Also maybe ask check out her nudiest club later. That said look up the meaning of the hologram on your own.
>>
No. 946708 ID: 86794b

See, here's the thing - we are, of course, going to investigate that hologram. But we're ALSO trying to foil the system, and so the fewer people know we're getting nosy, the better. If we ask too many questions of people who don't want to answer, we might end up getting watched more closely. Roz's position seems like one we need to step carefully around. (I.e., don't push the matter, I think. MAYBE it would be fine, but it's a bit of a gamble.)
>>
No. 946717 ID: 19da47

Im kind of against "foiling the system" as of right now. We still know very little about how things work around here and we cant assume that this place and everyone in it is all corrupt. That said we still should be cautious about Dar Ormi people because something seems off about them.
>>
No. 946719 ID: 49e4d4

>>946717
>>946708

Personally, I'm all FOR foiling the system. We might not know a ton about the system, but what we do know is pretty bullshit. We'll foil it for us (and Mint) if no one else.
>>
No. 946720 ID: 19da47

How is the system "bullshit"?
>>
No. 946721 ID: 49e4d4

>>946720
First: I'm speaking relatively to us specifically.

Second: For starters, it's more or less forced on us; I have the strong suspicion that we're operating with a higher baseline than most do- from what Cider implied, and Millie just said about sigz being 'helpless', they're not adjusting their playbook for our inquisitiveness, drive, and general capacity to make logical connections and operate at a level that makes it hard to guess we've been mindwiped without asking probing questions and knowing what to look for.

They're prevent us from getting out in the world as we want so they can remake us under THEIR guidelines. It's captivity. Mind, by 'foiling', I'm presuming that means 'escape' at the least. The entirety of the opening of the thread lays out why I'm not a fan of this place, even if it might have some benefits we can reap. It's bullshit in the sense that it's ultimately obstructing us from our goals.
>>
No. 946722 ID: b1b4f3

We don't even know what the system is yet. Don't get ahead of yourselves.
>>
No. 946734 ID: 19da47

Agreed maybe we should wait before saying that this system is evil and learn more about it.
>>
No. 946735 ID: 1f2742

>>946734
I don't personally think we need to wait to assume something is messed up here. We have enough information to assume it's not totally ethical, our captivity making that clear. It may be for the best of intentions but that doesn't excuse it.

That said I definitely agree that we should probably never say anything about that. That's a good way to get watched way too closely, and a bad way to get on their good side like we planned.

Same with the tattoo, if we are getting the run around about a topic, don't keep asking about it.
>>
No. 946736 ID: 19da47

I say play it cool for now until we get more information on this program. It isnt wise to jump to conclusions based off one conversation. Hell maybe they're on the level and legitimately trying to help.
>>
No. 946754 ID: cb6404

>>946721
>>946735

Considering that it's set up as what is essentially an equivalent to involuntary hospitalization, which is actually a fairly common practice with regards to what sort of things we are facing, were this "the real world," I'd say that nothing has been out of the ordinary.

That we're being treated as an equal, given quite a few things, and are essentially free to do and explore as we like within the grounds, the notion of "captivity" is a massive stretch.

Were Penny stuck in her jumpsuit on a hard cot in a featureless room with Mint and no warmth or empathy from Roz or Cider or anyone else, I'd say yeah, the system is bullshit. But right now? Right now I think we need to actually look at the situation.

1. We were comatose for DAYS. Longer than most others. Clearly there's a possible worry here.

2. The mind-control sigil thing might be pretty sketchy, but it could have been worse, as Cider graciously informed us. That they're working to help us counteract the same flaw theirs exploited is a significant point here.

3. We have ... well, other than our stuff in the drawer, nothing. Literally nothing. How exactly are we supposed to survive in this world that we know nothing about?

4. What I gather from this place is that they're an in-world equivalent to a humanitarian non-profit, ergo the Dars and other sub-organizations acting as vocational schools to allow them to generate enough revenue through labor and other contributions to be self-sustaining. Seems a fair trade-off for being given room, board, clothes, and what amounts to a free education -- again in a world we know nothing about.

5. The worst that anyone has insofar done was Millie being a real bitch, and a manipulative one to boot. I'm going to get even more meta here, but this is the obvious plot-hook. We're being given a chance to get more information, but potentially at the cost of having to make a major decision. Roz's reticence is also further sign of it, as it's clear the two were once very close and are now all but hostile, or in the very least, entertain highly divergent notions of how to treat the newcomers.

6. Nothing says we can't bide our time, gather what information we need, figure out what Mint meant by this shimmering about others, and then make a break for it once we have the means to do so. But to decide that in the midst of a spa in nothing but our fur? That's foolish in the extreme.
>>
No. 946821 ID: 1f2742

>>946754
Involuntary hospitalization might make sense for the average cigarsar but we already have two very clear examples of fully capable individuals in both Penny and Mint. Clearly there's either something wrong or something inflexible, and a one size fits all solution to anything involuntary is clearly wrong.

A fancy cage is still a cage.

A coma they caused.

And the second you start justifying mind control, is the second you start down a slippery slope. Maybe it's to patch up a hole. Maybe it's just exploitation of a known weakness. We only have their word.

We were doing rather well and already had a headstart into a career/job so I don't get this one.

That sounds more like a for-profit prison than an NPO but what do I know. We'll actually have to see what the labor is like to know how bad it is.

She wasn't that bad, she's just like, normal recruitment officer level. She just wasn't all bread and circuses like Roz here.

I, at least, already said almost exactly that. And the other person never said it should happen immediately either. Either way, I don't know what clothes add to someone's ability to think.
>>
No. 946826 ID: c8d18c

I find it hilarious that people are wanting to leave so quick without any information on how the program really works.
Heres the run down so far:
Its confirmed that we have taffa syndrome and the severity of which we have no idea yet.

We have no almost no basic idea on how the world works and what is dangerous to us.

We have no known skills or money to survive on our own. Hell before we got here we were begging and willing to use are body for favors.

Based off multiple sources we have, walking around with taffa syndrome is apparently somewhat illegal in this Society due too the dangers of body snatchers and apparently the condition is detectable from are dust.

If we leave by law they'll just turn us over to the police and will get are brain pumped full of fake memories.

People are still freaking out about the coma thing despite that being a accident and we are the only person that has ever happened to.

We know almost nothing about Mint other than she thinks this place is weird and she has night terrors. Yet people think that more than enough info to condem this program.

We need to calm down and learn more before passing judgement on a whole organization.
>>
No. 946833 ID: 10c408

>>946826
Personally, I find what we've been told vs what we haven't been told, on top of the other bits of information we've gleaned, to be a successive amount of red flags and that's before we even met Mint.

I'm not passing judgement just yet, since we can still get more information/don't have a solid plan for escaping, but my opinion of cinder and the vesper society is still; leaning towards "shady friendship cult"

I'll list the actual red flags in the dist thread later for discussion purposes.
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No. 946847 ID: 49e4d4

As was stated before, I'm NOT in favor of leaving immediately, because I think that's stupidly depriving us of a source of both knowledge and resources. I merely think we shouldn't play happy houseguest and take them at their word for everything. We should play cautious, and, honestly, my preferred course of action would be to sublimate their resources for our own uses mafia-style, and use that to set ourselves up well before we escape. But I DO think we should escape eventually.
>>
No. 946858 ID: 1f2742

>>946826
You seem to be seeing a more panicked reaction than anyone is giving. Don't knock gut feelings, they're useful, especially since there's a reason for them.
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No. 946861 ID: dbf43c

Why is everyone talking like she being held prisoner? She could probably just leave anytime she wants granted they'll probably just call the police because. That said it would be stupid if she did t
Without really knowing if this place is bad or no.
>>
No. 946866 ID: e40171

>>946861
Read the beginning of the chapter. That very possibility is brought up and then dismissed in universe. They claim they are, in fact, obligated to keep us here, or else they will immediately try to take us to a hospital to implant false memories in us.
>>
No. 946912 ID: e044fb

For involuntary hospitalization, it certainly seems to be the nicest involuntary hospitalization I've ever seen. Let's just play it cool, try and get closer with Roz, and work to be as perceptive as possible.
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No. 946957 ID: 891b91
File 157087839739.gif - (320.70KB , 1024x1024 , 1-021-1.gif )
946957

>Geez you can just see right down her throat at that angle can't you
>wow she could fit your entire head in her mouth if she wanted to.
She really does have a huge mouth, doesn't she? It makes you wonder how big of a, uh, you know she could fit in there. (Do they even come in that size?)

...No. You should stop thinking about that. Especially not when she's right in front of you in the buff like this.
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No. 946958 ID: 891b91
File 157087840472.gif - (316.88KB , 1024x1024 , 1-021-2.gif )
946958

"Okay," you sigh as you follow her through the women's spa, "but you're washing my back." You decide it's best to go along with her distraction for now... at least until you can figure out a better way to broach the subject.

"I didn't figure you for the touchy-feely type," Roz chuckles.

"I said my back -- just the hard-to-reach places!"

"Haha, alright. So you're just touchy-feely with your back, then!"

"Whatever," you chuckle.
>>
No. 946959 ID: 891b91
File 157087841895.gif - (404.65KB , 1024x1024 , 1-021-3.gif )
946959

Thankfully, the co-ed spa isn't jam-packed at the moment, making easier for you to ignore the temptation to gawk at the scattering of nude bodies here. Roz leads you into a closed-in booth section off in the corner; you feel silently thankful for the fact that it even has something like that, and that she apparently realizes you'd prefer the privacy. Not to mention that this buys you some time to figure out how to get her to open up about Millie's tattoo.

"This spot work for you?"

"Mmhm," you nod, a little lost in thought.

"How about get the touchy-feely part out of the way?"

"Uh, yeah, no time like the present, I guess." You silently remind yourself that she's only going to touch your back.

"Alright, toss me your shampoo 'n get that towel off," she says as she plunks a couple plastic buckets upside-down on the floor between you. "Oooh, Penny's naaay-kid," she whistles playfully as you hang the towel up.

"Shut up, it's not like you didn't see me like this 2 minutes ago," you laugh.

"Yeah, yeah. Have a seat," she gestures to one of the buckets, squatting onto the one behind you as you sit down. "Gimme your hand?"

"Why?" You ask, offering your hand back to her. She squirts a pile of shampoo into it. "Oh."

"So you can wash your front 'n stuff while I work on your back." She squirts some of the stuff into her own palm. "Lemme know if I'm goin' at it too hard. I'm used to havin' to work it pretty deep with my wool, but your peach fuzz prolly won't need that much effort."
>>
No. 946960 ID: 891b91
File 157087843441.gif - (455.14KB , 1024x1024 , 1-021-4.gif )
946960

You start rubbing the shampoo into your chest fur, and Roz uses the nearby shower head to spritz some water to help build up a lather. "Damn, I wish my fur was as easy as yours," she sighs as she starts going to work on your back.

Roz digs her fingers deep into your back, like she's trying to massage you rather than shampoo you. "O-ow, ease up a little," you complain.

"Whoops, see what I mean?" Roz chuckles, easing off her fingers a fair amount. "Too used to this damn wool! That better?"

"Much better," you nod, idly spreading shampoo around your chest and abdomen.

>lick Roz
>we do that later when we're together in bed :P
In bed? In a moment of vulnerability you entertain the idea of... carnal lust with Roz, helped along by the fact that she is actually touching your body at this very moment. You try to snap out of it, though, focusing instead on washing your fur and thinking about how to get more information out of her.

"Hey, so, I know everything's gotta be pretty overwhelmin' for you right now..." Roz pauses thoughtfully, working her way down to your midriff. "I hope I've been makin' it a little less scary for ya, at least. I was scared out of my mind my first day, but the jarmu they had lookin' after me really helped me through it. I wanna do the same thing for you if I can."

You feel utterly torn on whether to bring up Millie's tattoo again. You can't shake the feeling that learning more about it could help you make sense of things, but Roz seems like she's trying to avoid the subject and you aren't sure how she'd take it if you were to pressure her about it.
>>
No. 946961 ID: 2df440

You clearly need to take your mind off things right now. Ask about:

1) if she knows any cute boys here
2) some good hair care tips
3) if you can have a sleepover :P
4) how heavy her boobs are
>>
No. 946963 ID: ad51b8

Honestly confused.

I don't really know how to say it without being blunt so I'm just going to be blunt so sorry if it comes off as me being rude.

I mean as you can probably guess I don't really have a lot of... experiences to fall back on to try and figure out what's going on around me besides some random bits and pieces of disjointed info which rarely helps and whenever I go to ask someone... when someone is around anyways, they either just deflect or outright ignore any questions. I mean I have next to no idea what's going on, no one want's to spend more then 3 words about what's going on, and at times it feels like... well it just feels like the world is set against me. Like I have some place in the world that I don't even know about and whenever I try to even figure out what that place might even be every... THING just conspires against me to try its damnest to keep me fumbling blindly in the dark. Honestly there are times when I feel like I'd have better luck trying to wring water from a stone.

So I guess confused and frustrated. Not really scared though. I mean I guess after seeing a giant worm rip it's way up through the earth only to get blown to kingdom come a moment later by some excite locals kinda skews your perspective a little.
...
...
I had an interesting walk here.
>>
No. 946964 ID: 19da47

Dont ask about the tattoo just yet instead ask about Roz's past experiences with the organization, try to figure out how things work here. Also try become frinds so ask to vist her nudist club! ;)
>>
No. 946967 ID: 015bf2

Tell her she's... definitely helping, and you appreciate her using her new life and attitude to make you feel more welcome, even if you're not sure you need special coddling. You're still pretty peeved about the whole 'stay for years or leave to forcibly get new generic memories implanted', though. Heck, how is that even done? They just chuck you in a machine and bing-bada-bing you're a new person with new priorities? (ask about how implanting new memories is done)

You've gotta admit getting stuck here is one of the things that's disappointing you the most. You wanted to explore the districts and figure stuff out. Pretty much everything's novel and interesting, y'know? (try to get an angle on whether it's possible for new sigarzhars to leave on field trips)

(And suds up properly, will ya Penny? Gotta clean up.)

>>946960
I don't think you need to ask her, you may have all the clues required to start making an educated guess.

Primary Hypothesis
The Vesper Society could be ideal for, say, well-connected criminally inclined people to escape notice. Were one to change one's body and wipe one's mind, there is no way for people to realize who you once were. The Vespers' philosophy discourage looking into members' pasts - semi-reasonably so - making it hard to verify the source of newfound Vesper recruits, especially given how some might enter from the outside through the evac program.

Then, when some time has passed and whatever heat has died down - and/or through a predetermined identifier - the technology of recorded memory implantation is used (which we know exists, because the government would do it to us were we to leave the Vespers!) to surreptitiously be re-institut someone as 'themselves' by members already positioned within the society.

Indicators
It is common for criminal cartels typically take 'empty' bodies and use/sell them according to Cider. The fact the criminal hideout we were in did not deal with us harshly and the goons we met were so casual towards 'zombies' and allowed a Vesper recruitment book to be placed in their hideout is significant. That they did not bushwhack us for our body (the first one certainly seems like he could've overpowered us) indicates that there is an accord in place. Potential Vesper recruits are allowed to go, despite this losing the criminals profit - and as a rule criminals don't often do stuff for free. It's likely that either someone up the chain told them to let zombies go or that they have been paid off somehow.

Secondary Hypothesis
Millie's sudden personality shift came due to something she learned - or something she remembered - that made her literally become a different person.

Indicators
Millie's body has a tattoo that allows a changed body to be identified after a mind wipe.
She changed around the same time as she started to work with dar Ormu.
Her attitude suggested we ought to remember something or have something on us that could identify us, and she wasn't shy about giving us that hint, either.
That she approached us like this means she recognized us somehow. If she is a new person with no memories, she should not be able to recognize anything about us.

Tertiary Hypothesis
Just by implanting relatively blank 'zombies' with the right memories, one could 're-create' people, more or less. Obviously this would be taboo as fuck for the Vesper philosophy, but sometimes members of cult-like societies make sacrifices to maintain their power and influence. And they might be making literal sacrifices of their recruits. Or the entire Vesper society could be in the middle of, say, a subtle criminal takeover.

I think it's important that:

- We don't tell anyone in the Society of our suspicions for now. Either they're wrong and baseless or many of the Vespers could potentially be - or become - part of the conspiracy (if there is one) and we don't know how far up any eventual rot would go. If Millie's in on it then dar Ormu may be a segment of the bad, but we don't know how far or wide any such reach would go. The recruits could be genuine but the power structure could be bad from the ground up.

- We learn more about the Vesper society, its power structure, its leaders and their dars. The more we know and pick up, the more people we meet, we can form impressions and judge by how they act if our suspicions are real or not.

- We should still aim to get out of the society's reach on a temporary or permanent basis so we can do the things we want to. Whether we want to live our own life as our own remade individual or we want to investigate the factors that lead to our past life's situation, sticking with the Vespers doesn't seem like it's in line with those interests (especially if the society is in the midst of some weird conspiracy).

- We retain cold neutrality towards Mille, as she appears to be overconfident enough that she might be willing to drop some more hints if we try to - or fail to - take the bait.

- We become more cautious towards the prospect of joining dar Ormu as a potential escape venue; it seems like it might come with some baggage if Mille's involvement with it lead to her personality shift.
>>
No. 946968 ID: b60672

Save the tattoo question for later the last thing you want to do is lose a potential friend/Ally. Focus on relaxing now. Also ask Roz if there any men around to have fun with.
>>
No. 946973 ID: b8f107

Are we ever gonna mention that bird with two on one side of it's face, or those foxes?
>>
No. 946974 ID: 015bf2

>>946967
>field trips
Oh wait, it is possible for field trips to Gansett to be arranged, Cider herself said so. Only as a 'chaperoned trip', though. Hm. Rephrase it as asking for who might be viable and easy-going chaperones. You don't want a Millie guiding you, after all.
>>
No. 946978 ID: 015bf2

>>946973
Not to someone in polite society, I think. Perhaps Delaney or our scavenger acquaintance whenever we can get to talk to her.

Or whenever we get 'net access, we do some general research that meanders into research on animal life to see if we can accidentally stumble across an explanation for the two-left-eyes thing. I'm pretty sure our comms and access records will be logged, and someone like Millie may be able to see what we were saying/looking at. We should, in fact, be careful about what we use the 'net for around here.

It's a bit paranoid, but I'd rather we keep most things close to our chest. The foxes and the owl haven't seemed harmful to us so far, but they clearly have some agency and if the latter wants to surveil us and the former wants us get us to poke our head into mysteries others may want unsolved - mysteries related to a potential Delaney disappearance, taffa drug rings, bodynapping/shaping and even potentially the Vesper society - then pointing out any kind of association may not be the wisest course.

>Tattoo
Ah, one more thing. Once you're done washing, try to get close to a mirror to check if there's any holo-tattoos or the like on your back. Millie came up on you from behind, and given her hints, it may be that you have an identifying mark outside of your normal range of vision. 'Proper' Vespers like Rozalyn might not mention it because it'd put the focus back on the life of your predecessor.

... uh. Additional paranoia check. Did it feel like Roz was scrubbing a particular part of your back really hard? Glance down the drain - any odd colors, like those of a temporary marker or something, mixed into the shampoo?
>>
No. 946979 ID: 0fae41

Ask about the tattoo in a roundabout way. Ask what kind of body mods are legal, maybe about cybernetics, and then why one would acquire such a holo tattoo.
Then turn around and get the other side.
>>
No. 946984 ID: cb6404

>>946960

Let's thank her for her help, then. Ask and learn more about Roz's own time as a wee little sig and maybe try to get a better sense of Vesper as a whole -- learn what we're working with.

Roz, being Jarmu, has to know quite a few things we don't, and she's a font of information we've yet to properly tap (not like that, mind).

This would also be a good time to ask if she perms her wool on her head and arms or not; it's a really cool effect, whatever it is!

(I'm also getting the feeling that if we do press about Millie and the tattoo, it must be in a more private place. Maybe back in our room (or Roz's, should that be a possibility!), and definitely after she's grown a bit closer. Her reactions with Millie were ... telling, to say the least. There's a lot of bad history there, especially considering they were best friends here, of all places, and while we might have Taffa Syndrome, we know this is something Roz is really uncomfortable with; far more than we are, likely.)
>>
No. 946985 ID: 1f2742

Don't ask someone who doesn't want to tell you something when you could ask someone who will tell you it. So no, don't ask about the tattoo.

Say yes, Roz is making this more comfortable. I mean, she's a little forward but that kinda grounds us in a way. It's easier to understand at least. What was her experience like?
>>
No. 946995 ID: b1b4f3

>>946960
This isn't a good time to bring up the tattoo. Try again later when the conversation isn't on the topic of how much she's trying to help.

Tell her she's doing a good job of helping you feel relaxed, but you also did a little research before you used the pamphlet so you knew Vesper's reputation was good. You imagine most would read the pamphlet sooner rather than later.
>>
No. 947006 ID: 49e4d4

>>946960
We should clarify that we're honestly not 'scared', we're more 'annoyed and frustrated' at the situation than anything else.

>>946963 sums up my feelings a lot. We're a curious cat.

And, well, y'know what they say. 'Curiosity killed the cat...but satisfaction brought him back.'
>>
No. 947013 ID: 15a025

Assure Roz she's helping you keep your cool for now.
>>
No. 947077 ID: 1cd489

>>946960
"You're not helping me by failing to answer my question! What's with the hologram tattoo thingy?!"
>>
No. 947079 ID: 7fb87a

>>947077
if we're too pushy, she may decide that she's a poor fit for guiding us through all this. who knows who will try to step into the she leaves behind.
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