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File 133140182858.png - (11.03KB , 700x700 , 1.png )
391630 No. 391630 ID: d6af4f

>"Good morning, Polo."
"Good morning, Rikek."
>"Hey, Polo?"
"Hmm?"
>"Why do we need Moton eggs?"
"Food."
>"We have food."
"Not good food."
Expand all images
>>
No. 391632 ID: d6af4f
File 133140190246.png - (13.59KB , 700x700 , 2.png )
391632

>"And just the two of us, hunting the eggs of a beast like that? We're crazy."
"In ancient times, a successful Moton hunt was the test for the greatest hunting packs of all time."
>"And now?"
"Now we have rifles and acid proof gear."
>"It's too cold to eat. Give me 10 more minutes. Don't look at me like that. How did you even sleep without a blanket?"
"You wanted to see what your home planet was like. Welcome home."
>"Come on. The eggs aren't going anywhere in the next 10 minutes."
>>
No. 391633 ID: ed57e8

congratulations, you went insane. how do you feel?
>>
No. 391634 ID: e3f578

How are you going to get down? This looks like a high wall that you somehow got a bunk attached to it.
>>
No. 391635 ID: 7bbcd3

>>391632
Draw up your packs and get ready. Drop Rikek's on his head.
"We still have a climb ahead of us. Those ten minutes could be the difference between some roosting Moton, and the whole flock being there to greet us."
>>
No. 391637 ID: ec0bf5

Get your stuff. I... assume you brought stuff to either get up or down this sheer cliff face. Right? Right?
>>
No. 391653 ID: d6af4f
File 133140669421.png - (13.69KB , 700x700 , 3.png )
391653

I'm not insane, but it wouldn't matter as long as I'm me. I have a pair of mini parachutes in case we need to make an emergency drop, and necessary equipment to scale rock walls. And, of course, combat gear without going overboard. We have to climb with everything we carry, after all.

>"What are you getting?"
"My binoculars. I'm seeing if it's safe to go down in case we have to. Hold my stuff."

foomf

>"Ow!"
>>
No. 391654 ID: d6af4f
File 133140672445.png - (22.89KB , 700x700 , 4.png )
391654

>"Well, is it safe?"
"No. The wildlife is still waiting for us to make a wrong move."
>"I saw some.. huge winged beasts flying around last night. I didn't sleep too well."
"Those were herbivores, mostly. Now get moving, those ten minutes could be the difference between one Moton or two."
>>
No. 391656 ID: d6af4f
File 133140687992.png - (12.70KB , 700x700 , 5.png )
391656

Rikek hauls himself out of his bed, and we start today's ascent.

>"No offense, but I think I see why so many of us are off of this planet."
"Yet you're not the first to come back and think that a place called the Untameable Needles are a good vacation spot. You're free to leave."
>"Not now. Hey, I see a cave up ahead!"
"It'll have hostile creatures inside."
>"Yeah, but I read about these! They definitely will make gaining altitude much faster. Or we could just keep going straight up. If you want."

Our plan is to go straight up the cliff, get the eggs, go halfway down on the other side to a vertical extraction point. We only get one shot at a proper extraction, and we're right on schedule right now. If anything goes wrong, we'll be behind. Rikek is making it very apparent he'd like to go in the cave. It's risky, but we could use the time.
>>
No. 391659 ID: e3f578

So I guess this is some military op?
We can handle the risk. The mission is already dangerous as it is. A moton sounds tough, if you can't handle whatever might be in that cave, you can't get an egg, and if this cave is a shortcut, well it's better to be early with a one time extraction and to get ahead will be necessary.
>>
No. 391660 ID: 12c19f

>>391656
Have Rikek take the first peek in, but keep him tethered in case something in there finds him appetizing, better to be flung off and hanging by a thread than just outright flung off, eh?

Also Polo, you look very unconcerned, or bored out of your mind. What drove you two to come here? This your idea of recreational activity or something?
>>
No. 391667 ID: ec0bf5

If you're in a cave, and get attacked, it's lots less likely that you'll fall to your death. And if you don't get attacked, well, you have to admit scaling a cliff is boring.
>>
No. 391671 ID: 1854db

>>391656
He says it's a shortcut. The only issue is killing what's inside. Let's do it!
>>
No. 391689 ID: 88e5ad

let him get what he wants. if anything goes wrong, well, he'll know to ask you first the next time.
>>
No. 391719 ID: 369d34

Rikek wants to take the shortcut, he gets to scout it. Move up to the side of the cave entrance, double up on the tie offs, and send him in tethered to a long rope. If something big n' nasty is right there, he can run, jump out, and swing clear.
>>
No. 391752 ID: d6af4f
File 133143840035.png - (13.96KB , 700x700 , 6.png )
391752

"The cave it is. You are scouting first."

This is no recreation. Moton eggs are worth a fortune, and even in this day and age, prestige. They're extremely rare, as Motons change nests frequently, don't respond well to taming, and don't lay eggs in captivity.

From what we know, this one will stick around for another couple of days before moving on, but more importantly, a war hive is taking over this territory. At their rate, if we miss the extraction, we'll be behind enemy lines within hours afterwards.

I'm not bored. I've been trained to keep a mind so empty that other neumono can't pick up my presence. I am simply practicing right now. I have been selected for this because I am the only one of my hive who has climbed this cliff, but also because, as an experimental espionage unit, I am the one who could most likely survive if trapped alone in enemy territory.
>>
No. 391753 ID: d6af4f
File 133143841639.png - (15.89KB , 700x700 , 7.png )
391753

I say alone because if we miss our extraction, Rikek will most likely be killed. He is not a liar when he claims to have been among the best in his hive, for however much that is saying, but he is alone, an outsider, and a tourist who enjoys sightseeing through hot spots.

>"Wow, we're really high up! And- and there's cave paintings inside! We have to go inside here, Polo! I think a moton's been slain before, here!"

He is very polite to me. I will try to keep him alive, but won't sacrifice myself doing so.
>>
No. 391758 ID: 1854db

>>391753
How the heck are you two climbing this sheer cliff face anyway?

Tell him the only thing we're going in this cave for is to get to the top faster.
>>
No. 391775 ID: 3e85e3

>>391752

Oh man you are so fucked. Just try to ignore all the hot neumono babes we keep bringing up at every opportunity. Oh on an unrelated note what was the last time you got really riled up? Just curious.
>>
No. 391779 ID: 369d34

Tell Rikek that this is not an archaeological expedition. Unless that painting has a map to the top, he can stay long enough to take two or three pictures, then we're moving.
>>
No. 391803 ID: d6af4f
File 133145211865.png - (96.54KB , 700x700 , 8.png )
391803

The last time I got riled up might be coming up soon, as Rikek may try my patience.

We climb cliff faces by shoving in a hooked spike of sorts to tie the rope down, as high up as we can comfortably do so. Then we climb that couple of feet, put in another spike to lodge the rope against the rock, and continue up like that. The person on the bottom, currently me, takes them out again as we ascend.

"We're only in the cave as a shortcut, not for your curiosities. Take a couple pictures if you must while I climb up, then we're going.
>"Fine, but this stuff is amaz- hey, what is thaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!"

It doesn't help my collected nature when I can feel his utter terror, even with the rope.
>>
No. 391804 ID: d6af4f
File 133145213127.png - (7.86KB , 700x700 , 9.png )
391804

"What happened, are you alright?"
>"I-I don't.."

He coughs a couple times, but he seems unharmed outside of falling back on the cliffside.

>"I don't know! I just saw something, then I flew back!"
"It was probably a Windbeast. They live in areas where they can blow out intruders. You're lucky."
>"How am I lucky?!"
"It probably thought you smelled like rotten food. If it liked you, it would've sucked you in instead of blown you out, if not for the rope. Speaking of that, why are you still scared?"
>>
No. 391805 ID: d6af4f
File 133145214356.png - (123.65KB , 700x700 , 10.png )
391805

"I... I thought I was going to die, Polo! Even if I have a rope, that's still scary!"

I'll give him a moment to gather himself again while I think over what we've got.
>>
No. 391806 ID: ed57e8

wrap a grenade in rations and throw it in. suck the grenade in and KABLAM.
>>
No. 391808 ID: 1854db

Yep, that seems like our best option. Well, that or nail down the rope at the edge and snipe the beast. It depends on how precious our rations are.
>>
No. 391811 ID: ed57e8

>>391808
can just replace the rations with freshly exploded beast.
>>
No. 391812 ID: 369d34

>>391806
Would neumono rations even smell good to a windbeast? Polo might have to play the part of bait, to get it to inhale.

Either way, anchor a length of rope about as long as Rikek was far into the cave mouth. Leaving the gear bag behind, Polo ties herself to the rope, ties an open ration to herself, pockets a frag grenade, and walks in. If the windbeast inhales, Polo pulls, arms and chucks the 'nade in. If it blows out, then try something else after recovering.
>>
No. 391813 ID: d6af4f
File 133145447968.png - (8.54KB , 700x700 , 11.png )
391813

>"Whoa whoa, what are you doing?"
"Putting meat on our grenade. They aren't very picky, you must have an odd smell to you."
>"That's our good meat!"
"That's the point. It is excellent. Aside from making good bait, it is probably the tastiest thing it will ever have. It deserves that much."
>>
No. 391814 ID: d6af4f
File 133145454293.png - (11.11KB , 700x700 , 12.png )
391814

>"Isn't it a beast?"
"They aren't very bright, but that doesn't mean it deserves death for merely getting in our way. That's just the way it will happen."

I trust in the rope, but would rather not use myself as bait. The grenade works like a charm, thankfully. It sounds sickening, but that's to be expected, having a grenade go off in ones stomach.
It is making weak roars and death wails, but it isn't dead as of yet. Rikek is beginning to get mixed feelings about me.
>>
No. 391815 ID: 1854db

We should put it out of its misery rather than let it die slowly. Up over the cliff edge with a plasma rifle.
>>
No. 391816 ID: ed57e8

finish it.
>>
No. 391817 ID: ed57e8

no wait, make Rikek do it. he wanted to use the caves, he has to take responsibility.
>>
No. 391820 ID: f70e5e

>>391817
nah, lets not be a dick to Rikek. he is obviously not conformable with this sort of thing. just climb up and finish the poor thing off yourself.
>>
No. 391822 ID: ed57e8

>>391820
it's not being a dick. it's making a man out of him.
>>
No. 391823 ID: f70e5e

>>391822
by the definition of primitive warrior tribes or certain subcultures yes. but the more important issue is that the windbesest might still be dangerous so sending someone who don't know how to fight is an unnecessary risk.
>>
No. 391826 ID: 369d34

Express to Rikek that hundreds of feet up the side of the Untameable Needles is a bad place to start to get mixed feelings about your climb partner. Up here, you do what needs to be done, but that's no reason to be callous about it.

Anyway, no time to wait for the windbeast to die on its own. Go up together and put one shot each into its head, or whichever part that'll put it down quick and painless. Butcher the carcass yourself, if it's worth it and can be done fast enough.
>>
No. 391829 ID: d6af4f
File 133146125965.png - (33.84KB , 700x700 , 13.png )
391829

I trusted in the rope to have confidence it would last when the Windbeast was at full strength. As it is now, Rikek is in little danger so long as he is remotely competent.

"Rikek. Climb up again, get your plasma rifle, and put it out of its misery, if you want to use the caves so much."
>"Uh... okay, but do I have to? I mean it has to be messed up. And you said yourself, it didn't do anything wrong!"
"Rikek, let me be blunt. You are almost definitely going to die if you get cold feet at something like this. Show me the 'best of your hive', please."
>>
No. 391831 ID: d6af4f
File 133146169761.png - (11.81KB , 700x700 , 14.png )
391831

The beast blows back, this time out of self defense, but it is simply a stiff breeze rather than a wall of high speed air. Its tough scales were meant for claws and bites, so a few shots of plasma bring it down.

Rikek is upset, and is doing a poor job of hiding it. It is admirable he's trying at all to hide his feelings, but the important thing is that he followed through.

>"Two heads."
"Two heads."

It won't take long to carve out another day or two worth of meat, but it also won't take long for other possible denizens of this cave to sniff out a dead carcass.
>>
No. 391833 ID: d5ee6f

>>391831
Give him the camera. Tell him to document the paintings. Should calm him while you butcher.
>>
No. 391835 ID: 459534

Two heads, eh? Was that in reference to the windbeast's two heads or to the two of you?
>>
No. 391840 ID: 369d34

Hand the camera over to Rikek, and say he has as long as it takes you to butcher this windbeast to take pictures. Even though you don't need the meat to get through, having some spare for bait could be helpful.
>>
No. 391847 ID: d6af4f
File 133147764775.png - (13.39KB , 700x700 , 15.png )
391847

>>391835
It was to the beast, but, heh, I suppose it could have been to us as well.

"You have as long as it takes me to carve up some meat, to take pictures, Rikek. Keep yourself latched, we don't want to get pushed off thinking that was the only one."
>"Thank you!! They're inscriptions of how an old queen, I think, brought down a Moton. They had a lot of numbers and deaths, but it looks like Motons tire quickly."

............ got some. Let's go.
>>
No. 391849 ID: d6af4f
File 133147775505.png - (11.01KB , 700x700 , 16.png )
391849

The cave opens up, and there is an easily scaled slope. It would be nice to use my flashlight, but that may attract bad attention. Hopefully this isn't a dead end.... what?

>"Why did you stop, Polo?... Oh, wait! Other neumono?! They feel really nice. I don't think they're part of the hive. I want to meet them, Polo. They're back the other way, and they want to meet me too."

Neumono. Up here? And there is a strong bond forming between them and Rikek. That's very rare.
>>
No. 391856 ID: 7bbcd3

>>391849
Think over -every- kind of predator you know of. Can any of them fake a 'friendly neumono' signal?

Heck, how difficult would it be for actual Neumono to give off false friendliness?
>>
No. 391858 ID: bccf7b

>>391849
And his last moments will be "wait, you're not a nuemono!"

No, I don't trust that.
>>
No. 391860 ID: d6af4f
File 133148322101.png - (10.67KB , 700x700 , 17.png )
391860

You can't just imagine yourself to be friendly; to falsify your own emotion takes as much training as I've done to do the exact opposite. It is possible.

>Predator
Oh, fuck, why wasn't that my first reaction?! We have a natural predator! We've tried to make it extinct, but they still surface every once in awhile! Come on, stay calm, stay calm, they can't exude the right emotions to me if I don't exude any back.

"Rikek, get back here!"
>"No, no, I definitely want to see them! I haven't felt like this in a long time, and it's just getting better! I have to meet them!"
>>
No. 391865 ID: e3f578

>>391860
Lose your cool for dramatic effect to shock him. You can resist it's friendly call.
"You fucker, it's going to kill you. Where the hell is your natural skepticism, no neumono is this friendly. No creature is this friendly without wanting something in return, in this case, your flesh. What are you possibly expecting, troves of nubile native neumono women wanting to bear your children?"
>>
No. 391869 ID: bccf7b

>>391860
Your fists. His head. Apply liberally until the message is received.
>>
No. 391870 ID: bccf7b

>>391865

Damn, should have read your post first. Then I could have suggested: "Your breasts. His face. Apply liberally until the message is received."
>>
No. 391873 ID: 12c19f

STOP THAT FAT HEAD! Tackle him, disable him, restrain him, anything!!! He makes a snack out of himself you'll not only have a death on your hands, you'll be a man short in perhaps the worst possible place to be alone and you'll just be enticing whatever psychic doppelganger for more neumomo! Possibly you!
>>
No. 391874 ID: 88e5ad

explain it to him loud and quickly while rushing towards him with whatever weapon you deem is effective against such a beast in hand.
>>
No. 391875 ID: ed57e8

still tied together? yank rope.
>>
No. 391878 ID: d6af4f
File 133148750505.png - (11.39KB , 700x700 , 18.png )
391878

We untied ourselves after the opening was out of sight.

"You fucker, it's going to kill you! No neumono on this planet is so friendly, and nothing else is without wanting something in return! Are you expecting a cave full of exotic native women just wanting to lay you?!"

He's shocked and confused. And after losing my cool, the predators know I exist, too. They do feel nice. Bastards, they're good.
>>
No. 391879 ID: d6af4f
File 133148752990.png - (12.30KB , 700x700 , 19.png )
391879

They're not far, but they stopped. They aren't as dumb as most beasts, and know they'll get killed if they show themselves before we're pacified. I punch Rikek a second time. I'm losing him.

>"I want to go!"

I punch him again. "You selfish idiot, don't just bring me to these caves then leave me to fend for myself so you can be a snack!"

>"Don't get in my way, Polo! You're too damn cold, you don't have any friends, you don't know what this is like!"

I punch him harder.

>"I'll fight back if you keep me from them!"
>>
No. 391880 ID: ed57e8

sure, get an anger resonance going on.
>>
No. 391881 ID: ed57e8

oh and if we can tell you, secret way of turning your emotion sensors off is a spine needle in the right place.
>>
No. 391882 ID: 88e5ad

let him go. let him get his ass ripped open. don't save him until he regrets not listening to you.
>>
No. 391883 ID: 459534

Kiss him you fool! :V

But seriously, try doing something to distract his neumono-sense away from the predators. Or just incapacitate him for now and carry him.
>>
No. 391886 ID: ed57e8

>>391883
oh yeah, and then be like "so you would rather go with a friendly stranger then hang out with me?"
>>
No. 391887 ID: bccf7b

>>391879

Looks like I'll be suggesting it anyway... :3c

Your breasts. His face. Apply liberally until the message is received.

> "If you want to feel good so much, shut up and come with me. You go to those things, the only thing you'll find is suffering, pain, and death."
>>
No. 391899 ID: 1854db

>>391879
Turn off your mind-clearing stuff. Let him see what you're feeling- your worry and anger.

Tell him to listen. Those aren't neumono. They're predators. They should be within earshot, so we can call for them to get closer, right? Ambush them and take 'em out once you have visual confirmation, assuming you have good enough weapons to do so.
>>
No. 391906 ID: e41011

>>391899
She turns off that mind-clearing focus, she ends up in exactly the same state he is. Let's not do that if you want either of these two to live.

At least try giving him information you're withholding from him. Tell him they're predators. If he doesn't listen, knocking him out is going to be easier to fix than losing him to predators.

While letting him go and find out the hard way would be satisfying on some level, there's no use in allowing him to be devoured for the sake of satisfaction. I imagine Polo is well aware of this.
>>
No. 391913 ID: e3f578

>>391879
"I have friends you piece of unprofessional shit. And I keep them OUT of the mission. You think I'm really emotionless? Your wrong, this is the result of long, hard training. I'm no war-torn veteran to grizzled care about the world anymore or a broken child soldier. I.[punch] AM.[punch] A. [punch] PROFESSIONAL. And I keep my soldiers alive and stop them from making stupid mistakes. Do not insult me again when I'm trying to save your life, you imbecile. We are here for the eggs, NOT make nice with the locals. We are barely ahead of schedule, SO STICK TO IT! We need the time."
>>
No. 391924 ID: 12c19f

Bind him or render him unconscious. I'm sure a few more knocks to the face will either KO him or give him some apt brain trauma. Nothing your species can't recover from with some rest, right? (I have no clue how great a nuemomo's regenerative abilities are.)

He's practically too far gone at this point. We gotta get out -pronto-. Hang him up in the sleep net on the cliff face if you have to, just get him the fuck out of there. You'll have to deal with the nuemomo mimicry yourself it seems.
>>
No. 391963 ID: 369d34

Get a good hold on Rikek so he can't run off easily.
"Well, if these neumono are so friendly, they can come to us." Call out, "Hey, come on over here so we can all be buddy-buddies!"
If Rikek still keeps fighting, knock him out and tie him up.
>>
No. 391965 ID: d6af4f
File 133151878541.png - (13.86KB , 700x700 , 20.png )
391965

The spine needle trick is a one way ticket to insanity, no reasonable person would do that.
It is very difficult to knock our kind out without doing extensive damage that will take too long to recover from. I would have to shoot him in the foot for a quick incapacitation, and would rather escape from this with him fully functional.

"So it's a random stranger over me?"
>"Yes. You are unfriendl-"
"Shut up, they're not neumono, they're predat-"
"I don't care anymore, I HAVE TO SEE THEM!"

>Breasts to face
Awkward, and with empty feelings... yet he looks at them on occasion, and things are getting desperate.

"If... if you want to feel good, shut up and come with me. If you go to the predators, you'll find nothing but pain and death."

That first part is a lie, and the second one might be too. To continue avoid us fighting back, our predators feed euphoria into their prey as they're eaten alive. Sometimes, a neumono is kept alive if pacified well, and is merely eaten limb by limb occasionally.

>"Then why don't you share your emotions? That's very important to me."

The only emotions I have right now are exceptionally negative towards this situation. At least this is stalling him, but I may need to cripple him after all.
>>
No. 391966 ID: fcf88e

Because sharing your emotions right now means that if there is a predator, you both will wind up trapped. You aren't affected because you are shielding yours.

Second, you've been training how to do this for how long? Not only that, but you are doing it for the good of the entire hive. After all, if the enemy hive can sense you coming, then you can't do your job which means that if that job is what's stopping the hive from being completely destroyed, then the entire hive, including you would be toast.

You can let your emotions run when you are safe, he is safe, and there are not any crazy emotion manipulating predators in the area in a place that will become enemy territory soon.
>>
No. 391976 ID: 88e5ad

those predators are the most metal thing ever.

explain to him that being a ninja who works for and against a psychıc species entirely made up of hardasses requires a long and thorough training of killing your emotions and it is kinda difficult to reverse all those years in the blink of an eye.
>>
No. 391978 ID: 459534

>euphoria while being eaten

Huh. Didn't realize you guys were into that. :V

Don't kill me! D:
>>
No. 391981 ID: 369d34

Could you let all your emotions out in a split-second blinding burst to stun Rikek, then button them up fast enough that you could get a shot into his foot, without being euphoria'd into a stupor?
>>
No. 391983 ID: ed57e8

"we are on a mission, i never let loose on a mission. but if you live to the end, you may get your chance."
>>
No. 391988 ID: 1854db

>>391965
We have a net. Before you share your emotions, tell him that you'll share if he promises not to go and get himself killed. You want to bring him out of this unharmed.

If he tries to break his promise and run after seeing what you're feeling, then use the net. Drag him away from the predators.
>>
No. 391991 ID: d6af4f
File 133152347983.png - (12.12KB , 700x700 , 21.png )
391991

"We're on a mission, and I didn't train this way for years just to let my thoughts run like this. If you live, you may get your chance."
>"...I'm sorry, I just don't like you very much."

My net, yes! That will do a good job of subduing him.
Thankfully the net is near the top of the sack, but the bastard's going for his knife!
>>
No. 391992 ID: ed57e8

bite his arm.
>>
No. 391993 ID: 88e5ad

>>391991

you gotta disarm him. unleash the kung fu!
>>
No. 391995 ID: bccf7b

>>391991

Break his wrist if you can, perhaps. We don't want him dead... yet. If he keeps resisting, perhaps we'll have enough time to bind and gag him and keep him in that net until these things pass.
>>
No. 391998 ID: 1854db

Take the hit, but make sure he doesn't stab you anywhere that would make things difficult for you.

Or stomp on his foot to stun him.
>>
No. 391999 ID: 369d34

You're going to have to get that knife off of him anyway, lest he cuts his way out of the net.

Try to knock him to the ground, plant your knee in his gut, then wrest that knife away with both hands. Then you can net him up and bind him.
>>
No. 392001 ID: d6af4f
File 133152606521.png - (17.17KB , 700x700 , 22.png )
392001

>Bite on the arm
That wouldn't have been so easy, except he went for my face! He actually tried to take out an eye!

>"GAH!"

I tried to stomp on his foot, but he's able to avoid that. He just unsnapped his own pack, and that's going to make him more nimble. That may be my advantage - I can tackle him with the weight of me and my pack, or reach for my knife or magnum or unsnap my own pack.

No matter what, it turns out he can fight when he wants to.
>>
No. 392002 ID: fa9f7e

Might not be a good time, but are you a domme or a sub?
>>
No. 392003 ID: ed57e8

don't stop biting. bull rush him. use his bag to make him trip back.
>>
No. 392004 ID: 1854db

>>392001
HUGS. Tackle him.

Wrestle the knife away, and... well, what the crap are we even doing? We need to subdue him, not stab or shoot him. Maybe you can help him close off his mind to the predators. Tell him how to do what you're doing. Even a little bit of mental shielding would help here.
>>
No. 392006 ID: 3e85e3

Ride 'em cowgirl!
>>
No. 392009 ID: e3f578

>>392001
Twist and turn, disarm him. Should be able to do a decent suplex. Bag and tag.
>>
No. 392011 ID: 88e5ad

unleash the kung fuuuuu
>>
No. 392022 ID: d6af4f
File 133152878295.png - (17.27KB , 700x700 , 23.png )
392022

I shove forward, and he trips on his bag backwards down the slope, while I manage to get him to drop the knife. He's reaching in my bag for something now.

Damnit, it's been seconds and he's already under their control. Words are probably no good, if they ever were. They're sending aggressive thoughts from down the tunnel, and Rikek is acting like they're his own!
>>
No. 392023 ID: 07eaf7

>>392022
Well, you can either beat him unconscious or...

No, that'd take too long. momma said knock you out.
>>
No. 392026 ID: a2fa74

>>392022
Do you think you could resist their influence at close range? Then shoot the predators.

Otherwise, break a bone or two or something.
>>
No. 392027 ID: 88e5ad

the predators are probably gonna come at you anyway if you're by yourself, so I don't see the point of knocking him out. I say go for webbing him up.
>>
No. 392029 ID: 1854db

Is there even anything in your pack he could use to fight you? Your magnum's on your belt, and a rifle would be useless one-handed and in melee combat. I guess he might be going for a grenade but that's suicide.

If you ask me don't worry about him grabbing for anything out of your pack. Pin him and get that net over him. Then... want to throw a grenade at the predators?
>>
No. 392030 ID: ed57e8

>>392026
oh yeah, they may be hiding but if you can shoot it in the face that would work.
>>
No. 392037 ID: bccf7b

>>392022

Know any way to make him stop thinking without outright incapacitating him? If we can "break" that connection so to speak by keeping him from acting on it long enough, we might be able to slip in and pull him back.

Might need to go for that tackle, now. Restrict his airway a bit...?
>>
No. 392042 ID: d6af4f
File 133153092773.png - (24.45KB , 700x700 , 24.png )
392042

I have no idea how one could break the bond without a neumono jammer, which we don't have.

He did go for the plasma rifle, which I easily knock away. His current state makes him dumb, as one advantage. I get lucky, and manage to swipe the net over him before he realizes what's going on as we fall down the slope.

If I move up like this, the predators will follow at a distance, and I'll need to carry him, my gear, and his gear. I can do it, but it will be slow. I believe I won't be in danger of being controlled by a predator even at melee range, but then I run the risk of Rikek getting loose again if I go after them.

>"Let me out, you fucking bitch! You unrelenting, cold bitch!"
>>
No. 392043 ID: 1854db

We have rope and stuff. Tie him up securely, then we go kill the predators. I expect he'll be rather apologetic afterwards.
>>
No. 392046 ID: f70e5e

how dangerous are the predators if you keep your head? if they are not that tough you could probably just kill them quickly and be done with it before he gets out of the net.
>>
No. 392047 ID: 3e85e3

>>392043

Yeah, kill the predators they'll never expect that. Plus you have rifles and acid proof gear.
>>
No. 392051 ID: 1854db

Oh yeah and tell him that's just the predators making him say that. That he'll thank you after all's said and done.
>>
No. 392052 ID: 88e5ad

sneak up on those bitches.
>>
No. 392056 ID: 369d34

Wrap him in the second large net, then the bed webbing. Top it off by hammering some of those tie-off anchors you used on the cliff face into the floor, cocooning him in the rope, and tying him tightly down to them. And if that doesn't immobilize him, nail his freakin' hands to the floor.

Take all the weapons, leave everything else, just in case Rikek gets loose. Find and kill these neumono-predators. Should be easy to locate, since they're broadcasting loudly on the neumono mental frequency.
>>
No. 392065 ID: d6af4f
File 133153620462.png - (25.60KB , 700x700 , 25.png )
392065

The only reason we brought acid proof gear was for the moton.

The rifles, however, still apply.

>Rope
Of course. I put him up like a cocoon, tie him up, take all the weapons and head down to the more closed cave system.
>>
No. 392066 ID: d6af4f
File 133153622441.png - (12.11KB , 700x700 , 26.png )
392066

The cave is somewhat mazelike, we merely headed up the slope before. It isn't surprising we might not have seen anything on the way over.

I think there were 3. But now I only sense 2. They're a short distance away from each other. One is just around this bend...
>>
No. 392067 ID: d6af4f
File 133153624306.png - (23.41KB , 700x700 , 27.png )
392067

What... the fuck... wait... these aren't the sort that kill at all, they just capture us as livestock?

..... there were a bunch of exotic native women that wanted to lay the fucker after all!"
>>
No. 392069 ID: 88e5ad

>>392067

well, can't have any of that. shoot the fucker in the eye.
>>
No. 392071 ID: ed57e8

shoot it in the dick.
>>
No. 392074 ID: a3b384

Haha that's hilarious. So if it doesn't capture to kill, it simply keeps them as slaves? What's the story on these things?
>>
No. 392079 ID: 369d34

You're effectively psychicly invisible, so pull back and line up a shot on its eye. If that doesn't kill it outright, keep moving out of sight, stopping just long enough to aim and hit its head again. 'Cause those thralled neumono are going to berserk at you like Rikek the second that beast is hit.

This predator kinda looks like it had a common evolutionary ancestor with the neumono. Any idea if it has some of your species' radical regenerative ability?
>>
No. 392081 ID: 1854db

>>392067
Hmm. Can't see any obvious missing body parts, unless that one on the right has no tail. ...that's probably the case, isn't it?

Go for a stealth kill. You don't want those other neumono knowing where you are, since once you kill one predator, the other predator will give a kill order to all the captives.
>>
No. 392096 ID: d6af4f
File 133154188552.png - (41.50KB , 700x700 , 28.png )
392096

Rikek would be an ignorant fool to have come to our planet without even hearing of these, but I'll tell him more after I get him out. We think we did split off a lot time ago genetically, but they are far more fragile, relatively speaking.

The other neumono were silent until now. Their emotions sprung into action, and it's of sorrow and anger.

Yet their emotions feel... wrong. Like it's not truly theirs, but rather like an emotion that is caused because that is what they think they should feel. I'm pretty sure all of them are effectively dead inside. Kept as livestock, I don't think they're that much of a threat.
>>
No. 392097 ID: d6af4f
File 133154190505.png - (14.09KB , 700x700 , 29.png )
392097

Nevermind, they're surprisingly fast! And definitely looking for me! I bet the predators used them as self defense! They're are a lot smarter than what little I've been told has led me to believe.

Worse off, there's more. Not just these four, but what could be every neumono in this cave. At least 20 of them.

The other nearby predator went silent, so I can't sense either remaining ones anymore.
>>
No. 392099 ID: ed57e8

up the wall you go. cling to the roof.
>>
No. 392104 ID: fcf88e

Odd, they each seem to be missing one arm from the same side. Might be a reason for it.

Stay hidden and think of where the other targets are. Killing them all may just leave the slaves brain dead, but it's better than this.
>>
No. 392113 ID: 1854db

>>392097
They're dumb. They won't look up.

I think once we kill all the predators the neumoono will snap out of it... or go braindead from shock. Still, we should assume they are savable. Try not to kill them if you can help it.
>>
No. 392114 ID: 1854db

...on the other hand, now that the predator went silent, doesn't that mean Rikek is okay now? We could just go back. Not waste any more time trying to hunt the other predator(s).
>>
No. 392116 ID: d5ee6f

>>392097
Is it worthwhile to save them? They seem able to be rehabilitated?
>>
No. 392122 ID: d6af4f
File 133154634480.png - (27.50KB , 700x700 , 30.png )
392122

I've not once heard of a neumono that was rehabilitated after a week of being kept alive around a predator. I'm not knowledgeable about this circumstance, but I doubt these neumonos would fare any better after being kept for years.

But that's right, if they've gone silent, then Rikek should be fine. I'll run back to him. The wiped neumono are easy to avoid. Predators don't like head on confrontation, and they probably won't confront me directly if they can help it.

... they're helping Rikek down, damnit. I don't think they noticed me, even though I stepped out in plain sight. Rikek seems okay, aside from the immense confusion he's going through.
>>
No. 392124 ID: a2853b

>>392116
No, these things have been mentally ripped asunder. There is nothing left to save, and more importantly we do not have the resources to save them

>>392067
>What... the fuck... wait... these aren't the sort that kill at all, they just capture us as livestock?
>..... there were a bunch of exotic native women that wanted to lay the fucker after all!
That brings the question, just how sapient are these 'predators'? If they do this just because it's what they do naturally, I'm not too worried, but if these things only lost the battle of history because you guys discovered guns first, then that implies they may be laying traps right now, and that their 'pet' neumono have been reprogrammed to be very effective and clever weapons.
>>
No. 392125 ID: d5ee6f

>>392122
Welp. If they can't be rehabilitated shoot them all.
>>
No. 392129 ID: d6af4f
File 133154826074.png - (19.58KB , 700x700 , 31.png )
392129

>Are predators sapient?
Somewhat. They have the mental capacity to speak and understand approximately one hundred words. Given this turn of events, I'm thinking these ones are smarter than average.

This is more of an intelligent twist on what they do naturally. I don't believe they have the capacity to strip neumono of their will while keeping their intelligence. The fact they are able to form a rescue is worrisome, still.

On second thought, I'll use my magnum for these ones. One. Two. Three down. A dozen and a half more snapped their attention to me from back in the caves, and for a second, the predators feed odd thoughts. Meaningless to me, but I can't help but feel perhaps they have trained their prey to take certain emotions to be certain orders. The predators are silent again, and everyone else is running to my location.
>>
No. 392131 ID: a2fa74

>>392129
Cut him down and run. Have a grenade at the ready so you can do some area-denial.
>>
No. 392132 ID: 24dd8d

>>392131
Cutting him down before getting rid of the other creatures might not be the greatest idea.
Check how he's doing though.
>>
No. 392135 ID: 369d34

>>392131
There's really no time to cut Rikek down and drag him up the slope to the cave entrance.

Drop a lit flashlight at the bottom of the slope to light up the cave. Take up position at the top of the slope and pick off any of the mind-slaved neumono that either try to get Rikek down or come up the slope.

There's no qualms about killing these neumono. Any minds they may have had are long gone, or, in the all too real chance they were born into this, were never there. It's sad, but they're no more than extensions of the neumono-predators now.
>>
No. 392136 ID: d6af4f
File 133155093720.png - (31.45KB , 700x700 , 32.png )
392136

Rikek is physically stable and in good condition aside from a few scuffs and hits, mostly from me. Mentally, he will need time before he's of any use.
>>
No. 392137 ID: d6af4f
File 133155439448.png - (15.69KB , 700x700 , 33.png )
392137

With no willpower, it only takes one decent shot to drop one of these. It won't take long for them to wake up from a nonlethal wound, so I have to spend a minute making sure they won't wake up again. I can't afford qualms now, but there's at least a nearby pit that I can place the bodies into.

Thankfully I have the time to do so, as I sense that the other neumono will gather themselves to a decent number before advancing.
>>
No. 392140 ID: d6af4f
File 133155495755.png - (24.57KB , 700x700 , 34.png )
392140

And enough time to dirty myself for camoflauge purposes. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to cocoon Rikek somewhere I had a clear shot to. If they get to him, I will have a difficult time shooting them as they free Rikek.

It doesn't take long for them to accumulate some ways down the slope. One of them pokes their head out, and looks around.
>>
No. 392141 ID: a2fa74

>>392139
You're inside enemy territory and massively outnumbered, so you decide to set-up a shooting range and hope they don't swarm or flank you.
This was ill advised.
>>
No. 392142 ID: e3f578

>>392140
See what it does
Give it two steps before shooting, you have one shot. They get him untangled, you're boned. You'll probably take a few out before having to engage in more CQC, maybe at most 3. But if it does get to cover because you miss, then it's time to get up close and personal immediately.
>>
No. 392147 ID: d5ee6f

>>392140
No, let it get out into the open. More bang for your bait.
>>
No. 392154 ID: d5ee6f

>>392147
To specific- let it get out so the others feel safe and follow it out, allowing you to kill a bunch.
>>
No. 392161 ID: d6af4f
File 133156623659.png - (26.83KB , 700x700 , 35.png )
392161

It walks out. With any luck, others will follow before it gets to Rikek, feeling safe...

...

No such luck, I have to shoot it. A few times, even though even the toughest neumono would have trouble staying concious after a head shot. I am spending more charges to the plasma rifle than I would like, but this should last through as many as there are, and leaving any alive could give me regret. This is why I brought a spare, and I still have Rikek's.
>>
No. 392162 ID: d6af4f
File 133156624326.png - (25.50KB , 700x700 , 36.png )
392162

3 neumono's go silent. 2 more. 3 more. Slowly, I'm feeling alone again, except for Rikek. Those neumono are effectively zombies. If there was any chance of me feeling bad about killing them, it is gone now.

5 minutes pass. Nothing is happening. I can only feel Rikek.
>>
No. 392163 ID: a2fa74

>>392162
You couldn't feel them before the predators made their move, so there's no way to tell how many you aren't sensing now.
Take him and leave.
>>
No. 392164 ID: e3f578

>>392162
Retrieve Rikek, maybe put him up somewhere harder to get to but easy to nail, then investigate nearby pathways before dragging him with you.

You could try asking if he's back to normal now, but he might be lying to you if he responds that he is, of course, it might be pretty hard for a neumono to lie, especially one with no mental training, so eh, whatever. Still be cautious around him.
>>
No. 392172 ID: 88e5ad

get 'im down. if one of the big reds come at him you might not be able to save him.
>>
No. 392175 ID: d6af4f
File 133157067465.png - (17.06KB , 700x700 , 37.png )
392175

Watching my surroundings, I unhinge Rikek, grab a few of the dropped items on my way, and start moving up.

>"...Polo?"
He barely manages to speak behind a disgusting amount of guilt and shame.
>"I'm sorry."
I believe he wants to come out, but I won't like the idea of it while I know there are predators around.
>"What can I do to make it up to you?"
>>
No. 392176 ID: ed57e8

"don't complain about anything the rest of the hunt."
>>
No. 392177 ID: 68f2f2

>>392175

He's gotta feel awful about this by now. You should reassure him, let him know you're not mad at him but you have to keep him tied up for his own safety until you know the second predator won't be a threat.
>>
No. 392178 ID: 12c19f

Do nuemomo have the equivalent of the metaphorical tinfoil hat? If only there was a supressing headband or something Rikek could wear to keep his mind probe-free.
>>
No. 392186 ID: 88e5ad

shut up.
>>
No. 392190 ID: d6af4f
File 133157355640.png - (9.97KB , 700x700 , 38.png )
392190

>Does a metaphorical tinfoil hat exist?
Yes, a neumono jammer would work, but we didn't think to bring one. This was not a being we expected to come by.

"I'm not mad, but don't complain about anything for the rest of the hunt. Just shut up."
>"Is it complaining if.. I say that I'm scared? I've heard about them, but I didn't realize it would be so easy to get controlled like that! How is that even possible!?"
"I know you're scared, idiot. I don't claim to understand much about them. But in under one minute, they know your emotions inside and out. You're as good as theirs."

Both remaining predators flared up again. They're doing something odd from down the tunnel.
>"P-polo.. what's happening?!"

They're doing something odd. They're both giving very obviously opposing ideas. Attack, make peace. Be afraid, be brave. For me, whom they barely made contact with, it is simply like a pair of people yelling opposing ideas.

For Rikek, who can no longer tell the difference between his own thoughts and the predators...
>>
No. 392191 ID: d6af4f
File 133157356447.png - (29.27KB , 700x700 , 39.png )
392191

The split is quite seriously driving him insane, and quick.
>>
No. 392193 ID: d5ee6f

>>392191
Knock him out. If that will work, of course. Concussion is better than insanity.
>>
No. 392194 ID: ed57e8

insane and on their side and insane and possibly on your side. needle him, may make them think he died from the strain.
>>
No. 392197 ID: 88e5ad

stick a needle in his spine, cross your fingers and hope to die...
>>
No. 392199 ID: fcf88e

...just knock 'im out. Simple as that. We can likely kill the other two(possibly the one with angry thoughts) since it seems they are just going to continue this. Luckily, they just flared up like beacons to you.
>>
No. 392200 ID: ed57e8

>>392199
knocking him out involves practically shattering his skull. if we want him getting back up any time this month we can't do that.
>>
No. 392205 ID: d6af4f
File 133157667277.png - (6.54KB , 700x700 , 40.png )
392205

Shoving a needle in the right passage is just the first step. To have it do anything other than feel like you have a needle in your nervous system, you have to attempt to channel all your thoughts down that specific passage. It's not something you can just decide to do one day.

>Knock him out
I was hoping to get us through this without considerable harm, but it looks like that may not be the case. I do know where the predators are now. They aren't far.

Knocking him out, however, is not as simple as most species with grey matter for brains. Neumono knock outs are more simply going into shock from extensive damage. There are plenty of nervous system points in the head to work with and bash against a rock, but in order to do it enough to fully knock him out, he will wake to days of poor vision and disorientation.
I can take out a heart or two. His body will most likely pass out while it goes into shock as the other hearts pick up their pace.
Or I can take out a lung, which will be fine if not for some neumono's not passing out under that sort of damage. Then again, his going insane may help with that.
Or I can shoot out his stomach. He will most likely enter hibernation for several hours to prevent starvation as it patches itself over.
>"H-help, Polo! W-why are you looking.. at me like that?!"
>>
No. 392206 ID: ed57e8

stomach, a few hours should do it. if he doesn't pass out from that then a lung.
>>
No. 392207 ID: f70e5e

shoot him in the stomach, though telling him what your doing ahead of time and why might be a good idea.
>>
No. 392208 ID: a3b384

Stomache seems most reliable way, given the good regular time it takes. Give him a bit of warning first: "I'm helping you. Enjoy your nap." Then shoot him.
>>
No. 392211 ID: d6af4f
File 133158012466.png - (23.28KB , 700x700 , 41.png )
392211

"Against the wall. Stay still."
>"Wait, no! What are you doing?!"
"Saving your life. Sleep tight."
>>
No. 392213 ID: d6af4f
File 133158017073.png - (8.79KB , 700x700 , 42.png )
392213

Rikek goes out like a light, and after a moment, so do our enemies. It is quiet once again.

I'm left to wonder if I should do anything about the predators, or just head up the slope as quick and steady as I can.
>>
No. 392214 ID: ed57e8

are you confident you could get all the way out before he wakes up again?if not then let the hunt begin.
>>
No. 392215 ID: a2fa74

>>392213
Just leave.
You can tell your hive what you found, but I think it's better to just mark the area as dangerous and leave them alone. They're almost extinct, and having them around keeps people sharp. Besides, you said this is highly abnormal behavior for the predators, which makes it something worthy of scientific investigation. By other people.
>>
No. 392217 ID: 88e5ad

maybe we should hurry. I mean, we do have a schedule.
>>
No. 392223 ID: bccf7b

>>392213
Apology hug time. He may not be able to feel it, but... he'll understand.

Let's get moving. We need to leave those predators behind before they put what little intellect they have together and try to go after us. Besides, we've wasted too much time as it is.
>>
No. 392234 ID: 1854db

>>392213
They just tried to kill your partner, instead of just cutting losses and letting you go. They're going to chase you.

We hunt them down now, and end this. We need to find a more secure location to put Reikek first though. Perhaps we can staple him up high on a wall where the neumoono and predators can't reach?

Well, it's either that or completely block the passage they can take to get to us. I don't think we have anything destructive enough for that though.
>>
No. 392235 ID: 12c19f

I'm all for calling this expedition a complete bust. Strap on your parachutes and get prepared to get the hell out of here. If you ever make it out of this mess I think jammer equipment should be standard from now on when straying into the unknown.
>>
No. 392250 ID: d6af4f
File 133158928340.png - (20.68KB , 700x700 , 43.png )
392250

I head up with Rikek, watching my back in case the predators make a move. It's slow, and it's difficult. I can only hope that the cave goes up a good ways longer before an exit is found, as I won't be able to climb vertically with hundreds of pounds in tow.

>Apology hug
If I am to give any apology in any form, it must be done when he is aware. I have mixed feelings about giving an apology regardless.

Hours pass, and the cave slowly opens into a massive expanse, as though this needle of a mountain were hollow. There are still no signs of the predators or their pets, nor signs of tunnels that they could spring out of. I believe they would have no choice but to chase me up, and while they may be able to bring me down if they so wanted, the predators should know that I could take down more of their number than I am worth to them.
>>
No. 392251 ID: d6af4f
File 133158929368.png - (38.61KB , 700x700 , 44.png )
392251

I find an exit after another hour. It is merely a natural balcony as the slope curves around to move upwards more. However, I am exhausted, and I am reluctant to explore any more of this in light of recent events.

Still, I am surprised our predator made no move. Perhaps they thought I killed Rikek, as he certainly thought I was going to do that. Or perhaps, despite how obvious our location would be, they simply could not follow neumono that gave off no emissions. Or simply that I was immune to their attempts, and would be too costly to pursue. But perhaps I am thinking about this too much.

As I can't vertically climb like this, nor even move on in my condition, there is little choice but to take a rest. I take off Rikek's bindings, except for his hands and legs, in case things turn sour once again.
>>
No. 392254 ID: d6af4f
File 133158937875.png - (35.44KB , 700x700 , 45.png )
392254

A couple hours later, he comes to. Even having to climb alone, even having to wait like this, we still saved at least a couple hours, probably more. Since it was he who got shot, I suppose in the end I can't complain.

The first thing he does is look away.
>>
No. 392256 ID: a3b384

Apologies aren't needed, but letting him know that it's no big deal should help. I mean it's not like he was really in control there. If you tell him you'll help train him in how to block those kinds of things, or if you're not gonna help just tell him to learn how. He'll take it as a way to make up for that mess and not feel so guilty bout it.
>>
No. 392257 ID: fa9f7e

>>392254
He looks pretty apologetic. Dryly ask him if he still wants to feel good. Don't be too much of a bitch about it, though. Not his fault he couldn't shield himself.
>>
No. 392258 ID: 88e5ad

let's go.
>>
No. 392259 ID: 2563d4

>>392254
Great. Get him hooked up to the rope and resume climbing.
>>
No. 392265 ID: fcf88e

Well he is awake and he does look a bit apologetic, but we should likely apologize back a bit. Half of why he betrayed so easily due to that was because there was not a lot of trust and while what we did was for his best interest, it was still rather brutal and apologizing for going hard on him may make him more willing to admit that he was wrong at parts and that you want both of you to survive this.
>>
No. 392269 ID: 1854db

>>392254
Ask him how he's feeling. And tell him that we still saved time doing this, all things considered. The cave was a decent shortcut after all.

And ask him if you showing your emotions is really important to him, or if that was just the predator talking, trying to get you vulnerable.
>>
No. 392275 ID: bccf7b

>>392254
Definitely time for that apology hug. Ask Rikek if he understands what happened down there, and tell him it's not his fault -- it's not like he was in control.
>>
No. 392327 ID: 369d34

If he tries to apologize, stop him, and say that he should not feel ashamed or guilty for any of that. He was being manipulated by demons; Creatures right out of ancient neumono nightmares, that've killed or enslaved the best of many a hive. As far as you're concerned, Rikek was not himself back there, no matter how much he thinks he was.

Untie his hands and offer up some of the rations, if he can handle them. Apologize for, or at least explain why, you shot him in the gut. You were out of options, and it was down to that or his mind being shattered. Though, ask him if he thought you were going to kill him right then and there.
>>
No. 392358 ID: d6af4f
File 133161958096.png - (7.87KB , 700x700 , 46.png )
392358

We silently sit for a couple minutes in stiff air. I'm curious if he breaks the silence first, but I don't think he has the nerve.

"How are you feeling?"
>"... okay. Hungry, and a little like I want to vomit."
"You'd better wait as long as you can before eating."
>"Yeah."

I could say I'm sorry, but even if he can't tell, I don't want to lie. I'm not sorry at all. I won't hug him for that.
"I shot you in the stomach to protect you from the predators. Did you think I was going to kill you?
>"........ yes. But I was confused, and... I'm sorry fo-"
"Don't be sorry. You couldn't help it. If we make it out of here, I'll help you train to block those things, if you wish."
>"Th-thank you."

"......... Do you still want to feel good?"
>"Huh?! I mean... that would be a yes, of course, but I didn't mean anything I said back there as it looked! It was all them speaking, I didn't mean a thing I said to you! I didn't mean a thing I did to you!"
>>
No. 392359 ID: d6af4f
File 133161959240.png - (8.45KB , 700x700 , 47.png )
392359

"Neither did I."
>>
No. 392360 ID: d6af4f
File 133161960074.png - (33.24KB , 700x700 , 48.png )
392360

It was beginning to get dark even at the cave opening, but I wouldn't sleep knowing we were accessable to predators. So we climb in silence. Perhaps I should have given him that hug, or some sort of tactile reassurance. He is still feeling down, guilty and incompetent. Although we still have to climb down a ways again to reach the extraction, tomorrow morning we will be fighting the Moton. I don't know how mentally Rikek is ready for it. I am not, however, ready to call this mission a bust.

"Rikek, get the bed netting. We'll call it a day."
>"Okay."
>>
No. 392365 ID: e3f578

Before you go to sleep, joke that exotic native women were probably going to lay him if you failed. These are the types to keep you alive, as mindless pets, but alive. Then again, he wouldn't have much of a mind or personality to enjoy it anymore.
So not much pressure, he'd just become a housecat.
Hell, I think I only saw a single male, so Rikek and him would have had a nice harem going on.
Give him a playful punch to better indicate no hard feelings, I don't think he'll forgive himself for a while unless things really do seem cool between you, what with your training and all. Gotta use physical gestures.
>>
No. 392367 ID: 1854db

You didn't tell him you gained time by going through the cave! It's important that he knows that whole escapade wasn't entirely negative.

Also uh, you mentioned that he was very polite to you. That's something you like, right? You should tell him that. While you're practicing your training, he can't see what you're feeling, but you can see his feelings. That's not fair, so... talk to him. Open up to him, because normally you'd be a mostly open book to him anyway.
>>
No. 392393 ID: d6af4f
File 133162522014.png - (20.49KB , 700x700 , 49.png )
392393

>Open up
I suppose that may be safe now that the predators are gone. I will hope this does not backfire.

I give him a little shoulder punch before settling back onto the bedding.

"Hey."
>"... Polo?"
"No hard feelings, Rikek. Besides, if I failed, you would've been doomed to a life of living with a harem of exotic native women after all, huh?"
>"Eheh... would I have the sense of mind to enjoy it?"
"I don't know. It seemed like they were mindless, but those predators were so strange. You could go back and find out. I won't stop you."
>"I think I'm fine with you, Polo."
"You're exceptionally polite to me. And you know, your choice to go in the caves turned out well. We're ahead of schedule, and mostly unharmed. You'll just be nauseous for awhile."
>"You really aren't mad? I thought you were hiding something from me, but... well, we could have died in there. You could have died. It was too risky after all."
"Shut it. We're different, but I would not be lying to say that I consider you a friend. If there's anything to make up, you can do it tomorrow."

We aren't the best of matches, but he feels better. The hour has gotten late, but I have to wonder if I should talk to him more before getting rest. Perhaps tell him about predators, or ask about his family. On the other hand, we are pretty tired.
>>
No. 392396 ID: a2fa74

>>392393
Sleep close together for warmth - he complained about being cold last night.

Also, point out that the mistake was going into the cave, and you approved of that. He's being to hard on himself; the important part is that he's learned quite a lot, and he's motivated to improve himself.
>>
No. 392397 ID: a9298b

Get to know him a bit better before going to sleep — close together of course.
>>
No. 392398 ID: 369d34

Ah. He didn't know how to handle you being able to lie and hide your intentions from him. It must be more than a little strange and unsettling to him that another neumono can do that.

Ask Rikek's if he's ever been separate from the neumono empathic link before. At least, separate for any serious length of time. He seems like he doesn't know how to handle what he's feeling well without that empathic feedback. It's something that most neumono just don't get much experience with, is it?

He might feel better if you say that nobody could have forseen they'd run into those neumono-predators. Seriously, they're so damn rare that you didn't even think to consider bringing a jammer on this trip. It's some crazy bad luck we ran into three oddly intelligent ones with an entourage of mind-zombified neumono halfway up this spire. And equally crazy good luck that you were his partner on this climb. So here's hoping all the crazy luck has run out.
>>
No. 392399 ID: 1854db

Hey now, let's not get too friendly. Sleeping together with him would give him the wrong idea. That's bad.

I don't think we should talk about the predators. That sort of spooky talk could give the guy nightmares, as he has been shown to get freaked out a bit easily and was unnerved by killing the windbeast. Also we shouldn't really be talking any further about what we just went through.

Ask about his family. Maybe talk about yours.
>>
No. 392401 ID: 88e5ad

sleep
>>
No. 392414 ID: d6af4f
File 133164781078.png - (154.56KB , 1055x827 , 50.png )
392414

"Have you ever been away from neumono empathetic links for any long length before?"
>"A couple of days at most. Even on the ship that brought me here, I had other company, and your hive was welcoming to visitors. That's why..."
"I'm unnerving to you."
>"...yes. Even your soldiers are affectionate and polite, so I was surprised to learn that you were in the hive."
"Tell me of your home."
>"Oh, it's far different. I'm on an industrial planet. I worked on a middle orbit station for a time, and on its night side, the whole planet was lit up like a lamp."
"What is your hive like? Do they fight often with others?"
>"Not at all. It's not a neumono's planet, so we're not allowed. And even though there aren't laws that prevent contact, we don't see many other hives. I've fought in wars, but it was for other species, so most of us weren't fighters. Sometimes we're accused of being hedonistic, but I don't think that's so true. We have immense expectations within ourselves, to do our absolute best. But is is true that if a neumono fails those expectations, the others will leap on him or her to pick up the pace of whatever duty has been assigned. To be honest, I'm a bit disappointed to see that there is constant warefare at our home planet."
"It's an improvement. In our tribal days, when two hives came into contact, the mortality rate averaged at 60% for everyone. The remaining 40% had plenty to eat, at least."
>>
No. 392415 ID: d6af4f
File 133164783599.png - (7.83KB , 700x700 , 51.png )
392415

"Anyways, let's get to bed. Remember, no body could have seen us running into predators coming. It was horrible luck. And extremely good luck I am who I was trained to be. Furthermore, if you still consider going into the cave a mistake, realize that I approved of it."
>"Thank you, Polo. This is the open hive I was fortunate to meet. You know, you said 'if' we make it out. I know I'm not in my home town, but we consider it an incredibly bad thing to admit that there is even a chance of failure... hey, it's snowing."

There's the bad luck again. A thick fog is rolling in from the other side. We were so positive that the weather would be clear, too.
>>
No. 392417 ID: 1854db

Craptacular. Better bundle up extra well. Hmm. You should at least sleep next to him, though maybe not sharing blankets. I dunno. Do you have anything more water resistant to cover with?
>>
No. 392418 ID: 88e5ad

great, I don't see any extra blankets listed in your inventory. unless neumono are really cold- and moisture-resistant, you should try to get into the nearest recess you see.
>>
No. 392419 ID: 12c19f

Proceed to snuggle like the bunnies you are for warmth under your blanket.
>>
No. 392422 ID: bccf7b

>>392415

In the morning, wake up and make a little snow-Rikek~
>>
No. 392423 ID: d6af4f
File 133165501651.png - (163.69KB , 700x700 , 52.png )
392423

>Extra blankets

We are running into everthing unexpected. Our fur won't help with moisture, but our blankets are fine for resistance. They are still thinner than I would like for warmth, considering the temperature drop. Unfortunately there are no recesses around here we can take against the snow. I don't want to give the wrong idea, so I'll simply sleep close, but not double up on blankets.

He's shivering, but the additional warmth helps him get to sleep. Despite my exhaustion, something keeps me awake. It may be a long night before I'm able to even think about silly things like making snow-Rikek's in the morning.
>>
No. 392424 ID: d6af4f
File 133165509153.png - (186.13KB , 700x700 , 53.png )
392424

... more neumonos. Not zombies. Real ones. Soldiers. A couple hundred. Not inside of the spire. In a ship. Coming nearby. Not any hive I would have anything to do with. I reflexively shut myself off again. Rikek is asleep and isn't going through any extensive dreams or thoughts, thankfully, but this nearby hive might wake him up.
>>
No. 392426 ID: 12c19f

Wait it out. There's little you can do besides recede back into the cave and the climb back down in this weather might prove insufferable.
>>
No. 392427 ID: 88e5ad

why don't you want anything to do with them?
>>
No. 392428 ID: ed57e8

be ready to throw a grenade into their engine.
>>
No. 392430 ID: a2fa74

>>392424
Double-up the blankets. The extra warmth will help him sleep, and since you're already in detection range the longer he sleeps the better.
>>
No. 392433 ID: d6af4f
File 133165832792.png - (94.13KB , 700x700 , 54.png )
392433

The hum of their engine is audible, but smooth. Probably a gravity neutralizer. I don't want anything to do with their hive, because... I can feel no intents, wants or desires to do anything but fight. If not for my ability, I would be more scared now than I ever would have been back in the cave.

I carefully manuever under Rikek's blanket. He stirs at first, but quickly drifts off and breathes easier.

I am tempted to take a look.
>>
No. 392437 ID: a9298b

Only look if you can do so without waking Rikek. These guys are earlier than expected, is that going to cause problems with extraction?
>>
No. 392438 ID: 88e5ad

oooh

sleep my chiiild
>>
No. 392439 ID: e3f578

>>392433
Your wording implies you've been scared by things scarier both than what is in that cave and this sociopathic neumonos. What could possibly scare you more than those two?

I don't suggest moving or looking. You're already startled. If anything else happens, you might spike an emotion despite your ability and give your location away.
>>
No. 392448 ID: d6af4f
File 133166305591.png - (53.73KB , 700x700 , 55.png )
392448

>What is scarier?
This is the scariest. It is simply that I can push the feeling to the side, as long as I can concentrate.

I have never been in a real combat situation before. I have trained in replications of various battles, but never in the company of... these. It's enough to start bugging Rikek even in his sleep. I am surprised he doesn't wake up.

It feels like hours, but their flood lights dim, the engine can't be heard, and the taste of their hive just leaves an ache. I'm able to sleep again eventually, left wondering what the ship looked like.
>>
No. 392450 ID: d6af4f
File 133166314606.png - (109.50KB , 700x700 , 56.png )
392450

There are no signs of any ships in the morning, although the fog, while not as thick, persists. The fog will not be an issue, but as for the change of events with this ship, I do not know if the extraction will be interrupted.

We roll out of bed, shaking off some of the built up snow. Rikek says nothing, but he understands that I merely was keeping our warmth together, and he is thankful for that much.

>"It's cold, but on the bright side, the snow lets us replenish some of our water supply. So, um... hey, did something happen last night?"
>>
No. 392451 ID: ed57e8

yes and it was enough that i am starting to wonder if fate has conspired against us.
>>
No. 392470 ID: 88e5ad

a bloodthirsty hive ship happened, that's what. better get this mission over with.
>>
No. 392476 ID: d6af4f
File 133167181510.png - (97.27KB , 700x700 , 57.png )
392476

"Yeah. A nasty enemy hive ship appeared. It's enough to make me wonder if fates are moving against us. At least you're a heavy sleeper. Let's hurry up, we might find cover at the top ."
>"Seriously? Oh.. ohhhh, do you think they're coming back? I mean, if...
"Calm down."

It's a few hours to the top, and the weather gets far worse. It's below freezing in this blizzard, and the air currents are always horrible at this level.
>>
No. 392477 ID: d6af4f
File 133167185879.png - (222.44KB , 700x700 , 58.png )
392477

The top. We put on the rest of our acid gear. I can just make out a collection of gathered foliage. That must be the nest, but I don't see the Moton. It looks like we may have come in the bit of time during the day that it hunts. Which is no longer than an hour at a time.
>>
No. 392479 ID: 88e5ad

I guess that gives you time to booby trap its nest with a fuckton of explosives.

hehehe, booby trap.
>>
No. 392481 ID: ed57e8

run in grab them and get out. unless you want to trap the shit out the nest.
>>
No. 392485 ID: 88e5ad

oh wait, we aren't here to kill it, we're here to grab its eggs. nevermind, grab 'em and scram.
>>
No. 392495 ID: b4798d

If the moton comes back and finds the egg gone, will it come looking for you? If that's the case, then grabbing the egg AND booby trapping the nest would be a good idea.

Also, could that ship possibly have been looking for the predators you encountered?
>>
No. 392502 ID: 1854db

>>392477
Hey, the storm's obscuring your vision. Make sure it's not here before moving in- you don't want to get ambushed. Also be ready for it to arrive at any time.
>>
No. 392538 ID: d6af4f
File 133168418733.png - (25.58KB , 700x700 , 59.png )
392538

I don't see the Moton around after a look around, and heading in to the nest, I can't hide a bit of satisfaction seeing the goal.

>"They're huge."
"They're lighter than they look, which isn't saying much. Get the nets, we're just grabbing a couple."
>"Are they... fertilized?"
"That's very unlikely. They lay eggs no matter what, and they're... well, they have displayed intellect while hunting, but otherwise, they are astonishingly stupid. You wouldn't happen to know how lay booby traps that would harm something large, would you?"
>"Erm, no..."
"Neither do I, at least not using gear that I would much rather not leave behind."
>>
No. 392540 ID: d6af4f
File 133168424197.png - (131.88KB , 700x700 , 60.png )
392540

We load the nets with their intended cargo, and we are ready to rappel down. There is no sign of the Moton, which is sure to hunt us after finding missing eggs. We are ahead of schedule by a couple hours, and the extraction won't come early.
>>
No. 392542 ID: 88e5ad

in that case, do trap its nest. maybe make some fake eggs so it won't realize anything's wrong before it lands.
>>
No. 392543 ID: 1854db

>>392540
So we're gonna be hunted for at least an hour if we go down now? How about we just lie in ambush up here, and take out the Moton before we go down?
>>
No. 392549 ID: ed57e8

then start going fast, and find a nitch to hide in.
>>
No. 392556 ID: 12c19f

Better set up a spot to hole up in, it's likely the parent will be back by then and if the eggs mean this much, you'll wanna hold your ground.
>>
No. 392557 ID: bccf7b

>>392540

Don't trap the nest. Instead, lay a false trail down the opposite side of the cliff thing if at all possible. Keep it off you guys for as long as you can.
>>
No. 392589 ID: 369d34

How about planting a frag grenade about where you guess the moton would stand when it checks its nest. Tie a rope to the pin, then hide in the back of the nest with your two netted eggs. The eggs in front should take the brunt of the blast. Use two 'nades, spread apart, if you want to put the serious hurt on the moton. Then you two pop out and lay down the fire. Whether you two stay next to the eggs or not depends on how reluctant a monton is to acid its own nest or eggs.

How acid-proof is all of your gear. The suits and guns are certainly acid-proofed, but what about the rope, rations, and everything else? Better stash all that out of the way.
>>
No. 392616 ID: d6af4f
File 133170000482.png - (109.48KB , 700x700 , 61.png )
392616

I'll use one grenade as a trap in the midst of the eggs, as I am reluctant to use the remainder of such an explosive. I am holding a string that, using my ropework, merely requires a touch pull to activate the grenade. The string is thin enough that it will be near impossible to see in this weather.
We put a trail of loose, disposeable gear leading from where we came, in case it takes the bait, in which case... hopefully it will follow that for a good deal of time.
Our gear is off to the side, hidden as best as we can in a safe hole. It isn't acid proof.

>"I hear somet-"
"Shh!"

Even in a blizzard, a Moton's senses are extremely tuned.
>>
No. 392618 ID: d6af4f
File 133170011339.png - (113.77KB , 700x700 , 62.png )
392618

.... no matter how you read it, a textbook can't show how big they are. It is slowly approaching the nest, but it appears very cautious.

Rikek is silent, but I am relatively sure he is thinking the same thing I am. The grenade will probably act as little more than an opening punch, even if it sits right on the eggs.
>>
No. 392625 ID: 12c19f

I uh... Um...

Wow.

That 'nade is going to buy you a few precious seconds at the most.

I suggest getting your rifles ready and primed.
>>
No. 392629 ID: ed57e8

>>392625
the nade is to make it mad and go after the first clue it gets. the false trail.
>>
No. 392638 ID: 12c19f

>>392629
Yes but assuming it's senses are as sharp as we believe, it'll pick up on them shortly after. You want some insurance here.
>>
No. 392643 ID: 369d34

...Sweet holy fuck, it's the size of a house...

OK, see if it starts moving in the direction of the gear trail; Hopefully it'll jump off the cliff after your scent, but that's unlikely. If it starts moving in any other direction, or sits on the nest, blow the 'nade. Then if it goes for you two and not over the edge, start fighting.

Once the fight starts, you two split up and evade, evade, evade. Stick to those spikes or any other cover. If it gets near one of you, the other unloads plasma fire into it 'till it starts chasing them. Keep it moving. Here's hoping that old queen's inscription was right about them tiring quick.

You may want to drop your empathic block so Rikek knows where you are relative to the moton, but only if the emotions of the situation won't spiral up and distract you both.
>>
No. 392659 ID: d5ee6f

>>392618
Fuck this plan. Punch some holes in its wings and rapple the fuck down.
>>
No. 392661 ID: 369d34

>>392659
This... Would have been a good plan if the ropes and gear were setup already. Still, messing up one of it's wings so it can't swoop around behind them would be good. Or, even better, crippling a wing while it's in flight. Sadly, I don't think anything less than a plasma cannon or rocket launcher would put a sizable hole in this beast's wings.
>>
No. 392684 ID: d6af4f
File 133173111569.png - (84.28KB , 700x700 , 63.png )
392684

I take off my own empathic block for purposes of this fight.
Its silhouetted form takes a sniff; I yank the cord.

>"REEEEEEEEEEEEEE"
"Split up, and perforate its wings!"
>>
No. 392685 ID: d6af4f
File 133173112298.png - (122.05KB , 700x700 , 64.png )
392685

It doesn't go after any trail we set up down the side of the cliff. It goes straight for Rikek, oddly, considering he took the higher ground behind me.

>"HORK"
>"AHH oh god it smells! I-it's everywhere!"

That must be the acid breath. It was old warriors and hunters that named it acid breath, because it sounded more impressive than saying they got slathered by corrosive projectile vomit.
>>
No. 392686 ID: 12c19f

>>392685
How prolonged is the effectiveness of those acid suits? And how does your equipment handle against it? We can't take this thing on with melted guns.

If it's better than I think it is just keep this up. Does the pickup have heavy artillery on board? Can they blast it when they come around?
>>
No. 392693 ID: 88e5ad

maybe aim for the maw the next time it tries to do that.
>>
No. 392699 ID: d6af4f
File 133174205624.png - (167.82KB , 700x700 , 65.png )
392699

The acid suits are practically designed to handle Motons, and the plasma guns were coated with some resistance to it as well; they will most likely be alright. In any case, it can only do it so frequently. We're safe from any acid breath for the time.

The extraction pickup is a helicopter. It might have a minigun on it, but we would have to go down the side.

It's beginning to have difficulty flying- shit, I hear a thud that I can feel under my feet, and I can't sense Rikek anymore! It's turning towards me!
>>
No. 392700 ID: ed57e8

get ready to jump behind a rock.
>>
No. 392701 ID: a2fa74

>>392699
We don't have time for this.
Keep a rock between it and yourself, then start putting rounds into its center of mass. The head would be better, but in this weather your odds of hitting that are much too low.
Gradually make your way over to where Rikek was so you can see if he's still alive. We can't actually do much to help while it's active, but we might be able to distract it long enough to get him to cover.
>>
No. 392709 ID: d6af4f
File 133174879594.png - (124.08KB , 700x700 , 66.png )
392709

...it flees. I take a few shots, some hit the wing, and I got a few shots onto its head and chest while getting to Rikek. Perhaps these, to an extent, are learning how to adapt as well, at least in ways. The books said that they are extremely resilient towards fleeing. Outdated once again.
>>
No. 392710 ID: d6af4f
File 133174883251.png - (152.24KB , 700x700 , 67.png )
392710

Rikek is.... well, alive. His right side is terribly mangled, as a colossal amount of force must have gone behind that blow. It most likely is not fatal normally, but staying still in such a blizzard in such a condition would be bad.
>>
No. 392711 ID: ed57e8

good thing we aren't staying. evac.
>>
No. 392713 ID: a2fa74

>>392710
Clean the acid off him, then splint his broken bones as best you can. I'd say backboard him, but you don't have the equipment for that.
Wrap him in blankets and tie him to your back. You're going to be climbing down so weight won't be as much of an issue. Try to take both eggs with you to start, but be prepared to ditch one if you have to.
>>
No. 392714 ID: e3f578

IS the evac point near a cave of some sort? Because if you have to hang for a few hours on the cliff side waiting for a damn helicopter with an unconscious Rikek and eggs in tow while a Moton is flying around, you're a sitting duck.
>>
No. 392774 ID: d6af4f
File 133176209570.png - (137.77KB , 700x700 , 68.png )
392774

If we leave right now, we'll end up at the extraction point early still. I put Rikek inside of a net, meaning we will only get one egg out of this. I don't trust my ability enough to carry such a heavy load if I have another egg. I am okay with this. I don't like being a sitting duck, but I climb down anyways and will wait at the point.
>>
No. 392775 ID: d6af4f
File 133176210356.png - (99.13KB , 700x700 , 69.png )
392775

A great deal of time passes, even after I set up the bedding, and Rikek awakens.

>"Polo...?"
"I'm glad you're healthy enough to wake."
>"What happened?"
"You got hit by a Moton. Do you remember who you are?"
>"Y-yeah, I'm Rikek. Where are we?"
"Waiting for an extraction."
>"How long until it comes?"
"... 30 minutes ago."
>"... did we just get here?"
"No. I got here early. It is simply late."

It is slowly dawning on him that that is not a good sign.
>>
No. 392777 ID: 1854db

>>392775
What are our orders in this situation? How long are we supposed to wait before assuming it won't arrive and... go to plan B? There is a plan B, right?
>>
No. 392788 ID: a2fa74

>>392775
He's injured, and that's going to sap his energy and make him more vulnerable to the cold. Huddle together and wrap a blanket around the two of you so you'll have some protection from the elements.
Inclement weather can easily delay transport, and helicopters are rather vulnerable at that.

Try teaching Rikek the basics of hiding his emotions. You probably won't make much of any progress, but it's something to do.
>>
No. 392793 ID: d6af4f
File 133176416736.png - (55.39KB , 700x700 , 70.png )
392793

We share warmth again, and I tell him the basics of hiding emotion. Which isn't much. It is simply in concept, it is the performing of it that is very difficult. But it is something for him to focus on, which is a plus.

The only plan B was to 'Survive and come back.' There was not a specific time for us to wait.

Another hour and a half passes. Nothing comes.
>>
No. 392795 ID: bccf7b

>>392775

I take it radio contact of any sort is out of the question, and as much as I'd be tempted to go back and try for another egg, that seems foolish, as they may be waiting out the storm to come get us.

May as well stay low and hope Rikek recovers quickly in case we need to get moving...
>>
No. 392803 ID: 12c19f

I'm not wanting to be the bearer of bad news... But you know that war hive vessel that flew by hours ago?

...What if the evac got shot down?
>>
No. 392809 ID: a3b384

The bad weather is unexpected, so that could have slowed them down. It shouldn't have been enough to stop them though, right?
>>
No. 392811 ID: bccf7b

>>392803

Oh shit...! Wait, the Moton flew away, too, and it can spit acid. What if it thought the evac was after its eggs?

We shouldn't have trapped its nest...
>>
No. 392829 ID: 3e85e3

How do you feel about riding a Moton out of here?
>>
No. 392831 ID: 12c19f

>>392829
That is beyond absurd and absolutely insane. I don't think we're going to have a Disney moment anytime soon that will achieve that.

You better assess the wind direction, those parachutes might be required now.
>>
No. 392864 ID: d6af4f
File 133177946636.png - (120.71KB , 700x700 , 71.png )
392864

The weather is worse than expected, but this alone should not have made it significantly late, let alone not come.

Moton bringing it down. Enemy hive shooting it down. Simply being late. Cancelled, and leaving us for unknown reasons. All of these are possibilities, the last one being by far the least likely, I hope.

I can't tell easily what the wind direction is if we parachute. It seems to be heading east at the moment, but that is not always consistent at different elevation, and I don't know how to test this well with the current visibility and my gear. My hive is north west, the enemy hive is south.

Rikek will heal, but he won't be moving much for at least a week.

If intel is still accurate, the enemy hive is on the move. In no more than a couple of hours, we're going to be in enemy territory as they begin sweeping, and right now we're in plain sight for a fleet. They already sent a large ship for reasons unknown to me. We can parachute and hope for the best, or we can hole up in a cave and survive off of the inner denizens while we hope this blows over.
>>
No. 392866 ID: 12c19f

>>392864
You believed that that one particular cave had only one more predator left, right? If you could take it out you could hold up in there... But won't all the nuemomo that were under its control go feral or something?
>>
No. 392867 ID: ec0bf5

Go look for a cave, you've come so far already.

Also, why did you guys decide to climb this sheer cliff face instead of taking some kind of aircraft, or landing there with whatever craft took you to this world?
>>
No. 392872 ID: 1854db

>>392864
This is a pretty bad situation. If you stay, then you'll be trapped behind enemy lines and Rikek doesn't have your stealth training. If you go down into the jungle... well, Rikek is injured and would have trouble traveling and fighting.

Hey, if we stayed, would you be able to teach Rikek the training so that after he recovers you two can sneak through enemy lines undetected? How long would it take to go up and get another egg for food supplies?
>>
No. 392877 ID: 369d34

>>392867
Well, they could have swooped in on a gunship, used air-to-air missiles to cover the landscape in chunky moton bits, and scooped up the entire nest, but there's really no challenge or prestige in doing it that way, now is there?

Polo, if you think that once you two land that you can stay ahead of the enemy sweeper teams, while dragging the gear, Rikek, and the egg, fighting off hostile fauna (and possibly flora,) and make it to your hive's territory before you keel over from exhaustion, then take the parachutes. Otherwise, you're going to have to find a cave, pronto. Leave Rikek here, take as little gear as you need, and scout down the cliff face. If you can't find a cave in time, it'll be a moot choice anyway.
>>
No. 392880 ID: bccf7b

>>392864

From your own estimate, what is the likelihood of surviving a parachute down? Assuming we don't get blown wildly off track in this storm, how far would we have to go to get back home? And if that's the case, would waiting it out in the cave and then doing it anyway be at all advantageous?

One last question, Polo: How far is it to a cave and how well can we sense this enemy hive? If we were to try to stay here, would it at all be possible to get to cover in a cave in time if they did begin a sweep?
>>
No. 392893 ID: d6af4f
File 133178472022.png - (100.31KB , 700x700 , 72.png )
392893

>Why are you climbing?
We own aircraft that can get to this altitude, but there are complications. First of all, from a political stand point, we're not supposed to be in this region, or at least I'm not. Our helicopters, though well made, aren't good enough to climb up that high. Aside from the thinning air, while we weren't expecting blizzard conditions, the wind is always powerful at this summit. We don't own any stealth planes, which would have been nice if just to shoot down the moton. And even if we had allowed airspace to fly up on a regular jet to parachute down to collect the eggs, with the high winds, it would be a high risk gamble.
It would be far easier if we had airships, which I suspect is what I saw on that night, but our hive isn't on the cutting edge of technology. In the end, this is what I know about why we had to climb.

>Killing the predator
2 predators remained, at least in that area. One went silent early, so I only sensed one for awhile. If I killed both, I don't know if the pet neumono would enter a catatonic state or go into a frenzy. At least it would be somewhat easier, as Rikek wouldn't be able to turn on me effectively.
>>
No. 392894 ID: d6af4f
File 133178485463.png - (200.50KB , 700x700 , 73.png )
392894

>Training Rikek
I am part of an experimental group that underwent training with focus on hiding the empathic link. It was a 10 year study. I was part of the 8% that was able to hide themselves with any level of effectiveness at the end. Rikek isn't going to get this capability, and I only intend to have him practice when he needs to keep his mind active.

>Food issue and locating a cave
Food probably will not be a problem. I won't hold qualms about eating this egg if we must, and from what we've seen, there are plenty of food sources inside the cave. Finding a cave will be no issue either, as I can simply move laterally to the other side to locate the previous cave.

>Sensing the enemy
I am tuned enough to sense an average neumono from 40 meters away.

>Chance of survival if going to the jungle
It is hard to say. I would get what food I can from the egg and leave the rest behind, as I would have to move most likely around 75 miles, keeping ahead of the enemy sweeping. There are no paths I'm aware of for vehicles, so this is possible. My chances are extraordinarily better if I leave Rikek. Regardless, I am unaware how effective the enemy is at jungle sweeps.

The decision between cave and jungle is critical, so I will help Rikek eat and stay warm until I am confident in a decision.
>>
No. 392908 ID: 6e44d2

>>392894
Jungle.
>>
No. 392932 ID: 3e85e3

>>392894

Hugs.
>>
No. 392944 ID: 1854db

>>392894
Okay, so... if we stay, we get trapped behind enemy lines. If we go, it's dangerous to bring Rikek with us, since we have to go 75 miles with him on our back before we're safe.

Can we leave Rikek in the caves, then bring back a rescue team? I guess it depends on if we can make sure he'll be safe from the predators.
>>
No. 392959 ID: c6ec33

Nursing Rikek back to health in the caves while preserving the egg and hunting down predators sounds like a fun way to spend some time...

Since you're essentially a stealth unit, how hard do you think it'd be to sneak out after the area is held by the enemy?

And what would happen if Rikek were caught? It sounds like he might not be killed due to him being a total outsider. And with your stealth abilities, you could let him get taken away or do an ambush if worst came to worst.
>>
No. 392967 ID: 369d34

On one hand, if you hide in the caves, you'll have to find and kill all the neumono-predators, and maybe their pet neumonos. That includes any predators that are hiding by going empathicly quiet. All before a sweeper team shows up and is caught in their thrall. Assuming you pull it off, you now have to hide from the sweeper team, 'cause if a team reports back a threat, or doesn't come back, it's all over.
Succeed, and you're now effectively hidden behind enemy lines; You can stay here pretty much indefinitely. Then it's all a matter of staying hidden, waiting for their territory to be pushed back. It could be weeks. Could be years. Might be never. Alternatively, after he's healed, you could leave Rikek on his own and sneak your way back to your hive.

On the other hand, if you parachute down, it'll be a bitch of an endurance race to your hive's territory; Rikek on your back, pack in one hand, gun in the other, trudging through trackless jungle, fighting hostile animals, with the enemy forces who knows how far behind. You'll have to travel through the first night and following day, just to put enough distance behind you to rest. And this is assuming you don't get blown way east, west, or, hell, even towards the enemy hive.
However, once you get closer to your hive, there's the chance of encountering friendly forces. You may even be able to get an airlift back home, if there's a heli heading that way. So it's down to a question of if you have the strength and stamina to get that far.

Both options are dangerous, in their own ways, but personally I'm leaning towards the cave. The initial risk is high, but after that it's a relativly safe place.
>>
No. 392974 ID: 24dd8d

>>392894
This is adorable.
>>
No. 392976 ID: 12c19f

>>392974
When aren't they adorable?

I'm all for holding out in the cave again.
>>
No. 392983 ID: d6af4f
File 133181369842.png - (164.93KB , 700x700 , 74.png )
392983

It shouldn't be terribly hard for me to sneak out if I am alone, but this area would have to be clear before my hive would ever consider sending a rescue for Rikek. We may have taken him in, and we may have liked him, but he is still not one of us.

I will hold out in the cave. That is the best chance for Rikek. Plus, I can find a good surface for him to rest on. He is in considerable pain getting moved around constantly, especially without a stretcher. It isn't much farther, I believe I see the entrance to the cave from where we left.
>>
No. 392984 ID: d6af4f
File 133181371616.png - (44.18KB , 700x700 , 75.png )
392984

I set up camp just inside, so that we may have a light source without expending fuel, not like I would know where else to go. We could be in here for a very long time.

The egg should last awhile without going rotten, so that can be an emergency supply. Otherwise, we can store about 5 days of food without it going bad by normal means, but the snow may help with that. I will feel much better if the predators are dead, but I don't want to leave Rikek alone.

Unless I believe there is a reason, my empathic link is off. I'd rather him not catch my thoughts that I think he's been more trouble than help.
>>
No. 392985 ID: 12c19f

>>392983
>We may have taken him in, and we may have liked him, but he is still not one of us.

I'm all for some closure here. Mind going back to how you two first met?
>>
No. 392986 ID: 1854db

Part of me wonders why we're doing this.

The logical choice is to leave him behind. Think about it. You're an experimental trooper and highly valuable. He's a relatively crappy soldier and not even part of your hive. Why risk yourself for him?

I guess it's just... we'd really have to hate the guy to leave him here to die. And we don't.
>>
No. 392987 ID: d5ee6f

>>392984
Consider that the predators were able to maintain a large healthy stable of Neumono, with enough food that only a few were snacked upon. I think you chances are best going after the remaining predator and discovering their food source.
>>
No. 392988 ID: 1854db

Oh and re: food- eat the food you have, leave the predators alive for now. Use the predators as a food storage medium; harvest their meat when you run low.

Also we should try cutting more meat from the windbeast.
>>
No. 392991 ID: 12c19f

>>392986
I'm almost hesitant to suggest killing him execution style just to save him the suffering.

One shot to the brain stem, it'd be all over.

...I don't take Polo for being that barbaric though.
>>
No. 392992 ID: e41011

>>392991
Considering what needed to be done just to knock the guy out, I don't think it would be as simple as "shoot brain stem". I don't think these guys have brain stems.

And yeah, Polo probably wouldn't want to do this. Incidentally, and totally unrelated, honest, is there an equivalent close range kill you can make on a neumono?
>>
No. 392993 ID: 12c19f

>>392992
I doubt that they lack one, unless their brain is wired from multiple points in their neck then yeah I'm mislead here on what's effective euthanasia.

But once again, don't really wanna.
>>
No. 392997 ID: d6af4f
File 133182418618.png - (34.46KB , 700x700 , 76.png )
392997

>How did you two meet?
Rikek landed in a peace zone, but wanted to see more of the planet. We offered him respite in our territory, after we were sure he knew of the dangers. I personally did not meet him until a day before the mission, when he volunteered to fill in to help with our low numbers.

>Close range neumono kill, brain details
Decapitation works at least to disable. We don't have brains like most offworld species; ours are spread across our body. There are pros and cons, between comparitivaly slow thinking, slow reaction speeds, yet not having an errant bullet through a head be a near guaranteed death. There is lots of redundancy across the brain nerves as well, yet nonetheless, losing a limb can be very disorienting, and literally can make us dumber until it regrows. Another reason Rikek isn't going to be doing much. For all intents and purposes, he has light brain damage.

>Go carve up the windbeast, look for predators
"Rikek, I'm going to see if the windbeast hasn't been eaten yet. Are you able to stay awake for a couple hours?"
>"Y-yeah..."
"I'm going to prop you up on the wall. That way if something comes, you can blast them with your good arm. Everything other than predators here should go down easily. Don't fall asleep, okay?"
>"..yeah."

I am not certain he is doing well. He may need a day or two of rest before coherent enough to defend himself while I'm gone. We have 4 and a half days of food plus the egg as is.
>>
No. 392998 ID: a2fa74

>>392997
When you get back you should set up some proper restraints so you'll be ready in case predators enter the area and start affecting him.

The surviving predators were conflicted over how to respond to you. One wished to make peace, the other wished to kill you. You can exploit that conflict if you encounter them again. The presence of predators is itself something you can exploit should hostile Nuemono show up.

Also? Part of the reason you won't abandon Rikek is because you're confident in your own survival either way. You are invisible to both Nuemono and predators - the two major threats in the area - and are immune to predator mind tricks. You're going to try get him out of this alive as long as he is alive, because all it's costing you is time.
>>
No. 392999 ID: d5ee6f

>>392997
Again, the predators have everything you need. Take them out.
>>
No. 393002 ID: a2fa74

>>392999
What? No! We need them alive for when the hostile Nuemono start sweeping the area! The mere presence of predators here will throw hostile Nuemono forces into disarray with debilitating and potentially terminal consequences.
They provide a massive tactical advantage, and all we need to do is keep Rikek under control.
>>
No. 393005 ID: d6af4f
File 133182779354.png - (11.51KB , 700x700 , 77.png )
393005

Although I'm still exhausted, not carrying hundreds of pounds at a time makes me feel like a feather. I will quickly attempt to locate the predators. Which will be easy. They are in the same area, and are no longer quiet. They are all emanating happiness.

The neumono I killed are gone as well. They were probably eaten.
>>
No. 393006 ID: d6af4f
File 133182780778.png - (16.42KB , 700x700 , 78.png )
393006

There's one. I can put them down right now, or wait to see what the neumono eat. Judging by their good mood, about 5 plus the predator are awake, despite appearing to nap.

I don't know if the enemy sweepers are going to actually cover the cave system. Attempting to do the jungle alone is a considerable tactical feat, let alone all of the spires. If they do come in, then it is true that the predators may be a boon.
>>
No. 393007 ID: bccf7b

>>393002

Assuming the predators are capable of targeting multiple forces and what they do grab isn't cut down instantly. There's also the risk that keeping the predators may cause the hostiles to actively seek them out to prevent this very scenario.

>>392997

Polo: How familiar are you with the general actions of hostile hives claiming territory (or whatever it is Nuemono do)? Understanding their possible actions may give us a tactical advantage to remain undetected.
>>
No. 393012 ID: ed57e8

yeah following them to what they eat is a good idea. the other hive has contra grav machines. them being able o check the caves is rather easy for them to do. they just fly right against the cave, and a squad hops out.
>>
No. 393022 ID: d6af4f
File 133183470236.png - (14.76KB , 700x700 , 79.png )
393022

>Enemy hive actions
I wasn't informed why the enemy neumono was interested in taking this territory, so I'm unsure how they will go about it. They may simply sweep the jungle to make sure there are no outsiders to them and claim the territory. They may wish to make this an inhabitable region or to mine resources, in which they may set fire to a section of the forest.
In any case, this is not the sort of hive that has paid attention to regulations, conventions and war laws. They are strong, and we are not even close to the only hive they're warring with.

>Wait and follow
Half an hour passes. They seem perfectly content to laze about. It must be easy for the predator to keep them in line with constant positive reinforcement for hanging around it. I wonder if the predator is as happy as it makes itself out to be. Instead of getting up, however, another neumono comes around. It has a basket of mushrooms, and I admit, they smell very nice. That must be at least one food source.
>>
No. 393023 ID: d6af4f
File 133183472548.png - (14.25KB , 700x700 , 80.png )
393023

It leaves the basket and walks the other way. There is no saying whether or not it is heading anywhere significant, so I either wait around here for longer, or take my chances with that neumono.
>>
No. 393024 ID: ed57e8

yeah follow it. also it's tail is gone now.
>>
No. 393033 ID: b9d767

>>393023
damn, is that thing eating them bit by bit? thats kinda messed up.

Also, if they are being controlled by the predator, then they are technically not a hive. If you kill one the others might not notice, seeing as how they are linked not to each other, but to that thing.
>>
No. 393034 ID: ed57e8

>>393033
enemy hive is the ship full of the bloodthirsty dudes.
>>
No. 393064 ID: 7bbcd3

I'm seeing a sick sort of sense to the predator's tactics and food preferences, as well as their cattle's behavior.

You mentioned that your brains are spread out through your bodies, and that you can regenerate, somewhat. The predators want to keep a population large enough that they can feed nonfatally, with the more-intact victims caring for the ones that were snacked upon, gradually incurring more brain damage spread out through their bodies, until they become useless, and the Predator has itself a funeral feast.

Thus, the Predator's sense of well-being may be authentic: It doesn't need to hunt while its got enough victims.
>>
No. 393067 ID: bccf7b

>>393023

Maybe not kill them. They could act as harvesters for us. We just filch some of the goods every now and then.
>>
No. 393070 ID: 3e85e3

So that's what your tails are for.
>>
No. 393080 ID: d6af4f
File 133185386183.png - (23.45KB , 700x700 , 81.png )
393080

If I kill a lone neumono here that has an empathic link up, then the predator will likely know, and that is good enough. Unless I am missing something, if it is silent, then I can likely slay it.

I follow it a ways. It walks like a naive offworlder through a park of no problems. It led me to a mushroom field, where a few neumono are harvesting. They are silent. It looks like I've found a good food source, if risky. There is nothing stopping a predator from slinking in here.
>>
No. 393088 ID: bccf7b

>>393080

How fast do nuemono regenerate? It looks like a few of them are missing tidbits. Could it be possible that the predators are breeding them and only consuming "spare" parts that can be regenerated quickly?

If so, it would be a frightening evolution towards higher reasoning.
>>
No. 393089 ID: 1854db

Let's go back to Rikek now. We'll leave the predators alone until we're sure they aren't sweeping inside the spire.
>>
No. 393107 ID: ed57e8

wait until you get a clear shot then scoop up some shrooms. then head back.
>>
No. 393111 ID: d6af4f
File 133185829360.png - (101.06KB , 700x700 , 82.png )
393111

I come back to Rikek, who is in troubled sleep, despite me telling him to stay awake. Yet alive regardless. There is something going on outside. It smells of fire and smoke. It looks like intel was right, and they decided to burn some of the jungle to clear an area after all. Visibility is poor, so I can't see much.

I did not have any containers to hold many mushrooms, but I carried a few. The wiped ones did not seem to notice, but I did not want to take a chance with their basket for now.

I think I will sleep as well, unless there is something else to do for today.
>>
No. 393112 ID: 1854db

I suppose not.
>>
No. 393143 ID: 369d34

Not much to do now. Lay Rikek out in the sleeping bag so he's more comfortable, and crawl in next to him. It's probably for the best if he sleeps as much as possible, to keep his empathic signature to a minimum.

Give one of those mushrooms a bite. They could have mind-altering or deadening effects that wouldn't be a problem to those wiped neumono, but would be quite bad for you to eat in quantity. You can sleep the effects off, if there are any.

Did you see any tall, reasonably flat cave walls nearby? If you did, in the morning you could use the climbing gear and bed webbing to make a nest near the ceiling, then move Rikek and everything else up to it. Also, net Rikek and anchor him to the wall, not only to keep him from falling out, but just in case the predators get in his head again. Actually, anchoring everything to the wall there would be a good idea.
>>
No. 393155 ID: d6af4f
File 133186473867.png - (12.57KB , 700x700 , 83.png )
393155

Before I knew it, I slept, and I woke. I ate a mushroom, and it did not seem to have any ill effects for me, nor Rikek, who wanted some. As is usual, I slept next to him once again after taking an appropriate lying position. I will set up a nest today, to keep Rikek suspended upwards. He is having fever dreams for now, and is somewhat delirious during periodic waking moments. He probably cannot tell the difference, which at least would dull the pain.

Although it still snows this morning, the fog is far above, and the visibility is clearer. So I peer out of the entrance.
>>
No. 393158 ID: d6af4f
File 133186485150.png - (106.83KB , 700x700 , 84.png )
393158

I am not regretting sticking myself in the cave. I am sure Rikek would feel the same way.

>"I'm sorry, Polo..."
"For what?"
>"..."

He already fell asleep again. Whenever he wakes, it is nothing but depression and guilt.
>>
No. 393160 ID: ed57e8

wow, looks like they have a big project going on. they clear space for mining right? they must need a LOT of stuff.
>>
No. 393162 ID: 1854db

I have a feeling our presence here will allow us to collect some extremely valuable intelligence. Maybe we could even sabotage the enemy. Be a thorn in their side.
>>
No. 393180 ID: bccf7b

>>393158

Looks like they don't seem to care too much about the spires. We should be safe here for now. May as well get cozy and make sure Rikek doesn't get any worse while keeping an eye on our new neighbors.
>>
No. 393192 ID: 369d34

...Damn. Did your hive have any idea they had this many airships? 'Cause that looks like a lot of airships.

Looking down, those areas they're slicing into the jungle look like landing zones, airstrips, and roads. Best guess, they're going to build a forward base here. They could also be cutting a roadway back to their hive, to bring in armored units.

Well, there's nothing you can do out there right now. Put the nest up, secure Rikek and the supplies, do an inventory and ammo count, and maybe check any nearby unexplored tunnels. Finding other cave entry points would be a good future objective, to know where a sweeper team might come in. If you're up to it, you could head down to the first entrance you found and see what the enemy hive is doing on that side of the spire.

As for Rikek's mental state, that might not just be from his injuries. Is there a chance he got an infection from the moton's acid spit getting in his wounds?
>>
No. 393207 ID: b9d767

>>393192
This, we need to have a way out incase things go pear-shaped. Also, check out Rikek's wounds to make sure they aren't too serious and treat them if need be.
>>
No. 393225 ID: d6af4f
File 133190366905.png - (75.60KB , 700x1000 , 85.png )
393225

We knew they had a large fleet, but we didn't know they would bring such a number here.

Being stuck in this cave for an extensive time may become a reality. I will keep logs, and consider this the first full day of being trapped. I will start it by suspending Rikek and everything on the high wall. I am apprehensive about trapping him like a prisoner, but will do so since he cannot move much anyway. I will decide what to do when he recovers, when he recovers.
>>
No. 393229 ID: d6af4f
File 133190388581.png - (9.62KB , 700x700 , 86.png )
393229

Day 1 - Rikek is healing. I estimate a full week of recovery. I don't believe he has an infection, but will keep an eye for one. The snow is making water available, but should the weather recede, there will be problems. I may need to follow the predators once again to see where the neumono drink, as I doubt they live on a diet of only mushrooms.
I check out the first entrance we initially came into, at approximately the west side, and it appears to be the same. They appear to be moving themselves in great numbers. I would not call them nomadic, but this is not the first time they have moved their entire population. I cannot conclude what they are doing as of yet.

>>
No. 393232 ID: d6af4f
File 133190510696.png - (19.05KB , 700x700 , 87.png )
393232

I have begun mapping out, to the best of my ability, the cave system. I have put X's where I have interest in exploring. X-'s are of lower elevation, X+'s go upwards, otherwise I am uncertain if it goes up or down and a simple X is put. This is what I have from my experience so far before calling it a night, and count my ammo. 3 rifles. 22, 30 and 50 shots remaining in rifle A, B and C. 2 magnums, with 25 bullets to go around.
>>
No. 393233 ID: d6af4f
File 133190511476.png - (28.46KB , 700x700 , 88.png )
393233

I also have a long range radio. It was to be used in emergencies. I do not know if I will get a response, but I will be able to inform my hive about the activity here. The downside is that it each time I do it, there is a chance it will get intercepted by the enemy. Given the nature of this model, I doubt they could pinpoint my exact position, but they will know that someone is spying on them. I will keep this in mind as an option.

Day 1 End

>>
No. 393404 ID: bccf7b

>>393229

Looks like roadways and a facility layout. Odd that it would be so spread out, though. Let's begin by exploring our immediate vicinity. The nearest (X+) may be a good place to begin.
>>
No. 393406 ID: 1854db

I would say check out the X, since it looks like it loops back towards the predators. It could be a back entrance, maybe...
>>
No. 393407 ID: ed57e8

if you can find an exit C on the lower right you would be able to fully see what they are doing.
>>
No. 393430 ID: 369d34

Keep the radio quiet. Right now you'd have to be on the ground to get intel worth reporting. Actually, wouldn't some of the "class of 8%" already be down there, doing recon? Seems like ghosting the enemy would be right up their alley.

Storing water would be a good idea, since you have no idea when the show will taper off. Gather as much as you can into any empty containers, and pile up the rest away from the entrance, out of the sun. Now you just need a large container to hold it. Would it be possible to use parts from the windbeast corpse? You don't have the tools to make leather from it, but parts of its skeleton, possibly a skull, could hold water. Maybe other pieces could be used as a basket for the next time you sneak mushrooms.

You might have a chance to snag another moton egg or two here, depending on a few things. What with all these airships floating around, that moton could have flown off, or attacked them and got blown out of the sky. That means its nest is wide open. So you either wait until the fog or a blizzard rolls in, and climb up, or search those X+ passages for a route to, or near to, the top. Of course, an airship might have already snatched up the whole nest, or the monton's still there. It'll be a risk, and right now just mean having more food later that isn't mushrooms, but spare food is good to have.

>>392997
So this mission would have been scrapped if Rikek had not volunteered? That would explain why he's feeling so guilty and depressed; He thinks it's his fault you two got into this mess.
>>
No. 393470 ID: d6af4f
File 133195590558.png - (12.21KB , 700x700 , 89.png )
393470

If Rikek did not volunteer, I do not know if it would have been scrapped. It was in considerable debate before he ended it with his offer. It makes sense he would blame himself, even though he should not. If I were to blame a single thing, it would be whatever event transpired that prevented the extraction.

>The other 8%
That is true. There are 3 others, and it is very likely at least one of them are or will be deployed to this region to spy. I dare not hope that they may actually look for me.

I go back to gather what I could from the windbeast to see about containers. Its meat is eaten clean, I do not know by what, but the shell is left nearby. It is solid, yet surprisingly, as light as porous volcanic rock. With limited trouble, I'm able to carry it back without any sign of predators or whatever ate the windbeast. It will do well as a container in the base, although it certainly cannot be easily moved if filled with water.
>>
No. 393471 ID: d6af4f
File 133195592303.png - (12.18KB , 700x700 , 90.png )
393471

After moving the shell back and feeding Rikek, I explored the nearest X+. There are a few tunnels that I map out, but deeper in, I begin to hear lots of unsettling growls and noises. I can imagine the cave system here lets any noise travel very far. If I am to go farther, I may need to expend ammunition, otherwise I will spend the rest of the day exploring the same leveled X that may lead into the predator area once again.
>>
No. 393476 ID: ed57e8

let's not use ammo until we are sure it wont be needed for something else. go back.
>>
No. 393477 ID: 1854db

Yeah let's check out that level X.
>>
No. 393478 ID: 88e5ad

you're a ninja, you can find out what they are without being seen. figure out what you're facing before giving up- it might even be something you can off with a knife, as unlikely as that might be.
>>
No. 393483 ID: 369d34

Get eyes on what's making the noise, then you can decide what to do. Have your magnum and knife ready, just in case.
>>
No. 393516 ID: d6af4f
File 133198399148.png - (9.87KB , 700x700 , 91.png )
393516

I move back. Perhaps normally I would be able to sneak through, but I have no idea what is making those noises. They may have keen senses of smell, and I am in need of a bath. I will consider this again when I have Rikek to give me backup.

I move to the X, and it seems to be more uninhabited caves for some time. Although I haven't seen anything, I soon pick up a sense of several empathic links. Once again, a predator and its pets. Once again, reflecting a sense of satisfaction, but also something else. Pacification. Probably... no, definitely a wanting for peace.

I'm confident I wasn't seen, but what is worrisome, is that this is strong. Like they were able to read me a bit more. It is still many notches from being overpowering, however.
>>
No. 393517 ID: 1854db

>>393516
Hmm. See if you can get a visual from a distance. If your hunch is right and it can sense you, then we don't want to get close enough to worry about getting attacked.

If we get a visual on it, and they are like, looking right at you, then we've confirmed that they can see you and are apparently asking for peace. At that point I think we would try to convey that we accept this, and continue scouting to see if we can find a source of water.
>>
No. 393519 ID: a2fa74

>>393517
If they're intelligent enough then signaling peaceful intent would be as simple as lowering your weapon.
>>
No. 393521 ID: 88e5ad

that thing survives by enslaving neumonos to do its bidding. it is not on your side. do not give in to feelings for sympath or it'll get into your head.

move in.
>>
No. 393565 ID: d6af4f
File 133199657132.png - (19.74KB , 700x700 , 92.png )
393565

I move forward, and find... that's why the feeling was stronger than usual. It caught one of my hive members. I've seen her. She's a helicopter pilot, and it is not a stretch of any sort to say that she was supposed to be the extractor.
>>
No. 393567 ID: ef67f0

Potential third party member?

What would happen if you shot that thing square in the eye right now? Killed it while your clanmate was right next to it? Would she be okay?

If not, we're gonna have to find some way to capture her or at least lure her away before we kill the predator. Assuming we kill the predator, of course. Is there another way of freeing her from the predator's influence?
>>
No. 393570 ID: 1854db

>>393565
She looks newly caught. There are still wounds on her.

Watch for only a moment. If they are communicating in any way, and the predator is not simply brainwashing her... ugh. Maybe we should just shoot the predator either way. I really doubt that there is a two-way street going here. Your clanmate is probably just going to be added to the zombies.

You could go "Let her go or die" before shooting if you want to actually find out.
>>
No. 393571 ID: 4bdd79

>>393565
...shit. Shoot the predator, then the one behind the pilot. Drag her out.
>>
No. 393573 ID: d5ee6f

>>393565
Ah. Well. This is bothersome. Kill it.
>>
No. 393576 ID: c4a1fc

Hump its brain/nervous system out.
>>
No. 393577 ID: a2fa74

>>393565
Walk up and put your hand on her shoulder
You said they understand simple words, right?

"Her one. Mine. Same nest. I take, have peace."
Point to the entrance you first came in.
"Outside many. Not mine. Not same nest. You take, have peace."

We want to communicate that we are protecting our nestmates, but have no problem with him taking the enemy Nuemono.
>>
No. 393580 ID: bccf7b

>>393577

Might be easier to broadcast emotional / conceptual ideas if at all possible? Failing that....

... Shoot to kill. We manage to rescue her, we just increased our numbers, and our chances. Moreover, we have information. THAT is what we need most right now: information, and a possible way out.
>>
No. 393581 ID: a2fa74

>>393580
Looks like she crashed, so no, we don't have a way out.
Also? Think about the defensive possibilities of an ally that can co-opt entire squads at once. They enter the cave, they are never heard from again. If any are able to resist, we shoot them.
>>
No. 393585 ID: bccf7b

>>393565

Sudden thought: there is another predator for sure, considering what happened with Rikek shortly after killing our first sighting.

Back then, they were rapidly cycling/broadcasting a "Peace"/"Hostility" emotion which seemed to "overload" Rikek, so to speak. Have we detected anything similar since then? It's possible these creatures use that as a method to subdue, then when the nuemono is basically catatonic from overstimulation, they blast it with the "Peace" message until it's basically saturated to the doll-state.

Forgive me for subjecting your hive member further, but we should definitely wait a few more seconds before taking action. This may give us insight into the predator's patterns and abilities that could prove invaluable.
>>
No. 393614 ID: ed57e8

she seems to be staring it down. like, SERIOUSLY staring it down.
>>
No. 393615 ID: e3f578

>>393565
I'd be careful, you're helicopter pilot is in a good position to snap your neck if you straight up refuse. I have no idea how lethal that is when your entire body composes your brain, but you can't afford even the slightest brain damage surrounded by these bastards.

Think you can broadcast emotions without making yourself vulnerable? Like maybe the thought that you're no one's slave or something? If that's the only option for peace, because that is straight out of the question.
>>
No. 393622 ID: d6af4f
File 133202248749.png - (7.90KB , 700x700 , 93.png )
393622

If I open my empathic link, from what I know, it will definitely be able to take hold over me.

I decide to wait a few seconds - and the predator notices me.

I'm an excellent shot and can kill the predator before he gets far, but they will come after me again. I'm not proud to say that my hand to hand martial skills are very good, so I will be in trouble if they all come for me, as this area does not have as many hiding areas. I cannot tell how far the pilot is gone, so I do not know if he will be on my side or not if the predator dies.

Everyone is perfectly still. The predator might have figured out that I'm the one that killed one of his kind, or at least that I can kill him where he stands. Eventually, he breaks the silence.

>"Vaota."

He says it with enunciation and purpose. It sounds like a word, but I have no idea what it means, until it repeats itself once again, flaring the peace emotion.

"You, understand me?"
>"Vaota."

I suppose it does not speak any language known by me.
>>
No. 393623 ID: ed57e8

"vaota" and nod slightly
point to your pilot then to you "mine"
then point wherever would be closest to outside "not mine". then to it "can have"
>>
No. 393624 ID: e3f578

>>393622
"Well, I can't understand you in any case. Unless you just repeated the same word. Can you speak other words?"

If it IS the same word, it's likely "Give Up" seeing as how that's the only one that would make sense in context, from my perspective anyway.

Get the pilot to stop fondling you.
>>
No. 393626 ID: ed57e8

>>393624
you image comp sucks. the one with the goggles and red eyes IS the pilot. polo is whiteish with pink eyes.
>>
No. 393627 ID: e3f578

>>393626
Oh
I just thought the lighting made her especially darker than usual. Not used to first person perspective.
>>
No. 393628 ID: 369d34

The predator won't understand your language, and you can't open your empathic link to offer context to your words. Perhaps the pilot could convey what you're saying, assuming she isn't too far gone to understand. Try to get her attention. Is there something you could yell that a member of your hive would respond to strongly? Even if you don't get her away, you might be able to get information out of her, if her mind isn't mush by now.

Try backing up a bit, then lowering your weapon, but keeping it at the ready. If the predator or its pets start moving, bring your gun back up.
>>
No. 393630 ID: a2fa74

>>393622
"Peace"
Slowly walk over and gently pry the zombie off the pilot.
Then put your arm around the pilot's shoulders and gesture to yourself. "Mine"
Then gently move the zombie between yourselves and the predator, and gesture to it. "Yours"
>>
No. 393639 ID: d6af4f
File 133202864999.png - (7.53KB , 700x700 , 94.png )
393639

"Can you speak other words?"

It shuffles, but stays silent.

"Vaota." I say instead.
It smiles, I think.

I point to the pilot. "Mine."

And now I confused it.
>>
No. 393640 ID: d6af4f
File 133202865750.png - (16.36KB , 700x700 , 95.png )
393640

I take a step forward, and as I approach, it steps back. The slaves follow the predator, but the pilot stays still. I gradually approach, and put my arm around the pilot.

"Mine."

>"....... vaota."

It continues to slink away with its remaining pets. This was, is, risky, but having a third member that is not half dead would be invaluable.

>"...where am I?" the pilot asks, as the predator gets out of range.
>>
No. 393642 ID: ed57e8

"in the spire the moton was nesting on. you were captured by a empathy predator (or whatever they are called)."
>>
No. 393652 ID: a2fa74

>>393640
Start leading the pilot back to Rikek "Safe, for the moment. I'll fill you in once your head clears.
By the way, do you know what the word 'Vaota' means?"

This is good. If that predator doesn't want to fight us then we have a serious advantage here.
I'd suggest finding some kind of peace offering to show you harbor no ill will, if you can. If you manage to establish a rapport and learn to communicate then you might be able to convince it that the hostile Nuemono are dangerous to it, and enlist the aid of it and its zombies to secure a land route to safety. If you have a place in mind for it to take up residence, anyway.
>>
No. 393658 ID: 1854db

>>393640
She dropped her pack. After the course is clear, fetch it. We could use more supplies too.
>>
No. 393661 ID: 88e5ad

Santa's toy factory, North Pole, Earth.
>>
No. 393664 ID: cf49fc

>>393661
No. We're obviously in southern France. Near the Alps.
>>
No. 393665 ID: 369d34

"Safe, for now. What's your name?" On the way back tell her where she is and what happened, as best you can. She's going to be groggy for awhile, so keep the questions and statements simple. There might be some mind damage, but that's unlikely from only two days of exposure to the empath-predator.

Now you know at least one of these empath-predators will back down, to a degree. Don't count on it the next time you meet one, though. They're probably still figuring out what to do when faced with a neumono they can't empaticly overwhelm, and who's already killed one of them. Too bad you don't have a way to mark this particular predator, so you know it's the one that backed down.
>>
No. 393667 ID: c4a1fc

>>393664
Pen Island.
>>
No. 393668 ID: d6af4f
File 133203483727.png - (15.47KB , 700x700 , 96.png )
393668

'Predator' can be a confusing term, but given they are, or at least were, our natural predators, we gave them a broad word.
I have no idea what 'Vaota' means.

I return to camp, after just remembering to grab her things. As the pilot gains lucidity, I get her up to date, before asking my own questions. It is nice to share company with my own again.

"What happened to the extraction?"
>"The other hive blew me right out of the clouds. I managed to limp myself away from the wreckage before they got to it, and climbed this spire until I saw myself a cave."
"You had climbing equipment?"
>"No, I freeclimbed. There is a cave entrance around 200 feet high, I got lucky to find such a small little crack, just before my claws got worked down to the fur. And far, far luckier to have met you. I wouldn't have though... well, if you don't mind, uh... we haven't introduced!"
"My name is Polo. And yours?"
>"My name is Rakae. As I was saying, if you don't mind, I haven't slept since the crash. I'm sorry I don't have any supplies other than a first aid kit and my goggles and clothes."
"It's fine, but please also wait a moment. Where is the cave entrance you found?"
>"I... have no idea! You're already impressing me with how well you navigate them, you know? I'm jealous. I'd have no idea how to walk us back the way I came, even if that... thing... didn't make my recollection fuzzy."

Should there be anything else I ask before we sleep?
>>
No. 393669 ID: c4a1fc

>>393668
Aaaaugh the sides of her eyes are undulating! Kill it! KILL IT!
>>
No. 393670 ID: 1854db

>>393669
what
no they aren't.

>>393668
Nah, we're good. This was a good day.
>>
No. 393672 ID: c4a1fc

>>393670
Enlarge the picture and look real close at her left eye. Our right. The side away from the pupil is doing something weird.
>>
No. 393676 ID: a9298b

if possible it would be good to sleep in shifts instead of having everyone asleep at once.
>>
No. 393679 ID: 369d34

Ask if she saw anything distinctive while she was down there. Things like a body of water, different colored rock, or indication of other, non-zombified, neumono being here before. Those could give clues to which route Rakae took up.
Also ask if any new intel about the war hive came in after you left.
Oh, was there anybody else on the helicopter that might have survived and been captured by the war hive? If there was, they might let out what they were doing here, which would alert the enemy hive you're here.

Sleeping in shifts would be a good idea, though to start doing it now Polo would have to stay up through this night, since Rakae's exhausted, and Rikek is definitely not up to it. That would leave Polo sleeping during the day and active at night. Don't know if that'd be a problem or not.
>>
No. 393680 ID: 46c430

>>393672
It isn't doing anything. And it's a .png file, not a .gif file.
>>
No. 393684 ID: ef67f0

>>393672
I don't see anything unusual...

>>393668
Ask what sort of skills she has, and whether or not she can handle herself in combat. Other than that, just head back to camp and settle in. Today's been a productive day.

I wonder how Rikek will feel about the new addition.
>>
No. 393695 ID: d6af4f
File 133203920941.png - (25.59KB , 700x1000 , 97.png )
393695

Shifts will be done. I will lose some sleep tonight and have Rakae take a small shift, but we will enter full shifts tomorrow. Hopefully soon, Rikek will be well enough at least to manage to stay awake and attentive.

"What kind of skills do you have?"
>"I can drive most kinds of vehicles and aircraft, but down here, I only know rudimentary survival skills. I'm a decent shot, but pretty good in a close fight."
"Did you see anything distinctive down there? Any body of water, or signs of non-zombified neumono?"
>"Nothing. But! I moved by so many branching paths, I could have missed one. As for neumono, I did see some cave paintings, but that was it."
"That's better than nothing. Did any new intel come about the enemy hive after I left?"
>"I don't know, I had to run a delivery to a trading hive, so I left soon after you did. They didn't radio me, so I'd say they didn't think anything was worth breaking silence at least."
"Lastly, was anyone else on the helicopter?"
>"No, it was only myself."
"Thank you. Get some rest."
>"Goodnight, Polo!"
>>
No. 393698 ID: d6af4f
File 133203945876.png - (10.52KB , 700x700 , 98.png )
393698

I believe it will be simpler to coordinate our actions if we prioritize our goals. Our objectives....

A) Search the caves at a higher elevation (may inadvertently add to food supply, if I run into the unknown creatures)
B) Attempt to locate Rakae's entrance (searching caves at equal/lower elevation)
C) Study and follow the remaining two predators, including where more food and water is
D) Observe the enemy hive from the known cave entrances
E) Spend time getting to better know my partners
F)Dig in our camp to make it more hospitable I require tools for this last one, and the only sufficient way to do so in any reasonable time will require that I get appropriate tools, most likely from stealing from the enemy hive. If this is to be a priority, it should be added on to objective B, to find a reasonably low cave entrance.

Five tasks I can think of at the moment. I will assign each lettered task a distinct number, one to five, with five being the top priority and one the lowest, and pursue them until the situation changes.
>>
No. 393705 ID: c4a1fc

>>393680
.png is just a lossless version of .gif.

C seems like the highest priority if we're going to be here for a while.
>>
No. 393707 ID: ef67f0

A-1
This is potentially dangerous and their aren't any obvious benefits to it apart from getting food. If we can find other sources of food we ought not to bother with it.

B-4
It's good to know where our enemies might enter from. Most of B's value, though, comes from making F possible.

C-5
Establishing reliable sources of food and water is a MUST. Get that done pronto.

D-2
Information about the movements of enemy troops can help us avoid them and stay alive. It will also prove useful if we ever manage to get in contact with home base. Still, since this is a passive activity, it should be done in our off-time when we're not busy with the other objectives.

E-3
Knowing each other better will make you better able to support each other emotionally when things get tough. Plus conversing with each other will both keep you sane and help kill time.
>>
No. 393708 ID: d5ee6f

Search higher.
>>
No. 393709 ID: ef67f0

>>393705
I think his point was that, in order for it too be an animation, that image would have to be a gif. And it's not a gif. Therefore, it's not animated. If something were undulating/pulsating it would presumably be animated to show that. It would be difficult to convey that motion in a still frame.
>>
No. 393711 ID: 1854db

>>393698
5-C. They want peace, we know the peace word, we can show them we're serious about non-aggression and we really really need a reliable water source.
4-D. We must know our enemy.
3-E. We gotta keep morale high.
2-B. That other entrance would be useful.
1-A. There's no indication how dangerous those other creatures are, and results from exploration can vary so wildly we really have no reason to explore there more than any other location.
>>
No. 393713 ID: 88e5ad

>>393709

you can totally animate a png. hell, I think I recall CarbonF animating a jpg once.

priority one should be exploring. I don't care about higher or lower, but you really need to get some extra grub now that you're three people.
>>
No. 393714 ID: ef67f0

>>393713
Really? Damn. My ignorance is showing.
>>
No. 393719 ID: 369d34

5:C - Nailing down a source of food and water, and learning the locations and movements of those predators, are top priority. Food and water because you have another mouth to feed, and where the predators are, so Rakae will know where she can go.

4:B - This meshes with C, and makes F possible. Bring Rikek's camera to take shots of the cave paintings for him.

3:E - You three are going to be together for awhile, so getting to know each other will help with morale, and give you something to talk about other than survival and enemy troop movements. Oh, and it might thin out that cloud of emotional miasma floating around Rikek.

2:D - Not a great priority until you know the way out. Rakae can at least keep a close eye on the side your camp is on, since she has the day shift anyway.

1:A - Possibly a one-time source of food, maybe another vantage point over the jungle, and there could, remotely, be something useful up there. However, it'll be a fight, so only bother with it if food is running low.
>>
No. 393720 ID: bccf7b

>>393698

I have no real thoughts on this, and leave the decisions to the other voices, but I must assert that your new pilot-friend has cute ears :3c
>>
No. 393722 ID: 4bdd79

It's an optical illusion. Your browser does not support animated png.
>>
No. 393858 ID: d6af4f
File 133209308186.png - (15.21KB , 700x700 , 99.png )
393858

Day 3

After a short talk with Rikek and Rakae, both of whom seem to get along well, I move out for a few hours to seek the predators. I find one again, and half an hour later, it comes in contact with the other predator. I notice that the one I saw the other night had 3 stripes across most limbs, but the other has four. I can use that to tell them apart.

>"Mono. Vaota." the one I met, three stripes, says.
>"Kuli." the other replies.
>"Yali."
>"Kuli."
>"Yali."
>"Kuli."
>"Yali."

This continues for some time. Vaota most likely means peace thinking about it all, but I can't be sure.

>"No ota va." three stripes says.
>"No juta va." says four stripes.

They are starting to shuffle away and split up, so I have to follow one.
>>
No. 393859 ID: ef67f0

Follow Three-Stripes. He seems to be interested in peace and in treating neumonos well, so he's more likely to keep his neumono "companions" well-fed and well-watered. Ergo, he's more likely to lead you to reliable sources of neumono-compatible food and water.
>>
No. 393860 ID: bccf7b

>>393858

Let's follow 3-stripes. He is familiar with us and seems to know we are somehow not to be messed with.
>>
No. 393861 ID: 88e5ad

stalk Four-Stripes and turn him into rations.
>>
No. 393868 ID: 1854db

Follow 3-stripes.
>>
No. 393873 ID: c8a6d1

Seduce 3-stripes.

Also, .png is exactly like .gif, except that it's lossless. It was made specifically to replace .gif. Basically, it won't degrade if you transfer images from one format to another, iirc.
>>
No. 393937 ID: d6af4f
File 133211475099.png - (20.11KB , 700x700 , 100.png )
393937

I follow Three Stripes. It meanders for a bit, but eventually leads me to a somewhat closed off area with around 10 neumono. It seems as though they split their pets between themselves. Some here are napping, but they slowly gather, all of them. They are gathering containers. I can hope that they may be fetching water. I might be able to get one of their containers as well, but I would most likely be seen. It would be a question of if I want to see if Three Stripes is still peaceable, otherwise I will continue shadowing him.
>>
No. 393955 ID: ef67f0

Shadow for a little bit. Always good to play it safe. If you can't see any obvious sources of water, then approach Three-Stripes and try to communicate your need.
>>
No. 393956 ID: ed57e8

if its water then we can pantomime what we need to it. but wait until we see what it is.
>>
No. 394008 ID: 369d34

Three-Stripes is peaceable, for now, but don't press it by openly taking things. Especially with ten of his pet neumono around.

Shadow them, but take a quick glance around to see if they left any spare containers or anything else of interest. You could come back here before they do and nab it.
>>
No. 394013 ID: d6af4f
File 133213378231.png - (12.78KB , 700x700 , 101.png )
394013

I back out of the cave again, and Three Stripes starts moving downward. They're moving fast enough that I could easily lose them if I tried to get anything of interest, but I will remember what I think might be their living, or at least sleeping, area. We move very far down, to the point that I must make notes as we move so that I remember this path. It's almost creepy how similar and in sync all of its pets walk, and I find myself walking in time as well. It would not surprise me if we ended up below the jungle floor.
>>
No. 394014 ID: d6af4f
File 133213379123.png - (13.69KB , 700x700 , 102.png )
394014

Excellent, water! Although I can't complain, this is not a trip I look forward to making on a regular basis. The pets all fill the water and bathe themselves. I also cannot help but notice that Three Stripes seems to have been distracted this whole time, frequently looking around. I frequently have to get my head behind the rocks again.
>>
No. 394015 ID: ed57e8

is that an opening to the outside over there? and with water we can come closer slowly. take a bowl and drink from it and then set it down. say water before you drink.
>>
No. 394018 ID: d5ee6f

>>394014
Probably smells something.
>>
No. 394020 ID: 88e5ad

stay in hiding. stay far away, Threestripes is obviously aware that he's being followed.
>>
No. 394021 ID: e3f578

What do these predators exactly do with these Neumonos? Doe any of them show any signs of regenerating limbs to indicate it eating them? Or do you really think it just likes having the company? All the Neumono seem to do is hug it when not collecting food and water or other Neumono.
Almost kind of sad, for both parties.
>>
No. 394022 ID: a2fa74

>>394014
>I find myself walking in time as well
>I also cannot help but notice that Three Stripes seems to have been distracted this whole time, frequently looking around.

Your mask is slipping.

Do you have something to carry water in? If so then just walk out, fill it, and leave. It will unsettle 3-S, but seeing you there helps show your lack of hostility.
I'm pretty sure you're outside of their signaling range, so it couldn't signal to the others.

So, what can't Nuemono regenerate? They haven't grown back their arms.
>>
No. 394023 ID: 369d34

Three Stripes might be catching your scent. Was he this observant the entire trip down? Unless there was a breeze from your direction, it's unlikely he would have smelled you on the way here.

Most likely Three Stripes is watching for other predators. The regular kind, not the neumono hunting or gathering kind. He's watching for any beast that would try to dash in and take one of his "flock." Which means you should also be on your toes.

Your empathic block couldn't be "leaking" and he's catching the faint signal? There is a way to test that. If you step out and just stand there for a bit, and Three Stripes just keeps looking at you, then it's you. If he goes back to looking around, there's something else down here.
>>
No. 394028 ID: b6edd6

>>394022
I think arms normally regrow, which would suggest that the arm in question is still being regrown, likely from being eaten by the predator.
>>
No. 394030 ID: d6af4f
File 133213868271.png - (13.14KB , 700x700 , 103.png )
394030

>What do predators do with the neumonos?
I haven't paid mind to individual neumonos, but we can regrow any limb. It likely is simply continuing to eat off parts of its pets whenever it regrows something, perhaps the same parts off the same individuals. I'm not sure how much of its diet comprises of us, or what other food it eats.
Even as I say that, it may also enjoy the company.

I make sure to reaffirm my mask, but he only was wary as we came close to this section. This area does branch off more. It could even have a cave right out into the jungle, if my senses are correct. Which is difficult to say.

I step out, and soon, I'm noticed. It becomes wary of me, says 'vaota' once, and continues to look around into the darkness. It is concerned about something else, even as it makes its pets happy and dumb. Nevertheless, I stay on my guard, and gradually inch forward, but never too close to anyone.

"Water."
It shoots me a glance as I take one of its containers, but it doesn't seem to mind. Or at least it pretends not to.
>>
No. 394036 ID: ed57e8

something else it is wary of is interesting. if you killed it and let it take some of the carcass this may become a much more mutual relationship. but for now take your water.
>>
No. 394044 ID: 369d34

Figures it'd be wary around a watering hole. Other creatures could come along at any moment for a drink, and might try to make a snack of a neumono instead.

Drink your fill, and top off your canteen. See if you can identify the material the container is made of, then fill it and put it back. That would give you an idea of what to look for to make your own, once you have the tools.

How deep and wide is the water? Could you wade across and investigate what might be an exit to the jungle? Is your gear waterproof enough to survive a swim?
>>
No. 394050 ID: 1854db

I think you should scout around the edges of the neumono group to see if you can find what the predator is worried about. If you can take care of its problems it is far more likely to ignore us using their food/water sources.
>>
No. 394053 ID: 88e5ad

huh. weird.

welp, be on the lookout.
>>
No. 394055 ID: a2fa74

>>394030
Drink your fill, and get some to carry to camp.
Be cautious. If it's less worried about you than something else then there's a serious danger here.
>>
No. 394079 ID: d6af4f
File 133216247093.png - (20.66KB , 700x700 , 104.png )
394079

Most of my gear I have on me is waterproof, but I hold my guns above the waterline as I decide to investigate the outskirts. The predator starts watching me, and as I make it clear I intend on going to the other side, it speaks.

>"Kuli, kuli! Kuli va!"

If nothing else, it isn't bright enough to realize I don't understand its words. It does, however, send out a few emotions. I don't know it well enough to understand these more obscure feelings, but they're all various forms of concern. The other neumono's empathic links go silent, and they shift some to get closer to Three Stripes.
>>
No. 394081 ID: 97bd86

>>394079
So it's... worried for you? I guess there's something on the other side of the water it's trying to warn you about, as best it can.
>>
No. 394082 ID: 1854db

>>394079
...hey, how far into the pool did the other neumono go? Perhaps there is something dangerous in the water. Or the footing is treacherous. Better look underwater before you bring your guns across. Or find a different crossing that doesn't involve wading.
>>
No. 394083 ID: a2fa74

>>394082
The Nuemono zombies also left the water. It appears to be afraid of disturbing something.
>>
No. 394087 ID: d6af4f
File 133216776755.png - (14.35KB , 700x700 , 105.png )
394087

I can't tell if that concern is for me or not. There were neumono on the other side of the current, so I doubt there is much danger in the water. As soon as I make it over, Threestripes is back on the entrance side with all his pets.He is now watching me intently, but frequently looks at the tunnels ahead. Yet the more I move forward, the more he moves back to the entrance.

"Kuli va!" he says again, louder, but not much more than needed for me to hear it.
>>
No. 394088 ID: 1854db

>>394087
...yep, there's something very dangerous ahead.

...maybe we should turn back and explore somewhere else.
>>
No. 394096 ID: e3f578

>>394087
"Thanks for the heads up." Give him a thumbs up and, "I hope you know what this means."
>>
No. 394098 ID: bccf7b

>>394087

I'm starting to think that maybe HE thinks that you're the pet of another predator. Broadcasting concern might not be for what you might be doing to him or the others, but for your own safety.

I think as long as we act non-hostile and continue to stay out of sight save for gathering, we may largely pass as just "that one".
>>
No. 394102 ID: 68f2f2

>>394087

The predator probably has no understanding of non-enthralled neumono, so I've gotta assume it's trying to warn you of danger in that direction as if you were just someone else's pet/livestock animal. Interesting that it seems to show concern in such an abstract way.. These things are smarter than you've been giving them credit for.

Anyway, be careful!
>>
No. 394103 ID: 1854db

Engage stealth mode?
>>
No. 394106 ID: ed57e8

just hold up the gun and grin broadly.
>>
No. 394114 ID: d6af4f
File 133218117585.png - (7.83KB , 700x700 , 106.png )
394114

... I'm curious how it would respond to a grin and gun wave. It mostly doesn't, aside from pulling its head back, confused and watching me as its pets move up the slope before following.
>>
No. 394115 ID: d6af4f
File 133218118682.png - (22.38KB , 700x700 , 107.png )
394115

And I go deeper inside. It's all of a 5 minute walk before I feel a few breezes, and the smell of the jungle, and.. other things. I don't know what. There's no sign of any exit nearby. The tunnels around here have gotten straighter, without many branching paths, oddly.
>>
No. 394116 ID: ed57e8

that plant behind you looks sus, that center bit looks like a beak.
>>
No. 394121 ID: 1854db

You can smell the jungle from here? This must be a ground entrance. The predators might be afraid of some sort of wild animal that lives in the jungle.

Maybe another windbeast? That'd suck. (hurr hurr) Continue to be careful.
>>
No. 394122 ID: bccf7b

>>394115

I don't like that. I'm getting the feeling it's possible that the enemy hive is nearby, which could explain the wariness of Three-Stripes. It doesn't look like they've captured any thus far, but I wouldn't discount their presence entirely.

At least now we know we have an easy way down to the surface without having to base jump and make ourselves highly visible.

Time to head back and bring some water to our comrades, maybe inform pilot-friend of our findings, assuming she is awake.
>>
No. 394135 ID: 61e7f9

He was warning you not to go this way. turn around and head back. This one seems to not want to piss you off. You may be able to be neutral with him. He didn't really like that you took a container but certainly didn't want you to kill it. It understands there is a very fragile peace here. Both of you are at serious risk of death attacking the other so you leave eachother alone.

Again, head back to camp with the water.
>>
No. 394150 ID: b6edd6

There are these strange almost-rock-colored hemispheres on the ground. Are you familiar with something like that?
>>
No. 394151 ID: ed57e8

>>394150
oh SHIT. shoot those domes!
>>
No. 394161 ID: d6af4f
File 133219562114.png - (27.19KB , 700x700 , 108.png )
394161

>Colored domes

Shit!

>"SCRAAAAAAAAA"

I noticed them just in time, before they could shoot an unavoidable number of quills at me. They're real nasty looking too, probably the kind that need to be surgically removed. I'm not going to think about if they were able to shake a bunch at me, and just... get out of here. Actually, I'll take a couple of the loosed quills as a souvenir. I hear they're somewhat valuable, and I am not in the habit of leaving objects like that behind.

I take a shot at the vine too, I admit out of some paranoia, but it was just a vine after all.
>>
No. 394163 ID: d6af4f
File 133219581499.png - (12.24KB , 700x700 , 109.png )
394163

It's a long walk uphill, and with water in my hands. Three Stripes left one of the containers for me. The walk could have been far worse, though. I find Rikek and Rakae out of bed. It is still nerve wracking knowing that the predators are not a very long walk away, although Three Stripes may know to keep away.

They're both playing a game.
"What are you doing?"
>"We're playing chess!" Rikek says.
"I've never heard of it."
>"He says it's called chess." says Rakae.
>"The rules are pretty simple." Rikek explains. "Each piece can move in a certain way, and the goal is to get your pieces to the other end to transform them into powerful queens, until you can trap the king so that he can't move anywhere."
"That sounds... "
>"It's actually quite interesting." Rakae mentions.

How easy life can be for them.
>>
No. 394167 ID: 12c19f

>>394163
...Where did they get a...

Whatever, can you rig those quills into spears? Firearm ammunition will only last so long.
>>
No. 394168 ID: a9298b

Tell them of your most recent adventure. Would the three of you together be able to carry the windbeast shell full of water?
>>
No. 394188 ID: d6af4f
File 133220254486.png - (10.42KB , 700x700 , 110.png )
394188

"Where did you get that, anyway?"
>"I stored it as a personal item. Don't worry, it's light as a feather." Rikek says.

I fill them in on the details of what happened, before continuing. "I've got this quill, by the way. Do either of you two know how to make a spear out of it?"
>"It's easy, actually. I can carve out a spear thrower for this instead of sitting around all day." Rakae says.
>"Really? You'd use that over a gun?" says Rikek.
"A spear thrower is quiet. Guns aren't."
>"Neither are screams, unfortunately. The poison in Needleball quills alone have knocked out some weaker neumono." adds Rakae.
"... oh. Also, I'm interested in filling our shell. Do you think with the three of us, we could do that?"
>"It would be a heavy load, and if it's as far as it sounds, it could take just about all day." says Rakae. "We couldn't fill the whole thing without keeping some water from tipping over with this terrain anyway. Still, I think we could get a very nice amount. I'm concerned about the predators though. What'll we go and do if we go and run into them again?"
>>
No. 394192 ID: b6edd6

As it is it seems to risky to send the others to that water source. You might be able to explore some of the other passages with them though.
>>
No. 394194 ID: ed57e8

if you can find a back route then it could be done.
also can use the quills to knock out any searchers from the other hive and give them to the predators. would make them decide to leave us alone.
>>
No. 394199 ID: bccf7b

>>394188
I recommend instead that we try to collect rainwater or snow melt in there. No need to drag it around and slow ourselves down. We can also just leave it there, thus giving us a relatively constant supply of water.
>>
No. 394218 ID: d6af4f
File 133220911738.png - (8.02KB , 700x700 , 111.png )
394218

"It's still stormy outside. Let's just try to gather snow or rain and put it inside of the shell."
>"Hmm... the easiest option would be to let the shell stick out of the hole here, but the shell is just a bit too big. If we had a tool for that, even just a pick, I bet we could get it just big enough. Either that, or a better set of containers. You would, well, have to get something from the enemy hive either way unless we managed to find something here. I know I said I couldn't remember the path to the exit I went in, and I still can't with clarity, but I might be able to retrace it well enough with your notes to set you on the right path. As long as you're with me, I'm sure I'll be fine from any predators. How about that?"
>>
No. 394235 ID: 61e7f9

That radio of yours. What are the chances the enemy could intercept and decipher a transmission of your well enough to understand what you are saying/sending?

I'd say Three Stripes is neutral. Four Stripes thinks you are dangerous. Their word "kuli" means "danger". "Yali" can at least be interpreted as "not dangerous" though that is probably far from the correct meaning.
>>
No. 394237 ID: ed57e8

how is the enemy base thing set up anyway? between started and finished it would have the most security holes. and getting a few tools would be easy.
>>
No. 394255 ID: ce15d1

Slide her underneath your clothing, wear a bigger coat.
>>
No. 394258 ID: 369d34

Sure, if Rakae is up to it, go try to retrace her steps.

Ask Rikek if he'd be OK with monitoring and recording what the enemy hive is doing to the north. He's stuck here for now anyway, and it'd give him something to do. Do you still have your binoculars for him to use?
>>
No. 394260 ID: b6edd6

>>394258
I don't think Rakae can go back the way she came even if she did remember; her path apparently led through with the predator zone and I don't think we are on good enough terms with them to be having non-imunes walking through there.
>>
No. 394269 ID: 369d34

>>394260
Hmmmm... Ask if Rakae would agree to being bound and netted while traveling through the predator's tunnels. It'd be slower going, but would protect the both of you if she is subverted and turned against you. This way you could still drag her out of the predator's range.
>>
No. 394271 ID: bccf7b

>>394218
Any chance of carving out a channel for it? That way we remain hidden, nothing sees the shell sticking out, and there are no outwardly visible changes to the cave!

What I'm thinking is like a mini-aqueduct in the wall to catch anything that might spill in through the opening.
>>
No. 394273 ID: b6edd6

>>394271
For the rainwater catcher, maybe we can make something out of whatever the natives make those bowls out of.
>>
No. 394283 ID: 88e5ad

how come the pilot looks like she can beat you up without breaking a sweat?
>>
No. 394284 ID: fa9f7e

>>394283
Boobs of Steel.
>>
No. 394286 ID: 369d34

We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First find a way to get to the enemy base. Second, watch the base for patrol patterns and storage buildings. Then make a shopping list of tools and supplies to look for.
>>
No. 394307 ID: d6af4f
File 133222196327.png - (25.27KB , 700x1000 , 112.png )
394307

Oh, yes, the bowls. Most of them were wooden. There were a couple metallic ones, perhaps carried by neumono before they were caught.

>How come the pilot looks like she can beat you up without breaking a sweat?
She is much larger than me, and as I may have mentioned, my close combat skills are unimpressive. In short, she probably could.

"Would you mind being netted and bound in case a predator comes? Rikek was... you know."
>"Yes, he told me. I mostly don't mind, but.. please just bind me, without the net. Try to make it so I can't get out easily, but you can snip them at a moments notice, in case something else comes." says Rakae.

>"Is there anything I can do to help?" Rikek asks.
"Yes, actually. Please monitor the enemy movements out of this viewport, since you can move around slowly again. You can use my binoculars."
>"Easily!"

Yes, I hope sitting around with binoculars would be. Should I find good tools, we may be able to do something more elaborate, such as a mini aqueduct, but for now I will focus on finding that entrance, as long as Rikek's terms are acceptable. Although I have not given it close inspection, it looks as though they have leveled much of the terrain, and are paving it for construction. It is likely a good time to find tools.
>>
No. 394308 ID: 1854db

>>394307
Sounds about right.
>>
No. 394309 ID: ed57e8

sounds good.
>>
No. 394328 ID: 88e5ad

sure, but where are you gonna look for tools in a cave?
>>
No. 394332 ID: 369d34

This sounds like a decent plan. Though, add a lead to Rakae's binds that you can hold on to, so if she does get thralled by a predator you could possibly pull her away. Or tie her to a rock or something.

>>394328
Polo'll steal the tools and supplies from the enemy hive's base that's under construction right outside the spire.
>>
No. 394379 ID: d6af4f
File 133225796878.png - (11.42KB , 700x700 , 113.png )
394379

We set out first thing in the morning. Fortunately, we manage to bypass any predators along the way, and slowly retrace Rakae's steps from where I found her. Between what I've explored already and Rakae's fuzzy memory, we hit the low entrance, and it's as good as I could ask for, and did not take as long as I would have thought.

I jot down the notes, and although supplies and building materials are being lowered from an airship, it's far too early to confirm what they're building. I will review my notes in better detail later and decide where to strike. For now, I've got to carry Rakae back.
>>
No. 394380 ID: d6af4f
File 133225802611.png - (17.34KB , 700x700 , 114.png )
394380

>"Polo?"
"I feel it. One of the predators is nearby. Talk to me."
>".... okay. I'm... fine! It's not trying to take me over."
>>
No. 394381 ID: 97bd86

>>394380
The impression you've given me is that this would be pretty damn weird behavior on the part of the predators.

Keep your guard up... but I feel like this might be your "friend" from before.
>>
No. 394382 ID: ed57e8

it may be three stripes and he understands not to take her.
>>
No. 394384 ID: 1854db

>>394380
Call out the peace word. You should be able to tell if they start trying to take her over, right? If we get within visual contact we can confirm that.

Anyway I don't think we really need to check on the predator. Just pass by after like, taking a look at what it's doing maybe, if we're curious.
>>
No. 394406 ID: d6af4f
File 133226442707.png - (9.15KB , 700x700 , 115.png )
394406

"Vaota!"
>"Vaota."
We pass, and the predator doesn't follow. We don't even get 10 minutes farther before Rakae starts squirming. Then I sense another one.

>"... Polo, if we don't get me far away, I'm going to try to get out of these ropes! This one is trying to get me!"

I can sense it is getting steadily closer. It is doing the same thing that was done to Rikek and making the urge to meet it irresistable.
>>
No. 394407 ID: 1854db

Yell vaota at it and get out your gun.
>>
No. 394408 ID: ed57e8

three stripe is agreeable but 4 stripe seems a bit of a punk. move away from it. you can tell it's direction right?
>>
No. 394409 ID: 1854db

Hmm come to think of it we could travel back to 3 stripes and have them talk to clear things up.
>>
No. 394419 ID: 88e5ad

get ye gun and engage it. say vaota, but if it doesn't act in an agreeable manner, it's gonna get shot in the face.
>>
No. 394421 ID: bccf7b

>>394406

Fascinating! I assume that Four-Stripes is the capturing predator, while Three-Stripes manages coercion, subduing, and shepherding them. This allows them to conserve their resources and prevent conflicting emotional broadcasts to their pets.

Let's get a move on. Keep Rakae talking. Have her run calculations with you, even -- if we can keep her too occupied to "pick up" and acknowledge these broadcasts, she may be able to resist it until we get back to the base.
>>
No. 394429 ID: a2fa74

>>394406
Get out your gun. Call out "Vaota!" once it's within hearing range.
>>
No. 394445 ID: e3f578

>>394406
"VAOTA! MINE! VAOTA! MINE! DEATH!"
I'd be cool if on top of having the ability to hide your emotional outputs, you could have their emotion explosions, or whatever's a better word for this ability. I mean, if your first ability is possible among your species, the second shouldn't sound impossible to pick up and learn, probably easier too. They're an offshoot of your evolution or something, like genetic cousins, so hey, might be possible.

Start running, then maybe try blowing up friendship into her mind to calm her quickly if you think your far enough to not make yourself vulnerable.
>>
No. 394510 ID: 369d34

It's likely Four Stripes. He's probably agressive enough to just keep pursuing you if you ran back to camp, so run back the way you came. Run towards where the other predator is. It's most likely Three Stripes. Maybe you can get them into a confrontation, then slip away. Otherwise, you're going to have to tie Rakae down and wound or kill Four Stripes.
>>
No. 394575 ID: d6af4f
File 133230055566.png - (8.08KB , 700x700 , 116.png )
394575

>Ability to output emotions like predators instead of containing them.
For us to do that, faking emotions so well we output it in reality... I would like to say it sounds impossible, but nearly everyone thinks containing it with sheer will is impossible as well, and I am doing that. In any case, it isn't something I could learn to do in the near future.

I start heading to Three Stripes - or I thought I would, but Four Stripes, no matter how fast I move, is chasing us. I don't think I can find Three Stripes in time. I have to engage Four. Rakae is, thankfully, doing a good job of resisting the predator and letting me tie her around a pillar.

>"Be careful Polo.. please don't shoot it."
"Right."

With that, I chase down Four Stripes.
>>
No. 394576 ID: d6af4f
File 133230056461.png - (22.50KB , 900x700 , 117.png )
394576

"Vaota! Mine! Death!"

It's emotion is strong, as it is targetting one of my own hive members, but it is still resistable.

>"Kuli." it simply states, still attempting to control Rakae a short distance away.
>>
No. 394577 ID: c4a1fc

>>394576
What emotion is it? That could be "Kuli". "Obey", maybe? Also, "Peace! Mine! Kill!" is a bit contradictory.
>>
No. 394580 ID: a9298b

uhhh, "yali"? or just fire a warning shot.
>>
No. 394581 ID: ed57e8

"yali" then shoot the ground in front of it.
>>
No. 394583 ID: 61e7f9

Say "Yali". If it says "Kuli" again point your gun at it and say "Yali". If he still isn't going for it, shoot him.
>>
No. 394585 ID: 369d34

Keep your gun aimed down to start. Say "Vaota. Yali," at first. If it keeps trying to control Rakae, raise your gun and say "vaota" again. If it keeps on, fire a warning shot into the floor. Then if Four keeps going, shoot to hobble it; Kill if it keeps coming.
>>
No. 394592 ID: d6af4f
File 133230380637.png - (22.75KB , 700x700 , 118.png )
394592

>>394577
My words were contradictory when leaving conditionals's and propositions out, weren't they. I don't think they can understand my language, anyway.
It is showing the same emotion, 'friendliness', to pacify Rakae.

"Vaota, yali."
>"Kuli!"
"Yali!"

I fire a warning shot. It backs off slowly, gradually going silent again, letting Rakae free.
>>
No. 394594 ID: e3f578

Yell, roar, etc. as you fire more shots, yell between each burst and move forward steps. Keep an eye out for Neumono flanking you or getting to Rakae, it could be trying to lure you. Just got to let you know that you're not to be messed with.

But if it starts getting aggressive again, shoot it in the paw to determine that you fucking rule this joint and yell again.
>>
No. 394596 ID: 61e7f9

Continue home.
>>
No. 394597 ID: ed57e8

get rakae and go.
>>
No. 394599 ID: a9298b

shout vaota while attempting to leave
>>
No. 394607 ID: 369d34

>>394594
Please keep the ammo use down until you can steal more, OK. If it runs out, your little group is going to be in serious trouble.

Head back to Rakae, and get the both of you back to camp. Keep an eye out for Four Stripes' pet neumonos. ...Actually, have you seen Four with a flock of wiped neumono before? It might not even have any.
>>
No. 394608 ID: 1854db

>>394592
Acceptable. Let's just go home.
>>
No. 394609 ID: fcf88e

...oh god bloody damn it. I think I get it. You said these guys are pretty strong in the psychic department but not the actual think meats right? We are probably dealing with a race of pacifists who don't know their own strength.

Think about it, they throw out a lot of peace and I mean a helluva lot of it and yet only use conflicting emotions when needed along with the aggressive emotions. Their minds must be pretty strong to withstand the whiplash of two conflicting thought patterns, but they likely don't know how they are affecting them.

In short, in trying to form a sort of mutual relationship where they provide the necessities for a nip of a limb that can easily grow back, they've 'accidentally' go overboard with the peace thoughts and basically mind wipe the poor nuemonos.

Though, this is sort of a theory and it may be only a local phenomenon. Either way, it would explain why they haven't basically dog piled the emotions directly on you and actually talk to you.
>>
No. 394632 ID: 369d34

>>394609
...Uh. That sounds like something a science team will have to investigate later. Polo's a bit lacking in the tools and skills to look into that, leaving aside the whole "surviving and getting back home" thing. Though, there'll be a scientist or two who study these predators who'll want to hear her account of their behavior, once she gets back.
>>
No. 394645 ID: d6af4f
File 133231200091.png - (10.08KB , 700x700 , 119.png )
394645

"Vaota!"

It slinks off, silently.

>Keep an eye out for surrounding neumono

.... they were surrounding me! He could have ambushed me, and if I killed him there, based on what happened last time, they would have swarmed me. I'd better not think about it, with Rakae tied up. I have lots of time to slowly figure out how these predators work.
>>
No. 394646 ID: d6af4f
File 133231201145.png - (12.34KB , 700x700 , 120.png )
394646

Before long, Rakae's back, relatively safe at base. There are enemy hive areas farther out, but there is no reason to go any farther than what is immediately outside of this spire. Rakae thinks the areas with smaller circular regions is a storage area, though there is no construction yet. I've seen smaller ships come out of the large airships and land on the western square, so I believe that is the primary landing zone. Rikek says they are moving lots of materials on the northern circle, enough that it's safe to assume they are building a tower of some kind.
>>
No. 394647 ID: ed57e8

an active construction zone will have the most tools.
>>
No. 394663 ID: 1854db

I'd say we go to the north tower, except for the fact that there's a road in the way. We'd be out in the open, easily spotted. I say visit the southern 'warehouses' area and get some visual confirmation from the trees of what's going on down there.
>>
No. 394671 ID: 88e5ad

you're the only one who can sneak around down there, but you're also the only one who can protect the group from the predators. I guess you should wait until you clear the siduation in the spire before getting out there.
>>
No. 394678 ID: 369d34

The airship landing area is right out. There's going to be activity there day and night, and the tools and supplies there are going to be of the mechanical and electrical type; The kind used to repair aircraft.

Does that area with the small circular clearings south of the spire look like it has nothing but piles of construction materials? If so, then skip it. However, if there are construction vehicles around, they might be storing their tools in the vehicles, since they're working quickly so they need them at hand. It'll be something to check at any of the sites you go to. You might even be able to drive a vehicle closer to the spire to unload it.

The most interesting location is the large circular clearing to the north, where they're building that tower. There'll be plenty of tools and materials, and possibly plans for the tower or a map of the whole base to steal. The question then is if they're working around the clock or knocking off at night. An active construction site is going to be crawling with workers, and that'll be tough to sneak through, even with your empathic block. Still, it would have the greatest reward right now.

The plan, for now, is to head out under cover of darkness, and check how hard it'll be to get into that northern circular site. If it turns out to be tougher than you thought, head back to the southern "warehouse" area and see if there's anything worth taking there.

Also, you might want to muddy up your fur and clothing, for camouflage. Near-white generally shows up against all the green and brown of the jungle. You can reward yourself with a bath if you return victorious.
>>
No. 394683 ID: 369d34

>>394671
...Dammit. This is true. You go out and there's a good chance Rikek and Rakae will get thralled, or eaten, by a predator. Even if they both agree to be tied up for the duration of your mission, it'd be long enough for a predator, or one of its pets, to get up there and untie them. This may just be a situation where you all have to take a chance, so ask them if they're willing to take it.
>>
No. 394691 ID: a9298b

>>394683
tying them up would be a bad idea anyways, considering it would completely screw them if Polo got caught or even just delayed for too long.
>>
No. 394695 ID: 369d34

>>394683
>>394691
Whoops. Meant asking if they'd be OK with waiting untied.
>>
No. 394698 ID: 1854db

Let's not get paranoid about the predators. Our base is quite far away from their territory and both are now at least warned that they are not to take over our friends.
>>
No. 394708 ID: bccf7b

>>394646

A... factory? And a terminal. Polo, what do you know about Nuemono military hardware production?
>>
No. 394715 ID: d6af4f
File 133235216167.png - (9.82KB , 700x700 , 121.png )
394715

>>394708
It varies from hive to hive, and some hives get offworld technology. I don't know how good the enemy hive has, but it probably range from "very" to "extremely" from what I've seen. Meanwhile, we have some military budget but we aren't considered a war hive by any stretch.

"Rikek, Rakae, I'm leaving to scout and find tools after I sleep, but I don't know when I'll be back. The predators have been warned, but I can't guarantee your safety."
>"If that's what you're going to do, then good luck!" says Rikek.
>"We'll be fine, do be careful. I'll have a spear thrower for you fitted to the quills when you wake up. Do you know how to use one?" Rakae asks.
"Yes, I used to play with lots of archaic weapons as a kid before I was allowed to touch a gun."
>"And clothes. Do you want a spare change? I h-"
"Rakae, please. I'll be fine."

I'll take a nap, so that I'll be well rested when night falls. I'm bringing a plasma gun with 30 shots remaining, a magnum with 12 bullets, some remaining rations, binoculars, a knife and 2 of the quills. All with as light of climbing gear as I can manage and still climb safely back up when I return. Oh, and my grappling hook.

Is there anything else I should bring that I'm forgetting? Unless I have a change of heart, I will be heading north, at least to see if the road is well patrolled already.
>>
No. 394716 ID: 88e5ad

>>394715

on the way, you might wanna take a distant peek at that non-visible area. don't want any nasty surprises an all.
>>
No. 394717 ID: a9298b

Bringing the camera along could be useful, and a grenade would make a good emergency diversion. Also you're clearly forgetting to bring that extra change of clothes.
>>
No. 394753 ID: bccf7b

>>394715

Sounds good. Moving under cover of night will be best, especially as we cannot be easily detected to begin with.
>>
No. 394754 ID: bccf7b

>>394715

Sounds good. Moving under cover of night will be best, especially as we cannot be easily detected to begin with.
>>
No. 394775 ID: d6af4f
File 133237045972.png - (86.85KB , 700x700 , 122.png )
394775

Right, I'll bring a camera, and one grenade. And..

"I will take that change of clothes, by the way."
>"Good!"

I take a nap, and almost think I overslept, but time is simply moving slow. Eventually I'm moving down to the low exit.

>A peek at the non-visible area.
This is a good idea. I move laterally just above the tree line, and make sure I can drop down at a notice. Soon enough, I see another cleared out region that I couldn't before. It's flat, but at the moment there is nothing but camps. It is likely where their military lands, and it connects to the north and south sections, but closer to the north.
>>
No. 394776 ID: d6af4f
File 133237051391.png - (29.72KB , 700x700 , 123.png )
394776

I keep circling around the spire without incident until I'm on the northern end, to which I enter the jungle. I end up close to the road before I sense.. three or four other's. Enemy hive for sure. I am not sure if I should bypass them and continue or see why they are close, but not on, the main road.

Although the weather has cleared, it is still windy, and I will be difficult to hear regardless of which option I take.
>>
No. 394779 ID: bccf7b

>>394776

Remain close by, but keep your distance. They cannot be allowed to find the caves.
>>
No. 394780 ID: ed57e8

>>394779
we circled the spire a bit. not much hope of them finding the cave. move in and check them. then keep going to the work yard.
>>
No. 394781 ID: fa9f7e

Also, given the needleballs, etc. Make sure those leafy things aren't tails or something.
>>
No. 394782 ID: 369d34

Think you can safely follow them for a little bit to try and see what they're doing here, without taking much time? Otherwise, put a tree trunk between you and them until they pass, then continue on to the construction area.

>>394781
Those are almost certainly vines, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's creatures on this world that are shaped like those vines. That's still not reason enough to be yanking down every vine Polo encounters, though.
>>
No. 394785 ID: 61e7f9

Stay far far away from them. Continue on to objective.
>>
No. 394805 ID: d6af4f
File 133238176477.png - (16.03KB , 700x700 , 124.png )
394805

>>394781
I am better versed in surviving the jungle, and know signs of bloodsuckers, greentraps, and a myriad of other wildlife. It is inside of caves that my knowledge of creatures is lacking.

I'll briefly follow the enemy to see if I can't hear anything.

Five minutes pass before they utter a word.

>"Location."
>"11, 117, 34."
>"How much longer until the checkpoint?"
>"Cut the chatter, when we get there."

... and that the only word they speak for a few more minutes, and it does not feel that that will change at all. They don't have loose tongues. I will continue to the north side.
>>
No. 394806 ID: d6af4f
File 133238177715.png - (81.70KB , 700x700 , 125.png )
394806

I enter the clearing, on, I believe, the western side, rather than the front door so to speak. It may have been difficult to see from so far away that the clearing was, in fact, made very deep. And with a chainlink fence, oddly enough. I'll have to tell Rikek to look closer next time, though it would not have hurt me to apply more scrutiny. For now, the fence is scaleable easily enough, but it is right against a sharp slope.
>>
No. 394808 ID: ed57e8

look down the slope first to determine how much work has been doe. don't want to go down there for nothing.
>>
No. 394809 ID: 369d34

Check that the fence isn't electrified, and look for remote cameras or sensor-net nodes on top of the fence posts. Then approach and have a look to see how far down it is, identify possible objectives and any enemies moving around.

How loose is the soil here? Could you dig under the fence barehanded?
>>
No. 394817 ID: 61e7f9

>>394809
all of this.
>>
No. 394829 ID: bccf7b

>>394806

Let's not enter. For now, we should scout out their actions and patrol patterns. Seems odd to have this much organization in what should be the middle of nowhere, eh?
>>
No. 394857 ID: 88e5ad

I hear barbed wire does terrible things to your complexion. I say avoid it, sugarface.
>>
No. 394869 ID: 1854db

>>394806
I don't see anything worth going over the fence yet. Have a peek over the edge.
>>
No. 394872 ID: 369d34

If it does come to going over the barbed wire, could you use the spare set of clothes to cover them? Without ripping them up, or getting stuck up there and be a huge tell someone's shuck in?

>>394869
There's no obvious reason to go in at this point in the fence right now. Could you follow it to the north to see if there's an easier way through, or a spot closer to an objective?
>>
No. 394901 ID: a2853b

Guys, what if...
What if you got one of the Predators out here?
These neumono would go damned berserk if they don't have any Jammers on hand.
I mean, the crew on the ships will have them, but as a last ditch thing in case they figure out the caves we can-

Actually, never mind, the predators are the perfect defense especially if they DO find the caves, and any Neumono jammer teams could be sabotaged by us, and could even take the tech for ourselves so we don't need to tie our team members up all the time.
>>
No. 394903 ID: d6af4f
File 133240923309.png - (120.63KB , 700x700 , 126.png )
394903

I don't see an easier entry point. The only gate is the well-lit front area, and there are 4 neumono that are very alert.

The soil is actually very soft, I bet I could dig a hole underneath the chainlink in a reasonable amount of time. That could help in my way back as well, should I enter. Alternatively, I do have the spare of set clothes to get over the chainlink. Our clothing is tough enough for it.

>Peer down
Down below.. looks to be around one hundred feet. There are 4 tents plus one big warehouse where the ground is flattened, but it appears they hit rock in areas and are still working on smoothing many sections over. Which will be nice for cover. One tent is larger, but all are unlabeled from showing any particular purpose.

I believe I've accounted for most people that are down there, although I may be missing a few. It is hard to sense from this far up. There only appears to be one active patrol of three people moving around.
>>
No. 394904 ID: 61e7f9

Well fuck that place. It'd be suicide going down there. Where are we going next? Looks like they have their shit together. Doubt we will get anything out of any of these places.
>>
No. 394906 ID: 1854db

Looks like we could use the spare clothing and approach from the back, using rocks for cover. We should look in that smaller tent back there away from the line of sight of the enemy.

Don't dig under the fence; that'll leave evidence you were there. In and out, let them assume what we steal was merely misplaced.
>>
No. 394907 ID: 88e5ad

what are those three things adjacent to the fence perimeter, the nearest one being on the northwest side of the camp?
>>
No. 394919 ID: 580b43

>>394907

Judging by the light patterns, they're floodlights - it'd make sense to put them that high up, to maximize coverage and minimize shadow length.
>>
No. 394923 ID: d6af4f
File 133243152594.png - (55.32KB , 700x700 , 127.png )
394923

>>394907
Those are likely the flood lights. I'll enter at the north, between them.

I do not see any signs of cameras on the fence, nor any electrified measures.

It looks dangerous, so I will simply get in, look in the northernmost tent, then get out.

The northmost tent may be the safest, and I don't sense any neumonos inside, at least no conscious ones. Despite that, the tent flap is faced inwards to the center of the camp, and given the well lit, flat area, I'd be in uncomfortably plain sight.
>>
No. 394924 ID: 97bd86

>>394923
Seems too risky, I think...
>>
No. 394925 ID: 1854db

>>394923
Oh, good point. Hmm. Can't you just lift up the sides of the tent though? Then you could approach from behind where nothing could see you. Those guards at the gate don't have LoS to it, do they? The warehouse is in the way.
>>
No. 394927 ID: 61e7f9

Suicide, don't do it. Leave now. Find some other place less dangerous.
>>
No. 394930 ID: 88e5ad

the neumonos won't expect you to be there, since they can't sense you. and since you can sense them, you'll know it when someone comes close enough to detect you. don't worry.
>>
No. 394931 ID: bccf7b

>>394923

Perhaps we should scout out the other areas nearby, first. A more complete picture may inform us of what they're doing or intend to do, and where best to go in -- if at all.
>>
No. 394935 ID: d6af4f
File 133243558363.png - (22.46KB , 700x700 , 128.png )
394935

... I back off and take a closer look. It appears that the northern tent is sealed with a bottom tarp, so I can't simply crawl under the bottom.

Perhaps it is better to back off after all. If not here, then where do I go? I can still scout the terminal, dedicated warehouse area, or, least likely, the area for military. Although roads lead farther away from the spire, it is farther than I am comfortable going for the time being.
>>
No. 394936 ID: 1854db

Let's scout the terminal as it's on the way to the warehouses. I don't expect there to be much at the terminal but I mean, why not?
>>
No. 394937 ID: 88e5ad

if you insist on leaving, try the one closest to the spire. I still say you should enter the tent, though... we really need to figure out why the hell they are making their base right around the spire, and I was thinking maybe we might overhear some stuff over here.
>>
No. 394940 ID: 6e44d2

Do you have a knife? You can cut your own entrance into the tent.
>>
No. 394955 ID: d6af4f
File 133244480918.png - (36.05KB , 700x700 , 129.png )
394955

I don't have time to be indecisive, and I'm already here. I can use my knife to make an entrance, I doubt it'll be the slightest noise. Fast in, fast out, no time wasted. I won't be more than 200 seconds.
>>
No. 394956 ID: d6af4f
File 133244488065.png - (13.11KB , 900x700 , 130.png )
394956

The fabric opens like butter, which I slice along the bottom and crawl in. At an odd angle, with much luck and a little stupidity I can't count on, they may think it was a wild animal sniffing around if I don't take anything. There's a sleeping neumono here, but he's not stirring.

Oddly spacious for a tent, and large furniture at that.
>>
No. 394957 ID: ed57e8

can you look through the drawers really fast without making noise?
>>
No. 394962 ID: 1854db

>>394956
We're tracking mud. Don't get it anywhere that an animal wouldn't. Also mask your footprints.

Just take a look at the papers on the table right there.
>>
No. 394963 ID: ed57e8

and if computers are really silent. turn it on and let it start up while you are looking in the drawers.
>>
No. 394965 ID: d6af4f
File 133244708631.png - (11.81KB , 900x700 , 131.png )
394965

>>394962
I brush off my feet somewhat, and won't touch much with my full hands.

>>394957
squeak
The first centimeter says no.

I use my claws to check out the papers without disturbing them much. They're blueprints to, what I glean from them, a multi purpose tower. Approximately 30 floors high, if I read them right. One page has details on radio systems, one has details on an underground bunker, where I imagine I am standing in the location of, and the third page I cannot tell the purpose of. I leave them right where I found them. It isn't much.

I can turn on the computer, but I don't know how loud it hums on startup.
>>
No. 394966 ID: 1854db

>>394965
Better not. Check in the trash bin instead.
>>
No. 394968 ID: 88e5ad

sneak attack for 15x damage. make it look like an animal attack. he's sleeping, so nobody should sense the difference.
>>
No. 394969 ID: 1854db

The guards would immediately know that he died (via the empathic connection), and come running.
>>
No. 394972 ID: d6af4f
File 133245097830.png - (11.67KB , 900x700 , 132.png )
394972

>Trash bin
Without making uncrumpling noises too much, they appear to be more blueprints to miscellaneous rooms. Given their current residence at a trash bin, I don't believe these will be at all useful. There are also discarded ration bar wrappers.

In order to kill this one without alerting the guards, I would need to hurt him enough, and quick enough, to get him fully unconscious or dead straight from his sleep. I can most likely do it, perhaps with the quill, but I can't know for sure.
>>
No. 394973 ID: 61e7f9

No super big reason to kill him. The risk of failure is death. Not worth it.
>>
No. 394983 ID: a2fa74

>>394972
Knock over the trash can and strew the wrappers around near it, then leave.
>>
No. 394985 ID: ed57e8

spread mud all over and make a bit of a mess. will make it look like an animal rummaged around.
>>
No. 394991 ID: a2853b

>>394972
Man it must be a real nuisance to successfully sabotage a Neumono strike group. Even if you gag them they can telempathically communicate their distress.
Best you could do would be to drug the target before making your move, but you don't really have anything for that besides the quill.
>>
No. 395001 ID: 88e5ad

>>394972

maybe you could knock him out and kidnap him. you know... for interrogation.
>>
No. 395016 ID: a2fa74

>>395001
That would take more than what's left of the allocated 200 seconds, and would put them on high alert.
>>
No. 395018 ID: 369d34

Don't kill the guy. You have no way to effectively make it look like an animal attack.
Tip over the trash bin and spread the wrappers out a bit, to make it look like a critter got in here.

Wait, you have the camera. Is there enough light in here you could take pictures of the blueprints, then put them back?
>>
No. 395023 ID: 801747

>>395018
Seconding this on both counts... take some blueprints back digitally and cover your tracks. On that note, on your way out, maybe tear up the edges of the entrance you made for the same reason.
>>
No. 395129 ID: 1854db

The trash blueprints are useless. Only take pics of the ones on the table.

Don't kill the guy, knock over the trash, and leave.
>>
No. 395134 ID: d6af4f
File 133248119736.png - (14.29KB , 900x700 , 133.png )
395134

Yes, I may as well be relatively safe. I'll cut up the tent flap more after I take pictures of what might be the real blueprints.

And gentle knock over the trash can. I can't help but feel a petty kind of enjoyment over it.

It's hardly a fruitful trip, but I'm alive, and given the security, can make it out again easily. I'm unsure if I should run alongside the road to the terminal in the hopes of finding some sort of tool, or return to my base.
>>
No. 395136 ID: ed57e8

the main point of this trip was for tools. hmm... move to the back of the large tent, can you tell if anyone is inside? if no one is inside first poke a hole to look through and see if anything is in it.
>>
No. 395142 ID: 1854db

>>395134
Dig a hole under the fence after you climb over it again, so that there's actually a spot they can say the animal got in from.

Since we're behind the warehouse already, can you check for a back door?
>>
No. 395155 ID: 369d34

Yeah, this hasn't been the most rewarding, but the night's still young. (Right?)

There's a good chance you can get to the roof or back of the warehouse from that dark area on the east side, once you head back up and out to the north. However, that's only good if you can get inside. Were there any vents, roof hatches, or doors other than the front one on the warehouse? Could you tell what it was built out of? If it's a temporary building, you might be able to pull a panel off the backside to get in. If it's the walls of a final room of the structure, the roof is temporary, and might be able to be pulled up. If it looks impregnable, forget it for now, and head elsewhere.

The tent city to the east is a no-go, so it looks like the next destination is the airship landing zone to the west, unless the cleared areas to the south/southeast of the spire looked at all promising. Were those areas just cleared and empty, or was there anything stored in them?
>>
No. 395189 ID: d6af4f
File 133251470013.png - (25.80KB , 700x700 , 134.png )
395189

>Check the warehouse

I'll poke into the tent if the warehouse doesn't yield anything. This warehouse is a temporary one at a closer look, and probably wasn't made with security in mind. I may be able to pull a panel out, or just cut through the fabric if it's on tight.
>>
No. 395190 ID: 1854db

Try pulling a panel out, that way you can just put it back on afterwards and not leave any obvious traces of entry. Try not to track dirt in this time.
>>
No. 395193 ID: bccf7b

>>395189

Polo, how deep are the roads here? If they're making an underground bunker, they may be using tunnels for transit between the sites, which begs to say it may be a fairly considerable installation, despite its size right now.
>>
No. 395202 ID: d6af4f
File 133252101138.png - (19.39KB , 700x700 , 135.png )
395202

... yes, it's entirely possible they may end up making tunnels between sections. The main roads are at a higher elevation, with variance, but nothing is stopping them from mining more.

For now, I wipe myself off some more to not track dirt in as I see what's inside.

Construction vehicles.

Workbenches with tools. A wide collection, I can likely take my choice of any common types.

A collection of explosives. Probably for quick mining.
>>
No. 395203 ID: 1854db

>>395202
Jackpot!

Hmm. Are the explosives in any size that you could use? Any fuses with them? Taking one might be nifty, but that's more carefully tracked... Oh! You could sabotage one of the vehicles. Any method that would cause as much collateral damage as possible but wouldn't be obvious sabotage would be best. Disconnecting a hose that could've come loose, or loosening a bolt somewhere... No cutting cables or poking holes though, that's too obvious.

And just grab a set of tools. Those go missing all the time, nobody will be suspicious.
>>
No. 395204 ID: 97bd86

>>395202
Grab some tools for sure.

If you think you can pull off anything else, go for it, but I get less and less comfortable the longer we stay here.
>>
No. 395205 ID: ed57e8

take a full set of tools. 2 digging kinds if you can.
>>
No. 395206 ID: bccf7b

>>395202

Yeah, let's grab some of the tools and GTFO. Leave the explosives for now, but at least we can be certain that for the time being, we can make a BIG boom if we need to xD
>>
No. 395210 ID: 61e7f9

Grab all the tools you want and gtfo.
>>
No. 395218 ID: d6af4f
File 133252824219.png - (42.64KB , 700x700 , 136.png )
395218

I load up my pack with three picks, a pair of wire cutters, and a small box of generic tools such as wrenches, vices, screwdrivers, hammers, nails and some other things.

After unhooking a hose and unplugging a loose cable for some subtle sabotage on the vehicles, I ignore the explosives and get out. So far I should be unseen, and taking an explosive would ruin that for a small gain of one charge. I'm feeling uneasy about going to the large tent, but maybe that is just the fear of this hive talking.
>>
No. 395219 ID: d6af4f
File 133252825122.png - (43.02KB , 700x700 , 137.png )
395219

>To the terminal

It is crawling with neumono. Even at the dead of night, it's active. On the other hand, there are constant sounds of engines, both aircraft and ground vehicles, mostly between here and the south road from what I see.

These buildings also could be temporary or permanent. They are made of pre-constructed walls and materials for quick, if rather inflexible construction. Nevertheless, I doubt I will be pulling off any back panels.
>>
No. 395220 ID: ed57e8

don't see anything you could really go for. looks like it's time to head back. if you find someone out in the forest alone. take them out with needles. and give them to thee stripe.
>>
No. 395221 ID: 61e7f9

yup yup gtfo
>>
No. 395222 ID: 1278c1

>>395219
Yeah, that's a deathtrap. Let's hook around to the unknown areas down south to take a peek, and also maybe take a peek at the dedicated warehouse.
>>
No. 395235 ID: d6af4f
File 133253123795.png - (65.93KB , 700x700 , 138.png )
395235

There is a lot more activity between theterminal and warehouse, than the terminal and tower site. I sense several groups along the way. They are constantly in groups of either three or four, and are never alone. They don't even go off to the side to take a leak, they just do it in everyone elses company.

The warehouse section is exactly that, after all. Rakae was wrong. There was plenty of construction, but between the landscape around here being uneven, the massive height of the treeline, we simply couldn't see it from our vantage point. Hence, it appears they are building at the north end first, and saving the southern parts that we can see for later.

Many people run and drive around to organize many materials into many silos and depots. I don't spend long watching, but that's enough to see that they know what they're doing.

It also has an electrified fence around the perimeter. This makes me think that the terminal will as well, and that it merely hasn't gotten around to it as of yet.
>>
No. 395236 ID: 1278c1

Next, the ? areas. The one directly north of here first.
>>
No. 395239 ID: ed57e8

think we are done snooping for now. head back.
>>
No. 395246 ID: 61e7f9

Head back. Damn fine job.
>>
No. 395250 ID: bccf7b

>>395235
Let's get back to the cave. We can explore more later.

It may be a good idea to record all this and begin contemplating the radio. As little as I like the idea of discovery, we may need to inform our hive of this activity. It really looks like a war base.
>>
No. 395253 ID: 88e5ad

head back. hopefully the predators haven't turned your comrades into sex slaves just yet.
>>
No. 395290 ID: 369d34

Looks like they're using this area for construction material storage. You might be able to dig under the fence to get in, but unfortunately anything here that'd be worth stealing is too bulky to haul away undetected. Some gutters and pipes for water collection would have been nice to have.

Better return to camp. Drop off your loot, then clean up in that underground lake if it's not too late. It wasn't a super productive mission, but you still got something out of it.

Later you can ask Rikek and Rakae if they can see anything more in blueprint pictures you took. Also, keep an eye out for activity that would indicate they're on heightened alert after your little expedition.
>>
No. 395296 ID: a2853b

>>395253
You have me wondering: do Neumono Predators actually do that sort of thing, or is it just some populist idealization like Vampires and their glamour?
>>
No. 395305 ID: d5ee6f

>>395235
I think you should try driving some predators towards the camp.
>>
No. 395306 ID: fa9f7e

Let's see if you can get Three-Stripes to convince any others to go towards the camp. He can reign supreme after the shitton of well-armed neumono kill the others, act as a "defense"/alarm when they inevitably march into the caves to kill any more, and give us time to gtfo. Don't tell him about the last part, though. Pictograms? Miming?
>>
No. 395336 ID: d6af4f
File 133256592552.png - (12.83KB , 700x700 , 139.png )
395336

The location marked ? just above the warehouses, was empty for now. There is little but a few parked cars; I imagine that area is still being excavating and smoothing that area for construction.

I am more exhausted than I think, and head to our base directly before sunrise. I'll worry about bathing and predators later. Hopefully rain will come again soon, in which, with our picks, we can collect a good supply. Drinking and bathing will be much better without having to go so far.

Rikek is sleeping, with Rakae in watch. Thankfully the predators stayed away. We're both happy to see each other.
>"How did it go?"
"It could have been a bit better, and a lot worse. I got us picks and tools. Their security is more or less tight."
>"Yes! You look like you've rolled around in the forest."
"I did. I also took pictures of blueprints, but not much. I might be able to get more info later."
>"What for?"
"Intel."
>>
No. 395337 ID: d6af4f
File 133256595393.png - (8.68KB , 700x700 , 140.png )
395337

>"You'd risk going back for that?"
"Yes."
>"Polo... our lives are more important than gathering intel. We- well, maybe I - failed the mission for the moton eggs. There's no clause saying that if we're trapped behind enemy lines, we must do everything to sabatoge and hinder the enemy. The important thing is to survive. And it kind of seems like we have everything we need to live, at least so long as you're around. I feel bad for being so reliant on you, so you get to make the call, but I don't think that Rikek nor myself would feel unhappy if we had to hold out here indefinitely. I'm sure we can safely figure out what they're up to safely enough from here if it means that much."
"You're not giving up on getting out of here, are you?"
>"No, I'm putting our safety ahead of it. Maybe... I'm a little scared when you're gone, but I'm trying not to be selfish over it. I have no right to be, but getting taken by something I can't even fight back against... I'd rather fight the hive out there."
>>
No. 395358 ID: ed57e8

"well see, another thing i want to do is see if i can offer something to make the predators decide to leave us alone. capture an enemy and give t to them"
>>
No. 395367 ID: 7c85b9

"I won't go chasing after anything until I can guarantee both of your safety if you do not desire to risk yourselves for it. Even though with these circumstances you may be relying on me for survival that doesn't mean you lose all your rights or have to act like servants or anything like that. We do what we think is best for us, not me."

>>395358
Capturing people to become mind slaves to a beast for you own gain is really evil and heartless. Let's not.
>>
No. 395372 ID: a9298b

What about the fact that you're completely surrounded by the enemy hive and uncomfortably close to predators? The other neumono are bound to explore the spire eventually, and then it's only a matter of time before they realize there's predators in here. Then, since they've probably got jammers, they're going to fully explore the cave system, at which point it would be hard to hide if you were alone. As it is, you have two people with you constantly broadcasting their presence.

If you want to stay here indefinitely you'll need better plans and equipment than you have now. Some jammers would probably be very helpful, for starters.
>>
No. 395373 ID: 88e5ad

meh. we'll yank an enemy ship and GTFO eventually. and to do that we'll have to sabotage a lot of their things. they'll give us a goddamn medal.
>>
No. 395403 ID: b85f8c

Hmm. She's got a point- there's no reason to take risks. If we go out again, it'll be for something specific. Intel can be gained by just... watching them from a distance.

A much higher priority now is exploring the cave.
>>
No. 395406 ID: 1e3433

>Capturing people to become mind slaves to a beast for you own gain is really evil and heartless. Let's not.
>gain
Gain being survival?
>heartless
They'll be bliss & mindless, as if they were put in a coma. Thats no more heartless than killing them. For that matter its no more evil than killing them as they're little more than zombies after the predators get a hold of them.
We should either kill the preds or buddy up with them as being a fence sitter is pretty dangerous and hypocritical(Oh keeping mindstock is so evil! So lets do nothing about the ones already under the preds control.)
>>
No. 395410 ID: 369d34

"We hold up here, and our luck is going to eventually run out. Something will go wrong, and there'll be a fight we can't win, and nowhere to run or hide. Going out, I have a chance to get what we need to remain here and hidden, or to find a way to escape. Its a risk, but not much riskier than waiting here until the odds tip against us."

And you know there'll be something: An enemy airship will swing too close and sense us, or Four Stripes ambushes you, or something as simple and pointless as being crushed in a cave-in. Whatever form it will take, you all are living on borrowed time. You need a plan, an objective; Something more than "hide and survive."

If you could just get a hold of a pair of neumono jammer rigs, that would make things so much easier. Unfortunately, any such rigs the enemy hive have would be in their secure lockup when not in use. So you have to get them in use, and the one thing you know they'd pull them out for is a predator extermination squad.
Get one of the predators out there, thralling them left and right, and then running back here. Ambush the squad, wipe them out, take the jammers, and the enemy blames it on the predator. Now you just have to figure out how to pull it off.
>>
No. 395414 ID: a2853b

>>395367
>Capturing people to become mind slaves to a beast for you own gain is really evil and heartless. Let's not.
They are the enemy.
Their only desire is to kill any other neumono who is not of their hive.
Remember the intent to kill she described them having when the first dropship came?
They will have no mercy, she can have no mercy.
These are not human beings, these are neumono.
If you are not of the hive, then to a neumono, you are not even a person.
>>
No. 395435 ID: c891d3

>>395337
She has kind of a point... our biggest goal should be getting out of here, and her and Rikek are awfully vulnerable when you're not around.
>>
No. 395446 ID: d6af4f
File 133260361329.png - (13.63KB , 700x700 , 141.png )
395446

Although I won't needlessly subject my enemy to a fate with predators, I won't hesitate to do so if it helps our situation.

"We're going to do what's best for us, not me. I don't care if you're reliant on me. You have a point, but if we hold up here, we will to have plenty of time for our luck to run out. If I go out, I can find an escape for us. Maybe, just maybe, even find a jammer we can use. I'll hang around the caves for a day though just in case the enemy suspects foul play, and see if I can't get more done for these predators."
>"I understand then, you'll know best before. I've only been trapped behind enemy lines once before, and it was different. I'm sorry to have brought this up when you need the sleep. You should get some rest, then get a bath."

That sounds ideal, so I sleep.
>>
No. 395447 ID: d6af4f
File 133260363184.png - (13.24KB , 700x700 , 142.png )
395447

... the bed is shaking- it's Rakae, who's on watch, and waking me up before I felt like I had even slept.
"What--"

Shit, a predator found us. One dozen neumono. Approaching steadily, and sending out peaceable thoughts for what that's worth. Rikek is scared, but quickly losing herself again.
>>
No. 395448 ID: a2fa74

>>395447
Tie them up, and grab the rifle.
If it's four-stripes starting shit then blow out his kneecaps as a warning.
>>
No. 395451 ID: bccf7b

>>395447

Keep our friends free unless Rakae says it feels like an attack. I have a feeling it's Three-Stripes attempting to contact us. Peace this time may be more of a way of announcing its own presence and requesting we NOT act hostile (like we did to Four-Stripes earlier).

If it turns out to be Four-Stripes, I'm not certain what to do. His calling card has always been different. Killing him will kill us: we don't have the advantage against a dozen zombies.

>>395337

I agree with Rakae. We'll gather intel only when the opportunity presents itself. There isn't much to go on now as it is, and we NEED to stay alive if we're going to get this data back home. We did, it dies with us, and a highly aggressive hive might take that as a sign of hostilities. Pitting them against our own would be suicide from the sound of it.
>>
No. 395453 ID: c891d3

>>395451
Even if it is Three, I'm not sure I trust it quite enough to let our friends stay free. Stay on your guard.
>>
No. 395458 ID: b85f8c

>>395447
Man how did it even find us?
Rifle out, and find a place to stay out of sight. We want to see what it intends to do.

Also leave Rakae a rifle, and tell her that if the predator is betraying us you'll kill it, and she can help you fight off its thralls. Hmm, maybe give Rikek one too. You should easily be able to tell if it tries to manipulate either of them into attacking you, so you can kill it before that becomes an issue.

We can handle this.
>>
No. 395469 ID: a9298b

>>395451
It doesn't matter if it is three stripes, it's trying to control Rakae already, we need her and Rikek tied up, and we need polo ready for another predator confrontation.
>>
No. 395494 ID: b85f8c

>>395469
I think they should have their hands free at least so they can use the rifles for base defense.
>>
No. 395502 ID: a9298b

>>395494
how do you manage to tie someone up in a way that they can use their hands and operate a laser rifle but not free themself?
>>
No. 395512 ID: 1ae7d1

>>395494
very nice idea... if not their base-defense would be against us, which is the reason to tie them...

We tie them so they can't free themselves and attack us, so what is the point in arming them? Hoping they will forget how to use weapons the moment they are obsessed?
>>
No. 395529 ID: 4bdd79

>>395502
Tie their hands to the rifle. Tie the rifle to the edge of the platform.
>>
No. 395543 ID: d6af4f
File 133262186930.png - (26.30KB , 700x1000 , 143.png )
395543

Rakae - I meant Rakae. Rikek is asleep, though not after I tie him up.

>"Promise me you won't die?" asks Rakae.
"Quit being melodramatic. If it means us harm, then it will be the one dying. Can you hold a rifle?"
>"I already kind of want to shoot you for stopping me."
"Nevermind, because this is ."

It's taking longer for them to lose control than I would have thought. Perhaps a predator has trouble attempting to control two of us from two different hives at once.

It's gotten close by the time I finish tying both of them up, and given the way they look at me, I'm not regretting keeping the guns from them. The predator is probably just around the corner, so I will go meet it.
>>
No. 395544 ID: d6af4f
File 133262188070.png - (16.93KB , 700x700 , 144.png )
395544

... it's Four Stripes, with his full group. He's stopped, and he's pinging out specific emotions. Again, that seems to act as specific orders to his slaves, as they continue to walk towards our base without Four Stripes leading.
>>
No. 395545 ID: ed57e8

jump out and point gun. make a angry growling noise.
>>
No. 395546 ID: e3f578

This predator is too dangerous and aggressive.
He must die.
If Three Stripes is angry later because of this, well fuck him too. He was nice but his partner is too damned aggressive and he still enslaves these poor things.

Ambush and murder this bastard. These neumono have no ranged weapons, and with Four dead, no intelligent orders. They'll scramble for you at worst, where we can mow them down using guerrilla tactics.
>>
No. 395547 ID: fa9f7e

What do we know about his anatomy? A headshot doesn't kill neumono. Will it kill their predators?
>>
No. 395548 ID: a9298b

shoot the ground in front of them and shout vaota. If they keep advancing, start firing.
>>
No. 395549 ID: a9298b

>>395547
probably
>>392096
>>
No. 395558 ID: 369d34

Four Stripe's intentions are clear. There'll be no shouting or threatening it down this time.

Pull out your frag grenade, cook it, then chuck it into the middle of Four Stripe's group. Try to time it so it explodes right before hitting the ground. Swing out right after the blast and nail Four Stripes in the head, then quickly retreat up to your bed net nest and pull the rope up. With Four Stripes dead, Rikek and Rakae can help you fight off the raging zombie neumonos from up there. Once they're incapacitated, you could wait for them to regenerate and lead them to Three Stripes, or just outright kill them.
>>
No. 395560 ID: b85f8c

>>395544
Let some of his group go on ahead. We'll strike when they're more split up.

You could try saying "Kuli va." first.
>>
No. 395570 ID: 88e5ad

>>395547

it did last time.

point your gun at the predator. try and tell him to leave. if he doesn't, warning shot. if he still doesn't, headshot.
>>
No. 395573 ID: a2fa74

>>395544
Shoot him in the head, then head back to base and start shooting to disable these zombies.
>>
No. 395581 ID: fcf88e

Don't shoot to kill just yet. Play smart. This is way too open for an attack. After all, why would he be on the front lines? It makes no sense considering he has soldiers who can take a lot more abuse and he could give commands at a farther range.
>>
No. 395618 ID: bccf7b

>>395544

Use whatever greeting it is the predators keep saying. If he continues to advance the zombies near us, place a warning shot near him. Let him know that we are displeased with this course of action. Priority the zombies as targets for now, since they'll go down easy and shouldn't berserk like they will if we drop Four-Stripes.

We need to resolve this in a way to assert that we are NOT to be trifled with and that Four-Stripes has now entered our territory.
>>
No. 395649 ID: 369d34

Step out and shout a warning. Four Stripes doesn't heed it, fire a warning shot. He doesn't heed that, start shooting his closest pet neumono. That doesn't do it, shoot him in the foot. Move on to the torso or head if the foot shot doesn't turn him back.
>>
No. 395696 ID: bccf7b

>>395544

Polo, do we know anything about the neural anatomy of these creatures? I'm curious what may become of it should we be forced to engage it, and how this may affect its ability to control the zombies.
>>
No. 395784 ID: b4798d

Conserve your ammo, as best you are able. One warning shot, at most - four stripes isn't exactly proving willing to live and let live. Until and unless you can secure a supply of ammo from the enemy hive, make every shot count.
>>
No. 395798 ID: e6da3c

>>395544
Forget fancy shooting. Center body mass. burn holes through its heart and lungs and whatever else is in its body. Sudden trauma like that should put it into shock and end its slave-herding. You can be all precise and merciful after it is disabled.

P.S. Do the higher-tech hives have devices to detect energy weapon fire? Something to consider.
>>
No. 395806 ID: a2fa74

>>395573
Wait, no. Better idea.
You know those poisoned quills? Those things scared three-stripes, so they're almost certainly not immune.
Hit him with those and it should knock him out. Since he wouldn't be dead his zombies shouldn't frenzy.
>>
No. 395809 ID: ed57e8

>>395806
OH SNAP. great idea.
>>
No. 395882 ID: 369d34

>>395806
Yes, the needleball quills could very well knock Four Stripes out. Whether or not his pets would frenzy or not then is unknown, but they'd frenzy anyway if you killed him. At the least the pain would make it nearly impossible for Four Stripes to direct his zombies with any detail.
>>
No. 395896 ID: ba1062

>>395806
fourthing this
>>
No. 395944 ID: 61e7f9

Stay completely silent.
>>395806
Then start picking off the neumono. Single shot to chest should be enough to stop them long enough to down him then them later after he is dead and they are still out.

We offered peace. He chose war. Kill him.
>>
No. 395964 ID: 369d34

If you get the chance to incapacitate and capture Four Stripes alive and with relative ease, do it. You could make him the enemy hive's problem rather than yours, if you can dump him outside the spire in the path of a patrol.
>>
No. 395991 ID: fcf88e

Oh bloody hell you rabid jackals are you HONESTLY thinking he is coming for war with that few amount of Nuemono? They may not be intelligent, but they are likely far from idiots. We SAW how many they had and it was a helluvalot more than that small batch. You also seem to forget they can do that whole 'Anger/Peace' thing and basically wreck the shit out of our two friends. Or did you forget that there is MORE THAN ONE?

He has come close several times but he has NOT ONCE attacked us when he had the chance. Hell, he was likely warning us the last time.

Still want to go through with this? How about the enemies close to us? You want to fight two fronts with our comrades incapacitated and no real means to get food? Remember, all the steady food sources are in their territory so that means we would be lucky to get it if they are all on high alert.

But the main reason? We do this and we put our two friends at great risk and if you lot are wrong and he IS here for peace, we lose a potential ally and made our departure from this place that much harder.

Cool your heads and just remain alert. Shout that saying and show that this is your safe spot.
>>
No. 395993 ID: c04c0d

Remember that they really cant turn off the empathy power. They have to keep it up all the time in some form or another to keep the tribe in line. It may be coming to attack you or it could be riled up by the invaders.
>>
No. 396016 ID: a375cf

>>395991
This >>395544 says "His full group." And last time he only stopped his advances on Polo after being shot at. I don't think Four-stripes gives two shits about making peace with one Neumono when he can take two, which he's clearly trying to do. His stance is aggressive and unlike Three-stripes he's made no attempts to communicate.

I'm confused as to how having Polo give up her position by yelling is a good idea.
>>
No. 396027 ID: d6af4f
File 133272848445.png - (19.45KB , 700x700 , 145.png )
396027

All I know about the anatomy of these things is that a headshot will kill them.
To my knowledge, there are no specialized devices to detect energy weapon fire.

A warning shot is not a bad idea, but he should already have learned from the last warning shot. The needleball quill was almost in arms reach. I grab that and its launcher, and fling the quill as the predator checks behind itself. Ironically, it may have been looking out for me.

The needle goes into the neck, and the predator screams, a sound akin to nails on cracked chalkboard.

And it sends out another empathic order, and all of the other neumono start clambering on top of it. They cover as much of the predator as they can, actually making themselves a meat shield! It doesn't slow four stripes down much, and he's still stumbling away frantically. It goes outwardly silent - it seems that the pets will follow the last order given even if the empathic feel dies out.

The neumono, of course, don't make for adequate, plasma proof armor. I can finish off the wounded four stripes as is, but that may end in a swarm for sure.
>>
No. 396029 ID: d5ee6f

>>396027
Shoot at the armor zombies and to cripple. Don't try and kill him until you feel safe from swarms.
>>
No. 396030 ID: ed57e8

follow behind him very obviously. make him know you are following him. may panic and try something.
>>
No. 396031 ID: 61e7f9

Pick off his shields first. Chase after him. Finish him off once you've killed his pets.

Again, he had his chance to make peace with you.
>>
No. 396032 ID: b85f8c

>>396027
I think you could just start killing the slaves, until the swarm is no longer a threat. Then kill Four Stripes.
>>
No. 396043 ID: 369d34

Four Stripes dug his grave, now he's going to lie in it.

Don't shoot the zombie neumono; You have to conserve your ammo for now.
Follow Four Stripes at a distance and remain as hidden as you can. Wait until he and his pets are far enough from your camp, preferably in an area with plenty of cover, then put a shot in his torso, and his head. Once he's dead, run back to camp, and evade the swarming zombies as best you can.
>>
No. 396044 ID: ed57e8

or we can get three strip nearby. and have it take over when 4 stripe fgoes down.
>>
No. 396045 ID: bccf7b

>>396027

Leave him be.

He knows we can hurt him, and that we will if he keeps getting close. And if he can't find US, he might think one of those creatures made it up here... which will keep them at bay for quite some time.
>>
No. 396063 ID: d6af4f
File 133273662569.png - (29.61KB , 700x700 , 146.png )
396063

I won't have any idea where Three Stripes is, so I aim for the zombies. Making sure my shots hit, I take careful aim and follow four stripes a bit. Three shots take out three pets, before he wises up that I'm not aiming for him. Another empathic order is given, they all get off, and start chasing me down as Four Stripes continues trying to get away.
>>
No. 396064 ID: d5ee6f

>>396063
Aim for the hip or leg, then start taking out the swarm.
>>
No. 396066 ID: 61e7f9

If you have a second rifle on you, unload into them. Even if you don't have a second rifle on you unload into them. Kill as many as fast as you can. We are hunting down and killing that fuck if we have to throw rocks at him till he dies.
>>
No. 396069 ID: b85f8c

Time to retreat. Lose them in the maze of tunnels.
>>
No. 396071 ID: ed57e8

don't need to kill. knocking them out and then bringing them to three stripe hurt but alive may make it still stay in peace.
if you can get the second spike into him from here do it. two doses should knock him down, then you can give them a merry chase to the stream or mushroom garden.
>>
No. 396121 ID: bccf7b

>>396063

fuck... this isn't going to end well, is it...
>>
No. 396126 ID: 369d34

Give Four Stripes one last quick center of mass parting shot, then run. You're already being swarmed, so possibly killing him won't change much.
Take whatever route would be the easiest to lose these wiped neumono in, but generally aim for camp. You might be able to fight the remaining pursuers off if Rikek and Rakae are aiding you.
>>
No. 396130 ID: a2fa74

>>396063
Shoot four-stripes, then hide.
>>
No. 396155 ID: 88e5ad

stop killing them for fuck's sake!
>>
No. 396159 ID: a2fa74

>>396155
She's NOT killing them.
>>
No. 396313 ID: d6af4f
File 133282980431.png - (15.44KB , 700x700 , 147.png )
396313

I take down 2 more, down but not dead I'm sure, leaving 7 chasing me as I head back to base. This isn't going as smoothly as I hoped. There aren't as many pillars and crevices inside this area as there were when I took down the first predator, plus there are twice as many opponents this time. They are also surprisingly fast, as though Four Stripes kept them in shape. They are actually gaining on me, especially so as I attempt to turn and shoot.
>>
No. 396314 ID: 61e7f9

Unload into them.
>>
No. 396315 ID: ed57e8

is four stripe out of range of controlling? if so get help from your buds. if not then just start shooting.
>>
No. 396320 ID: 369d34

Unless you think you have good odds to stand your ground and take down all seven before they get within hand-to-hand distance, you should turn and put all your effort into running back to camp. Once you get up into your nest and pull the rope and your comrades up, all three of you will be able to pick off this pack of zombies.
Unfortunately, if you won't be able to get back fast enough, you'll have to use up your frag grenade. Round a corner, pull the pin, and drop an explosive surprise for these pursuers. Hopefully that'll thin them out enough for you to shoot down the rest.
>>
No. 396347 ID: 33783d

ninjas can't catch you if you're also a ninja. catch my drift?
>>
No. 396394 ID: d6af4f
File 133288245290.png - (14.41KB , 700x700 , 148.png )
396394

I drop a frag as best as I can, and I'm sure that three were taken down and a couple more slowed. I focus on running back to the base, and I almost make it before one of them actually throws a damn rock at me!
>>
No. 396395 ID: d6af4f
File 133288246164.png - (21.57KB , 700x700 , 149.png )
396395

Shoot, they caught up with that! I'm right by our base, too!

So close that I can hear Rikek.
>"Hang on, Polo! Just a second!"
>>
No. 396396 ID: ed57e8

start shooting like a nut.
>>
No. 396397 ID: 61e7f9

Knifing time. Keep pushing them back with your feet as best you can and grab and slash with hand and knife. Go for armpits, inner thigh, and neck.
>>
No. 396401 ID: a760e9

CATFIIIIIIGHT
>>
No. 396405 ID: a9298b

Knife or magnum will do you a lot more favors in close combat than the rifle.
>>
No. 396414 ID: 369d34

No place for guns at this range; Drop rifle, pull knife. Focus on incapacitating one at a time. Use tooth and claw to clamp on, and aim to stab in the stomach. You'll only get one or two, but you just have to hold out a little longer.
>>
No. 396416 ID: b85f8c

>>396395
Knife or pistol. But mostly knife, I expect.

Don't let them get their hands on your rifle, either.
>>
No. 396421 ID: d6af4f
File 133289326881.png - (18.07KB , 700x700 , 150.png )
396421

I manage to knife one around the stomach, but even as it reels back, it wasn't enough to drop it. They don't go for my gun, but the other had a rock and manages to land a hit. I'm beginning to regret not focusing more on close quarter combat, and the other two are nearly caught up, as well as the one I knifed not being out of the fight.
>>
No. 396422 ID: d6af4f
File 133289331358.png - (19.57KB , 700x700 , 151.png )
396422

If there was a lesson I would take now, it would be not to get in a fist fight with Rakae, who is managing to completely overwhelm the both of them.
>>
No. 396424 ID: 6e44d2

Rikek is probably trying to untie Polo. Bad news.
>>
No. 396425 ID: 61e7f9

How the hell did she get out? Damnit Polo learn to tie someone up properly.

Make sure nobody gets behind her and if you can grab a hold of people's legs so you stay low but still hinder them.
>>
No. 396426 ID: 97bd86

>>396424
Rikek is probably trying to do what now?

Rakae is already free and currently saving our ass, and we're in control of Polo.
>>
No. 396428 ID: a2fa74

>>396422
Ask Rakae if she can handle the zombies. State we want them incapacitated and bound but alive, if possible.
If she has this, then go after four-stripes. Ideally he'll be unconscious and you'll be able to lead three-stripes and his pets to four-stripes and his pets. Showing that you spared him reaffirms not only that you don't want to kill them, but also that you are fully capable of doing so.
>>
No. 396430 ID: b85f8c

Alright, after she helps you take out the rest of these things, we should probably go and see what Four Stripes' status is. If he's knocked out, then we should see if we can get Three Stripes to come over. If he's not, we stalk him until he does pass out.
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No. 396436 ID: ed57e8

>>396430
we can use a second quill. double dose should knock him out.
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No. 396440 ID: 369d34

Watch Rakae's back while you two clean up these zombies. Once they're down, stomach stab them to make sure they'll be out for several hours, then take Rakae with you while you do the same to the rest of Four Stripes' pets. You might be able to give them to Three Stripes as a peace offering.

Once you get near Four Stripes, plant another needleball quill in him. That'll hopefully knock him out. Then you can figure out what to do with him. Either kill him, or bind and drag him to Three Stripes. Perhaps nearly dying will make him more receptive to Three Stripes' call of "vaota."
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No. 396441 ID: c4a1fc

>>396440
Or it could piss him off. If he gets pissed and charges, kill him. If he wanders off, Polo alone shields herself and follows to supervise.
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No. 396442 ID: d6af4f
File 133289994968.png - (11.10KB , 700x700 , 152.png )
396442

I grab my gun and take down a couple to help Rakae out, given it takes scant seconds to do so. Even then, it did not look like she needed an ounce of help with or without a weapon. She's got a calm sense of focus, completely opposite of her actions.

>"Are you okay, Polo?!"
"Yes, I'm going after Four Stripes!"
>"You sure?"
"Yes, he should be alone. Can you tie up these zombies?"
>"If you don't want them plain dead, then yes, I'll subdue them."

I'll wonder how she got out later, but for now, I'm glad she did.
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No. 396446 ID: d6af4f
File 133290006189.png - (17.33KB , 700x700 , 153.png )
396446

Although Four Stripes is silent, the lack of cover is now in my own advantage. I find him after several minutes of searching, and he is still walking. He also took out the quill, which did not appear to have any significant effect other than causing a great deal of pain.

I have my knife, magnum, plasma rifle and the other quill.
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No. 396447 ID: 61e7f9

Shoot head/neck/eye like you did the first one.
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No. 396448 ID: ed57e8

hit him with the other quill.
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No. 396451 ID: b85f8c

>>396446
Stalk him for a few minutes. See where he goes. I'm not sure that he has a good relationship with Three Stripes, so if he tries to steal neumono from the other predator, we can just shoot him then, confident our relationship with the remaining one won't get any worse.
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No. 396453 ID: 97bd86

>>396451
Kinda like this plan.

Definitely be ready to quill this guy at a moment's notice though.
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No. 396454 ID: a9298b

commence stalking
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No. 396455 ID: a2fa74

>>396451
Lets go with this.
If nothing else, then when we eventually make ourselves known he'll wonder how long we were stalking him.
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No. 396456 ID: e3f578

>>396451
Not a fan, if he steals from three stripes with his charm, the new neumono will go berserk on polo, making Three Stripes aggressive.

I do suggest stalking, but if you sense three stripes or other Neumono significantly close, end him. Or kill him right now, he could be leading you to another trap.
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No. 396457 ID: ed57e8

>>396456
if he STEALS from three stripe then taking him down will let three stripe regan control.
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No. 396460 ID: a9298b

>>396456
nonono, that would make polo look like the bad guy.
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No. 396461 ID: d6af4f
File 133290177905.png - (9.12KB , 700x700 , 154.png )
396461

I continue stalking it for a short time. He is heading back to his territory, wh- wait, I just heard something else from behind a pillar behind me. It was very quiet. I doubt it was my imagination, but I don't believe it was large.
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No. 396462 ID: ed57e8

sneak back and get the jump on it. be ready to shoot.
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No. 396467 ID: a2fa74

>>396461
Sure. Why not?
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No. 396475 ID: d5ee6f

>>396461
Shoot him in the hip to cripple and leave a trail, then spin around to face the sound.
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No. 396483 ID: d5ee6f

>>396482
Went to get an egg, got stranded by the arrival of the kill clan.
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No. 396487 ID: d6af4f
File 133290856551.png - (13.82KB , 700x700 , 155.png )
396487

I give a shot to nick Four Stripes' hip to leave a trail, as I see who's following.

...... a sapient creature, yet another one that is on the brink of extinction, bringing the sighting count of near extinct species as high as species that are supposedly frequently seen.

>"Good, you aren't deaf. Don't be alarmed, I don't have any plans on slaying you, despite what you may think."

I know nothing about these things other than being called Salikai, and that they are extremely dangerous when faced in low or even small numbers, contrary to their appearance.

>"Yet, those plans may change, all depending on how you answer a few questions. First of all, why are you here?"
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