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553485 No. 553485 ID: 9cd8ad

Rokoa just had her 8th child. They are still being nomadic, from the snowy mountains through the foothill's forests. One of the children that were made from the red hive grew up to be exceptionally powerful. She will become queen, soon, I believe, when she decides that the snow queen is weakening. Those thoughts begin cascading through the hive, and there will most likely be a fight soon. There is not much worry, as the red queen is considered a full fledged member of Rokoa's hive, and has nothing to do with the red hive that they fought with for years.

I am in in the communal hive college. There is not much new. I am learning general education with a focus on being a soldier.

Rokoa thinks that she can glide through much of my memories, as I do not have many dramatic moments before the egg hunt unlike hers. But she doesn't intend to, she decides she's going to be thorough about it. I'm still not certain what she wants to get out of these fights. Survival somewhat, but she isn't afraid of death. I'm not certain she knows what she wants, either. She is going through a mix of being a clone that is somewhat different than the original Rokoa, and trying to be the original Rokoa based on my memories of her. That makes her uncertain.
Expand all images
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No. 553486 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138791889004.png - (26.06KB , 800x800 , 670.png )
553486

There is not much that changes for Rokoa's life, actually. Plenty of events will occur, but I'm still set on making Rokoa defend and love her hive, and when she gets angry and attempts to attack another hive for no good reason, have it backfire.

The events are simple. Hunting and encounters with other hives.

I cross a few when Katzati comes in

>"Am I in, Polo?"
"Yes."
>"Where should I go?"

Either assist me with Rokoa's memories, which are fuzzy for the next two or three years, or have her go into my college to try to get my past self to learn that picking a fight with everyone is not good. Which I know that now, and I know that I did not used to do that, but that is what I remember.
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No. 553490 ID: 57a559

Katzati's purpose is to keep you together and a friendly 3rd party that can perceive events. She's defense and works best as defense. You're offense.

If the red queen is the one we killed, then we need to... make a similar but weaker and slightly friendlier queen to destroy both of them. IS one of Rokoa's children strong and old enough to become Queen? Might really want to start confusing things. This may lead to an event where she A. Asks you to kill her own child because in the end it will lead to the destruction of her own hive because it's the only thing that would make sense, B. We add another motive to kill the original Red Queen when she kills one of her children, giving much different context to your future alliance.

Give one of her children a redder pallet. Give the father a redder pallet too, to make things confusing if you can.
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No. 553491 ID: fd6ae9

Glitchy dream arm. She both thinks it should be there and not there. I don't think it would help to comment on it, though.

I think you'd be better off with her working to correct or protect your memories than helping you mess Rokoa, especially now that you have evidence of drift. Her idea of who you're supposed to be may be more solid than your own at this point, and she won't have to worry about meta-memories while trying to correct things.

Not sure if she'll need support, at some point. Rokoa may try and use the arm as a way to get to her, but I can't guess how successful that will be.

>children
...crazy and somewhat disturbing idea, but would Rokoa exiting your body via your reproductive system be an option? You're probably too mixed up at this point for her to disengage, I suppose.
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No. 553498 ID: 5869f6

Have Katzati stay on defence.

You must remember to NEVER neglect the defence of your own territory.
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No. 553499 ID: 12e6b9

Defense.
Calmness and emptying of self is key to the silence.
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No. 553504 ID: 9b57d3

>>553486
Start making Rokoa behave like you would. Remember, after this is over, you will eat eachother. That means she will become part of you. For the least troublesome merging, having her personality be close to yours is optimal.
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No. 553519 ID: acfd7c

Say, Polo, I've been thinking. Katzati needs to be able to feel your empathy to be able to interact with you this way, right? But, while she was doing that last time, you were also using your silence, both "inside" the memories and "focusing" them around your memories to make it harder for Rokoa to interact with them.

Do you realize what this means? It means you can partially silence your empathy. It's not all or nothing.

If you learned to use that... you still wouldn't be able to lie, exactly, but you could deceive by omission. During a fight, for example; if you were feeling, for example, a blend of fear and anger, how would a neumono opponent react if you were only releasing the fear or the anger? Someone like Rokoa would be used to fighting either with full empathy or with none at all; if they were receiving misleading signals, their trained combat instincts would be confused, and that might make the difference between victory and success. Or what if you were being interrogated, and released most of your normal empathic signal, but suppressed those signals that would tell when you lied? It might even be something you could use against a predator, or to resist the bugs, if we end in one of the worst-case scenarios.

Something to consider. In the meantime, I suggest sending Katzati to defend. Aside other concerns, I think she'll be more focused and motivated when she knows she's protecting something; mental strength is a key factor for all this. I'm sure she'll try her best in either case, but she might not be able to help being more hesitant if she's on the offensive.
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No. 553521 ID: fd6ae9

>Do you realize what this means? It means you can partially silence your empathy. It's not all or nothing.
Not necessarily. Being able to apply her silence, or the techniques behind it, in certain ways inside her own head or in a dreamscape doesn't really tell us anything certain about her capabilities outside.
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No. 553530 ID: f44ca3

Lets keep her on defense like before.

As for you subtly weakening her confidence is the best route I think. If she ends up remembering a life full of second guessing herself and her own judgement steering her wrong it should help in the end.

The pivotal moments will be once we reach the memories you have of meeting her and what went on in the spire before and after she met you. But until we get there learning as much as we can is the way to go.
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No. 553600 ID: 9cd8ad
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553600

>Do you realize what this means? It means you can partially silence your empathy. It's not all or nothing.
It's something I may investigate in the future.

"Defense. I need someone to tell me what Rokoa is screwing with."
>"Right."

>Rokoa exiting your body
Not by some sort of extraction. By now my body has absorbed Rokoa's brain all over the place.

>Change who the Queen was
That will be ineffectual to begin with, unless I thoroughly rewrite all of her memories to do so. I doubt Rokoa will allow me the luxury, so I must do what I can in a more or less closed environment that does not change the outcome of her life's relations.

I may attempt to change her outlook on the red hive, however, by making one of her kids a redder tint. I am not entirely sure if it will accomplish much, but the moment I start to, the moment that Rokoa nearly flips out on me. She does not want her effecting her children at all. I will not antagonize her when I am not confident it will help me significantly, and since she is so attached to the authentic memory of her children, I will respect what few good attributes she has. I simply hope it is not me being soft, or empathizing with her own wishes.

>Start making Rokoa behave like you would. Remember, after this is over, you will eat eachother. That means she will become part of you.
It is not a bad idea. I will do so when it doesn't conflict with what I am doing already.

Rokoa has her 10th kid. Her 7th, nearly to adulthood, gets snatched by a large bird of some kind. Rokoa spends days searching the wild, but she never finds a body. The only thing I change is making her less angry at the hive for trying to move on in migration, giving up sooner than she did.
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No. 553601 ID: 9cd8ad
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553601

Rokoa has me start ditching class to study martial arts.

I don't know if she picked up on it, but if I really did go back and do it all over again, maybe I would do exactly that. Perhaps things like biology have their place as common knowledge, but it does not come in handy in day to day application.

Where she steers me wrong is using those martial arts to continue beating up everyone that would fight her.

Katzati tries to have it backfire by having me banned from the martial arts clubs, or getting me terribly beaten up. She will have to catch on that Rokoa does not care about that. Rokoa retaliates by either picking on Katzati, or letting me get beaten up.
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No. 553602 ID: 9cd8ad
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553602

I've got to keep focusing on offense, though, so I don't pay attention to what's going on with me for long, because a critical moment comes up. A critical couple of years. Rokoa doesn't remember them well at all, and I may be treading on forgotten territory, or more literally, yanking her less used memory banks out to remember.

One of her kids went missing during hunting. Rokoa goes out searching for him.

She finds her mother holding Kirrac, her 5th child. Everything around me is quiet.

>"This arkot thought herself a neumono. She said her mother was the strongest. You want your child back? Prove that to me."
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No. 553605 ID: fd6ae9

>It's something I may investigate in the future.
Hard to do in the short term, where we're surrounded by jammers at all time. Experimentation would have to come later, under safer circumstances.

Assuming you can partially hide your empathy (allowing empathic deception, lies of omission, and/or misleading) that's probably something you want to keep even more low key than your silence. That's the kind of thing that would make people very untrusting. (It's one thing to accept you might have a jammer, or that you can be like an alien. But that you could lie...).

>skipping school for fight club
Well, knowledge is pretty useful actually. Your understanding of tech and biology has proven useful quite a few times before. You've had ideas, understood enemy action, and come up with plans of your own that you might not have if you were less educated. (Even if occasionally it hasn't been enough, like what you were taught about stomach injury hibernation). And there's the trade off that even if you're better at hand to hand, your size puts hard limits on the mechanical advantage fighting skill gets you.

Katzati's best bet is to try and correct your behavior. Get you using your skills responsibly instead of recklessly. If Rokoa forces you into accepting a little more hand to hand, fine. But you're no bully or maniac, and nor should you be.

>>553602
Which one is Rokoa's child? The one in her hand, or strapped to her side? (Depending on who she is, I'd expect the other to be a hivemate traveling with Kirrac, or a younger sibling of Rokoa's).

How did this go down originally? What happened and what impact it had on Rokoa plays a big part in how we might want to change it.
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No. 553606 ID: 57a559

>>553602
I feel practically angry and outraged about this enough that I want it left alone if she kills the ever loving shit out of her mother.
What does Rokoa even usually do here?
Shit Polo I just want to watch this go down normally but I know that's not practical for you.

Maybe make her fight with her father if possible? Make this fight more about how her mother devolved into a total bitch from the kinda cool fighter she was before than vengeance? Make it a fight of principle instead of anger that I assume it becomes? This might actually be the moment where Rokoa truly becomes the Rokoa we know, that or that's coming up soon. We don't have that many years left do we?
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No. 553607 ID: eaa372

We could spin this into how Rokoa becomes antagonistic towards her own queen in the warhive after Polo meets her. Throw in disgust at the old ways and throwback to how we modified the first fight between her mother and father. May want to make Rokoa aim for crippling her mother and leaving her in the snow while focused on carrying her own kid away.
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No. 553608 ID: f44ca3

Any idea what happened originally here?

Also is the kid the baby in the belt or the beaten up one? If its the beaten up one is her mother just carting her own children around in her sash?

As for your own memories never second guess how you lived your life. Maybe some more fighting experience would have helped here and there but you are not built like Rokoa. Any hand to hand fighting you would want would be a different style than what she uses.

Your biology knowledge comes up all the time. Helps you know more about creatures you are hunting. Helps with first aid and finding food. Avoiding poisons and other nasty things. You have been doing fine learning fighting on your own. Do not need someone taking away perfectly good knowledge that might save your life one day for a bit of punching practice.

For the memory of her mother this could go either way. This seems like one of those landmine memories. We need to be very careful here. I have a feeling she did not remember this one for a reason. It might be very painful in the original version. Maybe she fought her mother but that baby got hurt in the fight or something.
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No. 553613 ID: 9b57d3

>>553601
I disagree with this approach. If neumono want to fight you, let them. You aren't beating up people who don't want to fight, and your reputation would precede you anyway- they know what they're getting into. Even a vicious approach is fine so long as it is not against innocents. We can take this opportunity to mold ourselves into a better warrior, and gain more close combat experience. Katzati should be directing you to still study your schoolwork alongside beating down everyone that thinks they can take you on, and maybe keeping your compassion alive by making sure you never hurt those who aren't going to fight you. Be educated, be strong, be dutiful. That is still you.

>>553602
Change the terms. Tell her that you will fight her to your last breath and show her how strong her daughter has become if she allows your stupid arkot son to live to learn from his mistakes even if you lose. You will do whatever it takes to save your child, and so should she. Ownership of the dumbass can go to whoever wins, of course.

Do not at any point threaten her child. You will lose, no matter what happens, but you can claim moral strength over her after the fight by not stooping to threatening her child, like she is now. Then you will win by losing.
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No. 553614 ID: 05fac0

First of of, simple question: What would you do? Seems to me like you'd do a quick analysis of the situation and keep your head. Prepare to attack, and see if you can get her to keep the children out of this.
Having learned what the word "Rokoa" actually means, and the suspected challenge behind it, I suggest going freeform with this. Opening words:
Say...
My...
Name!
There's an ass-kicking about to go down, and it's not in our best interest to even try and stop it.
If handled correctly, this situation can reinforce what we did earlier in Rokoa's memories. If we can get her to view her mother as a crazed berserker, then win or lose this could be progress in not seeing her mother as an idol and/or role model. On the other hand, if handled wrong, this could result in a Rokoa that bears little resemblance to the one you fought. The more we make her like you, the worse the Sniper Duel will go for you later.
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No. 553615 ID: 5da579

Rokoa will defend her children with her life. This is not something I'm inclined to change. Tell her to keep him... her? out of it, and that you will fight her either way, fair combat.

Also would like to note that her child looks sorta like you. Might be your psyche rubbing off in the memory, but either way it has no bearing at the current moment.
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No. 553616 ID: a5478c

I'd expect Rokoa to have acted on impulse here and attack. Instead call out her mom on her cowardice, using children as bait.
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No. 553617 ID: 5869f6

>>553602
Alright, I just have to say, I honestly, genuinely, feel sorry for Rokoa.

If only due to the fact her children keep fucking dying on her.

Seriously, are mortality rates for young neumono usually this high, or do the Fates get off on killing her offspring?

Also, I agree with calling her mother a coward, as well as one-on-one combat if she leaves her kids out of this.
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No. 553618 ID: 9b57d3

>>553613
Actually let me add something further on this. If Rokoa's mom demands to know why Rokoa would hold back and not endanger her sibling, she could say that she knows what it's like to lose a child and she would not wish that on her own mother.
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No. 553622 ID: fd6ae9

Alright- we can be pretty sure this will come to violence. I'm not sure there's anyway we could write a believable memory that would involve Rokoa backing down, or talking her mother down. It's too much in both of their characters- possibly more so now that you've been redirecting her aggression into defending her hive rather than attacking.

Best we can probably due for immediate restructuring is making a point of throwing this in Rikora's face (haven't we both seen enough kiddnapping?) and insisting she set the kids aside first. If she wants to fight, you'll fight.

We can probably also mess with the end here. I'm assuming Rokoa wins this, originally? We could make her lose (that would hurt deeply, but I'm not sure in the way that we want). Or we could make sure she spares her mother when she wins (and in doing so, make Rokoa more like you- set it up to be as parallel to your sparing Rokoa after your duel as possible. Also, potentially makes her more sympathetic to sparing you instead of continuing?).

>Rokoa goes out searching for him
>This arkot thought herself a neumono. She said
Wait, what's Kirrac's gender? Did you slip up, or is Rokoa's memory confused?
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No. 553625 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138804647645.png - (14.64KB , 800x800 , 674.png )
553625

>Which child is Rokoa's?
The beaten one. Rikora is holding her own child in her sash.

>What's Kirrac's gender?
Female. Kirrac is more of a male name, so I got confused.

>Make this fight more about how her mother devolved into a total bitch from the kinda cool fighter she was before than vengeance?
I don't think that's the case. She seems mostly the same, here. The only difference is that back then, she was defending her child and herself. Now, she is attacking. The only difference is the scenario that paints her as an uglier color. Still, she is after something than just beating up her grandchildren.

>Seriously, are mortality rates for young neumono usually this high?
For pre-uplift neumono, they were high. Post uplift war hives also took heavy losses, but more often as adults than kids. For Rokoa to have lost every child, though, is still a bad stroke of luck.

> Any hand to hand fighting you would want would be a different style than what she uses.
Yes, I will never be able to fight like Rokoa and be effective at it, but that does not mean I should have completely ignored it.

Perhaps I am doubting my general knowledge too much. There are plenty of things I have never used, but if I learn 10 things and 9 are useless yet the one thing is a lifesaver, it was worth it.

In any case, she is rewriting my memories, but I will retain my knowledge. I simply won't know where it came from.

"Katzati, let people who want to fight, fight. I will retain my original education, only stop Rokoa if she picks wrong fights."
>"Sorry!"
"You are helping, nonetheless. Thank you."
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No. 553626 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138804648965.png - (33.70KB , 800x800 , 675.png )
553626

>We don't have many years left, do we?"
We are only halfway through, but after a point, Rokoa lives a day to day life that does not change much. It will not take long to get through.

It's been nearly 50 years since Rikora first lost Rokoa.

>What does Rokoa do/How does this go?
I don't know, at least not off the bat, that is what makes this memory strange. I'm not certain there are rails right now. Yet the real Rokoa messing with my memories starts remembering this. No, not this, particularly, just that everyone else she's fought ended up in this memory, and Rokoa was waiting for me to get here. I don't know why.

Memory-Rokoa is generally aggressive, and right now, the angriest she's been in her life. It doesn't take a wild guess as to what Rokoa did. I play it cooler, though.

"Are you looking for another fight with your father?"
>"No. I do not care about him."
"His group beat you in a fight."
>"Yes, and I was weak to be so careless. I am not so, anymore."
"Now you're a careful coward, using my child as bait and threatening her."
>"Threatening her? You do not know what I am doing. It is this child that attacks me, and yet I still let her breathe because of the opportunity she brought to me. Her legs are intact. She is going back to her hive to huddle with her hive, cowering from the snowstorms. I am not after her. I am after you. Bait? I did not hunt for her. You would expect me to run into your hive to drag you back, and let myself get killed when your hive challenges me with numbers, not strength? I have many other kids. You are not worth my death. Not yet. I am bringing you back. You will not leave until you either surpass me, or die trying. That is my goal, and that is the opportunity your child gave me."

That works, I was aiming for a one on one regardless. 'Rokoa', I know now, means the feeling of continuing a fight when everything, including your own body, says stop.

"I am going to fight you. Say my name."
>"Your name was given by me, girl, not your father, not your hive. They don't know what it means. You don't know what it means. You had the potential, and I blame myself for losing the fight so far back. But now I have a chance to make you into what you were supposed to be. I will teach you, and if you do not learn, you will die. If successful, you will be free to do as you will."
"You'll have to make me." I have Rokoa say, and approach Rikora. "Stay out of it, Kirrac. Go back to the hive." There is hesitation, but she runs.
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No. 553627 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138804649814.png - (32.38KB , 800x800 , 676.png )
553627

I'm not certain who won or lost, at first, but I simply try to remember, and try to have Rokoa remember. Step by step, it happens on its own. Rikora does grant an even fight with Rokoa.

So Rokoa runs at Rikora, as a powerful assault has worked wonders for her before. It doesn't go well here. Rokoa's arm is yanked off course and leaves Rokoa wide open.
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No. 553628 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138804650748.png - (29.00KB , 800x800 , 677.png )
553628

>I'm assuming Rokoa wins this, originally?
..... no. No she does not. Not even close.

Rokoa doesn't know what hit her. I don't know what hit her. Every move is called out via empathy, but Rokoa's unable to do anything while a dozen slices cut muscles, and half a dozen bones get broken. I have to remind myself that this is just a memory, and is subject to exaggeration, as the level to which Rikora picked apart Rokoa does not seem natural. I also have to remind myself that this is Rokoa long before I knew her, back when she felt normal, sapient creature things like 'fear'e.

It takes what feels like a few seconds, and Rikora ends up snapping while Rokoa twitches.
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No. 553630 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138804660212.png - (13.19KB , 800x800 , 678.png )
553630

She tosses Rokoa down on the snow.

>"What is your name?"
"Ro...koa..."
>"Get up."

She tries, but the leg with a broken toe and ruptured calf muscle is the best limb she's got.

>"You have lost your name. I forgave myself for losing you, so I will forgive you for forgetting yourself."

This seems wrong. For a forgotten memory, it's powerful, now. Even if I attempted to change it, I don't think that I could have even made Rikora lose. She is on a different level.

No, Rikora captures Rokoa, as she says. I can enter that memory, or go to another one. This one is significant, though, possibly the most significant. There's something about this memory that takes a hold of me, but I can neither pinpoint why or how that is.
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No. 553634 ID: 7162a0

Can predators modify memories? Rokoa said the salikai broke her. 'You have been broken before' (and by her own mother no less) is a powerful tool.
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No. 553636 ID: 638532

It's... could it... could it be a trap? A hidden trap, planted into her memories, to be found by whoever she was assimilating? It would explain why the next related memory is drawing you towards it. Presumably, this memory is mostly authentic save for the fact that Rikora seems to completley own and destroy Rokoa, with no way for you to manipulate it. The next memory... think carefuly. Does it seem to be too inviting? Ask Rokoa, maybe she has something to say.
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No. 553637 ID: 3179c8

You better see this memory to the end if it is so strong. Even a small change on it could have a profound effect on Rokoa.
I also want to see why Rikora was so obsessed with Rokoa that she painted herself with predator markings to come hunt her.
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No. 553642 ID: fd6ae9

I think we just saw the difference between snow and plains style fighting. Rokoa has to loose this fight- she really learns to fight with Rikora, afterwards. (And I think it's leading up to the smile scene on the snowy mountain, later).

>everyone else she's fought ended up in this memory, and Rokoa was waiting for me to get here. I don't know why.
It's a critical point, and something of a trap, I think. Remember, one of her previous victims was winning, until they made a serious mistake. I'm guessing that happened here. Tread carefully.

>This one is significant, though, possibly the most significant.
The fight we just witnessed, or the memory that comes next? If it's this one, I'm not sure we should move on, yet. Even a small change could alter things powerfully.

>There's something about this memory that takes a hold of me, but I can neither pinpoint why or how that is.
...maybe this is what Rokoa thinks she's doing to you. The exercise you just reran with her mother, it's an echo of what she's trying to do to you. It's one big metaphor for the mental battle.

Consider the parallels: Rokoa saw you as someone worthy. Someone with potential. And then, before she has the chance to really see that, she's separated from you (the clone diverges before making it to the duel). And then she finds you, later. She thinks you weak, not living up to your potential ( >>/questarch/515848 ). And so she's going to remake you in her image, or kill you trying. Make you like her, or make you her. It's for you/her own good. Hell, the fight even ends with her losing her name!

And by making you live this memory, she's trying to get you to accept that. To accept that she's stronger than you, and that you need her.

If this is a real memory (and not one inserted or tailor made for this purpose by the salikai) it explains why Rokoa was the one person able to survive the brain-dart procedure, and why she's been able to win these fights in the past. Because one critical moment in her life- the one that made her what she is today, is so compatible with what one has to do to fight and win in this sphere.

>what do
The danger here is that if this memory can affect you, personally, it strengthens Rokoa's position. If you accept the metaphor, even subconsciously, you're accepting that she can / should change you. It's kind of an insidious trap.

The advantage here is that if we can affect some kind of change, this event is pertinent to Rokoa's whole outlook, and how she's treating you. The right change could be extremely powerful. It could decide this fight.

Will memory-Rokoa's injuries allow her to speak? (If not, could you make it so she can speak?). I think if we say the right thing here, we can change the tone or impact of the memory.

I will take your lessons and grow stronger for them. But I have not lost my name. I will not lose my self. I will not be you.
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No. 553643 ID: 9b57d3

Ask Rokoa why she would forget this. How she could forget this. Wait. I know how.

She's about to learn the needle trick. Abandon ship, head to a different memory. That path leads to madness.
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No. 553644 ID: 57a559

>>553630
Have the hive interfere.
Shoot her with a bow or something. Act like you would if someone like Rikora would be doing this to someone of your hive nearby, even if said person was her mother. Get others. Whatever.

I don't care, fucking wreck this memory now Polo. Ruin this. If this is THE critical memory, do not let her use it for any reason against you. You must win against this memory, because FUCK what she thinks.
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No. 553645 ID: f44ca3

If the next memory is that significant we probably need to take a look at it. It probably is the major turning point in her life. When she finally lives up to her name and becomes the start of the person we know.

As for you getting drawn into it be very careful. This Rokoa does not have the knowledge of what happened with you and the original in the latter part of the spire and the ship. You remind her of her children and how she failed to prepare them for the world. In a way she wants to make you stronger like her mother did so that you never have to go through the pain of loosing a child like she did.

But the dangerous part here is you are already as strong as her in your own way. This version of Rokoa just will not know it until you both get to later memories. While you will learn from this experience and become stronger you do not need Rokoa living in your head to help you. While these memories are a interesting insight into her personality they are not your life or your lessons.

We have two priorities in this next memory. First whether you can change it or not you need to not let it change you. It was a big turning point in Rokoa's life but to you its just more knowledge about her you can use later on. Secondly be very careful of what you do change here. What she does in the next memory will shift her whole outlook on life and will probably be very hard to change. Just watch for the trap that might have gotten her earlier victims.
>>
No. 553648 ID: 854a28

If it's so powerful a memory, it may be essential. Even if we can't change it itself, it may be important to know before we change others; if we don't learn the key elements that form Rokoa's personality, we might make mistakes while trying to make changes.

In any case... if Rokoa's going to be remembering how she was trained herself, maybe you can pick up a thing or two. You don't have claws for cutting muscles, but you have knives. Not strong enough to break a bone, but you have guns. Learning the anatomy that backs such techniques up could help. And, even if not... you're going to fight more Rokoas at some point. If you're very lucky, watching her learn might reveal some weakness.
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No. 553649 ID: 256a1c

This memory is probably the trap that previous test subject got caught in. If you try to change to much of Rokoa's memories before this one it can overwrite everything you have been doing. I bet she got caught in a loop trying to change previous memories enough so she could change this one. Then she never got to the end and could not fight Rokoa properly.

And on the other end am guessing the Sniper clone just watched it and moved on. Probably never bothered to change anything. But was strong enough to hold her own against Rokoa's personality so took the top dog spot when they mixed.

While this is most likely a real memory watch for any "enhancements" that might have come from Four stripes. The Salikai have done this several times and if they noticed this being a critical part of the process they might have had Four stripes strengthen it somehow.

Before you get to the next one is there anyway to continue along the same line we have been going? Have her hive show up and save her and drive off or kill her mother? Might be a long shot but you never know.

Am starting to see why she was so interested and confused by you during the events in the Spire. You look just like one of her children that she lost so she instinctively wants to protect you. But she has a guilt complex because she lost all of her children. Probably to stuff that was unavoidable but try telling that to any mother. Then one day along came her mother and taught her she was not as strong as she thought. She eventually surpasses her mother and from then on takes on any challenge in order to become stronger. Thinking that if she gets strong enough she will never lose anything she loves.

And of course she does not have the memories of you saving her and her hive several times in the spire. So she is going through your memories trying to make you stronger the only way she knows how.
>>
No. 553676 ID: 5869f6

>>553630
If this memory and the next are so powerful, so engraved into her mind. It could mean it's the event, the catalyst that caused Rokoa to become what she is now.
No turning back now, delve forward. But be as cautious as you can.
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No. 553678 ID: 3a1f17

This is one of the moments that defines Rokoa.
I remember it being said that modifying a memory too heavily will make that memory be reject as a fake. Can we exploit this by trying to get this defining moment rejected as a fake?
>>
No. 553679 ID: fd6ae9

>>553678
I don't think that's how it works. If the new memory is obviously fake, it lets her reject it. So the alterations don't take. It shouldn't taint the original.
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No. 553687 ID: 082866

It's beginning to seem like it would be better to go silent and ghost through all the memories without changes first, to make sure any alterations are straight with each other. I don't think there's time, though; and, for all we know, it might make the memories harder to overwrite, pulling them up in their unaltered form first. Then there would be memories of those memories to be eaten back by the victor, though maybe that's the case anyway, since this Rokoa apparently got something out of your memories of the original.

As for this memory being powerful... maybe it's a trap from Four Stripes, or maybe it's the opposite. Maybe this memory seemed forgotten to begin with because Four Stripes tried to suppress it, and failed; maybe this memory is one of the ones that gives Rokoa what mental strength she manages to hold onto, one of the factors in what made it hard for Three Stripes to control her, way back when.
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No. 553688 ID: 05fac0

>>553676
I have to agree with this guy. I suspect what follows is the "training" at the hands of Rikora that turns Rokoa into the psychotic nutcase she became.
By the way, did you notice how you seem surprised that it calls to you? Beware! I suspect it calls to you as the new, more aggressive Polo that Rokoa is trying to twist you into.
In other words, someone call Admiral Akbar, this is a trap.
The only thing you can possibly get out of going into that next memory is some idea of the physical and psychological torture that young Rokoa was put through. Perhaps learning some good moves and so on, but the risk outweighs it, in my opinion.
The potential damage to your own sanity isn't worth it. Bail out. Go check on how Katzati is doing and shore up your defenses.
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No. 553832 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138817594817.png - (18.84KB , 800x800 , 679.png )
553832

>Needle trick
I do not have much reason to believe the needle trick has sometihng to do with it, but with that said, there had to have been something with a profound impact on her mentality to forget about something like this.

>Can predators insert/modify memories?
I doubt they can make a memory from scratch. Non-myth predator data is rare, but there were some studies made via a reluctant Three Stripes. He could modify memories enough to barely resemble the original, and then modify it back the way it was. The neumono in question reported that when he remembered it, it was like he constructed the memory himself so powerfully that it was like it was a real memory. But that artificial sense remained. Four Stripes is not Three Stripes, but that is all I can think of. If that is the case, then this memory is most likely authentic, as I doubt Four Stripes could alter a memory that Rokoa couldn't modify in the first place. Perhaps there would be a way around it, but the Salikai have not had years to train and test Four Stripes.

"Rokoa, what is this memory?" Katzati is doing fine on her defense. Once Rokoa decided to bring me to a martial art's club, she's stopped making me into as much of a monster.
"You know as well as I do that I don't remember it well."
"But you remember your opponents going in." I get her thinking about it so that she gives me empathic hints about whether or not this is a trap of some kind. "... and the memory hurts them, somehow."
"You got me. It's not even a trap or anything."
"How do you know that?"

She doesn't know why, but she doesn't think it's a trap, and is honestly curious about what is in that memory. There is something that's prevented her from going in herself.

"Rokoa. Are you scared of going in there?"
"Nah."
"But you want to know what's there, and you're not going in despite thinking it's not a trap."
"Are you trying to taunt me into coming with you?"
"No. You're not the real Rokoa, and I'm coming to the conclusion that this memory was something the real Rokoa held with her, while you lost it in your translation to cloning. Even your abominable smile feels forced the more I see it now."
"For not trying to taunt me, you're doing a good job. Okay, Miss Apparently-defeated-me, I'll call a truce and we can just see how things play out with me. You don't touch this memory, and I don't touch any more of yours until we see what happens. Agreed?"
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No. 553833 ID: 9b57d3

>>553832
Agreed.
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No. 553838 ID: 88960e

Agree to her terms. You know Rokoa well enough, fake her or not, to know she'll honor those terms.

>Miss Apparently-defeated-me
Miss you surrendered to, spared your life, and then helped save your hive from following a mad Queen to a pointless death, or being set up by the Salikai.

Do you not believe what happened? Would showing you my memory of what happened end this? (Potentially a risky move since these were recent memories for you).
>>
No. 553839 ID: e607cd

Yeeaaaahhh this is the memory that gave Rokoa her never give up, keep fighting even if you will lose personality, and that trait was going to play merry hell with the Salikai attempts to use her for their own purposes. They suppressed this memory on purpose.

SO. Showing it to her will remind her how to be something the enemy does not want her to be, but it will also make her that much harder to BEAT in this contest of wills we have here.

So the question becomes, can we somehow negotiate an outcome where we save our enemy (again) and Polo still gets to be Polo at the end?
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No. 553840 ID: fe4bfc

Sounds about as good as a deal as you can get. Have Katzati stay out of it and be ready to pull you out if you get overwhelmed.

I have a feeling that this memory might be resonating with the part of you that made you a soldier. Most of the previous absorbies have been soldiers and fighters like yourself. Maybe that's what is pulling at you.

The only person we know who made it through this without getting completely absorbed was the sniper clone. And from what we know of her she was a civilian so her upbringing would not resemble Rokoa's in the slightest.

Yours life is close to being completely different from hers except for you also became a soldier.

So whatever is in there remember to learn what you need but do not get pulled into it. It may have been a life changing event to the original Rokoa but to you its just a means to a end.
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No. 553844 ID: fe4bfc

Oh man I did not even think about that. If she was blocked from this memory by Four stripes then you going in there will let her remember it.

So if it is the memory that gave her the never give up attitude it could either help us or hurt us.

Either she will be more stubborn about fighting us here or it will help her realize that this is not a battle she should be fighting and the real fight is against the people who did this to her.

I honestly think you are more than strong enough to fight her even at her best and win. And if she does find her strength and becomes more like the original she might be willing to stand down knowing you are strong enough to avenge her.
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No. 553847 ID: 220c8b

ok so the Salikai found this memory and had Four stripes suppress it as much as possible. They never knew what was in there but hiding it made Rokoa easier to deal with.

So be careful going in there. Good or bad it might make Rokoa more into the one we know.
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No. 553860 ID: f44ca3

Humans have a saying that curiosity killed the cat.

Whatever is in that memory probably gave the original the strength of will pull off her resisting predators trick. For the other dart victims opening this memory would have strengthened the Rokoa they faced.

For you I am not sure if its a good or a bad thing. None of them had prior history with her much less saved her life and hive on several occasions. If you do not go in you will end up fighting the half complete Rokoa you have now. A shadow of the original that does not really understand you yet.

Seeing this memory will give you valuable information about Rokoa but might make the final battle a bit harder. Or it could make her realize who she is and how much she owes you and make it much easier. Honestly we do not know enough to tell.
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No. 553899 ID: 082866

If this is the memory that made her weird, then it's probably also the memory that gave her her strange personal honor system. I don't like planning for failure, but at least if you open this memory, and then you eventually lose, the strange Polo-Rokoa you end up becoming will be a worse enemy to the salikai than before, and possess more of what parts were good and admirable in the original Rokoa.

Of course that's not what we want, and opening this memory might give her more mental strength, which would be bad. However... do you remember, way back when, during your duel, Rokoa mentioned that she lived with another hive who treated her roughly? I think this is that, and if that's the case, then it may be that the previous take-overs just couldn't handle the punishment that was dealt to her, and the trauma made them weak. Now, they were mostly science hive nerds, and possibly a brain-dead clone body or a hunter hiver who had already had their mind half mushed by bugs and predator influence. You're made of tougher stuff, Polo. And, while enduring suffering can toughen you up, it can also leave cracks in the psyche that can be taken advantage of if assaulted from exactly the right angle. You could learn weaknesses in Rokoa's mental make-up.

Another point: the original Rokoa considered herself defeated by you, but that was based on her bizarre notions of self-worth and needing to beat you on your own ground. As it stands, this Rokoa might not agree with her when she reviews those memories, and she might lose respect for you, meaning she'll start attacking harder and faster and stop making any mutual agreements. Making her more similar to the original Rokoa will keep her respect for you, and thus decrease her willingness to change you.

Go to it, I say.
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No. 553916 ID: fd6ae9

>possibility this may backfire
There's really no way around that. All we can take comfort in is that this is probably not what the others did. We know Rokoa, and are somewhat comfortable with her- I doubt the others would have tried to talk to her about this memory, or agreed to a cease fire to examine it. We're likely not repeating their mistakes.
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No. 553938 ID: 0e998b

In light of this new information and Rokoa calling a truce, I'd say go in. Truce meaning you shouldn't try to change any of it, but beware. Memories don't end up repressed like that for no good reason, and my suspicions still stand. This memory is going to be personally painful, as Rokoa is "trained" by Rikora. The risk of damage to your own sanity just from witnessing it is pretty high. You don't seem like you have much experience with torture. Watch yourself.
Also, Katzati may suffer from this, too, so watch out for her.
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No. 553983 ID: f44ca3

You know if this memory is just month of torture by her mothers tribe to toughen her up I can understand why the others got blocked here. But you will have to see plenty of torture eventually when you get to her memories of the Salikai.

Us your silence to deaden the emotions if need be. You might have to feel all of this once but a bit of silence here should help.
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No. 553999 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138826967433.png - (307.62KB , 800x800 , 680.png )
553999

"... Agreed. Katzati, watch if you want, but I believe Rokoa can be trusted, so just be ready to get back on defense."
>"Yes."

Rokoa and I go in to watch. Rikora hoists Rokoa onto her back, retrieves her kid, and starts heading back home.

Simple escape may not have been easy for Rokoa, as a boat is involved. Rikora apparently inhabited an island.
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No. 554000 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138826968177.png - (25.84KB , 800x800 , 681.png )
554000

That, and Rokoa ends up tied to a post in a shack, anyway, to recover for a few days. Rikora has every intention to place is in an uncomfortable position that is difficult to heal in. At least Rokoa is fed well.

This memory pulled me in as much as I'm afraid it would. Time starts seeming like it passes normally, hour by hour. The snow starts feeling too cold, and Rokoa's body aches too much for my own comfort.
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No. 554001 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138826969194.png - (18.22KB , 800x800 , 682.png )
554001

Rikora comes back with the intention to start training. I'm not sure training is the right word.

She starts by undoing Rokoa's bindings, pinning her hand to the floor, and breaking her wrist again.

It hurts. And I don't mean it hurt the memory of Rokoa, it hurt me.

>"Use that hand to punch me. Do not stop until I tell you do." Rikora tells m- tells her.
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No. 554002 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138826970006.png - (31.93KB , 800x800 , 683.png )
554002

The real Rokoa feels it, too.

"Rokoa, tell me why, despite us just watching, we can feel everything more vividly despite you forgetting this?"
>"Because I'm remembering it like it's happening right now. Goddamn. And no, I don't know what happens next, so it's more like, uh... that one human deja vu thing, you know?"
"I don't."
>"Nevermind. Think of it like a suppressed memory making a flashback. Don't look so mad, at least that girl you're sleeping with isn't here."

That's right, I think Katzati fell out of the dream. I don't know if it's because of this memory, or if it's simple probability that she wouldn't be able to share my dream all the time, despite somehow reliably doing so up until now.
>>
No. 554003 ID: 457920

It's not really surprising that this is such a vivid recollection. With her mother involved, this is an emotionally important memory, and with all this pain, a mentally traumatic one. Combine that with the weird self-flagellating gotta-be-strong mentality Rokoa ended up with, and the experience of pain making her tougher, I wouldn't be surprised if the original Rokoa has, herself, run through this memory again and again in her head. She might have had a habit of going back to this memory every time she did get hurt, telling herself "well, this isn't as bad as that was, so suck it up". If that's the case, it'd be the most solid memory she has. So, still no trap or predator influence or anything, I think.

What I don't quite like is that, with both you and dart Rokoa experiencing this, it might sync you both up more. Which is as disadvantageous to her as to you, probably, but you should try maintain a little mental distance. Try to think about what you're experiencing in ways only you can; compare it to your own training, or consider what you think of Rikora, or think what you would do in Rokoa's place; things like that. Keep watching, still no interference as agreed, but remember you're Polo.
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No. 554004 ID: 9b57d3

>>554002
I think it's because she woke up. You're in a deep, deep sleep and can't wake up now. Let's hope everyone else is fine and this dream won't last for days on the outside too.

Anyway, try to actually participate in the training. This made Rokoa strong. It shall make you strong too, and I know you can endure it. Remember, you had problems with pain tolerance? This will fix that problem!
>>
No. 554006 ID: fd6ae9

I do not understand how you could have forgotten. She is going to make you you, the madwoman who doesn't know when to stop. Did the Salikai need to make you forget this to have a hope of controlling you?

The danger to yourself is obvious, Polo. Whether by design or not, this forget-and-flashback forces you to relieve one of the most powerful moments in Rokoa's life- what makes her her. By living her life, it threatens to make you her too. (And potentially, by allowing Rokoa to remember this, we might make her stronger, more herself. We're taking a calculated risk for more information, here).

That said, I'm not sure how to proceed. We kind of need to understand what happens here if we want to make meaningful changes or fight her, (despite the risk involved in being here). We're also under a truce with Rokoa, for the moment. And if we break it before Katzati returns, she'll have a chance to attack us without our ally opposing her.

...maybe the best thing to do is remember you're not Rokoa, even as you feel her live through this. Don't experience her reactions to torture and pain, focus on what yours should be / would be. How would you respond to torture from hell training? How do you feel? (Although you're not trying to write this into the memory, since that would violate our truce. You're just trying to protect and preserve yourself).
>>
No. 554010 ID: 57a559

>>554002
"Hey Rokoa, fuck your mother."
>>
No. 554017 ID: f44ca3

So that's the danger of this memory. Its so vivid you might not be able to just skim through it like the others. Might have to endure lots of suffering in what seems like real time. If you are not careful you might start getting to involved. Start thinking of yourself as Rokoa and as her mother as trying to hurt you personally.

That and torture will damage even the strongest of people. This may have made Rokoa stronger but it also made her a person that was never comfortable with her own hive again. You do not want that sort of damage happening to you.

Can you use your silence to distance yourself from the memory a bit? Make it feel less fresh and more like something that is years past? You might have to deal with some pain but if you can dampen it to manageable levels it will make this experience less traumatic.

It may be horribly unpleasant but if Rokoa could survive it so can you. The trick will be with a minimum of mental scars.

Tell dream Rokoa that its all her fault if we get eaten by a cave monster while stuck in her mom's torture hut.
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No. 554018 ID: beeca1

>>554010
This might actually be a good idea. If nothing else it'll shake her, and it'd disrupt the training thing. Make it happen.
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No. 554019 ID: fd6ae9

>Tell dream Rokoa that its all her fault if we get eaten by a cave monster while stuck in her mom's torture hut.
No, that would be our several allies' fault for not dealing with the cave monster.

Don't goad Rokoa with insults that don't go anywhere, or give her an advantage.
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No. 554020 ID: f44ca3

You might have to go through this crap but at least you got Rokoa to come with you. Sure you plan on getting rid of her later in a rather permanent way but for now it gives you something to distract yourself from getting pulled to deep into this memory.

I know its not something you enjoy doing but coming out of the memory and talking about it with dream Rokoa every once in awhile will make things safer for you. Will give you a breather and keep you from getting pulled in to deep. Plus you get to see her suffering just as much.
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No. 554032 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138827826010.png - (20.97KB , 800x800 , 684.png )
554032

>Tell Rokoa to fuck her mother
My desperation meter is not nearly full enough to even consider saying things like that in the off chance of shaking Rokoa.

>Can you use your silence to distance yourself from the memory a bit?
No. My silence does not shut this out.

The state of this memory is dangerously close to getting Rokoa and I closer, given we are given the same stimuli.

Since we are unchanging the memory, I will simply keep in mind how I would react differently from her. She is more proactive than I am.

The Rokoa memory punches Rikora's face. She barely blinks, and Rokoa's arm shakes. Another punch comes, weaker than the first. To try and get a better performance, Rikora stabs at Rokoa's better arm. It helps somewhat, until Rokoa tries to kick Rikora away.
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No. 554033 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138827827517.png - (221.27KB , 800x800 , 685.png )
554033

That's met with another display of combat superiority, and Rokoa gets beaten down. She has her own kids use Rokoa as a training dummy. I have to remind myself it is her that is getting beaten, and not me.

This goes on for what feels like weeks. I know it does not take long, as I imagine I would be dead by now if I was out for weeks in the real world. I intentionally focus on the outside world so that I do not think I am actually living this. And to keep my sanity, focusing on the fact that if I can go through this, I will come out better at the end. I do not have to be strong in the same way Rokoa does, but the things that make us stronger do not have to be different. In some ways, this feels more vivid than real life.

Rokoa just gets weaker and demoralized as the constant wounds and cold gets the better of her. She doesn't eat as much, and doesn't improve in Rikora's training despite Rikora's empathy trying to goad her on with what she's got to do. Rikora stabs Rokoa through the stomach, and spars with her outside. It's about 20 seconds before the exertion and the impalement gets Rokoa to vomit on the snow.

>"I brought you back for nothing." Rikora says. "Your hive destroyed you." Rikora says, getting an axe. She's unhappy, and neither Rokoa or I like that.
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No. 554034 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138827830866.png - (200.10KB , 800x800 , 686.png )
554034

She swings her axe down and after a few chops, beheads Rokoa.

Then keeps swinging down and... kills her?
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No. 554035 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138827832718.png - (40.21KB , 800x800 , 687.png )
554035

"... what?"
"What the fuck? That didn't happen."
"A predator messed with this memory?"
"No. Four stripes is pretty strong, but he's got bad form."
"Nevermind the things wrong with you, what is wrong with your mother?"
"Don't judge, it was a different world back then. You'd either be similar or dead. You never asked your cuddlehive much about what they were like before the uplift." True, but they also didn't want to talk about it much. That is normal among modernized hives.
>>
No. 554036 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138827835124.png - (18.22KB , 800x800 , 688.png )
554036

The memory continues. Rokoa is back on the post. She didn't make some kind of miraculous recovery. Rokoa denied the memory and it reset back to the beginning, when Rikora first brought her back.

Rokoa is starting to realize that the reason she won so cleanly before isn't just because of superior willpower over her foes. Everyone who touched this memory so far did not do well afterwards. If I made a mistake coming here, then so did she. Since the real Rokoa presumably survived this, then I do not think that I made a mistake.

I'm thinking now's not the time for sitting back and watching.
>>
No. 554038 ID: 268efe

Turn this into a sneaking mission! Can you escape?
>>
No. 554041 ID: f44ca3

Ok this is definitely a trap set by someone. Four stripes might have started out as a simple predator but months of Salikai control might have improved there control over him. If not him who else could have put this here in just a way that anyone hit by a dart would notice it and get drawn in but Rokoa would not? Only other people with access are the original clone Rokoa and I guess Rokoa's mother?

One advantage we have is that whoever or whatever set this trap set it for you and not the both of you. Any other person hit by a dart would not have convinced Rokoa to come in here with you. Heck maybe that's how the Sniper clone avoided this trap. She was curious enough about this memory that Rokoa came in with her to watch and they helped each other out.

Whatever caused this you both need to work together to get out. If you fight each other here you both might be stuck in this memory until you die. So work together and decide on a plan of attack. Each of you use your strengths to overcome this and take turns handling the burden so you do not get burned out.
>>
No. 554042 ID: fd6ae9

If the predator didn't suppress this memory, then you did so yourself? It was so terrible you repressed it to survive?

...no. There's a way out. You found a way to live with this memory. You commented on it, once. Before our duel. You showed up in their tribal markings, and I asked about it. And you mentioned being their prisoner and plaything. But you never told me how it ended.

>Everyone who touched this memory so far did not do well afterwards.
That's the trap. The others who tried to mess with this memory to harm Rokoa got caught in a loop here, while she was free to run rampant. (Which might mean Katzati will be free to run rampant messing up Rokoa's other memories, or fixing some of yours, if she comes back while you two are still trapped).

>I'm thinking now's not the time for sitting back and watching.
I would agree. The memory is forcing us to relive it. If we don't respond in a way that satisfies your mother, or find some other escape, she kills us.

I would suggest we cooperate. Neither of us wishes to be trapped here.
>>
No. 554045 ID: 7f2509

I think proving yourself with ninja training would be preferable to painful torture. Rokoa with a blow dart and a garrot could do alot of damage if you can get free unnoticed.
>>
No. 554046 ID: 457920

Something is definitely wrong, here. I don't know if this is just one of those memory glitches you have sometimes anyway, but Rikora lost her painted stripes in that last bit of memory before the decapitation. In fact, how could you have that bit of vision in the memory at all, given Rokoa was presumably decapitated? And the... atmosphere of it is different. It doesn't fit.

I wonder; maybe this memory is going wrong because another memory was removed somewhere? Maybe Four Stripes, or a previous takeover duel, overwrote a previous memory, which changed how the Rokoa in this memory behaved, and resulted in a wrong conclusion? And then this memory causing that glitch was why it was pushed down to be forgotten.

I guess what you should do for now is see if you can get this Rokoa to survive. So; what's missing? The main thing the real Rokoa had, and the lack of which is getting this one killed, is that spirit of hers, the will to keep going no matter what. However, we don't know what gave her that, originally. So we'll need a substitute. Polo, this is going to sound kind of like a cheesy pep talk, but you've had moments or relentless determination before. Think about the things that get you going. Duty to your hive. People relying on you. The need to be prepared for the future. Concern for others, even, like you had with the voklit, or with Three Stripes. You can translate those into feelings Rokoa would have had for her hive, and give her will enough to keep going, enough for Rikora to respect and hope for.

And it will help make memory-Rokoa more like you.
>>
No. 554049 ID: b56ea6

...Based on what little we got when Polo "remembered" why Rokoa smiled... I think Rokoa runs away here. Maybe she kills some of the tribe, maybe she doesn't, but her mother comes after her. And then her mother butchers part of her tribe.
>>
No. 554050 ID: 57a559

>>554032
I meant to say "fuck your mother" as in "fuck her, she's a bitch and awful", like a "fuck you," only directed at a family member. But whatever, what's done is done, and you've already said you don't like her and that she's awful pretty much. It just wasn't as poignant.

my bet is that since this was actually a crucial memory of Rokoa's that she probably remembered very well, what Four Stipes did here was make it hard for Rokoa to remember, intentionally suppressing it, so that once somebody would go in here, it would act as a shocking revelation like when a therapist would introduce the fact of a supposed suppressed memory to his patient, the patient now sternly believes such an event happened, and it can happen vividly. However, four stipes implanted nothing but feelings here, and each Rokoa victim would go through their own personal interpretation of events, there is only feelings of "terrible vivid things happened" so you will feel all of the horrible things.

This right here is brainwashing given visual and auditory context. Here is where a victim is broken, all that is known is that Rokoa was twisted here in her past, and it is here where all the victims will be twisted. A perfect memory for breaking people. And the only thing four stripes has to do is suppress and lure the victim here, and the victims own mind will do the rest. Rokoa's mind, combined with yours, just accidentally came up with the conclusion that Rikora beheaded her, like a wandering mind just might. It doesn't need to make sense. It just needs to hurt. Fortunantly, you both made enough sense of it to nullify it for now.
It is such a simple, subtle thing. It makes our own mind our enemy. Four Stripes doesn't need to do anything, he only needs to be told to find the worse memory and suppress it. Your people found a way to commune with Three Stripes with simple requests, the salikai obviously did the same.

We MUST escape, Rokoa was here for a while and came back different, so will you as well if this turns into a fucking loop. Get the fuck OUT of here. And if you can BURN everything here. Rip this memory to shreds, this reality. Make it NOTHING. I don't care if it sounds impossible, do it. Now. All shapes into blobs. Names are gone. Colors are grey. Make it forgotten.

That, or turn this into Inception and go into Rikora's dreams and modify her memories because at this point the Salikai is trying to pull off an Inception.
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No. 554052 ID: f44ca3

This memory could be happening this way because we weakened her previous ones enough so that without intervention she is just not strong enough.

Or it could be a combination of things. A trap gone wrong or some memories partially erased. We are not fighting the original Rokoa or even the original clone. We are fighting a third or fourth gen thing they stuck in a dart. They have fucked with her head so much its a surprise anything we know of the original is left.

Luckily we got Rokoa in here with us and seeing this has shaken her resolve. She started out thinking she had easily taken over several people. Now she knows about the sniper clone and that the others might have just failed due to a trapped memory.

If we can keep it up and save the day with planning and tactics instead of brute force we will put a big dent in her ego.
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No. 554065 ID: fd6ae9

>memory went wrong because we changed something?
I don't think so. It's wrong because it's too real, and we're just sitting back and letting the torture happen instead of beating it. In the universe of the memory, we're failing Rikora's test, so she kills us. We need to actually fight back to pass the test. Or to escape, and avoid the test all together. It's a game, not a movie. It won't progress on autopilot- it needs user interaction. (And judging by how the others were hurt and trapped here- it's a hard game, not easy to win).

I think our best bet is working to overcome the torture, with Rokoa. Yes, we run the risk of exposure to what made her her, but Polo can work to keep her reactions distinct, instead of living Rokoa's. Be hardened in her own way. A different kind of determination, and strength. The two of them working together can overcome this much easier than Rokoa could alone. More willpower in the cooperation of two than in one.

The problem with trying to escape is it would fundamentally change the memory, and likely break our truce. Rokoa wouldn't go for it. Which means we'd be fighting the trap and Rokoa at the same time, and neither of us would get anywhere. Meaning we just run out the clock until no-one wins, and we end up a permanently fused chimera like the sniper-clone.

(I would guess the unnamed victim who was winning went into this memory alone tried to fight it and lost. And Ramella went into this memory with Rokoa, and both of them ended up stuck. Until they ran out of time and biology merged them into one).

>I think Rokoa runs away here.
Preposterous. Her pride wouldn't allow it. Totally out of character for every version we've seen of her.
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No. 554066 ID: b56ea6

>>554065
>Preposterous. Her pride wouldn't allow it. Totally out of character for every version we've seen of her.

Her past self hadn't been through something to this extent before, and I think it's what comes after that teaches her to never do it again. This is a defining moment for her, but that doesn't necessarily mean how she acts is how she'll act from then on out. It's how it changes her that's important.
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No. 554070 ID: acb7da

This Rokoa gets executed because of how we've been turning her into a pantywaist with our earlier antics. Let's just be tougher.
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No. 554076 ID: fd6ae9

Oh hey, here's one way we can tell, for sure, that this wasn't caused by our memory changes.
Rokoa had one victim who didn't fight back. If he was hurt by this memory too, then it couldn't have been caused by her opponent changing things.
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No. 554077 ID: 9b57d3

>>554036
She's right, of course. This isn't the right memory nor is it Four Stripes. The Salikai's torture did this. The Salikai probably got Four Stripes to view her memory then put Rokoa through a VR simulation so similar to the memory that it became this. Or maybe the torture was so fundamental that it caused her self-image to degrade, so that she doesn't think she was strong enough to complete this training. Or maybe it's because of you, Polo- because of the alterations you did. I believe there was a domino effect mentioned?

Make the memory-Rokoa succeed. Not to fight back directly against her mother. But to endure, gain the pain tolerance, and finish her training. Gain, I must point out that you need this training.

Help the Rokoa-clone do this. BOTH of you can control the memory-Rokoa, can't you?
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No. 554081 ID: 0e998b

Well, you're both up the proverbial creek, but between the two of you, you do have a paddle. Memory-Rokoa (Which is to say the one being tortured) needs help. Between you, Polo, and Implant-Rokoa the two of you can give her that help. Switch off, each giving her the pain tolerance, clarity of mind, goal-oriented thought, and general badassery to impress Memory-Rikora so that she doesn't execute you. This will only succeed if the two of you can work together and beat this trap.
I'm going to recommend breaking this down into a case-by-case basis of mistake correction. The first one I see, Memory-Rokoa trying to kick Rikora away during the arm-stabbing-punch-me episode. Rikora saw that as weakness and punished it. Instead, keep going with the punching.
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No. 554087 ID: 9e7e00

I think the issue here is that very last moment.

All that you need to completely fuck up everything in a memory like this is less than half a moment's worth of time, altered at an exact moment.

The axe could very well be part of the original memory. The beheading, that exact moment, could very well have been altered in the slightest amount. A single slight slip changing from a serious wound to an outright fatal one.

At that exact moment, the memory fucked up. The stripes painted on Rikora glitched out. In such a small amount of time, under a great amount of stress from all of that torture, that slip-up would be easy to miss. Four stripes could have very well done this, after all such an otherwise glaring mistake is pretty bad form.

I think the first thing you need to do before anything is mention that the memory has been clearly altered at the end to Dart-Rokoa. A single doubt to the legitimacy of the moment could go a long ways into ending the loop.
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No. 554088 ID: 76b151

Look at what Rikora is holding in her other hand. Rokoa's kid is somehow here dead. That is part of what changed.
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No. 554089 ID: 96b823

>>554088
You talkin' about here >>554034? That's Rokoa's head, not her kid's.
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No. 554099 ID: 356cea

Ouch. How're you two holding up? Going through it once might be alright, but it'll start to stack up the more you live through it. How long did it take from here to Rokoa's 'death' by the way? A couple of weeks, one month, two months?

Experimentation is key now. It doesn't matter whether you do something so preposterous that it would be rejected instantly, that's going to happen anyway, so you might as well push limits to see how much you can influence this strange memory, then come up with a plan next time. Can Rikora be controlled? Get Pilon to crash through the roof in a daring rescue plan. Rokoa has said that she doesn't remember this much anyway, so we should test the limits of that as well.
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No. 554118 ID: 9b57d3

Wait, did you just hear clone-Rokoa's thoughts? Perhaps you two are already partly merged.
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No. 554144 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834767369.png - (14.96KB , 800x800 , 689.png )
554144

>Did you just hear clone Rokoa's thoughts?
Maybe. I am not certain if she spoke them or I felt the thought.

>Can you escape?
It may be worth trying. Later, when there's a chance. Right now, I cannot get Rokoa to break her bonds.

We start by deciding to follow Rikora's training, and get to the broken-wrist punch. We both try to mentally push memory-Rokoa into punching. She does. And again, without much loss of power. And again. And again. Then it's too much, and she doesn't do so on her own.

"Take over her directly." I tell implant-Rokoa. She does, and gives more punches. It's enough to make noises when she punches Rikora, but it sounds more like it's coming from Rokoa's wrist than any vocalization Rikora is making.

"Ffffuck, I want to punch, but my arm's not having it. You try it." That's unusual, for the body to refuse the brain's orders.

I take over memory-Rokoa, and also try to clench my first. That makes the whole arm explode in pain. Then I punch.
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No. 554145 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834768103.png - (24.17KB , 800x800 , 690.png )
554145

Fuck. The hand.

"Again! I got her 6 times, you've got 5 more to go."
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No. 554146 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834770715.png - (19.91KB , 800x800 , 691.png )
554146

I don't even try to make memory-Rokoa act a certain way about how she punches. I just try to detach from the pain and go for it. I match Rokoa's six.

>"Your punches are more gentle than a snowflake landing on my nose. That is fine. You are not punching me anymore. That is not fine. Why have you given up? There is nothing wrong with your arm's muscles."

"We can both take over you in your memory." I tell implant Rokoa. "Except instead of fighting each other for control, if we both try to punch, then maybe the effect will be greater." It's true, there's nothing wrong with our arm muscles, but there is a point when the body just refuses to damage itself more. Even with regeneration. I am in company and memories of people who prove that can be overcome.

We manage... I don't know how many more punches. I'm not impressed with this clone of Rokoa. She is still able to ignore pain far past my level, but even that seems like a flawed copy of the real thing. I do not know if that is because of imperfect cloning, or if that is because I have modified her memories to be less effective without something to actively protect.

>"And now your arm drops again. 18 times? Are you so weak you can only push your arm forward 18 times before it collapses from exhaustion?"

I've had moments of desperation and determination before. I try to focus on those, to regain the feelings, and know what will happen if I lose myself to Rokoa now. I keep punching.

Rokoa gets a second wind as well. She starts treating it like a game, a competition, to match me punch for punch, and we both have Rokoa's memory punch away at Rikora.
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No. 554147 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834772940.png - (27.49KB , 800x800 , 692.png )
554147

Rikora is satisfied. Not proud, but I don't think Rikora is easily impressed. She's not easily satisfied. Rokoa is tied back onto the post.

I am just going to lie down here for a moment.

"Are we going to have to do this every time we see your mother?"
"Probably. We're still going real good, memory wise."
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No. 554148 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834774072.png - (30.39KB , 800x800 , 693.png )
554148

Another training session comes two days later. It is like the first. The goal is to keep standing in place, feet in one spot. Her kids take turns whacking us with staves. Some just hit wherever, some specifically go for knees, ankles and our head.

"She's not teaching you how to fight at all. She is just beating the shit out of you."
"Yeahhhhh. I'm gonna guess that she wants us to toughen up, first, so that we don't just scream and cry during the fighting practice. You're gonna have to get used to it, cause we're gonna be here for while."
"You don't remember this memory."
"Yeah, but the next thing I remember is nearly 2 years in the future."

I want to leave.
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No. 554149 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138834774955.png - (40.04KB , 800x800 , 694.png )
554149

And there's a chance. One of Rikora's kids ties up Rokoa. The bindings on her limbs are tight as ever, but there is more mobility now. Rokoa's teeth can reach up to her hands.

Rokoa, however, does not want to leave.
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No. 554157 ID: 0f1482

>Her kids
Rokoa's siblings. If she's choosing to see them as Rikora's children, rather than her own brothers and sisters, that's significant. She's distancing herself from them. She's saying "they're her family, not mine". Make the conscious choice to do the opposite in your mind. Another way to differentiate you from her.

>or if that is because I have modified her memories to be less effective without something to actively protect.
Okay, creepy as this sounds, would she be more effective if she were trying to protect you? We certainly got some of that vibe off her in the salikai base, and it would sort of make sense now if she were trying to preserve you for a fair fight back in the main memory duel. (Plus, any effort that makes her sympathetic to you might mean this all ends better for you).

>chance to leave
>Rokoa doesn't want to
First thing: no matter how much you want to, you cannot try to leave on your own. Right now, it's you and Rokoa fighting the memory together and making slow progress. If it turns into a three way fight, you against Rokoa against the memory, you will stop making any meaningful progress, you will prevent each other from escaping or completing the training, and memory-Rokoa will die and reset again and the two of you will remain trapped here. That leads to slow death, running out the time left on the biological clock to kill each other, and ending up as the second sniper clone.

Now the problem is, ideally, you don't want to endure two years of torture if you can help it. Yes, if it doesn't break you, it will make you stronger. But there's the serious risk that it makes you more like Rokoa, or that it makes her more like herself. Either could give her the edge in the mental battle.

Try to see if you can convince Rokoa we should leave. We don't have time for this. We only have so long to finish this fight before we end up like that sniper clone. There are other memories. Leaving this one to neither of our satisfaction is better than working on it until we run out of time.

If that doesn't convince her, we'll have to stay. (Slow progress is better than none). But is there any way you could turn this into something more useful? Say, use the hardship as a basis for meditation. Honing mental technique- learning to better wield your silence on a mental landscape, or to silence only parts of your empathy, as suggested before. Time compressed training of mental mastery could put you in a much better situation for the rest of the mental battle. Rokoa may think she's getting her determination back from this- but you can use the time to get yourself something stronger, more useful, and that she doesn't see coming.
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No. 554158 ID: 9b57d3

>>554149
Undo your bindings, but don't leave. Just get more comfortable. Exercise, maybe. Pump yourself up for the next test. Make it so the training goes faster.

Hell, you could even ambush one of the kids to get some injured-combat training in. Find out what the clone-Rokoa wants to do if she were free of those bindings. Work out a compromise.
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No. 554160 ID: f44ca3

Rokoa do you want to stay here until its to late to get revenge on the Salikai? Until you get absorbed and forget everything but one painful session from your past? Did you like what you saw in the Sniper clone? Two years of training might go faster in the mind but it still could take hours or days of real time. If we do not finish our fight soon there might not be anything left to fight for.

Don't get me wrong if I could get this sort of training normally I would probably go for it. But right now I am the only thing standing in the way of our enemies getting there way.

So make your choice Rokoa. Do we stay here and improve our pain tolerance a bit? Or do we make a daring escape so we can get get out of here before its to late?
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No. 554161 ID: 0f1482

>>554158
...undoing our binding but not leaving is kind of entertaining in a way. Especially if we then make a point out of complaining about the sibling who didn't do a good enough job restraining us.

(Sort of a compromise? Rokoa gets what she wants, but you're kind of pulling a prank, making a joke).
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No. 554164 ID: 532992

Getting our hands free should be our first priority whatever we decide to do. Might want to stay a bit to absorb some training and if we keep getting free without trying to escape they should let there guard down.

You need Rokoas help if you want a escape to work. So get to talking with her. Say you are willing to put as much time into this memory as the other ones but after that we need to go. The longer we stay in this one the greater the chance of something going wrong in the real world.

Turning this memory into a bit of training and a daring escape is better than staying here so long we risk becoming another sniper clone.
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No. 554209 ID: 457920

>because I have modified her memories to be less effective without something to actively protect.

Nothing to protect? I don't think so. Kirrac was pretty beaten up when she was told to go back to the hive - doesn't memory-Rokoa want to be sure she got back safely? Doesn't she want to become strong enough that Rikora and her hive won't ever try to mess with her again, or with her children ever again? Maybe if you try to push that sort of thing in, the memory-Rokoa will be more determined.

As for leaving... it's a chance to squeeze some Polo behaviour in there. Remember, you crossed freezing water in a boat to get here; there'll be no escape without a plan. Not to mention members of Rikora's hive around the place to sense memory-Rokoa's empathy, in case you can't cheat and turn it off. Undo the bindings quietly, and then see if you can scope anything from the hut, through a crack in the door or something. Go carefully, very carefully, gather info. Rokoa got out eventually, so her memories of what was around this place should be available to fill the exploration. Then just stay inside, and wait for them to come see that she could have tried escaping but didn't. That should satisfy clone-Rokoa, and get you some of what you want as well.
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No. 554243 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138837912526.png - (20.83KB , 800x800 , 695.png )
554243

"Rokoa, we do not have two years. It will not take that long in real time, but it may take hours or days. Do you want to have the outcome of the sniper clone? Or for the salikai to keep getting time?"
>"We don't have to spend two years, you know. That's just how long it originally took me to beat up Rikora, I guess. All we have to do is beat Rikora in fair combat. If we did that right now, then I can accept that memory if I just decide to stick around for a couple years. I guess. So I tell you what. If we give it our all, and for whatever reason it's taking too long or it fails or whatever, then we'll bug out. Till then, I'm not going"

I don't think I'm going to convince her otherwise, but getting her to a compromise will be fine. She's certain we can beat Rikora before long, although I don't like the ambiguity of 'if it takes too long.'

"Six months, including any resets."
"Yep."

>Would she be more effective if she were trying to protect you?
That is a possibility, but the forefront goal in her mind is to slay me or die trying, and that is superceding any impulse to protect me for whatever reason.

>Push determination in memory-Rokoa
I am thinking we are beyond that. Trying to push her externally has been proving ineffectual. Rokoa and I are having to take direct control of her through this.

Memory-Rokoa bites off her bindings anyway, and sits still. The shack is nearby the hive, but we are out of empathy range. We will not have the strength to fight Rikora if all we do is let ourselves get beaten, so we snap the pole off, put it across a couple of beams, and grab a hollow log from outside.

"We're not going to be able to stand up if we make our arms and legs snap off. There's a difference between giving it our all, and giving it our all all at once."
"We're not going to be able to punch her lights out unless we show this weak body how weak it is. Trust me, Rikora will show slack for this."
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No. 554244 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138837915230.png - (416.05KB , 800x800 , 696.png )
554244

She knows her mother better than I do, thankfully. When Rikors comes back to find out that we not just escaped, but didn't run, and instead trained ourselves with the intent of beating her, that is when I first get a feel for Rikora being impressed.

Her training involves forcing us to run around the island. She smacks us if we slow down. As I feared, our exercise did not let us perform at our best, but Rikora does appear to be more concerned about Rokoa's empathy this time around, making sure that we're not mentally giving up even if Rokoa's legs give in.

"Come on, Polo, pick up the damn slack!"
"I don't care if you're five times as strong as me, it doesn't matter if you weigh five times as much! Lose some weight!"
"Fuck that, you want to block blows and slashes with muscles? We've got to put on some expendable absorption!"
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No. 554245 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138837918283.png - (15.16KB , 800x800 , 697.png )
554245

A beating still occurs when we finally collapse, but her strikes are held back to make sure that we are so exhausted that we can't move even if she smacks us.

She does not tie us up. A neumono is put on post to make sure we do not escape, but after a week of reporting that Rokoa does not intend on escaping, we are left alone in the shack.

I convince Rokoa to dedicate a portion of time spent on meditation. I use this to study the possibility of using my empathy selectively, and to let certain emotions come through and omit others. There is no guarantee I can do this, or if it will be useful if I do succeed. For what meditation we do, nothing can be concluded as of yet. In actuality, I also simply want to focus on my own self rather than let Rokoa's life absorb me.
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No. 554246 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138837919998.png - (123.64KB , 800x800 , 698.png )
554246

This continues on for another couple of weeks. Most of Rikora's training involves us doing an action through a grievous injury. We spend our time healing from the recovery by doing exercise. We do get stronger. I am having trouble solidifying whether I think of Rokoa as Rokoa or as 'us'. It continues to feel authentic, and I am wondering if my real body is thinking it is getting a legitimate workout.

Yet she is going to do the same thing and stab us through the stomach, she doesn't think we deserve an even fight yet, as she is still testing our physical endurance rather than having us display any sort of combat skill.
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No. 554249 ID: 68a0b0

Oh man, the boys at home are going to get a kick out of this. The possibility of giving years of training to a soldier in a matter of weeks would be amazing. If you get out of this... no, when you get out of this, you'll be stronger than before. If not physically, then at least mentally. You can take comfort in that.

Tell Rikora you want a fair fight. Endurance is good and all, but what good is it if you don't learn to fight. I expect a heavy beat down, with all of your bones being broken, but you need to practice fighting her.
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No. 554250 ID: 39615a

Is clone-Rokoa showing any changes from all this? Becoming less "fake" the more she remembers?

Anyway. Getting stabbed. At least you have had pointy objects jammed in your torso before, Polo. Maybe we can earn some more respect, and start getting more skill as well as toughness, if memory-Rokoa asks/insists to be put through fighting techniques or even a sparring match, while having that thing through her? The adrenaline might help push the pain aside, as well as just having something else to focus on.
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No. 554251 ID: f44ca3

One up her then. Tell her to fight us until she gets the stomach stab in and then we will fight as long as we can with the wound after that. Explain we want to see the results of our training our self and know how far we have to go yet. And then once you get the wound put everything you can into fighting until you black out.

Heck start asking Rikora for advice on fighting and strengthening yourself if you can. The more we take the initiative in this training the faster things will go.

If we want to get this over with faster we have to outdo the original memory in every way possible.

The original fight with her mom was very one sided but now that you both are working together you have many more years of combat training than the original memory Rokoa had. This body might not be trained yet but you both have years of combat training to enhance her skills. Heck make time for learning archery if she lets you.

You are still on track for your original goal as well. If you can train harder and push longer than dream Rokoa she will know that this memory was a success more because of your efforts than hers. Every time you impress her you gain ground for the end battle. The more respect she has for you at the end of all this the easier it will be to defeat her.
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No. 554255 ID: e3aff6

Now that you and clone-Rokoa are both in on changing the memory, would it possible to have memory-Rokoa go silent without the memory getting rejected? Having an ability to go silent long-term like you might lead to some logical inconsistencies with later events, but being able to for short bursts might provide a useful boost. It wouldn't make sense to start now, but maybe gradually when memory-Rokoa meditates...
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No. 554259 ID: 0f1482

...I am going to be very amused if when we finally get out of this, we find Katzati's been free to run amok in your memories, setting anything she wants in yours right again, and anything she wants in Rokoa's wrong.

>That is a possibility, but the forefront goal in her mind is to slay me or die trying, and that is superceding any impulse to protect me for whatever reason.
Well yes... that was kind of the idea. If she took on the short term goal of protecting you in order to do better in this training, it would likely undermine her larger efforts to kill you. Manipulating a change in her outlook from her desire to be strong.

>meditation, not sure if it's working
Well, the upside of this dream time-compression thing is if it's going to work, this gives you a chance of doing so in a useable timeframe.

>Most of Rikora's training involves us doing an action through a grievous injury.
...unpleasant as this training is, that's a useful skill to have. And you have the advantage of picking it up without actually having to sustain real injuries and recover from them to master it. Assuming you survive the mental battle, that's a skill that could save your life, someday.

>I am wondering if my real body is thinking it is getting a legitimate workout.
Well, with your regeneration and Rokoa's fighting over your biology, it's not completely absurd that the two of you actually agreeing on something and cooperating might direct changes in a more productive manner. Theoretically, physical training might pay off. Maybe. Kind of a big if, but it's not completely crazy.

>Yet she is going to do the same thing and stab us through the stomach, she doesn't think we deserve an even fight yet
Then show her up. Attack her before she can stab you, and see if you can prevent her from getting the stab in.

I suggest having Rokoa act as the main pilot the body, while you go silent as the co-pilot. She's sense Rokoa's moves coming- but not yours. Attacks with Rokoa's strength and speed but with your lack of a telegraphed empathic warning is one hell of an advantage. It's kind of the same idea as hiding part of your empathy to mislead an opponent- she can only sense half of what's happening, and that half of the picture may be misleading.

At the very least we can impress Rikora by making a better showing than she expected. Even if we don't win, yet.
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No. 554325 ID: 9b57d3

>>554246
I don't think we're ready yet. It's only been like a month and this is the first time you got the stomach stab treatment. Accept the stab, don't make an attempt to fight her yet.
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No. 554329 ID: c86015

>>554246
Stab yourself, offer to run around the island.
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No. 554336 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138843712841.png - (515.45KB , 800x800 , 699.png )
554336

>Would it be possible to have memory-Rokoa go silent without the memory getting rejected?
Perhaps. It would help, but the thought of rebooting the memory is enough that I would rather not risk it. Even if I took it slow, and acted like Rokoa took a couple of months to get it.

"Show me how to fight." Memory-Rokoa says, letting herself get stabbed through.

Rikora then has her attack, but she treats it as a proper sparring match rather than just snapping every bone in Rokoa's body. She pulls her punches marginally, while judging every punch, kick and attempted grapple thrown at her. It doesn't stop her from kicking the stick lodged in Rokoa's stomach every once in awhile.

There is no way Rokoa could win an even fight right now, but she would have given a far better fight than the first round.
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No. 554337 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138843713824.png - (267.94KB , 800x800 , 700.png )
554337

The tone gets different. After some long period of time, our arms drop, and our legs follow shortly. Rikora catches Rokoa when she falls and yanks the stick out. For the first time since Rokoa was a baby, Rikora shows affection for Rokoa. That obviously means a lot more to Rokoa than it does to me, but it confirms we are doing extremely well.
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No. 554338 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138843716178.png - (164.94KB , 800x800 , 701.png )
554338

Rokoa and I keep relentlessly training. The days and weeks continue being a constant stream of aching, eating and training. Rikora has her kids show us proper fighting techniques. Some are even advanced and involve fake-outs, for fights that don't involve other neumono that can sense your intentions. There is some training in melee weapons as well, although there does not appear to be much interest in archery.

The meditation is going well. The more I toy around with my silence, the more I think it may just be possible to be selective about it. There has not been luck yet, but I will continue trying.

Punching wood with a broken bone somewhere along the arm continues to be a Rikora favorite. Implant Rokoa and I take turns at it.

"You trying to break the wood with your stare, there?"
"The pain doesn't ever go away."
"You either learn to ignore it, tolerate it, or love it. Whatever you gotta do. Or, you know, get mad about it like this."
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No. 554339 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138843717044.png - (148.58KB , 800x800 , 702.png )
554339

CRACK

"... anger suits you, huh."
"I'm not angry. I want to get this over with."
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No. 554340 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138843719415.png - (157.32KB , 800x800 , 703.png )
554340

I start running around the island with a log. Rikora won't care we abandoned our post when she sees the broken wood. I am attempting to out-do Rokoa on this, but every time I so much as catch up to her efforts, she gets a second wind.

>"You have been wanting to fight me in an even fight." Rikora is back at the shack. "You want to leave. Rest for two days, then I will give you the chance to prove yourself. You will not be shown mercy if you accept." She says it like she's ever given mercy. Nonetheless, she does also hope we're able to beat her while she tries to snap us in half.
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No. 554341 ID: 88960e

Honest self evaluation time, here. Do you think you and Rokoa working together can beat her yet? I kind of think the answer is no. And it's not worth getting killed and resetting the memory early.

Your response should be honest. You want to, but you're still not ready.
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No. 554342 ID: 9b57d3

>>554340
Does no mercy include death, or just lots of broken bones? If it's the latter, let's attempt it. We might have a chance, if a bit of a small one, and the experience will help for the next attempt.
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No. 554343 ID: 937723

Go for it. You will learn how far you have come and if you fail you know how far you have left to go. Let Rikora know that if you lose you plan on training twice as hard. You are grateful for the training but you have children of your own back home.

Make sure you use everything you have. Your partial silence to do fake outs if you can pull it off and every trick you can think of.

I know you do not want to use your anger if you can help it but if it gives you strength then use it. This whole situation is worthy of anger. As long as you don't let it overwhelm you then you should be in no danger of losing yourself to Rokoa.

Just remember to never think of Rikora as your mother and this as something that happened to you. Treat it as a opportunity for more training you would not get anywhere else and stay focused.
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No. 554345 ID: 88960e

>anger will give you strength
No. Polo can't afford to power herself with anger. The last time that happened was before the duel. When she tried to kill Rokoa, shot up Kork and Tirrek, pushed away Rakae and Rikek, and spent weeks training for vengeance. She lost herself to grief and anger. She shouldn't go back to that place. Certainly not by choice.

Anger isn't the answer.
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No. 554348 ID: f44ca3

Lets take her up on the fight. We will only get proper combat experience in actual combat. If we lose then we keep training and if we win then we can get on to the next memories. Make sure to tell Rikora win or lose you expect a honest opinion on what you need to train to improve.

Try to use your partial silence to do fake outs and feints if you can. Nothing full on silence but if you can get even a bit of misdirection in it will be a huge help.

Anger works for some people but you had a bad run in with controlling your anger when you first fought Rokoa. You let it grow into a nasty hatred and it made you someone you did not want to be for awhile. Learning to control your anger and not let it change you is a valuable lesson but not one for today I think. If you are going to get angry at anyone make it the Salikai and not Rokoa and her memories.
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No. 554352 ID: dbbfc7

Take a moment to ask Rikora if her own parents made her go through this kind of training and why is she so intent on having Rokoa surpass her.
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No. 554363 ID: 39615a

She says no mercy, but if she's developing affection again, she probably doesn't mean absolutely no mercy. However, there is a risk that if you fail, whatever corrupted this memory to begin with will make it end in death and resetting again. But, if you refuse, it might lose some Rikora-respect. On the other hand, maybe she's testing for wisdom. In any case, at this point, I think it's still certain Rikora would win the fight. Either way, Polo, you're not getting out of here yet.

I would have Rokoa answer: yes, she wants to leave, and yes she wants to beat Rikora in an even fight. But, more than that, she wants to be sure she doesn't lose any more children of her own, as she could have so easily done if Rikora hadn't had a use for the one she found. She doesn't just want to be as good as Rikora, she wants to be better. She wants to become so scary that no-one who hears of her will ever want to mess with her or hers. So she'll postpone that fight, to keep training... for now.

I wonder if the original Rokoa never actually got the fair fight with her mother she wanted, and that's part of why she's always trying to prove herself?
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No. 554364 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138845507237.png - (383.27KB , 800x800 , 704.png )
554364

There is no danger of death, only extreme pain. Rikora only killed her when she thought there was no hope and no improvement, and did not consider Rokoa her kid. That is different, this time.

"Did your own parents have you do the same thing?" I have memory-Rokoa ask.
>"Yes. From birth, we are prepared for this training. If you feel you are being treated unfairly, it is because you have many years to make up for."
"And why are you so concerned about me surpassing you?"
>"No matter how strong we get, we are not immortal. My parents and my parents before them ensured that they can pass on their strength throughout the generations, making sure each is stronger than the last. I am the bearer of the lineage. I have trained my children how to surpass me, but I have never sensed the potential strength with them as I did with you, so many years ago. To lose you was my greatest failure, as you would have been the greatest child of mine. Now that I have the chance, I will have you surpass me. It does not matter if you go back to your hive, as long as you hold onto your ancestor's strength and eventually pass it to your own children. Only then would I die happy."

Rikora stabs Rokoa in the stomach, but Rikora also sheds her outer clothes and stabs herself. Apparently this is how duels went back then in her hive.

We go at it. We're stronger than before, so getting grabbed by Rikora is not instantly followed by broken arms.

I attempt to use the trick in earlier memories of letting Rokoa give off empathy leading into an attack, but use my silence and have Rokoa do something else. That is cut off by Rokoa.

"We're not fucking around with that, we're doing it real!"
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No. 554365 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138845511545.png - (120.94KB , 800x800 , 705.png )
554365

We get grabbed for real, and before we break the hold, a claw slashed up our eye.
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No. 554368 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138845520631.png - (42.49KB , 800x800 , 706.png )
554368

Rokoa manages an elbow strike that shoves Rikora away long enough to get room.

"Come on, Polo, we have a chance! We can actually do it, fuck how big she is."
"Like you have to tell me like I need motivation to get out of this hellhole! I have a life of my own, you know, that I've got to --"
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No. 554369 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138845521636.png - (66.21KB , 800x800 , 707.png )
554369

Wha -- I'm going to vomit! Somethings wrong. Both Rokoas and myself get a sense that our empathy snagged on itself. I sense myself. Again. And both Rokoas twice each, echoing off of each other. Our motivations and goals and emotions get racked on top of each other in a nauseating sense that I couldn't take for more than...

"Shit! The needle trick?!" In this case, it's not a needle, it's a pointy stick, but that's the culprit.
"Your damn right. I remember. I remember why I forgot." She's ecstatic.

I focus my attention elsewhere to stop my own empathic reverberations getting caused by this.Rokoa and I are locked together enough that even with my silence, I can still feel some internal reverberations going through myself.
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No. 554370 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138845523269.png - (522.39KB , 800x800 , 708.png )
554370

The real Rokoa does not focus elsewhere, and intentionally keeps her empathic channels completely blocked up to keep these insane reverberations up. She punches Rikora hard enough to knock teeth out and, judging by the pain, nearly broke our wrist again.

This is what happened to make her how she is. After a couple of years or so, I guess, Rikora eventually stabbed through the right place so that Rokoa's physical empathy channels would get snagged if she thought a certain way. It wasn't just the fact that she ended up silent that helped her fight Rikora.

The feelings of getting stronger, surpassing her challenges and just generally having a great time fighting piled up onto each other that ended up giving her the ability to override what her physical body wanted to do, be it rest or pulling back muscle strength. Rikora won't go down that easily, so Rokoa, which I now believe happened to the original, will have to take too long to beat Rikora. Too long to avoid brain damage.

It's not the sort of brain damage that heals, either. Her neutral mood ends up being the mood she's in when she fights, here, mixed with Rikora's own strong empathy at feeling happy and proud how strong Rokoa can get. I don't know if I'm going to even bother explaining this in a debriefing session, but to me, it all makes sense now.

I might be able to overpower implant Rokoa's insistence on going through with this, but to even compete with her overdriven state, I would have to overdrive my own state with this method. She is not silent to me while she is inside my brain, I can hear her a hundred times over. I'm in a terrible position that either needs to tolerate Rokoa's echoing reverberations inside of myself, which I do not like the implications of, or try to overpower Rokoa by using the needle trick for myself. I also do not like the implications of that.

I would not have thought that this memory of a needle trick would be able to emulate the real thing, but given this memory's vividness and the extreme circumstances of which my brain is being put under, I should assume that this emulated needle trick is the real thing.
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No. 554371 ID: f44ca3

This is not good. The needle trick is dangerous with one person. If you keep it up there is a real possibility you will both end up in a loop you cant get out of. Your body will keep reacting to a imagined stimulus and no one will win your body will just burn your brain out with the stress. Forget getting combined with Rokoa you could both end up just dead at this rate.

So jump into the frenzy to power yourself up with her so the fight ends faster than it should have or stop the cause of the reverberations by removing the stick. Best case we win the fight and get out of the reverb before any permanent damage is done. Worst case throw the fight to save the both of you.

Hiding and meditating might work but going on the defensive here seems like it will give up to much ground. If you just hide you give Rokoa power over your fate. This is your body and your brain. She is the intruder and you need to make your empathy remember that. The best defense is a good offense after all.

You might want to try and use your empathy to push disappointment at Rokoa. Beating her mom because she got a lucky form of brain damage seems like cheating after all the previous training. She did not beat her mother because of hard work she got halfway there and then luck did the rest.
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No. 554373 ID: 39615a

So, when Rokoa first used the needle trick, she got "stuck" so that her default mood became the one she was in when that happened? Like... leaving an old monitor on too long, so the image gets left over on the screen forever? That's... interesting. And alarming. I don't know if using it yourself is a good idea; maybe you'd get stuck feeling what you're feeling now. Or feeling what Rokoa's feeling now.

I'd put more faith in just holding on and withstanding what the Rokoas are putting out. You trained to suppress your own empathy by force of will; you infiltrated a warhive that had once shaken you to the bone with just their empathy, and reached a point where you no longer felt anything for them, enough to drop your silence and show them that you felt nothing. And you trained to resist a predator's influence without using your silence at all. You can do it, Polo!
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No. 554379 ID: b56ea6

Not sure what to do, but if using the needle trick in the dream for too long could cause you brain damage, then no matter what that threshhold should not be passed.
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No. 554380 ID: e3aff6

>So jump into the frenzy to power yourself up with her so the fight ends faster than it should have or stop the cause of the reverberations by removing the stick. Best case we win the fight and get out of the reverb before any permanent damage is done. Worst case throw the fight to save the both of you.
This sounds right. The needle trick will likely damage your brain with time no matter who inside your head is doing it, but time is a factor that we can effect.
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No. 554387 ID: 88960e

Ah, so an accidental use of the needle trick gave her a way to win, but cost her the memory.

I would suggest a third path. Don't attempt to hide from the storm, or fight it by riding it. Your meditation is pretty relevant to this. Instead of trying to shut down your own empathy, or parts of it, shut down the parts of the memory-Rokoa's empathy that is entangled. Cut the needle out of the circuit, so it can't cause anything to short circuit anymore.

Rokoa won't like it, but she hasn't practiced using her empathy this way. You have. She won't be able to stop you.
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No. 554400 ID: 9b57d3

>>554370
I FUCKING CALLED IT.

>>554387
Do this. We practiced selective silence, let's use it. Turn off the reverberations, or at least dampen them so they're tolerable.
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No. 554406 ID: 5846fb

>>554387
Do this if possible. What we want is for Rokoa to be insane enough that she beats Rikora, but not insane enough to drive you both completely mad. Work with Rokoa, channel the reverberations properly instead of letting them run wild, limit them, be the balance to her insanity.
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No. 554438 ID: 742a1e

>>554380
Agreed. Trying to resist completely ends with Rokoa dying again and the two of you being stuck here forever. You need to WIN this time. Win FOREVER.
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No. 554460 ID: 1e9bd6

>Best case we win the fight and get out of the reverb before any permanent damage is done.
I think "no permanent brain damage" and "using the needle trick" are mutually incompatible.
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No. 554461 ID: cee89f

Use your silence, then frenzy to end the fight as quickly as possible. The risk of brain damage isn't worth it if we can avoid it.
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No. 554475 ID: 57a559

The more I think about Rikora just said about passing on her legacy...
I think Rokoa's trying to do that through you, since she's lost her children, or she doesn't have the heart to do it to her own. At least this clone matter of Rokoa.

Oh I'm sorry I got distracted about the main concern there for a moment. Just something you should talk with Rokoa about later. Just do your silent bullshit to prevent your insanity. If Rokoa gets uppity about it, you're just trying to keep yourself yourself and FUCK her if she continues to get mad about that. You can handle a workout but you will NOT risk your identity for her strength. That feels more like giving up for something SHE wants and you're not going to give that to her, no matter what kind of respect you have for her. You're not her daughter and you're not her and you're not becoming her for anything in the world.
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No. 554483 ID: 1e9bd6

>>554387
Okay, I really want the third option of using selective empathy shutting down to bypass the needle and cut off the whole empathy cascade thing at the root to work.

But in case we can't do that, maybe there's still a way we can use the meditation to help. If Polo goes for her own cascade or amplification, it doesn't have to be uncontrolled. She can be picky about what parts of her empathy she's amplifying. (Which parts she's letting out). And that discrimination might allow her to be more effective than Rokoa, and set up an empathic configuration that would be a lot less damaging to her long term than Rokoa's was to her.
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No. 554485 ID: 3a1f17

I cant imagine Rokoa would just let us remove the needle, so this guy has the best idea
>>554387
Trying to create an empathetic pressure valve by allowing some of that empathy to escape down normal channels might help. If that fails we are left trying to win the fight faster than the speed of brain damage, probably not a good idea.
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No. 554892 ID: f44ca3

The way Rokoa is fighting this is going to be a dragged out boxing match. So get in there and end it quickly before the brain damage point.

Aim for her joints. No matter how tough she is or how much pain she can endure if you take out her knees and elbows she will not be able to fight until they heal.

Gouge out her eyes go for dirty tricks that would cripple anyone but a neumono. And the second she is down or even just weakened enough to fight normally you rip that stick out of your side and beat her unconscious with it.

Rokoa will win the fight so will not be able to refuse the memory but will avoid the happy fighting time brain damage.
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No. 555231 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138890331940.png - (264.41KB , 800x800 , 709.png )
555231

I decide to go for it. My meditation towards selectively suppressing certain thoughts is not good enough to use, but I attempt it anyway while going along with the needle tricks in the hopes of defeating Rikora as soon as possible.

We punch her hard enough to hear cracks, and kick her hard enough to send her stumbling and falling, but she doesn't admit defeat and she doesn't stay down. She just keeps launching herself at us, but we can read her moves as clear as a cloudless day, while she's stuck guessing.

"Is this your success, Rokoa? You didn't beat her normally, you got lucky brain damage!"
"That doesn't matter. It made me stronger. Besides, it took two years originally, and I was getting better. Even if it took 3 or 4 years without the needle trick, I would've gotten her anyway."

After a few moments, as mentally painful as the needle trick is, all of a sudden it seems like it would be difficult to actually pull the needle back out. It's like the body's reaction to this is just to try to force the empathic channels through even while blocked, and not to pull the needle out. That makes this trick even more dangerous than I thought, since it takes willpower just to end it.

Rokoa keeps having the reverberations go through her. I try to yank the stick out, even if it's just to beat Rikora with it, but I can't overpower Rokoa and the way the memory is 'supposed' to go. In fact, she corrupts the idea by having her pull Rikora's stick out, and beating her with it.
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No. 555232 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138890333304.png - (777.61KB , 800x800 , 710.png )
555232

I don't know how long passes with the revererations in place. Maybe we beat Rikora soon enough, maybe we didn't. Rikora finally blacks out in the snow, and memory Rokoa just stands there, dumb as a brick.

Maybe it's the reverberations giving me mental strength, maybe it's coincidence, and maybe it's just sheer desperation, but after a minute I'm able to cut out the emotions that I am associating with the reverberations. Then I move it to Rokoa's memory, and manage to stop the reverberations without cutting off her empathy. I think I've got it. I will have to test this when I wake up to see if this is not just some kind of dream logic. That will be consolation, as our beating Rikora did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. Rokoa takes her stick out, but takes an infuriatingly long time in doing so.

"Rokoa. I do not like this funny feeling that isn't going away."
"You'll get used to-"
"Don't even say that." I'm going to need to see Three Stripes after this. This did not hit me as hard as the real Rokoa, but I cannot convince myself I did not get some kind of effect. I'm not smiling, so I'm not too worried about it.

Implant Rokoa was affected, too. She is making sense of herself, as I am.
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No. 555233 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138890334576.png - (52.94KB , 800x800 , 711.png )
555233

We did successfully complete the abnormal memory, though. It continues for Rokoa in what ends up as a month long coma, but this feels like a regular memory. I don't bother changing it, as there isn't much to change that is significant. Rokoa becomes a creepy vegetable for awhile, but Rikora and her hive successfully get her back into the world.

Rokoa has a minor case of amnesia in that she forgot much of what happened, or where she is. Rikora has a duel with her again, without stabbing themselves, and Rokoa, with her that mentality of combat and determination I've been trying to avoid, proves that she can defeat Rikora steadily. Rokoa ends up on decent terms with Rikora and even her half siblings.

So, she will return to her hive with Rikora's blessing. That brain damage, though, will ostracize her despite the short celebration of her return. The red queen already had a few misgivings about Rokoa, but seeing her come back as she is made her, and by proxy the rest of the hive, disassociative of Rokoa. Even without my memory's modifications, though, Rokoa was still loyal to this hive to the degree that she wouldn't let herself go rogue despite that the slightest hint of hive ostracization is enough to make many people go rogue. These memories aren't very important.

I am sensing Katzati again. Not with empathy, as we are both asleep, and if I could sense her empathy asleep then she would be in my dream. She is in physical contact with me, so it is likely that she is trying to get back to sleep. She may come back anytime now, now that the abnormality of Rikora's sequence is done with.

I am also tempted to wake up for a moment just to confirm how long I've been out. Given that Katzati is still lying with me, I doubt I have been out of it too long, but my mentality wants to say I've been gone for months of excruciating Rokoa snow hive training. In fact, I am going to not care about the salikai, the caverns, Rokoa, the aftereffects of the needles, and anything but myself for the next 5 minutes. I am going to go play with my toy tanks again. I don't care if Rokoa sees. I know she is. I know she's staring at me right now as I very nearly literally cry for my mother. I loved these toys.
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No. 555234 ID: 57a559

>>555233
Ask Rokoa if she would like to play
Justify it as your own training. Tell Rokoa to try before just waving it off and be a child in the modern era once. She has some respect for you and sees potential in you for some reason enough to see that your own way has its strength as boring and simple as it is.
Try the simple life Rokoa.
Let's play pretend and have a friendly pillow fight, play house, and make rumble sounds with our tongues.

Ppppppfffffbbbbbbbbbbtttt. Pew pew pew. You can be the Mom and she can be the Dad. Or the two outlaw sisters out in the wild west getting hunted down by Butch Katzati and the Moonshine kid.
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No. 555236 ID: 7bbaae

>>555233
Ask her if she's jealous. Does she have any nice memories to take solace in? If she wants she could play the part of your mother, so long as she doesn't distort the memory again. It's obvious at this point the clone-Rokoa thinks of you as a kid, and is trying to make you stronger to pass down her legacy. It's almost like you went through the Snow Hive traditional training, even!

Then ask her what was up with that OTHER memory. The first one you almost had, that was supposedly the reason why Rokoa smiles. Was that one fake? I think that one was an implanted memory, because according to what we know, it doesn't belong.

Also admit, begrudgingly, that what you just went through has made you stronger. Still gonna eat clone-Rokoa though. In fact, she's in serious trouble now.

Stay asleep, you can get updated via Katzati directly, and also keep in mind nobody woke you.

If Rokoa really is jealous of you, then we could give her a Deal With the Devil. Offer to make her memories more like how she'd want them to go in exchange for her not making you into a villain. Isn't there anything she'd rather do differently?
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No. 555238 ID: f44ca3

You did good Polo. You managed to avoid most of the damage you could have got and learned a trick or two for later.

More importantly you got through what will probably be the hardest memories Rokoa had in her past. The only ones as bad or worse might be what the Salikai did to her. But those should not suck you in like these.

So you survived the trap intact and if you need help after all of this you have your hive and Three stripes to help you through it.

You also showed Rokoa that her previous victories were more because of a trapped memory than her own power. No matter how confident she acts she is getting very worried. And its only going to get worse for her as she gets into the memories of the spire. You saved her live there several times and saved her whole hive when you could have left them to die.

So enjoy your toys and find your center again before we continue. If it had been a long time your friends would have woken you already and hopefully Katzati will be here soon. If Rokoa is watching you here that means she is not meddling in your memories elsewhere. Honestly she is probably watching you because you remind her so much of her children like this.
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No. 555239 ID: 1e9bd6

Well, that went about as well as could be hoped. The damn memory didn't cripple you, or leave her superpowered. It's a pity you couldn't completely protect yourself, or break the memory to undermine Rokoa, but we'll take what we can get.

Also: you have a damn good rebuttal to use the next time Rokoa criticizes you for exploiting your silence. She won one of the most important battles of her life the same damn way. And you didn't pull it off by accident.

>I'm going to need to see Three Stripes after this.
I just imagine how complicated it's going to be trying to explain this to him in pictures. See, this is Toothy. And the Salikai made another her and put her in my head. And then, inside my head, we both went inside the head of a dream Toothy and... Hopefully they've made some progress with language lessons, or a translator.

How does he fix it anyways? You show him the problem and hope he can remove it? He compares how you are to what he and your hive remember you being, and tries to change you back?

...kind of funny how you started all this avoiding a predator's control, and now you're planning on ending this by going willingly to one.

>I will have to test this when I wake up to see if this is not just some kind of dream logic.
Test with Katzati and physical contact, and ask her not to tell the others if it works. If you can make your empathy misleading by hiding parts of it, you need to know that now (it might be useful trying to infiltrate the salikai base, posing as something or someone you're not), but it's not the kind of thing you want to share around. It would just raise more trust issues. (And hopefully, unlike your silence, you can keep this ability secret from the wider world).

>wake up, play
Do whatever makes you comfortable, makes you feel like yourself, gives you a moment of peace. We don't need to wake up to check the time, but if it would make you feel better to be awake, then wake up for a little bit. You've earned the breather, in your childhood or the caves.

There's no reason to be ashamed of having a happy, safe childhood, even if Rokoa and many of her family were denied it.

>what do
We may have to reassess before continuing the battle, talk with Rokoa again. Presumably, if she re-experienced the smile, she's more like herself again than any of the flawed clones she's encountered. Has this changed her outlook on the situation?
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No. 555332 ID: 5869f6

>>555233
You've more than earned a breather Polo.

Besides, no shame in enjoying a happy memory.
A happy childhood.
You look so adorable. Let's take a break, if only a brief one.
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No. 555359 ID: c86015
555359

>I think Katzati fell out of the dream.
>I am sensing Katzati again.
Polo you need to wake up immediately, something is horribly wrong.
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No. 555362 ID: f44ca3

You know it might be good to wake up just to check that everything is not falling apart on us. Also to reassure the group we are not taken over if they noticed our empathy going wild during that fight.
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No. 555363 ID: 1e9bd6

If we haven't been asleep for long, there's not much to be gained from waking up. You should all be exhausted (since your last sleep period immediately turned into more running and fighting as soon as you lay down), and there hasn't been enough time to get rested or for people to heal up. It'll just cut into your rest and dream time.

The only good reason to do so is if your mental state would be helped by it. If so, then it's worth it.
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No. 555371 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896951462.png - (27.70KB , 800x800 , 712.png )
555371

I will continue sleeping.

>How does Three Stripes fix it anyways?
Right now my default emotion is not true neutral, it is... different. This should not interfere with my silence, as I am able to undergo emotions and still remain silent. Three Stripes will simply need to take me at a neutral state, and then re-calibrate my emotions.

That is probably easier said than done. Perhaps risky. I will think of it more when it is relevant.

>More importantly you got through what will probably be the hardest memories Rokoa had in her past.
In terms of sheer trials, there is only one more in her normal life that was more painful. Then the salikai's torture. Those, however, are regular memories, and I expect I can stomach the salikai parts.

"Are you jealous of my childhood, Rokoa?" She's not.
"No, I was pretty happy with beating each other up. You're pretty adorable as a kid though. Man you didn't even know what a tank sounded like, did you?"
"Somehow, at my age, I don't think you did either."
"You sure did want to be a fighter pilot when you grew up. Too bad I don't think they make mini-planes."
"I also wanted to be a tank commander. I wanted to pilot flying tanks when I grew up. And for your information, they do make planes in my size. I could still be a fighter pilot if I wanted to, but that was as fickle as childhood dreams get. Anyway, even if you're stronger because of your needle experience, you are a hypocrite for criticizing my use of silence. It is the same thing, except mine is on purpose."
"Hey, I was just kidding." She really wasn't. "Seriously, though, accident or intentional isn't important. You're still right, your silence is part of your strength, and just cause it's unusual doesn't mean it's unfair. I may as well ask for a fair fight by telling you to tie your hands behind your back. And untill we revisited that needle trigger, I didn't realize how far I fell from the original. I bet the real Rokoa could take me in a fight, easily. I guess she doesn't remember the needle trick, though, huh, from what she told you?"

Apparently she is loosely skimming my future memories. She still doesn't think she's as good as the original, since the needle trick was also a shadow of the experience of the original. Even so, it struck me, and so it struck her, and she is closer now. She is no longer as concerned about victory or defeat as she was when she was injected in my head. All she's going to do, is everything she can do. Nothing more, nothing less.
>>
No. 555372 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896952442.png - (16.80KB , 800x800 , 713.png )
555372

"What is with that memory I first saw? It sounded like it was soon after your Rikora thing."
"Yeah. Couple weeks after I got back, or so I heard. It was the first thing I remembered afterward, least till now. I was still recovering, you know. You know how after Ranra - kid number one, feels like am millenia ago - I was seeing lights in the sky? Well, about a year after Rikora started training me, I started seeing lights again. Pretty sure the first case was either a fucked up memory or something else entirely. That's relevant, since it was that memory you're talking about when we saw the first sign of aliens. One of our enemy hives came to town with weapons we had no idea how to fight. A bunch of us already ran out there, thinking it was just three dumbasses with too much confidence trying to raise up a stink. So a few of us go out to have fun with them, and, well... look at your toys, they're noisy as hell. You got a TV in here eventually. You grew up on noise. So think of it, when you live your life when you only hear distant roars and the only noise are war cries and all that. Everyone's cozy in bed, and the night guard goes to get some easy neumono meat for the next morning. They give shouts, then the next thing you hear are a series of booms laid out on top of each other mixed with your hivemates confusion, panic, then silence. That was one of the scariest moments my hive ever had, cause it had the unknown element to it. Me, though?"
>>
No. 555373 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896953993.png - (87.67KB , 800x800 , 714.png )
555373

"My name is Rokoa, and fear was beaten out of me a long time ago."
"It's too late for you to act all badass now."
"Shush, I had trouble keeping rapport with my hive, and this helped a lot. It fits in pretty well with what you're doing, too."
"It also made you overconfident."
"It was pretty great."
"You were naked."
"I can see and remember that. It worked out fine."
"These guys weren't taught how to use the guns beyond point and aim. They can't even stick their fingers in the guards. They're not holding the guns right. They're still trying to fire when they're out of ammo. The-"
"I get it, you want to take them over and show them how it's done."
"Yes, but I've already indulged enough memories."
>>
No. 555375 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896957438.png - (33.59KB , 800x800 , 715.png )
555375

It would be only one year from now when their nomadic life would bring them back to the same area, and Rokoa would go hunting. She would see three more with guns, and just try to charge them. One of them held a tazer meant to take out things on more of a voklit scale. Once she got riddled with bullets and electrocuted and still lived, that hive decided to screw around and put Rokoa straight into another awful several weeks of little but pointless pain. That hive was sadistic, and with enough food to feed neumono prisoners, they kept her alive, if just to see how much she could take and still live.

Her hive tried to rescue her. It's probable the aliens took an interest in this hive since this hive built a castle to house 230 or so hivemates, although there were only 50 by the time Rokoa was captured. The rest were doing work for the aliens. Corners were tight, and to make up for poor aim, the red hive ran up to the snow hive to shoot them. After several losses and nearly everyone wounded, Rokoa's hive succeeded.

They knew they would lose a lot of people, but saving Rokoa was just part of the purpose. Pilon, who would use his ears to block shots with surprisingly good results, shares the rest.

>"Now that we've beaten these guys, we can eat them to gain their spear's magical powers!"

"I.... Pilon, that..."
"Yeah, the guy fr... oh yeah, you really do know him already, huh. If it makes you feel better, we still tease him about sayin that to this day, or at least as far as I can remember. Course, he always counters us with the other stupid shit we used to say. It turns out, for instance, stars aren't our past queens lighting our nights up."

Pilon did take a liking to many of the red hive members, and fathered a bunch. That was the norm, actually, the red hive was effectively absorbed and assimilated into Rokoa's for their magical boomstick and metalbending powers. Given it were two stereotypically tribal hives, assimilation wasn't pretty, needless to say. Rokoa had a few more kids, but not out of the red hive.
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No. 555376 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896961888.png - (91.42KB , 800x800 , 716.png )
555376

It took about the time it takes to accidentally shoot themselves a lot of times and run out of ammo - mana - hunting before the aliens paid them a visit. They were self profiteers, and only wanted to supply neumono that would get them territory and labor. They took them in to teach them about modernization. The Queen was introduced to topics like military ranks, and secrecy from the common rank and file hivemate. She didn't like that, but was shown the importance of it. After being shown what X-rays were, Rokoa was put under weeks of surgery to gradually take out the dozens of bullets that were too deep for her regeneration to kick out.

Originally they were simply going to have the hive use manual labor, but given how they were able to take out the alien's original uplift hive with nothing but non-magical spears, Rokoa's hive ended up being mercenaries for virtually no pay. What they were paid in was food to eat and safety for their children, which for a tribal hive, was well worth fighting for even if it was incredibly cheap for the aliens.

With the influx of food, plus the numbers from the red hive, Rokoa's hive started booming in population. Kids one after the next, Rokoa included.

It ended up being over 60 years of fucking and fighting for some no-name alien faction. It will be a lot of work for me to go through and change things, but it's all the same, so it can go by smoothly. Katzati eventually gets back as clone Rokoa goes back to messing with my memories, and I mess with hers in the same way I usually do.

In those 60 years the population exploded from perhaps 100 to well over a thousand or two members. It was bigger than Rokoa could understand. There was no more death for Rokoa's children by starvation or hunting accidents, from then on, all her kids died in combat. That was common, in actuality. All of their kids were safe, but as soon as they got into adulthood, the hive's mortality rate skyrocketed. Despite her mentality of doing everything she can, Rokoa lost interest in getting more kids. I believe it was largely in part to the Queen not wanting Rokoa's misfitted genes getting into the hive or something. The more I examine it, the more Rokoa's participation in the hive was an anomaly. Nearly everyone in her position would have gone rogue.

For non-ultrahive hives, they were one of the most successful fighting forces. Rokoa edged her way into the queen's personal guard despite the queen's own distrust. A few times, Rokoa's hive would get involved in the wars that lead to ultrahives being formed. I've heard veterans refer to those days as the glory days, but I am not jealous seeing what I see through Rokoa.

There are plenty of specific memories that I gloss over. More voklit encounters, quality time spent with her family, a quick encounter with a predator that ended up with modern shooty guns winning the day, but Rokoa's life isn't mine. I don't believe there is much to gain by running through those memories in detail.
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No. 555379 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896965791.png - (18.79KB , 800x800 , 717.png )
555379

The hive fought whoever the faction told them to, which was just about anyone. Rokoa was only vaguely aware of the politics involved, and didn't like what she saw. The hive made an enemy of the world. Eventually they had to back off into the middle of nowhere, and a few soldiers go missing while securing one of the surrounding caverns in the terrain.

Rokoa is sent in as a QI, and is excited when she gets to test herself against one of the legendary predators she barely saw many years back. She even wanted to see if it could pacify her.

So she chased it back where I, Rakae, and Rikek were. The rest I remember just fine. There is nothing Rokoa did that I did not either see or know about, before I blew Rokoa up. All Rokoa did for a couple weeks after that was heavy recovery, during which the sample that would become her clone was taken.

"Although I can't help but notice that while you were chasing us, you weren't even holding your gun right, either! Did the aliens just not bother to teach you guys?!"
"Hey, I held it just fine when I actually caught up."
>>
No. 555380 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138896966819.png - (25.67KB , 800x800 , 718.png )
555380

Rokoa is already past this point. She is reviewing my own memories, and watching herself do what she does.

"Did I just stop eating?"
"I wished you would."

She feels better, even relieved, oddly, at my performance despite Rokoa being weakened. How I beat her, then ran around their warship to eventually commit regicide on her own queen. What she is not comfortable with is the fact that she is the one who requested that I kill the queen.

What she has more interest in, though, is my training after that. While I can say I gave good effort and work ethic towards silence and marksmanship and other studies, I treated it like a hobby. The severity of what I was doing, and of what I could do, was not something I fully understood until that first authentic mission of mine. Therefore, the following months of heavy study and mental training with Three Stripes had far more determination behind them, without the grief-driven training that was prior to my first duel with Rokoa.

Clone Rokoa does not appear to have any interest in touching those memories.

"Not to try and convince you otherwise, but..."
"Yeah, you know what? These are perfect the way they are." She is getting difficult to read again.
"Could I hope you're giving up?"
"Nope. We've given our brains a good feel for each other and they're gonna start having at each other soon enough. I'm not gonna be benign. So, I want to see the salikai dead, blown up, jailed forever, whatever. You're tougher than I thought, you know, but you've still been having problems. So if there's a single element that I'm tougher in, I'm still gonna try and work that element into you whether you like it or not. You're gonna have to be tougher than me in every single way, now, otherwise I'll be there to pick up your slack, is what I'm saying. We're going to beat the salikai, Polo, along with all the other clones that were too flawed from the original to resist the salikai and Four Stripes. If not you, then you and me."

It isn't like I feel our brain cells frying as they eat each other, so until that starts happening, I can go back to any select memories and change things.

Otherwise, the only part of Rokoa I want in my system is the memory of everything involving the new salikai base.
>>
No. 555385 ID: f44ca3

The only things you are lacking that Rokoa could "teach" you would be the ability to resist a predator without your silence. That the hand to hand and pain tolerance training. But you where there with her for a lot of that and she put some in your memories so that should help.

Not sure if I can think of anything in any of Rokoa's memories to change. At this point I think it would be better to put more training into your memories if possible. Maybe go back into your training with Three stripes and try out your new partial silence trick with him or someone else. Will know if it really works once we wake up.

Whatever she says it looks like Rokoa is starting to accept the fact that she is going to get eaten shortly. Hopefully the worst you will end up with is some improved training you do not remember how you got and the odd memory from her life.

So improve your training or meditate or work on your silence. Don't let her convince you that you need anything from her and you should come out fine. While you may have made a few mistakes none of them would have been avoided with a little Rokoa talking in your head.

Ask her the big question. Why did she not go rogue when her hive started to drift from her? Was it just her being stubborn? Or does she have her own reasons?
>>
No. 555386 ID: 1e9bd6

>>555371
Aw crap. They're both smiling.

>Right now my default emotion is not true neutral, it is... different. This should not interfere with my silence
...it's not your ability to go silent I'm worried about it influencing. If your judgement or decision making is at all effected that could be very bad.

>>555379
In this memory, can you figure out how she was actually able to resist three stripe's control? It may not come up with your silence, but knowing how to fight off mind control might be relevant.

>What she is not comfortable with is the fact that she is the one who requested that I kill the queen.
She took the only route that would save her hive, while not going rogue, or betraying them and committing regicide herself. She walked a fine line between her loyalties, obligations, and personal honor. And she pulled it off. There's no reason for her to be ashamed of that.

>Rokoa's decision
I am glad at least we share an enemy. And while I am, in theory, not opposed to self improvement, or doing what it takes to achieve victory here, understand I will not sacrifice who I am or what I believe for that end. You wouldn't break your codes of conduct just to make things easier. Don't insult me by expecting me to do so.

Consider that what might make me strongest would be the ability to focus my attention on that one enemy.

...and whatever understanding we come to, this is regrettably not over. Perhaps I would spare you again, if I could. But I have no intention of giving you my mind or body. And I would see the both of us dead before I would suffer the sniper clone's fate.

Which means, unless there's a magic cure waiting in the science hive that can cut you out and return you to the corrupted clone they harvested you from, one or more of us still has to die.

(If the science hive can do that, it would be sort of cool. Saves Polo, and clone-koa can return to the broken and corrupted clone and fix her).
>>
No. 555443 ID: 9390e7

I believe Rokoa's resistance can be attributed to the fact that she is brain damaged. Yes Polo, instead of saying that she's insane, you can now simply say that she's brain damaged! Of course you can always try to mimic what she did.

Anyway, I don't think there's much else for you to improve on, Rokoa has already somewhat trained you in hand to hand combat, and your training together should help you somewhat. The one thing she beats you in is experience. She's over a hundred years old, and experience like that is useful. You've lived through it somewhat, but in the end, she still has more of it.

Say goodbye to Rokoa, Polo. It's probably the last time you'll speak.
>>
No. 555532 ID: 88960e

>>555373
Maybe this is a stupid question, but why was she naked?

>There's no reason for her to be ashamed of that
Expanding on that, honestly, that might be something you should respect her for. And her baffling loyalty.

Actually, did you ever see where or when she developed her code or honor? Honestly, that's not something we want to change about her (removing it certainly isn't to your advantage) but it might be interesting to check on, while we have the chance in this lull.
>>
No. 555709 ID: fa02ec

>What she is not comfortable with is the fact that she is the one who requested that I kill the queen.

Hm. Didn't the original Rokoa say that part of why she did that was because her Queen sort of broke her trust? Sent her on a suicide mission, if I recall. If that memory's still around, we could tweak it to make that queen a "what not to be" influence.
>>
No. 555720 ID: cee89f

>>555532
Probably because she'd been sleeping and had just woke up. My question is why Pilon was naked. It's not like he was in the same position by that point...

>>555380
>It isn't like I feel our brain cells frying as they eat each other, so until that starts happening, I can go back to any select memories and change things.
Think we've done what we can. Let's go blow up some milipedes.
>>
No. 555722 ID: 627d94

>>555720
I was assuming he's just not wearing a shirt.
>>
No. 556988 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138957764356.png - (29.12KB , 800x800 , 719.png )
556988

>Why was she and Pilon naked?
They slept in the nude under communal blankets. Rokoa simply did not bother to get dressed to kill. Pilon was simply shirtless. I expect it would have been standard for the females to go shirtless as well if it were at all practical.

>Actually, did you ever see where or when she developed her code or honor?
Over her life. She did not start thinking philosphically, let alone sitting down one evening and writing her book of honor. It simply developed like a habit on its own, which explains its haphazard construction that only makes sense to her, and even then she has given me the impression she is not even consistent at her own code. I would hardly call it honor in the first place.

I still have no plans on changing that, regardless of shortcomings. I continue speaking to Rokoa as she enters one of her own memories. Kakra, one of her more favored children.

"I expect you would not break your own code to make your fights easier, don't expect me to do so."
"From what I see, you do what you've got to do to win. Nothin' wrong with that, since you're not being selfish."
"I don't need anything from you, nor do you have anything for me."
"Perfect, that's the point. If that's true, then you'll completely slaughter me. Once we exhaust each other's memories, then our brains will effectively begin to recognize each other physically and have at it. I guess that won't be too long, from now."
"Then this is likely the last we will talk. I have gotten the impression from you that we do not need to be in vocal contact with one another beyond this point."
"Yep. We won't ever speak again, in fact, cause no matter how much we blend, we won't have seperate consciousness anymore."
"I don't intend to have so much as half an ounce of your matter to make its home in me."
"That's how it is, huh?"
"You don't belong here. I am not interested in killing you, but I would sooner see you dead than let you live through me."
"You like having long goodbyes, huh."
".... Goodbye, Rokoa. I'm done with modifying your memories."
"Thanks for not messing with the memory of my kids too much. I mean it. I think I'll indulge in some of my own memories, too, till our brains get impatient. Give me some alone time, you too."

She believes that she won't get much real estate in my brain after all. I would be relieved if that meant she would become benign, but she will be giving it her all. So I leave her to relive her memories. A memory is all she's considering herself, so it fits, so she thinks.

"Wait. One more question."
>>
No. 556992 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138957811402.png - (21.84KB , 800x800 , 720.png )
556992

"Why did you never go rogue?"
"Because I love them. Duh."
"They don't love you like a hive should."
"Then you tell me, why haven't I gone rogue?"
"I asked you."
"Fine, if love isn't enough, then I haven't given up on them or myself."
"You eventually could. You gave up on having kids."
"I don't remember saying I'd never have any again. I'm just going to do it carefully, if I do it again. Do it right. Preferably with a good father. That's the hard part."
"I would've agreed if not for Pilon."
"Hah, there were other good guys in my hive, Pilon sounds more like your decision if you were in my place."
"... nevermind."
"I'm serious about there being other guys. I just got too damn picky for my own good. Never really saw a guy or felt his empathy and said 'yeah, I really want to have his - "
"We're digressing. If you ever went to an alien college, the first thing you learn in cultural studies is that going rogue is natural, and even necessary for new hives to form and adapt. Furthermore, I would have attempted to get the real Rokoa to go rogue, if I knew what I know now, if I did not think of her as an awful person who should be constrained within her hive, and if I would ever speak to her again. All of these are implausible."
"You don't hate me as much as you say you do."
"That says little, there are only a few redeeming qualities. You have no reason to be ashamed of having me commit regicide, it was, I'm trying to say, a good decision."
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I felt like telling Rokoa that without actually telling Rokoa that. You're perfect for it. Now I'll leave you alone. Leave me alone in return. Goodbye."
"See ya, Polo, it was nice. Go kick some ass for me. Oh, and give Rikora my regards if you ever see her, she's probably still kicking around somewhere. It's not right to judge a person based off another's memories, you know. Just do me a favor and remember your old pal R-"
"Like I could forget. Katzati, go ahead and wake up, or leave the dream. Don't give me that concern, I won't be long, I just have to review another memory."
>>
No. 556993 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138957812321.png - (11.68KB , 800x800 , 721.png )
556993

Before I wake up, I use what time I have in order to study her memories in the salikai facility. Vanski treats her poorly, but the ordeal is easier to manage, now. They're only memories after all. I learn everything that Rokoa learned about the base, and will make sure I've burned it into my memory when I wake up. Some of it is more concerning than others, but that doesn't affect me yet.

There's are two entrances to the salikai base that Niam did not know about. One is large and easier to sneak into, but it is far longer and likely involves sneaking past salikai forces in the caves for longer. There is also an exit at the top, closer to the surface, that is more likely well guarded.

I wake up to what feels like a hole in my stomach. And fur in my mouth.

>"Polo, you're..."
"I'm sorry. Agitated, yes. I'll be fine." That isn't a lie by any stretch, I feel surprisingly well rested, aside from the hunger.
>>
No. 556994 ID: a87e3a

>>556993
Ask about food, and an update on how things are going. Tell your allies about what you learned about the salikai base.
>>
No. 557000 ID: 74c4ad

Huh. That's an awful... open ended result to the mental conflict. No one's dead yet, and all we can do is wait to see how much you merge or wipe each other out. Which I guess means the only thing you can do at this point is believe in yourself.

Kind of corny, but if you couldn't believe in yourself, you'd have never made it this far anyways. There could be worse odds.

>give Rikora my regards if you ever see her
Hmm. She'd be at least... 150 now? Probably more, but that depends on how old she was when she had Rokoa. It's certainly plausible she's still around, if she wasn't killed in any of the modernization conflicts. Hell, assuming you survive this mission, the unfortunate publicity you've attracted and your connection to Rokoa will probably prompt her to seek you out. And the clones too, if any of them survive, or are taken alive.

>fur in my mouth
You bit yourself? Or Katzati?

Eat something, check if your dream training led to any noticeable physical changes (anything healed faster than it should have? Do you feel stronger or faster or anything?), and check the current status of the group and your allies. (Are Lucera or Kort awake or lucid yet? Be nice if they were out of danger, or to hear what happened, from their perspective. Marra was going to test the regenerators- how'd that go over?). How long has it been, real world time?

Possibly we should test the partial empathy silencing (empathy deception?), but I'd want to do that more... alone. Maybe with just Katz. Neumono are weirded out enough by your silence, but they can get used to is (it's just like a jammer, or like you're a bit like an alien). The ability to lie or deceive via empathy would really throw thrust for a loop though, and you should keep that more secret than your silence, and only test it with someone you trust. The only reason I'd suggest risking testing it all in the field is there's the chance you'll need it against one of the Rokoa clones, or if and when you infiltrate the salikai base.
>>
No. 557003 ID: d34517

I think half the reason Rokoa never went rogue was because everyone was expecting her to go rogue. Especially people like the Queen you killed. Letting herself go rogue would be like admitting they were right. So long as she thinks of it in those terms, like she's in some sort of fight against it, she can never give in. She keeps herself from going rogue by sheer contrariness. And as for kids... most likely, she wants to continue her line the same way Rikora did, aiming to produce some perfect little hero warrior heir.

Better ask Katzati if you feel different, and how, aside from the agitation. Get food, ask how long you've been out (or maybe you can tell by how much Katzati's arm has grown back?), get updates.

Then, perhaps, you should consider testing whether your memory-training in partial silence has given you the ability to empathically "lie"? If so, you should tell someone, Katzati most likely. It'll lower trust levels, but not so badly as if they found out by themselves. On the other hand, telling anyone might mean losing the advantage if they get caught by the salikai. On the other other hand, we don't know if being bugged can make someone spill every secret detail they have. Do you have to ask for specific information? Just ordering them "tell me everything you know that I'd want to know" sounds almost too vague to result in anything more useful than an hours-long stream of general information. The salikai seem like they might be too impatient to sit through that sort of thing. You could ask the hunter hivers about that, if you knew where Biles' group was.
>>
No. 557007 ID: f44ca3

At least we are well rested now. Lets check in on the team and make sure nothing odd has happened while we were out. See how long we were sleeping and take stock of the situation.

Then we tally our supplies and discuss what we have learned about the enemy base. Can we still go through with our original plan or do we make another one.

We might not want to get right into the thick of things until we know how this absorption process is going to affect you. Do not want you getting dizzy or something in a dangerous spot.

No idea if we can track down Biles and Moi but they would be handy to have along in a infiltration attempt. Finding them down here would be tricky even without Salikai forces running everywhere.
>>
No. 557009 ID: 74c4ad

>>557003
Considering the degree of freedom bugged people have to interpret orders allowed Biles to find a way to free himself, and Moi the chance to run away to where she couldn't be given orders, I suspect bugged information extraction is a long, slow process of asking very exact questions that don't leave any room to deliberately misinterpret or obfuscate information. It probably has to be combined with more traditional interrogation tactics to be effective. Granted, a bugged interrogation probably goes faster than otherwise, but it'll still take time.
>>
No. 557196 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138966058821.png - (10.92KB , 800x800 , 722.png )
557196

>You bit yourself? Or Katzati?
I did not bite anything to my knowledge, but I have been laying on a large pile of fluff for hours at least. With the lack of recent combing, showering, or basic hygiene, loose fur was inevitable.

"Katzati, I want to test something. Please keep this to yourself. Look at me."
>"Yes?"
"I am looking between your eyes. Which eye am I focusing on?"
>"My left?"

I was focusing on both. I can do it. It wasn't just my imagination.

"Thank you."
>>
No. 557197 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138966059685.png - (40.18KB , 1273x652 , 723.png )
557197

We get dressed, and I move out to see Korli and a woken Lucera. He looks better.

"How long have I been out?"
>"14 hours. I hope you're ready to hunt for food."
"I should be ready. I would like my rations, then I will go searching."
>"You ate your rations."
"While asleep?"
>"Yes. Katzati woke up for awhile and said your stomach was growling. Then she fed you her rations. Then she fed you her ear. She hasn't eaten. Your gas tank is large, Katzati, but going so long without any food is still dangerous."
>"I'm weak right now, but I'll be fine."
>"Anyways, Marra and Viln are out hunting in one group, with Rokann hunting solo. Marra's wounds are nearly gone outside of the eye. We'd suggest giving you a dose. I'd suggest avoid waking Kort. He has cooled off, but he didn't like seeing you two sleep, or Polo eating so much."
"You appear decent."
>"... thanks, I guess. My glasses broke, but I have not done anything damaging to my eyes recently, so I don't need them. Kort's still got more broken bones than I do, but I can stand.."
"He still dislikes me, then."
>"If not for that, it sounded like he was starting to cool off. Don't mind it too much. I don't think he will do anything drastic anymore. Just let him be."
>"Hello Polo hello Katzati how are you doing Polo?" Korli says, back in her usual spirit.
"I'll be fine, thank you."
>"You beat up Rokoa?"
"... in a sense, I guess. If she tries to take over, it will be soon. I don't know what it will feel like, so I am reluctant to put myself in great danger. Hunting should be fine, but I may get dizzy out of nowhere. Why are you not in your armor?"
>"It's uncomfortable and if we're found out here in our hidey hole, we're kind of screwed anyway."
>>
No. 557198 ID: f44ca3

I hate to be the angry drill Sargent here but is anyone armored up right now? If a group of roaming bugs got in here having at least one armored person would save us all.

I know we have mostly civilians here but a bit of discomfort is better than having to get robots dug out of you with a knife for hours.

Anyway lets check on everything to make sure no one got infected while we were out and then do a once over of the camp before we head out to hunt. We might want some backup if possible in case the Rokoa fight pops up at a bad moment.
>>
No. 557199 ID: a87e3a

>>557197
Wouldn't a regen booster make you hungrier, because of the energy required to fix things? This is probably also why you're so hungry, because you've been regenerating to fight Rokoa's regeneration. I wonder if you're any bigger? Check.

Let's get equipped then head out where Rokann went. Hunting solo isn't a good idea for anyone, what with the risk of bugs.
>>
No. 557200 ID: a87e3a

>>557198
Speaking of bugs, has there been anyone unarmored and unmonitored for any length of time? If so a bug sweep might be in order.
>>
No. 557211 ID: 88960e

>Eye focus
Ooh, clever. Not even she knows for sure you can do it. Just remember: use this ability sparringly, and only when it really matters. Don't fall into the habit of using it unconsciously.

>what do
You should ask Lucera what happened when he and Lott were separated from you. How did they come to be bugged? The voklit turned on them?

Any movement or sign of the enemy?

Check to see if you've healed more than expected, or if any of that exercise turned out to be real after all. All that food had to go somewhere.

At least now we know where Katzati was when she woke up. Feeding you. ...try not to imagine her feeding you in your sleep like a baby.

Still, as embarrassing (and adorable) as that image is, she really put herself on the line for you. She's been taking care of you, and hasn't eaten since she was injured. And she lost a lot of blood. We'll have to get a good amount of food.

Did Marta report the regerators making her hungrier? If we're already in food debt, we should delay using the drugs. If it doesn't matter though, go ahead.
>>
No. 557235 ID: 47a34c

>I can do it. It wasn't just my imagination.

Well, congratulations, Polo. You've leveled up. You are now 100% number one at empathy control among neumono, and are no longer in any danger of your unique skill becoming obsolete from the invention of personal jammers. How does it feel to be the best?

Of course, there are probably lots more people trying to learn how to turn off their empathy, now, and there'll be more after this mission finishes; and if you figured out how to do this, it's possible someone else could, especially once it gets out that you can. Perhaps when you get back to your ultrahive, you should suggest some sort of regulation or policing body be set up with other ultrahives. Neumono-specific crimes are probably only going to go up anyway, what with all this scientific predator use, and empathy-manipulating technology, and clone darts, and drugs tailored to your physiology, and who knows what else that'll show up. Some sort of species-wide security initiative will probably become a very good idea. Seems like something you'd take to well. Just a thought for the future.

For now, take a moment to thank Katzati for all her help. Korli seems slightly more effusive than normal; when was the last time you got a glimpse of her empathy? As for the regeneration booster, seems a waste for you to use it now, everyone's sure to get more injuries later, sad to say. Don't know how it'll affect your internal battle, anyway. Most likely it would accelerate it, but you might be trading getting it over with sooner for more intense side-effects while it's happening. And fill in the group on what you know RE: the salikai base.
>>
No. 557261 ID: cc212d

How are we managing with jammers, with the group split up? We needed food badly enough, and got far enough away from the enemy / it's been long enough since we saw any sign of them that it was worth sending out un-jammed hunting parties?

Only problem with I see with Polo hunting is her size limits how much food she can bring back, unless she takes something down near enough to camp for the civies to help harvest.

>>557198
I assume Marra and Rokann are kitted up, although they don't have full armor sets, and are away from base.

I wouldn't give Korli a hard time about it now. It's not much added risk at the moment (we're already spread out and out of our hidey hole), and constant uncomfortable vigilance probably isn't worth the moral hit. We need to be paranoid, yes, be we need these people to keep functioning too.

>neumono empathy crime increase?
It will only happen if people know it can be done. People already see Polo as a curiosity- and silence training as a lot of work to duplicate what a jammer can do without a decade of work. The simplest solution isn't to police it- it's to just never let on that there are other advantages.

>seems a waste for [Polo] to use it now
Depends on how bad her injuries are. She's still down an eye, and has a somewhat bum leg, and weak arm. And we have 15 (minus whatever was used) doses left. It could be well worth spending one dose to get her back to full strength, especially if she still wants to infiltrate the base on her own. That's the kind of situation where full maneuverability, full range of sight, and not having a twinge in your arm at a critical moment might make all the difference.
>>
No. 557338 ID: 041c8f

>>557197
you might mention that on the slim chance Rokoa brain wins that she will most likely be on their side anyway. If she was tell the truth then she doesn't think her chances are very good. And if she dose it probably going to be more like sniper clone, so a lot of who you are will survive on in that new amalgam person.

Don't get me wrong here though. I'm pulling for you to just win.
>>
No. 557341 ID: 041c8f

Also what is with Katzati. She has been as good to you as your own hive. And she's not even the same ultra hive as you. This is good news for your species. She can care deeply about other neumono outside of her hive with greater ease than anyone we have seen. I mean you and your hive found Rikek likable. But from what she has show us; I don't think Katzati's behavior is because of the desperate situation. Maybe she's part of some experimental love people hive program.

I not trying to be silly here. What makes her tick has been bugging me for a while. She bonds with people very easily, more like a human. Or am I just seeing one possible extreme of neumon psychology here?
>>
No. 557347 ID: cc212d

>>557341
Exo-hive friendships are possible. They'd certainly be rarer pre-uplfit, or if any of the individuals came from more xenophobic hives, or had an older, tribal mindset. Katzati would seem to have a very modern mindset, paired with a deep compassion and unexpected strength of character.

I wouldn't worry overmuch about factoring ultrahive status into that, as the ultrahives are more political constructions than personal relationships or loyalties. For instance: Biles sure didn't get along with the hunters, but did with Moi, and Rokann. Polo befriended Korli well before either of them joined an ultrahive. And if Marra and Rokann have known each other most of their lives, that suggests their friendship predates the war Rokann fought in when their ultrahive was being established.

And heck, there's Pilon and Polo. If they could strike up a friendship from opposite sides of a war, (and with him initially not being able to comprehend kindness from a non-hivemate!), I don't think it's so crazy seeing Katzati act this way.

...although what is it with you and giant grey fuzzballs, Polo. You seem to get tangled up with a lot of them.
>>
No. 558032 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138993770493.png - (18.84KB , 800x800 , 724.png )
558032

>Also what is with Katzati. She has been as good to you as your own hive. This is good news for your species.
Katzati is not normal.

>What is it with you and giant grey fuzzballs, Polo. You seem to get tangled up with a lot of them.
This is also not normal.

"Thank you once again, Katzati. Now it's worth mentioning that even if Rokoa wins, then I believe she is not on the Salikai's side. They have ill tested tools to work with, and things like this will backfire. Are we so low on food that we had to send out non-jammed parties to hunt?"
>"Marra and Viln are scheduled to come back in 15 minutes. Rokann in 5. Our hunting trips are fast and short so that if we run into problems, we will know." Lucera says.
"Also, none of us are armored. Given the existence of bugs, this is bad. Korli, put yours on. I will put mine on. Then go hunting so that I can get enough food to justify a regen shot. Do you know where Rokann went?"
>"Yes. From the overhang here, right, left, upright, downleft, down, forward. That's what has been scouted, and what she will not stray from much. It isn't far, given that she is alone."
"Did Marra say she was hungrier after taking the dose?"
>"She acts too tough to tell us that sort of thing."

We have our backpack of supplies left here, so I scan everyone for bugs. Everyone is clean.

"Did the voklit from earlier turn on you?"
>"Yes, that is how we got bugged."

My current state is decent. I believe I can stand on my leg reliably now, and the only thing of concern is my eye. It does not hurt much anymore, but I am reluctant to attempt to open it. I will do so later when there is a more pressing need to see out of both eyes, as I have heard that it is difficult to tell when an eye is ready to be seen out of until I try.

>You are now 100% number one at empathy control among neumono
To my knowledge, I was already the best. This new ability simply pushed that.
>>
No. 558033 ID: 9cd8ad
File 138993771674.png - (205.16KB , 800x800 , 725.png )
558033

I am hesitant to share my knowledge of the salikai base, as if any of my allies were to be captured, then the salikai would know that I know about their base. However, if I were to become incapacitated, then my knowledge would be trapped with my outcome. therefore, I recount what I know about the base and write down the overall layout on some stationary that Lucera had in his pocket.

There are over 2,000 arkots in cryogenics, but there has been hints of power failures in the past.
There are 2 fufas. At least 6 fully grown vernauts, 8 grottles, and 8 Rokoa's. Almost definitely more Rokoas, and there are at least several in the process of being made. There are also 600 bots of varying degrees of use. Some use heavy weapons, but are slow and predictable. Most are not thoroughly tested. The salikai still own the one CAI, and lastly, one predator.

The clone Rokoa watched another Rokoa fight several things. She can take an average voklit if both have a spear. Without weapons, a voklit has a decent chance of winning by simple mass and strength. Rokoa can handle up to 9 dozen arkots that are sent at her a dozen at a time, faltering from exhaustion and blood loss. She cannot handle a fully grown vernaut with a simple blade, but she is able to frustrate it until it decides to roll over on her. A fight with a fufa is pathetic on Rokoa's half. No grottles were used in the experiments due to a lack of control the Salikai have been able to exert over a grottle. I do not know what I will do with this information, or what the Salikai care about what an unarmored, often barefisted Rokoa can do. This is all, of course, a clone Rokoa's abilities.

Both Ohidi and Vanski own a killswitch for the CAI. Or at least what Rokoa believes is a killswitch. Neither of them have gotten a good rest in months. Salikai do not sleep in the same manner most beings do, and can remain active, but constant exertion takes their toll. Vanski would be able to think far more clearly if he took so much as half a day off, but he may have lost the sheer ability to relax, now.

Vanski talked a great deal about dealing a blow to the surface world and a lot of ways to do it in. Everything he says is presented like a cool headed madman's presentation, and it is impossible to tell how much is feasible for the salikai and how much is just wild daydreaming.

"Korli, how many did you say were in your hive?"
>"About 13 or so? We don't see each other much though, so I only know several really well."

There are about 23 or so, and they barely know each other through unjammed walls. They blend in together so much that it feels like there are only a handful. Clone Rokoa broke in and got them to talk about themselves before the salikai dragged her out.

Rihhin, Likol and Momu are the CAI handlers. Likol was a developer before he suicided.
Mirim is the primary clonist, with help from Lollu and Saitul the biologists.
Moi is one of the younger ones at age 24, and is seeking to take over Seca's job as the armor engineer. The latter is 125 years old.
The oldest, at an alleged 208 years, is Quokko, the manager and most knowledgeable of the hive.
Ramella's title was a Rocket Engineer. I would have been concerned that this meant the salikai have rockets, but they put a Rokoa dart in her. Then again, Niam was cloned, it's possible that so was Ramella.

Everyone else does not seem to be worth note. Generalists, architects, chemists and so forth.

That is about all Rokoa knows to any degree of reliability, and even then, everything must be taken with caution. Four Stripes dealt with all of the Rokoas extensively, and I doubt any made it out unscathed. This information also includes the vague knowledge of one extra entrance at the top of the base, and one at the bottom. The upper ceiling ceiling has an extensive reinforced layer, and it extends down around the base in a protective cylinder. The bottom side does not have appear to have this.
>>
No. 558036 ID: 4a75fa

>voklit from earlier turned
Weird that they'd be willing to use bugs, but not modern weapons. Maybe because the bugs attack on their own, or seemed alive to them, the same reluctance didn't apply? Still, less remorse over what happened there. Though I think it's pretty obvious they felt they were trapped between a rock and a hard place.

>tiny science hive
Huh. I was expecting more. Dozens, maybe getting up towards a hundred. That makes the salikai's willingness to sacrifice them for Rokoa clones or Fufu food more surprising. Also it raises the question of where they're getting all the other neumono bodies needed for the invasive cloning (the tribals, I guess?).

Still, on the upside, I suppose a smaller hive is a lot easier to move or rescue when it comes time.

Oh, and I suppose there's the other 7 or 8 pinkie-hivers or so the warhive captured that ended up with your ultrahive. That brings the total to the 30s.

You have Seca to thank for your armor, then.

>Everyone else does not seem to be worth note.
...what about the sniper rifle designer? Rokoa didn't meet them, or he or she was one of the ones already rescued? There's someone you owe compliments to for sure, some day.

>map
Any idea where they keep Four Stripes?

>what do
Any plans regarding the base will have to wait. Immediate concern is getting some food. Pick a route with advice from Katzati (her map making is relevant again), so they know which way you went if anything goes wrong. Pick your rout so that on the way out you should pass Mara coming in.
>>
No. 558037 ID: f44ca3

For the Salikai base we need a in of some sort. If you could find and debug the sniper clone she might be able to help you get in undetected. But that depends on finding her and debugging her. Otherwise we need to cause a distraction or something to get into the base undetected.

The big targets inside the base are the two Salikai, four stripes, and the CAI. We might be able to strike a deal with the CAI if it thinks we have a chance of stopping the killswitch.

As for the others I think we should work on causing several large "accidents" at several points inside and outside the base if we can. Spike the grottles food so they go nuts, turn off whatever they use to control the fufu, or heck just kill Four stripes so all the Rokoa's go nuts for awhile. If we can do something like that while remaining undetected we might be able to free the Cai. At that point we can probably just sit back and watch the Rokoa's tear the Salikai apart.

Honestly we do not have enough info for any plan to survive more than a few minutes in so lets concentrate on getting enough food for the moment and keeping a eye out for anything we can use for later. We do not want to try anything until you are fully healed and do not have to worry about mental Rokoa bullshit.
>>
No. 558039 ID: a87e3a

I suspect there is a lot more science hive cloning than they are informed about.

The top entrance is probably a chimney. The bottom is a sewer. We entered through the sewer once before, they'll be expecting it. Chimney's dangerous but... maybe we should go for it. Alternatively, if we can get a good amount of explosives from somewhere, we could blow a hole in the floor and come up from there. Or use that for the exit! ...yeah let's use that for our exit.

Four Stripes is either in the Tribals building or the Another Building. I'm betting on the Another building, because it's right next to the cloning facility. That should be our target. Get in, assassinate Four Stripes, get out through exploding the floor.
>>
No. 558041 ID: 4a75fa

>>558039
Four stripes might also be in cloning (for training or doing other things to Rokoa clones) or in the central command (that's likely where the control systems for the bugs are located, and he'd need a place to connect to the network when he's controlling hunters directly).

Assuming of course he's still mobile at all and not living in a tube somewhere with metal screwed into his brain.

>>558037
I'd say another big targets is the central control for the bugs. We're already planning on blowing the salikai's external communication array on the way in, as per Niam's plan (which should release the hunters outside from anything but standing orders, and make coordinated enemy action difficult), but the enemy might still be able to give orders to bugs inside the base. If we can take out central bug control, that would release their controls on the science hive, and any Rokoas who might be looking to switch sides (or who are just crazy). That means more people working against the salikai in their base.

Of course, we might also be able to accomplish shutting down that system if we turn the CAI.
>>
No. 558042 ID: 51f633

Extensive team planning will have to wait until a time where everyone has come back together. Then again, knowing your luck, there's a chance that that moment will never come.

I suggest going through the bottom, 5. It is sure to be heavily guarded, but at least that you can do something about and sneak past, unlike a concrete wall. The biggest danger inside the facility would be the 2000 arkots in cryo. What happens when the power is cut off? Do they just... defrost? Or is there some sort of damage that happens to their bodies? If the former, heavy explosives might have to be planted. If there is a possible kill switch to dispose of all the arkots, it's probably in control of the CAI. Killing Four Stripes is also a big goal, the problem is he could be anywhere. I think he would be in central command, under heavy guard, he is pretty much essential to the salikai's plans.

It is very tempting to take control of the CAI, seeing as it probably controls all the systems of the facility, not to mention the fact that it is apparently held hostage in a sense. However, it's probably located in the center of central command, under heavy surveillance. The only other people that would have access to it would be Rihhin and Momu, probably under surveillance as well. It might be a good idea to make contact with the science hive, and have them help out, but with more people brings a greater risk that you'll be caught. Making contact with just Quokko would be a good idea, just look for the oldest of the bunch. There's always the risk that he's bugged however...

There are also the three timed explosives that have to be planted outside the facility, although I have forgotten where or if there was a plan to do that.

Timing is very critical here, you have to time everything correctly so that everything happens at once. The three time bombs will go off, the cryo suddenly fails, Four Stripes is disabled or dead, the CAI is no longer under control, basically get as many things to happen at once to distract and hinder the salikai while everyone else escapes.

Summary of the plan:
Plant time bombs
Enter the facility through entrance 5
Check what the building below cloning is, hope it's an armory
Sabotage or otherwise disable the arkots in cryo
Sneak your way to the science hive
Make contact with Quokko
Sabotage as many systems as you can, time them to go off at around the same time
>>
No. 558049 ID: 57a559

>>558032
>Katzati is not normal
Man, Katzati is what happens when you make a pacifist version of Rokoa that's extreme but also make it sane.

Think about how wrong Katzati is for a moment. It's right in a weird way, like it's supposed to be wrong, but it's not quite wrong either which is how you can describe Rokoa. Or, at least that's how I think you describe Rokoa. Hard to understand. So like, Katzati is cuddle-Rokoa or Bizarro Rokoa or something like that. But by all means her empathy output is actually sane and normal feeling. Like she's nothing out of the ordinary.
I want to ask Katzati if she's ever had any kids before.

You know Rokoa never seemed to be the time to be good exclusively to her own hive either. At least when you met her. Maybe before Rikora's training she was like normal Neumono in that regard.

I'm worried what might happen if Katzati gets darted too. I do not want to know how that would go, to say the least. Or even how they would mix or fight.
>>
No. 560470 ID: d470e9
File 139129860891.png - (25.15KB , 800x800 , 726.png )
560470

>What happens when the power is cut off for the arkot cryogenics?
Rokoa wasn't sure, but it was not good for the arkots. It most likely unfroze the arkots, but did not let them out of their tank.

>Ask Katzati if she has kids.
Somehow I feel that the time for talking about her home has passed.

"That's not including your hivemates that were rescued onto the warship, Korli. So, around 30 or so."
>"Huh."

>What about the sniper rifle designer?
Rorrili. He was also worth note, and the one who I owe thanks to.

>Any idea where they keep Four Stripes?
Not definitively, but most likely in central command.

>There are also the three timed explosives that have to be planted outside the facility
This was primarily to distract the salikai so that my group could make an escape out to the surface. Although that plan is not necessarily dead, that goal has become farther away. It may be all I can do to lay those bombs where they were originally planned, but only to sneak in myself while their radios are out.

It is somewhat early for me to start thinking of this while I still have healing to do, and Rokoa is still lingering inside of me.

"Katzati, please help me in making a route that will cross with Marra's, so that everyone knows where I went."
>"Okay."

She draws out a map based on what little she knows of the direct surroundings, in the path Marra took.
>"Okay... to be honest, I wanted everyone to record their paths to make a map, but if they get caught, having a recording... bad idea. Sooo, I've been trying to map things out based on people's memories and all that. I can get you to the path Marra took, but past that, I can't really say go right, left, straight, and so on because I won't be able to know if there's stuff that sort of straight, right and all. It works with Marra's path, but if you go farther, then, well, I just need you to remember what you can. When we move into unknown territory, just go as straight and level as possible at each intersection. Make sure to watch your back so you're familiar with what everything looks like on your way back. Since tunnels curve, you won't actually be going straight, I just mean that if you hit an intersection, please go straight as possible. If there's too paths that just look too equally close to straight and level, then please take the upper one as priority, and the leftmost one as second priority."
"Alright. Help me put on my arm... er."
>"Then please give me a hand."
She can crack jokes now.

It has been sometime since I swapped items. I have set my pile of things in a pile nearby the communal pile, and should decide what to take and what to leave.
>>
No. 560471 ID: f44ca3

You are still recovering and want to be able to carry as much food back as possible. So lets go with one sidearm and your rifle. Take one of the Regen medicines in case we need it for knocking someone out or you know regening.
>>
No. 560472 ID: 4a75fa

>She can crack jokes now.
That deserves cracking a small smile, at least. (She's coping, and/or picking up your habit, there).

>inventory
You shouldn't be carrying all the medical supplies, especially the regenerators. In general, make sure you're carrying low enough weight you can bring something back. Maybe taking some of the rope to secure what (if anything) you kill.
>>
No. 560477 ID: 57a559

>>560470
Katzti has obviously been darted with a Polo dart
Everybody start panicking

I'm good with side arm and sniper rifle
We got a knife right? Might need to engage in CQC, especially if we're going to hunt for some food too.
>>
No. 560485 ID: 4a75fa

>radio plan meant as a distraction
Yeah, but there's the added advantage that for as long as those com systems are down, all the spread out forces' bugs have to fall back on standing orders. Which means no coordinated efforts, and they're free to get away with some stuff.

>We got a knife right?
We currently have the armor, bioarmor, sniper, pistol, machine gun, grapple, LED lamp, knife, 2 frag, 2 smoke.

If we're lightening the load for hunting, the mg is probably the easiest thing to prune. (Although, it's also our least valuable weapon, with the most ammo. So if we wanted to waste munitions hunting...). Maybe grenades, but looking at the list, those have already been pretty well distributed across the group, and they don't cost much weight.

The knife is useful in a lot of situations, and low weight too.
>>
No. 560502 ID: d470e9
File 139130823941.png - (16.92KB , 800x800 , 727.png )
560502

A side arm, my sniper, and my knife will be my weapons. I will keep one frag grenade. I would bring one injection of regeneration, but all of the doses are stored in a single bottle.

My grapple is only somewhat lightweight, but I will also bring it along since it can double as rope. Since we could be worse on light sources, I will bring my lamp.

>"Be careful." Katzati says, giving me a ... headbump. Empathy contact is too weak for me to understand what that is about.
"I shouldn't be gone for too long, but I always am. Please remain in good enough spirits to make jokes."

Rokann comes back just as I am leaving. I'll leave it to the others to help her down and explain what they will, as I don't wish to waste more time than I have already. It seems that she brought back some small game.
>>
No. 560503 ID: d470e9
File 139130824696.png - (28.27KB , 800x800 , 728.png )
560503

I say I shouldn't be gone for long, but I move slowly. I check every corner with my knife, and remain as absolutely quiet as I can. My surroundings also become terribly quiet.

Worse still is that my stomach growls, which sounds like a rumble in this silence. I think that Rokoa's brain is starting to act up in me, as I am starting to feel odd. Or I think I feel odd. I can remain attentive enough that it is not a concern, but I am far more hungry than I should be. Especially after eating all that I allegedly did.

It's a moderately long walk along Marra's route. I make it to the final direction, forward, at the intersection. When there is another junction, I've reached the end of Marra's designated path, with no sign ofher or Viln.
>>
No. 560505 ID: f44ca3

Well no use getting to worked up over not seeing them yet. Make sure you remember the path back and maybe make small scuff marks with your knife or something if you need to.

Start your hunt for food and if we run into any sign of the others we can follow up on that.
>>
No. 560507 ID: a87e3a

>>560503
Start hunting in the general area. Keep watch for signs of the two.
>>
No. 560508 ID: 4a75fa

>really hungry
I think it's pretty obvious that having two systems in you actively attacking each other and regenerating as they go is consuming more energy than maintaining normal homeostasis.

You might also have needed extra energy to fuel the brain activity needed for all the dreamtime time-compression. Or if that dream-exercise had an effect, the energy might have gone to muscle growth.

>No Marra, Viln
How long are they overdue? If it's just a few minutes, they may have been delayed. So you could just a wait a minute or few to see if they show, and maybe to let that odd feeling pass.

If they're more than a few minutes overdue, that likely means something has gone wrong. In which, I think we'd be better off following their path than going on the other.
>>
No. 560518 ID: d470e9
File 139131397878.png - (22.88KB , 800x800 , 729.png )
560518

I stay close by this area, but do scout this location thoroughly. I was not aware if Marra was going to stray from this path, but I am expecting that she should be nearly back at the base by now. It is possible that she did not come back the way she came exactly, and that I managed to miss her. I get a good idea of my surroundings by the time Marra should have been back at base as of 10 minutes ago.

eat

Damnit, she isn't talking, but I can sense that much from Rokoa. If I felt this way in my sleep, then I understand why Katzati felt it necessary to sacrifice an ear. That odd feeling spiked up. There is no way to describe two brains eating away at one another. My mentality is getting touched, and the sensation is like nothing else.

"Hey! Come out already! I know I smelled dry blood!"

Wait. That one wasn't the Rokoa in my mind. There's a Rokoa around here. Her voice is different, but I recognize that tone.

I also smell a vernaut. These caves aren't too large in many areas, so it's almost certainly a young one.

Vernaut meat is awful, but I would eat it if I had to.
>>
No. 560519 ID: f44ca3

I don't think she noticed you so she must be talking to someone else.

If a young Vernaut got ahold of Marra or Viln it could be bad. We should investigate if you feel up to it. Will be no avoiding the brain eating sensation sadly. But keep your thoughts forefront in your mind and it should be mostly you doing the eating. If it gets overwhelming or starts to impact your performance find a safe spot to ride it out if you can. Stay focused on your hunt and finding the missing teammates and it should keep your mind off your mind.
>>
No. 560520 ID: 4a75fa

>Vernaut meat is awful, but I would eat it if I had to.
Priorities. There's a Rokoa-clone in the area. A gunshot would be heard, and you'd never have time to butcher and eat anything before she found you. The vernaut and eating isn't the priority.

She's hunting something. That's really not good if it's one of your overdue allies. You need to get eyes on her, without being seen. Worst case, you may need to reenact your Moi-rescue. Or you may have to deal with her if she's headed towards your allies' camp.

Best case, you can let her go in another direction, and then kill eat something else. Worst case, you'll be killing and eating another Rokoa. (Kind of an amusing symmetry using one Rokoa to feed anther's hunger).
>>
No. 560521 ID: 57a559

>>560518
Have you considered starving yourself might help you NOT transform into part-Rokoa?
Just something to think about. We figured out the transformation process takes a lot of energy, so maybe if you don't eat, you can't supply the process with energy and you won't transform as much, but your body and instincts will clamber for it and practically drive you insane, but it might be for your own good.

Or it could make everything worse or even kill you. Maybe small rations of food is okay, enough to make sure the harsh conditions of the transformation doesn't kill you from energy deprevation, but enough to make Rokoa's matter weak. She probably needs more energy to transform you than you need to stay the same considering your 99.99% Polo right now and the .01% of Rokoa has to grow and overtake that majority. And your body will probably give what little rations it receives to important processes keeping you currently alive rather than to your regeneration ability, which is probably what the body will use to rebuild you into more like Rokoa. The Rokoa brain mass starts deteriorating from starvation/inactivity and then disappears completely.

As for the clone Rokoa situation we're in...
Try and find that Vernaut, get it to fight Rokoa, and then kill Rokoa while she's distracted.
>>
No. 560522 ID: f44ca3

Rokoa meat is gamey but if you get all the bugs out of her she would feed the whole team. Plus if you aim well you can get a nice throw rug for in front of the fireplace back home!
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No. 560524 ID: 4a75fa

>>560521
I think the biological process of the two brains eating each other and regenerating is going to require food, no matter the outcome. We can't starve Rokoa without starving Polo. If she wasn't getting energy from Polo's systems, her parts would have died off hours and hours ago.
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No. 560526 ID: d470e9
File 139131714293.png - (17.38KB , 800x800 , 730.png )
560526

>Have you considered starving yourself might help you NOT transform into part-Rokoa?
As much as I have considered that it might help me transform into part Rokoa. Either case is a tossup, so I will go with the one that does not involve impaired ability.

I'm not going to run out there and chomp on Rokoa. I do not know what she knows, or where she is going, so I attempt to tail them.

It doesn't seem that they have a specific direction. Perhaps Rokoa simply thinks we're around, and that it is a good idea to announce her presence.

The vernaut stops.

>"Smal."
"What?"
>"Smal f... noomono. Osserr.. snow hife."
"Must be the big one. Didn't think she'd be out here alone."
>"Vill vind."
"... yeah, you do that." She doesn't sound like she understood it.

Is it able to smell Katzati so much as touching my armor? It's starting to come closer, I can hear its thumps.

Either it's the hunger, or Rokoa is making me eat my big words, but I'm getting the urge to fight them. Which is stupid, I can expect that there are other salikai forces within gunshot hearing distance. I don't see them yet.
>>
No. 560527 ID: a87e3a

>>560526
Dammit. We're in a shitty situation again.

Lure the Vernaut away so that you can kill it without alerting others.
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No. 560529 ID: 4a75fa

>vernaut speak
Small female neumono? Snow hive.

He smells you. And either he smells Katzati on you, or there's enough Rokoa in your system that you smell like a snow hiver to him too.

>fight them, stupid?
Depends on if the vernaut's nose is good enough to track you back to the others. If so, you don't have a choice. You need to either get back fast and move before they reach you, or you have to stop them from getting there.

...also, if you're starving now, you won't be able to survive annother hours long fight and run.

Which probably means killing the vernaut, and killing or disabling the clone.

If the vernaut's nose isn't good enough, we can sneak away and try to get the hell out of here. Maybe kill something small, quietly, on the way back.
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No. 560530 ID: 41904e

If it sounds like it's coming alone, by the footfalls, and if the initial exchange was far enough that the Rokoa must be an appreciable distance, then maybe you could take it. If it's a young one then it's still growing, and they probably wouldn't have given it armor. It'll be hard to get away if it can smell you. And if there are other forces within gunshot distance... you could not use the gun. If you can manage to slice the tendons in at least two of its legs, you'll slow it to a crawl. It is risky, though.
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No. 560533 ID: c3a253

If they can track where you came from based on smell, probably going to have to kill the Vernaut at least. Any other plans depends a lot on how this Rokoa has been changed. Leading her away may or may not be an option, but we'll likely need to kill her eventually either way.

>>560529
>Small female neumono
I think that might be smell instead of small.
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No. 560535 ID: f44ca3

When you have something capable of tracking you by smell its not a case of fighting or not. Now that it has your sent you need to lure it into a trap where you can dispatch it as silently as possible.

Is there any weak point on a small one of these you can take advantage of with your knife? Only other silent options I can think of are finding something to drop on it or lure it into another predator down here.

If you do have to fight both of them I would go for the clone first if possible. If you get the element of surprise it would be best used on the clone. If she is not heavily armored you could try knocking her out with one of the regen stims. Or just blow her head off depending how close you can get.
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No. 560538 ID: 4a75fa

>small smell
Ah, right. Can't smell size.

>kill vernaunt with knife?
The quiet of not making a gunshot won't matter if the Rokoa-clone sees the body and shouts, or calls it in. Enemy forces will still know you're here.

If we can't kill it out of her line of sight, and keep the body hidden, the risk of trying to kill a monster hand to hand isn't worth it. (Remember, even Rokoa has trouble with these things in hand to hand. This may be a small one, but Polo's small too).

(Even if this would be an interesting test if you've really gotten better at hand to hand).
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No. 560540 ID: 57a559

I bet it's more because you smell like Rokoa more than you do Katzati
You're in your armor, unless Katzati was all super nuzzlin' that shit the only thing that would permeate a fragrance on it is you.

Damn shame you can't use that fact against that Rokoa clone though, you both probably have a unique smell. Maybe, I don't know. We'd have to ask Viln he was there for the Rokoa fights and smells super good he probably knows what Rokoa smells like.

I might suggest building a trap and putting some of your blood bait to lead the vernaut into it. Little droplets here and there, lead it away from the other Salikai forces and BAM. Done. Hopefully Rokoa won't follow it.
But if she does, remember, if you get Rokoa to fall down, go for a quick beheading, starting with the esophagus or spine. In fact, try and get a spine sniper shot if you can to paralyze her and finish her off with the knife beheading. Wait, I don't know if spinal injuries paralyze Neumono. Crap.
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No. 560546 ID: d470e9
File 139133066695.png - (14.74KB , 800x800 , 731.png )
560546

A knife has more overall use, but I would greatly enjoy a plasma sword about now. I don't even know if my knife would be able to get past the skull of a vernaut. Probably not. Perhaps critical tendons, but if it roars, I may as well use a gun.

I start moving away as quickly as I can without making noise. The vernaut can still be heard, but I am gaining distance. It is, unfortunately, beginning to head in the general direction of our hideout. It is well hidden from sight, but this vernaut's smell may counter that.

There is a decent open area not far from our location that may be ideal to snipe in.

The greater parts of my mind know that trying to take a vernaut with a knife is suicide. The lesser parts want to give it a try.

>"Dry blood. Tral fund. Follow." Rokoa could smell it, so it was only a matter of time before the vernaut found a trail.
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No. 560547 ID: d470e9
File 139133067596.png - (20.38KB , 800x800 , 732.png )
560547

I run ahead of them to get between them and our base, and cut my finger to make a false trail of fresher blood leading away.

>Does a spine shot paralyze a neumono?
No. Our spines support the stability of our torsos, and breaking it would severely hinder a normal neumono, but I can assume that Rokoa's back muscles are strong enough to support herself alone.

>"New blood. Fund newmono tral. Alt Salkai."
"Not yet. We could've found a wounded native or something. Follow it."
>"Roka. Is dumb. Alt Salkai. Newmono found."
"Nope. Go forward. I'm gonna find Polo and fight her. Salikai aren't gonna interrupt."
>"Nut what Salkai want."
"They shoulda thought of that before they decided to make me the Polo hunter, first and foremost!"
>"No. Wull shout far Salkai. SAL---"
"You feel that? You're going to die if you shout. Keep walking."

Good. The salikai do have trouble controlling the Rokoas.
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No. 560548 ID: a87e3a

>>560547
Alright, now lure them into that ambush so you can shoot them both.
>>
No. 560549 ID: 41904e

>"You feel that? You're going to die if you shout. Keep walking."

... It sounds like she's holding a gun or a knife to it or something. It'd be nice if you could make her or it have a sudden twitch or something. And... could it be she's riding on its back? Can you hear her footsteps alongside the vernaut's?
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No. 560588 ID: f44ca3

Hmm am not sure which one you should shoot first. The clone is a bigger threat in the short run but if that Vernaut gets the chance it will alert the other forces nearby.

Well if she is riding it you can start by shooting it out from under her. Just have to get into a good position for a ambush.

I am guessing they have been following Katzati's blood trail from all the way back where she lost her arm. So stopping them here before they can call in more reinforcements is vital.
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No. 560595 ID: 4a75fa

The only reason they haven't sounded the alarm is because the Rokoa-clone wants to fight you. Meaning if you slip away and they reach the end of that trail without finding anything, they will call it in.

I don't think you have a choice, anymore. You need to stage an ambush. That's your best way to remove the threat.

Is the clone close enough that you can sense her empathy? How close is this Rokoa to baseline? Remember, dart-Rokoa was willing to surrender, provided you beat another her in fair combat. Well, you've as good as beaten drat-koa in fair combat, meaning another Rokoa with a similar mindset might yield.

>who shoot?
It'll depend on what the situation is once we get eyes on them, and how they're armored.

Off the top of my head though, using surprise to disable or disadvantage the clone is probably more valuable than killing the vernaunt. At least, if we want this to go the more the way things did with the amputee clone, and not the sniper clone.

Or, if it's possible, a two-for-one shot would be great. (Which might require an AP round if you expect it to go all the way through her and penetrate it's skull).
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No. 560600 ID: d470e9
File 139136436372.png - (16.38KB , 800x800 , 733.png )
560600

A fight is looking unavoidable. There is a decent straightaway that the vernaut is going in. If I am to use my sniper, the vernaut should not be a large threat. Since I have studied grottles and vernauts, I know that they do not have scattered brain systems, but their brain does not grow with their bodies. That means that it is difficult to shoot a fully grown vernaut in its brain to kill it, but this small one should not be an issue. The noise of the shot, however, is a large concern, but I am not sure how to do it otherwise. An AP round to go straight through both of them is tempting, but vernaut skulls and flesh are terribly tough, I'm uncertain if an AP round would go through it.

Rokoa enters empathy range. She is clearly not the real Rokoa, but she is surprisingly close. Somewhat calmer, but still exciteable. And she is fixated on a fight with me.

I make visual contact with the knife. It is difficult to see this far off, but it appears that Rokoa is riding the vernaut. It would make sense, since I have never heard her footsteps, although I doubt I would have if she was barefoot. The vernaut and Rokoa are wearing bioarmor, and Rokoa looks like she may have some loose clothes over that, but nothing more.

The vernaut is picking up its pace. I can hear it sniffing now.
>>
No. 560601 ID: 4a75fa

If you have a visual with the knife, can your visor x-ray tell if she's bugged?

>what shoot
If Rokoa is riding the vernaut, I don't think it's in a position to move very quickly. And if she moves in response to being injured, that could very well pin or hinder the vernaut's movements enough that your second shot could kill it.

I'd say your best bet would be to open with a shot to her head (take out an eye again, if you can) to disable her as much as possible while you have the element of surprise. Then kill the vernaut before it can react. As nice as HE-ing her head again might be, I don't think you can afford the smoke and explosion obscuring the second shot, though. This needs to be one-two: disadvantage Rokoa, and kill her mount.
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No. 560604 ID: d470e9
File 139136832750.png - (37.35KB , 800x800 , 734.png )
560604

>If you have a visual with the knife, can your visor x-ray tell if she's bugged?
Not by looking at her through my knife.

I wait for them to reach a point that will give me the highest chance of shooting well. I leap out with the intention of hitting Rokoa's head.

Before I get the chance to shoot, she grabs one of the vernaut's horn and yanks his head up while triggering the plasma sword with her other hand. Her reflexes are good for her size, I did not spend more time than necessary in aiming my shot. The plasma sword impales his head. It was not a mistake. She is hiding behind the vernaut's head, but that is not why I hesitate in pulling the trigger.

"Hold that thought, Polo! Salikai are gonna come rushing if they hear a gunshot. Neither of us want that." She is not going to grab her sidearm, but if an AP round is able to get through the vernaut skull, I can still hit her if she suddenly changes her tune.

She looks like a gigantic steak. Now I can tell, also, that there are no bugs in her system.

"What are you here for, then?"
>"How's your hand to hand?"
>>
No. 560606 ID: 57a559

>>560604
Tell her that's actually an answer you'd like to know yourself ever since her Mom put her through the hoops in the brain-dart memories.

Tell a your Mom joke.
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No. 560607 ID: f44ca3

How is my hand to hand? I can honestly say I have recently learned from some of the best.

If she is not bugged up she might have managed to fool the Salikai into trusting her to a extent. Would be nice to find one of the Rokoa's we could work with but honestly it would take a lot to gain any sort of trust.

Or she could be a big old trap to lure us in. So hard to tell these days.
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No. 560610 ID: 4a75fa

Ha! That's convenient. Still, she's fast, one shot won't kill her, and as soon as there's a gunshot, any other enemies in the area will be alerted.

>She looks like a gigantic steak.
...if we actually get the chance to eat anyone, the vernaut might be a better choice than the Rokoa clone. I know the chances of getting anything of a neumono's personality or memories by eating them are low to apocryphal, but I don't think you want to take any chances at this point. You can't risk giving the Rokoa in your head any reinforcement if you want her completely gone.

...keep your weapon trained as you speak to her.

>How's your hand to hand?
Better than it was.

I've already beaten you in a fair fight, anyways. (Maybe take off your silence for just this beat, so she can see you're telling the truth. And/or speak part of it in her hive's language to drive home she was in your head). "Willpower- as fair as it gets." That was how you described it.

She said she'd yield if I beat another clone in a fair fight. Does that work in reverse?
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No. 560614 ID: a87e3a

>>560604
Not good enough to use a knife against someone with a plasma sword, that's for sure. In the reverse situation, it'd be worth a shot.

Also eating another clone sounds like a good idea actually. Brain matter does not survive digestion, and neumono meat is good meat.
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No. 560615 ID: 57a559

>>560610
We take the Rokoa steaks for the others to eat
Obviously
Marinade it with some olive oil, kosher salt, and a stick of butter for 24 hours in a ziplock bag, then get the charcoal out to start grilling.

Polo I'm trying to get you hungrier so that you get a little more motivated to kill her to bits.
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No. 560620 ID: 4a75fa

>no good using a knife v plasma sword
Except Polo actually won bringing a knife to a plasmasword fight, before.

(And assuming this Rokoa is looking for a fair fight, she wouldn't be using that anymore than her gun, anyways).
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No. 560622 ID: d470e9
File 139137196958.png - (15.57KB , 800x800 , 735.png )
560622

>Vernaut might be a better choice than the Rokoa clone
Although I do not want more Rokoa in my system, the idea that eating a neumono gives you any of their empathy is purely superstition. Vernaut is not just awful tasting, it is legitimately poor quality meat for neumono to eat. They are last resorts.

"I was recently taught by someone you know."
>"Who?"
"Your mother."
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No. 560623 ID: d470e9
File 139137197522.png - (14.57KB , 800x800 , 736.png )
560623

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No. 560624 ID: d470e9
File 139137198633.png - (7.31KB , 800x800 , 737.png )
560624

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No. 560625 ID: d470e9
File 139137200131.png - (14.17KB , 800x800 , 738.png )
560625

She slides back off of the vernaut into some rock cover. She manages to do so without giving me a clear shot.

"... oh, wait, right, I heard you got brain darted. It doesn't look like she's doing a very good job. Okay, here's what I want. A knife fight. No armor, no other weapons. If you lose, I just leave you here. If you win, you do what you want."
"I don't think you understand how sick of fighting you I am."
"If you run from me, I'm going to consider that a forfeit and pull the salikai over here. So a knife fight. I don't even want to kill you.
"I can't trust this is not a trap."
"Oh for fucks sake. I'll take off my bio armor if you take off your metallic armor. I don't mind the handicap. The salikai only sent me because they know how bad I want to fight you, since they made me like this. I know they must be desperate to have sent me when they haven't broken me in well at all. Plus, I don't trust 'em to give me a fair fight with you if I let you get captured first. I already took out the tracker they put in me."
"I've already beaten you in a fair fight."
"Yeah that sniper stuff I know that, but I don't even care if I lose. I just want a fight, Polo, you have no idea." I do have an idea, I can sense her, and she is way too happy to have found me first.
"I was talking about the clone." I say, in the closest translation to Rokoa's old language. "She said she would yield if I beat a clone in hand to hand. You showed up late by the way, but does that work in reverse?"
"Impressive! No. I don't care if I just saw you shank a fufa."
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No. 560627 ID: a87e3a

>>560625
Do it. Show her what you learned. You have learned to ignore pain, to fight with the intent to disable, and to do what is necessary to win.

Besides, you have an advantage: you are silent. Also, when pressed, you could "let the silence slip" and deceive her with it with your new skill.
>>
No. 560629 ID: 4a75fa

>she is way too happy to have found me first
Too happy for Rokoa, or for a sane person?

Important distinction, there. If this is within the what we can expect from her, we can expect her to honor her own terms. If it's more than that, and she's been pushed crazier, that makes her unpredictable and dangerous, like the sniper clone.

>what do
...I don't think you have a choice. You desperately need food, and you can't afford to let the salikai come down on your allies like a ton of bricks again. You'll collapse in another hours-long running battle, and who knows how the others will fare. Even worse, they may still be split up.

And even if you lose, and she honors her terms, you may be found by your allies. And they have regenerators, and may have located other food. Meaning a loss is technically survivable. And if the enemy finds you first? Well... at least you still have a grenade.

Make sure your armor and other gear is tied / secured / packed such that if we have to leave the area quickly, you can pick it up and run with it. (It's not in a pile of pieces on the ground).

Tactics: you need to abuse your speed and size to try and avoid blows, while trying to weaken her. Don't try for pain, try for damage. Tendons, muscles, joints, sensory organs. Anything that impedes her. Abuse silence, and eventually, let it slip so you can fake her out when it counts with your new ability.

If she complains? She taught it to you.

>If you win, you do what you want.
You'll be taking her ears at least, this time. Though not for a blanket. Tiny blue neumono needs food, badly.
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No. 560632 ID: 6aee1d

You have been able to evade the Salikai thus far so alerting them might not be a end of the world scenario.
You could lie about agreeing to the duel and when she stands up just shoot her full of holes. But it would cost you your honor and a lot of ammo.

If you agree to the knife duel don't get grabbed and let her know how stupid you think this whole thing is.
>>
No. 560633 ID: a87e3a

>"You do what you want"
Could we cut off her arm and eat it? Or just straight up kill her if she won't even think of betraying the salikai. I mean, how loyal can she be if she kills one of their vernauts just to get a fight with you? If possible we could convert her. It's not like she can just straight up lie to us about her loyalties, and having a Rokoa on our side really tips the scales.
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No. 560635 ID: f44ca3

Tell her you will fight her but if she loses she works for you now. Also find out how many forces are near here so we are not going to get interrupted. If need be move the fight somewhere safer and more hidden.

I bet the Salikai did something to this one to overdrive her urge to fight you. So she is stuck with this wild desire and she is willing to do just about anything to sate it.

I know you really do not want to fight her but its the best way to get food and keep from getting discovered. Besides it will be therapeutic to use what you have learned against her. Will give you a chance to use your new fake empathy skills in a real fight.

Oh and tell her if she does not want to get devoured shortly she had better have some food on her.
>>
No. 560636 ID: 57a559

Fuck it lets do this
Ask Rokoa if she's got some fight music and a pair of speakers
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No. 560639 ID: 4a75fa

There's no need to discuss our current hunger with her- that's exposing a weakness. That she could beat us just by drawing out the fight enough. Keep that to yourself, Polo.

Also, what we do with her when we beat her (convert, give orders, kill, eat, etc) is best thought about if and when we win. We don't gain anything by trying to get her to agree to it now. And we can't be certain what we'd trust her with, yet.
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No. 560640 ID: f44ca3

Oh and find out where that tracker she says she got ride of was. Then double check her and her gear for one before we start. Also give the corpse a once over. Just because you are willing to humor her do not let your guard down.
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No. 560642 ID: a87e3a

Oh wait hang on, ask to eat part of the Vernaut before the fight. Just stuff your face with a haunch of meat.
>>
No. 560644 ID: 4a75fa

>>560642
The added weight of last resort bad food in our system isn't worth it. Mobility is too important in this kind of fight. Even if she allows it, there won't enough time to digest enough of an energy profit. And time is a factor here, since there are other enemy forces around.
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No. 560659 ID: d470e9
File 139138429555.png - (21.16KB , 800x800 , 739.png )
560659

>Too happy for Rokoa, or for a sane person?
Too happy to have any reason to, but it isn't an emotion that is more extreme than normal Rokoa.

"Where was your tracker?"
"My forearm. Wasn't deep at all."
"I'm willing to humor you, but I'm still going to be careful." This Rokoa is theoretically not subdued or loyal to the Salikai. Between that and the noise, I don't intend on empting my handgun ammo into her while she takes her armor off. "I'm going to check the vernaut corpse, you, and your gear." I do, but there is nothing in there.
"Yeah, there was one in its skull. Not there anymore. Let's hurry this up. I won't stab you in the eyes or in the bones, I'll keep your wounds easy to regen."

Her gear appears as clean as I can see, though I am not taking apart everything she has. I put my stuff in a single stack that I can grab and run out with fast if need be. Rokoa busies herself with taking off her bio armor. It seems like it's no more than 30% with how quickly she removes it. If I win, I will be sure to take that. And the plasma sword. She also has a large pistol. I'll think about what to do with her if I win, when I win.

"I want you to know how stupid I think this situation is."
"I thought you'd say that. Thanks for putting up with it. Not like you've got a better choice here, you know."
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No. 560660 ID: d470e9
File 139138431037.png - (22.51KB , 800x800 , 740.png )
560660

She broadcasts that she's ready, and starts tossing her knife between each of her hands. Her clothes look like they may be leather, and may offer her some amount of protection against my knife.

For being so excited to finally fight me, she seems to be goading me into attacking her first. She's savoring this, but does want me to make the first move.
>>
No. 560662 ID: a87e3a

>>560660
Ah, it occurs to me you have very little reach compared to her. That's a big problem.

Well, you know how she fights, from your clone's memories. Use that against her. She'll probably want to grab you so stay just out of her reach and provoke her into trying to grab you. Then attack her hands until they're crippled, at which point you can get in a little closer and start cutting up her arms so they don't work as well. Or, if you're confident in being faster than her, you can feint and duck under her guard to get hits in on her vitals. Don't hit her eyes, of course, it sounds very much like she's not planning on going back to the salikai and a blind rokoa clone is useless.

Don't let her bodyslam you. If she gets on top of you there's no way you can crawl out from under her.

Also, if you think it'll work, you could THROW the knife to hit her in the stomach to end the fight real quick.
>>
No. 560663 ID: 4a75fa

Stay silent. It's too early for letting it 'slip' to give misinformation to be worth it, and that trick will only work once before she realizes your empathy can be misleading. Save that for when it will count.

>I won't stab you in the eyes or in the bones, I'll keep your wounds easy to regen.
There's no need for you to extend the same courtesy.

>waiting for you to make the first move
She has a reach advantage, and can't sense your empathy. Moving first denies you the advantage of your unpredictability, and it allows her to play her reach and speed better. Not great for you.

Ideally, you're better off reacting to her than going on the offense first.

Feints and countermoves are likely your best bet. Duck and roll. Might be nice if you could get behind her and slash a tendon in her ankles. Remember that with your sive difference, you kind of want to be using all your limbs. Kicking off of and around terrain (and off of her - Rokoa parkour) to keep from being hit when inside her reach. Tail positioning to block line of sight when your other limb is making a move. Even flips and somersaults and rolls if they'll get you where you need to go.

If we had to move first (she stalls too long) I'd suggest the opening move would be to kick or tail smack a rock at her face. Buy you a second of distraction to attack, and it's about the only way to use any ranged skills.

>knife tossing
It doesn't matter where the knife is. He unarmed hand is nearly as dangerous to you.

>you could THROW the knife to hit her in the stomach to end the fight real quick
That would just disarm us. Rokoa is more than strong enough to tank one knife to the gut, or resist hibernation if we hit her stomach.
>>
No. 560665 ID: 5fd94e

Use the height difference to your advantage, try to draw her into an attack and go for the ankles.
>>
No. 560667 ID: 6aee1d

Rip off your eye bandage like a true bad-ass and hope that the eye actually works. You are going to need working depth perception for this fight.
>>
No. 560670 ID: 57a559

You know, if we win, we might get her to help us in the fight!

Remember to falsify your moves, so keeping empathy on might be more of an advantage than keeping it off now. We should try it out in the beginning of the fight before deciding it's impractical compared to fighting with it off.
Cut an arm joint if you can. Use your tiny size to your advantage. She more reach, but you have flexibility.
>>
No. 560672 ID: f44ca3

Look at her. All muscular with a bit of delicious fat on top. Its like she is just sitting there asking to be eaten. So go get your stabbing in while you have the chance.

I know you keep complaining that you are tired of having all these Rokoa's around wanting fights. But you need to start thinking positive about the situation. You have all the Rokoa's you could ever want to take your frustrations out on. Go and stab this one and there still will be dozens left wandering around just waiting to get in ill advised duels with you.

Make a few of them into coats and furniture then you will have a awesome den you can show off to the real one if you ever meet her again.
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No. 560676 ID: d470e9
File 139139299728.png - (26.06KB , 800x800 , 741.png )
560676

>If you think it'll work, you could THROW the knife to hit her in the stomach
It won't work. She is well past the point of being able to resist the forced hibernation, and I cannot throw it hard enough to sink it in deep enough anyway. Nonetheless, if I get a chance to stab her stomach, it would not be a bad target, as it still would require focus from her on staying awake. While I would rather go for the eyes, but I would need to have highground just to be able to make a reliable swing at her face.

There's a loose rock nearby. I kick it up at Rokoa to provide a distraction, but that's all she needs to lunge at me.

I make sure to avoid body slams, and she doesn't make it easy. She hardly makes swipes at me, instead trying to rush me down. A knife is far more important to her, if she so much as grabs me, I'll be in trouble.

She starts trying to corner me down, and that's another advantage she has. She can see the rocks she's moving into, while I'm forced to move to my sides and behind me where I can only rely on peripheral vision and spacial awareness to make sure I don't land on my feet wrong. She is specifically judging my footwork, in fact, waiting for the slightest wobble or misplaced toe to make a leap. Nonetheless, while my own movements are a graceful bird, Rokoa isn't able to make lunge after lunge with overwhelming speed.

I manage to get several slices on her fingers and hands. Each time I do, she tries to grab my arm or the knife. Her reflexes are as good as her vernaut riding showed, and am running the line of losing every time I make so much as a papercut on her.

The other advantage is that our knives are both proportional to our bodies. Her is more of a short sword to me.
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No. 560677 ID: d470e9
File 139139300415.png - (23.81KB , 800x800 , 742.png )
560677

>Take off the eyepatch
Even if my eye worked, I have gotten used to working off one eye, and this is not the time to get used to working off two eyes.

Normally I could outlast her in a battle of attrition, but I am far too hungry, and the salikai forces nearby could show up any time.

I intentionally land on the front of my toes, making a quick jerk with my leg, taunting Rokoa into making a lunge. I regain my footing, knowing where my foot should be, and kick out of the way.

I would have liked to go for the tendon at the ankle, but she realizes that is exactly what I'm going for, and swings herself around to try to kick me. I manage to dodge that and get a deep, if awkward, slice into her thigh. I doubt this alone will hurt her ability to stand.

That hunger is still in full force, and it is going to be tough to decide whether to try to continue being careful, or if I should start making more bold moves. I will also want to reveal my false empathy eventually, but there may be merit in waiting somewhat longer.
>>
No. 560678 ID: 4a75fa

Continue to be careful. She can afford to be bold- you can't. As single knife blow from her blade could impale you, or cripple a limb.

It's too early for the false empathy. You aren't being pressed hard enough yet that your slipping up would be believable. You're also not in good enough a position to exploit the sudden surprise, yet.

>she can see the space better than you can
I don't suppose you can use her empathy to help judge where you're going?
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No. 560680 ID: 57a559

take off your mask and take a bite into her
that's one of my crazy ideas
>>
No. 560681 ID: beeca1

>>560680
Out of curiosity, did you actually think about that one before you hit reply and go "nah, fuck it, I'm going to post it anyway" or something?

It's a shame you already played the "your mother" card. It did make a decent distraction. Try asking her if she remembers what happened and telling her about it.


Alternatively, "Rokoa's brain damaged."
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No. 560682 ID: 57a559

>>560681
Polo has a bunch of tiny knives in her mouth in addition to the one in her hand, it's basically dual wielding.
Yes I have thought it through
She could bite Rokoa near a tendon (preferably the shoulder, get a good grip, make Rokoa try and do something about it, and get a good cut right in the armpit before Rokoa can really do anything.

This requires getting behind Rokoa or jumping and gnawing right on a swinging arm as a counter attack, but it's not like it doesn't have merit.
>>
No. 560687 ID: 4a75fa

>>560682
Polo's got a bunch of tiny knives in her mouth. I don't see a bite being more advantageous than a cut, especially since it temporarily attaches us to her (when our biggest advantage is mobility), it's not deep enough to do much damage, and it gives her the chance to break our jaw or neck or something. It's overcommitting.
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No. 560688 ID: f44ca3

Being careful is for people who are not near starving in a cave full of enemies. If there is a time for bold moves its now.

For the moment keep doing the small feints to whittle her down. When you start using your false empathy you want to be able to get in a big hit. Right now she is still to fresh and might be able to avoid any disabling blows. Keep focusing on trying to disable her arms and legs.

Biting is a option and something she would not expect but it gets your head very close to her and should only be used if the perfect opportunity comes up. While Neumono have impressive teeth they do not have the canines needed to snap spines or rip out arteries.
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No. 560689 ID: 57a559

>>560687
The bite's not supposed to do a bunch of damage
The knife we use right after the bite is what's supposed to.
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No. 560690 ID: a87e3a

I just realized something. If she wins she's just going to leave you here, at which point you can eat the Vernaut. If you win, what do you actually gain? Getting to feast on her succulent flesh? Is that worth having a protracted fight and possibly letting Marra and Viln die? The practical move is to LOSE.

Let her take you out quick, try to make sure she stabs you in a spot you can handle being wounded in. Then you can eat some Vernaut and go after Marra and Viln.
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No. 560694 ID: 405ad8

A slow game is not worth it, sure you might make some papercuts, get the occasional slash in, but the more time you spend the more you risk her grabbing you. Let's make some bold moves.

Also maybe keep your new found abilities hidden for the moment, it's not really worth using it to handle this one Rokoa who isn't even after your neck if you beleive her.

>Bite her
... sure, why not.
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No. 560695 ID: f44ca3

If we want her as a minion we need her trust and respect. If we throw the fight we lose both. Plus if we do lose it means more damage to Polo and gives strength to the last bit of Dart Rokoa's brain.

No we want to win and win hard.
>>
No. 560696 ID: 5fd94e

>>560690


Even relatively minor wounds Polo takes here could be several hours before being back to full functionality, combined with the vernaut meat being poor quality and so not being very nutritious could leave Polo in a very weakened state in an emergency. Plus, possible maybe Rokoa clone ally here if we win......perhaps.
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No. 560697 ID: 7075a9

Biting someone leaves your head open to easy attack while you chew on them. So only go with that if you both disarm her and its a better option than using the knife.
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No. 560704 ID: 2f4b71

> I will also want to reveal my false empathy eventually, but there may be merit in waiting somewhat longer.
There may be some merit in revealing your actual empathy. I'm sure 'I have a near-overwhelming desire to eat your flesh' would be at least off-kilter from her expectations enough to give you a momentary advantage.
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No. 560708 ID: d375cb

If I recall, one of the neumono weaknesses is that you have slow reflexes, yes? And the larger you are, the worse the problem is. You need to stay on the offensive, making sure she's reacting to you and not the other way around. Do things she doesn't expect. For example, Rokoa probably hasn't fought as many small opponents as she has large ones. She won't be as on guard against upwards attacks; a slash under the arm, for example. She seems to like using big grappling swings, so she's leaving herself open there.

Be careful. She might not be bugged, and the salikai may be pretty dumb, but there still might be a surprise here. Maybe she's had some subconscious predator urge implanted. She might be able to resist anything complicated, but how hard would it be for Four Stripes to set a trap where, for example, her hostility towards you suddenly spikes up the moment she has you helpless?
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No. 560871 ID: b386b4

I'm suspicious of her conditions, saying she won't hurt you too badly. If the salikai wanted to capture you instead of seeing you dead, it would fit. Still, it only makes winning more urgent. Polo, from having read Rokoa's memories, can you judge whether Rokoa is the sort of fighter who tries to deliberately identify her weaknesses and train to counter them? I would assume so, I'm just wondering if that would extend to training to fight small opponents. Though, in this case, if this clone is old enough and has been obsessed with you long enough, she might have tired to get some of that training anyway.

I would still try the armpit slash, since it'll take a lot of power from that arm. Or, if you can't slash the back of her ankle, how about the front? It's less of a crippling injury, since severing the tendon there just means she can't raise her foot up so high, but then you might be able to get her to trip.

And how much chance do you have to talk while you're fighting? Is there anything you could say to shake her, like she seemed taken aback by the mention of her mother? Maybe ask if she remembers things that you know the dart clone didn't?
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No. 560924 ID: d470e9
File 139157483582.png - (23.59KB , 800x800 , 743.png )
560924

>What are the chances of a predator trap, for example, her hostility towards you suddenly spikes up the moment she has you helpless?
There is only one Four Stripes, and the Salikai appear to have had him perform all sorts of whims. It is possible, but there is only so much he could do, so I would not say likely. However, even if losing does not mean nearly as much as it usually does, I have no intention to be in that position.

I keep playing safe for a short time. I don't wish to draw it out, but a single slipup, a single action that is too slow, and any mistake at all could get me impaled.

"I learned today that Rokoa is brain damaged."
>"From what?"
"You don't remember much of your mother's training."
>"Huh. Here I just thought I was a natural."

I can speak, but there isn't much I can think of to say to knock her off guard. Even the first 'your mother' just created a long silence, but she was not stunned in anyway.

"You were impaled with a stick, and got lucky enough to reverberate your empathy on itself to get stuck with... yourself."
>"Cool." She is half listening. I can talk and fight at the same time. She cannot, but the attention on listening is sacrificed before attention on fighting.

>Bite her
That will go well for no more than 3 seconds.

Our movements lead to me attempting to sidestep to my right. Rokoa leaps forward and blocks my way with her leg while she tries to rush me again.

It gives me a chance to slice the front of where her foot meets her leg. It isn't the back, but it may limit the possibilities in her footwork.

Lingering enough to make that slice is enough for Rokoa to slice me across my right upper arm, although I am already jumping back to prevent her from making it a long slice. It's no papercut, but I don't think my arm's ability is hurt significantly. It shouldn't take long to heal.
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No. 560925 ID: d470e9
File 139157484795.png - (22.08KB , 800x800 , 744.png )
560925

In another effort to distract her, I let my empathy go when I am not making an attack, and flicker my intention to eat her. That gets her attention. I leave my empathy on when I rush forward to bait an attack out of her, but she thinks too well of me to believe that I accidentally let that attack slip. She doesn't take the bait, but after another set of jumps, either through my empathic distractions or just a plain mistake, she misjudges a step onto her bad foot, and it crumples to the side.

Her intention is to roll with it, and kick forward at me with her good foot rather than awkwardly trying to catch her balance. It's a sudden move that I cannot imagine will be anything but clumsy, so I should be capable in taking advantage of this.

A good slice along her armpit would give me a great advantage, and normally this isn't easily feasible, as she is tall, and my armpt slicing range is well within her bear hugging range. I may be able to go for it in this position. Another heavy stab on her leg is favorable, but with her armspan, my footwork is far more important to me than hers is to her. A stomach stab would not come close to knocking her out, but even she would have to focus on not entering hibernation, and that lack of focus the fight may be just as favorable as any physical wound. And lastly, there is an extremely chancey lunge for her eyes, but I do not have nearly enough high ground to feel comfortable with the prospect of taking out both eyes in one go.

My last idea is playing it safe again and making another papercut. Tempting as it is, this fight would last too long if I waste opportunities like these.
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No. 560926 ID: a87e3a

>>560925
Do whatever is feasible while jumping straight past her or kicking off her as you do it. Keep moving, be a ninja.

I favor the armpit slash because a stab is harder to pull off in one fluid motion.
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No. 560928 ID: 4a75fa

Is your silence still on? This would be an excellent time for the false empathy. You have several targets- mislead which you're going for. Maybe even a double bluff- empathy that says I'm going for A to lure you off of B. But really, you're going for C. Tricky part is selling it- you have to make the false trick believable.

I'd say the armpit makes the best combination of usefulness versus risk.

>tracker was in it's head
...wait. Shit. That means they know where the tracker suddenly went dead. They'll come check this site out, sooner or later.
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No. 560929 ID: c3a253

I say we go for the leg. Legs are also important for leverage and balance. If we stack up damage on a single leg, we can also better leverage our ability to read her empathy and mislead her with ours, because we'll have a preferred angle of attack that she'll expect. If she uses her good leg to try and shift to compensate for her bad when we use empathy to feint that we'll attack from a bad angle, then in order to readjust quickly she'd have to use her bad leg.
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No. 560930 ID: 57a559

>>560925
Feint which armpit you're going to stab and go for the other, diving right under her likely thrust or grab.
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No. 560931 ID: 04d90b

Don't go for the shoulder, this could be a trap like when YOU pretended to misstep. More leg attack is good.
>>
No. 561079 ID: 91e607

Armpit.
>>
No. 561085 ID: d470e9
File 139165886969.png - (26.65KB , 800x800 , 745.png )
561085

>That means they know where the tracker suddenly went dead. They'll come check this site out, sooner or later.
Not entirely. The caves still do not allow radio communications past short range. They will eventually become suspicious when it does not return or when they cannot find it despite searching a large area. I am more afraid of a wandering patrol stumbling on us before then.

I use my empathy trick, hoping it will work. I let my empathy go, while I think of attacking her left side, silencing my intent of changing my mind to attack her right side. She doesn't know what I am thinking revealing my attack, but she reflexively prepares for me to attack that side, having up-till-recently reliable assumptions that my active empathy is as truthful as any other neumono.

So I change my mind and attack her right side. I opt for her armpit. She realizes this is all wrong, but isn't letting herself get snagged on my empathy, and is trusting her eyes more. Still, I'm moving fast, have gotten past her knife hand and her grabby hand upon jumping up.
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No. 561086 ID: d470e9
File 139165887728.png - (17.17KB , 800x800 , 746.png )
561086

She realizes what I'm going for right before I complete my slice. It's too late for her to dodge, and so she doesn't. She clamps her arm to her torso, clenching my knife lodged under her armpit. She even leaned back to try to get it to contact bone to slow its descent, and is lurching her right side forward to toss me back. It was too late for her to dodge, and too late for me to react. What intimidates me about this is that she didn't even think, or broadcast, that she was doing so with her empathy. That move to dive into my slice was completely reflexive and thoughtless.

If I wanted, I could yank the knife through and completely disable her right arm entirely, but that will also leave me right next to her without any velocity to escape. She's already using my locked knife to twist and yank me back into her. She's going to drop her knife to try to grab me.

I've done damage, but the only way to reliably escape is to let go of my knife and kick off her.
>>
No. 561087 ID: a87e3a

>>561086
Then kick off and take her knife instead.
>>
No. 561092 ID: 4a75fa

Escape. You can't afford to let get a hand on her. It'll be all over if she does.

If she dropped he knife to go for you, your best bet might be to make her over-commit trying (and failing) to grab you, and take the opportunity to take her knife and turn it on her. It'll be big for you, but it's better than nothing, and the better to injure her with.

We've done what we can with the empathy trick. Meaning you should probably be silent again.
>>
No. 561112 ID: f44ca3

Do not get to intimidated by her reactions. Advanced hand to hand fighting is all about training the body to react on muscle memory so you no longer have to think about most moves.

Just remember that while the empathy trick will work she has enough years experience in hand to hand to react much more quickly than normal to the unexpected.

Do not let her get a hold of you. That wound is in a dangerous area and will bleed her out if she is not careful. While it would be nice to disable that arm only do so if you can get away while doing it.

With any case of extreme size disadvantage you have to make sure the bigger fighter never locks you down. Its tempting to go all in but remember that each wound you make will take its toll quickly. You want to make it so that even if you do slip up and she is able to grab you she will be to damaged at that point to do much to you.
>>
No. 561113 ID: 4a75fa

Be comforted by the fact you have seen Rokoa go down under enough smaller wounds.

On grabbing Rokoa's knife- if it's large enough compared to you, a two handed grip might work better than trying to one hand it. (Although, then we're trading the awkwardness of it being too big for the awkwardness of a stance or style you're less familiar with. ...unless the months of dream-training covered two-handed swords).
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No. 561115 ID: f44ca3

You know I think there might be a way to use her quick reflexes against her.

She is about to reach over and try to grab you. So could you fake your empathy to show that you have a hidden weapon ready for that move so that she reflexively pulls away from the new threat? If you used your empathy to show you had a gun hidden and were about to shoot, her body might react before her brain could stop it.

If you could use your empathy to fake threats it would very hard for someone like her to override her muscle memory fast enough. She would react to your empathy so fast that you would have a opening in between her bodies reaction and her conscious realization that the threat is not real.

A human or other opponent would only maybe fall for a "oh look over there" trick once. But to a Neuomono there empathy is one of there bigger senses. Even if you broadcast something ridiculous it would take a moment to ignore it in a fight.

Anyways not sure if it would work but should be worth a shot. Best case she flinches back and you can disable her arm and get away with the knife. Worst case it does not help and you get away.
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No. 561147 ID: b386b4

>>561112
>That wound is in a dangerous area and will bleed her out if she is not careful.

Neumono don't bleed out easily, their arteries can clamp shut by themselves even in the case of something like their head being taken off. Losing even a bit of blood should still slow her down, but she won't lose too much.

>>561115
>So could you fake your empathy

Polo can't fake her empathy, she can just omit parts of it. The things she reveals are still true, they can just be misleading when not given in context.

Polo, you mentioned quite a while ago that you can perform acrobatics such as cartwheels and such, though you chose not to demonstrate. We know you're an accomplished climber, and you're wearing bioarmour that enhances your strength. So I think it's time for some ninja tricks. She's "lurching her right side forward to toss you back", which means your momentum is pulling you back and away relative to her, right? If you let go of the knife with your left hand and quickly grab it with your right, that'll leave you basically on her back, and in a hard spot for her to grab. You can grab onto one of her ears with your left hand at the same time, to give you more purchase; I assume your weight alone won't just tear it off, but I might be wrong.

What you do then, before she can process the new situation, is kick UP off her with a foot on her giant hips, pull with your arms and swing yourself up over onto her shoulders. You should have just enough time to jab a finger or thumb into one of her eyes before jumping off again. Pushing off of her at that high point should off-balance her long enough that you can grab her knife and get back into a good position again.
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No. 561233 ID: d470e9
File 139174315636.png - (19.68KB , 800x800 , 747.png )
561233

She wasn't so careless to drop her knife where I could grab it. While I could get to it, it is still right at her feet on the opposite side of her.

For an instant, I think of using my misleaing empathy to think of pulling out my hidden sidearm on her that I don't have. However, I am fighting a person whos impulse was to sacrifice her arm if she thought it would help. Rokoa is not any more afraid of guns, in fact, it would likely to get her to charge me with more determination.

I leave my knife and jump off, and empathize my intent to do so, hoping she leaves her knife unguarded. She doesn't. Rather, she's content to let me go. I turn my empathy back off and scamper back to a safe distance.

I may have made a mistake not making a bold move there. However... whether to make a desperate dive for her knife, try to cut her arm more and get away anyway, or to make some ninja moves and kick off of her, every single thing I think of I cannot imagine ending well. Her reflexes may be somewhat slow, but letting her instincts drive her someone mitigates this. Her physical body is also quick. The fight isn't necessarily over, but I'm at a severe disadvantage.

"Well that wasn't bad. Are you going to give up now that you don't have your pushpin?" Rokoa rips and yanks off her sleeve and cut portion of her shorts, and makes a small tournicate out of it. Her blood would clot quickly and stop bleeding so much anyway, but she intends on minimizing it.

She isn't disappointed in me, but she hopes I'm not through. Even if it's just to see the fight through to the end. I'm reluctant to admit defeat here, too, but it would also be foolish to let myself get sliced up as though she's my only enemy in the world.
>>
No. 561234 ID: a87e3a

>>561233
No more empathic tricks. Keep silent from here on. I have a plan.

Grab a rock and get back into battle, but eventually circle around to the left a bit. Throw the rock as a distraction, and get her bio armor. Use it against her, tangle her up in it so you can get at one of the knives.
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No. 561235 ID: 88960e

>Going to give up?
Well, I'm not going to stand here and let you pound on me.

Seriously, though, if you're going to keep fighting, you're going to need to arm yourself. If we can't reach either knife, and the guns and plasma sword are off limits, the only things left are stone and.... the vernaut corpse. Those things have horns and teeth, and she wrecked its head. You could get an improvised blade loose. (And if she gives you time, you could assemble something better. Use Viln's lessons).
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No. 561236 ID: 88960e

>>561235
The vernaut is also wearing non-neumono bioarmor, a scrap of which could be used as a weapon. You're protected by your bioarmor, she's not.
>>
No. 561237 ID: 9ddf68

what the fuck is that over by the rocks over there, just left of her I see something peeking over the rocks.
>>
No. 561238 ID: a87e3a

>>561237
I thought that was the clone's bioarmor that she took off.
>>
No. 561240 ID: 57a559

>>561236
but that would kill her!
this is a fair fight and we have shit to win, maybe even her help! As dangerous as that help might be.
Really all I want her to do is basically just be herself towards the salikai, be that lone wolf and just let her have her fun. But save the salikai for us

Why would you give up just because you don't have your knife, is she just going to leave it in or break it? Like you can't get it back. You can do it! I highly suggest using stalactites/mites and a rock. Maybe a sharp rock. Maybe a stalactite/mite sword even.
Just say you're going to use your gun to get a new weapon, you're not going to pussy out and use a gun here to win. We're going to get medieval on her ass.
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No. 561241 ID: 57a559

>>561240
when i say use your gun to get a weapon, I mean use it to shatter the tip of a sharp spike in the cave floor or ceiling.
You could also use a blnt rock to get a sharp rock.
Girl, I don't know you're the battle-master get a bitchin' rock and go cave-neumono on her thick skull.
Go mental on her arms
get nasty with her eyeballs
Get down with your bad self and make her into a sweet gentle-lady of nobility...

You're going to tattoo dickbutt with a rock on her own butt.
>>
No. 561244 ID: 4a75fa

>but that would kill her!
Well, there's a very small chance it would stop her heart. But she's got lots of those, and she's Rokoa. And we're talking a fragment, not the whole. All it will likely do is cause pain and flesh slouching at the point of merger. (At least that was happened with the 60% neumono armor against the voklit. If we assume Rokoa is tougher, and the vernaut has a lower percent bioarmor, the damage probably won't even be as great).
>>
No. 561245 ID: abb251

Try to distract her with a feint (not a mental one, just a plain old feint) to get your hands on one of the knives.
>>
No. 561257 ID: 041c8f

There is one thing we haven't considered. She wants a real fight. All out at your very best. That's not were Polo is at by a long shot.

Even more so she has to conserve herself from getting hurt too much more because of the mission. Point that out. Polo will bolt or end the fight at the first chance, and she's not at her best or focused on the battle.

Even if she doesn't care about your best she may care that she cannot be a true opponent in you mind; just an obstacle that must be avoided.

Promise her the fight. You have made this promise before and kept it. Offer her the fight she wants. Be blunt. "Join me and get back at the salikai, and when its over I will fight you. I will even injure myself to the level that I am at now. If you do this, you get revenge and the fight."

And don't forget to add. "You might just have a lot more fun this way any way."

I'm a big fan of 'and' instead of 'or' she might be too.
>>
No. 561258 ID: f44ca3

First look around you and figure out what options you have for weapons. A rock or a sharp shard of one, part of the Vernaut skull or one of its horns if its near, or anything that you could use. Even a ripped off portion of your own bio armor that could paralyze her for a moment.

Once you are armed tell her that if a fight is required you will do whatever you have to. But if its a good fight she wants she will not get it until you finish your job with the Salikai. "If beating you up would win you the day I would play with you all day long. But right now she you are just another obstacle on the way to finishing my mission."

After you talk to her and have a makeshift weapon if she wants to continue the fight you need to use your rock or whatever to hold her off long enough to get a better weapon. Your knife is still sticking out of her back and you can always go for hers.
>>
No. 561261 ID: fd7b51

Can I just have my knife back?
>>
No. 561283 ID: 4a75fa

>Even a ripped off portion of your own bio armor that could paralyze her for a moment.
Doubtful. Since there's no species conflict, all it would do is attempt to bond, and cause pain. And she can shrug off much more than the pain of a tiny piece of 40%.

>>561261
Tempting to ask- there's the small chance she might just return it. There's also the chance she'll answer that request by attacking us with it, though. So don't ask until you're prepared to deal with that. (Ie, you've started to take other steps to arming yourself).
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No. 561343 ID: fe4bfc

Ask if she prefers her beatings administered with a rock or a Vernaut horn or tooth that you knock off the corpse. If not politely ask for your knife back. Make sure you are armed with said rock or corpse bit before you ask though.
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No. 561367 ID: d470e9
File 139182199817.png - (19.13KB , 800x800 , 748.png )
561367

"You've gotten freakier, you know."

I circle around without giving an answer to her question. Her bioarmor is nearby. So is the vernaut. I start trying to take off its horn.

"I'm going to take that as a no."

She gets closer. The horn isn't coming loose, so I start digging around its mouth for some loose teeth while Rokoa starts walking my way.

"Can I have my knife back?"
"Nope, you lost it fair and square."
"If a fight is all you want, I can give you a better one after I'm no longer starving, and have dealt with the salikai. If you help me, I'll gladly fight you then."
"Yeah, that sounds good. If you do well here, I'll help you out with the salikai, then we can fight again afterwards." The damn bitch knows that's not what I meant.
>>
No. 561368 ID: d470e9
File 139182200902.png - (25.23KB , 800x800 , 749.png )
561368

I don't get any of the vernaut's natural tools when Rokoa comes for me. She starts casually climbing over the vernaut, thinking that I haven't gotten any teeth or horns loose. She would be correct.
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No. 561370 ID: d470e9
File 139182204171.png - (20.39KB , 800x800 , 750.png )
561370

But that's fine. I wasn't going for the teeth in actuality. With my free hand, I tear off bio-armor from the vernaut. I do not know how tough this vernaut armor is. Normally, a full body suit will slither across the skin until it fits form before bonding. A loose scrap, however, will simply bond immediately. I doubt the pain will get so much as a flinch out of her unless it is a high percent, but I am after the bonding.

I whip a long strip of bioarmor around her arm, leaving enough to reach around to the exposed portion of her back. The bio armor should immediately glue itself around her fur and start etching itself into the skin, and will not let her arm to leave her backside more than it already is.
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No. 561372 ID: d470e9
File 139182205186.png - (25.37KB , 800x800 , 751.png )
561372

I jump back to avoid her right hand grabbing for me, and to push out another stretch of bio armor. It lands cleanly on her arm, and moves up towards her face. She tilts back enough to avoid it touching her face, but it still manages to get onto her neck.

The move lets her land a kick on me, and I tumble backwards.
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No. 561373 ID: d470e9
File 139182206242.png - (14.06KB , 800x800 , 752.png )
561373

I'm happy with that outcome. I've severely restricted the mobility of both of her arms. The salikai did not employ safety mechanisms on that bioarmor, as I would expect of them. The rocks around here are generally smoothed over, but create a sharp point if cracked. Trying to fashion a decent blade is not plausible, so I will just go for something that looks like I could swing it. There are not many stalagtites in this cave, but I get lucky enough to find one.

It sounds like the bio armor was exceptionally strong after all. I hear Rokoa gasping and wincing while I manage to use a rock to break off a stalagtite to use as a club, so it must be bonding violently fast. I can't tell what is going on besides the noise that she makes, as I had to run far enough to leave empathy range to find this rock.
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No. 561376 ID: d470e9
File 139182263195.png - (28.39KB , 800x800 , 753.png )
561376

Before Rokoa can regain herself, I start running back to try to club her and get my knife back. She meets me before I get back to our original position, so that I won't be around the vernaut again.

"That wasn't fair, Polo." I get back in empathy range. She's not mad that I did that, and is teasing me while she gets that bioarmor off.

The pain is nearly making me wince.
>>
No. 561377 ID: f44ca3

What does fairness have to do with anything? Only results matter and you know that.

Looks like you did some nice damage there so keep up the assault and do not let her get the chance to recover. The more blood she loses the slower and weaker she will be. Is part of your knife still stuck in her shoulder? I notice she has your knife in one hand but it looks like part of the blade might have broken off inside her. If so that's where you should focus your blows if you can.

Watch out for the blood everywhere. If she keeps bleeding all over footing will start to get slippery. Now that you have a really solid bludgeon instead of a cutting weapon try to break the bones in her hands or forearms. Aim for her feet or shins if given the opportunity. If she tries to dual wield she can not grab you as quickly. If she does drop a knife to try and grab you be ready to retrieve it. Go in for quick taps and try to avoid heavy swings.
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No. 561379 ID: a87e3a

>>561376
"Carving yourself for me? Does that mean you're giving up?"

Instead of using the rock and stalagmite as blunt instruments, use the rock as a hammer and the stalagmite as a nail. Aim for exposed muscle. Maybe even use the stalagmite as a crowbar. Ew.

Also don't wait for her to finish, unless she really is giving up.
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No. 561380 ID: 88960e

>You've gotten freakier, you know.
You taught me. I never would have even thought to try that trick had you not invaded my mind.

>That wasn't fair, Polo.
If life were fair, I would have to spend every moment of my sleeping and waking life fighting you.

>What do
Attack. While she's still partially entangled. You're not going to be better off once she's loose, and this gives you a change to trip her up, hurt her, and/or get you knife back.
>>
No. 561381 ID: f44ca3

If you do attack right away be prepared for her to try and slap that bloody hunk of skin and bioarmor right in your face to try and blind you.

Did she drop your smaller knife somewhere or is it clutched in the hand he is working on skinning?
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No. 561382 ID: 5fd94e

Did she drop your knife by any chance? Normally I would recommend focusing on trying to open her wounds further but I highly doubt you could get her to pass out from the pain......maybe get the smaller end of the club in her eye.
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No. 561384 ID: beeca1

You know, I think she might be about to try the exact same thing on Polo. Her ears and tail are exposed, and the bonding was apparently high-percentage enough to hurt like a motherfucker.

Let's not get too close.
>>
No. 561385 ID: eaa372

Don't respond, disrupt her before she gets the rest of the bioarmor off. Get in close and grab a loose edge of the armor to try and tag it to the untouched parts of her skin.
>>
No. 561386 ID: 57a559

>>561376
Still technically melee big girl
And I know you can handle it
When I was you and with your mother I've felt worse
Well, slightly lesser pain over a longer period of time
You get impaled and have to fight your Mom in a psychic hand-to-hand combat memory you kinda have an impaired idea of what's fair.

Hey, so Rokoa, do you want to go out into space and find the real Rokoa after all this shit is over?
If so, do you put a checkmark over fight or fuck? Supposedly it's a funny concept aliens came up with when they were still writing science fiction about the future. I mean, I know you're going to fight yourself Rokoa, but I can't help but wonder if you wouldn't get down and dirty with your own clone too. I mean, you are full of yourself, so... it's not a longshot to guess you'd pick option B. Yourself is the closest thing you'd find for an equal.
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No. 561403 ID: 794290

Rokoa I am two feet shorter than you and weigh half as much as you do. If you want a boxing match find someone in your weight class.

You can stop this anytime you want to say the word. But its sort of creeping me out that the clone most likely to work with me was probably the sniper clone. The original Rokoa would be more interested in revenge than bothering me.
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No. 561415 ID: 3a1f17

Using the rock as a club is an exercise in futility, you need that knife. Punch your shiv through the center of her hand to weaken her grip and hopefully dislodge the knife. Preferably while Rokoa is still distracted with the bioarmor.
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No. 561421 ID: 4a75fa

>Instead of using the rock and stalagmite as blunt instruments, use the rock as a hammer and the stalagmite as a nail.
That seems an excellent idea. Especially if he hammer into a joint. Especially on an injured limb. (...although they'll all injured in one way or another, now). Although clubbing is perfectly acceptable too, if it works.

Continuing to use the bioarmor still attached to her against her is also attractive. The danger >>561384 proposes is real, but Rokoa has a lot more exposed skin than Polo.
>>
No. 561422 ID: beeca1

Did my eyes trick me or were Hok's updates accidentally posted?
>>
No. 561434 ID: 3c173d

Be careful, Polo. She might not be mad, but she still might be more willing now to do unfair things herself.

I would reply to her somehow, though. I'm kind of worried about your allies coming across this fight and jumping in. Something like, your bioarmour wasn't really enough for you to match her fairly, so you thought you'd give her some handicap bioarmour? Or something about creativity and your surroundings being valid weapons.
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No. 561448 ID: 49e97c

Very high risk now that she'll start playing unfair, so be careful. In the mean time, counter.

"If life were fair, I would be getting coffee cake every time I beat one of you. I'm owed two so far... soon to be three."

Be somewhat cautious, while using your bludgeoning stick to hit her exposed flesh. Try to disarm her and grab that oversized knife.
>>
No. 561480 ID: 041c8f

>>561448
Definitely don't wait. Don't stop to talk. If you can distracted her with words and attack at the same time do it. Press your advantage hard, don't relent. You need to win fast and decisively.

She may be an exploitable asset, but apparently not until you kick her ass. An she is crazier that the real thing. Evan the Rokoa that is in you is closer to the original. Maybe because your memories put her their.

I would take a wait and see but this one might be to unhinged to use if you beat her.

So far sniper clone looks to be the only one that could be a functional person outside of this made house if you can save her. She'd be on your side if it weren't for the bugs and shes fighting them.

The aspects that come out with these clones seems to be forming a pattern.

The first was like all of Rokoa's anger and them some. No of her better traits. A kill happy rage machine that chopped of her own breasts for a slight maneuvering edge.

The second has her best traits her humor and her sense of loyalty. But not her rage. And a lot of the old person survived in her and form an amalgamation, a new person not just a Rokoa.

This one seems fixated on her competitiveness. With her last focus for that being you. I think she's the closest to the real deal, but remember she's going on instinct of who she thinks she is. "She doesn't really know and you do" Maker her regret that.

Sorry for the introspection and pep talk mid fight.

But yeah keep pressing use your speed and don't let up.

Oh last thing, the pointy end of that stalagmite might be just as useful if not more so than the bashing end.
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No. 561516 ID: d470e9
File 139190903273.png - (25.94KB , 800x800 , 754.png )
561516

I don't see my knife on her or in her. She most likely dropped it a long ways back, most likely where I can't easily find it even if I did move back.

I also don't sense any intent from her to fight me without her knife either, so I won't have to worry about her bioarmor. Her skin came off with the bioarmor, though, and there isn't much of it that isn't trying to bond with a dead strip.

"If life were fair, I wouldn't have to fight you in both waking and sleeping moments." I only speak while I rush her down while she's still preoccupied with her bioarmor. She quickly slices off what's left to remove, but she isn't quite prepared while I jab the pointed end into her side.

She must have lost a lot of blood. It clots fast, but we have high enough body pressure that wounds will shoot blood out at alarming rates. Getting skinned alive is a good way to lose that blood. It shows. Her movements are sluggish and clumsily executed. Perhaps the after effects of the bioarmor had something to do with this, as well. I did not realize how dangerous bioarmor was until after I properly studied the stuff.
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No. 561518 ID: d470e9
File 139190995646.png - (25.32KB , 800x800 , 755.png )
561518

The rock isn't particularly sharp at its end, but moreso I doubt I have the raw strength needed to impale her hand or anything deep enough to be worth sacrificing the stalactite for.

Still, that hit on her side gets her to stumble back and reopen the blood channels. I keep pressing forward.

I end up landing several blows onto her, including her right kneecap that she will have trouble putting weight on for the next few moments, and a few to knock out more blood from her wounds. She finally nearly catches me, and we seperate again.

"Did you think fairness has anything to do with this?"
>"Just you and me with just a normal melee weapon. I guess you're not really interested in the same kind of fight, huh. Oh, well, it's not like we agreed on a full ruleset beforehand."
"That is right, you said nothing about surrounding resources."

She's wobbling and shaking while she laughs at that, like I made some kind of joke. Her grip on that knife is loose, and she can barely lift her right arm. She won't give up until she can't stand up. She starts slicing off her other short's legs for more bandaging.

No Rokoa has been that close to the original, aside from the injected clone who only ended up being so as a result of living through her memories and possibly rebuilding herself, but as far as I can tell, enjoying fighting remains a constant.
>>
No. 561519 ID: 57a559

Ask her the name of the neumono that she took over, if the Salikai actually just didn't perfect cloning an entire from only mere brain matter just a bit ago.
>>
No. 561520 ID: 4a75fa

Did you get your knife back? Or at least determine where it is?

>how dangerous bioarmor is
...makes me wonder if anyone has ever actually tried seriously to weaponize it. As in, not using it as armor, but a weapon specifically intended to try and deliver non-compatible bioarmor to a target. (Some kind of a net launcher, or a bio-strip bolo? Maybe some kind of flail or whip? A melee weapon made out of the stuff would need some kind of release trigger though, or else it would become completely useless as soon as the surface was coated with bonded flesh).

Highly dangerous for any wielder to use, too. Not to mention prohibitively expensive.

>I guess you're not really interested in the same kind of fight, huh.
I don't have the luxury of destroying myself for your satisfaction. Unlike you, I don't have spares. And I still have people depending on me, and a mission to finish.

If you ever want to have the kind of fight you want, yield. If we continue this, you'll be as good as dead by the time we finish. No matter what I would choose.

>if she doesn't yield
Give her what she wants. She won't stop fighting till she can't stand? Time to take out her legs.
>>
No. 561521 ID: a87e3a

>>561518
Bandaging herself during a fight? That is distinctly unlike Rokoa. This is definitely another imperfect clone. Probably used to be a medic, so her first instinct is to repair damage.

Take advantage of that. Keep pressuring her in this wounded state; knock her other kneecap out so she can't stand.
>>
No. 561523 ID: 4a75fa

>>561521
To be fair, we've never seen Rokoa after being skinned. It's not so much about treating the injury for her as it is about keeping the blood loss low enough to keep going.
>>
No. 561528 ID: f44ca3

There is to much at stake for me to play around with you right now. After this mess is over if you survive I might be willing to spar with you to improve my hand to hand. But right now I have to put my mission ahead of everything else.

Keep up the assault while you talk to her. If she is cutting parts of her clothes off you might be able to get her to stab herself if you hit her in the hand while she works. She is weakening but she still could hurt you badly if she got a good blow in.

This is where you need to chat with her and figure out if its going to be worth it to waste any resources on fixing her up after this. Would be nice to have a Rokoa to take with us into the base but only if she can be trusted.

No point in using a regen booster on her if she is just going to come charging after you looking for a fight. And leaving her half dead in the cave is not much better. She will get eaten by cave monsters or just drug back to the Salikai and jammed full of bugs.
>>
No. 561529 ID: 3c173d

Gosh, I'm starting to feel a little sorry for her. Maybe you should reiterate that you'll be fine having another fight when this is all over, in an empty room somewhere if she wants, but right now you're hungry and still injured, and someone could wander along any minute, and there are things to do, so, even this level of fairness so far is more than you'd probably have ever expected yourself to give. You are a sniper, after all.

I hope her laughing at the surrounding resources line isn't a sign there's something environmental around here that's going to unpleasantly surprise you. Speaking of, perhaps you can trick her into slipping on the rocks that are wet with her blood? She does have a bad foot, and the blood loss should be making her dizzier. You could also use that same slipperiness to powerslide between her legs and hamstring her. She's too wobbly now to get a good kick on you without risking falling over, and she can't lean over far enough to get you with her knife for the same reason. But she tries, she could fall on you. And it would put you prone anyway. Better not, unless you're enough of a gymnast that you can flip yourself back onto your feet.
>>
No. 561540 ID: d2995c

By the way, before someone here is too injured to talk we should ask to confirm whether that was us she smelled or someone else.
>>
No. 561542 ID: d470e9
File 139191513967.png - (21.73KB , 800x800 , 756.png )
561542

>Have you found your knife?
No.

>Has anyone tried to weaponize bioarmor?
It has been tried, but it is extremely costly compared to, say, shooting them several times. Higher percentages of bioarmor cost a fortune.

"No, we aren't. I don't have spares, but I do have a mission. If you're going to continue like this, you're going to be as good as dead. In fact, if you yield now, I will still give you the fight that you want after my mission."

For a second, she thinks of making one last rush at me, win or lose. She decides, though, that she would rather have a cleaner fight against me then make one last grand stand against me. Reluctantly. Her wanting to fight me to this level can only be explained through Four Stripes modification. She finishes tying off her more major wounds and half collapses onto the ground. I can't say I expected her to give up like this, but so long as I did not get careless, this was inevitable. This is still more welcome, it further shows that she is capable of compromise.

I would say it's a good sign that I won with only a mild wound, but this sort of fight would most likely end with me either not wounded much or completely bedridden for a month.

I approach her, since she is not emitting any hostile thoughts.

"You said I could do what I want if I beat you, right. Does that include giving you orders?"
>"Well yeah, long as you don't order me to not rematch you or anything like that. I'm gonna stop taking orders if I beat you. But for now, you can do what you want with me. You won. Thanks for humoring me."
"Actually, first, I want to confirm that I was the one who you smelled first, before I came by."
>"Were you bleeding before you fought me?"
"No."
>"Then nope, I smelled dry blood. Must've been someone else who passed by earlier."
>>
No. 561543 ID: f44ca3

Well if you help me finish off the Salikai I will give you the fight you want after everything settles down. Also if you do a good job I will put in a good word for you with the ultra hive. Might keep you from getting put on a crazy clone reservation after this is all over.

Debrief her while you help close up her wounds. Find out how long she has been following you and what else might be in the area. Also if she does not have any food with her get some ear eating on while she tells you stuff.

If you have a regen booster use it on her if you feel confident you can trust her at full strength. Then we need to get as much of this vernaut to the camp as quickly as possible unless she has a better food supply close by. Then find out if everyone made it back and track down anyone missing.
>>
No. 561549 ID: 4a75fa

Will you accept a postponement of any rematch attempts until the completion of this mission?

And if she needs more motivation than that to keep in control, or to try and survive this- the salikai still have a lot of her hive's blood on their hands. And even if they were exiled, there's still a good chance she has family on this rock. She has things to fight and live for.

Ask for your knife back, again. (Or where it ended up). And have her give you her ears. You're starving, and it's her fault for chewing on your brain. She might as well fix that.

Stabilize her, and get kitted up again. See if she has rations. Take the plasma sword. She can be gotten into better shape with a does of regenerations.

Find out what she knows about the local search pattern and the salikai's troops. If she got this close, we may need to move.

>Must've been someone else who passed by earlier.
Did your group pass by this way earlier?

>four stripes compulsion
Than three stripes could remove it, if she survives this.
>>
No. 561552 ID: a87e3a

>>561542
Alright, tell her to help you carve up the Vernaut so you can get some meat in your belly. Tell her the only reason you're not asking her to lop off her arm so you can eat it is that she won't be much of a help with one arm and even more blood loss. Then we gotta go find Viln and Marra.

Also she might want to get her bioarmor back on. Hey, that'll seal up her wounds too!
>>
No. 561555 ID: 57a559

>>561542
I'm going to want you to cause some chaos at a certain time interval
Your specialty
We need an opening to get to the salikai
We need to end this to get out, and to free the science hive once and for all so it's technological prowess can be used to circumvent ALL of this madness. Find out who's bugged in what important positions, cure the CAI and take it into custody, discover any future salikai plans, and make sure no important files end up wiped.
And hopefully kill the salikai before it accomplishes any more insanity. After all, that job should be reserved to the Rokoa's of the universe.

So... like old times with the Red Queen. Sound good? We'll wait until you think you're good to go.
>>
No. 561556 ID: 4a75fa

>>561549
On second thought, I suppose ear cuttings could be spared if she's carrying (enough) rations.
>>
No. 561561 ID: df3001

Ask Rokoaclone if she can help in planting bombs on the radio relays, or any other way to expedite your mission. She wants this over as fast as you do so there can be more battle-dates.
>>
No. 561563 ID: 4a75fa

>>561561
No no no. Do not tell her about what we're planning to bomb. That's need to know information. If she knows what we're planning, that means she can spill if she's recaptured or ever has reason to turn on us.

She's a somewhat trustable meatshield and weapon. We can point her at our enemies, or put her in front of our allies. But our control over her is too tenuous for anything more than that.
>>
No. 561565 ID: df3001

>>561563
didn't think of that, guess the salikai DO have more methods besides asking nicely... Maybe it would be best to give her a bogus mission for a distraction and in case she DOES get caught then she can spill the beans, the fake beans, and muddy the waters up a bit. At the very least she might know something you don't and will try to stay out of your way. Seems kind of mean though, even though she is the weaponized form of a weaponized neumono
>>
No. 561566 ID: eaa372

Take her ears for yourself then butcher the vernaut for the others waiting on you. Ask if she knows any specific place explosives are stored then ask if she knows anything about the sniper clone and NCO Arkot.

As for marching orders don't tell the clone your plan just tell her to start stirring up trouble when she's recovered enough then toss her the regen shot.
>>
No. 561569 ID: f44ca3

Lets get food back to the camp and make sure we did not lose anyone out hunting before we make plans about what to do with Rokoa. She should be pretty trustworthy and should be easy to handle as long as you do not abuse her trust or hold her back from fights.
>>
No. 561570 ID: a87e3a

Guys did you forget about Viln and Marra being missing and that there's traces of blood where they should be? Because that hasn't stopped being the case.

Wait, if it's dried blood wouldn't that mean it's been there for longer than like 30 minutes?
>>
No. 561580 ID: 48578d

You should probably get her back to your camp so your allies can know about her, and watch her while she heals up a bit, but it seems like it'll be logistically challenging. While patching her up enough to walk again, ask Rokoa if you can bind her arms behind her back so that no-one'll mistake her for being threatening - you can stand behind her and be ready to cut them with your knife if something comes up that needs it. If you think you can reach a point where it's safe to call at your companions that you have a prisoner/ally, do that. After getting some meat, of course, and eating. Give Rokoa a little too, it's a whole vernaut after all. With haste, because we want to investigate this "who's bleeding" problem next. It's possible it's someone who's since gone back to camp after you went out, though, so check there first.

Also, maybe tell Rokoa that you won't ask her not to fight you again, but you think she might be under some effects from Four Stripes' treatment, and you think it would be a good idea for her to spend time with Three Stripes when this is all over, to put her back in her natural frame of mind. And you were going to do so yourself. It would be good to give this Rokoa something to look forward to or a purpose other than "wait until Polo fights me again".
>>
No. 561605 ID: 4a75fa

>butcher the vernaut
Polo did say that meat is terrible for neumono and should only be eaten as a last resort. Unless it's good for voklit, I don't see it being much use to us.

Especially since we've taken a big enough risk staying this long in one place.
>>
No. 561659 ID: a5c85a

If she doesn't have any rations on her take her ears.
>>
No. 561671 ID: cee89f

>>561605
I thought it was neumono meat (specifically the ear) that was terrible for them and only to be used as a last resort?
>>
No. 561688 ID: d470e9
File 139198568552.png - (24.23KB , 800x800 , 757.png )
561688

That was probably Marra who was smelled by Rokoa. She should have crossed by this section, and I doubt that she was able to clean and cover her headwound thoroughly enough to prevent the smell of her dried blood from getting around.

"Alright, I have orders for you. First off, I'm taking your ear. Probably both of them. It was going to be multiple limbs, but I want your help in ways that require them. Unless you have rations?"
"Nah, just a little snack." I don't wait any longer, my hunger is starting to overwhelm me, so I just yank off an ear and start talking with my mouth full.
"Since I have allies that think of you as an enemy, I will tie your hands behind your back until I explain. And until we get to my base, I will stay behind you and chop off the bindings in case I need you quickly. However, I also want to bring some vernaut meat back. It's awful, but we need food, and that's slightly better than nothing. I expect you to carry as much as you reliably can."
"With my hands behind my back?"
"I brought rope, I'm going to tie a vernaut leg or something to you. Still, we're going to try to find my allies that were supposed to be around here for a short period, since I do not want to stick around here for much longer. This was a waste of enough time. Also, you want to fight me too much, I expect because of Four Stripes?"
"Yep."
"Before our rematch, I am going to attempt to have Three Stripes fix you back to normal."
"If I'm back to normal, I'll still wanna fight you, just not need to fight you, so don't try to weasel out of it like that."
"I'm not. If you still want to fight me after that, then I will."
"Good, I'd be fine with that, then."
"I expect you know that your hive was exiled off of this planet."
"I know. I don't have a hive anymore."
"If you honestly do take orders from me and help, I doubt there will be any problem with letting you run around the planet. Since you aren't actually Rokoa."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves, here."
"Fine. Put your bioarmor back on to cover those wounds and then move, we could use stuff like leather fabric, even if you bloodied it up. Do your best to clean yourself up too and don't leave a trail."
>>
No. 561689 ID: d470e9
File 139198569705.png - (19.04KB , 800x800 , 758.png )
561689

We don't find Marra or Viln on the way back, but with the threat of the Salikai forces starting to comb this area, I don't want to waste time, so I head back.

"I need to get into the Salikai facility."
"If you just want in, that's easy. I can go right up to the front gate with you as my prisoner, then stuff you in a ventilation duct and run myself out of there."
"That's risky. They may want you to wait outside to pick me up. We'll think about it more later."

Once we get to the side tunnel to our base, I cut the leather I used to bind Rokoa's hands, and hop over the rim.

>"Polo!" Katzati whispers loudly to me. "Are you okay? Your mouth..."
"Yes, I'm here and I'm fine. It's not my blood. I didn't find Marra or Viln, but I got an... ally, I guess."
>"Who?" Rokann asks.
"A Rokoa clone that wasn't subdued well."
>"... and you trust her?"
"Well enough to bring her back. Did Marra and Viln come back?"
>"No."
>>
No. 561693 ID: a87e3a

>>561689
You should probably take that regeneration shot now, to get the brain-eating over with. Also consider having the clone take a shot too.

Oh, and don't forget to- shit where are your armor and weapons? Get yourself scanned for bugs immediately. I was going to say don't forget to have the clone watched at all times, with a gun. We can't trust her completely.
>>
No. 561703 ID: 4a75fa

Uh... I'm going to assume you just carried your armor because you wanted to get the hell out of there and you didn't forget all your gear. And I hope to hell you got your knife back. It's going to be rather inconvenient if you can't check around corners anymore.

>and you trust her?
I trust her to keep her word. If she did not, I would have been dead several times over well before this mission ever started. I wouldn't call it honor, but she has a code she follows, and it's intact in this one. (If your word isn't good enough- Katzati's seen the inside of Rokoa's head, and Korli's seen you with real-Rokoa. Geeze, you're going to need a whole string of nicknames to keep them strait).

>Marra and Viln not returned
Best case, they've been cut off or delayed by other enemy troops searching the area. Worst case- they were located and are currently dead, injured, or fighting. They probably haven't been taken alive though, or there would have been time to bug Marra and find the location of the others.

>I don't have a hive anymore.
Well, oddly, she may have a hive of herself. And catching up to her hive in space isn't impossible, although the reunion would certainly be complicated. Plus, her mother's hive is likely still around, somewhere.

>what do
Start getting kitted up again, and get Rokoa talking. We need to know what she knows about the other salikai forces in the area. How many and what are nearby? Did they leave her any kind of communication device to use if she found us? (If so, hand that to Korli, see what she can do with it. Listening to nearby enemy chatter could be very useful).

How long overdue are they now?

Basically, we're trying to determine how much time it might take to go after them, and how much time we have left before other searchers find us. If we can, obviously we want to help our allies. But we can't afford to get the whole group killed, either.

Regenerators might be a good idea. Probably for yourself, and your new temporary honor-slave (why is that becoming a pattern now too?).

How's the overall food situation, now? (Not sure how much Rokann brought back. And you brought back another obnoxiously smiley mouth).

...it occurs to me we might want to 'tag' our Rokoa in some way, so she can't be confused with other clones. Not sure cut ears are enough.
>>
No. 561720 ID: f44ca3

Lets get armored back up and slap a regenerator on Rokoa. Then figure out where they were last supposed to be and head out to find them. If Rokoa is up to following you have her lend a hand. If not have her relay Vernaut parts back and forth to the camp for the moment.

Once she is healed enough have Rokoa put her bio armor back on. But would rather have her limping around following us for the moment than unable to move because of blood loss and bio armor issues.
>>
No. 561765 ID: df3001

You've got a little bit of a walk, ask her anything she knows that would be any help but try not to make your objectives clear
>>
No. 561810 ID: b43d3b

You should ask this Rokoa to practice the needle trick. I mean, she's brain damaged already, and she's going to go to Three Stripes already, so it's not as huge an issue. You did say earlier that you couldn't have your other allies do it because it needs practice, but Rokoa already knows how to do it, she just forgot, like all the clones have. But it's a lot better than bugs or predator control. If you dig up your memory of that memory, maybe you can make yourself feel enough of that empathy to show her what feeling she's going for?

And you should tell her she could catch up with her hive, or try a hive of her clones, or that you wouldn't put it past her to just make a new hive of her own. And other cheering thoughts. Basically, make sure she's aware there's going to be something for her to live for. Besides you.
>>
No. 561853 ID: 4a75fa

>You should ask this Rokoa to practice the needle trick.
...yes, we should encourage a Rokoa we barely control to drive herself crazier with more brain damage.

It wouldn't be useful in the short term, anyways. It would take time for practice (and recovery) we don't have, and we're mostly fighting non-neumono aliens and monsters and neumono within range of jammers. It would be an advantage, yes, but not one in high demand right now.
>>
No. 562047 ID: b386b4

>>561853

The needle trick makes you crazy, but from what we've seen, the specific form that madness takes in the long term is that you get "stuck" in a particular state of mind that won't entirely go away. It makes it so that your mind can't shift, or be shifted, from a particular emotional state. That's probably what made the original Rokoa hard for Three Stripes to control, and it's probably a factor in some of the Rokoa clones' resistance to mind control methods. Getting as many Rokoas as we can to needle themselves up will get us more Rokoa allies, or at least reduce the amount of them actively helping the salikai.

I suppose there's a risk that practicing it will lock them in whatever state they're in at the time, which might enhance any bad mental effects they're currently under, like this one wanting to fight Polo. But it was implied that only certain kinds of thoughts are suitable for initiating the needle trick in the first place, so it's not a certainty. Perhaps Polo can tell us what feeling her brief encounter left stuck in her? Something like Rokoa's, or more like the feelings she was having at the time it happened? There is also the issue of needing willpower to get out of the trick state again, which some of the worst-off clones might not be able to do, and there is the small matter of the frothing berserker rage while the trick's in effect, but I still think it's something to investigate.
>>
No. 562926 ID: d470e9
File 139258786550.png - (17.69KB , 800x800 , 759.png )
562926

My armor and guns are down below, to be tossed up by Rokoa. I did not want to spend time re-equiping myself. Normally this would be risky, and I am placing great faith in Rokoa's loyalty right now to not run off with all my stuff, but our jammer is kept to be as short a range as possible. I can still sense Rokoa, and she is not planning anything as of right now.

>Got your knife back?
Yes, Rokoa remembered the set of rocks she put it between.

>Have her use the needle trick
I have a feeling that her first needle trick was only an inevitable case of getting impaled repeatedly, finally triggering it, mixed with her abnormal stance of not panicking, which would have sidestepped the empathy channels. And it only worked for dart-Rokoa and myself, since it was more like a repressed memory that came back in full force as though reliving it. The chances of knife-Rokoa attempting to do it here are abysmal, and the outcome of this would most likely be a bad stab wound at best.

>Do you feel any different from the knife trick?
Somewhat. I find it oddly easy to focus on my tasks. I do not know if this is any different, or if I am just putting that aspect of myself under scrutiny.

"I trust her to keep her word. Keep an eye on her, but I would be dead if Rokoa didn't have a sense of... some kind of code. Give us both a dose of the regeneration, please. Rokoa, start getting our equipment and yourself over here. We brought vernaut meat. Did you find much, Rokann?"
>"A couple of bugs. Not much."
"Rokoa, I'm sticking a pebble in your wound."
>"Random."
"I'm tagging you."
>"Ah."

She jumps over and lets herself drop down.
"Hello." she says, entering the hideout.

Rokann x-rays us while we come over.
>>
No. 562927 ID: d470e9
File 139258787743.png - (16.24KB , 800x800 , 760.png )
562927

Her legs are still weak, and she can't break her fall.

"My next order is to stop being a dumbass."
"Haha, understood."

At least this makes her less threatening.
>>
No. 562928 ID: d470e9
File 139258789105.png - (20.21KB , 800x800 , 761.png )
562928

Rokoa and I take an injection of regeneration. The effects aren't instant, but they aren't slow, like spicy food that takes a moment to heat the mouth up. I'm going to end up eating Rokoa's other ear, I expect.

>"Never did have vernaut meat, before." Rokann says, once I pull it out of my pack. "Guess I'll test it out. It smells fucking disgusting."
>>
No. 562929 ID: d470e9
File 139258790374.png - (16.30KB , 800x800 , 762.png )
562929

She nearly wretches. I have never seen someone put on such a display of trying to swallow something before, and she holds herself trying not to puke.

"I did not realize it was that bad. Vernaut meat has a natural component that occurs in its meat to ward off some parasites. A harmful dosage requires eating more meat than you can, so please eat what you can. That goes for Lucera and Katzati as well."
>>
No. 562930 ID: d470e9
File 139258793017.png - (15.72KB , 800x800 , 763.png )
562930

I move over to Katzati, next, to hand her the meat before I start getting my armor back on. The smell of the meat alone gets her to dry heave.

>"I..."
"It won't do any good if you just puke it back out. I'll give you Rokoa's other ear." She deserves the other ear more than I deserve a second. I have never eaten so much at once in my life. Katzati grabs onto me, letting me know, insistently, that she wants me cleaned up. She has a spare set of clothes to be used as rags.
>"These aren't bandages, but they'll help get you clean. Dried blood is really uncomfortable on your fur, you know."
"I can clean myself, you know."
>"You'll miss a spot." I would not.
"Hey. You the team medic?" Rokoa comes by, I expect Rokann is still watching her from around the corner.
>"Uh, no, I'm just..."
>>
No. 562931 ID: d470e9
File 139258795446.png - (23.70KB , 800x800 , 764.png )
562931

"Clean me next."
"Rokoa, you are making me regret bringing you back. Why are you out of your bioarmor?"
"It doesn't bond well with all this blood in the way. Plus, I'm pretty fucked up, I need some rest before putting it on doesn't just make me worse."
"I need information. What are our chances of getting found?"
"Pretty good, but the search is hasty, fast, and uncoordinated. Driven by a bunch of arkots and some voklits. Like a crapton, if I guess right. So we could be found out in 10 minutes or 10 hours."
"Katzati, how overdue is Marra from showing up?"
>"Probably around... 20 minutes..." She's getting worried again. With reason.
"I'd like to be able to search for them, but it may be too dangerous." I feel dizzy. Maybe it's the regen booster, maybe it's that odd feeling of dart-Rokoa and I having our brains eat each other, or maybe it's just the fact that I finally have some food in my system.
"I'm gonna eat the rest of my rations. I want my blood back."
"Either give half to Katzati, or give her your ear. Eat some vernaut meat."
"She looks like she's running on full."
"She's not. Don't complain, and help me put on armor. Do you have any idea where we can move to?"
>"There's a couple places that looked like we could hole up in, to last as long as possible against the salikai."
"What do you mean last as long as possible? I'm not talking about some futile grand stand."
>"I guess you might want to know that there's a shitton of non-salikai soldiers storming the upper caverns right now. The Salikai were found out, so I guess they're desperate now. So you should be thinking about a grand stand in a good spot, unless you want to run around till you're caught with your pants down."
>>
No. 562934 ID: a87e3a

>>562931
That is astoundingly valuable information but we need to be sure she's not lying. Empathy test time. Close contact or step just out of jammer range.

Also uh warn the rest of them that you're in your brain-eating-brain timeframe right now so weird shit might happen to your body. For instance you're getting dizzy. Might even pass out eventually.

At any rate our priorities now are to A) get the camp ready to move and B) find Marra and Viln before we get to the fortified position. This means put your armor on and help Rokoa get cleaned up.
>>
No. 562936 ID: 4a75fa

>Rokoa giving Katzati a hard time
Lay off. She's already passed the only test of character that matters to you. She stood up to you, and held her own. (Rokoa will probably be incredulous. Katzati's obviously no warrior, but this took place in your dream. Only will and spirit mattered).

>dizzy, effects of the brains eating each other?
You could ask Rokoa what you have to expect in the final stages of dealing with the brain dart. She's lived through this, more than once. (This affects the viability of searching for our missing allies).

>treat Rokoa's wounds
As annoying as it is, getting her patched up serves the group's interests.

>non-salikai troops storming the upper caves
...you couldn't have mentioned that earlier?

That changes your priorities. You're no longer looking for a way to buy your allies the chance to break out. Our options become:
(1) Try to hold out / hide out until allied troops reach our position
(2) Try and sneak though or punch through the salikai troops and search patterns to reach ultrahive troops
(3) help allied troops by making things harder on the salikai (infiltrate their base and cause chaos).

2 and 3 are kind of what I would prefer (get our allies to safety, and then deal with the salikai) but we'll see what we can do.

Although an important question is why, is the salikai are fighting for their lives above us, that they're wasting military assets still searching for us. The main threat our group posed was that if any of us escaped their net, we could call the world down on them. If that's already happened, why is hunting our group still a priority? (The answer is the salikai are obsessed with getting revenge on Polo, and want her for their psychic bomb, but Polo doesn't know all of that).

>what do
Get everyone patched up, packed up, and fed. We need to be ready to move, whether you're going after missing allies, running from enemies, or trying to reach the ultrahive's forces.
>>
No. 562942 ID: f44ca3

Ask her how she found out about the attack on the Salikai. If its true we should hole up at least for the moment so we can get back up to fighting strength. We can not do much against anyone unless we get food, supplies and heal up.

Lets get Rokoa cleaned up and then decide what to do. At the moment we are in a bad spot and still need food and time to heal. If the ultra hive is attacking the Salikai base it should buy us time to get back to full strength so we can join in the final attack.

So priorities are finding Marra and getting food that's not going to do more harm than good. If we could waylay a arkot patrol or find some other source of food it would be ideal.
>>
No. 562968 ID: 57a559

Tell Rokoa she looks good in short shorts

So... shouldn't we search out those non-salikai soldiers?
>>
No. 562990 ID: d470e9
File 139261198128.png - (18.35KB , 800x800 , 765.png )
562990

>Tell Rokoa to lay off Katzati
Surprisingly, she took the hint and isn't bugging her.

"Is there any good reason why you haven't told me about this before?"
>"Nah, I just forgot."
>"You fucking bloat..." Rokann says before I think the same. "Let's go find them and get our asses out of here once we find Marra."
"Where did you hear this news, Rokoa?"
>"Overheard some voklit chatter, that's all."
"I'm agreeing with Rokann. We'll attempt to find them, but we'll need to spend a minute getting our things together. I have to put on armor. Katzati... please help clean Rokoa once you eat, as much as you can. Tell her to shut up if she gives you a hard time."
>"Pack your bags, Lucera." Rokann says. "I'm going to take a jammer real quick and tell Kort to get back here, and sweep our perimeter for any signs of Marra. I will be back in 5 minutes and expect us all ready to go. Gotta walk off that meat anyway."

I still have to get my things back together and put my armor on, so I will let her go alone.
>>
No. 562991 ID: d470e9
File 139261199063.png - (15.77KB , 800x800 , 766.png )
562991

About 4 minutes pass, and something larger than Rokann starts coming back while I'm taking inventory on our things.

It's Viln.
>>
No. 562993 ID: 2fc3e9

Your eyes and smile are getting more like Rokoa's.

Point weaponry at him, demand nonexistent password.
>>
No. 562994 ID: cee89f

>>562993
That IS Rokoa :P Check the eye color and the outfit.

...Check Viln for bugs?
>>
No. 562997 ID: f44ca3

Make sure he has not been taken over by any number of horrible cave monsters that can crawl into your bones and wear your skin.

Then ask whats up. If we are lucky he found some food or has a idea what might have happened to Marra.
>>
No. 563001 ID: 4a75fa

>Surprisingly, she took the hint
Huh. I wonder if she can pick up on it, or if she's just deferring out of respect to you.

>Viln's back
Switch to x-ray, just out of paranoia. Don't point any weapons, but be on alert.

Viln. We were just started to get worried. What happened? (Where's Marra?, if that's not in his explanation).

Assuming nothing goes horribly wrong (trap, clone, bugs, he's being led back at gunpoint, etc), fill him (and Marra) in (you captured a Rokoa, and there's apparently an ultrahive force in the caves above. Incredulous-ness about Rokoa can be met with: she's got something like you did. I beat her, and she'll respect that, for now).

>nonexistent password
We did setup passwords way back when in case of clones, actually. (You know, just in case that's a fufa or something. Although if there were a fufa blocking the only entrance to this small cave we'd kind of be dead already).
>>
No. 563005 ID: 57a559

>>562991
Viln looks oddly calm
Is it the upper half of his body on a stick being puppeted around?
>>
No. 563006 ID: a87e3a

>>562991
Ask him what gives, where's he been? Get a small-caliber weapon out just in case he's bugged.

Rokoa should be warned he's an ally, if she doesn't know already (she might not). Viln should similarly be warned that Rokoa is one of us now.
>>
No. 563021 ID: d470e9
File 139261616578.png - (8.11KB , 800x800 , 767.png )
563021

"Hello, Viln. What is the password?" That should be enough to tell Rokoa he is an ally, and Rokoa is not trying to maim us, which should tell Viln the same.
>"... forgotten. I apologize."

>Use the X-ray
It's always scary to put these on, just in case something does go wrong. I start pulling it out of the bag.

It doesn't look like he has bugs.

"Where have you been?"
>"What was password?"

....

"I already know that." says Rokoa.

...

>"No matter. Other neumono, where are?"

He doesn't have a skeleton, either.
>>
No. 563022 ID: d470e9
File 139261617463.png - (25.04KB , 800x800 , 768.png )
563022

"Well, for your information, the password goes something like 'Hey, Katzati, give me the biggest, hugest weapon we have around.' And when you say the password, you have to sound like you fucking mean it."
>>
No. 563023 ID: a87e3a

>>563022
FUCKING FUFA.

Um. Tactical analysis: it's blocking the only exit and our best weapons are all explosives which are likely to cause the roof to fall on our heads. So we're fucked if it becomes hostile. It hasn't become hostile yet which suggests it was ordered not to locate and not kill the neumono the Salikai are looking for. If we can lure it away the others can escape and we may be able to survive long enough to reach the allies above us.

Tell it the other neumono are out right now and you were about to go join them. Ask for Rokoa to toss you over through the entrance. Once you're outside start fucking running.
>>
No. 563026 ID: 4a75fa

Shit. It's a fucking fufa.

This is a worst case scenario. That's the only entrance to this cavern, and bullets won't stop it. Fire and explosives might, but we're at very close range, and we risk being caught in the explosion, or bringing the roof down on our heads. There's a good chance we all die if it comes to a fight.

I hope that thing just copied Viln's appearance by sight and it didn't eat him (he deserves better than an offscreen death). We don't have time to worry about that now, though.

...offer to show 'Viln' where the other neumono are. You'll lead him the away. (Signalling your plan to allies while talking to it).

If it buys your trick, you have a narrow window to buy a chance for your allies to escape a deathtrap before you're separated from them and running for your life.

If the trick fails, all we can really do is unload into it with HE rounds and the gel launcher and pray it dies before we do.
>>
No. 563033 ID: f44ca3

Aww man when I said horrible monster that wears your skin I was really hoping it had not got Viln. Rest in piece buddy.

Ok we want to keep it in its disguise mode as long as possible. The longer its pretending to be Viln the more time we have to get weapons that can hurt it or get away. Once it realizes we know it will be all tentacles and nightmares.

Maybe if you lead it back to the Vernaut corpse you can distract it with that for awhile.
>>
No. 563036 ID: 8c4108

Hopefully Viln wasn't eaten. I mean, personally I can't really tell the difference between one Voklit and another... In any case, agreed, tell it you will lead it to the other neumono, and then lead it away from everyone else. If Katzati objects, just tell her to stick with everyone else and find the army up there. Rokoa... can stick with us, maybe. Unless you feel like the others need her help staying there.
>>
No. 563047 ID: eaa372

>>563036
Get in physical contact with everyone and use your empathy to indicate it's not Viln then tell the fufa you were just about to go to the neumono yourself. Ask him to be patient and wait about ten meters away outside "like you always do".

Take the gel launcher and Knife Rokoa with you if the Fufa believes the lies. Try to land a gel shot on the torso where you can do the most damage to a decentralised organism. You have to drive it off while you and Rokoa are functional before the regeneration shots kick in.
>>
No. 563334 ID: 863f38

>>563047
Awesome idea. Send it on whatever order far enough from the entrance, then blast it by surprise.
>>
No. 563418 ID: d2995c

>Ask him to be patient and wait about ten meters away outside "like you always do".
Rather than just waiting, ask for him to keep watch for you until you are ready to head out towards the others.
>>
No. 563427 ID: d470e9
File 139278241361.png - (30.80KB , 800x800 , 769.png )
563427

Katzati is already getting the gel launcher for Rokoa, but I intercept it. Rokoa was aware of what was going on, and told it to Katzati with physical contact while she was getting cleaned up.

"The other neumono are out. I will lead you to where I believe they are. Rokoa, help me up and follow me. Katzati, wait here. Viln, wait outside 10 meters like you always do." I do hear him moving backwards.

Rokoa starts pushing me up. This gel launcher is far too big for me, and the sheer act of firing it reliably would be a challenge.
>>
No. 563428 ID: d470e9
File 139278244088.png - (25.08KB , 800x800 , 770.png )
563428

That is not 10 meters. He snuck back up to the wall.

>"Viln will help tiny neumono come down. Large neumono is welcome to come. Wide neumono is welcome to come. We may all group together and escape. Viln will help all come over wall. Wide neumono looking terrified. No good. Will help."

Rokoa knows full well that trying to shoot a gel launcher at it is not anywhere close to a guaranteed takedown, but she is preferring something like that over just walking with it.
>>
No. 563436 ID: d2995c

I think I side with Rokoa on this one. It obviously knows we are trying to trick it into moving away, so I doubt anything we can say at this point will make it do anything other than keep moving closer.
>>
No. 563440 ID: a87e3a

>>563428
How about we tell it "yeah okay, take me first" then run as soon as you're on the other side, to draw it away? You could use the plasma sword to make sure it can't capture you.
>>
No. 563441 ID: 4a75fa

The plan shouldn't be to walk out with it. All you need to do is lead / move it far enough away from the entrance that firing something like the gel launcher at it isn't a near suicide play- risking collapsing the cavern's only entrance, catching you in the explosion, or killing the entire group by caving hideout.

All Polo needs to do is lead it down the hall just far enough that the others can safely shoot at it and or run the other direction. Communicate that to Rokoa emphatically, or communicate an abbreviated version in her old tribe language (the fufa shouldn't know that).

>Viln will help tiny neumono come down.
I am quite capable of climbing down on my own. Slave voklit will obey and back up.

If the fufa has eaten any voklit and has even a crude understanding of how voklit honor works, and it thinks it's successfully fooling us, it'll back off and play along.

...if the fufa doesn't play along, all you can do is jump or grapple out of the way while Rokoa or Katzati blasts it (be nice if you ended up on the other side so we could HE it from the other side).
>>
No. 563446 ID: 7d6cc9

Well I was hoping it had minimal intelligence, but it doesn't seem so. You've somewhat convinced it that the others are somewhere else, but now it probably just wants to eat one of you and absorb your knowledge. Forward seems like a bad idea, backwards is only marginally better. Block it's eyesight for a while, make small talk, ask about Mara, then once you think Rokoa's lined up a shot, do a backflip off the wall. Shoot it, carefully.
>>
No. 563457 ID: 59ae70

You're not gonna outrun it, fufa spiking is a basic ability, you will have to jump back down and have everyone unload on it when it comes in and risk the cave-in. Antagonize it if you have to for a better shot for everyone else if needed but you need to run back to the others.
>>
No. 563458 ID: eaa372

Welp looks like it knows how to spot bullshit. Tell the fufa you're going to jump down now and you'd like him to get ready to catch you. Unload on it if it gets into position for "catching" you. If it does ANYTHING else just unload on it without hesitation there won't be anymore fooling the fufa with words.
>>
No. 563507 ID: fe4bfc

Tell him if he waits at the bottom you will jump down and he can catch you. Tell the others in a loud voice that its OK to climb up and jump off because Viln will catch them. It should listen to you if it thinks it can get all of you to just fall in its mouth.

Then once he is down and ready to "catch" you shoot him a bunch with the gel launcher. Just make sure he does not see you or Rokoa aiming it until the last second.

If that does not work you might just have to dive off the ledge and have Rokoa blast it as best she can. As the only one currently wearing armor you should be somewhat resistant to the explosions and fire if you have to shot it this close.
>>
No. 563780 ID: d470e9
File 139304879426.png - (48.01KB , 800x800 , 771.png )
563780

"Please obey and step back like a voklit slave."
>"Slave is not correct."
".... I'll jump down. Get ready to catch."
>"Am ready."

... the damn guy can nearly peer over the ledge anyway, but I still signal to Rokoa to get ready to fire the launcher. I jump off behind me, away from the fufa.

>"Begin thinking neumono are not bright."
>>
No. 563781 ID: d470e9
File 139304888555.png - (114.98KB , 800x800 , 772.png )
563781

The fufa starts climbing over. Rokoa shoots. This isn't good, but the fufa won't back off, and I don't see a better alternative.
>>
No. 563782 ID: d470e9
File 139304890340.png - (76.43KB , 800x800 , 773.png )
563782

>>
No. 563783 ID: d470e9
File 139304891912.png - (173.09KB , 800x800 , 774.png )
563783

>>
No. 563784 ID: d470e9
File 139304893449.png - (107.04KB , 800x800 , 775.png )
563784

>"Fufa will admit to not being on neumono team."
>>
No. 563785 ID: d470e9
File 139304894881.png - (106.29KB , 800x800 , 776.png )
563785

>>
No. 563786 ID: d470e9
File 139304902053.png - (50.82KB , 800x800 , 777.png )
563786

>"Rokoa Polo please climb wall quickly will help up and other neumono unimportant."
>>
No. 563787 ID: 57a559

>>563780
>".... I'll jump down. Get ready to catch."
Viln is dead
Fuck

Kill that son of a bitch
We need fire
>>
No. 563790 ID: a87e3a

>>563786
Yell at Rokoa to save her. She is close, she can yank the gel off and toss it in an unoccupied area of the cave. Or back at the fufa.

If it gets tossed back at the fufa, shoot the damn gel with an HE round as it gets close to the fufa so that it can't grab it again.

If the explosion goes off and the fufa isn't immediately attacking us, yell at it that Katzati is important to YOU. I think we're going to have to give up, really. Nothing we have can kill the fufa and it is too smart to deceive easily. As soon as you go over that wall it'll grab you and Rokoa and bring you to the Salikai. Best we could do is use the plasma sword to cut free and run.
>>
No. 563791 ID: 5fd94e

>>563790
Sticky Gel
>>
No. 563792 ID: 59ae70

Have rokoa throw the gel back at the fufa, shoot it with HE when it gets close to it like the one guy said, you may have to surrender otherwise.
>>
No. 563793 ID: 4a75fa

Okay. First lesson: this fufa is smart. Or at least, not stupid. It knew your group well enough to know Viln was no longer a slave, it understood Rokoa's attack, and it knew how to counter a sticky explosive (which shows either planning or very on the spot responses).

First countermeasure: don't use signals or words it knows. When you're communicating with Rokoa, cheat, and use her hive's language rather than English.

>Katzati
Biggest problem is she was just hit by an explosive big enough to kill her (and seriously injure Rokoa) if it goes off. We don't know how much time is left on the chemical fuse (can't be much). It may be sticking to her shirt, or if we're lucky, there's still enough fufa-fragments stuck to it to prevent a good bond.

Rokoa's the only one close enough who can possibly act to save her, if she can throw it far enough away from them (assuming that's even possible without setting it off).

If she can throw it back at the fufa, treating it as skeet and detonating it with a bullet isn't the worst idea. It would play into the fufa's perception of you as apparent inferior intelligences. He'd see you trying the same dumb thing twice, not expecting improvement.

>overall plan
...I can't help but think we're screwed. If we back down, Polo either gets eaten or captured and Katzati explodes. If we fight, we don't have good odds of taking this down quickly, and the fufa could still throw a sonic attack or a do that flesh-spear thing we saw before with Biles. I don't see how the hell we avoid getting half the party killed unless we're very lucky.

>other neumono not important
They are to me.
>>
No. 563795 ID: a87e3a

>>563791
Uh, what? Are you trying to say that it can't be removed from Katzati or that it can't be thrown after it's grabbed because it'd stick to Rokoa's hand?

In the former, Rokoa could use the plasma sword to carve away the gel. In the latter, Rokoa could use a rock or the launcher itself to scoop off the gel and throw it that way.
>>
No. 563797 ID: 4a75fa

>>563795
If it's stuck, the simplest solution would be to tear it off with Katzati's shirt. That gets it off of her, and balls it up in something to protect Rokoa's hands (until it burns through the cloth in seconds or less).

Plasma sword anywhere near that sounds like one hell of a bad idea. Too much risk of setting the volatile explosives off.
>>
No. 563800 ID: a87e3a

...actually, come to think of it, if the fufa thinks we have enough time to get over the wall, there might be enough time for Polo to get to the gel and grab it off Katzati. With her armor Polo won't even have to care that the gel sticks to her hands. Then we could be awesome and use the grappling hook to attach ourselves to the fufa. Almost-Kamikaze attack!
>>
No. 563801 ID: d470e9
File 139305735406.png - (109.61KB , 800x800 , 778.png )
563801

"Save her!"
"Fufa, spike me up!" Rokoa yells over my last word.

Rokoa makes a lunge at Katzati as I hear a crack from the fufa, along with a burp, as a spike launches out from it and impales Rokoa.

"Save Polo!" Rokoa yells, and still manages to take hold of the gel and kicks herself off Katzati, tearing some burning shirt and fur with it while she gets tugged back by the fufa. She won't be able to just wipe it off on a gun and throw it at the fufa, but when Rokoa tells the fufa to impale her and bring her up, I expect she knew this. What I don't like is how she assumes that the fufa is going to reel back a time bomb on itself, but it appears to be doing exactly that. That is more confirmation that it does intend on keeping me alive at high cost.

A plasma sword is also the closest thing I have to accessable, quick fire, and my move may be to make a lunge for that. The gel must be at critical mass by now.
>>
No. 563803 ID: a87e3a

Grab onto Rokoa or the spike. That will force the fufa to take the gel and try to shield both you and Rokoa from its explosion. You can use the plasma sword to detach you and Rokoa from the spike once the threat of the gel is passed, and maybe you can slice up the Fufa a bit too.

Maybe we can get it to say whether or not it killed Viln.
>>
No. 563804 ID: 64228d

Rokoa seems smart, while the blast from the gel will still be dangerous for her, she might only lose an arm if she's lucky. Follow her cues and play along, don't put yourself in any unnecessary danger. Remind her to stay alive, and get ready to get her out of there when it blows.
>>
No. 563820 ID: 2f4b71

>plasma sword
>Gel stuck to Rokoa's hand
If she's going to lose the hand - and probably arm - anyway, may as well send the bomb to the Fufa without the rest of Rokoa attached.
>>
No. 563822 ID: a5c85a

Toss Rokoa the plasma sword. She's crazy enough that chopping her hand off is on the menu.
>>
No. 563826 ID: a4aa27

This has to be one of the Salikai Fufu's. It seems to be after us specifically and seems to have orders to capture you. Also if it is following Rokoa's orders it might be trained to take orders from anyone on there side.

So guessing that they are desperate enough to send it after you even with the chance it might end up eating everyone. So that means they have fed it enough people to get it fairly smart.

Right now Rokoa is trying a suicide ploy. Either we need to let her and then bombard the fufu with the launcher while its weakened. Or use the plasma sword to free her and chop her hand off so we can get the bomb away from everyone.

You could try to plasma sword the fufu directly but that would put you in its reach. You might be able to do some damage but it could probably just engulf you and take the sword away at that point. Unless the plasma sword really messes it up.

I would say get the sword and wait to use it right as the fufu has drug Rokoa close. If we move to fast we will be stuck trying to toss a sticky bomb that's right next to Katzati. How big will the explosion from the gel be?
>>
No. 563833 ID: 4a75fa

>That is more confirmation that it does intend on keeping me alive at high cost.
...that means, if the fufa survives what happens next, you may be able to use your life as a bargaining chip. Use an armed grenade, or the plasma sword, to hold yourself hostage. To either force it to back down, or at least to allow the others to escape.

You just have to be holding the grenade in such a way that it thinks it safer to comply than to try disarming you with one of those spike things.

There's also the chance you could force it to save Rokoa instead of just eating her and the bomb by getting closer to her.

>plasma sword
Wait, where is it? Does Rokoa still have it, or did you take it off of her? It's not listed in current inventory. Lunge for it implies it's on the floor somewhere.

With that, Rokoa could cut herself free (slash arm and spike). Or if you had it, you could jump or grapple past, slicing Rokoa free of the bomb and spike leaving the gel to hit the fufa. (Or you could pass to Rokoa).

...would really be best if the fufa didn't eat Rokoa. Last thing we need is it getting information or personality traits from her.
>>
No. 563845 ID: 4a75fa

Alright, so if the plasma sword is in the pile of equipment to Polo's side (seen here >>563786 ), that means we probably just barely have time to lunge for it, and throw it up at Rokoa as she passes overhead to the fufa. Assuming she doesn't explode mid-air above us.

Not sure if time is sufficient to just throw it to her (so she catches and cuts herself free) or if things are tight enough that we should throw it at her (use Polo's knife throwing skills and throw an on and spinning plasma sword through hand / spike).
>>
No. 563873 ID: eaa372

Toss Rokoa the plasma sword then get into the equipment pile and grab a grenade for yourself. Once you've done that load the sniper with HE rounds to follow up on the impending explosion.
>>
No. 563875 ID: a4aa27

While you are bouncing around trying to save everyone yell to Viln that if he is in there somewhere to help out. If he can help stop the fufu his dept will be repaid.

Might not do anything but worth a shot.
>>
No. 563881 ID: d470e9
File 139310627898.png - (22.20KB , 800x800 , 779.png )
563881

I dive for the plasma sword in the general pile of inventory, and whip it back to Rokoa. Her trajectory is too unpredictable, along with plasma blade limitations, that prevent me from simply throwing it like a dagger to try to take Rokoa's arm off.
>>
No. 563882 ID: d470e9
File 139310629184.png - (157.05KB , 800x800 , 780.png )
563882

She manages to catch it, and slices off the fufa's spike and her hand herself.
>>
No. 563883 ID: d470e9
File 139310629517.png - (48.12KB , 800x800 , 781.png )
563883

She flicks off the plasma blade, tosses it to back to me, and throws her hand up over the rim. There is a long pause of silence, or what feels like one, before the gel detonates.
>>
No. 563884 ID: d470e9
File 139310630423.png - (149.94KB , 800x800 , 782.png )
563884

My vision goes fuzzy, then dark. It did cause a cavein.

The jammer goes down, and I sense Rokoa, Lucera, and Katzati. Then Rokoa and Katzati. Then Rokoa alone. It only now occurs to me that I haven't seen or sensed Korli since sometime before the Fufa came.

It was not a full cavein, it was mostly the ceiling alone that came down on us, and I expect some of what was once the wall. I get hit by several rocks, and sprain some of my joints, but I don't believe anything is broken. My armor is screwed up again, though. Rokoa is lodged under some rocks. I only know where Katzati and Lucera were before going silent.
>>
No. 563885 ID: 5986d1

Like it or not, first priority should be dig up Rokoa. A one-handed Rokoa is still a powerful enough ally to help you locate Lucera and Katzati.
>>
No. 563886 ID: a4aa27

Listen very carefully for movement before you do anything. Do not want to climb out of the rubble right into the fufu's mouth.

If you can get yourself free first priority will be arming yourself and then rescue.
>>
No. 563888 ID: 4a75fa

Dang. Should have suggesting diving below the table. Would have offered a teeny bit of protection.

Can you tell why people blinked out of empathy? Did it feel like they were passing out, or did the jammer kick back in with a smaller radius? Can you tell you badly anyone was hurt?

>Rokoa
...you probably owe her a grudging thank you. That last play was well above and beyond the line of duty.

>armor damaged
Worth it.

>what do
First priority is to try and free yourself. After that, look around at the damage. Lucera might be a priority since he was right next to you. Rokoa too, since she might need medical attention, and is better suited to getting the others out. And helping if the fufa is still active.

Be warned the fufa may not be dead. Keep a grenade handy. If you encounter it, our only play might be to threaten your own life.

Rokann was only the other side of the cavern, wasn't she? (If she and Korli were closest to the jammer, that might be why you never sensed them). She might have escaped the cave-in. If we're lucky and they're still alive, Marra and Viln might show up.
>>
No. 563893 ID: 4a75fa

Oh, also: your silence is probably more of a disadvantage than an advantage at the moment. Turn it off so anyone anyone else alive and awake in range can sense where you are.
>>
No. 563901 ID: d470e9
File 139311403161.png - (29.83KB , 800x800 , 783.png )
563901

>Can you tell why people blinked out of empathy?
Knocked out. There was a brief flash of pain from each of them before going down.

I stay still for just a moment. It's quiet, so I start wiggling out. It takes me a minute, but with some effort, I'm able to scrape one foot out, but I have to dislodge my right foor from its armor.

I take down my silence to let Rokoa know I'm here, and that I'm digging her out. She was right next to the wall, and is now a few feet under rock, and can't move much at all. Or breathe. She used her bad arm to protect what she could, and only has a broken rib or two, but the amount of pressure being put on her isn't going to leave her that mobile after all. I start pulling off rocks, one by one.
>>
No. 563902 ID: d470e9
File 139311403949.png - (31.73KB , 800x800 , 784.png )
563902

I hear noise behind me. The fufa rises with another belch. It seems smaller.

>"Neumono... under rocks? Will assist and bring Rokoa and Polo back."

I still kept my hand on my plasma sword, and I have a grenade. I put the plasma blade over my head.

"I am not coming back with you alive."
>"Fufa priority is to bring tiny neumono back. Salikai wish to see polo. Not dead. Do not despair, fufa will not harm. Polo must come to salikai."
>>
No. 563904 ID: 96c896

>>563902
Tell it to wait. You'll go with it if it waits for you to rescue your friends.

Also ask if it ate Viln.
>>
No. 563905 ID: eaa372

Move the plasma sword up against your throat, don't want the fufa to screw up your bluff by pulling your arm off. Ask the fufa what the salikai do to keep it under control.
>>
No. 563907 ID: 57a559

>>563902
Why do you help the Salikai? You are superior, one of the most ultimate predators and clearly the smartest of your species?
>>
No. 563908 ID: a4aa27

Tell it you will come with it if it helps you save your friends. Will give you time to work out a plan and maybe figure out what control they have over it.

Suicide was a good option when we had no backup coming. Now we want to stall and buy as much time as possible. We might be able to take out or trick the fufu. Making sure our team does not die under the Rockwall is first priority.

Keep taking to the fufu. We need as much info about it as possible.
>>
No. 563912 ID: 4a75fa

...if you wish to bring me back alive to the salikai, you will dig my allies out from the rocks. You will not harm them. Do you understand?

Being captured in a worse case scenario, but you can save the lives of your allies, and reinforcements are close. There's still a chance you could escape from or kill the fufa now that it has lost mass, but we'll see.

And yeah, you might as well ask what happened to Viln.

Make sure you're not standing near the fufa, so it can't attempt to disarm you.
>>
No. 563914 ID: fa203a

Did it get hit by the cave-in, too? Is it just ragged from being injured, or is it actually oozing itself up from between the rocks? If it is, or if it looks very damaged... well, it's a fufa, but it must need to build internal structures inside itself to do things, and those structures are damaged.

You could kill it, Polo. Tell it to help you retrieve Rokoa, and when it's half done, use the plasma sword to chop it into pieces. It needs mass to do things, and most likely, the smaller the pieces get, the less they can do. At the least, the burning from the plasma blade should damage it more. Make big slashing sweeps, as large as you can. Test how hard it's been conditioned to not kill you; focus all your defensive attention on not letting it take the plasma sword from you.
>>
No. 563916 ID: 59ae70

Get it to help your allies, when it is done, murder it.
>>
No. 563918 ID: 4a75fa

>>563914
>>563916
Wait till we see the situation before we try to backstab it. We need our allies to be safe, and this thing won't die easy. It might be better if we lead it away, first.

Also, if we attack with the plasma sword, we're not holding out life hostage anymore. It can attack and injure Polo. Burn some mass to plasma damage to immobilize her.
>>
No. 563928 ID: d470e9
File 139312492821.png - (50.62KB , 800x800 , 785.png )
563928

>Kill it
It is standing up well. Attempting to kill it with what I have could go terribly wrong. It has said it wants me alive, not uninjured. I keep my distance from it.

"Why do you help the salikai? You're among the most intelligent of your species."
>"Am intelligent because salikai gave intelligence. Intelligent thoughts lead to salikai loyalty. Fufa does not ask for more."
"Help me recover my friends from the rocks, or I will not be going to the salikai alive."
>"Will."

The fufa shovels the rocks away with little more effort than I would do with dust. It plucks Rokoa out of the pile.

"Did you eat Viln, Fufa?"
>"No, unnecessary to eat people who know same things."
"Same things as... Marra. Did you eat her?"
>"Maybe. Read brain. May live. Will pull next neumono from pile. Stay put so fufa will bring to salikai."
"Fucking hell. I'm not going back to the salikai, fufa."
>"Fufa does not understand why Rokoa says such things."
"Because they'll kill me, you idiot."
>"Salikai did not say anything about killing neumono. No one killed. Fufa will keep safe for moving to salikai home."
"I think you barely understand your own orders. What are they?"
>"Fufa understands perfectly. Salikai want polo. Fufa sent to get polo to get polo enter salikai home alive."
"Please drop Rokoa and get my other friends."
>"Fufa understands neumono concept of friends and understands compulsion to gather friends. Will do."
>>
No. 563929 ID: fa203a

>Maybe. Read brain. May live.

So... it can read minds without eating them? A neumono mind, anyway. Maybe it absorbed/generated some high-level empathy sense?
>>
No. 563930 ID: e1609c

>>563928
Oh boy, this might lead to fun times.
See, we might be able to convince him that, since the salikai plan on killing us, bringing us back would defy his orders.
Then we can double loop that confusion into having him bascially escort us into the base, then letting us head free to wreak havoc under the pretense of seeing the salikai safely.
Now the problem is, what phrasing can we use to do this? Because beyond this basic Idea, I have nothing.
>>
No. 563931 ID: a87e3a

>>563928
Ask if it has any friends. Also tell it you're pretty sure the only reason the salikai wants you alive is to kill you in the most painful way. Ask why he didn't mention Rokoa in his orders, but wants to bring her in anyway.

Ask where Viln and Marra are. Also say that you heard a fufa reading a neumono's brain is one of the most painful experiences possible. Does it know if that's true? How does it feel about that fact, if so?
>>
No. 563933 ID: 4a75fa

Your orders are to bring me back, not anyone else. You do not require Rokoa or any of the others.

...get Viln and Marra's location from the fufa. The others can go and try to help them, if they can be helped, after you lead the fufa away.

Our options at this point are to lead the fufa away and then either: (1) get away from it, (2) kill it, or (3) trick it into sneaking you into the base. (It's orders are to get you inside. No details on how, why, where, or if it can't be a 'surprise').
>>
No. 563936 ID: eaa372

>understands compulsion to gather friends

The fufa understands lies and social obligation let's stop condescending to it with any more attempts at cleverness. Give it the short version of your encounters with the salikai, try to explain how the salikai used predators, neumono, and other organisms for their own purposes as they worked against each other. Explain that it is a tool to the salikai just like the Rokoa clone and how they almost killed a lot of people with nukes.

Don't give up mind you, keep the grenade and sword close to your head while you see if the fufa has any response.
>>
No. 563938 ID: e31ba5

Ok best case we might be able to confuse or get this guy on our side. But will be difficult. Right now we need to keep talking while he helps get everyone out of the cave in.

If we start a fight with him in here we risk losing everyone. So keep talking to him while he pulls people out of the rubble. Start getting any weapons that survived in case we need to go with him for awhile. Also see if you can do something with the grenade to make it usable even with your arms pinned. Suicide is stupid but hurting yourself so much it takes days for you to recover would buy time for the rescue team.

Ask him where he left Viln and Marra and tell him we want to rescue them after he helps people out of the rocks. Apologize for not trusting him but say we have only dealt with his non intelligent cousins.

If we are going to make him doubt his loyalty we need to figure out more about him. Need to discover what sort of value system he has so we can make him understand what exactly the Salikai really are. It might not work but right now its our only option that will keep our team alive.

Do everything you can to stall him. If his orders only said to bring you back we might be able to convince him to help for awhile.

He said he understands the compulsion to gather friends so start there. Ask him about that. If we can make him our friend even if the worst happens it could be a valuable ally.

Oh and one last thought. Absolute worst case scenario and you are captured you can pretend that dart Rokoa won. I know it would be hard to pretend to be her but it might save you if you can pull off that there is little or nothing left of old Polo.
>>
No. 563952 ID: d470e9
File 139313257496.png - (31.91KB , 800x800 , 786.png )
563952

>So... it can read minds without eating them? A neumono mind, anyway. Maybe it absorbed/generated some high-level empathy sense?
I'm afraid that its actual methods are far more intrusive, given Marra's life status is a 'maybe.'

"Is Rokoa in your order to bring back?" I keep my plasms blade close to my arms, and keep my arms far from the Fufa.
>"No."
"Then why are you bringing her back?"
>"This Rokoa is salikai force and we are here for Polo so Fufa will bring Rokoa back since Rokoa is here for Polo too. Fufa is beginning to wonder why Rokoa did not bring Polo back herself and looked like she was keeping Polo friendship."
"... no."
"Well keep wondering."
>"Is fine. Rokoa can stay."
"I am certain they only want to keep me alive to do terrible experiments on me and then kill me."
>"Fufa with no reason to believe this."
"I do. They have used everything they have for tools. You included. They send you, for instance, who then reads Marra's brain. I hear that that is one of the most painful experiences possible."
>"Fufa believes it is true because neumono nerves highly active throughout and empathy of Marra was wishing to die. Unnecessary pain but Fufa figure better than eating for brain. Unless die anyway in which case Fufa miscalculated."

Lucera looks comparable to when I stopped his bugged actions with an explosion. I do find our xray, which I use to find that Lucera is effectively shattered inside.
>>
No. 563953 ID: d470e9
File 139313258203.png - (28.41KB , 800x800 , 787.png )
563953

>Gather weapons
I gather some small things, and have a damage report. My sniper is bent, but everything else on me, besides some dents in my armor, are fine.

"Move to Katzati, now." I want to kill this thing, but I do not have any reliable way kill something like this. "Your orders are to get me into the base. I would like to enter the base alone. On my own terms."
>"Fufa believes agreeable."
"You say you understand what we think is friendship."
>"Yes."
"Do you have any friends?"
>"Fufa cannot think like that. Salikai say Fufa lacks life. Fufa does not understand that, but Salikai say Fufa will when Fufa is alive for first time. Fufa no desire, but understands that others understand what fufa is lacking. Fufa does not want incomplete."

He pulls Katzati out. I still keep my distance from the fufa, but I doubt she looks much better than Lucera. She has about half the broken bones that Lucera has, although the breaks that she does have look awful.

"Rokoa. Thank you. Now, Fufa, I would like to go where Viln and Marra are."
>"Left allies with Salikai path. Most likely Salikai custody now. Other Polo allies are returning now. Heartful reunions must wait because non-salikai organisms approach and should not get in way of polo meeting salikai."
>>
No. 563958 ID: a87e3a

>>563953
Fine. Tell Rokoa to make sure the others survive their injuries, and we'll go with the Fufa. Oh, and that she should meet up with the incoming army, so that she can tell them what happened here and where the salikai base is. Then we could get some reinforcements soon after the infiltration. Maybe you shouldn't say that out loud though. Looks like we're doing the infiltration mission, even if we don't especially need to anymore.

Ask the fufa why it decided putting Marra through that pain was better than killing her. That sounds almost like compassion.
>>
No. 563960 ID: 096dcd

Looks like this is it. From the sounds of things, rescue will be there shortly for the rest. As for you, it looks like you'll be infiltrating alone. Say goodbye to everyone, order Rokoa to stick with and see them out alive. You had best head out soon, before rescue forces meet with the Fufa, another fight would be devastating.
>>
No. 563961 ID: 4a75fa

>Lucera is effectively shattered inside
Shit. Just bone, not everything, right? Even still, that leaves him in bad shape.

>My sniper is bent
Enough to affect it's good function, or do you just need to compensate for a now inaccurate sight?

>Now, Fufa, I would like to go where Viln and Marra are.
Geeze, you didn't even wait for him to dig everyone out. Korli and Rokann are still unaccounted for.

>Viln and Marra likely captured or dead
Shit. Nothing you can do about it now.

>Other Polo allies are returning now.
Turn to Rokoa. I'll lead it away, and do what I can. Please make sure the ultrahive recovers my allies. Korli and Rokann are still buried, somewhere.

...give her a call and response password from your ultrahive. Something so when they arrive they don't just shoot her. (And use her hive's language, so the fufa doesn't get the passwords. She can translate into English, but he won't understand).

And thank her, grudgingly.

>things to discus with the Fufa once you're clear
Ask the fufa if it knows what war is. It read Marra's memories, she's fought in them before. Does it undertand that Marra considered our group at war with the salikai? That's a good reason you have to expect that they mean you death and torture.

The fufa understands friends. Does it understand family? The salikai likely blame you for the death of three of theirs. And you know they blame Rokoa. That's another reason.
>>
No. 563964 ID: eaa372

State that it's clearly alive if it can understand the suffering of others. Ask why it's attempting to spare other neumono.
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No. 563967 ID: 4a75fa

Oh, and if the weapon pile is nearby: grab more ammunition or grenades if you can. And Niam's time bombs. Your allies won't need it if they're being rescued, and you will. And swap your damaged sniper for the sniper Rokann looted if it's available and undamaged. And/or take the sniper ammunition for that weapon, since she won't need it if she's being carried out of here.

>give her a call and response password from your ultrahive.
If they don't understand or believe that you switched sides, ask for Rakae. She knew the original you.
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No. 563969 ID: 5fd94e

If the barrel is bent cut it a few inches below the bend with the plasma blade, accuracy and penetration will way be down but it could still work as a grenade launcher with explosive rounds.
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No. 563971 ID: 4a75fa

>>563969
Er, the heat from the blade is liable to deform the barrel right by the cut, and molten metal might run, too. That's very likely to render the sniper completely unusable.

>Fufa
Also ask that you avoid other salikai forces, in case they wish to harm or kill you. It shouldn't care, so long as you're headed towards the base.
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No. 563973 ID: 4a75fa

>Korli and Rokann are still buried, somewhere.
And Kort! Geeze, it's been so long since he complained, I almost forgot about him.
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No. 563974 ID: e31ba5

Tell it that you will come with it but want a minute to make sure your friends will survive. If you still have some regen boosters use them and if not get them as comfortable as you can.

While you are doing this ask which direction the non Salikai are coming from and if it can "protect" you from them. We want to give the ultrahive the best chance to find you and your allies so leave markings in the tunnels if you can.

Make sure to let Rokoa know to get word to the allied forces as soon as they reach here with what has happened. Tell her you are trusting her with your team and to join the reinforcements when she is able.

You might have to go to the Salikai base but do your best to make sure its on your own terms. We might be able to convince the fufu to protect you from the other Salikai forces if they get aggressive and try to tie you up or take your equipment. It is very young so we still have a chance to win it over to our side if we can prove its masters are not what it thinks.

Ask for the fufu's name. Tell it that you are going to trust it even though you do not trust the Salikai. Ask it to watch closely and if you are mistreated you are counting on it to keep you safe.

Friendly forces are closing in quickly. So delaying as much as possible and letting them know you have been captured is our first priority.
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No. 563976 ID: d470e9
File 139313703518.png - (27.79KB , 800x800 , 788.png )
563976

>Elaborate on sniper rifle status
It's broke. I won't use it unless it gets repaired, so I will get the sniper rifle that Rokann looted awhile ago.

>Elaborate on Lucera/Katzati
As long as they do not get moved around too much and are allowed to rest, they should be fine.

"Why did you put Marra through that pain instead of killing her? That sounds like compassion."
>"Fufa attempting to emulate such things when possible."
"Rokoa, make sure our reinforcements get to Lucera and Katzati. I will take a look for the other three here to make sure they got out of the cavein. Again, thank you." We do not have a general purpose response password for any situation, but as long as she surrenders, she should simply be harmlessly captured and interrogated. "Fufa, you read Marra, so you should know what war is, and what family is, and how that can be parallel to the salikai and us being at war. The salikai will kill us if given the chance."
>"Will see. Fufa will bring Polo."

Rokann comes back and leaps up on the rubble to look at what's going on.

"It's fine, Rokann. The fufa isn't hostile, anymore. Are you alright?"
>"What? Good, I guess? Yeah I got hit with some rocks, but I'm fine. We've got a group of allies! Kort and Korli are going with them while they get reinforcements, because there's been a few shots fired with salikai forces. Fuckall though, what's your ultrahive doi- shit! Are those two okay?!"
"Yes. Not really, but they'll be fine. Did you say my ultrahive?"
>"Polo must go will bring now." the Fufa says.

I could grab some items right now and rush off with the fufa before things escalate here, but it is possible that I could convince the fufa to pretend to be Viln again, the difficult part being trying to convince it to let me have that 'heartfelt reunion' after all. If I wish to risk it, I can explain the situation to my allies before a fight ensues.

Besides getting decent medical attention and better stock of weapons, I can also explain everything I know to them, which could be important information if it is true that my ultrahive is here. That is the most important thing I can think of to do before infiltrating the salikai lair, although everyone else, especially Rokoa, should be able to supply a good deal of information.
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No. 563977 ID: a87e3a

>>563976
If it pretends to be Viln it will be discovered immediately, and it will not allow itself to be captured, along with attempting to abduct you. We risk losing an astounding scientific accomplishment- making a fufa almost sapient. Even if it's incredibly immoral how it was done. I really do not want that to happen at this point.

Grab some gear and leave. Tell Rokann to tell the reinforcements that this Fufa is very smart and they should try not to kill it. Along the way, try to convince the Fufa that allowing itself to die protecting the Salikai would be be a disservice to the Salikai, because all that work the Salikai did would be lost. All those people fed to it, died in vain. If it wants to repay him for giving it intelligence, and make up for all the people it ate, then it must survive and allow itself to be studied and further improved in ways that don't cause further deaths. Maybe someone can even figure out how to make it smarter without the mind-reading process being so painful.
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No. 563979 ID: 4a75fa

>What do?
Almost all your intel comes from Rokoa. She can pass it along to the others as well as you can.

There's enough gear in the communal pile for you to get fully kitted up (replacement sniper, more sniper and pistol ammo, nades, time bombs, x-ray, food). No shotgun ammo, but oh well. And you're already patched up and on regenerations. You can't get much more medical care in the short term than that.

It's not worth putting the lives of your comrades at risk for when things almost inevitably go bad with the fufa.

The only real advantage to convincing it to stay would be if you were committed to trying to get the ultrahive to kill it for you, but I think it's proven intelligent enough to see it coming if people start showing up with lots and lots of heavy weapons.

You'll lead it away. It's only playing nice so long as you head towards the Salikai base. Rokann and Rokoa can protect the others till the reinforcements arrive.
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No. 563981 ID: 7dbf90

Passing it off as Viln is a no go, just look at what happened the last time it tried. Your Ultrahive will have no doubt brough x-ray goggles, and the lack of bones is an obvious giveaway. Do you really want to risk a fight breaking out, and loosing your 'easy' way into the facility? Don't really want to agitate the Fufa anyway, while it seems relatively calm.
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No. 563982 ID: e31ba5

You know as dangerous as going alone into there base is its a rare chance to get past there guard. If the ultrahive is right at the door they will be able to follow very shortly and the distraction might let you get in and finish your mission. Also if you back off now brain Rokoa might take it as weakness and get stronger.

I would politely ask the fufu if it would mind pretending to be Viln again for a little while. Explain that you do not want it to be attacked by your friends. Tell it that you have not eaten much in days and need to fix your gear and get some food before you go meet the Salikai.

Also explain that some of the people coming are members of your family and you have not seen any of them for a long time. You would like to talk to them for a moment before you leave. Promise that you will make sure no one tries to attack him and as soon as you get cleaned up you will go with him to the Salikai.

Right now getting him to trust us and not betraying that trust might save your life shortly. It seems to be at a critical juncture in its development. Its not stupid just very very new.

Do your best to convince it to give you some time because getting your plans to the ultrahive is very important. They will know what happened shortly but the info you have gained could save many lives shortly.
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No. 563983 ID: 57a559

The fufa's intelligent existence is now a cornucopia of ethics confusion and I almost feel bad for it. It clearly has wants and desires at this point and understands very little of its existence while still maintaining self awareness.

Okay, gear up, move out, and I guess prepare for the infiltration.
I realize that you could probably interrogate the fufa quite easily, it'd probably answer any question honestly because while it's loyal to the salikai it doesn't understand that you'd immediately use that information to hurt the salikai.

You could say it doesn't really know what the salikai is, it might just be calling the science hive the salikai for all we know. Who does it support when it says salikai, the people who have directly given him intelligence, the science hive who are enslaved by the salikai under fear of it or the actual full green,multi-armed salikai? If the green ones, which one in particular? There are two. If one salkai told you to kill the other, and then the other one told you to kill that one, what would the fufa do? Kill both?
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No. 563984 ID: d470e9
File 139314134717.png - (15.85KB , 800x800 , 789.png )
563984

On second thought, trying to meet with my ultrahive could go as wrong as trying to kill the fufa myself. I will bypass the reinforcements for now. If there is any sense to my ultrahive being here, they will find out about the fufa nearly immediately, and I do not know how the fufa may react. It could work, but the risk outweighs the reward.

"Rokoa, Rokann, please tell the ultrahive I will be going to the salikai base. Fufa, bring me there." I pause before saying that, just to grab the last few items I can before it comes swiping me up. "Goodbye, Rokann, Rokoa, please give the others my temporary goodbyes when you can." I barely manage to say while the Fufa puts me on his shoulder and starts running. "The salikai have been frustrated for not being able to meet me thus far. I would like to surprise them. Please avoid salikai troops, I do not wish to be seen until I am at the salikai's home."
>"Fufa does not understand strange request. No point to hiding."
"There is no point to not hiding, either. I am not fighting against you, so please do this request."
>"Fine. Will put you inside self to bring to salikai home." I start sinking down into it. I do not like this, but at this point, I will just have to trust the fufa to some degree.
"Remember I need to breath. They will ask you if you have me. Please show me to a secret entrance if you know of one."
>"Fufa read Rokoa brain once when told to fight her. Knew of side entrance. Will enter there and close off exit in case Polo untrustworthy. Then Fufa returns to salikai home big entrance."

This happened fast. There is still plenty that can go wrong with my entry, since I do not know where exactly in their base I can handle. However, every plan and idea to enter there base has gone up in flames before even a chance to act would surface. I feel I may as well risk this, since even if I fail, so long as I can sabatoge some systems, I may save multiple lives that are going to assault the base. I have absolutely no idea what the salikai have in store for an army.
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No. 563985 ID: a87e3a

>>563984
Ask the fufa if it thinks the salikai will survive an assault from your ultrahive. What would it do if the salikai died? Don't actually ask about the salikai troops or weapons, just ask it general questions like that about its existence and opinions to give us an idea of what's in store for us. Maybe ask what it's like living under the Salikai.
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No. 563986 ID: eaa372

Ask if it wants a name.
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No. 563987 ID: 4a75fa

>I do not like this, but at this point, I will just have to trust the fufa to some degree
No way around that, unfortunately.

>gear
Drat. Only one time bomb, and no additional grenades. Oh well. Blowing the comm system went out a while ago.
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No. 563988 ID: d470e9
File 139314501901.png - (28.97KB , 800x800 , 790.png )
563988

"Do you believe the salikai can withstand an attack against the ultrahive?"
>"Fufa thinks Salikai can put up heavy fight neumono will not like, but too many neumono if Fufa read brains right. Salikai only have few minions up on the surface."
"What would you do if the salikai were killed?"
>"Does not know. Not thinking about such matter."
"Do you want a name?"
>"Is name what defines living true intelligent organism?
"Not alone, but it is a start."
>"Will call self Lassal. First neumono ate."

The fufa runs fast, and I've gotten completely lost. It runs up to a wall, and yanks out a rock to reveal a metallic structure behind it. There is a hole.

>"Leads into base. Sure of it. Will close hole and cover with rocks to prevent neumono tools from escape. Fufa will know if attempts made."
"I understand, and I have no intention of coming back out. Thank you for bringing me."
>"Neumono is expectedly welcome. Fufa also expects Polo to surprise salikai soon. If asked where Polo is then fufa will tell salikai that fufa has brought Polo into base like asked."

It would be nice to see the look on their faces when they get the news like that, but this isn't a mission of indulgence.
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No. 564020 ID: e31ba5

Before you go in make sure to tell him that if things get bad to take care of himself and escape into the caves. If he does not hurt anyone in the ultra hive you will offer him a new home if something happens to the Salikai.
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No. 564022 ID: 93706c

You should give him a codeword, like "Coffee Cake" in case we have a fufa mixup and need to identify him.
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