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File 143430891522.png - (57.83KB , 800x600 , 307.png )
648437 No. 648437 ID: f68a09

Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/Enemy_Quest
QuestDis: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/81802.html
Previous Chapter: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/630196.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 648438 ID: f68a09
File 143430895271.png - (17.06KB , 960x560 , 308.png )
648438

Your name is Gaddjok and today is the day they execute you.

The rope is tight around your wrists. They didn't have the equipment to hold a Garakton out here so they've pumped you full of tranquilizers.
They're making your blood run sludgy to your brain. You can hardly make out the shock lance barrels pointed toward your chest.

You think about what you've done.

1]] The girl needed help. You had no idea who she was. You just thought she needed help.
2]] The Kariket is a rat bastard and so are his deacons. You would do it again, five times over.
3]] You're innocent. There's no blood on your hands. This was a setup.
4]] You didn't mean to kill the Captain. He was weak. You regret it.
5]] You have loved unwisely.
6]] You were caught trying to desert and you're confident you were right to.
7]] You don't even remember what it is you did.
>>
No. 648439 ID: b8ceae

>>648438
1, and maybe 5.
>>
No. 648441 ID: 7b7ab3

1 and 2.

We did the right thing. The Kariket is a monster, and if this screws him over, then it was worth it.
>>
No. 648442 ID: 0fc976

1 and 2.
>>
No. 648444 ID: d3be40

3 and 6, the civil war you were in was a mockery, with the leaders from both sides cooperating to gain media sympathy through the use of heavily coordinated bloodshed.
>>
No. 648445 ID: ab7529

1, 4, 5.
>>
No. 648447 ID: bd8b82

2
>>
No. 648459 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648437
Despite being drugged, do we have the strength for some choice last words?
>>
No. 648482 ID: f68a09
File 143432299946.png - (5.70KB , 960x560 , 309.png )
648482

You manage to raise your head enough to see the monitor behind the firing line.
The image of the Kariket, stern and unblinking, looks back at you, as it does to all doomed men.
Most of the time it's just a tape loop, you know. But perhaps your case merits actual observation. He would love to see you die.

You sneer at the thought of him watching you, trussed and tucked in his fineries and doused in perfume.
Witness how a true man dies, Kariket. Rat Bastard.

>>648459
You are Garakta. You have the strength.

General Hajk paces in front of the line of soldiers. His cane taps up clouds of dust.
He was like a father to you once. You were like his son.

Now he says to you:

Gadjjok Rokkolis. I strip you of your rank--

and he spits in the dirt and wipes it away with his foot.

I strip you of your history--

he spits again.

And I strip you of your name.

The last one he aims at your feet.

A no-thing stands before me now, Hajk says. I speak to an empty post. I speak to space better taken by the breathable air.

1]] And I speak to a ruin who still thinks he is a castle.
2]] And I speak to a slave who thinks he is a king.
3]] And I speak to a hatchling maggot on the carcass of our people.
4]] And I speak to my inferior.
5]] I can't hear you with the Kariket's cock in your mouth, Hajk.
6]] Remain silent.
7]] ___________________
>>
No. 648483 ID: 212dec

5
>>
No. 648486 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648482
An emphatic 5.

Eat a dick, you dried up, old bootlicker.
>>
No. 648488 ID: d3be40

7. GROVEL IN STYLE.

"NOOO! PLEASE! STOP SPITTING, YOU WHORE! I DON'T WANT YOUR [[Donkey]] ON MY [[Rooster]]! JUST GET IT OVER WITH! PLEASE!!!"

Invoke a curse using all your anger. The curse of a no-name should not corrupt anyone... right?
>>
No. 648505 ID: b5b419

>>648482
7 "And nothing is still better then you."

Bitterness of memory, an insult, a play on words, and a certain degree of self-pride mixed into one.
>>
No. 648509 ID: f68a09
File 143432915114.png - (6.49KB , 960x560 , 310.png )
648509

I can't hear you with the Kariket's cock in your mouth, Hajk.

His eyes narrow. He turns away. You laugh at his back.
You dried up old bootlick!

He returns to behind the firing line. You stand up as straight as you can.

From somewhere in back you hear Let go of me! Get your fucking hands off of me! Gadjjok!

She breaks from the grip of the guards trying to hold her back and sprints into the courtyard, her long black hair fanning out behind her.
Hajk raises his cane in pacification.
Milady, he says. With respect this is no place for--

She slaps him so hard he drops his cane.

Two in the firing line start to turn their shock spears to her but Hajk waves them off, an expression of anger and fear on his face.

She runs to you, heedless of the guns zeroed onto your heart. She throws her arms around you.

Gadjjok, she repeats, barely above a whisper. Heart of my heart. You feel her tears on your chest.

1]] I told you not to come here.
2]] That slap is going to fuel me all the way across the journey to the Mountain.
3]] I'm not afraid.
4]] Can you save me?
5]] Remember me.
6]] Don't cry. We always knew you'd see me go. Just not so soon.
6]] Never forgive him. Promise me.
>>
No. 648512 ID: 9297f4

5, 6, 7
>>
No. 648513 ID: b5b419

>>648509
2, 6
>>
No. 648514 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648509
6, 3, 5.

"Don't cry. We always knew you'd see me go. Just not so soon. I'm not afraid. Remember me."
>>
No. 648516 ID: b55301

>>648509
6, 5, 7.
>>
No. 648517 ID: ab7529

3, 6
>>
No. 648519 ID: 0fc976

6, 2, & 6.
>>
No. 648520 ID: 0df2ab

3, 6
>>
No. 648522 ID: d3be40

4, then 5.
>>
No. 648528 ID: f0e552

>>648509
"I'm not afraid. I knew I would end up here sooner or later."

"I have no regrets."

And, well I think it's very selfish to tell her to remember us. Wouldn't we want her to stop grieving once we're gone and just forget us?

Maybe we should tell her she needs to forget about us once we die.
>>
No. 648530 ID: 696535

>>648509
5.
"When I am gone, I want you to move on but never forget me or the love I gave you."
>>
No. 648543 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648528
>"I have no regrets."
"Except, y'know, the whole getting executed thing. That kinda sucks."
>>
No. 648547 ID: cbc9e6

2 and 6
>>
No. 648552 ID: ea0ad9

6, 5, 7, 2.
"Don't shed tears for me, but don't forget me, and don't forgive him. Heh, but that slap will fuel me all the way across the journey to the Mountain."
>>
No. 648576 ID: f68a09
File 143434962112.png - (6.91KB , 960x560 , 311.png )
648576

I have no regrets. I'm not afraid.
You rest your head on top of hers.
We knew you'd live to see me go. We didn't know when.
She shakes her head. Not like this.
Little sparrow, you say. Heart of my heart. Don't cry. That slap is going to fuel me all the way up the Mountain and my ancestors will joyously receive me.

Your ancestors will turn from you, Hjak says. You are stripped of--

They scream their approval, you say. Right now, in my ears. Can't you hear them?
You lock eyes with him.
Of course you can't, you say. You stopped hearing them a long time ago.
I'm not ready, she says. I'm not.
You kiss her forehead.
I am.
Move on as you were always going to but don't forget me.
And don't forgive him.

Never, she whispers.

Milady we are preparing to fire, Hajk says.

Go, you say. Don't look.

I have to, she says.

Then witness how I die.
And listen. You'll hear them.
>>
No. 648577 ID: f68a09
File 143434968547.png - (14.27KB , 960x560 , 311a.png )
648577

She has to be torn from you by the guards, who are only permitted to touch her on the stipulation that they are saving her life.

She wrestles with them as the lances are leveled once more.

Gadjjok, she howls. Gadjjok Gadjjok I'll never forgive them Kariket you are dead to me

Do it bastards, you say. Do it you shadows of men. Look at my face. Do you see my

The lance tips slam one after another into your chest.
She screams.
You roar in anguished ecstasy.
A million men and women in brass wait on the ridge far away and roar with you.

You inhale through ruined, punctured lungs and a flood of blood rushes up the back of your throat.
It spills out of your mouth and you shake with pain and laughter.
DO IT
LOOK

The lance tips activate and detonate.
>>
No. 648579 ID: f68a09
File 143434976638.png - (14.55KB , 960x560 , 312.png )
648579

"FGgAAHhhah."
You bolt awake.

"BWAH" Polyphema jumps. "Good morning, dollface. FGgAAHhhah?"
"Uuugh. Good morning." You rest on your elbow and wipe your eyes. You look around for your phone. "What time is it? How long was I out?"
"Around four."
"When did I fall asleep?"
"Shortly after the charming Earthling tradition you call 'round two." Polyphema rubs your heel with her toes. She's wearing a tight tank top and a customarily revealing thong. "I thought your sterling performance merited a siesta. What did you dream about?"
"It was like--" You look at her. "Nice monocular there."
"Oh, shit." She pulls her glasses (glass?) off her face. "I forgot I was wearing that."
"I didn't know you had a pair."
"Well, pair?"
"Um, unit."
She giggles. "Or something. I only wear it for marathons on the, uhh" she wiggles her tablet.
"Kindle?"
"Correctamundo."
"Didn't know you had that either." You look over at it. You're still jittery with the nervous adrenaline of your awakening. "You strike me as the print type."
"I am." She angles the kindle away from you. "I only use this for, ahh, personal reading."
"I've caught you in a hell of a vulnerable position."
"Shut up. I'm never vulnerable. You know me."

1]] Not even when I........... tickle you?
2]] I had another one of those weird you-dreams.
3]] I saw Gadjjok die.
4]] I felt Gadjjok die.
5]] I saw you very unhappy and it was profoundly disturbing.
6]] I just had a kind of a bad dream. I don't really remember it.
7]] I'll tell you about the dream if you tell me what you're reading there.
8]] Squeeze your oculot girlfriend's butt until you calm down.
9]] Find some clothes because it's your turn to make breakfast.
10]] ________________
>>
No. 648580 ID: a5478c

1 & 2
>>
No. 648581 ID: 0ee153

1 and 9. Dunno whether to mention it now while they're having a moment or after they've had food and relaxation.
>>
No. 648582 ID: ab7529

>>648580
Yup.
>>
No. 648583 ID: 89941a

1 & 8
Although be sure to move the kindle elsewhere, don't want to sit on it by accident.
>>
No. 648586 ID: defceb

1,8, then 2 when you calm down.
>>
No. 648587 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648579
1, 9, and 2.

Tickle fight! Then when that fun's over, grab ye clothes. We'll tell her about the dream while we prepare breakfast.
>>
No. 648589 ID: f68a09
File 143435487348.png - (12.66KB , 960x560 , 313.png )
648589

"Not even if..."
You put a hand on her ass. "Not even if I..." You roll over so that you're on top of her. She raises an eyebrow and scoots her kindle out of the way.
"Not even if I TICKLE THE FUCK OUT OF YOU?"

"Ack Zack No NO NO STOP AAAAH"
She locks her arms in place to try and prevent access to her armpits and you go for her sides.
"FUCK YOU FUCK YOU GAAAH NO AAHAHA" She tries desperately to wiggle out of your grasp and you lock her in place.
"YOU'RE NOT GETTIN AWAY"
"I'M GOING TO KICK YOUR NUTS OFF DON'T EVEN TRY IT I'M AAHAA NO"
You catch her foot and tickle that too.
"NO. NO ZACK NO FEET I AM DRAWING THE NO NO HAAHA FUCK YOU"
You drop her feet and tickle her hips and the small of her back instead. She writhes to get away. "ZAAACK I'M GOING TO BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF"
Her hips undulate wildly under your hands and rub up against you. She tries to push your chest away but you grab her hand with the hollow of your neck and trap it with your chin.
Maybe it's the itty bitty black thong or maybe it's the panting but at some point the tickling makes its traditional switch from more of an excuse to touch her than a battle tactic.
"ZACK," She pants. "STAH. NAH. NO. HAAAH. BASTARD."

1]] Finally relent. Make the poor girl breakfast to make up for it.
2]] Kiss her and stand up. Find your clothes before you get too turned on; you've already done it twice and she hasn't had the benefit of a nap.
3]] To quote The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, Breakfast Can Wait. Transition from tickling into doing something else with your fingers. It's OK if you're doing the work.
4]] ______________________
>>
No. 648590 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648589
1 and 2.

Give her a kiss, get up, get dressed, and make that girl some breakfast.
>>
No. 648595 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648590
I'm thinking waffles, personally.

That or toast and scrambled eggs.

I'm a fan of both.
>>
No. 648609 ID: 8bd2b1

Hey man, if you're getting turned on, go for it. 3. Afterwards, breakfast and dream talk, methinks.
>>
No. 648612 ID: 2a7417

Break off, break fast.
>>
No. 648629 ID: 7b7ab3

We should probably tell her about the dream, though I am hesitant to bring up such an obviously painful memory of her's.

It would probably be best to wait until breakfast is squared away.
>>
No. 648684 ID: ea0ad9

1, 4, 2.
Stop, "Sorry, but with how many times I'm vulnerable before you, I needed that." Start looking for clothes. "The lens"--Yes, just call it a lens--"doesn't make you look vulnerable, if you're wondering. Makes you look stronger. I mean, not like, Warrior stronger, but personality."
"Alright, I'll make some breakfast. Both because it's my turn, and I probably owe you at least that much now."
Once we're making breakfast, we can bring up the dream: "Had a, uh, another vision thing. Was "The Mountain" your guys' heaven or something?"
>>
No. 648710 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648684
She's going to wonder where we heard of "the Mountain."

"I, um... experienced Gadjjok's last moments."
>>
No. 648732 ID: f68a09
File 143443173819.png - (9.19KB , 960x560 , 314.png )
648732

You relent, kiss her, and unpin her. "Sorry, sorry." You look around. "Where's my shirt?"
She waves her hand. "Somewhere. You're not sorry at all, are you?"
"Not even a little." You stick your head into your shirt and she takes advantage of your restricted eyesight to slap you on the ass, hard.
You jump.
"I'm not ticklish," she says.
"You're absolutely ticklish."
"I was playacting."
"Everyone who says they aren't ticklish is actually insanely ticklish and they only say they aren't because they don't want to be tickled."
"Do you know what tickling is on the Other Side?" She gets in front of you and makes a solemn face. "It's a declaration of war."
"You're making that up."
"I am not. It's a torture."
"No it isn't."
Her grim look cracks into a smile around the edges. "Yes it is."
You tickle her stomach. "No it isn't"
"YES yes it is." She leaps away from you like a cat. "De-escalate, Mr. Ambassador."
"I will." You pull on your pants. "Through the universal language of breakfast foods."
"Magnifique." She slides past you to her closet and rummages through her hangars. "What's the special, Garçon?"
"Pancakes Au Zack Avec a shitton of syrup," you say. "You have syrup?"
"What kind of decadent socialite do you take me for?" She's settled on a pair of Yoga pants that somehow make her posterior look even shapelier than before. "I have everything."

Her eggs are all organic and her flour is from Whole Foods. You can't find any Pam oil so you use olive oil from what looks like actual fucking Italy. "This feels like overkill," you say, examining the fridge. "I didn't know they made artisanal butter."
"This, Zackary, is the lifestyle within your reach," she says. "With your generous Bureau stipend. You may be a professional bachelor but the days of instant ramen are in the past. I've been meaning to take you somewhere flouncy so you can flounce around."
"Upgrade the wardrobe?"
She shakes her head. "The wardrobe can stay. I find it endearing."
"Is that a good adjective for a wardrobe?"
"One mustn't forget one's roots." Polyphema blows a strand of her trademark wild bedhead out of her vision. "That's why I've been thinking of starting a farm. Come unto my table, Zackary! Let us speak of many things."
"I'm mixing."
"Then let us speak of many things as you mix."

1]] I dreamed about Gadjjok.
2]] I dreamed about Gadjjok's execution.
3]] What's the Mountain? Is it afterlife?
4]] I'm wondering about Warrior Family stuff. GG wants me to meet her parents.
5]] So I have attempt number 2 with Meg tomorrow. I'm nervous.
6]] So I had my date with Bika the other day and there were these weird people who followed us.
7]] What have you been up to since our wilderness adventure, Polyphema?
8]] _______________
>>
No. 648733 ID: 0fc976

7, 1, 3.
>>
No. 648734 ID: bb78f2

>>648732
7, 3
>>
No. 648735 ID: b5b419

>>648732
7, 3

I don't see how bringing up excessively painful memories has any relevance.
>>
No. 648741 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648732
7, 4, 3, 1.

If we're speaking of many things, then these are what I choose.
>>
No. 648748 ID: 2993af

"Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax? Of cabbages and kings?"
7
>>
No. 648759 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648748
This is basically a necessity, considering her choice of words. Let's show her our literary chops!
>>
No. 648766 ID: 5f7625

Wow, you guys learned not to talk about other women to your woman.

1, definitely, since we are being honest with her. We might segue into 2 if the conversation carries us that way, and then it'll become a discussion of her world and politics eventually. We won't do that unless we have to to though, though I do wonder why sleeping with us is making her dream of him. Maybe we are similar (though again, we'll only broach the subject if it comes up naturally in conversation.)

If conversation dies continue onto 7 and then 3. Don't bring up the other girls. If she brings it up we can discuss them.
>>
No. 648772 ID: ea0ad9

>"Then let us speak of many things as you mix."
>8, 2, 3, 4, 7, 6.8, 5.8, 8.
"You asked for it. First thing on my mind... Had another dream-memory-leak thing. Gadjjok's execution. What's The Mountain?

Second, since you're oh-so-interested in knowing who your man's dating--Let's just get out there and ask it, what are warrior families like? Do they even do that with Dulamads, or do I need to be especially worried about upsetting a lady now?

Thankfully, not everything has to be such a big gauntlet. While I've got the mystery route with you, I also feel I can trust you, especially after our little T-and-D up at the Ridge. So, how about your time between now and then? Is that going to be another one of your charming mysteries, or will I be graced with the knowledge today?

Wish I could enjoy every little aspect, but it seems that there are some stalkers now. Had a couple following me yesterday. Don't suppose you've ever had to deal with people like that?

Finally, another mystery I've been attempting to unravel: Floaters. I still know squat about them, other than that they love their experiments.

Oh, and there's that Gala, tomorrow. I'd invite you, but I'm already kind of a plus-one guest. Since you're up here living the high life, maybe it would be a great spot to take one of your other guys--which, I'll be honest. After the talk about your relationships, I'd be surprised if I was your only partner right now."

Once that bit of discussion's out of the way,
>"A big ol incestuous peer group called a Dulabira."
8, again: Would you be interested in forming a Dulabira, or keeping things more hush, now?
>calling myself a swinger makes me feel like a horny grandmother.
'Cause I wouldn't mind being introduced to some new friends out of your side, but equalibrium being what it is, it wouldn't be fair for me to meet your 'Romalamads' if you choose not to meet mine. Is there, like, a group term for the individual regardless of Alamad and Dulamad?

>>648766
>Don't bring up the other girls. If she brings it up we can discuss them.
>"Of course things get messy, doll," Polyphema says. "Love is a very messy thing."
We can't expect to make scrambled eggs if we keep them in the carton. Of course, shoving an egg out of the nest isn't wise, either, but since Poly, at least, has brought up this all and taken an interest in it, I think giving her that push is worth a chance. GG, maybe not so much. As for Bika, well,
>"With some skut to taste, although they often keep to themselves."
Definitely going to have to ask her how she'll feel about it all. Maybe a little taste of Golboria will be good for her, but maybe she'll keep the relations to a minimum.

Meg's a wildcard--One one hand, Floaters seem to be about practicality and efficiency, so knowing who the others are would be a good thing, but on the other hand, she's the first Floater with the hormonal emotions, and who knows which way those will go. Plus, she might be a little angry still over our first date. Point is, Poly should be open to the idea.
>>
No. 648787 ID: ad7bba

3.
>>
No. 648793 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648766
>Don't bring up the other girls
Kinda inevitable given our job and the nature of our relationships. Besides, if we're going to discuss such things, Poly would be the most accepting and understanding.

>>648772
Well, that certainly covers the bases. Might want to let Poly get a word in at some point.
>>
No. 648797 ID: d820c1

If we're just picking subjects, then 1, 3, 4, and 7.
>>
No. 648799 ID: ea0ad9

>Might want to let Poly get a word in at some point
That's what the line breaks are meant to convey, giving her a chance to respond.
>>
No. 648800 ID: 334db2

Let's not bring up the dream, at least not right now. I say 7 or 6, then maybe 4.
>>
No. 648802 ID: 3d29ee

>>648797
If we are just picking subjects, then I suggest adding 6 to your selection. I feel it is important that Poly be made aware of the possible threat.
>>
No. 648803 ID: cfa084

>>648800
Definitely 4.
Half the reason we came to her was for advice.
>>
No. 648804 ID: 87aae3

7, 6, 4.

She updates us on her life, we update her on ours.
>>
No. 648806 ID: 82d576

7, 6.
She's in a whimsical mood, what with her trying to knock you off balance and all. Bringing up the dream now will kill that mood. Let this visit be a memory not connected to her past tragedies.
>>
No. 648809 ID: 31d120

>>648804
Agreed.
>>
No. 648814 ID: 5340db

>>648732
8]] All of the above.
>>
No. 648817 ID: 726c6c

>>648814
...Yeah, sure. Why not?
>>
No. 648834 ID: f68a09
File 143448509310.png - (8.37KB , 960x560 , 315a.png )
648834

"So." You crack an egg. "What have you been up to?"
"A sprinkle of this, a dash of that. I went to this Gala in Manhattan for the opening of a friend's restaurant and had to leave early. Terrible."
"Why?"
"Everyone was gawking at me and no one was talking at me," she says. "I was the only Visitor there. Had a little too much liquid courage and decided to leave while I could go on both my feet. This is why I need good human arm candy."
"That sucks."
"The rich suck, on the whole." You look at the glass of imported Italian Volcano Blood Orange juice she's poured herself. She gulps it down defensively. "Except me. And you. What else? I read The Sound and the Fury for the first time."
"I think I started that in High School but couldn't get past the first part with the manchild."
"You don't know what you're missing. I loved the what do you call it? Stream of Consciousness? Very Oculotti. Oh and there was this insane public art thing in the Heights. Did you read about it?"
"I think there was a facebook trending thing but I didn't click it."
"A collective in Bushwick built this incredible mechanical horse," she says. "It was this amazing eight foot high moving sculpture. I don't know if there were puppeteers in it or what have you but they marched it right down the promenade, this gaggle of topless circus people in its train with top hats and bangles and everything, breathing fire the whole way."
"The performers or the horse?"
"Everyone. Everyone was breathing fire. And they brought it down to the carousel and it mounted one of the carousel horses and started viciously dryhumping it right in front of all the parkgoers."
"Jesus."
"At which point," continues Polyphema, "The topless women seized upon it with fire axes and sledgehammers and tore the whole thing down. Art."
You squint. "What did it mean?"
"At the time I had no fucking idea," she says. "I was only really there for the breasts and the fire."
"Respectable."
"But in retrospect I'm fairly sure it was a reflection of the experience of being Garakton in the Human world."
"Were there any Warriors in the, uhh, troupe?"
"God, no," she says. "A topless Warrior swinging an axe around? In Golboria that's daily life but here it's blue suicide. I'm told that the artist who came up with it is a Warrior man, though. Boggles the mind, doesn't it, how they manage to pick their way through a place like Earth with all of that-- hooftah going on inside them all the time. You can feel the tension inside them every time you pass them on the street. All current and zero outlet. Poor fish."
>>
No. 648836 ID: f68a09
File 143448520168.png - (8.48KB , 960x560 , 315.png )
648836

"In point of fact," you say, turning the stove on, "I was going to ask for your advice about Warrior cultural stuff."
"Advice!" She beams. "The Doctor is In. How is Miss Grightogot, anyway?"
"She's good."
"You're going to have to introduce us eventually, you know," she says. "We'll meet in one way or another anyway. I'd wager you'd rather have some control over the situation."
"Right..."
"Don't worry, Zack. Oculots and Warriors get along like Cheddar and Caramel."
"Those get along?"
"Zackary you haven't lived. So what wisdom may I dispense for you about them?"
"What are their families like?" you ask.
"Wild," she says. "Warriors in any group get exponetially more Warrior-y and family doubly so. I wouldn't try to meet the family until you are well and truly comfortable dealing with the Garakton mano a mano if I were you."
"I already said I would."
"Oh, lord. Did you?" She gives you a look at the intersection of schadenfreude and pity.
"Uh oh."
"OK, Zack: Do Not Back Down. By any means. Especially from papa but mama too. They are going to go full oneupsmanship on you and I can guarantee you will not have done half the feats of strength they have so you need to puff your chest out like a rooster in a sea of hens and give them not an inch. When is this happening?"
"I don't know."
"Well if at all possible put on muscle mass," she says. "Because I love you doll but you are on the slender side and they are going to find it endlessly hilarious to try to pick you up."
"They're going to pick me up?"
"If you are lucky they are going to stop there."
"Oh Christ."
"I'll be a text away," she says. "Call me in if you need backup. Or bring me!"
"What."
"Judging by your reaction I am understanding that this is using Human rules and bringing a +1 to a date is therefore offlimits," she says. "OK don't bring me."
"People do that?"
She shrugs. "A dulabira is a dulabira. On Golboria it would be perfectly fine."
"We'll see."
"Don't let me crimp your style, dollface." She looks amused. "I'm sure you can handle it on your own."
"Are you?"
"Well I'm confident. I have faith. You've faced worse!"
"Like what?"
"I'm not sure," she says. "But we're all veterans of War here. How bad could it be, honestly. You already know what it's like to break a limb or two."
"Thank you for that vote of confidence."
"I'm taking the piss, Zack." She giggles. "Mostly."
"Speaking of the other side and Golboria and Warriors and Dulabiras and everything," you say. "I dreamed about Gadjjok just now."

Her smile flash-freezes, goes brittle, and drops halfway off her face. "Did you."

1]] And judging by your reaction I guess you know what I saw.
2]] Yeah. I felt his last moments.
3]] Quickly change the subject.
4]] I had no idea he went like that. I'm so sorry.
5]] What's going on with these dreams, Polyphema?
6]] The soldiers, the general. They were all afraid of you. Why?
7]] ________________
>>
No. 648838 ID: 9297f4

1, 2, 5
>>
No. 648840 ID: 55daa5

Aw geez. If it is what she's thinking of then 1 is too blunt. I'd go for something between 2 and 4: that "I'm so sorry" feels a little too pitying. It was a pretty good death from his perspective. So, maybe: "Yeah, I felt his last moments. From what I got, he felt pretty good about it, apart from leaving you. I'm sorry."

Then you take time for whatever support or comfort you feel she needs, before moving on to 5 and 6.
>>
No. 648841 ID: ea0ad9

>Boggles the mind, doesn't it, how they manage to pick their way through a place like Earth with all of that-- hooftah going on inside them all the time.
I'm guessing "Hooftah" is the need for challenge, battles, and whatnot.
>Her smile flash-freezes, goes brittle, and drops halfway off her face. "Did you."
1/4/3
"Uhhhh I'm guessing you know what it was. Sorry about that. There's that Gala tomorrow. I'm kind of the plus-one of Meg, but since she's going to be up on stage--
>She shrugs. "A dulabira is a dulabira. On Golboria it would be perfectly fine."
--and you already said Dulabira are fine with plus extras, so if you're up for it I can ask the others."
"But I don't know how far that goes and my human relationships instinct is telling me not to go farther than hanging-out slash casual-date, so don't go getting your hopes up."

Still wondering about the rest of her Pluses. Zack can't be the only person she's dating.
>>
No. 648845 ID: ab7529

Just a simple "Yeah" will suffice. You know what she's asking.

Sorry. I wouldn't want to drag it up, but it doesn't feel right seeing something that personal and not telling you.
>>
No. 648846 ID: 34333b

>>648836
1, 4, 5.
>>
No. 648847 ID: bb78f2

1, 5
7]] Sorry. I'm testing to see if all these dreams are related to you or if there's an unknown Oculot psi network you guys don't even know about that human's can access when sleeping next to an Oculot. I can't stop what I'm seeing, I'm prying into your life without your permission. I was hoping I was reading someone else's memories again, an Oculot next door or an old friend of yours or something.

Should we be worried about this, Poly?

I mean, this is going to be world changing shit once the public knows what happens when humans are dreaming near Oculots, which will probably happen more once progressive stances become more popular as they have in the past on earth. There's the current hate stuff that we definitely need to worry about, but there's secrets you guys probably really want to keep. I might need to get a CAT scan or something soon down at HVAO? Or should we keep this under wraps for now? This isn't the first secret I've been told to keep in this job. Third maybe? I can keep it. I don't think I've mentioned it to Carlson yet in any report.
>>
No. 648852 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648836
1, 4, and 5.

Sharing dreams stinks sometimes.
He was very brave, and he loved her very much, right to the very end.
Why is this happening? How is it possible?
>>
No. 648863 ID: 2a7417

For now, 4 and 3. GG's parents are first generation immigrants, so they may not be opposed to bringing a dulabira. You could help us play up our strengths/advise us on warrior culture, and you'd meet GG. Does that sound fair?
>>
No. 648866 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648836
Also, GG's parents sound like a challenge.
But that's okay! We're bold, daring, brave, and willing to do what it takes.
Plus we have GG to help us prepare and back us up.
>>
No. 648871 ID: 2a7417

>>648863
Oh shoot, I forgot what dulabira actually means for a moment. What I meant is what I believe humans call a "wingman."
>>
No. 648875 ID: 1f3797

Welp. I guess there are deep old wounds after all.

>>648847
Yes. Presenting it from this angle, the big picture, the assimilation and everything, would be more merciful than discussing what seems like something she doesn't want to discuss.
>>
No. 648884 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648863
>>648871
I don't know. They'll probably see getting outside help like that as a sign of weakness.
>>
No. 648891 ID: ea0ad9

>>648884
Much of a person's strength comes from their allies, friends, family... This is true regardless of what species you are, so they should be able to respect it, especially if Poly said so.
>>
No. 648892 ID: b5b419

>>648836
5

Voting against 1, 3 and 4.
Can we not.
>>
No. 648896 ID: b8ceae

>>648836
5. Maybe 2 and 4.
>>
No. 648901 ID: ad7bba

2, 7: He was amazing, 5.
>>
No. 648905 ID: f68a09
File 143449929643.png - (9.95KB , 960x560 , 316.png )
648905

"Yeah." The last vestiges of smile are gone from her face. "Guess you know what I saw."
She purses her lips. "Mhm."
"He was brave."
"I don't want to talk about this, Zack." She stands up. "I really don't want to talk about it. And I need you to promise me: if you see something you don't think I'd want you to see then you need to try to wake up from it somehow. OK?"
"What wouldn't you want me to see?"
"Things like what you saw," she says. "Please."

1]] I promise.
2]] I'll try.
3]] I don't know if I can make myself wake up like that.
4]] I just wish I knew more about who you are. I love you but I still don't even know your name.
5]] Does it hurt to remember or is there something you don't want me to know? You can tell me if there is.
6]] ____________________
>>
No. 648906 ID: bd8b82

you can try, but there could be a bit of psychic residue and waking up from that could be hard.
>>
No. 648907 ID: 9297f4

There may be times where we can't, but we'll try.
>>
No. 648908 ID: ad7bba

1, 6: What's up with these dreams?
>>
No. 648909 ID: 0fc976

>>648905
I promise to try. Don't go near 4 or 5.
>>
No. 648911 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648905
"I'll do my best. I promise."
>>
No. 648912 ID: b8ceae

>>648905
2 & 3. Seriously, she's lived long enough to develop a skill for lucid dreaming, but very few humans can do that. Being able to will yourself awake is hardly a trivial task.

Also, what's up with these dreams? This is super not normal for humans.
Taking control of a dream is hard enough when it's just your mind, but here Zack is up against outside interference.
>>
No. 648916 ID: ab7529

2. Sorry. I'm not trying to dig around in your head on purpose. I'd give your space, if I knew how to.
>>
No. 648926 ID: f68a09
File 143450357604.png - (9.20KB , 960x560 , 317.png )
648926

"I'll do my best," you say. "Promise."
"Okay." She takes a deep breath. "Okay. And I'll try to... control it. Somehow. I don't know."
"Seriously what is up with these dreams?" you ask. "It's super not normal for humans."
"I really don't know," she says. "I wish I could tell you it's happened before but it hasn't. I'll broadcast happy thoughts or something. Maybe an ASMR cassette or nyquil."
"I could try nyquil," you say.
"Good. Let us chase away our troubles with pharmaceutical drugs as God intended." She pulls a spatula out of a drawer at her waist and flips it around in her hand. "And you can make me pancakes to make up for killing my buzz."
"Yes ma'am." You take the spatula from her, grateful for her elastic emotional constitution.
She takes her seat at the table. "What recipe is this?"
"What if I told you it was my sister's homemade from scratch?" you say.
"Oooh. A Nguyen trademark creation."
"Oh, no, it's from allrecipes.com." You ladle a pancake onto the griddle. "But what if I told you????"
"As long as it's tan and tasty it'll remind me of you. And it's flat, like your butt." She slaps the table. "Zing!"
You flick water at her from the sink. "It's a runner butt."

1]] I gotta head out after this. I totally lost track of time. As evidenced by me making pancakes at 4 pm.
2]] So what're you gonna do with the rest of the day? Want to hang out?
3]] So what're you gonna do with the rest of the day? Want to go out for the night?
4]] Maybe you coming with me to GG's isn't that bad an idea. Though you should probably meet her first.
5]] There's this concert thing I'm going to tomorrow. Want to come with?
6]] _________________
>>
No. 648928 ID: 0ee153

>>648926
4.
>>
No. 648935 ID: 7c0775

>>648926
1.

The sooner we start prepping for the upcoming events, the better. We let it get way later than we should have, and we still need to talk to GG about getting prepared for the meeting, and we need to get ready for the gala tomorrow.
We have a pretty full schedule.
>>
No. 648937 ID: d3be40

1. You have to prepare something for the meeting.

Soldier-Tier Torso and Head Armor, maybe?
>>
No. 648939 ID: 0fc976

4, 1.
>>
No. 648940 ID: 861acd

>>648935
This. As much as I would love to stay, we have obligations to the other girls. I say we speak to GG first and get that squared away, then see to getting ready for tomorrow.
>>
No. 648941 ID: e114bc

>>648919
4.

6: I'd ask how well Oculots and Floaters get along, but Meg isn't your usual Floater.
>>
No. 648942 ID: d820c1

>>648926
1.

>>648937
What, roll up looking like a weedy Doom marine? They might get a kick out of that.
>>
No. 648945 ID: 240a2c

"I gotta head out after this. I totally lost track of time. As evidenced by me making pancakes at 4 pm. But hey, call me later, okay?"
>>
No. 648946 ID: 946dd8

>>648935
>>648937
>>648945
These. We should talk to GG, see to getting some offering for the parents, and then get ready for the gala. But first, make sure Poly knows she should get in touch with us later. We're never more than a phone call away.
>>
No. 648947 ID: b5b419

It's weird how we're not seeing her memories, exactly.

We're inside the people she remembers. Is it always Gadjjok or someone? Who was it last time?

4, 5
>>
No. 648948 ID: 3d29ee

1.
>But hey, call me later, okay?
Plus this.
>>
No. 648949 ID: 0c3d91

>>648946
Agreed.
>>
No. 648952 ID: 6d989a

Just because we're taking care of things doesn't mean she can't be with us. 1 & 2.
>>
No. 648954 ID: f68a09
File 143450906382.png - (7.09KB , 960x560 , 318.png )
648954

"I gotta go after we eat these," you say. "I totally lost track of time. Hence, uh,"
"You making me breakfast at four?"
"That. Right. But you know you can call me whenever, right?"
She raises an eyebrow. "Whenever?"
"Well I might not be able to answer dependant on the circumstances but yeah. Totally." You flip a stack of pancakes onto her plate and pass it to the table.
"Right back at you, lovey." She slathers it in syrup. "Just because we have some crossed wires in the spooky dream department doesn't mean I don't want you in my bed whenever you can spare the time." She takes a massive bite. "Mmm."
"Good?"
She nods and gives you the thumbs up while she works her way toward swallowing it. "Thif if delifouf."
"I'll tell my sister you said so."

She kisses you in the doorway, slow and deep.
"I love you, Zack."
"Love you too, Polyphema."
She bobs back and forth on her heels against the doorframe. "It's not because I don't trust you, the dream thing."
"Don't worry about it."
"I'm just-- right." She kisses you again. "There are just some things that-- I'm not her anymore. I'm me now. I want to focus on that. And us." She's holding your hand.
"I understand."
"OK now you have to go before I drag you back inside and the neighbors see me canoodling with a human. Give my love to the other girls."
"Got it."
"But keep the lion's share for yourself. Text me, doll!"
She gives you one last quick peck and closes the door.

On the subway ride back you text GG:

>Hey Geeg

:warrior: Zakkk!!! :) :): )

:warrior: hello cute friend

:warrior: waht is up

1]] so let's schedule this parent meeting thing for this weekend
2]] so let's schedule this parent meeting thing for next week
3]] so let's schedule this parent meeting thing for a couple weeks from now
4]] before i meet your parents there's someone i want you to meet
5]] where you at? want to do stuff?
6]] do you want to go to a weird concert thing with me tomorrow?
7]] ___________
>>
No. 648955 ID: ad7bba

7: How many times I got to triple my body mass to not get crushed at this family meet thing?
>>
No. 648957 ID: e114bc

>>648954
2,4. We can at least spend a week exercising.
>>
No. 648958 ID: bb78f2

>>648954
7]] I need some training before I meet your parents. Do you know a good regimen for a human about to meet warrior parents? Or know a guy who might know?
>>
No. 648960 ID: 240a2c

>>648958
This, and who better to train us than the Red Wonder herself? She can explain the finer details while she whips us into shape.
>>
No. 648961 ID: e114bc

>>648954
2,4. We should at least exercise a bit.
>>
No. 648962 ID: 87aae3

>>648960
This is a great idea!
If GG trains us, she can explain the best way to approach her parents, and judge when she thinks we're ready to meet them.
Is there a downside I'm not seeing?
>>
No. 648964 ID: 0c3d91

7]] "If I'm gonna be ready to meet your family, I'll need your help to prepare. Could you train me up? And maybe school me on how to go about this?"
>>
No. 648965 ID: ab7529

>It's not because I don't trust you, the dream thing.
Of course not. She has every right to want her head to stay in her head.

>>648954
5
>>
No. 648967 ID: 0fc976

hello tall friend
2)
>>
No. 648970 ID: 38c567

5.
Let's get together and discuss how best to approach the parents thing.
And whatever else we feel like doing.
>>
No. 648971 ID: 4964f3

>>648970
This. We have some daylight left, so let's enjoy it.
>>
No. 648976 ID: 47e053

>>648970
>>648971
Agreed. Maybe we can convince her to train and teach us, like >>648964 suggested.
>>
No. 648977 ID: f68a09
File 143451280387.png - (11.05KB , 960x560 , 319.png )
648977

>hello tall friend.
>how many times do i have to triple my body mass to not get crushed at this family meeting thing?

:warrior: lmao
:warrior: you arent going to get crushed at the family meeting thing! dont worry!!
:warrior: i cant make any promises about after tho ;)
:warrior: are you still down for boinging a la warrior?

>;)
>but also ack at the same time as ;)
>i should try and put on some muscle mass
>i was thinking next week sometime?

:warrior: word

>but before then you have to help me get swole.
>and just in general i need your help

:warrior: yeeeeees gym budz
:warrior: i cant rn i have work until 8:30
:warrior: foreman gonna yell at me if he sees me txting but w/e :P i do more work per day than 5 of these dudes
:warrior: do you want to go after?

1]] sure thing
2]] ummm i didnt mean like right away. i have to take the wknd to bid farewell to my body before it is broken
3]] i got2 be fresh and not sore for this thing i have tomorrow but id still be down to hang in a nongym setting after youre done with work
4]] _______________
>>
No. 648978 ID: 0fc976

sure thing

>lmao
ayy
>>
No. 648979 ID: cfa084

>>648977
3.

We have to be on top of our game tomorrow, so no gym antics tonight. However, if she's free after work, we're good for anything else.
>>
No. 648980 ID: 4b1db0

>>648977
Sorta 1, but also 3.
How about she shows us the gym so we can see what we're getting into, but we save the exercising for later. Afterward, she can take us back to her place for whatever.
>>
No. 648981 ID: 9297f4

>>648978
[ayyy lmao in the distance]

We aren't at our best so tomorrow sounds good.
>>
No. 648982 ID: 2dcdc8

>>648980
Sounds good, though I fear "whatever" may leave us just as sore as the gym would.

>>648981
Don't forget the gala. We might not be able to make it and the gym in the same day.
>>
No. 648983 ID: 5a4a22

3
also u r cute
>>
No. 648984 ID: 46195d

>>648980
I like this.
We get a preview of things to come, then back to her for... "whatever."
>>
No. 648987 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648977
"Maybe just a tour of the gym tonight. Other than that, I'm up for just about anything."
>>
No. 648989 ID: d3be40

4. Armor Training plz
Would like to keep my spine
and my pelvis
>>
No. 648990 ID: ea0ad9

3, 4. Got a thing tomorrow, so I can't get super into it, but a tour, and maybe something light should be fine. I can recover from a little burn.

If she asks about the thing, then we can ask her about Dulabira. If she's fine with that, tell her and invite.
>>
No. 648992 ID: 7b7ab3

>>648989
What was it >>648942 said?
>roll up looking like a weedy Doom marine
We would be the weediest space marine.

>>648990
I'd rather tomorrow be a thing just between Meg and Zack. They have a bit to settle, and the other girls would complicate things.
>>
No. 649003 ID: f68a09
File 143452465725.png - (11.53KB , 960x560 , 320.png )
649003

>idk if i can go all that hard today since i have a thing to do tomorrow

:warrior: awwwwww

>i'd still love to look around it though and like, do a couple curls or something. and then go back to yours and do whatever.

:warrior: i like whatever

>where is it?

:warrior: Dolphin Fitness @ Port Hamilton

:warrior: theyre crappy enough that they cant be picky about their clientele

:warrior: so its alllll warriors

:warrior: and you!!

:warrior: ill be there at like 9 and i can let you in as a guest

:warrior: ;*


The only way you can tell that Dolphin is a gym is the sign out front. The front desk looks like an apartment's, with a fully asleep persian dude seated at it. You wonder if maybe you took the wrong door when you hear heavy thumping footsteps coming downstairs. GG rounds the corner of a stairwell in back with a duffle bag and a hoodie with a couple holes torn in it for her extra arms.
"Zack! Dude!" She pounds on the desk. "Jahan. Wake up. It's my plus one."
"Fuhgh." Jahan opens his bleary eyes. "OK. He fill out form?"
"Yep," GG says, winking at you. "Signed and shit."
"OK." Jahan drifts off again. "Don't.... break things."
"Don't worry." GG takes your hand and leads you upstairs. "The breaking things starts tomorrow."
"Do you need to wear that?" you ask, looking at the hefty sweatshirt.
"Jahar keeps the AC a notch or two above meat freezer," GG says.

The "gym" is mostly a bunch of bars, racks, and freeweights set up in what looks like it used to be a dance studio. It's not actually all that cold, but you suppose that a woman with an internal temperature like GG's would want to bundle up.
"Uh," you say. "Is this place up to code?"
"I dunno," GG says. "I don't speak code. There's a shower, though!"
"Just one?"
"Yeah but it's a nice one. C'mere." She slaps a bench and hefts an olympic bar one-handed. "I will spot you, itty bitty boyfriend."

You lie hesitantly on the bench and GG places the bar gently in your hands. "Go."
You do an experimental up-and-down pump.
"Straighter," GG says.
You straighten out.
"Word!" She strides to a rack of weights. "You have officially graduated past pipe weight."
"Are you gonna add like 50 pounds per side now?" you ask.
"Naw, dude," GG says. "Ironman starts after the weekend."
"Can't wait." Your arms are already getting a little sore just from repping on the bare bar.
"Don't worry." She bends down over the pipe and kisses your forehead. "I'll be your trainer. Worship your Ideal You, Zack!"
"Is that a new agey thing?"
"Actually dude it's the cornerstone of all Other Side religion," she says. "We pray to our ultimate, perfect selves to drive us to be them."
"Really?"
"Yep! My Goddess is the perfect GG, and you could bounce a quarter off her eyelids." She takes the bar from you and slides on weight. "But the journey of a thousand squat-thrusts begins with a single fifteen pounder. Try it now." She lowers the bar back down.

So it goes, with GG showing you various exercises across her makeshift gym and being shockingly supportive, all things considered. It's just the two of you in here. The toned musculature in GG's legs casts shadows across her skin under the lights of the fluorescents. She sees you looking and flexes her calf. "Worship the Ideal You, Z," she says. "Not the Ideal Me."
"Trying," you say, attempting to work your way around the squat bar. GG puts her hands on your shoulders and guides you through the motion. "I think this is a good soft start. It's been a pretty long time."
"Don't want to be sore for tomorrow?" she asks.
"Big day."
"Um, Zack." She corrects your posture a little. "I don't wanna rain on your parade but I remember you said you wanted to do it like a Warrior this time?"
"Yah." You try to straighten your back.
"Well if you meant Warrior Sex when you texted Whatever you're gonna be just as sore as if you went 100% in here," she says. "Or, like, 110."
"Cultural exchange, GG. That's why they pay me the hooh." You put the bar back on its rack. "The big bucks."
"Are you sure?" GG asks. "Cuz I'd be down but if you wanna, like..." She rocks her hips to one side. "Tie me up. Again. Or anything. That would also be cool with me."
"Do you want to do that?"
"Not if you really want to tussle but um." She looks around as if seeking the kind of camera this place could never in a million years afford. "What if, um."
>>
No. 649005 ID: f68a09
File 143452468419.png - (13.45KB , 960x560 , 321.png )
649005

She unzips her hoodie.
She's wearing nothing underneath but black silk rope.
"What if I've been wearing this since I got off work?" she asks, her face burning a deep cherry red.

1]] C'mon. I promise if it's too much I'll tell you.
2]] Cultural exchange can wait. Go back to her place.
3]] Cultural exchange can wait. Go back to your place.
4]] Cultural exchange can wait but you can't and there's a shower here.
5]] _________________
>>
No. 649010 ID: 0fc976

It gets redder?
Hmm. Three choices, all partially suggesting the same thing. Hmmmmmmm.
...Yes. Her place.
>>
No. 649014 ID: a55758

>>649005
2222222222
>>
No. 649015 ID: 387db4

>>649005
2.
There'll be other, better opportunities for "cultural exchange." For now, let us show the lady a good time.
>>
No. 649017 ID: 57d76a

Perhaps I'm a deviant but 4444444
>>
No. 649018 ID: e0b78d

>>649005
"Cultural exchange can wait. Let's go back to your place."
>>
No. 649019 ID: 66415b

>"What if I've been wearing this since I got off work?"

"Then you're a naughty little girl who needs to be punished. Take me to your place."
>>
No. 649020 ID: ca5378

4 is tempting, but I don't want to risk someone walking in on us, so I'll go with 2 or 3.
Whichever is closest.
>>
No. 649021 ID: f0c16f

>>649019
This. A little dirty talk should help things along.
>>
No. 649022 ID: 0ee153

>>649019
>>649021
>in public
Nah. At least wait until you're absolutely sure no one's watching.

Also, watch out for those Earth for Humans guys.
>>
No. 649023 ID: 879618

>>649005
2 or 3, depending on which one is closest.
>>
No. 649024 ID: 6b2220

>>649022
>watch out for those Earth for Humans guys
Yes.

>>649023
Yes.
>>
No. 649025 ID: d3bbf8

>>649010
It gets redder.
And yes. Her place.
>>
No. 649029 ID: 4b1db0

>>649005
Let's go to her place and get 'knotty'.
>>
No. 649048 ID: 7b7ab3

>>649029
Boo. Hiss.

But yeah.
>>
No. 649051 ID: b88e47

Not here, not right now.
>>
No. 649067 ID: 87aae3

>>649005
Oh, my. I think it's time we took this somewhere private. I say her place.
>>
No. 649074 ID: 800a06

>>649019
This, only whispered in her ear, all close and sexy like. Besides being fun, it should also throw off any eavesdroppers.
>>
No. 649084 ID: f68a09
File 143457322614.png - (6.01KB , 960x560 , 322.png )
649084

You duck out of the squat rack, and then, suppressing the urge to laugh at yourself, whisper in her ear: "Then you've been a bad girl and you need to be punished."

You feel fucking ridiculous saying it but to your surprise GG eats it up.
To the point that the (mercifully short) walk back to her place you're surprised you keep all your clothes on.

GG wants to try it up against a wall tonight.
"I don't--" You look her up and down. "I think there's a mechanical barrier here."

"That's why I've got this thing." She reaches under her bed and pulls out a low footstool. "Voila!"
"Damn, GG." You step onto the footstool. "You think of everything."
She grins, leans against the wall, and arches her back. "Still gonna punish me, Frank Castle?"

In the middle of it you have a revelation. "You totally dommed me into domming you tonight."
She giggles.
>>
No. 649085 ID: f68a09
File 143457324120.png - (14.62KB , 960x560 , 323.png )
649085

The rosy fingers of dawn find you awaking blearily in GG's bed, wrapped in her arms and faceplanted between her impressive assets. She snores quietly, her muscular chest rising and falling as if your body weren't even on top of hers. Her leg twitches.

It's Friday morning.

1]] Spend the day at GG's.
2]] Go out to eat with GG.
3]] Text Polyphema asking to take you shopping for something nice to wear to the concert.
4]] Text Polyphema asking if she wants to meet GG today.
5]] Text Bika asking her what's up and does she want you to bring her restaurant another potential repeat customer.
6]] Text Meg asking her what's up and if she's ready for tomorrow.
7]] ___________________
>>
No. 649086 ID: 2a7417

4. Ooh, and we could meet at Bika's restaurant. Suggest that to Poly.
>>
No. 649088 ID: 879618

>>649085
6, then 3.

It's time to start preparing! Let's get an update from Meg, then have Poly help us get gussied up for the gala.
>>
No. 649089 ID: ab7529

>>649086
I dunno. Having the other 3 of them meet all at once seems kind of unfair to Meg. I wouldn't be opposed to starting introductions, but 1 on 1, not all at once.
>>
No. 649090 ID: 3380e4

>>/questdis/92044
Are we ready for the girls to meet?
http://strawpoll.me/4662152

I'm gonna stay neutral and say 1.
>>
No. 649091 ID: c1d890

>>649088
Sounds good.

>>649090
We are ready, but we should wait til after the gala. We need to settle things with Meg first.
>>
No. 649092 ID: 01774f

>>649085
6, 1
Let's see how Meg's doing.
After that, let's spend the day with tall girlfriend.
There'll be plenty of time to get ready before the gala tomorrow.
>>
No. 649093 ID: 8bd2b1

Introduce Poly and GG.
>>
No. 649094 ID: e55704

Let me lay out a plan here.

First, we text meg for an update.
Second, we have breakfast with GG at her place.
Third, we text Poly to take us shopping.
Fourth, we have dinner with Bika at her place.

In my opinion, this optimizes girlfriend contact and gala preparation.
>>
No. 649095 ID: a55758

>>649094
Good plan, though I'm assuming you meant to avoid girlfriend overlap. Because I'm with >>649091.
After the gala is probably a good idea.
>>
No. 649096 ID: ad6f49

>>649094
I like this plan!
>>649095
No matter how it was meant!
>>
No. 649098 ID: ea0ad9

Let's bring Poly to Bika's and then we can take Poly to the concert. She's been our Cultural Exchange Guru so she can be the first to meet everybody.
>>
No. 649101 ID: d820c1

>>649094
This.

>>649095
>>649096
I don't see what's confusing.
Zack texts Meg.
Zack has breakfast at GG's.
Zack goes shopping with Poly.
Zack has dinner at Bika's.
That's how I read it.
>>
No. 649102 ID: 6d989a

>>649093
Yeah but after the concert.
>>649101
Sounds good to me
>>
No. 649128 ID: ff2d28

>>649094
I can agree to this plan, though I fear we may be accosted by those hoodlums at some point. Best to tell Poly, GG, and Meg what transpired.
>>
No. 649133 ID: 7fcddc

I think it's inadvisable to take Poly along to the family get together. Poly might not mind it, and GG's parents might get it, but GG thinks the Dulamad thing is dumb bullshit from a place she doesn't really remember or care about.

6, then 3.
>>
No. 649140 ID: 74f272

6, breakfast with GG, 3.
>>
No. 649181 ID: f68a09
File 143460798715.png - (10.15KB , 960x560 , 324.png )
649181

You roll off of GG and find your boxers.
The movement rouses GG, who grunts and sits up. "G'morning," she says, kicking the covers off.
"Morning, cutie." You kiss her. "Want breakfast?"
"I got cheerios and honey nut cheerios," GG says. "Two kinds of cheerios."
She stands up, naked as a sexy red jaybird, and opens the top compartment of her beat-up freezer. She stands in front of it for a second, airing out her boobs and checking her food stocks. "And like there's eggo waffles back here but I have no idea how old they are."
"Honey nut all the way."
"Same." She snags the box off a shelf. "I love honey nut. And making my honey nut!!!"
"Oh my god."
"Ha Haaaah." She sits down heavily on the bed, which groans loudly in protest, and eats right out of the box. "That was right off the dome."
"Give me some cheerios."
"NO prep. K." She passes you the box then finds some underwear. You crunch some cheerios.
"I gotta split soon," you say. "Need to update my wardrobe for this concert thing I have to go to."
"Okey doke." GG bends down to the bottom drawer of her closet (giving you an eyeful) and comes up with two controllers. "But you can't go just yet."
"What are those?"

"I can't believe you bought a playstation just for this," you say, picking Kano again.
GG picks Sheeva. "This time, Nguyen, things will be DIFFERENT."

They aren't, but by a much narrower margin than last time.
"Fuck a duck." GG's grip tightens dangerously on her controller. When you finally uppercut her to her stage fatality demise she yells "FUCK", starts to throw her controller, then punches the floor instead. "Next time. NEXT TIME."
You shake your head. "Next time you're probably going to take it if you keep practicing like you seem to be."
"Then maybe you should practice too, dude." GG turns her controller off. "Before the sub becomes the dom."
"Are those the stakes?"
"Oh, no. Absolutely not. Turn of phrase."
>>
No. 649182 ID: f68a09
File 143460799450.png - (10.27KB , 960x560 , 325.png )
649182

"My kingdom!"
Polyphema does a little twirl as you carry her stuff through the mall. "This speaks to the adolescent in me and it speaks fire."
"That was like 300 years ago," you say.
"To survive for that long," Polyphema says, "you have to nurture the hell out of your inner child. Or you sound like a harvard professor by 80. Be your own maiden, mother, and crone. A whole coven!"
You shoulder her stuff. "You got a full coven's worth of lipstick in here."
"You can never have just one, Zack. It's like candy. If you had more estrogen you'd understand." She slows her purposeful stride as you near a map of the mall. "So guidelines, doll. How do you want to present yourself at this shindig?"

1]] I was thinking like, classy but not TOO classy. I'm not classy enough for too classy.
2]] Going all out. I need like a suit or something. Do people wear tuxedos to these?
3]] I'm gonna be a bit of a fish out of water so maybe I should just go for it and do like, casual dress.
4]] I think Meg would appreciate it if I kind of staged a quiet wardrobe rebellion-slash-deconstruction against the constraints of higher fashion. Not that I'm sure what those are.
5]] I have decided to wear a Graphic tee blazer combo with sonic the hedgehog on it and a pair of cargo jeans, Polyphema. We need to pick out the right fedora.
6]] Uhhhh I dunno what do you think?
6]] _________________
>>
No. 649183 ID: defceb

4
>>
No. 649185 ID: 0fc976

4, but we absolutely need that fedora.
>>
No. 649186 ID: e114bc

>>649182
1. ...maybe 4.
>>
No. 649191 ID: 7b7ab3

>>649182
4 and part of 6.
"I think Meg would appreciate it if I kind of staged a quiet wardrobe rebellion-slash-deconstruction against the constraints of higher fashion. Not that I'm sure what those are. What do you think?"
>>
No. 649228 ID: 8bd2b1

5, as a joke, but make it cargo shorts and sandals with long white socks.
>>
No. 649233 ID: 7b7ab3

>>649228
Using 5 as a joke sounds pretty good. It has been awhile since we made Poly laugh without resorting to tickling, so let's hang onto it.

Remember, she fell in love with us over a funny story, so she clearly enjoys our sense of humor.
>>
No. 649241 ID: 334db2

6, 1.
>>
No. 649257 ID: cfa084

>>649182
4, 5 as a joke, 6.
>>
No. 649259 ID: 967df9

>>649191
This.
>>
No. 649261 ID: 27a3ed

>>649182
Definitely 4, but make sure to get Poly's opinion.
>>
No. 649262 ID: 5a4a22

4,6
We have an idea, but Poly can help us refine it.
>>
No. 649265 ID: 2f4b71

>>649182
4, and 7: something flame-retardant.
>>
No. 649270 ID: 27a3ed

>>649265
Floater flames don't burn stuff.
Evidence: >>/questarch/627698
>>
No. 649297 ID: 7b7ab3

>>649270
Somehow I had completely forgotten about that.

Floaters are weird.
>>
No. 649313 ID: 0df2ab

2]

No one, fucking no one looks bad in a well-tailored suit.
>>
No. 649318 ID: e114bc

Hey, check the invitation to see what the dress code is.
>>
No. 649355 ID: bb78f2

>>649313
You'd be surprised.
Look up information of the event on the internet
>>
No. 649529 ID: 26e769

5 is the only correct option.
>>
No. 649549 ID: 7b7ab3

>>649529
If said as a joke, it might make Poly bust a gut.

Otherwise, she'll probably question our sanity.
>>
No. 649756 ID: afd47f

4, because Meg's opinion matters.
&
6, because Poly's opinion matters.
>>
No. 649758 ID: 91cfcf

>>649756
>other people's opinions matter for what Zack is allowed to wear
nah
>>
No. 649769 ID: 559264

>>649182
6.
We're totally out of our element going to fancy shindigs like this. Let the fancy lady help.
>>
No. 649843 ID: 89941a

I'll agree with 5 as a joke.
>>
No. 649955 ID: f0a5e4

>>649758
Dude, there's a difference between what you're allowed to wear, and what you're supposed to wear. You don't wear sodding slacks to a fancy cocktail party unless you plan to crash it, and much the same for a loud-as-hell punk concert.
Zack isn't an ass, and we're trying to learn about and participate in what Meg thinks is cool. This isn't just our show, it's hers, too.
Eeeespecially after our, uh, fuckup last time.
>>
No. 649971 ID: accf78

>>649756
>>649843
All fine ideas.
>>649955
And an excellent point.
>>
No. 650016 ID: fcbfd2

However we dress, let's make sure to wear some comfy shoes. This is a concert we're attending, and those can go on for quite a while.

Sore feet could ruin the whole experience.
>>
No. 650116 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650016
This is something we may have neglected to consider.

Let's be sure to hit up a Pay-Less.
>>
No. 650166 ID: 4964f3

4, and if Zack doesn't wind up carrying a cartoonishly tall pile of purchases I will be very disappointed.
>>
No. 650386 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650166
And, knowing Poly, that's not all that unlikely.
>>
No. 650442 ID: 8bd2b1

I think we could probably expense these purchases, too. Boy, government funding sure is nice!
>>
No. 650496 ID: f68a09
File 143518415791.png - (10.23KB , 960x560 , 326.png )
650496

"I have decided to wear a Graphic tee blazer combo with sonic the hedgehog on it and a pair of cargo jeans, Polyphema." You look around at the storefronts. "We need to pick out the right fedora."
Polyphema has to stop walking, she's laughing so hard.
"If I didn't love you very much," she says, "My brain would set you on fire just for sticking that image into it."

"This is more like it." Polyphema strokes your back. "I forgot how much I like men in suits."
"Is this a rebellious thing to wear?" You quizzically half-turn. "I think Meg would appreciate a coup d'etat."
"That comes from the nipple rings you'll pack underneath," she says. "Kidding! It's a rebellion at a classical concierto, believe you me. And in pink! Most of the fogies there will be dusting cobwebs off their padded shoulders. I'll break out my snobbiest stuff."
"You will?"
"No need for alarm." She checks the cut around your waist. "I'm going with alternate company, Zackary. So as not to interrupt your mojo. The idea of a Floater opera singer was simply too tempting a thing to miss out on and an oculot acquaintance of mine agreed with me. You can sit with us, if you like. I'm sure he'd love to meet you."
>>
No. 650498 ID: f68a09
File 143518426236.png - (13.99KB , 960x560 , 327.png )
650498

"The opera, huh?"
Bika chops carrots in the kitchen. You dip your head a little to avoid the light fixtures, which are hung at about chin-height for you.
"I've never seen an opera," she says.
"Me neither."
"Is it gonna be like those old cartoons?" A Bika near the silverware holds two butter knives up to her head, viking helmet style, and sings Ave Maria in an affected vibrato. "With like, Bugs Bunny?"
"You watch Looney Tunes?"
"Front to back!" a Bika says, shouldering his way past carrot Bika with a plate of appetizers.
Bika Prime catches one as it goes by, sniffs it, and slides it across the counter to another Bika who stops it with her tail and adds a heaping ladleful of bright orange sauce to it. "I like Thylvethter," she says, making sure to angle the resulting spit away from the food.
"I don't know what it's going to be like," you say. "I think it's more a showcase kind of thing than, like, a ride of the valkyries theatrical event."
"Awwww." The Viking Bika tosses the knives into the sink.
"Do you think those places hire skuts?" Bika prime licks some sauce off her finger. "I could be a host of spear carriers on my own."
"Do you sing?"
"I'd have a really positive attitude. That counts for something. Are you excited?"

1]] Sure. Gotta get cultured, right?
2]] To tell the truth classical music kind of bored me to tears as a kid.
3]] I don't know. I'm nervous. I kind of fucked up with the lady I'm there to see last time.
4]] You want to come along and check it out with me? I could get you a ticket or four.
5]] What kind of music do skuts normally listen to?
6]] What kind of music do you go in for, Bika?
7]] ________________
>>
No. 650510 ID: 57d76a

3 and 6, maybe 5 afterwards. If it's not obviously a stupid question.
>>
No. 650522 ID: 0fc976

3 and 6. What's traditional skutti music like?
I bet she could do a mean Frère Jacques.
>>
No. 650530 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650498
3, 6, and 5.
We fucked up with Meg, now we have a chance to undo said fuck up.
What kind of music do skut go in for? What kind of music does she go in for?
>>
No. 650584 ID: bd8b82

maybe ask about floater culture? explain how it went and see if she sees what the faux pas were
>>
No. 650585 ID: 020bca

3, 6
>>
No. 650588 ID: 0df2ab

3 and then 6
>>
No. 650589 ID: 3d29ee

3.

I'd say invite her, but Poly's already going, and we're trying to focus on Meg. Another girlfriend would mean another potential distraction.
>>
No. 650592 ID: 2916ca

3, 6, 5
I'm betting skut use a lot of stringed instruments.
>>
No. 650595 ID: f68a09
File 143521019679.png - (10.18KB , 960x560 , 328.png )
650595

"I don't know," you say. "I think I fucked up my last date with the lady I'm going to see. The floater."
"A floater? No wonder." Bika swipes a large steak and cheese looking sandwich off a tray and hands it to you. "Try this."
It is delicious, obviously.
"What's with floaters, anyway?" You wipe your face with a paper napkin.
"I dunno," Bika says. "I don't meet a lot of them. We had one who worked here for a while doing deliveries."
"Why'd they stop?"
"He just said he was moving on one day," she says. "They're very hard to read."
"You're telling me."
"He was really cool, though. Like:" She performs a demonstrative finger snap. "Cool. I think there's probably a deep vein of performativity in Floater culture."
"How so?"
"They're a meritocracy, and they downplay emotions. Like they pretend they don't have them."
"But they do?"
"Sure. You probably have to, as a side effect of advanced sentience. If their forebears didn't their iterations do. There's a reason we evolved them, y'know? Useful."
"So you're saying their coolness is a front?"
"Can there be non-fronted coolness if coolness is not an inherent aspect of ourselves?"
"Uhh." You scratch your head. "I guess not."
"What is coolness," she says, philosophically, "if not assumed artifice? And leather jackets? And what is class if not sequins and opera?"
"And viking helmets."
"Yah."
"What kind of music do skuts listen to?"
"Traditionally the stuff we make is always very orchestral," she says. "Ever hear 1000 musicians playing in perfect sync?"
"That sounds nuts."
She shrugs. The baggy t-shirt she's using as a dress slips down her thin brown shoulder. "It's got its adherents."
"What are you into?"
"Depends. I try to keep it variable, which is easy when you have 80-odd pairs of ears."
"What right now?"
She flashes the horns. "Iron Maiden, dude."

Outside it's getting dark. You sit with Bika and munch on what looks like a duck kebab. This girl's gonna get you fat.

Tomorrow is Meg, date number 2. You wonder if you're any closer to actually understanding where she's coming from.

1]] Spend the night at Bika's.
2]] Spend the night at GG's.
3]] Spend the night at Polyphema's.
4]] You're probably going to want to get a lot of actual rest for tomorrow so sleep at your place.
5]] Text / Send an email / Call someone: ______________
6]] __________________
>>
No. 650597 ID: 7b7ab3

4.

We want to be fresh and ready for tomorrow, so a night free of alien nookie is a good idea.
I woudn't suggest walking home, though. Maybe Bika can give us a ride back.
>>
No. 650604 ID: b8208b

1 is very tempting, but... 4 is probably the best idea.
You really are going to want to be well-rested for this.
>>
No. 650606 ID: ea0ad9

>This girl's gonna get you fat.
And GG's going to get you buff, while Meg keeps you thin. You're going to be like, Yoga Guru Master buff-thin with a bit of sumo bulk going on in it.
>Maybe Bika can give us a ride back.
How? She rides the bus, like crazy buspool style. Not even carpooling, there's so many.

One final question for her before going for #4 (Get some actual rest!), though, is how she feels about the whole Dulabira thing. She said
>"I've never actually asked anyone this because it's always been me so I've never needed to."
so as much as she seems to have roots in the old ways, she's not actually tried this one.
>>
No. 650607 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650606
>How?
I figured she'd have some form of personal vehicle for when she needs to deliver orders. Even if it was just a scooter or something, it would beat walking.
>>
No. 650608 ID: bfbff9

When was the last time you even went home, Zack? Before the last time you met Bika, I think. Weren't we worried someone might have bugged the place or set a watch on it or something?

I mean, if that was the case, it'd be a nice dick move to them to make them watch a load of nothing for a bit longer. And if it's not the case there's no reason to go home, unless you're worried about having gotten something in the mail.

Ask Bika how she'd feel about a group thing with one or more of the other girls some time, before you leave.
>>
No. 650617 ID: f68a09
File 143522055859.png - (6.54KB , 960x560 , 329.png )
650617

You kiss Bika goodbye and catch a subway ride home.

You sleep alone for the first time in what feels longer than it probably is.
For some reason the bed you always thought of as too small feels too big tonight. Your legs ache, restlessly seeking for the contact of someone else's, and you shut them up with a pillow between the knees.

You sit in the dark and watch your alarm clock blink toward midnight and miss the girls.
You miss GG's vanilla perfume and the way Polyphema breathes at night and the feel of Bika's fur.

It occurs to you that as light as the words pertaining to affection roll off your tongue, "alamad" and "dulamad" and "girlfriend" and "love", there's a feeling of completeness that goes beyond them which you hadn't noticed until reflecting on its lack. Maybe it's just because your brain has been taxed for dialogue these past few days but strain as you might it's hard to frame it in words for yourself.

You realize you're falling in love.
>>
No. 650618 ID: f68a09
File 143522058204.png - (9.47KB , 960x560 , 330.png )
650618

"Zaaack! Hi!"
The bubbly-looking woman who takes your arm in front of the crenelated concert hall defies recognition for a second, then you remember her from your first day of work.
"Hey. Britta, right? Mr. Carlson's secretary?"
She beams a formidably toothy grin. "Yessir! You're looking sharp, Mr. Nguyen."
"Thanks. You too."
"Uh oh. Is it the shoulders?" She laughs. "Just kidding. Ever since Oculots showed up I've been a lot less self-conscious about them. You excited for the show?"
"Yeah. I mean one of my dates is performing."
"Meg, right? A bunch of H-vow people have showed up for it. Brose, and Rella, and Mr. Carlson actually got out of the office! Crazy!"
"He a homebody?"
"It did take some convincing. To be sure. Hey you can come sit with us if you need a place to sit." Her smile somehow grows. "You're kinda the star pupil right now. Highest efficiency."
"I think that's a good thing? Thanks?"
"Oh, it is," she says, then spots someone coming toward you in the crowd. She squeezes your arm. "See ya in the audience, Zack!"
"Bye."
>>
No. 650619 ID: f68a09
File 143522058919.png - (12.19KB , 960x560 , 331.png )
650619

Polyphema is swanning over to you in a ravishingly snug black dress. "Zackaryyyy Nguyen!"
Keeping pace with her is a slim, mellow-looking Oculot in an impeccably tailored suitjacket, with an alien touch to its flared collar.
"Love the outfit, doll," Polyphema says.
"Great cut," observes her friend.
"Whoever picked it out for you?" Polyphema says.
"I deduce it was a mutual friend." The oculot shoots you a knowing glance.
"Doll this is Hizalian. Hizalian, Zack."
"Great to meet you," Hizalian says. "Helena's talked about you all evening."
"He knows me as Polyphema, Hizz," Polyphema says. "My favorite nom de plume."
"Good to meet you too, Hizalian."
He grins a lazy grin. "I'd kiss your hand but it turns out you're only supposed to do the ladies. I had a misadventure this evening."
"Hizalian isn't so used to This Side," Polyphema says.
"Fresh off zer boat." Hizalian amplifies his already noticeable accent.
"Won't you sit with us, doll?" Polyphema asks. "I've told Hizz how you are a cultural ambassador without compare."

1]] Already had a seat with the HVAO, sorry.
2]] Sure thing.
3]] _________________
>>
No. 650622 ID: bd8b82

i don't think we should sit with any of our dates. meg should see us supporting her rather then holding hands with someone else.
>>
No. 650623 ID: 57d76a

... huh. I guess now we know what her real name is now. Kind of an anticlimactic way to find out.

I kinda don't know that we should sit by her or the HVAO...

Of course there's the fourth option of seeing if they're willing to all sit together. That seems less bad, somehow.
>>
No. 650629 ID: bfbff9

Helena is a human name, so I doubt it's her real one. "Favourite nom de plume" suggest she has more than one, which I would expect anyway.

Say you would love to sit with them, but as Poly seem to be even more beautiful than usual tonight, you fear you wouldn't be able to keep your mind on the show. Sacrifices must be made to appreciate art.
>>
No. 650630 ID: 0fc976

2. Let's get to know thizz guy.
>>
No. 650646 ID: 7b7ab3

3]] Invite them to join you at the HVAO's table.

It doesn't look like a date if your at a table with four other people, so Meg won't get the wrong idea. Also, it would let us sit with our employers, Poly, and our new friend Hizz.
>>
No. 650648 ID: e607cd

You kind of need a chance to talk with the HVAO guys about some of the stuff that has been going on. Operational security and such.
>>
No. 650651 ID: 7aeb02

Let's all sit together. But try not to end up next to Helephema though.
>>
No. 650653 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650648
Having Poly and Hizz join us at the HVAO's table would let us discuss important matters with both our employers and Poly, learn more about this Hizz guy, and hopefully give us a decent vantage point to watch Meg perform.

That's a lot accomplished.
>>
No. 650660 ID: ea0ad9

>"I'd kiss your hand but it turns out you're only supposed to do the ladies. I had a misadventure this evening."
It's a growing acceptance. Best Earth approach is probably the Italian style of a quick cheek peck, though.
>"Won't you sit with us, doll?" Polyphema asks. "I've told Hizz how you are a cultural ambassador without compare."
>>650622
As long as we retain a feel of being here mostly for Meg, it should be fine. Remember, she's got the memories of her predecessor, which includes the whole group thing.
>>650653
I'm not sure if Poly's so interested in business talk, though. She may just be here to enjoy herself.
>>
No. 650665 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650660
>She may just be here to enjoy herself.
She still needs to know about those "Earth for Earth" creeps.

And my other points remain valid.
>>
No. 650671 ID: a41fbf

>>650651
Agreed.
We should excuse ourselves once Meg is done performing, though. We're here for her, and we should go to her as soon as possible.
>>
No. 650674 ID: 2a7417

>>650619
Helena, the Oculot that launched a thousand ships. Fitting!
>>
No. 650680 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650674
And with a dulabira, every single one is canon!

Do you have a preference for where we sit, btw?
>>
No. 650689 ID: f68a09
File 143526452981.png - (12.85KB , 960x560 , 332.png )
650689

"I was actually going in with the HVAO," you say. "Wanna sit with us?"
"Oh, no," Polyphema says. "I always make it my mission to sit in the front row. And I've been hiding from that Carlson fellow all night."
"Why?"
"Because every time he sees me all he wants to talk about is HVAO HVAO HVAO," she says. "All evening. And I did not come here to discuss work, of all things."
"He does that?"
"Get excited, doll!" She rolls her eye. "Go sit with your friends and we'll catch up to you during intermission."

You find the HVAO contingent sitting up in the front row of the balcony.
"Ay Zack!" Ambrose waves at you. He and Rella are sitting together. He's in a suit and she must not have had the pocket space for her stuff in a dress because she's in basically the same suit with a crisp pencil skirt.
Britta is sitting a respectable distance from Carlson, who looks weirdly exposed outside of his musty office.

1]] Sit between Ambrose and Britta
2]] Sit between Britta and Carlson
3]] Sit on the outside next to Carlson
4]] Sit on the outside next to Rella
5]] _______________
>>
No. 650690 ID: 2a7417

between Ambrose and Rella like a jerk
*Ahem* I mean, 1) between Ambrose and Britta.
>>
No. 650691 ID: ab7529

1
>>
No. 650694 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650689
Guess we'll talk with Poly and get to know her friend later.

1, between Ambrose and Britta. Maybe Britta can buffer us against Carlson's workaholism.
>>
No. 650703 ID: f68a09
File 143527007304.png - (14.09KB , 960x560 , 333.png )
650703

You pop a squat between Ambrose and Britta.
"Hey, dude," Ambrose says. "You here for Megumi?"
"Yep." You unbutton your jacket. "And for, like, art."
"Word."
"I'm cultured."
"Same," Rella drawls.
"I hear Yo-Yo Ma's kid is here," Britta says.
"RIP," Ambrose says. "How's the job, Zack? Being the face of the organization? ABC or whoever it was had their little snippet of you. Good job."
"NBC," Rella says.

1]] Goin' pretty good.
2]] I'm not going to lie: it's pretty awesome.
3]] I am drowning in alien poon
4]] How about you, Brose? How's being a security dude?
5]] How about you, Britta? How's the office?
6]] So any updates about that leak?
7]] So any updates about the Outpost Jawara thing?
8]] So any updates about that flat-top lady who followed me?
9]] _______________
>>
No. 650710 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650703
2, 4, 6, 7, 8.

It is pretty awesome. How are things for him?

Also, can we get a situation update? The leak, the outpost, the flat-top lady? What's up?
>>
No. 650715 ID: 0fc976

>>650710
Same, except 5 instead of 4.
>>
No. 650725 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650715
How about both?

We know very little about our colleagues.
>>
No. 650726 ID: b5b419

>>650703
3 is the only real option
>>
No. 650729 ID: bb78f2

>>650703
9]] How did they edit it? They didn't use the syllables of my words to make me say "I love warrior dong", did they?
When I told them I was bi-curious, I was super worried!
>>
No. 650736 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650726
Wouldn't that just be stating the obvious?

>>650729
>bi-curious
Considering our activities of late, I'd say that's fairly unlikely.
>>
No. 650737 ID: bb78f2

It was a joke about Zack's openness to new things. Maybe not a good one. I don't know how Zack would make that a good one.
>>
No. 650740 ID: f68a09
File 143527908810.png - (6.28KB , 960x560 , 334.png )
650740

"It's a pretty great job," you say. "Not gonna lie. What about you guys? How's running security?"
Ambrose pages through his program. "Kinda boring but boring's good, right? Yeah, it's not bad."
"For now," Rella says.
"Dude." Ambrose lightly whaps her arm with the program. "It'll be fine. Rella's kind of not exactly an optimist."
"What about the office?" you ask Britta.
"Ohhh. You know." She beams, nervously. "We're keeping on."
"Y'know I gotta say I detect it's not joyful times at the HVAO," you point out.
"They aren't." Everyone turns to look at Carlson. "There is a great deal of tension in the air, in the office and out."
"Does it have anything to do with the leak? Or with Jawara?"
He nods. "The leak was unexpected and disturbing. We haven't ruled out a source inside the offices."
"What about Jawara?"
"Jawara," He clears his throat. "Jawara you'll be reading about tomorrow, I suspect." He looks at you. "We didn't just hire a pretty face, Mr. Nguyen. We trust you to be on your toes."

You consider asking him to elaborate when the lights go down and everyone hushes each other into silence.
A woman, human, with a white dress, steps out into a pool of light on the stage. Everyone politely applauds. She indicates a pianist in the corner, who acknowledges her with a short bow. Everyone politely applauds again.

The pianist sits at the bench of a long, black grand piano, cracks his knuckles, and launches into a shimmering cloud of arpeggios, over which the woman sings something in latin.
You check your program. Her name is Aparna Dala. She's the first soloist of five before you hit intermission. Looks like some of them are groups and some of them play instead of sing, but they're all playing songs with an average of 1 "Deus" or "Domino" per title.
Megumi is the last act of the night.
She has something from Tannhäuser, but everything else appears to be in Visitor languages. Garaktonnik and Oculotti. Then there's one with an English title called The Night's Reclamation that has Unknown / Apocryphal as the author. Interesting.

You watch the performances. They're pretty songs, you guess.
They're all very talented. That goes without saying.
You find yourself wishing for a rhythm section or something.

You circle Megumi's name in your program. You draw a little picture of a cat, which is the only animal you can draw well.

You're up to the third act, a stiff-looking Albanian with a large cello, when Ambrose leans over and whispers, "You getting anything out of this, Zack?"

1]] I think so. It's pretty.
2]] I'm trying but I don't think I'm fancy enough.
3]] I'm actually kinda bored.
4]] Shake your head.
5]] Nod.
6]] Shush him.
7]] _________________
>>
No. 650743 ID: f0e552

>>650740
7) *quietly* "I think it's nice and all, and i can see the talent, but this isn't really for me."
>>
No. 650745 ID: 334db2

I guess I'm a bit eager to see meg. Maybe a bit nervous.
>>
No. 650746 ID: b5b419

>>650740
2, a bit of 3&7
"Wish I could move to it."
>>
No. 650747 ID: 5f7625

We can be cultured too. You've got to see the Merit in this same as the Beatles.
>>
No. 650750 ID: 7b7ab3

2 & 3.

We came here for Meg, not because we're a musical connoisseur.

>>650745
Also this.
>>
No. 650755 ID: f68a09
File 143528288524.png - (9.53KB , 960x560 , 335.png )
650755

"I can see the talent but I don't know if it's for me," you whisper. "Kinda wish I could move to it."
"That's my problem," Ambrose says.
"It's fuckin' boring," Rella says.
Britta shushes her. "Listen for the emotion. It's all about expression."
Rella shrugs.
After Benjamin Cantor and his quartet go through a strings arrangement of Dmitri Shostakovich's No. 8 in C minor the lights come back on. A teenager behind you jolts awake and then sheepishly follows his parents out to the lobby.

"That last dude was good." Ambrose stands up and stretches his back. "I like the ones with no words I have to read."
"This fucking skirt is making my panties ride up to my bellybutton." Rella tugs her skirt down.
"Dude, Rella," Ambrose says, a little too loud. "TMI."
"C'mon! There's champagne in the lobby," Britta says, sliding past a tight-lipped Carlson. "Lots of champagne."

1]] Hang out more with the other HVAOers.
2]] Sit with Carlson and try to learn more about what happened with Jawara.
3]] Look for Polyphema and Hizalian.
4]] Drink some champagne to loosen up a little.
5]] ______________
>>
No. 650759 ID: ab7529

1,3.

They got to hang with Bika, why not introduce them to Poly?
>>
No. 650760 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650755
3.

We have a previous arrangement with Poly and her guest. She did say they'd catch up to us during intermission.
>>
No. 650763 ID: 334db2

Sit with Carlson for a bit, then get some champagne and come back in.
>>
No. 650764 ID: 0fc976

1, 3. I'm sure you'll be a better connoisseur of classical music after a drink of champagne.
>>
No. 650765 ID: 37adba

6, 7: "At the break."
>>
No. 650769 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650765
You're a little behind.

We're suggesting for >>650755 now.
>>
No. 650783 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650764
>I'm sure you'll be a better connoisseur of classical music after a drink of champagne.

Or at least we'll care a lot less!
>>
No. 650784 ID: f68a09
File 143529054080.png - (8.07KB , 960x560 , 336.png )
650784

You follow the other HVAO folks out into the lobby.
"Hey what was your favorite?" Ambrose asks Rella.
"I'll tell you after the half," she says.
"I gotta get these back to Carlson." Britta grabs two glasses of champagne. "He needs social lubricant if he's gonna function at the aftershow handshakery."
"Do they let you back in with those?" you ask.
"They better!" She backs her butt into the balcony door to open it up. "It's for their boss."

"Zack!" Hizalin waves at you. He's leaning on a bannister looking out into the foyer, in front of a big curly Chihuly chandelier. "Over here!"
"Go network, face of the HVAO," Ambrose says.
Rella sips champagne and taps his shin with her toe. "Brose."
"Yah?"
"Drink."
"Gotta be sharp."
"BS. We're off duty. I'm not getting tanked alone."
You leave them be and go to Hizalin.

"Hel- Polyphema's off powdering her nose," Hizalin says. "Not that we have much of a nose to powder."
"How're you liking the concert?" you ask.
He shrugs. "Not exactly my forte, these things. I only came along because I was invited."
"By Polyphema?"
"Mmm." He finishes his champagne and balances the empty glass on the railing next to him. "There's no need to be jealous, not that you seem it. The two of us are just working buddies."
"What do you do?"
"The same thing she does," he says. "Date a human for the HVAO."
"Yeah?"
"Mhm. She's..." He traces the rim of his champagne glass. "Nice. I don't know. Polyphema's more of a natural. Not that I'm the one being paid the extreme moolah to do the dating, but there's a strange act of patriarchal rein-taking I wasn't prepared for." He grins. "Got any tips?"
"I, hmm."
"Just a joke, Zack." He nabs a second glass from a passing waiter. "You know you're a very lucky man."
"I know," you say. "It's not exactly a job market I was aware of."
"She talks about you all the time," he says. "She'd probably whack me with her bag if she knew I told you, but she's really very schoolgirl about you. That hasn't happened in a very, very long time."
"What do you mean? Do you know Polyphema?"
"Most of the diasporic Oculots do," he says. "And she hasn't had an alamad in... God, almost a quarter of a century now."
"We're not, like..." You consider it. "We haven't labelled ourselves that. Yet."
"Really." He arches a brow. "That was just the vibe I gathered from the way she acted."
"She hasn't had an alamad in decades?"
"Well, she-- huh." He's halfway through champagne number 2. "How much has she told you about herself, Zack?"

1]] Not very much.
2]] Plenty. I know about her childhood and such.
3]] More than she wants. We have this weird brain thing where I see pieces of her memories.
4]] She tells me enough.
5]] What about you? What's your story, Hizalin? How exactly do you know her?
6]] What are these secrets you guys are always dancing around about her?
7]] _______________
>>
No. 650785 ID: 5f7625

Absolutely nothing, of course.
>>
No. 650788 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650784
1 and 5.

"Not very much. What about you? What's your story, Hizalin? How exactly do you know her?"
>>
No. 650795 ID: d90668

She is teasing me by slowly feeding me info on her past. She seems enjoys the game so I try not to pry much.

Honestly if she has some horrible secret she wants hidden that's her business. She can tell me or not at her pace.
>>
No. 650798 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650788
Might I add that I've thought about it and I want Zack to be Poly's alamad. I think they're at
that level now.

Of course, I want Zack to be all the girls alamad. I mean, he's already there with GG.
>>
No. 650804 ID: 696535

>>650784
1 and 7.
"Not very much. She's been a tease when it comes to telling me about herself. She hasn't even told me her name."
>>
No. 650805 ID: f68a09
File 143529540751.png - (10.80KB , 960x560 , 337.png )
650805

"Not much," you say. "She's kind of teasing me by slowly feeding me info on her past."
He smirks. "Sounds like Helena."
"She seems to enjoy it."
"Doubly sounds."
"What about you?" You take some bubbly of your own. "How'd you come to know her?"

"She saved my life, actually," he says. "I was an early objector. Before it was the Fashion. And so the Kariket had me placed on Portal Opening detail, like all the other able-bodied Oculotti who didn't have the heart for the Regime. 'Volunteers', we were officially. She'd already defected at that point and was building up the network of ferrymen and -women to help others do the same. Without the resources she gave me I'm positive I'd be dead as disco. The mortality rate for the Portallers was staggering."
"Every time Polyphema talks about portals she shivers," you say. "I'm still not clear on what made them so terrible. Did they hurt to make?"
"Not physically, no." He finishes his glass and wipes his mouth. "But-- well she's explained it to you, right? How our powers work? The expression of emotion so forcefully felt it spills into the physical."
"Right. Fireballs are anger, that kind of thing."

"That's the thing." His smile is still on his face, but in his eye you can see the same glassy distance that passes across Polyphema's in her unguarded moments. "The emotion you need for opening a portal is a deep, sincere wish to completely disappear."

"Hello, boys!" Polyphema sways toward you, glass in hand. "Whatever he's telling you is a lie! An absolute vulgar lie! No but really I haven't actually overheard what you've been talking about."
"This and that," Hizalin says.
"So how are you digging it, Zackary?" Polyphema asks. "This little soiree?"

1]] I'm digging it.
2]] It all feels way over my head.
3]] I'm just waiting for Meg.
4]] To tell the truth the first half bored me to tears.
5]] The champagne is nice.
6]] Hizalin was just telling me about the portals. Is it true you saved his life?
7]] It'd be better if my seatmates weren't prophesizing doom and gloom about Jawara. Apparently there's something on the horizon.
8]] _____________
>>
No. 650806 ID: 5f7625

You know how it is, she tries to be mysterious, I pretend I'm not curious. We see who can go the longest before breaking down and asking all sorts of probing questions.
>>
No. 650807 ID: f0e552

>>650805
8) Not enough of my deep indie underground alternative trance heavy metal here. Really though? It's not my jam but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate how other people like it, right? I'm just wondering what Meg is gonna do.
>>
No. 650809 ID: 0fc976

2. But hey, at least the champagne is nice.
>>
No. 650810 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650805
2, 5, 7.

"It all feels way over my head, but the champagne is nice. Honestly, it'd be better if my seatmates weren't prophesizing doom and gloom about Jawara. Apparently there's something on the horizon."
>>
No. 650814 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650805
>The emotion you need for opening a portal is a deep, sincere wish to completely disappear.

Well, that's... incredibly depressing.
And all portals lead to earth? Very interesting. I wonder what the significance of that is.
>>
No. 650815 ID: 0ee153

>>650814
>And all portals lead to earth? Very interesting. I wonder what the significance of that is.
Proof?
>>
No. 650844 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650815
It's meant to be a question. I'll admit I didn't phrase it quite right.
>>
No. 650854 ID: 66415b

>>650810
Sounds good, though we shouldn't talk about work for too long, for Poly's sake.
>>
No. 650865 ID: bb2891

2,5
>>
No. 650873 ID: 681f32

2 - We're more of a Beatles man.
5 - Liquor makes most things more tolerable.
7 - Poly, you were right. These people don't know how to switch off.
>>
No. 650879 ID: fcbfd2

"I'm trying, but a lot of it escapes me. I've always been more of a Beatles kinda guy. This champagne is pretty good, though."
>>
No. 650880 ID: ea0ad9

>Whatever he's telling you is a lie! An absolute vulgar lie!
8. So you actually are a secret super-child of the Floaters designed to morph into any of the four races at will?

>8) Not enough of my deep indie underground alternative trance heavy metal here. Really though? It's not my jam but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate how other people like it, right?
I think replace that last bit with "It's not my jam, but I'm feeling a bit of the beauty of it."
>>650809
Yes.
>7 - Poly, you were right. These people don't know how to switch off.
To be fair, we were asking them about work. The three of them seem to be trying to just have a good time. Maybe word it as, "Poly, you were right about Carlson. I mean jeez if I weren't asking the team about work I think he'd give himself a heart attack from the shock of the difference from office to world."
Has she met Rella and Ambrose?
>>
No. 650881 ID: bb78f2

Mix of 3 and this 8]] "Meg's taste for 80's-like synth music is making me hope the last act is like Perturber-Beethoven or Mozart-PowerGlove. If that happens, I might just go fuck it and start dancing like it's a nightclub."
>>
No. 650882 ID: d3bbf8

>>650879
This. She knows we dig the Beatles. Speaking of which, I wonder if Hizalin has heard them yet. If not, we should introduce him sometime.

>>650880
>So you actually are a secret super-child of the Floaters designed to morph into any of the four races at will?
"Polyformer - More Than Meets the Eye."
>>
No. 650892 ID: f61b8d

>>650882
hahahahaha
>>
No. 650894 ID: 487ae6

Dos y cinco.

>>650882
>"Polyformer - More Than Meets the Eye."
Holy shit, that's hilarious! Although now I'm wondering which of the girls would be a Transfan.
>>
No. 650903 ID: 5a4a22

"Well... the champagne is good?"

>>650894
>I'm wondering which of the girls would be a Transfan
Definitely GG. It's giant robots beating the shit out of eachother. I'd be shocked if she didn't like it.
>>
No. 650916 ID: 334db2

Not my usual cup of tea.
>>
No. 650941 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650882
>"Polyformer - More Than Meets the Eye."
But is she a robot in disguise?

Coming this Fall - "The Polynator."
>>
No. 650954 ID: f61b8d

>>650941
Well, if she can transform into any of the races, she can turn into a Floater. So, depending on your interpretation...yes. :P

...Are floaters entirely robotic, or do they have any organic components?
>>
No. 650974 ID: 7b7ab3

>>650954
They're cyborgs, so that means they have both organic and synthetic components.

They're also all clones.
>>
No. 650982 ID: f0c16f

2 followed by 5
>>
No. 651008 ID: 9513be

"Not exactly what I'm used to, but I'm keeping an open mind. How about you? Having a good time?"
>>
No. 651019 ID: f68a09
File 143538302422.png - (9.70KB , 960x560 , 338.png )
651019

"So you actually are a secret super-child of the Floaters designed to morph into any of the four races at will," you say.
"I am," she says. "You've actually been dating me, four times."
"Lucky me."
She idly plays with Hizalian's scarf. "I should have brought a scarf. This music demands scarves."
"The not exactly the Beatles so I'm not exactly in my element," you say. "But I'm open minded."
"I'm relying on your ladyfriend to bring some spice to the proceedings." Polyphema sashays past you to the balcony and leans between you and Hizalian.
"Are you not with it?"
"The singers are straining against their constraints," she says. "Instead of using them. It's like a fancy corset. When used right it accentuates the cleavage but I'm just worried none of the poor dears can breathe. Unlace them!" She throws her arms up to the chandelier. "Let them free!"
"You are buzzed," Hizalian says, with dry amusement.
"I am buzzed," she agrees. "It's making everything a lot more enjoyable." She play-clutches at your arm. "But God don't you wish they'd soar more? The artifice is eating its own tail in there. I should really be quieter."
"Maybe," you say. "You have a point, though."
"Always." She cocks her hip out.
"You were right about the HVAO people. They have no off switch."
"That's because they all work for poor Carlson, the poor darlings," she says. "And lord knows he needs a little stress ball like the drowning need a liferaft. Not everyone working in Human Visitor Relations can work out of their bedroom like you, dollface."

The lights flicker to indicate intermission is ending.
"Once more into the breach," Polyphema says.

1]] Get back to sitting with the HVAO.
2]] Move over to the front row.
3]] Try and convince everyone to come sit at the front with you and the Oculots.
4]] Grab a little more champagne just before you go in to liven things up a little.
5]] _______________
>>
No. 651022 ID: 0fc976

2) Go to the front row with Hizz and her.
>>
No. 651023 ID: 7fcddc

3

Carlson has probably been sufficiently lubricated that we could slip them all up there for the main event.
>>
No. 651024 ID: 7b7ab3

Let us join Poly and our new pal Hizz in the front row. We'll want to be right up front when Meg performs.
>>
No. 651027 ID: f68a09
File 143538691838.png - (9.83KB , 960x560 , 339.png )
651027

You wave at Ambrose and Rella as you head back into the auditorium. "Hey I'm sitting down in front for this next part!"
"Oh word!" Ambrose flashes you the thumbs up. "Show the support!"

You file into the front row. You become aware that it's just the three of you here in the front row.

"Zack," Polyphema whispers. "Put Hizzy in the middle so your lady doesn't get jealous."
"I was thinking," you whisper back.
Hizalian sits between you. "I shall look as straight as possible."

The next few acts keep the same inoffensive tone going as before the intermission.
As a soprano and her accompanying cellist begins the third interpretation of Cantate Domino of the night, Polyphema glances sidelong at you and almost invisibly sticks the very tip of her tongue out. The corner of Hizalian's mouth twitches.

The penultimate act (a harpist) clears the stage.
Your throat drys. You remember last time and the lengthy gap in communication between the two of you. Time to meet Meg again.

There's a squeaking sound from backstage, as of unlubricated wheels.
Megumi 9x542 pushes a vintage grey casio keyboard out into the spotlight.
Compared to the parade of intricately carved string instruments and Steinway Grand Pianos that have graced the stage it is bizarrely ratty.
There's a piece of duct tape half-torn off the back, its exposed fibers pale in the harsh light.
She does look fantastic in that dress, though. It's the same blue as her electric eyes, and compared to some of the other gaudy gowns on display tonight it's relatively simple. A pale bloom of chiffon off her shoulder is the only embellishment.
It might just be the outfit but it appears her breasts have grown by a cup size or two.
"Zaaack," Polyphema whispers. "She's gorgeous."

"Hi," Meg says. "I'm Megumi 9x542."
It echoes through the concert hall. Everyone is holding their breath. She's the first Visitor on the stage.
"The Human Visitors Affairs Office has asked me to say a few words tonight before my performance," she says.

The air of expectant silence intensifies.

She blinks. It doesn't look like she's seen you. "But I don't really want to. So I'm just gonna sing."

There's another second of uncertain quiet and then, since this is America and nobody really knows what to do, applause starts breaking out.

1]] Don't call attention to yourself.
2]] Applaud.
3]] Applaud enthusiastically.
4]] YEAH MEG! WOOOOO
5]] ______________
>>
No. 651028 ID: bd8b82

4
>>
No. 651029 ID: defceb

2
>>
No. 651030 ID: 7fcddc

3, Applaud enthusiastically

I mean seriously what a killer line.
>>
No. 651032 ID: 0fc976

1/2. Not calling attention to ourselves means joining in with some polite clapping. She hasn't even begun to sing, so we await that with open ears
>>
No. 651033 ID: 7b7ab3

3.

Enthusiastic applause is the sensible middle ground between regular applause and uncouth shouting. It should also draw her attention to us, letting her know we are present and that she has our support.
>>
No. 651034 ID: ea0ad9

>"I am," she says. "You've actually been dating me, four times."
Hah! She caught on.
>There's a piece of duct tape half-torn off the back, its exposed fibers pale in the harsh light.
Heh, even here she's holding a bit of rebellion.
>There's another second of uncertain quiet and then, since this is America and nobody really knows what to do, applause starts breaking out.
Oh come now, it's a standing ovation you want.
>3]] Applaud enthusiastically.
>4]] YEAH MEG! WOOOOO
5. Applaud enthusiastically. "Whooo! You rock it, Megumi Ninex Five-forty-two!"
>>
No. 651035 ID: 044159

3! dont want you to accidentally get her off-kilter!
>>
No. 651036 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651034
>it's a standing ovation you want
While I agree, I think it's best saved for the end of her performance. We don't want to embarrass her.

Again.
>>
No. 651046 ID: f68a09
File 143539198231.png - (9.86KB , 960x560 , 340.png )
651046

You stamp your feet and whistle as you applaud. Meg glances down at you. Her eyes widen a bit.

Then she winks.

She sinks a little to reach her keyboard. Her dress gathers on the hardwood floor.

She closes her eyes.

"Oh," she whispers, so quiet it almost feels like only you can hear it. The H trails off into a scratchy exhalation.

She tilts her head back. "Amore Mio," she sings, and her voice-- what was the word Polyphema used?-- soars.

Her fingers palpate across the keys, setting off chunky drum loops (something finally you can dance to) and tumbling washes of chording synth.
And she sings her ass off.

It sounds almost autotuned, how perfectly on-note she is. Knowing she's a cyborg you don't rule out that it might be. She sings clear and unaffected, with only traces of the vibrato some of her peers have slathered on. Some people are probably shaking their heads at the piano; with the drumbeat and the synthesizer noise it's like an intersection of EDM and Opera. Kind of like what you heard strapped to her back.

She dips into her diaphragm to sing the low notes and it's like honey drizzling into your eardrum. She spirals up into a sustained high note that ends, it seems, just before she starts to weep. Every O she wraps her lips around is so shamelessly sensual it makes the hairs on your neck stand up.

Finally, you think, as she rides the slow fade of the piano to the end of her first song and the crowd bursts into applause around you, you fucking get what all the fuss about the opera is about.
>>
No. 651049 ID: f68a09
File 143539207907.png - (7.36KB , 960x560 , 341.png )
651049

Three more songs go by. She switches from Italian to German and then into the Visitor languages.
For the songs in Garaktonnik she amps up the drums to a crunchy, almost industrial feel and sings with a slight curl to the edges that makes you think of GG's accent. You have no idea how she manages to make a language like that sound beautiful but she manages the trick.

The Oculotti ones simmer and hiss between full-chested vowels that she frequently drops the accompaniment out from behind, hanging them crystallized in suddenly empty space.

In the break for applause you rub your eyes and feel that they're wet. At some point in that last one you cried.

"This next one someone translated," she says, as the music lingers and throbs away back into quiet. "It's a Floater, actually. We write some stuff. Who knew." A laugh from the audience. "They wrote it anonymously and uploaded the text of it into our shared library. It was deleted and restored about a dozen times. It's in the Floater signal language, which is a tricky thing to emote with. Actually it invented a lot of new words that we didn't have before. This is from the 9th restoration, translated by Britta Forrester."

She fiddles a little with her keyboard.
"Hold on," she says.
The supernatural catharsis she's brought to everyone has bought her more than enough goodwill to get it all set up.
"OK," she says. "Night's Reclamation."

She pounds the keyboard with both palms flattened and floods the hall with sound.
It crests, rolls, and quiets. In the fading of it she starts to sing, and the words, in English, appear behind her.

Tonight I flew to a high place
Where I had first seen you
The striated clouds could not hold me
I looked to see the stars
I tried to see the stars
I remembered what you had looked like

I thought of your body in the night

I saw nothing through the city lights
Not the design you told me once
Reminded you of me
The haze of a million detonations
The artificial fulmination
Of a million counterfeit suns

I thought of your breath in the night


She's levitating upward now. The keyboard continues below her on a loop.

I float numb in photopollution
The skyglow has seeped into my trembling eyes
Let your love carry you to where I am waiting
Take me for the final time into your arms
Love, it is inconceivable, but please, please, try
Reclaim the night

I thought of your body in the night
I thought of your breath in the night
I remembered you in the night
I couldn't see the stars


She lets the last word drift her back to the keyboard.
She blinks again at it, as if considering it for the first time, then reaches over and switches it off.
"Thank you," she says, and leaves the stage.

The standing ovation is immediate.
The three of you in the front row go fucking nuts.

1]] Run and find her backstage.
2]] Leave the concert hall with Polyphema and Hizalian and look for her as she exits.
3]] Leave the concert hall with the HVAO and look for her as she exits.
4]] Leave the concert hall alone and look for her as she exits.
5]] Sit for a bit and digest.
6]] ________________
>>
No. 651050 ID: defceb

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
>>
No. 651052 ID: 7fcddc

1

because i mean damn

damn

daaaaaamn
>>
No. 651054 ID: 2e7af1

>>651049
1]] Run and find her backstage.
>>
No. 651056 ID: 7b7ab3

Quickly excuse yourself, and then 1, you fool! 1!

Let's go congratulate our dear, beautiful diva.
>>
No. 651067 ID: 5cf48d

1
Don't forget to give poly a goodbye though!
>>
No. 651068 ID: 863037

>>651049
1. digest as you go.
>>
No. 651079 ID: b8ceae

>>651049
She gets a hug. Right now. Climb the stage if you have to!
>>
No. 651085 ID: dcd676

>>651067
This. She'll understand, just say goodbye to her and your mutual acquaintance before you rush off.
>>
No. 651109 ID: f68a09
File 143542376348.png - (13.62KB , 960x560 , 342.png )
651109

"Holy shit," you say. "I gotta go."
"Yes you do," Hizalian says. "There was something I wanted to talk to you about after the show. I'll just get your email from Helena."
"Go, Zack!" Polyphema pushes you toward the stageside exit. "And if you still don't want to fuck her I do!"

You find her backstage, putting on her leather jacket over her dress.
Her breasts are undeniably larger.
The harpist is talking to her. "No but you have to come down to the studio. That was legendary."
"Maybe," Meg says, then looks over and sees you. She freezes for a second with her arm halfway up her sleeve, then shrugs it the rest of the way on. "Hi, Zack."

1]] Hi.
2]] That was beautiful.
3]] That was cool.
4]] That was cool as fuck.
5]] I've missed you.
6]] Why didn't you tell me you were a diva?
7]] Hug her.
8]] Kiss her.
9]] __________
>>
No. 651111 ID: bd8b82

2 4 "that was afhshs"
8
>>
No. 651114 ID: 334db2

Hi Meg.
You were incredible.
>>
No. 651116 ID: 7b7ab3

I feel like I want all of these to happen.
We haven't spoken to her in so long, her performance was godlike, she looks so beautiful, we missed her so much, and she deserves all the hugs and kisses in both worlds.
>>
No. 651118 ID: 0fc976

4, 8, radical pose.
>>
No. 651124 ID: 02d9ae

2 and 4. Given how the last date with Meg went, 5, 7, and 8 are all way too forward. You can't just turn her down for sex, saying you don't think she's ready, and then get all affectionate and touchy-feely the very next time you meet her. Not to mention that she's clearly uncomfortable at the moment. Worst case it'd make Zack look like an insane creep, best case it'd just really fuck with her head. This is a situation that requires caution and decorum.
>>
No. 651128 ID: ea0ad9

9. That was fucking legendary, Meg. ...And, uh, hey. Seriously, I knew you were amazing after last time, but this is a whole 'nother level!
>>
No. 651136 ID: 696535

>>651109
9 & 8
"That was amazing. I have no words but I do have this."
THEN KISS.
>>
No. 651141 ID: b86fd0

2, 4, 6
>>651136
cant kiss her now jeez, theres still the fact of her being kinda hurt
>>651124
exactly
>>
No. 651149 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651124
>>651141
Despite my enthusiasm, these sound like far more sensible choices given the situation, although I would like to point out that 5 would also be appropriate. We really did miss her.

I hope she's not upset with us.
>>
No. 651161 ID: 863037

dude. dude. no kissing, you're still getting the whole cold shoulder thing. of the two of you, you're the only one wanting to kiss right now.
>>
No. 651170 ID: f68a09
File 143543515759.png - (10.01KB , 960x560 , 343.png )
651170

You want to kiss her but you realize that after last time it might not be a two-way street.
"That was beautiful, Meg."
"Thanks."
"Seriously. And cool as fuck."
"Don't know about cool. But thanks." She tilts her head. "You wanna get out of here? I eat now."
"Wait." The harpist steps in front of her. "I insist you at least take a look at the studio."
"I told you, dude, I'll think about it." Meg sounds testy.
"Sir." He wheels round on you. "Sir wasn't that breathtaking? She owes it to the musical world to get that recording down on tape. It'd advance visitor relations by a cosmic mile!"

1]] I'd love a copy. It was amazing.
2]] You want to go check it out, Meg?
3]] It's her music, dude. She can do what she wants with it.
4]] You're being a little pushy there.
5]] I think the music world more owes her for saving that concert from slow euthanasia.
6]] ____________________
>>
No. 651175 ID: c632d4

3+4
Nobody really owes anybody anything in the arts, expecially not just because their good. So relax, she'll get in touch if she wants to.
>>
No. 651176 ID: ab7529

3

And "your studio will still be there tomorrow. Let her have her moment. You got a card or something?"
>>
No. 651177 ID: 0fc976

3/4. If you don't mind, we are just going to waltz on through.
>>
No. 651180 ID: 3eac98

1+3

"I'd love a copy, but it's her music and she can do what she likes with it."
>>
No. 651181 ID: 7b7ab3

3.

It's her music. Her's.

She can do as she pleases with it.

Which means it's her decision wether or not to pursue his offer.
>>
No. 651182 ID: 0ee153

>>651170
3 and 4. Also question how much money he'd be making from it, he does seem awfully eager.
>>
No. 651185 ID: 334db2

'cmon man, relax. She'll make a decision.
>>
No. 651186 ID: 02d9ae

3.
>>
No. 651187 ID: d3be40

5
>>
No. 651190 ID: f68a09
File 143543855643.png - (13.10KB , 960x560 , 344.png )
651190

"It's her music," you say. "Let her decide what she wants to do with it."
"It's more than music," he says. "It's a revelation."
"Relax, dude," you say. "Are you eager about the music or the money you'd make?"
"What he said." Meg floats out into the sideway hall. You follow.
"Will you at least call me?" the harpist asks.
"For the 50th time I Will Think About It." Meg shuts the door to the dressing rooms. "Fuckin' douchebag. None of them even looked at me before the show and now everyone wants to be my friend." She pulls her phone out of her jacket pocket, then looks up at you. "Nice suit, Zack."
"Thanks."
"Where are we going? Gotta walk, wherever it is. I'm grounded."
"Whaaaat?"
"Ever since Jawara. For my protection." She narrows her eyes at a text she's gotten, then puts her phone back away. "So they fucking say."
"That sucks."
"Yah." She heads for a back entrance, presumably to avoid the crowd. "Let's blow. Where you want to go?"
>>
No. 651199 ID: b8ceae

>>651190
"First, I gotta say sorry for derping up last time. Not making any excuses, I just cocked it up. Failed to cock it up? Whatever.
Second, if you're up for a second date we could go clubbing."
>>
No. 651200 ID: defceb

Any nice rooftop bars in the area? Somewhere with a view, preferably.
>>
No. 651204 ID: d3be40

Find a nice nightclub and hang out outside of it.
>>
No. 651206 ID: 7b7ab3

I can think of a couple places. There's 20/15, which would be great if she wants to go clubbing. Or, like >>651200 said, there might a nice rooftop somewhere we could hang out.

Oh, and we should definitely apologize soon.
>>
No. 651209 ID: 0fc976

>20/15
>wanting to go clubbing
Sure, let's do a rooftop bar.
>>
No. 651213 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651209
I suggested 20/15 because it's familiar territory. We know it's a good place to unwind, and that it's Visitor friendly. Although I will admit it's not very quiet or calm.

I'm okay with the rooftop thing, though.
>>
No. 651232 ID: 7b7ab3

Of course, there is always the option of letting her choose.
>>
No. 651262 ID: 38aa12

>>651200
An excellent idea. She can't fly, so let's give her another means of reaching high altitude.
>>
No. 651271 ID: 8d351a

Well, she's grounded. We could take her to a rooftop bar/cafe, like Apollo said. If there's an amusement park or something like that in town then we could take her up on a roller coaster or a ferris wheel. Or we could let her choose.
>>
No. 651273 ID: e55704

Honestly, anywhere she can get some altitude would be good. Might be best to let her choose.
>>651271
>Meg on a roller coaster
That's an awesomely adorable image.
>>
No. 651275 ID: dcd676

>>651200
I like this. Let's suggest somewhere high up with a view to work from and chat.
>>
No. 651276 ID: 062da3

Oh, the options.

The movies.
A cafe.
A bar.
The beach (it's worked before).
A nightclub.
Somewhere with rides.
Her place/our place.
Hell, laser tag?

No matter where we go, we need to apologize.
>>
No. 651279 ID: ad7bba

I say we go for terrible-for-you fast food somewhere. What's the pleasure of eating if you can't abuse the ability and by extension your body? Food in general should be a safe option since she mentioned she can now. Wouldn't have if she was against it, at least.

Regardless of where we go or what we do, apologizing first thing seems more awkward than anything else. Wait for at least a semi-decent opening guys, geeze.
>>
No. 651281 ID: baea73

>>651279
Sharing some big, sloppy burgers on a rooftop on a moonlit night. That's pretty damn romantic.
>Wait for at least a semi-decent opening guys, geeze.
Okay, fair point.
>>
No. 651288 ID: 387db4

"I'm good with whatever. So, you can eat now? Cool. Where'd you get the upgrade?"
>>
No. 651299 ID: f0e552

>>651190
We're all dressed up, how about we eat out at a nice place and then go dancing?
>>
No. 651325 ID: 2dcdc8

If we go out to eat, let's be careful with our new duds and Meg's dress. Staining clothes this good would be criminal.
>>
No. 651329 ID: bb78f2

Oh man, we have to get Italian after that.
Or we could just go to a greasy spoon in these suits, switching from White to Blue Collar and eat the most unheathiest, delicious shit you have ever eaten...

Well, actually, I'd like to know how your taste buds were built first and if you've developed any tastes since you've started eating.
>>
No. 651342 ID: 765f9b

Ireland, but seeing as you're grounded and all, I think I should settle for something more local.
>>
No. 651357 ID: ea0ad9

>>651190
>"I'm grounded."
>She narrows her eyes at a text she's gotten, then puts her phone back away. "So they fucking say."
...Did they get mad at her for flying up during the song?
>Wait for at least a semi-decent opening guys, geeze.
Well, we have an opening to at least say "I'm glad you're not holding a grudge" to lure her into giving us the opening to properly apologize.
> Any nice rooftop bars in the area? Somewhere with a view, preferably.
We know that Bika has an entire upper building available, but that's serious Dulabira territory. Best way of bringing that up would be "There's one place I think you would love, but since tonight is all about you, so I'm thinking more, like Taverna. We're definitely dressed the part for there."

Seriously, let's bring Taverna back into things. Haven't been there since chapter 1.
>>
No. 651388 ID: f68a09
File 143547391239.png - (23.69KB , 960x560 , 345.png )
651388

You look for a good rooftop place on your phone. You look for reviews that point to a place being Visitor Friendly but don't find anything like that; one of them has a two-star review where the guy says Saw a Warrior while I was in here drinking too much-- weird neighborhood. would not recommend

So you try that out. It's called Mix.

You sit across from Meg. The waiter seems nice enough. He says he'll get you the drinks menu.
"Can you drink as well as eat?" you ask Meg.
"Haven't tried it," Meg says.

She unzips her jacket and airs herself out. "Stars are out. Guess Anonymous was wrong." She looks at you sidelong, as the stars reflect faintly off her shiny skin. "So."

1]] Guess that's what genocide can do for light pollution.
2]] So how have you been, Meg?
3]] I had no idea Floaters could write things like that. I thought you were the first to feel romance.
4]] So I'm sorry for last time.
5]] That dude was a douche but you really should consider recording that stuff. Did you arrange it all yourself?
6]] Are you pissed? Not that I'd blame you.
7]] Let me buy you a drink.
8]] ________________
>>
No. 651391 ID: 0fc976

7; 2, 4, 6, 3
>>
No. 651394 ID: bd8b82

i don't think she opened her jacket for no reason, i think she is trying to seduce you.
>>
No. 651395 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651391
Same. Let's cover all our bases.

Maybe 5, too. Her music is the kind of thing that changes the world.
>>
No. 651399 ID: d3be40

2, 7, 4.
>>
No. 651441 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651388
>"Can you drink as well as eat?" you ask Meg.
>"Haven't tried it," Meg says.
Hopefully she's not a teetotaler.
Let's also hope that alcohol doesn't make Floaters explode or something.
That would be less than ideal.
>>
No. 651446 ID: 53a13f

2,7
I'd say no to 4 - things are going well so why bring that up again?
>>
No. 651452 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651446
>why bring that up again?
To apologize.
At the very least, we should acknowledge that we screwed up.
>>
No. 651461 ID: 7c0775

>>651391
This. We have a lot of catching up to do, and she is owed an apology.
>>
No. 651464 ID: b8ceae

>>651391
>>651461
Yea.
As best I can figure, Zack was projecting human psychology on to her, and thus was worried about her rushing into things and winding up hurt. His rejection, then, would naturally result in her believing she was making Zack uncomfortable and blame herself.
Zack needs to clear that up so she doesn't believe she screwed up the first date. Explaining that it was HIS mistake, not hers, would be the best course of action.
>>
No. 651494 ID: f0a5e4

>>651464
Respectfully agreed and somewhat disagreed.
Pretending something never happened is a real great way to never get over it, so at least asking if she's okay with talking about it is important. She might not be, though, and that's okay for the moment.
IF she is, totally apologize for being a Rube Oldberg machine and overcomplicating/awkwarding things up last time.
But I think the problem was less cultural and more that we tried too hard to think for her rather than with her.
When the ball was in Meg's court, we trusted her without a second thought, because that was her world and we didn't understand it. But when she threw the ball to us and specifically mentioned both being unsure and inexperienced, we assumed that as she was approaching us in the context of human culture, human cultural mores, and more importantly our own, were what she sought to make a judgement from.
We didn't really take into account the emotional reaction flat dismissal would cause in someone whose ego is currently based around her comprehension of her own limits and confidence in her own ability, or try to meet in the middle. Fault isn't really anybody's, love is messy and all that, but we fucked up and we should apologize if she wants to talk about it.
>>
No. 651498 ID: db46ec

I'll say 7, and add my voice to "not 4". Talking problems out is usually a good idea, but with Meg it really seems like it'd just make her uncomfortable. Floaters like to be cool, and bringing up past awkwardness's isn't something that makes you feel cool. I really don't think it's going to be a problem unless Zack goes and do the same thing again. Meg isn't dumb, I'm sure she's not going to hold a grudge or be under any kind of misunderstanding.

If you DO feel you have to bring it up, Zack, wait until later and you've gotten more comfortable. But I think the better idea is to let your actions and attitude do the speaking for you.
>>
No. 651506 ID: f0a5e4

>>651498
Good points all around. I'm gonna go ahead a change my vote from "bring it up" to "leave it be until later."
>>
No. 651508 ID: 75dede

>>651391
I can agree.
>>651498
Maybe a good middle ground would be to ask if she wants to talk about it. Her opinion matters, too. We've learned that the hard way.
>>
No. 651511 ID: 2bf542

"Meg, I'm sorry.. about last time. I trusted you enough to strap myself in for a trip above the clouds, but I didn't trust you to know what you wanted and that was super-mega lame of me."
>>
No. 651524 ID: 7fcddc

I'm just going to suggest the reminding miss too cool for school about the time she wasn't too cool for school may not be ideal.

Let's just like, date this chick. She knows what she wants.

7, 2
>>
No. 651528 ID: 5f7625

Yeah, lets remember, Zack Nguyen, cool and confident.

Apologizing isn't exuding that cool or confidence. Talk about the show to start, compliments and questions about her involvement in it, discussion of it. It's about her right now. If she brings it up THEN we can apologize and if necessary, explain ourselves.
>>
No. 651529 ID: 0fc976

It's cool to admit when you've messed up. Coolness isn't about what you do, it's about how you carry yourself.
>>
No. 651547 ID: f68a09
File 143555131241.png - (11.38KB , 960x560 , 346.png )
651547

"So you should try it," you say. "Can I buy you a drink?"
"Yea," she says. "Gimme a beer."

You order her an IPA and a grapefruit shandy for yourself.

Meg takes a gulp. She coughs and burps.
She puts it back on the table. "Fuck."
"They're an acquired taste," you say.
"I don't taste anything." She coughs again. "I hear it."
"You hear the beer?"
"They didn't link it up right. It's that word."
"Synesthesia."
"Yea. This shit is loud."
"That's nuts." You drink some shandy. It's UFO, the kind Harpoon makes. You feel a lot more in your element than when you were drinking champagne.
"Didn't have the heart to tell them they were wrong." She cautiously takes another sip of the beer and winces. "Mm. Not bad. Loud but not bad."
"So how have you been, Meg?"
"Not great," she says.
"Oh." You're a little disarmed by this.
"I really wanna fly." She rolls her head back and looks at the sky. Her hand twitches. "I wanna fuckin' fly, Zack."
"It was a lot of fun."
"Yea." She runs her finger along the lip of her bottle. "Some dude from Queens puked all over my helmet the very last time."
"Oh, shit. Really?"
"I am not gifted at the first date. Five guys, two of them wanted to fly, three of them politely declined, one of them yakked, and the other came close. So I finally read the guide thing and rule 21 was 'no making your dates ride the vomit comet.'"
"That's weirdly specific."
"It might as well have been. 'Try to keep it casual and lowkey on the first date.' And rule 9 was don't talk about other dates. And rule 14 was no sex the first time." She glumly peels at her label. "Oops."

You take another drink.

"So the Collective took a look at my report card and they slapped some knockers on to me." She squeezes her left boob. "And an esophagus because it's rule 3 I think that says restaurants are a good idea. So fuck it."

1]] Don't listen to the rulebook.
2]] Those other dudes kind of sound like sissies.
3]] What's the Collective?
4]] You look great, if it's any consolation.
5]] I was actually about to apologize for how our date went down.
6]] It was my fault.
7]] You'll get better. Practice makes perfect, right?
8]] We should talk to someone about getting you your wings back.
9]] _______________
>>
No. 651551 ID: b8ceae

>>651547
5, 1, 3.
Posted about Zack dropping the ball earlier.
"They're more like guidelines, really".
Is it some kind of collective consciousness? Or the visitor version of Wikipedia?
>>
No. 651554 ID: b5b419

>>651547
9 "It's different when you ARE the comet - date won't amount to anything later if they can't handle it."
>>
No. 651556 ID: ad7bba

5, 1, 3

A guide wont make every date perfect. Heck, following a guide super strictly when it rankles is a recipe for disaster.

Anyway, we kind of choked last date because we didn't want to mess up- which messed it up.
>>
No. 651557 ID: 3009b4

Look, #5 and #8. I'm a fan of Poly but she wants her damn wings back. Even if you don't have long-term romantic plans for her at least do things for your relationship that allows you to be a good friend now and later.
>>
No. 651558 ID: b5b419

>>651556
Naaah. I still stand by the decision that saying 'no' to the quick sex was a good idea. Flubbing the landing of it, ehh...

Coulda been handled better.
>>
No. 651559 ID: 240a2c

>>651547
5,1,3
Aw, poor thing.
But yeah, a rulebook doesn't help. Like the lady said: "Love is messy." You've just gotta learn how to go with the flow.

Also, Collective? What?
>>
No. 651560 ID: 08f4b2

>rulebook
Do we have a corresponding book? We seem to be doing fairly well on our own, but I would be curious as to what is in there.
>>
No. 651562 ID: 334db2

5, 3 & 8. What the hell is Jawara anyway?
>>
No. 651564 ID: d51fe1

In no particular order: 1, 3, 5, 8
Relationships are naturally messy, so rulebooks don't really work.
What's this "Collective" whozit?
We were about to apologize for last time.
Is there any way to get her airborne again?
>>
No. 651565 ID: 5f7625

I can't believe they'd clip your wings, that's terrible. How do you like the new voice then? It was a pretty incredible performance, but I get the impression you aren't as big into as everyone else is.
>>
No. 651566 ID: 0fc976

The Collective agrees: 5, 1, 3.
>>
No. 651569 ID: 7b7ab3

Okay, first off: this "Collective" sounds like a bunch of assholes. They wrote some bullshit romance rulebook (that she should not listen to) and needlessly punished her. There must be a way to get her wings back from these jerks.

Secondly, we were just about to apologize for last time, though now it sounds like she's had much worse. The HVAO needs better recruits.

Meg needs some serious Gnuyen brand TLC to make up for her bad time.
>>
No. 651574 ID: 27bc51

1,3,5,8
>>
No. 651585 ID: 0c3d91

>>651569
But how do you really feel?

Seriously though. Meg needs some kind of relief. And her wings back.
>>
No. 651598 ID: d2c5e8

1]] Seriously. It sounds terrible.
2]] You'd think the HVAO would have higher standards.
3]] They sound like jerks.
4]] She really does.
5]] Kinda glad to know we weren't the worst thing to happen to her.
6]] At least we feel like it was.
7]] She's young now. In time she'll be incredible.
8]] Who or what would be our best shot at getting her flying again?
>>
No. 651605 ID: 61384f

>>651564
This. She needs help in these unhappy times.
Let us offer our aid.
>>
No. 651607 ID: 7fcddc

5, 1, 3

Like all things considered the date with Meg owned it just had something of a sour end.
>>
No. 651628 ID: 7b7ab3

What gets me is that they grounded her. That just seems cruel to do to a Floater.

There has got to be a way to get her back in the air. Maybe we should talk to Britta or Carlson. They might have some advice.
>>
No. 651645 ID: f4d940

>>651558
Agreed, though I dunno how we ought to have handled it better.

>>651628
My impression isn't that she's grounded because of her performance, but rather because of reasons relating to the political unrest and possibly to danger of some sort? Jawara, I believe, refers to some area or unit that they lost contact with recently.

Also, soooo, are ALL of our dates also dating more guys? It's reasonable, I just dunno if we'd heard of it, yet.
>>
No. 651652 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651645
Yeah, they say it's because of Jawara. I have my doubts.

More than likely. Although, if Meg's experiences are any indication, the other guys are pretty feeble.
>>
No. 651664 ID: fcbfd2

>>651564
Agreed.

>>651569
>Meg needs some serious Gnuyen brand TLC to make up for her bad time.
Well, then let's give her some!
>>
No. 651670 ID: 5a4a22

>>651664
>Meg needs some serious Gnuyen brand TLC to make up for her bad time.
>Well, then let's give her some!
A stiff drink, a romantic rooftop dinner, a sympathetic ear, and some kind words are a good place to start. Now if we could just help her with her whole "grounded" situation.
>>
No. 651675 ID: ea0ad9

>Also, soooo, are ALL of our dates also dating more guys? It's reasonable, I just dunno if we'd heard of it, yet.
I don't think Bika's dating anybody else, but I also don't think the four are the only ones. It does sound like they're fine with the whole idea of the Dulabira, though.

The rules are for standard human to human relations, not Dulabira relations. Something these guys will have to realize is how the rules of Visitor dates go.
>>651554
Trying to go for a ride and then throwing upover her is bad, but politely declining when you know it won't work out is fine. They may still work out as something to learn about humans from, and the whole point of hosting Dulabiras with the HVAO is to learn from a variety of sources.
>Secondly, we were just about to apologize for last time, though now it sounds like she's had much worse. The HVAO needs better recruits.
We can still apologize. Just because she broke a rule of the Human dating book, doesn't excuse us for breaking one out of the Visitor rules. We'll also have to get the Dulabirs together, get some serious debriefing in on it.
I'll look into posting an article about the relationships of Visitors shortly
>>
No. 651679 ID: 863037

>>651547
personally i liked your old chest better.
>>
No. 651680 ID: 5f7625

We should express displeasure they'd change her like that. Very human thing that she might not even understand.

I really don't think we should apologize for turning her down. I stand by our decision, she was interested in fulfilling a role and we wanted it to be something natural. Nothing wrong there.
>>
No. 651684 ID: bb78f2

Don't express displeasure at the fact they changed her. Floater bodies are clearly modular, so there's going to be some extreme cultural dissonance here. I mean, her original breasts were probable fake too. What Meg should look like is whatever makes her happy and comfortable with herself. Her body is like a nice suit or dress as much as a dress is for us.
>>
No. 651712 ID: ca5378

She should ignore the rulebook and she should know that we are very sorry for everything that's happened. If she wants we can talk to the HVAO and see if we can find her a place she can fly. We have some credit with them now, thankfully.
>>
No. 651724 ID: f68a09
File 143561413986.png - (7.12KB , 960x560 , 347.png )
651724

"What's the Collective?"
"Governing body of the Floaters," Meg says. "Fancy name."
"Are they the ones who grounded you?"
"No. That was you." She waves her hand. "Humans."
"Is there something I can do to get you airborn again? I could talk to the HVAO."
"Doubt it," she says. "There's probably good reason they don't want a Golborian in their airspace."
"You're as much a citizen of Earth as any of us."
"'Swhere you're wrong, Zack." She puts her elbow on the table. "If that were true it'd be different. All the other races do that. New citizenship, emigration, kind of thing. Not what floaters do. We live here, but none of us were refugees. No defections. And all of us have rank. I was born on Earth but I'm Golborian. Specialist of Three Degrees in the Land Army of the Kariket."
"You're a soldier?"
"Sure." She shrugs. "On assignment. That's floaters. We all are. My detail's pretty relaxed but still. Hence rulebooks."
"Hey rulebooks are usually a bunch of bullshit," you say. "Don't listen to them."
"I dunno." Meg says. "I'm flying pretty fuckin' blind."
"We all are. Don't trust whoever has answers. The rough truth is that love and dating is messy territory."
"I don't like it." She sloshes her half-finished beer around and makes a little whirlpool in her lap. "It hurts."

You swallow. "Truth be told actually I was thinking of apologizing."
"Why?"
"Last time," you say. "I trusted you enough to go skydiving with you but not go home with you. I didn't really think about where you were coming from enough."
"Hmmm." She drinks, contemplatively. She burps again, then hiccups. "Son of a bitch."
You laugh as the tension dissipates. "Need help there?"
"It's got all these bubbles in it."
"It's fizzy."
"Fizzy. Cool." She examines the amber depths of her beer. "It's ok. Not your fault."
"It was my fault."
"Kind of your fault." She sighs. "I'm not... good at this, though."
"No--"
"It's ok. I know what I'm good at. I'm good at singing and I'm really good at flying. I'm good at most of the shit I've tried. But I'm not fucking good at this." Her voice rises. She catches herself. "I'm not. Now I'm not even so good at combat maneuvers. Weight differential's all messed up and I can't practice."
"You were amazing at singing."
"I guess." She plays with the material of her dress. "But that's just singing. Using other people's words. Anonymous."
"I didn't know floaters could write like that. Didn't they not feel love before you?"
"Nope. Doesn't mean some of us didn't want to. Rebea loved that poem. Must have had like a dozen copies in storage for whenever they yanked it. But all she did was read it. She didn't feel anything like-- I just--" She closes her eyes and refocuses them. "I don't fucking get how someone in the past who couldn't even feel it wrote that. And here I am and I do and I'm stealing some dead floater's words because I can't-- I have all this shit inside. I don't know what to do with this. I don't want this." She slumps. "It should have been them. We should have found whoever wrote that and made a copy of them. I don't know why it's me. Oh, my god." She tilts her head back up. Her voice is rising. "Rule 12. Positive attitude. No complaining. Fuck. I don't know why I'm complaining at you. And why I can't stop talking. I don't say this shit to people. This isn't me. Shut up, Meg. I WANT TO FUCKING FLY."

Every other table's conversation on the rooftop goes completely silent.

1]] Meg we gotta be quiet.
2]] It's OK, everybody.
3]] What are you all looking at?
4]] Give her a hug.
5]] I prefer you over whoever wrote that thing, if that's a comfort.
6]] Not everyone can express themselves through words. It's OK.
7]] You were saying you feel something? What do you feel?
8]] What happened to Rebea? Is she still around?
9]] I don't give a shit what the regulations are. We have to fly tonight.
10]] Try to find something else to talk about to cheer her up.
11]] ________________
>>
No. 651727 ID: b8ceae

>>651724
4, 7.

Also:
"That rulebook was written by floaters, wasn't it. Dating's mostly an emotional experience, so that rulebook is like a rainbow painted by the blind."

Also:
"If you're grounded because you're officially a Golborian citizen, then apply for US citizenship. You were born here and you're under 18 years old, so you pretty much just have to file the paperwork.
The US will have you renounce your Golborian citizenship, but if the Collective doesn't recognize that you end up with dual citizenship.
You'd also be the first civilian floater."
>>
No. 651728 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651724
4, 5, 9
She needs comfort. Right now.
She's Meg. Amazing, beautiful, wonderful, incredible Meg. We wouldn't trade her for the world.
She needs to fly tonight. With all the shit that's happened she needs release. She'll go crazy otherwise.
>>
No. 651730 ID: ab7529

>I was born on Earth but I'm Golborian
Doesn't being born here give you joint citizenship? That's how it used to work, if human soldiers had kids while they were deployed somewhere.

>I'm terrible at this
>Rule 12. Positive attitude. No complaining. Fuck. I don't know why I'm complaining at you. And why I can't stop talking. I don't say this shit to people. This isn't me. Shut up, Meg. I WANT TO FUCKING FLY.
I'm pretty sure being honest about your feelings is somewhere on the list of important when it comes to dating. Not all feelings are always fun.

(Is her tongue loose because she's never been exposed to booze before?).

>not really comfortable with the eating or the boobs
It kinda sucks she doesn't get a say in her own body. Really, she doesn't have to change to make you happy, if that's what her bosses think.

>I WANT TO FLY
Hmm. Are there any big, open enclosed spaces? You're not in airspace if you're inside a hollowed out skyscraper or something. (The war must have left a few of those, right?).
>>
No. 651732 ID: e607cd

threeeeeeeeeee
>>
No. 651741 ID: 7b7ab3

I can't stand seeing her like this. She doesn't deserve to suffer like this.
We have to do something. We have to help her. Figuring out her emotions, dealing with all the stress, getting back in the air. We have to help her.
>>
No. 651743 ID: ea0ad9

>>651727
This.
>>
No. 651744 ID: 0fc976

6, 4
>>
No. 651751 ID: 8b9822

Offer a solution. The humans who grounded you don't understand the important of flight for Floaters - in fact, that's part of what your work in the HVAO is for. If you throw your expertise around in the right places, you could at least get flight zones set up somewhere, out in the country, or around an airfield somewhere where they'll feel safer about it. Its the kind of thing anthropologists get called for, to go to officials and go "guys come on you don't understand what's going on here with these people". So there's precedent for this sort of thing.

In the meantime... well, obviously they're allowing at least a little flight ceiling, because that's how Floaters move around at all. So perhaps, if you can't fly high... you can fly level, but over a deep empty space? There has to be a quarry or something near the city, some big wide hole in the ground. It wouldn't be full flight, but it'd be better than nothing, maybe?
>>
No. 651753 ID: 334db2

4 4 4 4

Meg, you won't find the words you're looking for if you don't talk. It's fine.

aaand we should probably cut off the beer & get her out of here.
>>
No. 651763 ID: e114bc

So what she's saying is... "They should've sent a poet"?
>>
No. 651766 ID: 7b7ab3

Let me change my vote slightly: 4, 5, 7, 9
She needs immediate physical comfort.
She is completely irreplaceable.
Bottling up emotions only makes them stronger.
If she needs to fly, she needs to fly. We'll take responsibility.
>>
No. 651768 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651766
If we take Meg flying, then we should call the HVAO and let them know, and instead of arguing with us and telling us it's a bad idea they could instead pick out or set up a place for us so we avoid any complications.
>>
No. 651785 ID: ad7bba

Is she drunk on half a beer? I'm not sure she's in any condition for flying regardless of regulation.
>>
No. 651786 ID: f68a09
File 143563199532.png - (5.39KB , 960x560 , 348.png )
651786

You reach across the table and hug her.
You feel her flinch, then reciprocate.
Conversation returns at a low murmur.
You hear that fake camera shutter sound phones make when they take a picture. Whatever.

"We have to get you flying," you say. "I don't give a shit about regulations."
"Regulations give a shit about you," she says. "That's regulations."
"Well we have to-- I'll be right back. Hold on." You stand up. "Right back."
"Where are you going?"
"Bathroom."

You call the HVAO and ask Britta to put you through to Carlson.
"I don't know where he is," she says.
"Does he have a cell phone?" you ask.
"I don't know if I'm allowed to give that out..."
"Brit. Please?"
"Welllll ok. It'd probably come in real handy. Don't tell him I sent you. Not that he wouldn't know."

"Mr. Carlson? It's Zack."
"Zack Nguyen?"
"Yeah."
"Zack Nguyen! Britta gave you this number, didn't she?" His voice sounds a lot lighter than usual. You're surprised. "God dammit," he says, pleasantly. "What do you need, Zack? Please don't call me directly. That often. How did you like the show?"
"It was pretty good."
"Megumi brought the house down. And the refreshments were excellent. Especially the Blanc de noirs."
"Did you indulge?"
He chuckles. "I did, Zackary. I certainly did."
"Umm listen. Mr. Carlson. I have a huge favor to ask."
"Ask it. I've already done you one by not hanging up. I can do you a few more."
"Megumi is going freaking stir crazy on the ground after she was banned from flying. If there is any way--"
"Zackary that wasn't my decision."
"I know but she's seriously--"
"Zackary we have received this same complaint from a number of floaters," Carlson says. "And I am going to tell them exactly what I told you. I mean tell you what I told them. Under no circumstances are you-- Meg, I should say-- allowed to hover so that your head is seven feet above whatever surface is below you."

"Mr. Carlson--"

"And you are especially not to do so in the construction pit at 45th and Amsterdam," Carlson says. "Becaaaaause: between the hours of 8 PM and 4 AM there is nobody on duty to watch it and there are no security cameras there, so nobody would know that you were breaking the law. And as such I have placed an HVAO security detail there specifically to monitor and give a firm verbal warning to all Floaters who fly within said construction pit. Attempt to fly. I should say. Am I understood, Mr. Nguyen?"
"Mr. Carlson you're a lifesaver."
"Am I understood?"
"You are."
"G'night, Zackary. Remember: No 45th and Amsterdam. No going there. OK. Bye."
He hangs up.

1]] Tell Meg you found a place for her to fly so she can grab the harness.
2]] Tell Meg you have a surprise for her.
3]] Suggest to Meg that the two of you get out of here.
4]] Keep drinking and talking for a while.
5]] Maybe talk without the drink.
6]] _________________
>>
No. 651787 ID: 153bce

See if you can ask meg to hover flat.

Her head can't be 7 feet off the ground, but what about the rest of her?
>>
No. 651788 ID: b8ceae

>>651786
It's past 8pm, right?

3. Walk and talk.
Ask her if she ever thought about changing her citizenship.
>>
No. 651791 ID: ab7529

3
>>
No. 651792 ID: 334db2

3,5. If she hesitates, say you have a surprise.
>>
No. 651793 ID: 0fc976

3: Let's skidoo.
>>
No. 651794 ID: 7b7ab3

Oh, please be there when we get back...

3 and 2.

"Hey, Meg! You wanna get outta here? There's something I want to show you."

Offer her no hints. We want maximum surprise. This is gonna be awesome.
>>
No. 651796 ID: f0e552

>>651786
3, 2. Hold hands!
>>
No. 651800 ID: ad7bba

Can Meg hover upside-down? That'd give her a few extra feet of height. Also look hot, probably.

Speaking of, she sort of implied her boobs are throwing off her flight game. Might be a good idea to pass along to the Collective that practicality is a valid aesthetic draw too.
>>
No. 651801 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651796
>Hold hands!
Also this! If she's into it...

And let's keep the conversation going. We still need to help her figure out her emotions.
>>
No. 651806 ID: 7fcddc

Mr Carlson you bro.

3,2
>>
No. 651811 ID: f68a09
File 143563883930.png - (13.36KB , 960x560 , 349.png )
651811

You go back to Meg. "Hey. Meg. Let's get outta here."
She doesn't say anything. Just nods.

You walk with her. Her arms are folded tight. You're not sure how you could go about initiating holding her hand so you don't.

"How are you feeling?" you ask.
"Bad," she says.

The two of you go in silence for a while. You feel pressure to say something.

"You ever think about changing your citizenship?" you ask.
She starts to shake her head then changes her mind and shrugs instead. "Floaters don't do that."

You check the street signs. "We're crossing here."
"Where are we going?" she asks.
"This way," you say, and speed up.
"No, like where are we--" she floats faster to keep pace with you, and hesitates as she sees you duck under caution tape headed into a construction area. "What are you doing, Zack?"
"C'mere," you say. "Check this out."
She hovers over the tape and follows you as you figure out how to open those doors they have in the barriers next to sidewalks. Turns out a solid push from the shoulder unsticks them. You wonder if this is normally locked.

The door swings open onto a wide concrete pit, dug deep to get to the recently dismantled foundations of some office space highrise or another that recently went under. A plainclothes man sits on a shrinkwrapped palette, reading a book.
"Floater?" he doesn't look up. "Hey."

Meg goes to the edge of the pit and looks down. An ecstatic-looking floater tears past her face. "Holy SHIT," she says.

"Don't fly around down there," the guy reading the book says. "Rules are rules. And, uh," he closes the book over his finger to keep the place and stands up to check the pit. "Try not to mess with the equipment and shit down there. It's not ours. Not that you would because don't fly around down there." He sits back down. "Or I for one will be very disappointed in you."

Meg looks back at you, her eyes wide and wild. She's normally impossible to read but her face is lit up with emotion. She looks like she'd be on the verge of tears if she had tearducts.

1]] Surprise!
2]] You're welcome.
3]] Go crazy. As long as you need. I'll be right here.
4]] Should we go get your harness and helmets and stuff?
5]] If I held on really tight could I hitch a ride?
6]] __________________
>>
No. 651817 ID: ab7529

6- Just grin like an idiot.
>>
No. 651819 ID: 9297f4

3. If we wanted to get on her, we should have stopped by her house first. I will not have Zack experience any head or whiplash trauma from bullshit we could have avoided.
>>
No. 651821 ID: b5b419

>>651811
6] "Go on, "don't" get in there."
>>
No. 651822 ID: 334db2

3. Be free Meg. And be careful, you're kinda tipsy.
>>
No. 651823 ID: 1cebc8

2, 4, 3.
>>
No. 651825 ID: b8ceae

>>651811
She hasn't had time to practice since The Collective modified her body, and even a large construction pit is a really small space to fly in. You are NOT riding her in this pit; you can wait to get home to do that.

Later on you should point out she was literally born to do things that Floaters don't do. Leave it at that.
Once you're in private ask what kind of hive mind they have, because what she's said makes it pretty clear The Collective is sorta like Jung's collective unconscious without the 'un'.
>>
No. 651826 ID: 7b7ab3

1, 3, her choice of 4 or 5.

"Surprise! Now go crazy. As long as you need. I'll be right here. Or do you want me to join you?"
>>
No. 651836 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651825
>You are NOT riding her in this pit; you can wait to get home to do that.
I see what you did there.
And maybe this time we won't screw it up.
>>
No. 651844 ID: f68a09
File 143564284801.png - (9.60KB , 960x560 , 350.png )
651844

You don't say anything. You just smile a big, dopey grin.

Meg lights off the overhang and spirals into the abyss.

Looking at her fly you realize just how much she was holding back when you were strapped to her. She executes perfect yo-yos, dizzying alieron rolls, snap loops that bring her crazy close to the wall, and at the peak of her ascent an eyes-closed stall, hovering midair, her arms stretched out to the fingertips like a crucifixion, suspended like one of her high notes, then a tilt over and she comes so close to the ground you almost scream for her to pull up before whoosh, she's up in the air again. She dips under a ladder and the tarp suspended over her billows with the wind of her passage. Chandelles and figure eights until you're lightheaded just watching her.

Then she screeches to a breakneck stop right in front of you, hovering in midair. "Zack!"

"Jesus, Meg," you say. "That was something else."

"Zack! I have to tell you something!"

"What's up?"

She just floats, staring at you.

"Meg?"

"Hold on!" She flies back away for a second during which she does three consecutive barrel rolls and then comes back, turning in the wind above you.

"Zack I didn't tell anyone but I did so bad on all of my dates because of you! It's your fucking fault!"
"What? Sorry?"
"No no no! I couldn't stop thinking about you! I couldn't! I still can't! I think about you all the fucking time! I had to reprint a report because I wrote your name a million times in the fucking margins, Zack! I fucking--"

She does another backflip and comes back up, eyes two perfect electric O's.
"I fucking keep thinking about the kiss! And how I made you hard when we were flying together and that made me feel so fucking good about myself! That's the only time I've felt like I know what I'm fucking doing this entire fucking mission! I phoned it in so much with everyone else because I just wanted to be with you and looking at you!"

"Uhh." The guy with the book looks up again. "Should I like, go?"

"And I don't even fucking know you! But I really really really want to! Really badly! Why?! Is that?!" She doesn't wait for an answer. "I want to hang out with you all the time! But I couldn't even tell you! Every time you texted me I read it like 50 times and I didn't know how to respond!" She slows down and drifts lower, breathing hard. "I don't know why the fuck I can just tell this to you now. Am I drunk? I don't think I'm drunk. What the fuck am I saying, I don't even fucking know what drunk feels like. But."
She's lost steam. She looks terrified.

1]] That's the cool part of all of this.
2]] That's what we in the biz call love.
3]] That's what we in the biz call infatuation. It's the stage one of love.
4]] I've been thinking about you too.
5]] Isn't that gonna make your job harder?
6]] This whole time I just thought you were pissed at me!
7]] Come down here so I can kiss you.
8]] Jump up and kiss her.
9]] Calm down. I feel the same.
10]] _________________
>>
No. 651846 ID: defceb

8
>>
No. 651847 ID: 0ee153

4, 6, 8.
>>
No. 651848 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651844
Definitely 8, then 4 followed by 1.
>>
No. 651849 ID: bb78f2

>>651844
8]] SMOOCH
>>
No. 651850 ID: 1cebc8

6, 5.
>>
No. 651851 ID: ad7bba

6, 4, 3

It's the reason teenage girls love boy bands.
>>
No. 651858 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651844
>all that zipping around
>that emotional venting
Methinks she was a miiiiiite pent up.
Poor, lovesick thing. Let us shower her with affection!
>>
No. 651864 ID: 0fc976

3, 6, 4... 7?
>>
No. 651870 ID: f0e552

>>651844
8, and then "I'm so glad , 6"

make sure you won't fall when you inevitably do an 8.
>>
No. 651873 ID: ea0ad9

>"And I don't even fucking know you! But I really really really want to! Really badly! Why?! Is that?!"
3: That's infatuation. Stage one of love. The sort that Visitors call Alamad, I think?
8, but if the surprise cuts off her jets be prepared to "Catch" her.
6: And here I thought you were mad at me for screwing things up. By something other than making the other guys look worse, I mean.
5/4: Sounds like it'll make your job harder, so lemme ease it up for you: I've been thinking about you too. When we separated, I was disappointed in me, not you, and that's the way I'll always be after a disagreement.
10: Don't give up your job, though. You can always give me a call, spend some time, get your Vitamin Nguyen (Give her a wink here, you big dork), especially if your Dulamads aren't cutting it.
>>
No. 651874 ID: e114bc

NO LECTURING
>>
No. 651885 ID: 57d76a

3,1 -> 4,6 -> 8

... you know. I am kind of getting the feeling that there might be a superhuman component to our charm.
But who knows maybe we're just that smooth.
>>
No. 651888 ID: f0e552

>>651844
I think meg is my favourite, now.
>>
No. 651897 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651888
I won't play favorites among the girls, but I will say she's my favorite Floater, just like GG's my favorite Warrior, Poly's my favorite oculot, and Bika's my favorite skut.
>>
No. 651901 ID: 334db2

8 6
>>
No. 651904 ID: 3fd265

>>651844
>8
"Catch me!"
>>
No. 651906 ID: 2a7417

>>651885
Maybe when he signed up for the HVAO they injected Zack with super-suaver serum.
>>
No. 651910 ID: 7b7ab3

>>651906
Or maybe he was exposed to otherworldly radiation. Now, whenever there are pretty, alien ladies present, Zack becomes
The Incredible Hunk!
>>
No. 651911 ID: 4b1db0

8. A surface-to-air smooch!
>>
No. 651915 ID: b92d82

>>651904
Yea!
>>651906
>>651910
Uhhh... Dammit! I've got no Avengers jokes!
>>
No. 651925 ID: f61b8d

>>651885
>>651906
>>651910
Haha, yeah.
Yeah, it does kinda strain my suspension-of-disbelief, the way everyone is falling madly in love with Zack. Like, I know it makes things convenient for the plot, but.... Particularly contrasted with the point that Meg's other five dates didn't interest her in the slightest, it seems.

Also, thankfully it seems that her beer didn't affect her balance enough to cause problems, or that woulda been bad.

Also, my theory is that she's able to say all of this because of a combination of alcohol and the exhilaration of flying after so long.

Also, 8 seems the best option given.

Random thought; Floaters would make amazing taxi-people.
>>
No. 651934 ID: b8ceae

>>651844
1, 3, 8
>>
No. 651936 ID: 45089e

Take her hand, bring her down and kiss her you fool
>>
No. 651943 ID: 87aae3

8 or 7. I don't much like the sound of three. It just seems off somehow.

>>651925
We spec'd for charm and confidence. Considering the build, people's reactions have made sense. If we had focused on our body or sense of humor I imagine things would have been much different.
>>
No. 651960 ID: 0ee153

>>651925
I suspect Meg was built to do exactly this. Fall in love. Should be an interesting philosophical conundrum when/if the question comes up about how much is Zack's charisma and how much of it she was programmed to act.
>>
No. 651961 ID: c1d890

>>651936
Alternatively: jump up there, grab a hold, and kiss her you fool
>>
No. 651963 ID: 45089e

>>651961
no, no, taking her hand's more romantic
>>
No. 651965 ID: f61b8d

>>651943
Man, I barely even remember doing that. Anyway, maybe you're right. But, seems like...OP, though? You'd think some of the traits would've endeared us to some, and others to others, etc.

>>651960
Interesting point. On the other hand, they probably didn't hardwire her for ZACK, yet Zack seems to be the only one she's taken a liking to.
>>
No. 652054 ID: 943afc

>>651965
he was the first date tho maybe they programmed her like, cupid's arrow first-designated-LI you see thing
>>
No. 652136 ID: 7b7ab3

Y'know, we should suggest to Meg that we make trips to this pit a regular thing. Sort of make it into our own, personal speakeasy. Only instead of drinking we're flying.
>>
No. 652154 ID: 846437

8, 4. She's been on our minds, to say the least.
>>
No. 652155 ID: f68a09
File 143572818007.png - (10.49KB , 960x560 , 351.png )
652155

"Meg! Catch me!"
"What?"
"I'm gonna jump you gotta catch me!"
"OK!"
"Are you sure?" You back up to take a running start.
"Come on, Zack! Kenny Loggins it!"
"Whoa. Whoa." The guy with the book stands up. "Don't jump, dude. I don't--"
"Sorry," you say.
Meg braces. "Go!"

You leap.
"DON'T DON'T" the HVAO man yells, as you soar through space.
You feel the downward tug of gravity for a split second before Meg catches you in midair with a surprisingly firm grip, twirls you around like a ballerina, and kisses you.
She's learned from last time; her technique has improved a lot. She tastes clean and plastic.
Also she hasn't dropped you, so that's a plus.

The HVAO guy is freaking out. "Dude that is CRAZY dangerous!"
"It's okay." You give him the thumbs up. Your legs dangle. "She's seriously a lot stronger than she looks."
"Jesus." He sits back down. "You're Zack Nguyen, aren't you?"
"You've heard of me?"
"You're an urban legend around the office, dude." He shakes his head and reopens his book. "Or maybe just a normal legend. I don't know the difference. Don't fall."
Meg buries her head in your chest. "Hold tight," she says.
You look down. You've floated higher. "I don't really have much of a choice."
She laces her fingers across your lower back. "Good."
You gently lift her chin up and kiss her again.
The airdrafts of a floater shooting by spin the two of you slightly.
"Get a room," it calls.
Meg flips it off but detaches herself, biting your lip as she goes. She doesn't really have teeth, just hard plastic, so it doesn't hurt. She's angled up a little bit so that all your weight is pushing down on her stomach and hips. Her thrusters hum low and vibrate her against you. "What now?" she asks.

1]] You want to fly around more?
2]] You want to go eat something?
3]] You want to go to a club or something?
4]] You want to get out of the city?
5]] You want to come home with me?
6]] __________________
>>
No. 652156 ID: fcbfd2

5. This is our chance to make up for last time!
Or we could just hang out or something, I don't know.
>>
No. 652157 ID: 57d76a

3, I guess? I dunno they all seem good to me. Except 5, thanks for later in the night.

Well okay I guess they've been out for a while but they haven't been together for much of it!
>>
No. 652158 ID: f4d940

Hahahahaha, "You're Zack Nguyen, aren't you?" WE ARE ZACK NGUYEN, BABY! hahahaha
>>
No. 652166 ID: 0fc976

1, extend 5 when you're done slow-dancing through the air.
>>
No. 652168 ID: 7b7ab3

I say 5.

It's late, we're together, she's feeling good, we're feeling good, we've had a good time, and now we're having midair makeouts.

I say it's time to cap this night off the right way.
>>
No. 652170 ID: 6b0329

6) "So, are you tired or hungry or something else? All else being fair, I'd imagine you should be enjoying the flight while you can, but you did just sing a concert and all."
>>
No. 652173 ID: eb385b

5
>>
No. 652174 ID: 0ee153

1, 5.
>>
No. 652183 ID: f68a09
File 143573355257.png - (11.19KB , 960x560 , 352.png )
652183

"Hold me," you say.
She does.
For a while the two of you just float in a kind of slow dance in the air.
You can feel her shaking. "Are you good?" you ask. "Am I too heavy?"
"No." She tucks her hand into your back pocket. "I'm just-- I don't know. I'm really excited. I feel really hot."
"Literal hot or figurative hot?"
"Both."
"Meg?"
"Yea?"
"Do you want to come home with me?"

She rubs just above your ear with her thumb and, for the very first time, she smiles.
"Yea."

With some reluctance she returns to the ground and you take the subway back to your apartment.
She produces a pair of headphones from one of her jacket pockets and plugs it into her left ring finger.
"Check it out," she says, handing you the buds.
You put one in and hear her music, spectral and polar. It has a funny way of feeling very cold and very intimate at the same time, which you are coming to understand is par for the course with Meg.
"You need these?" you ask.
She shakes her head, then lays it gently on your shoulder. "Mine are internal."

The music plays as the subway rattles toward home.
You watch your and Meg's reflection in the opposite window appear and disappear with the pale tunnel fluorescents.

Your apartment building is mostly dark when you get back. You climb up the stairs to your floor. Meg's dress gently brushes against the steps.
>>
No. 652184 ID: f68a09
File 143573355993.png - (14.67KB , 960x560 , 353.png )
652184

You walk down your hallway to your door.
>>
No. 652185 ID: f68a09
File 143573358301.png - (6.88KB , 960x560 , 354.png )
652185

The two big dents in the lower half of it look like someone kicked it, hard.
Next to the door handle is a long scar in the wood from what was probably a pocket knife.
The hinge is peeled back in one place, a screw dangling loose, wrest from the wood.
The locks have all held.

It looks like someone tried to get in, gave up, and settled for leaving a message.

1]] Call the cops.
2]] Call the HVAO.
3]] Call someone else: _____________
4]] Knock on your neighbors' doors; wake them up and see if they saw what happened here.
5]] Get out of the building.
6]] Get your superintendent.
7]] Stay here until someone comes.
8]] Get inside.
9]] ______________________
>>
No. 652188 ID: 540fa6

>>652185
Okay, Call the HVAO and your Superintendent, they need to know about this and we need knowledge of what happened in the building while you were away.
>>
No. 652189 ID: 0ee153

What a surprise. Listen at the door, look under it, ask Meg if she can detect anything. Best to call the HVAO and whichever one of your buddies you can safely crash with for the near future. If you're still sleeping with Meg, should do it at her place instead.

Make sure you're not being watched.
>>
No. 652190 ID: a19cd5

Neighbors, Cops, then Hvao.
If neighbors are cool, they'll help with testimony. If neighbors suck, hey at least we know. If cops suck, we might be a bit fukt, but oh well.
>>
No. 652191 ID: e114bc

>>652185
6. Find out if the cops were already called, before you call them and waste someone's time.

2, just to tell them what happened. It's not really their job to investigate, is it?
>>
No. 652195 ID: 6b0329

9) Ask Meg if she can tell whether there is anyone in the apartment right now, a trap inside, or people waiting in a stairwell to attack us if we go in. We've got the derivative of a combat veteran beside us, I'd be surprised if she doesn't have at least a partial suite of sensors for thermal imaging and such.
>>
No. 652196 ID: 5f7625

Call HVAO and tell them someone tried to break in, get them to have someone watch the building.

Call the super and question the neighbors in the morning. One of them probably scared the guy off so you might have a witness.
>>
No. 652197 ID: bd8b82

6 2 5
get the guy and ask if he knows about it. hvao about this, and then skedaddle to meg's. maybe pick up something for breakfast because i doubt has uh, normal food, stocked.
>>
No. 652204 ID: f68a09
File 143573757310.png - (10.55KB , 960x560 , 355.png )
652204

"Meg," you say. "Can--"
"Unlock the door, Zack," she says.
You fish for your key and get the door unlocked. "Do you have--"

But she's already past you.
She shoulders your door open and SWAT rolls inside.
You don't know where she kept it but there's a gun in her hands, pointed low, her finger resting across the trigger guard. You recognize it from James Bond as a Walther PPK.

She raises it and checks under the bed, then opens your closet, barrel-first.
She does the same with your bathroom. When she sees nothing amiss in there she straigtens back up and her shoulders relax.

"Clear," she says.

"I'm getting the super," you say.
"Yeah," she says. Her eyes are back to her customary narrow, alert almond shapes.
"Do we go to your place?" you ask.
She holsters her gun. "I don't have a place," she says, staring at the floor. "I have a 6 foot tube."
>>
No. 652205 ID: f68a09
File 143573757986.png - (11.01KB , 960x560 , 356.png )
652205

Your superintendent, Marsha, who opens the door grumpy from interrupted sleep and immediately melts into cuddly mother mode when you tell her what happens, pulls up the security tapes.

Two people in hoodies, sunglasses, and surgical masks walk down the hallway.
One of them has a spraycan in his hand.
He gets to work on your door while the other one, a woman in a familiar sweatshirt, looks down the halls.
Neither speak.

The woman looks directly up at the security camera and waves.

After they finish writing, the guy tries to kick your door down, gets frustrated, and carves a slash near the handle. The woman grabs his hand and slaps him lightly on the back of the head. He shrugs and kicks it again.
Then again.
You feel vaguely like puking as he kicks it a fourth time and there's a ping noise as your top hinge breaks.

Suddenly a light shines from down the hall, probably a neighbor opening their door.
The woman tugs the man from your door and both of them run out of frame.

Marsha calls the cops and promises to ask the doorman Gray what the fuck he was doing at (she checks the timestamp) 9:30 PM tonight.

1]] Stick around and wait for the police to show up.
2]] Ask Marsha to talk to them. You have to get Meg out of here.
3]] Call Britta and tell her what's happened.
4]] Call one of your friends and tell them what's happened and that you need a place to stay.
5]] Call one of the girls and tell them what's happened and that you need a place to stay.
6]] Ask if the HVAO has a place you can go.
7]] Get a hotel room.
8]] __________________
>>
No. 652208 ID: 863037

>>652205
this is something the HVAO needs to know. ask them if they want to take care of it or if you should give the description of that woman to the cops. what we saw of the woman following you is really the only thing you need to pass forward, the video tapes saw more than you did.

also, this place is probably not safe anymore.
>>
No. 652209 ID: 53a13f

2,3,7

Don't want to spoil the night (well, more than it has been spoiled already) so call the cops, get Marsha to speak with them since there's not really anything you can contribute, let the HVAO know since you might not be the only one in danger and book a nice hotel. They're paying you all the money after all, you can afford it.
>>
No. 652211 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652205
2, 3, 7.
We knew shit like this was coming.

We both need to get out of here. This scene is far too hot for my liking.

We need to contact the HVAO immediately. This is a disaster and we need to get a handle on it.

We can tell everybody, deal with the drama, and make long term plans in the morning. Right now though, let's drop some cash on a nice hotel room and see if we can distract ourselves.
>>
No. 652214 ID: 7b7ab3

Seeing as we don't know who the leak is, let's not give away precisely where we'll be staying tonight.

Also, let's definitely save telling our friends and lovers about this for the morning. It's too late to do anything, everybody's tired, and it would just keep everybody up with worry.
>>
No. 652215 ID: 88960e

>I don't have a place," she says, staring at the floor. "I have a 6 foot tube.
That either makes decorating way easier or a real pain.

>237
Seems good. Be sure to thank Marsha for the help.
>>
No. 652218 ID: 6b0329

2,3,7.
We have a gold-plated expense account from the HVAO, let's pack some stuff and go stay at a fancy hotel if the cops don't get here while we're doing that.
Also, ask while we're not in anyone else's earshot whether Meg is licenced for concealed carry or not: It would be bad if the cops arrest her on a weapons charge.
>>
No. 652220 ID: f0e552

>>652218
Maybe going to a hotel would be a good idea! We can afford to spend money on a good one right?
>>
No. 652223 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652215
>thank Marsha
Absolutely. She's been good to us.

>>652218
>pack some stuff
Grab the essentials: toothbrush, change of clothes, etc.

>>652220
>spend money on a good one
At least three stars. If we're taking Meg to a hotel, then it should be a damn good one.
>>
No. 652229 ID: ea0ad9

>>652218
Also, get HVAO to get you a new door. Not like we need some heavy duty bunker dooring, just something that can take a bit more damage before a hinge busts off. I expect the doorman would have stopped them from bringing in any heavy equipment, after all.
>>
No. 652239 ID: c1d890

"Marsha, could you take care of this? I need to take my date somewhere less... unpleasant."

Call Britta, give her an update, and tell her to keep you posted.

Let's take Meg to a ritzy hotel. We are not letting this ruin our night!
>>
No. 652245 ID: b8ceae

>>652204
This kinda underscores that you're the only one without combat training.
Next report to HVAO, suggest they implement a training program for human participants. Something similar to boot camp, but with less focused on fighting in combat and more focused on surviving and escaping in combat. So mostly tactics, evasion, and hand-to-hand.
It would also do a little to help participants (Who, judging by Zack's age, probably DON'T have combat training or experience) better understand visitors.
>>
No. 652246 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652229
I seriously don't think it's a good idea to keep using this apartment. I mean, it's compromised to all hell. And if they tried this shit once, they will try again. The best idea is to look for new accomodations.

Hey, maybe one of the girls can put us up! At least until we get a place for ourselves.
>>
No. 652261 ID: 66415b

>>652239
Agreed. Emphatically agreed!
>>
No. 652264 ID: 10e39f

2, 3 and 7 sound like the best mix. Let's wait until tomorrow to tell our friends and the girls, though. It's a little late for a huge upset.
>>
No. 652266 ID: b8ceae

>>652261
Poly would probably be the best choice. She has most likely gone through something similar, and has the most resources at her disposal.
Honestly, it might be best to get all the girls together and go on a group vacation for a little while. Maybe rent a house somewhere on the edge of civilization for a week or so, depending what the news says tomorrow.

Specifically, I'd suggest one of the places in the Thousand Islands. You's have all the basic amenities, internet access, and a very large moat. Bring an agent or two as a precaution.
>>
No. 652269 ID: 62bf94

>>652239
Cool. Guess that one floater was being prophetic.
>>652266
>group vacation
Also cool. It should wait until after we meet GG's parents, though.
>>
No. 652276 ID: c8af78

>>652239
>>652223
>>652246
Total agreement.
>>
No. 652281 ID: d820c1

>>652269
>GG's parents
Holy crap, I nearly forgot about that.
Let's take Meg to a sweet hotel, get our mind off things for a while, and deal with all this crap in the morning.
>>
No. 652294 ID: b68200

"Well, I guess this was bound to happen. C'mon, Meg. Let's get out of here. There's a hotel room out there with our names on it."
>>
No. 652301 ID: f68a09
File 143578777284.png - (9.12KB , 960x560 , 357.png )
652301

You call Britta and tell her what happened.
"Oh, my god," she says, the god trailing off as she pulls the phone from her ear. You hear muffled voices on the other end. She comes back on. "Zack?"
"Yeah?"
"We're going to call you in the morning, OK? For now you have to get out of there. Find a hotel. You'll be comped for it."
"That's what I was planning."
"Well good plan," Britta says. "I have to wake some people up. Stay safe."
"Right."
"Seriously. Anything else happens..."
"I'll let you know."
"OK." She sounds really tired. "Good night, Zack."
"Night."

The hotel room is far nicer than your apartment.
The plasma screen is the kind you've only seen in magazines, it's so big. The bed is queen sized and silky comfortable. You figure if the HVAO gives you any shit for the upscale you'll just spring for some out of pocket.

Meg leans in the doorway. "Classy place."
"I figure I get broken into I can treat myself." You sit on the bed. The mattress feels tempur-pedic or something.

Meg drifts away from the edge of the door, hovering on the precipice in more ways than one. The tension is back in her. The loose, wide-eyed floater you saw in the pit has been replaced by the apprehensive, uncertain Meg from before. You have to admit the mood has taken a hit.
She looks like she's trying to think of something to say, and whether to leave or come in.

1]] Night, Meg.
2]] I'll talk to you tomorrow, OK? Call me first thing.
3]] You want to come in? There's a minibar.
4]] I won't let a couple punks in hoodies ruin our time if you don't.
5]] Y'know I'd feel a lot more secure if a girl with a gun was up here with me.
6]] Tell her that you really don't want to sleep alone tonight.
7]] ____________
>>
No. 652303 ID: 596e42

4, 5, 6

"I won't let a couple punks in hoodies ruin our time if you don't. Besides, I'd feel a lot more secure if a girl with a gun was up here with me. And honestly, I'd rather not sleep alone tonight."
>>
No. 652304 ID: defceb

3
>>
No. 652305 ID: 91ad4d

4, 5, 6. I didn't know you were a Bond girl.
>>
No. 652307 ID: 387db4

>>652301
3, 4, 5, 6
Meg, don't go. :(
>>
No. 652309 ID: ab7529

>Find a hotel. You'll be comped for it.
Pff. Like who pays for hotels even matters with how much they're paying us to be a professional playboy.

>what do
7]] You okay?

And maybe 5, but in a joking tone.
>>
No. 652310 ID: f61b8d

Well, mood's taken a hit. I dunno if she ought to GO, though. Physical and emotional safety in numbers kind of a thing. Maybe 5, with a lopsided smile? It could be a good save of the date for you to just hang out until you fall asleep, maybe. She said she wanted to get to know you better, after all.
>>
No. 652311 ID: 48759f

>>652303
Yeah.
>>652307
>Meg, don't go. :(
Please. It's okay.
>>
No. 652312 ID: 334db2

Start with 3 and go up the list if she's unsure.
>>
No. 652313 ID: e114bc

>>652301
3.
>>
No. 652316 ID: b8ceae

>>652305
Same.
She's military, and she has her mother's memories encoded into her brain.
Poly is a veteran of multiple wars.
Bika's old enough to have fought.
The only one who probably doesn't have memories of being a soldier is GG.
>>
No. 652317 ID: 240a2c

3, 4, 5, 6
The mood took a hit, so it's time to play medic. Let's get things going again.
>>652316
>The only one who probably doesn't have memories of being a soldier is GG.
How ironic.
>>
No. 652323 ID: ca5378

>>652317
Yeah! Hey, if we're The Medic, what does that make Meg?
>>
No. 652327 ID: f68a09
File 143579295235.png - (11.54KB , 960x560 , 358.png )
652327

"Hey, so, uh," you say. "You want to come in? There's a minibar."
Meg's eyes dart to the minibar and back.
"I don't want to let those guys ruin the night," you say. "And I'd feel a lot safer with someone armed. Um and also." The spraypainted TRAITOR flashes across your mind and your voice quakes a little involuntarily. "I don't really want to be alone tonight."

She looks at you for a long time.

Then she takes her jacket off and tosses it onto the bed. She sits down heavily in a fancy, overstuffed chair next to the minibar. "Fuck 'em," she says.
You point at her shoulder. "Where'd your frilly thing go?"
"I detached it," she says. "It was fucking velcro."
"Really?"
"They said I had to have some flair. I was like the fuck? They wanted me in a" She imitates throwing on a scarf. "A fuzzy thing."
"A boa?"
"Bigger. A Mink Stole."
"Damn. Very old Hollywood."
"That's a stupid name for a thing. I don't know fashion but I was like I'm going to be hot as fuck. Give me the little pompom thing."
"I kind of liked it. I mean I don't really know fashion either."
"It itched. What's in this thing?"

She reaches down and tilts the fridge door open. "Let's break this weird auditory/gustatory upgrade in. Are these free?"
"The HVAO's paying for them. So basically."
She nods. "Word." She pulls out a bag of raisinets. "What are these?"
You hold your hand out. "Toss them."
She throws them to you and you loft them into the trash can in the corner of the room. "Garbage is what those are. Are there twix in there?"

Snickers, according to Meg, sound kind of like a fireplace with the rustle of cotton in the background.
Reeses are low-pitch trumpet and jangle flavored. "It's like a weird mix of the sound it tastes like and the sound it makes in my mouth," she says, trying to explain it.
She tries a redhot, sucks it for a second, then spits it into her palm. "Fuckin' tastes like car crash," she says.
You laugh. "Don't like spicy?"
"Is that what that is?" She roots around in the second drawer. "Warn me if I'm about to do that to myself again."
"Never let my sister cook for you," you say. "She's far more Asian than me when it comes to spicy."
"Side effect of this is I've started to taste my Fuel," Meg says, settling on a bag of jolly ranchers.
"I've heard it smells terrible," you say.
"It tastes like I put my ear up to an abdominal gunshot wound."
"That's a potent picture, Megumi."
"There's a reason we only eat in the air," Meg says. "I feel like if Floaters farted it would be death smell."
"Gross, Meg."
"We don't fart. We fly. You fart." She unwraps the jolly rancher. "You're the gross ones." She puts it in her mouth then bites. "What the fuck? This is a rock."
"You suck on it."
Meg sucks, pensively. "Food's fucking weird, man. I don't know. I like music better."
"For most of us that's apples to oranges."
"I think those are in here somewhere." Meg checks.
"Where does it all go if you run off fuel?"
"Through some tubes I think and into an incinerator." She pats her stomach. "It's just for effect."
"Does the tube part mean you can get drunk?"
"I don't know actually." She finds a bottle of Pilsner and pulls it out. "How many of these are you supposed to drink to get drunk?"

1]] Normally I go through like three if it's just a casual night.
2]] Normally I go through like three but if you want to get drunk we need to have more.
3]] I'd start slow if I were you.
4]] Toss one of those over here. I won't put it in the trash this time.
5]] You go ahead. I'm good for drinking.
6]] _______________
>>
No. 652328 ID: 0ee153

1 and 4. Talk about stuff. So far it looks like Meg needs someone to talk to about her life.
>>
No. 652329 ID: d90668

Might as well start slow. Can always drink more but its hard to reverse time.
>>
No. 652330 ID: ad6f49

>>652327
2, 3, 4
Let's get chill and teach the lady how to pace herself.
>>
No. 652331 ID: f0e688

Poor Zack, I'm guessing you want #4. I'd keep it down to three drinks tonight.
>>
No. 652332 ID: 89941a

I kinda want to see if Meg'll even be affected by alcohol. You know, for science.
>>
No. 652333 ID: 7b7ab3

2 and 4.

We need to relax, and Meg needs to loosen up and vent about her life.

All of this can be achieved through the magic of alcohol.
>>
No. 652341 ID: f68a09
File 143579757226.png - (11.60KB , 960x560 , 359.png )
652341

"Let's start you off slow," you say. "For science. Throw me one."

"Hold on."
Meg gathers an armful of beers and hops onto the bed. She rolls one across to you.
"You know the problem?" she says.
"With what?"
"With this dimension? Way too much give here from the visitors and not enough take, I think."
"What do you mean?"
"We all gotta restrain ourselves. Floaters can't fly, Warriors can't fight, Oculots can't use their weird emotion things, skuts... have their own problems..."
"I know about the hivemind thing," you say.
"Oh, shit, really?" Meg sits back. "We're all supposed to swear not to talk about that."
"It was a skut who told me."
"Well don't tell anyone who it was," Meg says. "Because if they're a Golborian the Kariket's gonna execute them."
"What?"
"No joke." She bends off the bed and puts her empty bottle on the floor. "That motherfucker loves executions."
You remember your dream the other night. "I kind of had that idea."
"Heads fucking going all over the place. The skut ones especially. Those took a while. He executed his fuckin' dad, his nephew, everybody. I bet if his dog didn't bring him his slippers i the morning he executed that too. He executed Rebea." She draws a finger across her neck. "KKkkck."
You freeze, bottle halfway to your lips.
"Well had her decomissioned." She opens another pilsner. "We don't really look at it like that."
"Seriously?"
"I told you she was the only one ever to refuse a fire order, right?" Meg says. "What'd you think was gonna happen to her?"

1]] I don't know. Not that, though.
2]] Why do you see that as a decomission and not an execution?
3]] I'm so sorry to hear that.
4]] And now they're using a clone of her as an ambassador?
5]] Why did she do that? Do you know?
6]] He executed you and he's still your boss?
7]] _______________
>>
No. 652344 ID: 1cebc8

6, 3, 4, 5.
>>
No. 652346 ID: dbe554

Considering the scars leftover from the war, it's likely that the reason they don't let them deal with their strange shit is to normalize them around the people a bit more.

Considering that the Visitors straight up invaded out of the blue and basically threw the planet for a loop, not many people would exactly be thrilled to see more of the same.
>>
No. 652350 ID: 946dd8

>>652341
1 and 3 verbatim.

Thankfully, Bika's not Golborian.

Seriously, fuck the Kariket.
>>
No. 652352 ID: ab7529

1]] I dunno, a reprimand. Demotion, court marshal maybe.

3, 4. Then why did they bring you, her, part of her, back?
>>
No. 652354 ID: 334db2

That sounds like the epitome of 'not enough give, too much take'. How does it not count as an execution, though?
>>
No. 652357 ID: 559264

1, 3, 4, 5, 6
>>652350
>Seriously, fuck the Kariket.
I heard that.
>>
No. 652361 ID: 66c0a2

>>652344
This.

It doesn't matter wether it's called decommissioning or execution. Rebea's gone and the Kariket's responsible.
So fuck him.
>>
No. 652363 ID: 01774f

7]] All of the above.

Now is the time for questions, sympathy, and tearing down on the kariket.
>>
No. 652369 ID: 9ab02e

>>652363
Oh, why not?
There's nothing particularly offensive or hurtful listed (that we're aware of), so why not?
Agreed.
>>
No. 652370 ID: 9b1a75

1, 2 - I'm guessing it has to do with being used as a template for future floaters - 5, 4.
>>
No. 652374 ID: f0e552

>>652341
7) I see it as no surprise that as a derivative of Rebea that you're over here on Earth now. Lucky you!
>>
No. 652383 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652363
Usually I wouldn't this, but this a prime opportunity to learn about Meg and Golboria. Besides, we are sorry over what happened.
So this has my vote.
>>
No. 652391 ID: bb78f2

6, 3, 4, 5

7]] I should also say that I was never actually told, it's just glaringly obvious. A lot of humans don't care about skuts enough to give them attention, but then you get this job and interact with a few, and the secret just falls apart. You can even tell when two skut's are from different hives.

And what the fuck, Karikat can't do shit to skuts on this side, they're defectors. He can't even get his fucking war on anymore because Oculot's committed WAY too much suicide from mind reading human's to death, and a lot of Warrior's have started thinking he's a chump ass bitch.
It's easy to guess that the Karikat's losing his hold on Golboria. I bet the motherfucker's too scared to even pop a head himself lest he kill himself from feeling what dying is from the mind he's reading to death.

Hell, I bet a LOT of Oculot's think he's a chickenshit too, for not being emotionally capable of doing what he's ordering them all to do.

And NOW floater's are feeling love and emotions for the first time for this project, which includes at least one dude floater since you met a male oculot in the program, which means they might think of a proper defection, and then they start spreading the emotion stuff to other floater's they build, making their OWN collective of floater's with emotions, and just pretty much go "Man, FUCK the Karikat."
>>
No. 652405 ID: ad7bba

2 because I'm honestly curious.

Don't see where we've got the perspective to really weigh in on the issue otherwise.
>>
No. 652412 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652374
Do you want her to shoot us?

>>652391
>FUCK the Kariket
Could we get that on a T-shirt?
>>
No. 652429 ID: f68a09
File 143580480435.png - (14.03KB , 960x560 , 360.png )
652429

"I don't know. A court martial? Demotion? Reprimand?"
"That's some pussy talk, Zack." Meg swigs some Pilsner. "For real, though, she was pissed about it but she got why it happened. Then she moved on." She takes another drink and burps. "This is better than the other one."
"Good because it probably costs five times as much."
"I meant like the dying kind of move on," Meg clarifies. "Not the other kind."
"I'm so sorry."
"I'm over it."
"You see it as decomission? Not execution?"
Meg shrugs. "Well she's back, isn't she? Kind of. I'm back. Which means they didn't wipe her or anything."
"And then they cloned her?"
"Well yea. I mean I'm not designed to shoot people. So who cares if she glitched out about doing that?" She reaches for the bottle opener. "They didn't deep-six her as punishment, they did it because she was malfunctioning. Can't let that stain the record, can't pass it on. Now I guess it's a feature not a bug."
"That is a real weird way of talking about your execution and resurrection."
"I know," Meg says. "It's fun to fluster you, though."
"Man," you say. "Fuck the Kariket."
"Word." Meg raises her bottle. "Fuck the Kariket." You clink bottles and drink.
"Feel anything?" you ask.
"Results inconclusive," Meg says. "Please hold while I finish this one."
"Why did Rebea do it?" you ask. "Do you know?"
She thinks as she lowers the bottle from her lips. "I don't know. I don't know if she did. I think she was just tired."
"Did she feel guilty about killing so many people?"
"No," she says. "I think that's what she was tired of. Not feeling guilty."
"Hmmm." You lie back. "That's sad."
"That is pretty fucking sad." Meg sounds impressed by herself. "I should make a song about that. Ay, Zack:" She holds her bottle up again. "To Rebea."
You clink. "To Rebea."
"Rebea didn't want to blow up humans
But what's a single floater to do, man,
" Meg sings. "Get me in the studio, Zack. Get me in there. Did you get that douchebag's business card? This is fire."
You laugh. "I think we have figured out whether you can get drunk, Meg. We have solved the mystery."
"Is this that? Drunk?" Meg touches her forehead. "Am I blushing? Am I supposed to blush?"
"Get out of the vehicle and walk in a straight line, ma'am." You whack her with that weird cylindrical pillow hotels always give you for some reason.

"What!!" Meg's thrusters ignite and she wobbles off the bed. "Fuckin' racist. You know I can't do that. Wait actually wait hold on:"
She deactivates her thrusters and drops to the floor. She haphazardly hobbles a couple of steps on her stumpy legs and then falls over. "Shit!"
"I think that's how you need to get around when you're drunk, Meg," you say. "I don't think you can fly drunk. Or operate heavy machinery."
"Zack." She sits up and stares at you. "Are you fucking calling me fat?"
"What? No, I--"
"I fucking love how you fucking look when you're flustered," Meg says. "You're so cute, Zack. Even with your weird legs you're really cute."
"You're mean," you say.
"But for real though I'm light as fuck," Meg says. "Pick me up!"
"Meg I'm a little drunk too."
"I don't care. I picked you up." Her thrusters flare and land her right in your lap. "Do it! Hiiiiiigh waaaay tooooo the Danger Zone!"
You brace her and stand up on top of the bed.
Meg grabs your shoulder. "Whoa warn me first!"
Then for the very first time maybe ever she laughs, so hard that by the end she's shaking. She breathes heavily, trying to get a grip, and loosens her hold on you. As it dies away she settles in your arms. Her fingers wrap around the collar of your shirt and her thumb traces the tendon in your neck. She looks up at you with lidded, electron blue eyes.

1]] Kiss her.
2]] Throw her onto the bed.
3]] Will you let me make up for last time, Meg?
4]] Hey Meg. Still wanna have sex?
5]] I think that's probably enough booze for the night.
6]] _____________
>>
No. 652431 ID: 1cebc8

6. Have a screaming contest, tire yourselves to sleep.
>>
No. 652433 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652429
1 and 3.

The moment of truth.
>>
No. 652434 ID: 5859eb

kiss her
>>
No. 652436 ID: b8ceae

>>652429
1, 5, 3.
I wonder if she knows Kariket can't have US citizens executed; she defects and he can't do shit. Also, it sounds like it's Golborians who aren't allowed to fly; she goes native and she's only gotta listen to the FAA.
If that's so then she'd probably get a lot of floaters following her lead, too.
>>
No. 652437 ID: ad7bba

6) Cuddle the fair maiden chivalrously all knight.
>>
No. 652438 ID: 334db2

kiss her you fool
>>
No. 652441 ID: 0ee153

1 and 3.
>>
No. 652442 ID: 0fc976

2) I threw her on the GROOOOOOOUND! I'M AN ADUUUUUULT!
>>
No. 652455 ID: 7b7ab3

If this is going where I think it's going, then let's make sure to keep a good hold on her.
As twitchy as those thrusters are, she's liable to go shooting off at any moment.
>>
No. 652473 ID: 57d76a

>>652429
Not 2, 3, or 4. I doubt either of us would regret it, but I'm fairly sure she's drunk enough that it would technically be rape, and we need to pay things by the book.
>>
No. 652474 ID: 5f7625

Kiss her, and for the love of god don't ruin it with words. We don't have to verbalize every little thing, just go with the flow.
>>
No. 652479 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652473
Then let's give her a kiss and see where it goes. If she wants to, then she wants to.
>>
No. 652486 ID: afd47f

1, 3
We're both pretty tipsy, but I don't think we're to "regret this in the morning" drunk yet. Let's see what she thinks.
>>
No. 652489 ID: 0c3d91

>>652433
Yes.

Let us see what comes of it.
>>
No. 652491 ID: f68a09
File 143581823086.png - (12.09KB , 960x560 , 361.png )
652491

"Meg," you say. "Will you--"
She kisses you. You forget what you were going to say.
She wriggles out of your bridal carry. Her breath and her body are both outlandishly cool. The sensation of them against you is alien but enticing.

You trace her spine to the small of her back, and pull her hips up and into contact with yours. She gasps. Her hands knead your back in expectation.

You slip the strap of her dress off her shoulder and she hastily extracts herself from it. You scrabble for the zipper as she abandons the kissing etiquette you taught her. You didn't realize her mouth could get this big.

You unzip her dress and she squirms out of it, her bare, newly copoius chest brushing against yours. Her dark, glossy skin shines in the hotel half-light.
>>
No. 652492 ID: f68a09
File 143581824360.png - (14.13KB , 960x560 , 362.png )
652492

You pivot and she allows you to turn her and deposit her on the bed. She draws you down with her, hurriedly discarding her underwear, hungry to the point of desperation for your touch. You trace her svelte body down her hips and up her delicate stomach. It's warmer here.

She catches your hand and stops you. "Zack."
You rock back and look at her.
She looks very nervous. Not in the chilly, distant way she did on your first date or earlier tonight. She looks extremely vulnerable and not at all used to it.
"Meg?" You rub her wrists. "You OK? Do you not want to go all the way?"

"No I do I just." She folds her knees. "I've never-- I didn't even kiss anyone else. I've been waiting for you. And I never-- the book never went this far. And none of the other floaters have ever, um--" She angles her eyes down and away from you, clearly deeply embarrassed. "I don't really know what to do."
>>
No. 652496 ID: a19cd5

>>652492
>Zack: go slow, be gentle
>>
No. 652497 ID: 062da3

>>652496
Exactly.
>>
No. 652498 ID: e114bc

>>652492
Do a thorough inspection of her insides to make sure you can stick something fleshy in it. I mean if nobody's done this before HOW CAN YOU BE SURE IT'S SAFE
>>
No. 652501 ID: ad7bba

>>652492
Cunnilingus.
>>
No. 652505 ID: 0c3d91

>>652496
>>652498
>>652501
Slow, gentle cunnilingus to get a feel for her and start things off.
>>
No. 652507 ID: 82baee

"I do."
And then >>652505.
>>
No. 652509 ID: 57d76a

still technically rape though even if she initiates it
oh well who cares i guess, it is only technically
but don't blame me if this comes back to bite us


>>652498
Yeah that seems wise.
>>
No. 652510 ID: 9513be

>>652505
This.
>>
No. 652511 ID: bd8b82

>>652498
because i would think her designers had access to anatomy books and know what people insides are like.
>>
No. 652512 ID: 4964f3

Cunnilingus is an excellent start. Let's be delicate with her, though. We want her to remember this night fondly.
>>
No. 652513 ID: 5e2117

>>652505
Yeah. Let's show her what Floaters have been missing.
>>
No. 652516 ID: 596e42

>>652509
They're not that drunk, and they're both consenting. What's your deal?

>>652513
Yeah. Besides ankles, that is.
>>
No. 652519 ID: 57d76a

>>652516
I got the impression she was PRETTY DRUNK but whatever it is definitely time to drop it. and maybe i just don't know levels of drunk but whatever
>>
No. 652520 ID: abfd9d

>>652507
Perfect.
>>652516
>Besides ankles, that is.
That's mean. Hilarious, but mean.
>>
No. 652521 ID: 01774f

>>652519
I'd say she's at the "loose and goofy" stage. Full sentences, awareness of her environment, more relaxed in word and deed. The "regret this in the morning" stage looks much different.
>>
No. 652523 ID: 800a06

>>652501
Chocolate muffin.

You were all thinking it.
>>
No. 652535 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652501
Yes.

A slow, gentle introduction to the pleasures her species has long denied itself.

Let us give to her a night of sublime pleasure.
>>
No. 652539 ID: b8ceae

>>652491
OK, so the list of suggestions for the social floater variants:
Ceramic or resin teeth as per dental implants.
Hull heating to approximately human body temperature.

Not for Zack's sake, obviously, as he'd stick his dick in a sufficiently conversational toaster, but the rest of the program could probably use the help.
>>
No. 652560 ID: 0fc976

She's got more holes than you're used to, Zack. Use all of them.
>>
No. 652568 ID: 334db2

"Do you trust me?"
>>
No. 652571 ID: 062da3

>>652568
Good opener, and an excellent callback.
Let's begin with some cunnilingus and work our way up from there. We should keep communicating, asking her what feels good, what she likes and doesn't like. If she wants to switch position at any time we should allow it. Through it all, let's be certain to be slow, steady and gentle. This is her first time, after all.
>>
No. 652594 ID: 6f7296

Try just touching boddies at first (it's one of the best parts anyway) and then let her control what happens next. Maybe try experementing slowly with nipples, thighs and such.
>>
No. 652595 ID: 5859eb

>>652560
oh yeah? what about bika?
>>
No. 652596 ID: 2a7417

>>652595
She had more lumps than usual. What this means is we should thrust(er) our way to exhaust(ion).
>>
No. 652614 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652594
>try experementing
This is the first time in history that a Floater and a human have had intercourse.

Experimenting is all we can do, really.
>>
No. 652619 ID: b9680d

Gentle caressing, stroking, and rubbing are a good place to start.
Cunnilingus is good, too.
The most important thing is what she wants. Ask her what feels good and if she wants to try anything. Tonight is about her.
>>
No. 652631 ID: a55758

>>652619
Agreed. Let's make this as special as possible for her.
>>
No. 652634 ID: 334db2

Make sure everything's linked up better than her sense of taste, first.
>>
No. 652646 ID: 3d6054

Maybe we should let her ask us some questions first. This is her first time, so she must have quite a few.
>>
No. 652654 ID: 3d29ee

Intimacy and communication are tonight's themes.
Starting slowly is a definite must.
Gentleness is key.
Get her opinion on what we do. What feels good, what feels bad, and if she wants anything changed.
Be prepared to stop if she requests it.
>>
No. 652661 ID: ab7529

>I don't really know what to do.
Original research? Maybe you get to write the book for this part.

A joke for afterwards: so they hooked those parts up right, then?
>>
No. 652677 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652634
What would sexual synesthesia even be like?

I'm honestly curious.
>>
No. 652751 ID: f68a09
File 143590634008.png - (13.11KB , 960x560 , 363.png )
652751

"Relax." You kiss her in a line down her stomach. "I do."
Her skin is soft silicon and it surprises you how much give there is to it; as she warms up beneath your touch it almost feels like your hands are melting into her.

You kiss just below her bellybutton. She shivers.
"Do you trust me?" you ask.
"Yes," she says.

The very first thing you notice is that while the outside of her is cool and soft, the inside is warm and tightened. She gasps and rakes her fingertips up your back.

Then you taste her and notice the second thing.
You look up at her from between her thighs. "Strawberry?"
She giggles. "Made to order," she says.
It's inviting. You kiss her.
She squawks in surprise, then bites her hand. You shake your head and pull it from her mouth, interlacing her fingers with yours. "Ecspreff yourfelf," you say.
"You look ri-" Her voice breaks into a moan and she tries to find it again. "You l-look ridiculous."
You grin, then get to work.

She keens and gasps the whole time, twisting her hips so much that you'd almost mistake it for trying to get away if she weren't also keeping her legs locked around your ears. You lift her butt up into the air a little to keep her still and she lets out a melodic high note that reminds you of the concert earlier tonight.

"Zack." She can barely form the words. "Inside. Zack."

You let her slide back down onto the bed, shaking and twitching. She gulps for air and curls her fingers into the satiny covers. "Was that-- Did I--"
"I think maybe you did," you say.
"Oh my fucking god." Her trembling hands find purchase on your shoulders. "Why do people do things that aren't this?"
You scoot up the bed so that you're face-to-face with her. "That's not a bad question."
"Zack," she says.
"Meg?"
"I want you to fuck me."

You kiss her neck and settle yourself between her legs. She caresses your chest.
"Ready?" you ask.
"Ready," she says.
You hold her close and push. She gasps, then groans, then yelps. "Zack. Ow. Ow ow ow ow ow." She grips your arms with viselike strength. "It hurts it hurts"

1]] Don't worry. It'll feel better in a second.
2]] Shift her hips. Find the right angle.
3]] Take it even slower.
4]] Stop and go for more foreplay.
5]] Stop and defuse the tension. Relax her.
6]] We don't have to do this part.
7]] ______________

>>
No. 652754 ID: a19cd5

7: if we didn't bring lube we are idiots. We should always have lube.
dispell tension with a bit more warming up, then lube up and try again.
>>
No. 652756 ID: 0fc976

A little birdy told me 5 and 3.
>>
No. 652757 ID: 742b4a

>>652751
7. Ask if she wants to try the butt instead.
>>
No. 652759 ID: b8208b

>>652756
This.

5 and 3. And then 5 and 3 again.
>>
No. 652761 ID: 7b7ab3

5, 2, 3

She just lost her virginity.
Calm the lady. Reassure her.
Adjust position for maximum comfort.
Go very slow, be very gentle.
>>
No. 652770 ID: bb78f2

You know, I have to ask, why build her with a hymen for her to feel this pain?
>>
No. 652777 ID: f0a5e4

>>652509
I believe that in general, if a couple has prior to getting drunk consented to sexual activity, it isn't considered rape, or even immoral, as both parties consented to getting drunk and fooling around as a lump deal. They're romantic partners having a good time, neither is trying to take advantage of the other. It's different than soliciting someone you know is drunk. Now, if she retracts consent, that's a whole different can of beans, but Zack is a good guy, he wouldn't push something he didn't know was okay.
>>652654
Absolutely this.
Also remember her senses haven't been thoroughly tested, so it's very possible that when you start tickling some ganglia down below that she'll get a good dose of synesthesiac sexual sensation. Which is, uh, probably a thing.
>>
No. 652778 ID: 6f7296

>>652751
Slow down and let her control this so she won't get hurt. Have her grab your hips and pull you in at a pace thats good for her
>>
No. 652785 ID: 5db480

Its not a race. Stop and make sure you have enough lube. Also you can work on stretching things out with fingers. That's always fun.
>>
No. 652790 ID: 846437

>>652761
This. The pain will fade, but we have to help her get through it first. The best way to do that is to keep her relaxed and comfortable.
>>
No. 652798 ID: 7c0775

5/4]] Stop and let it pass. Relax her with foreplay.
2]] Get the angle right. Position is important.
3]] This is a big step for her. Going slow and steady will help.
>>
No. 652800 ID: 559264

Stop for a minute and help her relax. If she doesn't understand what just happened, explain it to her. Also, we should definitely go slower. As it's her first time, she's going to be tight and inexperienced, so we need to be gentle with her.
>>
No. 652801 ID: 596e42

>>652770
Probably unintentional. It would seem the Collective is prone to oversight.

>>652800
Good plan.
>>
No. 652823 ID: 66c0a2

"Sorry! Sorry. That's supposed to happen. It'll pass soon. It's okay."
Zack, you doof. Be more gentle.
>>
No. 652828 ID: 5859eb

>>652823
jeez dont say that, thatll just freak her out. do go more gently though
>>652798
do all this
>>
No. 652831 ID: 6b0329

>>652801
When you don't understand a system you're trying to copy it's a bad idea to throw parts out when you're not sure what they do. Some of them might be extraneous, some of them might be important, and you don't know which.
....But you're right, they built her to try out human sexual relations and she didn't read a copy of The Joy of Sex yet? Either she's bad at homework or the collective didn't ask for a consultant to double check their work.
>>
No. 652839 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652831
We know for a fact that Meg is bad at homework.

But seriously, if the Collective didn't have the common sense to do the necessary research, then they deserve to get their collective shit slapped.
>>
No. 652903 ID: ad6f49

>>652798
This seems like the best plan. Relax, reposition, and proceed with caution.
>>
No. 652905 ID: fe39f8

5, 2, 3
>>
No. 652908 ID: a02a4b

>>652798
This.
>>652839
The entirety of Floaterkind needs sex ed.
>>
No. 652915 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652908
>The entirety of Floaterkind needs sex ed.
Good luck getting them to sit still long enough to teach them anything.
>>
No. 652920 ID: aa9364

>>652915
just download it. takes five seconds. Beep boop.

...still trying to figure out how Floaters can be these advanced bioengineered life forms, and yet be part of that "it's been like this forever" social hierarchy on the other side.
>>
No. 652922 ID: 7b7ab3

>>652920
Thankfully, Meg is available for questioning.

Once the fun is over, we can ask such things.
>>
No. 652934 ID: f68a09
File 143598786338.png - (16.97KB , 960x560 , 364.png )
652934

You quickly stop, still partially inside, and ease back. You kiss her.
"Sorry," she mumbles into your lips.
"It's ok," you say. "We have all night. This is a big deal for you."
"It's bigger for you." She tries to relax her legs. "You just popped the cherry of an entire species."
You massage the inside of her thigh. "That's why they pay me the big bucks."
"Zack the Legend."
"Urban legend," you correct her, delicately sliding a finger inside her.
Her chest heaves and she caresses your arm, kneading her thumb into the crook of your elbow.
"Fuckkk," she breathes. "I want you."
"I'm here." You push gently on her stomach, right above the pelvic bone. It's so soft you almost feel like you'll leave a handprint. "Maybe a different angle?"
"When you held me up," she says. "That was really good."
"That's-- hold on--" You root around in the pillows above her head and come back with the cylindrical one you whacked her with before. "Lift up for a second."
She obeys, and you slip it under her hips.
"What are those even for?" You scoot close so that you're helping to keep her propped up.
She experimentally rolls back and forth. "Maybe this."
"Maybe."

You let her move you this time. Her fingers clumsily close around you and pull you inside.
Her back arches. Her mouth opens soundlessly. "Oh fuck," she whispers, her eyes screwed shut.
"Is that good oh fuck or bad oh fuck?"
"Mmm. Nuh. Dunnoh." She writhes. Her forehead pushes against yours. Her lips gape and utter nonsense half-words.
"Well at least we know this isn't where they wired your sense of taste," you say.
She giggles, and you can feel her tensed muscles relaxing. You press the advantage.
Her laugh catches and turns into an exultant groan. Her hands lace around the bottom of your spine and take you all the way in. "Yes," she whimpers, fingers flexing triumphantly.
Both of you lie there for a second, feeling each other breathe and seeing more stars than Anonymous could ever have dreamed of, and then with the utmost care, you start to move.

Her breath stops and comes out in halting ahs in time with you. It seems like she doesn't really know what to do with her hands so you pin them to the bed and hold them. She opens her eyes and gazes at you, going from your eyes down and then back up again like she can hardly believe what's happening. You let her pick up the speed on her own, swiveling her hips and letting her voice escape from her in clearer and clearer exhalations. Eventually, as she grows more confident and forceful, she adds a Z to the beginning, and then a K at the end, and by the time she cums, her waist spasming so fiercely you have to hold her tight to stay with her, she's screaming your name. Which is enough for you too.


You start to pull away but she won't let you go. You let yourself tilt off of her and lie heavily on your side next to her, her knees still squeezing your waist on both sides. She kisses you with the sloppy passion of someone really going for it for the first time.
"So that's why everyone sings about it," she says. She lightly kicks the cylindrical pillow (which is now covered in colorless, sweetly strawberry fluid) out of the way.
"Maybe that is what they're used for." You furrow your brow. You're covered in sweat. The whole room smells like a strawberry field. "I'll look it up when I can... when I can fucking..."
"Think?" suggests Meg.
You kiss her. "Thank you."
"Thank you." She snuggles up closer to you. "I fucking loved that, Zack. I love you."

1]] You don't know that. That might be the booze talking.
2]] You don't know that. That might be the hormones talking.
3]] It's a little too early to decide something like that, Meg.
4]] Love you too.
5]] Say nothing. Just hold her.
6]] Ask her to be your Alamad.
7]] Ask her to be your Dulamad.
8]] Ask her to be your girlfriend.
9]] ITS NOT LOVE ITS LUST
10]] ________________
>>
No. 652937 ID: a19cd5

>>652934
She's programmed to love, don't be weird about it this time guys cmon
>Love you too, dollface wait shit that's probably some kinda racial thing with floaters isnt it shiiiiiit
>>
No. 652938 ID: 330ce5

Never looking at strawberries the same every again.
5.
>>
No. 652939 ID: d90668

4.

We already know the other side has a different culture when it comes to love. Don't spoil the mood insisting its to early or some nonsense.
>>
No. 652944 ID: 7b7ab3

All of 4 and half of 5.

"Love you, too." Hold her close.
>>
No. 652947 ID: ea0ad9

2, 4. "Loving the act may be your hormones, but as for me..."
>>652937
>Love you too, dollface wait shit that's probably some kinda racial thing with floaters isnt it shiiiiiit
"I love you too, dollface. ...Please tell me that one's not a racial thing."

If she reacts negatively to calling it Hormones, just chuckle and say "It's an excuse to cuddle up and give you something else to love." And give her a bear hug!
>>
No. 652951 ID: 081835

4 to the max! And it's time to get our cuddle on.
>>
No. 652952 ID: cdec48

9 is fine.
>>
No. 652953 ID: afd47f

>>652944
This.
>>652952
Not this.
>>
No. 652954 ID: 0fc976

>>652938
Why? We already knew they were delicious.
4. There's more than one kind of love, why quibble when you can cuddle?
>>
No. 652956 ID: 742b4a

First
>>
No. 652957 ID: a20c64

>>652954
Totally agree.
Well said, man.
>>
No. 652958 ID: 559264

44444444444444444
>>
No. 652960 ID: 2dcdc8

If she's sober enough for witty banter, then it's not the booze. I highly doubt it's something as puerile as hormones. Our chemistry has been phenomenal since we first strapped ourselves to her. So, I am going to say 4, because it seems appropriate given the circumstances.
>>
No. 652961 ID: 5340db

We can say we love her without it getting awkward or anything. And if we can still carry on a fairly witty dialogue like that, that means we're not drunk enough to regret this in the morning, right?
>>
No. 652967 ID: c1d890

>>652960
A number of good points. And yes, 4 does seem appropriate, though I say we should hold her, too.
>>652961
I would believe so.
>>
No. 652972 ID: a55758

4.
Hug her all night long.
>>
No. 652980 ID: 7fa4f5

Response: "Love you, too."

Action: Commence snuggling/cuddling.
>>
No. 652983 ID: 726c6c

>>652980
Yeah.
>>
No. 652992 ID: 7c0775

"I love you too, Meg."
>>
No. 652998 ID: 696535

>>652980
^This
>>
No. 653002 ID: f2fb8b

>>652998
^Double this.
>>
No. 653003 ID: ad7bba

10. "T-thanks. I love, uh, strawberries."
>>
No. 653005 ID: ca5378

>>652980
Suggestion: Acceptable.
>>
No. 653010 ID: 9de11f

"I love you too, Meg. You and your delicious strawberry filling."
>>
No. 653016 ID: 596e42

4]] Love you too.
10]] Suggest you watch some TV before bed.
>>
No. 653025 ID: a2345f

>>652980
>>653016
Both of these.
Let's tell her we love her, snuggle up, and watch some TV.
I wonder if she has a favorite program.
>>
No. 653038 ID: 1ce348

>>653003
What, is Zack a wuss all of a sudden?

4.
>>
No. 653142 ID: 7b7ab3

>>653025
>I wonder if she has a favorite program.
She doesn't really strike me as the TV watching type. Too much sitting still involved for her, I figure. Still, we could turn the TV on just for fun.
>>
No. 653154 ID: f68a09
File 143608366601.png - (24.64KB , 960x560 , 365.png )
653154

"I love you too, Meg."
You put your arms around her. She's still not quite at a human temperature but she's a lot warmer than she was.

"So we can keep doing this?" Meg asks.
"Mmhm."
"Well not right now because I'm sore as fuck but--"
You kiss her. "Whenever you want."
"Sick. This is fucking sick. Now I totally fucking get the big deal."
"Good." You back up a little and prop yourself up on the back of the bed. "You want to watch Human TV?"
"I've never seen any of it."
"It's mostly awful," you say.
"I wanna watch." Meg nestles up next to you. "This has been a good night for Firsts so far."
"You're gonna be here when I wake up tomorrow, right?"
"Nowhere else I want to be." She rests her hand on your leg as you flick the TV screen on. She squints in the glow. "I'm on assignment for as long as I say it's necessary."
"How long is that?"
Meg rests her head on your chest. She listens to your heartbeat. "Right now it's looking like forever."
>>
No. 653155 ID: f68a09
File 143608367974.png - (20.42KB , 832x600 , 366.png )
653155

You are now in a sexual relationship with every single one of your Visitor dates.
Good luck, Zack!!!

What's happening tomorrow?
>>
No. 653159 ID: 1cebc8

GG
>>
No. 653161 ID: dbe554

Bika.
>>
No. 653162 ID: 0fc976

GG's parents, but also reading about Outpost Jawara, and maybe the HVAO leak. It's time you caught up with current events, mister Zackmeister.
>>
No. 653164 ID: 7b7ab3

First we need to deal with the attempted break in, and let our friends and lovers know about our current situation.
Then we should get with GG for a date/workout.
Check the news for anything about Jawara and/or the leak.
Also, be certain to check your messages.
>>
No. 653165 ID: 7b7ab3

An important question: when should we start introducing the girls to each other? After all that's happened, I think it should be fairly soon.
>>
No. 653166 ID: 8fd9ec

lets go out or hang out with Bika again.
>>
No. 653169 ID: 0df2ab

I can't remember if we were supposed to do anything.

Let's go bug Bika!
>>
No. 653173 ID: f0e552

>>653155
Man, the art has changed so much. Maybe this picture is up for a redrawing?
>>
No. 653176 ID: 7b7ab3

>>653173
I happen to love that picture. It was the first time we ever saw the girls.

What do you think Zack should do in the morning?
>>
No. 653177 ID: ea0ad9

I'd say it's a good time to get our training in with GG.
>>
No. 653180 ID: 7b7ab3

Another important question: when should Zack tell GG about his past? If she's taking us to meet her parents, then she should know about Zack's, right?
>>
No. 653219 ID: dcd676

>>653162
I'm behind this, we should really be more aware of what's going on. Plus, we get to see Warrior family structures and that's bound to be pretty damn interesting.
>>
No. 653236 ID: 1e63f3

>>653162
>>653164
These. There's quite a bit that needs to be done.
>>653165
We can start making plans, but let's try to deal with our current situation first.
>>653180
This week is probably the best time. We'll be spending a lot of time with GG, so we'll have plenty of opportunities.
>>
No. 653291 ID: f68a09
File 143614526744.png - (6.15KB , 960x560 , 367.png )
653291

"...was quoted as saying quote These accusations, while they may advance the Kariket's agenda and popularity at home, are baseless and dangerous to the peace billions of souls on both sides of the divide depend upon.
The men, according to an article published by the Golborian news provider Vahztal, were discovered by a Golborian Land Army detail three nights ago, several miles from the guarded site at Jawara. All seven intruders surrendered immediately. The Golborians maintain that the men were an armed expedition of Special Forces operatives, sent to Jawara by the Earth United Nations in defiance of the Kariket's wish for an exclusively Golborian investigation. The seven have been incarcerated indefinitely, inciting fears that the already incendiary situation caused by the disappearances at Jawara is only going to worsen.
Secretary General Rouvin Selesky, when asked for comment, stated--"

You mute the TV as the seven muscular, bearded mugshots show up again onscreen.

It's 9 am. Meg sleeps soundly next to you.

1]] Call the HVAO.
2]] Wake Meg. Spend the day with her.
3]] Call everyone to check in about the break-in / this latest disaster.
4]] Call GG and make an appointment at the Gym.
5]] Call GG and ask her if she wants to meet Polyphema.
6]] _________________
>>
No. 653295 ID: d90668

1 and then 3. Might be time to start circling the wagons and making sure that everyone is safe.

While the girls are all perfectly capable of defending themselves someone knows far to much about us and by extension all of them. If someone gets caught alone by a crowd of the people who are after you it could end very badly.
>>
No. 653296 ID: 7b7ab3

1, 3, 4, 5

First, time to network. Get an update from the HVAO, and then update the gang.

Second, set up an appointment with GG at the gym. Also, ask her if she would like to meet Poly sometime. Doesn't have to be today, but sometime.
>>
No. 653302 ID: bb78f2

>>653291
Well I didn't understand any of that.
I like 4.
>>
No. 653306 ID: 0263d5

Let's let Meg rest. She had a busy night.
1. Call the HVAO and see what's happening. Hopefully they have good news.
2. Call up everyone and let them know you're alright. See how they're all doing.
3. Tell GG that you're ready to hit the gym.
4. Ask if she'd like to meet the oculot member of the "Zack Fanclub."
>>
No. 653307 ID: b4dd67

>>653296
>>653306
Good plans. Shouldn't we have breakfast first?
>>
No. 653310 ID: 0fc976

1, 3, 5 (if you're going to bring Poly to meet GG's parents they should meet beforehand), and 2. I would suggest doing a workout activity with Meg instead of GG, but that's more likely to frustrate her right now due to the no-fly rule. I don't really know.
>>
No. 653322 ID: e8135d

>>653307
Agreed. Let's scarf some protein before we hit the gym.
>>653310
>bring Poly to meet GG's parents
I wouldn't recommend it. I figure GG wants it to just be her, Zack and her family, and a +1 would throw her off. Besides, Poly said it might not be the best idea, given the circumstances.
>>
No. 653335 ID: 406895

1,3! Makin' calls!
4,5! Gettin' swole! Makin' frands!
>>
No. 653347 ID: 5ec06c

>>653306
I dig the plan, but let's make sure to give Meg a "see you later" before we take off. Don't wanna be rude now, do we?
>>
No. 653350 ID: 441205

Before we leave this hotel we have to ask Meg what those doohickeys on her head are.
>>
No. 653360 ID: f68a09
File 143617030717.png - (12.26KB , 960x560 , 368.png )
653360

You put on your pants and an undershirt and go get some breakfast, piling a plate with waffles and eggs for Meg.
While you eat you call the girls.

"They did what?" Polyphema's voice is veined with terror. "Zack! My God!"
"I'm OK. I'm fine. We were at the concert."
"Drinking champagne while goons were kicking your door in. I feel sick."
"Better there than at my place."
"Probably," Polyphema says. "Because if we were at your place I would have set them on fire."

"If you need a door guy you should use my guys," Bika says.
"The Warrior guys?"
"They're really good. If you need a place to stay come to my restaurant and I will shield you with Bikas."
"You hear about this Jawara Seven thing?"
"Mhm. I caught some guy about to set our trash on fire over it."
"What did you do?"
"Took the trash in. Not much else I could do." Bika sighs. "You're dating a Warrior, right?"
"Mhm."
"Well if she wants to make some moolah on the side she could hang out around here and look threatening."
"You wanna meet her?"
"Is she cute?"
"Like cute personality or cute cute?"
"Both. I'm 50% dude, dude."

Meg's awake by the time you get back.
"Train going," she says, eating the waffle. "Like the nice kind of train going sound."
"What about the eggs?"
"Kind of similar only yellower. Did you see the TV?"
"The guys?"
"Yeah." She chews. "Watch out, Zack. I might be an enemy combatant soon."
You laugh but you know that under the laugh is a disturbing kernel of truth.

"Call me this time, OK?" you say. "Don't vanish again. You freaked me out."
"K." Meg kisses you. The taxi driver raises an eyebrow but waits patiently. "Let me know where you end up so I can track you down and attack you. In a loving way."
"Can do."
"See ya soon, Zack."

You call GG in the cab.

"You find me their address," GG says. "And I won't just give their doors a fucking love tap."
"I'm OK. I got a hotel."
"This is all so messed up." GG sounds tired. "My boss called and told me don't come in for work today. He said the contractors told him he can't have a Visitor onsite."
"Let's sweat it out. I gotta get to the gym. Meet me there?"
"Sounds like a good idea," GG says.
"After we do that there's someone who wanted to meet you."
"Oh yeah? Who?"

1]] One of the other girls in the program. The oculot. Is that OK with you?
2]] Polyphema. She's an oculot friend of mine.
3]] Another one of my dates. She's wanted to meet you for like weeks.
4]] You'll see. I'll buy you dinner.
5]] There's a skut who has a way for you to get money while your job's on hold.
6]] ______________
>>
No. 653362 ID: dbe554

5, Bika did offer a job technically in her reply.
>>
No. 653377 ID: 7b7ab3

1. It's honest and it gets her opinion. If she's not cool with it, then we shouldn't force it.

We should probably mention 5. Girl needs the cash.
>>
No. 653380 ID: 088179

1 the best. I don't like 5. Using GG that way feels wrong.
>>
No. 653381 ID: 1702f6

>>653360
>"Watch out, Zack. I might be an enemy combatant soon."
Please don't say things like that, Meg.
1, if she's down. Otherwise, let's just get to sweatin'.
>>
No. 653382 ID: bb78f2

>>653360
The oculot and skut girls are interested in meeting up. The skut even own's a restaurant and wants to temp hire more warrior presence to freak out the humans so they stop vandalizing it while this whole political situation is so tense.
>>
No. 653383 ID: ad7bba

1, 5.

Figure we can at least mentioned Bika's offer.
>>
No. 653385 ID: 7fa4f5

1.
>>653382
>freak out the humans
Considering the state of things, that's probably not a good idea.
>>653383
>Figure we can at least mentioned Bika's offer.
I don't know. Using GG as a threat display doesn't sit right with me.
>>
No. 653386 ID: dcd676

1, then 5. Polyphema asked first, but we should mention that Bika provided a job offer. It's something constructive to do with not being able to work so often right now on her regular job.
>>
No. 653387 ID: 5340db

1 is good.
I'm torn on 5. I know she needs the money, but the job sounds like it could get dangerous.
>>
No. 653388 ID: 34333b

1 all the way. If she's not ok with it, then let's just move on.
>>
No. 653389 ID: 5efe8a

1, for the same reasons everyone else states.

Then 5, because we shouldn't really withhold that info from GG. It's her choice whether or not she accepts the offer. I don't really see how it's "using" her, and her being there isn't a threat display so much as it is having a bouncer, except one who merely waits inside in plain view. And if things really do get dangerous, she wouldn't be the only one there that we know to get hurt, nor would she be the sole cause of the danger. Bika is there too, and would likely have been the initial target. Besides, what's the worst that can happen? I greatly doubt they'd bring soldiers with riot gear and tanks to a little restaurant just for the sake of hate and fear. GG could definitely handle a few punks with Bika's assistance. Still, it's her decision to take the job.

(bleh, that's a lot of words for me)
>>
No. 653390 ID: ad6f49

>>653388
This.
5 if she needs the money. Of course, she could always just hang with us more. We're basically loaded.
>>
No. 653396 ID: afd47f

1, please!
>>
No. 653398 ID: b8ceae

>>653360
5, also 1. So two people.

Also, GG is a citizen. Unless the 14th amendment and the non-discrimination laws were all struck down then saying they can't have a person of Golborian descent on site is pretty illegal.
They CAN give her paid leave. While still technically illegal, it's incredibly unlikely to result in a complaint or lawsuit.

Call the HVAO and ask them to work out the details so everything would be set-up for Meg to officially defect and claim her U.S. citizenship. It'd still be her choice, obviously, but if the barrier to entry is just saying ok then it'd be easier to convince her.

With looming hostilities Meg's position is pretty horrible.
Zack's job is gathering intelligence on Golborian races for his people, including floaters. That makes him a human intelligence asset. Meg is positioned to have easy access to him. Meg is officially part of the Golborian armed forces.
If things go south, she is almost certain to receive orders to kill Zack. She will not comply, which would result in her being slated for execution. Having a fast-track path to officially being on the human side would be an amazingly effective escape route.
>>
No. 653402 ID: f6708c

>>653398
This!
All of this!
>>
No. 653404 ID: 2a7417

>>653398
I think all the work she does is on a temp basis, so paid leave isn't an option.
That does stink, so 5 and 1.
>>
No. 653411 ID: 5f7625

Lets not go overboard and get into a situation we can't control with 3 dates on the same date.

1, but mention the job Bika offered before you arrive or after you are done.
>>
No. 653412 ID: 562051

6] I'd say meet Bika but let her bring up the job offer. GG could probably use the cash and Bika has been hassled a lot before this.
>>
No. 653413 ID: 726c6c

>>653411
Agreed. We're still human, and very used to human dating conventions. Two girls at once is enough.
In other words: 2 is company, 3 is a crowd.
>>
No. 653420 ID: 2916ca

>>653411
This.
>>653413
>In other words: 2 is company, 3 is a crowd.
I see what you did there. Clever.
>>
No. 653426 ID: 240a2c

>>653411
Definitely yes! We are not prepared for a four-way date (Zack, GG, Poly, Bika)!
>>
No. 653430 ID: f68a09
File 143620472887.png - (12.81KB , 960x560 , 369.png )
653430

"C'mon, Zack!" GG effortlessly lifts the bar on the preacher curl bench while you grunt and sweat your way through your third rep. "The only bad workout is the workout that never happened!"
You screw up your eyes with effort. "That- gah - that sounds like a motivational poster."
"It is a motivational poster," GG says. "Ain't wrong, though! Suck it up now and you won't have to suck it in later!"
"Can't we try the squat rack again?"
"Z you paid zero attention to my demonstration at the squat rack."
"Yes I did."
"Well yeah." GG giggles. "But not to the technique. This is your punishment. Two more reps!"
"Kill me."
"And then we do squats."
"OK."
"So this Oculot."
"Yeah." You drop the weights and rub your shoulders as you prepare for the next rep. "You sure you're OK with it?"
GG shrugs. "Why the heck not, if you like her." She readjusts her grip. "If I don't like her you're not allowed to date her anymore, though."
"I'm not allowed to do that."
"Then you'll be between a rock and a hard place." GG slaps her bicep with a free hand and winks. "Lifter humor. Pick 'em back up!"
You sigh heavily and strain to lift your dumbbells again.
"So I gotta shower after and you're cordially invited," GG says. "Where do we meet Polyphema?"

1]] We could go over to hers and I'd cook something. I really don't know if being in public is a good idea.
2]] There's this Visitor-owned diner I urbanspooned. It's not exactly classy but you guys would probably be more welcome than I am. Never been.
3]] There's this really nice place called Taverna. Have you ever had Mediterranean?
4]] Somewhere green and out of the city. We'll bring our own food.
5]] __________________
>>
No. 653435 ID: 2a7417

4) Both Poly and GG like exercise, right? Just not Clif Bars.
>>
No. 653436 ID: b8ceae