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File 145455129736.png - (88.95KB , 600x600 , 6-1.png )
698817 No. 698817 ID: ab25fe

Chapter 1: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/573652.html
Chapter 2: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/584397.html
Chapter 3: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/595692.html
Chapter 4: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/623905.html
Chapter 5: http://www.tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/660548.html
Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/A_Conspiracy_of_Wasps
Discussion: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/81536.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 698818 ID: ab25fe
File 145455131892.png - (123.00KB , 600x504 , 6-2.png )
698818

You find yourself standing outside the Apex facility. Its still dark out, and the parking lot is nearly empty.
>>
No. 698820 ID: 5ad4a7

>>698818
Nearly? Which cars are parked there? Do you recognize them?
(also are we Diego now?)
>>
No. 698831 ID: defceb

Inspect: everything
>>
No. 698929 ID: 2a7417

Confirm identity.
>>
No. 698945 ID: 5024e4

Is there anyone around, like Security personnel or police?
>>
No. 698950 ID: d283ef

Um, and how did we get here?
>>
No. 698992 ID: ecfa2c

Are you/we aware of who we/you are? Or is it going to one of those night you just don't talk about?
>>
No. 699168 ID: a107fd

Enter guard post, attempt to locate guestbook so you can sign in.
>>
No. 700873 ID: ab25fe
File 145514982182.png - (104.99KB , 600x575 , 6-3.png )
700873

You approach the checkpoint. It's dark and empty, except for a grasshopper, which chirps at you warily. In the parking lot you see a newer model sports car and one of those tiny European clown cars.
>>
No. 700877 ID: 5ad4a7

>>700873
Look at the monitors. I think I see a shadow of a figure in the upper left, something on the floor in the bottom left, and something orange in the bottom right.
>>
No. 700884 ID: f6442a

Oh dear, someone get a janitor over to camera four!
>>
No. 700890 ID: ecfa2c

Hmm... Morgan, the security guard who went missing for a bit only to wake up on the roof, had grasshoppers as his custodian. He might be nearby, but only Doug and the probe would know that. Diego would be in the dark.

Check the security monitors to see if you can garner any information. (And enlighten us to who you are by what information you're searching for.)
>>
No. 700955 ID: d283ef

Pet the grasshopper.
>>
No. 700981 ID: 15720c

>>700884
I think that's a cord of some sort.
>>700955
SOme other time, maybe, but for now we should keep wary.
>>
No. 701352 ID: ab25fe
File 145532740714.png - (115.25KB , 600x532 , 6-4.png )
701352

You poke the grasshopper curiously. It responds by arching its bristly legs at you and gives you a chirp.

You check out the security feeds. It looks like someone is walking around the assembly building, possibly the second floor. Also, there appears to be a heavy duty extension cord running into the coffee shop.
>>
No. 701354 ID: 5ad4a7

Go check out the coffee sh... oh wait, nevermind. Hiro is in there, of course. Leave him be for the time being, and go see who it is in the assembly building.
>>
No. 701373 ID: f6442a

Find plug and unplug plug.
>>
No. 701494 ID: ecfa2c

>>701354
Hiro (and the rest of the Cobalt programmers) is in lock down eating military rations. Unless it's normal for the janitors to run an extension cord across the building to power wax the floors, then something is up.

Question is, what should we care about? Really hate being an intrusive voice that doesn't know what head it's trapped in.

In any case, moving figure might be someplace else by the time you get there. Head towards the coffee shop.
>>
No. 701558 ID: 5ad4a7

>>701494
Oh. Then yeah, extension cord is the least time consuming objective, so we should do that first.
>>
No. 702225 ID: 62e25c
File 145558859257.png - (108.73KB , 417x600 , 6-5.png )
702225

You head towards the main building but front doors are locked and rattle as you try to open them. You lean against the glass and peer into the darkness inside and see no one inside, but another extension cord runs from the front desk and around the corner.
>>
No. 702226 ID: 5ad4a7

>>702225
Was there a back door or something? Or maybe an open window?
>>
No. 702229 ID: 350a50

>>702225
Pick up a rock and break open the glass.
>>
No. 702438 ID: eeeaca

>>702225
go back to the checkpoint and look for a door switch, rather not set off any alarms.

failing everything, grab a tyre iron or something from the car and bash open the door.
>>
No. 702439 ID: 5ad4a7

I seriously disagree with breaking and entering when we have no immediate pressing reason to do so.

I'm not even sure why we're HERE.
>>
No. 702440 ID: 5ad4a7

I mean can't we just knock
>>
No. 702744 ID: 62e25c
File 145575864579.png - (33.57KB , 576x471 , 6-6.png )
702744

You search around for a something to break the glass with and end up finding a rock in the nearby planter: its a porous volcanic rock, the kind frequently used in gardens. You smash it into the door and a small, perfectly circular indentation pings off of the glass inside. You feel the stone crumble like stale bread from the impact.
>>
No. 702754 ID: f56624

>>702744
GG. Look for an open window or some other way in.
>>
No. 703890 ID: 62e25c
File 145600471655.png - (69.03KB , 600x507 , 6-7.png )
703890

You sneak around to the opposite end of the building and try one of the doors. It sticks but pushes open. You notice that there's duct tape over the latch, keeping it from locking. You let yourself in, noticing a curious clicking that sounds like its coming from the end of the hallway.
>>
No. 703891 ID: 5ad4a7

>>703890
Sneak over there and see what it is without being seen.
>>
No. 703892 ID: f6442a

Go right and admire the hallway mural.
>>
No. 703894 ID: defceb

Admire that little bush too, then waltz over to the clicking noise without attempting to hide yourself.
>>
No. 703942 ID: 350a50

Take bush
>>
No. 704605 ID: 62e25c
File 145619038973.png - (72.40KB , 600x544 , 6-8.png )
704605

You decide to check out the poster
Connecting the world indeed. You guess that's supposed to represent the satellite dish behind the facility.
>>
No. 704638 ID: 5ad4a7

>>704605
You're not Diego, are you.

Go check out the cable, that's why we came here anyway.
>>
No. 704643 ID: 350a50

>>704605
Cable spotted ahead.
>>
No. 704778 ID: 2a7417

Follow that power cable, erase memory of ominous noises from head.
>>
No. 704943 ID: 62e25c
File 145627913146.png - (41.60KB , 600x482 , 6-9.png )
704943

You reach out to pick up the length of cable.
>>
No. 704944 ID: 62e25c
File 145627913523.png - (90.62KB , 600x596 , 6-10.png )
704944

Suddenly it comes alive in a swarm of wiggling legs. You drop it with a yelp.
>>
No. 704945 ID: 62e25c
File 145627913992.png - (101.30KB , 552x600 , 6-11.png )
704945

You try the door to the cafe and find it unlocked. You follow the cord behind the counter, where it is joined by two more. Together they run under the door to a large, walk in freezer in the back room.
>>
No. 704969 ID: 90f3c0

Open the door. Try to avoid being jumped from behind and/or getting locked in the freeze, as tends to happen in these situations.
>>
No. 704976 ID: 5ad4a7

>>704944
I guess we're gonna be opening that door, huh?
>>
No. 705004 ID: f6442a

Fiddle with the refrigerator controls. Turn off the cooling and unseal the door. Someone is going to come back to their server to find a heaping pile of slag.
>>
No. 705006 ID: 5ad4a7

>>705004
Dude, we don't even know whose server it is. Maybe it's someone we like, like Hiro.
>>
No. 705012 ID: 350a50

Press ear to door and listen.
>>
No. 705209 ID: 62e25c
File 145636512684.png - (100.21KB , 415x600 , 6-12.png )
705209

You listen at the door, but all you hear is the hum of refrigeration. Feeling safe, you crack open the walk in and peek inside; spilling a wave of chilly moisture over your legs. Various foodstuffs are piled up against the walls and a dim florescent light does its best to illuminate the cold-room. The wires run into an open metal box, from which is issuing an unnatural pinkish light.
>>
No. 705213 ID: 5ad4a7

>>705209
We've seen this before. Unplug that shit.
>>
No. 705214 ID: f6442a

Unplug box and watch as nothing bad happens
>>
No. 705219 ID: 5ad4a7

After it's unplugged we can try touching the bug associated with the alien inside.

...unless the mind is only active while it's plugged in?
>>
No. 705385 ID: 9ae2f3

>>705219
How about we don't leave our physical body inside the refrigerator during the dreamscape? ^^
Let's move the box outside the room first before establishing any mental connection
>>
No. 705801 ID: 62e25c
File 145654005047.png - (120.81KB , 600x400 , 6-13.png )
705801

You step into the fridge and examine the source of the glow. It appears to be a PC case filled with unfamiliar electronics and devices, a bright, florescent cylinder sits at the heart of it. Lying next to it is an insect-like creature unlike anything you've seen before; whatever it is, it doesn't appear to be well. You carefully remove the extension cords and the PC stops humming, however it continues to cast an unnatural glow over the area.
>>
No. 705803 ID: 5ad4a7

>>705801
Secure the area before touching the bug. Make sure you aren't locked in the freezer.
>>
No. 705906 ID: f6442a

What did you remove them with, your teeth?
Find a material to put between you and the bug, and move it and the computer outside the freezer.
>>
No. 706162 ID: 62e25c
File 145671829409.png - (85.56KB , 600x437 , 6-15.png )
706162

You nudge the invertebrate with your foot and it rolls over with a tiny squeal.
>>
No. 706163 ID: 62e25c
File 145671830063.png - (85.82KB , 600x404 , 6-14.png )
706163

You make sure no one is watching and pick up the case, feeling the icy burn of the cold metal pressed against your chest.
>>
No. 706174 ID: 5ad4a7

...maybe we should just outright run off with it. NO ONE WILL EVER KNOW
>>
No. 706186 ID: 5ad4a7

>>706184
That's not Doug, he's not wearing a sweater-vest.
>>
No. 706187 ID: 350a50

>>706184
That doesn't look like a sweater vest, it looks like Diego's shirt (same cuffs) and big meaty hands.
>>
No. 706376 ID: 62e25c
File 145680356723.png - (48.41KB , 600x441 , 6-16.png )
706376

You decide its time to get the hell out of here. You head back the way you came you turn around, realizing that the elevator is moving.
>>
No. 706377 ID: 62e25c
File 145680357266.png - (58.10KB , 600x441 , 6-17.png )
706377

It reaches the ground floor with a "ding!"
Your feet feel like they've been welded in place, helpless as something comes pouring out.
>>
No. 706378 ID: 62e25c
File 145680357807.png - (73.26KB , 600x441 , 6-18.png )
706378

....like an avalanche of malice...
>>
No. 706379 ID: 62e25c
File 145680358479.png - (90.42KB , 600x441 , 6-19.png )
706379

... as unstoppable as fate.
>>
No. 706380 ID: 62e25c
File 145680359198.png - (90.61KB , 600x441 , 6-20.png )
706380

>"Heyyyy buddy! Going somewhere?"
>>
No. 706381 ID: 62e25c
File 145680359709.png - (126.47KB , 600x600 , 6-21.png )
706381

>"I think you have something that doesn't belong to you there."
>>
No. 706382 ID: 62e25c
File 145680360103.png - (115.75KB , 501x600 , 6-22.png )
706382

You come to with a start, gasping for air and eyes struggling to focus.
>>
No. 706396 ID: f6442a

Confirm identity.
>>
No. 706399 ID: 5ad4a7

...try calling Doug.
>>
No. 706483 ID: 91ee5f

Now only a few questions remain:

1.) Was that a vision of something that just happened?

2.) Was that a vision of something that's going to happen in the future?

3.) Was that just a wild dream of an overactive imagination of something that's never going to happen?
>>
No. 706551 ID: 1b3b5e

In this moment of panic, think about how great a gay threesome with Diego and Zeke would be.

To calm your nerves of course.
>>
No. 706592 ID: 351cdd

>>706399
Do call Doug and mention not to be too hard on Diego.
>>
No. 706794 ID: 350a50

Where are you?
>>
No. 707526 ID: 62e25c
File 145728633823.png - (127.05KB , 600x527 , 6-23.png )
707526

He snorts and blinks himself awake.
>"Huzzat? Oh, hey dude."
"Where's Dr. Cooper? What happened?"
He scratches himself.
>"She's over in my apartment. You passed out and I told her I'd keep an eye on you so could get some sleep."
>>
No. 707527 ID: 62e25c
File 145728636088.png - (122.11KB , 600x600 , 6-24.png )
707527

"I need to borrow your phone! I think Diego might be in danger!"
He reaches into a pocket and hands you a very beat up burner phone; the clock on the front reading 2:13 Am. You fumble with it and dial a very vaguely remembered phone number.
A voicemail machine picks up immediately
>Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy, This is Doug! Leave a message... *beep*
>>
No. 707530 ID: 211d83

Dear Doug

Diego is all crazy whacked out on psychic honey! Stop molesting him with your ants! He started spouting alien math and is not in his right mind.

PS. I can apparently distance view stuff now.
>>
No. 707582 ID: 884049

Alright, I guess we Should try to get back to the Facility as soon as we can.

Also, leave Doug a message telling him to be careful With Diego if he sees him, And to not try to hurt him, only restrain him if it is necessary.
>>
No. 707864 ID: 62e25c
File 145749236212.png - (86.00KB , 376x600 , 6-25.png )
707864

Your mind is racing and your palms are sweating as you shout into the mouthpiece.
"Doug! This is Nate! Listen, Don't hurt Diego, he's not in control of himself. Wait for me to get there, I'll explain everything!"

You hand Zeke his phone and he looks at you with an eyebrow raised.
>"-The hell was that all about?"

"I-I-I saw Diego,. He's back at Apex, and- and I don't know, he found something and I think it pissed off our boss, Doug. I need to get back to the facility! I don't know what Doug might do right now!"

He pauses to process this.
>"Uh... okay, so how are we gonna do that?"
>>
No. 707865 ID: 5ad4a7

Taxi would work.
>>
No. 707895 ID: 350a50

Get taxi
>>
No. 707956 ID: 6cac38

Taxi, Bus, Whatever comes first. Also, Look if there is any white van that seems familiar nearby.
>>
No. 708509 ID: 62e25c
File 145781324231.png - (81.06KB , 570x600 , 6-26.png )
708509

"Can we call a cab?" You're kind of worried because, without your wallet, you still don't have any cash. Zeke tells you not to worry about it and dials a number. He hangs up after a short conversation.
>" Okay, 10 minutes. We should probably let Dr. Cooper know."
>>
No. 708510 ID: 62e25c
File 145781324735.png - (108.75KB , 600x558 , 6-27.png )
708510

You head across the hall and he knocks on the door.
>"Dr. Cooper? Gail? Are you awake?"
He unlocks it and you peek inside. Dr Cooper, asleep on the bed, grumbles and turns over.
>>
No. 708520 ID: 32d627

wake her up, but be gentle about it.
>>
No. 708523 ID: 350a50

Have Zeke wake her up, contact will lead to psychic shenanigans.
>>
No. 708537 ID: 5ad4a7

...okay, I think it's time to be rude here, for the sake of the world. You can claim it was an accident later anyway. We need more parts for the world mover!

Go touch her shoulder.
>>
No. 708563 ID: 2f4b71

Pick up one of her shoes and gently nudge her awake. We don't have time for more brain-dive shenanigans right now (plus it'd be pretty rude).
>>
No. 708567 ID: f6442a

Nudge Sleeping Beauty awake.
>>
No. 709278 ID: 7a7e2a

Can you see her mantis soemwhere?
>>
No. 709586 ID: 62e25c
File 145808637621.png - (117.56KB , 600x554 , 6-28.png )
709586

Zeke tiptoes in and shakes her shoulder.
>"Hey, doctor?"
She turns over sleepily
>"Uh? Zeke? Wha's going on?"
>"Nate thinks he knows where Diego's gone. He thinks he might be in trouble..."
She squints at him for a long moment while she processes this.
>"Are you serious? Zeke, I have to be at the office in a couple of hours..."
She groans
>"Can't the police handle it or something? I don't even know whats happening anymore."
>>
No. 709587 ID: 5ad4a7

Well, we can try, but it might be hard to convince them we know anything? I mean what're we gonna say "I had a dream where I was Diego and he's in trouble therefore he's in trouble for real"?
>>
No. 710178 ID: 62e25c
File 145835269504.png - (137.83KB , 600x598 , 6-29.png )
710178

"I don't know. I had this dream or something: I was looking through Diego's eyes and he was back at Apex and it was empty. He found something, a computer that may have some of the answers to whats going on, but my boss Doug appeared and I was forced back awake. I'm really worried about Doug's mental state right now; until today I've never seen insects on him, but when he showed up, he was swarming with them."
She lays back and sighs before checking the time on her phone.
>"Goddamnit....I will go with you and we will check this out together, but you are going to give me a ride home once we're done."
>>
No. 710179 ID: 62e25c
File 145835270052.png - (144.09KB , 600x421 , 6-30.png )
710179

Dr. Cooper pulls on her jacket and meets you downstairs right as the taxi pulls sharply up to the curb. The three of you pile in and the doctor slumps against the door almost immediately. Zeke wisely puts himself between the two of you and gives the driver directions.
>>
No. 710180 ID: 62e25c
File 145835270672.png - (111.52KB , 600x522 , 6-31.png )
710180

>"Heh. Sure thing."
>>
No. 710182 ID: 32d627

oh god bail out of this taxi and walk, it's probably safer than this
>>
No. 710184 ID: 5ad4a7

>>710180
Hang on, look at his taxi driver's license. If he's really a taxi driver tell him this is getting ridiculous but don't panic or anything. Instead, *as you're leaving the taxi*, touch his octopus.
>>
No. 710189 ID: 5ad4a7

If it's safe, touch one of Zeke's bees so we can maybe deal with his goo problem on the way there. Or at least check it out.
>>
No. 710199 ID: bb78f2

Dude from coffee shop, do you seriously do taxi driving as a side thing?
Taxi Drivers can't afford to do two jobs, MAYBE if you were Uber.
>>
No. 710237 ID: 350a50

>>710199
He also delivers chinese food, apparently.
>>
No. 710238 ID: bb78f2

>>710237
Oh well, yeah well then that guy seriously needs a break.
>>
No. 710613 ID: 91ee5f

>>710184
We're in a hurry, remember? We don't have time to be jumping into someone else's head! We have to save Diego! So no touching the driver's octopus!
>>
No. 710668 ID: 5ad4a7

>>710613
I don't think it's taken that long to get things done in heads before, and keep in mind we need machine parts to save the world.
>>
No. 710671 ID: f6442a

Commence lots of touching the driver's octopus.
>>
No. 710832 ID: 62e25c
File 145860714108.png - (124.35KB , 600x506 , 6-32.png )
710832

You check out the license posted on the back of the seat and finally answer the mystery of what the fuck this guys name is: Evan Thorpe.
"Didn't you deliver our takeout earlier? How many jobs do you work?"

>"A few, you know. Here and there"

"How are you even still awake?"

He flashes you a brief smile.
>"Gotta pay the bills..."

He tears down the street in a roar of horsepower and any thought you had of bailing out vanishes. You decide not to try to step into Evan's mind for the time being, since the last thing you'd want is for him to space out and run off the road. You clutch your hands to your chest and pluck at your shirt nervously while his cephalopod eyeballs you.
>>
No. 710834 ID: f6442a

Ask the cephalopod if it knows a guy named Radula.
>>
No. 710835 ID: 5ad4a7

>>710832
If it takes like 30 minutes to get to your work, try touching one of the bees. I think that counts as touching someone unaware, even if they can see you, because they aren't aware of that part of their mind/body.
>>
No. 710838 ID: bb78f2

What's your name, man? All this time I've known you at the coffee shop, we never talked so... I guess now is as good a time as ever.

You friends of doug by chance?
>>
No. 710839 ID: 5ad4a7

You could also ask "You wouldn't happen to be a secret agent sent to monitor me, or those that work at the facility in general?"
>>
No. 711626 ID: 62e25c
File 145903147303.png - (78.60KB , 600x503 , 6-33.png )
711626

"Have you been following us?"

>"What?"
He look at you over his shoulder for a moment before looking back at the road.
>"Who're you?"

"Uh, my name is Nate? I work at Apex? You work in the coffee shop there right?"

He makes a "Hm" noise of affirmative.
>"I work a lot of places. See a lot of people."
>>
No. 711627 ID: 62e25c
File 145903147842.png - (122.50KB , 600x478 , 6-34.png )
711627

Before you know it, the taxi is pulling up in front of the darkened Apex facility. Evan watches as Zeke pulls out a thick roll of cash and starts counting out bills.
>>
No. 711643 ID: 5ad4a7

Touch octopus.
>>
No. 711682 ID: ecfa2c

>>711643
Probably a bad idea.
>>
No. 711698 ID: f562b1

>>711643
We need to find Diego, not get caught in the cephalopod world.
>>
No. 711700 ID: 350a50

No touch squishy tentacle.

Look around for any threats. Is creepy shotgun guy's van still around?
>>
No. 711753 ID: 91ee5f

Start looking for Diego!
>>
No. 713945 ID: 62e25c
File 145982369838.png - (66.14KB , 600x372 , 6-35.png )
713945

You decide to leave his mind alone for now and refocus on finding Diego. Zeke gives the driver a nice 3 am tip and the three of you step out into the chiily night air. You pass through the empty security checkpoint and stare across the immacualte lawn of the Apex facility. The only sound is the dopplered roar of your taxi's engine dissappearing.
Dr. Cooper is a little more awake now, taking in the scenery
>"So, Where do we start?"
You last remember Diego being in the admin building, but you keep in mind the fact that your stuff is still in the lab sector.
>>
No. 713946 ID: f6442a

Get your stuff, it's more likely to be where you last saw it.
>>
No. 713948 ID: 5ad4a7

>>713945
You could check the security feeds.
>>
No. 714724 ID: 91ee5f

>>713945
Check the cameras.
>>
No. 715202 ID: 62e25c
File 146022486659.png - (131.81KB , 600x621 , 6-36.png )
715202

You peek at the security feeds, but don't see any sign of Diego or Doug. You sidestep the admin building and head for the clean-rooms. You aren't surprised to find the doors unlocked, but feel your pulse start to race, knowing that someone is lurking nearby.
You take the elevator to the locker room and finally get most of your stuff back , though your phone should be still in your car. You aren't sure if your sandwich is still good, but at least you got your ID back as well as car keys and the binder full of schematics.
>>
No. 715213 ID: 0b8762

Is it normal for the facility to look that empty? Isn't there any security or anyone else in particular around?

Also, Is Zeke ok? We could probably need to go inside his mind now, and see what possible damage that thing from lester caused and fix, But I think We should try to Find Diego and Dough First, But if he seems to be really troubled by that, I say we try to get in.
>>
No. 715216 ID: f6442a

>>715213
Given the time of day, it's to be expected.
Now get to the administrative building. Find a back entrance with your schematics.
>>
No. 715347 ID: ecfa2c

>>715216
Wrong schematics.

>>715202
I'm not liking the look of those bug like shadows swarming over Zeke. We might need to put a trip into his mind further on the list of "things to do". He does look nicely distracted at the moment.
>>
No. 715480 ID: 91ee5f

>>715347
Zeke's bugs are bees, so it's completely normal for bees to be swarming around him. The only way to see if anything is wrong with him would be to go inside of his head. But I think we should focus on finding Diego first.
>>
No. 715885 ID: 62e25c
File 146041647268.png - (83.48KB , 600x458 , 6-37.png )
715885

Your hand hovers for a moment over Zeke's hunched shoulders and you hesitate. Anxious about Diego's fate, you decide to hold off on entering Zeke's mind.
"Hey, you doing okay there, man?"
>>
No. 715886 ID: 62e25c
File 146041647987.png - (118.11KB , 536x600 , 6-38.png )
715886

Zeke winces sits up slightly.
>"I dunno, probably just a headache..."

>"I can stay with him, you go find your friend." Dr. Cooper holds his shoulder and steadies him. You hesitate, but figure they're as safe here as anywhere else in the facility.
>>
No. 715887 ID: 62e25c
File 146041648559.png - (69.22KB , 600x439 , 6-39.png )
715887

You head back downstairs and over to the administration building. Just like in your vision, a piece of tape is keeping the door unlocked, and you sidle in. Upon entering, you don't see any sign of the tide of red ants that Doug unleashed, but you spot one of Diego's beetles struggling to right itself as well as the orange power cable.
>>
No. 715889 ID: 5ad4a7

Right it with your shoe. Doesn't count as touching, and the beetle can lead you to Diego.
>>
No. 715890 ID: 211d83

Yeah nudge it over and have it lead you to him.
>>
No. 715919 ID: 350a50

>>715889
This.
>>
No. 715922 ID: 5ad4a7

...alternatively, I wonder how much inner selves know of what's happening in the outer world? If you enter Diego's mind and ask his inner self what's going on, you might be better prepared.
On the other hand, if Doug is in there, he'll be alerted to our presence in the waking world, which would ruin any element of surprise.
>>
No. 716122 ID: 62e25c
File 146051178905.png - (51.35KB , 600x374 , 6-40.png )
716122

You sidle up to the helpless insect and watch it slowly flail its legs. You gently nudge it with your foot, hoping it will right itself instead of grabbing your shoe.
>>
No. 716123 ID: 62e25c
File 146051179483.png - (31.36KB , 600x600 , 6-41.png )
716123

>>
No. 716124 ID: 62e25c
File 146051179733.png - (33.17KB , 600x600 , 6-42.png )
716124

>>
No. 716125 ID: 62e25c
File 146051180219.png - (38.58KB , 600x600 , 6-43.png )
716125

>>
No. 716129 ID: 35151f

>>716125
oh
uh
hey there
>>
No. 716131 ID: 5ad4a7

>>716125
What the fuck

Is that one of your wasps?! Demand an explanation!
>>
No. 716133 ID: 211d83

Lecture your wasps about hurting Diego.

You like him and if they start hurting him you will find a psychic bug bomb and set if off in your head.
>>
No. 716149 ID: f562b1

>>716131
>>716133
First, it's a bad idea to get argumentative with the Custodians. Second, it's possible that touching a Custodian indirectly just has that sort of result, and it's Nathan's fault instead of the Wasp's.
>>
No. 716154 ID: 350a50

>>716129
this
also wat
>>
No. 716221 ID: ecfa2c

>>716131
Some wasps reproduce by laying their eggs inside other insects. Obviously this is related to Diego's wasp sting in the truck.

With that said, try not to panic too much. The wasps hate it when you do that. Instead, focus on relevant details like where is Diego and why did Doug appear to have a sea of red ants.
>>
No. 716242 ID: 2a7417

Now is not the time to start talking to imaginary bugs. We need to find the real Diego, fast.
>>
No. 716249 ID: bb78f2

THAT is a parasitic wasp, which could be an entirely different breed of wasp custodian than ours... I think. Also, Diego's beetles are purple, aren't they?

>>715886
>probably just a headache
Shit, his seizures might be returning. I don't know what the early signs of seizures (or, god forbid a stroke) ARE, per sey, but we MIGHT need to interfere and give up on our Diego mystery so that Zeke doesn't choke or kill himself in the middle of a seizure.
>>
No. 716258 ID: 350a50

>>716242
They've got those orange wings, I'm pretty sure.
>>
No. 716616 ID: 62e25c
File 146069061999.png - (69.81KB , 600x462 , 6-44.png )
716616

"YOU! Wh- What the hell? Was that Diego's beetle? What the hell'd you do? Where fuck have you been?"

Preparing.
>>
No. 716618 ID: 62e25c
File 146069062398.png - (91.03KB , 600x435 , 6-45.png )
716618

"Wha? Preparing for what- Hey, where'd you think you're going?" The insect whips past you in a blur. You make a grab for it, but it slips through your fingers and into an A/C vent in the ceiling. "What happened to being my custodian?"
>>
No. 716620 ID: 62e25c
File 146069074448.png - (74.62KB , 450x600 , 6-46.png )
716620

You stare at the vent furious and incredulous. The wasps have tormented you for as long as you can remember and you can't help but feel... abandoned.
>>
No. 716628 ID: 5ad4a7

...maybe the wasps have decided to do things their own way.

Follow the extension cord down the hall.
>>
No. 716824 ID: ecfa2c

While physically dangerous, it might be a good idea to touch Diego's beetle. Nothing may come of it, but if you're really worried about him it might be worth it to check.
>>
No. 717013 ID: f30cb6

>>716628
Yes, I think it's probably that...

Do you have an idea to where that vent goes? although it could be more important to search for Diego, or at least for Doug... Wait... If your wasps aren't around... Would that mean that Doug could suspect of you being an imposter?
>>
No. 717042 ID: 62e25c
File 146084459537.png - (60.26KB , 382x600 , 6-47.png )
717042

You scoop up the dead beetle and the flimsy husk crumbles in your hand. It seems to fold in on itself until nothing remains but flakes of chitin. You wipe them off and follow the cable into the coffee shop.
>>
No. 717043 ID: 62e25c
File 146084461058.png - (75.27KB , 491x600 , 6-48.png )
717043

The cables lead you into the walk in fridge in the back, but terminate in crudely stripped wires. It looks like, whatever Doug was up to, he's taken it somewhere else. You reason that wherever that is, it probably is someplace cold, and with a ready supply of power.
>>
No. 717049 ID: 5ad4a7

Next stop: server room.
>>
No. 717306 ID: ecfa2c

>>717049
Alternatively, the fans that ventilate the clean room could provide a low enough temperature if directed correctly.

Remember, he used a freezer instead of the server room from the start. Improvisation might be key to how he's thinking at the moment.
>>
No. 717307 ID: ecfa2c

>>717049
Alternatively, the fans that ventilate the clean room could provide a low enough temperature if directed correctly.

Remember, he used a freezer instead of the server room from the start. Improvisation might be key to how he's thinking at the moment.
>>
No. 717319 ID: 350a50

>>717306
Sounds plausible. Let's check there too.
>>
No. 717762 ID: 62e25c
File 146103846598.png - (93.34KB , 600x565 , 6-49.png )
717762

You first instinct is to check the server room. Your footsteps echo through the dark, empty courtyard as you make your way to the eastern building. You feel a rising sense of panic and end up fumbling the keycard through the scanner.
>>
No. 717764 ID: 62e25c
File 146103870094.png - (127.50KB , 507x600 , 6-50.png )
717764

You hear something shuffling behind you and whip around to face it.Officer Hunter looms out of the darkness: her hair is a mess and her eyes have a crazed look to them.
>"You! What... where is everyone?"
>>
No. 717768 ID: f6442a

Officer, there are twigs in your hair. Are you okay.
>>
No. 717773 ID: 35151f

>>717764
woahgeezwhatthefuck
you look like you got hit by a truck, what happened?
>>
No. 717777 ID: b17b81

Mention the time for why everyone is gone. You haven't seen her for most of a day, right? Any chance she got zonked out like you did?
>>
No. 717778 ID: 5ad4a7

...she got hit by the phonehack too. You know, the thing where you answer your phone but then you wander off into the forest in a daze.

Tell her she's lost time, bring her up to speed.
>>
No. 717783 ID: bb78f2

Hey, well, it's not work time so there'd be no one here yet. I'm here because I'm still investigating everything what happened to me... and I think maybe you just went through what I went through... unless you can explain where you've been in the last day, then you went through something different than what I went through?
>>
No. 717790 ID: 350a50

"Hunter, thank god you're okay! You're not hurt are you?" don't get close, you don't want to scare her or provoke a fight or flight response while she's in a rush like this.

>>717778
followed by this

Explain that the same thing might be happening to your bo- your friend, and you're trying to find him after he wandered off in a daze.
>>
No. 718665 ID: 62e25c
File 146145084264.png - (89.83KB , 497x600 , 6-51.png )
718665

"Everyone's gone home. What happened? Where've you been?"

She whips out her phone and checks it in a panic.
>"Fucking hell its 3 AM? I've been wandering around the woods for hours! I thought I was going to die out there..."

"Sounds like you're missing time just like me. Whats the last thing you remember before the woods?"

>"I was chasing that guy in the clean suit, the Janitor, and I had him cornered on the fourth floor. He's tells me to get back and that 'he didn't want to do this.' Next thing I know, its pitch black and I'm standing in the fucking woods."
She fixes you with a suspicious eye.
>"Wait, what the hell are you doing here?"

"A... friend of mine went missing and I think something similar happened to him."

>"At 3 AM? Hang on, I've got to make a call...."
She navigates through her phone for a second and holds it to her ear.
>"Jones! Yeah, I know you're sleeping! I need you to get down to the Apex place and back me up..... Yeah you fucking left me out here!..... Wha'd you mean you brought me home? Motherfucker I've been stumbling around in the woods all night!.... Well, I need you here okay?..... Alright, well give me a call when you get here."
She hangs up.
>"This shit is weirding me out. Okay, so your friend is in there?"

"Yeah, I think someone may be holding him in the server room. Last time I saw him, he wasn't quite right; he kind of wandered off in a daze."

She squares her shoulders and picks some of the debris out of her hair.
>"Well, I'm coming with you then; maybe I can get some freaking answers about this place."
>>
No. 718667 ID: 5ad4a7

>>718665
Great, so even if you corner the drone it can just blank out your mind. I guess next time we discover it impersonating someone, we'll just have to make it leave then keep track of everyone so it can't impersonate anyone again. ...actually, if we corner it again, we can stay back so it doesn't have to resort to blanking minds, then ask it questions. Maybe try to reason with it.

You could tell Hunter what the doppleganger is, but it wouldn't really help and she'd just think you were crazy. So don't bother. You should at least tell her it's something that can impersonate people and you haven't seen its true form.

Warn her that you don't really know what to expect when you find Diego.
>>
No. 718728 ID: 350a50

>>718667
Might not want to mention shapeshifters until she's deeper down the rabbit hole and more likely to believe it.
>>
No. 719165 ID: eeb820

Maybe you should tell her that Your friend and your psychologist came here with you.

Also, is She hungry? Maybe she could use something to eat... (is your sandwich still edible?)
>>
No. 719217 ID: a107fd

>>718667
>try to reason with it
Plan B: hit it with a Tazer before it gets a chance to do the time-out thing.
>>
No. 719223 ID: 5ad4a7

>>719217
We can't be sure a taser would work on it. Or do anything, really. Alien technology, remember? Also I don't think it would work against robots WE make, since a conductive (metal) shell would direct the current to the ground and not into any sensitive circuitry.
>>
No. 719572 ID: 62e25c
File 146180855517.png - (113.69KB , 600x600 , 6-52.png )
719572

You swipe your card and there's a small chime as the door unlocks.
"You've been out there this whole time? You want something to eat? I have a sandwich... its a bit squished."

>"Oh man, you're a lifesaver...."
She unwraps your old sandwich and starts wolfing it down.
>"So where are we going?"

"I got reason to believe he's in the server room, honestly I'm not sure what to expect once we get there though. "
You seem to remember the server room being on the fifth floor. When you try to call for an elevator, it seems stuck. You can faintly hear a distant alarm buzzing in the shaft.

>"Whats with this elevator? Also what's with this sandwich?"
Hunter mumbles as she chews.

"Er, its grilled eggplant..." She looks at you with an eyebrow cocked "I'm vegetarian...."

She takes another bite.
>"S' pretty good."

Feeling a little self conscious you cough.
"I think someone pulled the emergency stop."
You're not sure how to get up there, the only thing you can think of would be the stairwell, though it would probably be locked on the top floor. Hunter might know some way to get past the door though. Also, you remember Hiro's lab is in this building, although still under lockdown.
>>
No. 719574 ID: bb78f2

Umm, just to measure the stupid options we have available, can we force open the elevator and climb the ladder?
>>
No. 719577 ID: 5ad4a7

>>719572
Don't elevator shafts have access ladders or something? Go look in there.
>>
No. 719578 ID: 350a50

If there's no access ladder, ask Hunter if she knows how to, like, pick locks and stuff. Cops do that in movies right?

Is Hiro still around here? He might have keys.
>>
No. 720057 ID: 62e25c
File 146205814553.png - (88.26KB , 600x600 , 6-53.png )
720057

"Maybe there's another way up, don't elevators have access ladders or is that only in video games?"

Hunter shrugs.
>"Worth a shot."

The doors take some work, but slowly slide open.
"Huh, I guess they do exist..."
>>
No. 720061 ID: 5ad4a7

>>720057
Cool, let's climb up there. Just gotta climb up past the elevator to get to the access hatch on top of it.
>>
No. 720064 ID: f6442a

Either they exist, or you're in a video game. See if you can locate which end of the shaft the elevator is in.
>>
No. 720086 ID: bb78f2

Alright, now, is the elevator ABOVE you, or below you, this is important when considering safety.
>>
No. 720097 ID: 350a50

Careful not to accidentally bump into Hunter.

And yeah, check whether the elevator is above or below.
>>
No. 720642 ID: 79ed6f

Well, Considering that We can't see the elevator's cable, It's probably above us. Now, is there enough space for the elevator to move while someone is on the Ladder?
>>
No. 720738 ID: 62e25c
File 146232022640.png - (152.35KB , 600x600 , 6-54.png )
720738

You peer up into the darkness and spot the elevator car suspended several floors above you. Hunter swings herself onto the ladder and starts climbing.
>"I'm going up to up to see if we can get past it. You coming?"

You can hear the dull clatter of her climbing and hesitate for a moment before following, Despite all of your many anxieties, you never really developed a fear of heights, and the solid ladder is remarkably stable. You try to keep your distance, the last thing you want is for someone to slip and accidentally enter her mind while dangling from an open elevator shaft.
>>
No. 720740 ID: 62e25c
File 146232023422.png - (152.35KB , 315x600 , 6-54.png )
720740

Four floors up, you come to the elevator. There's barely any room to squeeze by and you can feel greasy cables slithering down your back at one point, but you manage to get to the roof of the car. By the time you climb up, Hunter has already levered open a panel in the ceiling and dropped through, causing the car to sway slightly. This close, The buzzing of the alarm is painfully loud but nowhere as debilitating as the fire alarm.
>>
No. 720742 ID: 5ad4a7

>>720740
Don't turn it off. You want to remain unnoticed, and anyone else around here would hear it being turned off. Just get the door open and continue.
>>
No. 720792 ID: 350a50

Yeah let Hunter know not to turn off the alarm in case it clues in whoever's here.

Can you tell what floor you're at? Does the ladder continue going up?
>>
No. 721205 ID: 62e25c
File 146250133794.png - (128.35KB , 491x600 , 6-56.png )
721205

Above you, the ladder extends for one more floor. If its anything like the lab building, it probably leads to a maintenance area and roof access. You're less familiar with this building, but the server room should need a pretty significant amount of cooling, probably needing as much machinery and maintenance as your clean room. You're hoping that you won't have to go up there: it sounds like a pretty easy place for someone to set an ambush.

You lower your legs in and manage to drop into the car without landing on your ass.
>"You okay?"
You grunt an affirmative but it comes out a little more pained sounding than you planned. Hunter reaches for the emergency stop button.

"Maybe we should leave that on... Someone might notice."
She nods and instead presses a button to open the door, revealing the darkened hallway.
>>
No. 721209 ID: 5ad4a7

>>721205
Check to the left and right before moving forwards. ...looks like the lights are on in the rooms. Which rooms are those? See if you can find any other evidence for which room is actually occupied. Maybe get a little closer to the windows without exposing yourself to too much of their line of sight?
>>
No. 721228 ID: 350a50

Suggest you check the left side and Hunter checks the right, while you cross between the windows.
>>
No. 721266 ID: ca8bf9

Don't enter any server rooms without checking to see if there are any warnings on the door or through the windows. If there is a gas fire suppression system in place and it went off you could suffocate.
>>
No. 721562 ID: bcff4c

Try to look through the windows, But don't get to close to them. Perhaps you can try to look at them from its opposite wall, without being seen from the opposite window?
>>
No. 722481 ID: 62e25c
File 146292951514.png - (100.11KB , 600x475 , 6-57.png )
722481

You creep down the hall stealthily and peek in the windows. Rows of monolithic server racks hum busily. You don't see Diego, but spot a trio of familiar insects hovering over one of the aisles.
You note a warning next to the keycard reader: looks like there's a fire suppression system inside.
>>
No. 722485 ID: 5ad4a7

>>722481
Wait a moment to see if the wasps are following someone or if they're doing something independently somehow.
>>
No. 723200 ID: ad81d9

Does it seem like there is a fire of any kind anywhere? I don't see smoke.

It looks like there is a panel for a key card, even if it probably won't open while the fire alarm is on, do you have one?
>>
No. 723249 ID: 350a50

Tell Hunter you saw something move in there but couldn't get a good angle, and check the window on the other side of the hall while you do.
>>
No. 723261 ID: 9f90dc
File 146326859439.png - (134.09KB , 600x600 , 6-58.png )
723261

You peek up again, the wasps seem to be pretty concentrated in the center of the room.
You drop your voice to a whisper "I think someone's in there?"
>"You sure?"
"Yeah, I saw something moving..."
>"Can you get us in?"

>>
No. 723262 ID: 9f90dc
File 146326860668.png - (48.38KB , 535x600 , 6-59.png )
723262

You sidle up to the door and swipe your ID card. the Door beeps and lets you in with a soft hiss.
>>
No. 723263 ID: 9f90dc
File 146326861666.png - (110.41KB , 600x600 , 6-60.png )
723263

You immediately feel a chill soaking into you, despite thousands of heat syncs pouring waste heat into the air. The room is busy with the sound of fans and drives spinning a thousand tiny sound into a noisy susurrus. No sign of Doug or Diego yet though.
>>
No. 723286 ID: 35151f

>>723263
Peek around corners like some kind of ridiculous stealth video game
>>
No. 723287 ID: 350a50

>>723286
MGS, Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell. This would probably be the extent of Nate's stealth training.
>>
No. 723323 ID: b17b81

Try to leave something that would keep the door from jamming closed completely if some 'electrical problem' were to happen. Something small like a shoe or a spare jacket if you dont have any items you can give up.
>>
No. 723348 ID: 350a50

>>723323
A sock would probably be good enough to prevent it from sealing.
>>
No. 723385 ID: 3274e0

>>723263
Is that a loose end of a cable, or is it running down through the raised flooring? If it's the latter, lift up a tile and take a peek (after making sure the coast is clear, naturally)
>>
No. 723874 ID: 9f90dc
File 146345394448.png - (104.45KB , 600x600 , 6-61.png )
723874

"Make sure we don't get locked in... Actually, let me borrow your phone for a second"

Hunter stays back and holds the door while you prowl the aisles, using the camera to peek around corners. You don't spot anyone but there's some weird wires running underneath the grating
>>
No. 723875 ID: 9f90dc
File 146345396563.png - (104.77KB , 415x600 , 6-62.png )
723875

You pull up one of the grates, something down at one end of the crawlspace is glowing.
>>
No. 723880 ID: 5ad4a7

>>723875
Found the computer, but not the people we're looking for. Well, we're not sure what the computer is even doing... why don't you lift up the grate where it's glowing and maybe poke the bug? Have another brief chat with the alien in there.

Questions we need answered: How do we see past the drone's disguise? What is the purpose of the device that he's contained in? How do we block the drone's ability to seemingly force people to wander off and lose memories? What other capabilities does it have? And finally, ask about the wasps' strange behavior.
>>
No. 723885 ID: 350a50

Don't trance out, the wasps are here buzzing around something. Go scout it out first.
>>
No. 724446 ID: efb6b1

I would say that you should first inspect the area around to make sure if anyone else is there, Then Try to get a closer look on whatever that thing is.
>>
No. 724780 ID: 9f90dc
File 146380083887.png - (139.95KB , 600x600 , 6-63.png )
724780

You move down to the glow and lift up the grating, revealing the anomalous PC as well as an unconscious Diego. You see his breath fogging a little, reassuring you that he's alive, although he's crawling with wasps.
>>
No. 724781 ID: 398fe1

>>724780
Kneel down and whisper to the wasps. What's going on with Diego?
>>
No. 724786 ID: 3663d3

shoo the wasps
>>
No. 724793 ID: 398fe1

Oohhhh something just occurred to me. Doug's girlfriend had spiders, and one of them was on him. Maybe if two people get in a relationship, Custodians will try to claim the other person in the pair? So eventually they both have the same bug type? That could explain why they targeted Diego.
>>
No. 724886 ID: 350a50

>>724793
They're also missing from Nate, though. I think they got fed up with him and ditched him because he kept being confrontational and bossy.
>>
No. 725347 ID: 9f90dc
File 146397525913.png - (78.36KB , 333x600 , 6-64.png )
725347

You attempt to shoo the wasps away from Diego's unconscious body.
"Hey get the fuck off him! What'd you think you're doing?"

They swarm at you angrily and you end up flailing at them desperately
Doing what you could nnnnot.

Hunter calls to you from the doorway
>"What's happening? Who are you talking to?"
>>
No. 725350 ID: 9f90dc
File 146397534487.png - (116.50KB , 600x568 , 6-65.png )
725350

"Uh, Nobody! Just give me a second!"

Leave uzzzzzz

"No you leave! Fuck off you little bastards!"
Swinging wildly, you lose your balance and end up landing ass first in the trench. You feel your butt land on something hard and cold and suddenly the world blanks out of existence.
>>
No. 725351 ID: 9f90dc
File 146397536133.png - (97.29KB , 600x591 , 6-66.png )
725351

You find yourself standing in a strange, cold room. A familiar figure is folded up against the opposite wall.
>>
No. 725360 ID: 398fe1

>>725351
Well hello again. Time for some questions.

First off, find out what's happening to Diego- describe what happened with the royal jelly and his resultant real-world freakout.
Second, ask how the alien is doing. Did he get accosted by Doug?
>>
No. 725395 ID: 350a50

Ask if he's okay, and if there's anything you can do to help.
>>
No. 725767 ID: 9f90dc
File 146414623139.png - (134.84KB , 600x600 , 6-67.png )
725767

"Uh... Carl? T'carl? Tch'arl? Is that you? Are you alright?"

The alien responds with a high pitched keening noise that you interpret as distress. It clutches its head protectively between its bizarre hands and peers up at you with its many eyes imploringly.
>[Imperative: not damage/injure/hurt selfform/// Selfform talk/explain/reveal (past tense) all Selfmemory/// Selfform assist (future tense) translate/decode message transfer primeworld memorycascade///]

"What? No, Tch'arl, its me... uh... selfnoun: Nathan. I want to help! What... what happened?"

The creature starts speaking rapidly, trying to impart an enormous amount of information but stops itself and slows down.
>[Nathan///affirmative///Imperative: assist Tch'arl352/// Nameform: unknown: liminal entity: hymenoptera(interrogative) extract (past tense) information from selfmemory/// Unknown nameform damage (past tense) selfform: Tch'arl352/// Selfform arrange assist unknown nameform to decode Maar memorycascade/// Selfmemory runtime: unknown///Not intend (past tense) extended isolated runtime/// Selfform experience data/memory corruption (active tense)///]
>>
No. 725770 ID: 95e64d

>>725767
Shit, the wasps got to the alien AND Diego.
I'm betting the wasps are in cahoots with the Drone.
>>
No. 725774 ID: 398fe1

...hang on... he was saying the wasps were working with someone he doesn't know the name of.

The only person that makes sense is Doug, as he's the only person who's had access to the computer. The wasps have managed to forge a pact with Doug! Describe Doug to him, ask if that's the one who did it. Then ask if Doug said what he was going to do with the information.
>>
No. 725776 ID: 350a50

It knows who the drone is, so it can't be them.

Doug must have confronted and interrogated Tch'arl. He did some damage too.

>[Image: {communicate image of Doug}///Inquiry: confirm unknown nameform///Imperative: backup Tch'arl memory///Nathan assist (active tense)///Inquiry: Tch'arl can be passenger similar to custodian///Image: {Nathan giving Tch'arl piggyback ride}///If Affirmative: Nathan offer refuge (active tense)]

If the wasps have indeed ditched us, there might be space in Nathan's head for Tch'arl to hitch a ride, wherever the bugs are normally compartmentalized. It's maybe a little crazy, but we need to save what data is left before it gets more corrupted.
>>
No. 725816 ID: b412df

Are we sure it's the wasps? They've been acting oddly, but Hymenoptera can refer to sawflies, bees, wasps, or ants. So, it could either be our Wasps, or Doug's ants?
>>
No. 725863 ID: 398fe1

>>725816
Oh... you're right. That makes it much more likely it was just Doug. Can't really blame our wasps, that's too bizarre.

Our next question should be... what's happening to Diego? Describe what happened to him in Zeke's mind, and his reaction to it in the physical world.
>>
No. 726555 ID: 9f90dc
File 146446996507.png - (105.52KB , 600x600 , 6-68.png )
726555

"The person who hurt you... you said they had hymenoptera, like mine?"

>[No///Different liminalform/// Similar///Wingless form///]

"I'm curious because my... er... liminal entity, my insects, seem to have occupied someone else. Have you ever heard of anything like that before? Is he in danger?"

>[Unknown: agenda is difficult to understand/// Liminal entities attract(active tense) to sentient species/// Arrival coincide with awareness of the Parallel/// Ma'ar collective debate(past tense) motive of liminal lifeforms/ no consensus/// Parallel awareness prove(past tense) beneficial to society/ presence of infestation accepted/// Allow(past tense) individuals mindform contact/ advance(past tense) development of longform memory/personality simulation/storage///]
>>
No. 726556 ID: 9f90dc
File 146446997411.png - (80.27KB , 600x451 , 6-69.png )
726556

You step forward "Why don't you come with me? Without my wasps, I'm kind of lost here?"

>[Selfform isolated/need contact/// Imperative: escape///

You reach out for the creature. There's a sizzling sound and several fingers float away in papery flakes of ash.
>>
No. 726557 ID: 3663d3

okay, look for control panel.
>>
No. 726560 ID: 398fe1

>>726555
Looks like the control panel is to your left? It's in the style of alien technology so ask for help operating it.
>>
No. 726574 ID: 350a50

>>726560
Yeah, see if the alien can talk you through shutting down the barrier.
>>
No. 726621 ID: 227a05

Form space-armor around your hand and re-stick in the same parts you did before. Gotta check if it works with something already broken instead of breaking more things you see.
>>
No. 726622 ID: 398fe1

...oh, right, dream constructs. Well, if this is a laser barrier we could try forming a mirrored box to push in and create a passage to move through. Just gotta be careful not to reflect the lasers towards either of the people present.
>>
No. 727490 ID: 9f90dc
File 146491699913.png - (139.62KB , 600x486 , 6-70.png )
727490

"Hang on, let me see if I can get you out..."

>///Experience trepidation///

You step over to the wall and examine a group of unlabelled indentations that look like controls. "Do you know know how any of this works?"

>///Unknown///

You poke at a what might deactivate the power. There's a flash of light and the imprisoned alien shrieks in agony. You yelp and press it again, deactivating it.
>>
No. 727491 ID: 9f90dc
File 146491702147.png - (118.95KB , 458x600 , 6-71.png )
727491

"Sorry! Sorry! Here.... let me try opening it with my... mind bullshit."

>///Wait/ No!/!/!
You focus your mind and try to create something to pierce the barrier when suddenly a vice-like pain grips your entire body. You drop to the floor in agony and as the pain subsides, you lay there panting.
>>
No. 727492 ID: 211d83

You are in a alien mind prison. Its going to have stuff that blocks any mental attempts to escape. Even if they are on your side of the bars.
>>
No. 727496 ID: 398fe1

Yeah I think we're just gonna have to guess which button activates/deactivates the force field. I'm going to guess it's the long vertical one closest to the force field.
>>
No. 727503 ID: 350a50

"Guess that makes it even, huh?"
>>
No. 727580 ID: 91ee5f

Well, we can safely rule out the button we already pushed. How many buttons do we have left?
>>
No. 727632 ID: 9f90dc
File 146500304197.png - (95.73KB , 491x600 , 6-72.png )
727632

"I guess its not going to be that easy is it?" You take a look back at the controls "I'm going to try another one, hang on..."

Tch'arl whimpers and pulls its strange knees closer.

You press the button and jump back as an enormous image flickers to life.
>Eh? Ooooooohh, hey there buddy...
>>
No. 727633 ID: 398fe1

>>727632
Ask Nate what his goal is. If he's trying to prevent the planet swap, so are you. You want to take ownership of his prisoner here if that's alright.
>>
No. 727634 ID: 35151f

"Yo what the heck dude, what is all this? and why?"
>>
No. 727637 ID: 350a50

"what"
>>
No. 727648 ID: dfdb1e

How did he learn to do this? As good as he may be at manipulating... whatever this is... he shouldn't be better than an alien that use it as technology.
>>
No. 727830 ID: 91ee5f

Something tells me the ants coming out of his shirt has something to do with his behavior. Either the ants have taken control of him or he's taken control of his ants.
>>
No. 727914 ID: 398fe1

It's also possible this is the drone, and it is able to copy appearance, mannerism, AND mimic their Custodian.

...have we asked Tch'arl yet how to see through the drone's disguise?
>>
No. 727959 ID: 9f90dc
File 146516054729.png - (137.16KB , 613x600 , 6-73.png )
727959

"What?"

>What?

"What?!"

>What.

"What!?"

>This is fun and all but seriously; what?

"What? What this! What are you doing?"

>Ohhhhh, getting answers. Our little friend over has been verrrry helpful.

"Through torture? How did you even make this thing?"

>Nice isn't it? Learned from the best. I've had yeaaaars of experience and this poor little fella is just an AI: impressive but not very imaginative.
>>
No. 727960 ID: 9f90dc
File 146516055309.png - (84.06KB , 600x566 , 6-74.png )
727960

"You can't keep doing this! Let him go!"

>"Let him go"? Go where? Its a BOX! Its not like its a real person or anything... Besides, our friend is going to help with the situation downstairs.

"I'm taking him with me Doug!"

>Okay, I'll tell you what: why don't you come upstairs and we'll have a chat about that. Hmm?
A door forms in the wall, leading to a long narrow corridor.
>>
No. 727981 ID: bb78f2

>>727960
Doug, you live on this planet, which is in danger if you and me AREN'T nutso somehow in the same way and it's all consistent.

We HAVE shit to do if we all don't want to die!
>>
No. 727984 ID: dfdb1e

Well, that is a conversation...
I assume upstairs is his mind. It will be fascinating to see what your manipulative friend did to the place.
Also you must admit that at this point you are developing almost a crush on that smug smile. Look at it! It's so cute.
>>
No. 727996 ID: 35151f

>>727959
christ, look at this asshole. He's got grape jam all up his neck, the slob! Didn't even bother to wash it off, he just put a shirt on over it.
>>
No. 728056 ID: 350a50

Go on, I suppose. If he has control here anyways it's not like we can fight him any better here if it comes down to it.
>>
No. 728062 ID: 9f90dc
File 146517896262.png - (72.42KB , 600x384 , 6-75.png )
728062

Tch'arl stands up on shaky legs and reaches out for you.
>///Imperative: return soon/// Do not leave alone///

"Don't worry, I'll be back soon. I'm going to get you out of there."

>///Be safe///
>>
No. 728063 ID: 9f90dc
File 146517897461.png - (73.14KB , 600x421 , 6-76.png )
728063

You set off down the corridor, its featureless and lit strangely from below. At the end the hall is a T junction
"Maybe you didn't know but the whole world might be in danger here Doug, quit messing around!"

>Ahhh yeah that "Axle" thing you were talking about. I've been verrrry curious about it, and Tch'arl has been only too happy to oblige. You know, even they aren't sure where it came from? Its junk: just something lost and forgotten, but... still usable.
>>
No. 728071 ID: 35151f

>>728063
"Do we really have to point out what's wrong with that statement? How evil-mastermind you sound right now? We figure out how to USE it after we figure out how to keep it from destroying the PLANET, you dingus!"
>>
No. 728073 ID: 211d83

Well Doug is going all evil crazy and wants to use it for himself.

Which means he might be trying to get the tools you helped set up in your friends. If he can't get them nicely he might try to take them.

Do not mention this out loud. You are in a computer trap right now so do not need to antagonize him.
>>
No. 728076 ID: 350a50

Turn left.
>>
No. 728086 ID: 398fe1

>>728063
Tell Doug he's wrong about the alien. He's been inside other people's heads and met their inner selves, right? The alien in the box is an inner self, separated somehow from the living body. He is as much a person as you are... though to be honest you've never met your inner self, nor has anyone gone into your inner mind as far as you know.

They have understanding of mindscapes far beyond ours, don't they?
>>
No. 728110 ID: dfdb1e

How is it junk? Didn't he heard about the planet teleportation plan? And what would he use it for?
>>
No. 728287 ID: 91ee5f

So, what happened to Diego? Did he have something to do with that?
>>
No. 728373 ID: 9f90dc
File 146534984144.png - (54.99KB , 600x439 , 6-77.png )
728373

You take the left path.

"What do you mean 'junk'? You know what they were sent here to do, don't you? That thing can move planets!"

>I never said it wasn't useful. But, whoever or whatever made it clearly doesn't have any use for it anymore...

The path turns right, then left then right again, you skid to a halt at a 4 way intersection. You sense sounds coming from each hallway.
"And you? What would you use it for?"

>Curiosity, mostly. Your friend's existence has... made me question some things.... anyway I'm not scared of aliens coming to steal the planet, I'm sure if you stopped to think about it you'd figure out why. After all: you've actually been teleported, haven't you?
>>
No. 728374 ID: 430103

...Am I right in thinking that you're no longer concerned because they're not aggressively dominating us right now?
>>
No. 728376 ID: 398fe1

>>728373
If he's talking about suddenly being in the woods, I'm pretty sure that's not teleportation. It was a period of what was effectively mind control, where you ran off into the woods with no memory of having done so.

Hmm. You didn't describe the sounds so... blue?
>>
No. 728382 ID: dfdb1e

The most advance technologies we are dealing with weren't build by the inhabitants of Maar. Their technology is compatible with ours and they are having trouble bypassing our defenses, suggesting the aren't much more advance than us on those fields. The teleportation have been used sparingly and wasn't used in the most obvious and direct approach (get Midas and Cobalt), suggesting they have many rules and limits when using it. And they seem to avoid cause unnecessary harm.

Now, Doug new world view is way more difficult to imagine.
He believed himself and Nate were the only real people, presumable because they have the ability to invade and manipulate minds. Presumable he can't either invade or manipulate Nate since someone like him would probable try long before discovering they are similar. Now he encountered alien life with similar ability, but associate all know examples to machines and AIs.
Does he still believes this world is an illusion? Now that this ability is a little less unique, does he still consider Nate real? Having the same abilities make the aliens real? Does believing the aliens he knows about to be programs means they are part of the illusion?

Also don't forget Diego. It's easy with all the stuff happening, but he's the reason we are here.
>>
No. 728400 ID: 5a893f

No, I don't think so.
Where'd you get that idea?
>>
No. 728409 ID: 350a50

Go to the blue sound.
>>
No. 728658 ID: 0bf568
File 146552146228.png - (68.95KB , 460x600 , 6-78.png )
728658

You take the path on your right, heading towards the blue sound. It twists left, right, left, left and then comes to a dead end. Now that you're closer it sounds like the buzzing of wings.
"You're not scared... because they don't use the Axle very often? Like there's some kind of rules for using it?"

>Wellll, partially right. But I was thinking of something completely different. Don't worry, I'll give you a little time to think about it

"Let me ask you this... Do you still think I'm real?"

The same manic giggle that you heard in his office echos through the maze.
>Good, gooooood. I could ask you the same question, Nathan.
>>
No. 728659 ID: 398fe1

>>728658
He thinks they don't know *how* to use it properly.

Knock on the wall. If nothing comes out, let's go back to the intersection and try the pink path. (we're following the right-hand wall)
>>
No. 728660 ID: 9f3729

>>728658
"/Are/ you real, Doug?"
>>
No. 728665 ID: 398fe1

Oh right the "real" question. Tell him you're a bit more concerned about him now that he's covered in ants. Wasn't he saying they were dangerous?
>>
No. 728666 ID: 398fe1

Also we can say that him being real would be a lot better than him being an imaginary pain in the ass.
>>
No. 728668 ID: 5a893f

I don't care if the people I know in life are really real. I want them to be real, you included.
Sure, you may be a sociopath, but that's not your fault, despite that, you try to be good, and you're a good, understanding boss.
Please, don't potentially destroy what you've built so far, real or not.
>>
No. 728692 ID: dfdb1e

There is only soo much solipsism you can indulge before it becomes kind of pointless. Even if nothing is real you still have needs to satisfy and problems to solve, stuff to keep you busy. On the other hand the presumable reality behind all illusions is a big unknown and every conception of it will be based on information as unreliable as everything you assume to be an illusion.
You can't give up on the world because it may not be real. Even if it isn't, you spent all your life in this fantasy. What would you do in the real world any way? You know nothing about that place.

What is the point of this featureless labyrinth? Why did Doug created it in the first place?
>>
No. 728694 ID: 350a50

"Let me ask you, Doug. If nothing's real, how is an AI beneath a man?"
>>
No. 728729 ID: 91ee5f

Ask Doug about what he did to Diego already! It's almost like you don't care about what happened to him! You're a terrible friend!
>>
No. 728875 ID: e0fbb7

>>728692
>>728694
These.

Why doesn't Doug think they know how to use it? Does he know about constructs?

And where the hell is Diego??
>>
No. 728899 ID: 0bf568
File 146566835941.png - (94.98KB , 600x600 , 6-79.png )
728899

You try to communicate with whoever is on the other side.
"Diego? Wasps? Anyone there?" You knock on the wall.
The response is a clattering buzz that bangs its way towards the ceiling and dopplers overhead in a green blur. You hear it buzzing around overhead, but it makes no attempt to speak to you.
>>
No. 728901 ID: 0bf568
File 146566841579.png - (88.35KB , 463x600 , 6-80.png )
728901

"Are you real Doug?"
More poorly restrained laughter reverberates around you.
"Even if nothing is real, does it really matter? You're not a bad guy Doug, don't throw everything away just because of uncertainty..."

The laughter dies down, and you can hear him breathing panting, still worked up.
>That's why, Nate, we're going to end uncertainty.

"What, by torturing an AI? If nothing is real, doesn't that make him the same as you?"

You turn around to double back and find your way blocked.
>"Let's find out...."
>>
No. 728902 ID: b412df

I think Doug might have gone off the deep end, look at those crazy eyes.

What does he mean by lets find out?
>>
No. 728921 ID: dfdb1e

Maybe he is just a drama queen.
Keep talking about his plans and approach him in a civilized manner. If he suggest at any moment genocide grab him and drag this smug anthill to space.
>>
No. 728925 ID: 398fe1

>>728901
Tell him it would really be more productive to see a therapist. You can recommend one to him.
>>
No. 728926 ID: 8d6b62

>>728901
"you should probably try to keep squinting dude, you look like a cartoon villian right now"
then while he's processing that deck him upside the facehole
>>
No. 729199 ID: 0bf568
File 146576978440.png - (179.94KB , 600x600 , 6-81.png )
729199

Doug slowly advances on you and you find yourself backing into a corner.
"Wha- What do you mean? What're you gonna do?"

His eyes gleam crazily and he chuckles.
>"I mean is this really me? Am I a simulation just like him? If you can simulate one person, why not two, a dozen, a whollllle world?"

"You need help, Doug..."
You lunge for the chest, aiming to grapple with him and re enter your head. You pass through him with no resistance other than a mild tingle and a buzz and end up face-down on the floor.

>From you? Or maybe your therapist friend?

"Why are you doing this?! Are you just messing with me now?"

>What do you think I built this place for? Next time you see your therapist ask her what a "Skinner Box" is.
>>
No. 729214 ID: 398fe1

The hologram didn't have any ants. I was wondering why, I guess now we know. Act like you didn't figure it out. Continue progressing through the maze.

(also he's still wrong, the alien in here isn't a simulation. Simulations can't have custodians!)
>>
No. 729237 ID: dfdb1e

Since you couldn't summon imaginary objects I guess you also can't leave at any moment. but you should at least try.

At this moment we have no reason to believe this maze will lead you to either Doug or Diego. It may be worth to keep looking, if nothing else so you can learn more about Doug intentions. Either way you should try to return to the entrance: I got a hunch imaginary labyrinths don't need to follow Euclidean geometry.
>>
No. 729243 ID: 9f3729

>>729199
>continuing to not derail his big evil speech
Nate Pls
>>
No. 729244 ID: 211d83

Looks like he set up a trap for your mind.

Which does not mean there is not a way out though. Stop trying to wrestle with him and concentrate on feeling this thing out.
>>
No. 729343 ID: 9db048

>>729199
So we're trapped in a box, big deal. It's really easy to escape once we know we're in a box.

Just think outside the box.
>>
No. 729665 ID: 0bf568
File 146595241654.png - (122.84KB , 541x600 , 6-82.png )
729665

"Doug, this is insane! Who else do you have stuck in here? You bastard, have you been torturing Diego too?"

The near constant giggle that has haunted you tapers off uncertainly....
>Er..... What?

"You know, Diego? Engineer? He was with us in the woods-?"

>Right, right, your boyfriend or whatever, why do you think he'd be here?
>>
No. 729667 ID: 398fe1

...he doesn't know Diego's body is next to the machine? The wasps must have guided Diego here after escaping Doug somehow I suppose, and are keeping a low profile somehow in the maze...?

...ask him if he got your phone message. OH. Oh my god that's how we can tell if we're dealing with the drone or not. The drone hasn't been stealing phones, so we can just call people to confirm who they are.
>>
No. 729668 ID: dfdb1e

Hologram Doug doesn't know what is going on. Maybe you can use that to your advantage.
Diego is a strong guy and it is possible that the real Doug is the one in danger. We got to be careful with what information can be trusted to Hologram Doug, but we may start by telling him how you messed up Diego head and the big guy had gone after real Doug.
>>
No. 729669 ID: 350a50

"Last I checked he had a psychotic break and was coming here."
>>
No. 730080 ID: 0bf568
File 146612743333.png - (72.53KB , 600x430 , 6-83.png )
730080

"You don't know? But he was unconscious right next to the computer. I thought you brought him here.... But that would mean.."

There's a sound, barely audible and even harder to see: creaking as if a pane of glass was under torsion.

"Doug.... are you even real?"

There's a ping as something small spalls off the the wall at high speed and sails past your ear.
>>
No. 730085 ID: dfdb1e

I don't know why the structural integrity of the maze and possible the existence of hologram Doug would be affected by your believe in them.
Are you doing something special? Is it like Neo changing the Matrix? Was hologram Doug your creation? Did real Doug programed him in your mind at an earlier opportunity?
>>
No. 730087 ID: 7c0d21

>>730080
>press x to doubt
>>
No. 730090 ID: a075ba

>>730080
Roll to disbelieve the illusion.
>>
No. 730092 ID: 398fe1

>>730080
Ah, I see what's going on. We already know inner minds/subconscious minds don't have all the information outer minds do, from when we spoke to the janitor. They miss things, for whatever reason. Or maybe they have to deal with a delayed input of information. Maybe sleeping is how the inner and outer minds share memories fully? Anyway, you've been speaking to Doug's inner mind that he left behind in the maze to keep it constructed. Either intentionally or not.

If you continue to doubt his existence and cause a breakdown, you will shatter the maze (good) and possibly affect doug's conscious mind (maybe good, considering what he's been doing). This will also throw shards everywhere in here and injure your body and likely that of the alien's (bad).

Maybe instead you shouldn't press the issue, and just take advantage of the weakened maze to start kicking down walls. Heck, maybe you can get the alien out of his cell by kicking one of the walls down from the outside.
>>
No. 730095 ID: 350a50

Slowly start ignoring Doug and pretending he doesn't exist, while backtracking the way you came.
>>
No. 730100 ID: 0bf568
File 146613088323.png - (210.65KB , 600x600 , 6-84.png )
730100

"Doug....?"

>THAT BASTAAAAAAAARD
The hallway seethes and buckles, spreading millions of tiny fractures and filling the air with splinters.
>>
No. 730101 ID: 7c0d21

>>730100
fly, young buck! FLYYYYYYY
>>
No. 730102 ID: 398fe1

Cover your eyes and get down on the floor!
>>
No. 730105 ID: 350a50

Ever played Touhou?
>>
No. 730108 ID: dfdb1e

Do you want to give your mind bullshit a second chance? Some protection would be handy right now.
>>
No. 730126 ID: dfdb1e

I think I got it! Things are falling apart because hologram Doug didn't knew he was a copy.
For someone so wiling to question the authenticity of others Doug seem emotionally unable to cope with the possibility of himself been "unreal". That is very arrogant of him.
>>
No. 730168 ID: 398fe1

Um guys the hologram was a construct like the maze. The Doug talking to us isn't a hologram.
>>
No. 730179 ID: 350a50

>>730168
Doug doesn't know that.
>>
No. 730188 ID: 398fe1

>>730179
What? No, dude, the Doug we're talking to created the hologram.
>>
No. 730220 ID: cdb40d

>>730188
What if it's a hologram of a copy of Doug that a third party made without the real Doug's knowing?
>>
No. 730222 ID: 91cfcf

>>730220
What if everything is a hologram? What if a meter suddenly comes out and smashes the entire planet?
>>
No. 730230 ID: dfdb1e

We assumed this Doug was a different person because he didn't knew something real Doug should know.
>>
No. 730579 ID: 0bf568
File 146630172783.png - (179.62KB , 600x475 , 6-85.png )
730579

As the cracks spiderweb themselves through the walls and as you shift your weight the floor groans and splinters.
>>
No. 730580 ID: 0bf568
File 146630173586.png - (164.44KB , 600x600 , 6-86.png )
730580

You feel yourself pitch forward as it starts to go and your mind races; trying to summon up something to stop yourself from falling. Your hands claw at nothing and your mind grasps at straws.
>>
No. 730581 ID: 0bf568
File 146630174166.png - (241.58KB , 600x600 , 6-87.png )
730581

Your screaming decent is cut short and you feel the wind knocked out of you. You wrap your arms around the buzzing savior and manage to focus for a second.
"Hun-r?" You croak.

She yells back at you
>"YOU. HAVE GOT. A LOT. TO EXPLAIN."
>>
No. 730582 ID: 398fe1

>>730581
Tell her you'll explain when you're out. For now, direct her to the alien's cell so you can bust him out of there (and into your safe place)

See if you can notice anything interesting from below the maze. Any indication what those other noises were?
>>
No. 730585 ID: ef6709

So...I have to ask, am I the only one getting a strong Jojo's Bizzare Adventure/Psychonauts vibe from this whole quest?
>>
No. 730586 ID: 350a50

>>730582
This, if the place is collapsing his cell should be too.

>>730581
"PSYCHIC ALIENS. I WILL EXPLAIN LATER. WE NEED TO GO RESCUE ONE, THIS WAY."
>>
No. 730632 ID: dfdb1e

Congratulate Hunter on the efficient use of her insect. Your is hardly this useful and cooperative.
Whatever explanation you chose to give keep it simple. Something like: "We are in someone mind and the rest is self evident". Maybe it isn't, but it will take a long time to explain most of the weirdness and you don't have all the answers.
After you rescue you alien friend it may be worth look for your boyfriend before escaping.
>>
No. 730658 ID: 9f3729

>>730581
"Ever play psychonauts? It's that!"
>>
No. 731163 ID: 0bf568
File 146647387072.png - (156.00KB , 600x398 , 6-88.png )
731163

"I'LL EXPLAIN LATER. HAVE TO SAVE SOMEONE. UP AHEAD."

Hunter nods and gives the giant dragonfly a couple of commanding thumps. It zips forward between the drifting shards at way more Gs than you are comfortable with. It pins and twists, cracking its whole body like whip, and you struggle to hang on to the smooth plates of chitin.

"THERE! UP AHEAD!"

Poor Tch'arl is backed into a corner, trying to keep the center of gravity from tipping the drifting shard over.

>"WHO THE HELL IS THAT?"

"NEVER MIND, JUST GRAB THEM!"
>>
No. 731164 ID: 0bf568
File 146647388166.png - (128.78KB , 333x600 , 6-89.png )
731164

The dragonfly zips forward with predatory accuracy and picks the stranded alien off out of its shattered prison. The startled AI struggles to compose itself and garbles a string of nonsense language.
>>
No. 731168 ID: dfdb1e

See anyone else?
>>
No. 731173 ID: 398fe1

>>731164
Diego might be in here, look around for him. Doug might have just put him next to the computer though, like both eggs in one basket. So if you don't see him, don't worry about it. Look around for Doug too. Even if the Doug we've been talking to was a construct like the maze and the hologram, we should at least demonstrate that being "fake" doesn't make you less deserving of compassion.

If you don't see either of them anywhere, then I guess we can try to land somewhere. Is there any solid ground? Might be about time to leave if this place is just shattered nothingness. Be sure to take Tch'arl like you promised, and Hunter too if you want to show her your safe place and explain.
>>
No. 731174 ID: 358228

Dammit Nate, did you fall off?
>>
No. 731179 ID: 350a50

>>731173
This
>>
No. 731227 ID: f562b1

>The startled AI struggles to compose itself and garbles a string of nonsense language.
I wonder if he's trying to talk to the dragonfly?
>>
No. 731340 ID: 0bf568
File 146655995419.png - (161.19KB , 600x600 , 6-90.png )
731340

"WE NEED. TO SAVE. DOUG TOO!"

The buzzing still drowning out her words, Hunter stares straight ahead and urges the insect forward.
>"DOUG? YOUR BOSS? WHAT'S HE DOING HERE?"

"FREAKING OUT, I THINK. ITS COMPLICATED"

>"YEAH. NO SHIT! I THINK I SEE HIM""

The insect swings in low around the seething figure. His incandescent fury is earthing itself into the shattered boulder, tilting it crazily and arcing off into the void.

"DOUG! LET US HELP YOUUU!"

He acknowledges you with a snarl.
>FUCK OFF
>>
No. 731353 ID: 398fe1

>>731340
Tell him you can help him take revenge. (upon himself, I'm guessing)
>>
No. 731355 ID: 350a50

"Whether you're real or not, do you really want to find out what happens if you stay here?"
>>
No. 731371 ID: dfdb1e

You don't have time for his selfishness. Grab him wether he want it or not.
>>
No. 731606 ID: 0bf568
File 146673296252.png - (123.33KB , 409x600 , 6-91.png )
731606

"BE READY TO PICK US UP!"

>"WAIT- WHAT?!"

You throw yourself off of the dragonfly and land on the platform, causing it to lurch uncomfortably.

>"What the hell are you doing? I said leave, unless you'd rather I put you back in the maze? I could trap you in there for years if I wanted to."

"No, wait! I know you're angry, but if what you said is true, it doesn't matter if you're just a copy or not."

He looks at you coldly.
>"Pretty words for someone who isn't stuck in a box. That asshole.... He made me just to use me... I thought I was going to get answers: to find some kind of meaning! "
>>
No. 731607 ID: 0bf568
File 146673297596.png - (97.08KB , 397x600 , 6-92.png )
731607

Tiring of his tantrum you step up your game.
"No you found answers! You just don't like what you learned! So what are you going to do about it?"

The copy of Doug looks genuinely shocked, as if a harmless animal had suddenly bared its fangs.

"Now we could leave you here in your prison, all alone, or you could come with us and help us make sense of all this. Maybe you can even get back at the real, er other Doug, for doing this to you..."

There's a long pause as he rolls this around in his mind.
>"You'd... let me go with you? You'd trust me inside your head?"
>>
No. 731608 ID: 9f3729

>>731607
"As long as you don't start actively fucking with my head we'll probably be fine.
Just don't be a dick in there and you'll be fine."
>>
No. 731617 ID: 398fe1

>>731607
>You'd trust me inside your head?
...ask him if he thinks he's going to freak out again. With his skills you think you can give him a purpose- there is another presence in what seems to be your inner world which appears to be up to no good.

But uh, warn him that you've got a head full of space. If he's agoraphobic or something it might not be pleasant.
>>
No. 731619 ID: 350a50

"You have no reason to be loyal to Doug, or to what he made you to be. Why not? Are you going to sit here in self-pity as you fade away or are you going to decide to exist?"
>>
No. 731620 ID: dfdb1e

Better than the wasps. Your relation with Doug is complicate, but in the end he is a friend. And we could really use his help right now: there is another friend we need to find before going to space.

Will having Tch'arl and Doug mean Nathan will have a good and a bad genies? Well, genies at least, not sure good and bad would describe them well enough. But it would be nice to see those two in his shoulder wearing fake devil horn.

Also, Doug is been cute again. For some reason that makes me imagine Nate's fear and discomfort of the guy worked itself as some sort of unconscious attraction for him. Nate is a very submissive figure after all.
You don't need to validate my idea.
>>
No. 731622 ID: 211d83

Shouldn't you be the one worried about trusting me? I might decide to make you pay rent once you move in.
>>
No. 731682 ID: 91ee5f

So, am I the only one still wondering where Diego is?
>>
No. 731684 ID: 358228

>>731682
Well he's lying right there on the floor, of course. >>724780
>>
No. 731688 ID: 91ee5f

>>731684
I know that. I'm not talking about his body, I'm talking about his mind. Shouldn't it be in here with us?
>>
No. 731718 ID: 398fe1

>>731688
He could just be regular passed out, not in a trance. Or he's in a separate doug-related mind prison.
>>
No. 731818 ID: 0bf568
File 146688933126.png - (155.71KB , 600x600 , 6-93.png )
731818

"You trusted me when you came forward about your insects, so I'm... willing to trust you. We need your help Doug, and you need ours."

>"I knew I was right about you. I'm looking forward to this, Nathan."
You tentatively reach out and take his hand in yours.
>>
No. 731819 ID: 0bf568
File 146688933986.png - (236.65KB , 600x600 , 6-94.png )
731819

The shattered remains of his maze start to fade and you find yourselves standing in the infinite void.

>"Huh, I wouldn't have thought your head would be so empty."
He smirks as you gawp for a response.
>"Kidding! Lighten up, Nate. So that's the Axle I've heard so much about then? You know, according to your friend, very few people can even access it? Tch'arl had quite a lot to say about it..."
>>
No. 731833 ID: dfdb1e

Skipping a fell steps, aren't we? When things get less chaotic you got to have some lessons from Doug. Not now though, you got stuff to do.

What do we call this Doug? Nathan's Doug? Head Doug?
>>
No. 731840 ID: 3663d3

we need the other parts for our contraption. or a better tether. the main line from the hive would work better, we have anything else we could use?
>>
No. 731856 ID: 398fe1

The enemy's constellation has grown further. Tell Doug that you need parts to prevent the Axle from being used.
Get Tch'arl down here so he can contribute too.

Also you should find out what Doug learned. If Tch'arl wants to add anything this would be a good time.
>>
No. 732234 ID: 0bf568
File 146707625121.png - (74.69KB , 396x600 , 6-95.png )
732234

"What'd you learn?"

>"Welllllllll, Like I told you earlier; they found the Axle once they became aware of the 'parallel' as they call it. Its like the world is a stage and the parallel is backstage, full of weird machinery."

"Like the Axle?"

>"Its different; it seems almost like.... an edit tool or something. For moving things around, 'deleting' things. You need special devices just to get near it."

"The 'constructs'?"
You point to the glittering constellations, one of which has noticeably grown. He nods.
"You know what they're going to do with it right? Move the Earth?"

Doug is uncharacteristically quiet for a moment....
>"You know what I learned? The Parallel is so important to them, because it connects them you see, that they view anything unaware of it as.... a lesser form of life. But we're aware, right? It should be trying to preserve us. I'm.... not so sure what it wants."

"Tch'arl told me it may... be unhinged."

>"Maybe. I think you'll find some answers in that data dump we received."
>>
No. 732241 ID: 398fe1

>>732234
Hiro is still working on that, last we heard. As for the drone's motivations, we really need to speak with it.

Wonder aloud if the government is keeping the parallel under wraps. You can't be the only ones who became aware, right? ...maybe that's why the drone is acting like it is. Is it possible our government is doing some shady things with the parallel and the drone decided we deserve to die for such a blasphemous act?

Anyway, we need parts for the device. Ask everyone present if they can contribute.
>>
No. 732286 ID: dfdb1e

Since we got the opportunity to talk to someone well informed that isn't obliged to keep secrets, ask him about the company secrets. What is Cobalt? Why would an alien drone want it?
At this point it have to be either a computer from Maar or a communication mechanism connected to one of the parallel's machinery.
>>
No. 732305 ID: 350a50

>>732286
Sure, why not.
>>
No. 732397 ID: 027292

I think that Right now is a good time to explain officer Hunter about what's going on.
>>
No. 732653 ID: 0bf568
File 146724897880.png - (161.44KB , 600x600 , 6-96.png )
732653

"Well, I'm hoping Hiro can help us out there, hang on here comes officer Hunter..."

The dragonfly hovers overhead and Hunter slides off and squares off while Tch'arl cowers behind her.
>"Okay which of you is going to tell me exactly what the fuck is going on? One minute I'm in a server room standing over your passed out body, next thing I'm in some glowy maze and a giant bug is talking to me , now.... this shit, what is this?"

You run the days events through your head and realize a working summary is kind of out of your league.
"Okay, well.... basically you're inside my mind right now, we just left... I think it was that guy's mind" You indicate Tch'arl "Who's an alien by the way.... annnnnd we're trying to save the world. We think..."

>"You think? You're not sure? What's that mean?"

"We... we're still kind of in the dark here. But it has to do with that big, dark thing. Its called the Axle, and we need to build something to stop it, or control it, or... something. I was hoping that everyone here could help. We still need more parts for the machine."
>>
No. 732654 ID: 0bf568
File 146724899151.png - (169.12KB , 475x600 , 6-97.png )
732654

>"What do you mean 'parts'?"

"Basically borrowing pieces of other people's minds, I mean, with their permission of course."

Hunter stares at you with visibly increasing incredulousness.
>"Man, I don't understand a god damned thing that's happened today, and you're expecting me to help you save the world?"

"No, look, um... Doug, do you have anything we could use?"

>"I think I might, hang on...."
Doug reaches down and plants his palm against the stone, then brings it up sharply, pulling with it a white stone column.
>>
No. 732665 ID: dfdb1e

The explanation wasn't near as bad as I was expecting. Objective completed. Sort of...

Fancy statue, but what does it represent? All I can think is Doug personal taste and attraction to symbols of status. We need to visit his head later.

Check Tch'arl. They've been trough a lot and is probable disturbed by Doug presence.
>>
No. 732689 ID: 398fe1

>>732654
Well that's symbolic. Let me guess, the bust of a philosopher? Well, it's not reacting yet. Try touching it.
>>
No. 732710 ID: 350a50

Touch Doug's erect column.
>>
No. 732949 ID: 0bf568
File 146734368160.png - (84.81KB , 372x600 , 6-98.png )
732949

You wonder who the broken bust is, but aren't sure if you want to know more about what's happening in his mind.
"Huh, lets see..."
You reach out and touch the column, which vanishes in a flash of light. A moment later, a new light blinks into existence around your construct. If you had to guess, you'd say that was a "brace".
>>
No. 732950 ID: 0bf568
File 146734369038.png - (148.00KB , 466x600 , 6-99.png )
732950

You realize that you should check on Tch'arl, who is still huddling behind Hunter. You stoop down to address them.
"Hey, its okay now. Are you going to be al-?"
The alien suddenly pounces, and wraps their arms around you. You're aware of some kind of chirpy sound being emitted and that their skinny arms are shaking; although that might be you... yeah probably you.

Doug laughs.
>"Told you they were social, its like a drug to be around other people. All I really had to do was isolate em."

You gently extricate yourself from Tch'arl's embrace.
"You're fucked up, you know that, Doug?" He smirks. "Are you two going to be okay in here? I don't really know how this works..."

>[Recover(active tense)///Selfmass eager to help Nathan decode memorycascade/// Am glad to be reconnect(active tense) with parallel///
>>
No. 732952 ID: 211d83

Feel free to build a little house here. All I ask is that its somewhat space themed.

Give the alien a pat on the back. We should probably get woken back up so we can check on Diego and other Doug.
>>
No. 732966 ID: 350a50

>>732952
This
>>
No. 732986 ID: dfdb1e

"Who"? So the person been represented that is important. Must be a father figure that was challenged or discredit.

I'm sure Tch'arl will understand you have a problem with contact, you are giving them access to your mind after all, but it would be a nice gesture of consideration if in the future you menage to reciprocate his demonstrations of affect.

That has been interesting, but it is time to wake up. Next time we see those two they better be wearing fake looking horns and halo.
>>
No. 733016 ID: 398fe1

>>732950
We brought Diego's inner self in here once, but he wasn't here when we got back. Ask why. Can they freely leave, assuming they have somewhere to get back to?

Ask Tch'arl to contribute if there's any missing pieces he's attuned to. Also, tell Hunter the gist of what you're trying to do with your device and what the parts are called. Maybe she can contribute even without knowing exactly what is going on.
>>
No. 733441 ID: 0bf568
File 146758221516.png - (110.04KB , 544x600 , 6-100.png )
733441

"You're free to stay here if you want, although.... what happens to people once I've brought them here? I've brought a couple people here and haven't seen them since..."

>[Self will remain here/// Liminal form become part of extended Parallel network/// Remain connected/ allow for low level communication/ observation/// As more immersed functionality/strength grow///]

"So the more people I bring, the stronger the network? Is that how Diego knew to come rescue me earlier?"

>[Yes/ likely///Strong Parallel networks are(past tense) the foundation of Maar society/ communication///]
>>
No. 733456 ID: dfdb1e

I imagine a society that communicate telepathically would be more receptive to diversity, since knowing the same language isn't a prerequisite for communication and different viewpoints would be easily understudy.
>>
No. 733746 ID: 742b4a

>>733441
Oh, so if we bring inner selves here, then they become part of a growing network that will likely become planetary in scale, like the aliens' world. Probably a good thing, overall, and seems to be the most solid confirmed development of Nate's abilities.

Show him your hive-body (break off a piece of your ear, for example) and ask if he's ever heard of people giving up their forms to their Custodians, like you did.
>>
No. 733814 ID: 3c4a27

Does Tch'arl knows anything about what your wasps were talking about, or perhaps why are they acting like they do?
>>
No. 733887 ID: 0bf568
File 146777393313.png - (151.33KB , 582x600 , 6-101.png )
733887

You twist one of your ears it easily tears away.
"What about this? Have you ever seen anything like this before?"

Tch'arl stares at the torn chunk of flesh before taking it from you and rolling it between their fingers.
>[Curious/// Interrogative: Liminal entity responsible (past tense) for this?/// Appears counter-intuitive for liminal entity to compromise hostform/// No memoryrecord of similar event/// Supposition: Maar memorycascade contain (active tense) example///]
>>
No. 733889 ID: 0bf568
File 146777394558.png - (111.74KB , 600x600 , 6-102.png )
733889

Hunter approaches the two of you cautiously.
>"Okay, seriously, what the hell are you guys talking about? This guy sounds like an old modem in my head which makes the fact that I can understand him even weirder..."

"Yeah, sorry, this is Tcha'rl: a sentient computer program from some planet called Maar."

Tch'arl waves a strangely jointed hand.
>[Express (active tense) gratitude: Save (past tense) selfmass Tch'arl from isolation///]

>"Oh..kayyy."

"Yeah, I know, right? Anyway, apparently their world is dying, and they sent some kind of 'probe' here to swap their planet with ours."

>"The fuck?"

"Wait, it gets better: apparently the probe is what's been causing all the problems. It can somehow make itself look like other people, and has been trying to access a message we have on our computers all day."

>"So that's why Jones said he brought me home? It was this probe posing as me? This is fucking weird and as a police officer I'm pretty much the authority on weird. "
She sighs.
>"So what do we do?"

You direct her attention to the partially assembled construct.
"Before my wasps went AWOL on me, they were trying to get me to assemble some kind of device to stop the Axle. I have most of the parts now thanks to Doug, but I think I still need... an Engine and.... a Lever.... They're like, concepts: some kind of concrete idea that represents something. Put them together and they become a machine. I was hoping you might be able to help us out by lending us something."

>"You mean by going into my head?"
>>
No. 733890 ID: 350a50

Unless you can just conjure something here like Doug did, but he's had more experience at this than even I have.
>>
No. 733891 ID: 398fe1

>>733889
Maybe. Doug pulled his contribution out of thin air once he was here, maybe she can do the same? If she can't manage it then yeah we'll need to go looking around in her head for something that would work.

...it occurs to me that the music box's mechanism would have made an excellent engine. I wonder if we can get a copy of it by asking the owner? We obviously can't just steal the main one, it would cause some trauma I expect.

We could also try to get a better Tether, don't forget that. The current one is weak.
>>
No. 733912 ID: 350a50

>>733891
I think we need to get the black goop out of Zeke's head. It's adhesive, so it should work as a tether to hold everything together.
>>
No. 733931 ID: dfdb1e

Let's take a look at foxy head. It will be nice to learn something about her other than she is a police officer.
>>
No. 733934 ID: f8482c

>>733891
maybe we could just have the shaft extend into here, engine doesn't need to attach directly to the wheels of a car to make them go, you use a drive shaft to distribute power.
>>
No. 734094 ID: c43722

Maybe you don't have to jump into Hunter's head here. Ask Doug if he could explain to Hunter how he pulled that... Er... Is the term "aspect?" ...That broken bust aspect out of his mind for you. Then perhaps she could do the same, though I suspect it'll probably not be something that can be done easily with just a simple explanation.

Also point out to Tcha'rl the part of the construct you got from Zeke and tell it that you're not so sure that part will hold, given it wasn't a "core" aspect from Zeke's mind, and ask its opinion and if it can tell how strong that part is. And also tell Tcha'rl about all the malform black goo from your neighbor's mind that got pulled into Zeke's mind and his symptoms. What can you do to dispose of it before it drives him mad like it did your neighbor?

And ask Tcha'rl if there's any records of parasitic liminal entities, or even if they've been theorized. Explain that you're asking because only a short while ago you saw one of your wasps emerge from one of Diego's beetles, which you found was a husk and crumbled when you touched it. Further explain that they've been acting independently of you as well. ...And with what they did to you to make you their "hive..." If they are actually parasitic then they won't much, if any, care for the long-term well being to their current host while they further their own agenda, which makes you very concerned for obvious reasons. ...And further thinking, if they are parasitic, they it's possible they aren't even your original insects. They could have killed your original ones long ago and took their place.
>>
No. 734292 ID: 3e182c

Lester has an engine, and if we explain everything to him, especially after what we did, I bet he'll lend it to us. He'll take it as being right all along. Such wonderful Gratification.

Hunter on the other hand, we need to do some head diving. We need to find someone with a lever.
>>
No. 734339 ID: 7b174a

Alright then, Perhaps you should mention Diego's situation too, maybe he knows something that could help him. If not, at least we found him.
>>
No. 734384 ID: 350a50

>>734339
This, too.
>>
No. 734577 ID: 0bf568
File 146803751001.png - (152.84KB , 600x514 , 6-103.png )
734577

"Maybe, can you try, like, summoning something, like Doug just did?"

Hunter starts waving her hand uncertainly. Nothing happens.
>"I have no idea what I'm doing here... If you're going to get anything I think you're going have to go in. How do we do this?"

"When I bring someone into my head, I try to think of my safe space; its like my 'home'."

>"Okay, lets try this..."
>>
No. 734578 ID: 0bf568
File 146803752425.png - (187.60KB , 501x600 , 6-104.png )
734578

You take hunters hand and feel space change around you. The night is filled with the soft murmur of rain on concrete and the hum of neon.

END OF CHAPTER 6
>>
No. 734579 ID: 398fe1

>>734578
Cooooool.
>>
No. 734604 ID: dfdb1e

It's the first time we can explore one of those mind spaces with someone who is both aware of what is going on and capable of remembering the experience (I think).
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