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File 146828239746.gif - (297.89KB , 360x360 , 7-1.gif )
735275 No. 735275 ID: 13459b

Wiki: http://tgchan.org/wiki/A_Conspiracy_of_Wasps

Discussion: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/81536.html

Previous thread: http://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/698817.html
240 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 747310 ID: 398fe1

That doesn't seem to be how it works...

Also I think the engine would be the thing that handles the coolant's energy. The control rod mechanism isn't needed, and neither is the fuel source. We just need the thing that moves. The turbine or whatever. The reactor can stay in SCRAM mode while the engine is part of the anti-mover. I'm guessing we can return it after we're done with the anti-mover.
No. 747315 ID: 71d443

But if the giant nuclear fox is pinned, we can't take her with us. Here's what we do: retract the rods, get the fox out of the way, then bring the rods down and take one out of its casing.
No. 747316 ID: 350a50

Press that yellow button, it looks like it might open the cover. Then slam the SCRAM.

Why would they have a 'nuclear meltdown' button?
No. 747317 ID: 71d443

Gotta have a plan for all contingencies.
No. 747319 ID: 3e182c

Except the big red one.
No. 747321 ID: 20295c

No. 747328 ID: 398fe1

>get the fox out of the way
How do you propose to do that when she's clearly going to melt down? This is essentially a nuclear reactor, guys. You don't play around with that.

Shutting it down can be reversed. If she blows the fuck up we can't reverse that.
No. 747342 ID: e6dceb

No. 747533 ID: b073ca
File 147363905524.png - (140.15KB , 448x600 , 5-58.png )

You flip the cover up and slap your hand down onto the switch. An alarm sounds and the column of control rods groans as the safety kicks in. The Titan screams in anger as they rain down upon her, piercing and pushing her underwater in an explosion of steam.
No. 747534 ID: b073ca
File 147363907366.png - (157.91KB , 600x569 , 5-59.png )

Steam continues to fill the room and the giant's struggles slow as she sinks into the pool.
No. 747536 ID: 398fe1

Is she changing color? Go check on the smaller Hunter first, then approach her giant self once she is fully cooled. See if she's alright. Maybe find out what's going on in here.

Also you can ask the giant for an engine. She should know what she can or can't give up, since she is intimately acquainted with this place.
No. 747542 ID: 486e87

Poor hunter / representation of her anger / drive hunter. We should probably restart the reactor before we leave in case it permanently affects her drive / motivation.

Hang on, have we seen a person's custodians in each of the minds we've visited? I can't remember seeing any of hunter's dragonflies here.
No. 747546 ID: 1f182b

The things that possessed hunter came from neon signs, maybe killing the power will kill them?
No. 747551 ID: dfdb1e

Time to address Hunter. You need her calm and rational, preferable by her own initiative. If talk doesn't help your last option will be use those broken rods on her.
No. 747554 ID: 71d443

Aw, crud. You broke her! Get down there and retrieve a rod, I guess.
No. 747558 ID: 3e182c

If were going to use hunter as an engine were going to need the titans power either reliably under control, or fully unleashed. Keeping it subdued this way just won't do.

Find hunter. It's time we go deeper and address the source of this angst.
No. 747559 ID: 350a50

Agreed, see from a safe distance if subduing the core titan helped her regain control at all.
No. 748009 ID: b073ca
File 147390833202.png - (134.31KB , 454x600 , 7-60.png )

You carefully climb down from the control room, using the handrail on the broken catwalk as an improvised ladder. Steam continues to fill the room, making visibility difficult and condensing on your faceplate.
No. 748010 ID: b073ca
File 147390835339.png - (162.28KB , 603x600 , 7-61.png )

You approach the pinned titan cautiously. You notice that her body has cooled to a dull metallic grey color and watch as the water around her boils gently in a cloud of bubbles.

Somewhere in the steam, you hear Hunter's voice calling.
>"......Cooollllllld, Whyyyy so coooolllld?"
No. 748011 ID: 71d443

But who is speaking, the titan or the tiny one?
No. 748015 ID: 398fe1

Step away from the hand for a moment.

Tell her sorry, you had to shut down the reactor because she was raging out of control and attacking you and her custodians. Call out to find normal-sized Hunter.
No. 748068 ID: d3768b

No. 748401 ID: b073ca
File 147420936731.png - (156.21KB , 600x515 , 7-62.png )

You slowly step away from the core and look around but the steam keeps you from seeing more than a few feet.
"...Hunter....? Where are you?"

There's the sound of a footstep shuffling and you feel someone collide with you from behind.

No. 748402 ID: b073ca
File 147420938967.png - (154.45KB , 352x600 , 7-63.png )

Together you stagger backwards and you feel your foot splash in the cooling pool.
"Hunter, stop!"

You feel yourself tip precariously before being dragged in. Your suit rapidly fills with water and you flail desperately as you watch the surface slip away from you.
No. 748412 ID: 3e182c

Woah. Chill. Relax. Concentrate.
You are not actually underwater, and your suit can be whatever you want it to be.
Make it a scuba suit. It's a scuba suit now. You can breath. Breath Nathan. Breath.
No. 748433 ID: 398fe1

Scuba suit, swim back out with her. She doesn't seem to be attacking you anymore, she's... hugging you? For warmth?

Once you're back out you can conjure up something to warm her up.
No. 748467 ID: dfdb1e

Now that she is much less dangerous they have to get somewhere safe to talk. Except, even if she isn't melting and punching, Hunter is stronger than frail Nate.
We can't give up on her. Let's hope trusting Hunter won't end badly.
No. 748510 ID: 350a50

Reshape your suit with a re-breather and hold onto Hunter.
No. 748574 ID: 18c950

Chill, but not literally. Ha, haha... ha.

Yeah, we need something good for surviving somewhere wet and cold, so it sure would be nice to be wearing something watertight and with self-contained oxygen.

Personally I'm imagining one of those big 1800s metal diving suits, but that might not be practical.
No. 748622 ID: 350a50

I'm not sure Nate is Big Daddy material.

Maybe a Big Sister suit would fit him?
No. 748657 ID: b073ca
File 147433820322.png - (177.04KB , 437x600 , 7-64.png )

You let your suit and mask fade away and, panicking slightly, wrap yourself in a heavy duty diving suit. Hunter claws ineffectively at the glass and tries to say something, issuing forth a cloud of bubbles. You feel safe for the moment, but realize that you're sinking pretty fast now and can't move your limbs easily. All the while there is a mechanical hum growing louder the further you sink.
No. 748663 ID: 71d443

Claw your way back up, slinging Hunter over one shoulder. Drop any ballast you may have conjured up.
No. 748669 ID: 3e182c

Can you make the outside of your suit warm? Maybe ring it with some glowing heating coils? Heat lamps maybe?
Light might be necessary. The Depths await.
No. 748672 ID: 398fe1

You might be heading towards the generator. The coolant is there to be heated, after all... In that case you'd want to grab it and take it with you out of here(along with Hunter, so she can regain her senses). The control rods and giant are the important things here, not the thing that produces the power from them.
No. 748810 ID: ab4ad5

Grab some buoys like a bunch of balloons and hold the rope tight. Tie yourself to hunter and ride it to the surface.

Or give her a breathing aid, ghost in the shell style.
No. 748812 ID: 398fe1

...oh, can you adjust the suit so there's a breathing tube you can give to Hunter? Optimally a mask on it too, which has a radio on it so she can talk to you.
No. 749404 ID: b073ca
File 147467612344.png - (203.55KB , 600x600 , 7-65.png )

You sink further into the well. At the bottom, a whirling turbine noisily pulls the warmed water into the plant's heat exchangers. Buffeted by the raging current, Hunter clings to your diving suit desperately.
You reach out your arm and just as you make contact with the machine, you close your eyes and....
No. 749405 ID: b073ca
File 147467613097.png - (248.19KB , 600x600 , 7-66.png )

Pull yourself back into your own mind. Hunter gasps.
>"Wha-? Oh, God what the fuck?"

The engine is taken out of your grasp in a halo of light, reducing it to a pure, abstract form.
No. 749406 ID: b073ca
File 147467613744.png - (144.48KB , 600x411 , 7-67.png )

It orbits you briefly and then slots itself neatly into place among the other parts of the mechanism. Understanding courses through you as it starts taking a more concrete shape in your head. It seems to be... a winch...
No. 749411 ID: 398fe1

Then use it to lock that Axle down. Unfortunately... I suspect the faulty tether will break and we'll have to get a replacement. I wonder if that black goo will work? Gonna have to sneak up on our buddy to get it, or find another mind with a tether.

Ask how Hunter is feeling. Calmer than normal? Her custodians probably won't start up the reactor again until they get a replacement turbine.
No. 749416 ID: 3abd97

>what the fuck
We're out. Sorry your head trip turned into such a head trip.
No. 749432 ID: dfdb1e

What a mess. Things were broken, things were activated, things were taken from Hunter's head.
Does she feel different? Perhaps less motivated?
No. 749530 ID: 18c950

Wow, uh... yeah that was intense. Like, she's probably part of your network now (whether she wants to be or not) but maybe you should exchange some outside-world contact info, too. You're both part of this adventure now, but taking a step back to external reality could help a lot with anchoring you two after that.

And maybe you could refer her to your shrink, if she's got anger issues so bad she worries about a meltdown.

Plus having a quick way to talk to someone who's involved with the police investigation and understands and believes all of this crazy stuff going on will help a lot with information gathering/dissemination.
No. 749553 ID: 3e182c

Hmm. I don't like this. Is the condition of the turbine similar to the rope? if so we may need to dive into hunters head again or augment the power with another engine.
Speaking of the rope, we need to go fix that.
No. 750138 ID: b073ca
File 147502726097.png - (202.50KB , 494x600 , 7-68.png )

"We're back in my head at least. Sorry, things were getting kind of intense in there. Are you okay?"

>"Yeah.. I think so."
She rubs her temples.
>"-Kind of feels like I have a tooth missing in my brain. What did you do?"

"Well, you were kind of.... melting down, like literally, so I kind of cooled things off. I'm just worried I might have done some kind of damage while we were in there. I'm still kind of figuring this whole thing out. I found one of the pieces we needed though."
You float over to the winch contraption. It has a sketchy, ghost like quality to it,making it seem incomplete. You mentally tick off parts in your head.
"Engine, spark, tether, anchor, brace...... lever. We still need a lever."
No. 750139 ID: 398fe1

Oh, right. Then I guess it's time to wake up, huh? Tell Hunter she can stay and become part of the growing network if she wants. Might be a good idea.
No. 750195 ID: 79a07e

I feel like we might need her in realspace a bit more in case we need clearance to get somewhere or to someone.
No. 750557 ID: 608984

Are our guests still in our safe place?
No. 750573 ID: b073ca
File 147534976606.png - (130.28KB , 600x538 , 7-69.png )

"If its alright with you, Im going to try bringing us back to the real world. From what it sounds like, your 'liminal form' will still have some kind of connection here."

>"So... what's that mean?"

You shrug. "Not really sure, but Diego was able to sense I was in danger earlier.... Oh man, Diego. I hope he's okay... Hang on."
You feel your mind flex slightly and bring yourself out of the Parallel.

You and Hunter stand up and take a moment to reorient yourselves: you're back in the server room, Diego's unconscious body and T'charl's CPU are stuffed into the utility trench in front of you, and you are both freezing cold.

>"Woah... jeeze, that was.... intense. Were we... really inside my consciousness?"

"Yeah. Believe me, this is all new to me too, except for the insects... "
No. 750574 ID: 398fe1

Your wasps are doing something with Diego, and hiding it from you because the probe robot has a presence inside your network and is effectively spying on you.

Do not touch Diego. Trust your wasps. Instead, go find Hiro. He might have a lever for you. If you run into Doug first, you can tell him to quit worrying about his purpose in this world- you found it. Tell him about the network. He can make a real connection with people, just like you did with his mind-clone.
No. 750576 ID: 71d443

Are you feeling different in any way. 'Cold' can be attributed to the server room for now.
No. 750627 ID: 5900b7

I'm not convinced the wasps deserve so much trust. T'charl called them parasites, as such they may be harming Diego for their own ends. I think Nate should enter Diego mind.
No. 750709 ID: 726a91

>except for the insects...
Hunter didn't have any. At all.
No. 750710 ID: 398fe1

Yes she did. She has dragonflies, insectoid outside but humanoid inside for some reason. They were the guys in the suits.
No. 750746 ID: f12dcb

Yeah, not only did Hunter have dragonflies, she figured out how to get them to help her faster than we did our wasps.
No. 750948 ID: 726a91

Not inside her own mindscape though. Unlike Diego, Anthony and Zeke who all had either a large 'guardian' insect or many smaller insects.
No. 750957 ID: 398fe1

I reiterate: Hunter's insects were in suits.
No. 751039 ID: b073ca
File 147555181575.png - (102.34KB , 581x600 , 7-70.png )

>"How does that work? Have you always been able to do that?"

"I'm not sure, it works with physical contact... Basically if I touch someone and they're not aware of it, I end up in their head. It also seems that anyone who touches me while I'm in someone's mind gets pulled in too. I've never been big on... touching people, so I don't know how long I've been able to do it."

>"Okay so.... you touched that computer and went inside and rescued an alien, am I getting that right? Then I touched you and ALSO ended up inside? And then we went into my mind to get a piece for some machine to, what, save the world?"
You nod.
"Something like that."

She stares at you blankly for a long moment.
>"Okay cool, why not?"

You cock an eyebrow at her.
"Are..... you okay? With all this?"

She huffs out a single laugh.
>"I'm dealing. So, what now?"
No. 751040 ID: b073ca
File 147555182207.png - (124.49KB , 573x600 , 7-71.png )

You kneel down.
"Can you take a look a him? I'm worried that if I touch him I'll..."

>"-End up inside? Yeah sure."
She clambers down into the trench and rolls him over.
>"Well, he's still breathing... no visible injuries. He's just out cold. Actually, speaking of cold, we should probably warm him up."
No. 751041 ID: 9f3729

Start taking off sweater, before realizing halfway through it might be better to just take him out of the cold room
No. 751042 ID: 398fe1

Alright sure, Hunter can drag him out of there and into a warmer room. I sincerely doubt he needs to be next to the computer anymore since it should be "empty" now. Makes me wonder why it's still glowing... well, regardless, we know Diego isn't communing with the alien. I'm really not sure why the wasps put him there to begin with. Maybe it was just a good place to hide from the drone while they do... whatever they're doing? Or maybe they used Diego as a lure to bring us to the computer to rescue the alien?

Anyway get him out and to a secure room. Maybe get him to Hiro, but... do not allow Hiro to tell you any sensitive information.
No. 751051 ID: 1c92a4

You need to get your boyfriend outta there, into a less refrigerated area, maybe get a blanket on him. For cuddling underneath.
No. 751060 ID: 5900b7

I though Doug put him here. There was even an elevator ants attack.
A lot happened to Diego. He got high on Zeke's mind honey, got controlled by Nate's parasitic mind wasps and is currently unconscious because of whatever Doug did to him. None of those influences should be taken lightly. I specially distrust the wasps intentions but Doug interferences can also get super messed up.
After placing Diego somewhere warm, Nate should enter his mind to see what the hell is going on there. He could be tripping balls in a torture cell wile been attacked by alien wasps from what we know.
No. 751081 ID: 398fe1

Oh, you're right. Doug must have knocked him out and left him with the computer, and of course the mindscape inside it was taken over by the mind-copy before Diego arrived.

...actually I wonder, is Diego unconscious because Doug did something to his mind, or did he just leave another mind-copy in there to keep him unconscious via the usual trance? Wait, I'm not sure that makes sense. Doug's mind-copies don't know they're copies, so one in Diego's mind wouldn't just stay there to keep him KO'd. Maybe it would be a good idea to go into Diego's head at some point, to check on him... I wish we could ask the wasps if that was a good idea or not.
No. 751092 ID: 350a50

Diego's a big boy. You'll need something to use as a stretcher so you can help Hunter carry him without accidentally doing a bad touch.
No. 751458 ID: dea742

So, Hunter was gonna make sure we didn't get locked in this room. She doesn't seem to be doing that now. Are we locked in?
No. 751907 ID: b073ca
File 147595448719.png - (147.19KB , 600x600 , 7-72.png )

"I think I know where we can take him, can you carry him?"

She pulls him up by his armpits.
>"Ffffuck, he's heavy...."
She half-lifts, half-drags him out of the trench.
>"You sure you cant help?"

"Sorry. Besides, I've got a feeling we'll need this to get into Hiro's lab."
You unplug the mysterious PC and pick it up. It continues to glow, despite the power loss and feels strangely warm, despite the cold of the server room.
No. 751908 ID: b073ca
File 147595449695.png - (98.34KB , 518x600 , 7-73.png )

With a lot of shuffling and swearing Hunter manages to drag Diego out the door and down the hall. The emergency stop on the elevator is still running, so you push the button to turn it off and the doors slide shut without a fuss. You check out the elevator panel and realize you've never actually spent much time in this building. All you know is that Hiro is locked down here somewhere "built like a vault".
No. 751913 ID: 398fe1

I guess we'll try the lowest level. B2.
No. 751915 ID: 91ee5f

When did Diego get fat? He wasn't like that when he was in your apartment earlier. (At least, he doesn't look fat in those earlier pictures back in thread 4. I could be wrong though.)

>Where's Hiro?
Well, usually places "built like a vault" can be found in the basement. So, I'd guess either B1 or B2.
No. 751923 ID: 726a91

If it's got computers in it, B1. B2 is a flood risk, so any server room would be at least the next level up.
No. 751924 ID: 350a50

Makes sense.

He's not overweight, but he's certainly not skinny and he's wearing a baggy-looking sweater. With Hunter bending his torso at that angle the bulge in the belly is normal.
No. 751929 ID: 91ee5f

Ok, that makes sense. So I was imagining things.
No. 751932 ID: dea742

The server room for Cobalt is likely to need heavy cooling on top of whatever power draw the servers themselves have. If we can find a computer system that tracks that, we can locate the room for sure. Failing that, a circuit breaker might tell us where it is. I'd expect it to be the highest capacity circuit in the building.

Or we could try calling Hiro with Hunter's phone. It's been hours. Maybe he's had enough sleep.
No. 752279 ID: b073ca
File 147615868221.png - (88.11KB , 600x389 , 7-74.png )

You borrow Hunter's phone again and dial Hiro.

It rings twice and you hear him pick up, drop the phone, swear and finally answer.
>"Heyy? Whooziz?"

"Hiro, its Nate. I need your help, we need to get into your lab."

>"Wha? Wha time izzit? Jesus, Nate, dude I can't let you in."

"No listen, I think I've got something that can crack COBALT's problem. Also, Diego is with me and ..."

>Diego? Dude, you guys need ta go home if yer gonna get freaky..."

"Hiro! Diego's hurt or something, he's unconscious!"

There's a long pause,
>"Shit hang on, where are you?"

"Uh, the elevator in the data center, fourth floor."

>Oh, well shit. Just a second."
No. 752281 ID: b073ca
File 147615869952.png - (133.16KB , 514x600 , 7-75.png )

The doors close and you feel yourself start to descend.
>"Woah, where are we going?"

No. 752290 ID: 9f3729

Thanks hiro, we owe you a drink.
No. 752316 ID: 398fe1

When you get to the bottom, push the elevator panic button again to keep anyone else from getting down here.
No. 752326 ID: 3663d3

so a lever... someone bipolar? the lever/switch that controls their manic and depressive states.
No. 752331 ID: 18c950

I think if someone had a lever for that, they wouldn't be bipolar. That's a lot more roller coaster than anything else... you go up and down, but the rate at which it happens isn't something you have any control over.

And beyond that, a lever, mechanically, is just a bar and a pivot. Crowbars and seesaws are both levers. It doesn't need to be hooked to a machine in their head for us to use it that way in ours... probably?
No. 752372 ID: 398fe1

Oh and try not to think about how you saw Hunter naked inside her mind.
No. 752951 ID: b073ca
File 147641651202.png - (110.38KB , 600x449 , 7-76.png )

The elevator hums and travels for longer than should be possible. The doors slide open to reveal a poorly lit hallway of absurd length.

>"You, have to be kidding me..."
No. 752952 ID: b073ca
File 147641655772.png - (65.29KB , 600x449 , 7-77.png )

You sigh, and pick up the computer. You pull the emergency stop and set off down the hallway. Hunter hauls Diego up by his shoulders and drags him along, muttering something about his weight.

Judging by the length of the corridor, this hallway extends far beyond the boundaries of the facility, at least a hundred feet into the forest.
No. 752953 ID: b073ca
File 147641656801.png - (97.88KB , 600x600 , 7-78.png )

The end of the hall is blocked by a massive metal door and framed by a pair of cameras. To one side appears to be a retina scanner and some kind of keycard reader
No. 752954 ID: 398fe1

Wave at the camera.
No. 752959 ID: 91ee5f

Do the "Shave and a haircut" knock on the door.
No. 752961 ID: 79a07e

Do we have anything that can pass by those?

Sorry, Hunter.
No. 752962 ID: 8f2879

Why are we in Black Mesa now? Seriously though how the fuck is this place just what, so many questions.

>far beyond the boundaries of the facility, at least a hundred feet into the forest.
No. 752964 ID: 398fe1

Yeah, you caught that too huh? I bet we're directly under where the piece of satellite was found.
No. 752994 ID: dea742

No. 753507 ID: b073ca
File 147676126779.png - (104.75KB , 600x538 , 7-79.png )

You wave your hand in front of the cameras and moments later a screen flickers to life near the scanner. Hiro's exhausted face fills the frame, worry etched over his features.

>"Holy shit, what happened to Diego?"

"He's unconscious, but we're not really sure why. We thought he'd be safer here."

>[i]"Ahhhh jeeze, Nate.... I dunno man, I'm not a doctor. You know I'm supposed to be on lockdown, I'm not supposed to be letting in just anyone. It's not that I don't trust you, dude, but, like who's your friend? How do I know I can trust her?"
No. 753508 ID: 398fe1

She's a cop.
No. 753509 ID: 350a50

One of the cops investigating the crap going on around here.
No. 753511 ID: 211d83

She is a cop. But I will check her over to make sure she is not that shape shifting alien drone that is making a mess upstairs.

Then prod Hunter a bit.

Also listen and watch for any sneaky things trying to invisibly sneak down the hallway.

Hmm a pool of liquid spread in front of the door would help avoid that sort of thing.
No. 753520 ID: 5900b7

Officer Hunter? I don't think she care for bit coin economy.
Beside we need her help with the invader. You know, the reason you are in lock down.
No. 753528 ID: 398fe1

Well I mean we were just in her head. She's not the drone. On the other hand it's not like we know she can be trusted to keep quiet about what's on the other side of the door. There are other reasons to not trust someone...

I wonder if we can get Hiro to come out and grab Diego instead? Hunter can put her gun on the ground if we want to be 100% safe about this.
No. 753583 ID: dea742

So, we're focusing on Hunter right now, but how sure are we about Diego? We don't know how he got here, and we haven't checked inside his head since he disappeared. What if he's the drone? What if he's still under the influence of...whatever it was that got him to take off back in the apartment?

We're here to see if we can crack Cobalt's problem, right? We've got a transponder and our friendly alien A.I. Maybe drop those at the door for Hiro and back up just to be safe. Try to hold out here until Hunter's partner shows up. Nate might even be able to continue helping out on the Cobalt problem using his mindlink to the A.I. once it's inside.
No. 753590 ID: 350a50

That's a fair point. I'll second this. We can retreat inside if we need to, but for now let's try to fix Diego's head first.
No. 754707 ID: b073ca
File 147717544199.png - (69.30KB , 384x600 , 7-80.png )

"Her? This is officer Hunter, she's been looking in to all the weird stuff happening today."

>"Seriously? What'd you find?"

Hunter sighs and sets down Diego.
>"I don't even know where to fuckin' begin with this place; between the giant missing satellite, the dude who sent me to the phantom zone for a few hours, and the goddamn alien ghost computer. Look if you don't want to let me into your clubhouse, that's fine: my partner'll be here soon and I'm going to have to figure out how to explain how I ended up in the woods in the middle of the night."

Hiro rubs some of the sleep from his eyes and ponders this.
>" Alien ghost computer? The fuck is she talking about. Nate?"

You heft the glowing CPU up a little. You feel your spine protest.
"This one. Um, kind of hard to explain but I think it should help decode the COBALT message."
No. 754710 ID: b073ca
File 147717551512.png - (358.08KB , 2058x2290 , 7-81.png )

Hiro turn off the screen without a word and for a minute you and Hunter just look at each other uncertainly. The wall emits a series of whirs and clunks as various locks slide back. There's a creak and the door opens a crack and a pair of very tired eyes peek out from behind it.

End of Chapter 7
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