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File 149489561942.png - (219.83KB , 600x600 , The Sunfish.png )
801983 No. 801983 ID: 9a036d

Previous chapters
1: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/762401.html
2: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/779392.html

Disthread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/106228.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 801985 ID: 9a036d
File 149489571778.png - (47.71KB , 600x600 , 3-1.png )
801985

You feel darkness weighing your consciousness down like a blanket of tar. Your body hurts, but it's a long way away and not really important right now. 
>>
No. 801986 ID: 9a036d
File 149489573137.png - (83.18KB , 600x600 , 3-2.png )
801986

What's more concerning is you: both of you. One pair of eyes burning the brilliant rebellious blue of youth; the other ancient, tired and calm, but no less defiant. 

"Hello, Sam" you echo to each other. 
>>
No. 801988 ID: 70983e

Now neither of us will be virgins!
>>
No. 801990 ID: 7b7ab3

What's up, doc?
>>
No. 801991 ID: 3ce125

>>801986
Tell Old Sam you've heard some things about her. Things that are bringing your feelings into doubt. Is she not a bad person? Maybe you can negotiate a time share.
>>
No. 801992 ID: 3abd97

So... are you here to do the cryptic elder advice thing, or are you here to do the fight me for control of myself thing?

I really hope it's the advice one, I've got a lot of questions about what's going on here.
>>
No. 802008 ID: e5b57f

Now hug. Purely for reasons of self-acceptance and accepting of the other, not at all for any kind of lascivious reasons. Nope.
>>
No. 802019 ID: be61f7

Time for hugs!
>>
No. 802254 ID: 9876c4

Pistols at dawn. 20 paces.
>>
No. 802269 ID: 0b99d7

>>801986
So...
Apparently I might have jumped a bit to the still-totally reasonable conclusions I had about you.
>>
No. 802307 ID: 449741

>>801986
Well, shit.

Might as well try and get some answers out of her, I guess.
>>
No. 802309 ID: e6e9af

>>801986

Fingerguns. "Let's not fuck this up, I've got a date with a bird and her sweet ass."

Then we figure out what kind of twilight-zone shenanigans we just got ourselves into.
>>
No. 802310 ID: fc33ea

Let me guess, you'd have handled that differently?
>>
No. 802375 ID: 9a036d
File 149498419456.png - (56.00KB , 600x600 , 3-3.png )
802375

"Why am I here?" two voices ask.


"Because they couldn't know what we had accomplished. They needed a system to keep them satisfied while the others escaped." says Sam.


"Because they wanted to use us, follow us to find the others. They knew we would go looking." says Sam simultaneously.


Your expressions soften; you don't touch, but there is a feeling of a bond.

"Thanks for letting me stay" you say to yourselves.
>>
No. 802376 ID: 9a036d
File 149498420282.png - (101.47KB , 600x600 , 3-4.png )
802376

You hear a pair of voices in the darkness.

Both are strangers.

Both are familiar.

Both are loved.

You look at one another, each wanting nothing more than to be with one of those voices. You know the temptation is strong and time is short. You try to think of anything else you want to say to yourselves.
>>
No. 802379 ID: d69df4

"If you need any help, just ask."
Could you two split and go your seperate ways?
>>
No. 802382 ID: 3abd97

>>802376
>Both are strangers.
>Both are familiar.
>Both are loved.
Responding to lovers past and present, I think. Annie is a stranger to Old Sam but loved by New Sam. Someone else (Sword Dog, I'm guessing) was Old Sam's lover, but still basically a stranger to New Sam, even if she recognized the voice.

>You try to think of anything else you want to say to yourselves.
Can... we not fight? I'd rather work with you.
>>
No. 802385 ID: e5b57f

>>802376
"Above all else, no matter what, we need to love. Spencer, Annie, Bucky, each other - our capacity for love is our greatest strength."
>>
No. 802394 ID: e5b57f

>>802382
It's Dr. Spencer.
>>
No. 802399 ID: 3abd97

>>802394
Oh, her too. And probably Polly three. I'm just guessing it's right after the fight and its people on-site for the vulture fight are trying to wake us up.
>>
No. 802401 ID: be61f7

We have to take care of our friends. We have to make it out of this together.
>>
No. 802404 ID: 3ce125

>>802376
Let's do this together.
>>
No. 802459 ID: 70983e

"What's Polly's favorite, chocolate or flowers?"
>>
No. 802752 ID: 9a036d
File 149515299469.png - (156.01KB , 600x600 , 3-5.png )
802752

You feel a twinge in your heart, one of you relents. 
"Tell her I love her" you echo to yourself. 
You both nod. 
"Let me know if you need help..."
There's a surging feeling beneath you, pulling you out of the darkness.
>>
No. 802755 ID: 9a036d
File 149515299955.png - (151.55KB , 519x600 , 3-6.png )
802755

That dull pain that seemed so distant makes itself known. Your every movement feels raw and heavy, as if someone replaced your skeleton with a cast iron replica, still cherry red from the foundry.
"...sure she'd understand. The Sam I knew- hang on, I think she's coming to..." a voice whispers.
 
You open your eyes a sliver and immediately crunch them shut again as bright, sterile light assaults them. You try to sit up, but gentle hands restrain you. 
"Hey, its okay. Don't try to move, you're safe."
>>
No. 802757 ID: b412df

What happened, and understand what?
>>
No. 802758 ID: 449741

>>802755
"Okay, where am I and what happened?"
>>
No. 802766 ID: 3abd97

Annie and Dr. Spencer.

"How long?"
>>
No. 802769 ID: fc33ea

What's happened? Did we win?
>>
No. 802795 ID: 91ee5f

>>802755
"Did you kill and/or capture them? How long was I out? And is it normal to taste the color purple and the number 7 after being electrocuted?"
>>
No. 802796 ID: 1e7aa8

"Am I in the infirmary? Why am I naked? Who undressed me?"
>>
No. 802814 ID: 3ce125

>>802755
Alright, first off, which Sam is in the driver's seat? Second, tell them you have open communication with the other Sam, if they want to talk. You're not at odds anymore, not really.
>>
No. 802819 ID: 91ee5f

>>802795
Since Sam doesn't know about what happened to Bucky, we should ask if he's also ok! Sam is concerned if their plan to shoot the repo guy's ship with the asteroid's rail guns worked or not!
>>
No. 802841 ID: fe7355

Keep your eyes shut and lay back, but also reach up with each hand to the nearest hand gently holding you down and hold them. Tell 'em that you had a small chat with Old Sam while you were out. Remember your promise each of yourselves made to the other and tell Annie you love her, and... It's Dr. Spencer that was other voice, right? Shame you don't know her first name. Anyway, if it was Dr. Spencer's voice then tell Dr. Spencer that Old Sam said to tell her she loves her. ...Man, this is gonna be all kinds of awkward, isn't it?

Anyway, down to business. Ask how long you were out, how bad you were hurt, and how long 'till your bones stop hurting like the devil's been hammering on each of them. Then ask what happened after you were knocked. Say your last memory before blacking out was Annie berserker charging the Repo Men with a push-gun for what they did to you, (which, by the way, makes your heart twinge in all kinds of ways.) Did any of them survive Annie's wrath? Did any get away? What's the current situation? And what happened with Bucky? Is he okay? Has he called? Did his railgun plan work?
>>
No. 802844 ID: 6dc8e5

>>802814
Being at odds wasn't the problem. It was that the installment plan sort of merges the psyches gradually. The conversation in stereo was actually concerning, from that perspective.
>>
No. 802848 ID: 3ce125

>>802844
My understanding was that the Old personality completely overwrites the clone's, if the process is done properly. Which it didn't, so there's a fight between the personalities, and in each case the clone's personality won because they have a stronger emotional connection to the world.
>>
No. 802870 ID: 70983e

"Has anyone heard from the fucktoy? I mean, Bucky?"
>>
No. 802879 ID: 957de7

>>802870
She'd never call him that.
>>
No. 802896 ID: 8cb228

When you see both of them, to the appropriate person, "Sam Secundus loves you." Then turn, "Sam Primus loves you." Then settle, smiling at both, "It's nice to be cared for by people you love."
>>
No. 802995 ID: be61f7

Aardvarks and secretary birds both need hugs immediately!
>>
No. 803044 ID: e5b57f

>>802995
Truer words have never been uttered.
>>
No. 803056 ID: 9a036d
File 149524560113.png - (92.45KB , 487x600 , 3-7.png )
803056

You finally manage to focus on the shapes in front of you. You reach your hand towards the shorter of the two. 
"She said...she said to tell you: she still loves you."
Dr. Spencer blanches, recoiling. "Who?"

"Sam..." you feel Annie squeeze your shoulder protectively. With monumental effort you put your hand over hers. 
The doctor staggers, sitting heavily on her step stool. "She's... she's still in there? Dr. Tran?" You nod. 
"Oh my god... Sam..." she reaches underneath her glasses to wipe away tears. 
>>
No. 803057 ID: 9a036d
File 149524564441.png - (78.99KB , 494x600 , 3-8.png )
803057

"What happened?"
Dr. Spencer sighs and sits up straight, "I treated you for some minor burns, and you probably experienced some muscular tearing but you should be alright with some rest. If you mean what happened in the battle..." She exchanges a glance with Annie. "I... think it better if the commander briefs you." 

You look for some hope from Annie; she stares at the floor, nervously plucking at a feather. 
"Bucky?"

"No word yet. He damaged their ship, but not enough to kill it. Last I heard, it was moving behind the asteroid, probably looking for him." Her voice is the lead grey of someone expecting to hear the worst; emotions bottled and buried for the coming storm.
>>
No. 803061 ID: 3ce125

>>803057
Well, we need to get eyes on the situation out there. We have shuttles. The repomen won't bother attacking an unarmed shuttle so long as it keeps its distance, because it's not a threat and they have no reason to raise the body count. If they want the shuttle to go away they'll warn the pilot before opening fire.

If we have the repomen shuttle, could we staff it with crewmen wearing their uniforms? Assuming the uniforms weren't damaged too badly in the battle. Having Annie and Sam on board "captured" would help. If we can fool them completely, we could stage a surprise boarding party. I doubt that would work though, they'd ask for a security check, or at least verbal confirmation... do we have any way of copying their voices?
>>
No. 803063 ID: 449741

>>803057
Then get the commander in here. We need to know what happened.
>>
No. 803069 ID: 91ee5f

Ask if anything is being done to help Bucky? Surely someone went out there to help him after we took care of the other repo guys that came onto the ship! Or someone at least used the Sunfish's weapons to finish off the repo guys' ship by shooting it, right?

>>803057
>"I... think it better if the commander briefs you."
"Then please bring her in here!"
>>
No. 803070 ID: 3abd97

>>803057
You hug that bird.
>>
No. 803074 ID: 70983e

Get up and find the commander. Show no weakness! Show maybe a little skin. Are you dressed?
>>
No. 803110 ID: e5b57f

>>803057
Hug them both. They really, really need it, look at the poor dears.
>>
No. 803116 ID: be61f7

Nooo, feather plucking! Hug that biiiiird!
>>
No. 803118 ID: 91ee5f

>>803110
But neither of them are deers!
>>
No. 803161 ID: 9876c4

>>803118
Which is why they're poor at it.
>>
No. 803357 ID: 15a025

Deploy the double friendship hug!
>>
No. 803374 ID: 19e865

Careful with that muscle tearing. Hug the crap out of that bird anyway
>>
No. 803501 ID: e0adfd

Commence hug dual-binary hug mode in 3...2...1
>>
No. 803512 ID: 1e918f

That bird needs some hugging and some love
>>
No. 803571 ID: b88e47

No shit we are going to go find him or what's left of him.
>>
No. 803698 ID: 9a036d
File 149550070522.png - (89.21KB , 424x600 , 3-9.png )
803698

You push yourself up, groaning like old machinery, and flop forward onto your girlfriend's torso. You weakly loop your arms around her and clasp your hands together. You feel a pair of tender hands on your bare back as Annie leans over and cuddles you. 
You whisper into her belly fluff., "Psst. Am I naked?"
You feel her relieved breath in your ear, "Not quite. Dr. Spencer was worried she'd have to defibrillate when we brought you in."
You spend a long moment like this, gathering strength from one another. 
>>
No. 803699 ID: 9a036d
File 149550071220.png - (133.18KB , 727x800 , 3-10.png )
803699

You feel a sigh ripple through her, "What do we do now?"
"I want to talk to commander Feist. Am I okay to leave?"
Dr. Spencer nods and together they help you out of bed. "Whatever they used wasn't designed to kill, but you're going to be sore for a while. We... don't have much in the way of painkillers, unfortunately. We have an old neural uplink collar we use sometimes for surgery, but it's no good for long term care."
You stoop down and give the doctor a hug as well, "Thank you."

She seem surprised but hugs you a little uncertainly, "Can you just tell Dr. Tran... I still love her too...?"
>>
No. 803700 ID: 9a036d
File 149550071744.png - (115.41KB , 600x584 , 3-11.png )
803700

They lead you out of the room on wobbly legs into a small foyer. The other doctor, Dr. Kent if you remember right, is there discharging a security guard who you last saw with several gaping holes in his chest. 
"Take these iron supplements and I want you on double protein rations for the next couple days. Come back in 6 hours and I'll check your blood pressure again."
Dr. Kent spots you and scoffs.
"Huh…. It really is you. Fucking hell…"
He works his jaw for several seconds: opening and closing it as he tries to speak.
"You know… I had… hundreds of years to plan, to rehearse what I'd say if I saw you again. Now that you're here… was it worth it?"
>>
No. 803706 ID: 3ce125

>>803700
Tell him you don't really know, since you're kindof sharing this body with Dr Tran and don't have access to her memories. He can complain about her to you if he wants. Immortality seems like a good idea though in principle?

Not sure we have time to talk right now, though. Can we get a shuttle out to the asteroid?
>>
No. 803714 ID: 3abd97

>Now that you're here… was it worth it?
Keep it simple, but honest.

"I honestly don't know. I'm a flake. Missing most of Dr. Tran's memories most of the time, sorry."

"Do you think it was?"
>>
No. 803716 ID: 094652

That's on your mother, not you. You're just the clone her corporate fanboys built to mind@#$% all her secret potential out of.

But honestly? No, you don't think your mother's motive was a justifiable risk. It just happened to be the one your mother thought was psychologically inclined to happen. And it didn't, so that's that.

Now, civilization hasn't crumbled and syndicates rule the galaxy, so now is a good time to get this ship colonized. Reverse-engineer the pinch-drive tech from whatever technology the bounty hunters had, then find a planet and build a city already.

BTW where are those @#$%s anyhow?
>>
No. 803721 ID: 1e7aa8

"Couldn't answer that one even if I wanted to. I'm a clone of Doctor Tram without her Memories, personality or skillset." Give him a few seconds to process that.

"What happened to the repomen?"
>>
No. 803728 ID: e6e9af

>>803700

Plain and simple: "It didn't go according to plan. I'm just Sam, not Dr. Tran."
>>
No. 803729 ID: 70983e

>>803700
>Threesomes at the speed of light all the way here.

"Yes." *wink wink*
>>
No. 803740 ID: f01501

>>803700
"Is it ever, doctor?"
>>
No. 803757 ID: 8cb228

"I might be able to pass a message or question or comment to her. You know, when meditating. The memories and personality are technically there... mostly. Just walled off. Anything you want me to tell her when I'm in an appropriately altered state of mind?"
>>
No. 803814 ID: 8d4593

Let me get back to you on that...
>>
No. 803836 ID: b88e47

"I'm not the original. There are sort of imprints. Not enough to make sense of. You'd have to ask them."
>>
No. 803964 ID: bb78f2

>>803700
Getting out of a clone production lab with two lovers was worth it, even if that WAS technically planned by the bad guys. Hot, polygamous sex is always worth it.

Getting here? Naw. Well, it closes some open chapter's in Old Sam's life and there's potential for a brighter future for all of us, so... maybe? We DO need to get you all to a new home, life on a space station is permanently sustainable.
>>
No. 804048 ID: 9a036d
File 149559368107.png - (109.28KB , 600x525 , 3-12.png )
804048

"I wouldn't know, I'm just a clone. She's in here somewhere, but I'm in charge."

He sputters, "Oh? A clone? How convenient! Welcome aboard Dr. 'My invention is too good for this world' by proxy!"

Dr. Spencer steps in front of him and tries to defuse things. "Kent, hold on. This isn't Sam's fault..."

"Sam? Which Sam? Because the Samantha Tran I knew condemned my process, bastardized it, and sold it right back to the investors to 'protect the world' from her invention. This Sam is nothing more than living proof of her spineless hypocrisy!"
>>
No. 804049 ID: 9a036d
File 149559368664.png - (122.26KB , 600x541 , 3-13.png )
804049

Pinpricks tickle your arm as Annie flexes her talons. You can hear the venom boiling in her throat as she growls, "Your process?"
>>
No. 804051 ID: 70983e

Peck his eyes out! They'll grow back, eventually.
>>
No. 804053 ID: 3ce125

>>804049
Try to calm Annie down while telling Dr Kent that he should shut his beak if he doesn't want to spend more time regenerating than the patient he just treated. We'll find out more information from Dr Spencer.

Like how it was "bastardized", and what, exactly the original process did.
>>
No. 804054 ID: 3abd97

>>804049
Let Annie go off on him a little, but reign her in before it gets violent.

>spineless hypocrisy
Quiet, hard.

I don't think she consented to it. To me.
>>
No. 804056 ID: e5b57f

>>804049

Let's deploy some advanced Annie-soothing techniques, and then try to validate Dr. Kent's feelings. He's bitter and hurt and angry, and trying to confront that head-on can only make things worse.

Acknowledge his pain, tell him you can only imagine how he feels, and ask him to explain more. I bet he's not really had anyone to talk to about this before, and it probably eats at him.
>>
No. 804060 ID: 094652

Explain that her goal was to muddle the project in corporate backstabbing and gross marketing assumptions. She hoped that the documentation would be edited into a jumbled bureaucratic mess of flat-earth assumptions and farfetched sci-fi goals, so it would never be taken seriously by those who could seize it and would never be used by those who had it.

Obviously, that didn't stop the corporation that made you from succeeding. Then they mass-produced the clones, rewrote their memories over decades, and systematically tortured them into giving up their secrets or working on their projects. What they've done to the Sunfish is a fraction of what they plan to do with all that cloned brainpower and knowledge.

So congratulations. You AND Samantha @#$%ed up, whoop-de-doo. Can we agree that we're treading a fine line between a revolution and total galactic enslavement?
>>
No. 804065 ID: bb78f2

>>804048
Annie, he's just a common scientist. They don't think about long-term or personal consequences ever, just about what they can do with science.

In all fairness, Spencer, we've lived through your process if you're the one that invented the weird fake immortality through cloning and memory injections, and Old Sam was right, it's inhumane. At least from our perspective. It reproduces an old consciousness at the consequence of killing a new one. We're victims of it.

We don't really GIVE a shit if Old Sam's a hypocrite. That fact is irrelevant to us. It's a horrible thing that you invented and we have the right to say that because we would have died had it been completed. What do you have to say your process's victims? Not just the ones in front of you that managed to escape, but to all the ones that are losing themselves right now lightyears away?

Don't give me any horseshit about how we wouldn't be alive without it and the precious time we did have. Frankly, we would rather never had been born, and depending on how souls and consciousnesses actually do come into the world we could have happened onto more fortunate lives, but that's a metaphysical debate, which you probably have no interest in.
>>
No. 804083 ID: e5b57f

Okay why am I the only person here who seems to pay attention to the fact that Sam is super chill and diplomatic?

Like - encouraging violence and accusing people of insane conspiracies seems like the most un-Sam behavior.

And, also - here's a great opportunity for that delicious exposition that we all love so much. I think we should be encouraging it, not shutting it down
>>
No. 804092 ID: 449741

>>804049
"Annie, he means the immortality."

While we're not the Sam he's mad at, I feel like some of his indignation is justified. While we don't know the full story of what happened on the ship, he doesn't know what happened on Earth after the ship left, and a clone of Dr. Tran just popped up after several hundred years claiming to have a copy of the mind of the original Dr. Tran in her head. While nobody has the complete picture, this *does not look good*.

We might have to consider the possibility that Old Sam wasn't exactly a good person after all.
>>
No. 804102 ID: be61f7

Deploy Annie soothing and try to talk it out with Kent. Let him rant if we have to. These people are the only potential allies we have.

Don't be stupid. Don't be hateful. Be the Sam we know you are.
>>
No. 804229 ID: 9a036d
File 149567213209.png - (86.36KB , 600x474 , 3-14.png )
804229

"Annie, lets not..." you put yourself between her and the doctor, "look at me, Annie."
Reluctantly she tears her blazing gaze away from Dr. Kent. 

"We never asked to be made, doctor. And from what it sounds like, neither did Dr. Tran. It seems that she was cloned without her permission, and allowed me to escape as an individual."

He huffs, "Hmph, never would have happened if we had just had more time..."

"What's that supposed to mean? You're talking about the installment plans, right? You invented them?"
>>
No. 804230 ID: 9a036d
File 149567214020.png - (102.71KB , 600x600 , 3-15.png )
804230

"Total body replacement therapy."Dr. Kent sighs, "Had we finished, we could have managed to keep the clone templates in suspended animation while they developed. There would have been no need for... recalcitrant bodies." Annie takes a step closer and he rolls his eyes at her. "Don't give me that. I've seen your handiwork, very professional but I'm afraid you couldn't put me down for long."

Annie snarls at him, "You're a monster..."

Kent glares back, "Says the pot to the kettle. Only because she made me one, my dear. Frankly, Dr. Tran's project was insane and dangerous and never would have been allowed under normal circumstances."
>>
No. 804231 ID: 9a036d
File 149567214885.png - (72.46KB , 600x467 , 3-16.png )
804231

"But it worked." Dr. Spencer's voice cuts through him, disarming centuries of scarred ego with three words. 
>>
No. 804233 ID: 3ce125

>>804231
Well it's certainly more comprehensive than transplanting your memories into clone bodies, regardless if the clones are given a chance to develop their own identities. Immortality instead of eternal youth and immunity to disease.

I'd like to ask how Dr Tran "bastardized" the body replacement technology, but we really should get going. Gotta check on Bucky.
>>
No. 804234 ID: 3abd97

>I'm afraid you couldn't put me down for long
Launch him from the ship at escape velocity, aimed at the sun.

Even if the treatment keeps him alive in hard vacuum, eventually he gets incinerated.

Wait what do you mean that wasn't a challenge to find a workaround.

>what say
I... think we can agree there are serious problems with both technologies their creators didn't intend?

(Most diplomatic way I can think to put it).
>>
No. 804236 ID: 143250

Lets leave it at that, and walk away.
>>
No. 804237 ID: 7b7ab3

"Regenerate from that, doc."
Posse out.
>>
No. 804238 ID: 764231

>>804237
oh shit that'd be a cool line
i don't think we're trying to be antagonistic, though
>>
No. 804240 ID: 449741

Okay, I see what's up now. It looks like Old Sam took Dr. Kent's research/pet project and gave it to the Benefactors after the Sunfish left in an incomplete form. We don't know why she did that, but we can't our and Annie's anger at Kent designing the process in the first place/smugness at Spencer cutting him down to let us distract us from the fact that he didn't set it in motion. It was Old Sam.

We need to find out from Kent why she might have done that, and how she could have done so in the first place.
>>
No. 804241 ID: 449741

>>804240
* ave it to the Benefactors in an incomplete form after the Sunfish left.
>>
No. 804243 ID: fc33ea

>>804240
It was a stalling tactic so the research here could go on in secret.
>>
No. 804266 ID: e5b57f

>>804231

We mentioned that we need to talk to Feist, so we should probably prioritize that.

Also, bring Dr. Spencer. She can vouch for us in case of any awkwardness and it seems that she knows the Sunfish - and its inhabitants - extremely well.

and oh my god she is just too adorable
>>
No. 804279 ID: 7b3f54

Don't let his gruff demeanor throw you; Dr. Kent has a point. You have the right to be pissed at Dr. Tran too, Sam. As noble as it is that she hid the true immortality process from those rich fucks, Old Sam still gave them the process to grow clone bodies, and overwrite their minds with the original. She gave the unscrupulous wealthy the means to stay in power, forever. Every clone who was ever wiped, she gave the Benefactors the power to do it, knowing that they would use that power to kill you, Bucky, Annie, and every other flake who ever lived.

So uh, please don't screw up that badly again. Introducing a corrupt society to murder cloning is not an acceptable solution to anything.
>>
No. 804337 ID: 70e7e8

Mention Dr. Tran didn't want it to be perfected. The only thing worse than a tyrant is an immortal one.
>>
No. 804397 ID: 449741

>>804337
I think he was referring to the Installment Program with that statement.
>>
No. 804399 ID: 094652

>Vat-grown bodies
That doesn't make it any less exploitable. Right now, there are likely dozens of clones of Dr. Kent being re-written, interrogated, and tortured, just because their father invented cloning. That's right, a bunch of insufferable geniuses who fully understand Kent because they ARE Kent are being raped to death and it's his fault. Unless, of course, he could somehow develop a universal sterilizer that would kill every suffering clone in the entire universe of a person who is still alive. Could you, Dr. Kent?

... I thought so.
>>
No. 804405 ID: e5b57f

>>804399

I respect you and your torture fetish (not one to kinkshame), but... is this really the appropriate place?
>>
No. 804407 ID: a5e887

"This arguing is pointless. Dr Samantha Tram isn't here right now to debate you and I'd like to know what happened after I was knocked out during the fighting."
>>
No. 804440 ID: 8cb228

>>804405
Didja mean to give that, uh, username?
>>
No. 804456 ID: e5b57f

>>804440
?
>>
No. 804617 ID: 9a036d
File 149585121045.png - (72.86KB , 600x445 , 3-17.png )
804617

"Look, you have a point: Dr. Tran's actions led to the development of a system where people like Annie and I have to live in fear of being captured and erased. But she isn't here to explain her actions and as much as I'd like to debate ancient history with you, we need to go get caught up on the situation." 
Kent grumbles something about getting back to work and you follow Dr. Spencer into the foyer.
>>
No. 804618 ID: 9a036d
File 149585121788.png - (112.01KB , 600x600 , 3-18.png )
804618

Reed is manning the reception desk with a nervous look on his face. Commander Feist sits up as you enter. 

"Oh good, you're awake. Feeling better?"

"Still sore...What happened?" 

She sighs, drumming her fingers on the handle of her sword. "Three of the 'repo-men' managed to escape using the same technology that they used to attack you. One..." you notice her eyes flick sideways at Annie, "was killed in the process. We're keeping the body in cryo while we examine it." 

"And the crew?"

"Nothing that won't heal. Thanks to your help, we were able to keep any vulnerable personnel out of harms way. If we hadn't been alerted to your presence, I fear we would have been taken completely by surprise. We believe The remaining agents are still on the ship and currently working to capture them."
>>
No. 804620 ID: e5b57f

>>804618

We need to make a note to talk to Annie to see if she's okay... killing someone isn't ever easy, and if she's never done it before, then it's probably much much worse.
>>
No. 804621 ID: 3ce125

>>804618
Tell them they need to keep security especially tight around anything that has to do with the immortality research.
Oh hey it's Reed. Hi Reed!

Ask if they have a shuttle they can spare to check on Bucky and his battle with the enemy ship.
>>
No. 804624 ID: bb78f2

Invading a ship like this with only that many forces is practically a suicide mission, especially if they're even slightly aware about the whole regen thing. I wonder what their backup plan is.

Bucky's railgun blast probably disrupted the first backup plan, so they're probably going for the backup backup plan while they maybe wait for backup. The NEXT ship that comes in, we'll probably have to commandeer somehow. We need to prepare more for that event.

And keep a headcount of every person currently awake. They may be able to reverse engineer the regen effect if they manage to kidnap even one of you and scurry off into space without us even knowing. I highly suggest a tracker system of sorts and higher security on cryo.
>>
No. 804625 ID: e6e9af

>>804618

Wondering which of the twins is hiding under the desk with Reed right now...
>>
No. 804628 ID: 3abd97

There's totally a mouse blowing that deer under the counter.

>>804618
Well, that's good, I guess. Wish three hadn't gotten away.

Any news from outside? What the ships are doing?

>>804620
I don't think it's her first kill. It was at least implied we've killed prior teams sent after us.
>>
No. 804635 ID: 91ee5f

>>804618
Ask if she knows what happened to Bucky on the asteroid and if the plan to use the asteroid's rail guns succeeded or not.
>>
No. 804757 ID: 8d4593

>There's totally a mouse blowing that deer under the counter.
Huh.
So there is.
>>
No. 804758 ID: fc33ea

Well, it could be worse. Anyway we couldn't stay hidden for long, they won't be able to either.
>>
No. 804775 ID: 15a025

Ask if they know about if Bucky's okay?
>>
No. 804867 ID: d36af7

>>804624
>Invading a ship like this with only that many forces is practically a suicide mission, especially if they're even slightly aware about the whole regen thing.
They might not have been expecting the Sunfish to be here at all, or know anything about it. Once they followed the Starlette into the system, if they're pure mercenaries, it's a choice between going after the objective with whatever resources they've already got, and maybe getting paid right away, or running off to fetch reinforcements or more intel and maybe losing the trail.

What sort of external sensors does the Sunfish have? What sort of heavy equipment? If you somehow happened to stumble across two crunched-up modern FTL drives, and wanted to reassemble the scrap into a working one, what tools would you need?
>>
No. 804886 ID: e6e9af

>>804618
>>804867

Well, let's consider:

- They failed to capture Sam or Annie
- Bucky fended off a drone (?) and wrecked their ship
- Holy shit that's a lot of resistance
- Limited use of lethal force

Insofar it seems like they jumped into something WAY gnarlier than they thought it would be and got the hell out after they lost their ship *and* their targets -- and that's provided they weren't just after Sam. They might make another attempt just for revenge, but with everything but the Sunfish out of commission, they're definitely up against really bad odds. While they're technologically superior and seem to have better firepower, they're now 3 guys against a whole ship that they're unfamiliar with.

I think we might be OK for now, but keeping up security and flushing them out should remain a priority.
>>
No. 805095 ID: 9a036d
File 149610885322.png - (80.73KB , 421x600 , 3-19.png )
805095

"Any word on Bucky, our pilot?"

Commander Feist closes her eyes and squares her shoulders, "Our latest intel is that two sets of wreckage have been spotted drifting in opposite directions. We've seen no sign of your pilot. I'm sorry..."
>>
No. 805096 ID: 9a036d
File 149610885863.png - (157.90KB , 431x600 , 3-20.png )
805096

Your knees go out from under you and Annie catches you under the armpits. 

"Sam! Come on, girl! Don't do this!"

Your head feels numb and full of noise, your heart hurts, "Bucky...?"
>>
No. 805097 ID: 9a036d
File 149610887057.png - (120.11KB , 600x459 , 3-21.png )
805097

Annie shakes you a little, dragging you to your feet. "Come back to me, Sam! He's wearing an uplink, remember? He might still be out there!" She's yelling now, filling your vision. "The uplink? He's piloted remotely dozens of times. Its gonna be okay. We will find him."

Something inside you nods distantly. "...find him..." your voice is weak but there's a flame of hope. 

Feist stays at arms length but with a look of respectful patience. "Dachell, our chief engineer is planning an expedition to the asteroid to assess the severed umbilical cable. We'd like to use the opportunity to help you search for him."
>>
No. 805099 ID: 3ce125

>>805097
Yes, please.
>>
No. 805100 ID: 3abd97

>>805097
"I... okay. Thank you."

Across the room: deer boner suddenly killed as collateral damage.
>>
No. 805101 ID: 143250

please... do that...
I need time to think... sorry
>>
No. 805108 ID: 91ee5f

>>805097
>He's piloted remotely dozens of times.
>the asteroid
"Yes, of course, you're right! Bucky must've known that something might happen to the Starlette, so he was being safe and was remotely piloting the ship from the asteroid! He's there waiting for us to come and get him!"

".....wait, what if he's running out of oxygen? He might be suffocating right now! What if-"
*insert someone giving Sam a "snap out of it" slap/punch to the face here*
>>
No. 805115 ID: d36af7

There might be an even faster way to get in touch with him, actually: sling a cheap radio repeater out to where it can see the far side of the asteroid. No air in space means signals don't go around corners without help, and some dinky little helmet comm can't push radio waves through a massive stone wall.
>>
No. 805144 ID: be0718

It's okay Sam, we can clone more.
>>
No. 805165 ID: e6e9af

>>805097

The asteroid ...! That's where he was going, right? To find us new suits after ours were taken! Maybe he's still in there and they shot up our ship after realizing we weren't on it? He got that warning off somehow, maybe he's hiding inside of it.

Trying not to meta-game here, tempting as it is~
>>
No. 805200 ID: 9a036d
File 149619546505.png - (150.33KB , 700x388 , 3-22.png )
805200

You take a few breaths to stabilize yourself and nod. "Okay, we're in."

Feist hesitates, "Are you sure? Do you need more time to recover?"

"No, let's do this. We need to get him before his O2 runs out." 

"Very well. Dachelle was just examining the equipment we salvaged off of the dead scout, she should still be in Cryo." The commander walks over to a larger, sturdier looking door in the foyer and places her palm against a panel. The scanner takes several seconds to verify her ID and the door slides open. 

Inside is a darker, colder chamber, lined with insulated pipes. The far end of the chamber is sealed with a  frost coated bulkhead. A window looks in on a white, sterile exam room in which the chief engineer is busy with a number of devices. A figure lays stretched on a long table, covered by a sheet. You feel the bones in your hand suddenly crunch together as Annie's grip tightens. Outwardly she looks calm, trying to remain the strong one, but you sense a rising panic within. 
>>
No. 805201 ID: 3ce125

No need to watch this. Turn around. Tell Annie thanks for saving you.

Ask Feist if she knew Dr Tran very well.
>>
No. 805202 ID: 3abd97

>>805200
Squeeze back, hard as you can (even though that's less than she can). Wrap your tail around her leg too. Non-verbal reassurance.
>>
No. 805218 ID: 91ee5f

>>805200
Well, let's take a look at the dead repo guy's stuff and see if there's anything we can use. Some extra O2 canisters or whatever they are, will be helpful if Bucky is going to be running low on O2 when we go to get him.
>>
No. 805219 ID: 91ee5f

>>805218
Or the dead repo guy might have something on him that'll help track the other 3 repo guys that are still hiding somewhere on the Sunfish!
>>
No. 805339 ID: 9a036d
File 149627823843.png - (87.19KB , 600x551 , 3-23.png )
805339

You give Annie a squeeze back and the pressure relents.
"Sorry." She dips her head and you feel blood rush back into your fingers. Even without the death grip, you can feel her muscles shrieking like violin strings under tension. It takes a second to dawn on you: she's scared. Scared in a way you've never seen before. Her eye flickers down to look at you for a second before snapping forward to look at the scene again.
>>
No. 805340 ID: 9a036d
File 149627824490.png - (132.40KB , 700x500 , 3-24.png )
805340

Feist leans forward and knocks on the glass. Dachelle looks up and acknowledges you, exposing some of the equipment she was looking at. 
A helmet
A coat
Some gloves
A shield pack with two spent charges
A cornergun with several magazines
A grappling gun
An auto-injector that appears to be unlabeled
An object you don't recognize

Choose 2 to ask about
>>
No. 805342 ID: 1e7aa8

Ask about the unrecognized object and the auto-injector.

Wrap an arm around Annie, she clearly needs the moral support
>>
No. 805343 ID: 3abd97

>>805342
Yeah, those two.

You might be able to figure out the injector if you tapped your inner Sam for help.
>>
No. 805344 ID: bb78f2

>>805340
Ooooh shit I forgot how adorable Dachelle was.
So cute.
Unreconized item and Helmet
Helmet probably does cool shit

Then again dual wield grapples is OP
No ass you can't grab
>>
No. 805346 ID: 91ee5f

We need to be careful here, those things might give a nasty electrical shock to anyone that doesn't have a matching fingerprint and/or DNA scan to the repo guy it belonged to! Or worse, it self-destructs in a large blast radius!
>>
No. 805347 ID: 0b99d7

>>805340
Helmet and unidentified object.
You guys have dealt with Repo men before, surely you know how to make use of an item that probably has access to comms and other HUD stuff they use.
And learning new things is useful too.
>>
No. 805354 ID: 3ce125

>>805340
auto-injector is probably some combat stim.

Ask about the unknown object and the helmet.
>>
No. 805374 ID: 7d88bd

>>805342
I think the idea that Annie is connected to the repomen may have some merit to it.
Is that why shes scared?
>>
No. 805375 ID: 449741

>>805374
>yfw Old Annie was a Repoman herself
>yfw this dead one has a bird helmet
>>
No. 805384 ID: d36af7

Ask about helmet (because it probably has comms and other stuff important enough to be worth space and mass close to the brain), and mystery gizmo (because mystery).

Any chance of swapping out our busted grappler for the one that probably still works? Already know how to use it, might be a lifesaver on the upcoming spacewalk.
>>
No. 805387 ID: 094652

Ask about what they expect can be reverse-engineered, what components are required, and how long it will take. They're professionals, you need an army to take them on.
>>
No. 805404 ID: be0718

Injector and helmet.
>>
No. 805430 ID: f36501

Helmet and mystery object.
>>
No. 805462 ID: e6e9af

>>805339

Medical phobia ...? I cannot recall, was Annie with us when we spoke to the doctor?

Hmmm ... I'm more interested in asking Annie what's wrong right now. I think the other objects can wait a moment longer.
>>
No. 805537 ID: 315280

Ask about the helmet and the mistery
>>
No. 805538 ID: fc33ea

>>805462
I'm not entirely sure if I'm right, but I think Anne killed that dude.
>>
No. 805542 ID: 3ce125

>>805538
What, the repoman? Of course she did.

...Annie has killed repomen before, right?
>>
No. 805546 ID: 3abd97

>...Annie has killed repomen before, right?

>>/questarch/766180
>Robin: "Fuckin hell, that was cool! Where do I get one of those?"
>Annie: "Off a dead repo-man."

Doesn't flat out say it, but strongly implied, yeah.

(Although, some or all of her kills might belong to the other Annie).
>>
No. 805590 ID: e6e9af

>>805538
>>805542
>>805546

Hmm, so she's definitely killed people before, and everyone she has spoken to is familiar. And looking back, yeah, no trouble when Dr. Spencer was around.

We gotta ask Annie why she's so rattled right now. Other than our episode a few moments ago, we've never seen her like that before. Scared, sure, but never this shaken.
>>
No. 805591 ID: 91ee5f

>>805590
She's probably blaming herself for letting Sam get zapped by that repo guy. And she's probably scared at how close she came to losing Sam.
>>
No. 805596 ID: 3d2d5f

>>805591
And she's probably upset about Bucky. She's supposed to be the warrior. The protector. On top of any grief or fear or anxiety, she probably blames herself for anything happening to the people she loves.

Plus there's her former self. It may scare or disturb Annie how much she has to rely on her in a real fight, or what she's capable of. And coming from the other direction, she may blame herself for not tapping into that skill set hard enough or soon enough.
>>
No. 805653 ID: b88e47

An auto-injector that appears to be unlabeled
An object you don't recognize
>>
No. 805785 ID: 15a025

Ask about the cornergun and the object you don't recognize.
>>
No. 805787 ID: 4c47f2

I'd say helmet and unknown object.
>>
No. 805917 ID: 9a036d
File 149662492851.png - (88.67KB , 444x600 , 3-25.png )
805917

Dachelle steps out of the examination room and nods to her commander. 

"What do we have, Dachelle?" 

She shrugs, "some of it is pdretty self explanatory, but dhere's a few things I'd like more time with if possible." 

"What's that?" You say, pointing into the room. "I've never seen anything like that..."

"The disk? It appears to be somedthing remotely activated, and it's designed to sit flat on a surface. It doesn't seem to contain any explosives, but I haven't experrimented with it yet: just in case it's a mine or somedthing. All I know for sure is dthat it has a verrry larrge power sourrce for somedthing so small."

"What about the helmet? Can you tell me anything about what you've learned?"

She sucks in her breath and scratches under her chin in the way mechanically inclined people do when trying to simplify something insanely technical. "Thaaat is one compllicated piece of tech. It could take me months to unpack everydthing it has onboarrd, and that's not taking into account security llockouts. It's got an indtegrated neural uplink, but way more advanced than anything I've worked with. DThere's multiple cameras, providing full 360 degree awareness as well as tarrgeting systems and rangefinders. Unfortunately with the damage it's sustained, I wouldn't trrust it in a vacuum, but… it's odtherwise functional." 

She folds her arms, "If you lleave these with me I'll do my best to rrepair and examine them. But if you dthink anydthing might be useful, you should take it with you."

Annie and Sam can both take an item each.
>>
No. 805918 ID: 9a036d
File 149662493359.png - (78.31KB , 600x600 , 3-26.png )
805918

You nudge Annie, "You okay? Do we need to talk?"

She ruffles her feathers, "I-… I'm fine. I'm just going to step outside for a bit." She gives your hand another squeeze and exits back into the infirmary.

Dachelle and Commander Feist exchange a look as she leaves. They look a little less tense with Annie gone, but uncomfortable nevertheless.
>>
No. 805921 ID: 3ce125

Grab that cornergun. The grapple is still great and we should take the replacement. The bent-up one can be repaired later, I expect.
>>
No. 805922 ID: e6e9af

>>805918

>Dachelle and Commander Feist exchange a look as she leaves. They look a little less tense with Annie gone, but uncomfortable nevertheless.

... wait, did she go berserk while we were out?
>>
No. 805924 ID: 91ee5f

>>805922
I think it's obvious she did. I mean, if someone you care about was hurt in front of you, wouldn't you also go berserk? I know I would!
>>
No. 805932 ID: be0718

Sam: Some combat gloves. Robust.
Annie: Several magazines. ...And the gun, I guess.

Do you still have the welding tape, or are the patches on Annie's bum all you have left?
>>
No. 805933 ID: bb78f2

A cornergun would be useful for now, I think Bucky has the otherone and I don't know about our current weapons, only tools. I don't know if we can take everything or only two, it's vague.

Let Dachelle play with the dangerous unknown stuff. This isn't Diablo with scrolls of identification and we can always come back later when she figures it out.
>>
No. 806006 ID: d36af7

Grappling hook because it would obviously be useful out in microgravity, and coat as an extra layer of armor over a suit.
>>
No. 806011 ID: 29f3da

Que the flashback!
What... happened?
>>
No. 806014 ID: 3ce125

Maybe she's worried about Old Annie taking over. Maybe she let her out a little during the fight...
>>
No. 806052 ID: e5b57f

>>805918

Yikes. She doesn't look or sound fine. I think we should go and talk to her - successfully finding Bucky is going to require that we're all totally focused, and if there's something eating at her, we need to talk about it now, instead of out there where it could be catastrophic.


(Also, from an admittedly metagamey standpoint, Toxo has shown that he likes having things we've forgotten about come back to bite us, and this seems like the exact sort of thing that could do that.)
>>
No. 806150 ID: be61f7

I think it's very likely that when Annie saw us hurt, she went ballistic and attacked. The repoman who zapped us probably got curbstomped to death by secretarybird stompy powers.

The crew of the Sunfish is effectively immortal, and they can shrug off even very serious injuries, like being shot multiple times in the torso at close range. Death is effectively unknown here, and watching Annie end the repoman's life probably really affected them, hence the unease.

I don't think it's just having to kill to protect her loved ones that has Annie on edge, though. She's afraid to confront her past, which seems like it could involve the repomen. Perhaps she used to be one of them.

What's most important is that Annie knows we love -her-, and who she used to be doesn't matter to us. Rather than pry, we should let her talk when she's ready, but she needs to know that we're there for her.
>>
No. 806182 ID: e5b57f

Helmet and grappling gun.
>>
No. 806191 ID: be61f7

Also, take the grappler and the helmet.
>>
No. 806210 ID: 7d8168

Uh, with this mood I'm not really in a good headspace for inventory management. Can we maybe get a rain check or something?
>>
No. 806425 ID: 9a036d
File 149679693934.png - (85.16KB , 466x600 , 3-27.png )
806425

"Okay, what happened while I was out? Everyone is acting weird..." you demand.


Dachelle shifts uncomfortably and Feist clears her throat. "...after you went down..."
>>
No. 806426 ID: 9a036d
File 149679694351.png - (120.19KB , 600x491 , 3-28.png )
806426

>>
No. 806427 ID: 9a036d
File 149679694783.png - (56.12KB , 387x600 , 3-29.png )
806427

"...she fought like someone possessed. No regard for her own safety, only a single minded bloodlust. The others... disappeared after they learned one of their own had been killed." Feist glares at the shrouded figure.


It sounds like Annie woke up her old self, something you've only personally seen twice. Each time, she needed some space while she dealt with the aftermath mentally. The process clearly unsettles her but still: you've never quite seen her like this.


"What about our stuff?"


Dachelle shrugs, "Yourr grappling gun and pushgun werre damaged, I've got someone worrking on rrepairing dthem. As much as I'd llove to have yourr tapegun you may have it back if you wish. It's been a llong time since we've had access to nanoweave mesh. "
>>
No. 806428 ID: 9a036d
File 149679695426.png - (96.34KB , 600x624 , 3-30.png )
806428

The commander leads you into the makeshift morgue. The room is cold, bright and smells of leaking meat. You try to stand with your back to the shrouded body but keep peeking at it over your shoulder.


"We should take what we need before heading out." Feist examines the equipment with a calculating eye.


You pick up the grappling gun, perfect for a space rescue. You also reach over and pick up the corner gun; it's heavier than it looks, even with the polycarbonate frame.


The commander cocks an eyebrow, "You sure that's a good idea?"


"It's for Annie, she knows how to shoot better than me."


"You trust her, then..."


You nod, "You don't know her like I do. "
>>
No. 806429 ID: 9a036d
File 149679695962.png - (85.61KB , 459x600 , 3-31.png )
806429

Her hand falls to the handle of her sword and she paces around, stopping behind the corpse. "Do you know why I carry a weapon?"

When you don't answer she continues, "It's to remind myself every day of my duty to protect this ship, and of the sacrifices we've made to keep ourselves and our secret safe. It is a burden I've carried for centuries; you have no idea how heavy it has been."


You follow her gaze down to the head, its features obscured by clean white fabric. "If you trust Annie with that burden, I want you to ask yourself: how well do you know her?"
>>
No. 806433 ID: e5b57f

>>805375
D: D: D:

>>806429

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES LOOK UNDER THAT SHEET
>>
No. 806435 ID: 3abd97

>>806429
>I want you to ask yourself: how well do you know her?
"You've seen her at her worst. I've seen her at her best.

"I know her and Bucky better than I know anyone, and I trust them both with my life.

"...of course the burden of being flakes is none of us know ourselves as well as we wish."
>>
No. 806438 ID: 3ce125

>>806429
What would she suggest then? Simply hope we don't encounter the repomen again? Would she think it better if Annie killed another one while unarmed, instead of with a gun? If Annie had a gun during that fight I doubt the other repomen would still be alive, and we wouldn't need the gun now. Their shield charges are useful against single projectiles, not so much against a hail of bullets.

But I mean, if she'd prefer one of the Sunfish security officers to have the gun while guarding us, by all means take it. That'd be about as good.

Also what the fuck else are we going to take? Almost nothing else is known to be useful aside from the helmet, which might have some security program in it meant to harm unauthorized users. It also makes whoever's wearing it look like a repoman, which could incite friendly fire.

The shield pack feels like a waste since it has only one charge left.
We don't know what the suit or gloves do. We don't know what the injector or unknown item does.
I guess we could take the injector and hope that it's some kind of painkiller or coagulant, that kind of emergency medical thing? I guess if it was a combat stim they would've used it already, and if it were a sedative they would've used it on Sam.

I guess instead of the gun we could take the injector, since it's likely going to be useful if Bucky is hurt (and he kindof is).
>>
No. 806439 ID: e5b57f

I believe that Feist is trying to say that if we know Annie as well as we think we do, then the last thing we'd do is put the burden of carrying a firearm on her.

She's saying that it's a terrible thing to do to someone.
>>
No. 806440 ID: 4c47f2

I have my suspicions, given the shape of the helmet, what we know of Annie, and knowing that the Repo men has access to cloning and mind imprinting tech.

I'm not sure if I want to know for certain, but regardless I trust Annie. The Annie I know at least. Given that we're flakes there's a side I don't know as well.

Mentally prepare yourself, then have a look under the sheet.
>>
No. 806442 ID: 3ce125

>>806433
You should just come out and say it:
Annie's a repoman soldier clone. Obviously. It was obvious the instant we saw the group of repomen, since they're all birds, and of course a group capable of cloning people would weaponize that technology. The only odd part is that they were different heights. Maaaybe they were genetically tweaked so as to have different capabilities? Or just given different nutrition.


There is one valid worry though. Does Annie find it harder each time to put the soldier back in the box? In that case we'd want to keep her out of combat, despite her being good at it.
>>
No. 806445 ID: 91ee5f

>>806429
"If you're going to dramatically pull back that sheet and reveal that Repo guy looks like Annie, then don't bother. I already know that Annie is a clone of one of those guys."
>>
No. 806446 ID: e2566d

She's from Repo stock.
That doesn't make her Repo.
She's Annie. Period.
Everything else is just noise and smoke.
>>
No. 806448 ID: be0718

What if the Repomen are a clone army?

Oof, that thought's not going away now. Look under the sheet, to reassure yourself it's not true. That can't be another Annie under there.

Besides, Feist, I'm a scientist. That means I solve problems. Not problems like "What is duty," because that would fall within the conundrums of your philosophy. I solve practical problems. For instance, how am I gonna keep some mean mother hubbard from tearing me a structurally superfluous new behind?
The answer, is a gun.
>>
No. 806449 ID: e5b57f

>>806445

How would Sam know this?

Like - we know. But assuming Sam knows is metagaming.
>>
No. 806457 ID: 3abd97

>>806449
I mean, Sam and Bucky and Annie did break out of a cloning facility before.

And it's been strongly implied they killed other repo men who came after them.

Plus, you know, Annie has had some contact with her Old's memories, and not every fictional character suffers from can't-talk-about-your-problems-with-your-loved-ones-itis.

It's not implausible Sam might already know.
>>
No. 806462 ID: 6dc8e5

>>806449
well, to be perfectly accurate, Sam very well MIGHT know this, and we DON'T. Sam has years of history with Annie, and all we have is a set of observations that fit a theory.
>>
No. 806469 ID: 526ec4

>>806449
Could be changed from "I already know" to just suspecting it.
>>
No. 806472 ID: e5b57f

What good could possibly come from seeing the love of your life dead in front of you!?

To see their face, cold and lifeless, reduced to just an imitation of the person you know. Everything looking wrong and horrible and... and... yeah.

Every time Sam would look at Annie after, she wouldn't be able to help but see her dead.

That's the kind of shit that gives you PTSD and ruins relationships.
>>
No. 806473 ID: bb78f2

>>806429
I've been with that Annie almost her entire life. The only person besides Bucky who could know her better is herself.

I know little to none about Old Annie, and I'm still discovering shit about Old Sam, so I don't hold that against her nor does it make me lose trust in her. Possibly losing ourselves to our Old Incarnations is something we realize everyday, but I will always trust that Annie with my life, as long as she doesn't betray it. Nothing in her past life, or even in the past of her current life will make me lose that, because none of it affected the me today.

Perhaps I shouldn't trust Old Annie. Because I don't know her. But until the day she actually takes over, she's still my Annie.
>>
No. 806520 ID: be61f7

1. Each time Old-Sam/Old-Annie is called upon, it gets harder to come back.

2. Annie seems more profoundly affected by calling on Old Annie than Sam is calling on Old Sam.

3. We just learned that Annie had to call on Old Annie to kill the Repoman.

Sam loves Annie, and we shouldn't treat her like a weapon. Planning to continue to do this to Annie is the wrong choice. Take the grapple thing and the helmet for their utility (especially to save Bucky), and lay low in a fight. We have practical immortals on our side if things get dicey again.
>>
No. 806527 ID: e5b57f

>>806520

Yeah. That's the problem with /quest/ sometimes. The pathological aversion to taking any sort of risk extends to a desire to view loved ones as disposable shields.
>>
No. 806715 ID: 9a036d
File 149688581998.png - (111.71KB , 600x502 , 3-32.png )
806715

"Whatever you think you know, we can handle it, commander." You brace yourself for the worst and pull the sheet aside. 

You stare at the thing on the table for a long time trying to comprehend it. You know what you're seeing; every tragically familiar detail etching itself into your mind but something fundamental has gone wrong. You feel as though inside you is a broken light switch, and you keep flipping it and flipping it in frustration but nothing happens and nothing keeps happening and you don't understand. 
>>
No. 806717 ID: 9a036d
File 149688582778.png - (62.01KB , 600x443 , 3-33.png )
806717

After a while you feel the sheet being pulled out of your grip and Feist covers up the thing on the table. She says she's sorry and she tells you another thing and you nod. 
>>
No. 806718 ID: 9a036d
File 149688583267.png - (86.68KB , 600x530 , 3-34.png )
806718

You leave the white room, clutching the heavy weapon to your chest and walk back into the waiting room. Your girlfriend stands up and asks if you're alright. You say yes and you try to mean it so it comes out kind of loud and squeaky. You look up at her worried expression and she hugs you again. You concentrate on feeling the breath in her chest, hanging on to this moment.
Feist's words echo in your mind, "I hope you never have to see her like this…"
>>
No. 806719 ID: e5b57f

I hope all of you motherfuckers are happy.

You broke Sam. Thanks a lot.
>>
No. 806721 ID: f1a994

Cry. Scream. Wail and weep.
Get it out.
Talk to your lover.
Tell her your thoughts and emotions.
Let her help you.
>>
No. 806723 ID: e5b57f

>>806721
I... I don't think it's quite that easy.

That's a thousand-yard stare. Sam's gonna have PTSD.
>>
No. 806727 ID: be0718

>>806719
Quite, thank you.

Find out when the expedition's departing and find someplace to rest until then. With a view of space, preferably.
>>
No. 806728 ID: be61f7

Whelp, congratulations, you gave Sam PTSD. This is going to be a long-term problem, and we can't fix it right now. Best we can do is mitigate the effect it'll have on the present circumstances.

If we're going to insist on keeping the corner gun, we should give it to Annie. There's no way Sam is going to be able to be effective in combat now, and there's especially no way she's going to be able to shoot a repoman if they all look exactly like her girlfriend.

Make sure to tell Annie we love her before we move on.
>>
No. 806732 ID: e5b57f

I think the cornergun is still an enormously terrible idea. It's going to increase the chances of our Annie looking like... yeah.

Are we even okay enough to do this? Is seeing one enough to trigger us now?

Gah. Anyway, I second telling Annie we love her.
>>
No. 806735 ID: 3ce125

>>806719
>>806723
>>806732
I dunno if you noticed, but most people suggest once, maybe twice. You're averaging 3 suggestions per update, that's not good. Most of them don't even suggest an action or bring new information to the table.

>>806718
So would you freak out like that if you saw a heavily modified wax mannequin that looked like her? Cmon, your brain is able to separate things that look similar. That wasn't Annie on the table.
>>
No. 806738 ID: 486e87

I'm sorry, Sam. I failed to consider the emotional aspect when suggesting to look under the sheet.

>>806735
While we don't know what Sam saw, I'm assuming it was something that was unequivocally dead and that looked exactly like Annie, a wax replica is different because it's wax and not a corpse.
>>
No. 806745 ID: fc33ea

Can't we ask them to call it off if they're clones too? There'll enough money to go around, no sense in fighting our way into a deeper hole instead.
>>
No. 806746 ID: 3abd97

"...I'm so sorry you had to do that for me."
>>
No. 806770 ID: 7d88bd

Wait so what exactly did we see? Cause if it turns out Annie and the Repos are connected the we kind of already guessed that so that can't be the source of this trauma so I'm thinking either Annie did a fucking number on the fucker and we got to see the result.
OR
The Repomen are clones that came out wrong or where "modified".
If its the former then Annie may be ashamed that she let herself go and if the latter then that was probably what awaits her if she ever got captured.
>>
No. 806788 ID: 094652

Sam: Concentrate. She is not Annie, because Annie is alive and hugging you right now. She is just another brain-pulped clone, and now she's dead.

There is a very high probability that each repo-man is a heavily brainwashed clone. Most likely, they indoctrinated a set of clones from birth to be the perfect repo-men, pulped their brains, and used their memories in the actual repo-men to be scary-effective and unquestioningly loyal to the corporation, while the newest clones were forced to lose their identities to these brain-dead obedient servants.

They are people but they WILL be recreated. Wipe them out.
>>
No. 806792 ID: 4e4014

You're gonna have to set up some sort of countermeasure to "no, they're the evil clone shoot them" shenanigans. You and your boy can probably tell who's your girlfriend but everyone else helping you out might need something.

I wonder if the ol' one piece "tie a bit of cloth around the arm but psyche that's not it it's a mark underneath the cloth" bit would be enough.
>>
No. 806808 ID: c28a5f

>>806715
😢😢
y do all the cute girls keep getting ptsd??? wtf
>>
No. 806817 ID: e6e9af

>>806770
>Feist's words echo in your mind, "I hope you never have to see her like this…"

Based on this line, which itself is ambiguous, and the use of "thing," I suspect that this is a derivative of Annie. Not *quite* Annie, but damned near enough that Sam's reaction would be gut-level as described.

There's also a more perverse chance that what we're seeing behind beakyhelmet face there (keep in mind that the shape would be suitable for an exo-suit mask which must accommodate ears and a muzzle with respirator and comm inputs!) could actually be Sam. Because nothing would be as fucking terrifying as seeing yourself, which could put a different spin on Feist's words inasmuch that "see her like this" is reflective and Feist means "after seeing yourself."

Regardless of which, both explain Annie's discomfort.

I do not recall if it was ever established who or what Annie was supposed to be, but what better source of elite fighters than taking one of the best and cloning and dubbing them over and over? I also do not recall if anyone *but* Annie is confirmed to have killed a repo-guy before.
>>
No. 806892 ID: 0b99d7

>>806718
I know you saw something spooky and everything is intense right now, but you already knew, didn't you?

And of course you trust her, more than you trust yourself.
That was the trick, wasn't it: you, Annie and Bucky, all harbouring ghosts and terrified of losing yourselves to them, so you put yourselves in the hands of your companions, so that they could hold tight when your own grip loosened.

I spent waaay to long trying to put this idea into words, but the quest is making me feel feelings dammit
>>
No. 806896 ID: 9a036d
File 149696274709.png - (100.11KB , 600x610 , 3-35.png )
806896

You bury your face into Annie's shoulder and mumble something. 

"Sorry, what?"

You come up for breath and reiterate, "Sorry you had to do that for me..."

She sighs and lays her head on your shoulder, "I would do anything for you."

"No!" She leans back, shocked. "Fuck that!  I don't want that! I don't want you to d-" you stop: for a second you're back in the white room and your blood runs cold. 

"...I don't want to lose you...If you want to do something for me, stay safe." You press the weapon into her hands and give her a quick kiss on the beak. "Lets go find our boy."
>>
No. 806897 ID: 9a036d
File 149696275209.png - (233.04KB , 600x600 , 3-36.png )
806897

Dachelle, having watched this exchange politely nods and motions for you to follow. "The shudttle should be dready soon."

Instead of leading you into the lower decks, the tiny engineer sets a brisk, business-like march through the center of the ship. The corridors here are wider and cleaner. You see a few unfamiliar faces and draw curious stares as you pass. 

You follow Dachelle through a large set of ornate glass doors and immediately feel a wave of humidity envelop you. You suck in the heavy air and try to process the immense amount of green around you. Having grown up in space, your only firsthand experience with plant life has been heavily manicured public parks. You're aware that most colonies have massive biofarms to maintain their atmospheres, but those are heavily restricted to public access and mostly full of algae. The cacophony of foliage around you represents centuries of growth, and you can't help but stare in amazement. You've seen photos of jungles on Earth but it never occurred to you that plants could do something like this.
>>
No. 806898 ID: 143250

No time to stop and smell the flowers. keep on going.
>>
No. 806899 ID: 3ce125

>>806897
Wow. I guess the first thing to do is ask how they did this. Where'd all the extra carbon come from? Were the trees already accounted for in their supplies when they left Earth? How do they prevent erosion by tracking dirt into other areas of the ship? How complete is the biosphere in here?

Man, having tree growth must really help with their self-sufficiency issues. They can grow wood to make tools, and use plant fiber to make replacement clothing.
>>
No. 806910 ID: 91ee5f

Oh, yeah! Don't forget about the spacesuits you and Annie were wearing when you first got here! And all the stuff you left in the neutral zone of the ship for Polly watch over it for you!

Unless someone is bringing it up to the airlock where it'll be waiting for you.
>>
No. 806920 ID: e5b57f

>>806896

Anytime you start to feel overwhelmed and start seeing what you saw in that room, close your eyes and take deep, slowing breaths. Count backwards from 10 to 1, and ground yourself.
>>
No. 806921 ID: 91ee5f

>>806920
Good idea. I only recommend not closing her eyes if she happens to be in the middle of a fight or something that requires keeping her eyes open.
>>
No. 806926 ID: e6e9af

>>806897

Nature's whack, yo.
>>
No. 807238 ID: 15a025

Ask how they managed to grow a space jungle in here?
>>
No. 807409 ID: 315280

Welcome to the jungle, no time for fun and games
>>
No. 807546 ID: 9a036d
File 149731565757.png - (197.68KB , 500x700 , 3-37.png )
807546

Dachelle barely breaks stride, "Prretty neat, yeah? You should see the roodts. The plumbing's a nightmarre though."

"How'd you grow all this?" You race to catch up with her businesslike pace. 

"You woulld do bedtter asking doctorr Carrey, he's our hordiculdturist." 

The quick march through the undergrowth takes you past a flurry of scenes: workers tending to wrist thick vines from precarious scaffolding, stacked buckets of harvested crops, sprinklers venting a fine mist over tiered planters. 

Through a gap in the foliage you glimpse a small village crafted from sheets of metal, canvas and carved wood suspended in midair. You're momentarily startled as a person steps off of a bridge into an 80 foot drop, only to float safely to the ground. You've seen low grav architecture before, but never in such a dense forest. It has the look of a lost elven city, multi-tiered and ornately crafted. 
Small worried-looking groups cluster in front of various doors, each filled with animated discussion. 
Dachelle waves her hand in its direction, "one-eighth gravidty, makes it easier to do maindenance since some of our crrops need to be pollenated by hand. We can move the whole thing in a day." 
>>
No. 807548 ID: 9a036d
File 149731566335.png - (137.45KB , 457x600 , 3-39.png )
807548

You wish you could linger, but eventually reach the opposite wall. Dachelle runs her boots through some kind of rotating buffer and exits the grove. Almost immediately beyond is a gateway to the Gaps. She leads you out onto a welded bridge and you feel your muscles straining, the breakneck hike finally taking its toll. 

Dachelle finally stops. "Arre you allright? We can take a momendt."
>>
No. 807549 ID: e5b57f

>>807548

Apply comfort hugs with Annie. Need to replenish.
>>
No. 807556 ID: be0718

Speaking of breakneck, try out the lowgrav architecture yourself and jump off the bridge. You have a grappling gun, it'll be easy to get back up.
>>
No. 807573 ID: 3ce125

>>807556
Uh, I don't think the 1/8th gravity is still in effect, since we left the jungle.

>>807548
You could pretend to be a dainty, helpless maiden and lean against Annie. No chance of a piggyback ride or bride-carry, right? I doubt Annie's quite that strong or you're that light. You could use the grapple to get ahead and take a breather? Or take a breather then catch up with the grapple.
>>
No. 807670 ID: 8a204b

>>807546
Keep an eye out for Wookies.
>>
No. 807693 ID: ed838a

>>807548
lament a lack of grapple gun to make this trip fast and fun
>>
No. 807922 ID: a6af03
File 149748238322.png - (138.70KB , 600x600 , 3-40.png )
807922

You lean on Annie for a minute while you catch your breath and field complaints from your muscles. 

Concerned, Dachelle cocks her head, "Arre you surre you wandt to do an EVA like dthis?"

You nod, "Yeah, just give me a minute..."

You've been through the Gaps a few times before but never from thus vantage point. Only from here do you really get a sense of how much is missing. You also notice for the first time that the area missing is roughly spherical.
>>
No. 807927 ID: e6e9af

>>807922
>roughly spherical

I have ... many questions.
>>
No. 807928 ID: 3ce125

>>807922
Just casually ask if they've been experimenting with teleportation.
>>
No. 807932 ID: 91ee5f

>>807922
>You also notice for the first time that the area missing is roughly spherical.
"This room has a weird shape to it. Did something used to be here?"
>>
No. 808109 ID: 143250

Ask about this place.
>>
No. 808622 ID: a6af03
File 149773550298.png - (72.73KB , 600x600 , 3-41.png )
808622

"Dachelle... what is this place? I've heard it called 'the Gaps', but it looks like one big gap... did something happen?"


She stares out into the gulf with a haunted expression, "Therre was... an accident. A firre. We salvaged whadt we could and scrrapped the resdt."


Something doesn't quite jive, and you exchange a glance with Annie. She speaks up cautiously, "What causes a fire this big in space?"


"An accident!" She fires back. "You two have no idea-!" Dachelle clicks her tongue in irritation, "We don't have time forr dthis, arre you ready or nodt?"
>>
No. 808627 ID: 3ce125

>>808622
I bet someone got tired of being immortal and tried to burn themselves to ashes so they could finally die. Maybe even succeeded, then the fire got out of control afterwards.

Tell her you're sorry. A fire this big, someone must have gotten hurt, at least.
>>
No. 808642 ID: be0718

More likely they tried killing something with fire. Watched Alien on re-run too many times.
>>
No. 808648 ID: 3abd97

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to dig on old wounds. There's just so many mysteries.

Yes, we're ready.
>>
No. 808740 ID: 15a025

Apologize and say you're good to go, if you are that is.
>>
No. 809190 ID: a6af03
File 149791887235.png - (109.95KB , 700x388 , 3-42.png )
809190

"Yeah, sorry. You must have lost people." 

She nods curtly, "frriends, engineerrs, a lodt of good people. It was a verry dark time." Dachelle sighs, "Enough hisdtory, come on, we go save yourr boyfrriend." 

She sets off again, but at a gentler pace. Before long you find yourself in a familiar docking bay. The massive, laser wielding engineer from earlier is there, busying himself with the multi armed craft suspended from the gantry. 
Dachelle hails him and he waves in acknowledgment. She turns back to you, "Cain will be taking us overr in the Rremorra. Norrmally we use a shudttle but it uses the umbilical to crross overr, which has been damaged." 
>>
No. 809191 ID: a6af03
File 149791887927.png - (118.15KB , 600x490 , 3-43.png )
809191

Your space suits have been laid out on the console. Dachelle opens a foot locker and begins pulling out a space suit if her own. "Cain and I need to examine the severred umbilical, you two hunt forr yourr crrewmadte. There is no powerr, so searrching the indterior may be difficult. 
>>
No. 809195 ID: e5b57f

>>809191
Give Dachelle a thank-you hug, then ask if Cain can accompany us inside or if he has to stay outside
>>
No. 809196 ID: 3ce125

>>809191
Tell her you can probably just contact Bucky via your PDA once you get closer to the asteroid.
>>
No. 809216 ID: be0718

Give Dachelle's tail a thank-you hug, then suit up.

dontlookatherhelmet don't look at annie's helmet ah dammit you looked
>>
No. 809218 ID: 91ee5f

>>809191
I know these guys are supposed to be helping, but remember, even though you guys helped fight off the Repo guys, you still invaded their home first. So double check your gear for any signs of tampering. For the sake of protecting their home from outsiders, Commander Feist might've ordered for your stuff to be tampered with or someone else did some tampering on their own.
>>
No. 809432 ID: a6af03
File 149801543405.png - (118.59KB , 517x600 , 3-44.png )
809432

 "Thanks for bringing us. Once we get closer, we'll hopefully be able to contact Bucky." You absentmindedly reach out and pat her on the tail. 

Dachelle looks at your hand blankly and holds something up for you: a rolled up lump of stretchy tube sock. "Actually would you mind? Its a pain in dthe ass to rreach somedtimes." You slip it over her tail and unroll it, compressing all of that luxurious floof into something that might actually fit into a space suit. "Thanks, idt gedts so uncomforrdtable when idt is jusdt stuffed in dthere." 

You and Annie suit up, checking your suits as you go. You don't see any obvious damage and your seals all hold once pressurized. Your O2 mix even looks like its been topped off. 

"Thankfully ourr fill valves arre compatible width yours, even after all dthis time. Standardization is a wonderrful dthing, don't you think?"
>>
No. 809433 ID: a6af03
File 149801546625.png - (154.15KB , 600x577 , 3-45.png )
809433

You strap your grappling gun and tape dispenser to your sides and walk down the catwalk to the Remora. Cain silently nods at your approach and twists the hose he was tending. It disconnects with as hiss and a small amount of vapor escapes. 

There's a crackle in your helmet as Dachelle synches comms with you. "Our thrruster fuel supply is verry limidted, so ledts be quick aboudt this." 
>>
No. 809434 ID: a19fce

>>809432
stand back when you take that off
>>
No. 809435 ID: 3ce125

>>809433
Understood. Hmm, I wonder if we can get a spare oxygen tank to hook up to Bucky when we find him?
>>
No. 809436 ID: 91ee5f

>>809435
That's a good idea. He's been out there for so long, he's gotta be running low on oxygen by now!
>>
No. 809444 ID: 3ce125

We might also need a medkit, in case he's hurt.
>>
No. 809460 ID: be0718

We'll perform a quick burn for the first leg of the trip and then maintain momentum using pelvic thrusting.
>>
No. 809811 ID: a6af03
File 149818068549.png - (96.25KB , 600x343 , 3-46.png )
809811

You ask Cain about where to find some auxiliary O2 mix for Bucky. He leads you into the Remora and opens up a compartment containing a rack of tanks and emergency hoses. Dachelle joins you inside and you hear a decompression warning sound. 
"Arre we rready?" 

The four of you buckle in and the ship seals itself. Another warning barks out and shortly after, a deep vibration rumbles through the ship as the air is pumped out surrounding it. The hull creaks and grumbles like an old man as the pressure changes, but as far as you can tell, the two engineers look unfazed. 
>>
No. 809812 ID: a6af03
File 149818071838.png - (99.30KB , 600x321 , 3-47.png )
809812

Dachelle, watching the barometer flips a few switches and you feel the engines rumble. "Good enough, we wondt do a full decomprress since werre in a hurrry. Might be a bidt bumpy." The massive bay doors unlock with a muted thunk and begin to retract. The last wisps of oxygen in the hangar are pulled out, tugging the Remora in its moorings and dragging bits of dust and clutter into space. You feel the grav plating turn off and Cain gooses the ship forward. As he clears the hangar doors he gives a wide berth to the Repo-man shuttle and plots a course towards the drifting asteroid.
>>
No. 809813 ID: a6af03
File 149818072993.png - (118.01KB , 600x600 , 3-48.png )
809813

The nose of the Remora swings up and the aftermath of the battle swings into view. The scarred surface of the Asteroid seethes with lasermarks, some of the iron still cooling down from the attack. The severed umbilical drifts through the void, trailing ragged, scorched ends. Off in the distance you see a new pair of constellations spinning further away: one black, the other pink. You realize that… there goes the only place you and your partners have ever really called "home"… under all the strain your heart has taken today you feel it twist a little more as the Starlette sails away on its final journey.

"Oh, Bucky… please be safe…."
>>
No. 809814 ID: 3ce125

>>809813
Now that's a hot potato!

Ask if the Sunfish has any fuel to chase down those two wrecks. They both have pinch drives, so if you can salvage them to make a fully working one even for a small ship like one of the shuttles, you can warp off for supplies or outright buy a big pinch drive to retrofit the Sunfish with.
>>
No. 809821 ID: be0718

One is only disabled, and the other's not dead yet. If you can, strongly consider salvaging the Starlette to maintain an advantage against the frigate, which you should finish off before it can call for help. Another railgun shot ought to do it (aimed at something IMPORTANT this time).
>>
No. 809837 ID: 91ee5f

>>809813
Our priority should be rescuing Bucky first, before we do any kind of salvaging. So, while Dachelle and Cain are busy examining the umbilical, Sam and Annie should head inside to look for Bucky.

Although, we should ask if the enemy ship is actually disabled. It'll really suck if they can still shoot us and we can't fire back at them! Let's suggest approaching the asteroid so that it's between us and the enemy ship, just to be safe.

>>809814
A ship as old as the Sunfish will probably just end up tearing itself apart if they tried installing a pinch drive and using it!

>>809821
Can't use the railguns. The Sunfish provided power to the asteroid and now that the umbilical has been severed, there's no power for the asteroid. No power, means no railguns. And I doubt Dachelle and Cain can fix the umbilical in a few minutes, so it might actually be a few days before anything in the asteroid can be used again.
>>
No. 809841 ID: 3ce125

>>809837
>ship as old as the sunfish, etc
Ships made at around the same time the sunfish was made were retrofitted with pinch drives just fine. It's not like the ship's overall structure is compromised from floating around in space for this long.
>>
No. 809842 ID: fe7355

>>809837
>Our priority should be rescuing Bucky first, before we do any kind of salvaging.
Quite. And besides, Sam and Annie would need the Sunfish's engineers' tools and help to salvage the wrecks anyway.

Both Sam and Annie should get a O2 canister each, as well as a universal connector hose, so that if by bad luck they get separated and one finds Bucky it won't be the one without the O2 canister. ...Or it'll be possible to split up to search for Bucky, but that feels like it'd be rather unwise.

Ask if there's possibly enough thruster propellant for them to do a loop around the asteroid once after they drop you off to check if Bucky is on the surface.

Check with Dachelle if it's possible to separate out just the electrical circuits that power the airlocks, doors and maybe the lighting on the asteroid and run 'em off a power cell? Or is there any kind of no-power emergency manual release or charge port for each airlock or door? 'Cause if Bucky is in the mine, and we can't get in there 'cause all the entrances are stuck closed then...

Have you tried using your datapad to remote into the Starlette? Even if the poor ship looks wrecked, her comms gear may still be working and running on backup power. Through that you might be able to pull down the control, sensor and camera logs from right before the impact. Use them to figure out where Bucky was from where his control collar transmitted from. ...Or if he was remote controlling the ship at all.
>>
No. 809843 ID: fe7355

>>809841
And do we have the ship designers, shipwrights, shipyard and resources needed to do a drive refit on the Sunfish? No, we don't, so it's moot.
>>
No. 809844 ID: be0718

>>809843
We have a bunch of scientists and engineers onboard with several lifetimes' worth of experience jury-rigging. Don't count it out yet, an injection of fresh material may be just what this ship needs to see the stars.
>>
No. 809854 ID: 1dbd7c

>>809813
Fire a shot toward the pink constellation in the distance to kill Bucky. Better that he dies quickly than suffers to death from suffocation.
>>
No. 809875 ID: 0d45a9

Let's check the asteroid, we know Bucky can remotely pilot the ship, but the frigate was attacking the asteroid. So most likely Bucky was doing something there that made the asteroid appear to be a threat, besides he was supposed to be searching for a space suit there.

In addition, if Bucky was going to dogfight with the frigate, then it'd make more sense to remotely pilot it from within the asteroid. That way he'd be better protected because of all the rock in the way and if the ship got destroyed he wouldn't be killed.
>>
No. 809886 ID: 91ee5f

>>809875
He was firing the railguns on the asteroid at the Repo guys' ship. It was part of the plan that Sam, Annie, Bucky, and Commander Feist all agreed would be a good idea.
>>
No. 809965 ID: a6af03
File 149827308004.png - (140.50KB , 548x600 , 3-49.png )
809965

You pull out your datapad and try contacting the Starlette. Its patchy, but you receive an automated distress signal from the cockpit. You ping the system and get it to send you the data on its last recorded trajectory. 

You watch as the route plots out a series of evasive maneuvers, ending in a tight loop, weapons fire and a collision. More importantly the navigation system reports that it was remotely accessed. You breathe an exhausted sigh of relief. 
"Remote access, he's alive."
Annie reaches out and gives your shoulder a shake and a squeeze. 

Dachelle speaks from the front, "Good, ledts keep him thadt way. We'll swing close to dthe surface so you can disembarrk, then gedt to worrk repairring the conduit."
>>
No. 809966 ID: a6af03
File 149827309921.png - (162.75KB , 600x556 , 3-50.png )
809966

You recheck the data from the Starlette, "Would it be possible to rendezvous with our ship?"

The two of them turn back to look at you, "Why?"

"We might be able to salvage our pinch drive. If we do, we could move the Sunfish."

"How much does it weigh?"
You shrug, most of drive section is made up of the thrusters, the pinch drive itself is actually disquietingly small. Still, judging by the way the Starlette handled, it seemed to have a rather significant amount of mass. "Its housed in the tail spike, which looks like it might be undamaged." 

Dachelle fiddles with the nav computer, "We'rre already shedding speed to reach the asdterroid. We would have to execudte a burrn to get indto a higherr orrbit and then..."
Her companion twirls his finger in a circle. 
"Yes, we'd come in at an oblique angle. We'd have to do one, maybe two full orrbidts to make it back to the Sunfish. Could take thrree- maybe six hourrs on top of the worrk we have to do alrready. With five people we would be pushing ourr CO2 scrubbers prretty hard. I don't know how safe I feel aboudt that."
>>
No. 809968 ID: be0718

With the umbilical fixed, could you drop us off to lighten the load on the scrubbers? This opportunity doesn't warp in out of the blue every day.
>>
No. 809971 ID: 3ce125

Well, on top of the pinch drive, the Starlette may have some scrubbers we can salvage. Are there any scrubbers on the asteroid? We can pick them up along with Bucky if so, to make the salvage operation safe. There's also a bunch of other stuff we can get from the Starlette. Oh, just be careful about the trajectory of the repoman ship. Make sure it won't cause problems for us during the planned flight path, and see if you can predict if the wreckage will endanger the Sunfish while we're looking at the data.

Can you tell the Starlette to turn off its distress signal? That could cause problems for us. I wish we could do the same to the repoman ship, but I expect it's out of the question to try to get to it as well as the Starlette.
>>
No. 809972 ID: bb78f2

If we don't do it now, won't it be far enough and unreachable?
If it means waiting for someone else to find us or having the repomen's backup arrive, isn't that a much more significant risk?
>>
No. 809975 ID: bb78f2

Also, one or two of us could try going to sleep to preserve our CO2 scrubbers.
>>
No. 809997 ID: fc33ea

Well without it we'll be stuck here.
>>
No. 809999 ID: be0718

>>809997
Oof, try not to remind them - they've been dealing with it for 600 years.
>>
No. 810006 ID: 91ee5f

Well, even if we get the pinch drive, wouldn't that make it hard to bring the asteroid with us if we use it?

Besides, I don't like the idea of putting more work on top of what they were already going to do.

Hey, here's an idea: Bucky is our tech guy, right? When we find him, he can help speed up whatever Dachelle and Cain are doing! And, it'll be even faster if Sam and Annie help, too! All 5 of us working on this should hopefully speed it up and we won't be out here longer!

It's going to suck for Bucky to have to endure fighting the Repo guy's ship, waiting for rescue, and helping Dachelle and Cain, all without getting any kind of rest, but he'll definitely deserve some kind of rest by the time we all get back to the Sunfish!
>>
No. 810013 ID: 8d4593

>>809972
It can wait. It's in orbit too.
We probably have a few weekS at the very least.
>>
No. 810059 ID: 67856c

What about the drive from the slaver ship?
>>
No. 810105 ID: 5b93d3

>>809966
It;s not accelerating, so it;s not going anywhere. Get the conduit fixed, find Bucky, then gas up and go salvage the Starlette.
>>
No. 810176 ID: 15a025

Would we be able to stop and get it sometime later?
>>
No. 810190 ID: d36af7

Set up a script in the Starlette's computer to notify you if Bucky reconnects, and tell him what you've been up to.

Retrieving something indeterminately massive, from a wreck, while life support and remass budgets are both tight, is a bad plan. That pinch drive isn't going anywhere in a hurry. Resist the urge toward mission creep. Let the locals fix the tether, you concentrate on finding Bucky. Once all that's settled, plan on hacking the repo men's shuttle for a pinch drive retrieval trip.
>>
No. 810198 ID: 91ee5f

>>810190
This.
>>
No. 810204 ID: fe7355

>>810190
You're right about the mission creep. Besides, if we want to have a chance at both successfully recovering the pinch drive and rigging it to ship not designed for such a drive, we'll need Old Bucky's expertise working on this. That means Bucky comes first.

Also, the salvage of the pinch drive will need to recover more than just the drive itself. It'll take salvaging the drive control and navigation systems, and the software to run them, as well.

...But there's also another potential risk I just thought of. Sam, ask Dachelle how many working airlocks and other external accesses are there on the Sunfish. It's possible that the Repo Men on board will attempt to get to their shuttle in order to get to the wreck of their frigate if the frigate has some means to communicate out of this system. A FTL radio or a pinch drive message drone or some such. They might even find a seal-able compartment just inside the hull and cut their way out. But whatever the way, if they go for their shuttle it's likely bad news. We may want to radio this in to the commander to guard that shuttle, if the frigate possibly has such communication means.
>>
No. 810214 ID: 91ee5f

>>810204
Actually, since we don't want them to try and sneak away, we can just tell the commander that they're free to take apart the Repo guys' shuttle! I'm sure they could find a use for something that's basically a bunch of spare parts for anything that's falling apart on the Sunfish!
>>
No. 810220 ID: fe7355

>>810214
I'd think we would want to keep the shuttle intact as it'd be the best option to potentially rig the Starlette's pinch drive to, if it's not feasible to rig to the Sunfish herself.
>>
No. 810231 ID: f29517

>>810176
This. I worry this might be our only crack at it.
>>
No. 810251 ID: e6e9af

>>809966

Leave the drive for now. We can salvage it OR the repocraft later once we've got this thing prepped for it.
>>
No. 810391 ID: 3abd97

Avoid mission creep. A safe guess is that your ship is still in planetary orbit after impact, and even if it's degrading, it'll take time before it falls down to earth, or finally drifts free. Orbital mechanics are predictable. There should be time to schedule a proper salvage run later.

For now, lives first. Log the trajectory we we can plan on getting to it later.
>>
No. 810578 ID: a6af03
File 149852153398.png - (168.89KB , 600x600 , 3-51.png )
810578

"If we leave it for now, can we go get it later?"


Dachelle watches as the computer extrapolates, "The orrbidt seems stable forr now. We prrobably have severral days beforre its oudt of range."


You relax a little, "I suppose we can start planning a salvage operation when we get back." You feel the craft yaw as Cain brings it in close. You unstrap yourself from the chair and get up to leave. "You realize that if we do manage to move the Sunfish, we'll probably have to leave the asteroid behind..."


Dachelle nods, "Even so, therre is equipmendt in the mine thadt we cannodt manufacdturre and will need to be salvaged. We need the conduidt to shudttle things back to the ship."


You and Annie head towards the rear of the craft, grabbing a spare O2 tank and universal hose as you go. "We'll call if we have an emergency."

The two engineers give you a pair of thumbs up. Cain punches a switch and the aft bulkhead slides open, allowing you to step out onto the stern of the Remora.
>>
No. 810579 ID: 3ce125

>>810578
Alright, if the umbilical is ferrous you can walk on it with your boots. Otherwise you'll have to jump towards the asteroid and use your thrusters to avoid the red spots. Alternatively, you could use your grapple! That thing is going to be very useful in this zero g environment. We should try to get into the airlock on that building down there.

Once you get on the surface (or before then? Can you tell when you're within range?) you can try to contact Bucky directly.
>>
No. 810596 ID: 91ee5f

>>810579
This.
>>
No. 810653 ID: 7b7ab3

Here bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny!
Heeeeeere bunny, bunny, bunny, bunny!
C'mere, buck!
Where are ya, long ears?
>>
No. 810662 ID: fe7355

>>810579
>We should try to get into the airlock on that building down there.
Alternatively they could go in through the gouge that the laser left in the mining bunker, if it's wide enough for them to fit without burning their suits. But the airlock would be the first choice.
>>
No. 810714 ID: be0718

Is that the main facility with a big laser running through it or just a railgun hatch?
>>
No. 810797 ID: 3abd97

>>810578
Your comms are open, right? If he's alive and conscious, you might be able to ping him. He's probably not going to risk an open distress call with potential hostiles about.
>>
No. 810902 ID: 8111b6

My bunny lies over the ocean.
My bunny lies over the sea.
My bunny lies over the ocean.
Oh, bring back my bunny to me.

...you wanna float over, or cable walk?
>>
No. 811030 ID: a6af03
File 149869689742.png - (122.85KB , 479x600 , 3-52.png )
811030

While the Starlette is still in range, you ping the computer again and try bouncing a message off of it.

Bucky, were here to pick you up. Where are you?


A minute later a message comes back, garbled but readable.

s>m! Im -n f#r side @f rkk. Leggg -ur#. N==d hlp.


A moment later he sends.

$am m s0 ~rry _bout th- #leTTe.


You feel buoyed with hope, he's alive and needs help. You take aim at the scarred bunker and fire your grappling gun at it. You wrap your arm around Annie as you're tugged off of the Remora by the change in velocity. You winch the cable in and reel yourself down to the surface. You land close to a blistering scar, dotted with strange zero gravity stalagmites, formed from molten steel.
>>
No. 811036 ID: 3abd97

>>811030
Far side of the rock, huh?

Guess you guys better get going.
>>
No. 811037 ID: 3ce125

>>811030
Time for some grapple-assisted leaping across the surface.
>>
No. 811093 ID: 91ee5f

>>811030
Let's go to the far side of the rock! His leg is hurt and he needs out help!

Ask if he's inside one of the railgun shafts or is there another bunker over there?
>>
No. 811128 ID: be0718

Both of you grab one end of the grapple gun at full extension and leapfrog across the rock.
>>
No. 811138 ID: fe7355

Message back that you're just relieved he's alive and that we'll worry about apologies or anything else after he's rescued. Ask him how much oxygen he has left and to get onto the surface and activate his suit's emergency beacon for you. Repeat the message three times so you can be reasonably sure he can piece it together through the garbling.

The asteroid's surface is soft and powdery, so attempting to grapple it to swing or pull you two around would likely end up with, at best, losing grip repeatedly as soon as you try to put force on it. And at worse it'll let go mid maneuver and you and Annie will be flung off into the void and unable to pull yourselves back.

You need to scrape away the powdery layer first, then stick the grapple to the hard surface. Once it has a strong grip, Annie will do the same to stick her boots down. Then you'll leap in a arc in the direction of the far side of the asteroid while you play out the cable to its maximum length. Once you land, stick your boots down, anchor the grappling hook gun to your boot, and then Annie will leapfrog you. Repeat until one of you picks up Bucky's suit beacon.

And for the love of God, make damn sure that grappling hook is tethered to your suit. The last thing you need is to lose your grip on it.
>>
No. 811197 ID: fe7355

Actually, start out walking over the surface and if time is running low for Bucky then resort to the risk of grappling hook tricks to get to him faster. Keep in communication with Bucky continuously so you know his status and that he's still conscious.
>>
No. 811285 ID: a6af03
File 149877928725.png - (87.21KB , 600x600 , 3-53.png )
811285

You pull out your datapad again and shoot Bucky another text to let him know you've touched down. 
How's your O2? We have a spare.

N-t g##d. H_ave /pair but sui# c-mpr_mi%ed. _oo$ing p?:ss+re  

Above you, the Remora pulls away and homes in on the damaged end of the umbilical cable. A pair of mechanical arms unfold, grabbing hold while the craft tows the conduit towards the other end. You secure your grappling gun to your wrist and Annie latches her suit to yours. Still anchored, you push off the roof and swing out in a wide arc across the surface. Once you reach the end of your tether, you vent some O2 to direct you back down to the surface. Since its not a true MMU system, you land gently and grab hold before detaching the grapple and reeling it back in. The asteroid isn't that big, so your leap practically put you over the horizon. Unfortunately your landing zone is covered in soft silicate powder unsuitable for anchoring.
>>
No. 811290 ID: 3ce125

Oh, the grapple won't stick to the surface huh?

Well, you could use the gun for maneuvering. Fire in the opposite direction that you want to go.
>>
No. 811291 ID: 91ee5f

>>811285
Time to start crawling along the ground!

Ask Bucky if there's an enterance into the rock so that we can get to him.
>>
No. 811345 ID: fe7355

Dammit, you'll have to move at a snails' pace to keep from flying off into space since your boots won't be able to adhere to the surface. Even with this asteroid being so small at that speed you wouldn't be able to get to Bucky before he dies.

Okay, the silica powder is no good for anchoring, but what about the gouges made by the frigate's lasers? They'll have either fused the silica or cut down into solid rock. That has to have left some surfaces the grapple could stick to, if they've cooled enough. Go check the nearest laser gouge.
>>
No. 811408 ID: 8a204b

>>811285
Tell him to use whatever he can to tourniquet above the leak. It'll buy some time, at least.
>>
No. 811426 ID: 5f2b81

>>811408
At the likely cost of extreme pain and potentially permanent damage. Better to partially seal the leak by pinching it with his glove or something, we should have enough O2.
>>
No. 811579 ID: d36af7

>>811426
>permanent damage
The Sunfish is run by people with perfect-regen immortality tech. Even if that's not something they're willing and able to share, bunnyboy's been fighting off feral prospective replacement limbs on account of them being so eager to volunteer. Whatever problems a tourniquet causes, I doubt it'd be anywhere near as serious or hard to solve as hypoxic brain damage.

Shouldn't be the only plan, of course. Ask for more detail on his exact position and surroundings. Any gummy stuff he can cover that hole with will probably at least slow the leak. When you've got a moment, try to tweak the comm protocol for more redundancy/less noise.
>>
No. 811999 ID: a6af03
File 149904179891.png - (96.23KB , 600x600 , 3-54.png )
811999

You take aim at one of the warped steel stalagmites with your grappling gun. The head zips across space and glues itself to the target, holding fast once you reel in the slack and test your weight. Once Annie is ready, you kick off of the surface again and sail up in a wide parabola. At the peak of your arc you finally spot something: a figure on his hands and knees, crawling in your direction.

Unable to help yourself you call out to him as you swing out of the sky.

"Buckyyyyyyy!"

The figure pauses and looks up, you hear a familiar chuckle over the radio, "Sam! Annie! God, its good to see you." He sounds a little breathless and it looks as though he's dragging something behind him. You land softly near a stone outcropping and scramble up on to it. Bucky is only about two hundred feet out from you, a little more than a grappling hook away.
>>
No. 812001 ID: 7b7ab3

Grapple him to you!
>>
No. 812004 ID: be0718

But how do we know it's the real you? Say something Bucky has never told anyone else!
>>
No. 812005 ID: 91ee5f

>>811999
Walk over there and help him up! Get that oxygen tank ready because he sounds like he needs it!
>>
No. 812013 ID: 01764f

>>811999
Let him know he needs to stay put - conserve oxygen!

Have Annie hold on, make sure to brace yourselves as best as you can, then grapple him on over! Bracing is super important, otherwise you might careen out of control.
>>
No. 812018 ID: e6e9af

>>811999

>Dragging something behind him
>Hands and knees

Oh shit, can he walk? Are we gonna need a Space Stretcher?
>>
No. 812020 ID: 486e87

Is the stony outcropping ferrous / can your magboots maintain a hold on them? If so see if you can move so Bucky is just within grapple range as opposed to just out of range. Then grapple him, aim for centre of mass and reduce the speed that it'll reel back in if possible.
>>
No. 812229 ID: 3abd97

>>811999
Stay put Bucky, we're coming.
>>
No. 812398 ID: e0adfd

Huzzah, we finally see Cain. The *other* birdybutt.
>>
No. 812410 ID: be0718

>>812398
Who the what now?
>>
No. 812496 ID: a6af03
File 149912927121.png - (57.47KB , 600x356 , 3-55.png )
812496

"Bucky can you move?" You're a bit louder than normal, suppressing your instinct to try and shout over to him. 
The distant figure responds with a thumbs up and you see him shuffle towards you: inch by inch. 
"Annie, brace us." You lean forward and fire the grappling gun as Annie wraps her arms around your waist and plants herself. A slight waveform ripples through the cable as it hits the end of its tether. You feel your arm jerk forward suddenly as Bucky grabs hold. 

"Hang on I'm pulling you in!" You slowly winch him in and watch a cloud of dust kick up behind him. The drag lifts him off the surface and into the void like a big, bunny shaped kite. There's a slight spin to him, but you're able to reel him in without incident and catch him upright as he lands. 
>>
No. 812497 ID: a6af03
File 149912927705.png - (118.44KB , 600x600 , 3-56.png )
812497

He laughs and hugs both of you, "I never thought I'd see you again..." He sounds exhausted and breathless and through his faceplate, you can see him overcome with emotion and... pain?
>>
No. 812499 ID: fc33ea

What the hell is on his leg?
>>
No. 812500 ID: 91ee5f

>>812497
If he's breathless, then give him the oxygen already! Also, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, BUCKY WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING ON YOUR LEG?!?!
>>
No. 812503 ID: 3abd97

Is that third leg crushing him or breaking his suit seal? Examine it.

Also if he's low on O2 we need to hook the spare up to him. Any tears we can cover with the space age duct tape?
>>
No. 812507 ID: 486e87

Get that poor rabbit some O2. Don't disturb that thing, whatever it is, on his leg until you're in a pressurised area. It's probably what compromised his suit, but is also probably keeping more air from getting out.
>>
No. 812514 ID: be0718

Annie, peck at the leg wrapping until it goes away.
>>
No. 812535 ID: 1e7aa8

>>812514
Are you mental? there's only TWO outcomes to removing the thing and both will result in extreme agony!

Give that rabbit some O2. Do NOT disturb whatever the fuck it is that's wrapped around his leg
>>
No. 812612 ID: d36af7

If you had some plastic sheeting it might make sense to wrap that around the compromised suit leg. Contain the xenowhatsit, leaking air goes into a bag rather than the void (which should slow the leak somewhat if the bag is even remotely pressure-tight).

That said, yeah, hook him up with the air tank, do whatever first aid is possible under the circumstances, start heading back. Also notify allies back on the Sunfish of your location and status, just in case something else goes wrong.
>>
No. 812619 ID: f97b68
812619

Everyone, prepare for sudden, horrible, heart-wrenching death of rabbit boy. Rip in peace my adorable bunbun.
>>
No. 812705 ID: e6e9af

>>812535

Maybe we could just, you know ... ASK him what it is and if he has any idea how to get rid of it. Or if there's anywhere nearby with a better air supply we can use as a temporary medbay to help him out and ... remove whatever that is.
>>
No. 812736 ID: be0718

>>812619
It's okay, there's more where that came from.
>>
No. 812745 ID: 2b39af

>>812497
You'll be better set to deal with whatever his troubles are when you're out of the vacuum.
>>
No. 812776 ID: 01764f

>"We'll call if we have an emergency."
>>812497
This counts as an emergency. Call to get picked up. Worry about leg once in a safe place.
>>
No. 812837 ID: a6af03
File 149921440001.png - (159.09KB , 600x600 , 3-57.png )
812837

"Oh my God, Bucky what the hell is that?" You stoop down and reach for his leg, he groans.

"Careful!" Your hands stop, hovering over the parasite limb. "Its got its teeth in me... don't want to tear the suit any more... slow leak, but its been depressurizing... giving me the bends."


"Annie, the tank." She steps behind Bucky and gets to work pulling his empty O2 tank out and hooking up the fresh one.

"This isn't one of ours..." she says, discarding the empty.

Bucky gasps and sucks in a lungful of fresh air. "Took it out of a spare spacesuit I found... kept me going."


Annie eyes the creature, "Its one of those terratoma things, what do we do about it?"

"I still have some tape, I could try sealing around it... might buy us more time." With no objections you start wrapping weldtape around the leg. You feel swollen, depressurized flesh bulging under the suit. Bucky writhes a bit but Annie holds him still while you work. He's oddly silent through the procedure and eventually you realize he's turned his radio off rather than let you hear him cry out.

Once you get a few layers built up you feel the fabric start to flex. You stand up and tap on his faceplate; his radio crackles on and he takes a ragged breath. "Okay Bucky, can you move?"
His helmet bobs in a nod. "I think so..."
>>
No. 812838 ID: 01764f

>>812837
For the love of love, call the ship please.
>>
No. 812842 ID: be0718

On the count of 3, hurl him in the direction of the Sunfish.
>>
No. 812845 ID: 486e87

>>812838
Reaction mass is limited here, by resealing the suit and replacing his O2 tank we've removed or at least drastically increased the time limit we have. As unpleasant as it is for him, we're in nearly zero gravity so Bucky doesn't have to walk, Sam and Annie can carry him.
>>
No. 812854 ID: 7b7ab3

Call the ship.
Tell them you have your crewmate, but that he's hurt and needs immediate attention.
Don't mention the critter. We don't know how they'll react to it.
>>
No. 812918 ID: e6e9af

>>812854

Pretty sure they're part of The Crew and are aware of the terratomas and the immortality. In the worst case, have them loop in Fiest and say you've run across something that needs her attention.

I think telling the crew might be best, since they're probably the most knowledgeable of how to deal with this.

Also should ring the good Dr. Spencer and have her prep a room for Bucky once we get back. That leg might have fractures and we're going to have to deal with damage from depressurization and possible exposure.
>>
No. 812922 ID: b1b4f3

>>812837
Ok, you can use the same method to return to the rendevous point.
>>
No. 813187 ID: a6af03
File 149930359882.png - (105.08KB , 531x600 , 3-58.png )
813187

"Sam to Remora, Dachelle do you copy?" Background static whispers back to you, but no response. "Come back, Dachelle, we need immediate pickup, copy?"

Still nothing, the asteroid must be getting in the way.


You switch to a high gain signal and try bouncing a message off of the remains of the Starlette, you hear a garbled burst of static in response. "No idea if they got any of that, we should move into range and try again. I don't know if trying to grapple all three of us is the best idea though."
>>
No. 813188 ID: a6af03
File 149930360467.png - (124.91KB , 600x476 , 3-59.png )
813188

Annie sighs, "Shouldn't be too far, we'll just have to walk. Bucky, we can use the grapple to tow you. You rest."


"Thanks, I'm gonna just... yeah..." he relaxes and his limbs start to drift out to the sides.


"Poor bun, I know it hurts... Wait are you still sitting on that permission we sent you?" Annie cocks her head at him.


There's a silent moment of awkward realization, "...I was saving it... for when we were together again..."
>>
No. 813205 ID: 7b7ab3

Bucky, if you have anesthetic, you use it!
>>
No. 813209 ID: 2b39af

>>813188
Well together you are, not quite the intended setting but I think nobody would complain if he was getting some endorphins right about now.
>>
No. 813218 ID: e6e9af

>>813188

I dunno if a massive boner is going to make this medically any less awkward, and might actually make things a bit worse. That, and right now, we might want him coordinated rather than a lump of quivering bunflesh.
>>
No. 813221 ID: 91ee5f

>>813188
>Use grapple to tow Bucky.
Alright Sam, it's time for you to use your long distance ass grab to bring Bucky with us! So shoot him in the ass with the grapple gun!

Then you can say to Annie, "See? I told you my long distance ass grab would come in handy!"

>>813205
>>813209
I don't think that's a good idea. We need Bucky to be able to tell us if his suit starts leaking or something else happens.

Besides, wouldn't he end up using more oxygen at a faster rate by doing that?
>>
No. 813314 ID: 67856c

If we can find a way to use the permission to dull the pain without him going cross-eyed then we should try.
If we can't then skip it, we need focused more then comfortable.
>>
No. 813376 ID: fe7355

Aw, it's actually kinda sweet he saved it. A damn shame the next time we got together it's in these circumstances. ...But could he use it as a improvised painkiller? Would its effects even last long enough? Pleasure permissions are kept short for good reason, after all. But could he run it at a reduced level for longer? And how out of it would it make him and for how long afterwards?

If the neural bliss can be dialed down to the point that Bucky can keep his wits about him and have at least some pain relief, then do that. Otherwise, use the full permission. He's suffered more than enough, so he deserves a reprieve. But before he does, hook a off switch for the pleasure into your datapad, if possible. Just in case you need to get him focused again.

But before y'all head out, float the idea of possibly going through the asteroid instead of over the surface. We would go faster through the mine tunnels, since our boots could stick down, so we might be able to get to the other side faster. It's just a matter of how far away the exit Bucky used is, how long it took him to traverse the mine, and if there's other considerations or hazards down there that Bucky knows of.

And if y'all are heading back on the surface and Bucky isn't totally hopped up on bliss, he could be a help and pull down as much data as he can from the Starlette's computer into his collar before the ship's backup power dies. Grab everything that'll fit in his collar and our datapad's storage y'all think could be valuable.
>>
No. 813408 ID: d36af7

Send him another 'permission' specifically for pain relief rather than pleasure, if necessary. "The bends" means aeroembolism, blood literally boiling inside his veins - from lack of pressure rather than excess of heat, but it's still agonizingly painful. With pressure restored, he's fine as far as that goes (though medical attention would still be wise to minimize risk of longer-term complications) but for the time being what he needs is to not be going into shock.

Set the high-gain to broadcast a repeating pattern of three short pulses, three longer, three short, and then a pause. Very low-tech way to say "something's wrong, request pickup" and it's a convenient beacon for anyone who wants to triangulate your location. If the repo men had any more assets available to go after you in the next few hours, they'd already be doing so. Then start marching back toward the tether.
>>
No. 813467 ID: a6af03
File 149938862006.png - (76.50KB , 600x480 , 3-60.png )
813467

"Well? We're here aren't we? No need to suffer for our sakes."

Underneath his faceplate he looks flustered, "I don't want to be a... burden..."

Annie pats his shoulder, "Don't worry about us. We're both impressed you held on to it so long, but neither of us wants to see you in pain."
>>
No. 813468 ID: a6af03
File 149938862843.png - (110.70KB , 458x600 , 3-61.png )
813468

"Well, if you're sure..." his fingers twiddle in midair, manipulating invisible controls. "Here go- oh- ohhhhhh yessss." His eyes go wide and his head rolls back while a goofy, senseless smile stretches across his face. "That was a goooooood one...."

You slap the grappling hook onto Bucky's ass, eliciting a lewd gasp and a giggle. "Told you it would come in handy. Come on, before it wears off. Let us know if you need another, bun."
>>
No. 813469 ID: a6af03
File 149938863886.png - (122.71KB , 600x380 , 3-62.png )
813469

You and Annie hunker down and set off across the surface, dragging your blissed out bunny above you. In his orgasmic delirium he babbles a steady stream of sweet nonsense.

"Ohhhh man, So how'd you guyzz like my third leg? Pretty big huh? Course itzzz not about the size rite? What should I name it? I was thinking Cletus, howzat? You think I can buy just one shoe? You know this fugger made me crash the 'Lette. I had thoze repo fuggers on the- on the- over a barrel and Cletus here bites the shiiiiiit outta me and... and.... I'm real sorry guys I fuckd up."

Face down in the dust, you search for handholds and keep moving. "Its okay Bucky, we'll figure it out. We've still got each other, right? Listen, how much room do you still have on your collar?"

"I dunno, couple terabytes, why you wanna watch one of our videos? I could go for one, you know? Mmmm lets make another okaaay?"

"Okay but first can you patch into the 'Lette and download anything we might need? Nav charts, pinch drive software, news logs, medical and gene therapy. That kind of stuff."

He gives you a wobbly thumbs up, "gotttcha!"
>>
No. 813597 ID: c7c14d

>>813469
erm. will he be able to concentrate on the job while high?
>>
No. 813613 ID: 91ee5f

>>813469
Well, that's going to be awkward to explain.
>>
No. 813981 ID: a6af03
File 149955166244.png - (137.66KB , 600x600 , 3-63.png )
813981

The two of you continue your crawl, while Bucky goes to work overhead, giggling occasionally over the radio.

After what seems like forever, you hear him call out, "Oh hey! Its the Fish! I see it!"

Before long you're able to see it for yourself and as you stand up, you spot the Remora busily repairing the damaged conduit.
>>
No. 813985 ID: 7b7ab3

>>813981
Try getting a message out.
>>
No. 813994 ID: 91ee5f

>>813981
Ok, now try sending your message!
>>
No. 814038 ID: 15a025

Maybe your message could get to them now? Probably should let them know about Bucky's situation as well.
>>
No. 815665 ID: 3ce125

Try telling them you found Bucky but a Teratoma got overly attached to his leg so he's a bit injured.
>>
No. 816594 ID: a6af03
File 150034347955.png - (94.78KB , 474x600 , 3-64.png )
816594

You cautiously stand up and aim a message at the Remora: Found Bucky. Need immediate medivac. Suit compromised.

A second later your comms blips a return message: 10-4 standby for dustoff. Relaying message to sunfish.

The Remora peels away from the broken cable, having quickly welded the ends together. It fires a sequence of thrusters, points itself at you and a flare of exhaust explodes from behind it. 
With a deft blast of reverse thrust, the ship coasts overhead and one of its manipulator arms plucks Bucky out of the air like a butterfly. 
You hit the retract button on the grappling gun and sail up onto the ship with Annie in tow.
>>
No. 816595 ID: a6af03
File 150034348267.png - (119.12KB , 548x600 , 3-65.png )
816595

Once you're onboard, Cain puts the craft in a tight orbit around the asteroid and before heading back to the Sungish. Dachelle catches sight of the thing wrapped around Bucky's leg and gasps. 
"Oh no... Gray..."
>>
No. 816600 ID: 7b7ab3

>>816595
"Friend of yours?"
>>
No. 816604 ID: be0718

Who's Gray? is this part of Gray's anatomy?
Now that we're in atmos, try using a rolled-up newspaper or a spritz-bottle to get it off.
>>
No. 816609 ID: 2d1231

>>816595

Well, the last one we saw was white, so apparently these things don't come in too many ranges of colors. Unless it's a person's name.
>>
No. 816685 ID: fe7355

You do not like the sound of that. It sounds like there's bad history associated with this terratoma. And since it's currently wrapped around your love's leg you'd very much like to know what that history is. Who is Gray? And will Bucky having been in direct flesh and tissue contact with this thing pose a long term risk to him?

And ask Bucky to try and tell us what happened down in that mine. Where did this nasty terratoma leg come from? Is there more of them in the mine?

And bring up the possibility of setting up a directional transceiver array on the Sunfish aimed at the Starlette to pull down the contents of the Starlette's data stores before the wreck goes dark. Do they have the equipment to set that up fast? You heard their comms center was lost in a fire, but do they have portable comms gear?
>>
No. 816694 ID: 3ce125

Man, it's gonna be hard to get that leg off of his leg. The duct tape is holding it on, and that's SUPER STRONG duct tape.
>>
No. 816760 ID: a6af03
File 150042729327.png - (106.25KB , 600x526 , 3-66.png )
816760

"Gray? Who's Gray?"

Dachelle fidgets in her seat and exchanges a glance with Cain before sighing. "Phil Gray was an engineerr, pardt of the original crrew. I trrust you arre awarre of ourr... nadturre, yes?"
You and Annie nod. Bucky giggles. 
"Whadt is so funny? Is he alrright?" Dachelle stutters, momentarily derailed.
"Yeah, neuro-collar, don't worry about it."
"Oh, verry good. Well, many yearrs ago, beforre the firre, Gray was worrking as parrt of a mining crrew.   Therre was an accidendt: an elecdtrrical arrc which caused an explosion. Thrree people werre killed, and Gray was caughdt in the blasdt. The docdtors managed to stabilize him, howeverr, he remained in a coma forr severrral months. When he emerrged... he was differendt: episodes of angerr and deprression and… he began telling people things thadt he should nodt have. 
People starrdted to believe thadt the mine was haundted, they were seeing strrange crreadtures and this was the firrsdt time anyone had seen the terradtomas… It was some time beforre we realized that they were pieces of Gray which had… parrdtially regenerradted."
>>
No. 816762 ID: c31aac

>>816760
Huh. Yeah, figured they might be something like that. They're clearly a bit dangerous, so I imagine fire works well enough?
>>
No. 816763 ID: 3ce125

>>816760
I wonder if these pieces can be returned to the original body?
>>
No. 816765 ID: be0718

>>816763
There's enough of them to form an entire new body, though. I wonder if they're sentient.
So... are all teratomas are the product of workplace accidents all over the ship? What happened to the comms room?
>>
No. 816781 ID: d7f1f3

What happen when those pieces got in someone's body?
And if they can defeat unmutated immunological systems, does that mean immortal body fluids are deadly? Is death by ejaculation possible?
>>
No. 816790 ID: bb78f2

>>816760
Is main Grey still around today?
>>
No. 816964 ID: a6af03
File 150051601715.png - (111.07KB , 600x490 , 3-67.png )
816964

"This is part of him? What happened to the rest? Is he still alive?"

Dachelle shakes her head, "Grray was... lost in the firre. One of severral crrew memberrs." 

Interested, Annie leans forward, "So immortals can be killed?" 

She looks down at her hands and quietly speaks, "Yes... Firre, radiadtion, things thadt impairr cellularr regenerradtion. Ourr bodies can heal frrom severre damage, budt we requirre madtterr, enerrgy, and funcdtioning cells to do so." 

"So all of these terratomas are just pieces of crew members? How many are there?" 

"Nodt as many as you would think. Idt is rarre forr them to find the raw madterial and enerrgy they need to become... independendt. One of this size is quidte unusual." 

Bucky pats his parasitic limb, "Cletus gets that aaaaall the time: ladies are always commenting on how big he is." 

"I'm nodt surre I follow..." Cain makes a gesture and Dachelle "ah"s matter of factly. You feel a change in inertia as the Remora slows. "We will drrop you off adt an airrlock nearr medbay, the docdtorrs will be waidting forr you therre. We will be needing to refuel and condtinue worrk on the tetherr."
>>
No. 816973 ID: 91ee5f

>>816964
We probably should've explained why Bucky is acting like that.

Actually, ask Bucky if this was the only one he saw in the asteroid or if there was a bigger one or something?

Thank Cain and Dachelle for their help and then get Bucky into the Sunfish!
>>
No. 816986 ID: 8080e6

Maybe ask Bucky if he's seen anything else like, uh, "Cletus."
>>
No. 817539 ID: a6af03
File 150075043751.png - (138.16KB , 600x590 , 3-68.png )
817539

"Bucky, did you see anything else while you were over there?" 

The rabbit nods and a second later your datapad chimes: he's sent you a photo. The blurry figure is much bigger than Cletus. You look back up at Bucky and he nods again, "I have seeeeeeen some shit..."

Dachelle and Cain wordlessly share a worried glance. The craft shudders suddenly as the manipulator arms grab hold of the Sunfish and pull up close to an airlock hatch. Dachelle says to you, "This is as farr as we go, the docdtorrs should be waidting forr you inside. Ladterr we should talk aboudt a salvage mission to yourr ship." She bites her lip, revealing oversized teeth, "Good luck..."

You give her a clunky space suit hug, "You too." 
>>
No. 817540 ID: a6af03
File 150075044881.png - (158.02KB , 600x600 , 3-69.png )
817540

You ferry Bucky into the airlock and wait as it slowly re-compresses and cycles. Bucky groans as the grav plating kicks in and the two of you help support him. As soon as the inner door opens, hands reach in and drag you out. Your vision focuses on the figures and you see that both Dr. Spencer and Dr. Kent are there. The large deer from the reception desk reaches between you and lifts Bucky onto a gurney single-handily. 

Together they rush your boyfriend down a series of corridors. You race to keep up, peeling away bulkier parts of your EVA gear as you run. 
>>
No. 817811 ID: a6af03
File 150084125103.png - (84.29KB , 600x600 , 3-70.png )
817811

You follow the doctors through the ship as they wheel Bucky into the medbay. You come to a pair of double doors and stop: the room beyond is very bright, and you feel something inside tugging you back…
>>
No. 817821 ID: 91ee5f

>>817811
Wait for Annie to catch up, then go through the double doors together.
>>
No. 817822 ID: be0718

Ignore the voice in your head to assert dominance.
>>
No. 817825 ID: 3ce125

Yeah, where's Annie at?
>>
No. 817828 ID: 3abd97

>>817811
Bird got you by the tail?
>>
No. 817852 ID: 2d1231

>>817811
Back ... to the future!

Hold for Annie, tell them you'll be in once she catches up.

... actually, no. We can't just leave him there. Radio to her, tell her to meet you inside. No matter what, we aren't leaving Bucky again.
>>
No. 818075 ID: 4ab2ec

>>817811
is this a trap? look around before you move.
>>
No. 818087 ID: fe7355

That might be Old Sam hinting that something is wrong, or just that you shouldn't go in there. That's the operating theater, right? The doctors won't want anyone who isn't medical crew in there while they work on Bucky, so hold back and wait for Annie. The operating theater may have a observation booth you and Annie could watch from, so check if it does. Though, you and Annie may not be able to handle watching them work on your boyfriend. Otherwise, find a waiting area, take a seat and fret over Bucky.
>>
No. 818155 ID: 01764f

Wait for Annie.
>>
No. 818177 ID: a6af03
File 150094826384.png - (105.33KB , 600x600 , 3-71.png )
818177

You wait for a moment to catch your breath. A gloved hand pats your shoulder and Annie steps beside you.
"You okay?" Worry etches itself across her face, "you look pale..."
"Yeah..." your voice quavers strangely, "just waiting for you."
>>
No. 818178 ID: a6af03
File 150094826882.png - (173.72KB , 600x583 , 3-72.png )
818178

Together you step into the bright room and a flurry of medical activity. Bucky is being held down, groaning while Dr. Spencer wrestles with his helmet. 
"We need this EVA gear off, now! Kent, how're we doing?"
Dr. Kent has his arms around the terratoma, trying to untangle it as it snaps at him. "We're going to have to cut this off! Get me a saw or something!" 
>>
No. 818180 ID: a6af03
File 150094827352.png - (114.94KB , 600x600 , 3-73.png )
818180

"No, we can't risk fluid transfer, just pin it d- oof!" Dr. Spencer finally undoes the latches and free's Bucky's panting face. She looks suddenly distracted, "...uh..."
"Cheri! I need a hand here! What's the holdup?" Dr. Kent glares daggers at her. 
"Sorry!" She spots you, "Sam! His collar is wearing off, he needs another pulse if we're going to do this!" 
>>
No. 818189 ID: 4cf648

"Fine, but ONLY one more! Three in a row would cause permanent brain damage, so make it count!"
>>
No. 818195 ID: 3ce125

>>818180
Okay, but we gotta be careful with that stuff.

Hey, I wonder if Old Sam wants to see this.
>>
No. 818245 ID: 01764f

>>818180
Is there an alternative to the collar? Would manual stimulation of some sort be enough? If not, then definitely collar.
>>
No. 818246 ID: 8080e6

The good doctor is distracted because Bucky looks exactly like someone she used to know, in case y'all missed that.

Anyway, presumably, the doctor knows what she's talking about. I mean, she is a doctor. Follow her wishes.
>>
No. 818250 ID: 91ee5f

"Are you sure? We're not really supposed to use it multiple times in a row. And it might get very awkward with the noises he's gonna make."

You might need to explain why he's not supposed to use it multiple times in a row if they don't understand. Explain it the same way Bucky explained it to you and explain why you and Annie have control over it instead of him being able to administer it to himself.
>>
No. 818266 ID: df00b4

>She looks suddenly distracted
She knew Old Bucky didn't she.
>>
No. 818281 ID: 8a204b

If the collar can tie into his nervous system the way it does to elicit "O" level sensation, can't it also be used to just...muffle or outright block pain receptors?
>>
No. 818282 ID: fe7355

You don't like giving Bucky another shot of cyber-bliss right after the previous one, but given the lack of any other anesthetic or pain deadening choices, it's the only option Bucky has. Do it, but check that Dr. Spencer knows that it's not going to be as effective or last as long as the previous one. That's because, while it'll be the same intensity level, his pleasure centers will not have recovered. We'll have to be quick about this.

Ask how you and Annie could help them. You two could assist in removing Bucky's suit, then in wrestling that terratoma down and peeling it off. Both you and Annie could don your EVA suit gauntlets to aid in that task, or possibly lend them to the medical staff to use. And does that space tape have any means of removal built into its applicator? Because if it does, you ought to use it to get the tape off Bucky's leg.

Ask Dr. Kent and Dr. Spencer what's the risk of fluid transfer, and what methods do they know of to remove or kill a terratoma with the least risk to Bucky. Cauterization? Acid? Laser? Electroshock? Precision directed ionizing radiation? Poison? Tranquilizers? Other? What about ways to entice a terratoma? Could we possibly give it a more desirable place to be than wrapped around Bucky's leg? ...It has to be real hungry and thirsty, so could we feed it booze until it is passed out drunk?

If they can't think of a good option to get that terratoma off Bucky without harming him, you may need to consider conferring with Old Sam. Her genius invented the regeneration process from which this terratoma came, so she may know how to neutralize it with minimal risk.

And looks like Dr. Spencer knew Old Bucky. Given his engineering expertise, most likely he was involved in building the Sunfish, but that's just a guess. And any questions on this will have to wait until Dr. Spencer isn't occupied saving Bucky.
>>
No. 818384 ID: a6af03
File 150103429260.png - (141.09KB , 552x600 , 3-74.png )
818384

You bring up the neural uplink control on your datapad, "Are you sure? We're trying to keep them under control."

She puts Buckys helmet aside and pulls open a cabinet: inside is an ancient, frayed collar. "Just for a minute, so we can get everything stable, then I can switch him over to our neural collar for full anesthesia. Damn thing takes a while to set up, just thought his would be faster."

Annie cradles Bucky's head in her arms, "What happens if there's fluid transfer?"
>>
No. 818385 ID: a6af03
File 150103430004.png - (70.84KB , 600x356 , 3-75.png )
818385

Dr. Kent manages to pin the recalcitrant limb, "Our immune response is very strong, can do a lot of damage to a healthy body. Learned that from a liver transplant we tried. Wasn't pretty." He tugs at the knee joint, "What the hell is this? Tape? Can we get this off?" 
You pull out your tape dispenser and flip open a nozzle in the handle. Tape as strong as this comes with a canister of nanites designed to break down the adhesive, for safety reasons. You spritz some around the edges of the seal and start pulling away at the strips of carbon fiber. 
>>
No. 818399 ID: 3ce125

Careful not to agitate the teratoma.

Also yeah activate his collar again.
>>
No. 818403 ID: 015058

Can you lure the thing off by showing it a very nice leg or stump of a leg so that it leaves willingly?

It seems to know what it is and more than anything wants to be a leg. Enticing it with a shiny prosthesis stump might be a option.
>>
No. 818410 ID: e121d3

Does there happen to be anyone around who's missing a leg? It might favor someone who "needs" it more. Obviously beforehand you'd provide the person with a cover or something that would make removing the leg afterwards easier than it is here.
>>
No. 818592 ID: 2d1231

>>818385
>>818384

Let's ask Bucky. He's the one who has also been rather hesitant to misuse the collar's abilities, perhaps more than ourselves. If he feels he needs it for the meantime, may as well let him.

If not, then ... we have to trust his judgment in this.
>>
No. 818630 ID: bb78f2

Ok, weird thought, can we try using the pleasure collar or the anesthesia collar on the monster limb thing?
>>
No. 818632 ID: be0718

>>818410
Well, we're surrounded by people who could regrow the leg if they really had to, and have plenty of time to wait around for it to do so.
>>
No. 818687 ID: a6af03
File 150112077783.png - (101.06KB , 600x496 , 3-76.png )
818687

"Maybe we can find it another host? Is there anyone onboard missing a leg?"

The two doctors exchange a surprised look and Dr. Kent's eyes roll back in his head as he mentally scrolls through medical records. "Uh... Avi Stone, last I heard he was on Recycling duty. You'd need to talk to Polly. Ive got one someone on ice who might be able to do it, I'd need time to defrost her though. Now where's that anesthesia?"
>>
No. 818688 ID: a6af03
File 150112078771.png - (101.06KB , 475x600 , 3-76.png )
818688

You hit the button and watch as Bucky lets out an exhausted sigh. He lays on the table, breathing heavily as Dr. Spencer removes his neural uplink and attaches the older medical collar. "This'll take a few minutes..."
>>
No. 818694 ID: 600f38

>>818688
"Who was old Bucky?"
>>
No. 818902 ID: 2d1231

>>818687
>>818688
>Dark and gritty shading in the background ...

I dare say we've taken a turn for the worst.

>>
No. 819056 ID: 5cbc25

>>818687
I think attaching the teratoma or whatever it's called to anyone is a BAD IDEA. Has attaching someone elses teratoma to a non-"immortal" person had any negative consequences? Like what about it being rejected just like any other implanted bodypart. Or even worse, what if contains enough neurons/nerves to implant memories in someone? We don't want to pull a ReNu "slave" re-enactment on someone just so we don't have to deal with this thing.

For now, stroke Bucky's ears and hand softly. This is going to get worse before it gets better
>>
No. 819128 ID: a6af03
File 150128445734.png - (83.95KB , 551x600 , 4-78.png )
819128

You look behind you; seeing only brilliant white walls and sterile surfaces. For a moment you felt a... a presence, as though someone was standing in the corner.

Someone calls your name and you turn back around. You feel yourself practically sloshing around in your spacesuit, not realizing how much you were sweating.

"Sam! Call down to Recycling and see if Avi is willing to lend us a stump. There's a console on the wall, Polly will probably be more open to it from you." Dr. Kent throws one of Bucky's gloves in a corner as he works to remove what he can of the spacesuit.
>>
No. 819231 ID: 91ee5f

>>819128
Since you're more familiar with Bucky's spacesuit, help the doctors get it off faster.

Also, check Bucky for any other injuries he might have. His leg might not be the only thing we have to worry about!
>>
No. 819235 ID: 3ce125

>>819128
Do the thing they just told you to do.
>>
No. 819392 ID: 15a025

Call Poly, then go help get Bucky's space suit off.
>>
No. 819395 ID: 4d4619

Do the thing.
>>
No. 819447 ID: 315280

OBEY
>>
No. 819500 ID: a6af03
File 150143777610.png - (79.54KB , 600x512 , 3-79.png )
819500

You hurry over to the console and send a message down to recycling. A minute or so later it chimes and you see Polly's face materialize on the screen. Her expression flickers from suspicion to surprise as she registers who's calling, "Sam! I'm glad you're alright, To what to I owe the pleasure?"

"I'm in Medbay and we've got a bit of a situation. The doctors said there's someone named Avi in your section that could give us a hand."

"They already took a leg off of him; not going to be much left if they keep it up." She puts her hands on her hips and glowers.

"Well, its about that: we've got one of those terratoma things wrapped around someone's leg and can't get it loose. We thought it might let go if we gave it another leg."

She mulls this over for a minute and Dr. Kent shouts over, exasperated: "Oh come on Polly! We don't have time for this!"

"I'll ask him, but I want his cryo date pushed back six months if he does it."

"Yeah, fine! Whatever! How do you get this off?" Polly hangs up and you help Dr. Kent open the front of Bucky's space suit.
>>
No. 819501 ID: a6af03
File 150143778959.png - (176.03KB , 536x600 , 3-80.png )
819501

You pull aside the layers of protective clothing and reveal Bucky's chest. A livid line of bruises blooms under his fur, and you feel your stomach clench in terror.
>>
No. 819502 ID: a6af03
File 150143780560.png - (160.55KB , 600x600 , 3-81.png )
819502

"Sam, are you okay?" You look up at Annie and you feel dizzy. Suddenly there isn't enough air in the room, and you feel yourself taking great heaving breaths just to stay alive.
>>
No. 819503 ID: ed67d9

>>819502
Sam, take deep, slow breaths. It's okay if you need to leave the room for a bit and sit down. People will understand. Maybe Annie can come with and hold you.

Bucky is going to be okay. These people will make sure of it.
>>
No. 819504 ID: 3abd97

I don't think it's going to be productive to stay and watch this, anymore.
>>
No. 819506 ID: ff6c67

Excuse yourself and go reacquire your nerves.
>>
No. 819510 ID: be61f7

Your friends are okay, and they're going to be okay. Leave the room for a second with Annie. Just let her hold you for a little bit. You don't have to look.
>>
No. 819511 ID: 8d23d9

Say you think you're hallucinating.

You are in a medical center, with doctors, after all. It's a good place to be. If they ask you what you're seeing say you're seeing injuries on people that aren't there.

If you can't speak, gesture at your throat and pat yourself on the chest.
>>
No. 819519 ID: 91ee5f

>>819511
I don't think it's hallucinations.

If I remember correctly, Old Sam was a doctor, right? These purple lines might be Old Sam using her skills as a doctor to highlight injuries for Sam to see, but only Sam can see them.

In fact, at the beginning of the thread, Old Sam and Sam seemed like they came to an understanding and Old Sam isn't trying to take over Sam's body anymore. Old Sam even said, "Let me know if you need help...". So I think Old Sam is trying to help!

Instead of leaving the room, we should ask Old Sam for help!
>>
No. 819523 ID: 8b2654

>>819519
I think at this point it would make more sense to call oldSam "mom". She clearly set things up for Sam to live as her own person, after all.
So, yes, see what mom has to say about those purple marks.
>>
No. 819533 ID: be0718

Freak the fuck out.
>>
No. 819560 ID: 25f1b2

>>819523
I don't know if this is exactly the right time, but I have to agree; the two are about as similar as...well, a mother and daughter. They share genes, but that's about it.
>>
No. 819577 ID: 8d4593

>>819560
I'd say closer to identical Twins.

Besides that, genetics plays a frankly uncomfortably large roll in who you are.

It wouldn't surprise me if over time, Sam became similar enough to old Sam for the personalities to just... spontaneously merge.
>>
No. 819591 ID: 8cb228

Ask Old Sam to show you more clearly what's she's trying to say here. You could use her help right now!
>>
No. 819592 ID: fc33ea

Say what you're seeing-- Annie, your neck.
>>
No. 819603 ID: 3ce125

Sam is seeing what she saw in the morgue. Annie strangled her clone to death.
>>
No. 819680 ID: ed048e

>>819501
Take big, deep breaths. To focus yourself on a breathing rhythm, stroke Bucky's ears, let him know you're there but STAY AWAY FROM THE CANCER TENRDIL ON HIS LEG. That will calm you down, and then you can call on Old Sam/Mom for advice on what these purple splotches in your vision mean.

stroke them ears
>>
No. 819683 ID: d36af7

>>819502
>Suddenly there isn't enough air in the room
Decompression drill time, kitty. First, put your helmet back on. You remember where you put it, right? Never forget your helmet. Then, look around for where they keep the hull patches, or if you can't find any, the nearest intact bulkhead and an airlock through which to depart the immediate area.
Yes I'm probably taking that too literally, but it isn't completely terrible advice for a panic attack either.
>>
No. 819689 ID: 8a204b

>>819502
"...I'm not certain. I'm either suffering from hypoxia, or having a manic breakdown. Because right now your neck looks like you've been having fun with auto-erotic asphyxiation without me."
>>
No. 819775 ID: 8cb228

>>819689
"Or Old Sam is trying to give me medical know-how via highlighting injuries with visual hallucinations that look like augmented reality overlays. Or something."
>>
No. 819790 ID: 2d1231

>>819603

Oh, that makes a lot of sense. Also the white-out eyes, since Annie's are usually black.
>>
No. 819798 ID: a6af03
File 150155661297.png - (180.65KB , 376x600 , 3-82.png )
819798

You clutch at your neck, "I- I- uh, I um... Annie, you-"

The world lurches and spins like a butterfly in a hurricane, and as you feel yourself losing control someone takes over. You stand upright and you hear yourself speaking, "Sam's going to be fine, she just needs a minute..."
>>
No. 819799 ID: a6af03
File 150155665021.png - (162.65KB , 600x500 , 3-83.png )
819799

From a distance you watch as your hand touches Dr. Spencer's shoulder, and she looks back at you, eyes glittering with emotion. You watch as the creature is lured off of its perch, onto the stump of a stranger. From there, the doctors strip away the spacesuit, revealing a distended, swollen leg. Old Sam gets to work; using the meager supplies available to reduce the swelling and treat his many bite wounds. You float somewhere in your own head, observing the procedure with detached horror, but thankful for the help.
>>
No. 819800 ID: a6af03
File 150155666784.png - (99.17KB , 500x600 , 3-84.png )
819800

Hours later: you're sitting in the waiting room, exhausted and sprawled out like a broken marionette. You cautiously try moving your hand and you see it twitch.
>>
No. 819801 ID: 7b7ab3

"Sorry about that. I got spooked and Old Sam had to drive for a while. How're things?"
>>
No. 819802 ID: be0718

Avoid stepping on tail as you awaken, fail.
>>
No. 819803 ID: 3ce125

Apologize for freaking out. Tell her you're probably going to let Old Sam drive again whenever there's a medical emergency like that.

Would this be a good time to ask her what the deal is with the cloned soldiers?
>>
No. 819805 ID: 91ee5f

>>819801
This, but halfway through, accidentally do this: >>819802 , and scream, "MEEEEOOWWCH!!!"

Then, finish by saying this: >>819803 .
>>
No. 819809 ID: 3abd97

>>819800
Mumble "thank you" to yourself. She's still there, in the back of your head, she'll hear. And she was there for Bucky when you needed her.

When you can: "I'm me again. How'd she do?"
>>
No. 819810 ID: 600f38

>>819800
"Mom wanted to help. I'm back now, but need cuddles."
>>
No. 819813 ID: ed048e

>>819800
You just suffered involuntary control from your clone mom. I know you're at peace now, but don't get too comfortable with it. A persons brain is only built to handle one mind. If you have any anxieties about this, share them with Annie.

Then grab yourself some grub, an' check on your bunny/boyfriend
>>
No. 819830 ID: d36af7

>>819813
>A persons brain is only built to handle one mind
Historical precedent suggests otherwise. The Odyssey leads off with "Sing in me, muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending," and that sounds an awful lot like Homer asking some storytelling-specialized alternate personality to take over, doesn't it? The idea of 'spirit possession' in general, really, which has parallels across cultures that had little else in common.

Anyway, give Annie an assessment of how you're feeling, as honest as possible. Relationships live or die on clear communication.
>>
No. 820014 ID: a6af03
File 150163926886.png - (97.64KB , 521x600 , 3-85.png )
820014

"How is he?" You croak. 

Annie flops down next to you, "They managed to save his leg, no sign of contamination yet. They think the vacuum kept any fluids from crossing over." She sighs, "He's sleeping now."
>>
No. 820015 ID: a6af03
File 150163927436.png - (137.19KB , 600x541 , 3-86.png )
820015

"What about you?" She leans towards you and you feel her hand envelope yours. "What happened there?"

"I'm sorry… its just- For a minute I was back in that room..." your voice is saw-edged and drags at your throat. You swallow, having to fight it down, "wh-where I... where you were dead. Annie, I saw you dead..." Having finally said it, you want to cry; but you've got nothing left, you feel completely wrung out.

Annie is quiet. When she speaks you hear distant, angry thunderstorms, "That wasn't me."
>>
No. 820016 ID: be0718

A thunderstorm? Is their biosphere simulation that complex? You've got to go see this!
>>
No. 820017 ID: 3abd97

>"That wasn't me."
...no. Not anymore. They'd already copied over you.

It's still wrong. They've killed you so many times.
>>
No. 820018 ID: be0718

>>820017
The point she's making is that she isn't those other clones. Not their original psyches, nor their templates.
>>
No. 820019 ID: 0c8311

>>820015
"Annie, I know! I know that! I wasn't implying anything. I'm sorry. It just shocked me to learn... THAT about the repo men. It's a lot to take in, you know?"
>>
No. 820022 ID: 3abd97

>>820018
Fair point.

Hoarse: "...I know. Doesn't make it hurt less, seeing... what could have happened to you."
>>
No. 820024 ID: fc33ea

But what if it was? I don't want to think about it.
>>
No. 820025 ID: 094652

"She wasn't you. But death happened to her. And it will keep happening to other clones who are bred and grown and wiped and reprogrammed and equipped and sent to die, over and over and over...

It's a @#$%ing meat farm. And WE'RE the meat, every last clone."
>>
No. 820026 ID: 8cb228

I know it wasn't you, that doesn't change what I saw, or what it did to me.
>>
No. 820030 ID: fe7355

"I know that. I know you're not them in any way besides shape. I know that completely. ...What shook me so is it made me come face-to-face with how you could have died trying to save me. And with the very real possibility of you dying. The terrifying possibility it could be, or could have been, you laid out on a morgue slab from a Repoman's bullet or who knows what else. ...It scares me to my core." Slump onto Annie's shoulder.

...And a horrific thought rises from the depths of your mind: One of the Repomen could attempt to impersonate Annie to members of the Sunfish to gain access. Not ones who know or met Annie personally, but those who only know of her and what she looks like. We need to tell Commander Feist this so she can warn the rest of the crew and passengers.
>>
No. 820032 ID: 91ee5f

>>820030
>...And a horrific thought rises from the depths of your mind: One of the Repomen could attempt to impersonate Annie to members of the Sunfish to gain access. Not ones who know or met Annie personally, but those who only know of her and what she looks like. We need to tell Commander Feist this so she can warn the rest of the crew and passengers.
..........ffffffffuuucckkk, you're right! Let's go tell the Commander!
>>
No. 820035 ID: 3ce125

>>820032
She already knows what they look like, now.
>>
No. 820038 ID: 91ee5f

>>820035
She does and a select few important people. But does the rest of the Sunfish know? I doubt it.
>>
No. 820046 ID: 3ce125

>>820038
Do you really think the Commander would neglect to tell the security team (and anyone else in charge of anything important) such an important detail?
>>
No. 820050 ID: 91ee5f

>>820046
Those are the select few people I was talking about. I'm talking about the rest of the Sunfish. The unimportant guys, the guys that're still in cryo, the normal people that aren't immortal. Those are the guys that aren't important enough to be told about this. Those are the guys I'm talking about.
>>
No. 820073 ID: 3ce125

>>820050
Okay.

Why should we tell them? How would we tell them? What point would bothering the Commander serve?
>>
No. 820093 ID: 2d1231

>>820015

This is probably the right moment to ask how many more of US there are. How many more Sams. How many more Buckys.

How many other flakes are going to have to look at the ones that didn't and see themselves or a loved one dead?
>>
No. 820106 ID: bb78f2

>>820032
>>820035
>>820046
You know, we could actually do the opposite if the other repo person doesn't know her comrade is dead. Depending on how many Annies are part of a standard repo crew AND how they are able to differentiate an escaped Annie from a repo Annie, we could totally stormtrooper her onto their side undercover for a bit, if the opportunity arises.

Have you ever done that before? Does it actually work?
>>
No. 820124 ID: ed048e

>>820106
That sounds like a good way to make Annie trigger her "old self" by putting her under a lot of stress. We're at peace with OldSam, but Annie seems to hate having anything to do with the identity the Investors wanted to force on her.

Imitation is a pretty good idea for a distraction in combat, though.
>>
No. 820138 ID: a6af03
File 150172480588.png - (112.18KB , 600x579 , 3-87.png )
820138

"I know," you manage, "but what if it was you. What if they had shot you? What if I lost you forever?" You gently tip over until your head lands on her shoulder.

"When I saw them hurting you, I thought I was going to lose you… It scared me too."
Her head tilts over and lands on yours. The two of you sit like this and rest, listening to the soft buzz of air conditioning and distant bustle of busy people. You find your fingers picking idly at the ratty surface of the ancient couch. 

"How come you never told us?" Your voice is a tiny whisper, as if coming from far away.

Annie takes a long time before she responds. "I was scared... Worried about what you'd think. Worried about what it would mean. I'm sorry I never said anything, I guess it was just easier to stay angry at them; at myself. I don't want to ever be like them, Sam…"
>>
No. 820139 ID: a6af03
File 150172481077.png - (96.35KB , 600x426 , 3-88.png )
820139

"What was it like? Growing up, I mean…You were raised separate from us, we never knew about what happened."

"They started us young: before we can even walk we were being programmed for battle. They kept us together, encouraged us to fight. Anyone slow, or weak or just different was singled out and hammered into shape by the rest of us. By the time we were integrated with the rest of the kids, we were already Repo-men: reporting on anything suspicious and quietly solving 'problems'." 

You mull this over, "Are all of the Repo-men like you? With your body, I mean." 

"No, there are three 'templates'... but they tend to group us by type."
>>
No. 820140 ID: a6af03
File 150172481595.png - (103.92KB , 530x600 , 3-89.png )
820140

"What about Old Annie? What was she like?"  You've never heard her talk so much about herself and years of questions are spilling out.

"There isn't much of her left. Every generation they combine our combat experience together into one install. Thousands of battles, skirmishes, and scenarios turning children into weapons. There must have been an Annie once but, for the most part, she's… lost in the noise."

"I wonder what it was like…" You wonder out loud, "Signing up to live forever and just…fading away. Do you think she realized what was happening?"

You feel her sigh, "Maybe. Maybe she didn't care. Maybe she had already sold her soul and we're just empty puppets."
>>
No. 820141 ID: 3ce125

>>820140
Maybe she's the closest thing to Old Annie there is. Or a reincarnation. The one soldier that still has a soul.
>>
No. 820143 ID: 877b2e

I think a soul is something you can grow for yourself.
>>
No. 820144 ID: 8a0c44

>>820141
>Maybe she's the closest thing to Old Annie there is.
I really like this.
>>
No. 820148 ID: be0718

>>820141
If by 'closest thing to Old Annie' you mean 'her own person', then yes.
>>
No. 820167 ID: 25f1b2

>>820143
This is nice.
>>
No. 820170 ID: 600f38

>>820143
Yeah, this.
>>
No. 820181 ID: c6aa39

>>820140
"Well, I'm just glad Bucky and I have you as our Annie."

And then a hug.
>>
No. 820182 ID: 3abd97

>>820143
Really good line.
>>
No. 820183 ID: ed048e

>>820143
Ring a ding ding baby. Speak that out loud so we can both feel comfort that we're different than what we were made to be.
>>
No. 820327 ID: a6af03
File 150180778209.png - (108.41KB , 590x600 , 3-90.png )
820327

"Maybe, but a soul is something you have to make for yourself..." your voice has a slow, dreamlike tone to it. You realize how heavy everything feels, sinking further into the couch. "A soul isn't just you... it's everyone around you. All your relationships and everything you touch is part of it." 

"Maybe that's why she did it: she didn't have anyone but herself." Annie puts an arm around you and holds you close. "She was scared of dying and having no one left to remember her..."

"Mmm..." your throat rumbles with a sleepy purr, "I'm glad you're our Annie."

"Yeah." You can feel her muscles relax and she closes her eyes. "Me too."

The two of you sigh and she admits, "We need to tell Bucky, don't we..."

"Yep." With that you drift off to sleep. 
>>
No. 820328 ID: a6af03
File 150180778819.png - (73.49KB , 600x443 , 3-91.png )
820328

Deep inside the ship, a young man wanders through unused access corridors. He's muttering to himself words of injustice, having recently been released from security. Their questioning took hours, and looming overhead was the constant threat of being put on ice. The security forces left, saying something about another ship, and when they returned most of them were sporting fresh injuries. They let him go with the instructions that he tell no one what he saw. Now, worried and angry, he looks for his brother. 

He found something else...

"Ello, what're you doing here?"

End of chapter 3
>>
No. 820329 ID: 600f38

>>820328
He's fucked.
Probably both figuratively and literally, unless those repo-men are on libido suppressants.
>>
No. 820545 ID: ed048e

>>820328
Mousy boy is kill. F
>>
No. 820999 ID: a6af03

Next Chapter: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/820992.html
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