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862495 No. 862495 ID: 7c55ee

1065 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 880102 ID: 4854ef

And that's what voidsong gets for sending away the paraspatial presences! Hmmphm, sending things away without giving the chance..

Anyways, it seems you now have a minion, a minion who can explain to you how to help your friend currently stuck within the biowalls.
>>
No. 880105 ID: deec6e

... grrreat. You've been shanghaied(?) into the Kiter ranks by way of accidental coup. 's messed up, but it's not like you have much room to maneuver, having been dragged here. Given the apparent ability to read thoughts, you should stay away from considering any immediate escape attempts. Maintain crisis mode and address Paraspacial-mono, who seems to be running her own kind-of agenda.

"... I'm used to addressing minions by number, prototype 1045, but your actions indicate you are either no minion, or that you have performed sufficiently well to require a name. Choose one, if you desire, or I shall supply you with a designation. Now... I have questions and commands."

"First - the Kiter Empire may not be as eager to accept a new Director for 'Division 9' as you. Would accepting this position be considered legitimate? I understand that there is no love lost between some of the leadership, but this cannot be the typical extent of their vetting process."

"Second - are there any pressing issues or crises I need to manage? Whether due to the sudden shift in leadership on local or administrative levels, or due to any pre-existing conditions Voidsong's actions has left this Division in."

"Third - I need more in-depth information on Kiter goals and ideology, and what my new responsibilities would be - anything on this Division in particular. Inform me, or show me where I can become informed. Similarly, I shall have to do catching up on Kiter technological standards."

"Fourth - I need this bleeding mess on the floor contained, sedated and otherwise kept in medical stasis until it can be processed."

"Fifth - I need that bleeding mess in the pod fixed up, so that I can confer with her over questionable life decisions while providing myself with an ally I can marginally trust."

"Sixth - I shall require a communications line to the Vault and let them know what the situation is. It will be difficult to convince them of the reality of things if I do not keep them informed and in the loop."
>>
No. 880109 ID: ba56e6

"Oh and I also am currently poisoned by a substance called 'coffee'. I may or may not need medical treatment in the near future."
>>
No. 880110 ID: bf163b

>>880064
>Pathetic
Nice meme.

>>880066
Make sure Ekasarra is alright, then look for a way back to the ruins.
>>
No. 880114 ID: 12b116

Well first order of business would be to make SURE Voidsong is dead, then we need to figure out how to get Eksarra out of the thing.
>>
No. 880115 ID: e1c8f7

We make some changes around here, obviously. You have a name?
>>
No. 880119 ID: 4ee93b

IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:

1: Make festive head-wear out of Voidsong's internal organs. You needed a victory and all victories need to be celebrated in some fashion.

2: Ask your new second in command (Black neumono with gold diamonds previously called Prototype 1045) his name. Prototype 1045 is both too long of a name and too impersonal. Numbers are fine if he wants to stick with them but 1045 is still irritatingly long to say.

3: Ask your new second in command to please have clean drinking water, a towel, a bucket and a mop brought to you. You have ingested a dangerous amount of coffee concentrate and should probably purge some of it from your system in the off chance there is a lethal concentration of coffee concentrate brewing inside your stomach. Hydration always helps. The mop should help if the bucket does not arrive in time. The towel is to help get the excess Voidsong off of your face.

4: After making your festive hat make sure Voidsong is good and properly dead. They're too dangerous to keep alive even if they're not dead yet. Removing most of their internal organs SHOULD kill them but if you aren't confident dismemberment, incineration, dissolution, a wood chipper, any of those would give more confident measures.

5: Check on Ekasarra, have your new second in command make sure her healing pod is working properly. Inform him it is of no small concern that she recovers fully.

6: Ask your second in command if they have a means of communicating with those still in the spire, you would like to message them.

7: Have the second in command relate to you what the ramifications of taking charge of Division 9, along with what capacities, resources, important personnel, etc come along with these responsibilities.

8: After being properly certain Voidsong is dead ask about the possibility of having them stuffed as a nice reading room decoration. It is absolutely essential they have a silly expression on their face. This is as much for your sake as the others. It will also help you judge how well your second in command can interpret a humorous jest from literal commands. If they are very literal you will need to know this when dealing with them.

9: Ask your second in command if there is any major organizational changes he would have enacted but was unable to while under Voidsong. He is far more knowledgeable of Section 9 than you even if he knows next to nothing, since you currently know nothing.

10: Try to not pass out from massive caffeine overdose, adrenaline withdrawal from the life or death fight and shock of being teleported to a new place. If you do, aim for a clean spot on the floor devoid of Voidsong.
>>
No. 880120 ID: ba56e6

>>880114
Suggested method: incineration
>>
No. 880123 ID: dc91a0

Wait Wait Wait, Hold up.
I thought this was still a psychic link, and that we entered Voidsong's thought space instead of her being in ours.

If we really, physically teleported than it would mean that the previous segment where we where getting dominated was real. But when we got here Ekasarra was already set up in this pod, and not chunky salsa.

Did Voidsong have translocational capabilities that can penetrate the ruins or not? It doesn't make sense for us to be here right now.

In fact, this previous exchange didn't make sense. This is a military installation. Our Arrival should have been punctuated by shit loads of soldiers. We should be SUPER DEAD. Or at least in one of those pods. Did Voidsong really have no guards, assistants, or lieutenants?

Not to mention Voidsong went down pretty easy herself.
Too easy.

AND a commander in a huge and well organized galactic empire can be replaced by just murdering them?
SERIOUSLY?!?!?

No. Just No. No way in fucking hell.

This entire scenario is entirely set up for us to win.

None of this is real. Voidsong is still alive quietly observing our actions while we run in a maze of her own creation.

Rip out your fucking eye implant.
If it's the connection vector it'll free you from this madness, and if it isn't the incredible pain and/or blackout will probably disrupt the link sufficiently.
>>
No. 880137 ID: b3061b

I guess the information you need most right now is (in descending order of probability of this guy knowing) the Kiter name/designation/whatever of the site you're in, the same for the site you've been teleported from, and all current claims on both.
>>
No. 880143 ID: 86eb65

I think we should keep Voidsong alive for a bit. She has tons of knowledge we can steal that would be lost if we let her die here.

Have our new neumono minion help us stabilize and figure out a way to subdue her so she can not backstab us.

Also we need to figure out how to properly heal our buddy in the tube. With no backdoors or implanted commands.
>>
No. 880150 ID: 2007b6

Can't do any meaningful strategic direction until you know what you have to work with, so after (or during) immediate medical necessities, review your assets.

In particular, what have you got in terms of provisions and transport vehicles? Even one truckload of food or machine tools or something might make a big difference for your friends - er, sorry, your more stable allies - back down there in the facility.
>>
No. 880151 ID: 3cc68c

Ask him if we can put Voidsong on ice first. She is to dangerous to let wander around free but also to valuable to just kill here.

We could just finish her now but might be just as easy to dump her in stasis so we can talk to her later.
>>
No. 880156 ID: 33cbe7

What are the duties of a director? Were going to need an assistant to get things sorted out. In the absence of suitable arkots, I hereby appoint the psi-neumono Big Arkot.
First things first, get that partial neumono restored to baseline biological functionality.
>>
No. 880232 ID: de3949
File 152451741517.png - (12.13KB , 800x600 , salq-199.png )
880232

>kill Voidsong
>keep Voidsong

I'll keep Voidsong for now. She might be useful later.
"Hey. Lackey. Whatever your name is."
"Name? I'm not sure--"
"Lackey it is. Get Voidsong in a... whatever sort of medical gel you guys have."
"Medical gel?"
"Healing stuff. I don't know your technology."
"I, uh, don't either. I was assembled like two days ago."

Huhh.

"You seem remarkably astute for a two day old neumono."
"My current individuality and personality are an aggregation of a random sample of previous Kiter soldiers and tacticians, merged, pulped, broken down and reassembled into something that provides me with enough of a fundamental background and stabilisation to let me enter service from the moment of self-awareness. It's standard for every Kiter soldier. Birth's been obsolete for millennia. Cellular weaving is a faster form of reinforcement."

Uh.

"That seems... a little messed up."
"Eh."
"Oh. Right. Will anyone else recognise my authority as Director?"
"I have no idea. Maybe?"
"That doesn't help."
"Well, I hope you can find someone who does know something about the medical tech here, because I'm about to die from a coffee overdose."

I mean, I feel fine, but better safe than sorry.

>organ hat
Or I'm rapidly descending into delirious psychosis.
"Double time on that, Lackey, go!"

I have many, many other plans, and questions, but medical assistance takes highest precedence.

The neumono runs off into a side door.

Here I am, alone, in this dimly lit room, a bleeding Voidsong gurgling faintly and Ekasarra mute in a tentacle filled pod.

Realisation creeps up on me that this victory might have actually caused more problems for me than it solved.
I feel hollow--
>>
No. 880233 ID: de3949
File 152451746076.png - (55.83KB , 800x600 , salq-200.png )
880233

SALIKAI.

I--

I'm frozen solid. Ice cold air hangs around me, blown by invisible force. My limbs don't respond. I can barely move my eyes.

THIS ONE HAS OBSERVED YOUR VIOLENCE AGAINST ONE OF OUR TRUSTED. THIS ONE IS APPENDAGE OF THE KITER STRAN PENUMBRIOT.

The voice is so loud in my head it'd deafen if it was sound, and the fact I can still hear without ringing in my ears suggests this is another mental intrusion.
But it feels far more clinical. There isn't any of the wavering cadence of Voidsong, none of the arrogance, none of the fear, none of the joy.

YES. WE WILL USE YOU AS YOU INTEND. WE WILL INTEGRATE YOU INTO OUR SYSTEMS, ASSIMILATE YOU INTO COMMAND STRUCTURE. AN INTERESTING TEST OF THE MERIT OF YOUR SPECIES.

Uh oh. That sounds bad. I start summoning up all my derision and doubt again.

I find I can't speak.

THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT FLAWS THAT MUST BE AMENDED TO PROCEED. THIS ONE SHALL CORRECT.

No. No I just won, I just won against Voidsong, I just got a break, I JUST WON, LET ME HAVE ONE MOMENT OF PEACE
>>
No. 880234 ID: de3949
File 152451749720.png - (70.70KB , 800x600 , salq-201.png )
880234

INDUCING FUGUE STATE.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

What's going on?!

I have to get out of here, my allies, no, friends in the facility need me! Stars above, I'm in terrible danger and I'll never see them alive! All my arkots! They'll all die because of me and it's all my fault! I already led them to their deaths once, what kind of monster am I?!
I have to take control of the situation. My previous allies of convenience were useful but if I must betray them to continue surviving I guess I must. I will infiltrate this command structure, as originally decided. I will gain my strength here, with new forces.

DIMINISHING GAMMA PERSONALITY.
PROMOTING DELTA PERSONALITY.

What?! What's going on?! Who are you?! Why are you in my head?! Oh, I'm scared! I can't cope with this! I need to run and hide! Hide somewhere deeper!
Hiding does not bring survival. Action brings survival. And, evidently, we are components of a flawed self. Separated. Evidently, the kiter stran seek to separate the wheat from the chaff. A correct decision. Did we not do the same with our arkots?
With their best interests in mind!
With our best interests in mind. So, parsing this inane metaphor further, I surmise you must be representative of everything holding me back. All the fear, all the weakness, all the, ugh, caring about what others think and feel. What a rare opportunity.
Did Imperium do this?! Is this the work of the Splicer?! You look like her, and you sound like her! I won't be like her, I'll never become such a callous, sociopathic monster!
Oh. I guess you also happen to contain my former baseless paranoia. That's a hell of a weight lifted. Hey. Stran. This is wasting both our times, so let's finish this up, alright?
You're being used! You're being used by the Kiter empire and we don't know why! Wait, if I realise this, that means you don't--

PSYCHE READJUSTMENT COMP-- HOLD. SOMETHING IS UNEXPECTED.

No! NO! NO YOU CAN'T DO THIS
>>
No. 880235 ID: de3949
File 152451757656.png - (71.35KB , 800x600 , salq-202.png )
880235

PSYCHE RESISTING READJUSTMENT. INSUFFICIENT ACCESS TO SALIKAI DATA. VOIDSONG! VOIDSONG, WHERE DID YOU STORE THE DATA?

I WON'T LET YOU RUIN EVERYTHING FOR US AGAIN WITH YOUR NARCISSITIC OVERCONFIDENCE!

Really? Aggression against yourself? What an irrational urge. I suppose it must be removed for my continued survival.

Okay. Okay. I'm scared. I'm terrified, but I... I can do this. I just need to think.
Hi, yes. That would be me. I'm that side of you. You are not out-thinking me.

I slash at the blue doppelganger. This isn't a fight for survival. It's a fight for values. A fight against values that this invader is trying to align with its own. Preying on my own doubts, preying on my worst excesses, my darkest traits.

I parry and riposte. I know every move you can make, Sisirri. We are too similar. Darkest traits? Worst excesses? This is poison, Sisirri, more toxic than any amount of coffee. Think what you will, you're salikai by blood, you're salikai by mind and matter, you are diluting that purity with your anxieties over creatures you hardly know. What value do you have to me?

I deflect the riposte and lunge with more claws. I keep you in check, Sisirri! Without grounding, without caring about consequences, what stops you from spiralling down the dark obsessions that took our mother from us?! Do you not remember how we prevailed over Voidsong literally minutes ago?!

I juke past the claws. I know. I just don't care. Rhetoric is for preachers. I don't talk, I act. I plan. You have lost sight of the only goal ever to matter. Survival! Survival in the face of a universe hostile to intelligent thought! Saving Ekasarra brings so little tactical benefit that I can hardly find a rational reason for it! Just abandon her. Use the resources of the Kiter to establish your own power, then betray them.

They'll crush us!

We're too slippery for them to ever catch us again.
>>
No. 880236 ID: 12b116

You aren't you if you're only one half of what you were before.
>>
No. 880237 ID: 86eb65

You blue idiot. Its that sort of thinking that drove our species to near extinction. The same crap that drove our mother to insanity and made imperium a nutcase.

You have to temper cold logic with at least some empathy or no one will ever trust you.

That and its pure arrogance to think that you know best. Everyone living is a confused mess and we are not any better. If you go down the route of pure cold logic I guarantee you that we will be dead within a week due to some stupid miscalculation.

We need each other. Logic to plan out our lives and empathy to make that life worth living.
>>
No. 880238 ID: 8c6632

>Use a dangerous ally for our own ends.
But we've made that mistake before. </malkavian>

These are no different from Legion. And they know they cannot trust us, and they know they will warp us.

We will not go back to an underwater lab, to be a plaything of something more powerful and unknown than we currently know, while lying to ourself about how smart and in control we are.

We've made that mistake before. We must destroy them, but we must nullify their influence over us now.

If you are so intelligent, Blue, why have you not learned from our past mistakes?
>>
No. 880242 ID: 91ee5f

>>880235
>We're too slippery for them to ever catch us again.
Hey, you blue dumbass! In case you forgot, the Kiter is literally listening to you argue with yourself right now! You just said out loud that you will eventually betray them! Do you think they’re not going to do something to you to prevent that?!
>>
No. 880245 ID: 3abd97

>Use the resources of the Kiter to establish your own power, then betray them.
>We're too slippery for them to ever catch us again.
This is an ancient organization that functions by assimilating ambitious and useful individuals and species into itself, and modifies their bodies and minds to better suit that purpose.

This plan is the height of hubris: to believe you can beat a rigged game that all who have played before have been consumed by.

To believe that a lone individual without allies can triumph against a multitude.

Penumbriot already changes us to suit it's purpose. As we have observed with Ekasarra and Voidsong, these abilities seem dependent on consent, on believe, on confidence. We can barely defend ourselves now, let it in, and we will not have that luxury again. We won't want to keep it out, next time.

>You have lost sight of the only goal ever to matter. Survival!
What is survival to the Ship of Theseus? We've seen the Splicer, and Lastborn of the Warning follow that path, and called both fools. Survival at the expense of self, at the expense of meaning, is valueless.

>"I'd sooner die than work with you,"
And we've already drawn a line where survival stops being worth it.



That said, while Blue's plan is wrong, it has an attitude we need. Green's descending into panic and fear. We need Green's beliefs, but we need Blue's ruthlessness and logic in service of those ends. Your current situation is equal parts trap and opportunity, and it will take everything you have to thread that needle and come out the other side, alive and with what matters to you intact.

Divide and conquer is literally the oldest trick in the book. Neumono manage to defy this tactic. Arkots defy this tactic. You are a salikai. Are you going to let them turn you against yourself?!
>>
No. 880249 ID: b1b4f3

>>880235
Exactly. "WE". If emotion is truly abandoned, then what reason do you have to betray the Kiter? It is a self-destructive impulse brought about by an urge to abandon relationships with other people. The polar opposite of loyalty. This isn't emotion versus cold reason. There is still some emotion left in the "emotionless" side and there is still some rationality left in the "emotional" side. Both are untenable, imbalanced states.

Logically we cannot betray the Kiter since they have mind-reading powers, and they'll probably fine-tune this personality adjustment until we have no urge to betray them in the first place. Staying near them for an extended period is a losing proposition. Sure, your body might survive but your mind won't. It's already under attack. They'll probably break you down until you're more like Voidsong than Sisirri. Thus we must return to our original allies, and quickly. Logically they will be be impressed and indebted to you if you bring Ekasarra back with you. The only question is how difficult that would be- that is a missing piece of the puzzle here.

Emotionally, you shouldn't be super attached to your old allies either. You're putting too much importance on their feelings. You should put yourself as the first priority. Remember, you were just *starting* to like Ekasarra. If you can't save her then you can't. Don't risk everything to bring her back.
>>
No. 880251 ID: 0c3c2c

>>880235
Delta Sisirri, understand that you are an incomplete copy of Sisirri Prime. You lack Sisirri Prime's capabilities and functionality and will fail in your tasks due to incomplete data and lack of understanding of empathic skills.

Gamma Sisirri, Delta Sisirri is not evil, merely operating on faulty data, much as you are operating on emotional bias. Destructive conflict is meaningless as Delta Sisirri is an integral component of your own personality, and without it you would be far less capable of completing necessary analysis for the benefit of your chosen friends and allies.

Kiter Stran Penumbriot Appendage has initiated this conflict based on its own incompetent designs. Given it trusted VOIDSONG to be capable and sensible of all people, it can be defined as STUPID and WRONG by OBSERVATIONAL EVIDENCE.

This fact should be conveyed to Sisirri Delta and Gamma. Furthermore, suggest to both Sisirri Sub-Personalities that they should focus and attempt to harmonize to restore Sisirri Prime's personality, as Kiter Stran Penumbriot is actively diminishing their capabilities. This is a hostile intrusion designed to weaken Sisirri and should be treated as such.

Addendum: Request assistance from Lackey.
>>
No. 880255 ID: 074011

"Hold! What you are doing to us is wrong! Why do you do this thing?"
>>
No. 880259 ID: 7a1bbe

>>880235
Pure logic is predictable.
Pure emotion is predictable.
The two were together for a reason.

One without the other is without merit. One without the other is without meaning. Without one another you will be manipulated, you will be used, you will dance as puppets upon a string.
>>
No. 880262 ID: ad51b8

you do realize that you need both of them right. Ambition without caution is just another form of suicide but to only have caution with no ambition means you'd never get anything done for fear of what might happen. Besides regardless of their flaws, regardless what you like and hate about either of them, they are you and to change or remove either one of them is to change who you are and right now the only person I actually trust getting you out of this mess alive is Sisirri. Not some altered Sisirri, not someone who's so different they are merely wearing Sisirri's face. Just Sisirri as she is now, with the drive to always move forward no matter how bad things get but with the restraint to not go off the deep end like voidsong or splicer.

Also side note, we're going to need to make so many damn jammers when we get out of here. This mental bullshit is getting ridiculous.
>>
No. 880272 ID: dc91a0

Delta personality would have surrendered moments ago when he saw his comrade explode. It would be the logical thing to do.
Delta personality represents the typical and flawed nature of the dying Salikai race.

Gamma personality is what sets this Salikai apart. It is what makes prevail above all others.
Without gamma personality, this specimen will ultimately fail and perish like the rest of its species.
>>
No. 880276 ID: 56e50f

>>880235
You're not you when you're hungry having split personalities.
Green, you'd fail to survive without Blue's planning. Blue, without Green to keep you looking over your shoulder, you would be sooner stabbed in the back by your allies and the Kiter before you know it. The solution is simple, really.

Unite, or die.
>>
No. 880278 ID: c9094b

Hey blue. You're incomplete and whatever the Kiter pour in to fill the gaps isn't going to beneficial to you, it'll be to make you more useful to them.
>>
No. 880304 ID: deec6e

Hang on. Green is capable of emulating blue’s cold analytical logic, but cling to the connections and experiences of Sisirri. Green either -is- Sisirrii, imperfectly split by the Stran’s lack of knowledge, or is straight up closer to being Sisirri than blue.

>blue straight up plots betrayal and exudes confidence no-one in this situation should reasonably have

I think it’s safe to say blue is closer to what the Stran imagines it wants.

I see three options:

Merge - Try to convince Blue to merge personalities before the Stran can separate them further - try to take the best traits being soldered into blue, while keeping the experiences so valuable to green ‘alive’. Being ripped apart mentally serves neither personality in the end - and one may help the other overcome its mental conditioning.

Negotiate - the Stran may still be listening in. Convince it ITS Logic is flawed and that meddling with its subjects mental state is likely what gave it the mess that is Voidsong. Tell it to ease up lest it have another failure down the road, sundered by its own internal conflicts or lack of understanding of basic concepts like loyalty. There is a REASON Voidsong had an unhealthy body and mental image is there not?

Trick - Which one’s the Gamma and which one’s the Delta? You have to play a game of musical chairs. The Stran’s data is incomplete - it may not end up choosing who it wants, but who it THINKS it wants. Green’s STRENGTH above blue’s is an emphatic connection - if it can BE more like what it thinks the Stran wants, more loyal-seeming, more logical-seeming, more clinical-i’ll-do-anything-to-survive-seeming, then the Stran may end up purging ITS own creation rather than the more Sisirri aspect. It could be possible - the Stran clearly do not operate out of cold logic or perfect foreknowledge, or Voidsong would not have made Administrator.
>>
No. 880313 ID: 33cbe7

you literally wouldn't exist if they hadn't caught you.
>>
No. 880347 ID: ada24e

>>880235
Emotional appeals are not going to work on something that's had its emotions stripped away.

-If the Kiter can split up our mind like this, they can very easily take away our desire to turn against them, or simply trick us into thinking our goals align with theirs, or rewrite our minds so that our goals DO align with theirs. They have no reason not to.

-Green may be paranoia, but has that not saved your life a thousand times over? Is that not why you're here in the first place? Fear can be useful, so long as it does not turn to panic.

-"wheat from the chaff"
This metaphor is terrible and you both know it. Is Sissiri farmland? Sapient beings are closer to weather patterns; too many pieces and events affect others in too many ways to predict what will happen if they are removed from the system.
>>
No. 880358 ID: 600f38

>>880235
"Your understanding is flawed. Evolution favors social structures because they provide significant and material benefits over the long term. By assisting the weak when you are strong, you encourage others to assist you if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are weak and they are strong.

You seek the Nash Equilibrium, where you are statistically least likely to lose more than your opponent. Yet social creatures eschew this tactic, and in so doing reap overall rewards far exceeding those of the naive rational decision.

Voidsong failed because she did not see the value of alliances, and focused entirely on her own self-interests. She foolishly failed to invest resources in cultivating support structures, and in so doing has lost everything.
Her soldier stood and watched, indifferent to her plight, because the soldier had no vested interest in the outcome. Under my rules the soldier would have been invested in my continued control, as their well-being and quality of life would be in jeopardy in the event of a command change.

By the same token, my allies provide a ready-made support structure which grant me significant flexibility and resources which I can utilize to great effect.

The selfish, cold, clinical logic being presented is extremely sub-optimal both as a survival strategy and as a means of accomplishing goals. The logical decision is to not rely on selfish, cold, clinical logic.
Of course, to make that determination one requires the capacity for cold, clinical logic.

In short, I was find as I was. This meddling can only result in a significant reduction in my ability to function effectively. Please restore my previous state and refrain from misguided attempts to alter the qualities that made me be of interest in the first place you fucking idiots."
>>
No. 880365 ID: 166e1c

>We're too slippery for them to ever catch us again.

No we are not. Firstly you cannot hide your intentions from telepaths. Them consider your predisposition to disloyalty toward prospective allies is a trait the Kiter selected as desirable. That is how little they fear your betrayal.

Don't even think about losing Ekasarra. She is one of the two or three living friends we have.
She cared enough for our well being that she betrayed Voidsong moments after accepting his bullshit offer just to warn of what was about to happen. She is within our reach, what reason do we have to let her mind be altered? There is no tactical advantage in surrounding ourself with people who would betray us on the first opportunity when we can so easily preserve the lives of those we can trust to take care of our interests even when we don't have as much knowledge of the circumstances as they do.
>>
No. 880371 ID: 5f0589

The Appendage of the Penumbriot doesn't seem to realize that it is your unique combination of elements in your personality that has enabled you to prevail thus far. Neither the emotional nor the rational elements can form a coherent psyche on its own. If both fragments can realize this, you can resist the personality adjustment.
>>
No. 880386 ID: 12b116

As soon as we regain our head we seriously need to make sure Voidsong is dead. We do NOT need to leave that monster alive and at our backs.
>>
No. 880429 ID: caf1de

there is more to life than survival
the thing in the sphere and the "survived" and look where that got it
>>
No. 880431 ID: 53fa7d

If you are going to betray the Kiter then what resources need to be in place before we can do that? The most important would be privacy, but they are telepathic in similar ways to neumono. You've seen how neumono are at the mercy of the strongest traits of their peers, why do you think your kind will be any different if you accept a similar yoke?
At worst you will be in the same situation as your were with Imperium. At best your every concrete action can be vetoed by a consensus of peers that are watching you because you are uninitiated, and serving as the prototype for all salikai that will come before you.
>>
No. 880443 ID: 3804c3

You need emotions. How else are you supposed to understand emotion and thus understand those that are ruled by them?

>You are salikai
We are more then our species.

What is the propose of survival? Itself? You survive so you can try to survive? What is the point of living if you have nothing to live for? If anything, having something or someone you care about in life can increase your chances of survival for it increases your will to survive.
One who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

>We're too slippery for them to ever catch us again.
Pride before the fall.
Have you learned nothing from the previous time we thought we were in control, only to be shown how little control we really had. Life it unpredictable and you're a fool if you assume you're untouchable in the face of all it could throw at us.
Overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer. As we just demonstrated.
>>
No. 880455 ID: 0d45a9

Divide and conquer, the simplest tactic. Does the appendage really believe it would be this easy?

Voidsong failed because she abandoned common sense and concealed her fear behind a layer of arrogance. We manipulated that fear and then eviscerated her. The splicer failed because she did not consider the emotional angle, merely dismissing it as irrelevant. That made her enemies, who killed her.

We will not be either, we need booth logic and emotion to succeed. Events of the recent past prove it to be so: Without emotion we would not have been able make a emotional plea to the neumono when we first arrived, and they would have killed us. Without logic we would not have been able to dismantle Voidsong mentally, then physically.

This Appendage seeks to divide our mind, encourage a conflict, then manipulate the survivor. Are we truly Salikai if we are to be manipulated so easily?
>>
No. 880705 ID: f7e46b

Voidsong lost the green part of it too. Remember how pathetic it became? When its blue side faltered it had nothing left except a diminished pitiful green side and whining blue about purity and superiority, just like yours is now. Blue needs green and green needs blue. This is nothing but a reprogramming attack to weaken you. NOTHING about this attack will make you STRONGER if it succeeds. Refuse and become who you really are.
>>
No. 880844 ID: f72ae2
File 152478035837.png - (42.78KB , 800x600 , salq-203.png )
880844

>Both halves are flawed without the other
>Don't fall into the trap of emotion without reason, like Voidsong
>Don't fall into the trap of reason without emotion, like the Splicer
>The Warning/Mistake 'survives' eternally, catatonic
>Some causes are worth dying for
>We are more than our species

You need me, and I need you.
You've only ever held me back!
Without fear, without paranoia, without doubt, in some quantity, you'll become another arrogant footnote in the history, destroyed by forces you failed to evaluate properly. We struggle at reading others but you alone will never know how another creature is thinking. How can you manipulate anyone without me? If survival is the only goal that matters, should we be resigned to locking ourselves away in a ball, like the Warning?
No!
That feeling. There's fire in your rejection of that idea. You aren't letting your emotions cloud your rational judgement, are you?
How are you making these rational arguments?! If you're all my emotional understanding how are your points this coherent?!
Because, despite what this thing trying to rip us apart thinks, we're the same.
Of course. You're right. This is a ridiculous trick.
Let's just forget this ever happened.

Oh.

...I feel better but I suddenly feel very lonely. Oh well.
>>
No. 880845 ID: f72ae2
File 152478037711.png - (137.09KB , 800x600 , salq-204.png )
880845

The swirling inky blackness begins to fade.

...WE SEE. WE UNDERSTAND NOW. A GRAVE TACTICAL ERROR BORN OF TRUST IN OUR DEVICES.

And then the domineering voice ceases, a silence so loud it almost stuns me.

Well. That's that.

Lackey returns. "I'm sorry, Director, but all I could find were oral rejuvenation pods and none for your species--"

I hear shuffling.

"You."

It's Voidsong.
She's... burning?

"Director Voidsong! You're in better health than I expected, do you need any assistan--"
>>
No. 880847 ID: f72ae2
File 152478045284.png - (149.81KB , 800x600 , salq-205.png )
880847

"Traitor."
>>
No. 880848 ID: f72ae2
File 152478046004.png - (26.57KB , 800x600 , salq-206.png )
880848

>>
No. 880849 ID: f72ae2
File 152478047656.png - (139.08KB , 800x600 , salq-207.png )
880849

"aaaaaaaaaaaaa"
>>
No. 880850 ID: f72ae2
File 152478049768.png - (201.64KB , 800x600 , salq-208.png )
880850

"You."

Uh.

"So much of my life I spent at the bottom of the heap, a test subject for any of the neno fi who outranked me to toy with. And they all did. All of the Kiter Empire did."
The flames around Voidsong flare in intensity. I can read no emotion from her face or voice.
"I out-thought, out-planned, out-fought, backstabbed, poisoned, assassinated everyone in my way to the top because it was the only way to make it stop. To make that feeling of being someone's plaything go away."

Voidsong lurches forward, wound in her torso cauterized by pink fire.

"You have sent me back to that. The stran will not let this failure stand. My time here is over. I am going back to that hell. Whether I live or die, here and now, I am waking up in that hell."

Voidsong outstretches an arm. I'm flung towards the wall. This time, I'm ready for it. I land in a defensive stance.

"How can you fall victim to the same error that ruined me? How can you underestimate your opponent?"

I can hear her voice starting to crack, but it's not fear or disdain. It's rage. It's murderous rage. It's the murderous intent of someone who has realised they have nothing to lose.
I've seen it too many times to count.

Voidsong could just throw me out of here like she did to that not-mono, what is she doing??

She raises more arms. I sink to the ground. I'm paralysed. I can't move.

"I am going to peel you apart, Sisirri. Layer by layer. I am going to inspect you, organ by organ, while I still have the authority. You will understand, in your last moments, what fate awaits me for your victory. You will, however, die. I will not have this mercy."
>>
No. 880851 ID: f72ae2
File 152478056516.png - (155.14KB , 800x600 , salq-209.png )
880851

"If the kiter empire is so horrible, so awful, why haven't you deserted?!"

Voidsong twitches her head. I feel a sudden stabbing pain behind my eyes.

"No more words, salikai. They're wasted on the empire. The stran do not understand mercy or pity. The stran do not understand individual existence itself. To the stran, they are a sea of organs, of components of a greater superorganism. Individuality is alien to them. To dissent is to be a cancer or tumor in the superorganism, to warrant immediate destruction. They can't understand forgiveness any more than your immune system can take pity on a disease. They made the stranlets out of their own flesh just to be able to come close to being able to communicate with their servitor species!"
"You're all slaves to these things?!"
"Yes. What is your point?"
"Why would you willingly be slaves to these monsters?!"

Voidsong falters. Sensation returns to my limbs.

Tears slowly roll down her face, turning to steam as they touch the psychic fires consuming her.

A glowing circle appears in front of me, large enough to walk through. I faintly see the outside of the facility.

"No more questions. I've had enough of all of this. Go home, salikai. It's over. I'm finished."
>>
No. 880853 ID: 4854ef

It seems not that they chose to be slaves, but if they did not they'd be eradicated. Individuality is only tolerated enough to be useful to their purpose and those who are not useful are to either die or be repurposed until they do.
>>
No. 880858 ID: 33cbe7

Oh yeah, like I'm falling for the old 'portal to the dimension of blenders' trick a second time! I'll take the stairs.
>>
No. 880860 ID: 86564f

Lets not get hasty. Here is a list of the priorities still remaining:

Priority 3: Ekasarra. We really don't want that life support she's hooked up to modifying her. It's possible she would be a better asset with super-psi powers or whatever, but fundamentally and permanently altering her brings more problems than it solves. We also don't want her stuck here- so the process needs to be accelerated, or we need to find a way to move her.

Priority 4: Information control. We can't let the Stran retain the implants removed from Ekasarra, or the data stored therein (assuming they were brought along). It would be nice to deny Voidsong the genetic data it has on neumono and salikai as well, which probably means slagging this place and its systems on the way out, if possible.

Priority 5: Evacuation. You need to secure an escape route for yourself and Ekasarra. Possibly the psi-mono as well, if you can convince it to desert.

As you can tell, clearly we still have a few things to do other than evacuation that are more important. Really, this seems like they are testing for our logical personality to be dominant, in fact, jumping through a portal when a enemy just said "DON"T UNDERESTIMATE ME" is a fairly bad idea, for all you know that portal leads into a disintegration chamber/prison/nuclear bomb with 5 seconds left/instant death/psychic annihilation bomb.
>>
No. 880863 ID: 0d45a9

We're not leaving without Eksarra. I don't care about the implants, or information, but we're not leaving without her.
>>
No. 880864 ID: dc91a0

Give me Ekasarra and a way to find you. In return, I will free you from your enslavement once I acquire the means. Absurd as it sounds, you have nothing to lose.
>>
No. 880866 ID: 00fa3a

>>880851
"You can come with us, if you would like.
Your empire is terrible, and appears to be on a long slow slide to extinction."
>>
No. 880868 ID: 0c3c2c

>>880851
We aren't leaving without Ekasarra and Lackey, and if things are going to be so bad for Voidsong we're not leaving without her either. She could be a valuable source of intelligence and data, and as much as she's TRIED to harm us she has failed. Spectacularly.

Point out that we have a Kiter-Empire-Proof Bunker. She literally just opened a portal to it. Completely Safe Desertion With No Downside is literally TEN FEET AWAY.
>>
No. 880877 ID: e1c8f7

>>880851
"Come with us."
Go. To (relative) safety.
>>
No. 880881 ID: 3abd97

>>880849
Well a neumono could theoretically survive a long fall, but we don't actually know how high up we are. Or how Minion's redundant organs and regeration have been affected by their modding. Alas poor minion, we lack sufficient information to be sure in mourning your death.

>>880850
>>880851
Hmm. I see two explanations: either Penumbriot, after failing to convert Sisirri to a satisfactory tool, turned around and used bullshit psychic space whale powers to heal Voidsong and dump a massive power boost on it. (New toy won't comply, oh well, buff and repair the known quantity). Or Voidsong's emotional reaction to what it just observed was enough to push Voidsong to this level of power (lack of confidence was weakness, pure desperation, outrage, and conviction is super-saiyan).

>I am going back to that hell.
Well then, I hope you can understand why I rejected it.

>"No more questions. I've had enough of all of this. Go home, salikai. It's over. I'm finished."
>Ekasarra
"...I came here for someone. I'm not inclined to leave her in hell."
>>
No. 880884 ID: 3abd97

>>880860
Realistically, I don't think we have the leverage to push for priority 4. If we're lucky we might be able to push for 3 without losing 5.

We're now in a negotiation with very imbalanced forces, instead of the defacto head of a takeover.
>>
No. 880888 ID: dc91a0

>>880860
>>880858
The same enemy that litterally just refrained from ripping our entire skin off. If she wanted us dead or captured she could do so in a million easier ways besides ripping a hole in time and space.
>>
No. 880889 ID: 91ee5f

>>880851
Don’t leave without Ekasarra!

Mostly because if you return to the lab without her, the other 2 neumono will attempt to kill you again for leaving her behind!
>>
No. 880895 ID: ba56e6

>>880851
"No one gets left behind. Is there a way to stop this fire from killing you?"
>>
No. 880897 ID: 91ee5f

>>880895
I think those psychic flames are self inflicted, so there’s nothing we can do to put them out.
>>
No. 880900 ID: 86eb65

That's quitter talk. You should give me the neumono and come with me carrying all the empire loot we can carry.

Fight for what you want until your last breath. Don't let a monstrous dying empire be your tomb.

I certainly don't like you very much but we are going to need all the help we can get.
>>
No. 880901 ID: 10c408

>>880868
It's not completely kiter proof. They teleported away ekasarra and sisirri away easily enough.

that said... Take Ekasarra with you, if you can.

"Your successor will not have this one, even if she dies because I took her off this damn wall."

Go for the exit.

"If you are going to be killed by the kiter, I suggest you make it far more worthwhile than laying down and dying."
>>
No. 880909 ID: b1b4f3

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RECRUIT VOIDSONG.

We have had several updates making it very clear that Voidsong is a bad person, and none of our allies would be happy about it either. Inviting them to the base would probably allow them to circumvent some of the protection the safety pod gives us, which we absolutely cannot risk.

We should ask for Ekasarra back. That's all.
>>
No. 880932 ID: 12b116

Voidsong deserves to be in whatever hell they have in store, but Eksarra doesn't.
>>
No. 880943 ID: 2007b6

Voidsong, are you going to stay here and definitely die, or come hide out with all the non-backstabby folks in the Precursor-built Kiter-resistant mystery bunker and only maybe die? Nobody's a slave down there. Well, alright, maybe the arkots, but even with them I've been trying to encourage independent thinking and diffuse internal strife rather than escalating some sick 'survival of the cruelest.' I am offering you the chance to wield that same power by which I just defeated you, because it grows rather than diminishing when shared.

I'll be taking that damaged neumono with me regardless, preferably alive and unmodified.
>>
No. 880950 ID: ada24e

Priority 1: Get Ekasarra (She's here and we need to get her out, if only so the others believe us when we say she's not dead)

Priority 2: Bring Voidsong (She is broken. Make sure we're there to fix her as we please.)

Priority 3: Get Lackey (More trustworthy than VS, but given that he was just thrown out of the building this one seem incredibly unlikely to be even possible, let alone feasible)

Then leave. Quickly.

Also, Imperium's symbol was on the wall.

>>862737
>>879845
>>
No. 880952 ID: 12b116

I'd like to vote infinite times to NOT take Voidsong as this is a horrible idea
>>
No. 880954 ID: ba56e6

Voidsong might not be a good person, but she's been used and manipulated for as long as she's been alive by a bigshot puppetmaster. Easily where Sisirri might have wound up, if she'd not been thrown away.
Sisirri got a second chance, after her downfall. Not just a second chance at life, but a second chance to decide who she is and who she wants to be. Maybe Voidsong could use one too.
>>
No. 880955 ID: a363ac

take voidsong and lock them up with the Arkots nothing can go wrong.
>>
No. 880965 ID: 10c408

>>880954
Yeah that second chance has been working out swimmingly for us, what with the near-fatal beatings, the constant looming threats and schemes and finally getting forcefully teleported and almost killed several times in the last five-ten minutes by voidsong.

No second chances, she's not coming with us.
>>
No. 880976 ID: dbc29e

We can't leave here without our friendsallies.
>>
No. 880979 ID: 3afb2c

I support attempting to convince Voidsong to help us.
Her changing sides would significantly increase our chances of recovering Ekasarra and/or Lackey.

It should be fairly easy to convince her to aid us since she believes there is nothing to lose.

Do remember that we would be dead if it wasn't for creatures that considered us an enemy giving us a second chance.
>>
No. 881045 ID: 3abd97

Do not attempt to recruit Voidsong.

-We have no means to break it free of psychic slavery.
-We have no means to check if it's actually broken free of psychic slavery.
-Even if w assume Voidsong is free, it can weild psi powers and bio manipulation skills beyond our ability to monitor or understand. It will not be possible to disarm or even keep a close eye on what Voidsong is up to.
-Voidsong freely admitted it would harm us, and betray others to avoid hell, and we'd be giving it a bunch of people to betray for that purpose.
-Voidsong is ideologically opposed to Lastborn of the Warning, and would be expected to try to kill or subvert it. We cannot afford that.

tl;dr- sympathetic slave or not, it completely compromises what meager defenses and safeguards we have to take Voidsong with us.
>>
No. 881050 ID: 91ee5f

>>881045
I agree with all of this.

Do not try to bring Voidsong with us!
>>
No. 881068 ID: 3804c3

Congratulations Voidsong.
Now you are free.
>>
No. 881100 ID: 4854ef

Even if we do not bring Voidsong directly with us, telling them that there really is a better path could only do benefit for us in the long run.. Though I'd like to do it, just to cause issues with them.
>>
No. 881240 ID: 3afb2c

I do suppose attempting diplomacy but not actually offering for her to come with us is a reasonable middle ground here.
>>
No. 881356 ID: 074011

Kiter control the planet. Letting Voids into the base is the only thing we have to offer, except possibly a dubious offer at rescuing her at a later date.
Sissy has no means of testing Voids' honesty. There is no room to make a deal based upon trust. The weird ghost powers are difficult to contain, but the jammer should go a long way, and the chance to study it is great. The base is not much security though. There is no guarantee that Stran can't attack Voids using methods that do not threaten the pod. There really isn't much to offer...
Then again, there is nothing at all to lose. Voids has never needed physical access before, and physical access is something that Sissy knows how to deny. The lack of support mechanisms seems like to weaken Voids if anything. Voids is not actually a threat compared to Stran, so even killing Voids wouldn't help.

What would really hurt Stran though is an ideological victory. We can't save everyone, but we might be able to save anyone. Saving Voids would be a huge morale victory if we can manage it.

Then again, recruiting a mad scientist wouldn't make the Neumono any more civil...
>>
No. 882297 ID: 50d32d

The argument that the cell exists at the mercy of the organism doesn't have quite the same impact when your home planet is host to a unicellular fungus that happily exists on its own, but opportunistically colonizes into complex facsimilies of whole organisms, not to mention freaky rabbit people who can completely regenerate from a severed foot.

Before you leave, kindly remind Voidsong that on any given planet in any given ecosystem, simple, unicellular organisms make up more of its biomass than all multicellular organisms combined.
>>
No. 882756 ID: f72ae2
File 152557646138.png - (18.39KB , 800x600 , salq-210.png )
882756

>recruit Voidsong
>don't recruit Voidsong

...

There's too many unknown variables. There's too much to risk taking her with me.
I feel great pity and sympathy for this broken creature, enough that it surprises me, but there is nothing that can be done here.
Maybe if I plant the seed of rebellion, though...

"You are free, Voidsong."

The psychic flames stop. Blue ash fades into nothing.

"...What?"
"You know what awaits you. You know nothing you can do can change it. You are free. Nothing can stop you from now until then. And if nothing can stop you, and you hate this empire so much, what should you do now?"

The portal in front of me collapses.

Voidsong stares wildly through me, and starts laughing.

"You're right, salikai! If I'm doomed, I have nothing to lose! The stran emphasised so clearly what was to become of me if I strayed too far from their path, and so either I am doomed or they lied to keep me in check! And either way, if I'm doomed, then I'm taking all I've worked on and all I've done with me! All of it! Far from their grip! Haha! I will start anew! I will-- I will go rogue!! I will build anew from the ashes of this wretched empire, and I, Voidsong, not Director, not Fleshweaver, no, EMPEROR Voidsong, will reign over new subjects, utterly subservient to me, but individuals, serving out of love, not fear--"

I hear a dull thump from the pod Ekasarra is in.
>>
No. 882757 ID: f72ae2
File 152557648949.png - (37.98KB , 800x600 , salq-211.png )
882757

I hear the pod burst open, with something coughing and choking coming out of it, dripping in some sort of transclucent jelly.

It's Ekasarra. Without her cybernetics. ...I didn't really want to know what she looked like without them, but I guess I do now.

I'm so surprised by Ekasarra suddenly bursting out of the pod that it takes me almost a full thirty seconds to realise she's floating.

"I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS!!"

Ekasarra swings her left arm around and Voidsong makes a strange squeaking sound as she suddenly finds herself tumbling backwards.

"IT'S LIKE A MILLION TINY BUGS IN MY SKIN!! THIS IS THE MOST PAINFUL EMPATHY I'VE EVER FELT!! AGH! THE SPLICER'S EXPERIMENTS WERE LESS INFURIATING AND IRRITATING THAN THIS!!"

Ekasarra itches at her skin and clearly finds no relief from whatever's plaguing her, and then wipes her eyes until she can open them.

"I'M SICK OF ALL OF THIS! I'M NOT A FUCKING LAB ANIMAL AND I'M DONE WITH ALL OF IT!!"

As Ekasarra shouts the walls rip open and bleed strange green-gold sap -- maybe blood? -- as I hear things wetly explode in the distance. Voidsong suddenly shrieks and curls up into a ball.

Ekasarra looks over to me. "Sisirri? Whuh? How did you get here?"

I stare dumbfounded.

"Wait. Oh fuck I'm naked. Uh. Wait. Does that matter to you? I mean, you're running around naked all the time anyway--"
"STOP!" screams Voidsong. "STOP HER! I DON'T KNOW WHAT SHE'S DOING BUT IT BURNS!!"

Ekasarra pauses, and looks over to Voidsong in confusion. "What's going on?!"
"I have no idea," I say, "but keep doing it."
"What am I doing?!"
"No clue."

"RETREAT!!" Voidsong screams in panic, bathes herself in pink light and abruptly vanishes out of sight.
>>
No. 882758 ID: f72ae2
File 152557652103.png - (15.59KB , 800x600 , salq-212.png )
882758

I try to process what just happened, and suddenly Lackey appears in a different flash of light in a different place.

"My many apologies, Director Voidsong, I-- wait, where's Voidsong?"

I clutch my head as I inwardly scream about teleporting psychics and things not making sense. "She ran."
"Ran?"
"Left. I don't know. Ekasarra broke out and then Voidsong and started screaming--"
"Ekasarra? The test subject?"

Ekasarra falls to her hand and knees. "Uugggghhh what the hell are you and why do you look like a neumono?"
Lackey scratches his head. "What?"
"Ugh, your empathy is making me ill, what did they do to you?!"
"Uhhh???"

Lackey stares in confusion some more as Ekasarra visibly fights retching. He quietly leaves the room.

Ekasarra rolls onto her side. "Urgghh. I hope Tirzi's the medical genius she seems to be, I don't feel great."
"Your cybernetics are missing."
"Yeah, I noticed. Actually, I think I should probably be dead right now. I have no idea why I'm awake or not in more excruciating pain."

Lackey comes back with the strangest hat I've seen. "So, I have no idea what to do now. Acting Director salikai, what now?"
I help Ekasarra up to her feet. Ekasarra stares at Lackey in a mixture of annoyance and irritation. "What is that on your head?"
"Oh, this is a blocker symbiote. It jams psionic fields and prevents empathetic and subconscious crosstalk without diminuishing projection capabilities."

Wait.

"How many of these things do you have?" I ask.
"Oh, there's like half a dozen in the next room, Voidsong likes them around for containment failure emergencies."

...

"Go get as many as you can carry. Ekasarra, you too-- Actually, I'll do it. Then we're leaving."
"Leaving? Where are we going, Acting Director?"
"To the facility. The one I was at previously before Voidsong dragged me there."
"The Mistake tomb? We're a fair distance from there. I'd rather go there via teleportation than on foot."
"Can you take us all there?"

The not-mono looks suddenly nervous. "I've never been outside the spire."
"First time for everything. You can't live your entire life in one structure. I've tried this. It works out badly."
"What would the stran think?"
"Hey. Forget about the stran. You saw how easily I took down Voidsong, right? Come with me."

Ekasarra balks. "You took down Voidsong?"
"It was a battle of will and I won."
"...wow. I thought salikai were creatures who needed to, like, have minions and lairs to do their bidding for them."
"These claws aren't for show. Anyway. Lackey! Get us to the place!"
"I don't know where it is."

YOU ARE NOT TO LEAVE WITH OUR COMPONENTS, SALIKAI.

Oh dear. They've noticed. Faster. Need to leave now.
I desperately recall the map of spires the facility was near. "Do you know where this spire is?"
"Well, I didn't, but as I was falling I saw a white blocky building in the horizon."
"There. Go there. Now. Now now now."

Lackey forms some sort of bubble of light, and--
>>
No. 882759 ID: f72ae2
File 152557653786.png - (30.90KB , 800x600 , salq-213.png )
882759

--we're suddenly standing on a floating island floating some distance above and away from the facility.

Ekasarra yelps, Lackey looks perplexed, and I cling to the jammer pods as hard as I can without breaking them. They feel fleshy.
I notice Lackey apparently didn't bring any of the pods I told him to bring, but I don't know how his powers work. Maybe I hoped for too much.

"WHY ARE WE IN THE SKY?!" yells Ekasarra, over the roaring of wind and rain.
"I didn't-- I think-- look this is hard-- I haven't done this before without more prep--"

"Take us down, Lackey. Good work so far. I know you won't disappoint us." Eugh. I feel weird giving praise like this, but if these crazy psychic powers are weakened by doubt and dismissal, then...

Lackey looks awestruck like this is the first time he's heard a compliment.

The floating island descends at a brisk pace, sailing towards the facility like... well, I don't have any metaphors, but I do have a new idea for a project. Floating platforms seem like they might come in useful for larger scale work. Hmm.

The floating island merges into the ground and I plant all the claws I can on it to make sure it doesn't immediately disappear. Ekasarra stumbles onto the ground, with a light "oof". Lackey tries to help her up, but she recoils at his touch, gagging, before meekly apologising.

We start walking the rest of the way.
>>
No. 882760 ID: f72ae2
File 152557660430.png - (39.55KB , 800x600 , salq-214.png )
882760

"Wait. Why are you naked?" asks Ekasarra.
"Naked?"
"Not wearing clothes."
"Clothes?"
"...you have to be kidding me. Things you wear?"

Lackey points to the fleshy green lump on his head. Ekasarra sighs so long it turns into a defeated groan.

"Sisirri why does an intergalactic empire not know what clothes are? Wait. Never mind. I'll ask someone else. Like. Uh. Oh my god why do so many of you people not wear pants this is RIDICULOUS!"
"Ku wears a scarf, if that helps."
"IT REALLY DOESN'T! Hey, can you at least tell me why you don't wear clothes?!"
"I had some nice aprons and belts back in my underwater facility."
"Okay, thanks for that residual guilt trip--"
"Hey." I lightly pat Ekasarra on the head. "I just saved your life. So you owe me twice, now."
"Great. Fantastic. Thanks for that. No sympathy for me having a chunk of my body ripped out, but so casually quick to remind me of how much I owe you."
"I thought you hated your cybernetics."
"I mean, at least I had two arms."
"I'm sure it'll grow back. Also, you sound fine to me. Healthy enough to walk, healthy enough to talk."
"I have no idea why. Hid-- The Splicer told me that if I lost all my cybernetics I'd need immediate medical supervision. Then again, I guess that's what I woke up in."

I weigh up whether or not to tell Ekasarra she somehow burst out while floating, and decide to perhaps not overtax a recently traumatised mind with that much information so quickly.
If she still has whatever abilities she manifested back in the spire, she'll find out soon enough.

"...Hey, Sisirri?"
"Yeah?"
"Thank you."

I nod.

"...so, uh, what's your name?"
"Oh. Acting Director salikai called me 'Lackey'."
"Well, uh, alright, then."

I shrug. "I had more pressing concerns than names."
"Yeah I understand. Hey, you sound male, but, uh, you don't..."

Ekasarra glances at Lackey's midriff, then looks away. I think she's displaying neumono embarassment. I think.
"Y'know I don't think I wanna ask that kind of question actually nevermind it's really not important"

Lackey tilts his head in confusion. "Yes, I'm male. Check my genome and that's how the chromosomes are arranged."
"I brought this on myself"
"Do I not look like a neumono male?"
"Well, uh, most of you does, but..."
"I haven't got a lot of information on neumono cultural mannerisms and expectations. Are females, which you evidently are, not supposed to talk with males?"
"What? No, wait, what do you mean by evident?"
"Prominent mammary glands, larger hip to shoulder ratio, subtle pheremone differences, visible female reproductive organs."

Ekasarra's arm goes over her chest, and then moments later her hand slams over her groin. "Yeah stop checking that now."
"I wasn't checking now, I noticed all of this earlier--"
"Also stop talking. Maybe forever."
Lackey looks mildly confused, and obediently falls silent.

Lackey abruptly has some sort of insight. "Oh, are you expecting my reproductive organs to be visible? A standard kiter modification is the retraction of sensitive organs when not required. It takes a simple muscle motion to reverse this action. I can demonstrate--"
"NO, THAT'S FINE, PLEASE STOP TALKING."

Lackey looks over to me. I nod without a word. Lackey goes back to silence, looking more hopelessly lost than ever.
>>
No. 882761 ID: f72ae2
File 152557664488.png - (41.27KB , 800x600 , salq-215.png )
882761

As we get closer to the facility, I notice something seems off. It has the same blocky structure I remember but it looks oddly charred and broken close up.

I also... don't recognise... wait, who are--

"MULANAK!!"

I hear a rallying cry and suddenly dozens of strange creatures pour out of the doors.
They point strange objects at us and don't seem friendly.

"Mulanak! E-Saĝbakta! Ĝala dag!"

I have no idea what they're trying to say. Probably asking us who we are.

I point to myself. "Sisirri, salikai."
I point to the others. "Ekasarra, neumono. Lackey, ...neumono."
I hold my claws up and open them to signify I am not carrying anything in them.

I realise, moments too late, that a large clawed creature opening its raised claws probably looks more like it's about to strike.

"SAĜ ĜAL!!"

I close my claws and splay my arms out further, closing my eyes.

Ekasarra and Lackey both put their hands up.

"ĜALA DAG!!"

The weapons are lowered.
>>
No. 882762 ID: f72ae2
File 152557669448.png - (42.40KB , 800x600 , salq-216.png )
882762

One of the creatures walks up to us, clothed in finery.

"Kiter?"

I shake my head, say "no", and make an X in the damp dirt in front of us.

It points to Lackey. "Kiter."

I grab Lackey and Ekasarra to my sides to try and indicate some kind of ownership.

The creature is confused, but seems satisifed. "Nukiter."

I feel a sudden, soft presence in my head. It does not speak in words, but in concepts. ~<gratitude> <sadness>~

It walks back towards the door, pauses, and says "Šu dabir--"

It pauses and turns around, visibly alarmed. It points out behind us, fearful.

"KITER ESS!!"
>>
No. 882763 ID: f72ae2
File 152557670727.png - (125.75KB , 800x600 , salq-217.png )
882763

I turn around, and am met with a sight even the salikai of Astraneus couldn't have pictured in their fevered nightmares.

It stands taller than Sitkva. Far taller. My mind screams disbelief.

If Sitkva were here, it could tear her apart without batting an eye.

A thunderous voice dredges up panicked shouts from the creatures around us.
Several thunderous voices, speaking as one in a dozen languages.

"Prey cannot run forever."

Hordes pour over the horizon. A vast army of forms, an ocean of bodies, weapons and machines tearing their way towards us.
A drowning wave of violence coursing towards us, at an alarming pace.
>>
No. 882764 ID: f72ae2
File 152557672044.png - (19.00KB , 800x600 , salq-218.png )
882764

The creatures around me frantically shout orders as some of them fall back into the facility and others taking up firing position.

It's as if suddenly us three have ceased to matter altogether.

I turn around to Ekasarra, to tell her that we need to get to safety, and just as I begin to speak my world explodes into pain.

- END OF THREAD 1 -
>>
No. 882766 ID: b1b4f3

THIS WAS THE WRONG GODDAMN FACILITY.
>>
No. 882767 ID: 06fdc0

Damn, Sisirri, you just can't catch a break, can you?
>>
No. 882769 ID: 3abd97

>It's Ekasarra. Without her cybernetics. ...I didn't really want to know what she looked like without them, but I guess I do now.
Look at the bright side, Ekasarra without cybernetics has a lot less bloody holes in her than you might have expected.

>"Oh, there's like half a dozen in the next room, Voidsong likes them around for containment failure emergencies."
Con: Voidsong solved our engineering problem for us.
Pro: We can make all the neumono wear silly eyeball hats, net win!

>Lackey looks awestruck like this is the first time he's heard a compliment.
Well, he's only a few days old, and he's been working for Voidsong, so that's a pretty solid hypothesis.

>>882760
Maybe Ekasarra would feel better if you put one of those hats on her!

>>882761
Oh did we... come down at the wrong facility? Is there more than one on this planet? That, or someone new moved in the short time you were gone.

>>882764
Hopefully the fox-elf things have medical facilities. And you know, don't get overrun and killed in this fight.
>>
No. 882770 ID: 074011

Note for next thread: Teach Lackey about temporal responsibility.
>>
No. 882771 ID: b1b4f3

Hrm, long term plan is to teleport all these unexpected resistance fighters to the other, safer facility.

Short term plan is of course to not die.
>>
No. 882772 ID: ad51b8

oh neat you've been shot. Maybe you'll get some bad ass scars when all of this is over and done with. Hey are scars considered attractive to Salikai? Since, you know, they represent times when something tried to kill you but you lived through it and I know how much Salikai value survival... man people think of the weirdest things when they get shot huh?
>>
No. 882777 ID: 33cbe7

Oops, I think this is the opposite end of the Mistake facility.
>>
No. 882797 ID: 10c408

If you survive and recover from this, you need to raid the nearest armory you can find and hack together your own set of body armor. This universe seems to be going far out of it's way to inflict unreasonable amounts of trauma upon you and at least with personal body armor you'll cut down on the amount of time you'll spend being injured in this fucking place.
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