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2 mos ago
4 mos ago
All I want for Christmas is for brainwashed capitalist bootlicks to keep their Stockholm Syndrome to their damn selves. Well that and a Ferrari
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4 mos ago
Ghost Mode is for cowards pass it on
9 likes
4 mos ago
[@AnnaBeth] That's cool. Hope I get to see it when it's ready. Who knows I might even wanna buy one if it's my style (or goth enough that I can wear it during Vampire: the Masquerade games haha)
1 like
4 mos ago
[@AnnaBeth] Do you have a portfolio we can look at?

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Rose heard them before she saw them, shambling into RADAR range well before the range at which she could squint through her smoked aluminum glass and gawk at the team manually. And she must have noticed them before they did her, as their conversation continued with no real regard for her presence; unless, of course, everyone in this squadron was as rude as that Gan guy ... The terrain was becoming pebbly and uneven and low, her mech swaying as its leg actuators adapted to new deformities in the moon rock.

________________________
"Okay, Chlotho. Your turn."
"I gotta go with phở on this one. No question."
"I've heard of that. It's Vietnamese, right?"
"Yeah, but you don't know until you've had it. It's ambrosia."
"Well? Spit it out already."
"So it's this murky, beefy broth, right? So hot it's almost boiling. Sometimes it's spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and all sorts of stuff. Cilantro, mint, and chilies are negotiable. Onions and glass noodles aren't. And beef. So much beef you could choke. Total harmony."
"Whoa! That sounds scary good!"
"Right? At your typical noodle shop they'll be serving flank, brisket, maybe eye round. Shaving it so thin it's like paper. But if you're luckyβ€”β€”or you know where to goβ€”β€”you can get it loaded up with juicy chunks of tendon, oxtail, even tripe and tongue."
"Aaaaaand you ruined it. Bleck."
"What about you, Commander? What's your favorite hot soup for braving the frozen wastes of Triton? ... Commander?"
"Huh? Oh. I dunno. I like tomato."
"That's our girl. Something finally leaves her mouth which ain't an order, and it's the most boring thing to ever come from a bowl."
"Hey! ...... Okay, maybe the one from a can. B-But I think my dad makes a really good one!"
"How's that?"
"Well, he'd start by roasting the tomatoes and some onions in a pan, to give them some char."
!
"And since that would cook out some of the acidity, then he'd deglaze with a little vinegar, usually red wine or balsamic ..."
!!!
"As for the spices, I haven't figured it out 100%, but I know it involves cumin seeds, caraway seeds, some paprika ... all dry-toasted and thenβ€”β€”"
"Hey, chief. Maybe you should cut it out before ya kill 'er."
"... Ana?"
[incoherent drooling]
"Heh heh ... Yeah, MREs and DFAC cookin' don't really cut it when your heart hurts for homemade, do they ..."
"That's for sure. I'd go on a massacre for a plate of my old man's stroganov right about nβ€”β€”"
"BOGEY ON MY TEN."
"What?!"
"Strauss, you sister-fucker, you better not've jinxed us just now."
"Shut up, I didn't."
"And you're not kidding this time, right?..."
"NO!!"

In stark contrast to the Quickdraw which (through no intent of its own) had stomped past Rose out on the plain, the fireteam's A3-37 Phalanx didn't need to take even a single step to zero right in on her figurative forehead. With a scalpel's precision, hip pivot and shoulder pivots collaborated to aim two enormous autocannons dead-on at her center of mass. Supposedly they were for long-range aerial shootdowns, but who was to say they wouldn't tear through a Fire Ant at point-blank?

The others, despite their banter, practically leapt to Strauss's callout in their deadly earnestness. They emerged from their defensive testudo formation. A (relatively) small, agile Fessler-Bagwell "Hellion" was first to appear from behind Strauss's Phalanx, quickly leveling its own arm-mounted guns and missile racks; and so did a weightier, slower AV-84 Hunchback, hobbling forward much in the manner of its namesake, or of an armored tortoise, dragging along under its iron cowl.

But in the center of this formationβ€”its impenetrable iron coreβ€”stood the true titan. The thickness of her armor was measured not in inches but in feet, her withers towering over their heads. As for her four cannons, after a certain point there was no point to counting, but comparing the bore of the barrels to the size of the cockpit at a glance, Rosie could estimate that the shells came at least up to a girl's knees when laid lengthways on the ground. Maybe her waist.

Of course Rose had always read about the Armageddon-class mechs, like the Horn of Gabriel, the Apotheosis, the Oubliette, and of course, the MkII Sword of Damocles. But those ... those things had to be at least 900mm in caliber!

Was that mech truly a weapons system, or an artillery fort on legs?!
________________________
"Unidentified pilot, this is R-TAX Three-Zero-Fiver-Fiver-Three with the 5th Airborne. You are ordered to jack out of your 'mech, call out your serial number, andβ€”β€”"
a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a
"... oh."
"It's Rosie!"

Somehow, even the mechs themselves looked slightly bashful as they all lowered their barrels in unison.

________________________
"Nice going, bud."
a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a
"Gimme a break. I only said she was a bogey, not a bandit."
"Great. Now I'm hungry AND wound up."



(coming soon)
Another evasive three-sixty, and another sweep of the dark chaos of the storm, enveloping everything past a bubble of maybe forty meters. The presence of anotherβ€”a supposed allyβ€”had soothed Gan's nerves by now, but still he stuck to protocol. To routine. To muscle-memory, chiseled into his brain by drills and regimens. Because drilling kept his mind, or at least his eye, off the rookie, who he could swear he had just caught in his peripherals with one leg stuck out, arms flailing, as her metal behemoth threatened to slip out from underneath her and make a new crater in the hill they had mounted. Before he could ask the question (sparing himself from having to hear the answer), Gan slipped into an angle opposite hers, and a position slightly behind her, so that now they had eyes on the whole sector.
"Fireteam 9, Fireteam 9. I’ve just arrived at RV Beta."
___________________________________________________________________________

________________________

He spoke with clarity, confidence, and purpose, despite anticipating (and receiving) no answer from his comrades; only a quiet, crackling protest from the radio.
"... Standing by ..."
___________________________________________________________________________

________________________

And now, to embrace the inevitable: after witnessing her temperament firsthand back on the Artaxerxes, Gan could only expect something truly asinine to leave his new partner's mouth. Another joke. More elbow-to-ribcage wisecracking from a girl they didn't know, and who had done nothing yet to earn that trust or respect. And yet who put on like they were already best buddies, like she was already a member of their live-and-die troupe. At this rate, Gan was wondering whether she'd get herself killed first or merely court-martialed. And how many of them she'd take down with her, too. And the last thing they'd hear on their radios as they went up in flames? That goddamned singsong voice, parroting their orders back at them with a halfhearted "roger that" or "got it" tacked to the end.

Just what the hell had Commander Streymoy seen in her when he gave her file the green stamp? Andβ€”β€”Melger! What, had he not noticed any of the red flags while he was vetting this chick?! Or did he just ignore them and push her through anyway? Gan swore up to heaven and down to hell: if he was about to die because all the blood was in "Druid's" dick instead of his brain on recruitment day ... but before he could finish cursing his enigmatic handler and comms officer, Gan heard a sound which managed to surprise him even then, with all that pessimism pissing hot into his liver. Even as he thought he'd learned to expect the worst from this girl. A familiar blinking chime let him know that a new unit had just joined the channel. Either she had just turned on her radio, or she was ... Gan didn't know. Surfing for some fucking tunes before she remembered she had a job to do.

He swallowed a mouthful of spit, and with it, a mouthful of words best left unsaid. For now. For now, the seemingly ironically named "Hothead" returned to his usual cold, biting disposition, cloaking himself in its mysteries.

________________________
"Ah! This is Mowgli! To Hothead! I have also arrived! But, um ... since you're going to be with me, I guess you know that ... um, over."
"... I haven't learned your name yet. What do they call you back home?"

________________________
"Me? My name? (Yes! They want to get to know me better!) M-My name is Rose. Rose Synapse. (Okay, play it cool for now. You can tell them about your figurine collection later.) And ... and you?"
"... Ganymedes. Gan."
"Cool! I mean, yeah, okay ... Well, Gan, I hope we make a great team."
"In the spirit of ... that ... maybe you'll start by briefing me on what else that Talarius can do. Because in all this atmospheric interference, those wrist-lasers won't do us a damn lick of good."
"Well, I hear that this mech can go really fast. Dodge any attack that the enemy throws at it. I think it suits me really well, don't you? ... And, and I think it can punch things too? It DOES have hands ..."
"..."
"..."
"..."
"... *cough*"
"... What about alt comms? Any wire-guided launch systems? TacSat?"
"Oh, oh! It has an anti-missile system!"
"*sigh* ... (Thanks, Commander. Thanks a lot.)"
"... I'm, uh, still figuring this mech out. Sorry."
"Just ... just gimme a second."

He reached, slowly and deliberately, for the neurojack in his neck, plucking it. Underneath and all around him, his mech autopiloted itself into a stabilized idling position. Next he twisted the volume dial to the left until there was a click; a knife-like silence killed the radio, static and all, and the video feed contracted into a pinprick in the center of a now-dead screen. For a moment of his choosing, Gan was alone. He breathed. He opened up a side-console and reached in. First to break, shattered against the far wall and cascading from it in a shower of jagged glass, was an ashtray. Then a box of 12-gauge shells, now clinking against the floor and rolling into the corners. Gan tried to wrestle a cyclic out from its mount, and he punched the battle map screen until the pain pierced his gloves, tingling in his knuckles. He recoiled, and gripped the trembling hand. The straps of his seat hugged him too tightly to let him get up and walk off his rage, so he tore at them, too, and his helmet, and everything else that restrained him to this chair-shaped coffin and this cockpit-sized grave. But by the time he was free, Gan didn't want to go anywhere; what he saw was too vivid, too paralyzing. It was Scyto's face. In turns it curled and blackened as it went up in flames; it crumpled between jaws of buckled steel, and bled under the gentle kiss of broken glass; his beautiful, boyish eyes popped in the vacuum of space; he choked in the technicolor gases of Jupiter, of a nebula. Gan had to shove this face away by replacing it with others. The crow's-feet and the crinkle in Yrma's nose as she laughed. Ana pouting as Strauss teased her, always like children when they were together. Even the moody, stoic, quietly strong Ketherin Voldova, who watched her brood from afar. Which of them was Rose Synapse going to kill with her naivety?

But worst of all was not knowing who to blame. Who to be angry at. Was it Rose's fault, or was it Streymoy's and Melger's, who let her in? Or was it Gan's fault? Out in the corridors, in the mess hall, he could have chastised her for the wrinkles in her flight suit and the bangs hanging down into her eyes. He could've gotten her assigned to swab duty while the rest of them completed the mission. Hell, he could've challenged her to a sim match and learned all of this sooner! But he'd been too busy moping and being aloof, and now here they were. Trapped on this backwater moon with too little atmosphere and too many questions. With a teammate who was barely learning how to walk, never mind how to lessen the impact of a missile with a well-timed shoulder roll, or slice the pie on an unsecured corner.

These same questions already haunted the five teammates who remained from that first fateful day. Questions they all held close to them but dared not ask. Who could have done something differently that day. Whose fault it really was. They weren't ready for the answer. Not really.

No. No, not now. The others needed him to pull his shit together. Because he could shoulder-roll and slice the pie and more when it mattered. The others needed him to keep it together long enough to secure the hostages, save the base, and get back to the ship for beers and billiards. Anger and grief be damned, Gan had a job to do.

So he ripped open an MRE and wiped his face down with the provided towelette. He steadied his breathing. He centered his thoughts. He strapped himself back down into his chair, his helmet. He jacked back into the Basilisk. And he breathed one more time, shakily, before steeling his countenance and twisting the dial on the radio, reviving the whole array.
"Okay. You're the liaison between points Alpha and Beta. That much is clear. But I don’t think the Commander meant for you to be so defenseless en route."

________________________

________________________
"Uh huh. Hey, you were out for a second there. Did something go wrong?"
"Worry about yourself, because here's your next task. If you meet any charlies on your way to the others, abandon your orders and COME BACK. You'll bait them right to me. My particle cannon is out-of-action, too, but these twin coilguns use good old-fashioned projectiles. They'll put the fear of God into anything that could be chasing you."
"... Alright. Cool."
"And I'll take the fall if it comes to that. So don't worry about how the Commander will react and just trust what I'm telling you."
"Leave the court-martial to you. Good plan."
"Do you always repeat what people say to you?"
"Not always. It helps me remember things, though. If someone asks me to get, uh ... tomatoes, for example, from the store, I'd repeat what they say. That way I can play it back in my head once I'm at the store. You know?"
"So you forget easily, do you, Ms. Synapse?"
"Not always! It's just really helpfβ€”β€”eep!"
"Let me be more pointed: once you've walked back to Voldova and the others, are you gonna forget ME out here?"
"N-n-nuh-no, sir! Of course not!"
"Don't call me 'sir.' We're equals; at least according to our papers. As for you not going through your flight check; the chummy way that you talk; practically stumbling and tripping in your mech ... I'm starting to get a clearer picture. You've never piloted one before. Have you?"
"... No."
"So you don't have a military record. Or if you do, you were an ass in a chair."
"... I don't have one."

No use losing it again. You're already stuck out here.

The only thing left to do was to fucking do it.
"I'll keep this to myself for now. At least until we're out of this shit-mess. Until then, I've got only one question: if I get into trouble, are you writing me off and turning tail? Or is there a germ of soldiery somewhere in that civvie heart of yours?"

________________________

________________________
"I'm not abandoning you. Or anyone."
"..."
"Okay. Let's say I believe you. Which way are you heading now?"
"North-northeast, about thirty degrees."
"The map isn't set to true north, but I get your meaning. Alright. Starboard-side it is. And if you won't get caught, and won't lose your nerve, tagging a few charlies on the way wouldn't hurt our chances any. They're probably closer to the wall."
"Fine. If the opportunity presents itself."
"Good enough. But seriously; not even a LAN cable for short-band?"
"What does 'LAN' mean?"
"...... Never mind. Get moving."

Those questions and doubts were buried deep now. The soldier had taken over. Gan overrode a few map parameters and gave himself waypoint permissions. As he guided his steel lizard to the northernmost side of the hill's crest, overlooking and guarding a crater-pocked plain, he drew a thirty-degree line, starting at the hill's base (the bottom of a sheer rock face) and spanning far into the distance, well past the supposed latitude of the quarry. If Rose couldn't follow a straight line, then ... well, then he didn't know how else to try and help her.

He reached over for the opened MRE, a Scandinavian medley of crackers, pΓ’tΓ©s, and jams, and began assembling himself a spread. It'd be a while until Rose could run into trouble, and even longer until she made contact with Alpha team. If she made contact. The sniper's most familiar foe had struck again. The waiting game had begun.
"Oh. and if it turns out you alerted the enemy by walking past the base with your broadcaster turned on, I'll kill you myself. Out."

________________________

Whe. I was much younger, I was a huge Jurassoc Park fan. I ran a message board about it and everything, and it had a roleplay section. I made a roleplay character whose parents crash-landed on one of the islands when she was a baby. She was then orphaned after her parents were killed by velociraptors and she was "adopted" by the raptors and grew up to be part of the pack. She could talk to all the dinosaurs on the island and could run as fast as the raptors and InGen wanted to capture her to find out why she survived among the dinosaurs for so long....


Nothing I've got will top this so what's the point LOL
The empty jump tanks and the heavy-gauge parachute cables fell to the ground, landing with thuds inaudible in the cockpit and agitating an inert layer of moon-dust which the ravenous, shrieking winds then whisked away. Gan left them there to become Triton artifacts, buried under decades and centuries of such wind-storms as they refused to rust away; or the scrappers' and the salvagers' next meal as they hauled it away to a smelting plant. But leaving them there was still risky. The storm would not bury the refuse and the scrappers wouldn't cut it up and cart it out before a patrol found it, if the patrols wandered out this far from the base. Hopefully, they didn't. Hopefully they marched tighter circles around the quarry, to keep watch over their prey, and stick together through the storm.

Engaging in an evasive maneuver, Gan three-sixtied his surroundings. Fruitlessly. Maybe. The short field-of-view and the frizzling optics and the cloudy-white wall beyond the glass did little to persuade him that he hadn't been seen or happened-upon while he fell; but that being the case, he still belonged on the move, before a scout or any kind of straggler came back with his buddies. He'd just have to trust OpInt, a decade-old map, and the split-second judgment of his commanding officer, wouldn't he?

At the least, the whirls of dust and soot would blur his tracks. And conceal his coming.

The empty tanks and the parachute faded deeper behind him with every thundering step from his hydraulic metal feet. Now only rock cradled them on his eastward journey. Rock and powder. The rookie had gotten the raw deal in all this, Gan realized; in her light, sporty, corvette-like little mech, she would arrive at the RV point minutes before him, and there she would wait, alone, unguarded. He, on the other hand, would arrive to an ally waiting for him. If she hadn't wandered off to make snow-angels, that is. Yeah, on the radio she'd been all "Roger, roger, roger," but whether she was paying attention the whole time, Gan would be first to find out. Then again, in the hangar she was rushing her pre-flight, too, seemingly hurrying or even skipping key systems checks. What if he was overthinking this, and she was just another glory-hound like that smirking, pompadoured prick, Strauss?

Better than a space-cadet, I guess. At least a glory-hound, even if he bragged about it for months and months after, would pull Gan from a burning wreck when it came to that.

The thought of thisβ€”his Basilisk, charred and smoldering in the sub-oxygen atmosphere of this placeβ€”inspired Gan to double back again. After slowing the mech's forward momentum, he quickly backed up, and gave his hip joint a full 180 pivot; to catch any followers more subtly and quickly, of course, than if he had simply turned around. For another few minutes, he was satisfied. Surer that a smaller unit hadn't retreated into the fog to avoid being spotted, Gan righted his direction and his speed, again beelining to the RV point. Until another mech really did appear from the fog. It was ahead of him, having sat dead-still for so long that the quarry "snow" blustered from smooth piles clinging to its starboard leg and shoulder, its cold gun barrel; its entire right side. He zeroed in immediately, or at least as quickly as he could pivot. Aiming. Watching.

The mech didn't move, and showed no idling behaviors at all. The "snow" didn't shake away form its body as if from the rumble of an understressed reactor engine. Nor did little port flaps open and close with the various machinations of its coolant system. In death the thing was locked to stare north-westward, its back permanently turned from Gan's current position. He ventured closer.

"A Vitruvius?" he guessed just from its hulking, industrial shape. Getting closer and circling the thing affirmed this theory: someone had retrofitted it for war. The mining wheels at the ends of its arms were welded off, the stumps coupled to crude, blunderbuss-like gun barrels; on its shoulder, not a pivoting crane mount, but a wire-fed explosive launcher. As for the enemy, they had needed to drill through inches and inches of backplate to reach any of the critical pipelines or hydraulic valves ... but they'd done it. The digger-mech had bled all its coolant, Neptune-blue, through a circular gash bored into its flank. Various joints were also sprung, crimped, and crippled; maybe while bringing the enormous mech down. Maybe to make sure it wouldn't get back up.

With no sign of the pilot in the cockpit, the wound, or anywhere else, Gan turned himself around and hurried onward. More wreckage continued to tell this story on the way: these were smaller, more mobile ... more professional. The attackers which the gargantuan digger-mech had managed to pluck from the battlefield before they, too, hobbled it: tanks. APCs. A single mobile command unit. All of them scorched, empty, and dead, whistling as the wind jabbed through their many exit holes and blast craters.

When Gan crested a hill and saw a Talarius Fire Ant standing atop it, he would have been grateful first if not for having his thumbs over the caps guarding his trigger buttons. Damn it, the fog must've been getting to him; he could've shot her!
Sure, we can spitball over PM's so whatever we come up with (and you greenlight) isn't spoiled for everyone.

Some ideas are already concrete and in the works, others will require some brainstorming when we're closer to getting to them. It's alrriiight everything's alriiiiiiiight.
1. I think Ishida was spreading his butter across too much bread; I honestly have no idea what benefit he saw in divide-and-conquering the school and the prefecture simultaneously. So I wrote him to have a sort of panic attack upon learning that Tamura/Takanashi's expedition failed. He'll scrap the whole plan and come up with something else which has all of us working toward the same short-term goal. More cohesive that way. I'll also have him realize (or, at least, postulate) that he can at least partly blame this failure on a lack of communication; so he'll be more apt to share the hows and whys or his plans in the future.

2. Four people is enugh to run an RP. We're quick to forget this fact because we started with like ten. Lol. But if the four of us who remain can stick to it, we can keep going indefinitely, with no more big lapses while waiting for people who log out for a month or who are off in the next field chasing the next ADHD butterfly.

3. I'd like to write a scenario which forces Ikue who become more involved than she currently is. Get her down in the dirt with the others so more exciting things are wont to happen to her. Obviously she could volunteer for such a thing if you'd hypothetically prefer that over her being dragged kicking and screaming down from her ivory tower. Only an idea but IMO a good one.

4. I just have the feeling that between the four of us, we can come up with a more cohesive vision for the game. I think Courtaud flew by the seat of his pants when it came to both plotting and worldbuilding. We can form a plan and we can commit to it, and we'll know what we're working toward even while we take breaks from the drama and stakes to do cute SOL nonsense.

5. Speaking of stakes. Have more stakes. Both for characters and for the quest at large. Uh, yeah.
With two posts in two months, and a GM who hasn't been logged in for over half of that time, that's completely understandable. It was worth a try.
@TheWendil@Zoey Boey Noblebandit, sassy1085, and I have already agreed that we're still in this thing, despite the circumstances. How about you two?
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