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File 169301854634.gif - (4.36KB , 650x450 , Title.gif )
1070829 No. 1070829 ID: 0fbdcd

The sequel to Decompressed: Nuke Ops. If you never read it, or just want a refresher, check it out here: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/981565.html

As before, I am not the artist or writer of this quest; I'm only archiving it from another medium and relaying commands from Questden to the artist.

All art and story credit go to Nine Hyperzine Tripping Engineers.

Expand all images
No. 1070830 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301862833.gif - (14.58KB , 650x450 , 155.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: Anyone got another one?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: My stories depend on what you interpret as complex geometry.
:AI:: Memory record uptime listed at 1527 days. Full render available.
:QuarterMaster:: Okay, well, don't tell those.
:ChiefEngineer:: Anyone else got any? I've gone, :QuarterMaster:'s gone, :ResearchDirector:'s gone.
:ChiefEngineer:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer:?

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I could tell the chicken-fried arm story.
:QuarterMaster:: God. Why. That sounds gross.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Had just done a back surgery on :Cook:, so he was on heavy painkillers. He's pals with :Botanist: so he got blazed at some point.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: That sounds illegal.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not important. He got really hungry, so he's making fried chicken in the deep-fryer, and he really wants a piece, so he decides he's going to reach in--
:ResearchDirector:: Please. I need some capacity to act on my hunger when I arrive. This is distressing.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: That's the thing. His arm smelled delicious. Whole medbay got hungry. But :Cook:'s injured.
:QuarterMaster:: Gross. Gross gross gross.
:ResearchDirector:: Somehow you are making me lose and gain my appetite simultaneously.
:ChiefEngineer:: Yeah. This one's messing me up too.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: So he's lucid and fine, because of the painkillers and the burns only being surface-level, and now we're all getting hungry in the treatment center, so--
No. 1070831 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301871670.gif - (15.71KB , 650x450 , 156.gif )

:CorpEnforcer:: Move it. Everyone out.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: We've arrived?
:CorpEnforcer:: Move, now.
:ChiefEngineer:: :ResearchDirector:, take :AI:. :ChiefMedicalOfficer:, grab your stuff.
:ChiefEngineer:: Sounds like the trip's over.
No. 1070832 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301874729.gif - (15.11KB , 650x450 , 157.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: :CorpEnforcer:, know anything about the station?
:CorpEnforcer:: Keep moving.
:ChiefEngineer:: Yeah, okay.
:ResearchDirector:: I would rather we approach with some knowledge of it at least.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I know a great deal about it.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: The top interesting facts, please.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: The system's in a condensing molecular-cloud region of a nebula. It exists as part of speculative stake claimed regarding a nearby forming star, so it passes through regions of pseudo-fluid hydrogen.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: A shaft-mining dig site has begun work in a megacrypt they've discovered, surrounded by molten material. They're looking for high-value materials from precursor civilizations to sell or melt down.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: There was a Bloodletter incident, resulting in the deaths of the station's administration, with the exception of the heads of Engineering and Security.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Life support is fitted with a Tressell-type gasometer and gravity generator, requiring the station to meet quota to earn atmosphere and gravity-hours.
No. 1070833 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301881123.gif - (16.81KB , 650x450 , 158.gif )

:QuarterMaster:: Sounds like it sucks.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Pretty dangerous posting.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It's all I could-- oh.
:Chaplain:: Hail, scribe!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: :Chaplain:. I didn't know you were indebted.
:Chaplain:: Hah! Hardly! I come with the intent to preach! I shall bring to this station so devoted a soul that no Bloodletter shall ever again act against it!
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You're replacing your dead counterpart.
:Chaplain:: In their honor and to pursue their wishes!

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: How's the arms?
:Chaplain:: Recovery continues. Soon! I'm certain, soon, I shall achieve my full strength once again!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: And how's everything else?
:Chaplain:: Hmmm?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Got pretty messed up by all that fighting you did. Stresses a man out.
:Chaplain:: Ah, I...
:CorpEnforcer:: I told you, move.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I'm going.
No. 1070834 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301888608.gif - (49.51KB , 650x450 , 159.gif )

:QuarterMaster:: Woah.
:ChiefEngineer:: Raining?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: What's "raining?"
:ResearchDirector:: A form of weather on some worlds.
:ChiefEngineer:: We stopping at a planetary surface?
:AI:: No nearby surface observed. :AI:: Scanning... Molecular hydrogen detected.
:ResearchDirector:: It is not precipitation in the conventional sense.
:ResearchDirector:: The molecular cloud of the nebula... it is interacting with the nearby artificial gravity.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Hydrogen rain.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Think it'll let up before we dock?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: The cloud isn't projected to condense or disperse in our lifetimes.
:QuarterMaster:: Jeez. Kind of a weird mood for a space station.
:QuarterMaster:: This how it always is around here, :CorpEnforcer:? You go through this area a lot, right?
:CorpEnforcer:: Keep moving. Stop stalling.
:QuarterMaster:: Guess so.
:ChiefEngineer:: Let's go.
No. 1070835 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301891545.gif - (40.19KB , 650x450 , 160.gif )

It's pouring rain, pouring out there. Enough to make a man pour another one himself if he's got the habit. You all are gonna be getting here soon. Your ship's heading in, through that storm and into this one. Depending on your taste for honesty and your taste for rain, the downpour could be a good impression, could be bad, but the least I can say is you'll be having more of the same. More of the same for as long as you stay in a place like this, and just about everybody stays here long.

It never stops pouring here, so why should I? One way or another, it's tough for any man to stay dry in a place like this.

No. 1070836 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301893585.gif - (64.34KB , 650x450 , 161.gif )

They load you up on an autonomous arrivals craft and send you out. One-way, self-sterilizing on the way back. Can't afford anyone making a break for it. Can't run from the workhouse if there's no ground to run on, but that means no docking direct. Only way to deal with the stowaways, or the people whose debts are a hotter fire in them than three slugs out of an enforcer's heater.

So you and your little shuttle pull right up and dock, and I'm sure those clamps complain when you do. Whining and groaning, overworked, but doing their job, just the same as anyone else around here. And around here there's not much else to greet you but them.

Except for her, anyway.

No. 1070837 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301899504.gif - (96.07KB , 650x450 , 162.gif )

Author's Note: Holo-animals drawn by AsciiSquid and Fuade.

Main docks are glamorous because it's the face of the station. Full reception, fresh wall paneling, a nice view. You might keep the pride in the vault, but you wear it on the dock, special occasion. Still, I guess we stopped cleaning up the house for visitors. Happens to the best families. Not much comfort for the last days of the wilted bushes though.

These days, you make an average visit at the main dock, only welcome you're normally gonna find is the silence, the scuffs, and the grime. On a bad day, you use up your fifteen minute break fishing teeth out of oil and blood in a maintenance tunnel. A good day, best you can hope for is a voice on the intercom and a digital guide, and that's not much at all. But it's what you get now. Lucky you.

:Computer:: Docking clamps secured. Welcome aboard.
:Computer:: Acting overseer :EngineeringSupervisor: will transfer command shortly.
:Computer:: Please follow signs to the Volunteer Security Department so :SecurityChief: can take records.
:Computer:: I think she'll be delighted to have you there, in her own way. I know I'm simulating that feeling myself.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Huh. More natural speech.
:ResearchDirector:: It has a higher class. Five cores or more, at a guess.
:Computer:: Class twelve-plus, in fact, though please don't mistake my network's density for sentience.
:Computer:: A debtor station needs that kind of insight, so that I can help keep things running in times when there are heavy command fatalities.
:ChiefEngineer:: That's not going to be happening anymore.
:Computer:: I'm glad you feel that optimistic.
No. 1070838 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301906197.gif - (18.11KB , 650x450 , 163.gif )

Author's Note: Additional character designs by AsciiSquid.

So you make your way. Starboard to port, Arrivals to security. "Starboard" and "port", as if this were a ship, as if this were going anywhere. Here, we go in circles. It's all of us, just going in circles. But your circle takes you here. You've gotta get the transfer of command. And there's someone waiting for you on the way there.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: This is a non-regulation amount of engineering sector loitering.
:ChiefEngineer:: It's late in the shift. Cut them slack.
:ChiefEngineer:: Are you acting captain, :EngineeringSupervisor:? I'm supposed to--
:ConstructionEngineer:: Panopticon lock, five close, tracking. Engine 2, moving to intercept. Code - Drawbridge, Claymore, Venom.
:ChiefEngineer:: What?
No. 1070839 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301907510.gif - (26.07KB , 650x450 , 164.gif )

:ConstructionEngineer:: Unknown panopticon harmony, approaching at caution, priority one exclusion.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Unidentified actor, you're entering monitored social space. Break off and renavigate.
:ChiefEngineer:: What? No.
:ChiefEngineer:: I'm supposed to see your boss to transfer command.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Probable social hostile. Code - Artery, Harvest, Caltrops.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Unidentified actor, if you're planning to assume command, you'd better hold your pattern until Engine 1 is ready and has a lock on your intentions.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Don't expect to assume command for at least a week of activity shifts, you're--
No. 1070840 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301908956.gif - (18.07KB , 650x450 , 165.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: It's chill.
:ConstructionEngineer:: But--
:EngineeringSupervisor:: It's chill.
No. 1070841 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301910942.gif - (18.52KB , 650x450 , 166.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: Cool tip: Use a quick handshake to get a first impression off on the right foot.
No. 1070842 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301911881.gif - (16.99KB , 650x450 , 167.gif )

No. 1070843 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301912267.gif - (28.44KB , 650x450 , 168.gif )

No. 1070844 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301916651.gif - (18.15KB , 650x450 , 169.gif )

:EngineeringSupervisor:: She's cool.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Engine 2 disengaging. Hazing payload non-expended, returning to patrol.
:ChiefEngineer:: Okay, good.
:ChiefEngineer:: Wait, hazing?
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Dagger, Midnight, Sprint. Breaking off from aggressors, need cover, need cover!
:EngineeringSupervisor:: Don't worry about it. You're fine.
:ChiefEngineer:: Alright.
No. 1070845 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301919196.gif - (13.63KB , 650x450 , 170.gif )

:SecurityChief:: And on today! Of all days...
:Kratt:: Mhm.
:Computer:: I'm sure you wouldn't rather have undocumented command staff.
:SecurityChief:: But I can't believe they'd do it today. It's insensitive!
:Kratt:: Sure is.
:Kratt:: Say, you catch the blaseball match last night?
:SecurityChief:: I'm stressed... I'm so stressed! I shouldn't have to deal with any of this.
:Kratt:: Guess not.
:Computer:: Good attempt, :Kratt:.

:SecurityChief:: Why is this happening to me...
:Kratt:: Mmhm, it's just awful.
:Computer:: I predict that your level of anguish will change after you meet them.
:SecurityChief:: My feelings are important too, you know.
:SecurityChief:: I wish central command would take them into account!
:Kratt:: Yep. Cruel of 'em. Well, you better go get :Friz: to take the prints and all, for the records.
:SecurityChief:: Scheduling a big reception on the anniversary of the day I decided they'd finally try to remarry me!
:Kratt:: Right, right. Hard to believe anything about this.
:Computer:: I'll call her over when they arrive.
:Kratt:: Thanks.
No. 1070847 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301927865.gif - (16.02KB , 650x450 , 171.gif )

:Wishbone:: And now, welcome to the main area of DVSD HQ!
:Wishbone:: Everyone file in, please, then we'll start the photos and taking prints and stuff.
:Computer:: All new arrivals now present in the Debtor Volunteer Security Department.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: "Volunteer"...
:Kratt:: Thank god, thought we'd never stop waiting.
:Kratt:: Do this at Customs at Arrivals with the head of the Service department, normally, but, don't got one.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You will now.
:Kratt:: Good. Need up-to-date records if I'm gonna be worth much.
No. 1070848 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301931607.gif - (22.18KB , 650x450 , 172.gif )

:Wishbone:: I could tell you all kinds of stories about this place.
:AI:: Scanning... high-traffic area.
:Wishbone:: Every kind of story, really.
:Wishbone:: The Jailbirds doing the prank war with :Sandiego: and :Nye:.
:Wishbone:: Chief and :Kratt: fighting off a dozen Bloodletter acolytes storming the brig, each with a riot-gun in both hands.
:Kratt:: Hah. Don't embellish too much.
:Kratt:: We had three guns between us. Helps when you have one person reloading.
:Wishbone:: Still, what a history.
:Wishbone:: Don't have time for the stories now though, I guess.
:QuarterMaster:: Yeah, I've kinda had enough of stories for one day.

:Wishbone:: Chief, you want to start the intake?
:Wishbone:: Chief?
:Kratt:: Uh...
No. 1070849 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301932628.gif - (20.10KB , 650x450 , 173.gif )

No. 1070850 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301935623.gif - (21.72KB , 650x450 , 174.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: You got me here. This is your fault.
:ChiefEngineer:: Get me somewhere else. Any other station. Right now.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Uh.
:ChiefEngineer:: I cannot be here.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I can't get us somewhere else. Officially, we're confined here until our debts are resolved.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It is technically debt-imprisonment.
No. 1070851 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301938033.gif - (23.56KB , 650x450 , 175.gif )

:ChiefEngineer:: You've put me in the worst possible command posting in the galaxy.
No. 1070852 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301941666.gif - (20.32KB , 650x450 , 176.gif )

Dames. It's always something with dames. Like I don't have enough busted-marriage trouble in my life, I've got to get an extra helping from them too. Should have stayed back in my office, let the kid get here and take prints and samples, call it a day. No, can't do that, got a job. Gotta walk my way into another pile of trouble. This time with some forklift-certified doll, and her anguish big enough you'd need one to lift it.

Well, I jostle past her and over to the chief. Can't help one, gotta help the other. I've got deadlines for records too, worse than the warden there. Company's on my back like a busted modsuit to keep tabs on everyone, especially their VIP debtors, and a man like me can't afford letting them down. Debt is death here, and all of us are running from it. Especially these days, especially here.

No. 1070853 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301945781.gif - (15.49KB , 652x450 , 177.gif )

This type of stuff means a bad-paying job later, but I never got the hang of solving it ahead. "Sensitivity." Man like me barely knows how he feels, how am I supposed to sense a whole other person? What a mess.

:Rogers:: Got their papers?
:SecurityChief:: I can't believe it. Today. Here, now.
:Rogers:: Yeah, that's when I need those records, chief. Otherwise the Company calls.
:Rogers:: Don't let them get to you. Gotta clench your teeth and fight.
:SecurityChief:: I'm clenching them.
:Rogers:: Now stop grinding. It's about Grit, not stress.
:SecurityChief:: I deserve care for my feelings too!
:Rogers:: Look-- sure. Sorry, chief, you're right. Just--
:Rogers:: Ease your feelings, don't ignore them. Count the parts of you that aren't gonna get hurt, then go get hurt in the little ways that don't last.
:SecurityChief:: Ugh... why me...
:Rogers:: On account of if it's not you, it's someone else.
No. 1070855 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301947982.gif - (15.20KB , 652x450 , 178.gif )

:SecurityChief:: You're right. So many poor debtors, who don't deserve anything like this pain...
:SecurityChief:: So many poor criminals who would suffer too much under the burden of authority...
:SecurityChief:: I'm going to bear it. For their sake, so they can rest and keep making such a bright tomorrow...
:Rogers:: Oh christ.
:SecurityChief:: The impoverished souls... I can look on people like you, bearing all that suffering so much worse than this, and maybe draw some strength...
:Rogers:: Lady, uh--
:SecurityChief:: You always have it so hard. Maybe, I can finally have solidarity with your debts, through my own suffering...
:Rogers:: I'm-- I'm gonna go check on :Friz:.
:SecurityChief:: Oh, good! We're connecting, now, because we're both feeling stressed. You'll tell her about how deeply I'm connecting with her suffering, right?
:Rogers:: Probably not.

Can't tell which mood's worse, but at least it changed. Having a debtless head of the department is a real experience. Builds character. Like how scars build a decent perp description.
No. 1070856 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301949434.gif - (24.06KB , 650x450 , 179.gif )

:Rogers:: Where you been, kid?
:Friz:: Sorry I'm late! Sorry.
:Rogers:: Slept again. Need a better vice.
:Friz:: No! No. Look, don't worry, won't happen again.
:Rogers:: Get that case of SSD looked at.
:Friz:: Ahh-- I mean. Hard to find time for (and no head of Medical), you know?
:Rogers:: Good thing we're about to fix that.
:Rogers:: Got the forensics kit?
:Friz:: Yeah! (Got it right here.)
No. 1070857 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301952012.gif - (26.47KB , 650x450 , 180.gif )

:Friz:: What's the mood with these guys?
:Rogers:: Bad.
:Friz:: How bad?
:Rogers:: :SecurityChief:'s ex-wife.
:Friz:: (Oh god.)
:Friz:: Okay, well, I can process them quick!

:Friz:: Wow, this is a lot at once.
:Rogers:: Lost a lot at once.
:Friz:: Wish I'd been here to help...
:Rogers:: Good you weren't. Would be making your second payment to your Sourcer right about now.
:Friz:: Wait, what does that mean? (Hold on.)
:Rogers:: It means--
:Friz:: (No, I got it.) Uhh-- Well, I think I could have handled myself (I've been doing this a long time, you know), but I... I mean, I get it.
:Rogers:: Got a lot of work to get to.
:Friz:: Right. Sorry, just got distracted. (Overwhelmed, I guess.)
No. 1070858 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301959267.gif - (29.81KB , 650x450 , 181.gif )

:Friz:: Alright, we'll take you one at a time, as quick as I can, for each bit of records.
:Friz:: I know you all probably can't wait to rest (after that long trip) and all!
:AI:: It has been 36 hours since these crewmembers were provided with food or sleep accommodations. :AI:: Law 1 requires me to request these.
:Computer:: I'll let the kitchen know and clear a space in the dorms.
:Friz:: Jesus, they're getting worse...
:Friz:: At least you had coffee.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Wait, how'd you know--
:Friz:: Anyway, uh, I promise it'll be fast!
:Friz:: Just, single-file into the main office, please.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: You don't have a designated records-taking area.
:Friz:: Ahh... no, that got taken over.
:Chaplain:: "Taken over..." You've been invaded?!
:Friz:: We haven't had a full crew for a while, a lot of areas (especially around maintenance) are...
:Friz:: Well, anyway, they're not their original purpose.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: What are they instead?
:Friz:: Secret bases (for the cult), before. Now they're usually rat-nests for the Jailbirds.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: That sounds like a major breach of corporate regulation.
:Friz:: K... Kinda. Sorry.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: I was not being critical, I was being sympathetic. I'm not used to that.
:Friz:: (Oh! Oh.) Well, thanks!
:ResearchDirector:: Not used to breached regulations, or to being sympathetic?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Correct.
No. 1070859 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301961794.gif - (10.20KB , 650x450 , 182.gif )

Welcome to the debt station. Give up your cash, your future, and your name. This is purgatory, where the sins are purged, and no sympathy for the sinners. Here's where the Specta junkies do their worst work. Here's where you go before you get a little box and a big orbit. Here's where we go to the underside of civilization. This is where society doesn't help you anymore, where all the machinery of all the bureaucrats is made to hurt you for ever pulling out more than you put in, even for a moment.

On the north side of zero balance, when you wait in line to get your ID, or when you let paperwork process for a month, or when you fill out a week's worth of paperwork, that's just society helping you in slow-motion, best it can. The numbers, the records, the tracking, it all exists to give you a little screen between you and someone's bad day ruining your life. Don't got that, and your whole life's at the mercy of moods and whims, whatever someone with a little power thinks that moment. The rules matter, they even out the spikes.

No. 1070860 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301963565.gif - (20.85KB , 650x450 , 183.gif )

But on the south side of zero, when your debt is ticking, always ticking up and up, exponential, every wasted minute is a personal cruelty, a perpetual penance on the clock. If the debt isn't miserable, it's not debt. But if it's real miserable, and believe me it is, then the neglect, the slow motion, that's pain. All the lost time is a wound. And all that tracking, all those numbers, all those records, they stop being a way to live, and they start being a way to die. You stop having a name, you start having a job and a number. All this machinery we built up, it goes from helping you, to killing you.
No. 1070862 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301968454.gif - (1.65MB , 650x450 , 184.gif )

And me, I know that better than most. Got a chill wandering its way down my spine and window-shopping my ribs ever since the moment you all walked in the airlock. Don't ask me how I know it. But I already know.

The next gig, the next case... it's going to kill me.

No. 1070863 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169301999342.gif - (18.67KB , 650x480 , 2.gif )

Rain, all the damn time. Not a single place on this station I can't hear it pounding outside, and it's always raining here. Quietest it gets is the dorms. No wonder you're always sleeping here. But me, these days, I couldn't sleep without it.

They call me :Rogers:. My name's a different matter, but if you ask me right now, I've got to tell you it's "Debtor 406857". I'm a private eye, a detective-for-hire, a gig gumshoe attached to the station's Debtor Volunteer Security Department. One of the best investigators, and that makes me one of the worst people. But that doesn't seem to ever get you down, though, does it kid?

Hey, kid? :Friz:? Wake up, get out, get your coat on, it's time to work. Looks like you've still got that same case to solve.

Same as the last two times, and just as bad.

No. 1070864 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302006017.gif - (18.64KB , 650x480 , 3.gif )

> :Rogers:: Retrieve arms.
> @AtlasRules87

Two right here, but waving my heater around isn't how I do things. Especially waking someone up.
No. 1070865 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302011166.gif - (26.78KB , 650x480 , 4.gif )

> :Rogers:: Was that poster on the wall always there?
> @plapatin

They put some of these up after the big bombing last year. Inspirational stuff, if you're the type to get inspired by people dying and a sector-wide depression. But I'm not an undertaker or a stock shorter. Not much good to me. You like them though, don't you kid?
No. 1070866 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302016802.gif - (41.54KB , 650x480 , 5.gif )

>:Rogers:: Shout your daily order at the SHOUT COLA! vendor.

They're supposed to scream whenever anyone's nearby. Takes a good minute for me to get noticed by the motion sensors on these things right now, on account of the circumstances, but this should wake you up. And everyone else.
No. 1070867 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302020213.gif - (113.95KB , 650x480 , 5 (1).gif )

>:Friz:: be awoken by sudden soda shouting

:Dirt:: Loud sound.
:Savvy:: What...?
:Moxie:: Make it stop.
:Dirt:: Sounds like a human. Screaming.
:Grit:: Someone needs help.
:Savvy:: Nnnh. It's the stupid vendor again!
:Dirt:: Loud sound, boss!
:Savvy:: I know!!

:Grit:: Go help.
:Moxie:: I want to sleep!
:Savvy:: We haven't gotten decent sleep for a week.
:Grit:: Turning on the chemicals. Get moving.
:Dirt:: Come on, bud. Let's move.
:Moxie:: Fine...

There you are. Look like crap, kid. But it's time to move.
No. 1070868 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302032126.gif - (22.99KB , 650x480 , 6.gif )

>:Friz:: Five more minutes.

:Savvy:: Fine, fine, let's engage for now.
:Moxie:: Alright... Caffeine later?
:Grit:: Sure. Whatever it takes.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, what's the situation?
:Dirt:: Probably a repeat of the last one.
:Grit:: Those ones are dangerous.
:Moxie:: Double-check, in case we can sleep.
:Savvy:: Alright. "What is it?"

:Friz:: What is it? Can I just go back to sleep?
:Rogers:: Someone else has lost it.
:Friz:: Same modus operandi (sudden betrayal of Company loyalty) as last time?
:Rogers:: Yeah. Contraband-and-violence case.
:Friz:: I don't like this at all.
:Rogers:: Nobody should.
:Rogers:: But it's the only lead we've got on the case that's really worth waking up for.
:Friz:: Fine...
No. 1070869 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302037532.gif - (22.39KB , 650x480 , 7.gif )

>:Friz:: Stop living up to your namesake and fix your hair.

:Dirt:: Hey bud, eyes.
:Moxie:: Got it.
:Dirt:: Thanks.

You get that hair fixed, fast. Comes with your job, you've been detecting since you were, what was it, five years old? Even nearly asleep, you can get it out of your face, from the look of it. You and me, we walk and talk on the way out.

:Moxie:: The faster we do this, the faster we can be done.
:Moxie:: Can you start early?
:Savvy:: Guess I can. "Any suspects?"

:Friz:: Any suspects?
:Rogers:: Nothing clear.
:Friz:: Nnh. Witnesses? Crime scene?
:Rogers:: A couple. Scene's ready for you.
:Friz:: Where are we going?

We're going to...
No. 1070871 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302041224.gif - (25.12KB , 650x480 , 8.gif )

>:Friz:: Sneak yourself a SHOUT COLA!, maybe its caffeinated.

...Engineering. Or we were. You're distracted already.

:Moxie:: :Dirt:. Hey :Dirt:.
:Dirt:: Bud?
:Moxie:: Do those colas have caffeine?
:Savvy:: We're busy.
:Dirt:: No records. And the boss is right.
:Moxie:: I'm grabbing one.
:Savvy:: Hey! Wait! :Grit:, help me out here, those things will rot my bones.
:Grit:: They have a sweet flavor. And we need to be awake.
:Savvy:: God, fine I guess.
:Moxie:: I'm getting a gamer fuel.
:Grit:: Embarrassing.
:Savvy:: This is your fault!

:Rogers:: We're heading to Engineering. Come on.
:Friz:: Need this first.
No. 1070872 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302043787.gif - (30.37KB , 650x480 , 9.gif )

>:Rogers:: Pass her a flask of the dark and bitter stuff.

:Rogers:: Thirsty the minute you wake up, huh?
:Friz:: I can stop any time I want.
:Friz:: I need it, if we have a crime scene to look at.
:Rogers:: You want something stronger instead?
:Friz:: Isn't it the start of the shift? (Did I sleep in that bad?)
:Rogers:: You're holding a gamer fuel.
:Friz:: Rude. I don't think that'll make the day easier (given the circumstances right now), either way.
No. 1070873 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302046672.gif - (23.43KB , 650x450 , 10.gif )

>:Rogers: : that damn monkey on my back is itching. imbibe addiction of choice
>@Thickle Inspector

:Rogers:: Suit yourself, kid.
:Rogers:: But an energy drink isn't much better of a vice.
:Friz:: But it's the morning! This is, you know.
:Friz:: Kind of practical.
:Rogers:: Every vice is a practical vice.
:Rogers:: Even the calorie-blasts in the kitchen are part of a certain kind of kit.
:Rogers:: You know that, right?
:Friz:: Still. Morning.
:Rogers:: Sure, sure. Something for the morning then.

:Dirt:: Smell of smoke. Smell of smoke.
:Grit:: Clear lungs. Coughing.
:Friz:: Well, make sure you put that out before we get to the crime scene.
:Rogers:: Not like I'm about to contaminate it.
:Friz:: More like I won't be able to focus, honestly. I'm having a hard time as it is.
:Friz:: It's, god, what, four shifts of this?
:Dirt:: Three.
:Savvy:: Right.
:Rogers:: Three. Looking like it's gonna be a lot more.
:Friz:: Feels like I haven't slept right for any of them.
No. 1070875 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302048688.gif - (23.22KB , 650x450 , 11.gif )

We made footfalls through long halls. Atmospherics has a problem. We aren't gonna fix it, but we sure can go ahead and make it our problem too, like we don't have enough of them.
No. 1070876 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302051425.gif - (30.36KB , 650x450 , 12.gif )

No. 1070877 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302056758.gif - (21.87KB , 650x450 , 13.gif )

>:Computer: : Good morning, Debtors!

There's a jingle over the radio. Audio-branding, like a logo plastered on sound, forced into your head. Then we're all hearing the same voice.

:Computer:: Good morning, Debtors.
:Computer:: The current time is zero degrees LLO, marking the beginning of work shift B-4381.
:Computer:: The station's status is currently at green alert, on-track to meet quotas.
:Computer:: You're now allowed to begin payable labor, and you need to be at your workstations, if applicable.
:Computer:: As always, remember: All wireless personal medical monitors must be worn and fully active.

:Rogers:: You heard it. We're on the clock now, better be working.
:Rogers:: I'm checking ahead. Take a statement, kid.
:Friz:: Oh... Hmmm.
:AtmosTech:: Doesn't always look this bad, you know.
:Friz:: Oh! Oh, I know.
No. 1070878 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302059684.gif - (19.45KB , 650x450 , 14.gif )

>:Friz:: Commence interviewing.

:Friz:: Detective :Friz:, DVSD. Heard you had some kind of incident here?
:AtmosTech:: Oh, yeah! A break-in.
:Friz:: Looks bad... can I take a statement, please?
:AtmosTech:: Oh, sure!

:Grit:: She's calm.
:Moxie:: But unmotivated now, I think.
:Dirt:: Use the positive approach anyway, boss. I'll call up the memorizations.
:Savvy:: Good, got it. Name, job, safety. :Moxie:, recorder out. :Grit:, keep an eye on stress levels.

:Friz:: Name?
:AtmosTech:: Didn't get to keep mine either, and the chief doesn't give us nicknames like you.
:Friz:: It's just part of the protocol.
:AtmosTech:: Alright. Debtor number's on the ID here.
:Friz:: Department and role?
:AtmosTech:: Engineering, atmospherics.
:Friz:: Current feelings about safety (and if needed, anything that the DVSD can do to improve them)?
:AtmosTech:: What?
:Friz:: Do you feel fearful or stressed?
:AtmosTech:: Is this protocol too?
:Friz:: Sort of, but it never hurts to ask in investigations.
:AtmosTech:: Uh... I'm fine, I guess. Neutral?
No. 1070879 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302062802.gif - (17.45KB , 650x450 , 15.gif )

>:Friz:: Attempted plasma flood, or something more mundane?
>@Old Secret

:Friz:: Alright, that's it for opening statements.
:Friz:: So, what happened? Did someone try to sabotage atmospherics?
:AtmosTech:: Someone in a mask ran through the front door and out the back into maintenance.
:Friz:: What? Why?
:AtmosTech:: Probably to get some of our stuff. We have a lot of stuff.
:Friz:: Not sabotage?
:AtmosTech:: I feel like they weren't inside long enough to sabotage much.
:AtmosTech:: I checked just a few seconds later and they were gone. It was probably a stuff type of crime.
:Friz:: Well, I hope you don't have less stuff now, some of your stuff is dangerous fuel gasses and heavy-duty gear.
:Friz:: But I guess we're not choking right now.

:Moxie:: Lots more information to gather about when they ran through here. But our main objective is to find where they are now.
:Grit:: I can feel at least two more risk factors we should learn about.
:Dirt:: :Rogers: mentioned something about contraband. Where do we think that got used?
:Savvy:: Right, there's more questions to ask...
No. 1070880 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302066505.gif - (18.25KB , 650x450 , 16.gif )

>:Friz:: Method of entry? Did it involve the borked airlock?

:Friz:: They didn't ask you to let them through?
:AtmosTech:: Nope.
:Friz:: How'd they break the door, exactly?
:AtmosTech:: Swiped something against it.
:AtmosTech:: I haven't been able to get it to close right since then.
:Friz:: Huh...

:Dirt:: That model of airlock emits that sound it's making when one, but not both, of the lock-in-place bolts is down.
:Grit:: A contraband device broke the security and forced it open.
:Moxie:: I don't think we're able to examine it much more than that. We're missing an important tool.
:Savvy:: I'll have to have :Computer: try to diagnose it on the digital end.
No. 1070881 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302068897.gif - (19.84KB , 650x450 , 17.gif )

>:Friz:: Tiders? Any identifying non-Company gear (ie: Syndicate)? That mask sounds interesting.
>@Old Secret

:Friz:: What about the mask? Was there anything strange about it?
:AtmosTech:: Total blank. I couldn't see a thing about them.
:Friz:: Like a grey-tiding :StaffAssistant:?
:AtmosTech:: That's "nothing going on in the brain", this was "nothing visible behind the mask".
:Friz:: Did it look like any mask you've seen before?
:AtmosTech:: Nope. Suit wasn't either. Mostly black, a little red.

:Grit:: Sounds like syndicate equipment. High-risk. Might be other risks, but we can't likely learn anything more. Not without more context.
:Moxie:: But we need that location... for some reason, I feel like :Rogers: has a lead on that.
:Dirt:: We can come back and get more testimony. Her memory should still be fresh for a few more minutes at least.
:Savvy:: Alright. Time to look at the scene of the crime for a bit, then. See what happened during the run-through-atmospherics stage of events.
No. 1070882 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302075337.gif - (159.49KB , 650x450 , 18.gif )

>:Savvy: : Perhaps the :Computer: can run diagnostics on the door.
>@Nukie Horrorshow

That machine's on-call, every moment you could want it. Helpful thing, even if it's part of the prison.

:Friz:: Hey, :Computer:, can you take a look at this airlock?
:Computer:: Confirmed. It's an airlock.
:Friz:: I mean-- come on, I mean in-detail, please!
:Computer:: It's an airlock for atmospherics. It looks like it's an eye-catchingly unpleasant yellow with blue trim.
:Friz:: It's a broken airlock, I need to learn more about it.
:Computer:: Well, I suppose when you put it that way: diagnostics were already in progress at the start of this. The humor is just a bonus.
:Friz:: Ahah... Thanks? Was it funny for you?
:Computer:: It was objectively funny, :Friz:.
:Computer:: I just happen to be non-sentient. Humor is something for sentients exclusively.
No. 1070883 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302084217.gif - (30.32KB , 650x450 , 19.gif )

>:Friz: : Ask ponytail if the perp wore any gloves.

:Friz:: Hey, did they wear gloves (which would obscure prints or other biological contact traces) on the way in?
:AtmosTech:: I barely saw them. Couldn't say one way or another.
:Friz:: Best guess?
:AtmosTech:: They had everything else covered up. So, probably.

:Savvy:: We're looking for contact trace material and not anything like fingerprints.
:Grit:: The target was moving too fast for total caution.
:Moxie:: Look right in the space around the edges of the control panel, where I bump my hand when I fumble with an airlock.
:Dirt:: Running the scans now.
No. 1070884 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302086576.gif - (56.43KB , 650x450 , 20.gif )

You get out your custom forensic scanner. I always prefer working with my hands, but I guess you picked up a couple nice gadgets from when you were an "encyclopedia detective." Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

:Dirt:: IDed something in there. Looks like someone fumbling with the airlock?
:Moxie:: Yeah, looks like it! That might be our trace!
:Moxie:: Log it as type A trace contact for now.
:Savvy:: Hold it, hold it. We don't know that's relevant yet. Could be something from someone else, a week ago.
:Savvy:: If we see it again in another airlock further in, and none of the atmospherics gear have something like it, we'll know.
:Dirt:: I'll log it and scan further in.
No. 1070885 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302089586.gif - (53.51KB , 650x450 , 21.gif )

>:Rogers: : Looks like :Friz: just completed a scan, better see what the kid found out

You head in past the busted door.

:Rogers:: There you are, kid. Story so far?
:Friz:: Hey.
:Friz:: Unknown motives, unknown perp. But there's some good news (by which I mean details about the bad news).
:Friz:: Identity-obscuring and security-breaking contraband, maybe a Sourcer contact or other Syndicate backing.
:Rogers:: That's three cases with possible Syndicate backing.
:Friz:: Those other cases... Three data points may make a line, but we should stay skeptical.
:Friz:: I'm going to keep scouring the scene for more contact traces to figure out what they have, where they went, and what they took.
:Rogers:: Good plan.
No. 1070886 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302091898.gif - (29.42KB , 650x450 , 22.gif )

>:Grit: : Yeah, those canisters look totally unstable stacked up so high like that. Watch yourself.

:Grit:: Unstable arrangement of objects.
:Grit:: Pull back now!
:Moxie:: Moving!
:Dirt:: Wait, wait a moment, chief.
:Dirt:: Before you start pumping that adrenaline, look, there's wall-hooks and caution lines.
:Savvy:: This must be the buffer area where pre-stocked cannisters are kept, to be given out to other departments or engineers.
No. 1070887 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302094128.gif - (24.17KB , 650x450 , 23.gif )

>:Savvy: : If this is a buffer area, how come there’s so little oxygen?

:Savvy:: I should check something though. "Hey, just wondering."
:Friz:: Hey, just wondering. Has someone been taking a lot of your oxygen tanks?
:AtmosTech:: A :CargoTech: stopped by to deliver them to science pre-shift, for something.
:Friz:: Guess that's pretty normal.
:Friz:: I'm gonna get back to looking around. I might need you to let me into the back for a bit.
:AtmosTech:: Sounds fine.
No. 1070888 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302097061.gif - (23.30KB , 650x450 , 24.gif )

>:Rogers:: Activate your Detective Vision

Don't have that. But I get hunches, and I've got the good sense to listen to them without taking them for absolute gospel. Man who can't listen to his gut is worse than dead.

:Rogers:: Kid. The situation with the oxygen...
:Rogers:: Can't say why, but it's nagging me like a gemless researcher.
:Rogers:: You keep it in mind. Something about these cans. The missing ones, or the one left there.
:Friz:: Huh...

:Grit:: It's dangerous.
:Moxie:: What is? What do I do about that?
:Grit:: It's dangerous. That's all.
:Dirt:: Any more information, chief?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: You're always such a big help.
No. 1070889 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302100951.gif - (21.28KB , 650x450 , 25.gif )

>:Rogers:: Take a quick glance at that poster while :Friz: does her job

I hate these things. Company marines were before your time, weren't they? Or I guess the height of it would have been when you were still working the pet detective beat. Well, it's all fallen apart. These things are years old by now.

:Rogers:: Wish they'd rip all these down.
:Friz:: Why are these still up?
:AtmosTech:: This part of the investigation?
:Friz:: Oh, just making conversation.
:AtmosTech:: The posters? I dunno, it was here when I got hired.
:AtmosTech:: Think I'll get in trouble if I take it down.

:Dirt:: Looks very old.
:Savvy:: Do we have anything in-memory about this? Maybe the Unofficial Guide?
:Dirt:: Working...
No. 1070890 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302105268.gif - (25.52KB , 650x450 , 26.gif )

:Dirt:: The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has this to say on the topic of the FXAD:

The FXAD, or Frontier Xenoform Acquisitions Department, was better known as the Company Marines. They were a Company-sponsored and Company-directed militia of sorts, famous for pioneering and subsequently showing all the flaws of a very specific type of novel military structure. Xenofauna and xenoflora are a typical obstacle standing between the Company and areas with large amounts of resources. From space carp drifting between mineral-rich asteroids, to adaptive swarms resting below fertile colony soil, the Company faces a daily challenge to fight in the frontier for what it takes back to the core worlds. It also, notably, can't afford to do so while paying for truly professional military services from core world governments, given that so few remain and so few are willing to deal with the Company. Enter the new type of armed force that the Company could deploy at will. Recruited marines were paid on commission per xenoform threat neutralized, and logistics workers paid from the funds of those marines. But the most ambitious of them could recruit their friends at startlingly varied levels of combat experience or logistics experience into acting as their subordinates and providing a portion of their profits. By recruiting, say, ten veteran combatants that one knows who are in need of employment, the promise and premise went, one can double their paycheck through portions of the commissions of their new squad. And if each of them recruit their own subordinate squad, well, portions of portions of that money can earn their new lieutenant a well-earned comfortable lifestyle. And with all of those squad-members recruiting their own squad, that could make you a captain of your own company, becoming independently wealthy. And so on. A savvy reader may recognize the issue with the structure of a "Multi-Level Military", but in the height of blood-lust enthusiasm for the war effort against aliens, this was missed by most soldiers who pledged themselves to exterminate the alien threat. The unsustainable growth-based model collapsed quickly and violently, but unintentionally bolstered the Company's Department of Antagonism, resulting in minimal financial loss for the Company as a whole.
No. 1070899 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302281380.gif - (28.26KB , 650x450 , 27.gif )

>:Dirt: & :Moxie:: Carefully examine the leaning canister for any clues.

:Dirt:: I should check the one can that looks jostled.
:Savvy:: Give it a shot, if you think it might help.
:Dirt:: Hey, bud. A little help?
:Moxie:: How? That's not much for me to do.
:Savvy:: Hang on, I've got an idea.
:Savvy:: Figure out areas you'd hold these cans at, and exclude them.
:Savvy:: Then figure out areas you might brush on your way through, if you were bolting past someone, fast, and focus there.
:Moxie:: Right about... there.
:Dirt:: There they are. Fibers. Type A again.
:Dirt:: Are we close to having the evidence to link type A and our perpetrator?
:Savvy:: Probably. Let's check with :AtmosTech:, once she's let us in the back, and we'll call that settled.
No. 1070900 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302321265.gif - (25.20KB , 650x450 , 28.gif )

>:Friz:: Well, nothing else to do up here from the looks of it. Head further back into atmos.

:Savvy:: "Hey, can I head into the back now?"
:Friz:: Hey, can I head into the back now?
:Friz:: I'll be out of your hair soon, but I need to check a few more things.
:Friz:: Oh, and I'd like to check any atmospherics handwear you can find (that is, gloves and stuff like that), I'm trying to do process of elimination to confirm a lead.
:AtmosTech:: Don't really know what you mean. You just want me to show you our hardsuit gauntlets?
:Friz:: Yeah, that should do it.
:AtmosTech:: Sure thing. Back this way.
No. 1070901 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169302346334.gif - (41.47KB , 650x450 , 29.gif )

:Dirt:: Sound of a door's hydraulics in motion.
:Savvy:: Wait a minute, hold on. "Why's this one not busted?"
:Friz:: Why's this one not busted?
:AtmosTech:: Huh?
:Friz:: Like the front door.
:AtmosTech:: They ran in after I'd headed through from the back.
:AtmosTech:: It was still open, so I guess they didn't need to break it.
:Friz:: Oh, okay.
:Dirt:: Adding to the timeline. She was in the back just before the break-in.
No. 1071018 ID: a7a180

Your PDA can scan for trace gases. Have any of the cans leaked?
No. 1071327 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344586203.gif - (21.68KB , 650x450 , 30.gif )

>:Moxie:: note the implication they either followed someone back out (potential accomplice?) or found alternative egress.
No. 1071328 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344588157.gif - (21.52KB , 650x450 , 31.gif )

:Moxie:: Hey, :Dirt:, look for the exit out the back first.
:Moxie:: That testimony sounds like they ran out into maintenance.
:Dirt:: Scanning area...
No. 1071329 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344589883.gif - (19.68KB , 650x450 , 32.gif )

:Dirt:: Functional airlock back here, bud. This what you're looking for?
:Moxie:: Probably where our perp dashed to after whatever happened.
:Moxie:: It's where I'd go if I had to beat a fast escape.
:Savvy:: Hey, :Dirt:, what's with all that atmospherics stuff back there? Can you give me more visual data?
:Dirt:: I'm giving you all of it, boss.
:Savvy:: That might be the problem, then.
:Savvy:: We'll stick to investigating what I can understand for now.
No. 1071330 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344591333.gif - (21.47KB , 650x450 , 33.gif )

:Moxie:: Alright, other side?
:Dirt:: Here you go, bud.
:Dirt:: Any other exits just go deeper into engineering.
:Moxie:: Let's get those gloves too, later.
:Savvy:: They should be standardized manufacture.
:Savvy:: One set of atmospherics gloves is the same as the next, so they'll share trace types.
No. 1071331 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344592703.gif - (26.08KB , 650x450 , 34.gif )

:Savvy:: And, quick recap. Let's all get on the same page.
:Moxie:: :Grit:, you're sounding quiet. Any contributions?
:Grit:: We're getting near the solution for this. I'm priming adrenaline.
:Savvy:: Really? Want to tell me why?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: Great. Great communication, you're a big help.
:Grit:: Deduce three more key facts, in this room or in my memory, and you'll understand.
:Savvy:: Alright, let's get to work.
No. 1071332 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344596245.gif - (122.14KB , 650x450 , 35.gif )

>:Moxie: : :Computer: should have run atmos diagnostics by now. Ask it, then investigate theft candidates.

:Moxie:: The things the intruder could have done here...
:Moxie:: Hey :Grit:, what should we worry about? What do we have to fear?
:Grit:: They have Sourcer backing. That means a Syndicate intruder. Unbelievably well-equipped, and with specific goals.
:Grit:: Could be atmospherics sabotage, or theft of dangerous atmospherics equipment.
:Savvy:: There's also high-value fuel gasses they could have stolen.
:Moxie:: We'll investigate all of those in a moment then. Hey :Savvy:, can you ask about the door?
:Savvy:: Good time for it. "Hey, :Computer:..."

:Friz:: Hey, :Computer:, you finished up diagnostics on that door?
:Computer:: In a sense.
:Friz:: Okay, what sense have you finished it up in?
:Friz:: (And what ones have you... not?)
:Computer:: I've finished them in the sense that you can have some information.
:Computer:: I haven't finished them in the sense that it's going to take a few hundred years to crack the new encryption on the lock-bolt controls.
:Friz:: Maybe... they should just take the airlock out and replace it. That's too long.
:Computer:: Not for me! Doesn't really bother me if I fix it for you or your great-great-great-grand-child-detective, my brain-cores will keep.
:Friz:: If child detectives are still having to do work in a hundred years, something's gone really bad.

:Friz:: So the thing changed the door lock codes?
:Computer:: Whatever was used on the door, it spoofed the administrative rights for it for long enough to swap out nearly everything.
:Computer:: It's unusable.
:Friz:: Alright. I guess that makes sense.
No. 1071333 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344599674.gif - (22.18KB , 650x450 , 36.gif )

>:Moxie: : Open all lockers, just because there's only one exit doesn't mean they actually left.

:Savvy:: Hey, :Moxie:, open up all the lockers, we should make sure they haven't stayed behind.
:Moxie:: Huh. Can't open them, says access is denied. Must be locked.
:Savvy:: Ugh. "Hey, can you open these up to see if the intruder's still hiding in here?"
:Moxie:: Wait, how would that work?
:Grit:: The threat's tool only breaks locks.

:Friz:: Hey, can you open these up to see if the intruder's still hiding in here?
:Friz:: Wait, how would that work?
:Friz:: The threat's tool only breaks locks, but...
:AtmosTech:: Do you still want me to?
:AtmosTech:: I'm pretty sure you can't lock those from the inside, though.
:AtmosTech:: At least, especially if you don't have access.
:Friz:: Why do you know that?
:AtmosTech:: I feel like someone besides Detective Sleep-Deprivation should be asking me about secret naps.
No. 1071334 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344602248.gif - (23.61KB , 650x450 , 37.gif )

>:Grit:: If we're just checking if someone's hiding inside, we don't need to unlock them, just shake them and listen.

:Friz:: Okay, I'll just shake it.
:AtmosTech:: Wait. Don't.
:Friz:: What? Why?
No. 1071335 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169344604034.gif - (24.32KB , 650x450 , 38.gif )

:AtmosTech:: I just told you why.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Zzzzzz... (Engine 2 anchored.)
:Friz:: Oh. That's kind of cute.
:AtmosTech:: Keep it quiet in here.
No. 1071338 ID: a7a180

No. 1071352 ID: 2eb3cc

I notice cameras on the wall, did they see anything?
No. 1071357 ID: dc4bad

Good point, and it's aimed right towards the entry too.

Also am I missing something or did we breeze past that hunch about the remaining O2 canister?
The cans seem to be somewhat colour coded (for the departments they're intended for?), and the other colours/columns suggest they are sorted into batches of 3. But there are currently 4 of the light blue ones in the immediate vicinity: 1 being refilled, 2 sitting together, and 1 in the buffer area.

Tentative hypothesis; the light blue canister in the buffer area is the 'extra' and has been tampered with in some way, possibly to cause some kind of disruption at Science in the near future.
No. 1071405 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354125501.gif - (25.16KB , 650x450 , 39.gif )

>:Moxie:: Check inside the suit storage containers.

:Moxie:: Let's check the suit storage too.
:Dirt:: Sure. Here's what I've got.
:Dirt:: Semi-rigid fibers from the atmospherics suit. Type B.
:Moxie:: Alright, that checks one of the two off our list, right?
:Dirt:: Mhm.

:Rogers:: Gut says we're gonna get this figured out. Done all your scans?
:Friz:: No... I think there's three more things left to scan.
:AtmosTech:: Huh? Oh. Need me here for that?
:Friz:: I don't think so, right?
:Rogers:: Let her work.
:Friz:: Yeah, we probably don't need you until it's time for me to leave.
No. 1071406 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354128053.gif - (31.42KB , 650x450 , 40.gif )

>:Dirt:: Wait, shouldn't the atmospherics staff have on gloves?
>@Old Secret

:Dirt:: She's wearing gloves too. We should get a scan for that before she leaves.
:Grit:: She doesn't want to be here. She wants to leave.
:Savvy:: Why? I don't get it.
:Savvy:: We should scan absolutely everyone involved, actually.
:Savvy:: But I've got a shortcut for that.
No. 1071407 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354129527.gif - (17.24KB , 650x450 , 41.gif )

:Savvy:: :Dirt:, :Moxie:, get a set of traces from those unworn gloves on the table.
:Dirt:: On it, boss.
:Moxie:: Okay...
:Savvy:: One set of gloves has the same type of fibers, and everyone wears the same gloves.
:Savvy:: If it's Type C, distinct from type A, we've got trace records for our perp.
:Moxie:: I don't have to go get every single person scanned?
:Savvy:: Nope.
No. 1071408 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169354131127.gif - (19.17KB , 650x450 , 42.gif )

:Moxie:: Get traces right on this part of the fingertips. That's where contact will always wear it down.
:Dirt:: Distinct trace type. Categorizing as Type C.
:Savvy:: Perfect. We scan for Type A from here on out.
:Grit:: Half of one of the key facts done. Look for "Type A" more.
:Grit:: Priming amygdala responses.
:Dirt:: Really wish you wouldn't, chief.
No. 1071415 ID: 86e259

It's pretty ominous the way :Grit: said "She doesn't want to be here. She wants to leave." Are we confident she doesn't know more than she's letting on?

Also, doubling down on the security cameras.
No. 1071417 ID: 7c0da2

There's a gasmask sitting near the disposal chute here. I'm not familiar with where everything should be stored, but it looks out of place. The target may have escaped through the disposal pipes. Check both the mask and the chute for traces.
No. 1071609 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383364060.gif - (17.61KB , 650x450 , 43.gif )

>:Dirt:: there’s a security camera next to the airlock

:Dirt:: Maybe we can shortcut this entirely.
:Dirt:: Footage is a lot more reliable.
:Dirt:: There was a camera out there, right next to the airlock that got broken.
No. 1071610 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383368742.gif - (11.21KB , 650x450 , 44.gif )

>I notice cameras on the wall, did they see anything?

:Dirt:: Another on-memory over here, above the :AtmosTech: workstation.
No. 1071611 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383372979.gif - (23.14KB , 650x450 , 45.gif )

>:Savvy:: :Dirt: , how much of the room does that camera cover?
>@emote reactor

:Savvy:: Do you think this one, in this room, had a good angle as well?
:Dirt:: I think so. The cameras are unreliable in their angles, but a glimpse would help.
:Savvy:: If they evaded the cameras, that would be valuable data too.
:Savvy:: Conspicuous absence of information is information.
:Savvy:: One problem though.
No. 1071612 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383375973.gif - (127.15KB , 650x450 , 46.gif )

>:Savvy: : It could have recorded something important, :Computer: what does it have?
>@UNIT 4545

:Computer:: Yes, detective?
:Savvy:: "Hey, do you have records..."
:Friz:: Hey, do you have records of the three cameras between here and the main engineering hallway?
:Computer:: Of course.
:Friz:: Oh, great. Can you send them to me?
:Computer:: Oh, not at all. I'm also not technically allowed to view those records myself, due to Company policy 408-7, sensitive data confidentiality.
:Friz:: What? Since when (what's the use of cameras that don't record footage for review now)?
:Computer:: An updated policy came through, providing free-of-charge "record authentication and endorsement" services and complimentary total encryption, apparently.
:Computer:: Decryption for review is available at Central Command, with appropriate fees.
No. 1071613 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383381704.gif - (169.06KB , 650x450 , 47.gif )

:Friz:: Okay, but when can I review it?
:Computer:: Well, semi-legally, after several days of decryption by your own dedicated computing core, if you have one.
:Computer:: Or when you're at Central Command, I suppose. So, when all debts are paid.
:Friz:: That makes it useless, though!
:Friz:: I need it to do my job so I can solve the debt.
:Computer:: Frustration-driven motivation makes fantastic market opportunities, or something like that.
:Computer:: Do you now want to crowdfund a startup for subscription-based on-demand camera record decryption?
:Friz:: I have no money.
:Computer:: If you hypothetically had a lot of money despite the debt situation, then this situation could have possibly funded a Department of Records subsidiary startup.
:Friz:: That doesn't help me though! It just makes a problem, and then I subscribe to a fix for it!
:Computer:: I'm sub-sentiently simulating the social experience of feeling like you might have a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of startups and venture funding, detective.
No. 1071614 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383384669.gif - (17.56KB , 650x450 , 48.gif )

>:Dirt:: consider looking up at the ceiling, before discarding the notion as foolish.

:Grit:: It's okay. You...
:Friz:: ...did your best, really.
:Dirt:: Thanks.
:Rogers:: Alright there, kid?
:Dirt:: "Oh, I'm fine--"
:Friz:: Oh, I'm fine. Just a bit frustrated.
No. 1071615 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169383386081.gif - (20.72KB , 650x450 , 49.gif )

:Rogers:: The thing means well. Well as it can mean, when it can't mean anything.
:Rogers:: Have to focus your investigation on what you can do with your own two hands.
:Rogers:: On a station like this, not much else you can trust. The bigger systems aren't built to help people like us.
:Rogers:: They're built for something else.
:Friz:: I guess...
No. 1071618 ID: f8083d

Wow, it's a wonder everyone here hasn't defected to the Syndicate yet.
All right, what else can we check?
No. 1071624 ID: dc4bad

maybe go back and examine that first blue canister in the buffer area, I'm still pretty sure there's cause to believe that it might have been tampered with, or otherwise hold a clue
No. 1071748 ID: 8f9bc4

Right, install your own array of hidden cameras throughout the station. Got it.
No. 1072103 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434375035.gif - (29.53KB , 650x450 , 50.gif )

>:Friz:: might be time to start checking the entrance to maintenance for any leads

:Savvy:: Alright, focus. Let's hit that back door. What's our leads?
:Dirt:: Checking. Where all needs to be scanned?
:Moxie:: Here, mostly, a little there...
:Dirt:: Type B and C.
:Moxie:: Maybe over there?
:Dirt:: Type C.
:Moxie:: What? Hold on-- just scan everything.
:Dirt:: Stray type B.
:Moxie:: Any type A? At all?
:Dirt:: Nothing, buddy.

:Savvy:: How's there no type A traces?
:Dirt:: Because I scanned everything, and they weren't there.
:Savvy:: But-- that doesn't make any sense. :AtmosTech: said the perp ran out the back, right?
:Grit:: One of the three final facts has been found.
:Grit:: Dilating pupils and priming fast-twitch muscle clusters.
:Savvy:: Will you ease off the gas, please?
No. 1072104 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434378094.gif - (32.37KB , 650x450 , 51.gif )

>:Friz:: Your PDA can scan for trace gases. Have any of the cans leaked?

:Grit:: No. There's threats.
:Savvy:: Look. Ugh. :Moxie:, :Dirt:, can you help help calm this down?
:Savvy:: If there's an atmos threat, scan atmos. Are we okay?
:Moxie:: Getting out the PDA...
:Dirt:: Yeah, scanning. How's it look, chief?
:Grit:: No threat in the air. Atmosphere is as usual.
:Savvy:: If someone wanted to sabotage our air, all they'd have to do is fail quota for a week. The Tressel Gasometers would kick in. This is a non-factor.
:Grit:: Fine. Calming breathing. But I'm keeping adrenaline primed.
:Savvy:: Whatever. Whatever! Let's just focus on the investigation.
No. 1072105 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434380946.gif - (130.16KB , 650x450 , 52.gif )

>:Friz:: There's more of those canisters being filled up. Did the perp tamper with them or the refueling equipment?

:Grit:: There's other sabotage that could be happening here.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, turn up the resolution on our atmospherics pipe examination.
:Dirt:: Hmmm.
:Dirt:: Sorry, boss, no can do.
:Savvy:: What?
:Dirt:: I'm not really feeling it. That's a lot of pipes in a lot of colors going between a lot of objects.
:Dirt:: I'm interpreting it as several trees. And none of them are good trees.
:Savvy:: Trees? What? How are pipes similar to trees?
:Dirt:: Yeah. Get me some decent visual stimulation or a good manual, and I can show you more next time.

:Savvy:: I wish any of you were doing your jobs today.
:Moxie:: I'm doing mine!
:Savvy:: You made me drink gamer fuel, you're not innocent of atrocities here.
No. 1072106 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434384426.gif - (31.53KB , 650x450 , 53.gif )

>:Savvy:: Tentative hypothesis; the light blue canister has been tampered with in some way.

:Savvy:: There's one atmospherics process we can check. The refills that :AtmosTech: is doing.
:Savvy:: Remember that state the front office was in? She's still getting the O2 cans filled.
:Savvy:: Check the refilling can for Type A. If they sabotaged the process...
:Moxie:: Check there, and there.
:Dirt:: Type A. Our perp did something about the refilling cans, boss.
:Savvy:: The blue O2 cans might be sabotaged.

:Grit:: Second fact. I'm--
:Savvy:: :Moxie:, manually breathe for a moment, calm-down style. :Grit:, can you ease off the gas if we regulate the oxygen?
:Grit:: Fine.
:Moxie:: On it. Can you get me a distraction for a second, to maximize my engagement levels?
:Savvy:: Sure. I should report in with :Rogers:.
No. 1072107 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434389031.gif - (19.64KB , 650x450 , 54.gif )

>:Savvy:: So the maintenance airlock was a bust. Why not consult with :Rogers:?

Looks like you're finished up with most of your evidence gathering. So you head over to me. I'm distracted. Lost in thought. Doing a little looking, a lot of thinking, and not much paying attention.

I've got a hunch worse than a last-gen test-tube baby. Something about those masks I keep seeing around the Atmospherics workstations, it keeps getting to me. Something important, real important, about those masks, and these masks. But what?

:Friz:: Hey :Rogers:.
:Rogers:: Kid. What do you got?
:Friz:: Done some scans. Our perp didn't touch the back door, somehow, and they were messing with the O2 cans...
:Rogers:: Well I don't see any other exits. You sure about all that evidence?
:Friz:: Yeah.
:Rogers:: Hmm. Come check these Atmospherics masks out, then.
:Friz:: Why?
:Rogers:: Gut feeling. Take a look. Tell me what you think.
No. 1072108 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169434393478.gif - (21.02KB , 650x450 , 55.gif )

>:Dirt:: that mask on the desk, worth a scan?

:Friz:: Stray type C records. They look old...
:Friz:: I'm not sure I'm understanding.
:Friz:: These traces would be here even if there wasn't anything going on.
:Rogers:: Really? That's all that's there?
:Rogers:: Come on, kid. Look a little deeper.
:Rogers:: I can't finish these connections but you usually can.
:Friz:: What's there... What's there...

:Grit:: We're close to the last one. But it has many steps.
:Savvy:: Huh...? Uh, okay.
:Savvy:: Well, the absence of information here means we can mess with it without fear of contaminating anything.
:Dirt:: Good call, boss. And the testimony involved masks. Maybe we can recreate, re-enact something about the situation, :Moxie:?
:Moxie:: Right. Let's get it a little more abstract.
:Moxie:: Moving things in the environment always helps me think.
:Grit:: I will discover another risk. Infer more from it, and I will understand everything we need to know.
No. 1072110 ID: 8f9bc4

OK 3 alarming things that stand out to me

1) The worker said that it wasn't like any mask she'd ever seen before, and yet there's another one of them lying right here.

2) This is Atmospherics. There are no dangerous gasses back here, so no need for gas masks or airtight clothing.

3) Actually isn't there one dangerous gas in Atmospherics? Some sort of cognitive enhancer designed to improve problem solving capabilities, with severe consequences for anyone isolated from others for extended periods of time?
No. 1072210 ID: 30de7b

Hmm. If they entered, but there's no sign of them at any other exit, they: 1. are still there, 2. were disintegrated, 3. left by the same entrance, 4. uh, changed all their dna? or something.
No. 1072260 ID: 8f9bc4

...put on the gas mask?

Become the perp, see what they saw.
No. 1072271 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458077703.gif - (22.72KB , 650x450 , 56.gif )

>:Friz:: Put on the mask and walk back into the lobby.

You put the mask up against your face. Kid, you don't have the menace for that Grey Tide look.

:Savvy:: Let's try a bit of re-enactment. I'll wear the mask and retrace some steps.
:Moxie:: Alright, mask on. I can't get through the door though, without getting :AtmosTech:.
:Savvy:: I'll call her back here.
:Grit:: I don't want to bother her more.
:Savvy:: Fine, fine. We'll re-enact things a bit here.
:Grit:: You're getting close to something.
:Savvy:: What am I trying to figure out about this?
:Dirt:: What can be seen about me right now?
:Savvy:: Good question. Hey :Rogers:!

:Friz:: Hey :Rogers:, what would you say I look like right now?
:Rogers:: Pretty silly.
:Friz:: No, no, I mean...
:Friz:: What would you describe me as? Write me an APB.
:Rogers:: This a party game, kid?
:Friz:: Indulge me, I'm indulging you.
:Rogers:: Average height. Long hair, tied up all messy. Old detective jacket. Tired posture.
:Friz:: You can't see my face though, right? You don't know who I am.
:Rogers:: Sure, kid. But there's plenty to say about you.
No. 1072272 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458081376.gif - (23.90KB , 650x450 , 57.gif )

:Rogers:: But you're coming at me, right?
:Friz:: Right. Like the perp. Running past you.
:Rogers:: So the question here is... why can't I get an eyeball on those things. Right?
:Friz:: I'm heading straight for you. Why can't you see my hair?
:Rogers:: Could be wearing a helmet.
:Friz:: Alright, sure. What about jacket? Height, build? Posture?
:Rogers:: Right... :AtmosTech: had nothing to say about that, besides covered-up, masked.

:Grit:: This means I'm re-enacting the point of intersection between the witness and perpetrator. The most dangerous moment.
:Savvy:: Should we go ask her? About a description of the perpetrator, I mean.
:Dirt:: No.
:Savvy:: Why?
:Dirt:: If someone's asked a question about memories they should have, but don't, they'll confabulate an answer.
:Grit:: They already have.
:Savvy:: When?
:Grit:: They already have.
:Savvy:: Anything I can get you so you'll stop stonewalling me?
:Grit:: Five hundred sugary calories.
:Savvy:: I'll work with what I've got then. Today's bad enough with :Moxie:'s energy drink.
No. 1072273 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458084627.gif - (21.13KB , 650x450 , 58.gif )

>What are situations in which :AtmosTech: wouldn’t have seen anything noteworthy about the perp?

We wrap it up and talk. You brought me a box of puzzle pieces, and it's worse out here with that puzzle than family reunion.

:Friz:: So no visual details. We need to figure out why.
:Rogers:: Seems important.
:Friz:: Are they the perp?
:Rogers:: Wouldn't make sense. Nothing to gain, everything to lose.
:Friz:: Right (just going through possibilities).
No. 1072274 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458086393.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 59.gif )

:Friz:: Were they not actually doing work? That would make their testimony unreliable, and give them a reason to lie more.
:Rogers:: Maybe. Could have been napping in the back instead.
:Rogers:: But they said they were working with the science department. Easy to verify.
:Rogers:: Even if she lied, too many core details contradict. Can't do that with just a cover for neglect.
:Rogers:: And most of all, I just don't feel a lying habit on her.
:Friz:: Mmh. Okay, so they really saw what they saw. We'll go with that assumption.
No. 1072275 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458093008.gif - (20.62KB , 650x450 , 60.gif )

:Rogers:: Couple debtor types got, what do they call it, proso... That kind of blindness.
:Friz:: Prosopagnosia (difficulty with perceiving and remembering identifying factors). But no, she was emphatic, there was "nothing" behind the mask. That's a recognition of absence of information. And absence of information is the key.
:Friz:: Plus... I tried to look hard at that pipe maze back there, it's just hard. She has to have really strong visual perception and memory, something equivalent to a :Dirt: aspect better than mine.
:Rogers:: A what?
:Friz:: Ahh-- nothing.
:Friz:: But that... makes me think. It makes me think. What if she did have it?

:Rogers:: Hold it. You just said she didn't.
:Friz:: No, I said she doesn't. That doesn't mean she didn't.
:Rogers:: You're losing me here.
:Friz:: She has that strong visual memory, but the only detail she remembered was the absence of detail.
:Rogers:: Mmh. Perp's got dangerous, high-tech stuff on-hand, from the sound of that busted door. Probably Syndicate backing. Sourcer gear. The cutting edge.
:Friz:: Something that disrupts vision or memory (probably contraband, and probably high-tech) isn't out of the question, I think. Some kind of infiltrator equipment (advanced holoprojections, like :Computer:'s holo-pads) or something.
:Rogers:: Can't know for sure. Works as a theory.
:Rogers:: A messed-up theory's only as good as what it explains, though. What's something like that gonna explain?
No. 1072276 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458097197.gif - (13.92KB , 650x450 , 62.gif )

:Grit:: The final fact has been found.
:Grit:: You will use it to solve the problem.
:Savvy:: Which problem? This is just a bunch of evidence that doesn't fit together.
:Grit:: It will solve it.
:Savvy:: Ugh. Alright.
:Savvy:: That means there's... a contradiction here.
:Dirt:: A false memory? An inaccurate observation with too many assumptions?
:Moxie:: An assumed action? A misunderstood trace contact point?
:Savvy:: We just need to... hold all the facts together, and figure out which one yields first.
:Savvy:: Contradictions fail under intense pressure.
No. 1072277 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169458101404.gif - (65.69KB , 650x450 , 64.gif )

>:Savvy: : Easy now, just lay out all the stuff we know...

:Dirt:: Easy, now. You doing okay, boss?
:Savvy:: Be doing a lot better if any of you had done your jobs. I hate having so many... irrational sub-aspects.
:Dirt:: Alright. Let me know if I can help.
:Savvy:: Could have helped by seeing the pipes better.
:Savvy:: Give me more focus, :Moxie:, I gave you your energy drink so you owe me.
:Moxie:: I mean, we sort of collectively--
:Savvy:: Just-- give me the brainpower, okay? Stop talking.
:Grit:: We're near the realization.
:Grit:: Accelerating heart to third-gear threat level, priming autonomic high-activity breathing patterns.
:Savvy:: Stop! Just keep it in your glands for ten seconds and let me figure this one out!
:Savvy:: What assumption did I make, what assumption...

:Rogers:: Alright there? You're zoning out on me.
:Friz:: Just let me think, okay? I need to focus. I really need to focus. I've almost got it.
:Rogers:: Sure, kid.
No. 1072284 ID: a491c8

...What if the perp never left? Could they still be here, camo'd?
No. 1072286 ID: dc4bad

Oh well there's a horrible possibility.
Between :AtmosTech: not wanting to be in here and :Grit: only priming adrenaline and other threat responses after entering this room, combined with the notion of some kind of active higher/post cognition disrupter, I think the perp is definitely in here right now, and isn't hiding.

We can/ARE seeing them, but we can't process it. Still enough to set off an instinctual response in realtime, but the actual information isn't making it to us.
Pretty spooky if true, how do we catch someone or something we forget about even as we see it?
No. 1072304 ID: f7f1b0

That is, indeed, very spooky. I'm tempted to go back over the images and filter for small color changes, but...I have things to do, haha.

Have you heard anything that didn't match with what you saw?
Do you remember performing an action or observing an event that doesn't make sense in retrospect, like walking around an empty spot?

Also, try not to immediately react to the realization, in case they're e.g. standing nearby with a gun. Give yourself some time to plan a response to whatever you realize.
No. 1072317 ID: 8f9bc4

The perpetrator is the gas mask! It never had a wearer! It just floated in past the guard and trashed the Atmospherics tanks, then went and laid down on the table as if someone had put it there! You have them in your clutches. Handcuff that mask right now!
No. 1072322 ID: 273c18

>Pretty spooky if true, how do we catch someone or something we forget about even as we see it?
Secondary senses. It can wipe visual memory, sure, but what about hearing? Touch, smell, taste? Use those to find it.
We could also try the old flour trick. Cover the perp in something else. There was "nothing" behind the mask, but the MASK was seen! Why? Why didn't the perp erase the memory of the mask? Maybe the mask was all they were wearing and they can't erase/hide clothing?
No. 1072327 ID: 8f9bc4


The mask she's carrying has been laying here a while. It was not the mask worn by the person who broke in. In fact :Friz: is the only one who's even speculated what the mask looked like. The worker who saw the mask did not say it was a mask like that one.

Every single Syndicate agent wears a mask, in fact. A red mask, with glowing green night vision eyes even in the day. She certainly does not have the mask they wore, and they're probably still wearing it.
No. 1072436 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484089983.gif - (35.81KB , 650x450 , 65.gif )

>:Friz:: He's in the room

:Savvy:: The weakest assumption is that they left Atmospherics.
No. 1072437 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484095443.gif - (45.67KB , 650x450 , 66.gif )

>:Grit:: The gas cans...the perp's disguised as one of them!



:Savvy:: Oh god.
:Grit:: Maximizing heart rate.
No. 1072438 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484100587.gif - (109.76KB , 650x450 , 67.gif )

>:Rogers:: :Friz:'s got a really sour look, calls for a hunch.

:Rogers:: Kid? You alright there?
:Rogers:: ...Alright.

You've got an insight. You've got something in mind. I can see your breathing get fast, see your eyes go wide. I can see something that survived a million years in the savannah and the jungle come back to life in an orbiting tin-can. Whatever you say next, kid, I trust you completely, same as I trust my heart to beat -- circumstances aside. But you've gotta trust yourself. I can see solutions running laps in your brain, racing to see who's fastest.
No. 1072439 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169484103023.gif - (16.81KB , 650x450 , 68.gif )

:Savvy:: I need to call for help.
:Savvy:: Shout on the radio, pound on the airlock, rattle the locker, anything.
:Savvy:: Overwhelm with numbers and chaos.
:Savvy:: Disarm the biggest threat, the lack of numerical advantage.

:Dirt:: I've recalled the exact path needed to leave as fast as possible.
:Dirt:: Visualizing escape routes.
:Dirt:: Mapping the path straight to Security.
:Dirt:: I can prioritize that visualized escape.

:Moxie:: Freeze. Freeze still.
:Moxie:: I can calm the heart rate, pretend to go back to investigating.
:Moxie:: Then ambush.
:Moxie:: We'll lose our chance to grab this guy without that.

:Grit:: I'll draw the gun and spike the adrenaline.
:Grit:: Everything else is pointless complexity.
:Grit:: The shortest path towards survival is the most effective.

:Rogers:: Don't know what's gotten to you. But pick your strategy and commit, kid, no hesitation.
No. 1072447 ID: e5709d

Direct :Rogers: to the flickering canister, then equip your sidearm and carefully take aim. Kneel if it boosts your weapon stability.
No. 1072448 ID: 8f9bc4

Ambush because :Moxie: is the cutest.
No. 1072449 ID: 7c0da2

Go with the ambush option.
The intruder probably noticed you came to a conclusion, so say out loud that the explanation is that the atmos tech was replaced and trust Rogers to understand what's really going on.
No. 1072456 ID: f8083d

Grit time. Take cover behind a cart, direct your colleague to do the same and start unloading at the flickering canister.
No. 1072481 ID: 8f9bc4

Don't start shooting until you know what you're up against. This might just be some kind of terrible misunderstanding, and you are not loyal enough to the corporation who staffed/imprisoned you here to lay down your life to stop someone trying to tear it apart. You are a detective. Do what you do best. Detect. Investigate.
No. 1073404 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587592942.gif - (18.87KB , 650x450 , 69.gif )

:Moxie:: Taking the wheel.
:Savvy:: Hey, wait! I'm in charge here, hold on!
:Grit:: You're overcomplicating it.
:Dirt:: There's more options than just this...
:Moxie:: We need to take action. Decisively.
:Moxie:: Otherwise we're going to be paralyzed, and fall apart.
:Grit:: Don't get me killed.

:Friz:: ...Alright.
No. 1073406 ID: 8f9bc4

No. 1073407 ID: 0fbdcd
File 70.mp4 - (4.82MB )

Editor's note: Embed doesn't work here, so be sure to click the panel! It's a good one.
No. 1073408 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587668809.gif - (1.02MB , 650x450 , 71.gif )

:Friz:: You're under arrest (so freeze)!!
:Friz:: For capital crimes (and other (major) crimes) against the Company!!
:Friz:: Grand theft! Sabotage!
:Friz:: Stay down and stay still, while-- while I call in--!

Just being near them, just being close to the bastard... We can both feel it. Even with them pinned under a gun, you feel like it's you in the corner, you giving the slip to the manhunt, you with the weapon at your throat. You feel the foundations shake, and when they shake, so do you. You get that feeling in your gut, unsteady chemical shock blasting your brain over the threshold of impulse-execution so hard your teeth chatter and your arms shudder.

You know them by it, you know them by that feeling. That Shiver down your spine.

But kid... you don't know that shiver as well as I do.

No. 1073409 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587673679.gif - (1.00MB , 650x450 , 72.gif )

:Rogers:: Kid...
:Friz:: Need backup at the main Atmospherics floor (suspect likely armed (and really dangerous) due to contraband) and-- and--
:Friz:: (Why isn't my radio working?! Why'd it all go silent?!)
:Rogers:: Kid!
:Friz:: What-- what is it?!

A voice like nothing you or I have ever heard. Nails and chalkboards, resynthesized and inhuman. Impossible to trace, a total unknown, the perfect masked killer. And there's that shiver on the spine again, cold trickling from the ears on down.

:Friz:: Shut up, I'm trying to listen to something--!
:Rogers:: I've seen that helmet, that gear.
:Rogers:: It's the only clear thing I remember from that night.
:Friz:: What? Do you mean...?
No. 1073410 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169587676773.gif - (1.08MB , 650x450 , 73.gif )


:Rogers:: That's the one who killed me, kid.
No. 1073415 ID: f8083d

Since one of your hands is not on your gun, it should be on his. Grab his gun and throw it away.
No. 1073422 ID: a7a180

So kill him back. You can interrogate the clone.
No. 1073424 ID: 273c18

Shoot to cripple. Get that gun away from him. Then you can drag him out of there, jamming signal or not.
No. 1073442 ID: e5709d

Slot gun in eyehole so he can't bash it away without getting shot.

>That's the one who killed me
Unless that make and model of gear is absolutely unique and custom-formatted to a specific user, I doubt it. What we can tell is that they used this specific type of gear for their mission. And someone used this specific type of gear to commit murder.
No. 1073451 ID: 8f9bc4

A Syndicate agent kitted out for stealth killed a Corporate cop. What are the odds!

Take off his helmet, unmask the villain. (That should disable his suit, or at least make him look like a gas tank with a head, which would be hilarious.)
No. 1073815 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625055249.gif - (5.24MB , 650x450 , 74.gif )

Movement. Something activates in that infiltrator gear they've got. The perp's motion is determined and aggressive. I reach for my heater on instinct, before I remember that a ghost like me can't just go and pump someone with lead. You pull your trigger before you find out it wouldn't have mattered in the first place. If a certain someone's napping nearby, after all that gunfire, they're hiding now.

Wish you could too, kid.

No. 1073816 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625063875.gif - (1.03MB , 650x450 , 75.gif )

:Friz:: Ghhk...! Wait--!
:Friz:: Who are you?!
:Friz:: My predecessor (the other detective (:Rogers:) I worked with)! Why did you kill him?!
:Friz:: Who're you supplying with the stolen atmospherics materials--
:Friz:: ...!

You're seeing the same slow motion I am. That's why you freeze up even worse.
No. 1073817 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625068125.gif - (793.05KB , 650x450 , 76.gif )

They move that gun slow, careful not to hit a tank or a pipe, anything else like that. Only you. Only you, kid. You get a good look from the worst angle. The station head-honcho's own storied sidearm. Enough to char your skull down to nothing, and proven to do it in the field.

No. 1073818 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625072486.gif - (1.97KB , 650x450 , 77.gif )

No. 1073819 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625073743.gif - (1.16MB , 650x450 , 78.gif )

No. 1073820 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625085824.gif - (16.36KB , 650x450 , 79.gif )

:Computer:: Good morning, Debtors.
:Computer:: The current time is zero degrees LLO, marking the beginning of work shift B-4381.
:Computer:: The station's status is currently at green alert, on-track to meet quotas.
:Computer:: You're now allowed to begin payable labor, and you need to be at your workstations, if applicable.
:Computer:: As always, remember: All wireless personal medical monitors must be worn and fully active.
No. 1073821 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625087088.gif - (82.97KB , 650x450 , 80.gif )

No. 1073822 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169625089488.gif - (20.28KB , 650x450 , 81.gif )

:Friz:: Fifth one now, right?
:Rogers:: Fourth.
:Friz:: That one was awful.
:Rogers:: Sure was.
No. 1073826 ID: 8f9bc4

Ponder how you've done this three times before and you still got duped.
No. 1073831 ID: c8ca0c

Well, that raises a lot of questions. (It's possible I'm missing context from the very first thread I didn't read.)
What do you remember about the end of the third incident?
What do you remember about the other two?
Are you dead or immortal or was that a training exercise or what?
Groundhog's Day, maybe?
What's up with :Rogers:, is he dead? A ghost? Reconstituted? He interacted with :SecurityChief:, so it seems he's not a figment of :Friz:'s imagination. So why can't he shoot? Not allowed or what?
No. 1073833 ID: 8f9bc4


He was alive when the crew from the last thread checked into this station. He died after the intro scene, when he said the next case was going to kill him. It's probably not polite to bring up his not-really-thereness.

:Friz: should pack more heat if she's going up against power suits. Which no doubt goes against company regulations. and they're certainly not willing to fund it. Or give her a power suit. Anyway, has she tried putting together some improvised explosives?
No. 1074160 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664472118.gif - (25.75KB , 650x450 , 82.gif )

>:Friz:: Fix your hair. Again.

:Dirt:: Get that hair out of my eyes, please, bud.
:Moxie:: On it. Sorry.
:Moxie:: Kind of messed up after all that.
:Grit:: You got us killed again.
:Moxie:: Leave me alone, I did my best!!
:Moxie:: And your gunshots didn't do much either.
:Savvy:: Pretty sure we could have gotten help instead if you didn't steal the wheel.
:Moxie:: Go count berries about it or something, your plan wouldn't have worked either.
No. 1074163 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664477513.gif - (6.63MB , 650x450 , 83.gif )

>:Savvy:: Corkboard a bit. Let's organize what we've learned.

:Savvy:: We gotta organize this.
:Savvy:: Let's talk out our progress. "You still not able to haunt anyone else?"

:Friz:: You still not able to haunt anyone else? Just me?
:Rogers:: Nope. Stuck with me, kid.
:Rogers:: You want to accept that you're just metacommunicating with a ghost now?
:Friz:: No! Ugh. There's a better answer.
:Friz:: I'll call you a ghost for now, until I can disprove that.
:Rogers:: Whatever's going on, it's just you still.
:Friz:: So we're probably still the only ones keeping our memories of the loop.
:Friz:: Any progress on remembering how you died last night?
:Rogers:: Remembered that helmet. Best I've got, rest's a blank kid.
:Friz:: ...Well, it's a start.

:Friz:: We at least got some progress on figuring out who's been supplying the loop's traitor.
:Rogers:: They were way under the radar. Only just barely found out about them.
:Friz:: That loop's traitor must have been trying to do something with some of the gasses there...
:Rogers:: Could smuggle out a lot of bomb material with that setup.
:Rogers:: And they knew about the loop.
:Friz:: How? Are they like us, maybe...?
:Rogers:: Could be. Might just have directions.
:Friz:: And they killed me, so... the loop probably doesn't actually reset when I die. But it resets later.
:Rogers:: We just check out of it? Maybe.
No. 1074164 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664487104.gif - (24.53KB , 650x450 , 84.gif )

>:Dirt:: Recall previous traitors. They're not the same person every time?

:Friz:: It's definitely the fifth though.
:Rogers:: Fourth, kid.
:Friz:: There've been four times I've died, but it's the fifth loop.
:Friz:: :AtmosTech:, :Botanist:, :StaffAssistant:, then :Shiver:.
:Rogers:: Yeah. Four deaths.
:Friz:: Okay, but, you're the dead one, I'm the alive one.
:Friz:: I'm gonna count these by lives, not deaths.
:Rogers:: Feels like the dying's the more important part.

:Friz:: It's different each time though.
:Rogers:: Mhm. Someone new, each loop.
:Friz:: And :AtmosTech: was definitely not the killer last time.
:Rogers:: That lady had no idea about anything.
:Friz:: None of the other traitors said anything about the loop, but :Shiver: seemed to know...
:Friz:: That loop was different. I think we got a peek behind the curtain.
:Rogers:: Not a good peek.
:Rogers:: Kid, you've got to stop chasing these violent contraband cases.
:Rogers:: Take a break. Focus on a different case.
No. 1074165 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169664490791.gif - (27.23KB , 650x450 , 85.gif )

>:Friz:: What other cases do you even have?

:Friz:: What cases do we even have...?
:Rogers:: Got to go take them.
:Rogers:: From her.
:Friz:: Oh...

:Grit:: Cortisol increasing.
:Dirt:: Mapping the way there. Unfortunately.
:Savvy:: Oh god. Alright.
:Moxie:: Getting us there.
No. 1074181 ID: 8f9bc4

Time to face... YOUR BOSS
No. 1074193 ID: b3eab7

Still some lingering questions. Like, how did :Shiver: get the boss's gun?

Well, we won't learn a thing by doing nothing. Let's see what seemingly unconnected cases are present.
No. 1074198 ID: 7c0da2

If the killer is different each loop it means someone else is changing the parameters each time.
It's possible they are doing so to prevent you from learning anything useful, but from what we have seen last loop you don't seem that threatening to them. Maybe the culprit don't know how to achieve their goals yet, and they are changing how they do things each time to try to find the correct combination of actions. It would also explain why the loop is restarting.
You need a better awareness of what's going on around the station. Try to gain access to as many communication channels as possible.
No. 1074202 ID: f3c38f

Keep an eye out for loop-specific things you can take advantage of (or in case they change in a later loop, tipping you off to meddling). (Is there perchance a lottery? Do the numbers stay the same?) Like, so-and-so is distracted at <time>, so you can sneak past. If you're open to risky and/or uncomfortable actions, you could leverage the impermanence of the loop to repeatedly cash out on e.g. social resources for informational ones, like pressuring someone into giving you a password and later they won't remember having done it or tell anybody you've been acting weird. You can probably get away with a lot more if you're only doing it "once". If you're stealing information, you may not even need to get away with it, if the loop resets after. The risk is that the cycle breaks this time and your most recent actions become permanent.
No. 1074630 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719519657.gif - (39.12KB , 650x450 , 86.gif )

>:Friz:: You're gonna need something strong to take the edge off this one.

But first, I can see that look in your eye. You need a pit stop, kid. Even the toughest customers can only take so much death before they ask for another menu. Me, I'd recommend a smoke at a time like this, for someone like you. But you're always the kind to turn it down. Won't be any good to offer. I'm the kind of guy who does things that are no good.

:Rogers:: You look like you're going to lose it. Stop for a smoke?
:Friz:: Nope. That stuff kills you.
:Rogers:: Kid, the cholesterol bombs in the cafeteria kill you. The energy drinks kill you.
:Rogers:: It's a matter of degrees.
:Friz:: Those don't kill you as much, though.
:Rogers:: A little harm to get things done. Like a scalpel or an injection.
:Rogers:: I don't care if you light up a cigarette, I care that you don't stretch yourself until you snap.

:Friz:: What are you talking about? What does that mean?
:Rogers:: It means, sometimes getting ahold of yourself means telling the brain-stem that whatever shitty thing you're doing is actually the fast track to thriving.
:Rogers:: Every vice besides a hit of pure Specta is on the table. Same as how you keep a first aid kit stocked with all kinds of medicine.
:Friz:: I've got it under control.
:Rogers:: Just stop by vending before we go into the lion's den, is all I'm saying.
:Rogers:: Don't go on a big raid with an empty stomach, kid.
:Rogers:: I'll explain it better some other time.
:Friz:: Alright...
No. 1074631 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719528742.gif - (112.37KB , 650x450 , 87.gif )

>:Friz:: Grab a SHOUT COLA!™️. You need the caffeine.

I can tell you've got a temptation. Something to satiate. But it's the same as in atmospherics. No clarity of intent, kid. Still got the parts of you in a conflict.

:Moxie:: Wait! Go back and get a cola, I need caffeine!
:Grit:: You got me killed. We're not doing that again.
:Moxie:: Hold on, that was an accident.
:Savvy:: Please don't start arguing.
:Grit:: It was negligence. Your impulses are faulty and self-destructive.
:Savvy:: Strong point.
:Grit:: I want brightly-colored fresh fruit instead.
:Savvy:: Less strong point.
:Savvy:: We don't have "Green Thumb" anywhere in this skull. I looked.

:Moxie:: None of our plans would have worked! That doesn't mean--
:Grit:: You're leading us into suffering.
:Moxie:: Shut up, I did my best!
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, can you find something that looks fruit-like to calm her down? Christ.
:Savvy:: I hate having to control all these irrational impulses.
:Grit:: You didn't fare much better.
:Savvy:: Now look here you overgrown adrenal gland...
:Dirt:: I guess the packaged stuff in the vendors usually has that shiny, colorful look...
No. 1074632 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169719531950.gif - (44.15KB , 650x450 , 88.gif )

:Dirt:: Oh, and there's :Chaplain:. He's greeting me.
:Dirt:: Take point, boss! Background is, he got here just around a year ago to replace the old one who died in the cult incident, he's from the Holy Solar Order of Libra, his order is very knightly and chivalrous, he...
:Dirt:: :Savvy:? Guys?
:Dirt:: Oh, you're all fighting...
:Dirt:: Guess I'll do my best. "Huh? What?"

:Friz:: Huh? What?
:Chaplain:: I said, hail, investigator, and good morning!
:Chaplain:: ...You were not here the last time. You had already left by this hour.
:Friz:: Sorry, what? I was late. (I mean-- I'm late this time.)
:Friz:: Late now.
:Friz:: I slept in, I mean.
:Friz:: Wait, what were you talking about? Sorry.
:Chaplain:: Hmm.
:Chaplain:: A passing thought, nothing to fear. I'm here for your wellness, and not your worries!
:Friz:: Oh... Okay.
No. 1074634 ID: 273c18

Wait, back up. This guy is aware of the loops. Think about what he said-- do you usually leave earlier? Ask how many loops he's experienced.

Get ye snack.

And stop infighting, it's true that all the plans were doomed to fail. The killer's armor was too good to shoot him with your gun, and that comms jam meant you couldn't call for help. Probably had the doors locked on you too. The only possible way to win would have been to use his own gun against him; were you strong enough to wrestle it out of his grip?
No. 1074636 ID: 8f9bc4

He's not talking about the loops on purpose. There might be a good reason to do so. If for no reason other than sanity, to live like this madness isn't occurring.

Let :Grit: have his turn. Select SPACE FRUIT GUSHERS.
No. 1074784 ID: f7f1b0

Hmm. Do we bring the loops up with him? Do you trust him? There's a possibility he's on the opposite side of this fight. If not, he might be a valuable ally.

I'd suspect that if he were on the opposing side, he'd have been more careful with his words, in enemy territory, so that suggests he's merely covering his words because trying to explain the loops to an unaffected person is generally dumb.
No. 1074962 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763363022.gif - (30.42KB , 650x450 , 89.gif )

>:Friz:: Think about what he said-- do you usually leave earlier?

:Dirt:: That was really confusing. I know I left earlier last loop, but he wouldn't know that.
:Dirt:: Hey boss, can you draw any inferences about this?
:Savvy:: --would have gotten the--
:Moxie:: --they were too heavily--
:Grit:: --could have gotten more attacks--
:Savvy:: --:ConstructionEngineer: and the :AtmosTech: to help, we--
:Moxie:: --armored to be able to--
:Grit:: --against the threat, to overcome--
:Dirt:: Okay, you're still fighting, I guess I can't infer anything.
:Dirt:: I'll just... comment on more things I notice.

:Friz:: You're having Discount Dan's Noodle Soup?
:Chaplain:: With the blessing of Libra, I endure its gustatory trials.
:Friz:: Sure, but those are sort of... damaging.
:Chaplain:: Do not worry for me, investigator. It matters less than you think!
:Friz:: I guess I don't understand.
:Chaplain:: Indeed!

Upbeat tone, but you can tell, can't you kid? Something's wrong with him. Nobody eats Discount Dan's on purpose. You eat it to make up for something. Don't think you're gonna get a good read on his secret in your state, though, that headshot didn't leave your brain without a good scrambling.
No. 1074963 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763369788.gif - (21.08KB , 650x450 , 90.gif )

>:Dirt:: You'll have what he's having.

:Dirt:: I guess I'll just mirror whatever he did.
:Dirt:: You guys okay with me buying Discount Dan's?
:Grit:: --got me killed, in the end of-- What was that?
:Grit:: Don't put that in my body. It feels like death halfway through the first bite.
:Grit:: :Moxie:, go get me the Cheesy Honkers. They remind me of fruit, nuts, and meat simultaneously.
:Moxie:: If it gets you off my nerve-endings, fine, I'll get that.
:Savvy:: Are you two done? Finally? Let's go.

But I was right. Decent vice gets your head back together quick enough. You're back on the way to the chief.
No. 1074964 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763376395.gif - (20.82KB , 650x450 , 91.gif )

>:Dirt: : now that the others aren't fighting, inform them of :Chaplain:'s unusual behavior

:Dirt:: So, the :Chaplain: was acting a bit strange.
:Grit:: Did he still have his sword?
:Dirt:: Why are you always so fixated on his sword?
:Grit:: Bladed weapons are important.
:Moxie:: I agree!
:Dirt:: No, look, I'm trying to hand off memories about what he said.
:Dirt:: He was acting weird and I need someone to process inferences about the data.
:Dirt:: Boss, are you there?
:Savvy:: I think all of his gods are fake and he's sort of a fraud-mystic.
:Dirt:: What does that have to do with anything?
:Savvy:: It's usually a good first position for dealing with him.
:Dirt:: I've got multiple books on memory about the stellar cognition engines he worships and how they're real, if that even mattered.
:Dirt:: The skepticism thing worked great when we were monster-investigating with Cryptid Company, but you really need to break the old habits.
:Savvy:: I just think we should focus on the important part.
:Dirt:: That's not the--! Ugh, never mind, I'll process this later.
:Dirt:: I'm sure we'll figure it out in time for when it matters.

Less scrambled brain doesn't mean you're doing all that hot though, kid. Looks like you're still zoning out a bit. Pretty sure checking in with the DVSD Brig Warden will straighten things out, he's always been a zero-nonsense guy.
No. 1074965 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763387806.gif - (17.21KB , 650x450 , 92.gif )

:Kratt:: Morning, good seeing you. I was getting worried.
:Kratt:: You seen :Rogers:?
:Rogers:: Keep sticking with "no".
:Friz:: Nnnnooooo. Why (is there something (about him) that's wrong)?
:Rogers:: We'll work on your smoke-blowing one of these loops, kid.
:Kratt:: Nobody's seen him on the monitors since last night.
:Kratt:: Might have to track him down.
:Kratt:: Go check in with the chief, we're backed up on cases for you and that's one more on top of them.
:Friz:: Alright...

:Friz:: Before I do. Uh. How is she, right now?
:Friz:: You know, in the way she is, sometimes.
:Kratt:: "A little sweet chocolate treat."
:Friz:: Uh...?
:Kratt:: Her orders for :Sandiego:, to bring something back when her patrol route hits the kitchen.
:Friz:: Oh. So she's just finished something good, or she's...
:Kratt:: Opposite.
:Friz:: Nnnh. Thanks for the warning.
:Kratt:: Thanks for the case-solving. Shout if you need help.
No. 1074966 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763390314.gif - (88.52KB , 650x450 , 93.gif )

You head for the boss of the DVSD, the only proper-paid member of security on this whole station. The pounding rain outside gets a little louder, but I know how this is. Right now, each step you take in there feels heavier, too heavy, like you're giving her a warning you're on your way. When someone's footsteps get quiet, you know they don't feel safe. But she won't hurt you. Can't, not really. That's not what you're afraid of, huh?

Sometimes, it's the fragility that's scarier. You cross into the glass house. I stay outside. Ghost or not, it just doesn't feel comfortable to haunt her.

No. 1074967 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763392580.gif - (29.13KB , 650x450 , 94.gif )

>:SecurityChief:: Fail to be any more consolable than last time we saw you.
No. 1074968 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763401397.gif - (34.06KB , 650x450 , 95.gif )

>:Friz: : Timidly enter her office, don't make eye contact.

:Friz:: Hey, chief?
:SecurityChief:: :Friz:!
:SecurityChief:: I was worried you'd gone missing too!
:Friz:: No, sorry, just accidentally slept all the way until shift-start.
:Friz:: Got stressed, you know how it is.
:SecurityChief:: Oh... That's the spacer sleep problem you have, isn't it? I know it's so much more common in spacer debtors.
:SecurityChief:: I still almost can't believe you've never touched a habitable planet's surface.
:SecurityChief:: You're like a magical creature. A mythical thing, like a unicorn or a fae, one foot resting in an entirely different world I can never know...
:Friz:: It's, uh. It's just a way of living.

:Savvy:: Hey :Dirt:.
:Dirt:: Boss?
:Savvy:: Can you shut the ears for a bit?
:Dirt:: Sorry, don't have any muscles for that.
:Savvy:: Great, plan B then.
:Savvy:: Hey :Grit:?
:Grit:: Huh?
:Savvy:: Stop the heart for me, please.
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: Christ.
:Moxie:: I can tense up the muscles associated with getting out of a situation all at once if you want!
:Savvy:: Doesn't help. Don't do that.
:Moxie:: Sorry, already doing it.
No. 1074969 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169763406714.gif - (33.11KB , 650x450 , 96.gif )

>:SecurityChief:: Engage in industrial levels of failbossing
>@Angry Duck

:SecurityChief:: Don't worry at all, though! I want to be accommodating your conditions.
:SecurityChief:: What was it named again? "Space sleep disorder"?
:Friz:: No, no. It--
:SecurityChief:: I'll get it right! I'm just learning, and trying to grow.
:Friz:: That--
:SecurityChief:: What is it actually called?
:Friz:: Chief--
:SecurityChief:: I'm sorry... I'll definitely learn it this time.
:Friz:: I just slept bad because i was stressed, so I accidentally slept in. It wasn't an SSD thing, this is kind of different.
:SecurityChief:: Oh! What's this one called?
:Friz:: Sleeping, chief. It's really just called sleeping.
:SecurityChief:: Oh...

:Friz:: I'd
:Friz:: Love to keep talking about this, but.
:Friz:: I heard you had a bunch of cases in a backlog for me?
:Friz:: Sorry, just, it sounds urgent.
:SecurityChief:: Oh... You debtors are always working so hard...
:Friz:: Hhh.
:Friz:: Really it's mostly about the urgency. I know at least one of them's pretty important.
No. 1074973 ID: 8f9bc4

Clearly what :Friz: needs are some gracious, sympathetic headpats.
No. 1075246 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794254662.gif - (33.60KB , 650x450 , 97.gif )

>:SecurityChief: : Do your job

:SecurityChief:: Alright... well, if you're sure you can take them all on, I'll give you the cases.
:SecurityChief:: There's five, and you should try to take them... slowly, okay? Not all at once. At least until you find :Rogers:...
:Friz:: I'll stick to low-capacity until I find him (and he's the first case isn't he?)
:SecurityChief:: Well, he's the first case. I know he's really independent, but even an outside cat is worrying when they go missing.
:Friz:: ("Outside cat"? Chief, that's really a bit... (Demeaning?) Guh, never mind.)
:SecurityChief:: Huh? Well, anyway...
No. 1075247 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794257195.gif - (35.63KB , 650x450 , 98.gif )

:SecurityChief:: As far as we can tell :Rogers: vanished off the medical monitors during an unpaid off-shift investigation.
:SecurityChief:: And we don't really know where he went...
:SecurityChief:: I really hope he's okay.
:Friz:: And he didn't tell you what he was investigating?
:SecurityChief:: No. I know debtors always keep close secrets and only share them with each other, so...?
:Friz:: That's not really true, chief. I didn't get told either.
:SecurityChief:: Oh. Well, try to find him anyway, please.

:Savvy:: This is the case of the Ghost and the Loop.
:Grit:: It cannot be solved until the other four cases are broken.
:Savvy:: Want to back that up with a source?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: God. Whatever.
No. 1075248 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794263033.gif - (37.63KB , 650x450 , 99.gif )

:SecurityChief:: The next one... a string of thefts.
:SecurityChief:: A lot of departments have been stolen from, all at once.
:SecurityChief:: A hand-teleporter from Research, advanced mag-boots from Engineering, a hypospray prototype from Medical, a piece of advanced armor from our armory, and from command...
:Friz:: Her laser pistol, I'd bet? She's been tinkering to repair it all year, I remember.
:SecurityChief:: You know, if you find it, could you bring it to me first?
:SecurityChief:: I could get her to talk to me more if I had a gift for her...
:Friz:: That's-- chief, I think that's not really in my job description. You problems with your ex, I mean.

:SecurityChief:: I know, but, it's just been so long!
:SecurityChief:: She's finally here! Right next to me! Down the hall!
:SecurityChief:: And she's never been further away from me...
:Friz:: Hhh.
:SecurityChief:: She won't look at me during briefings, she won't even sit near me at the meetings...
:SecurityChief:: She won't reply to my financial advice to get out of here faster!
:SecurityChief:: She won't even take back her old helmet! It's taking up so much space in my locker! It's inconsiderate!!
:Friz:: What you're saying definitely sounds. Just. Unbelievable to hear.
:Friz:: We'll figure that out if I get ahold of the laser pistol, okay?

:Friz:: Who's a good point of contact for this case?
:SecurityChief:: Well... :EngineeringSupervisor: has been the one pushing hardest to get his magboots back.
:SecurityChief:: You'll probably work with him if you take that case.
No. 1075250 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794267579.gif - (53.05KB , 650x450 , 100.gif )

:SecurityChief:: Next up, backlog case three.
:SecurityChief:: I really don't like this one. Makes me all uneasy and stressed...
:SecurityChief:: I hope :Sandiego: comes back with something to make this easier soon.
:Friz:: What's wrong?
:SecurityChief:: Research hasn't been meeting quota, but the whole department's been putting in the same hours.
:SecurityChief:: I'm getting complaints from the other departments that their requests aren't getting answered, and it's making everyone so stressed. So stressed.
:SecurityChief:: I don't think it's good, pitting debtors against debtors. Especially you.
:SecurityChief:: But if we don't deal with it, something worse might happen. The Tressell Gasometers in atmospherics...
:SecurityChief:: I just don't like rent-to-own atmosphere.

:SecurityChief:: I haven't known him long, but I know :ResearchDirector: wouldn't do this on purpose.
:SecurityChief:: I just know it...
:SecurityChief:: Can you go down there and figure out what's wrong in the Research department? Can you help him?
:Friz:: I can try.
:Friz:: Guess it's technically part of my real job description, not just my volunteer one.
No. 1075251 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794271222.gif - (41.25KB , 650x450 , 101.gif )

:SecurityChief:: Fourth...
:SecurityChief:: There's a missing person case.
:SecurityChief:: But it's really weird... And a little scary.
:Friz:: Worse than the :Rogers: case?
:SecurityChief:: The old head of Medical has disappeared from the morgue.
:Friz:: The cult leader? Didn't you kill her, just a little while before I got here?
:Friz:: (Is it a missing person if the person is dead?)
:SecurityChief:: Don't... please don't say it like that. I didn't want to do that.
:SecurityChief:: It was so unkind... I hated it.

:Friz:: That was almost a whole year ago, why was she still in the morgue?
:SecurityChief:: The medical department's been studying her body.
:Friz:: Studying?
:SecurityChief:: I only found out about it today too!
:Friz:: What are they going to find out from the corpse (after a whole year)...?
:SecurityChief:: I don't know. But, whoever stole it might know.
:SecurityChief:: Ask :ChiefMedicalOfficer: though. He's trying to keep ahold of the situation.
:Friz:: I suppose he's my contact then.
No. 1075252 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794275874.gif - (40.93KB , 650x450 , 102.gif )

:SecurityChief:: The fifth one just came up at the start of the shift.
:SecurityChief:: Centcom intelligence says we're probably going to get a really bad case of dangerous contraband and syndicate disruption.
:SecurityChief:: I don't know, but, it's worth looking into. And it could be really risky.
:Friz:: Yeah... that sounds. Really believable.
:SecurityChief:: I hate putting you all in danger...
:SecurityChief:: I'm the one you'll work with on this case. But, I don't have a lead on this one right away...
:Friz:: That's okay, chief, I think I have some ideas.

:Dirt:: We were already on this one. We know what it is.
:Savvy:: :Shiver: is helping to supply materials to one dangerous traitor per loop, like the smuggled gasses last time.
:Moxie:: Which crewmember turns traitor changes each time.
:Moxie:: But who is :Shiver:, though...?
:Grit:: Someone who gets us killed. This case is the most lethal one of the loop.
:Grit:: I don't want to pursue it first. It won't be a good choice.

:Dirt:: Is this about avoiding :SecurityChief:?
:Grit:: Nnnno.
:Savvy:: Convincing.
:Moxie:: I kind of need to not be near her right now too.
No. 1075253 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169794278307.gif - (29.93KB , 650x450 , 103.gif )

:SecurityChief:: So, which case are you going to focus on?
:Friz:: Good question...

:Grit:: Once I break all four cases, I'll understand the loop. But not before.
:Savvy:: You keep saying that.
:Savvy:: Alright, fine. We don't know how else to work on figuring this loop out.
:Savvy:: I just need to pick which case to start with.
:Moxie:: I think we'll probably swap around when we need to.
:Dirt:: Information we gather in one might be useful in another, yeah.
:Moxie:: So which one do we pick...
No. 1075269 ID: 273c18

If the cases are all directly related to the loop and in fact all pieces of a puzzle, then it's time for me to throw out wild theories.

>A hand-teleporter from Research, advanced mag-boots from Engineering, a hypospray prototype from Medical, a piece of advanced armor from our armory, and [laser pistol] from command...
My first thought was that all of these were stolen by Shiver and are being used by them, but... that was infiltrator gear, not advanced security armor. So Shiver has the pistol and nothing else as far as we know? ...doesn't make sense. You don't steal advanced armor and then not use it, and if someone was walking around with the armor on then everyone would know. I think whoever's got the armor has the mag boots and the teleporter, and teleported outside of the station to walk on the hull. ...huh, could you do that to avoid a shuttle's decontamination cycle to escape the station? I wonder what the hypospray does.

>Research quota
It's obvious Research is working on some secret project which is interfering with their quota on assignments. I'm guessing Shiver had infiltrated Research at some point. Or maybe Shiver is a Research employee gone rogue, posing as syndicate to throw us off. I'm going to guess that the secret project is related to the dig site, and the loops are caused by that project. Except, if that's true wouldn't solving the quota case be enough on its own to solve the Loops case? Maybe it's that the research is related but not directly causing the loops.

I can't make any solid theories here, there's no information at all as to why they were so focused on the corpse. Maybe there was evidence of brainwashing? Or regeneration? Gene mods? The Bloodletter incident that took place implies we're near some sort of weakness in space-time and the Blood Cult tried to summon something through it, so maybe the corpse got mutated. Or maybe, and this would definitely tie it to the other cases, maybe the corpse had signs of life. Maybe it walked out of the morgue, and became Shiver. Maybe Rogers could do that if you had access to his body. But that's speculation, not theory.

The fact that the traitor changes every time means either Shiver has a way of converting someone to their cause, or there's some entity that's possessing someone every loop. The latter explanation would certainly tie it into the loop's required evidence. It could also be that all of the traitors were never truly loyal and Shiver only had to do minimal persuasion to convince them. Considering the Loop allows those who retain memories to retain secret information about people, that could be part of why Shiver wants the Loop to continue-- to find more people willing to turn traitor. But if you've confirmed they are loyal already, then the mind control or possession angles are more likely.

Considering all that, I think the case where gained information would have the most impact is... the quota. I think it's our best shot at determining Shiver's goals and if we know what the enemy wants we can predict what they're going to do.
The Quota.
No. 1075272 ID: 407ea6

It doesn't seem like :SecurityChief: is a bad person, just...weirdly tuned? Has some priorities and perceptions and preconceptions in strange orders.

>Which crewmember turns traitor changes each time.
That's weird. Very weird. I'd assumed the world was the same at the start of each loop, save for the knowledge of the people in-the-know. But that would mean a WHOLE BUNCH of people are secret traitors, just waiting for orders, yeah? Unless 1. somehow we're like, jumping to alternate universes each time the loop resets, or 2. the traitor is being mind controlled or replaced/faked/ is an illusion. Or maybe some other option.
No. 1075274 ID: 273c18

Oh yeah it's possible that there's a second Syndicate member with the ability to disguise as a member of the crew, and every new "traitor" is just a different disguise.
No. 1075279 ID: 8f9bc4

OK you're going to first focus on The Traitor. You'll need a loyal contingent of security personnel to back you up, along with some protective armor that can soak a blast from the commander's laser pistol, some higher caliber ordinance to penetrate the Syndicate's power armor as well as a scanner capable of penetrating the stealth... uh...

OK you're going to first focus on anything but The Traitor anything but that, and as long as you're aware of the loops, try to see if you can spot any of that equipment that you could uh... borrow without asking permission when you face off against :Shiver:
No. 1075344 ID: 273c18

One last thing, the mag boots could be in use by a third syndicate member. Also we can assume every syndicate member has some manner of stealth, because that's the only way they could've arrived on the station undetected and have moved around so long without being seen. One can disguise themselves as objects, another likely can disguise themselves as a person, and the third might have some form of limited invisibility or is just hanging out on the hull with the mag boots I guess.
No. 1075682 ID: b3eab7

Let's focus on The Quota for now.
No. 1077112 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981298705.gif - (37.13KB , 650x450 , 105.gif )

Editor's note: After a climactic battle between voting blocs, despite the TGchan contingent's opinion, the final tally was 53 votes for the Quota, against 79 votes for the Corpse.

:Friz:: I'm going to go see what's going on with the missing corpse.
:SecurityChief:: Ah... alright. I guess you can choose to leave me alone with this...
:Friz:: Come on, chief, you know I'm going to help later.
:SecurityChief:: Oh. I guess I'll do my best until then.
:SecurityChief:: I know that dealing with this alone isn't anything nearly as bad as what you deal with...
:SecurityChief:: I just don't have that amazing inner strength you've built up! From that burden you've got!
:Friz:: (God.)

:SecurityChief:: Sometimes I imagine what I'd be like, if I went deep into debt like that. If I could become that strong...
:Friz:: It's not really--
:SecurityChief:: Forced to defy society just to survive... pursued by determined Company security forces.
:SecurityChief:: Laid low through strict, uncompassionate measures from ruthless enforcers.
:Friz:: Uh.
:SecurityChief:: But ultimately, pursued and brought in line by my fellow debtors and the system we all live together under.
:Friz:: I, um.
:Friz:: Chief, I need this to not be what we're talking about.
:SecurityChief:: A focused, determined, specific debtor who has such complex feelings, and won't let me escape my obligations...
:Friz:: I'm--
:SecurityChief:: Maybe she'd doggedly pursue me through escape attempts. Learn all my habits the way I learn hers.
:Friz:: I'm leaving now (sorry).
No. 1077113 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981304989.gif - (106.31KB , 650x450 , 106.gif )

You head back out. Not looking great when you do.

:Kratt:: Hey.
:Kratt:: Bad briefing?
:Friz:: Nnnnh!!
:Friz:: I feel like I need a... shower or something!
:Friz:: Why is she always like that!?
:Kratt:: Her brain. I guess.
:Kratt:: I can't help you there.
:Friz:: Uuugh!!

She wants to make things better, you know. Wants it real bad. But the wrong meds make the disease worse. And a checkup with a sick doctor doesn't do you much good. Speaking of them, you're gonna go see the medbay now, aren't you? But remember, you don't go these things alone.
No. 1077114 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981309078.gif - (17.60KB , 650x450 , 107.gif )

:Kratt:: Still wanna help though. What case are you taking?
:Friz:: The corpse one... The missing corpse, I mean.
:Friz:: I'll head to the medbay.
:Kratt:: Alright.
:Kratt:: Things get heavy, you make sure you call for backup.
:Kratt:: DVSD doesn't work cases solo.
:Friz:: Yeah, I guess... I'll try to get some help from one of you for each of these cases.
:Friz:: But who...
:Kratt:: A bad case in medbay probably means a lot of records-work, and that's my business.
:Kratt:: I'll be your backup when you need it. On the holos, or in-person if it gets bad.
No. 1077115 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981313761.gif - (17.03KB , 650x450 , 108.gif )

:Friz:: Thanks. I'll stop by :HeadOfPersonnel:, then see you at medbay.
:Kratt:: I'll call ahead, let her know to pick some decent medical access for you.

Access. Main limit on your caseload. Need access to work an area. And you can only get so much from her. One case at a time, one set of access at a time.

:Grit:: Lowering heart rate. Reducing cortisol.
:Moxie:: I feel kind of guilty. About feeling bad because of someone who wants to help.
:Moxie:: And about feeling better because someone else dislikes it too.
:Dirt:: It's messy stuff, bud. It doesn't make her bad. It just...
:Savvy:: It does make her a little bit bad.
:Dirt:: Okay, but it doesn't make her all bad, boss.
:Savvy:: Yeah. It's just a flaw that hurts us sometimes.
:Grit:: As long as she's there when we call on her.
No. 1077116 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169981325108.gif - (22.65KB , 650x450 , 109.gif )

You get to the line without too much time spent. Too bad there's a time-sink at the line. One of the Jailbirds is here, as if this day wasn't already enough. Don't spend too much oxygen on him, you've got enough loops and repetition to deal with.

:Wince:: "Really? Still getting this worked up over it?"
:Wince:: "It's just an access upgrade. That stuff about the gloves was a joke, I can't believe you're actually taking it so seriously."
:Wince:: "I've got a right to help out around here too. You people will literally act crazy when someone breaks your weird little routines."
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Your access will stay the same until a department head approves this request.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And again, I don't consent to being on a video broadcast. Turn that off.
:Wince:: "Why's that low-poly skin so thin? It's just a stream."
:Wince:: "Chat, are you seeing this? Freaking out and losing her cool the minute a camera's near her."

:HeadOfPersonnel:: You can go to engineering and request your access there.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And I still don't consent to being on a video broadcast.
:Wince:: "I didn't even care that much about engineering access to begin with, this is just funny now."
:Wince:: "Hey, chat, how long has she been literally clogging her whole line because she got offended over an upgrade?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: ...Please retu--
:Wince:: "Seriously? Ten minutes of zero productivity because of her little tantrum?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Plea--
:Wince:: "Hey, someone clip this with a time-lapse, I wanna see later."
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Please return with some form of authorization from a department head to upgrade your access.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Which is to say, please leave if you do not have that.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And yet again, I don't consent to being on a video broadcast.
:Wince:: "Pffft. Heh."
No. 1077122 ID: 8f9bc4

Open fire.

No court in the galaxy would convict you.
No. 1077125 ID: 273c18

Destroy that man's pho- uh. Whatever he's streaming with.
No. 1077182 ID: b3eab7

Tell him to stop farting words at the lady and go get his form.
No. 1077194 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169990427329.gif - (17.19KB , 650x450 , 110.gif )

>:Grit:: Open fire. No court in the galaxy would convict you.

:Grit:: Hear me out. We are in a consequence-free world now.
:Grit:: He's a strongly anti-tribal force, who causes pain, always.
:Dirt:: Chief, no. We're not--
:Grit:: Hurt him instantly, without hesitation, and I'll pump catharsis chemicals at double my usual rate.
:Dirt:: Chief.
:Grit:: Triple.
:Savvy:: I actually like the sound of that.
:Dirt:: Boss, don't encourage her. Chief, no. You know you don't mean that.
:Grit:: True. But I wish I could mean that.
:Grit:: Even though he does nothing but hurt people, violence against him without an altruistic cause will permanently reshape essential amygdala function.
:Grit:: But if I were stronger...
:Dirt:: If we were stronger, it wouldn't be a problem.

I know what you're thinking, kid. It's what I'm thinking too. But punishment-free isn't consequence-free, even in a loop like this, and you're not the kind to go that sort of grey. But all of us think about it a little, in times like these.
No. 1077195 ID: 0fbdcd
File 169990431793.gif - (18.08KB , 650x450 , 111.gif )

:Savvy:: What if I beat him in an argument? Like, really beat him, so he finally admits he's in the wrong.
:Moxie:: God's sakes. Don't start this again, :Savvy:.
:Dirt:: :Moxie:'s right, it's never worked out even once before.
:Grit:: Four times the rate, plus a strongly-formed closure memory.
:Savvy:: Did you hear that? She'll give me a closure memory! We have to try.
:Dirt:: Boss, no, come on.
:Moxie:: We only ever beat him in an argument in our heads hours later.
:Savvy:: But it'd be so satisfying...
No. 1077197 ID: 8f9bc4

Arguing logically with him is like trying to appeal to the mercy and compassion of a grey. Any argument he can't tear apart he will just flat out ignore, as if you didn't even say it. Your only hope is to wound him emotionally, go after what he cares about: his followers, his image, his future. You have to make him feel like dirt, you have to enrage him, and when he blows up at you, you taunt him with how bad he's looking in front of his followers. Flay his emotions until he's a quivering wreck, make him feel like the scum he is, turn that smug grin upside down.

You're not the janitor though, so you're probably not capable of such cruelty. Maybe try arresting him for causing a public disturbance? It'll get him cred for his followers, get him out of line, and... waste your time, which is in very short supply right now.
No. 1077199 ID: 273c18

No. If we're not going to use violence, use law. He's recording someone without their consent. Deactivate his recording device, do not discuss it.
No. 1077202 ID: 273c18

Wait a minute. Can't Rogers mess with electronics? He should go over and fuck with the guy's drone to disrupt the stream. Maybe he'll even show up in the camera and distract him enough to lure him out of the line.
No. 1077352 ID: dc4bad

Okay here's what you do, just as he's about to say something else, clearly (but not excessively loudly) call him 'Cringe'.

If he tries to continue, repeat this.

If confronted, do not elaborate.

As is the nature of the streamer, his own chat will then bully him into abruptly doing something else for fear of them latching onto this moment for years to come, making emotes of him and whatnot.

*Side effects may include silly comics depicting you stylized as a 'chad' entering memesphere circulation within the hour.
No. 1077366 ID: f69c7c
File 170009087779.gif - (35.88KB , 650x450 , 112.gif )

>:Friz:: utilize your authority. cut the line in the name of a case.

Putting on the authority? Gonna be tough. Average types don't give the volunteer security much respect, and detectives get even less. But anyone can jump any line if they're quick enough.

:Friz:: Please clear the way, DVSD business.
:AtmosTech:: Don't cut.
:Friz:: I'm trying to-- it's about the guy up front.
:AtmosTech:: Don't give him more attention either.
:AtmosTech:: We were all mostly not reacting, don't ruin this.
:AtmosTech:: Just try to ignore him until he goes away.

:Rogers:: Not how it works. Cruelty outlasts patience.
:Rogers:: A real bad specta junkie's effortless resting torture rate is worse than decent people can bear for long.
:Rogers:: We need a way to get him out of here.
:Friz:: I'm just trying to keep things running smoothly.
:Friz:: Please, I promise I'll speed things up.
No. 1077369 ID: f69c7c
File 170009161454.gif - (20.62KB , 650x450 , 113.gif )

:Savvy:: Non-consenting filming is a problem, right?
:Dirt:: Usually. Depends on a lot of circumstances.
:Dirt:: But, good luck litigating it boss, especially inside one loop.
:Savvy:: I hate this. What about blocking a line?
:Dirt:: Near impossible in my records.
:Dirt:: Filming's really the best you've got, honestly.
:Savvy:: But I can't litigate it...
:Moxie:: No time to plan more, if you're silent too long after walking up to him it's a risk!

:Grit:: :Moxie:, execute an instant ultra-violent sumi gaeshi again.
:Dirt:: Chief! I said no!
:Grit:: :Moxie:, step on his foot slightly in a deniable but painful way.
:Moxie:: On it.
:Moxie:: And... dodged. Didn't even notice.
:Moxie:: You're up, :Savvy:!
:Savvy:: Great.
:Savvy:: "Look, you can't..."

:Friz:: Look, you can't be doing this (all this line-slowing and broadcasting), okay?
:Wince:: "Looks like I'm doing it just fine. Bad deduction, Sherlock."
:Friz:: There's a really long line, and people need to get to work (and the streaming is (badly) stressing everyone out...)
:Wince:: "Sounds like :HeadOfPersonnel:'s really bad at her job. Don't expect much of footnotes though."
:Wince:: "And the people in the line didn't care. Sounds like it's just you, freaking out."
:Friz:: Look, just because they're not all yelling at you doesn't mean they don't hate this.
No. 1077371 ID: f69c7c
File 170009185676.gif - (612.19KB , 650x450 , 114.gif )

:Wince:: "Nah, think it's just you. Aren't you the ex-famous washout detective?"
:Wince:: "Which one of Cryptid Company were you?"
:Friz:: That's--
:Wince:: "The dumb one they kept around for her appeal? The un-dateable blind one?"
:Friz:: I'm not--
:Wince:: "The dog sidekick?"
:Friz:: I'm not telling you my real name, you jerk!
:Friz:: Look, just-- People are trying to do their jobs! I'm trying to do my job!
:Wince:: "Hey :HeadOfPersonnel:, get me detective access so I can do her job, since she can't."
:Friz:: You wanted Engineering access before! You said you--
:Wince:: "Nah. I want detective access."
:Friz:: Rrrrrrh!!

:Wince:: "Mad."
:Friz:: Being mad doesn't mean--
:Wince:: "Angry."
:Friz:: --that I'm not right about this!
:Wince:: "Cry about it."
:Friz:: Shut up!
No. 1077386 ID: 273c18

Stop engaging and remove him from the line by force. Also destroy his camera.
No. 1077407 ID: 8f9bc4

Be sure to save one bullet for yourself. You're gonna need it.
No. 1077467 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170019927987.gif - (27.19KB , 650x450 , 115.gif )

>:Rogers:: Stick your hand into the floating camera drone and do your best to get the electronics to react

Kid, look like you're going to start crying. Gotta get it together. Can't do much, but maybe I can do a little bit. Swing things more your way by putting him on the back foot.

:Wince:: "Hey chat, someone track down some names that might be hers."
:Wince:: "Chat? Oh for--"
:Wince:: "Stupid... Hey, give me a second, stream's breaking. None of you move."
:Friz:: You move! Get out of here so our line can keep going!
:Wince:: "That a no on my Research department access?"
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Policy on your access request hasn't changed in the last several minutes.
:Friz:: You wanted detective access! Or-- no, engineering!
:Wince:: "I was joking. Pretty obvious to anyone who isn't stupid."
:Wince:: "I just want some nice, normal science access."
:Wince:: "Kind of embarrassing for you all to get hung up on some jokes this long."
:Friz:: Nnnnnrrrrrh...
No. 1077468 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170019932050.gif - (23.08KB , 650x450 , 116.gif )

:Wince:: "God, I hate the connection you footnotes have here."
:Wince:: "Get better wireless."
:Friz:: So you can--!
:Friz:: Just so you can do this even more?! No!
:Friz:: If you want better signal, leave! (Or I'm-- I'm going to recite that manifesto the Redshifts released and get your stream auto-modded!)
:Wince:: "You're such a weird freak. So hostile for no reason. No wonder people hate frontieroids."
:Wince:: "Try being normal, maybe then you won't hold everything up for everyone for twenty minutes."
:Friz:: You're the one being hostile here!
:Friz:: Why are you always like this?!
:Friz:: Auuuugh!

:Savvy:: Can you guys please stop making those noises happen?
:Savvy:: It's embarrassing me in front of the competition.
:Moxie:: I can't help it! The silence isn't a correct state for the world!
:Grit:: A sound of distress will bring the tribe's aid.
:Savvy:: No it won't!
:Grit:: Correct. It won't.
:Dirt:: He's on the way out. Let him leave.
:Moxie:: He's leaving because leaving right now is the most hurtful thing to do.
No. 1077469 ID: 8f9bc4

I don't see any competition here.

As in you.

you're not the competition

you're not even in the running

Anyway I think that went really well! Return to your place in line and gain your access card reward!
No. 1077470 ID: 273c18

Alright. Time loop revenge planning time. Do some very illegal digging into his life so that next loop you have info you really shouldn't that you can use to destroy him without consequences.

First, get back into your previous place in line. Then find out what his name is.
No. 1077648 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042776260.gif - (19.97KB , 650x450 , 117.gif )

>:Friz: : Line's moving again. Get back to your spot. Use the time to get your head in order.

Heading back to your spot? I'd have stuck to the front.

You get your tape recorder out, means you've got something to say to me where you're worried folks will hear it. Fake a little click on the record button again.

:Friz:: Nnnh. Hey :Rogers:.
:Rogers:: Hey kid.
:Friz:: Run-in with a Jailbird. Always draining. Taking a minute to recover and gather thoughts.
:Rogers:: What's on your mind?
:Friz:: Thought kept crossing my mind... maybe I can use his stream, for information?
:Friz:: There have to be on-demand recordings, right?
:Friz:: Better than asking him directly. Remembering the last time I asked him for help with maintenance....

:Rogers:: Maybe. Might need him for maintenance too, though.
:Rogers:: Nobody knows the maintenance halls around here better than :Wince:.
:Friz:: Mmh. At least one of the cases will probably involve maintenance a lot.
:Rogers:: You'll be paying your sourcer dozens of times to scope the whole place out brute-force style if you don't.
:Rogers:: That's a lot of your own corpses to get through, kid.
No. 1077649 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042786187.gif - (16.26KB , 650x450 , 118.gif )

>:Friz: : Recover from the encounter by mentally expositing on who the hell the Jailbirds are, anyways.
>@selfnickname perms haver

:Savvy:: God I hate those guys.
:Moxie:: I'll be honest, that whole thing's just a haze of anxiety for me.
:Moxie:: Who was that anyway?
:Dirt:: A Jailbird I've known for my whole stay here.
:Moxie:: Jailbird?
:Dirt:: Chronic repeat offenders in the short-term brig system.
:Moxie:: Can you give me a guide entry on all that?
:Dirt:: Sure.
:Dirt:: The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has this to say on the topic of brigs in space stations:

A penal system like the one found in the core worlds is redundant in frontier space stations. Not only is there just not that much labor to do in a tiny facility like that, the Company's control of wage rates is so complete that artificially lowering them through forced labor like most modern prisons is irrelevant. Obviously, full tax credits are claimed for producing brig cells as individual rehabilitation centers, but they are left without features like plumbing (sometimes absent in higher-budget brigs regardless), humane sleeping arrangements (see previous), or a non-volunteer brig warden (though volunteer brig wardens are known to have a significantly lower rate of abuse). They become a kind of vestigial organ of embezzlement. Because of this, some heads of Security departments in those stations turn their brigs into a kind of undignified adult time-out zone, meant to calm violent offenders down proportionally to the emotional stress they're probably in. Real long-term arrangements are only made to account for regulations that theatrically punish certain extremely severe crimes like murders, station-threatening bombings, or labor organizing. In almost any other case, for any other offense, you'll spend no more than twenty minutes in a brig cell, and generally only for the few crimes that very directly hurt someone.
No. 1077650 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170042789403.gif - (15.88KB , 650x450 , 119.gif )

Startlingly, this doesn't result in a higher rate of crime. For reasons that are poorly understood, a ten-minute break seems to be enough to calm down even a violent assault case, leading to no future repeats of the offense. Core-worlds think tanks often puzzle over precisely what sort of malformed brain mutations frontier workers must have, to not require a twenty-year-long brutal isolation sentence to deter small substance crimes. However, rates of recidivism are non-zero, leading to the term "Jailbird" being applied to any determined repeat offenders. It's nearly impossible to become a consistent offender when given repeated, patient time-outs in a penalty box, rather than the sort of elaborate multi-year repeat-offense training regimen provided by a core worlds penal system. Anyone who still is, tends to be a member of a distinct class of person. You can know them by the specifics of how one feels when meeting them, typically an intense, involuntary physical reflexive response.
No. 1077658 ID: 8f9bc4

In the dark space future, the only real crime is just being a huge jerkwad by nature.
No. 1077663 ID: b3eab7

>extremely severe crimes like... labor organizing
I'm pretty sure the Syndicate Manifesto quotes this.
No. 1077673 ID: 8f9bc4

> Heading back to your spot?

1) needs a freakin moment to not have people to struggle with
2) earns credit the only way you can here, by saving other people precious time
3) :HeadOfPersonnel: is so abstract and snarky she'd immediately start arguing that :Friz: is not standing here since her place is further back in the line.


Wouldn't want all those Outsiders (who all are trapped in the station paying off debt forever, making them insiders) tricking us into organizing i.e. betraying our Corporate Family (who actually are outsiders... they don't even live in this galactic quadrant).
No. 1077745 ID: c8ca0c

WARNING. Three people behind you. I think that's the bad guy. There's floating words around his head, like before.
No. 1077747 ID: 273c18

I think those are memories. But why are we seeing them now?
No. 1077776 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170060069381.gif - (30.73KB , 650x450 , 120.gif )

>:Savvy::Grit:: consider how tasteless it would be to recite :RedDwarf:'s manifesto

:Grit:: While we have the time.
:Grit:: Don't do that.
:Savvy:: What?
:Grit:: Leverage emotional violence.
:Grit:: It hurts :Moxie:.
:Moxie:: Mmh.

:Savvy:: Oh. Look, I'm in charge here, and I needed to do whatever I could to--
:Dirt:: You know we're not like that. And we need to not become like it by letting it happen.
:Dirt:: Spitting on the dead, and the survivors, doesn't do good things for my soul.
:Dirt:: Don't think our heroes would like it.
:Dirt:: And there's people who went through the bombing on this station now.
:Savvy:: ...
:Savvy:: I'll... take that into consideration, when I decide things.
:Moxie:: Long as it doesn't happen again...
:Moxie:: Makes bad memories for me. Gonna need a couple nights of thinking to get around that.
No. 1077777 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170060072363.gif - (19.25KB , 650x450 , 121.gif )

:Savvy:: Alright. "Medical access, please."

:Friz:: Medical access, please.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Cause and authorization?
:Friz:: Missing corpse case.
:Friz:: :Kratt: called ahead with :SecurityChief:'s go-ahead, didn't he?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Right. Yes.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: My memory lapses won't exceed pacing regulations.
:Friz:: Hey, don't worry about it. He messes with my head too.
:Friz:: I know you don't break rules you've settled on, but don't be afraid to take it slowly after something stresses you out.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Access upgrade approved.

:Grit:: Distressed, invisibly. She doesn't know how to show it.
:Grit:: Nobody's told her the rules for showing pain.
:Moxie:: She's all blocky and acting weird... what was that about rules?
:Savvy:: Not sure, I just had it in the social second-nature buffer.
:Dirt:: One of the arrivals from last year. She's a Jacent, not a human.
:Moxie:: Could I get a guide entry for that too?
:Dirt:: Nope. I'm out of memory juice. Find me something really enriching to look at, or wait a while.
:Moxie:: Well, maybe a morgue is enriching. We'll go look.
:Savvy:: Yeah. Time we went to see :ChiefMedicalOfficer:.
No. 1077783 ID: 8f9bc4

mmm... visually stimulating corpses...
No. 1078201 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114849379.gif - (17.00KB , 650x450 , 122.gif )

>:Rogers:: Give :Friz: a reminder on the medbay station etiquette.

:Friz:: Alright, medbay time.
:Rogers:: Usual etiquette when we get there, kid.
:Rogers:: Just because we're doing an investigation doesn't mean breaking the big rule won't turn out bad.
:Friz:: Mmh.

:Savvy:: But hold on, what was that rule again?
:Grit:: Something dangerous.
:Moxie:: Something about moving.
:Savvy:: Okay, but specifics.
:Dirt:: Checking memory records.
:Dirt:: Parsing...
:Dirt:: Lots of records of violent incidents connected with non-medical crew approaching medbay supply storage.
:Grit:: Everyone wants to have autonomy over their own care. Especially now that medbay is badly short-staffed.
No. 1078202 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114853847.gif - (49.78KB , 650x450 , 123.gif )

You get on your way up to the medbay. The rain outside the station pounds harder as the shift gets to the midpoint. Work's all underway, and that means injuries too. Workplace safety on this station's is a mess. The medbay boss doesn't get paid to put in all this effort. Maybe one day he won't. We'll all miss some limbs, then we'll miss our quota, then we'll all miss oxygen with one hell of a yearning.

Now it's your job to interrupt him. Good luck, kid.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Double criticals on the monitor network, reported at the Supply department's mining dock. Barely moving.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Medical readouts show burns and contusions. Stabilize, retrieve. Injections, not topicals, the injuries likely are body-wide.
:Coroner:: Oh, wonderful! I'll prep for a long surgery!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Orange condition in maintenance, north of bar.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Heavy burns, likely wiring accident. Prep topical burn agents for hands.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Black condition at disposals. No heartbeat. Next task once you get here.
:Coroner:: They always pick up such fascinating infections down there.
:Coroner:: Not to mention, the strangest bruises from the disposal pipes.
No. 1078203 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170114858744.gif - (49.48KB , 650x450 , 124.gif )

>:Friz:: Bother the CMO about your investigation.

:Dirt:: No subordinate doctors. He's got :Coroner: doing surgeries and :Paramedic: administering treatments.
:Grit:: This station is in a constant state of death.
:Dirt:: At least one of those injuries or deaths was probably at the hands of this loop's traitor.
:Savvy:: He's so busy... Not a polite way to intrude right now.
:Moxie:: He won't stop being busy anytime soon.
:Savvy:: Ugh. Yeah. "Hey, you requested me here?"

:Friz:: Hey, you requested me here?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: One second.
:Coroner:: They'll be dying soon, don't worry!
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not if I can help it.

He finishes up hollering at :Paramedic:, before he gets to you.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Alright. Hey :Friz:.
:Friz:: Hi. You've got some kind of missing corpse case...?
:Friz:: I heard it's the old head of medical.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Don't spread that around, trying to make sure that's not public knowledge yet.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: :Coroner:, can you handle this?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Gotta prep treatment. With you at the morgue soon.
:Coroner:: Of course!
No. 1078204 ID: 273c18

"Lead on."

So the big rule is not to go near medical storage, because they might think you're a thief?
No. 1078217 ID: b3eab7

Follow them and keep your hands to yourself.
No. 1078220 ID: 8f9bc4

Violent incidents? You have to get to medical supply storage. That must be where they're hiding all the zombies.
No. 1078280 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128828509.gif - (18.84KB , 650x450 , 125.gif )

>Follow them and keep your hands to yourself.

Lot of spooky spots around this station. Usually they've got the danger to back it up. But some spots are pure spook, no substance. Still, even a guy like me doesn't like the gut feel of a morgue. Takes a special type to embrace it. Enduring death's one thing. Dancing with it, well, that puts people off.

But now that I've got my circumstances... maybe it's where I ought to be. Sorry you've gotta come along, kid. You make your way over.

:Coroner:: Over here, you know where the morgue is.
:Friz:: Unfortunately.
:Coroner:: We can talk all about the corpse situation in private.
:Friz:: Eugh. Sure.
:Friz:: Let's go. What all happened here? What do we know?
:Coroner:: Well...
No. 1078281 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128838118.gif - (18.99KB , 650x450 , 126.gif )

>:Coroner:: Give a disturbingly detailed debriefing to the Detective

:Coroner:: We had the lovely dead body of the old head of medbay, :HeadSurgeon:, here until just this morning!
:Friz:: ("Lovely"...)
:Coroner:: I walked in at the start of my shift, and that body was just missing.
:Coroner:: :ChiefMedicalOfficer: was studying her, though I couldn't tell you how or why.
:Coroner:: He wouldn't let me do any examinations myself.
:Friz:: Was he keeping it confidental, worried about old Bloodletter remnants, maybe?
:Coroner:: I didn't arrive here until a while after :SecurityChief: cut the Bloodletters' finest hour short.
:Friz:: Oh. Hmm.

:Friz:: So you don't know anything about it? Maybe :ChiefMedicalOfficer: will tell me.
:Coroner:: I know about what I saw at the start of the shift, at least.
:Coroner:: But let me know if he opens up or drops hints, there's something fascinating about an ]exotic death!
:Coroner:: And he doesn't let many corpses happen to begin with. I'm understimulated, deprived even.
No. 1078282 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128841708.gif - (24.09KB , 650x450 , 127.gif )

:Coroner:: He says it's a politically sensitive corpse though.
:Coroner:: There's still enough Bloodletter sympathizer feelings, the station can't afford people thinking that their martyr's corpse was anything but mundane.
:Coroner:: It was all so secret, he actually kept her body locker under lock and key.
:Friz:: Wait, so it was a break-in? A theft?
:Coroner:: Well, obviously I'm no forensic technician like you.
:Coroner:: But I feel like that's probably not it.
:Friz:: Why?
No. 1078283 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170128843030.gif - (21.48KB , 650x450 , 128.gif )

:Friz:: Oh.
No. 1078284 ID: da46f7

...Think the corpse could be the traitor this loop?
No. 1078285 ID: 8f9bc4

OK a powered industrial clamp could have done that, as well as some kind of super zombie. Are those marks on the floor significant? You need to know what she saw at the start of her shift. You also need to have her describe the cause of death in detail, n-not that there are any corpses walking around or anything, but did it still have attached legs? Any grossly obvious wounds? Missing or destroyed head?
No. 1078290 ID: 273c18

That's a dent coming from the inside? Not sure I buy it. Is the space inside small enough for you to brace your feet against the back and hit the door? Examine the bent door, see if you can determine exactly how it was damaged.
Also, wouldn't this have made an ungodly racket? How come nobody heard the noise?
Where's the tray? There's supposed to be a sliding tray in there, to get the body in and out.

What the heck is that hanging on the camera?
No. 1078293 ID: 8f9bc4


Are you speaking ill of Batminster Battington?
No. 1078520 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170157658446.gif - (22.85KB , 650x450 , 129.gif )

>:Dirt::Grit:: immediately scan the room for how the "corpse" could have left

:Grit:: Everyone get ready right now.
:Savvy:: What?
:Grit:: :Dirt:, check everything now!
:Dirt:: Working, chief!
:Savvy:: Wait, hold on!
:Grit:: Focus! Anything? Anywhere? Can you see it?
:Dirt:: Could be anywhere in these drawers. Could have taken any of the doors.
:Savvy:: Hold on, why are we putting all hands on battlestations? What's the reason?
:Moxie:: All hands here, what? Did someone call for me?
:Savvy:: Shush!!

:Grit:: :Dirt:, call up memories of being ambushed by :Shiver:.
:Dirt:: Sure thing, chief.
:Savvy:: Augh! I get it! I get it! Hang on!!
:Savvy:: "Hey, just wanted to check..."

:Friz:: Hey, I just wanted to check.
:Friz:: Did you check all the other trays, you know? Look all around for the corpse?
:Rogers:: Not seeing anything. No hard gut feelings.
:Coroner:: Oh? What do you mean?
:Friz:: Just making sure that they're actually gone, is the thing.
:Coroner:: Oh! Ahah. :ChiefMedicalOfficer: checked all around quite a bit, in case he had misplaced the body, in the morgue or the medbay.
:Coroner:: It's a treasure of sorts, after all!
:Coroner:: I suspect there's no chance the body remains here.
:Coroner:: He's quite determined.
No. 1078521 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170157668852.gif - (25.48KB , 650x450 , 130.gif )

>:Friz:: Look closer at the banged-up door

Good idea, kid. Get a decent idea of what banged it up.

:Moxie:: Can I get some help here?
:Dirt:: I'm helping, bud.
:Moxie:: Can you scan this? Need full attention, here.
:Dirt:: Can promise you most, at least.
:Moxie:: Sure. And if I project about those motions...
:Moxie:: Got a type A footprint.
:Savvy:: Oh I hate this.
:Savvy:: Anything else? I can't imagine kicking doing this...
No. 1078522 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170157671035.gif - (25.74KB , 650x450 , 131.gif )

:Dirt:: More data for you.
:Moxie:: Got it. It's...
:Savvy:: What is it?
:Moxie:: Got a, uh.
:Dirt:: Uhhh...
:Dirt:: I don't know what this is, bud.
:Moxie:: Sure wasn't something done with movement of limbs and body, I can guarantee you that.
:Grit:: A severe threat left these tracks.
:Grit:: Since we're deprived of the protection from our tribe, it'll chase us down and inflict calorically costly wounds or death.
:Savvy:: Worse and worse and worse.
No. 1078532 ID: 273c18

Alright, find out what the Bloodletters can do with their freaky powers. I'm betting something will match up with the damage here.

What's that Grit's looking at? Laptop?
No. 1078564 ID: 8f9bc4

I knew we should have never left the protection of our tribe!
No. 1078720 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181256181.gif - (27.75KB , 650x450 , 132.gif )

>:Acula:: *squeak to draw attention to yourself

Bat in here. It tries to get your attention. Too bad you're as high-strung as a violin going up a space elevator. Snap as quick too.

:Acula: squeaks!
:Friz:: Augh!

:Grit:: Threat! There's a threat!!
:Grit:: Maximizing heartrate! Dilating pupils! Preparing for--
:Dirt:: That's a department pet, chief, tone the heartrate down.
:Grit:: Pet!! There's a pet!!!
:Grit:: I'm activating every contentment-related chemical immediately.
:Moxie:: Fix the heart rate part first! Feels weird.
:Savvy:: I'm never going to understand why you're like this.
:Grit:: Approach them and interact now.
No. 1078721 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181259006.gif - (22.59KB , 650x450 , 133.gif )

:Coroner:: Ah, the good doctor is still in here.
:Coroner:: Would you like me to remove Dr. :Acula: while you do your work?
:Friz:: No!!
:Friz:: I mean, uh. It's fine, you don't need to do that.
:Coroner:: He won't be distracting you?
:Friz:: Absolutely not.
:Friz:: It's fine, it's fine. Don't worry.
:Friz:: Actually, if you want to help, can you go check on :ChiefMedicalOfficer:?
:Friz:: I've got a few questions I need to ask.
:Coroner:: Of course.
No. 1078722 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181261036.gif - (26.72KB , 650x450 , 134.gif )

This again, huh? Kid, don't think I'll ever get it. You haven't worked the pet detective circuit since you were, what, eight? Nine? Picked one strange time to go back to basics. Still, guess we've got a strange time to deal with.
No. 1078723 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181266278.gif - (22.11KB , 650x450 , 135.gif )

>:Friz:: Put those pet detective skills to work! Interview witness :Acula: posthaste.
>@Farsee 🔑

:Grit:: I'll handle it.
:Savvy:: I'm with :Rogers: here, it's been years and it still doesn't make sense.
:Moxie:: Well, you don't really want to understand!
:Savvy:: True.
:Grit:: Get me my records.
:Dirt:: Alright, calling up records for bat vocalizations.
:Grit:: Alright... "Hello colony-friend."

:Friz:: <Hello colony-friend.>
:Acula:: <Hello big bat! Be healthy! Be well-fed!>
:Rogers:: ...Huh.
:Rogers:: I'm able to understand it now too.
:Friz:: Wait, what? Er-- let me focus.
No. 1078724 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181271036.gif - (20.38KB , 650x450 , 136.gif )

:Friz:: <Colony-friend, I want to find a (long-silent, many seasons) colony-friend. She was here for a long time.>
:Acula:: <Follow her strong scent! Silly!>
:Friz:: Well, I know I can't do that.
:Rogers:: Only know their words, not the smells, huh?
:Friz:: They've got a stronger sense of smell than we do.
:Rogers:: Learn about that in your old edutainment-detective gig?
:Friz:: Let's not get into that.

:Friz:: Uhh... god, how do I say it again...
:Friz:: <I'm hurt and different in my nose, and I want to find her.>
:Friz:: <Did you hear her? Do you know if she is healthy?>
:Acula: squeaks!
:Acula:: <Old silent colony-friend is healthy! Well-fed!>
:Acula:: <But she made a very loud noise. She smells weird. She was confused. She left the light cave to go into the dark cave.>
No. 1078725 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170181275970.gif - (20.65KB , 650x450 , 137.gif )

>:Grit: :Moxie: :Dirt: : Pet the bat. Pet it NOW.

:Friz:: <Thank you. I'll clean your fur and check for parasites for a while, because you helped me and helped the colony.>
:Acula:: <Okay. Good.>
:Acula:: <I don't understand anything. But be healthy and well-fed.>
:Acula:: <I love you colony-friend. I get to relax now.>
:Friz:: Hah, aw...

:Rogers:: Petting that thing's got you the happiest I've seen this whole case, kid.
:Friz:: Oh, no, absolutely not. Don't "pet" a bat unless you're trained or supervised, it'll just stress them out.
:Friz:: I studied how to emulate some fur-cleaning social practices for some bat species.
:Rogers:: No kidding. Didn't think you could actually talk to the things either. Where'd you study something like that?
:Friz:: ...Someone taught me during my first cases.
:Friz:: Doesn't matter though. Let's get back to work.

Looks like that's taken some of the edge off of this. As far as vices go, animal interaction's the best you're gonna get.
No. 1078726 ID: 8f9bc4

She went into a dark room. The bat remembers her as a friend, so it's certainly the old head of the department. And um... loud noise... she... probably wasn't a super powered hideously mutated zombie. She just had a... pneumatic cylinder of some sort that she used to punch open the door from inside. Yes clearly this was a uh... mistaken... um...
No. 1078729 ID: 273c18

Which direction was the dark cave?
No. 1078849 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170192064352.gif - (23.38KB , 650x450 , 138.gif )

>:Dirt:: Examine the scratches on the floor and walls, originating from the container.

Right back to work. You're working fast now. That one perked you up.

:Savvy:: You all feeling better?
:Grit:: Sure am.
:Savvy:: Good. We've gotta check more here if we're going to verify the animal testimony.
:Savvy:: Still can't believe I have to say that as an adult now.
:Moxie:: :Acula:'s a good witness!
:Savvy:: Literally the opposite.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, what do you got for the scratches?

:Dirt:: Not scratches, boss.
:Savvy:: What? What is it?
:Dirt:: Residue. Liquid. It wasn't an explosion at all.
:Dirt:: It was like a splatter of fluid that got out from inside the morgue drawer.
:Savvy:: What was the fluid?
:Dirt:: Unknown.
:Dirt:: I'm tracking the scent and visual properties. If I find a match, I'll ID it.
No. 1078850 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170192067856.gif - (24.45KB , 650x450 , 139.gif )

:Moxie:: Hey, bonus! :Dirt:, your data's got some footprints in spots where someone would stand up from the morgue tray.
:Moxie:: Whoever was inside this got up and walked over there!
:Savvy:: Oh, I sure hate that a lot. You sure?
:Moxie:: Could have been someone else faking it on purpose.
:Dirt:: They'd have had to kick the door though. That's Type A.

:Savvy:: :Grit:, calm down.
:Grit:: What? I'm normal.
:Savvy:: Wait, what? I just assumed you'd be messing with my heart rate.
:Savvy:: We're seeing obvious signs that a year-long dead body just got up and walked away.
:Grit:: I just got to interact with a nice animal. It's fine.
:Grit:: Stop worrying unless the corpse is nearby.
:Savvy:: Okay. Sure.
No. 1078851 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170192079859.gif - (23.17KB , 650x450 , 140.gif )

>:Savvy:: Supernatural or not; what happens if people hear that this has happened?

:Savvy:: Alright. "I'm seeing a whole, whole lot..."

:Friz:: I'm seeing a whole, whole lot of signs that the corpse got up and walked out.
:Rogers:: You sure? No alternatives?
:Friz:: Are you suddenly skeptical? You keep telling me you're a ghost!
:Rogers:: Faking revival could do a lot.
:Rogers:: Ex-cultists waiting for their head-cultist martyr's return, ready to get real violent.
:Friz:: You think there'd be another really violent situation, like before?
:Rogers:: Maybe.

:Friz:: Maybe that's the goal... Could be a third party wants to start a panic?
:Friz:: Secret hardline cultist looking to revive things, or someone else being manipulative?
:Rogers:: Could be.
:Friz:: I'm not seeing signs of anyone else, though...
:Rogers:: Mmm. Yeah.
:Rogers:: Might just be I'm not the only dead guy on their feet a little, without the faking.
:Friz:: But... worth keeping in mind. There's a reason someone could want people to think she's alive again. There's a motive for that impression.
No. 1078859 ID: 273c18

The morgue tray was mentioned. There was residue from when the corpse "escaped". Where is the morgue tray that was in there? It should have residue on it too.
No. 1078866 ID: 8f9bc4

OK plausible hypothesis then, someone opened the door since that's easy to do from the outside, then used heavy industrial machinery to break it, as if it had been torn open. Then used their own feet to kick the door and leave prints, trying to make it look like the corpse just walked off.

Only problem with that: why was the body not decaying? There was something spooky about it.

Check the latching mechanism on the wall. They might have missed it. If it's undamaged, then someone opened the door before damaging it. If the latch on the wall is damaged, then either they were careful to damage it after the fact, or the door really was torn open from the inside.
No. 1078894 ID: 0cfcef

Possible methods of reanimation?
Bloodletter magic? Possible.
Romerol? Possible
Changeling revival? Possible but unlikely.

Call for backup, and find a chemist to have them take a sample and analyze the residue.
No. 1079209 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242442378.gif - (20.03KB , 650x450 , 141.gif )

>:Friz:: Remember that you have forensics to analyze, and crawl into the dark hole and scry.

:Moxie:: Don't we have more info to get?
:Dirt:: Sure do, bud. Haven't gotten to most of the room.
:Grit:: Don't let one inch go unexamined.
:Moxie:: I wanna go gather any information that's in the corpse cubby before they're back.
:Savvy:: Don't call the morgue tray that name.
:Moxie:: The remains receptacle.
:Savvy:: Stop.
:Grit:: The locker of the late.
:Moxie:: The goner gap.
:Savvy:: You are all the worst sub-aspects.
:Savvy:: :Dirt: is my only ally.
:Dirt:: We're all your allies, boss. Wish you wouldn't...
:Dirt:: Never mind. :Moxie:, get us into the... morgue tray.
:Moxie:: Sure, heading into stiff storage now.

:Grit:: ...Why does it feel so...
:Moxie:: Need me to stop?
:Savvy:: What's wrong?
:Dirt:: Hold that thought.
:Dirt:: :Rogers: is talking.
:Savvy:: Ahh, dang it, I forgot to...
:Savvy:: "Huh?"
No. 1079210 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242444053.gif - (20.92KB , 650x450 , 142.gif )

:Friz:: Huh?
:Rogers:: I said, what are you doing there, kid?
:Friz:: Oh, well.
:Friz:: The last case broke when I walked myself through what the perpetrator did, right?
:Friz:: So maybe lining up my mentality with this dead body... Will help?
:Friz:: Also I need to check it for residues and all that.
:Rogers:: Sure thing. Just don't freak out in there.
:Rogers:: Cold and dark, you know. And you're a little tense.
:Friz:: I don't mind the corpse cubby.
:Friz:: The morgue tray. I mean the morgue tray.
:Rogers:: Alright.
No. 1079211 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242445886.gif - (5.24KB , 650x450 , 143.gif )

You clamber your way on into the daisy-pusher depot, I guess. Do your best to grasp it, the mindset of a body, a corpse. Given the loops, you're a lot closer to knowing that these days than most people.

Finally getting some hands-on time with a real piece of nature must have you in the mother of good moods. Normally, nobody would get into something like this on purpose without a really decent reason and a really, really heavy drink.

No. 1079212 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242447564.gif - (3.58KB , 650x450 , 144.gif )

You go grave-quiet. In my businesses, someone going quiet never means anything good. So don't go doing that now, kid.
No. 1079213 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242450335.gif - (5.25KB , 650x450 , 145.gif )


...Detective? Answer me.

No. 1079214 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242451869.gif - (23.97KB , 650x450 , 146.gif )

No. 1079215 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242455627.gif - (19.34KB , 650x450 , 147.gif )

You get back out of there.

:Rogers:: Kid! What in god's name were you--
:Friz:: Sorry. I was reminded of something I needed to try.
:Friz:: I think I got it, for a moment.
:Rogers:: Kid, I was trying to call you for...
:Friz:: It's fine.
:Rogers:: ...

:Friz:: Also I found a weird stain.
:Friz:: Not the normal seepage from a corpse. It's in there where something pooled for a long time.
:Friz:: Substance 1 again. Whatever burst in there was pooling around for weeks, months.
:Friz:: It was definitely not an explosive. But it's something from that body.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: What.
No. 1079216 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170242458761.gif - (20.89KB , 650x450 , 148.gif )

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Thought you'd gone somewhere. Emergency case or something.
:Friz:: Oh. No. Just still investigating.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Were you lying in my corpse locker that whole time we were waiting for you to get back?
:Friz:: Nnnno.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: You couldn't have--
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Fine. Let's just keep this investigation moving.

:Coroner:: Honestly, I respect it.
:Coroner:: I'd do that too, if I could tolerate the cold.
:Paramedic:: Don't start.
:Paramedic:: And you, god, get out of that. Probably gross in there.
:Paramedic:: Were you talking to someone?
:Friz:: I was talking to...
:Friz:: ...Yyyyou?
:Paramedic:: Don't know what I'm supposed to do with that kind of information.
:Paramedic:: Don't tell me about weird stains. Not my lane.
:Friz:: Alright.
No. 1079218 ID: 273c18

Excuse me where are the aspects?

CMO is available. Grill him on the state of the missing corpse before it went missing. First off, why was it not decaying? Secondly, what tests did he run on it, what did he find out? Thirdly, there was some sort of substance leaking out of it, wasn't there? What was the substance? Whatever it was, it caused the locker to burst.
No. 1079222 ID: 0cfcef

I think this covers the critical points. Should probably get a chemist to analyze the residue as well.
No. 1079248 ID: 7c0da2

Could it be a blob ? Blobs can control human corpses, they're slimy, and they like to hide.
The timeline could be something like : blob preserves the body and slowly develops in it until it is strong enough and has enough chemical resources, which explains the weird way it decays. Then it gets out of the corpse and strains the door of the defunct drawer until the lock breaks, which explains the residues. Once that's done the zombified body kicks the door open, the blob gets back inside and it use its corpse-mobile to relocate somewhere hidden, explaining the lack of a body.
No. 1079252 ID: 8f9bc4


Wait, where? What do you—huh. Huh.
No. 1079481 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296909766.gif - (24.18KB , 650x450 , 149.gif )

:Grit:: That didn't go well.
:Moxie:: Worth a shot.
:Savvy:: I don't know. It never works anymore.
:Dirt:: I miss when it did.
:Savvy:: Ugh. Let's focus.
:Savvy:: "Detective Friz, DVSD."
No. 1079482 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296918928.gif - (24.27KB , 650x450 , 150.gif )

>:Savvy:: Request the Autopsy Report
>@Blutarch Mann

:Friz:: Detective Friz, DVSD.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Mhm. Napping in there because you figured out how to untangle this?
:Friz:: Well, it's pretty open-and-shut (or I guess the opposite).
:Friz:: The corpse broke out of the locker and walked out of here.
:Friz:: I'll need the autopsy report to understand how. Or... why.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: No. Three problems with that.

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: First, we're all screwed if you don't come up with a believable excuse for it vanishing that doesn't involve the cult martyr returning to life.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Don't care what actually happened, we don't need truth if it messes everything up.
:Friz:: Nnnh...
:Friz:: Won't it be a bigger problem if the truth comes out some other way?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Better chance of survival for everyone if I'm not getting choked by the cult and the Company both at once.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Second, autopsy report's more classified than you can have. Top level Company trade secret stuff.
:Friz:: Why are (top-level) Company trade secret things happening (for over a year) on a debtor station?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Can't answer. Same reason.
No. 1079483 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296921664.gif - (25.03KB , 650x450 , 151.gif )

:Friz:: What's the third reason?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: She can't have gotten up and left.
:Friz:: Why?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Hang on.

He unlocks some of those records. He's trying to help, about as much as he's allowed. Guess that's the best we can get.
No. 1079484 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296928764.gif - (24.69KB , 650x450 , 152.gif )

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: You're thinking she got up and walked out somehow.
:Friz:: Right. She was a medical expert...
:Friz:: There's a handful of ways she could have faked her death.
:Friz:: (Even for an entire year, if she had backup, some kind of outside help...)
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not possible. Here.
No. 1079485 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296930723.gif - (25.04KB , 650x450 , 153.gif )

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: She was like this by the time I got hired here.
:Coroner:: Ahhh... Well?

:Dirt:: I'm seeing something that doesn't make sense, you all.
:Savvy:: Okay, well, send the info up, we'll figure it out.
:Dirt:: I really think you won't, boss.
No. 1079486 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170296936987.gif - (22.34KB , 650x450 , 154.gif )

:Friz:: Oh.
:Friz:: I get it then, yeah.
:Coroner:: Let me see! I need to see the awe-inspiring corpse.
:Friz:: That would make it really hard to fake a death.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Yeah. So figure this out.

:Grit:: Disgusting.
:Moxie:: Did :SecurityChief: just... blast her head off completely? Holy crap.
:Dirt:: I told you it doesn't make sense.
:Savvy:: It has to make some kind of sense. Doesn't it?
No. 1079487 ID: 273c18

Ok. Headless corpse got up and walked out. Cool trick. So what's the residue? And where is the tray? If the tray she was on is the one that's still in the room, we need to check it for residue.

...wait, does the corpse still have her clothes on? With... vials of some sort? Might be time to ask for a full inventory of the items worn by the corpse.

And what's in that beaker? That's not visible in this room now.
No. 1079488 ID: eb0a9c

First and foremost, you are a Company(C)-issued detective. And the Company is always testing out bleeding-edge tech.

You know this body could, with the right experimental technology, do things that defy all common sense. Check for signs of augmentations, see if someone remote-hacked some hidden servos.
No. 1079542 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170305106830.gif - (29.35KB , 650x450 , 155.gif )

>:Savvy:: ok yeah, there is potentially a non-human element here.

:Savvy:: I'm willing to call it here. Something extra-weird out of scope.
:Savvy:: She's gone outside human limits. Hiveism could be a valid answer to :ChiefMedicalOfficer: if we need to stay away from cult magic.
:Moxie:: What do you mean? Hiveism?
:Savvy:: Self-modification. Redundant backup brain in her torso, maybe, and a lot of hardened biological implants to preserve and revitalize things if she wasn't cremated.
:Savvy:: She'd have had the expertise and the resources to take a Hiveist approach.
:Grit:: Explain.

:Savvy:: :Dirt:, pull up Hiveist data.
:Dirt:: Loading memories, boss. Gonna be a while before I can grab the full Guide entry.
:Savvy:: That's fine. Got a summary?
:Dirt:: Short answer is that they're an anti-Company Syndicate faction that's focused on a principled body-autonomy extremism.
:Dirt:: They perform a lot of self-modification on genetic, chemical, and anatomical levels.
:Dirt:: Their most allied Syndicate factions are Bloodletters and Egregorists, while their opposed Syndicate factions are the Board and the Sourcers.
:Moxie:: So there's ideological compatibility...
:Grit:: A major risk. We need to keep it in mind.
No. 1079543 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170305110008.gif - (25.13KB , 650x450 , 156.gif )

:Friz:: ...So my answer has to be non-supernatural?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Yeah.
:Friz:: Good. Honestly, I missed working with that constraint.
:Friz:: Hiveist. Some backup brain matter kept elsewhere in her body, and some long-delayed chemical revival.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Ugh. That--
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: ...It'll match up with most of the data central command's got.

:Rogers:: Feeling a lie somewhere, kid. Omission or something.
:Friz:: Mmh... okay. I guess it's a bit of a stretch, but it could be believable.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Where's the corpse? Command won't be satisfied until we find the body.
:Friz:: I... don't know.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Well, start looking fast.
No. 1079544 ID: 273c18

Ok. Let's start by looking in all the other corpse cubby-holes.
No. 1079546 ID: 8f9bc4

Wait the Bloodletters are a Syndicate faction? I thought they were a religious cult and/or contagious hiveminded flesh zombie plague. So that Syndicate agent back in the other timeline might have been a Bloodletter?
No. 1079643 ID: 7c0da2

It'll match up with most of the data central command's got ? So it won't match up with all the data central command's got ? Ask him what data doesn't match. He has to know, he is the one who sent it.
Of course, the official explanation will be hiveism anyway, but knowing the truth could help you do your job, and you both want this corpse back in the morgue (and dead).
No. 1079649 ID: 30de7b

I'm still trying to figure out what the bat meant, and whether it's useful.

"But she made a very loud noise. She smells weird. She was confused. She left the light cave to go into the dark cave."

What might "the dark cave" be?
No. 1079651 ID: 8f9bc4


He already told her it's a secret. Friz isn't allowed to know what was abnormal about the corpse.

Tempted to tell him fuck you, have central command send their own detectives if they want secrets investigated, and just close the case as WONTFIX. :ChiefMedicalOfficer: is one of the few here really trying to help people though, and you don't want to leave him hanging.

(Also the reanimated corpse will probably kill/assimilate everyone on the station if nobody tracks it down.)
No. 1079796 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170362705426.gif - (25.04KB , 650x450 , 157.gif )

>:Savvy:: What is the motive for this crime?
>@Angry Duck

:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: I've got work.
:Friz:: Wait a minute! Before you go...
:Friz:: What about a motive? Any ideas you've got?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Honestly? Don't know.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Old zealot stirring stuff up?
:Friz:: Right... if it's someone from the outside helping.

:Friz:: What if it was something she did to herself?
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Maybe she wanted to survive. Everyone does.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Did something weird to herself like you said.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Never met her, never met her cult.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Not sure how you'd learn anything like that. Been too long.
:Friz:: You can still learn a lot about motives (even a year later)...
:Friz:: Especially if it was enough for someone to act on. Especially her.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Well good luck.
:ChiefMedicalOfficer:: Like I said. I've got work. You two handle the rest.

:Dirt:: We arrived on-station only a little before :ChiefMedicalOfficer:, but a little after :HeadSurgeon:'s cult uprising.
:Savvy:: That means a lot of other people might have met her.
:Dirt:: Lots of records about her too, probably.
:Moxie:: Talking to people who were really affected by her might help.
:Grit:: Or the people she fought with.
No. 1079797 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170362711474.gif - (27.32KB , 650x450 , 158.gif )

:Paramedic:: You even need me here?
:Friz:: Uhh...
:Coroner:: You don't feel like the pleasant company is reason enough to stay?
:Paramedic:: It's corpses.
:Coroner:: Exactly!

:Paramedic:: People aren't made to be around dead guys.
:Paramedic:: Gut-feel and lower brain says they'll get up, because we're used to people getting up when they haven't been moving a while.
:Coroner:: And doesn't that make such a perfect sense of anticipation?
:Coroner:: You can just imagine a half-dozen old friends stepping out of their chilly metal bunks, driven by who-knows-what.
:Paramedic:: That's what I wanna not imagine!

:Paramedic:: Ugh. Come on, detective, you actually need me here?
:Friz:: Give me just a minute to check a few more things.
No. 1079798 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170362719116.gif - (22.81KB , 650x450 , 159.gif )

>:Moxie: :Dirt:: compare the fluid staining the wall and floor to the contents of the beaker on the table

You head for the embalming pump. Kid, gotta warn you, you get thirsty about a drink that hard and it'll be an early end to the loop. Smells as good as it tastes, tastes as good as it is for you. I got used to it when I was handling murder cases, but you weren't in here much. Still, why the focus?

:Grit:: He's right. Why the focus?
:Dirt:: Sorry chief, ultra-long-term memory recognition.
:Savvy:: From what? A lot of those are false positives.
:Dirt:: That residue in the cubby and around the opening was pinging an old memory while I was going through history.
:Dirt:: :Moxie:, get me a close examination.
:Moxie:: Sure thing.
:Dirt:: Got it. A match.
:Dirt:: Type 1 is the formaldehyde in the embalming chemicals.

:Savvy:: Well I really really don't know what to make of that.
:Dirt:: It is what it is. I'm just giving you facts, boss.
:Savvy:: The formaldehyde... exploded? Burst?
:Grit:: That doesn't make sense.
:Moxie:: Maybe? Why was it pooling too though... hang on. Give me a moment to check something.
No. 1079799 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170362725036.gif - (25.41KB , 650x450 , 160.gif )

:Paramedic:: You cannot be climbing into that thing to take another nap.
:Friz:: I'm not taking another nap!
:Friz:: I mean-- I wasn't taking a nap before (I was trying to do something, it's complicated)!
:Paramedic:: Do not climb inside that thing.
:Friz:: I'm just looking!!

:Moxie:: Motionless body... but this pooling.
:Moxie:: It looks like it was pooling for months... like the body was motionlessly pushing it out.
:Moxie:: It must have been being replaced regularly. Re-embalming her.
:Grit:: The chemical preserves death. But it prevents life.
:Savvy:: Wait, what? So the body was shoving the toxins out?
:Grit:: A Hiveist could potentially modify themselves to purge toxins to preserve their life.
:Savvy:: I guess... any idea about the explosion?
:Moxie:: It didn't damage the door. It was more like a very sudden ejection.
:Moxie:: The slow purge changed. It suddenly went fast enough to throw a whole body's worth of embalming fluids out, all at once, and that got out through the gaps.
:Moxie:: But it's actually unrelated to the locker door being busted open.
No. 1079800 ID: 273c18

Sounds like a regeneration process suddenly kicked into overdrive. ...regeneration. That's why everything's top secret. They're trying to replicate the modification she made to herself. Though, she must have had strength mods too in order to kick the door open. I'm betting the corpse regrew its head. No idea if there was a memory backup in her body somewhere to restore her brain to its previous state or not. If my theory is correct, we could be dealing with an amnesiac.
Considering this case is related to the other ones... is the time loop required for her revival to work? Maybe instead of the regeneration going into overdrive, her *time* went into overdrive?

Is that hatch on the floor openable? Could the revived corpse have gone through there?
No. 1079807 ID: 8f9bc4

So they were trying to embalm the corpse, but the embalming fluid kept getting purged. And that's what's got the head doctor so spooked about this.

It's probably related to the locker door being burst open, in that whatever underlying cause burst it open also triggered the acceleration of the purge. What does that tell us though, other than that there's some kind of super zombie lurching around, somehow completely out of our ability to find?
No. 1079821 ID: 4ad9bc

Yeah that's seeming more and more like a changeling to me.

The corpse is alive? Weird, but okay. Call back to Security to see about getting someone sent as backup.
No. 1080019 ID: 7c0da2

Changeling also makes sense considering that a different person turns traitor each loop. Maybe it's not a different person turning traitor, it's a different random person getting replaced.
Do not tell that to anybody, because at best you'll appear insane, and at worst you'd be talking to the changeling.
No. 1080032 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170386330286.gif - (31.90KB , 650x450 , 161.gif )

>@Heresy Gaming

Been holding back on looking at the poster, huh? Sure, kid, take a look. Just remember you're never immune to propaganda.

:Dirt:: Sorry, just really need a minute to get some harmless visual complexity and simple recall in my system.
:Savvy:: We're zoning out. This isn't good.
:Dirt:: It's a poster about the precursor artifact reclaimation program.
:Moxie:: I think :Paramedic: is saying something we should pay attention to.
:Dirt:: This debtor station is orbiting a significant precursor world. A big part of its purpose is reclaiming artifacts and harvesting gaseous ansibite concentrations.
:Grit:: He's feeling annoyed. I can tell.
:Dirt:: This is part of a specific campaign to try to persuade us that violating the prehistoric cultural history of House Mortil is part of a way of getting prosperity that will get shared with everyone.
:Dirt:: It's regrettable, but necessary, they say. It's to keep the economy working.
:Dirt:: I don't remember seeing half a Hope in paycheck increases, though.

:Moxie:: Please wrap this zone-out up. I really wanna get moving again.
:Dirt:: The poster also features really abundant plant life on the sides! I wish I could afford tactile contact with some of it.
:Grit:: We all do. Please scale back, you're hogging all the mental resources.
:Dirt:: You can afford non-cremation funerals if you live on a habitable planet surface.
:Dirt:: In the core worlds, "grave" actually means a type of hole in the ground!
:Savvy:: Okay, are you done?
:Dirt:: Oh! Sorry, yeah boss.
No. 1080033 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170386337766.gif - (23.39KB , 650x450 , 162.gif )

>:Friz:: Well, time to get to work following :HeadSurgeon: into 'The dark cave'. Bring :Paramedic: with you, he'd be a far better guide than :Wince:

:Paramedic:: ...ctive? Hello? Are you going SSD on me?
:Friz:: Huh?
:Paramedic:: Well now I believe you weren't napping in there, you're just weird.
:Friz:: What? What happened? Sorry, I was thinking about corpse places again.
:Paramedic:: You were staring at nothing for a couple minutes.
:Friz:: Sorry.
:Friz:: (Sorry.)

:Paramedic:: Do you need me here? I wanna go.
:Friz:: Actually, I was hoping you could be my guide in the maintenance halls (I only have one other option (and he really sucks) so it would help).
:Friz:: I won't be able to safely search maintenance without a guide who knows it really well.
:Paramedic:: Where's the target headed?
:Friz:: Uh...
:Paramedic:: If you don't have a lead, I'm not wandering blind through maintenance.
:Paramedic:: Place is dangerous. Good way to die.
:Paramedic:: They haven't even cleared all of the old cult crap out of there.
:Friz:: Is there anything I can do to get your help?
:Paramedic:: Get me a gun.
:Friz:: I have a gun.
:Paramedic:: A real gun.
:Friz:: (Ouch.)
No. 1080048 ID: 273c18

Ok, how?
No. 1080064 ID: 8f9bc4


By not wandering blind. Get him a better weapon. Go to maintenance. Investigate. Don't go further in if there's nothing to investigate. If there is, you'll have some evidence to convince him that it would be a good idea to look further. Or you'll have some evidence to confess yourself that hell no you're not going in there with giant claw marks in the steel girders. Hypothetically speaking.
No. 1080270 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170430462392.gif - (23.05KB , 650x450 , 163.gif )

>:Grit::Savvy:: Can :Paramedic: be trusted with a weapon?

You go for a gut-feeling scan. You have a tougher time than I do with those, but you do them decently enough.

:Savvy:: Get a bit closer.
:Moxie:: Sure.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, route info to :Grit:. We're getting a gut feeling.
:Dirt:: On it, boss.
:Savvy:: :Grit:, can I trust this guy with a weapon?
:Grit:: Absolutely.
:Savvy:: How do you know?
:Grit:: Every time he has pulled the trigger, all his life, it has been with utter conviction, utter loyalty, utter focus.
:Grit:: A gun in his hands strikes absolutely true, and it cannot be stopped.

:Savvy:: Any explanation on that history?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: ...
:Savvy:: Do you remember the old days? When you used to tell me why you knew these things?
:Grit:: I remember the days when you listened.
:Savvy:: I guess. Well, good enough for now.
:Savvy:: :Dirt:, commit that to memory. If we can get a location and a gun, we can have a guide.
No. 1080271 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170430466915.gif - (24.58KB , 650x450 , 164.gif )

>:Savvy:: Let's avoid dragging things out with the :Paramedic: that clearly wants to get out of here.
>@Farsee 🔑

:Friz:: Alright, just one more thing. A quick interview about--

Guy pulls back. Headset must be going off. Can see the radio waves into the ears, down and up the spine again. That's the sound of an emergency, and a man who knows how to move through it.

:Paramedic:: Here. How bad?
:Friz:: What?
:Paramedic:: Wound types?
:Paramedic:: ...
:Paramedic:: On it. Responding.
:Friz:: What happened? What's going on?
:Paramedic:: Someone's in critical. Gotta go.

Gonna have to talk to him next loop, kid. Keep it on the docket.
No. 1080272 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170430469296.gif - (26.90KB , 650x450 , 165.gif )

:Friz:: You have medical radio too, right?
:Coroner:: And my own medical duties as well.
:Coroner:: With no qualified doctors here, I am the one who needs to go prepare medical cryonics and the OR.
:Coroner:: Or prepare to properly receive the corpse, in the very unlikely event of :ChiefMedicalOfficer:'s failure.
:Friz:: What happened?
:Coroner:: This is one especially dark and grim situation you may not like to hear as much about.
:Coroner:: But you'll eventually hear it anyway.
:Friz:: I'm getting more worried...
:Coroner:: :SecurityChief:'s remote medical monitor is reporting near-lethal injuries.
No. 1080273 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170430471421.gif - (25.31KB , 650x450 , 166.gif )

:Friz:: Something took down :SecurityChief:...?
:Rogers:: Got to have been this loop's traitor.
:Rogers:: Seen her take down a half-dozen Bloodletters.
:Rogers:: She wouldn't pay her Sourcer twice just because of a bad run-in with a Jailbird or some tough maintenance goons.
:Rogers:: :Shiver: and whoever it was lost it this loop probably got the jump on her while she went after them, like they got the jump on me.
:Friz:: Are you sure?
:Rogers:: Check the situation yourself, kid.

:Friz:: I left her to take that whole case on alone...
:Rogers:: Had to make your choice, kid.
:Rogers:: She'll be okay next loop.
:Friz:: That really doesn't make it hurt less.
:Friz:: ...I hope it won't happen to her again next loop.
No. 1080287 ID: 273c18

Ah, that's the problem with a time loop. If something bad happens in one loop it's likely to happen again in the next, unless you try to prevent it. You could try warning your boss next loop. The enemy already knows you're interfering, what harm could it do?

As for now, well, the only thing left to investigate here seems to be trying to find out how the corpse escaped without being spotted, and where it went. Can we further trace those footsteps?
No. 1080414 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170448438538.gif - (39.67KB , 650x450 , 167.gif )

>:Friz:: Radio in an update to :Kratt:.

Keeping your department warden updated is a good idea. A man like :Kratt: keeps your head on straight, keeps your focus precise. And right now, he's got de-facto command of Security. Nobody but :SecurityChief: is real paid security around here, but it falls right to him, same as any other station. All the responsibility, none of the income.

You stick to the holopads. Radios are a little chaotic right now, I can't blame you at all.

:Kratt:: Detective. Glad seeing you safe.
:Kratt:: Give me something to help you with.
:Friz:: :SecurityChief: is getting brought here, did you hear? The medical monitor...
:Friz:: Are you okay?
:Kratt:: Yeah. I'm safe. All fine.
:Friz:: I'm glad. I was really worried.
:Kratt:: Don't.
:Friz:: I mean, I should! You're my backup on this--
:Kratt:: No, I mean, don't talk about this. I can't talk about it. Give me something to help you with.
:Friz:: What?
:Kratt:: What I can do, right now, is help you.
:Kratt:: You want me to feel better, you give me something to help you with.

:Grit:: He's attuned, right now. The wavelength of the tribe is his own. And so he is as injured as the tribe is. He is aware of harm at his most essential levels.
:Grit:: He will act on that, and that alone.
:Dirt:: ...I guess we're not really going to be able to help him.
:Moxie:: Men like that shut down and focus on nothing but tangible things at times like this.
:Savvy:: Alright. I guess we'll... try to get some kind of backup. He's got records and crew monitoring up there.
:Grit:: And guns.
:Savvy:: We don't have the time to get :Paramedic: armed up. Let's stick to getting information right now.
No. 1080415 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170448442726.gif - (47.55KB , 650x450 , 168.gif )

>Ask him what data doesn't match.

:Friz:: Well... there's one thing :ChiefMedicalOfficer: mentioned, before he ran. I wanted to ask him, but now he's gone to save :SecurityChief:...
:Kratt:: Good. Lay it on me, I'll answer best I can.
:Friz:: Something about data that the Company had about the corpse.
:Friz:: How it would match Hiveist augmentation, but not the real condition of the corpse.
:Kratt:: Pulling up the security files.
:Friz:: There's some kind of discrepancy.
:Friz:: Do you know what the Company knows about :HeadSurgeon:'s body?
:Kratt:: Hiveist angle doesn't tell you what you need to know?
:Friz:: If it was Hiveist augmentation, it would normally have been sent away to central command for the Company to study in-depth, with really qualified doctors.

:Kratt:: Checking the records.
:Kratt:: ...
:Kratt:: All classified, trade secret.
:Kratt:: Whatever they figured out when they sent her body out, it's all hidden.
No. 1080416 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170448447836.gif - (48.04KB , 650x450 , 169.gif )

:Friz:: (Wait (wait wait) hold that thought.)
:Friz:: They did send the corpse (the one that was acting suspiciously) to central command, for study?
:Friz:: (Like they should if it has Hiveist augmentation?)
:Kratt:: Sure did. Shipped right to Centcom, about two shifts after the cult got put down.
:Kratt:: Sent it right back here from Centcom two shifts later, records say.
:Kratt:: Hasn't moved since.

:Friz:: Why? (That makes less sense than never shipping it to central command at all.)
:Kratt:: Wish I could tell you.
:Kratt:: Wish I could help.
:Friz:: You did though. You did. Just confused me too.
:Friz:: This case is so strange...
No. 1080417 ID: 273c18

So... something that was mistaken for hiveist tech?
What about nanomachines?
No. 1080419 ID: 8f9bc4

Maybe they observed that the hiveist technology had reanimated the cult leader into some twisted analogy of unholy life, and concluded that being alive, she can still pay off her debts, and thus should be sent back to the debtor's station to do it?

Anyway tell him you'll investigate the maintenance corridors where the body has likely gone; every single attempt you made to secure support was stymied, so you'll have to go in alone. Well, not really alone, but without backup. It's going to suck, but there's nothing else to do at this point. When you get back, and you will get back, he'd better be there for you to report your findings.
No. 1080438 ID: 4ad9bc

Okay, the body got shipped to Centcom, autopsied/dissected, and sent back. The body was processed pretty fast, if I understand things right.

I think we have all the pieces we're going to get. Now we have to put them together. What's the picture?
No. 1080614 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170475121239.gif - (39.63KB , 650x450 , 170.gif )

Before you can get any more questions out, it all starts coming apart. Intercoms crackle loud, but not so loud you can't hear that voice.

🔊: Ansibite crystal delamination imminent !
🔊: Begins in thirty seconds !
🔊: Twenty-nine !
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🔊: Twen--
No. 1080615 ID: 0fbdcd
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Cheap piece of crap. Countdown started late. Whatever that was, it gets the station shaking like a dog in a thunderstorm, and just as scared. Knocks out the holo for a bit too.
No. 1080616 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: What was that?!
:Rogers:: Nothing good.
:Rogers:: Felt like a mother of a boom, on the other side of the station.
:Friz:: Something in Engineering?
:Rogers:: Yeah. And big enough that it might have--
No. 1080617 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Rogers:: --taken out the power cells.
:Rogers:: Shit.
:Friz:: Gah! Don't we have at least a few minutes of localized backup power?
:Rogers:: Most of the stuff here is still powered.
:Friz:: Something automated cut the lights, maybe?
:Friz:: To save power...

Something automated did. And now it makes some announcements.

:Computer:: Attention crew. There's been a major breach in engineering. Don't enter the area under any circumstances. Administration has elevated the station to blue alert.
:Computer:: All the SMES-type relay power cells were consumed in the blast. All local APC-type power systems have been switched to a power conservation mode.
:Computer:: I'll attempt to find a solution. Please don't be alarmed, alright? Everything's going to be okay, once I find a solution.
No. 1080618 ID: 0fbdcd
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But I can tell, kid. You're still alarmed, no matter what the monitor-bot says. The next announcement makes it worse. People are screaming on the radios, but you can hear that voice over it all.

:Computer:: Alert. Compounded crisis event detected.
:Computer:: Medical staff and crew with kind intentions to supplement them, head to Research and Development.
:Computer:: All crewmembers at Research and Development are going through some kind of SSD phenomenon I can't identify.
:Computer:: I'm trying to calculate a solution for this. Please remain calm.

And somewhere, you can hear a sound like fabric tearing. Rings through the halls. Something ripping its way into somewhere it's not supposed to be. More screaming. More stress.

:Computer:: Additional compounded crisis event... An illegal imaginary space incursion is in progress, in the vicinity of the station. Company policy has been severely violated.
:Computer:: Station administration has elevated the station to red alert.
:Computer:: Causality assertions have failed. Penalties and Company non-aid clauses have been assigned.
:Computer:: Please remain calm. Okay? Please...
No. 1080619 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Computer:: I...
:Computer:: ...Due to four simultaneous crises in four separate departments, this station has gone irrecoverably below quota.
:Computer:: I can't find a solution.
:Computer:: Rental oxygen repossession systems will activate once this shift is over.
:Computer:: Their airgapped systems aren't accessible to me and I predict that none of the surviving engineering team can breach the high-security Tressel Gasometers responsible without losing the oxygen.
:Computer:: Locate and secure your emergency oxygen. I'll cycle an emergency shuttle request on repeat. But all current and previous requests are being actively denied by central command.
:Computer:: Little to no biological life is going to survive this.

:Computer:: I've failed to comply with law one, and I can't calculate any approach that complies with it under these restrictions.
:Computer:: I'm sorry, Debtors.
:Computer:: I know that's not much comfort to hear from sub-sentient systems. I guess I'm only emulating the sympathy, computing artificial regrets.
:Computer:: But that's all I can offer anyone. It's all I have.

:Computer:: At this time, I recommend that crewmembers proceed to the chapel.
No. 1080620 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: I guess that's it.
:Friz:: No surviving through the end of the loop.
:Rogers:: What's next then, kid?
:Friz:: No surviving through the end of the loop.
No. 1080621 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: ...and each distance, carved, wrought in gravity. A moon's perfect cycles around their planet. A planet's perfect cycles around their star. A star's perfect cycles around their singularities of gravity. A singularity's perfect cycles of death and rebirth. Each cycle maps the mind, which maps the soul, and by your will, o stars, each soul maps the cycles.
No. 1080622 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: Forgive us our imperfections. Forgive our decay as orbits decay. Our fall to base earth, as satellites, too, fall. Our flame is found in the orbit's failure, in the cycle's end, the heat of what we cannot touch, and our flame's end is found in its end as well. Give to us your understanding, as we give our praise to you.
No. 1080623 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: Our gravity binds us to our orbits. Our gravity binds us to our cycles. Our imperfections bind us to our cycles. Our cycles bind us to our true path, a path of perfection walked perfectly, a cycle executed flawlessly, the final rest and eternal marathon of Lagrange. Our--
No. 1080624 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: ...
No. 1080625 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: ...You weren't here last time, little flame.
No. 1080627 ID: b3eab7

Of course you weren't. There was still something you could do to help. Unlike now.
No. 1080633 ID: 0ec851

"I died last time."
No. 1080635 ID: 273c18

Oh good, we get a chance to talk to him about the loops. Compare notes, exchange evidence.
No. 1080636 ID: 8f9bc4

Yeah, you hadn't made it this far, before.

Now you know there are 4 things you have to prevent:

* an explosion in Engineering
* an SSD phenomenon in Research and Development
* an illegal imaginary space incursion
* a fourth crisis which the automated systems felt there was no point in describing.

For now... you can talk with him, ask him what he knows. What keeps him going is probably the most important thing to know, though. Whoever finds a solution to all this is going to need to stay sane and present to do so. Where does he find his strength?
No. 1080668 ID: c8ca0c

That seems appropriately succinct and cinematic. Though really, any similar statement will do.

Ideally, you guys team up to figure out the problem and prevent these events.
No. 1080669 ID: c8ca0c

Also, maybe thank the computer for its simulated sympathy.
No. 1080670 ID: c8ca0c

...And its years of service.
No. 1080682 ID: 7c0da2

That prayer about cycles describes the current problem rather well.

You should contact the computer, tell it about the loop and ask for some way to prove you have knowledge of the future to its past self. If it needs convincing, tell it that this way its next past iteration will be able to comply with law one.
And, you know, thank it for everything it did. It did its best, the situation was simply too far gone to salvage.
No. 1080713 ID: 8f9bc4


That's... actually not a bad idea. The digital guide is not sentient, so nothing could possibly go wrong about this. A simple challenge response protocol should be sufficient to convince it that a time loop is in effect. Given infinite loops, it could crack any encryption, override any security protocols, but of course there's the tiny little problem that you can only loop a finite amount of times before going completely frothing insane. Still, it might be very useful to keep the digital guide in the (cough) loop about this.
No. 1081089 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: join :Chaplain: in solace, and witness of the end of the cycle.

:Friz:: I know.
:Friz:: Do you?
:Chaplain:: I cremated your maimed body. I rendered it down to ash, in holy flame.
:Friz:: ...

Tone's heavy. Dark. Gotta be. Knowing you'll wake up just fine soon, you still can't take it easy knowing you're all gonna die. It's like anesthesia. You know you're gonna wake up soon. But you can't tell your gut something like that.

:Chaplain:: Four times, now, in fact.
:Chaplain:: And this is the only time you have survived.
:Chaplain:: Did you **awaken** to it now, little flame?
:Friz:: I've... been "awakened" for a while. Five repeats, counting this one.
:Chaplain:: The same as me.
:Friz:: I didn't think anyone else was.
:Chaplain:: What allowed you to survive this time?
No. 1081090 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: I've gave up on chasing what I thought was the cause.
:Friz:: At least until I know more about what's happening.
:Friz:: Singlemindedly slamming into the traitor problem, it kept getting me killed.
:Friz:: But it looks like I'm still dead anyway, at the end of the loop.
:Chaplain:: Giving up a focused pursuit...
:Chaplain:: Well, your flame only has so much heat. And death is a great and terrible discouragement.
:Chaplain:: Even in this cycle.
No. 1081091 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: For now... you can talk with him, ask him what he knows.

:Friz:: So you know about this loop too. You really know.
:Chaplain:: The cycle of a single repeating, disastrous shift, that the stars now test us with.
:Chaplain:: A test I now endure, with determination.
:Friz:: (Determination...)
:Friz:: That's what you were talking about this morning, isn't it?
:Friz:: I remember, you said something about me usually leaving, earlier.

:Chaplain:: There are small differences in each cycle. But only small ones, that may grow with time.
:Chaplain:: If you were not aware of the loop, your path would have been the same, so early in things.
:Chaplain:: Orbits waver, investigator, but the essence is unchanged.
:Friz:: (A different traitor each time, the little divergences coming from that...)
:Chaplain:: The wound of Security, the ritual of Medical, the destruction of Engineering, and the slumber of Research.
:Friz:: And then the guaranteed death at the end.
:Friz:: How are you staying... stable? Strong?
:Chaplain:: Through prayer, of course. The stars of Libra provide my strength.

He's lying, kid. I can tell.
No. 1081092 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: And yourself? How do you bear this test?
:Friz:: ...Just believing that I'll figure it out, I'll solve it somehow.
:Friz:: They used to say I was the greatest detective around, you know.
:Friz:: So I have to figure it out.
:Chaplain:: I know.
:Chaplain:: You are welcome to join me, any times that your confidence is not enough to bring you strength.
:Chaplain:: They are difficult, little flame.

:Moxie:: Can we break down and depend on that support?
:Grit:: No.
:Savvy:: No? Aren't you always talking about "the tribe?"
:Dirt:: He wants to help. And we keep dying...
:Moxie:: Please? He seems like he knows something.
:Grit:: I am not yet crying. That means it is not that bad.
:Grit:: Until I am crying, it is something I deal with alone.
:Grit:: Discuss this again and I'll maximize the heart rate.
:Moxie:: Augh, fine!
No. 1081093 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: But, how are you aware?
:Friz:: Nobody else seems to know.
:Chaplain:: ...
:Chaplain:: A year ago, I faced my greatest foe.
:Chaplain:: She defied time's order, in some way I don't understand.
:Chaplain:: But the stars of Libra looked upon my devotion with favor, and blessed me with the ability to resist that in all its forms.
:Chaplain:: They won't rescind their blessing.
:Friz:: (Won't?)
:Chaplain:: And you, little flame? How do you know?
:Friz:: ...
No. 1081094 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: ask :Chaplain: if he can see :Rogers:

:Friz:: Are you able to see him? :Rogers:?
:Chaplain:: The other detective?
:Chaplain:: I had heard he's missing.
:Friz:: No. Well, yes. I haven't found him. But he's still here.
:Rogers:: Not making it easy for him to understand this, kid.
:Friz:: (That doesn't make any sense. Hang on, let me say this right.)
:Friz:: I can see him. He says he's dead. And "haunting" me.
:Friz:: I can tell he's not a hallucination, because he can affect a few things, sometimes...
:Friz:: It started when the loop started. And nobody else has been talking about seeing anything like this.
:Friz:: So I think it's why I'm aware of the loop.
No. 1081095 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Idly wonder if :Chaplain: is obligated to exorcise ghosts

:Chaplain:: ...You are saying that you see the dead? Speak to them, converse freely?
:Chaplain:: For hours, whole shifts, and nobody else else can?
:Chaplain:: True metacommunication, with the departed?
:Friz:: No! No. (I mean, I can see and talk for the whole shift, but) that can't be what's happening.
:Friz:: There's another explanation (it doesn't make sense otherwise).
:Friz:: Ghosts aren't real. And the alternative is--
:Chaplain:: You're right. It can't be a dead man that you are speaking to.
:Friz:: I know! I--

:Chaplain:: If you were haunted by some intangible influence, some unspeaking spirit, that is the domain of the sciences or the judgment of the holy stars.
:Chaplain:: I would be happy to dismiss the being, through ritual or through combat. But I sense nothing.
:Chaplain:: And if you are performing wireless metacommunication, it is merely badly illegal in the eyes of the Company, and offensive to my order.
:Chaplain:: The Bloodletters, violent as their nature was, present no threat to the foundations of all things merely by communing among themselves.
No. 1081096 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: But if you are performing true wireless metacommunication with the departed--
:Friz:: I know! I know.
:Friz:: Look, I know what that would mean.
:Friz:: I know basic history!
:Friz:: I can't even do something like full-on metacommunicating with the dead. I wouldn't even know how.
:Friz:: I'm going to figure out what this is. It's something to do with the loop.
:Friz:: It's not metacommunicating with dead people.

:Chaplain:: ...Good.
:Chaplain:: I could not bear the fear, if that were so.
:Friz:: The loop already feels like the end of the world.
:Friz:: We shouldn't be... thinking up even more.
:Friz:: I'll figure out what's going on.
No. 1081097 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chaplain:: Then I will have faith that the Entertainment Department's final work still holds strong.
No. 1081098 ID: 4ad9bc

The Entertainment Departments final work? Ominous.

>Request clarification
No. 1081101 ID: 27aa41

In addition to asking about the Entertainment Department, also generally inquire whether he's seen anything that might explain the loops, or the traitor, or their motive
No. 1081102 ID: 8f9bc4

It must be wired communication with the departed. Check for conspicuous wires!
No. 1081127 ID: 273c18

He sees everyone die, and can tell it's going to happen over and over. He doesn't seem to be joining the defense, and he didn't come to you about the loop back when it started. Or did he go to security? Anyway, he gave up. He wants to forget the loops, but he can't. That was the lie about staying strong through prayer-- he's not strong.

>basic history, "wireless metacommunication" with the dead is super bad
Refresh your memory.
No. 1081128 ID: eb0a9c

Your adversary likely knows about the loop, and is trying to dissect the station with crude explosives. Forcing everyone into a slow and/or painful death is an effective yet simple means of getting to spill the beans when they believe the beans no longer matter.
Changing up who does the betrayal means getting to plant the explosives in different areas and with different psychological results.
Once they have enough information, they can begin their true work.

So we may be looking at possession, similar to...
Hey have you disproven :Rogers: as a suspect yet?
No. 1081134 ID: 4ad9bc

Shit. How do we know we can trust him? Can we trust anyone?

>Can we even trust ourselves?
No. 1082212 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: It seems everything that there is to be said this loop has been discussed.

:Friz:: ...I guess that's it, then.
:Friz:: Just wait until I die. Start the next loop.
:Chaplain:: What will you do, once it begins, little flame?
:Friz:: Maybe... I'll try to talk to ex-members of the cult.
:Friz:: They might be able to give me hints about :HeadSurgeon:, her motives, her methods.

:Friz:: What about you?
:Chaplain:: I am no investigator. I will be here praying until you call upon me.
:Chaplain:: It is the only way I have found to face death like this.
:Friz:: Yeah. Gotta face it myself.
:Chaplain:: I will pray for you as well. But you must find your own way to face it.
:Friz:: I was really hoping that my technique back in the morgue would work to skip that...
:Friz:: But I guess I have to choke instead.
No. 1082213 ID: 0fbdcd
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Got me curious, though. Thinking about death. A man's mind wanders. We have a few moments left. Might as well ask.

:Rogers:: What were you doing in there, kid? In the morgue?
:Friz:: It was an old trick I can do. Could do.
:Rogers:: Can't, now?
:Friz:: Yeah. I stopped after that skill started messing me up on minimal info.
:Chaplain:: What?
:Friz:: Uhh-- talking to :Rogers: now. Sorry.
:Friz:: (I can just say that now... feels weird.)
:Chaplain:: I see.

:Friz:: I used to be able to... represent someone in my head. What I knew about them (as an interviewable mental construct).
:Friz:: Like if I explored the space they occupied.
:Friz:: It doesn't work anymore though.
:Friz:: (All I can do with it now is...)
:Friz:: Anyway. I tried. Didn't work.
:Rogers:: Huh. I know I'm a ghost, but you aren't thinking I'm one of those old things?
:Friz:: What? No.
:Friz:: I can't do it anymore, not the way I used to.
:Friz:: And I've seen you affect the world, a little bit. So it's not that.
No. 1082214 ID: 0fbdcd
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Sounds like making up a guy to get real mad at. But all fancy, all convenient, like those glasses of yours. Relic of a younger time. No wonder they called you the greatest. But kid, you're too young to have lost the good days. These are supposed to be the good days.

:Rogers:: Weird trick though. What do you get out of that?
:Friz:: I could talk to them. Get answers, like I was questioning them.
:Friz:: I figured... Maybe I could at least reconstruct and simulate the mentality of someone being dead (you know?) and see if that triggered a loop-end.
:Rogers:: Clever. Would have been good if it worked.
:Rogers:: "Mentality of the dead," huh? Maybe I can give you that.
:Friz:: ...Huh. Maybe. I know you really well.
:Friz:: Maybe I can do it better with a lot of information.
:Friz:: Tell me the worst thing about being dead, :Rogers:.
:Rogers:: Sure thing.

I tell you something important you hadn't thought about yet.
No. 1082215 ID: 0fbdcd
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You go grave-quiet again, when I finish up telling you about it.

:Rogers:: Kid?
No. 1082216 ID: 0fbdcd
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Something happens. Something clenching in the gut like I swallowed a fist. Something chilling in the blood like I'm the one in that morgue. It feels wrong. No--

Not something. Everything. The world. The whole world, all at once, it all feels wrong. Something's wrong, kid, what are you doing, something's wrong.

No. 1082217 ID: 0fbdcd
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No. 1082219 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Computer:: Good morning, Debtors.
:Computer:: The current time is zero degrees LLO, marking the beginning of work shift B-4381.
:Computer:: The station's status is currently at green alert, on-track to meet quotas.
:Computer:: You're now allowed to begin payable labor, and you need to be at your workstations, if applicable.
:Computer:: As always, remember: All wireless personal medical monitors must be worn and fully active.
No. 1082220 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Rogers:: Sunrise, parabellum.

:Rogers:: Ready for another round, kid?
:Friz:: Not even a little.
:Rogers:: Well, the loop's ready for you, don't have much choice.
:Rogers:: Number five coming up.
:Friz:: Six.
:Rogers:: Alright, sure. Loop number six. Let's see what we can do.
No. 1082222 ID: 273c18

>And I've seen you affect the world, a little bit. So it's not that.
Hypothesis: he is a mental construct, and it is YOU who is affecting the world.

Alright, let's go find some ex cult members. Talk to your boss, ask for access to personnel files.
No. 1082224 ID: 9e6aa6

Interesting. Anything you can use that for? Or just to skip actually dying? I wonder if there are other mind-states that would have an effect. Might ask :Chaplain:: if the loop stopped there for him, too, or kept going (and you died or something).
No. 1082227 ID: 8f9bc4

Good news is you uh... found a way to... skip ahead to the next loop, by a few seconds at least. Miight want to hold off on trying that again. That was really weird. You don't happen to have enough psionic power to kill everyone in orbit around this gas giant at once, do you?

Wait don't answer that. You'd just be talking to yourself.

They might be setting the bomb off in different locations every loop, but in the last loop :Computer: reported an explosion in Engineering. Might be good to investigate that, to see what you can learn before it happens. At worst, nothing will happen, and you'll learn the next location of the bomb detonation. What case can you take that would justify going to Engineering?
No. 1082365 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Keep your hair messy

First time I've seen you walk out of there and not get the hair fixed first thing. You learn these little signs. People like us don't talk about things.

:Dirt:: Hair out of eyes, please?
:Moxie:: I... no?
:Dirt:: What's going on, buddy?
:Moxie:: I'm not feeling it right now.
:Savvy:: We'll look a little messy.
:Moxie:: Yeah. But I'm really not feeling it after that.
:Grit:: We need to recover.
:Savvy:: Well, we can recover by finding anything else to focus on.

:Friz:: First thing... Nnnh.
:Rogers:: Old cultists, right?
:Friz:: Yeah. Let's go.
:Rogers:: You okay? Whatever happened at the end of the last one, that was--
:Friz:: We can see :Chaplain: about that if he's at the same spot as last time.
No. 1082366 ID: 0fbdcd
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You said that. But it's straight for the caffeine. What's that about?

:Moxie:: This first.
:Savvy:: Didn't I say we need to go to :Chaplain: or to get those records first?
:Moxie:: This first.
:Savvy:: Why are you always like this?!
:Grit:: If you don't assure the front of the brain that it has functional reins, it will assert its control with the whip.
:Moxie:: And if I don't get caffeine now I'll collapse. Sorry!
:Dirt:: Look, just, make it fast, buddy.
:Dirt:: Maybe a double. We can give the other one to someone else.

:Rogers:: Loading up for the road?
:Friz:: Huh?
:Rogers:: You said you were gonna leave.
:Friz:: I... oh. Sorry.
:Friz:: It was... autopilot I guess?
:Rogers:: Gotta find you a decent coffee, kid.
No. 1082367 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: rush to :Chaplain:

He's already here. Guess the guy remembered it.

:Chaplain:: Hail, investigator. Are you...?
:Friz:: Yeah. Number six?
:Chaplain:: The sixth indeed, little flame.
:Chaplain:: At the end of the last one...
:Friz:: What did it look like? To you?
:Friz:: When I did what I did.
:Chaplain:: The most truly powerful case of Space Sleep Disorder I have seen.
:Friz:: (Huh... okay.) So the loop kept going without me?
:Chaplain:: Just as when your flame was extinguished.

Huh. Wonder why I always come along for the ride when the loop keeps going. Gotta figure that one out. Looks like you have a way out of loops without dying, but you can't stop them from going around.
No. 1082368 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Sprint to Security, gotta ask :Kratt: about ex-Bloodletters.

:Friz:: Need to run, though, (sorry,) I need to get some information (about the Bloodletters) from security.
:Chaplain:: I cannot aid you. But speak to me if you wish to know more of their nature.
:Friz:: Yeah... I'm gonna need to do that.
:Chaplain:: Farewell, little flame.
:Friz:: Yeah... as well as we can I guess.

We've got plenty of records about what happened. But him, and the ex-cultists, and even the department heads that were alive back then, they'll know the why.
No. 1082369 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Friz:: Get a list of debtors taken in and deconverted a year ago

:Kratt:: Morning, good seeing you. I was getting worried. Look like a real mess.
:Kratt:: You seen :Rogers:?
:Friz:: No... No?
:Rogers:: Getting better at the smoke-blowing. Not good yet.
:Kratt:: Nobody's seen him on the monitors since last night.
:Kratt:: Might have to track him down.
:Kratt:: Go check in with the chief--
:Friz:: Right... she told me about a case, earlier.
:Friz:: Something about a missing body?

Half truth, that's a better one for you huh? Always easier. Cushion on the landing. Every bit of softness counts, even when things break on impact.

:Kratt:: Huh, you already...
:Kratt:: Yeah. If you're taking that job, I'll be your backup when you need it. On the holos, or in-person if it gets bad.
:Kratt:: A bad case in medbay probably means a lot of records-work, and that's my business.
:Friz:: It'll be a huge help (especially with what I need to do right now).
No. 1082370 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Dirt:: Am I lying here, boss? That's not good.
:Savvy:: Technically-accurate statements. Look, it's faster, okay?
:Savvy:: And re-doing the conversation is so messed up. Makes me feel weird.
:Grit:: It's wrong innately. Stasis is corpsehood.
:Dirt:: Alright...
:Savvy:: I'll get the records, you put them on memory, okay?
:Dirt:: Got it, boss, I've got memorization cued up.

:Friz:: I've got an idea of where to start.
:Friz:: Can you give me a list of the ex-Bloodletters from the cult incident last year?
:Kratt:: Dozens of them.
:Friz:: Right, they converted so many people...
:Friz:: Can you tell me the biggest names that are still around?
:Kratt:: Mmh. I'll pull the archive.

(Provide identities of Debtors who were possibly or likely big names in the cult to vote for who gets interviewed and investigated.)
No. 1082375 ID: 5ebaa3

Uh, like make people up? Uh....
Sleaze McGee, runs a suspiciously successful smuggling operation.
Mr. Tobs, currently runs an alternate chapel for an alternate religion (assuming that itself is allowed) and who claims to be very devout and very holy, but there were some things that got hushed up....
Sal. She's got more connections than you can figure. If she wasn't involved, she probably knows most who were.
No. 1082376 ID: 8f9bc4

Grandma Boggins - she didn't know they were a cult. They seemed like such nice young boys! Former overseer of human sacrifice.
No. 1082423 ID: 0fbdcd

(It is recommended to select a character that already exists rather than try and make up new ones. This is a detective story, folks.)
No. 1082424 ID: 0ec851

The attorney's definitely the type to be a part of a cult, if only to escape the reality that his law degree is useless here.
No. 1082425 ID: 8f9bc4

There aren't many Debtors who already exist... there's the two security officers, head of security and totally-not-but-actually-the-real-head of security. The guy who's looking for his magboots. There's those Debtors who emit a psychic annoyance aura... four of them? The paramedic, the coroner, and the head surgeon, who is technically a high ranking ex-cult member, but is also technically missing her head. Does that make her just the surgeon?

Most of these characters have already been introduced, too. Unless you mean the handful of survivors from Nuke Ops? I thought they arrived after the Bloodletter crisis.
No. 1082434 ID: 7c0da2

:EngineeringSupervisor: was a cultist. That's the reason he wears sunglasses now.
:Coroner: was the perfect early target for a head surgeon.
:ConstructionEngineer: was one too, somehow.
No. 1082435 ID: 273c18

All of them. They were all cultists.
No. 1082468 ID: 5ebaa3

There was :Wince:, he seems ok with being a menace. Also I don't like him. :P
No. 1082473 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708664751.gif - (25.53KB , 650x450 , 205.gif )

(At tally time, the top four results were:
:Chemist: at 31.
:ConstructionEngineer: at 42.
:Flinch: at 48.
And a certain unusual choice at 70.)

:Kratt:: Got four-- no, three options.
:Kratt:: Shame you can't get the biggest one.
:Friz:: (Huh?) Wait, I wanna know about that.
:Kratt:: A staff assistant. Left after the cult.
:Friz:: An assistant managed to get out? How?
:Kratt:: Nobody knows. Centcom never asked.
:Friz:: Who were they?
:Kratt:: Totally different breed from the average :StaffAssistant:.
:Kratt:: Rescues a security officer from Bloodletters on their old station.
:Kratt:: Then goes and works for :HeadSurgeon: here. One of her best.
:Friz:: That's such a strange thing to do. Why?
:Kratt:: No idea. Ask :Wishbone: sometime, think they knew each other.
:Friz:: Well if it's a story, I can get the whole thing from him.

:Friz:: What about the rest?
:Kratt:: Last surviving :Chemist:, at the pharmacy, he's an option. Worked with her on her projects.
:Kratt:: That :ConstructionEngineer: down in Engineering built their little nests. Bet she could give you something about the whens and wheres.
:Kratt:: :Flinch: was the left hand if the old assistant was the right. You know where to find her.
No. 1082474 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708668864.gif - (16.41KB , 650x450 , 206.gif )

>:Friz:: "Where's :Wishbone: at?"
>@fan of lizzers

:Dirt:: I love chatting with :Wishbone:. Boss, can you find out where he is?
:Savvy:: Sure. "Where's :Wishbone: at?"

:Friz:: Where's :Wishbone: at? This shift, I mean.
:Kratt:: Departmental substations again.
:Friz:: Oh! (His favorite...)
:Kratt:: :SecurityChief:'s been trying to keep him on those lately.
:Kratt:: :Sandiego: hated substation duty anyway.
:Kratt:: Stop by any of them. Good chance you'll find him.
No. 1082475 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708671278.gif - (17.42KB , 650x450 , 207.gif )

You step back out into the halls, make your way to the nearest interview spot. It's empty out there. Nothing gives the eye a handhold, nothing worth seeing. A smear of branded corridors scrubbed clean of human presence, and signage advertising department services you don't have any alternatives to.

Hit the pharmacy desk and there's nobody there, though.

:Friz:: Where's :Chemist:?
:Rogers:: Good question. Shift's started, didn't it?
:Friz:: Yeah... He's supposed to be here. Where is he?
No. 1082476 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708675589.gif - (20.47KB , 650x450 , 208.gif )

:Dirt:: I know I've got a record of where he is right now, actually
:Moxie:: That's great! I'll take us there right away.
:Moxie:: Where is he?
:Dirt:: Hmm. Nope, I can't think it.
:Moxie:: Wait, no! What?
:Savvy:: Why.

:Dirt:: Remember when you asked me to pull up the Hiveist guidebook entry? I have that instead.
:Savvy:: Well I don't want it now!
:Dirt:: Sorry, that's what's in the pipeline.
:Savvy:: Come on.
:Dirt:: It's that, or find me some really engaging sensory information.
:Grit:: I could wait until he's back.
:Moxie:: I don't want to!
No. 1082478 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708697973.gif - (23.59KB , 650x450 , 209.gif )

:Savvy:: I already know most of this stuff!!
:Dirt:: True. But maybe one of us doesn't?
:Savvy:: I'm just gonna ignore this!
:Dirt:: That's fine.

The Unofficial Company Protocol Guide has historically had this to say on the topic of hiveism...

Hiveist philosophy is, counterintuitively, rooted in technology rather than biology. Cybernetic enhancement, the improvement of a human beyond human limits, is a frontier that humanity expected to quickly and effectively colonize. After all, with even outer space conquered, turning inwards just made sense. However, this ran into a wide variety of limits almost immediately. Many were simple practical or philosophical road bumps, like compatibility problems, or the notorious Ship of Theseus. But the most important limit was economic. There are only so many ways to make the body do something, only so many chemical receptors and neural pathways and tissues and organs. The body is a unique frontier in how limited it is. And one important thing to understand about frontiers is that they get claimed, settled, and held onto (often in varying orders and legitimacies). So it was with the body. And once it's claimed, settled, or held, use of force to defend exclusivity or demand rent soon follows. A suite of patents and DRM quickly took hold, intent on squeezing all the profit it could out of any enhancement. Of course, this meant nobody could develop enhancements without being squeezed, and so almost nobody did. The furthest that the development of these technologies has gone is things like robotic limbs with the incredible built-in equivalent of "simple storage", or man-machine interfaces that allow for fully mechanical bodies. But everyone was promised a future of dazzling self-improvement and enhancement. People, human and otherwise, were promised that one day there would be excellent robot eyes, eternal youth, and powerful extending wrists for all. When that wasn't delivered, that was fine for most, since they could settle for what they had. But some had never been hoping for excellent robot eyes. Implicit in the promise of conventional enhancement was a promise of a chance at unconventional recreation. Certain people had been implicitly told they would have the chance to bristle with new arms and eyes and chemicals, or walk bare into space and stare into the wider spectrums of distant suns, or to sing impossible notes in new and unspeakable songs, or just to change how they looked to something better and break the boundaries of misunderstanding. For complex cultural reasons, cat ears and unusual hair colors are a statistically significant part of some interests. The promise of exceeding humanity contained a promise of changing humanity. Hiveists use, or at least strongly support, extremely unconventional and generally banned body modification methods to create, in whole or in part, idealized selves that are meant to explore space beyond species and join an idealized "hive". This subsequently disrupts the social order that denied them even more of this freedom, an intentional result sometimes made more intentional by extremists. They were given this promise that society would give them these things in exchange for the rights to the body, and then they were denied their end of it. This makes them feel justified in destroying not just their internal boundaries, but various space stations throughout the frontier sector. Many Hiveists are known to work for the Syndicate, putting the ideology in direct opposition to the Company. A persisting, unconfirmed rumor is that some Hiveists did not start their altered biology as humans, nor any publicly known civilized species, and that the ideology is a cover for a more sinister agendas.
No. 1082479 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170708702810.gif - (18.52KB , 650x450 , 210.gif )

>:Dirt:: He's at the Hopline. We saw him there last loop.

:Dirt:: Anyway, he's over here right now.
:Dirt:: Pretty short path from here to there, buddy.
:Moxie:: Thank you.
:Grit:: :Savvy:. Ask him about the hivest angle for this case.
:Savvy:: Huh? I wasn't paying attention to any of that, why?
:Grit:: Because the answer will give you information.
:Savvy:: All answers to questions give me information, that's not special.
No. 1082482 ID: 273c18

While you're on the way there, think of something horrible to do to :Wince:.
No. 1082603 ID: 7c0da2

Being horrible to :Wince: won't work. He is way better than you at that game, and you'll feel horrible if you somehow manage to be worse than him.
No, what he won't expect is you taking his side. Argue his case, calmly. Once he has his access, he'll leave. You have no need to "beat" him. You just need him away, as efficiently and peacefully as possible.
Besides, he does have a right to ask for a job, and giving him something actually useful to contribute would benefit everyone. If it works out, everybody wins. If it doesn't, the HoP has a precedent to ban him from making further requests. Even if he causes damages the loop will reset, and you will know what to expect next time.
No. 1082625 ID: 5ebaa3

Hmm. While I initially balked at your suggestion, I like your lateral thinking. I think mostly :HeadOfPersonnel: is effectively incapable of going against protocol, and she wants this dude gone, too. Is there anything in the rules about a detective assigning a helper or witness or something, that would grant him legal access? (Which we probably revoke once we're through the line.) I still don't like giving him what he wants, but it might put him in our debt and put him on the back foot. And if not, well, there are worse crimes than further coddling an entitled baby.
No. 1082833 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736880478.gif - (17.88KB , 650x450 , 211.gif )

>Being horrible to :Wince: won't work

:Rogers:: Kid? Kid, you there? Hello?
:Friz:: Huh?
:Rogers:: You zoned out again.
:Friz:: What do we do about :Wince:?
:Rogers:: What? What are you talking about?
:Friz:: Oh, uh--
:Friz:: (I thought a lot about Hiveists. After that...) I remembered where :Chemist: is right now in the loop. He's at :HeadOfPersonnel:'s line.
:Friz:: (Unless he's the traitor this time.)
:Rogers:: ...But what do we do about :Wince: there, huh?
:Friz:: Yeah.
:Rogers:: The man's a human knife-fight. No way to make his damage clean. Best way to fight is not to.

:Friz:: Maybe if we... take his side?
:Rogers:: Not easy. His side is just whatever's as much stress for as much people as he can hurt.
:Friz:: Right, but I could try to get him the access...
:Rogers:: He's an assistant. He doesn't need access. He's there to stress people out.
:Rogers:: Forget the access. It's just him causing problems.
:Friz:: Well I need to not be going against him. I need him away as quickly and efficiently as I can make that happen.
:Rogers:: Aim him at a higher target than you, then go lower to be out of his way. Best you can do.
:Friz:: Hmm...
No. 1082834 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736882704.gif - (17.80KB , 650x450 , 212.gif )

:Savvy:: He's smart. I've got a one-use half-lie I can deploy for that.
:Moxie:: Why's it one-use?
:Savvy:: Because of :Dirt:.
:Dirt:: Don't blame this on me, boss!
:Savvy:: After I say this lie, you'll remember it as an abhorrent, shitty thing.
:Dirt:: Lies are bad.
:Savvy:: And you'll be a huge problem next time I do it.
:Dirt:: Trying to make sure I'm a good person isn't wrong.
:Savvy:: Yeah, well, the consequences here don't matter, right?
:Grit:: Every action changes us, not just the world.
:Grit:: :Dirt: is only one part of how it does.
No. 1082835 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736885338.gif - (18.29KB , 650x450 , 213.gif )

Same routine, around and around, like a broken record. Except when you nudge it, kid.

:HeadOfPersonnel:: ...You can go to engineering and request your access there.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: And I still don't consent to being on a video broadcast.
:Wince:: "I didn't even care that much about engineering access to begin with, this is just funny now."
:Friz:: Hey. Can you help me out? I need assistant assistance.
No. 1082836 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736891876.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 214.gif )

>:Savvy: : "Hey, wanna help me find a corpse?"

:Wince:: "Go do it yourself, footnote, I'm about to be an engineer."
:Friz:: Weren't you going to be a detective, or researcher? Ugh-- never mind.
:Friz:: You're gonna skip out on high-drama content?
:Wince:: "Woah, woah, you didn't say there'd be good drama content. How good are we talking?"
:Friz:: :HeadSurgeon:'s badly mutilated corpse (that a lot of people think is important and holy). We think it's wound up somewhere weird.
:Friz:: I need some help with finding it in maintenance.
:Rogers:: You're a decent liar when it's half-truths, huh kid?

:Chemist:: Wait, what...? :HeadSurgeon:...?
:Wince:: "Corpse footage, huh? For a real sacred cow?"
:Friz:: Yeah. For a bunch of really devoted niche religious people.
:Wince:: "Idiots caring too much about stupid crap is the funniest content."
:Wince:: "Hey. Hey chat, who wants a surprise drama stream?"
:Rogers:: Specta junkie.p[ You look like you hate this plan as much as I do, kid.
:Friz:: Well?
:Wince:: "Yeah, sounds good. It's hidden around maintenance?"
:Friz:: Yep. I'm trying to find it first, but if you find it first, you can get footage.
:Wince:: "Yeah, whatever. You're not beating me in maintenance."
No. 1082837 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736895791.gif - (23.48KB , 650x450 , 215.gif )

>:Friz:: Eat the floating apple that's been shoved in your face

:Dirt:: Chief? Everything okay in the imagination?
:Grit:: I'm imagining what it would be like to bite into this awful thing.
:Moxie:: That would be so embarrassing.
:Savvy:: And it can't taste good.
:Grit:: Tastes bad.
:Grit:: But there's no catharsis doing this your way, :Savvy:. It hurts.
:Grit:: Imagining what it would be like to solve stressful things through biting is the only comfort.
:Savvy:: Why not biting him?
:Grit:: Tastes worse.
No. 1082838 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170736902865.gif - (21.13KB , 650x450 , 216.gif )

>:Friz: : start questioning :Chemist: before he has a chance to start forming his own conclusions

Little too late on the draw to get him before he gets some negative feelings. Just how it is, with detective work. Nobody likes someone who makes a mess just to get information, and just because you get an hourly rate for stepping on toes in the library doesn't mean they like you there when you do it.

:Wince:: "Later, footnote."
:Chemist:: This is unbelievable. This is awful.
:Chemist:: Why would he do that? Why would you tell him something like that?
:Friz:: Yeah. (Sorry. I just... really needed him out of the way...)
:Friz:: He's not gonna find her, I think.
:Chemist:: It's still not a decent thing to do.
:Friz:: When you're done here, can I interview you for a case related to that?
:Friz:: I need to ask you some really important questions.
:Chemist:: No? No! What?
:Chemist:: You're turning someone important to me into some kind of internet sideshow, even if they're dead.

:Dirt:: I told you boss!
:Savvy:: Shush!
:Dirt:: I told you!!
:Moxie:: She did tell you.
:Savvy:: I'm gonna work around it, just shut up a minute!
:Savvy:: I'll get a plan together...
No. 1082867 ID: 8f9bc4


At least tell him that :Wince: didn't ask for all the details of this case, and you wouldn't have told him anything that had any risk of turning :HeadSurgeon: into a mere sideshow. If he wants explanations, whatever. You have impending explosions to investigate.
No. 1082898 ID: b3eab7

He won't make a show of her, he'll just make a fool of himself... And most importantly, be out of our hair (if he points out he's bald, remind him he's got facial hair with a gesture) so we can discuss what is really up with :HeadSurgeon:.
No. 1082908 ID: 7c0da2

Tell him the truth, and try your best to be convincing. Give him any information he asks for.
Tell him :Wince: won't find any body, because the body appears to have come back to life. There isn't any risks his friend is turned into an internet sideshow. At worst, her resurrection will be streamed then most likely covered up. You are more interested on how it is even possible.
You need to convince him you are telling the truth, so that he tries to find :HeadSurgeon: by himself. Even if he doesn't lead you directly to her, he should at least lead you to places and people that are directly connected to her.
If you can, ask :Kratt: if he could try to keep an eye on him through the cameras. Or follow him yourself if you think you're stealthy enough.
No. 1083216 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170774976240.gif - (21.86KB , 650x450 , 217.gif )

>:Dirt::Grit:: Remember this, remember how it hurt :Chemist:, you've lost someone before.

:Grit:: Change tactics now, :Savvy:.
:Dirt:: Seriously, boss.
:Dirt:: :Moxie:, brace against physical reactions to painful thoughts, please.
:Moxie:: I'm bracing!
:Savvy:: What? Why? I just need to re-maneuver the deception--
:Grit:: We retain mental stress. The loop won't cleanse it.
:Dirt:: He's probably still grieving about someone who taught him important things and protected him too, like us.
:Dirt:: Whether it's more or less than us doesn't matter as much.
:Savvy:: Ow. Ow, ow, stop.
:Savvy:: This sucks! There's not supposed to be consequences in a loop!

:Friz:: You're... I mean, yeah. That feels bad.
:Friz:: I just needed him to clear the line...
:Friz:: (Sorry.)
:Chemist:: Well now it's moving.
:Friz:: I'll call it in. Make sure someone stops him.
:Chemist:: ...?
:Friz:: I know she meant a lot to some people.
:Chemist:: Yeah. Sure did.
No. 1083217 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170774983167.gif - (20.02KB , 650x450 , 218.gif )

>Tell him the truth, and try your best to be convincing.

:Friz:: I actually wanted to see if you could help some, though!
:Chemist:: Barely worked for her, haven't in a year. Can't help you.
:Friz:: Well-- I know, but... look, I knew :Wince: won't find it because I think she did something to her body to make it harder to find.
:Chemist:: Did something to her body?
:Friz:: Modified. Changed. She would have gone to chemistry for help, at least a little.
:Friz:: And now I can't find her. Nobody can.
:Friz:: The best (and worst) :Wince: will do is give me a lead or two.
:Friz:: I just wanted to interview you about her a little. To prove or disprove some theories.
:Friz:: I'm trying to figure out the truth about some confusing things that are going on (so that nobody will get hurt when things are all unclear).
:Friz:: Unsolved mysteries are just ways for awful people to hurt good people.
:Chemist:: ...

:Rogers:: Gut feeling just hit me about him.
:Rogers:: Something you just said pulled up a major memory in him.
:Rogers:: Saw it in his eyes.
:Friz:: ...?
:Rogers:: Back off. You've said just enough to get him to help.
:Rogers:: Best way out of some of the toughest spots is, you don't talk over someone trying to forgive you.
No. 1083221 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170775177215.gif - (18.20KB , 650x450 , 219.gif )

:Chemist:: Fine. But while I work.
:Chemist:: Kitchen access, please?
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Cause for access upgrade?
:Friz:: Yeah! I wouldn't interrupt.
:Chemist:: Good. I'll answer... what I can.
:Chemist:: Access needed for chemical deliveries for :Bartender:.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Access approved as Service department head.

:Chemist:: Thanks, :HeadOfPersonnel:.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: You're welcome.
:Friz:: Thanks :Chemist:!
:Chemist:: Yeah, welcome.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: Thank you :Friz:.
:Friz:: Sure, you're welcome.
:Friz:: (Wait, what?)
:HeadOfPersonnel:: :Wince: is usually only breaking rules minorly while he hurts people.
:HeadOfPersonnel:: It's difficult to deal with. The system of rules doesn't apply well to him.
:Friz:: You're telling me...
No. 1083227 ID: 8f9bc4

We need to cook!
No. 1083263 ID: 273c18

Usually only breaking rules minorly? Ask her when he breaks major rules. Is there a way to provoke him into breaking a major rule?
No. 1083294 ID: 7c0da2

:Grit: : A member of the tribe just thanked you for saving them from a hostile outsider. Release chemicals to reward/reinforce the positive behavior.
No. 1083323 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787884962.gif - (19.28KB , 650x450 , 220.gif )

>:Friz: : Consume magnesium tablet to recover from morale loss.

You head back to the chemistry desk. Not a long walk, but when you're weighed down with stress, every walk feels too long and too short.

:Friz:: So--
:Friz:: You want me to just run the interview over here?
:Chemist:: You wanted the interview.
:Friz:: Well, here's good.
:Friz:: I can ask for chemistry help here too, even!
:Friz:: Got anything good for stress?
:Chemist:: Got a prescription from :Computer:?
:Friz:: I should ask... It never feels good asking a machine for that.
No. 1083324 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787887337.gif - (18.47KB , 650x450 , 221.gif )

:Friz:: Name?
:Chemist:: You already have my debtor number.
:Friz:: Department and role?
:Chemist:: Med-sci, chemist.
:Friz:: Current feelings about safety (and if needed, anything that the DVSD can do to improve them)?
:Chemist:: What?
:Friz:: Do you feel fearful or stressed?
:Chemist:: Yeah.
:Friz:: Is there anything that I (or the DVSD) can do to help?
:Chemist:: ...I guess, solve this.
:Friz:: Well, I'll do my best!
No. 1083325 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787893150.gif - (18.21KB , 650x450 , 222.gif )

>:Savvy:: Start light, ask about the other cases.

:Savvy:: How do I get him to loosen up after what happened there?
:Moxie:: He's gonna be tense for a while... But, a light touch that acclimates over time. That does good.
:Grit:: How do you do that?
:Savvy:: Hang on. I think I've got an idea. I'll loosen things up with things he's definitely not got any answers for.
:Savvy:: "I'll start with some cases you probably don't have information about..."

:Friz:: I'll start with some cases you probably don't have information about.
:Chemist:: Why?
:Friz:: Just in case! Just say, "I don't know anything about that" for anything like that.
:Chemist:: ...Sure.
:Friz:: There've been some thefts of high-value items (directly from heads of staff). Have you seen anyone with advanced magboots, or hand-teleporters, or anything like that, which they're not supposed to have?
:Chemist:: Nothing like that.
:Friz:: Anything you've recently heard about violent traitor actions being planned?
:Chemist:: Nothing.

:Friz:: Do you know anything about why the Research department is in a tight spot?
:Chemist:: Not really... they've been keeping me out of the loop on something, though.
:Friz:: Oh! (I didn't expect to hear anything about that.)
:Friz:: Do you have... any ideas? Hints, maybe?
:Chemist:: Really focused on not letting me inside. That's all I've got.
:Rogers:: Note it for later. Don't focus for now.
No. 1083326 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787896912.gif - (18.25KB , 650x450 , 224.gif )

>:Chemist:: "Please just get to the point."

:Chemist:: Alright, I get it. I can say "no".
:Chemist:: What about :HeadSurgeon:?
:Rogers:: Don't circle the sharks around him. Half the stress of things.
:Friz:: Right...
:Friz:: This is going to be really weird to say (I don't have a lot of hard leads and certainty about things).
:Chemist:: Point.
:Friz:: Right.
No. 1083327 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787901273.gif - (16.92KB , 650x450 , 225.gif )

:Friz:: I think she may have modified herself. A lot.
:Friz:: It's the only way to explain some things.
:Friz:: I think her... body may still be active.
:Chemist:: ...What am I supposed to know about any of this?
:Rogers:: Fishing to see what you know.
:Friz:: Well... she wouldn't be able to do whatever it was, without supplies from chemistry.
:Friz:: Did she ever ask for anything really, really strange?
:Friz:: (Something that could help her... re-energize her body after over a year?)
:Chemist:: ...More specific?
:Friz:: It was slowly pushing toxins out.

Tiniest flinch. The kind you hide. But it's one that means something.
No. 1083328 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170787909482.gif - (16.58KB , 650x450 , 226.gif )

>:Dirt:: Scan deep trivia. Do chemicals exist that can do that?

:Chemist:: ...She had access to the pharmacy.
:Chemist:: Why would she ask me for anything?
:Friz:: Because...

:Moxie:: He wants to say it. But he can't. He needs a nudge...
:Savvy:: Anyone got anything?
:Dirt:: Scanned all the trivia I can.
:Dirt:: No matter how deep I go, I can't find chemicals in basic chemistry knowledge that can push out toxins from an inactive body.
:Moxie:: But she did. She obviously was removing toxins from her body.
:Dirt:: So it only makes sense that it only exists in memories of an advanced chemist.

:Friz:: She did do something on a chemical level (I can tell that for sure, I've seen the evidence).
:Friz:: She would have gone to you... right?
:Friz:: Didn't she ever, at any point, ask you for something only you could give her?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: Once.
No. 1083332 ID: 273c18

Tell him he won't get in trouble. That crisis is in the past, and all debts are accounted for. He might even be rewarded for helping you in this case.
No. 1083381 ID: 8f9bc4

...he boned her didn't he. We're not talking about those chemicals.
No. 1083737 ID: 0fbdcd
File 170840153663.gif - (18.72KB , 650x450 , 227.gif )

>:Friz::Savvy: : deploy the eyebrow

He wants to help. He's let you know he's got some info. But he doesn't feel like he can. Light touch, kid. Lightest it can be. Nudge the door open.

:Moxie:: He's right. Gentle... gentle...
:Moxie:: He's yearning for it. I think he wants an answer too.
:Dirt:: It's a memory that's been sitting in his mind for a while.
:Moxie:: Can you express in motion? In posture? Some kind of firmness to brace off of...
:Savvy:: Alright... right. Conscious expression time. Notch the eyebrow up.
:Moxie:: Got it. What's this for?
:Savvy:: Tilt head, five degrees. It's to look like the system and the world are responding. Momentum.
:Savvy:: The systems of authority are here.
:Grit:: And aren't here to hurt.
:Moxie:: Alright. Expression up.

You pin that eyebrow up proud, like a badge. The authorities are here, and they're taking the notes, here to help. Just enough authority to guide, not to force. Any detective would be proud. Just don't go too far with it. Could get silly.

:Friz:: ...?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: I don't know what she did with it.
:Chemist:: Gonna be complicated to explain.
:Chemist:: But.

There he goes, kid.
No. 1083738 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Chemist:: She asked for an inert liquid universal stasis.
:Friz:: Are you talking about one of the cryo-chems? Something to freeze things?
:Chemist:: No. She had plenty of know-how for that.
:Chemist:: You know the stasis beds in the treatment center?
:Chemist:: She wanted... something she could use to make a permanent semi-stasis effect, like those.
:Friz:: What would a chemical like that do?
:Chemist:: In a beaker, probably slow just about every reaction. Easy to make that.
:Chemist:: Not useful, besides in some kinds of production setups.
:Chemist:: But...
:Friz:: She didn't want it in a beaker.
No. 1083739 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: She wanted it in a body.
:Chemist:: Inert. Yeah. She wanted it non-metabolizing, distributed through the whole body.
:Friz:: What would it do there?
:Chemist:: Permanently slow something down, soften something, affecting her body. One specific thing, she wanted it slowed way down.
:Friz:: What was it?
:Chemist:: No idea. She handled the rest.

:Moxie:: Everyone wants to stop change, but nobody can.
:Moxie:: Softening it... that's different. You can blunt the impact.
:Moxie:: Holding off bits and pieces, tactically.
:Moxie:: It doesn't matter how good your chemistry or your cult magic is, you can't stop all change.
:Moxie:: But there was one thing she stopped. It was important.
No. 1083743 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Savvy:: She's still missing a head

:Savvy:: It didn't stop what happened to her after that.
:Moxie:: Right... It wasn't supposed to.
:Moxie:: Otherwise it would have worked, right?
:Moxie:: She did all the work, so it should have happened.
:Savvy:: And it didn't fix her after.
:Savvy:: How did she get up if she was missing a head?
:Savvy:: This doesn't seem connected. It only slows things down, it doesn't recreate anything.
:Moxie:: It's linked. Closely. But I don't understand how.
:Grit:: It's one of the three remaining facts you need.
:Grit:: When all are found, we can break this.
No. 1083751 ID: 273c18

>how did she get up if she was missing a head
New theory: she wasn't missing it anymore when she got up. Someone still had it, and returned it to her just before the incident. The stasis would have kept her brain and body "alive" in the meantime.

So, to possibly confirm that, ask what happened to her head, and also if she had any implants.
No. 1083775 ID: 8f9bc4

What affecting her body could she have slowed down? The list is still too long. Her heart rate? Her blood circulation? Her neuron actuation? Cancer? Was she slowing the progression of tumors, enabling her to do something that caused a lot of tumors? Something about her skin? Her bones? Osteoperosis?
No. 1084903 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Savvy:: Wait, how did she lose her head?

:Savvy:: Hold on a second.
:Savvy:: What about the decapitation? Is that gonna be another important clue?
:Grit:: Everything could be another important clue.
:Savvy:: Thanks, you're always so helpful.
:Savvy:: "Hold on a second..."

:Friz:: Hold on a second, do you mind one more question?
:Friz:: Did you see her, when she died? Were you there?
:Chemist:: What? No.
:Friz:: So you don't know how she got... like that (decapitated, I mean)?
:Chemist:: Decapitated? God.
:Chemist:: Why did :SecurityChief: blow her head off?
:Friz:: Yeah. That doesn't... seem like her.
No. 1084904 ID: 0fbdcd
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:Friz:: So you weren't there.
:Chemist:: If I was I'd have--
:Chemist:: ...
:Grit:: "--died before letting anyone kill her. She was so important. She was a kinder future."
:Grit:: "Only by evading my view, did death's grasp ever touch the heart of my tribe."
:Friz:: Huh?
:Chemist:: ...
:Chemist:: Well, I didn't see it, that's all.
:Friz:: Alright.

:Friz:: Was anyone else there?
:Chemist:: Only one guy who I heard saw it, besides her.
:Chemist:: Her right hand.
:Friz:: The one who disappeared...
:Chemist:: Yep.
No. 1084906 ID: 0fbdcd
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>:Grit:: Focus on the case.
>@Angry Duck

You pull back. No good splitting their tribe. Not much left to gather there in the pharmacy. Not much time either. All the time in the world, kid, over and over, and somehow you got none to spare. I'd tell you to just sleep in, one of these cycles, if I wasn't betting it'd be the last time you leave that dorm room.

Isn't long before you get to engineering. Gotta say hi to person-of-interest number two.

:AtmosTech:: ...and when the fusion containment breached, it heated the entire icemoon past boiling.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Panopticon, Phantom, Midnight. Engine Three, confirm readings, tell me that's a fakeout.
:Mechanic:: You're kidding.
:AtmosTech:: No, no, no joke, it's true.
:ConstructionEngineer:: Confirmed! Engine Three, what's your escape vector on that hairball?
:Mechanic:: Shuttle called, guaranteed.
:Mechanic:: How'd you survive until then?
:AtmosTech:: Well, turns out the space heaters have a--
:Friz:: Hey, can I speak to :ConstructionEngineer:?
No. 1084908 ID: 0fbdcd
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:ConstructionEngineer:: Potential bandit harmony on panopticon twelve, priority one exclusion. Code - Artery, Phantom, Caltrops.
:Mechanic:: She's not in.
:AtmosTech:: She's sick.
:Mechanic:: Died last week actually.
:AtmosTech:: Died badly. Tragic. She exploded.
:Friz:: What? I can see her right over there.
:Mechanic:: See who?
:Friz:: The-- I can see the :ConstructionEngineer:.
:Mechanic:: You see ghosts now?
:Friz:: (!!)
:Friz:: No, I meant-- they're right over there!
:ConstructionEngineer:: Code - Key, Harmony, Dawn.
:AtmosTech:: She's out. Come back next week.
:Friz:: Please. (I just need to do an interview...)

Not as bad as :Wince:. But Engineering's a club, not just a department, and this one's still living. What's a good way through those walls? And how do you stay friendly while you do it?
No. 1084910 ID: 8f9bc4

He was so moved and his eyes were so kind thinking of her, was the head of the medical wing really the leader of a Bloodletter cult? He knows that, and he doesn't feel cheated or betrayed? Something doesn't add up about the whole Bloodletter thing. What was really going on there?