Prior Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/44520772/
The IRC: suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com, #MHQ
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You are Anode, Captain of the Maverick Hunters, Fourth Overland Unit, and you are currently having a bad time.
You are on-mission somewhere in remote Canadastan, in pursuit of Soul Foxfire, a hacker-for-hire who has apparently either A: converted a massive cyberspace research facility into a dynamic neural array experimentation lab, B: lured you into a labyrinth of unreality and virtual illusions, or C: both.
And she's a FUCKING NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERD.
You've expended your heaviest special weapon ammo, but you're doing okay on your utility kit. You've taken not-inconsiderable damage, you've been forced to go from path Fuck This Noise to path Also Fuck This Noise, and she dropped a bowl of cereal on your head.
Things could be going better.
You've opted to try to take back initiative by forging ahead, rather than moving slowly and methodically. You're ascending what seems like a giant, empty ventilation turbine, a fan twirling slowly and lazily overhead, filtering light through the blades. All around, scaffolding and catwalks and causeways. And on the walls, Dodge Blasters--quick-moving mechaniloid guns that have an obnoxious tendency to scoot out of the way when they read incoming fire.
You ascend as fast as you can, as far as you can, using your EAS and coils to good effect.
And that's when you're sideswiped by a flash of light, catching you midjump and nearly sending you tumbling back down to the lowest level, only a T. Coil snaring a handrail keeping you from taking the whole trip twice.
God damn it, it was another Hotarion.
You hear another pass coming.
>Not twice, motherfuckers--gun them down.
>Go defensive. No more losing ground to the strafing.
Those things are a pain, but judging by past experiences they are also followed by something else and keep coming. Use your mobility to dodge those who get in the way and the jump jets when needed.
Be on guard in case more bullshit happens... which will likely happen.
You grit your teeth, only a second or two to make up your mind.
The problem is that Hotarions are so fucking FAST--seeing a pass coming is more warning than you normally get, and even knowing they're inbound is no guarantee you can avoid them. The best move is to screen your advance with fire, but that relies on having shots in the air in front of you as they come screaming in. With all these causeways, you have no idea when or where they're going to angle in for a pass.
You zip up your coil and break the chain, hanging in midair for an instant--you swear you can see the flash in the corner of your eye--and then you dive to earth once more, wreathed in flame from your booster pack. Your boots hit the catwalk and it actually bows with the landing, floorplates taking on a dull reddish glow from the hit as your capacitors jump another couple percent.
One half-second to find your feet, another to plant them. Your busters are still coming up as the first Hotarion smashes into you, straight in the stomach, and you lurch, but hold steady, shields flashing as it phases uncomfortably straight through you without stopping. Your guns are firing for the third one's pass, the incoming mechaniloid catching a pair of shots from a wild spree of chain-firing, It twists out of control to one side, wing exploding in a gout of flame, flickering winding trails of uncontained spiraling plasma before it impacts the far wall and explodes.
Fast or no, they need time to set up for another pass. You move forward while you can, triggering a Raikousen and only just clearing the Dodge Blaster that had drawn a bead on you during your stand.
You scale like a lunatic, alternating coils and capacitor-aided dashes as you rocket up, and up, and up, around, and around, and around. The next pass is inbound--this time, with rickety catwalks and no place to dig in, you snare the walls at this elevation with a pair of coils and rocket up one of them, spooling the other more slack to avoid breaking it.
Two streaks of light only just miss you on a death-dive through the room. You retract the furthest cable and haul your way out to the top of the vent shaft and duck into a maintenance access hallway. The door slams shut behind you as you burst through before the mechaniloids get another swing at you, plunging you into darkness.
With a loud clunk, the lights flicker to life, glinting off the metalwork of another figure in the room.
Your eyes widen in reflexive fear at the form of Spin Jagwire--whole, neither misshapen nor damaged, so far as you can tell.
We are just getting the whole party of mavs who caused us mental turmoil now. At this point I'll say that Soul is trying to drudge up memories and fears to fuck with us.
To hell with that noise. Our grenades are his weakness. Shut him down and keep it up. This is going to be a mobile battle if those bugs keep coming.
> Ascertain the underlying nature of the not-really guy; this is an illusion or a VR/AR hack or some sort of form-shifting thing or gods forbit an actual limited DNA rez.
This guy is not a threat - we can take him out, but we need to know Fox's game.
He is likely a threat, just like the mechanoids, but the threat may be a mix. Considering that she was hacking rho, she was likely going through rosters and finding their hunting history and which mavs caused them the most trouble. Remember, the reports said that she likes to play with her target. Of course, if she tries to bring up Saetos, we know that she's bullshitting and can probably break out of her bullshit.
Sit down at my table, put your minds at ease.
If you relax it will enable me to do... anything I please.
I've got voodoo, I've got hoodoo, I've got things I ain't even TRIED!
And I've got friends made of homicide!
Shoot a couple of grenades and get the battle in your favor quickly. This is starting to be a pattern and the pattern will not be in our favor here shortly. (Especially when things are starting to look more fully formed.) Whether it's real or not, the longer we have to dwell on this, the more likely this is going to more than sting.
So I've got a potentially dumb theory on this. I was willing to accept the spider and the turtle, because they were both fairly effective Mavericks in their own ways and bringing them back would have tangible benefits to the 'cause', such as it is.
Jagwire, though? Jagwire was barely on the radar power-wise, and did nothing but cause some small scale havoc and generally be nuts. There's not a real advantage to bringing him back... unless you're specifically trying to fuck with Anode.
Everything about this mission was kinda funny from the start, and I was really curious about the "full, but limited, Cyberspace Overlap" that was mentioned in the mission description. I've got a pretty good idea what that meant, now, because why would a cyberspace lab have all the tech to rebuild mavericks or mass-produce these asshole mechaniloids? Why would there be a giant fan staircase tunnel thing?!
I don't think we're in Cyberspace, but we've had Cyberspace dropped on top of us, so to speak.
In nerdier terms, we're not in the Matrix, we're on the Holodeck. Alternately, in the Danger Room.
Or I'm totally wrong and this lab is just weird.
>Fire at will, stay far away, Skippers where he lands
Also, did all the reploids we fought good at close-quarters?
>Wolfspider has nitrogen
>Tumult described as "able to brawl with Ride Armors"
>Jagwire has his spin-to-win and cables to get close
Not all, and Wolfspider and Terapin also had quite the range game. Bloodhound was likely shit in close quarters, so he kept it ranged as long as he could, and Guns favored long range to melee but could mix it up a bit I think.
...No. No, fuck this.
You sight on with your skippers and wait.
The grenade sails through the air like a meteor of your crystallized disgust and hate, catching him in the side as he turns. The explosion is small, but telling--his shields flash as he twists away, darting to the wall on one of his coils. You fire another at where his coil is moored, and he fires another mid-flight to stop himself from barreling into it. A moment later he breaks off the cables with a swing and a jump, coming down into a crouch before pouncing forwards, casting one of his armblades at you.
Ceratanium clashes with your lance as you snap it up and at the ready, diverting the blade before it can bite into your arm. He slings a cable, hooking your lance arm and yanking you forward, the razor braid hooking through your elbow joint and biting, paint scratching and metal shrieking as it claws up your buster plating. With another yank he pulls your arm out, the line going taut, even as he winds up with his armblade--pull it out, hack it off.
>Grab the cable, braid be damned, and yank him right back.
>The misericorde still works as a knife--cut the line before he cuts your arm.
>Shoot him in the face with another Skipper while you're grappling.
>The misericorde still works as a knife.
Jagwire's main strength is his speed and melee. That wire keeps us put and puts an arm on the line. With the other buggers around we do NOT want to be still. remove the wire and get ready.
>>The misericorde still works as a knife--cut the line before he cuts your arm.
I refuse to allow us to be the subject of an entire goddamn week's worth of "mostly 'armless" puns. Fuck that.
You wrest your off-hand free and grab your knife from your hip, bringing it up and hacking through the cable with the intense hi-beam. Your arm pulls free just before the swinging blade falls, rolling your wrist to deflect it with the "flat" of the lance at the last instant. You plant your boot on the coil and raise your guard again, ready to ward away his next attack, stowing the knife and raising your buster.
That's all the time he needs to barrel in, once again driving aside your lance with one of his blades as he bowls you over, a whirlwind of gnashing teeth and razors.
You tumble backwards and roll, throwing him behind you and pulling yourself up as your shields flicker. Rather than wait for another exchange, you lunge first, a coil whipping past you, clipping your cheek and chipping your helmet on one side. He waits for you--you can see it, he's going to answer your attack with another one of his bladed spins.
Fortunately, your boosters are off-cooldown.
You throw a Raikousen into the mix--the electricity may not hurt him, but the extra speed behind your impact sure as shit will--and you slam into him as a blazing, crackling meteor, throwing him across the room with a fresh wedge carved out of his torso.
You let your lance come back to ready as his back hits the wall so hard he bounces, the maverick ignoring the pain and catching himself lightly on his feet--you'd say none the worse for wear, but you definitely struck him hard.
>That felt good. Charge in and hack him up again.
>Initiative's yours, pelt him with skippers while he tries to take it back.
Can we roll do disbelieve?
Why the hell would Hackerwoman be in charge in reviving these assholes, or at least charged with protecting the facility that's doing that?
Is she a generic supergenius kind who knows all sciences "when did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics last night" style?
"Nope," you declare, stowing the lance and raising both busters.
You open with a regular shot, forcing him to juke, and then send another highball sailing into his legs as he's forced to pick a direction. "Nope."
"Fuckin' NOPE," you shout, jumping backward and leaving an exploding present skittering across the floor as he tries to tag you again.
He barrels in for your landing spot, a tornado of bladed death--only to catch a literal faceful of grenade as you shoot him right in the fucking head. "NOOOOOOPE!"
He staggers back, reeling and blind, cables flailing out wildly to try to knock the grenades out of the air before they hit, but they're too fast. One more, and no more fucking Jagwire.
His explosion is oddly serene--you shiver in anger and disgust as you remember the first time you killed the son of a bitch, just as peaceful as before, as he declared himself the center of one last massacre.
It pisses you off. You examine your injuries--the blades chewed through your shields some, by design, light scoring and a damaged elbow on one arm.
With Jagwire dealt with, the room is little more than a wide entryway. Cautiously, you advance, moving forward through the area until you find...
Terrific, another split path. An elevator platform rests waiting, beside another maintenance hatch in the floor. You're a few hundred feet from the end of the turbine you entered from, you estimate--this will be someplace new.
While up makes sense, it's not a good idea to get into anything that someone could be controlling (like this entire scenario AND that could plummet at any time)
Take the hatch and hope the boss rush is almost over with.
Going up is ALWAYS bad. Especialyl when it means bats and floating mines and a autoscroll section.
Going down, not ALWAYS bad, just likely bad; and classicly they lead to less enemies and more precision jumping. Check out our dash and grapple and jetpack.
You decide to go back down, reasoning that elevators plus horrible nerd fox cyberspace DNA death labyrinth is a procedural death spiral.
Fuck that noise. Fuck all this noise, really.
You inspect the hatch, seeing a platform waiting below--just in case, you ready the coils again, and leap.
...And you emerge back in the massive underwater glass room you turned away from at the beginning of this wonderful sojourn.
Except it's upside-down.
"Fuck you, Foxfire," you hiss, venom in your voice and murder in your eyes. "Fuck you and your cyberspace deathtraAH FUCK--"
You're clocked--again--by a Hotarion pass and tumble off the bottom of the top platform, or the top of the bottom platform, or wherever the FUCK you are, the world turning rightside up for a moment as you plummet in inverted freefall.
Your shoulder wrenches hard as you manage to grab onto a ladder, twisting around to shoot at the gecko mechaniloid already climbing towards you.
You're in the middle of the room.
>Back up. You know where down leads.
>Back down. Who the fuck knows where anything leads any more?
Hey, I actually found one of these threads before it died! Have a old piece of work I kept updating!
>Back up. You know where down leads.
Oh, fuck yes! Thank you so much, that shit's saved right away.
They'd be even worse off than they are now--you might not be able to requisition support on A-class, maybe even S-class missions.
I have work tomorrow.
Gonna go ahead and write with climbing back up.
Every time a Nana or Marino pic pops up saddens me that there has been no continuation of Command Mission.
Then you shouldn't have gone with the implication that we would reach a new area by going down.
Technically speaking, you did. Foxfire isn't playing fair.
Thing about these sorts of stages is that reality is someone else's plaything. You see an area you went through before? Chances are it's copy and paste.
HC, I think I finally got what is going on. Each fork leads to a different former hunt of our previous 8, doesn't it?
Fuck. This. Shit.
You fire a coil overhead, grab onto something, and take off, ziplining up just as another Hotarion passe, barely avoiding it.
The line suddenly goes slack--you look up and fire another as it tumbles by you, a Ladder Yadder above you having freed it from the ladder it grappled onto.
You brace instinctively for the third Hotarion as your ascent slows, but it never comes--maybe her resources aren't as infinite as it appears, after all.
That said, there's still two out there, and the first is nearly ready for another pass. You twist around and grab the ladder, clearing it before another mechaniloid can dislodge you, and start up yet another long ladder.
You wait, and wait, and wait, and finally take off like a shot, your boosters getting a real workout this mission. The Hotarion pass slams straight into a wall of rising fire, and you fire your busters wildly in all directions for the second. And scream a little. You actually manage to see that stupid little light wink out as a stray shot catches it on one of the angles of ingress, taking the third and final(? Please, god, final) firefly out.
With that your climb is relatively easy--pausing to take out a Ladder Yadder or change the ladder you're on, you finally make it back up to where you started, enter the ex-Jagwire room, and continue climbing.
This time, though, things change. The air gets cooler, darker. You can still see--somehow--edges and angles and platforms and the ladder under your hands and feet still "alight" as if in the prior rooms. Occasionally, a pulse of bright light sweeps over the area in a hard-defined line--it reminds you of nothing so much as a hertz refresh cycle. It has a slow, rhythmic pulse, coming steadily every few seconds.
And then, you emerge into a long dark.
And the ceiling starts falling.
You dodge a block, then stumble back an extra step as a central core emerges from the top and pulses with energy, sending rapid-fire shots your way.
Another starts to fall over your head as you pass below it.
You dash away, readying twinned charge shots--sure enough, not only is there a second, but now a third falling block. You turn on your heel and jump straight up, just barely clear as it falls past you in the air, and sight on the furthest back of the three, actively firing on you, the second acquiring, the third still in transit.
The charged plasma makes short work of the first one, but the time it takes to gun down the second lets the third pop up and catch you with a shot before you can snap your lance up and cut it down in one stroke.
And that's when you "hear" the distinct feeling of a targeting lock on you.
You move again, using the Raikousen to get clear as something spirals into the space you were occupying just a second ago. You turn and raise your buster to see...
Triangles. Spinning geometry, floating through space, like you stepped into isometric drafting software. You spray it with buster fire as it retracks and swoops in on you, disappearing in a faint, muted explosion.
Then, you hear six more pings as two rows of the damn things spin up.
Even your auto-buster fire isn't enough--between trying to dodge six things all around you or thinning them out, you opt for the latter, your shields taking yet another blow from the two you can't burn down in time. No Lockon Hunters left means no quick kills, but with a final one-two swing of the lance, you finally clear the air.
The hallway is quiet.
The hallway is no longer quiet.
You move forward cautiously, but the ceiling does not fall. No more high school math attacks.
You reach the end, passing through the only door available to you.
...And find Foxfire, her back turned to you, typing away furiously on a terminal.
"Just a sec, be right with you," she calls over her shoulder, before hunching forward. "...and your waifu is shit. Send, aaaaand done. Okay, hi."
>...What ARE you?
>...Okay, fine, you win, what the fuck was that about.
Just shoot to kill
No. Death is too good for the hell that will be brought upon her. There will be legends about the pain and tedium she will face. All the while she is forced to listen to old swingers music.
>..Okay, fine, you win, what the fuck was that about.
So, now that I've gotten my exercise for the next week, what sort of Top 10 Pop chart were you listening to that made you want to play "Super Fighting Stage" designer?
And by that I mean if the next sentence out of your mouth isn't "I Surrender", your Scouter there is toast.
You just stare blankly as she stands up, a bathrobe thrown haphazardly over the back of the chair sliding to the floor, which she kicks away into a pile of what looks like dirty laundry.
"Why," you hiss.
"Because some scrubulon was trying to tell me he understands Evangelion better than I do." She folds her arms. "Makinami Mari Illustrious is the best thing that ever happened to the story, and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise."
"Oh my god, you really are a huge fucking nerd." She looks like someone threw a few buckets of paint onto a canine humanoid frame--garish, almost neon purple plating with green accents around the joints, and orange cuffs and head. Bright red underlines and accentuated eyelashes give her a cartoonish look, matched by an insufferably smug grin and a bright green lens over one eye, opposite a mouthpiece microphone.
She looks like Shadowrun had a horrible lovechild with the entirety of the 80s, with the animation budget to boot.
You hate her even more now, oh my god.
She shrugs. "Yyyyyyes, and I just got to watch you fall down the stairs for like half an hour. Better believe that's going on the internet."
"You were recording? Of course you were recording. Didn't you come here to hack Rho or something?"
"Rho what now? The hunter database lady? Yeah, that too, I guess. Ever heard of dual screens? Or being a robot so you can see feeds in your head?" She taps her temple over the lensed eye--the pupil of which is a bullseye. Almost on cue, it rolls up in her head, presenting the other side of the optic--with a heart on it. Cute. "Got my eye on you~" she trills.
You resist the urge to facepalm, keeping your eyes and gun on her. "Look, just. Stop. Stop being a shit. Stop being the shit. Stop being the ur-shit, from which all other loaves were squeezed. Surrender and come quietly and stop doing the thing."
"Hmmmmmmnnnlet me think about that for a minope!" She declares cheerfully, suddenly disappearing in a flash of light.
An instant later she reappears at the end of the room before another command console. Oh fuck no, not again. She dramatically sweeps a ton of papers and dirty dishes off the top, shattering loudly across the floor.
"No reason," she says. "I just always wanted to do that and I am getting the fuck out of here as soon as this is done." Foxfire throws her arm back, her tail bobbing up and then splitting into a shimmering, cascading light, burning behind her in what can only be cyberspace manipulation. "Now ready up, buttercup!"
>Stay defensive. Let's see how she actually fights.
>Electrodash, jump jets, shove a beam saber into her words hole.
>>Electrodash, jump jets, shove a beam saber into her words hole.
NO BRAKES ON THIS TRAIN
>Stay Defensive. Let's see how she actually fights.
Do not rush in when a consol is right behind her. Let her come to you. Also taunt her. I'm thinking.. 'Evagellion was a shit super robot anime. Can't handle gundam?'
>You're not related to India by any chance, are you?
She knows our tricks, so she would expect us to rush in. She revels in messing about. Also may have a teleporter.
A time limit after she deals with us. The thing she sent was the video of us. Our main issue is the fact we need to be careful with the tech.
Wish we knew the size of the boss room, but our standard move sets might have some problems. Don't fall for her taunts and make her mess up. She likes the new Eva? Mock her for it. Taunt her, tease her. Make her mess up and punish her ass for it.
If she lives, I say we do a follow up video like one of those GI Joe after show things.
>Electrodash, jump jets, shove a beam saber into her words hole.
She thrives on this back and forth shit where there's time to set up. Pirate this woman. Take what you can, give nothing back.
>Stay defensive. Let's see how she actually fights.
As much as I Want to pound her into unconsciousness, She's seen how we fight, so she probably knows what to expect. Defense is a better option here.
Still nicer than all the people who're saying "STAB HER IN THE EVERYTHING"
No, can't be too physical. We are going to sit her down on the net, have her say her favorite anime is shit, and explain this is what happens when you try to be a maverick mercenary troll. Men in blue come to your stage and taze you.
Yes, she pretty much said it with the falling down the stairs for 30 minutes and being a robot and seeing feeds in our head. We got ladders and straight corridors.
We likely compromised ourselves by calling for Navigator support.
You raise your busters and send a probing salvo downrange. Foxfire simply ducks to the side, her tail fanning out and coalescing into... eight more, flickering with billowing, digital flames.
"Naturally," you mutter, as she slings her arms forward, vents along the undersides opening up and--
And spawning swirling orbs of what looks like glitched, bad data, junk information swirling like galaxies of distortion interference. Okay, one: Glad you didn't take the chaff. Two: You're pretty definitely in cyberspace, if you weren't before.
You give the ... projectiles ... a wide berth, trying not to look into the yawning dots of unreality as they pass. Behind them, Foxfire's tailflames separate out from her body, burning little lights that slowly bob through the air like will o' the wisps. Two begin to track on you and almost lazily glide down at you from two directions, ignoring your fire as you shoot through them and at Foxfire.
You weave between them, charging plasma and firing from one barrel. When she commits to the dodge, you fire for her destination--
Only for her to catch herself on her palm and spring up and over the shot, vents on her legs flashing open and fanning another barrage of glitchy map nothingness at you. You dodge to the side--
Right into one of those eight flames that have spread around the area. You curse in surprise as your shields flicker. ... barely.
"Oh, huh, that, uh, didn't really hurt at all."
"Fool!" She crows. "You're in my domain, now! Your sensory perceptions are mine to command, annnah, not really. That's fine, more where that came from."
True enough--three more flames swoop in, forcing you on the back foot again. Yet more swirls of mapglitch fly from her arms and legs in crescent arcs, trying to fence you in.
>Out is through! Charge and close to melee!
>You've seen how she moves Trade a hit to get one on her.
>You've seen how she moves Trade a hit to get one on her.
We're way tougher than she is, so surely this will work out. Maybe try to use a Tumult Shell to cut down on the projectiles if we can actually avoid a hit at all.
>Out is through! Charge and close to melee!
Avoid those bad-data things though. I have a feeling they'll hurt a lot more than her tail flames.
You decide now's the time--you reverse momentum suddenly, kicking up a wake of distortion and EM energy that ripples and bows the ground at your feet, the air seeming to flex around you as you pour 5% charge into a dash. You get a beautiful moment of stunned surprise on Foxfire's stupid face as you surge forward, boosters kicking in with a gout of flame.
And you barrel right through her, the mercenary vanishing into thin air.
You whip around to see her waving at you from atop a server closet against the wall, before mock-blowing a kiss and kipping off it, sending another cascade of glitchballs at you, forcing you back.
A quick look around tells you that it wasn't for nothing--there are now only seven flames drifting around the room, with the lost one replenishing slowly as an ember at Foxfire's back.
"How do you like my Spirit Flame?" She taunts, voice a saccharine coo. "Pretty fun, right?"
You roll your eyes and shoot at her to shut her up, taking a chance at swinging your lance through a ball of distortion. It bites... something, the blade warping and flickering before it perseveres, the projectile dissipating.
That's when she opens up with another few dozen of them, literally cartwheeling and handspringing as they chainfire from her arms and legs.
You bob and weave again, moving up slowly and firing back to limit her maneuvers and the angle of attack. Three of the flames draw near and swoop down, and you jet forward again to bypass them--
And run smack into one of the glitchballs.
There's no horrendous pain or moment of voiping out of existence, just a moment of disorientation and the sting of... what feels like heat.
"Is that all you've got?" you ask. "I went up against an S-class firebird, you ain't got shit on that."
"Big words from Sir Whiffalot," she counters. "Come at me, bro! I'm fuckin' ripped!"
>Keep up the melee pressure.
>Continue running and gunning.
Ain't there a Graverend Moloch wrecking havoc on the one of the American coasts? I think is about that
There's also a Sabomole on Germany and Hurricane Wren on France
>Keep up the melee pressure.
Really want to go for Moloch next at least. Dunno if we will have the kit for Wren, actually.
>Keep up the melee pressure
She either can teleport to her tail flames, or they are her messing with our senses. Same with the glitch balls, which likely make us not able to detect something...
...are we actually fighting anything right now? I'm tempted just to say fuck it and let off an electrical discharge around us and hopefully frying the bitch or at the very least removing some of her stupid illusions.
>Keep up the melee
> Start blocking off the room with coils, starting at the edges and spiraling inward. If she's invisible or some shit Anode hits her now, if she teleports then soon she has her choice of either getting hit or of getting teleported into a chest fulla barbed wire.
While that may be tempting, we have no idea what her effect on cyberspace is. We wouldn't want to let loose the lightning and find out we've fried part of our brain or something like that. Plus, this isn't X4 yet, and I'm guessing cyberspace may not be completely figured out at this point. (especially in the timeline where we don't have the internet taking off)
>Keep up the melee pressure.
Seems to be working. Well sort of at least. And she pretty clearly prefers ranged combat.
Good attempt, but unfortunately still not the reason. There's a good chance you'll come to understand by the end of this thread, or at the latest, the next one.
Keep up the melee pressure.
Another thing to keep in mind is to play dirty and use what we have to trick her back. We still have shells, wires and a few grenades. If we force her to move, we could go for a pin or use Grach's dirty fighting techniques on her.
You keep up the pressure--big game or not, she can't keep this up forever.
Her tails make a shimmering illusion as she moves, leaving trailing afterimages and blurry streaks that make tracking her a chore. Nonetheless, you bear in, wheeling your lance as you draw close--with EAS, Raikousen, and (eventually) the jump-jets, you can come in at almost any time, from any window, leaving you with a lot of versatility and a means to throw her off her game.
This time, though, you close carefully, wait for the last-second burst fire to drive you back, and then thunder forward again, using another fine-tuned release of capacitor energy for a quick hop into melee.
She jumps over you, trailing fire, and then seemingly jumps again, her back alight with flames that spread to her tails. She pirouettes overhead and comes down behind you, adroitly dodging your backhand swing.
"Pretty neat DNA went into that little rocket pack!" She calls, warding you off with two crisscrossing spirit flames--you catch one and manage to flicker it out with your sword, as the other impacts you directly--your shields not even lighting, just leaving a mild scorch on your chestplate. "Super nifty, probably my favorite of the set."
"God, it's like being kicked to death by a toddler," you growl.
"Then this is gonna be a real embarrassing after-action report," she grins. "Actually, hold that thought."
"Okay, NOW it's going to be a real embarrassing after-action report."
"Are you for fucking real?" You ask. "Your taste in music is worse than your taste in cartoons."
"TALK SHIT GET HIT," she roars, ripple-firing another barrage of the mapglitch. You bat them away in twos and threes, advancing in a rage.
>Try to surprise her with a changeup--use your last skippers.
The only thing we haven't used vigorously is our lance's anti shot attacks. We used our shields more than it so it'd probably the best bet we have.
"Evagellion was shit to begin with and the remake was double shit! Double shit I say!"
We're really not taking much damage here, we should hold back our skippers for if we actually start needing them.
Guys, guys, I got it! We should use the Tumults shells to push her projectiles back at her. Touching the globes, even with our lance, is probably fucking with our perception, but what if we send it back at her?
Any other maverick, I'd go for the surprise, but she's fucking with cyberspace and possibly our perception. Need to keep a few things in reserve in case this thing totally turns on us.
I actually do like the Tumult Shell plan and vote to incorporate that if we're allowed. I at least want to know how those weird projectiles interact with the barriers.
"One of these days, Tails..."
"You'll actually manage to hit me?" She offers.
"POW!" You roar, dashing forward under the protective screen of a T. Shell. "TO THE MOON!"
The shell hits a glitchball and fizzles, shorts... and then pops, and for a moment, you see a little bubble of reality in the hole of emptiness before it cavitates out. In it, you see what looks like a fire-wheel--some kind of energy shuriken. It's a real attack--just one that has some hellish effects on cyberspace.
You don't have much time to think about it further before you're in the melee--foxfire lobs one of her flames at you, the tail just reformed, but you carve through it, levering the lanceblade back as you swing for the fences...
...Only to find yourself screaming in pain as the rest of the roving tail-flames all crash into you at once from all angles in a neat little box trap, the flames coalescing into a single roaring inferno with you in the center.
"How d'you like Soul Scorcher?" she asks with a nasty little grin, slowly letting go of the short beam blade hilt on the small of her back as she gets distance again.
"Okay, one, fine, so you CAN actually hurt me," you reply with a grimace. "Two, you actually call it the Soul Scorcher?"
"In my defense, fuck you," she says, all smiles, fixing you with the heart optic before it rolls back to the crosshair.
You size her up--right now all her tails are out with only one about to relight, and you have an opening, but you don't doubt she has more tricks up her sleeve. She seems to have...far, far too many of them. You've seen A-ranks with less tricks. Shit, YOU'RE an A-rank with less tricks.
And unfortunately, I've got some errands I need to take care of that I put off to run, so that's it for the night.
I hope everyone's been enjoying their new 11/10 fox waifu?
Tear her in half with a full capacitor/flame jetpack full speed joust. Such grievous injury can not go unanswered.
Eh. She's okay, but the fight's got my DM trap sense going on overdrive and I can't figure out what I'm missing. Probably something to do with cyberspace, but I was never too clear on that in the games besides "Cyber Peacock is an asshole/chump". Glad Anode's picked up on something being wrong, he's been a little too much Daffy Duck to her Bugs Bunny for my comfort.
I feel like we're missing something important as well. Possibly starting with us believing she hasn't possibly messed with her own ranking at some point. I think her attacks grow exponentially in damage when they hit together, she's bluffing her favoring long range versus short range, and how painful she can be. A few light hits to make a hit seem like nothing big, followed by heavier stuff.
Well, simple reason for the situation is that we have not been hitting her at all. We have been hitting her projectiles that look like her. How does she keep vanishing? Because she wasn't there to begin with. Because those black spots are hiding whats within them. But what if we shot the spots? Or use the wire for a wide sweep?
I'm hesitant to use our special weapons too much until we figure out her trick. The way her base was laid out and the zombie mavericks makes me think she's purposefully trying to get Anode to use up all his special weapon ammo.
Too cautious and we might get killed for it, though. We need to figure out if we are even facing her, or what she is really doing at least. Reality is currently her toy, we need to try and even the odds somehow.
>slowly letting go of the short beam blade hilt on the small of her back as she gets distance again.
I missed this bit on my first read through. I think the "Soul Scorcher" was actually her backstabbing using the illusion flames and cyberspace to fool us into thinking her elsewhere.
I'm pretty certain we are fighting a ninja.
Looks like the glitchballs are actually disguised shuriken. "Soul Scorcher" was a backstab done when she swarmed us with her bits.
She really seems to be obsessed with Anime and Rebuild of Evangelion in particular. Enough to RAGE at her favorite being called a cartoon. If I remember right Cathode was an Anime fan so likely forced Anode to watch Eva. Anyone else feel like doing a psychological attack where we can think of and list all the EVA girls but Mari?
I make no promises, and no idea if HC plans to continue tomorrow. He does have work after all. But alright, here we go, time for the Rabbit and the Camel.
So, for a brief recap, Negative Snowhare was one of the new recruits to the 2nd recon, originally slated for the 9th Rangers until someone figured a bit of firepower on Recon might be appreciated or expand their longevity and assigned a few hunters designed with the right skillsets to the division. That said, Negative just had gotten off trying the Sigma Simulation to test some new upgrades, which went as well as you could expect, when he checked the roster and found himself active. So, eager to actually try these new toys on a target that wouldn't one shot everyone in his division with a backhand, he left to hunt Mirage Camel.
Mirage Camel was a mercenary who was acting up in the Gobi Desert. A former A rank hunter who got crippled in the first Maverick War, he was retired from duty with an officer's pension, his brother, Sandstorm Dromedary, following him. That said, he was still a formidable sniper, able to disguise where hits were coming from by virtue of high speeds, a system that would fool a reploid's systems into seeing an optic illusion of his devising, and the ability to bend his shots enough to trick people into thinking they came from different locations. However, over the past week, he had been making raids on the convoys a tech firm called Orthus Industries had going through, killing their workers and destroying their wares, with his heavy gunner brother strangely absent. So Negative was sent to gather the information on the situation, report back to base, and if possible, handle the mission. So off he goes to the middle of a barren desert, the emergency teleporter beacon shutting down as he enters the field.
Since he recently had the good fortune of a major sensory update, he was able to link up to intelligence, saying that there was a notable gathering of energy sources about three miles out. So quick as a bunny, Negative dove under the cool night sand, digging his way north with great speed. Eventually, he reaches the source, only to find that he has run into the wrong mavericks. Two groups of them, too. As he hides in a sand dune above a small pit, he watches a group of civilian reploids pointing crap busters at a pair of high end remodels, a Kralmacht that looked like it tore the arms off a pair of Raider Killers and had them grafted on, and a hoganmer that looked like someone tried to use Vile as a basis for a new design and upgraded it, two heavy shields in hand and large guns mounted to their shoulders. Now, to start this off, the civilian models were marked as the pawns of a deluded maverick who barely escaped death by Dash Dodo's hand before, who calls himself the Emperor, and they the Emperor's Chosen. Mostly following due to misguided zeal and uncanny charisma, they were a low ranking threat, much unlike the two they were pointing guns at. Those two were marked as a rather hostile, expanding group of mavericks known as the Claws of Echidna, known for severe modification to their troops that should shatter any budget, no known consistent objective. And the Chosen were demanding tribute, which did not go well for those poor sods as they were introduced to real firepower. However, not one to rush in after that dose of humility Sigma tends to give people, Negative took aim from his hiding spot far from the fight, waiting for the riff raff to get cleared out a bit before pelting the duo with freezing shots, layering them in so much ice that he then was able to walk up and blow their heads off for good measure without them able to do a thing about it.
Now, as he surveyed their handiwork and his own, as well as called for pickup of the corpses, he noticed something strange in the distance. It seemed like, to him, a dune was moving of it's own volition. Not blowing about in a gust of wind, mind, but as if it were just a disguise for something else. Realizing that this was likely his prey, Negative dug back down again, to try and avoid giving Mirage an easy target, and headed at full speed towards his presumed foe. But soon, soon we get into the plot. Soon we hit the strange things, things born of a project another player recognized from having helped invent it, originally meant to be a more advanced emergency healing system, that was being used to grow over half the mavericks in this arc.
So, as Negative dug forward, he began finding pieces of reploids buried around him, the remains only so much scrap. Figuring this to be Mirage's killing ground, he continued onwards. At least, until he began feeling something big and loud rising from the ground below him, which got him to dig up in a hurry. Which, in the end, turned out to be the right call as a sandstorm whipped up around him, and a gigantic worm burst from the ground, blind to its surroundings but with a great and terrible maw. One that contained three tongues with their own maws, that felt around and pulled metal into it.
Deciding he wanted none of this, Negative took advantage of the fact that it apparently had no eyes to try and sneak away. However, it seemed it wasn't without sensory input, as it reared it's head on his position and let loose with a trio of beams from the tongues, which swept the area he was just in as he just barely leapt to safety. The fight having started, he unloaded cryogenic shot after cryogenic shot into it's horrific spinning maw, shattering it's tongues.
So there Negative was, firing right into the mouth of what seemed to be the lovechild of a grabboid and a blender as it roared it's hate. Angered and hungry, the beast delved into the ground, Negative wondering where it would show up before the ground beneath him shook again, causing him to leap away from his location just as the monstrous pile of scrap burst from the ground and dove at where he had been, one of it's tongues apparently regrowing. Deciding that this may be a pattern, Negative shot that tongue off as well, then trailed shots down the body causing it to scream in pain even further and decide that fuck this, there was easier food out there. Having since decided that this thing couldn't be allowed to roam free, Negative managed to latch onto it's face as it dug down, and after a few attempts to dislodge him ended up riding the beast for hours until he got to what he first mistook to be a war zone, but quickly realized was the company he had been sent to protect.
See, Mirage Camel hadn't been idle in this time, oh no. An experienced former member of the Ninth, he had gone in, booby trapping the company with explosives his brother had bought for their work and destroying any reploids he came across, having decided that if the hunters were here, then this was likely his last chance for revenge. So he had snuck and fought his way in. It was to his work that Negative and the worm arrived, the beast immediately lunging to consume shattered workers, their pieces being used to let it heal its own wounds. Deciding that, again, it had to die, Negative engaged again, causing it to blast at him with it's three regrown tongues, one clipping him hard, and the other two raking across large vats that released a strange, rustlike goop that seemed to break down everything it touched. Deciding that would be bad to get on him, Negative decided to move away from the obvious vats, eventually finding his salvation from this behemoth.
This salvation came in the form of one of Mirage's arms, apparently severed at the elbow. More importantly, one of his arms holding what even his untrained eye could tell were high explosives. Seeing opportunity, he ran for it, getting a bit seared again but managing to reach it, aiming to get it in the worm's maw and detonate it. Key word aiming. One of the beast's tongues smacked the package out of the way, landing in the rafters above them both. However, seeing it as good as any other opportunity, Negative fired off a salvo into the bomb, causing it to go off and cave the roof in over their heads. Normally this wouldn't be too effective upon the worm, who could simply blast the rubble to pieces easily with it's tongue lasers, however it's instinct to keep from getting crushed left it vulnerable to Negative for a brief moment, and he capitalized as best he could on it. Hitting it with damn near everything he had left, he just managed to destroy the worm, the perpetual sandstorm it was generating dissipitating and the sounds of fresh explosions coming from deeper within the compound. Not having time to revel in his victory, he headed forward with caution, slinking from shadow to shadow, until he ran across an unknown seeming to be fighting his target.
In this case, what seemed to be a hellish humanoid giant covered in rust red metal, marked with the same mark as the Claws of Echidna, with two hound heads contorted into constant snarls and belching beams of fiery death across the compound at where sniper fire had been coming from, tearing through what looked to be Mirage Camel firing off a large gun with difficulty one handed. This caused the image to flicker and die, apparently an illusion left behind by Mirage as more plasma rounds smack the hound in the back, followed by a challenge from the angry two headed hellhound.
"COME OUT, MERCENARY! YOUR BROTHER AT LEAST HAD COURAGE IN THE FACE OF DEATH!"
That at least explained what happened to his brother, though not much else. Deciding that, in the face of new evidence, it may be more prudent to handle the guy with clear maverick markings first, Negative opened fire with the last of his cryogenic beams, only to find the hound quickly escaped the ice, part of it's face shattered away to reveal the snarling teeth glowing like the coals of the Pit itself before he had to narrowly dodge another blast, Negative slinking back to the debris field for cover to plan behind. Realizing that a change in approach may be worth a shot, he swapped over to a weapon he had bought from a Geist who happened to be a collector and modifier of slaved weaponry, nicknamed the Spark Magnum, and found it's effects to be gratifying and immediate as the hound lit up like the Fourth of July from the first volley. Both heads firing beams off at random, our intrepid snowhare managed to avoid getting his goose cooked, more shots from Mirage supporting his own efforts. Injured and finding itself spent, the hound then resorted to tearing out the largest portions of the field it could find, generally intact vats, and flinging them around, widening the area of places where the rust colored goop was. Repeatedly.
Finding safe spots to fire from, and cover to hide behind, the two snipers kept up the pressure however, eventually ending the threat as the hellhound mav finally exited this world in a fiery explosion that left a notable crater. As the sounds and light died away, Negative Snowhare finally spotted his original target, Mirage Camel, battered, half melted, crippled, but clinging to life with a stubbornness that would do his namesake proud. So, weapons still trained on the presumed maverick, he approached, asking the battered mercenary if he would surrender or choose to die. After several minutes, where Negative was concerned he wouldn't get answers to any of this, Mirage Camel consented. People needed to know about what he had seen. Negative dug him out of the rubble, and captive taken, he is being brought back to base, where he will have one hell of a review to go through.
Story said, a bit of background for the plot, since one guy already managed to figure it out IG due to previous connections. At a black ops research base disguised as a geothermal power plant for a company, a pair of scientists and numerous assistants were working on a few projects, one of which was a way to try and make subtanks for mass production. Another was a G rank that would be able to generate and supply enough energy to power the East Coast. In their research, they had devised a better form of emergency repair system, one that had more akin to cellular structure than any machine, which the lead scientist, Gleaming Doe, had been theorizing it could lead to new advances for reploids as a whole. That is, until her brother, Flame Stag, went maverick and took the base over. The other primary scientist, Lambda, had barely escaped, presuming his associate and secret crush dead until recently, when he found evidence of not only the repair system they devised, called the Rust due to a quirk where it would all resemble rust red metal, in the process of growing a replacement of the incomplete G rank he had to dump into the lava during Stag's assault. After said recreation, barely more than a body frame and weapon systems at the time, had just blasted it's way out of the chamber it was developing in and up through a mountain. Being so incomplete (roughly 10% functional), it was disposed of quickly, but all the same it was a massive potential threat they were lucky to get rid of early.
This same Rust was being used by Orthus Industries, though Negative IC didn't know what it was and took a sample. This same Rust is showing up in the hunts of other PCs, and will hopefully bring them together for the fortress mission in the end. It's also the same stuff that Lambda is currently basing a take on the Yellow Devil design on so he can slime his rival in the 16th.