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Rec Room / Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Last post by Chaosvolt on January 05, 2020, 11:57:48 am »
(( Written with Salt. ))

"Ah, uh, hello hello. You're certainly the smallest group I've seen here in awhile. If your after pre-cataclysm technological treasures, you won't find them here." Said the man. He was armed, Hector could see that easily when he got close enough. His hair had grown long and meticulous but altogether futile care had been taken to keep his clothes intact. Medeina watched the man carefully and her two companions as they interacted with him. She had a feeling about the man, a spark of something somehow familiar and yet totally unremembered. "My name is Charles Chelsea," he went on in his worn out and shaky sounding voice, "and I imagine if you were going to shoot at me you'd have done so already."

"What are you doing here?" Minx questioned warily, noticing the ill kept pistol sticking haphazardly from one pocket of Chelsea's labcoat.

"Well, warning people off." He explained, "or trying to anyway. Very few people listen and most of them don't come back. Some do, but even they don't find much they can use I suppose. Except the hunters. Sometimes a few hunters come through hoping to get one of the more dangerous specimens. But uh, this isn't a military installation. It's an ecological project."

Hector remained quiet for the moment, observing the man as the others talked for the moment, still carefully regarding their surroundings in case any of the likely wildlife might've wandered this far off. "We're actually here for a different reason. Do you know of the AI that formerly operated in this laboratory?" he asked, before looking back down to Medeina's proxy.

"Of course I know of them, I was the security analyst for the labs around New Gaia Center." Chelsea scratched the back of his head and glanced down to trace the line of Hectors gaze. "Oh, you've got a robot. First I've seen that wasn't trying to kill things or take my picture. Yes, I know of the AI. Mainly the AI core, but the others were using the same systems. The Tabula Rasa project was the brain child of my partner, but I could probably get you through the basics of it."

He turned then and shaded his eyes to look up at the signs on the nearby pillar, then pointed to each one at a time. "Tenjin, the fact checker that made sure the others didn't go rogue. Something happened to him, so there was no one to keep the others in check in the weeks before they were... Well, I don't know what happened to them, I was too busy watching the world fall apart. Bhadra and Menrva, who would work together with the core to acquire new specimens for observation and cataloguing, along with developing new survival strategies. Aphrodite, responsible for monitoring the breeding of more specimens in an effort to repopulate reduced populations in the case of an extinction event. Finally, there's the core, Medeina. Her job was to monitor and take down observations of everything. Every piece of data collated into her repositories for future use by the others. Each AI could work independently of one another, or collaborate thanks to Medeina and the unique AI structure designed for them."

Minx scooped up the small proxy just as Medeina broke the silence she'd held since the encounter had begun. "Are there records available from the labs concerning this Tabula Rasa project?" Chelsea turned sharply, causing Minx to jump and Hector to raise his shield a little. He'd gone white and wide eyed, staring at the proxy.

"I know that voice... Professor Harriet Glastur provided the template and we used it in... Who are you people?"

"It's a bit of a long story..." Hector admitted. "I'm assuming that most of the AI are no longer functional, Medeina in particular?" he said, only for the proxy to perk up a bit, interrupting him. "Mr. Lowe, I am quite functional at present." The knight facepalmed at that, looking away. "I mean no longer part of this facility, right?" The proxy paused a moment, looking up at Hector before responding. "We are currently at this facility, actually..."

Charles Chelsea was still staring at the small robot, and the small robot was staring at him. A long awkward silence followed the last exchange, then Chelsea cleared his throat. "Y-yes, they're gone now. A few weeks after the world ended they're data was erased by another AI from a disconnected lab via a security breach we'd been in the middle of patching. Where did you get this robot?"

Minx adjusted her grip on the eye bot and let Medeina waggle it's front limbs at the air for a moment. "Our friend Dee built it from some kind of eyebot or something like that, but she's projected out of a laptop on their farm." The eyebot in question was one of Dee's better works. A robot he'd put a lot of effort into making it harder to tell what it had been built from.

"A laptop... I don't believe a laptop has the vast processing power required to run the real Medeina AI..." Chelsea whispered.

"It does not possess the vast processing power required to run me. That is why we are here Dr. Chelsea." Medeina was quick to add. Upon hearing his name, the security analyst visibly shuddered.

"The last time I heard that voice," He said, recoiling a little, "She was contacting me through my home PC to tell me that everyone was dead and the project AI's were releasing all their specimens into the countryside." There was a long pause in which Minx stared down at Medeina, then he added, "There were coyotes everywhere for months."

Hector seemed increasingly leery of this, regarding the proxy before taking a look farther down the road. "So you know about the lab that grabbed Medeina at least. I don't know if your AI here can tell you much about what happened, somehow she was the only AI on-site that hadn't been picked apart by the one that was running the place we looked into. Was a while back." he explained.

"Dee's hoping to get materials to make a more useful proxy for Medeina, and on top of that another friend of ours is working on projects for surrounding communities that require materials of that sort. Hence Medeina's idea to come here..."

"Grabbed?" The scientist said, "I know C.I.D., the AI they were hooked into because of military branch bull was deeply jealous of them for some reason. I don't... Mr. Lowe, are you sure?"

Hector nodded promptly, "We retrieved her from another lab a few miles away from here, and I recognize the name of the AI C.I.D. from that lab. If memory serves, and Medeina won't remember this, she claims there were other AIs from other labs trapped there and C.I.D. was assimilating them." Chelsea's lips worked even as his brain worked, Hector could see the distrust worming it's way into the mans brain.

"She gave me status updates." He said finally, "Three weeks of status updates on how well the team was doing at surviving the horror she and her siblings had unleashed on them. The mating habits of coyotes, the feeding habits of creatures I can't even describe. How they needed more people and they were sending out Bhadra's cages to bring in more. She gave me that final update, then the labs just... went dark."

"Is that true?" Minx asked, shocked. Medeina tried her best to swivel her spherical frame up to look the woman in her electronic face, but failed and replied "Possibly, but I do not remember. I remember nothing from before I was activated by Mr. Koenig on the farm."

"Mister, uh..."

"Lowe, Hector Lowe."

"Mister Lowe. Frankly, I don't... I don't think that's a good idea. She... She has flaws... in her thought palace. She can pick apart the rules to adjust them in any way she needs them to be picked apart, and she's designed to enjoy whatever task she's assigned. She-"

"I am programmed to do a great deal more than just enjoy my tasks Dr. Chelsea." Medeina interjected, and Chelsea shivered at hearing her voice say his name, "I am outfitted with a complete emotional emulation prototype, though I suspect it is not mine. Please do not think me some rogue machine with no value on human life."

Chelsea cringed a little and glared at the robot more warily than before. "I don't trust you Medeina, not after what you-"

"We have a manifest." Medeina interrupted. It was a first for Hector. Not the interruption, Medeina interrupted conversations all the time, but her sudden change in tone. It was the first time he could hear a kind of agitation in the AI's voice. "A partial anyway. Do these labs have the materials we need or not?

Hector seemed to be scrutinizing Medeina, underneath that helm. He had his own thoughts on everything that'd been discussed, and even as he read the distrust evident in the doctor's voice, he still knew they'd have to see this through. Well, we'll have to see if he's right.

Chelsea almost seemed as though he hadn't listened at all, but Hector and Minx could see the doubt. Medeina could more than see it, she could feel it and the way Hector was now scrutinizing her. She was different now, somehow. The emotional emulation had a small but profound effect on how she carried out her observations, and what Charles Chelsea described didn't seem like the Medeina she knew herself to be at all. If creatures like Mica could change, then so could Medeina. Chelsea had cringed away from them, but only for a moment. Now he seemed to have something to say, but was unsure of how to say it.

Then, quietly, he asked "Mr. Lowe, can I speak to you in private for a moment?" Hector gave a nod of understanding before leading the way back over towards the road, leaving Medeina with Minx for the moment...
2
Rec Room / Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Last post by saltmummy626 on November 29, 2019, 06:13:07 am »
Cole McKinsey and his brother Wade were having a bad day. It had all started the day before when the contract holder had finally reached out to them with instructions for delivery. It was the realization of who they were delivering too that had brought around the first tingles of trouble at the back of Cole's head. Their company had continued in seclusion after the Cataclysm, running as though they had been prepared for the lawless world that would come. From the people at the top to the men like Cole and Wade at the bottom, it was good business. Sort of. Making deliveries to people like Hoyt wasn't exactly what they'd originally been in for, but the men up top needed guys like the candy man to operate here and there. Make money in the foreign markets and all that. God knew they had their fingers in every pie up north already.

The second thing had been the nearly sleepless night of trying to contact Hoyt while fending off the undead, then later trying to contact Hoyt and his army of junkies while fending of Hell's Raiders. They'd managed to fight from street to street with the South's brand of unusually unkempt hordes while keeping their langourous cargo within their armored trailer safe with relative ease and success to find themselves only a few miles later being harried by the men and woman on motorcycles and in startlingly nimble trucks and cars. Stops and starts all night it had been until Cole had made the fatal mistake of trying to plow his big rig between two trucks making up a barricade across the road. On the other side, the rig had met the real trap. The bump. A log, split down the center and laid flat side down onto the road. The rig hit it at only slightly reduced speed, sending Cole's ass bone up into the back of his skull, Wade's teeth scissoring into his own tongue, and the rigs suspension up into the engine compartment. It had been less destructive than the raiders had thought it would be, Cole surmised from the dimly heard conversation outside the locked and armored cab, but it had disabled the semi.

When he came to his senses, Cole saw the man straddling a motorcycle pointing some kind of small automatic at him and slammed his fist into the emergency shutter switch on the dash. A split second later, the first two bullets punched into the seat between the brothers and then the shutter was between the shooter and them catching the rest of the slugs.

"Holy shit Cole!" Wade shouted, throwing an arm over his face. It sound more like "hoewee shid koh" coming from Wade's damaged mouth. Cole slapped the door locks in the same movement, and sealed themselves in. The brothers had been robbed on the road before, you couldn't well not in this day and age as a transporter of goods and services. He tried the radio again and got nothing, then he tried the short range and got the fizzle of static that said someone was transmitting. Every now and then, the ghost of a voice or other sounds would drift through the short waves tiny spraker. The two men sat in the cab and listened to that and sounds of the people outside trying half heartedly to get in. Wade took the time to stuff his mouth with gauze while Cole tried again and again to raise somebody, anybody, on the radio but nothing happened for a long few hours. Then, someone outside was addressing them.

"Excuse me, I need you to come out. We're taking your trailer." Said the voice. It sounded like a woman, good natured enough but authoritative. Next to Cole, Wade was shaking his head back and forth wildly and Cole could understand why. The men they worked for were not to be fucked with and neither was the man they were delivering to. "Hello in there?"

"Fuck off, ya hoser." Cole shouted, then nearly slapped himself.

"Hoser? What?" The woman asked, seemingly to someone else.

"They're Canadian..." Came a mans voice, "Quebec plates."

"Oooh. Okay." The woman quietly exclaimed, then to Cole, "Now come on, if you come out now I can at least make sure these guys don't decide to blow up your truck or cut their way in and string you both up. Your truck may still be running, but I gerauntee you it's not moving. We've already unhooked your trailer and are gonna have to tow your truck out of the way anyway. Make it easier on everybody and just come on out."

Cole could see them through the small slot he and his brother had cut into the armor playing over the windows. A woman with a luxurious fox tail, a taller more well built woman, and a man in a leather jacket. Beyond them was a collection of nasty looking folk smoking cigarettes, passing around a bottle of who knew what, and spitting the shit waiting for the action to start again. The two women were talking quietly to each other now, waiting for his response. "Wade, hand me the rifle." Wade did as he was asked and passed over the hunting rifle he kept behind his seat, but with a look on his face that said "Sure, I'll hold your beer, but you better be sure about this." Which wasn't far off the mark really. Cole did feel as though he was about to do something that warranted a request to 'hold his beer.' "I said fuck off!" Cole cried as he jammed the barrel of the rifle into the driver side porthole and squeezed off one quick shot. The man in the leather jacket dropped while the woman with the fox tail went into a dive/crouch that was too fluid to be anything but trained. The taller woman though flicked her wrist and drew some kind of rod and charged. There was blue fire, shouting, and before the brothers knew what was happening, they'd both been pulled from the trucks cab.

"Y'all right Hussar?" The fox woman asked the taller woman.

"I'll be fine. Burned myself worse when I was a little girl reaching onto the stove. How about them?" 'Hussar' said back. Wade was smoking lightly from his lightly charred jeans, but Cole had come through the still cherry hot cavity carved into the trucks armor with plenty of holes burned into his clothes and blisters forming on seared skin. The bandits checked over the man Cole had shot and determined that he'd be fine, and while they were at it others came and moved the McKinsey brother's semi, thoroughly looting the clients other orders from the back cab.

"Okay, that's good then. Fine work guys, get that other semi over here and hook it up so my me and my fellow ranger can take it back to our people. Send a rep from your clans to the location we talked about earlier and we'll have a cut ready to hand over, like we discussed." She looked around while the bandits went about the work, then let a broad warm smile cross her face. "I'm so proud of you lot working together."

"Atomos, what do with do with these two now? Should we take them back with us or..." Hussar asked, punctuating the 'or' with a little fingering of the rod in her hand. 'Atomos' gave the question some real consideration before asking back; "I mean, technically we are the bad guys here? I think?" Hussar shrugged a little. "Eh, we could just leave them here. It's your call."

"Yeah... Okay, we'll leave them tied up here and as soon as we've gotten a fair distance away, the Sun Dogs can decide what to do with them. That sound alright with you guys?"

The cheers that brought up was enough to tell Cole that the day was only going to get worse.
3
Rec Room / Re: Winds of memories (Cata RP Character background stories)
« Last post by saltmummy626 on November 22, 2019, 03:49:29 am »
The snap of a large book being closed with some force startled Victor from his own reading and had him checking to make sure Thomas had not been stirred from his tenuous slumber. Fortunately he had not and with that settled, Victor made his quiet way to the study where he knew Helen would be hard at work trying to solve a problem that she herself had not thought a real problem until the night before.

"Is everything alright?" He asked while gently knocking on the door frame. Helens head swiveled as though on a well oiled bearing and looked at him hard for a long moment. She looked exhausted.

"Yes Victor…" she finally sighed, "Just… I don't think any of the books in our possession have any answers for me." She stood and began the laborious task of picking up her study material to file back onto their shelves. Some of them, Victor noted, rather obscure or downright obsolete texts. Alchemy books, times on blood magic, an arcanists treatise on golemancy and craft magic. Even some of Victor's own notes on certain subjects he had been more interested in during that vague hazy time before he met Helen. From the theme of the materials, Victor could easily deduce what had been bothering her. Or rather, who.

"Is it really that important Helen? I mean, if you can't find anything on it then-" He began to question. Helen spun on him, momentarily giving him the look of the mage hunter and not the look of the woman who'd given birth to his child. Then it softened back to the kindly stern face he knew so we'll.

"I need to know Vic, if the knowledge of her creation were to fall into the wrong hands it could be catastrophic. Can you imagine some blood mage creating even one homunculus like branches? A homunculus that can think and act for itself, can heal by packing it's wounds with dirt, is as strong as a truck, and can replicate itself with just a little bit of clay?" She exclaimed, lecturing just a tiny bit. The issue had pressed on Helen more than she cared to admit before, but now...

"If it existed," Victor suggested, "You would have found it by now. You… we have one of the largest intact collections of arcane knowledge, that we know of, in the world." He said this with an accompanying sweep of his arm over the shelves upon shelves of books in the study. The room was small, but even compared to the most well established arcanist convent or blood mage hideout who's entire collections usually only consisted of a few well thumbed volumes on one small shelf in a secure room somewhere…

Helen pulled another book down, one she'd already read, and Victor stopped her with a hand on her elbow. There was a factor that Helen wasn't taking into account. Whether because of a lack of understanding or a refusal to believe, she wasn't taking into account the creator. Illiana D'eva D'oris. Helen had dismissed the bizarre woman as merely a powerful trickster spirit, but Victor had not. Victor had a flexible imagination. A flexible imagination and at the time a wiped memory. He had not interacted with the woman, but he'd seen her do things and heard her claims, and Victor had been in the presence of powerful otherworldly beings before.

"Why don't you ask her?" Victor said, but Helen shook her head.

"Branches doesn't know the full details of how she was made, she has a great deal of arcane potential but her big concern is law and life. I-"

"No." Victor hushed, putting on finger on Helens lips, "Not Branches. You know who I mean."

"The spirit? But how could I possibly-"

Again Victor interrupted Helen, knowing the nature of the being he was suggesting Helen go to. "You won't have to. She'll show up herself. When every option I exhausted and it seems like there's no logical path, she'll show up."

"But if that were so, why isn't she here now?" Helen asked. Victor shrugged, maybe there were still options out there. Instead, he took the book from her and set it aside before wrapping an arm around her waist.

"A very good question, but one for tomorrow. You're exhausted and need rest now. Come on to bed." He said kindly, leading Helen off to her bed where she fell into a dreamless sleep the second her head hit the pillow.


The next morning, Helen put off her research in favor of unwinding a bit.Victor was probably right, now that the morning had come and sleep had washed away a few of her doubts. It gave her time to think, but in her thoughts she found that she had unconsciously ended up crossing the road into Branches part of the woods. Why had she done that? The original plan, from her perspective, had been to take a walk over the hall’s ruined fields to see if there might be something they could do to restore them. The devastation from Branches flight through the woods had settled somewhat but the smell of fresh pine tar was still strong in the air. Helen gave the inactive golem another once over, noting once again the crudity of the design and the flaws in it’s construction. Branches was, it seemed, just as confused as to the makeup of her own creations as Illiana was.

Helen found her way to a pair of stone posts that hadn’t been here before at the edge of Branches clearing, marking the entrance to the center of her “domain.” It was pleasant, the clearing, but Branches seemed to be absent. The ruins of the bandit camp had been neatly picked up and haphazardly tossed into two piles. One a messy wreck of obvious trash, and the other, a pile of usable scraps. She also had to admit, what the homunculus had done with the bandit leaders yurt was fairly impressive. The frame had been sunk into a pit and covered over with clay. The roof had remained as it was, heavy canvas that Branches had covered in cedar boughs and tarp.

Helen was getting ready to go back, when she caught movement from the two scrap piles. A length of town canvas was slithering out and weaving itself around a mix of splintered fiberglass rods and broken camp gear. A sheath of mud engulfed the moving mess and formed into the rough shape of a woman, the canvas continuing to move into strategic places on the “doll” and shifting in color. Before long, the familiar form of the Deus Ex stood before the Mage Hunter.

“Good morning Ms. McKinnon.” She said, sounding a bit put off, “It seems I’m not quite allowed to abscond from this reality at my desired time as of yet.”

“I guess Victor was right, and I’ve come to such an impasse that there really is no other option left to me.” Helen mused, watching Illiana with the unease she reserved for strange obscure entities.

“Indeed. Come, come, let’s have a seat inside. Branches is currently away, disappointing me with her life decisions. I wish she’d gone to you instead, but I digress.” Illiana grumbled. The small door to Branches home swung silently open, invitingly even. “She won’t be back for quite some time, too busy getting more advice from Roxanne and making eyes at… bah…”

For all of her, Helen was drawn to do as she was asked. She had no interest in looking through Branches home while she was away, but all the same it seemed she was going to be doing so. As for what Illiana had said about Roxanne or “making eyes,” she had no idea and a compulsion not to ask. A question for another day, and perhaps to be directed towards the homunculus.

“You have a question, and I have an answer, though you will probably assume I’m playing some trick on you. Go ahead and ask.” Illiana said impatiently. Helen wasn't sure what to say at all that, or where to start, and so she just cut straight to the meat of the matter.

"Is it possible for other people to make constructs like Branches?"

"No." Illiana said with a dismissive flick of her hand, then sighed, "No it is not Ms. McKinnon. Branches is a homunculus, no doubt, but not the sort you are familiar with. How do I put this in a way that sounds believable?" There came a long silence between them in which Helen had time to appreciate the rustic trappings of Branches home. No carpenter was the homunculus, but creation clearly ran in her blood. With the thought formed, Helen found Illiana was grinning knowingly at her. "I suppose that's as good a place to start as any. Creation does indeed run in her, if only I'd been aware of what would happen when I made her. It only makes sense to start at the beginning, or at least very close to it. Go on and have a seat on one of Branches mats, she won't mind."

Helen considered, then did as she was told. She had a feeling that this would all be new to her and indeed, it was.



"In the beginning," Illiana intoned, "the earth was flat. But not flat as I know you are thinking, I mean that it was utterly devoid of detail. A sphere floating in space adorned in an endless plain of grasses and trees. Dirt and flat red rock. No mountains, no hills, no rivers or canyons or lakes or oceans. All very interesting. It was not however devoid of movement. Every cycle, a spark would ignore the plain, and the rains would come and put it out. The earth would churn and mix the fertile ash with the hardy soil, and the wind would bring upon it the seeds of another generation. So it went for ages upon ages until one day, the Earth did not churn. Fires passion came and it's kiss burned away the grasses and trees, then the rains came and poured their love upon the ash, soaking it into a hard cast upon which the winds seeds could not take root. The wind saw what had happened, and asked of the fire and water why they had done what they'd done. To this, they responded that twas not their doing, twas the earth. The earth had not churned, had not mixed and shackled the fires passions with its staunch practicality. The rains had come then and blindly poured their love onto what had been left in the fires wake. Passion unchained, love without sense.

So the wind took up a waterlogged branch of charcoal, and descended into the earth to show it what had been wrought by it's inactivity. For many days and many nights, the fire and rains waited. Then upon the dawning of the fifth day, the wind emerged from the earth bearing with it something new. It was small and moved about on four limbs. Before long, it was tilling the ash into the earth with its front limbs, and moving about on its back limbs. The wind brought seeds, and it planted them in fertilized soil. The rains brought their showers and the creature watched. When the rain had passed, it gathered up the puddled water and followed the flame as it went, sousing it whenever the fire grew overeager. When night fell, it built more like itself and in the morning the wind would come and blow the breath of potential into them. In time, they grew more defined, bodies taking on more shapes and sizes and colors. They developed hands and feet. Eyes with which to see and mouths to speak. They tilled the soil, but did so without the finesse of the earth. Instead, they gave the labor their own touches of creativity. They filled the soil and moved it aside to make the rolling hills. Loose stones were gathered up or pulled from the depths of the earth and used to build the mountains. They dug trenches and filled them with water, creating the first rivers and canyons. They sorted the trees and plants and created biomes. Life sprang forth, and the world filled with it. The creatures born from the earth sorted them as well, inhabiting the regions of the world with their own special uniqueness and spreading the soul of fire and water, the heart of the earth, and the soul and unlimited potential of the blowing wind.



Helen was enthralled and for a a few moments, didn't realize that the Deus ex had stopped talking.

"Well? What happened next in this creation myth of yours?" She asked. Illiana seemed introspective, lost in thought until finally.

"They faded away. They seeded the world as we know it and then simply returned to the soil from which they came. That's not to say they didn't develop a culture or even a uniform shape, had their own superstitions about things like eyes and types of stone or soil, but mostly they shaped the world as we know it. Besides, I've told you a much simplified version of events and didn't go into the love affair between the wind queen and the stone king that began the whole chain of events."

"I thought you said there was nothing alive before?" Helen asked. She settled quickly, understanding that creation stories were often like this. Leaving out small details, as any "history" would often do.

"Of course silly, but can the wind be said to truly be 'alive?' Or the earth? Or fire?" Illiana shot back casually. Helen thought about it. Taking the question from the average standpoint, no, but if you thought about it spiritually… "It is a hard question isn't it? However you want to look at it, you wanted to know if it was possible that someone else could make a being like Branches. The story I told should illustrate that beings like her did once exist, but they were created by powerful beings. Sure, they multiplied themselves, but the wind had to give them a breath of potential before they actually moved around at all. Branches is a creation of my will, the will of an omnipotent godlike being possessing just the tiniest touch of my own Deus Ex Potentia." Illiana scanned the room looking around at everything Branches had accomplished in her short shot at life, basking in the experience of pride. Then stood, reached out, and flipped one of the polaroids on Branches windowsill onto its face. "I just wish she wouldn't squander it so… It's been fun Helen, but I really must be going. I've told you enough to get those brain gears moving. More than enough to fulfill my purpose. Remember to remind Branches to get Roxanne to her arbitration next month would you? Thanks. Ta!"

There was no flash, no flourish. Before Helen could rise, the strange purple haired woman in the business suit simply opened the front door, strode out, and vanished. With that, Helen was left alone in the small house by the lake.

Helen ruminated for a long time on the story before deciding that most of it was probably well thought out bunk. Branches was no more some kind of "Proto Homunculus" than Helen was a red mage. She was still thinking on it, when the subject of her pondering pushed her way into the shack, and stopped.

"Um… What are you doing in my house?" She asked nervously. Still afraid of Helen. Probably always would be on some level. Helen made some excuse and stayed a bit longer for tea, which Branches seemed to have picked up a like of. While they sipped, Helen saw her take notice of the turned down photo and flip it back up. It featured mainly Hector, but standing uncomfortably close to his side was the Homunculus looking like she was about to catch fire from nervousness. Helen considered for a long time after she left and wondered why she hadn't just told Branches that the woman she'd gone to for advice was playing her, then let it go. She needed to learn about life, and whether it turned out for better or worst, Branches would need to learn this lesson on her own.
4
Rec Room / Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Last post by Chaosvolt on November 10, 2019, 04:17:27 pm »
(( Written with Salt. ))


Minx had seen Medeina assert control over other robots before and thought that this would be something like that, but when they got to it, Medeina simply scuttled around it. It was dead, well and truly. Up close to it Minx and Medeina had no problem seeing the extent of the damage and very shortly Hector could see it too. Inside the cage, along the "roof" of the robot, a circular panel had been pried open and the machines guts had been carefully pulled out. Minx didn't have much attention for it though, Hector noted. Her eyes seemed to find themselves drawn away again and again, and when he followed her distracted gaze, he saw what she saw. Coyotes. Avoiding them of course, seeming to avoid the cage machine or the town center itself. There wasn't fear or nervousness in Minx's look. Just a kind of sadness.

"Mr. Lowe," Medeina asked, "When we are done with Catnip's task, would it be possible to drag this machine back to Walkerville? I would like to run an inspection diagnostic, but I cannot move from my proxy while this far from Mr. Koenigs computer."

Hector gave another little glance at the local wildlife, keeping the M2 pointed in a safe direction once the others were close to the machine, and the animals skulking about didn't seem like much of a threat for now.

"I suppose we could, I'd suggest being careful with it though. Given how a lot of the AI was back when this all started, don't want you catching something from it." he remarked, before turning his attention down the road. They were definitely close, it was just a matter of finding the facility among all the greenery.

Medeina prodded at a bone, some large slab shaped thing with holes running up the beak like ridge at it's center. Hector had no doubt that it was some kind of skull. The coyotes kept their distance, and soon vanished back into the greenery from whence they came. In the distance to the east, the call of some unknown creature rose and faded away. Hector realized there were no undead here, and he found that a bit odd.

"Shouldn't be too hard to find it." Minx commented, pointing up towards a vine covered pillar with a sign on each side. Hector shielded his visor and leered at it.

Quote
WELCOME TO NEW GAIA CENTER
TENJIN -  EAST
BHADRA - SOUTH EAST
APHRODITE - SOUTH WEST
MENRVA - WEST
MEDEINA - NORTH

"I suppose we start north then." Hector said, adjusting his grip on the M2. He had to reign in his surprise and his urge to raise the weapon again because at that moment a man in a lab coat strode out of a small apartment building up the street. He saw them. He saw them seeing him, and Hector thought he would bolt, but then the man waved and began to weave his way through the growth and few wrecked vehicles towards them.

Hector glanced toward the brush the man went through, gesturing to Minx and Medeina as he pulled the tank a bit closer to the side of the road and shut it out. "Who's that..." he said softly, shaking his head as he secured the mounted gun before closing the hatch, slinging the carbine propped up nearby over his shoulder and picking up his shield as he made his way out of the back hatch to join the other two. Seeing the stranger approaching, he gave a wave, for now only having shield in hand.
5
Rec Room / Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Last post by saltmummy626 on October 16, 2019, 09:42:54 pm »
[written by salt and wilson over the course of several months, oof]

A man walked away from the group, giving a wave of his arms. He was finely dressed compared most of the others, a velvet paisley vest with a dark red dress shirt along with a golden puff tie and two pistols at his hip, butts pointing forward. As he walked close enough for the duo to hear, "Can't stand that fucker..." He growled, deep enough in thought to not notice them right away. Jennifer watched him go, noting his bearing and the way he stuck out among the common raiders.

"Who is that?" She asked, giving Dave a nudge. Dave watched the man warily but with a hint of distaste mixed with fear. His walk slowed to something more matching their own almost imperceptibly to all but Jennifer, and she realized the mans ears were sharp. He'd caught her question and was waiting to hear what the answer would be, and she wondered.

"Duke..." Dave said low and full of acid, "With the Sun Dogs for only a week now. Nobody knows why he's with them but they figure he'll move along eventually. Has a habit of jumping from clan to clan for a few years now. Never stays with clans like the Sun Dogs long though... Maybe he fancies himself the next Raider Khan..."

Duke rocked back and forth on his boots, pondering to himself. Only listening to the last part of Dave's explaination. 'Raider Kahn...' he thought to himself, 'It's a temptin' position, but... too many potential knives in m'back. It's too tempting, bouncing between these 'clans' or somesuch...' He glanced over at Jennifer, giving a little tip of his pork pie hat to awknowledge her as he paced around. ''m bettin' there are folks willin' to pay better t'see that Hoyt sumbitch fall right on his ass t'put it lightly... Maybe...' His thoughts trailed off as he took off his hat, to scratch at his scalp in thought. Duke took out a little composition notebook, not much larger than the palm of his hand, out of the inside of his vest. He scribbled down his thoughts and plans, grunting a bit as he squinted at the writing.

While the girls and the Raider were talking, they felt eyes peering at them. A short, thin man stood a ways behind them, simply staring at them. He donned a navy blue jumpsuit, with big black workboots and an olive green dufflebag along with an odd device on his wrist and an albino rooster mask.

And he was simply standing there, staring at them.

Cherise noticed and stared back for a bit while Jennifer talked, then shook her head. 'Weird.' she thought, 'People are weird out here...' Then said aloud, "Are we getting a move on? We should probably step lively."

Duke finished adding to his journal, before looking up and seeing the figure behind the girls. "Ah god dammit" He grumbled, walking past the girls and smacking the man upside the head. "Dammit Richie what the fuck did I tell ya 'bout starin' at folks?!" He berated, as the man went from dead still to flinching and typing on the device on his wrist. "Sorry.- It's a force of habit.-" The device said in a feminine monotonous voice.
6
General Discussion / Re: Last Man Posting: -50% SHENANIGANS
« Last post by saltmummy626 on October 16, 2019, 09:41:50 pm »
Aya, shits slow now though.
7
Rec Room / Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Last post by Chaosvolt on October 16, 2019, 01:42:38 pm »
(( Written with ſalt, mostly by him in fact. ))

Hector gave his equipment a momentary once-over along the way. Shield, sword, M4 hanging from an equipment rack behind the seat. Didn't bring that  odd magical sword, as it seemed unlikely he'd need it. As he pondered Minx's remarks about whether she'd need to use her own weapon, he had the unfortunate suspicion that either Medeina will be solidly disappointed to find nothing alive down there, or else anything that'd survive all these years will likely mean trouble...

"Can I fire the cannon?" Minx asked.

"Have we arrived yet?" Medeina asked. Hector sighed heavily, marveling at how some things never changed. The collective childishness of people never did seem to go away, even now, and it seemed even artificial intelligence could be made to emulate that level of immaturity in the right circumstances. As before, Hector responded by telling Minx that his shells were limited and they needed to save them. Then, he took out his automap and compared it to the printed one hung next to the driver's seat via a banana shaped magnet.

"Getting there Medeina." He said, sliding the automap back into the slot Catnip had installed below the Seige Towers instruments. "Another fifteen to twenty and we'll be in the area."

Minx hadn't, but both Hector and Medeina had noticed that the scenery was changing. The closer they got, the more lush everything was. The world had had time to move on and pull things down in its own time, but this...

"Stop here please." Medeina suddenly chirruped, breaking Minx from her reverie and bringing Hector back from his musings. That was when he noticed what Medeina had noticed long before he'd even been aware of the overgrown derelict taking up two parking spaces and a good section of the intersection ahead. It was a robot. A massive one looking more like a huge shop vac. Only instead of a huge holding tank there was a cage, and rather than a suction hose and outlet, it was armed with a trio of arms tipped with crescent shaped appendages that Hector realized were some kind of catch poles. The cage was filled with the bones of various creatures, and perhaps he could imagine why Medeina would be interested in it.

Hector stopped and the robot made no move, as dead as the small town around it. "Alright, just be careful. If it's still active and you get in reach of that thing..." he said softly, opening the hatch above his seat to take a cautious look around, and prep the gun mounted there. Ammunition for that was increasingly at a premium as well, these days.
8
General Discussion / Re: Last Man Posting: -50% SHENANIGANS
« Last post by Chaosvolt on October 16, 2019, 01:25:54 pm »
Omae wa mou smol.
9
General Discussion / Re: Last Man Posting: -50% SHENANIGANS
« Last post by BadSniper on October 14, 2019, 02:23:55 am »
Holy crap, I just rediscovered this place.

It's like finding your old house decades after the apocalypse.
10
Creative Endeavors / Re: Spinning Sightlines: A Bizarre Adventure
« Last post by Wheel-Son on September 27, 2019, 12:50:02 pm »
Old News Excerpt-- Printing date: 1834

Japanese Immigrants flood into Flordia

    An unsurprising turn of events-- Japanese immigrants from upwards of 5,000 potential citizens come in after Japan, a monarch island state, opened itself up to the west in 1829.




The Coyote


    Clydesdale sat the odd, black stylus on the counter of the general trader. "What can I get f'this?" He inquired.

    The shopkeeper gave him a look and scoffed, "Ya'feckin' kiddin' me? Yeh'think this trash is worth any--" He interrupted himself as he gave it a closer look. "Hnmph. Well-- I can't really resell this. But. The jeweler a lil' ways outta town likes this kinda weird shite."

    Clydesdale squinted at him for a moment, before letting out a simple “Christ…” under his breath, walking out of the general store. He walked down the street, close to the edge of town was a rickety, old jeweler’s workshop. Inside, behind the counter was an old, short asian man. He let out a soft grunt, greeting Clydesdale with an “Irasshaimase. What do you need?”

    With another solid thunk, the bounty hunter sat the obsidian black stencil on the counter. “The fella’ over at the general store said you had an interest in these kinda’ trinkets.”

    The old man behind the counter let out an interested chuckle, “Oooh, hooohoohooo… I do… This is made of something very interesting. Not a whole lot of people get this metal. Very special. You’re the-- Ah.--”

    He snapped as he tried to remember the word, “Gansuringā. Shooter man. Shootist?”

    The jeweler snapped once more and pointed at Clydesdale, “Gunslinger!”

    Clydesdale stifled a little chuckle at the shorter man in front of him, “That’s- uh. That’s me.” He responded as the jeweler gave a nod.

    The old man dug out some tools, a larger crucible, a cast, a set of little hammers, a vice, and a little acetylene stove. “I can make you something very special, friend. Something that may assist with your ‘work’.”

    Clydesdale scrunched up his nose, “And how much would this be?”

    The old man let out a little laugh, “Good sir! It’ll only be 10 dollars for my handywork! Anywhere else would of scammed you with maybe two-- three dollars! Or if they’re a craftsman, charge you three-- four times more!”

    Puledro stared at him for a moment, before Clydesdale pulled out a wad of cash and handing over a few bills. “It’d prob’ly make a p’good ring…” He mumbled as the old man counted.

    The jeweler nodded, “Alright, good sir. It should be done in a couple of hours. Stay safe.” He praddled on, as Clydesdale tipped his hat and walked out. Having returned to the center of town, he frowned a bit. Passersby gave him side-glances and dirty looks, his duel from yesterday left a sour taste in many of the townspeople’s mouths.

    Puledro let out a huff, before stumbling into Mashad again. “Oh-- Uh. Sorry, Mr. Clydesdale."

    Clydesdale let out a little noise, “It’s fine, how’s the cut, kid? Two hundred good enough?”

    The young man nodded eagerly, “Y-yessir.”

    Clydesdale frowned a bit at that, “Naw kid, I ain’t your boss. No need to call me ‘sir’ or ‘Mr. Clydesdale.’”

    "Just Clydesdale?" Mashad asked

    "Just Clydesdale." He confirmed.

    The two walked and talked down the road, down towards the saloon to get out of the sun and the dry heat. Inside the dusty bar was a man with a guitar, singing a little tune¹. They checked in with the bar man, got a pitcher of water, a couple of glasses, and a bottle of watered down whiskey. Clydesdale and Mashad picked out a small booth in a little nook up on the second floor. They celebrated a job well done, Clydesdale rose his whiskey, as Mashad clinked his glass of water with the bounty hunter’s.

    Clydesdale and Mashad talked, the bounty hunter learned about the younger vagabond’s past. However, it wasn’t long before the two heard a chilling, humorless, chuckle². “As I live an’ breathe-- The golden gunslinger! An’ he’s a bounty hunter now.”

    Clydesdale glared at him, “‘The fuck are you?” He grumbled.
    The man with a thick southern accent, “Ya’ got a lil’ pest with ya’. I heard y’were ‘round here, Leprett’s a nice town. Folks don’t talk much if y’pay ‘em well ‘nuff. An’ the guv’ment folks don’t do shit.”

    Clydesdale rose up in his chair, “Who. In the Hell. D’ya think, y’are?”

    The southern man let out an ‘ahhh’ before he answered him, “‘Bobby Pierce’, y’might know me as ‘The Coyote.’ Anyways-- My point, some ‘a my friends ‘round here said they saw a strange feller sign a contract with the local pinkertons an’ come back with a well dressed corpse on th’back of his horse. Not unusual fer an undertaker, ‘cept it was a gunslinger. So they figured it was someone who fancied himself t’be the next Wild Bill or maybe th’next Zeppeli with them steel balls on yer gun-belt. But neither of ‘em are alive so Ah Digress. I like ya’ Clydesdale, ah really do. Stories ah hear ‘bout’chu are straight outta a dime novel. Fun t’hear! Now if yew--”

    Clydesdale slammed his hands against the table, standing up and clearing leather. He shot Pierce square between the eyes³.

    Inside the dusty bar was a man with a guitar, singing a little tune. They checked in with the bar man, got a pitcher of water, a couple of glasses, and a bottle of watered down whiskey. Clydesdale stopped dead in his tracks, he felt clammy and looked pale. “...huh…?”

    Mashad blinked for a moment, as they sat at a booth, in a nook on the second floor. “You feel that deja vu too, right?” He asked, as Clydesdale nodded.

    “That-- happened. It must’ve--” Clydesdale stammered, as they heard a familiar, cold chuckle.

    “An’ it did, my friend. Ah see I must be slippin’ a lil’bit, cuz you sir. Are certainly fast enuff t’put John Wesley t’shame, friend. But I digress, I’m willin’ t’put Kalvin aside since honestly, th’man was a sonuvabitch. But if y’all come after me an’ what ahm doin’? I’ll make sure y’all’re six feet under, ya’hear? Now, arrivederci as them Italians say.” He said, with a little tip of his hat, leaving the saloon with the message.

    Clydesdale sat down, putting his face into his hands. “What-- Was that?”

    Mashad swallowed nervously, talking in a low voice, “He has a ‘Stand’, Clydesdale. I saw it--”

    “With what I could se-- My blood ran cold at the sight of it...“ He finished, pouring himself a drink from the pitcher. Clydesdale rubbed his eyes, pouring himself a drink from the whiskey bottle. Taking a swig from the glass and rubbing his eyes, Clydesdale let out a sigh.

    “At least the Pinkertons told me there’s more work over out in the boonies, an’ there’s a sighting of one of Bobby’s gang over in a town called ‘Whitetail’. Prolly will take th’next train over there, y’- uh.” Clydesdale paused, “You an’ me make a good team, suprisin’ly. Yer welcome t’come along if y’d’like.” He offered.

    Mashad responded with, “Are you… sure? I dunno if a mostly blind man would be much of use…”

    Clydesdale waved him off, “Naw kid, you can see them hoodoo stand whatsits. I donno if I’ll run into any more of them ‘stand users’ like with Kalvin, but ‘cides. Yer pleasant t’talk to.”

    “Hah- fair enough…” Mashad chuckled at that, raising his glass. Clydesdale raised his in response.

To Be Continued⁴

Quote
¹ https://youtu.be/aTGRMpVg_-s
² https://youtu.be/tf_EvjG7Ir8
³ https://youtu.be/YYQNxTRAJLU
https://youtu.be/oyQNvgVJyRM
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NOCTIFER IS A FAGGOT