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A Quest about fighting monsters and hippies with your government-mandated shoulder loli.

---

There is something deeply concerning about the little girl before you.

You can't quite put your finger on why you feel this way.
Could it be her violet eyes, which are visibly glowing in the dark? Is it the ominous-looking halo floating above her head? Or maybe it's the fact that she's currently trying to dig up a grave?

Yeah, it's probably all of the above.

You can't help but let out a quiet, tired sigh. You had a good run. Three years working the night shift at the Rolling Hills Cemetery, watching trashy romance anime and shitposting on 4chan. It was quiet, paid okay, and kept you out of any stressful situations that might worsen your balding.

Goddamnit. Fucking Alices and Beasts and the goddamn Guignol. The world all went to shit when they started showing up.

As the girl throws her shovel to the side with a shout of exhausted triumph, you quickly come up with a plan of action from your position in the hedges.

Maybe you can ask for a pay raise or something after this.

[Select one.]
>Call for backup. She's obviously a rogue Alice, and you have very little interest in discovering whatever weird powers she's got.

>Sneak up on her. You have no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.
>>
Since this is primarily a narrative quest, I'm going to say that there's not going to be any trap votes. If you somehow manage to fuck up and die, this Quest will not end.
>>
>>5115118
>Sneak up on her. You have no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.
Gunslinger Girl inspired? If so, good taste.
>>
>>5115127
The more I discover how incredibly unoriginal my setting is, the harder I laugh, because this means even more things to research.
I was in the mood for a buddy-cop thing and this is the result.
Thank you for the recommendation, though. I'll be sure to check it out when I've got the time.
>>
>>5115118
>Sneak up on her. You have no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.

Non lethal if we can.

Also, the premise reminds me a lot of Aria of the Scarlet Ammo, personally.
>>
i don't like loli's because im not a pedophile

>Leave
>>
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>>5115118
>Sneak up on her. You have no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.
>>5115142
>>
>>5115118
>Sneak up on her. You have no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.

Sweet, another loli quest.
>>
>>5115169
Another? Where?!
>>
>Sneak up on her. You've got no fucking clue what the hell she's doing, but you're not about to let her finish.

You vaguely remember a line from some show you watched. Or was it from a book? You can't remember.
Either way, it goes something like "allowing the enemy time to prepare is setting yourself up for failure."

...You think you mangled that quote, but the idea is there.

Somehow, the little girl fails to notice a 230-pound man creeping up behind her. As you approach, you hear furious muttering, and--oh, wow, what on Earth is she saying?

"Fuahahaha! By the dark powers vested in my right, uh, eye, I summon thee to do my bidding! Hades, unchain the souls of the wretched and damned! Anubis, hound of the dead! May this cursed criminal rise, rise, rise so that I may banish the forces of evil…!"

Jesus Christ. She's a chuunibyou. You knew Alices were supposed to act like children, but this is...

Thankfully, it's nighttime, and the position of the moon means she can't see your shadow. You watch in morbid fascination for a few moments, then flinch as a black flame bursts from her hand, sinking into the ground.

Yeah, no. That's enough of that.

You grab her by the halo, carefully avoiding the spikes, and with a grunt of exertion, haul her out of the pit like an incredibly large radish. She yelps in a most undignified manner, flailing her limbs and kicking around dirt and really failing to do much of anything at all.

"Awah! L-let go of me! I mean--foul creature, dark reprobate! Unhand me! Do you know who I am!?"

"No and no. Don't care, you're trespassing."

She fumes, cheeks flushed and tears beginning to gather in the corners of her eyes. You'd almost feel bad if it weren't for the fact that it was probably an adult inside of that head.

It's a good thing you kept up your workout routine, otherwise you'd have a bit of trouble here. With one arm extended, you keep hold of her halo, then quickly activate the radio strapped to your belt. Damn, she's heavy.

"Hey, Nick. Uh, can you call the cops real quick? Turns out the thing you saw on the cameras was an Alice, and--"

"Aha! About time! Dark servant, defeat this agent of evil and release me from his grasp!"

A skeleton bursts from beneath you, and with a shout of surprise, you drop the girl. She screams as she falls, but the skeleton manages to catch her just in time.

It then collapses immediately, on account of being a skeleton and lacking any kind of musculature to support all 85 pounds of her.

"Uwah!"

Well, at least now you know what her ability is. Some kind of necromancy. You watch warily as it begins to pull itself back together, blue flames flickering brightly in its eyesockets.

[1/?]
>>
>>5115181
Fuck, forgot image.
>>
I might have to pull up a chair for this one.
>>
"Attack, attack, attack!" The girl shouts with great energy from her position in the pit, and the skeleton shambles towards you. She cheers, cackling loudly.

"Jack? Jack, what the fuck's going on? Did you say an Alice!?"

"Bit busy, Nick! Backup, if you would!?"

You dive towards the shovel she dropped earlier, and with a burst of speed, turn just in time to smash the tip of the spade right into the skeleton's skull.

With a resounding crack[/], yellowed bone splinters, shatters, and explodes beneath your strike.

The Alice freezes, then lets out a cry of anger. "What the fuck! That's so unfair!"

You let out a huff and wipe the sweat from your brow. You were almost worried for a second there.
Turning around to face the girl, you point the shovel at her and open your mouth to begin a severe lecture on why graverobbing is bad, and how when the local Protectorate come around, she should quietly join them and maybe they won't punish her too badly.

Before you can even so much as begin, though, you feel a bony hand grip your ankle and give a push. This close to the edge of the pit, there's not a lot you can do to stop from falling.

Her scream is cut off as you collapse on top of her.

Jesus fuck, you didn't kill her, did you? As you begin to panic, - even if, legally speaking, Alices aren't considered either children or adults, you can't help but feel bad about accidentally crushing someone that looks like a kid - your radio buzzes.

"Jack? Are you okay now? Heard some screaming, is the Alice neutralized? The Protectorate says they'll be there in 10 minutes. I can't see you from the cameras here, do you need me to come help?"

You gingerly move to the side and breathe a sigh of relief when she groans.
Seems like the Alices really are more durable than they look. That Wonderland Effect thing does some freaky shit.

"Alice neutralized. Nick, I'd appreciate it if you could get a ladder or something from the storage room." You shoot a wary glance upwards, then breathe a sigh of relief when you see the skeleton's fallen apart. Must've come undone when she got knocked out.

While you wait for Nick to arrive, you slap some cuffs on the girl and brush the dirt off your uniform. After a moment, you decide to do the same for her, too.

It takes a little while, but soon the Alice stirs, muttering something about sumo wrestlers.

She cracks open an eye, then shoots to her feet. She then trips and falls flat on the ground, hands locked firmly behind her, and begins to wail. You pull her up before she swallows and dirt and grimace at the sight of a crying girl.

"P-please don't hurt me-hee-heeeee!"

[2/3]
>>
>>5115232
Motherfucker, formatting italicized everything. Please kill me.
Anyways:
Select two.
>"What's your name?"
>"What the fuck were you doing out here?"
>"Are you working with anyone?"
>Try and comfort her. Or just bullishly continue with the Protectorate recruitment speech, you're supposed to do that, right?
>You have no idea how to handle a crying girl. You'll just… sit here. Awkwardly. In the dirt. Please, Nick, hurry up.
>Write-in.
[3/3]
>>
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>>5115190
ZAMN!
>>
>>5115234
>"What the fuck were you doing out here?"
>>
>>5115234
>>Try and comfort her. Or just bullishly continue with the Protectorate recruitment speech, you're supposed to do that, right?

>>5115179
I'm still hoping dumbledoreQM continue His loli voldemort quest Anon.
>>
>>5115241
>>5115270
You can select two, guys.
I've got most of the next update written out.
>>
>>5115234
>>"Are you working with anyone?"
>>Try and comfort her. Or just bullishly continue with the Protectorate recruitment speech, you're supposed to do that, right?

I'll go with these two then.
>>
>>5115234
>"What's your name?"
>Try and comfort her. Or just bullishly continue with the Protectorate recruitment speech, you're supposed to do that, right?
>>
I'll leave votes open for another 30 minutes and then roll a dice there's no agreement on what the second option should be.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d3)

1: >"What the fuck were you doing out here?"
2: >"Are you working with anyone?"
3: >"What's your name?"
>>
>Try and comfort her. Or just bullishly continue with the Protectorate recruitment speech, you're supposed to do that, right?
>"What the fuck were you doing out here?"

You palm your face and groan. You don't know how to do this. There's a reason you never come over to family gatherings anymore, and it's not just because your mother will inevitably ask you about your marital status.

Why did your sister ever think it was a good idea to have six kids, damnit?

You decide to turn to your only other companion for help. Whispering into your radio, you pray for a Hail Mary.

"Nick, how do you talk to kids?"

"Why the fuck are you asking me? We've been working together for the past 3 years, man. You and the boss are the only actual people I've talked to that whole time."

Wow. You… don't know what to say to that. It's kind of pitiable, in a really funny way. Or is it the other way around?
Either way, you're clearly on your own here.

Introductions. Introductions. Gotta start from there, right? Right. You can do that.

Uncomfortably, you clear your throat. The girl has some lungs on her; she hasn't stopped crying at all.

"Uh. Can you stop crying?"

She pauses briefly to stare at you, hiccuping.

Then she somehow cries even harder.

You can't help it. You panic.

"Wha-what did I do!? Stop crying! Stop! Please?"

Faintly, you can hear Nick laughing at your plight. With a click, you shut off the radio so no one else can listen to you fuck up.

You sit there, struggling to come up with something you can do to calm her down.
Kids. Kids. Kids. You know she's not a real kid, but damn if she doesn't act like a brat.

What do kids like?

With a start, you recall the full-size Snickers bar you have in your back pocket. It was supposed to be a snack for later, but fuck it, it'll do.

The Alice finally takes a breath to stop sobbing, and you take advantage of that moment to drop the candy bar in her lap. She looks down, surprised, then screws her face up when she sees that it's been partially squished from your fall. Before she can continue blowing out your eardrums, you cut in.

"Shut up and eat, or I'm taking it back."

[1/?]
>>
She looks at you, eyes puffy and red, before twisting slightly to show her wrists.

They're still cuffed together.

"Oh. Right."

"Yeah, oh. Right," she parrots back, voice raspy. She sniffles.

"Don't snark at me, punk. Wait, fuck, don't cry again!"

She stares angrily at you, her back pushed up against a wall. "Then let go of me!"

"Like hell I can do that."

"Why not!?"

You can't help it. You're damn tired of this kid, your ass is sore, and your ears hurt.
"Are you retarded? You're a fucking Alice. You tried to break into a cemetery for god-knows-what reason, then you brought a fucking skeleton to life to try and kill me, and you're asking me why I can't let you go?"

She looks affronted at first, then slowly wilts as you continue. When you're done, the Alice has her head between her knees and looks like a kicked puppy.

"I wasn't gonna kill you… I just wanted to get a minion so I could fight the Beasts…"

"A minion? You mean the skeleton?"

"Yeah! I can't--my power doesn't work with anything else but the dead!"

Wow. That fucking sucks. You're not even sure if the Protectorate would take her in or just execute her.
Then a thought strikes you.

"Have you tried using it on literally anything other than a human corpse? Like a dog or something? There's plenty of strays around here, you know."

The Alice opens her mouth to reply, a frown on her face, then freezes. A thoughtful look appears.
She closes her mouth. Opens it. Closes it again.

Then she lets out a quiet "oh."

You sigh. At least she's not crying anymore. That's progress.

"Alright. We've established you're dumb as bricks--"

"Hey!"

"--and you're definitely going to receive some kind of sentence for assault on a regular human, but if all you wanted to do was fight Beasts, we can work with that. If you stay quiet and cooperate, I can try to vouch for you to the Protectorate."

The Alice looks back down. "I… I don't wanna."

You have to hold in your frustration. "Why?"

"Government sucks. Can't trust authority." Some small defiance creeps into her voice, and you realize she really is a chuuni in every sense of the word.

"Look at me, kid. Look at me. I'm going to tell you, as clearly as possible, why it is in your best interest to work with the Protectorate here. Okay?

Good. I don't know how you became an Alice, whether you asked to become one from the Grand-Guignol or got caught up in one of their attacks. Don't really care, to be honest--how you use your powers matters more than how you got them, and all that.
But you're no longer considered a human. You have very, very few rights. Doesn't matter if you were a teenager or an adult before you turned, we have no way to prove it anyways. Family? You can forget about them. Maybe they'll be allowed to visit you, maybe not--depends on how you behave.
I'm a security guard now, but I used to be…"

[Select one.]
>"...a policeman."
(Gain combat training.)

>"...a first responder."
(Gain medical training.)

[2/?]
>>
>>5115331
>"...a first responder."
if she can make minions why put our body on the line plus it seems easier to take up boxing over becoming a doctor if we really need to fight
>>
>>5115331
>"...a first responder."
In theory unless she finds a way to enhance her minions or can reanimate the really big nasty stuff her power is pretty fucking terrible.
>>
>>5115331
>"...a first responder."
I like this angle
>>
>"...a first responder."
(Gain medical training.)

The Alice squints at you. "You don't look like much of a doctor."

"Yeah, well, it wasn't for long, alright? Decided to switch careers to a nice and quiet stint out here. Was fine until you came along. Either way, I've worked with the Protectorate before, and they don't fuck around with anything they consider a serious threat. Beasts? Dead. Members of Guignol? Well, after they squeeze them for information, dead. Rogue Alices? Either they surrender and work with them on probation, or…"

The Alice's already pale skin whitens even further. She quietly finishes for you.

"...Dead."

You sigh and take the candy bar from her lap, peeling back some of the wrapper and offering it to her before you continue. It doesn't feel good to lay it all out like this.

She looks at the chocolate like it's a venomous snake, then gingerly takes a bite out of it. You tear off the bitten piece for yourself, ignoring her cry of outrage.

"That's disgusting!"

"My candy, my choice. Grow up, I didn't stick it in my mouth; you can keep eating."

Thankfully, your distraction worked. She no longer looks quite as terrified, so you keep going.

"Anyways, you get the idea. It's harsh. I don't blame them. One wrong step and it's the Firebird all over again. I'd rather not see this city get blown to kingdom come, thanks. I live here, after all."

The Alice swallows thickly at the mention of the Firebird, and you nod accordingly. Damn thing ashed near half the West Coast before it got killed.

"You're lucky I'm not hurt. It's not an attack on how weak you are, though you are kinda pathetic. It means if you play nice, I'll just report the break-in and the Protectorate won't be breathing down your neck. We do that, and I'll only have to sign two tons of paperwork instead of ten."

You frown at the thought of more work. That's going to suck.

"Despite everything, they still want to reintegrate you Alices back into society. Not everyone becomes one by choice, after all."

You sit back down in the dirt with a thump, throat dry from talking so much. The Alice is looking down at her boots in a thoughtful silence.
You'll leave her to simmer on that for a bit. With a click, you turn the radio back on.

"Nick, can you get me some water?"

"Get it yourself, Jack."

Nick's voice comes from the radio and from above you. You look up just in time to avoid getting stabbed in the eye by a collapsible ladder.

"Christ, man, careful!"

The younger man eyes the Alice next to you, unable to look away from her halo. "Yeah, yeah, you'll be fine. She won't, uh, throw lightning or something at me, will she?"

"If she could do something like that, I really doubt I'd still be alive."

[3/5]
>>
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He snorts. "Fair. Should've called for help earlier, dumbass. Protectorate should be coming any minute now."

You let out a breath you didn't realize you were holding in. The Alice yelps when you grab her by the scruff of her coat and haul her up the ladder with you.

"U-unhand me, wretch! Be gentle!"

Seems like she's back to chuuni-speak now that someone else is here. At the sound of screeching tires, you let go of the Alice and walk over to the gate, shoving the candy bar back into your pocket. Outside, a black truck and two sleek cars with the Protectorate emblem painted on the side have just pulled up.

Nick walks up next to you and pushes his glasses up nervously at the sight. He gulps and moves behind you when a squad of heavily armed soldiers begin pouring from the back of the truck, the damn chicken.
You rest an elbow on the Alice's head, but pull back when her horns dig into you. Ow.

You whisper into her ear. "Don't talk unless you're spoken to." She nods, fear in her eyes.

The soldiers fan out to secure the area, with a pair of them walking past the gates and into the graveyard. They zero in on the disturbed grave and the pile of bones next to it, muttering to each other before they cordon off the area.

Before you, one of the cars opens up. A man dressed in black steps out, followed by a teenager holding a… sword?
Honestly, the guy in glasses looks half your age. You know better than to underestimate him, though.
After all, the teenager must be an Alice. Pointy ears and everything. And if he's an Alice, then the man's an Attendant.

Scary bastards, all of them.

You fire off an awkward salute as the man approaches. He pauses at that, then lets out a laugh.

"You can rest easy, Mr. Yang. I'm hardly the sort to demand a senior salute me."

You don't ask how he knows your last name. Hell, he probably knows your blood type, dick size, and what you ate for breakfast, too.
You try to calm down, reminding yourself that he's on the good guy's side.

Insofar as something like that really even exists, anyways.

"Right. Thanks for coming. The Alice is over here."

You push her forward, but she clutches your sleeve, immobile. Her eyes are locked on the teenager, and she's trembling. She tries to hide behind you, and you make no move to stop her.

Nick gives you a weird look at how accommodating you are of her, but shrugs.

The man glances at her, sighs, and smacks the back of the head of his Alice. "Stop scaring her, Dmitri."

Dmitri grins, revealing a row of terrifyingly sharp teeth. With a clack, his sword slides back into its sheath--when did he take it out?
"Aww. But I've gotta show the newbie where she stands, Vicky!"

The man turns back towards you, an apologetic look on his face. "Forgive me. I'm Viktor Constantia, First Class Attendant to Dmitri Constantia. He's a bit testy at waking up to go work when it's this late, but he won't do anything to harm you."

[4/5]
>>
You note how he doesn't once look at the girl next to you. The implication that this promise doesn't extend to her hangs in the air, unspoken. Whatever Dmitri was doing - you couldn't sense a thing - it's over now. Though she still looks terrified, she's no longer burying her face in your side, at least. Damn brat.

Viktor begins to speak, voice still pleasantly smooth. "If you could tell me more about the, ah, attack? That would be much appreciated."

He glances at Nick.

"I wasn't here for much, Mr. Constantia. Just saw her trying to climb over the gate on the cameras, and since Jack was on patrol, sent him over. Can I, uh, leave?"

Damnit, Nick! He's throwing you to the wolves here! You try to kill him with the force of your glare, but he stoically avoids looking at you.

Agh. You'll get him back for this.

Viktor nods. Nick sidles away, then runs off when he thinks no one's looking. You're quite sure everyone saw that, though.

"Back to you, then, Mr. Yang."

As coolly as possible, you give a stripped down retelling of what transpired. You saw the Alice in the middle of digging up a grave. You snuck up on her and subdued her--

Dmitri interrupts, surprise clear on his face. "You 'subdued' her? How the hell didja pull that off?"

His Attendant raises an eyebrow at him, and the teenager grunts. "Fine, fine, I'll shut up." He yawns, then wanders off to go bother one of the soldiers, who have been utterly silent since they began to secure the perimeter. Even now, they don't respond to the Alice, who eventually gives up and goes to sleep right on the ground.

Viktor watches this byplay quietly, and you think you note a flicker of emotion in his eyes.
He faces you again and lets out a sigh.

"I apologize for my brother's interruption, Mr. Yang. Still, I must agree. How did you manage to subdue an Alice? Normally, they're a fair bit stronger than the average human."

His brother, huh? …It's none of your business.

"Picked her up by the halo."

Viktor pauses at that. "You… picked her up by the halo?" He glances down at your arms, then takes a look at how small she actually is, and finally nods to himself. "Quite impressive. Please continue."

You have to resist the urge to flex. Fuck yeah. Good thing you kept lifting weights.

You continue with the report, but rather than mention how the skeleton managed to try and attack you, you simply state that you smashed its skull in as soon as it popped out of the earth. You were too close to the pit and fell over the edge, falling on top of her. After that, you cuffed her, she woke up, and you gave her the Protectorate recruitment spiel.

[5/6 (I lied)]
>>
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Viktor looks a bit lost at this remarkably edited version of events. His gaze intensifies when he looks at the Alice, though, and his tone lacks any of the kindness it carried before.

"Alice. It was not your intention to harm this man, correct? Speak with your words."

She glances back at you, then nods. "Yes."

"And you are willing to fight Beasts under the orders of the Protectorate?"

A bit of hesitation creeps into her voice, but she agrees all the same. "Y-yes."

The man holds her gaze for a few seconds more. Idly, his hand rests on the gun strapped to his waist, and you tense--but he steps back.

"Very good. With luck, we will not need to restrain you any further, though you will still be under close scrutiny. Thank you for your service, Mr. Yang. You've performed quite admirably."

The kid's shoulders slump in relief. You're not quite ready to do the same, as it's evident that he has more to say.

"As a matter of fact, I would like to hear if you have any interest in joining the Protectorate, yourself. It seems that you've already established a bit of a rapport with this Alice, after all, and it is far easier for everyone involved to build off of such pre-existing relationships." Viktor tilts his head, a smile on his face, and extends a scarred hand. A sleek card embossed in silver appears between his fingers, as if from thin air.

God fucking damnit.

The punk looks at him, then at you. "What?"

You knew something like this would happen. With a forced grin, you accept the proffered card.

You can feel yourself balding already. How did the saying go, again?

Ah, right.

The reward for good work is more work.

Select one.
>"I'll… call you back on that. Yes. Thanks."
>"You know what, hell with it. Got room for one more in the back of that truck?"

It struck you all of a sudden that you've never once asked the Alice for her name.
Now's as good a time as any to fix that.

"Hey, brat."

"W-what do you want, wretch?"

"What's your name?"

She stops in her tracks. Viktor turns around to watch, but says nothing.

"M-my name?"

"Yeah. Can't keep calling you brat, can I? Unless you'd like that."

She huffs, annoyance clear in her face. "About time you asked! I'm…"

>Write-in a name for your loli.

[Make this good, or I'll be forced to come up with my own, damnit.]

[6/6]
>>
It's 3 AM. I just threw out eight pages of prewritten drafts and notes. I have to wake up in three hours.

I don't regret a damn thing. Wish I could've proofread it more, but here it is. Goodnight, folks, and hope you enjoyed.
>>
>>5115467
>"You know what, hell with it. Got room for one more in the back of that truck?"
we know it's going to happen no reason to pussyfoot around

>Write-in a name for your loli.
Valentine Harper
>>
>>5115468
Good Night
>>
>>5115467
>>"I'll… call you back on that. Yes. Thanks."

>Maggie Veltins
>>
>>5115469
Seconding, and suggesting Val for short.
>>
>>5115467
>>"I'll… call you back on that. Yes. Thanks."
>>
>>5115467
Supporting >>5115469
This seems promising. And i like the Style of your writing OP
>>
Good morning, and votes locked. I'll be writing intermittently as I attend my classes. If you've got any questions, compliments, or critiques, please post them!
>>5115620
Phew, thanks. I'm kinda flying by the seat of my pants here, glad to see it's working so far. Here's hoping I can keep it up.
>>
>>5115626
Whoops, forgot my trip.
>>
>>5115626
You do have a general Outline for this Quest and the Narravtive prepared and written down? The statement that you are flying by the seat of your pants gas me a bit worries that the red thread might get lost down the line.
>>
>>5115636
I've got an overarching plot in mind and have the rest of this thread/half of the next planned out with accompanying story beats, but otherwise I'm writing without a guide. Going to infodump you lot in a little bit, so I guess you can look forward to that.
>>
>"You know what, hell with it. Got room for one more in the back of that truck?"

Viktor looks a bit surprised at how quickly you agree, but exchanges that for a wide smile that reaches his eyes.

"Certainly, Mr. Yang. It's a pleasure to have you aboard."

---

"I'm Valentine Harper, and don't you forget it!" The brat screws up her face for a moment, as if struggling to say something, then turns on her heel.

"...you can call me Val, though." After that, she hastily trots off in a near-run, tail swishing behind her.

Oh, God. Is she a tsundere? Is this what you've signed yourself up for? You prefer Rei, not Asuka! Val's got the white hair, but nothing else matches!

---

Dmitri's the one driving, having ejected the chauffeur into the other car with a wave. Viktor's riding shotgun, and in the backseat of the remarkably comfortable sedan sits you and Valentine, who's no longer cuffed. When she tries to stick her head out the window to enjoy the breeze, you have to drag her back in, nearly scratching a line into the upholstery with her horns.

Somehow, her halo is just floating in place above the car, hovering directly over her. You checked, stared at it for a bit, then decided to ignore it.

"Hell do you think you're doing? Stop fidgeting so much, damnit."

"You won't let me look outside, and it's stuffy in here. What do you expect me to do, wretch?"

"Sleep or something, I don't know."

"I can't!"

You vaguely regret giving her that candy bar. Then you think about how she might still be crying if you didn't, and you decide that this is the lesser of two evils.

Dmitri looks back in the rearview mirror and laughs, one hand on the wheel. "Shit, kid, first time in a car or something? You're like a dog."

Val finally sits back at that, subdued. "...Something like that."

Wow. Conversation killer. Even Dmitri shuts up at that. You don't really think she'd feel comfortable with digging into that right now, especially with the Constantias here.

You cast about for something to say. This silence is oppressive.

Select two.
>To Val: "How'd you end up with your powers, anyways?" This is a terrible idea.
>To Viktor: "What's being an Attendant like, anyways?" May as well learn more about your new life.
>To Dmitri: "So… how well can you use that sword of yours?" Call it a personal interest. You knew a friend who collected some.
>Write-In (name who)

With the excitement of the graveyard over, now's not a bad time to update the situation with Nick and your family. Who knows when you'll see them next.

[1/2]
>>
Nick texts you a thumbs up, then follows with "can I get your severance pay?"
You tell him to fuck off and buy you breakfast tomorrow, since you still remember how he just ditched you for the dogs.

Your mother sends an extremely long-winded letter about how she's glad you're finally moving up in life and that a job in the government is an honorable thing to have, and that "it's good you're finally over yourself." Your father, in a private chat, tells you he's proud of you, and that "if you can't stay safe, be careful." Probably some Chinese proverb or whatever. He's fond of those.

Pushing 40 and you're still their boy. Warms your heart.

You set one hand on Val's head, taking care to avoid her horns, then brutally muss her hair to hide the smile on your face.

"What the fuck was that for!?"

"Get used to it, punk."

Wherever you go from here, you think you'll manage.

[2/2]
>>
>>5115654
>>To Val: "How'd you end up with your powers, anyways?" This is a terrible idea.
>>To Viktor: "What's being an Attendant like, anyways?" May as well learn more about your new life.
>>
>>5115654
>To Viktor: "What's being an Attendant like, anyways?" May as well learn more about your new life.
First about our new Job. Then we can open the Box of the Pandora if there still is time though a bit more carefully.

>> to Val: "So what can you do? If we are to work together we should get to know each other a bit better"

>>5115640
Good to know. And an infodump would probably be useful to get more into this Universe
>>
>>5115692
>infodump
No. Have about no. No please? No seems good. Nah. Nope. Nuh uh. No
>>
>>5115741
I am not talking Pillars of Eternity Info dump where you have to read a wiki just to know some very basic things.

We will need more information so that we can make informed decisions. If the Information is brought up even half way organic through conversation i would be pretty happy with it
>>
>>5115741
Don't worry, the reason I scrapped my previous drafts were because they were nothing *but* infodumps. I'm trying to work in worldbuilding and shit more organically now, but I think the setting details thing I've got written out (and plan to use for future thread intros) is pretty good at describing what's going on. Hopefully, anyways.
>>
>>5115784
Sounds like a solid plan.

Question though. If there are votes that are very similar but not the same and also not mutually exclusive how will you handle that? Would you merge them or make it a Roll off?

Am>>5115760 and >>5115636
just from my computer instead of my phone
>>
>>5115800
Usually I just merge them. I'm more interested in telling a good story than playing a challenging game, if that makes sense. On that note, on occasion I'll also rewrite some write-ins so they sound more like something the MC might say.
>>
>>5115654
Backing >>5115692. Harmless enough for now, I think.
>>
>>5115692
+1 Just got here and this quest looking good, wish I saw it earlier.
>>
>>To Viktor: "What's being an Attendant like, anyways?" May as well learn more about your new life.

Viktor takes a moment to adjust his glasses before answering you.

"A good question, Mr. Yang. You would think it an easy one to answer, but no. Though we Attendants all bear similar duties - we are trained for field operations, to care for our charges, and various other specialties besides - ultimately, it is that second point which one may find most troublesome."

Dmitri loops a free arm around Viktor's shoulders, pulling him in for a hug. "You know you love me."

"Eyes on the road, Dmitri."

"Yes, dad." The teenager lets go, pointed ears flicking.

"As I was saying… Ah, yes. Alices require special care. My brother here, for example, is an obligate carnivore."

"Vegetables suck."

"Yes, and you'll never grow taller without them." Though his tone is light, Viktor's eyes tighten for an instant, but continues without skipping a beat.

"Of course, something like that is easy enough to handle. There are a number of benefits to joining the Protectorate, which I shall explain to you later, but rest assured that any particular health needs Miss Harper may have shall be met in full.

The true challenge, we find, is one that all Alices must endure. You are aware, of course, of their… certain behavioral tendencies?"

You carefully avoid thinking about Val's chuunibyou nature and how easily she cries.

It doesn't save you from getting headbutted viciously. She's clearly telepathic, or maybe you're just that easy to read.

[1/?]
>>
File: City.jpg (1.36 MB, 1080x1920)
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You wheeze out a "yes" as you nurse the growing bruise on your ribcage.
Deaf to your pain, Viktor continues in the half-cadence of someone reciting from memory, his eyes shut in concentration.

"These changes in behavior are not natural, of course. It is the fault of Grand-Guignol, a result of their bioweapon--the so-called Wonderland Effect. The most immediate change an Alice experiences are their sudden de-aging and new powers, yes, but Wonderland is guilty of much worse.

The mind begins to degrade, a downwards spiral marked by increased aggression, alongside deficiencies in emotional maturity, memory, and lower overall empathy. Ultimately…"

You feel your jaw clench, unbidden. "They turn into Beasts."

The quiet that follows your statement is almost worse than before. For a moment, the only sound is wind rushing past as you cross onto a lonely highway, the military truck and other car following close behind.

"I… I didn't know." Valentine's voice is low, nearly a whisper.

She looks out the window, her fingers digging into the upholstery. You decide against looking too closely at her face, but take out your squashed candy bar from earlier and fold it into her hand.

You really need to figure out a different way to make kids stop crying. Or better yet, just stop getting into these kinds of situations at all.

Surprisingly, it's Dmitri who breaks the silence this time. "Yeah, well, it ain't all bad. S'what the Attendants are for. Making sure screwups you and me don't go nuts and start killing everything."

"Dmitri. You are not a 'screwup.'" The man's tone is like steel. "We are family. It is only natural that I keep my little brother out of trouble."

"See, knew you loved me!"

Viktor says nothing, but covers his mouth with a sleeve. Once again, the car falls silent.

This time is far more comfortable, though.

[2/?]
>>
>>To Val: "So what can you do? If we are to work together we should get to know each other a bit better."

You look down at the card in your hands, the embossed spear-and-lily emblem of the Protectorate shimmering beneath the passing streetlights. A weight begins to settle on your shoulders.

"You never actually answered my question, Viktor."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. I'm at least vaguely aware of what an Attendant does, sure, but what's the lifestyle really like?"

At that, it takes a minute before the man speaks again.

"This life is different for everyone, Mr. Yang. But I find it… Fulfilling."

Dmitri barks out a laugh. "Vicky spent the last four years studying his ass off at Glaswelt Base so he could take care of me."

Studying? You suppress a shudder at the thought, flashing back to countless sleepless nights in med school. "I thought Glaswelt was just the Protectorate headquarters?"

"For the American Northeast, certainly, though I would hardly describe it as just our headquarters. You must keep in mind, of course, the fact that organizations on the scale of the Protectorate never dabble in only one thing. Within its halls, you will find that there is a great deal to discover." He pulls his gun from its holster, turning it over idly.

You don't know enough about weapons to tell if there's anything particularly unique about it, but the crucifixes embedded into the grip imply it's at the very least custom-detailed.

Even after rolling the idea around in your head for a little, the fact that you'll become an Attendant is hard to accept.
You've seen them in action before. They're practically superhuman in a way that's different from the Alices. The best of the best.
Stronger, faster, and smarter than just about anyone else.

How the hell are you - well over a decade past your prime - supposed to match up to that?

[3/?]
>>
"You are doubting yourself, Mr. Yang?"

Shit, maybe you really are just that easy to read.

Fuck it. You're a grown man. You can admit your faults.

"Yeah. Just can't see myself as one of you, you know." You grimace; there's still some dirt staining your clothes and beneath your nails.

"You underestimate your potential. Age is of little concern. It is hardly as if you are working alone; the purpose of an Attendant is not to fight, but to enhance the strengths of their Alice. Ah, speaking of--Miss Harper, could you describe to us in detail the nature and limits of your ability? I understand that you are capable of raising the dead, based on the… rather succinct report Mr. Yang gave us, but not much else."

Valentine blushes and pokes her fingers together. You have to lean in to hear what she says next.

"I… haven't been able to experiment with it much. Tonight was my first real time trying it out, actually."

"Oh? Is it not true that all Alices have a basic understanding of their powers?"

"Well, yeah, but other than knowing 'I raise the dead,' all I really get is how to use it. Focus real hard, like this..." Her face twists as she begins to concentrate.

"...and hah!" With a theatrical flourish, Val sets her arm on fire. You're pretty sure she didn't need to do the finger-waving, but whatever works for her.

She looks at the purple-black flames triumphantly for all of three seconds, then begins to flail about in a panic. "H-how do I turn this off?"

Viktor looks fascinated. Dmitri is entirely unruffled by the fact that there is currently a flaming little girl in the sedan. Your only saving grace is that the flame lacks any kind of real heat, something you are particularly grateful for when Val decides to smack you in an attempt to put it out.

"Jesus Christ, Val! Friendly fire! Friendly fire!"

"Shut up and help!"

It takes a while, but with no readily apparent purpose the flames flicker out and die on their own. Val pants heavily, having worn herself out in trying to overpower a man nearly three times her weight.

Viktor has a thoughtful look on his face. "Extraordinary, Mr. Yang. You can best her in a physical confrontation even without resorting to more underhanded tactics." He nods, as if affirming something to himself. "I'm sure that the testing and research departments would love to meet you. Perhaps you can discover more about Miss Harper's abilities while in their care."

"T-there won't be any needles, will there?" Val squeaks.

"Not too many, but I'm afraid there are some tests that require them. It was never my field of expertise."

Val grabs your arm and shakes you, panic clear on her face. "You c-can't leave me there, wretch! Okay!? Stay with me!"

[4/?]

---
>>
Val lets out a yawn at the same time Dmitri says, "We're here."

The sedan pulls up in front of a police station. Your Alice shoots you a look of betrayal until Viktor takes mercy on her.

"Fear not. Dmitri and I are here only to file some records. The chauffeur shall drive you back home, Mr. Yang; I advise you pack whatever personal effects that you can carry. It is unlikely that you will be visiting this city again for some time."

A man holding a steaming mug of tea in one hand and a sheaf of papers in the other steps out of the station and approaches Viktor. He glances at you, does a double take at Val's halo, then turns away to whisper in Viktor's ear.

The Attendant frowns, then lets out a sigh. "Ah, but I'm afraid the same offer cannot be extended to the young Miss Harper here. Protocols being what they are. My apologies for the inconvenience."

Val looks down and shuffles her feet. "It's fine. Don't really have a lot anyways."

You ruffle her hair. Something to ask about for later.

"Well, if that's all, I guess… Have a good night, Viktor, Dmitri. Will I be seeing you again later?"

Dmitri leans on his sword, holding back a yawn of his own. He answers you.
"Nah. You'll just get a few of the soldiers to guide you to the airport. They'll pop up outside your door, so try not to freak." The Alice bares his teeth in a grin before continuing. "Good luck at Glaswelt, hah. There's some real shitters there. People who've got no business being an Attendant, if you ask me."

He stands back up and stretches, then grabs your hand and gives it a few energetic pumps before whistling in surprise. "Damn, you're really not half bad for a gramps. You'll do fine in combat studies, eh?"

With that, he breaks away, stepping to catch up with his brother. Viktor turns and gives you a wave before disappearing into the building.

Something he said stuck with you. You look down at your hand and knit your brows.

"Val…"

"What now?"

"Do I really look old enough to be called 'gramps?'"

[5/6]
>>
As promised, the chauffeur drops you off in front of your apartment building. You never even told him your address, but you've long since given up any hope of keeping your privacy.

Val looks around, surprised. "This is a pretty decent neighborhood, wretch."

"Is it? I just went with the one my mother complained the least about."

You walk into the lobby, giving a wave to your fellow security guard. He's about to give a greeting of his own until he sees Valentine, upon which he falls silent. Though he backs up a bit, he doesn't do much other than keep an eye on her until you turn the corner.

Val folds her arms as she falls into step behind you. "Am I really that scary?"

You scoff. "Christ, kid. Have you been living under a rock? You really don't know much about how most people see Alices, huh?"

She looks away defensively. "I didn't have the opportunity."

"Past four years and you didn't have the opportunity to look something up?"

The Alice opens her mouth as if to speak, but decides against it. For a moment, the only sound in the stairwell are her footsteps and yours, echoing your ascent.

Finally, you reach your apartment. With a twist of your keys, you push open the heavy door and motion for her to enter.

Immediately, she starts poking at everything she sees. Thankfully, you're fairly organized for a bachelor, and all your most embarrassing shit is safely hidden in your bedroom. Your mother's frequent visits have prepared you well.

It's been at least two hours since you fell down that grave, and you're beginning to itch. "Shower's down the hallway to the left. Just dry-cleaned the towel, so you should be fine using it."

"Thanks." She disappears behind the bathroom door, leaving you alone.

Damn. You finally brought a girl home, no matter how pint-sized and irritable.

You mourn the death of your peaceful life, then resolve to carry any of it that you can into the new one.

[Select three things to bring with you when you get shipped off to Glaswelt. Write-ins are subject to veto. This will help determine parts of your personality and how stressed you'll be while you get used to Glaswelt.]

>Your erodoujinshi and anime pin-up posters. You'll have to find a way to hide these. Or be completely shameless about it, that's sure to win you some points.
>A how-to guide for parenting. This is probably your sister's. You can tell she's never read it.
>A collection of gunpla kits. You can't bring along the ones you've already made, but a fresh start might be interesting.
>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>A veritable mountain of chocolate. At least you'll never run out of things to placate Val with.
>The latest gaming console. What bachelor pad would be complete without one?
>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>Write-in.

[6/6]
>>
>>5116660
Forgot image.
>>
>>5116660
> A multi-tool from your grandpa that has proven surprisingly useful
>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.

if the Multi-tool gets vetoed then
>A collection of gunpla kits. You can't bring along the ones you've already made, but a fresh start might be interesting.
>>
>>5116660
Went a bit too wild and didn't notice something contradictory, so reposting.

>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>Your old acoustic guitar. You're no rock star or country singer, but your father eagerly bought this for your 16th birthday when you were in a phase. You still play here and there.
>>
>>5116660
Supporting >>5116665

And we really need to have a talk about the whole wretch thing with Val.
>>
>>5116706
>And we really need to have a talk about the whole wretch thing with Val.
what if we flick her in the forehead every time she say it until she learns?
>>
>>5116706
>>5116717
"Brute! Savage! Villain! You shouldn't touch a m-maiden like me so freely!"
Also having difficulty finding a good naked-towel piece for Val. Might end up drawing one myself unless you guys like bloomers. Or I'll just use a different image entirely, I could try to work in two flags at once...
>>
>>5116717
>>Flick her on the Forhead
That would be hilarious.... but isnt that a trope for tsundere girls to do to those they like?

.....That said i am not against it. The Main Character is apperantly pretty strong. Though our Alice might just be weaker in the physical department than most
>>
>>5116732
Please dont make it tasteless. I would be okay with her finding a big Shirt or something.
>>
>>5116737
Funny you say that. I was going to write something along the line of "since your sister left her clothes from the last time she visited, you just gave those to Val."
Pic related.
The idea for the naked towel was to tick the box for the "bump into each other while leaving the shower" cliche. I'm a sucker for the classics.
>>
>>5116734
It might be a tsundere thing idk but in my heart it will be a go-to when needing to deal with little brats without really spanking them or the like thanks to my uncle keeping some younger cousins in check around the holidays
>>
>>5116771
Sounds fine then. To be honest i do not know for sure if it ever was a Tsundere Thing.... i havent watched anime in quite a while.

And good for your uncle for finding a way to keep the boys in check.

>>5116734
Also am this dude on mobile
>>
>>5116660
>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>A veritable mountain of chocolate. At least you'll never run out of things to placate Val with.
>Your erodoujinshi and anime pin-up posters. You'll have to find a way to hide these. Or be completely shameless about it, that's sure to win you some points.
>>
>>5116660

You grab the only thing you need.

>Your bug out bag: Copies of all your essential documents and your passport. 6 water bottles and 3 freeze dried food packets. .1 micron Sawyer Mini water filter and an aluminum cup. 2 Heavy Duty Trash Bags. Basic Medicine kit. Tourniquet, Israeli bandage, and suture kit. Hygiene kit. Pack of scentless baby wipes. Maps and both a lensatic compass and map compass. Diving Goggles and 3M respirator with P100 filters. 3 pair underwear, 3 pairs socks, a pair of khaki cargo pants, slashpro turtleneck shirt, a black hoodie, grey baseball cap, a diving wrist compass, and a pair of broken in hiking boots. 2 flashlights. 4 lighters. 2 pens and a mini notebook. A handheld CB Radio tuned to channel 4 and spare batteries. 500 bucks cash. A roll of quarters. A Hunting Knife. Surefire earpro, USP 45 Tactical with concealed carry holster with 5x 12 round magazines. A pistol cleaning kit. All this shit jammed into a slightly bigger than average grey backpack except the boots which were tied to the outside..

You are old enough to remember when people who had shit like this were fodder for reality tv shows along size families of midgets and chronic hoarders. Everybody had a good laugh at some hillbilly burying buses in their backyard to create a doomsday "Ark" they planned to fill with farm animals or some 400 lb. dude with a self-sustaining farm out in the middle of nowhere with barrels of rice in his garage who seemed really worried about starving to death. After firebird though... well. Nobody laughed anymore. The world just mourned the death of the world that was.
>>
>>5116815
I'm gonna go ahead and veto this, though it probably doesn't need to be said, lol. I applaud the effort.
>>
>>5116824
Worth a shot.
>>
>>5116825
I would have voted for it anon.


if I didn't know it would get instantly vetoed
>>
>>5116815
To be honest if a player brought something like this to my table i would probably laugh and allow it without the gun.

But I thought it would be shot down quickly due to Jack not giving off those vibes from the beginning.

Hopefully we will be able to receive weapons training at Glaswelt........ now i really want to see that place and why it is called that
>>
Maybe this is more reasonable.

>Hiking boots. Broken in and comfy but with many miles left on them.

>Essential documents binder. Passport. Birth certificate. Social security card. Old W-2s. Resume. Degree certificates.

>Your old paramedic bag. Most of the contents are long expired but you could never bring yourself to throw it away. Why do you feel like you should bring it along now?
>>
I also just had an idea regarding Vals Powers. Here >>5116573
she states that her power is to raise the dead... we should experiment if that just means humanoid dead or if it could be something like a piece of processed furniture made from wood. Or hell if she could revive the Leather from an Armchair that could become useful. Revive her Outfit to support herself in a Fight to boost her combat prowess and hinder the enemies movements if they wear Leather
>>
>>5116845
Taxidermy if you want to get a lil' freaky
>>
>>5116847
That or Hell get the Skeleton of a T-Rex of it works. Or build our own dragon
>>
>>5116847
"Go forth my army of taxidermied goats!"
>>
>>5116855
This sounds so amusingly cursed that I'd support it if it came up
>>
>>5116842
These are all fine, though the 2nd is pretty much already coming with you. I'm not going to bother tracking the nitty-gritty details.
The primary purpose of this is to help define certain parts of your character and how you'll grow. For example, if you went with the erodoujin one, you'd be Unflappable (read: shameless). Going for games makes you Laid-back. The parenting book (which honestly I might just incorporate with the personal library) would let you gain some more experience with handling kids and Val, giving you Patience.
Stuff like that.

I like the paramedic bag idea quite a bit. I'm glad I decided to make write-ins an option for this.
>>
>>5116855
>>5116859
If they are taxidermied already we could also equip them with weapons. Even if they are acting on instinct or some something. If we replaced things like horns and claws with steel equivalents that would probably help with combat performance.
If we are gonna play a summoner might as well have some fun
>>
>>5116847
Think the contracts for soldiers and attendants come with clauses on what happens to your body after you die?
>>
>>5117123
I'm sure exceptions can be made in live combat, wink wink nudge nudge.
>>
>>5116601
If the parenting book is un the pack of novels, then i'll go for
>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>Your old paramedic bag. Most of the contents are long expired but you could never bring yourself to throw it away. Why do you feel like you should bring it along now?

I would like the MC to have that feel of being a little cultured and nurturing, even if he's incompetent with kids and apparently being in the first line of action when doing of a medic. Also, the portable exercise equipment symbolizes his discipline and how he might be yearning for his quiet and peaceful life.
>>
>>5116746
ToT
>>
It looks like the novels and exercise equipment are shoo-ins with a tie between the multitool and paramedic bag, unless I've miscounted horribly. I'll leave the votes open for another 3 hours before updating, I should be home by then and can write on my phone in the meantime.

How was the infodump? It's technically only about 1/2 of the setting's main antagonistic details, but I hope it was interesting enough.
>>
>>5117312
i would like to cast my vote for the Paramedic Bag. While the Multi Tool makes sense the Paramedic Set will probably come in more handy.
>>
>>5116660
>>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>>Your old paramedic bag. Most of the contents are long expired but you could never bring yourself to throw it away. Why do you feel like you should bring it along now?
>>
>>5116660
Ammending my vote from >>5117315
to
>>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>>Your old paramedic bag.


just to make it official
>>
>>5117312
>Paramedic Bag

it looks like multi-tool lost for chargen but it's still a handy little thing we may want to get later if available
>>
>>5116660
>>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>>Your old paramedic bag. Most of the contents are long expired but you could never bring yourself to throw it away. Why do you feel like you should bring it along now?
Looks good to me.
>>
Update's about 70% done. Give me a bit to eat and I'll finish it up.
>>
I lied, this update is going to be long as fuck. It completely ran away from me. I'm writing out characterization that I didn't expect to need to write for another week.
I'll post what I've got so far, forgive me for my excitability.
>>
>>An assortment of novels covering a variety of genres. Quite the well-read individual.
>>All the portable exercise equipment you can carry. Even if they have a gym, these will remind you of home.
>>Your old paramedic bag. Most of the contents are long expired but you could never bring yourself to throw it away. Why do you feel like you should bring it along now?

There's a lot you'll need to bring, so you decide it's worth the trouble to pack a few extra bags. In the first goes about a week's worth of plain, professional clothing. Button-ups, undershirts, suit pants--it's all set to last you a while.

Ah, right. Val's going to need some too. If you remember correctly, your sister should still have some left from the last time she came over, the damn layabout… Yeah, there's a pile of them pushed into the very back of your closet. She won't mind if you take them.

Actually, she will, but she can go fuck herself.

You pull out a slightly-rumpled sleeveless white blouse and a black pencil skirt. It's a good thing your sister's practically a midget; you're not much of a fashion expert, but it looks like they're just about Val's size.

The faint sound of running water can be heard coming from the hallway, followed shortly by a high-pitched shriek.

"Careful! Water's like ice if you don't wait a minute."

"I can see that!"

Hah. Serves her right for calling you a wretch all the time. "I'll set some clothes outside the door for you, so just pick those up later."

"They better not be yours…"

"As if anything I have would fit you, runt."

Package delivered, you shuffle into the kitchen to grab a much-needed drink.
It's water, of course. You've seen enough alcoholics get their stomach pumped for you to swear off of anything more than a light beer.

After pouring out some tap water to soothe your parched throat, you hear your phone let out a cheery ding.

Huh. It's a text from your landlord.

[1/?]
>>
"Received message from gov. Don't worry about rent while gone. Good luck."

Good to know that you'll still have a place to come back to even after you leave for Glaswelt.
With your immediate concerns taken care of, you get back to packing.

You take a moment to examine your bookshelf, a gift from your grandfather. Made of a dark walnut wood, it's held up well throughout your life.
Gramps was a master with his hands, though he never got to pass down any of those techniques to you. At least you can put together an IKEA chair--that's good enough, isn't it?

Of the titles on your shelf, a few stick out to you as must-haves. You grab a battered copy of Don Quixote, struggle to choose between Paradise Lost or Pratchett and Gaiman's Good Omens, and top it all off with a hardcover poem anthology. Then you stuff an autographed copy of your favorite manga's first volume in there for good measure. There's no way in hell you're leaving that behind.

You eye the bathroom door, shrug, and add some Roald Dahl to the stack as well. You loved his stuff as a kid; maybe Valentine will enjoy it, too.
Just as well--behind James and the Giant Peach is a thin purple book that you almost fail to recognize. Printed on the side is A Parent's Guide to the Adolescent Mind.
This… you bought this for your sister almost a decade ago. Hell, it still has the price sticker on it.

Fuck it. If she's not gonna use it, you will.

Despite their combined heft, the books are easy enough to fit into a suitcase, and you decide to move on to your personal gym.
Though it sounds impressive, it's pretty basic. There's not much point to shelling out for fancy equipment if you can't even get it through the door to begin with, and your actual gym is about a 10-minute drive from here.

You crouch to pick up a few weights, stop to think about the poor bastard who has to deal with baggage, and set them back down with a sigh. In their place, you go for a pair of grip trainers, a resistance band, and a jump rope. You've used these since your college days, and though they're a bit worn, you'll be glad to take them with you.

[2/?]
A dark-blue bag with a caduceus stenciled on its front sits forgotten under a layer of dust.

Oh.
So that's where you put the EMT bag. It's gonna be a pain to sterilize and you're pretty sure you'll need to replace half the shit in there, but you may as well bring it with you.

You get a feeling that you'll be needing it again.

With your sentimental goods sorted and stored, you begin throwing together the relevant paperwork and other necessities before pausing. Shit, Val doesn't have a passport on her. How are you going to take care of that? You'll have to ask if she's got anything prepared.

Distracted as you are, you fail to notice when the shower shuts off. You automatically pick up the untouched clothes from off the ground, and just as you raise a hand to knock on the bathroom door, it opens.

[2/?]
>>
Just to make sure you haven't forgotten anything, you look beneath your bed.
A dark-blue bag with a caduceus stenciled on its front sits forgotten under a layer of dust.

Oh. So that's where you put the EMT bag. It's gonna be a pain to sterilize and you're pretty sure you'll need to replace half the shit in there, but you may as well bring it with you.

You get a feeling that you'll be needing it again.

With your sentimental goods sorted and stored, you begin throwing together the relevant paperwork and other necessities before pausing. Shit, Val doesn't have a passport on her. How are you going to take care of that? You'll have to ask if she's got anything prepared.

Distracted as you are, you fail to notice when the shower shuts off. You automatically pick up the untouched clothes from off the ground, and just as you raise a hand to knock on the bathroom door, it opens.

[3/?]
>>
Both you and Valentine stand there for a moment, staring at each other in shocked silence. Her hair drips onto the tiled floor, each drop of water marked by a light pat-pat-pat.

"Awah," she squeaks. Her face turns cherry-red.

You deposit the clothes on top of her head, politely shut the door, and begin to walk away.

It doesn't save you.

With a resounding bang, the bathroom door is damn near kicked off its hinges. The towel is wrapped securely around her now, at least, but you're a bit more worried about the fact that all four of her limbs are blazing with purple-black flame.

"Please forgive me."

"LIKE HELL I WILL!"

Four feet and eight inches of fury march towards you. Resignedly, you palm her forehead and use your far superior reach to keep her at bay.

Reminds you of your nieces in a way.

"B-BEAST! BRUTE! DESPOILER!"

An energetic Valentine pummels at you ineffectively. Not for the first time tonight, you're glad that she's incapable of doing any real damage to you, though that might prove to be troublesome if - or when, really - you two actually get into a fight.

Ah, you're already preparing for your gruesome murder at the hands of some horrid Beast. How you wish it was Nick who went out on patrol that night instead of you.

[4/?]
>>
Val continues to whale away at you. Every time her strange flames begin to die down, she huffs, shouts incoherently, and has them flare up once more. For lack of anything else to occupy your time right now, you keep track of how many times she can do this. In your heart, you send a silent apology to your neighbors for the noise.

By the sixth count, she slumps, pressing her still-wet forehead into your palm. Ghostly embers sputter along her wrists before fading away completely.

You sigh. You've been doing that a lot, lately.
You get the feeling that it'll only get worse from here on out.

Oh well. You're an adult.

It's nothing you can't handle.

"That was an accident. Please forgive me."

"Mmph."

A puddle begins to form beneath her feet. Her shoulders shudder with every heaving breath.
After exhausting herself against you, she's beginning to calm down.

"You'll get a cold if you don't dry your hair."

"...Fine."

Val wordlessly allows herself to be led back into the bathroom. You take another clean cloth off the rack and begin to towel her hair off, wringing water out snow-white strips and working around her horns. Her halo is a bit awkward to sit behind, but there's just enough room in here that it's not much of a problem.

"...You're good at this."

You laugh. "I used to wear a ponytail back in highschool. Had to cut it short for sanitation reasons when I started med. Better that than wearing a hairnet."

Val looks up at that. "You? A ponytail?"

"Looked dumb as shit, too."

The mirror across from you is steamed to hell from Val's time in the shower. But really, you're surprised at how fast she was. All the other women you know (read: your family members) take at least twice as long.
It's the only reason you fucked up as badly as you did. Definitely. Not at all because of a meddling QM.

[5/?]
>>
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"...It's not fair."
Val leans forward, shielding her face with her bangs.

You reply without thinking. "Life ain't fair."
You get your shin kicked for the trouble and bear the pain stoically.

"I know that already, brute." Val mutters.

"Then what do you mean?"

"I'm an Alice now, right? ...That was rhetorical! Leave my horns alone!"

As ordered, you let go of her surprisingly smooth horns. Despite the heat, they're cool to the touch and pulse with a faint glow.
You're not sure how you didn't notice that earlier.

Val continues. "I heard Viktor. It was surprising that you could pick me up and beat me so easily." The bitterness in her voice is clear. "Alices are supposed to be strong. I shouldn't… I shouldn't need anyone else's help."

Well, you weren't going to be the one to say it, but you have to admit that she's not wrong there. It's rather concerning, how weak she is.

Still, you have to disagree with what she's trying to say.
"No such thing in this world as a man who doesn't need help every now and then, punk. I don't think it's as big of a deal as you're making it out to be, either. Viktor said it himself, didn't he? The purpose of an Attendant is to 'enhance your strengths' and keep you in check."

"Oh, and I'm sure you've got that last part handled, don't you?"

"Better than letting you turn into a Beast, kid."

You throw your towel over her head and ruffle it violently, nearly making her fall off her stool.

"Bwah! B-be gentler! And I'm not a kid!"

You pause your drying to let her finish. "Yeah?"

"I-I'm sixteen!"

"Hah! I'm old enough to be your father."

Val looks away at this. You have to lean in to catch her next words.

"...Damn sight better than my real dad, anyways. Not that I know where he is anymore."

Ah. You can connect the dots, now.
Not the first time you've seen someone with a bad home life.

"That why you shacked up with Guignol?"

She makes a face. "Do you have to put it that way?"

"What other way is there to say it? Oh, and is it true that all you have to do is send them an email and wait?"

"Hmph. Not telling. You can try it yourself and see." She sticks her tongue out at you.

"What, and get locked up by the Protectorate? Bet they've already bugged my place to hell and back."

The steam begins to fade from the room, revealing in the mirror a Valentine with puffed-up cheeks and blissfully dry - if tousled - hair. You're still in sore need of a shower, though.

"Alright, kid. Pick up your clothes and scram. I've gotta clean up too."
Without waiting for a response, you push her out the door.

Still, sixteen is an awfully young age to be living alone.
Injuries like that take time to heal.

Even with a fancy medical degree, some things are beyond you.

[6/?]
Back to voting soon, I promise!
>>
For the first time in at least a year, you wake up with the sunrise.

You roll off the pull-out couch with a wince, having sacrificed the familiar comfort of your bed to appease an irate Val. As a result, your neck feels terrifically stiff and sore. At least it being the summer season means you're not suffering from the living room's shitty heating. The current temperature doesn't make you feel much better, but it's a step up from freezing to death in the winter.

Dim blue light filters through the shuttered window blinds as you trudge your way to the sink.
You can't be bothered to floss today. An almost painful minty flavor burns in your mouth as you swirl around your mouthwash, and an ice-cold splash of water dispels the last of your drowsiness.

The door to your bedroom opens as you pass by, and a half-dead Valentine steps out. She stumbles and bumps to the bathroom.

Ah, right. She probably cares about sharing these kinds of things. "There's a disposable toothbrush in the top-right drawer. You can use that one."

The only indication that she heard you at all is the sound of a drawer sliding open. You stare briefly at a hole left in the drywall from last night when Val kicked down your bathroom door, then decide that it's not your problem.

She's not as weak as she thinks.

You open the fridge and crack three eggs into a waiting pan. By the time Valentine appears again, you've got a respectable breakfast of sausages, toast, and sunny-side up all sizzling away. Standard bachelor fare.

She rubs at her eyes, halo bobbing with the motion. "Food?"

"It'll be done in a minute. Take a seat at the dining table."

She trots over obediently, spaded tail swishing. If only she could be like this more often.

[7/?]
>>
On cue, her tail smacks you in the back. Is necromancy really the only thing she can do?

Spatula in hand, you scoop the food out onto two plates, then check your phone for any new messages.

Yikes. Twenty from your sister. From the previews, looks like your parents told her the news.

It's bad luck to deal with her first thing in the morning. You keep scrolling and find what you're looking for.
A message from an unknown sender, but it matches the number on Viktor's card.

"Departure at 8:45 AM. Please leave by 6. Sec. detail will take you where you need to go. Dmitri says hello."

You glance at the time. Still have an hour left, you'll be fine.

The rest of the meal passes in silence, other than a quiet "thank you" from Val. She washes her plate and slots it in the rack to dry.

You finish up soon after, then spend the next 30 minutes preparing for departure. Dust tarps cover the furniture and you box up whatever fabrics remain. One last baggage check, a cursory sweep, and you're ready to go.

As soon as you leave the building, a featureless black van pulls up to you. The window rolls down to reveal the chauffeur from last night.

Wordlessly, he takes one of your bags from Val's hands. At that moment, you realize that you forgot to follow up with her on the necessary paperwork.

"Shit. Sorry about this, but I don't have the documents for Valentine here. No passport or anything."

For the first time since you've met him, the man speaks. His speech is clipped, but polite. "That is not a concern. We will handle it."

Well, alright. If they say so.

You stick the rest of your belongings into the back of the van at his direction, then climb in next to Val. She's still half-asleep. Probably isn't used to operating on 4 hours of shut-eye.

Well, if it keeps her out of trouble, you'll take it.

The trip passes by uneventfully, though you note that the route you're taking isn't for any of the major airlines.

Val nodded off about a minute into the trip, and has been sleeping on your shoulder since then. By the time the van stops, the arm she was laying on feels like television static. You work circulation back into it as best you can without complaint.

"We're here."

[8/?]
>>
"Here" is a private airstrip a little ways out from the city. Some distance from where you've stopped, you see a small plane alongside a few other cars within the vicinity.
All of them are equally as unmarked and bland as the van you came in.

They're really playing up the "secretive government agency" schtick here, huh?

With that thought in mind, you shake Valentine awake. She gets up with minimal grumbling but shivers slightly at an early-morning breeze.

You check the time on your phone. 8:40. Better get to it.

Between you and the chauffeur, you make decent time with all of your luggage. He nods to a nearby worker and passes the heavier bags up a ramp that disappears into the plane's hold.

"If that is all, I shall take my leave. Farewell, Mr. Yang. I look forward to meeting you again."

With that rather one-sided goodbye, he returns to his vehicle without much fanfare. You watch him drive off out of the corner of your eye as you lead Val up the stairs.

The plane's interior doesn't have much of anything worth commenting on. Its passengers, however, are a different story.

You count 15 heads, and at least eight of those are readily apparent as Alices. Fluffy ears, curling horns, and in two separate cases, an appearance like that of a six or seven year-old.

Valentine seems fully awake now. She looks around the plane with some trepidation before taking a slow breath. Her gaze firms.

A sudden voice from behind catches the two of you off guard.

"Ah. Our last arrival, I believe. Mr. Yang and his Alice, correct? Your seat is in the back row, to your left."

It's a woman. Based on her uniform, she's one of the flight attendants. You're not sure how she snuck up on you like that, but you start moving down the aisle before you make a fool of yourself.

Val takes the window seat, as expected. You buckle in and slide your carry-on luggage between your legs. Upon seeing you've strapped in, the woman continues speaking.

"Our departure begins in two minutes. Please shut off all of your electronic, wireless belongings and stay seated for the duration of this flight." Basic flight safety stuff.

You shut off your phone, take out a book and settle in.

[9/12]
>>
When the plane begins to accelerate, Val tightens her hold on the armrests. Upon takeoff, a look of panic crosses her face.

"First flight?"

She nods jerkily, mute from tense surprise. Then she gasps, motioning at her ears.

"Ah, yeah. Your ears just popped, you'll be fine. Pinch your nose and blow like you're trying to sneeze. Don't take too long, though, or you'll miss the view."

She listens to your instructions dubiously, but goes along with it, body relaxing when it works.

You can't suppress a chuckle. "What, you doubted me?"

"Don't laugh at me!" She twists her head to look away from you. After a moment, though, she jams her face up against the window.

In its reflection, you see an expression of childlike awe on her face as she watches the city shrink beneath her. The plane breaks into the clouds, causing her to flinch back, but she leans forward again to see the cloudbank.

The rising sun glimmers in the distance. Before her is an endless field of white, broken up only by the blue sky and the occasional splash of orange cast by the sun's rays.

Never gets old, that view.

[10/12]
>>
The intercom crackles to life above you, waking you from your nap.

"We will begin our descent in 3 minutes."

A glance outside shows that night has fallen. Val snores lightly, stray cookie crumbs lining the corners of her mouth.
You poke her in the side, startling her awake.

"Whuh-huh? Whazzit?"

"Look out the window. Wouldn't want to miss this."

She blearily turns to face the viewport, taking a few seconds to reboot. With a cry of amazement, she grabs your arm and shakes it, pointing at the sprawling cityscape that lights up the sea below.

Part of you wonders just where the hell they managed to hide a place like this and how they keep it running. It unnerves you.

The other part is as awed as Valentine. You'll let her have her fun.

The plane levels off, aiming to land in a runway strip located at the very edges of the superstructure you saw from above. When you hit the ground, the bounce has Val trying to crush your hand.

Spires of glass and steel loom overhead, quickly disappearing from view as the plane enters a large tunnel. A line of guide lights go by in a dizzying wash of reds and yellows, but eventually everything slows down to a point where you can make out dots that are recognizable as people.

You stretch in the chair as best you can. The belt has dug into your waist a little, but other than that, the flight was quite unremarkable. Surrounded by the strange and supernatural as you are, you'd almost be disappointed if you hadn't been trained to view slow days as good days.

Once again, the announcement system starts up.

"We have reached our destination. Welcome to Glaswelt."

Hah. You're here now, at the American headquarters for the Protectorate. Easily one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, and home to the highest concentration of absolute monsters the world has ever seen.

You doubt you'll be having any more slow days after this.

[11/12]
>>
Security is airtight. Squads of heavily armed soldiers identical to those you saw following Viktor last night march past your group at regular intervals, and though you haven't seen any cameras, you'd bet your entire life savings that every inch of the place is under 24/7 surveillance.

Val's holding onto your sleeve with one hand. She's looking everywhere but ahead of her, and though you'd like to do the same, you must carry the burden of being an adult.

Your group met with a guide upon boarding the bullet train, the primary means of mass transport here.

At the very least, you now have a rough idea of how things are organized here.

Glaswelt is split into 5 major sectors. Currently, you are located in the western field.
In the south is the imaginatively named Academy, where you and Val will be spending most of your time as an Attendant and Alice pair-in-training. The east houses the Research Wing and all the energy plants which fuel the city. To the north is the Defense Hall, and in the west lies the public sector, where the majority of the people employed at Glaswelt live on-site.
At the heart of it all is the Administration Center, unofficially referred to as the Spine on account of being the tallest structure on the island.

And yes, Glaswelt Base is an island. A mostly artificial one, at that.

The scale is mind-boggling. Someone asks how much building this station alone must have cost. The guide laughs, then rattles off a number with entirely too many zeroes. He shakes his head.

"It's amazing what we're willing to put a price on. You'd think that the preservation of our world would be beyond such things, but no. Money always finds a way."

After that, the questions peter off.

With every circuit, your group begins to shrink. Some of the people on the plane with you were hired on as researchers, leaving as soon as they received directions to various branches of the Research Wing.
Others were simply returning from missions abroad, and departed for the Spine.
At the end of it all, there's only you, Val and the guide.

He turns a tired smile upon the two of you.

"You must be a new pair. You'll want to check in with the Academy by the end of today, but until then, I'd be happy to serve. Is there anywhere you'd like for me to take you?"

[Select one.]
>Straight to the Academy grounds, please.
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?
>A tour of the Spine. You'll only have entry-level access, but there should be plenty to see.
>The public sector has Val's attention. Supposedly it also doubles as an entertainment district--not that kind, you dog.

[The Defense Hall is unavailable at this time.]

[13/13]
>>
I am fucking exhausted. Yeow. Apologies for the absolute walls of text here. Next update will be far more interactive, and you'll get to meet a few new characters. Look forward to it!
>>
>>5117930
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?
>>
>>5117930
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?

While i would like to go shopping with Val . We should safe it as a reward for after surviving our first day at the academy and not getting into trouble
>>
>>5117933
I hope you can recover OP. And please dont overwork yourself.
>>
I am so glad I haven't chased anyone away with my autistic writing. As far as I can tell, anyways.
Thanks for bearing with me.
How's the relationship with Val feel so far? Too fast? Too slow? Just right? Any other critiques? I live and die by feedback, here. J-just don't bully me too much, please.
>>
>>5117963
>>just dont bully me to much please

Well i was gonna rip into you... but fine i will play nice. the Relationship with Val is fine for the most part. Since you described them as kinda like teenagers it makes sense for he to latch onto someone that treats her somewhat kindly, considering she was seemingly neglected

Other Feedback. Interaction is a bit limited right now. Though as you said that will improve going forward.

Lastly don't push yourself to hard. If you get sick over this it is not really worth it to continue even if it would be sad.
>>
>>5117930

>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?

For Science!
>>
>>5117963
It's kinda early for me to make a strong call but I like her so far she seems like a bit of a brat without being annoying to read and that's what you want from characters like her. I guess I'd like to see more of her personality to make her stand out and feel less generic

also your second post said this is a narrative quest so your not going to have trap votes and that the quest won't end if we die and that kinda makes wonder about tension & stakes when fighting monster
>>
>>5117930
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?

>>5117963
Everyone said what I had to say, so yeah
>>
>>5117963
All is good.

SLAVE
>>
>>5117930
>>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?
>>
>>5117930
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?
>>5117963
It's good, don't really got much to say besides that.
>>
Whew, I'm pretty surprised at how unanimous it is. Votes locked. Expect some exciting stuff soon.
>>5117981
>>5117988
Glad to see it's working out so far. I'm still trying to figure out how to work in character voices without coming off too heavy-handed. Regarding Val seeming a bit generic, I plan to build upon your connection with her some more in the next few updates and deliver some of that monster/hippie-killing action I promised at the beginning of the thread.

About this being a narrative quest and the absence of trap votes providing the illusion of security... I'd like to say that personally, when I read VNs, even knowing that I can hit the restart button it's still a bit of a gut punch to see a Bad End. Think of it as something like that.

Honestly when I was thinking about how to continue the quest in the event you guys somehow killed yourselves, I played with the idea of Val reviving you and basically wandering around aimlessly with you as a slowly decaying meat puppet. Would really have to wait until you gain more affection points with her, though. Maybe I'll save it as an omake idea for later threads. I'll stick with the VN Bad End idea. With this character's death, the thread of prophecy is severed...
>>
>>5118399
Regarding the voices. Maybe try a distinct style like a manner of speech or an accent.

and that is kinda what i guessed how it would play out. New Character if the old one dies. and where one door of prophecy closes another one opens up.
>>
>>5118421
Nah, it's not gonna be a new character. Just rollback after a brief update detailing your death and whatever else I feel like adding.
>>
Update might be a little late, it's really fighting me. Apologies in advance. It's definitely coming though.
>>
>You're interested in the Research Wing. Any comrades for a medic like you?

"C-come now, brute. Let's go to the public sector! That sounds way more fun than visiting the doctor!"

Val tugs on your hand pleadingly, panic in her eyes. You are immovable, emotionless, and entirely without remorse.

"Suck it up, kid. I want to make sure you've got your vaccines up to date."

Your guide speaks up.

"The Academy provides free medical checkups for all its charges, though you'll find that it's often unnecessary for Alices. Something about their adjusted biology makes them nigh immune to common diseases."

You resist the urge to crack a joke about idiots and catching colds. Val grins triumphantly, secure in her victory.

"Hah! See? No need for shots! Now let's go visit the cinema!"

"You do realize that means you'll still be seeing a doctor after this?"

Her confident smile meets an ignoble end at the hands of despair.

"...Is it too late to go back home?"

"Consider it divine punishment for your attempt at graverobbing."

The guide side-eyes you at that. You shrug in reply, which turns into a wince as Val jabs you between the ribs.

"It was only once!"

"Yeah, yeah." Ignoring her fuming for now, you turn to your guide. You came here with a goal in mind.

"Say, is there any way for me to renew my EMT license here?"

The man hums thoughtfully. "An EMT license? An Attendant specializing in medicine, then. Renewing it... Well, usually something like that would be more of an Administration duty. We're not too far from one of the Spine's branch offices, actually. It should be about a 10-minute walk from here."

"Perfect. I'd like to get it updated, then. Haven't renewed it in a while." Your lips twist into a frown. "Probably means taking a test again."

Ah, well. You should have it covered.

[1/2]
>>
>>5119270
Forgot the image.
>>
Though access to a number of different areas are restricted to you on account of your unfinished paperwork, the guide's presence means you get to enjoy a basic tour of the sector.

Valentine no longer looks like she plans to run away after you placate her with a small fruit smoothie. She's distracted enough by the sweets and the sights that you have to yank her away from the street on a red light, just in time for her to avoid getting pancaked by an incoming motorcycle.

"Christ, kid. Are you trying to get yourself killed?"

"S-sorry!"

She sticks behind you after that.

The guide takes you to...

[Select one.]
>... a hospital within the area. Your request. You've got an interest in seeing how they operate, though shadowing someone is all they'll allow until your license gets renewed. Even this is already quite the generous offer.

>... a sprawling laboratory complex. According to your guide, it intersects with the Defense Hall. Though you can't make use of the power-testing facilities right now, it looks like there's an observation deck.

>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.

[Please note that the branch office isn't an early end. Something will still happen.]

[2/2]
>>
>>5119274
>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.
Well if something will still happen if we go to the branch office then let's go there, don't want to stick to one area for too long.
>>
>>5119274
>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.
We might as well recredential ourselves before we start poking around.
>>
Apologies if it wasn't clear. In order to get your license renewed, you'll need to take a test, which will take at least until tomorrow. Whatever you do you'll still put in a request.
I was kinda hoping you guys would go for the hospital but I've got a lot of art to burn through so anything works, I'll post an additional update tonight as well
>>
>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.

Showing up on time seems a good idea.
>>
>>5119274
>>... a hospital within the area. Your request. You've got an interest in seeing how they operate, though shadowing someone is all they'll allow until your license gets renewed. Even this is already quite the generous offer.
>>
>>5119274
>... a sprawling laboratory complex. According to your guide, it intersects with the Defense Hall. Though you can't make use of the power-testing facilities right now, it looks like there's an observation deck.

I would like to see something possibly go boom. With such a big city this place will probably be working 24/7 to keep up with demand. And i really want to see some other powers already.
>>
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>>5119274
>... a sprawling laboratory complex. According to your guide, it intersects with the Defense Hall. Though you can't make use of the power-testing facilities right now, it looks like there's an observation deck.

By the by QM, what is our appearance?, if you accept suggestion, this is mine
>>
>>5119418
We had this picture right here.. >>5115232 and the last Name is Yang.
>>
>>5119274
>>... a sprawling laboratory complex. According to your guide, it intersects with the Defense Hall. Though you can't make use of the power-testing facilities right now, it looks like there's an observation deck.
>>
>>5119274
>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.
>>
VOTES CLOSED VOTES CLOSED
I ALREADY SPENT WAY TOO LONG ON THIS UPDATE I'LL CRY IF I HAVE TO REWRITE IT AGAIN
>>
>>5119418
While >>5119433 is correct that that's the character image I used, you can imagine the MC as however you want him to look. He's 39 years old so solidly middle-aged, and keeps in shape. He's also got close-cropped hair. Beyond that, do whatever.
>>
>... the branch office. You want to get this over with as soon as possible.

When you step into the administrative building's lobby, you're greeted by a series of hallways arranged in a neat semicircle. A glass dome high above would let in the morning sunlight, but for now, lamps set into the wall ward off the night.

Above the entrances to each hall are electronic displays that describe the duties assigned to the offices within, ranging from permits to patents. A veritable army of labcoats, plainclothes, and the occasional Alice enter and exit in waves, all under the watchful eye of security. Even though it's two hours to midnight, the activity never seems to die down, and the dim roar of combined chatter and footsteps echoes in your ears.

Having worked the night shift in a normal city for the past three years, you're a bit shocked by just how many people are in here. Valentine, equally discomfited, hides her face behind a fold-out map of the area while you attempt to figure out where to get your papers sorted. You try to make use of your height to get a decent look at the displays over the sea of heads, but standing in one place for too long is liable to get you shoved.

Your guide covers a tired yawn with one hand and a full-body shudder before pointing you in the right direction. "You'll want the entrance all the way over there, to the left. There should be a board with the listing of the corresponding offices once you're inside."

"Christ. Yeah, thanks. Is it always like this?"

He nods. "There's a reason we built these branch departments. Glaswelt's primarily the North American base, but it serves a number of European powers too. It's an honor, but I won't deny the burden."

You struggle to imagine what the Spine must be like if things are this active for a branch office.

"Is the Academy like this too?"

The tour guide waves off your concerns. "Hardly. Since the Academy is meant to serve the needs of the students and staff rather than the public or other departments, activity is more in alignment with what you'd expect of something from the mainland."

Small mercies. You look back up and prepare to push through the crowd.

Val pokes you anxiously. "I-I'm gonna sit this one out. Don't take too long, okay?"

"Yeah, right. Not gonna risk you getting lost here, punk."

"Come on!"

You turn to face the guide. "Thanks for all the help. We can probably handle it from here now; just need to take the train to the south station's last stop, right?"

"That's right. Are you sure you won't be needing me anymore?"

"Hah. Thanks, but I can tell you're tired. Don't push yourself for our sake."

He gives a little smile at that. "It's what I'm paid to do. Good luck, Mr. Attendant. If you ever feel like taking a full tour, ask for Joseph Hill. There's a great cafe in the public sector I like to visit. Very affordable prices, and makes a lovely cheesecake."

With a wave, he disappears into the heaving crowd.

[1/?]
>>
After an ungodly amount of time spent waiting in line, you come face-to-face with a woman sitting behind a plastic screen. The brass plaque on her desk tells you her name is Emily.

Her fingers dance over a keyboard before she looks up at you.

"Do you have an ID? I assume that's your Alice over there."

"I'm a new arrival here. Haven't been to the Academy yet for my... Attendant ID. Is that what you're referring to?"

She sighs. "Yes, and it's the first thing you should've gotten done. Name and age?"

"Jack Yang. 39 years old."

"You said you were a new arrival? What time did you check in at the airport?"

"About--"

The lights flicker once before shutting off abruptly, cutting you off. It takes a few seconds for what you can only assume are the backup generators to activate.

From the corner of your eye, you see Emily begin to frown. Val tilts her head and moves closer to you.

You've got a bad feeling about this.

That sentiment is only reinforced when alarms begin to sound throughout the building. An announcement begins to play; you can hear it echoed from beyond the office door. Presumably it's being broadcast throughout the building, if not the entire sector.

"ALERT. ALERT. ALERT. EMERGENCY MESSAGE FROM DEFENSE SECTOR N-ALPHA-3, BEACONSFIELD ISLAND."

Emily's frown deepens. "That's… isn't that the military prison?"

The message continues. Forget the sector, it's probably being played across the entire base.

"CODE RED. MASS SYSTEMS FAILURE. EXTERNAL BREAKOUT IMMINENT. BE WARNED. ALICE THREAT: CONFIRMED, SIGNIFICANT. PROJECTED SECTORS: EAST, NORTH."

Well, shit. That can't be good.

Wait, did it say east?

[2/?]
>>
A series of deafening explosions rocks the building, followed shortly by the tinkling of shattered glass raining down.
Your world quakes, and a violent snow of plaster and dust falls from the ceiling.

You stumble, but manage to reorient yourself just in time to catch a screaming Val before she falls flat on her face. Emily has no such help, and hits the ground hard.

That sounded entirely too close for comfort. You force yourself to calm down, relying on the skills you've picked up from your time in the field. Though they're all a bit rusty, you still remember your old mantra.

You're here to help. You know how to help. You can't help if you're panicking.

Phew.

Klaxons blare, mixing with the distant sound of screaming. Though your ears are ringing, you're largely unhurt.

You doubt many others can say the same.

Emily shakily pulls herself to her feet, shuddering with the effort. You can see her mouthing Fuck, Fuck, Fuck to herself repeatedly.

"You alright?" She flinches; your voice must have come out rougher than you intended.

"Y-yeah. Bit bruised, but I'm fine." Her voice sounds like it's coming from five miles underwater. You grimace and thump your ears a bit to try and dispel the tinnitus, but no such luck.

Fuck it. You'll have to wait it out. For now, time to check on Valentine.

She's freaking out, her horns and halo pulsing with violet light. Her pupils are dilated, she's trembling, and she's hyperventilating.

At that moment, you're struck by the realization that she really is just a kid.

You crouch so you're eye level with her, then wrap your hands around hers. Your mitts are easily two times the size of her own; it looks ridiculous.

"I'm here. Focus on me, Valentine Harper. Jack." You try to speak clearly, but it's a little hard to tell with your ears still ringing.

"J-Jack?"

"Hey, I think that's the first time you've said my name!" You force a laugh, and she just looks at you.

It's working, though. She's beginning to breathe easier, deeper. Her shoulders aren't shaking as much.
Not perfect, but you're not sure if it's safe to stay here.

"Y-you're insufferable…"

"Damn straight. Think you can you stand?"

She gives a jerky nod. You push yourself to your feet and help her up, then look towards the office's entryway.

Emily has staggered over to it. At your nod, she twists the doorknob.

[3/?]
>>
There's a brand new hole - three, actually - blasted straight through the building. From what you can see, the skydome's burst, too. That would explain how you heard the glass on top of everything else.

You cover Val's eyes as you step out.
There's too many people.
Far, far too many.

Ash and dust hang heavy in the air, leaving a cloying stench that's sure to settle in your clothes and hair.

The ringing in your ears begins to fade, and just in time. Groaning, sobbing, and shouts come into focus as you pass Val along to Emily, who looks like she's about to throw up. She accepts your silent charge nonetheless, and you quickly approach the closest injured that you can find. There's certainly no lack of them to be found.

There's a pulse. Weak, but present.

It's a good thing you restocked your EMT bag when you had the chance. There's not nearly enough to save even half the people in this section of the hall, but three is better than none.

You hope no one brings up your lack of a working license later.

Before you can begin checking if it's safe to move the injured, the rapid marching of boots hitting the ground sounds out. You look up just in time to see a squadron of soldiers fan out, rifles raised and scanning their surroundings. They notice your little group almost immediately, with one speaking rapidly into a little radio.

"Survivors found. Securing area."

Down the hall's entire length, those doors that were unblocked by rubble begin to open.

With that, the Protectorate moves out in force.

You get back to work. They leave you to it, but one breaks away to begin questioning Emily.

[4/?]
>>
Fuck, really wanted to get this update done so you could finally get a taste of Alice combat, but I haven't slept at all and need to leave for class in about 30 minutes. I'll return at around 7-8 PM EST with more. Please forgive the cliffhanger and any drop in writing quality!
>>
>>5119572
rip
>>
But of course, time stops for no one.

"Aww. I don't think this is the right place, Lily."

"Ganta, I told you to aim to the left! The left, not the right! This isn't the laboratory at all!"

"Lily, you know I can't tell the difference!"

"Ooh, Papa's gonna be so mad when he learns we messed up…"

"Do we have to tell him?"

"Don't be stupid, Ganta! Of course we do! ...Wait, do we?"

The sound of childish bickering echoes from the lobby, a stark contrast to the violence that surrounds you.

The Protectorate act immediately, falling into formation. The one speaking with Emily pushes her and Valentine towards you, and you rise to meet the older woman.

"We need to leave. Now." Urgency and fear mix in her voice, and she pulls you to your feet.

You look at your hands. The man you were working on is gone.

So many, gone.

This was why you retired.

Valentine stares at the ground, silent.

"This is the Protectorate. Identify yourselves."

"Ganta, do you hear that?"

"I do, Lily, I do! But what could it be?"

"...Enemy hostiles approaching. Assumed to be two Alices. Request for backup… Confirmed. Contact in three."

"I think I know, Ganta."

"Two."

"Why, they're worms."

[Select One.]

>"Let's go." Emily's right. What could you possibly do? There's nothing here for you but the dead. Flee while you can and pray that those soldiers can last until backup comes… Or at least until you're safe. Who would hold it against you?

>"Val. Do you trust me?" There's only so far you can run. When will you stop? Why did you come here? What kind of Attendant would a man like that become? ...You'll stand and fight. Of course, you still value your life; time for a plan, medic man.

[5/5]
>>
>>5119611
Just for you. Sorry for the tank in quality, folks.

Please look forward to whatever happens next. Of course, both options are equally valid. Consider this a significant branching point for the Quest.
>>
>>5119637
>>"Val. Do you trust me?" There's only so far you can run. When will you stop? Why did you come here? What kind of Attendant would a man like that become? ...You'll stand and fight. Of course, you still value your life; time for a plan, medic man.

>>5119641
thanks
>>
>>5119637
>"Val. Do you trust me?" There's only so far you can run. When will you stop? Why did you come here? What kind of Attendant would a man like that become? ...You'll stand and fight. Of course, you still value your life; time for a plan, medic man.

Time to make a stand even if it could get us into trouble later. With the Backup we have here we can probably try to help safe as many as we can. If we can eliminate the threat we may be able to safe at least some people that would surely die if we left them now. We might no longer be an offical doctor..... but stuff like this is what seperates the chaff from the Grain.
>>
>"Let's go." Emily's right. What could you possibly do? There's nothing here for you but the dead. Flee while you can and pray that those soldiers can last until backup comes… Or at least until you're safe. Who would hold it against you?


Untrained and unequipped. We won't help anybody if we get in the way or become hostages.
>>
>>5119637
>"Val. Do you trust me?" There's only so far you can run. When will you stop? Why did you come here? What kind of Attendant would a man like that become? ...You'll stand and fight. Of course, you still value your life; time for a plan, medic man.
While I would say we should run due to the fact that we're untrained and unequipped, I'm pretty sure Val is the only friendly Alice in the immediate area, and there are two enemy Alices which will likely destroy these soldiers, so I'd rather stay and fight and try our best to help these dudes take out the Alices, also lots of dead bodies here so we can get Val to raise them which is nice but we might get some weird looks.
>>
Jesus Christ, rereading the garbage I wrote makes me want to swear against ever writing past 3 in the morning again.
Anyways, first part of today's update is done! Managed to work through a block and come up with something I'm okay with. Trying to work around the awful pacing of the last 2-3 posts is gonna be rough...
>>
>"Val. Do you trust me?" There's only so far you can run. When will you stop? Why did you come here? What kind of Attendant would a man like that become? ...You'll stand and fight. Of course, you still value your life; time for a plan, medic man.

A number of thoughts flash through your mind in that instant.

You might die here.

You're not a real hero.

You're growing too old for this shit.

Countless doubts flow through you. You acknowledge them, consider their validity, and then discard them.

The field has no room for hesitation.

Truth be told, you've always felt like something was missing from your life.
Perhaps that's a selfish thing to say, considering how good you've had it so far. Besides, when pressed to define just what it was you were missing, you found that you really couldn't say.

Still. There was a hole.

You had a dream, once.

Of course, a child has countless dreams, born and forgotten with every step and every breath.

But this dream was dear to you. It had guided you for so very, very long.

The joy in helping others.
The beauty in saving lives.

When did that dream begin?

When did it die?

You can't remember.

Of all the sacrifices you have made in life, that is the one you regret the most.

You couldn't reconcile the man you had become with that pure longing anymore. In this unfamiliar world of monsters and superhumans, there was no room for the work of an average man.

Yet looking down at Val, you can't help but crack a small smile.

It's really, truly amazing to see how everything can change in a day.

You blame it all on the kid standing next to you.

[1/2]
>>
"Val. Do you trust me?"

The punk in question shoots you a dark look before letting out a groan. Despite her theatrics, a hidden tension leaves her body, as if she's finally made a difficult decision.

"I really, really shouldn't."

Even as she speaks, violet fire shoots up her arms, a strange brother to the orange flames flickering in the vicinity. Her halo pulses in time with the sound of distant gunfire.

Emily takes a few cautious steps back before hissing at you. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" After a moment of thought, her eyes widen.

"You can't be serious. You want to fight those two? You-you're not even an Attendant yet."

You ignore the clerk, which earns you a glare.

You ignore that, too, and continue speaking to your Alice.

"Hah. I don't trust myself, either."

"Oh, that's reassuring." Valentine tsks before folding her arms. You don't comment on how she trembles.
"...But fine. I'll believe in you."

At that, you scoop her up, grinning at the yelp that escapes. When you set the petite necromancer on your shoulders, her thighs clamp tight around your head. You barely even notice--right now, she's light as a feather.

"W-what do you think you're doing!? Give me a warning first, brute!"

"I'll try not to forget next time."

"What do you mean, next time!?"

"Is that a no?"

Val smacks the top of your head before quieting. She mutters something you don't quite catch.
"I… I want to be a hero, too."

"What was that?"

"I said get moving already! It feels like I'm gonna fall up here!"

[Select one.]

>Quality over quantity. Go digging through the rubble for the bodies of the security guards you saw before. Their weapons should come in handy. Val: "Rise, my dark knights! Serve me, even in death!"

>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"

>Write-in. [Subject to veto, though I'm curious how fucked you can make this before I actually have to veto it.]

[2/2]
>>
>>5120122
>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"
We're fighting thinks that can likely fuck over anything we raise pretty quickly, so quality over quantity and buy as much time as we can, it's very likely that there are friendly Alice's rushing over here as fast as they can so we must buy as much time for them as possible to save us and everybody else here.
>>
>>5120122
>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"
Since this thread is called Alice 1 do we get a fresh one for every thread?
>>
>>5119471
Got it

>>5120141
+1, this guys are BIG danger to put the island in danger, so we might as well put quantity and hopefully give us a lucky shot to incapacitate/kill one thanks to the need of dealing with many, we should too try to guess what abilities they have
>>
>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"

Best tactic. Let's GOOOO!
>>
>>5120122
>>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"
>>
Out of curiosity, would any of you be interested in learning the broad strokes of what would have happened if you chose to visit either the hospital or labs instead?
>>
>>5120397
Yeah sure.
>>
>>5120176
>Since this thread is called Alice 1 do we get a fresh one for every thread?
Lol, no. That would be insane and I wholly and sincerely doubt my ability to juggle the development of that many characters. I just thought it would be a cute way of numbering the threads.
>>
>>5120397
no dont tempt us. We must suffer in knowing that we didnt.
>>
>>5120399
>>5120408
I'll just spoiler it!
Hospital: You would've encountered an Alice patient recovering from a mission and the nurse assigned to her. The Alice would've been your first exposure to one of the "shitty Attendants" that Dmitri mentioned. Then you would've been forced into a serial-killer game of hide and seek in the hospital. The goal of Guignol's forces here (an individual Alice) would've been either to assassinate a powerful Attendant or a high-ranking official, was still trying to decide which.
Laboratory:You would've gotten to see a high-energy "praise me more!" Alice show off her powers, only to be interrupted by the attack. A much-larger enemy group than the one you're fighting now would've led to a total free-for all; while arguably the place that Val would've been least effective, you could've experimented with a lot of stuff. The enemy goal was to steal research.
Both of these options would have netted you social links fairly high up on the rung, or at least early rapport with some of your future peers.
>>
>>5120482
All interesting scenarios. But the one we are in feels like the most straightforward though we might make up for the connections we could not make. But if we dont screw this up we might get some good report anyway.

Or it will be horrible because Necromancy
>>
>>5120500
I think it's a safe bet we are gonna get stuck with all the real shitty missions or high casualty missions after they stop caring about appearances.
>>
>>5120500
You'll still be making some friends here. Technically this is the path with the most connections, assuming you manage to save enough of the Protectorate and decide to stick around after backup arrives.
Wait and see.
>>
Alright, writing now. Let's see how many of these guys survive.
Please roll me a 1d8, best of 3.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d8)

>>5120885
okay that did not work.... lets see
>>
Well lets hope other people roll better than i did.. or we wont be making many friends today
>>
Rolled 6 (1d8)

>>5120885
>>
>>5120906
my sides
>>
Rolled 3 (1d8)

>>5120885
Hopefully something good.
>>
>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"

---

"Hey, Vicky."

"No, Dmitri. You can't eat any of those donuts. You'll get sick."

"Aww. I mean, that's not what I was going to ask, but aww."

Viktor Constantia paused in his examination of the warehouse to look up at his brother.
He gave a disapproving frown at the way the Alice played footsie with a decapitated head, but motioned for Dmitri to continue.

"I was thinking about the newbies from last night, you know?"

"Ah. Mr. Yang and Miss Harper, yes?"

"Yeah, them. You know, I just realized something."

The Alice pulled himself into a crouch, ignoring the bloody shoeprints he tracked all over the crate that he sat upon. Viktor sighed. They'd be getting another reprimand for contaminating evidence, he could already tell.

Uncaring of his older brother's worries, Dmitri went on. "The gramps said he smashed in that skeleton's skull, right?"

"That is what he said, if I recall correctly."

"Ah, come off it. You and I both know you've got better memory than me. But yeah. I was thinking… Ain't it kinda weird that the skull was in one piece when we found it?"

Viktor hummed. "Though I shall refrain from commenting on his rather succinct report, he did not seem the sort to lie."

"Nah, I don't think he was lying." The Alice shrugged. "Just odd, is all."

At that, the two fell into a thoughtful silence.
Swathes of pale moonlight streamed in from the warehouse windows, illuminating a mountain of headless bodies.

"It seems that even after five years, there still remains plenty more for us to learn about Alices. Perhaps we can ask them about it the next time we meet."

"You really like learning more about our powers, don'tcha. You should've just become a labcoat, Vicky. Smart guy like you is wasted on hunting Guignol."

"Dmitri, while appreciated, flattery will not change my mind. Put down the donuts."

"Was worth a shot!"

[1/?]
>>
"Scatter! He needs to charge up to use more than one shot at a time!"

You are a nameless soldier.

"Lily, they keep moving... You said this would be fun, and I'm getting tired!"

In this world, there exist monsters in the shape of children.

"Ganta, I can't help you aim when they keep shooting us! Why didn't you practice more!?"

It is your duty to fight them.

"Fuck, we've already lost --- and -----!"

In reality, it is your duty to die to them.
At the very least, you can serve as a distraction, to keep them here until the real heroes arrive.

That bitter thought is all that sustains you.

Your rifle, lovingly cared for, feels heavy in your hands. A pounding in your breast, a roaring in your ears, the staccato burst of semi-auto fire...

"Surround them! The girl can only open so many of those portals at once!"

Your lungs burn, your breath harsh enough to be picked up by your combead, but you can't afford to stay still.

Just behind you, the air screams as a supersonic chunk of steel rips through, plasma crackling in its wake. At the friction it's subject to, the already-deformed sphere begins to melt in on itself, punching holes through walls and cratering whatever it can't pierce. Even as it fades into the distance, an echoing wail remains.

A small part of you sweats at the amount of property damage that'll result from this. The rest of you doubts that you'll live to care.

The only reason any of you have lasted as long as you have is thanks to their sheer idiocy. The boy has no idea how to lead his shots and takes precious seconds to fire. The girl spends more energy yelling at him and blocking whatever your squad tries to throw at the pair than she does actually trying to kill the rest of you.

"Come on, Ganta. Focus! Oh, let's make it a competition, how about that?"

"Ooh, a competition! I have two so far! Lily, Lily, what about you?"

"--Erk. Uh. Let me get back to you on that."

To them, you're nothing but a game.

A pit opens in your stomach at the idea, disgust and some unfamiliar regret welling up within, and you falter for just a moment as you combat the desire to -- to just--

Why can't humans like you ever make a difference?

The girl's eyes snap towards you the second you mistime your dash. While you were under the cover of your team's suppressing fire, she was too busy redirecting shots to focus on any one of you.

Now, you're out in the open with no one to save you.

"Aha! Finally!" She cheers and splays out her fingers, her dress flapping behind her. A last-ditch spray of lead is sent her way, and without so much as a glance, she pops a gate in its path.

You stare at these monsters, trapped in a frozen second. Something in that keyhole, stuck within the girl's forehead, looks back.

It blinks.

Before you, an entrance to the abyss opens.

"One point for me, Ganta!"

You were meant to die.

[2/?]
>>
You are Jack Yang, (unofficial) Attendant to one Valentine Harper, and you are feeling all 39 of your years. Sweat drips down your brow as you recall in perfect clarity why you hate doing cardio so much. Val's weight isn't doing you any favors there, either.

Still, you have to clench your teeth to stop a smile from coming on. It's too early to celebrate, even if you managed to save someone.

The soldier you just bodychecked lets out a groan from his position on the ground. You may have used a little more force than was strictly necessary, and you'll probably have to check to make sure he doesn't have a concussion later, but it's better than letting him get caught by whatever it was that freaky keyhole Alice pulled up.

Speaking of, she's staring directly at you. Wow, even from about 50 feet away, you can tell she's pissed.

"What the fuck!? That was supposed to be my kill, you dick!"

Time to get the hell out of here. You yank the Protectorate agent to his feet, and begin your valiant escape. He stumbles behind you, but begins an unsteady run.

"Val, some help would be nice!"

"Fine, but stop sweating so much, damnit!" Though she sounds disgusted, a giddy Valentine sweeps a gloved hand across the field.

"Charge!"

At her command, the eighteen undead you had lying in wait finally make their move. Blue fire blazes in their eyes as they home in on the Alices at the center of the destruction, approaching in waves.

There's something strange about her minions. You hesitate to call them zombies. Of all the shitty B-movies you've watched, they certainly don't act like anything you're familiar with.

They're just a bit too coordinated. Rather than the shambling undead you expect, there's an uncanny athleticism in their movements. Charred skin cracks and flakes away, revealing angry red flesh flexing and pulsing with alien liveliness. They don't walk, they run, vaulting over obstacles and continuing on without missing a beat.

"Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"

Val seems entirely too happy about this. You can't really blame her; they're a good deal more effective than you'd have thought, and while you don't stop to look, it's plenty gratifying to hear a strangled shriek of frustration rise from behind you.

"What the fuck are these!? Ew! Ganta, shoot them! Shoot them!"

You pull into a mostly-undamaged alleyway to catch your breath, kneeling down to let Val slide off your shoulders. A window in the building across from you rattles before Emily pops her head out to glare at you. She looks at the man you brought and shakes her head.

"This is all I can do for you."

With that, she passes you a first-aid kit. It's appreciated; you didn't have time to pick up your bag from where you left it. As soon as you take the box from her, Emily withdraws.

Behind you, the soldier slumps against a wall and takes in a shuddering lungful of dust-free air.

"...I-I'm still alive?"

[3/?]
>>
Huh, it's a woman. You couldn't really tell under the helmet.

As soon as she speaks, she winces, clapping a gloved hand to her head. Even from here, you can hear the buzz of chatter and static that comes from her earpiece.

"T-this is Harrison. Still intact, somehow." She glances up at you, then to Val, who has her eyes shut in concentration.
Overhead, a P.A. system repeats evacuation orders for the city block, the lamppost it's attached to shining like a beacon. A beam of red light spins slowly in place, illuminating the alleyway for just a second before passing on.

The woman gets her feet with minimal wavering. "Sitrep… Slipped up, nearly got caught by one of those portals. Currently recovering with an Attendant and his Alice. Will return in 60 seconds. ETA to backup? …Got it. Over."

Her report done, she turns to salute you. "Thank you for your help, sir!"

With an embarrassed cough, you wave her off. "Don't mention it. Rest here for a moment. Harrison, right? Do you need to go back immediately?"

Harrison nods, eyes tight. "There were several other attacks around the sector, so help is… delayed. We need to hold them off for at least another 15 minutes."

At that moment, Val tugs at your sleeve, a scowl on her face. "Lost connections to 4--no, 5 of my subjects. We have to go back now, or we'll lose even more."

The doctor within you doesn't want to let her go, but there's not much choice. "Fine. Doesn't seem like you're hurt too bad, at least. I'll take the lead."

You hand Harrison the first-aid kit and kneel to let Val climb onto your back.
She clips the kit to her belt, nods to you, and you're off.

[4/?]
>>
The scene you come back to is somehow one of even greater destruction than when you left. It's frankly astounding.

Craters the size of cars litter the ground, with a countless number of fist-sized holes riddling the walls of the buildings around you--what few remain standing, anyways. Of the 18 undead you started with, a respectable 13 remain. How the hell are they lasting so long?

"WHY WON'T YOU FUCKING DIE!?"

Even as you watch, the Keyhole Alice - Lily, if you recall correctly - lets out a scream of unbridled rage. She's got four portals constantly deployed, switching angles to reflect anything shot at her. Despite her impressive battlefield awareness, Val's minions completely ignore her attempts to redirect bullets into them, and every time she tries to swallow them with one of those black gates, they're pulled out of the way by their comrades with startling speed.

It's a terrifying display of teamwork - nearly acrobatic - and from what you know of Val, most of it has to be automated. She just doesn't seem to be coordinated enough to organize them like that.

If it weren't for the male Alice - Ganta - it would be a guaranteed victory.

"Lily, Lily! Look at this!"

In stark contrast to his partner, the boy has a grin stretching ear to ear. With a flick of the wrist, a crackling jet of light streaks through the air. At that speed, the only visible part of the projectile is the trail it leaves behind, plowing straight through a pair of undead.

Viscera bursts from them, a hole nearly twice the size of their heads punched clean through their abdomens. The bolt continues onwards, burrowing into the ground at an angle before erupting spectacularly, spraying the surroundings with concrete chunks. Yet the dead hardly falter, the cold embers within their eyes flickering as new flesh swells in seconds, tendrils of organs sprouting and snapping into place before being hidden by flesh once again.

Well, that explains why they're mostly naked. You can't help but notice that their flames dim further as damage accumulates.
Looks like there's a limit to how many times they can regenerate.

Still freaky as fuck. Val looks like she's going to be sick; you can't blame her. Even though your line of work means you've become desensitized to gore, this is hard to watch.

The Alices don't seem fazed. Ganta laughs freely. "Lily, I got two this time! They just keep coming! You won't have any points at all if you can't catch up!"

The girl rounds on her partner, jabbing a finger into his chest. "You--! Stop playing around and be serious!" Though the pair stand a fair distance away, it almost looks like she's on the verge of tears.

Harrison turns her head between you, Val, and the dead.

"Is… is that your work?"

"Looks like it."

She keeps staring, but at least she doesn't start edging away.

"I--"

[5/?]
>>
Whatever the soldier's about to say gets cut off as her earpiece crackles once more. She puts a hand to it, listening intently. After a few seconds, she lets out a swear before looking back up at you.

"Apologies, sir, but we're running out of ammo. We'll do what we can, but it looks like you'll have to do most of the heavy lifting."

Well, damn. From what you can tell, you've got a few minutes at best before the enemy realizes the issue and takes advantage of it. Before you can say anything, though, Harrison takes a breath, squares her shoulders, and continues. "I… I still have a few magazines, though. I'll stick with you, sir. If you'll have me."

Strong woman, huh?

[Select one.]

>You can't risk it. You're not sure how much help she might be by herself, and it looks like you might just be able to manage stalemating the Alices until backup arrives. You and Val can take over from here while they try and resupply.

>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.

>Write-in? [Any weaknesses you noticed? Fancy plans in mind? I can say that there's at least one mundane way to end the fight without needing to wait for backup to arrive at all… though you might seriously piss someone off.]

[6/6]
>>
In which I discover that I have no idea how to write fight scenes. Fuck you, 5 AM me! You wrote me into a corner with the enemy composition! How am I supposed to make this a fun fight if there's no way for either side to make a clean, decisive win on their own!? Of course, this assumes I've shown everything they can do...
>>
>>5122868
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.
Gonna assume the mundane way to end the fight is just to straight up shoot one of the two Alice's, will hold back on voting for that unless if other people vote for it though.
>>
By the way, couldn't find a piece of art for Ganta that I was happy with. I was considering Mephistopheles from Fate, but decided it was a little too much for a character like him. Currently he basically look like the picture here except 10 years younger.
>>
>Write-in: Best thing we can do is hide until backup arrives and then we can combine forces for a decisive attack.
>>
>>5122894
It's unlikely that they'll approve or go along with this, on account of the likelihood for massive structural damage inflicted to the sector. I won't veto it, though I will make you roll a 1d50 + 5 to see if it succeeds.
>>
>>5122898
By success, I mean convincing them to go along with it. Forgot to clarify that.
>>
>>5122868
>All zombies dogpile Ganta.
He's the only one that can destroy the zombies consistently, and the girl wont be able to portal them without friendly fire.
>>
>>5122868
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.
>Have the Zombies dogpile one of the enemies. Preferably the one that can actually hit them and so we might get them to friendly fire each other as the other gets more frustrated trying to hit the zombies and will take more risks more readily.
>>
>>5122947
+1, but instead of all, make that two other skelys sneak upon the other one after dog piling one

I too feel that if we do this, that the dog piled should be Ganta, but it's just a gut feeling
>>
>>5122868
Ammending my vote from >>5122947
to
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.
>Have the Zombies dogpile one of the enemies. Preferably Ganta that can actually hit them and so we might get them to friendly fire each other as the other gets more frustrated trying to hit the zombies and will take more risks more readily.
>Keep two zombies back to backstab Lily when she turns her gaze towards the target rich enviorment.

>>5122952
It might be a good idea to link your vote to the post of the QM so that it becomes easier for them to count the votes.

Also thank you very much for your input. I just got up and your comment was helpful
>>
>>5122868
I remade this >>5122952
to now reference:

>>5122955
WAIT WAIT WAIT, I HAVE A BETTER IDEA THAT JUST REACHED THROUGH MY MIND WHILE I WAS IN THE SHITTER, but it could put quite the strain to Val.

Thinking about it logically, the both Alice, Lily and Ganta though of trained soldiers as nothing more than a plaything, easily one of them could destroy an entire squad by themselves, and this two guys have reduced our skelys from 18 to 13 if I am correct, they both have strong abilities and are pretty good at combat, so I had the idea of instead of sending 2 of the 13, we send just 1, and make another hide from Ganta and Lily vision, Ganta is definitely more competent than Lily, so I wouldn't be surprised if he notices both disappearing and would advise Lily about it, now here is the part where Val could probably be strained, that she makes a new skely to "disguise" as the hidden skely and go for Lily as well, obviously making said new skely significantly weaker to not make Val fucking have an aneurism or something, so when Ganta realizes that the two disappeared, that the hidden one suddenly comes out of nowhere and kills/incapacitates Ganta, in other words:

>All 13 dogpile Ganta
>Number 13 sneaks out of there and tries to kill/incapacitate Lily
>Number 12 is hiding from Ganta and Lily meanwhile
>Val creates Number 14 which is significantly weaker to not put to much strain in her
>Number 14, who disguised as 12, then accompanies 13 in a sneaky way
>In the case that Ganta doesn't notice that 13 and 12 are not there, then we hopefully make the kill against Lily
>And in the case that he notices, we make the kill against Ganta using 12 when he gets distracted after noticing 13 and 14 disguised as 12, going after Lily
>If everything goes REALLY well, we can defeat both, but at least we get one of the two

Of course, we need to ask Val if she can do that, or is too much for her, if it is, then just send the two to sneak-kill Lily
>>
>>5122983

Well the QM stated here >>5120122
>>Zerg rush. You'll buy some time for the squad here, then try and play keep away with whoever you can raise. Val's got 24 charges in her; that should be enough. Val: "Fuahahaha! Unmatched, immortal, unstoppable! Fall to the tide!"


Val has 24 charges and we had 18 zombies.... so it should be possible to do it(unless she needs to use 1.33 charges per Zombie). And if she had a limit of numbers she can have at a time we are definitely below it now. but we should ask val anyway. Just to make sure we value her opinion on this.
>>
>>5122983
also disguise is gonna be difficult since our raised zombies are somewhat naked right now after regenerating so much. a new one would probably still have clothes. Enough to probably fool Lily but not Ganta.
>>
>>5122987
Forgot about that, we should keep some charges for like a super charged skely or two to protect us if the plan fails and they get close
>>5122990
It doesn't need to be perfect, this guys seem relaxed enough to not care about useless details like the clothes of a small group, and I bet the skely can rip clothes, those fuckers are strong, quick and coordinated enough to just be reduced to 13 instead of like 4 or 5 taking in account how strong this guys are, so I bet something as doing that is quite simple
I need to sleep, so that is the last time that I will talk today, bye
>>
>>5122993
Sure sleep well Anon. i will take your arguments into consideration.
>>
>>5122987 #
Yeah, you still have some slots left. Didn't want to restrict you too much and Val gets fucking tired if she burns through all of them in one go.
>>5122983 #
>Ganta is more competent than Lily
lol
lmao

Better at causing direct damage, sure, but more competent? Nah, it's just Lily's bad luck that Val's a horrible match up for her. Lily is actually quite skilled, her only real limitations being her range and the number of active gates she can slap down at a time. Without her constantly redirecting attacks and basically being an impenetrable defense, Ganta would be dead in an instant. The boy has zero idea how to best use his power on account of being nth degree autistic; if they weren't basically kids and looking for fun, the much, much, much smarter plan would be for him to charge up for about an hour and then delete half the sector in a series of railgun-artillery shots from afar. He can't even realize that making Val's undead explode is better than punching holes through them.

Thankfully, he's fucking stupid and Lily is easily flustered. Aren't you lucky that 95% of Alices are retarded/impulsive? This is part of why Attendants are so important early on in their careers. Alices are inpulsive and easily become overconfident. I mean, makes sense, they're regular humans that got sick superpowers, I'd be excited to try it out too.

How's the fight so far, by the way? I'm not really sure how to go about it but the lecture I'm studying from says that blow-by-blows aren't good reading, so I'm trying to lean on applying more characterization and revealing more about Val's actual capabilities now that she has a chance to test them. There's a lot to learn about her power--rather than just basic necromancy, I went into it with a real theme based on her history and Guignol's overall goals.
>>
I'll also note that there appears to be a misconception about how Val applies her powers. She needs to use them on an actual body, she can't just make them from scratch. What this means is that "disguising" them is going to rely on Lily and Ganta not being able to tell that there's a new/unfamiliar face in the mix. They're dumb, but they've been fighting this particular group in a progressively more open field for the past few minutes. I'd need you to make some rolls to deceive them successfully. Not particularly high ones, but yeah.

Do note that without any stray bullets to worry about, Lily can show you just why she and Ganta are paired together. Whatever plan you make, you'll likely want to come up with one that can be executed before the Protectorate squad runs out of ammo.
>>
>>5122868
Ammending vote from >>5122955
to
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.
>Have the Zombies dogpile one of the enemies. Preferably Ganta that can actually hit them and so we might get them to friendly fire each other as the other gets more frustrated trying to hit the zombies and will take more risks more readily.
>Number 13 sneaks out of there and tries to kill/incapacitate Lily
>Number 12 is hiding from Ganta and Lily meanwhile
>Val creates Number 14 from a nearby corpse
>Number 14, who disguised as 12, then accompanies 13 in a sneaky way
>In the case that Ganta doesn't notice that 13 and 12 are not there, then we hopefully make the kill against Lily
>And in the case that he notices, we make the kill against Ganta using 12 when he gets distracted after noticing 13 and 14 disguised as 12, going after Lily
>If everything goes REALLY well, we can defeat both, but at least we get one of the two

>>5123016
Well if that is that and Ganta just seems much more composed. But if the other one is getting so flusterd... The first thing to go is the brain when one gets angry or drunk

As for the fight. I think it is a good start. While we ourselves are still trying to get used to our powers our enemies are much stronger but also either emotional or stupid and without much support

>>5123026
okay i kinda expect Lily to just redirect Gantas projectiles once they are no longer being shot at so that Ganta can attack from unexpected angles and make attacks near undogable. Or have them make a couple dozen loops through Gantas power to get shot at like 25% the speed of light or something extreme like that. At that point you go from railgun into particle Cannon territory i imagine.

What would we have to roll to deceive them? Like in Dice i mean not the target number
>>
>>5123039
1d20 best of two, anything higher than a 7 would be a pass.
>>
>>5123042
so can i roll or should i wait until you say your ready to start writing?
>>
>>5123046
Plan has to win, first. Otherwise people just vote for the plan that's already guaranteed success.
I'll close votes whenever I wake up from now. Cheers.
>>
>>5123049
Good Night QM. Have a restful sleep and read you when you get here again.
>>
>>5122983
What about this (both Harrison and her squad have still some mags no ? If we can put them to use they could scare a kill ?)

>>5122868
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.

"You said your squad has still some ammo. I want you and them to concentrate all your firepower on the girl, full auto. We ll handle the boy and prepare a surprise for the Girl.. also give me all your grenades."

>11 of them run from cover to cover and go to Ganta, avoid to get hit, reach him and take him out. Have one of this zombies drop "dead" near as Ganta has it's possible. Ganta should hopefully, be too preoccupied with the rest of the horde for bother. This zombie will strike him when Ganta has it s back exposed, bite deep in the neck for be precise.
>Meanwhile Harrison and her squad will fire everything they got on Lily. Put as much heat and pressure on her as possible. If they even strike a hit it's just better
>The two other zombies we have, alongside a newly raise one will sneak their way around the rooms for flank Lily. Then they strike at her. All 3 of this zombies will have the grenades of Harrison and her squad, ensuring that if they get near her she dies by three explosions.
>>
>>5123218
*score a kill
>>
>>5123218
Took forever for someone to come up with suicide bombing, lol. I'll leave votes for another 3 hours.
>>
>>5123218
+1
Boom goes the Soldier
>>
>>5122868
>>5122884
Changing my vote to
>>5123218
Seriously how did I not think of suicide bombing?
>>
Votes are currently tied between suicide bombing and dogpiling. I'll begin writing, but would appreciate a tiebreaker before I do a dice roll.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>5123668
If another anon doesn't vote
>DOGPILE
>Surprise Red Confetti
>>
Update may come a little late tonight, was planning out the next few scenes and what you might do for tomorrow. Thanks for your patience.

Do you guys prefer if I upload as I write, or should I try and finish everything before posting? (Swear to God, usually spend like an extra 2 hours just looking for good art to use. Thankfully have plenty in store for this one so it shouldn't be an issue tonight.)
>>
Haven't really been catching the updates, but can't you just shoot the laser alice while the portals are busy being bothered by undead? The key isn't quantity of bullets, but suddenly having a gun where they can't see.

Maybe set up some reflective surfaces. I doubt they'll hold up even one shot, but tiny reflections will make them pause just to check if it caused friendly fire.
>>
>>5123975
you can do it as you like. if it makes it easier for you you can do it as you write.
>>
>>5123975
Do it as ya like, doesn't matter to me.
>>
Disclaimer: I really struggled to parse what the updated Dogpile plans were trying to say, so I've taken the liberty to merge things slightly with the grenade plan and tweak it for narrative effect. Hope you're alright with that.
I'll just say the plan was effective and get on with posting what I've got. Rest of the update will come... sometime after I wake up!
>>
>Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help? You'll accept her offer so long as she keeps out of sight. Between you and Val, they won't be able to focus on her. Hopefully, anyways. Fire support means you're less likely to get your shit kicked in if they start pulling themselves together, too.
>Have the zombies dogpile one of the enemies.

A number of arguments come to mind - why risk their survival? Who knows what else those two can do? It's safer to let the dead handle things - but you clamp down on your rising objections.

Who are you to deny someone the opportunity to help?

You understand all too well what it feels like to be useless.

"Fine, but I'd rather you keep out of danger after I saved you the first time. Do you think you can regroup with the rest of your squad?"

"Ah… apologies, sir, but wouldn't it be better for me to stick with you? As you lack a means of communicating with the squad, I should be able to help coordinate orders." Harrison looks unsure at her suggestion, but you nod firmly.

"Good catch. Alright, you'll stick with us. I've got a plan in mind. Val, can you issue individual orders?"

"Shouldn't be an issue!"

"Perfect. We'll have your zombies focus on Ganta, since it looks like he's the only one who can actually hurt them."

Val frowns. "Do you really think we can manage that? That keyhole Alice is standing right next to him, after all…"

"Hah. That's the trick. Harrison, can you get the others to time an all-out strike on Lily's left? If she has to spread out her portals there, there's no way a few won't slip through. And--"

Val winces before you can continue. "Lost one more. 12 left, Jack. Just--just tell me as we go."

Fuck. You pop your head out of cover to see Lily smoothing her dress down, a too-wide grin on her face. Some distance from the Alice, a pair of legs slumps to the ground. The shredded stumps twitch and writhe, tendrils of flesh seeking something to connect to, but soon fall still.
Directly behind them, one of Lily's black gates shimmers at the edges, as if sucking in the surrounding light.

Did it swallow the torso?

"Finally! See that, Ganta? Just need to aim at the waist and bam! I'll snap them right up!"

"But who gets the points?"

"Who cares about the points!? Just keep shooting!"

"Fine…"

An unenthused Ganta stoops to pick up a chunk of rubble, tossing it in the air before catching it as he scopes the battlefield for another target.

Beside you, Harrison swallows hard, her gaze locked on the gate even as it blinks out of existence.

"T-that's what was going to happen to me? Just fall in there and… disappear?"

You clap her shoulder, ignoring the stinging in your palm that results from hitting a bulletproof vest. She doesn't even stumble, but she's looking at you.

"Won't let it happen. Saved you once, we'll do it again."

"...Yeah."

[1/?]
>>
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Val clings onto your back as you rush through the maze-like ruins in search of a mostly-whole corpse. Behind you, the sound of gunfire no longer comes in a steady stream. Harrison's friends are conserving their ammunition while zombies 1-12 follow their new orders. No longer attacking, they focus entirely on dodging Ganta's shots and weaving out of sight, slowly leading them towards what remains of the administrative office's hallways.

Finally, you find a suitable body. Concrete shrapnel has shredded the man's abdomen. Though she looks sickened, your Alice extends a trembling hand to poke at his forehead.

The moment her flames envelop him, his gaping wound begins to knit together. With a shudder, the freshly-raised undead pulls himself to his feet, ejecting chunks of mangled intestine and bloody concrete from his body. Blue flames spark to life where his eyes would be, signaling an end to the process.

Val wipes her hand on her dress and makes a face. You hand her a napkin - which she accepts gratefully - before commenting.

"You'd think that you'd be used to it by now, huh?"

"I-I had my eyes closed before! And at least the skeleton didn't... it didn't smell so bad!"

You shake your head and sigh. "Well, you can hold my hand if it'll make you feel any better. It's hard to get used to, but we can't afford to stick around here."

The earth trembles, and with a resounding crash, yet another building comes tumbling down as Ganta blasts holes into the neighborhood.

It's a good thing that most people have already evacuated, or you'd be panicking a lot more. The amount of property damage makes you wince, though. It's better than what it might have been had you let them run unchecked, but the thought of all those zeroes...

Well, no matter. It means more cover for you and with the 13th undead in tow, you should be ready to move on to the next stage.

"Val, can you see through your zombies?"

She shuts her eyes for a moment, then frowns. "I don't think my connection to them is good enough for that… Only have a vague idea of where they are, too."

"Worth a shot. Harrison, can you get eyes on Ganta and Lily?"

[2/?]
>>
The soldier nods. After a quick back-and-forth on her combead, she cracks open a door to take a peek, then turns back to you.

"Almost in position. With those undead running decoy, everyone's taking the time to recover. No one's in the building."

"Perfect. Val, I need you to organize all 12 of the ones fighting Ganta and Lily into two waves. Have them approach from within the building. Harrison, have your people form a firing line and take position outdoors. We'll catch them from both ends--all or nothing."

This is the moment of truth. At Val's command, the freshly-raised corpse disappears into one of the offices.

A minute passes. Even Ganta's shots have begun to die down, though a report from Harrison tells you that he's holding at least four more of those missiles.

"Lily, nothing's happening. Do you think they ran away?"

The girl snarls. "They better not. I'm going to rip out the throat of whoever set those things up against us. Utter pain in the ass."

You raise three fingers in Harrison's direction.

"They weren't so bad…"

Two fingers, now. Val whispers breathily in your ear. "Whenever you're ready."

"You're just saying that because you got to make them explode, over and over again!"

One.

"It was great!"

Harrison speaks into her com with you.

"Now."

[3/?]
>>
To her credit, Lily responds instantly, whipping away from Ganta and blocking off the part of the hallway facing the entrance with a series of shimmering gates. The barricade soaks up the hail of lead and gunpowder with ease, then spits it all back out with equal ferocity.

Opposite her, Ganta lets out a cheer as Val's horde charge down his side of the hallway. "Lily, they came back!"

With a flick of his wrist, three of his bullets tear down the hall in a streak of light, ripping apart a full seven of the undead and tripping two more. At this, Lily groans. "There's no point if you can't aim for shit, Ganta."

Your Alice sighs. "They're gone."

"It's fine. Harrison, your turn."

A part of you regrets that you've given her arguably the most dangerous role to play.
The rest of you tells you to have faith.

The woman nods, pops out of cover, and fires at Ganta. Instantly, a gate appears in her path.

Lily crows. "Hah! Knew something was fishy! There were six of you left, but I only counted five!"

That Alice is smart. Unexpectedly so. Easily flustered, sure, but her combat capabilities weren't something you could underestimate. Over the course of the fight, it's become clear to you that she's supposed to be an attempt at corralling Ganta--some kind of walking artillery, impenetrable defense, and possibly even mobility if they weren't so cocky and Val wasn't here to keep them locked down.

Of course, two can play the numbers game.

You kept careful count of how many portals Lily could throw down. Five. Never any more than that.

She's spent two to block off the hallway. Another two for returning fire. And the last one was deployed just now in order to block off Harrison. While that's in the way, Ganta can't get a clear shot at her.

They're completely undefended.

"Val. 13th, now."

[4/?]
>>
Right next to the pair, an office door explodes outwards as the newest zombie bursts out, arms outstretched.
He latches onto Ganta's face, wrenching the boy's head back and practically unhinging his own jaw in his attempt to chomp down on the exposed jugular.

Lily turns to reach out to her partner, startled. She lets out a cry.

For a moment, the portals flicker.

Just a moment.

Just long enough for three bullets to thud into her back, staggering her. Two more go wild, but it's enough to distract her.

Ganta's third missile is sent smashing into the 13th in a blind panic, obliterating him from the waist up. Unlike the others, though, he's not worn down in the least, and is already beginning to regenerate, maintaining a death grip on the boy's face.

On top of that, there's still five from the original horde charging down the hall.

It's not long until they join their brother.

Ganta disappears under the pile of limbs, kicking and flailing. His screams turn into sobs, ringing out into the night, punctuated by the sound of flesh ripping and tearing.

Still, he fights. The endurance of an Alice is the real deal, and it looks like Val's undead are valid targets for his power.
One by one, he flings them off, launching them down the hall and into walls at absurd speeds. Bones crack and skulls splatter whenever they hit something headfirst. Harrison has to dive to avoid getting hit by one, and scrambles back into position with you.

It's not enough. They always come crawling back, a cruel flame flickering in their eyes. The distant staccato of gunfire is a match for the beating of your own heart.

With a whimper that echoes in your ears, the boy dies.

Lily screams at the same time Val throws up.

[5/?]
>>
>>5124385
That was pretty good
Awaiting next update, cool quest QM
>>
Quest ain't dead, just been swamped with work. Will be posting later tonight, look forward to a Lily interlude and a boss fight.
>>
>>5125891
sounds interesting OP. I will be looking forward to it.
>>
>>5125891
cool
We should have still something left, and we aren't waiting around so Lily is next. After that we better take the wounded and get out
>>
I wonder if Val can raise an alice?
If the regular human corpses are this strong, imagine how powerful Gantas body would be?
We might as well continue the theme of horrific alice executions while we're at it, really go the extra mile and make the first day as traumatic as possible.
>>
>>5126236
well he might very well be very powerful but probably also require quite a lot of charges. Especially if her could still use his powers.

But something we might want to try out after we dealt with Lily. If we can deal with her that is.
>>
It was raining, that day. Near freezing. Sometime in fall, fast approaching winter.

You don't remember how old you were, or even how you looked. Maybe 20? 30?

It didn't matter.

You were finally going to die.

The rain soaked into your matted, grimy hair. Some kind of yellow, streaked through with grey.

You couldn't even sell your body.

Ice-cold water crept down hollow cheeks, past cracked lips, and into the neck of a tattered jacket several sizes too small for you.
It had been red at some point, but the years had turned the fabric a splotchy purple-pink--at least, where colors could still be seen under blackened layers of soot and dirt.

It was strange. You were cold, unbearably so, but the rain did nothing to soothe your bruises. In your current state, not even your empty stomach could muster a growl.

You wanted to sleep.

Huddled into yourself, clutching broken bones, you took comfort in the thought that you could always just sleep.

It was the only thing you could do.

How terribly lonely, this world.

How dearly you wanted to leave it behind.

Slowly, your breathing slowed. You shut your eyes, blocking out the distant sight of passerby from deep within your alleyway.

Would you wake up again?

You hoped not.

...Then a boy spoke in your ear, his voice annoyingly cheerful for such sorry weather.

"You shouldn't sleep here, miss!"

You blinked blearily before looking up at him, already half-claimed by the cold. Distantly, your eyes registered blue skin and a pair of horns poking through a shock of white hair.

"Papa, look! Don't you think she'd be a good pick? I think she's got great potential!"

Ah… was this one of those Alices?

"You say that about everyone, Ganta."

You didn't really care.

"...But I suppose you're right. It truly would be a shame for her to die now. Our new world should be available to all."

Tired as you were, you barely even noticed the man next to him until another pair of boots splashed you with a puddle.

"Yup! Miss, you'll come with us!"

With that free-spirited declaration, the boy stuck out an open hand. Freely, carelessly, without guile; he reached out to a filthy, forgotten existence like you.

"After all, I'm sure you hate this world too."

[6/?]
>>
Before you can begin soothing your Alice, Harrison grips your shoulder, pointing a wavering finger in Lily's direction.

"Sir. I--we can't stay here." Her voice cracks. "Situation just got a lot worse, and we're--we're fresh out of ammo."

"What? What do you mean by 'worse'...?"

The question dies on your lips as you turn to look at what she's talking about.

Black filth cascades from the mourning Alice's orifices. It leaks from her eyes, pours out her mouth, yet it fails to act as a fluid should. Rather than splash to the ground, it envelops the girl like a second skin, rapidly cocooning her in an inky veil.

What the fuck is going on?

Despite being obscured, Lily's wailing continues. It seems to echo across the sector, amplified by some inhuman factor.

Val wipes her mouth with a sleeve, leaning on you for support. The grimace on her face begins to disappear as she looks up, replaced by a kind of faraway horror.

Your Alice chokes out a whisper. "A-attack her."

At her command, the few zombies that remain turn their attention to Lily, but no matter what they do, they can't seem to pierce the cocoon.

Harrison doesn't waste time. She yanks you and Val towards one of the exits Ganta made in that first attack, cursing into her earpiece.

"Get this message to command as soon as you can: Priority-1, East Sector, Code Beta-Sierra-Tango. Out of ammo--we needed that backup five minutes ago, where the fuck is it!?"

Though you follow her, your mind is focused on something else.

...Ah. Viktor said something about this, didn't he?

"The mind begins to degrade, a downwards spiral marked by increased aggression, alongside deficiencies in emotional maturity, memory, and lower overall empathy. Ultimately…"

"They turn into Beasts."

A pit opens in your stomach. No matter how effective Val's zombies may be, you've seen what happens when a Beast attacks.
It was why you retired, after all.
You're--you're not able to handle a threat like that. Not right now. Maybe not for another two years, if you're being generous.

You're not a real Attendant.

[7/8]
>>
Before you can get more than a few steps away from the branch office, the screech of tearing steel cuts through the air, followed by a series of rumbling quakes that sends your group sprawling to the ground.

Against your better judgment, you turn to look.

Three writhing towers tapered to a point seem to pierce the sky, stretching hundreds of feet into the air. They've punched through what remains of the branch office's roof.

The moon hangs heavy overhead. The foreign structures glint in its pale glow, colored a slick purple so dark as to be black, and--

Wait a minute. Those aren't towers.

Those are… tentacles?

Next to you, a rough voice speaks, interrupting your train of thought.

"Phew. Can see that shit for miles. The hell did I miss?"

You practically jump out of your skin. The speaker is a thickly-built man that looks as old as you, clad in a classy suit and tie. Idly, he taps on a cigar as thick as your thumb, knocking ashes to the ground.

When the fuck did he appear?

Noticing your stare, he gives a grin that would probably have Val hiding behind you if she wasn't already.

"Ah, right. Arturo Amantea, First Class Attendant, at your service. Call me Arturo, yeah? I'm the backup."

Harrison salutes him, which he ignores.
The man takes another look at the tentacles, then lets out a heavy sigh.

"Man. I was told there were two Alices, not some Beast. Hey, girlie. Call in anyone else yet?"

The operator blinks, then scrambles for her radio. He waves her off.

"Meh, don't bother. Head's probably got their panties in a bunch, what with all the other attacks going on right now, but if that's a Beast then the real party's here. They'll send someone on their own soon enough."

[8/9] (I lied again)
>>
>>5127580
Huh so Lily failed her sanity check.

I could almost pity her. Almost.

>>5127615
okay she turned into a tentacle monster. Now i do pity her somewhat.
>>
Mother of fuck, due to forgetting to enable site cookies I can't delete my last story post. I am in despair. Is there a way I can ask janitors to get rid of it, or should I just continue?
>>
>>5127768
Just post the corrected post and keep going. It's no big deal
>>
Corrected story post. Added some info that was missing.

Before you can get more than a few steps away from the branch office, the screech of tearing steel cuts through the air, followed by a series of rumbling quakes that sends your group sprawling to the ground.

Against your better judgment, you turn to look.

Three writhing towers tapered to a point seem to pierce the sky, stretching hundreds of feet into the air. They've punched through what remains of the branch office's roof.

The moon hangs heavy overhead. The foreign structures glint in its pale glow, colored a slick purple so dark as to be black, and--

Wait a minute. Those aren't towers.

Those are… tentacles?

Next to you, a rough voice speaks, interrupting your train of thought.

"Phew. Can see that shit for miles. The hell did I miss?"

You practically jump out of your skin. The new arrival is a solidly-built man who looks about as old as you, clad in a classy suit and tie. Idly, he taps on a cigar as thick as your thumb, knocking ashes to the ground.

When the fuck did he appear?

Noticing your stare, he gives a grin that would probably send Val running for the hills if she wasn't hiding behind you already.

"Ah, right. Arturo Amantea. First Class Attendant, at your service. Call me Arthur, yeah? I'm the backup."

Harrison salutes him, which he waves off.
The man takes another look at the tentacles, then lets out a heavy sigh.

"Man. I was told there were two Alices, not some Beast. Hey, girlie. Call in anyone else yet?"

The operator blinks, then scrambles for her radio. Arthur holds up a hand to stop her.

"Meh, don't bother. Head's probably got their panties in a bunch, what with all the other attacks going on right now, but if that's a Beast then the real party's here. They'll send someone on their own soon enough. Really, was supposed to be a squad with me, but I went on ahead after all that screaming. Should be about 14-strong, with resupply in… eh, two minutes?"

[8/10] (I lied)
>>
At this, Harrison exhales, relieved. Arthur takes that moment to eye the rather conspicuous halo floating behind you. You cough and pull away to reveal a nervous Val.

"Uweh." She's still holding onto your sleeve. In lieu of her non-response, you introduce yourselves.

"Right. Arthur, pleasure to meet you. I'm Jack, and this is Valentine."

"Mm. Can't say I know you, but more help is always appreciated." He points at the towers. "Got any idea what's up with that? Long range crap like that's not really something my Alice likes to deal with. Ah, speaking of..."

Arthur blows a sharp whistle. On cue, a girl drops out of the sky and lands in a crouch next to him. He leans on her head as she stands, scratching her scalp. You watch as her fox-like ears twitch happily at the attention.

"Arty! I came! Coast is clear; not a lot of people left out here, but some woman I met told me there was a real dummy that was gonna get himself killed if he wasn't dead already. Said his name was Jack."

...That was probably Emily. You get the impression she said something with a little more heat to it than "dummy." Arturo laughs at your expression.

"Anyways. This is Lina. Real cutie, my pride and joy. Specializes in medium and short-range combat, uses a freaky shadow summon to take big ol' bites outta things."

Lina puffs up her cheeks. "Don't call Kon freaky! He's nice!"

Arthur rolls his eyes before responding. "Damn thing could swallow me whole. Probably would, given half the chance. I've seen the way he looks at me."

Head-scratches delivered, the man pushes off his Alice and looks you in the eyes. You suppress the urge to shiver and return his gaze.

Your worth is being measured.

"I know I said I could use some help, but honestly, it's up to you. Beasts are some dangerous shit. I'm pretty damn good if I do say so myself - been around since the early days of our little organization - but most I can do is keep that thing contained."

The moment passes, and Arthur's gaze softens. A grin returns to his face. Whatever he saw, he seems fine with it.

"I dunno what your kid can pull off, but if you managed to take down that other Alice, you should be good enough. Let's talk shop."

[9/10]
>>
[Select one.]

>You'll leave. It was nice meeting them and all, but you can't do this. It's your first day here, damnit, and Val looks like she's about to cry. ("No I'm not!") You'll still tell him what you can, though. Arthur: "Eh. I don't blame ya, kid. Me and Lina are pros, we can deal."

>Fuck it, you'll help. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You don't smoke? Bully to you."

[10/10]
>>
>>5127809
>"We're not going to be worth much, but I give it 50/50 odds that the Beast recognizes that we killed her buddy. Bait is the best thing we'll be whether or not we want to get out, but Val here can pull up some bodies to give it something to hit."
>>
>>5127809

>Fuck it, you'll help. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You don't smoke? Bully to you."
>"Val. I know i am asking a truly titanic thing off you. If you don't want to do this i can understand. I feel pretty drained as well and really want to do this but this is our duty. It likely happened due to us that the girl became like this and we should see it through."
>Ask that you do backline support by raising three or four minions to soak fire. Val is pretty drained by fighting those two Alices earlier and draining herself even further would only put you all in danger.
>>
By the way, if you want to try raising an Alice, I'll have you roll a 1d20 best of 3 to see if Val collapses. As a freebie, I'll tell you that Alices cost 6 charges. You can try and go over that, but then you need to start rolling.
>>
>>5127826
while Ganta would be useful i dont think we should try that yet. We are already playing with fire as is. Experimentation is good and all but there is a research Facility for that and time will be later.
>>
>>5127809
>>Fuck it
>>
>>5127809
>Fuck it, you'll help. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You don't smoke? Bully to you."

"There is still just too many wounded around. It would go against my entire education to leave them here to that thing. Anyway do you know what there is in the hospital and how the structure is made ? Maybe we could use it to our own advantage against the beast. Beside that Harrison and her squad helped us a lot but they are out of ammo, if there is an armory inside the building we could put it to use though... they would need something heavier than their rifles. I doubt they can scracth it with those, unless the beast has some visible weak points."
"If the hospital doesn't give us any advantage then we should take it away from here."
"In regard to the beast before it was a girl capable of using portals. I don't know much of beasts but if she had keep those it would be difficult to attack it with just our small group. No offense to your abilities guys".
>>
By the way, fun fact. You wouldn't have fought a Beast if you killed Lily instead, since Ganta is so far gone it's really hard for him to feel much of anything other than bored or excited.
You could also have tried to convince the squad for a nonlethal recapture, which would've been a little difficult, but doable if you pushed hard enough and delayed as long as possible.
Consider this a (sort-of) secret boss!
>>
>>5127983
if it is a Secret Boss OP i hope she drops some epic loot

And when have people ever taken it easy when it comes to live and death situations.
>>
>>5127987
>epic loot
Do you want one last tip? If you do, I won't be giving any more freebies until the next in-game day, but it's a very fun bit of knowledge.
>>
>>5127995
Sure why not? i dont mind though i can not speak for anyone else.
>>
We don't need no steeeenking tips.

Let's make our decisions as best we can and let the chips fall where they may.
>>
>>5127995
NOOOOO NO MORE TIPS
>>
>>5127822
+1 to this, while I really want to raise Ganta it's probably a bad idea right now, we can experiment later and such.
>>5127995
Fun bit of knowledge? Sure let's have it.
>>
>>5127995
I am not sure about it.
>>
2 for, 2 against, one on the fence. Next person (including the fence-sitter) to make a decision decides it.
Flip a coin if need be, I'm not even sure if there's going to be a situation where I'll have to offer freebies between now and the next in-game day.
>>
>>5128382
No tip ty
Lurker btw nice writing keep it up
>>
>>5128382
Uhmmm
If you say is a freebie though then I actually want to know it now.
I imagine is not some super secret lore if you reveal it.
>>
>>5128401
Nah, it's nothing super-secret. You wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn about it for a good while unless things went seriously pear-shaped, but it's something you'll probably get to experiment with later. Eventually. Realistically speaking it would require either a really coincidental 0-100 situation you had no opportunity to respond to whatsoever, or a few rolls to succeed.

I'm sad no one's gonna try and revive Ganta, though. I had some really fun interactions with Lily-Beast in mind.
>>
>>5128416
To be honest, I figured reanimating other Alices, beasts, and monsters will be key in the future. As well as whatever corpse crafting arts and modding/repairs are needed to boost her power. What a messy, disturbing, and disgusting powerset that requires a lot of prep and homework if you want it to be strong enough. Hopefully it won't be so limited to humanoids. I think of a lot of fun stuff relating to wood, bone, sinew, flesh, and microorganisms...
>>
>>5128442
Mostly unrelated, but I should read Coffin Princess Chaika. Expect to carry a cryochamber around on your back for future missions, kek. It's good you guys are choosing options that create a lot of potential socials, since not that many normal people would be willing to associate with an Attendant. Fewer still would want to interact with a necromancer. Can you imagine if one day, out of necessity, you have to revive some poor coworker's dead friend? I'm not sure if you were thinking about that when you chose to revive as many people as possible rather than explicitly search for soldier corpses, but you dodged a bullet there with Harrison's squad. She would've understood, but it's not something that's easy to stomach.
>>
>>5128465
I fully expect to be very well hated given how we serve a necromancer Alice of all people. There honestly aren't many kinds of Alices that would be more nightmarish than that. Luckily she is too young to realize just how despised she is going to be even by Alice standards, also our love life is forever doomed to the 2d realm unless adult Alices are a thing or something.

On the plus side, we won't have to worry about staying dead...then again that might not actually be a plus.

I do have some ideas though but it depends heavily on how much slack and bones(literally as it turns out) they are willing to throw our way. Her powers are one that depends on preparation, materials, and minions. So they have to give us something...likely including our own icebox of an APC to carry around our own frozen troop detachment. Potentially our own workshop..and likely the morgue will be turned into our own office and workshop.

I do know we need to craft some bodyguard undead elites which should be our first elite minions given how fragile we both are. Thinking about using a lot of bones and seeing what comes out.
>>
>>5127809
>Fuck it, you'll help. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You don't smoke? Bully to you."
>Res Ganta
I can't believe you guys are backing down from this, it would be the perfect way to disarm and distract the beast.
It'll definitely at least distract this thing enough to help the vets bring down the hammer, plus it's our best bet at contributing meaningfully to this fight.
I mean the regular corpses did jack shit even before the transformation finished.
>>
Oh, I should mention that the tentacles aren't her main body. I mean, I could do that, but then all this nice art would go to waste.
You would've learned this around the next update, anyways, so I don't mind revealing that she's got a "core."
>>
>>5128639
sure you can roll for it. But Val just does not have the juice left to be very helpful and will likely become a liability with all her power expended. And we still have to get to the academy afterwards to register. While i believe they will cut us some slack being there shows that we are pretty much willing to go through hell and come back for the debrief unless we are dead
>>
>>5128502
Could be an idea for the APC yeah. I was thinking that we have Val learn how to use animals and some humans, maybe criminals. Just for set a moral limit and show here she can have some standards. I guess we will be as much of a father figure as an attendant for her too.
In regard to Jack he values life, and i don't think he can do much combat related. Being mostly support/command seems ok.
For do that i think we can request the kit of a protectorate combat medic : armor, medical bag, medical supplies, combat drugs, plus a pistol and knife. We don't pick the standard rifle, and instead pick more medical supplies as well a comms headgear. This leaves us more vulnerable, but a rifle is a bit heavier to bring around and it does have his ammo too.
We should also request something more resilient than clothing for Val, but still light.
Beside that maybe we can request to have assigned with us Harrison and her squad ? They seem like fine guys.
>Our love life is doomed
Maybe ? I am sure other Attendants have managed something with their private lives.
>>5128639
I don't think Valentine can do more than this without some problems. Undead need her to be focused, if she gets weaker commanding them rapidly could be difficult. Since this is likely her first fight, without any previous knowledge or training for use her powers, she is going to get exhausted very rapidly from doing that. Having that while we fight this creature is less than ideal.
At the moment we need to know what we can do with the power she has left, what can Arturo do and the environment at our disposal. A rushed plan would do poorly.

On another note, i think there will be some dynamic of life and death talks between Jack and Valentine. Because they are the opposite of each other at the end, he values life since he has study it for learn to preserve it, and she needs the dead for battle.
>>
>>5128871
>We should also request something more resilient than clothing for Val, but still light.

I think we should experiment with Leather to learn if we can use that to artifically harden itself to provide improved protection or maybe carry some heavier armor for Val.

For the Equipment i agree. Pistol should be in it but Medical Supplies shoudl be our priority together. And hopefully we can call on the Squad if we need some heavier Firepower.

I would however still acquire some Flashbangs and maybe Smokegrenades to allow the undead to advance while the enemies sight is obstructed or to reposition if our position becomes compromised.
>>
>>5127809
I forgot to vote
>Fuck it, you'll help. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You
Raise Ganta. Ordinary undead won't do shit.

>>5128871
The issue is Val's power by its very nature is morally bankrupt as hell and shady as fuck. Oftentimes in the field we won't have time to get permission to raise someone's body. Val will eventually realize just how much people hate and are disgusted by her even by Alice standards. Given her powerset she will also need to learn about medical and mortician arts before experimenting in a hands on way on how to improve her undead. Which will get very gruesome indeed. By Alice standards Val will actually forced to be very highly educated. Once she settles down that combined with her education will make her a huge pain in the ass to deal with by Alice standards. Of course, right now she hasn't even realized she needs to go to specialized medical school.

Jack for his part hasn't had the reality of his situation and Val's situation fully sink in yet. He clearly values the living over defiling corpses, but it has yet to hit him just how bad it's going to get in order for Val to improve and be in the field to use it. Jack for his part knows enough about medicine to catch an idea of what Val will need to learn in order to fully exploit and grow her power. Not to mention just how utterly reviled both of them are going to be.

In terms of a support team, Val would particularly benefit from the assistance and teaching of medical and corpse treatment specialists. In terms of soldier support she will primarly be lugging around her own troops rather than sacrificing soldiers in the field. This may in fact result in the actual ground troopers actually growing to like Val because they will know when she is involved their expected losses will be far lower than usual due to being a minion master and not having any use for them. Instead, they will be at best glorified followers to keep an eye on us.

Unlike other attendants, their own Alices is not a reviled necromancer. If Jack thought his lack of love life was bad before...oh man.
>>
>>5128890
Leather can be an idea. I was thinking to see if she could shape bones for create something of her size. There is also the labs to check. If they can be assigned more destructive weapons like lmg s or rocket launchers alongside their standard gear, they should prove more deadly.
>Flashbangs and maybe Smokegrenades
That s a great idea, i didn't think of those honestly.
Its understandable.

>>5128909

I have no doubts that it will be hard. Add the emotional baggage of her previous life and i think she will begin to drop really fast the childish chunii act and become depressed.
You make a good point that she needs that education for both combat and her powers, perhaps we can also use it for distract her mind ? She will not exactly have many people to socialize with beside other nut jobs, and after they know she is a necromancer even less nut jobs will talk to her, and i am not sure if any kind of hobbies could aid her child mind with the traumas she is going to fight. The best we can do, maybe we can get a few contacts here in base. Like Harrison for starter. And our family at home, our mother/father hopefully if we can explain that she isn't just an alice but even a child.

He is still processing that he is an Attendant i believe. It has barely passed a day too, so it's not easy for him. I think he will realize just how much people will be disgusted quite fast, faster than Valentine at least. The looks and faces they are going to give them will be a clear signal.

>Assistance and teaching of medical and corpse treatment specialists.
Good idea. Add to that jack experience and the fact he has worked for quite a while in a graveyard, and she should be in good hands for education. I reckon the protectorate has enough funds to throw around, for give us the time of those specialists.

Well, yeah that is true enough. Maybe he can try with others in the base or go outside and use an alias. The second one would be a lie, but at least is enough for one night stands. Not great for solid relationships.
Hopefully his face doesn't go in the news, that would be the death of his social life for real unless he uses something for cover his face.
>>
>>5128760
Registration doesn't really require Val to be awake, since she's largely without paperwork of her own.
Assume that Arthur and Harrison are willing to vouch for you for any delays, though, especially since you decided to stick around and help with Lily-Beast
>>
>>5129001
still pushing her to complete exhaustion is not a good way to start the day 0 of our new Job.
>>
>>5129007
For the record, you'll be pushing her to exhaustion either way. Using all 24 charges within such a short time period takes a toll on her.
It's up to you if you want to take the risk and go over it for Ganta. I'll state that the DC you'll have to beat is... uh, you should have used 19 charges so far, leaving 5, and an Alice costs 6 charges... Meh. DC 6. Pretty low, so I'll balance that out by taking a 1d20 Bo2.

If you manage to fail, she'll still be able to raise and use Ganta because I don't believe in all-or-nothings (and it would be incredibly pathetic if you said you'd help and then jobbed that badly) but it'll cost her.
>>
>>5129181
well personally i wanted to use only 4 charges to not push out all of them at once and not push her over the edge....... Though we can try Ganta if the odds of making it are about 70% per roll
>>
>>5128760
>>5128871
You're being way too conservative.
There is a kaiju threatening to destroy the base, and as far as we know this is our only path to helping bring it down.
The worst that can happen is Val gets tired, and there's not even a 30% chance of that happening.
>>
>>5129388
Oh, well, I wouldn't say getting tired is the worst that could happen.
She's just... remarkably used to pain, and can power through it for a little bit.
>>
>>5129501
But yeah, if you pass the rolls then some solid rest is all she really needs.
>>
Might not be able to get an update out tonight. In the meantime, it looks like votes are for staying to help, but not rezzing Ganta. Is that right?
>>
>>5130023
You will need to count to make sure. The debate is whether or not to do so and I'm not sure how many votes there are for it.
>>
>>5130023
The lead vote is currently Fuck it, with two people voting to raise Ganta and two that express that they don't want to do that.
I'd suggest doing a runoff so that people can vote on Ganta specifically since there's contention on that.
>>
Alright. As an apology for the lack of an update yesterday, I'll be throwing in a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages to each option (ONLY using the information that you already have access to and could therefore have reasoned out yourself). Have fun.

[Select one.]

>Resurrect Ganta.
This will require a Best of 2, 2d20 with DC 6. Will still succeed on a fail, but Val may suffer backlash as a result.
Advantages: Long range fire support, early experimentation with Alices, very fun, ???
Disadvantages: Risk of backlash, may piss off Lily-Beast even more, will probably be asked some awkward questions, ???

>Resurrect normal undead.
Exactly what it says on the tin. Little risk of Val being hurt, other than being struck by Lily.
Advantages: Can help take off some heat from Lina, safer option, better for trying to buy time
Disadvantages: No way of closing off the fight by yourself, won't be able to contribute much, Lily-Beast has fuckoff huge tentacles

In both cases, Valentine will still be tired and likely fall asleep once the fight is over.
>>
>>5130470
Sure lets go with Ganta. We need to finish this. I hoped that the new guys would be enough on themselves.

When will the rolling happen? When the option is chosen and voting is over?
>>
>>5130470
>>Resurrect Ganta.
>>
>>5130471
That's standard operating procedure, yes.
>>
>>5130470
Then consider this my vote please.

>Resurrect Ganta.
>>
>>5130470
>Resurrect Ganta.
>>
>>5130470
>Resurrect Ganta.
>>
>>5130470
>Resurrect Ganta.
Fuck it might as well.
>>
>>5130470
>>Resurrect Ganta.
Ok let s keep going.
We still need to know what Arturo has to say. And if he has any answers to our questions. I don't want to fight blind this beast
>>
>>5130470
>Resurrect Ganta.
Questions will be asked no matter what and Val being a necromancer being known is inevitable.
>>
>>5130803
I'm sure it's not the first time this organization has had an alice with a terrible power.
>>
>Fuck it. Official or not, you're an Attendant now. A part of you wants to see this through to the end. You'll be playing more of a support role than anything, though. Still, watching a real Attendant in action? Practically a dream come true. Arthur: "Hah! Balls on you, boy. Here, take a cig… What? You don't smoke? Bully to you."
>Resurrect Ganta.

You're so far in over your head, you can't help but laugh.

"God fucking damn." At that, Val looks up at you.

"Sorry, Val. Arthur. Just… give me a second." With that, you bury your face in your hands, ignoring the dust and dirt streaked across your palms.

It's all beginning to catch up to you now.

Just what did you get yourself into…? Fuck, you're not listening to your old man's advice at all.

"If you can't be good, be careful."

...Ah, hell with it. Isn't this the big break you've been waiting for?
You always wanted to save people.
"It's good you're finally over yourself."
You remembered how powerless you felt that day.
Your mother's particularly harsh brand of love has always pushed you to go beyond your limits, even if you bled for it.
What could you possibly do against a Beast?
…If you get out of this alive, maybe you'll go attend the next family gathering.
Those monsters are beyond the reach of man.
"Fuck it."
But if you bend any further, you'll break.
"I'm an Attendant, aren't I?"
And…
You brace yourself, lightly slapping your cheeks, then look up at Arthur. Val takes your hand.
You're not on your own.
"I'll fight. Here's what I know."

Farewell to the man you used to be.

[1/?]
>>
Surprisingly, it only takes about a minute to update Arthur and Lina on the situation while you reposition yourselves. Then again, it's not like you actually know much about what's going on. When the pair hears what you've accomplished, they look at you in disbelief.

Arthur's the first to respond.

"You, an untrained, unarmed civilian, took an equally-green Alice into the field. Against two other Alices. With nothing but a single squad for backup."

The Attendant glances at Harrison, who offers a terse nod in way of reply. He breaks out into a full-body laugh, nearly dropping his cigar, and Lina pats him on the back as he collects himself.

"Oh, hell! Balls on you, boy. Not even registered and you've already taken out the Railgun, based on your description of 'em. Ooh, that calls for a celebration." Arthur wipes away a tear of mirth before reaching into his suit.

At that moment, one more tentacle punches through the roof of the office building, counting four in total. Another chunk of the expansive structure collapses, and the accompanying cacophony of concrete, glass, and steel makes your ears ache.
This close to the building, you have to take a step back to brace yourself for the rush of dust that follows. Arthur rapidly sobers up.

"Right. Almost forgot about that."

You're vaguely unsettled by the fact that he just forgot about the Beast currently wrecking the branch office. Judging by the look on Val's face, she shares your concerns, but Harrison seems... if not at ease, at least no longer bracing herself for imminent death.

You can't quite extend the same amount of trust, but you've seen what Attendants can do. Just once, four years ago, but…

You can't deny it was impressive.

Your pulse, which was just beginning to slow, quickens.

A stupid, reckless part of you is excited for this.

You may be something of an adrenaline junkie. You can only hope that it won't get you killed.

[2/?]
>>
You've got a feeling that it won't be long before Lily's done with her transformation. Five portals probably means five tentacles, though that's really just a guess on your part.

Arthur seems to have come to the same conclusion. "Mm. We should start moving."

You watch as he takes one last draw from the stub of his cigar, then flicks it behind him in a high arc. Without missing a beat, Lina claps her hands together.

At her command, a dense black cloud in the vague shape of a wolf's head appears from nothingness. It opens a maw that could swallow a train car whole, revealing obsidian rows of jagged teeth that soon snap shut around the falling cigar--and as quickly as it came, the wolf disappears.

What the fuck.

The whole process must have taken less than a second. Before you can so much as blink blink, the only trace left of the summon is a lingering wisp of smoke that disappears with the breeze. A quick glance to your side shows that neither Val or Harrison have noticed anything, one checking over her gear, the other scrubbing the dust from her face.

Arthur chuckles at your expression.
"Spooky, ain't he? Kon used to be way smaller. Slower and harder to control, too. Lina put a lotta work into training him up."

The girl in question wraps her arms around her Attendant in a hug. "You helped a lot too, Arty! Remember how Kon wouldn't listen to me at all?"

"Used to be such a good kid! One punch and he'd settle down. He'd bite my face off if I tried that now, hah!"

As the pair reminisce fondly, you swallow a lump in your throat.

"C-could Val pull off something like that one day?"

The words come out as a croaked whisper. You're not sure if you're even looking for an answer, but Arthur claps you on the shoulder as he passes.

"Long as you stick with her? Sure she can."

[3/?]





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