A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #781
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Laboratory - Clone

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsmith View Post
    [Laboratory - Clone]

    Miranda nods and, after confirming that she has the right contact information (Magtok might not have left her any) finds herself a quiet room and calls him up. "Good evening, mister Magtok." She begins. "It's Cortez. You know, that lady from Trog's earlier? We went after Prime. He got away, but we were able to retrieve something from his lair you might want to have a look at."

    Eun, meanwhile, will set about removing or disabling the clone's more dangerous implants... turning off the psychic amplifier and excising the explosives in particular. Flappable though she normally is, she's a very steady hand while operating, especially since she's doing it remotely through a series of microprobes.
    "The medic lady, right. The one I told that chasing Prime was suicide. Okay, well congrats on not dying horribly, first of all. Second, how soon can you get the whatever-it-is down to the MagCave?" the cyborg responds, completely oblivious to what's happened and where this call is actually going.
    Last edited by Lord Magtok; 2021-09-24 at 09:56 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbitHoleLost View Post
    Magtok's the best
    "You probably found 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising' in the humor section. Let's just hope that is where it belongs."
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  2. - Top - End - #782
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    Laboratory - Clone

    "The medic lady, right. The one I told that chasing Prime was suicide. Okay, well congrats on not dying horribly, first of all. Second, how soon can you get the whatever-it-is down to the MagCave?" the cyborg responds, completely oblivious to what's happened and where this call is actually going.
    [Laboratory - Clone]

    "Thank you. We worked very hard on that." Miranda's smirk can be heard through the phone. "Unfortunately, turning over the clone to you is, for the moment, impossible. We turned it over to VIGIL's custody for analytical purposes. Their leader recommended contacting you." She pauses a moment. "In fact, he was rather emphatic about it."
    Who're you? ...Don't matter.

    Want some rye? 'Course ya do!


    Here's to us.
    Who's like us?
    Damn few,
    and they're aaall dead.


    *gushes unintelligibly over our cat, Sunshine*

    [Nexus characters, grouped by setting:
    Ouroboros: here
    Maesda: here
    ]

  3. - Top - End - #783
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Laboratory - Clone

    "Their leader? Which one, Sword Boy or Lava Girl? No wait, you said 'he,' ****." There's a loud, exasperated sigh on the other end of the line, and what sounds like a piece of paper getting crinkled up in someone's fist. It seems Magtok is well aware of how much 'Sword Boy' doesn't like him, and the feeling is mutual.

    "Tell Wenomir I said I'll be there s-wait, you got a clone? A human body? You scare him out of his shell and collected the corpse? There's no chance he's still inside it, right? I...no, no, he wouldn't play coy and trick me into coming into Vigil; that kind of scheme would be ridiculous when he has this much power, he could just go the direct route..." the cyborg muses, trying to figure out if Miranda is really still herself, and not a Magchurian Candidate unknowingly betraying all of Vigil as part of some convoluted plot to lure Magtok to Vigil so he can be murdered by a mind-controlled Wenomir.

    "Okay listen, I need you to pay very close attention to what I'm about to say, or someone, likely you, is going to die in a spectacularly violent and undignified explosion of gore. Make sure there is nothing but air in the space three arm lengths away from you. Do not stand in front of a wall, don't let any furniture or individuals or anything else occupy that space in front of you. Make sure there's three arms of completely empty space ahead, got it? Empty space, room enough for a person with their arms out to stand without bumping into anything. Do this now, and don't let anyone stop you, or else-" Before Miranda can get so much as a word in, Magtok is suddenly standing about five feet in front of her, adjusting the purple necktie beneath his crisp white labcoat.

    "Okay, I'm here. Let's go before you guys **** everything up and doom the entire Nexus," he insists, striding forward towards...actually, he's never been here before and has no idea where he's going, but Miranda will tell him if he's confidently, imperiously striding in the wrong direction, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbitHoleLost View Post
    Magtok's the best
    "You probably found 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising' in the humor section. Let's just hope that is where it belongs."
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  4. - Top - End - #784
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    [Laboratory - Clone]

    Miranda jumps a little when Magtok appears in front of her, especially startled since he made it clear that not following certain safety procedures would be disastrous here... and then gave her no time to follow said procedures.

    Between Wenomir and what she had just witnessed, Miranda got the distinct impression that Magtok was not exactly a team player. Fortunately, she had some experience in dealing with people like that.

    "Like I said, we found him in Prime's lair." She begins, walking alongside him and drifting ever-so-slightly ahead so she could lead him to the appropriate room. "To our knowledge, this body has never been inhabited. We found him in a sealed growing tank. The body Prime was using when we found him... was not salvageable."

    "At present, an old colleague of mine, Doctor Eun-Jung Bu, is working to take the proverbial fangs out of the body before we make any finalized decisions about what to do with it. This is a delicate procedure, and she's a delicate doctor, so I would strongly recommend you be likewise delicate in dealing with her, so as to minimize the potential for an accident."

    "Oh, and 'Sword Boy' is probably going to refer to you as 'Junior' at some point. Act surprised." Miranda gives him a patient smile as she pushes open the door to the lab.


    Eun is standing a good three meters away from the cloning vat, busily tapping away at a touch-screen console that wasn't there when Star of Hope was in the room. She doesn't look up when Magtok and Miranda come in, far too engrossed in her work to greet them. At the moment, the remote microprobes she injected into the cloning tank are busy mapping out the circuitry in the psychic amplifier; she wants to make sure she understands it well enough to disable it without giving the clone a stroke.
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-09-25 at 07:48 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #785
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - clone]

    Star of Hope will be approached by a short, dark-skinned man with curly hair dressed in a uniform of Vigil's non-combat staff. He will direct him to a simple but comfortable room with a bed and have a meal delivered there. Likewise simple but nutritious. Seems to be a theme with Vigil.

    Wenomir is watching Eun work, for lack of anything better to do at the moment, since he doesn't exactly understand much about any of it. He turns to look at Magtok and Miranda with surprise and, because it's Magtok, not a pleasant one. There's a person he hoped not to see again so soon. And how did he get here so quickly? This looks like a security concern.

    "That was quicker than I had expected," he says. His usual frown of discontent turns somewhat deeper.

    [Safe Room]

    "And where do the new succubi come from?" Wenomir is attentive, alert and seems to file away all the information they give him for later. He shows no judgement about what he's hearing.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-09-25 at 01:39 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #786
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    [Spare quarters]

    Star of Hope takes a moment to savour his meal. It's a nice change of pace to all the terror since he last woke up. Well, maybe not terror, he hasn't been all that frightened, has he?

    Just another day of delving through abandoned underground temples, looting sunken ships, rummaging through haunted manors and fighting off evil spirits. Business as usual.

    Or is it?

    The base around him, the walls, the personnel, somebody else making food for him, those remind him that his life used to be more... regimented. He used to be part of a group. A military. Something bigger than himself. He had... not friends, exactly, but colleagues, people who he could rely on, people who could do things he could not. Observing Miranda, Eun and Wenomir brought it back to the front of his mind. All of that is in the past now. Gone. The lacking sensation is so tangible he might as well have a hole through his body.

    It's funny. It can't have been that long ago. He was washed ashore just two days or so ago. Yet, it feels more like a hundred years.

    Having finished his meal, he throws himself on the bed. He's a bit tall for it, but finds a comfortable position hanging his legs half over the edge, hands under his head. He closes his eyes and thinks back on his day. What did that man who called himself "Sandels" say to Prime again? "Putting down dead things that refuse to remain so is half of what I was given my mandate for. Guiding restless spirits to their final resting place was the other."

    Those were Star of Hope's tasks once too, weren't they?

    Come to think of it, what made that bandaged man confident enough to face Prime? How did he resist the verbal compulsions and psychic pressure Prime placed on them? What did he say when he spotted that sniper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Past
    Sandels glances at the mysterious spy's direction. He narrows his eyes and sways from side to side, but can't discern who it is sneaking towards them. "Hey. I think we're being watched", he notes to Star of Hope.

    Star of Hope stops before the factory door. He's still on the watch for Magtok Prime, peering into the empty hall. "Is it related to the target?", he asks warily.

    Sandels shrugs. "Don't think so. Feels nothing like the millipede man."

    Star of Hope's brow furrows. "How do you know how the target feels?"

    Sandels snorts. "Gee, I dunno. How do you?"
    Almost certainly, that man had spiritual powers of his own. Enough to drive that bike of his at insane speeds without hitting anything, enough to waltz into a fight with an evil spirit without a care in the world. If he'd wanted to, he likely could've tracked down Prime all on his own. But it was never about Prime. It was about Star of Hope.

    But why?

    Star of Hope's mind drifts as he falls closer to sleep. He is standing in the basket lift, headed up towards Skyside again, the city looming above, Sandels standing next to him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Past
    "So, why are you helping me?", Star of Hope asks Sandels after a minute of silence.

    "Meh. I could ask you the same question", the bandaged biker replies.

    The swordsman thinks. "Duty, I'd say."

    The biker scoffs. "Duty? Towards who?"

    The swordsman opens his mouth, but the answer refuses to come out of him. He closes it and frowns. Something about this situation is making him experience strong sense of déjà-vu.

    Another minute of silence. "What? Did cat take your tongue?", the biker asks cheekily to break it.

    "Have we had this discussion before?", the swordsman asks, looking at the biker with greater intensity than before.

    "Of course not. You've never seen me before. You said so yourself, remember?"
    But Star of Hope did have that discussion before. With... with... who was it again? The lift fades and is replaces by a small room, not much different than the one he is sleeping in. He's sitting on the bed. Someone is across the room, blurry, indistinct.

    "Why did you stay and fight? Why did you not flee?"

    What did Star of Hope answer then? "Out of duty, of course. That was the only choice."

    The blurry forms scoffs, arms and legs crossed."Nonsense. You could've fulfilled your duty by retreating to your garrison and alerting your brothers-in-arms."

    In his dream, Star of Hope shrugs. "Yes, but the enemy could've assaulted someone else in the interim. A true warrior never flees when there are innocents to protect."

    Whoever he's talking to is unmoved. "Really, now. And who were these innocents?"

    Star of Hope doesn't remember. "It's in the enemy's nature to hurt innocents. They're monsters." He remembers saying that, but why did he think that?

    "What if I told you you're wrong?", the blurry shade replies.

    Star of Hope's brow furrows. "Wrong? In what way?"

    The shade uncrosses its arms and legs and walks closer. It bends forward, leaning its hands on his knees. Its face is a mere inches away from his, looking directly into his eyes, but he still can't discern the details. "No innocents were being threatened, and were never going to be. Only you. We gain no joy from picking on weak souls. We picked you, specifically, because we knew you would stand and fight."

    "Oh, is that so? How did you know that?", Star of Hope said skeptically.

    "Do you listen to yourself? It was the only choice, remember?"

    No... this scene is all wrong. This is not how that dicussion went. He's mixing it up with an even earlier memory. It was at a battlefield... he was fighting some opponent... that opponent had struck him down, but he managed to surprise them and put a knife to their throat.

    They were the enemy. The monster. But who were they?

    "You're in the military. You know what I've heard, of the people who join the military?"

    That was the blurry shade again, later in the past. Star of Hope was amused. "Well, what have you heard?"

    "That there are four kinds. Firstly there's those who get in, because they drank the whole kool-aid and want to serve their home, country and religion. Secondly there's those who get in because it's a tradition, it's what everyone else is doing, it's what their daddy and grand daddy did and so they must do it too. Thirdly there's those who're in it for the money, who want some butter on their bread, or failing that, even just some bread. Lastly, there's those who just want a legal reason to murder people."

    Star of Hope smiled wryly. "Where did you hear this?"

    The shade shrugged. "Maybe I heard it in the military. Maybe I ripped it off a stupid Tom Cruise action movie. Does it matter?"

    "I suppose it does not."

    "So, which kind are you?"

    "Well what kind do you take me for?"

    "Just between you and me? I think you're the last kind. A remorseless killer, only in it for the blood."

    Star of Hope remembers being half amused, half offended by that. "Really? Where you getting that from? Because, to be honest, I was just a kid when I joined. Didn't really think I'd be killing anyone. It was just a way to get off the street and to get some food on the table for once."

    The shade snickered. "Oh, being honest now? What happened to duty and protecting the innocent?"

    He really didn't have a good answer to that back then, did he?

    The shade shrugged. "But hey. Since you want to to do your duty, protect the innocent, kill some monsters, all that good stuff, how about you do me a favor, and I'll lend you a hand?"

    "A favor? What would that be?"

    "Oh, just kill the biggest, baddest monster around for me."

    "And what would that monster be?"

    The shade leans... leaned... even closer and whispers to his ear: "Yourself."

    Star of Hope's eyes shoot open. He's back in the VIGIL base, lying on the spare bed. He has no idea if he slept for hours or just dozed off for a few seconds, but does not feel like sleeping anymore. He just stares at the ceiling for several minutes, before rolling off the bed, placing his swords on the floor and starting to do some knuckle push-ups. Nothing like exercise to get your mind off some bad things, right? Right?

  7. - Top - End - #787
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    Laboratory - Clone

    "This is urgent. No time to play the usual games of asking permission to be here or moving slowly to avoid frightening you," the cyborg explains, not bothering to elaborate on how he managed to suddenly appear to anyone. Most of them wouldn't understand the scientific theories and technology involved anyway. He strides forward and taps his finger on the glass of the vat, doing his best to make himself known to Doctor Eun-Jung Bu, to try to get her attention without startling her.

    "This confirms a few theories I had about what Prime was doing. You haven't terminated this one yet, have you?" he asks, hopefully after she's awoken from her science trance. He seems to just take it as a given that the clone is going to be unceremoniously shot between the eyebrows as soon as it's convenient, like swatting a particularly dangerous mosquito before it can latch on and cause problems. Killing MagClones is business as usual for him; it's even less of an ethical concern when they're someone else's MagClones.
    Quote Originally Posted by RabbitHoleLost View Post
    Magtok's the best
    "You probably found 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising' in the humor section. Let's just hope that is where it belongs."
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  8. - Top - End - #788
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    [Laboratory- Clone]

    Just as Magtok intended, Eun snaps out of her trance almost immediately.

    As he didn't intend, she snaps out of her trance almost immediately.

    "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN MIND?!" Eun demands of the stranger. "I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF BRAIN SURGERY! DO YOU WANT TO TURN HIM INTO A VEGETABLE?!"

    Miranda makes a placating gesture with her hands. "Sorry to interrupt. This man is the expert we talked about earlier." She introduces them calmly, as though nothing at all out of the ordinary was occurring. "Doctor Bu, this is Magtok. Magtok, Doctor Bu."

    Eun reddens visibly at this point, though contextually, it's a little difficult to tell for sure if it's from anger or embarrassment. Her unblinking stare and short, shallow breathing doesn't make it any clearer. She's... intense about it, whatever she's feeling.

    "And no, we haven't terminated him." Miranda answers. "Nor are we going to. Our analysis shows signs of consciousness in that brain of his, and for the moment, he's done literally nothing to earn a death sentence."
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-09-25 at 05:36 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #789
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    Safe Room
    "They're made from lost souls by other succubi. Other types of fiends can make their own kind. And sometimes they arise on their own," Charcoal explains. "I think really powerful ones like Sekhmet could directly turn a mortal into a fiend, but I'm not sure."
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  10. - Top - End - #790
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    [Laboratory- Clone]

    "What theories does it confirm, precisely?" Wenomir gets straight to the point. He doesn't even try to get any jabs in. Eun is already doing more than jabs. Wenomir likes her more already. She doesn't let Magtok get away with being Magtok.

    [Safe Room]

    "What happens to a lost soul if it's not made into a fiend? And how does a lost soul happen?"

    He suspects nothing good comes of not doing anything with a lost soul. It'd be too lucky if they could be left alone to do... whatever dead souls do.
    Last edited by Morty; 2021-09-26 at 10:36 AM.
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  11. - Top - End - #791
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    Safe Room
    "They just exist. Suffering. It's not pretty." Charcoal shivers a little. That's a scary thought. "When someone is evil and doesn't have any remorse or repentance for their actions, they wind up in Hell as a lost soul when they die."
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  12. - Top - End - #792
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    Laboratory - Clone

    Magtok tries his best to contain and conceal the overwhelming sensation of disdain for these naïve fools that washes over him. Done nothing to earn a death sentence? He's a MagClone. They're all terrible people, himself included. He glances towards Wenomir, hoping at least one person in the room will understand. Swordy, you know better, right? You open up this vat and let this dangerous creature go, it's just going to cause problems for itself and everyone around it.

    "Well for starters, if you’ve done a brain and hard drive scan and confirmed there’s nothing exciting upstairs, it answers the question of why I started off like that too, before becoming the world-renowned legend that I am today," Magtok explains, shooting another smug look in Wenomir’s direction, just to irritate him further. "Prime was just going to possess the first MagClone like a ghost, before he got sidetracked by…whatever twist of fortune let me go free. I had to figure out what being Magtok meant on my own, carve my own destiny, build an entire empire out of my wits, cunning, and an abandoned cloning facility, while he was…trapped in some sort of ghost prison, maybe?” Magtok shrugs, incorrectly assuming a lot about the progress made by Dr. Bu thus far. He sounds pretty excited about all of this, finally able to explain away a few mysterious gaps and plot holes in his backstory.

    "Gods, he’s an wrinkly old ****,” he calls out, face contorting with disgust for the body floating in the the vat goo. "Look at his left hand, there’s nothing concealed within the phalanges. No anti-grav implant in the spinal column either, which I guess makes sense when he can just use his psychic powers to hover, but it’s so weird to see one of me without such a basic function. Jeez, and his ribs. Have you ever seen such a boring rib cage before? So many exciting things he could’ve done with them, and all he did was that black blood nonsense and…oh ****, never mind. Have you run an x-ray or something on these yet? Can you see what’s been engraved into the bone?” The cyborg asks, roasting Prime’s design choices one moment, most of them imperceptible to everyone else in the room, before abruptly shifting gears and frowning worriedly at his predecessor’s chest. Good gods, what kind of screwed-up freak carves magical runes into their own bones, and what the hell are they for?
    Last edited by Lord Magtok; 2021-09-26 at 03:35 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #793
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    [Laboratory - Clone]

    Eun turns redder the more Magtok talks; it was both embarrassing and insulting to have him point out at least three things she'd missed within thirty seconds of his arrival... but then, that is why he's here. He's the expert on all things Magtok.

    For the ribcage thing, at least, she had a good excuse; her scans had been geared toward finding cybernetic implants, not something as comparatively mundane as a deliberate, albeit complex, bone fracture. She taps a few controls on her console, and a display appears which helpfully highlights the runes Magtok had pointed out.

    "That might be the point." Miranda says, almost seeming to read Eun's mind. "Whatever function these are intended to serve, it'd be a lot less obvious than the metal plate in his head, and therefore much less likely to be neutralized. Perhaps a backup weapon, or an escape device?" She wouldn't have any way of knowing; mystic runes weren't something they taught at ARC's preparatory academy.

    Eun shrugs. "It's nothing we can't handle. Reconstructing his ribs to erase the runes is a five-minute job, at worst."

    "True, but shouldn't we s-"

    "Already saved the scans." Eun smiles, tapping out a few more commands on her console. "Although, this neural implant still strikes me as the headlining act. You said Prime was unstable, right? Remember what happened when we tried that implant with Quire?"

    "You mean the one that was supposed to cure his psychopathy but turned him into a rambling loon until we got it out?"

    "Yes, that one." Eun zooms in on the implant in the clonetok's brain. "This one seems to be an order of magnitude more complicated than that, but I don't see any indication that he ever solved the randomization problem. If the original Magtok had one of these, it might go a ways toward explaining why he's so... you know. Different from our guest here, beyond just different upbringings." She shrugs. "Pure speculation on my part, I know. I won't pretend to understand this device any better than I need to in order to unhook it. Just... food for thought."
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-09-26 at 04:47 PM.

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    [Laboratory - Clone]

    "Just your wits and an abandoned facility full of old tech, yes." Wenomir can't resist taking this shot, but gets back to business quickly enough. "When you woke up and Prime didn't possess you, you were free to make moral choices. If bad ones. Would this clone be capable of doing the same if we freed him and prevented Prime from possessing him? Possibly not, given the different modifications."

    [Safe Room]

    Wenomir sighs and rubs his face. It was too much to hope that leaving them alone was an option. Who sets up a system like this? Life is hard enough for many people without making prolonging it after they die.

    "So is a fiend created this way the same person they were in life? Evil enough to be condemned this way?"
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  15. - Top - End - #795
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    Safe Room
    "Sort of, but not really? They're twisted and reinterpreted through the nature of their creator." That's why succubi create more succubi and don't create other types of fiends. "But a lost soul can't change. They're trapped in the sin they never repented of in life. But a fiend can, sometimes. That's what Rose has been doing. Turning lost souls into her and my type of succubus, so they're free to make new choices and be better people." That might be worrying, after all it is putting more succubi out into the world, but Charcoal seems happy about it.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Laboratory - Clone

    "On the off-chance he is free, if you let him wake up he'll probably pick up on the overwhelming hostility and uncertainty in this room, try to telekinetically throw us into the wall while screaming in terror, and then run down the hall trying to find an exit," Mag remarks indifferently, sounding like he's seen exactly that sort of thing countless times before. It's not really anything to worry about with Dr. Eun sticking her probes and needles in the vat boy's brains, anyway. He takes a step back, peering at Eun's console, and frowns.

    "My guesses are the implant either amplify the crazy psychic powers or help keep him pliant and suppress the body's ability to resist being possessed, but neither spectral possession nor psionic powers are my area of expertise. Also, I think the rib cage thing might be some sort of diabolism, but don't quote me on that until we get someone who actually knows magic to look at them. Prime branched out into some very dangerous and bizarre fields of study," the cyborg remarks. Goddamn, Prime, you just had to dabble in all the weird, esoteric forms of power we thought were too dangerous to meddle with, didn't you? He wonders if he should forward the rib images to Needs. Needs would probably know what's going on in there. We might not get a straightforward answer, but it wouldn't hurt to try, right?
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  17. - Top - End - #797
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    [Other lab - object testing]



    Mia manages to recover her original image files after casting the protection spell. If the spell cover her own person as well, the machine parts inside the orb cease to move according to her will and the weight of the orb stabilizes at neat 250 grams. This suggest her protection spell has eliminated or at least suspended the effect the orb uses to read her mind.

    As she searches the internet for clues, the machine algorithm she has searching for possible ways to assemble the parts inside the orb keeps running. Nothing matching this particular mechanism is found on the internet, just the usual cautionary about mysterious artefacts, boxed artificial intelligences and the friendliness problem.

    Fortunately for Mia, she doesn't strictly need to figure out what the machine parts inside the orb are for. She only needs to provide an opinion on whether she thinks the object is dangerous enough to warrant being locked up in a vault. Just the fact that taking pictures of the object can influence machines somehow may be enough cause of concern. In case she can't think of more tests or can't think of a good security measures to keep the object contained, she can always pass on the task and what she has found to the next researcher in line.

    After some hours of browsing the internet, her computer puts up an alert: her algorithm has found a partial assembly for the parts inside the object. However, a computer simulation of that assembly is also a program. Somehow, images of the object consist or contain a code and analyzing them with sufficient fidelity is the same thing as running it.

    The alert is followed by a permission prompt. Roughly: "Unknown program from unknown provider is asking for permission to be run on this computer. Allow or disallow?"


    [Other lab - object testing]

    Well Mia is a good programmer, since this is something essential for her. She will put the codes from the pictures on a seperate part where she can quarantine it. This way deactivate it or preventing it from anyactivation. She will decline any permission to insall software on the computer.

    her next step will be to find out what is going to be installed. If she can't find out on herself she will try to port this to another laptop without access other then via USB or cable.

    Her documentation on the marbels will have following after all:
    - Containmetn should be secured with something to prevent them from reaching ay kind of technologie like bloccking wifi etc.
    - Preventing the mindreading would also be nessesary.
    - At all she assumes it is dangerouse to keep.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Other Lab - Object testing]

    Mia manages to quarantine the newfound program into its own virtual sandbox. Transferring the whole thing to an isolated, external memory device proves quite simple - the newfound program chiefly consists of 1/7 of the gathered image files and her own analysis algorithm. Installing it on a laptop or other computer with no wireless access is as simple as copy-pasting the files on a memory device, then on the computer. As long as no-one starts the program, it is safe.

    So far, so good. Mia has achieved her main task here. The question remaining is, will she dare to try out the program on her quarantine laptop?

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - Clone]

    "You make a persuasive argument for most of us leaving the room." Miranda replies. "If we wake him, it needs to be in as controlled a procedure as possible. No complex emotional inputs from big brother, his old rival, or... I'm trying to find a polite way to put this..."

    Eun shrugs. "It's okay, boss. We all know what you mean."

    "Right. Which leaves just me." She turns to Wenomir. "We disable his implants and diabolism, clear the area, and try to wake him gently. If something goes wrong, I'm still trained to handle situations like this, and I'm reasonably confident I could put him back under if need be. Plus, I know empirically that I'm resistant to Prime's mental commands; if the clone has a similar ability, that's a useful trait to have." She pauses, waiting to hear his approval.

    She hadn't phrased it like she was asking his permission, but Wenomir was still in charge here; she'd have to respect the chain of command, one way or another, and as an outsider she was sure she was at the very bottom. Hopefully, she made a compelling enough case for him to approve anyway.
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-09-28 at 02:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - Clone]

    Wenomir almost shakes his head, but then looks like he thought different of it.

    "It... would reduce the risks to the rest of the base, if you did that. And waking him up could give us useful information about Prime. We need to make sure we can deal with whatever magic is carved into his ribcage first."

    [Safe Room]

    "What if they don't make better choices?" Wenomir's voice becomes slightly more harsh for a moment. He doesn't like where this is going. "What if they make the same choices they had in life and given another chance to enact them?"
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Safe Room
    Charcoal shrugs. "We try to only get those who are earnest. But you must give people second chances too, right? How's it different than that? Some criminals get out of prison and never act out again. Others get right back to their crime spree." That may or may not be an appropriate metaphor.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Laboratory - Clone

    "Kneel," Magtok commands, using a recording of Prime (one with a great deal of psionic weight, but not quite as much as the real thing) as he arrogantly points his finger in Miranda's direction. The moment after the psychic ripple passes over the room, he drops the act and offers a hand to Eun, assuming she's dropped to the floor. His eye is on Miranda the whole time, however, watching to see if her knees buckled even a little.

    "Excuse me, just needed to make sure you weren't exaggerating or lying outright about your resistance. Oh, and I asked my occult expert about the ribcage, and he forwarded me a translated manuscript. It's essentially an infernal supercapacitor, meant to take in ambient energy and use it to power...I'm not sure what, exactly, because the array of wards in the diagram isn't a perfect match for what we have here. What we do know is that people dying, blood sacrifices, and other dark magicky stuff get their energy sucked in and stored inside him. So please don't pray to him or engage in black magic rituals or curse any newborns while he's in the room, thank you," Magtok explains, conveniently skipping past the fact that he just revealed that he has a recording of Prime's voice, which still has enough power to make an entire room full of NPCs drop to the floor in supplication, and used it on everyone in this room just to see if Miranda was overestimating herself.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - Clone]

    Not entirely prepared for the command, Miranda doesn't resist it quite as well as she did when they were fighting in Trog's. There, she knew Prime was an enemy, and was prepared to react to hostile action of any kind from him. Here, Magtok had turned on her rather suddenly, and she wasn't quite as braced to resist him. Fortunately, she's able to steel herself fairly quickly, and gets off with only a minor disinhibatory effect.

    ...Which might explain what her fist is doing heading straight for Magtok's nose. She didn't take kindly to him casually deploying a psionic weapon in a non-combat scenario, without regard for the civilian in the room, just to prove a point.

    Said civilian does not cope nearly as well. On hearing the command to kneel, Eun immediately complies, dropping to her hands and knees in supplication. Fortunately, unlike a certain catgirl Magtok might have considered using this trick on, she's wearing pants and a lab coat, both of which obscure any suggestiveness to the pose. Also unlike Reina, Eun doesn't get up when the last echoes of the command ring away... she seems to be more or less locked into a kneeling position, shaking fearfully, eyes closed in anguish as she tries to calm her suddenly-out-of-control mind. She won't even move to grab Magtok's hand and stand up; the compulsion to kneel is simply too persistent.

    "...Sorry." Miranda will apologize for the attack on Magtok, regardless of whether it succeeds or not. In fairness, you sort of deserved it. She chooses not to amend.
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-09-29 at 08:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Spare quarters]

    Elsewhere inside the skybase, a certain swordsman has moved to more complex calisthenics, after completing a fairly normal warm-up routine of a hundred push-ups, a hundred squats and a hundred sit-ups. He's in the middle of a handstand push-up, when he senses a spiritual disturbance nearby. It feels like Magtok Prime, just weaker. Frowning, Star of Hope tumbles on his feet and picks up his swords, his mask and other possessions from the room's bed.

    Now alerted to possible danger, he walks out of his room and closes his eyes to focus. He inhales and exhales in a slow, controlled manner, taking in the ambient flow of energies. Most of it is too unfamiliar to him to provide much information, but there is some minor hostility in the air.

    "Miranda Cortez is about to punch someone in the face", Star of Hope mutters to himself, knowing the event itself has likely passed before he finishes his sentence. He opens his eyes and looks around. Nothing threatening is heading his way, at least. He eases up a bit and heads for the lab. The situation might not require him, but better be safe than sorry.

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Quote Originally Posted by Vahnavoi View Post
    [Other Lab - Object testing]

    Mia manages to quarantine the newfound program into its own virtual sandbox. Transferring the whole thing to an isolated, external memory device proves quite simple - the newfound program chiefly consists of 1/7 of the gathered image files and her own analysis algorithm. Installing it on a laptop or other computer with no wireless access is as simple as copy-pasting the files on a memory device, then on the computer. As long as no-one starts the program, it is safe.

    So far, so good. Mia has achieved her main task here. The question remaining is, will she dare to try out the program on her quarantine laptop?
    [Other Lab - Object testing]

    Mia doesn't dare to start it. She might be a high priestress of a machine god and many might think she should be the most curiouse one, but she also is the most experienced. A programm with such a behavior is nothing to toy with. She does try to read out the sourcecode to understand it's function, but nothing more.

    She will inform those resposible of the danger behind it and likly call in one of the leaders if they are available. Or whoever is also intressed in exeming the marbles.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Other Lab - object testing]

    Mia's choice may be the wisest. What she can read of the source code suggests the program is a cellular automaton, which is itself an universal computer. So executing the program would first create a virtual machine inside her laptop, then use that virtual machine to generate more code for other programs, on and on to the limit of available memory and processing power.

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - Clone]

    By the time Miranda punches Magtok in the nose, Wenomir's sword is halfway out of its scabbard and he has likewise crossed half the distance between them. It wasn't really a conscious effort. His reaction to mental compulsion is to enter a battle-focus, concentrating on taking down the threat above all else. Thankfully, he subdues the reflex quickly enough.

    [Safe Room]

    "How reliable is your method of finding out who is earnest?" Wenomir doesn't sound convinced. "Many of these people already had second chances, I'm sure. Others didn't. I can see offering another shot to the latter sort." He shakes his head. This is difficult to square with his world-view. "If you've lived a life bad enough to wind up a lost soul... but I know you didn't make the system. You can just try to make it work less horribly than it's inherently designed to."
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Laboratory - Clone

    It takes Magtok a moment to register what just happened. That someone would have the gall, the sheer audacity to punch him in the face when he's a guest of VIGIL...he touches a hand to his upper lip, and it comes back bloody. ****ing brutes, all he did was say a word. It's not like anyone here was wheelchair-bound or something, kneeling wasn't going to physiologically ruin Sword Boy or the doctor. He rubs two wet fingers together, smearing the blood between them, before looking up at Miranda with disbelief. What gave her the right, the authority to take a swing at him like that? He earned his place at the negotiation table, built himself up from nothing to stand amongst giants, to cow and intimidate even the Nexus's finest, and for her to just break his nose like it's nothing...

    He glares back at Miranda, contempt burning like a furnace between those two mismatched eyes. He clears his throat to respond to her, opens his mouth...and then thinks better of it. His voice would sound weird with his nose in its current state, and reverting to a more synthetic voice to compensate for it would just make them think he was bringing back the Prime voice recording again, and swing their idiot monkey fists at him out of manic, violent impulse. No, better to just turn on his heel, flip them off, and walk out the door. He's learned plenty from examining the vat clone with his own eyes, all that he's going to learn from this ridiculous little field trip, and he owes them absolutely nothing in return. Unless someone tries to physically stop him, he'll probably reach the doorway just as Star of Hope does, and glare at the swordsman as he tries to sidle past and slip away. Animals. Unthinking, belligerent, beasts. Whatever happens next is their problem, not his.

    As all of this goes on, Wenomir or Dr. Eun's instruments might notice a momentary glow from deep within the vat clone's chest, a flicker of bioluminesce originating in the middle of that weird diabolic array. It happens just as fist meets nose, and then fades away immediately after. Probably nothing to worry about, though. No big deal; I wouldn't spend too much time thinking about it if I were you.
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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    [Laboratory - Clone]

    That unintelligent brute actually does try to stop Magtok from leaving... momentarily.

    Miranda puts a hand on the ex-villain's shoulder; not in a forceful, where-do-you-think-you're-going sort of way, but rather, in a gentle, placating way. She holds out a handkerchief, still warm, having printed it off from her Hotbox with her left hand the moment she noticed what her right was doing. She gives him an apologetic smile and gently dabs up the blood under his nose, which should give him a nice, strong whiff of that vanilla scent that indicated it was infused with that balm that helped with his burns earlier; if he kept and applied it, the handkerchief should help his nose recover within the hour.

    After handing off her momentary peace offering, Miranda will let him go. She didn't have the time to patch things up with him more comprehensively; which was a shame, really. Magtok seemed like he would be a valuable ally in the long term, which would make this, most likely, the most costly right cross of her career. Besides, she got the impression he would want to storm off dramatically either way; rather than risk bruising his ego further, she'll simply elect to save the more time-consuming apologies for a later date, where he can appreciate them without the compulsion to maintain an imperious image.

    Meanwhile, Eun still hasn't gotten up. When Star of Hope arrives, he might be able to tell why; Magtok's command lodged itself in her brain like a tick. It continually repeats itself, such that when the compulsion wears off in one instance, it begins anew in another, like an echo in a cavern. It may be a while before her head is clear enough to let her have control again.
    Last edited by Ironsmith; 2021-10-01 at 06:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Vigil VII: Strife Amidst the Clouds

    Safe Room
    "I don't know. We just do our best." Charcoal responds. "We can't see the future, but some of us can read minds. That helps."
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