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With This Ring (Young Justice SI) (Thread Fourteen)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Mr Zoat, Jan 27, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Anti-Thesis (part 10)
    Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    11th July 2012
    06:08 GMT


    The guns train on us and the Thunderers begin to gather as we cross the plaza, Kalmin in the lead and me toddling along behind him like an obedient minion. We're about half way across before-

    "Halt and be recognised!"

    -one of them tries hailing us.

    Kalmin doesn't stop, which makes sense if the q'ardajin have a feudal arrangement. Kalmin isn't going to take orders from a feudal inferior. Or maybe he just thinks that they should damn well recognise him without being prompted. I wouldn't be able to name the Prime Minister before Margaret Thatcher but I could name the one before Cameron. And I'd probably be a bit surprised if another British person couldn't.

    And I doubt there's an Amazon who can't remember the name of the queen before Hippolyta.

    A Thunderer with a slightly fancier helmet appears on the battlement, prompting the shouter to step back. Fancy hat watches Kalmin for a moment, then raises his right hand in greeting.

    "Weaponer Kalmin. Not dead, I see."

    This time Kalmin stops and looks up.

    "No. Varnathon proved to be a disappointment."

    The lead Thunderer's face twitches. Yes, he thinks that Varnathon should have killed Kalmin too, but more to preserve good order than as a punishment for failure. Having two High Weaponlords adds confusion to the chain of command. And increases the risk of infighting. But by that same token he doesn't particularly want to be involved if two Weaponers are going to go at it.

    "I was referring to the Lantern attack."

    "Did anyone have the courage to actually check?"

    "I… Don't know, Weaponer. I wasn't assigned-."

    "Fah. Open the gate or I kill you all."

    "Yes, Weaponer."

    He glances aside and for a moment and the gate begins swinging outwards. Thick armour reinforced with force fields, though since the main defence is the Thunderer garrison I imagine it's more so they aren't bothered by weak attacks than a serious all-out attempt to build as strong a defensive structure as they can.

    "Is that a new robot design, Weaponer?"

    "Maybe. I haven't decided if it's worth anything yet."

    Huh. I suppose that between the anti-sensor systems in my armour, my tattoos and the fact that they don't want to press an irritable Weaponer, they probably can't tell that I'm a living person.

    "Do you require an escort, Weaponer?"

    Kalmin doesn't look up this time, preferring to just march forward.

    "No. This is a dispute between Weaponers. If I can't protect myself then I deserve to die."

    I didn't expect him to care about how far I'd have to fly to get to an anti-matter to matter transfer portal, but now that I've identified it as an issue I'm thinking about it. I don't think they destroyed the one we used last time, and since it's in 1417 it's probably one Kalmin made anyway… But if the Thunderers decide to come after me that's going to be a pain.

    The lead Thunderer doesn't bother speaking further as we enter the fort, the gate shutting behind us. Kalmin seems to know where he's going, so I continue to play the part of a dumb robot and follow him. Actually, ring? Robot voice.

    Compliance.

    "Directive, Weaponer?"

    "I'm out of date with Weaponer politics. My former allies naturally abandoned me when I fell from grace, but I don’t know who is allied to Varnathon and who is merely cooperating with him. In practical terms, there's no reason not to simply walk up to the workshop of an old colleague or two and try to-. Ah."

    "Threat assessment, Weaponer?"

    He taps his left bracer, and my armour's communication system receives a stream showing a female q'ardajin in protective overalls. She's bald, with either cybernetic or bioengineered eyes.

    "High Weaponlord Kalmin. It is a pleasure to see you again."

    "Weaponer Lysis. This is a surprise."

    "That I'm talking to you, or that I know that you're here?"

    "Either. You're sponsoring Thunderers, now?"

    "I've infiltrated monitoring systems worldwide. Varnathon decided that he wanted to keep me where he could see me."

    "I told you that your old clothes were impractical. What you're wearing now is much better."

    "Varnathon wants me where he can see me due to the fact that I was tutored by you, not because he wants to keep seeing me in thigh-boots and a bikini. He knows perfectly well that I'm the only person likely to actually miss you."

    "Foolish sentiment. I thoroughly deserved to be cast down."

    "I didn't say that I actually did. Varnathon isn't… Like you."

    "I know."

    "Kalmin, q'ardajin don't do counter-coups. You haven't done anything that would make the Weaponers give you your old title back. Varnathon is… Reasonably popular with-"

    "Varnathon is selling qwa matter."

    "-the Counc-. What?"

    Her eye configuration makes it impossible for her eyes to widen, but the movement of the flesh on her face makes it look like she's trying anyway.

    "I've encountered it on two occasions. The gun could have been a war-prize, though not sending Thunderers to recover it was sloppy. But they had more than that. I tolerated weapon sales when I was High Weaponlord, and when I heard that Varnathon was increasing mercantilism I just rolled my eyes. But this is qwa matter, a sacred gift to the q'ardajin people from the-."

    "Yes, I fully understand that trading qwa matter is not the same as selling neural impactors."

    "I didn't know we were still making those."

    "Some aliens from the matter universe are buying them. Varnathon had me dust off the designs. But that's beside the point. The other Weaponers won't stand for Varnathon doing anything like that with qwa matter or qwa energy. Even the ones who aren't as faithful as you will be horrified for strategic reasons."

    "Can you communicate the news to the Council?"

    She glances behind her for a moment before replying.

    "Yes, though I doubt that I can do that without Varnathon noticing. If you're intending to act covertly-."

    "I'm not."

    She smiles. "No, of course you're not. Am I allowed to conceal that it came from me?"

    "That's up to you. I'll quite understand if you want the pleasure of killing him yourself, but I would personally be far more satisfied if his misdeeds were revealed to the entire Council and that… Would probably be more difficult if you were detected."

    "I will prioritise my own safety, then."

    "Very well. I will speak to you in person when I meet with the rest of the Council."

    "Kalmin… It's good to see you again."

    "Don’t get sentimental, Lysis. We have work to do."
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
  2. Idkusername

    Idkusername Versed in the lewd.

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    This arc is doing much to endear Kalmin to me, on a non-superficial level unlike his quirks.
     
  3. Someguy Somewhere

    Someguy Somewhere The Critical Fumbler

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    Figure this is the same one that in the renegade side of things built the red ring for Grayven's ally.
     
  4. Nervaqus987

    Nervaqus987 Experienced.

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    I love how this joke keeps coming up.
     
  5. Darko

    Darko Well worn.

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    'tries'

    Rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated.

    I have a feeling that this is how Kalmin genuinely feels about Paul.

    As in not sure if he's worth much.

    I have a feeling that this is going to be a part of the plot in some future episode.

    Ahh, teachers pet.

    Yep, that's her.
     
  6. Handlewithcare

    Handlewithcare I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I'm imagining the Qwardians four legged, like the ones from Green Lantern First Flight so "thighboots and a bikini" was an...interesting image.
     
  7. hance1986

    hance1986 Not too sore, are you?

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    Paragraph needs to look like this. Your spacing is off in the actual story section.
     
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  8. Chojin Patriarch

    Chojin Patriarch Veteran Lurker, Rookie Proofreader

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    Halfway seems enough time to determine whether they're merely lost, or making an approach to the bore. Any closer, and I'd be questioning the response times of the garrison...

    There we go. And if they haven't recognised Kalmin, they must be very new or very stupid.

    To be fair, that assumes Kalmin has any kind of distinct aspect to his garb that marks his rank.Like the symbols of Japanese noble families, or some other manner of rank insignia. As for political leaders... Personally, I don't care who's running my country. As long as they don't mess with my money or my day-to-day life, I'm cool.

    He sounds surprised. I take it word of OL's last visit spread, but not the results?

    And that's quite a statement from a Weaponer. Anyone who has the courage to still be watching this play out from the borders of the plaza must be thinking up some nasty rumours already.

    Remind me, who're the higher rank: Thunderer or Weaponer? Are the former the soldiers, and the Weaponers the people giving them orders? Or is it the other way around?

    From the sound of it, no, they did not.

    That may sound weak, but who knows what weapons Kalmin is carrying other than Qwa-bolts (if he needed anything else.) I bet this guy, the garrison commander if I'm not mistaken, would rather not have his gates blown open today...

    The joy of all-concealing power armour. The longer he can pass unmolested, the less effort he needs to get where he wants to go.

    I'd say the latter plays the largest part, though. Although, if they had detected biological matter, they might well have assumed Kalmin's worked up a combat cyborg rather than an automata.

    Any other stupid questions you want ignored, friend?

    The joy of a forced stealth mission. And right after you're coming off a free respec...

    And now I'm hearing the Robot from 'Lost in Space', but with a Received Pronunciation British accent...

    Or rather: "Are we about to have trouble?" I would have hoped that Varnathon's response would take longer to arrive...

    Well, that's a time-saver. No need to go looking when an old flame comes to you.

    Well, you have hardly been subtle in your progress, Kalmin. I suspect if they have a civilian news system, it's broadcasting live updates on his location...

    Her old clothes? Wait, let me guess... Skimpy, so that her opponents aren't looking at her hands.

    ...Well, that's an image. Kind of disappointed Mr Zoat didn't add such a pic. Assuming one exists...

    Man, with all this build-up, he's going to have to be something spectacular to live up to the 'evil vizier' hype...

    I suspect the only reason there isn't any red there is the momentary shock of those words...

    Easy, Kalmin, you're preaching to the converted. No need to go off on her when you could save it for Varnathon.

    Sounds nasty. And out-of-date from the way Kalmin said that.

    Think they'll be calling for his head before long? Then again, Weaponers. If they want his head, they'll try and take it themselves...

    Would be kind of hard to miss the Council catching fire with rage all at once...

    Were you not watching his approach? And I suspect he wants it known that he learned this info from his allies.

    These two get on so well...

    ...It's a pity Kalmin has no time for romance...

    Welp, this promises to result in regime change. Either the Council kill Varnathon, he kills them or they kill each other. Whichever way it goes, Qward is going to be looking for new leaders... I wonder if Kalmin has any interest in returning to run things, or if he'd put a trusted and suitably pious student in charge...
     
  9. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Thank you, corrected.
    She looked like this.

    I should probably point out that her full name is Diataria Lysis, so he wasn't even calling her by her first name.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2021
  10. Darko

    Darko Well worn.

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    I think weaponers are the higher ranked.

    No, from what I remember from the renegade side she apparently wore them because her superiors wanted her to, so they can ogle her.

    After she took over Kalmins position she wore what she liked.

    More likely build a weapon and have someone do it for them.

    Assuming he's even interested in romance.

    For all we know he may be aromantic or consider romance to be low on the list of things he's interested in.

    That may not be a good thing.

    If he puts an actual believer then the universe will have to face a religious fanatic who wants to destroy everything instead of a merchant who just sells weapons.
     
  11. BR549

    BR549 This is filth! FILTH!!

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    IIRC, originally the title was 'THE Weaponer'. As in only one. So top of the pyramid...

    And then Qward was transformed into a giant cake.
     
  12. Aelyx

    Aelyx It is I, Q, who are you?

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    https://twitter.com/AnimatedJL/status/952018948723216385

    https://twitter.com/AnimatedJL/status/952019075894595586

    I almost missed that, been a long time since I saw that show.
     
  13. Stsword

    Stsword I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Thunderers are the ones who use the weapons, the Weaponers are the ones who make the weapons.

    As for who is higher ranked, there is no innate bias in Qward society.

    Whichever faction is in charge is the one that succeeded in the latest coup. Very "My successor will be whichever one of you is strongest," to paraphrase Alexander the Great.

    The Thunderers were in charge when Crisis happened, the Weaponers ripped control from them when the failure of Crisis weakened the Thunderers.

    I assume Zoat used the same level of social darwinism here and that the Weaponers have just been in charge for a while now, rather than Qward having an actual caste system that just puts weaponers on top.
     
  14. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    The comic that covered the period where Guy first got a yellow ring said that the High Weaponer was their ruler, and the Thunderlord was his de facto second.
     
  15. PDV

    PDV The Revelation That Uncertainty is Itself a Answer

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  16. Nervaqus987

    Nervaqus987 Experienced.

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    In the storyline "The Man who Has Everything" Mongol sneaks a Black Mercy to Superman as a gift for his birthday. While Superman is off in lala land, Batman and Wonder Woman(who were there to give Superman their presents) confront Mongol.

    Well, Wonder Woman does. Batman (mostly) does the smart thing and tries to get the Black Mercy off of Superman.

    During the fight, Mongol knocks Wonder Woman into an armory/trophy room in the Fortress of Solitude and she grabs a weapon to blast him with.

    Mongol upon seeing it says "Is that a neural impactor? I didn't even know they were still making those."


    Zoat's referenced it twice in this fic, that I remmeber. Once in a Renegade segment and once in this last chapter with Grayven and Kalmin respectively commenting "that they didn't know they were still making those."
     
  17. Stsword

    Stsword I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Didn't know that.

    In Crisis, the Thunderers were the Anti-Monitor's right hand guys, in fact when building his anti-matter canon the Thunderers supervised while slaves did the actual work, not a weaponer in sight. I suppose the Anti-Monitor might just not have felt the need for weaponers...

    But when Qwardians were first introduced, it was established that Thunderers worked for the Weaponers.

    Then there's Commander Roval leading a thunderer rebellion against the Weaponers and taking over Qward.

    So the watsonian explanation would seem to be that whoever is in charge of Qward is whoever is strong enough to be in charge of Qward, and the caste system changes to recognize that.

    The Doylist explanation being that DC writers don't care about little things like not contradicting each other, but you already know that, of course. :)
     
  18. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Ah, nearly. The Renegade said 'They don't make these any more'.
    Roval didn't lead a Thunderer rebellion. Heck, Thunderlord Brikan was one of the people whose actions caused him to snap, kill Varnathon and grab Highlord Rengar's gear from the display stand.
     
  19. Stsword

    Stsword I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Because Brikan was nothing more than a rubber stamp that let the Weaponers walk all over the thunderers, including giving up thunderer children to the medical experiment camps.

    Which left the Thunderers his support for his little coup, and it was certainly the Thunderer base he was speechifying to when he went on about returning Qward to the good ol' days of being a feared military superpower.
     
  20. Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    Those weren't specifically Thunderer children. They were Qwardian children completing their primary education prior to assignment. That was why Warmother Dacua was complaining about her son's placement.
     
  21. Radix

    Radix Making the rounds.

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    I really don't think that Paragon can reform Kalmin. What could you possibly have to turn someone to not value omnicide. It isn't like a homocide or genocide.

    Frankly I think there is actually kind of a merit to it. If you pull off omnicide it is the greatest thing to ever happen, and it can never be topped. It is the end of everything. You get your satisfaction and then cease. What happens after you perform a great work? You continue on. Perhaps you get topped some day.

    You can't make them want to avoid a bad existence, because omnicide means they don't exist anymore. The only way would be to get him to value existing over not existing. But what merit is there to existence? It doesn't matter how much you enjoy it if you still prefer that things don't exist. They could view their worse life until the destruction as finished as a worthy cost for the end of everything.

    Paragon at this point can only gamble that he can get more utility from Kalmin's inventions than the damage he can do by continuing. I would say it is safer to just off him than risk him getting more power from the Orange Light.
     
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  22. PDV

    PDV The Revelation That Uncertainty is Itself a Answer

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    It's the Reach buying them, isn't it? Smart move.
     
  23. Stsword

    Stsword I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    Eh, not really.

    The Blue Beetle scarab's programming was of the "infiltrate the planet from within" that the Reach started because of losing to the GLC.

    So they lost to the GLC at least 4000 years ago.

    In four millenia they really ought to have come up with their own anti-GLC weapons.

    And honestly I'm not sure how effective neural impacters would be against the OLC anyway.

    Neural impacters sound like the kind of thing that rattles the noggin, makes it hard to think.

    For green lanterns dependent on willpower? A nasty countermeasure.

    But orange lanterns, dependent on desire? I don't think rattling the noggin would make it harder to want something. And in fact I would think that wanting to be able to think straight would be one of the first things an orange lantern hit by one of those things would desire.

    Zoat, am I wrong in how I imagine the neural impacter to act? Would it affect a blue, orange, or star sapphire the same it would a greeny?
     
  24. Someguy Somewhere

    Someguy Somewhere The Critical Fumbler

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    OL has run into neural impactors, and based on WTR lore his observations were much as Stsword describes as shown in the link that Mr Zoat Referenced on the Renegade side. I believe that Kilawog pulled one out of subspace during their duel back on Oa, saying something about 'saving it for Sinestro'

    Edit: Found it

     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
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  25. Chaoswind

    Chaoswind Lord of nonsense

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    Someone forgot how telepathic weapons are useful against lanterns even orange ones like Paul. If you can be prevented from feeling anything then you cannot use the rings to manipulate the glow. A sufficiently strong/primal desire like something engraved on a soul would probably go beyond something that nullifies the mind also robots or other types of lanterns would be immune, but the majority of the meatbags wouldhave a disadvantage.
     
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  26. Threadmarks: Fallin (part 5)
    Mr Zoat

    Mr Zoat Dedicated ragequitter

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    29th May 2282
    10:01 MTZ


    "Just through here, sir."

    A ghoul in a well tailored suit ushers me and Goris into the main meeting room in the Oklahoma state capital. The name of the city is 'First People's Junction', which… Honestly sounds a bit Canadian to me. Referring to the pre-European inhabitants of America as 'First People' is a Canadian thing, isn't it? The former state capital Oklahoma City was hit by Chinese nuclear weapons during the Great War and… The population of the area is around twenty thousand now, but in the immediate aftermath of the War when people in this region were trying to work out where they were going to start rebuilding it would have been far too dangerous. There was a Vault to the north of here, but it was one of the experiment ones and only a small fraction of those inside survived.

    The four people I'm here to meet stand as I enter. General George Harrison is a ghoul. He was an Adjutant General in the Oklahoma National Guard before the War and as far as my sources have been able to tell he's spent most of the intervening period at the head of a ghoul war band picking fights with everyone for the sake of having something to do. He's wearing a battered and faded field uniform, and given his general mental state there's a good chance that it's the one he died in.

    Ms. Lushanya Harjo is wearing a well tailored riff on what I imagine was the traditional garb of one of the Great Plains Federation tribes. She herself was the leader of the Chicasaw-Muscogee Coalition and ran a casino prior to General Harrison conquering the Federation a little over a year ago. Now she still runs a casino but works directly for the President, so I guess the only real change is that her office moved slightly down the hall. Her husband, known to the people of the region as 'Mr. Entertainment', sits next to her. His suit is an exquisite replica of pre-war fashion and his… Somehow still independent people called 'The Tubeheads' inhabit the land just to the south of here. They're famous for their skills as entertainers and electronic engineers and they somehow managed to convince both Oklahoma and Texas to guarantee their independence.

    And the woman at the head of the table and focus of General Harrison's barely audible muttering, President Nguyen. She served as his field commander for years until his decision to go to war with the Chicasaw-Muscogee Coalition prompted her to quit. When he decided to hold an election after the war they remembered her opposition and elected her instead of him, much to his apparent surprise.

    It should be noted that the ghouls here follow his orders because they don’t have any better ideas, not because they think he's particularly clever.

    "Madam President, Ms Harjo, Mister Entertainment, General Harrison."

    President Nguyen leans across the table to shake my hand.

    "Are you allowed to call me that?"

    "I still call the leader of the New California Republic President Kimball. So unless Grant Hayes wins the next election I'm probably alright calling state leaders 'President' rather than 'Governor'."

    She nods, then sits back down as Ms. Harjo takes my hand.

    "Mister Krono. Welcome to Oklahoma."

    "It's good to be here, Ms Harjo. Or is it Missus Entertainment?"

    Her husband smiles with.. worryingly white teeth as she shakes her head.

    "No, we kept our names. I'm happy to leave the studio to my husband."

    Who is the next to take my hand, clasping it in both of his and smiling warmly. Something I've noticed about the strange little tribes who focus on one aspect of old world culture: they get almost supernaturally good at it. The Tubeheads -even just regular townspeople- are strangely charismatic, the Hangdogs can command dogs better than any dog trainer I've ever seen, the people of Two Sun are amazing drivers and I hear there's a bunch of weirdoes in Roswell with actual psychic powers.

    "And speaking of my studio, is there any chance you'll have time to drop by later?"

    "I'd be delighted to. I know how slow news travels these days, and I'd be happy to update your viewers on current affairs."

    I turn to General Harrison, ready to shake his hand as well. But his attention is focused on the robe-shrouded Goris.

    "The hell 're you supposed to be?"

    "This is Goris. He's my cultural attaché."

    His hood nods. "This is my third time in Oklahoma. You once had an entire machine gun platoon try and kill me."

    General Harrison nods. "Did it work?"

    "They successfully tried. And Miss Harjo, I seem to recall that I had the pleasure of meeting your grandfather. Very few hotels are prepared to accommodate people like me and I remember his hospitality fondly."

    "Grandpa didn't ever mention having a super mutant guest. The only-." She blinks, his eyes widening. "No."

    President Nguyen raises her eyebrows. "Anya?"

    "Grandpa had a crazy story about a… Talking Deathclaw who stayed in the hotel after defending a caravan from some raiders."

    Goris extends his right fore claw out of his sleeve and pushes back his hood.

    "The bed was the wrong shape for me, but the food and service were excellent."

    President Nguyen and Ms. Harjo freeze, something which Goris has told me only makes Deathclaws lose interest if someone else doesn't, because they're all intelligent enough to know that it's the people who haven't frozen that you need to attack first.

    Mr. Entertainment grins, his eyes lighting up in excitement. "Do you have an agent, Mister Goris?"

    "I'm afraid that I'm not interested in a career in entertainment. Though I am happy to give interviews… Just so long as there isn't a live audience."

    "No?"

    Goris shuffles bashfully.

    "I get nervous when people stare at me."

    Ms. Harjo is just staring. "You're a Talking Deathclaw."

    "I prefer 'Intelligent Deathclaw'."

    "I thought your species were myths."

    "We are. We're also real. Like the wendigos of Appalachia. Though we taste better."

    President Nguyen takes a deep breath and forces herself to relax.

    "While I'm sure this will make for a fascinating interview, that isn't why you wanted to meet with us."

    I nod. "True." I pull a map out of my robe and telekinetically lay it flat on the table between us. My best understanding of the current borders of the nations of the wasteland are marked on it, as well as major troop deployments. It's fairly accurate as far as the Legion is concerned, but there's more guesswork in Shale's Army territory than I really like. "This is the current state of play. I'm confident that the forces the NCR has at its disposal will be sufficient for pushing back the Legion forces along our border. As far as they're concerned, all we really want you to do is to keep doing what you're doing now: fortifying your border with Lanius and presenting a threat in being."

    "You're really that confident?"

    I pull out a holotape and side it over.

    "A recording of our last battle. It turns out that football jerseys don't stop machinegun fire. Plus, I am psychic."

    She nods as General Harrison grabs the tape. "We have psychics, too. And they think they know why Lanius's forces haven't advanced further east."

    "Because he wants Santa Anna to weaken Texas first?"

    "The Chained Choir don't think it's that simple. They've been getting almost constant premonitions of doom. They think that something is being born in Los, and that it will 'consume the world'. My own spies in Lanius's forces say that they aren't advancing because they're under constant attack by super mutants." She points to the map. "Lanius had an army here. Where is it now?"

    "I don't know. And I think I need to talk to the Choir in person."
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  27. Darko

    Darko Well worn.

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    I was thinking Chinese.

    'experimental'

    'was an'

    'known'

    Huh.

    Potential romance with her?

    'out of'

    'Nguyen'
     
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  28. doug89

    doug89 Versed in the lewd.

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    Sounds like the Fallout wasteland may have a gestalt psychic field similar to the 40K WAAAGH!
     
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  29. Assblaster5000

    Assblaster5000 Know what you're doing yet?

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    I'm not very familiar with New California beyond it being a New Vegas mod, so apologies if this is a dumb question, but does that mean Courier 6 is dead?
     
  30. Someguy Somewhere

    Someguy Somewhere The Critical Fumbler

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    We use 'First Nation' for the most part.

    'Native' or sometimes 'Aboriginal' gets used too.
     
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