5809/TPT: The Crimson Thought

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TPT: The Crimson Thought
Date of Scene: 27 April 2018
Location: The Tapestry
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: 1094, Rebecca Chambers, August Kohler, 632, 673, Yuna Kagurazaka, Kotone Yamakawa, Starbound Flotilla, 1108


Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Maslow Peak. We're right back at that twisty mountain again, though this time Flamel Parsons can't get the Psychonauts to furnish him with a fancy spy-jet, or even a fancy spy-car. The reason why should be apparent: The remains of the spy-jet that Parsons flew in last time are still scattered over the base of the mountain, and the roiling hemispherical twisty Brainstorm still forms and aggressively blasts at anyone who tries to "cheat" to the top of Maslow Peak with flight.

    Approaching a safer way this time lets one take in the sights. Maslow Peak itself still remains as it was: Densely forested with exaggerated evergreen growth, with snowy frosting at the top. A sign that Parsons just drives past with no attention to it declares:

                                 MASLOW PEAK                                  
                   UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS STRICTLY PROHIBITED                  

    Presumably he considers himself an authorized Parsons. Eventually the road ends, giving way to a rocky offroad experience, and eventually even that ends, and Parsons -- and any who chose to get into his ominous black-tinted van full of government secrets -- emerges onto a foresty path.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8qOjmWIPKs

    "Alright!" He says, hoisting a little bit of climbing gear and supplies, looking incredibly weirdly mixed with his hiker's backpack and fancy Secret Agent suit, and heading forward. "So, this turned out to be a No-Fly Zone in more than the usual government blacksite way, we literally can't safely fly to the top. So, uh, try not to go too high! Or maybe do it by climbing a tree if you can help it. Or just be really good at dodging, but I don't think I'll be able to get to the top that way no matter what. Don't worry though! We can still hike it. Might give us some better clues as we go, too." The huge chunks of broken superspy jet plane are still scattered around, some lightly glowing and others lightly smoking, but they've long since been examined for relevant stuff. Up ahead, there's a path leading on; it branches after a while towards a little log cabin someone has here, which is cozily burning a proper wood stove judging by the rising smoke. Looks sort of like a mini hunting lodge? Maybe someone there could give some good information about what's going on at Maslow Peak.

    Parsons isn't focused on that, though, he's more intent on getting up the mountain, and so those with a less social nature could and should easily follow him on the first section of the long hike to the top of Maslow Peak. Given the way the mountain's peak seems to twist in geologically improbable ways, no doubt there'll be challenges and dangers that need taking on to carve a path up. Thankfully, there's no sign of the Ghost of Maslow Peak right now; whether she'll show her face again today is a question that's weighing heavily on the minds of Parson and probably a few others inclined to join the so-called "hiking trip" to delve deep into those old cold-war-era bunkers nearer the peak.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Maslow Peak. A rather twisty looking place. Just don't go there if you're looking to play Twister, as it's not that kind of twist. In fact, it's definitely not your typical type of mountain either. In a place like this, it's something else completely. But it's nothing that's keeping Rebecca Chambers away.

In addition to her usual kevlar vest and green-themed uniform, Rebecca's also brought some climbing gear with her as well as a small backpack. While she's done rock climbing as part of her training and as a way of keeping fit, Rebecca's never really gone mountain climbing before, so this will be yet another multiversal experience for her.

"If there is a cabin there," Rebecca says sternly, "We'd best approach with caution. No telling who or what might be in there." Granted she's not as familiar with this area as Flamel is, but there's no harm in erring on the side of caution either.

Flamel might be intent on getting to the top of the mountain, and Rebecca is too, but she's in no rush to get there either. She's one of the believers that slow and steady wins the race. The only exception to that rule is when there's a timer connected to a self-destruct mechanism ticking down, in which case speed is your greatest ally. After doing a few quick stretches, Rebecca nods to Flamel. "I'm ready when everyone else is."

August Kohler has posed:
August Kohler's strongly dedicated himself to this mission. He promised Flamel he'd help him with this, being the one to tell him about Maslow Peak, even if Flamel insists he has no connection to it. The redhead's drssed in a hiking jacket, a bag over his shoulder, and armed with a gun and a knife at his waist, hiking up alongside Flamel. He nods to the psychic...and then spots the hunting lodge. "Why is someone living at a government blacksite? Is that normal around here?" August is curious. Mostly if there's someone there who'd be a problem for them.

August splits off from Flamel, heading towards the lodge quietly. His hand moves to his gun, drawing it carefully as he knocks on the door. This is, after all, a shady government blacksite with a horrible psychic storm. He's taking zero chances for everyone's safety. "Anyone here?"

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     One might imagine it's idle curiosity that draws Septette to a place like this, but her interests are quite germane and focused- any idleness in her is always an affectation. That holds true for her casual and hapless-tourist-ish demeanor as she approaches the cabin alongside August as well.

     When she stumbles over a few fallen branches noisily and calls out an uncertain greeting in sharp contrast to August's professional caution, it's not clumsiness or hesitance that drives her- it's the desire to appear clumsy and hesitant while forewarning any itchy trigger fingers of their approach.

     Or maybe she's just hoping to get August shot by crazed psychic woodsmen. It's hard to tell by that sheepish smile she gives him.

Rory White (673) has posed:
    "Government blacksites are themselves not normal. NOTHING that happens near one is normal." Rory points out for August's benefit, not far behind him. She's here as before. To make sure people get through whatever it is. To gather data on the strange phenomena. And perhaps to set some wrongs right, if she at all can. To those ends, this time she's come ready for action. Before, she came as a young woman who seemed human enough, mind the blue hair.

    Today, she's a sleek, polished, electric blue robo-kitty the size vaguely resembling a lioness. Its construction does not even try to mask the fact that it's robotic, but it strangely has no seams, rivets, or even any angular features around joints. It moves with uncanny grace and fluidity, very like a real cat.

    As before, she has released a number of Saucer Drones. Most are flying very low though, simply giving her a bird's eye view of the area. A mini-map, so to speak.

    "I agree with Rebecca though. We should approach the cabin, but with care."

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
The last time Yuna was here was not a terribly pleasant experience. She's not expecting this to be much better - but she's here anyway, partly (perhaps mostly) with an eye to getting the group to turn back if it seems way too dangerous.

Rather than riding in the van, Yuna actually cruised along behind it, thanks to Powered Form's hoverthrusters - and the rest of the Matrix of Light is with her as well: Elner flitting alongside her, Marina and Erina cruising along at the back points of a narrow isosceles triangle whose tip is occupied by Yuna. When the van stops, though, Yuna brakes smoothly to a halt and her other two 'doubles' spread out further to the side.

Yuna looks at the smoke rising from the cabin, glances around, and seems like she's just about to say something when August starts heading towards the cabin. "Could be covert security of some kind," she suggests in reply to August's (possibly rhetorical) question. The fact that August isn't alone in approaching the cabin seems to set her at some seemblance of ease, too.

Particularly since Yuna puts her priority on sticking close to Parsons, with Elner scanning the area for its own mapping purposes - and if Rory's drones (not to mention Rory herself) are amenable and they can work out a compatible protocol, the little robo-faerie starts sharing data with the AGI.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
So things would contiune with the mystery of Maslow Peak. Kotone is suited up for trouble but not in stealth gear today, given that does no real good against ghost she's clad in carapace armour which has a faded X-COM logo on it's torso and she takes a look oer to Rory and will move to open up a netowrk like to Rory and anyone else willing to to take such from her.

"So here we go again."

She's brought some climbing gear with her and seems as ready as she'll be she moves ahead pausing at the cabin for a moment she'll keep woth the Agent for now not wantin to get delayed she'll also attempt to link up with Yuna, if yuna will let her.

"Been a while Yuna, good to see you and Rory? You have too much fun with your selection of Shells, you know that?"

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Someone gruff-sounding calls out from behind the door, calling out to August, and audible to anyone who joins him at the door of the lodge on the way up the mountain. "Huh? The hell-- Just a hot second!" There's a sound of firewood clattering awkwardly as it's stacked or sorted, and then the thick wood door creaks open...

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Of all the people, George is somehow here. "Gus? Bones? What the hell?" George says, tilting his head and laughing. "You here for a hunting trip too?" He glances at the heavy clumsiness Septette's demonstrated, and laughs. "With one of those running refridgerators from a crank call? I could'a sworn I had this lodge rented for a couple weeks at least. Didn't think you guys had a taste for mountains like Ol' Maslow." He doesn't mind August's gun at all, though he's a little more to-business after. "You here to stay, or you heading up?"

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Rory's low-flying drones get a subtle crackling of the forming Brainstorm, but there's a sort of border just above the treeline. It seems like the trees extend the 'safe' range up, and drones at the same altitude that aren't near trees don't seem to be protected, getting menaced by the snarly lightning.

    The work with Elner indicates some construction of some sort ahead on the path. There's also various mountain wildlife out in the woods, moving around; they glow with flickering light at times, indicating some psychic abilities. A few mountain lions with pyrokinesis prowl around, occasionally heading towards the group and menacing them; these mutated fireball-slinging threats are beefy, but not so much that they can't be driven off or taken out easily.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     There are layers to the little act that Septette puts on, like a cartoon supervillain wearing a mask under their stupid mask. As she steps into the cabin with August and George, she straightens up and sheds her klutzy act like a snake slipping out of its skin. It's replaced with a synthetic charm just a little too easy to seem genuine, mirroring bits and pieces of George's own demeanor.

     "Heading up. Fingers crossed none of us are here to stay," she replies, quietly maneuvering herself obliquely between George and August. There's the subtle implication in her posturing that, if anyone happened to open fire, she'd somehow intercede. "Didn't know you were pals with our redheaded miscreant here. Got any advice for mountain climbers, squishy?"

A2 (1108) has posed:
    The last face who shows up probably isn't /too/ surprising, given she and August vaguely and nebulously 'owe each other one' on different days of the week. Surprising in the sense of those who already know her at least. She still looks like a silver-haired supermodel with dead lavender eyes and few enough clothes that it'd be a real problem if her literal skin were not largely burned, abraded, or fallen away to expose the barest bones of black subdermal layers before the actual machine parts themselves.

    The least surprising thing is that she declines to examine the cabin utterly, even letting August trundle off so she's basically all but alone in the snow with Parsons, who she has literally never met before. She watches the gaggle of socialites wander off to go harass some mountain climber or another, then silently turns and starts on the trail, navigating rambling rock paths and crawling evergreen roots in high heels, somehow. "So you don't even know what's up there. Why is he helping you at all?" she inquires in flat, weary tones of Parsons.

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
If the 'Brainstorm' looming above weren't enough - heck, if the *mountain itself* weren't enough to put Yuna on edge, psychic mountain lions in combination with the first two are definitely up to the challenge. She's practically downright skittish, her gaze flicking this way and that ... but it's still Elner who picks up on the pyrokinetic predators. As soon as the robo-faerie picks up on the approaching mountain lion, the Matrix Divider flares into existence in Yuna's hands; she risks a scant moment to charge up a decent shot before aiming between the trees, and pulling thr trigger.

And yet she's very clearly trying to drive the lion off *without* killing it outright; anyone with her and Parsons will be able to tell that the focused shot still doesn't pierce or burn, just stings. (Albeit quite a lot, plus some kinetic impact.)

Yuna keeps the Divider handy after that, only belatedly murmuring, "Shugoseiheki," so her kite shield materializes on her exo-armor's left arm.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
With August taking the cabin, Rebecca initially considers backing him up, but then thinks better of it for some reason. She instead chooses to scout ahead with Yuna and Rory, using her binoculars to attempt to get a good look at what's ahead. Unfortunately, once she puts her binoculars to her face, her neutral look turns into a frown.

"Mountain lions..." Rebecca says with her frown growing deeper. "With pyrokinesis." She shakes her head. "Looks like this isn't going to be easy after all." The medic surveys the general area around as she moves, attempting to find a possible way to move past them or something. She'd like to avoid combat if possible.

Of course, Yuna seems intent on driving off the first mountain lion, and Rebecca finds herself changing her plans. "Well, I guess we're taking them on directly!" Rebecca draws her Beretta and aims it in the direction of the nearest mountain lion, firing a few shots in its general direction, not intending to harm it or even hit it, but to try to scare it away.

August Kohler has posed:
As the door opens and the two are invited in, August is entirely shocked by who opens the door. He stares flatly, blinking a few times. "George?" His tone's a bit flat, but still confused. "Why do you have a hunting lodge in a government blacksite? You know the mountain';s surrounded by a psychic storm, right?" The gun moves back into its holster, as he sighs, exhales, and nods in Septette's direction.

"We're trying to go up and something's trying to stop us from going up. If you know the site, anything you can offer or any shortcuts? We need to get to the top." His mood does lighten, a little bit. August sees Septette as the closest thing to a friend he can mentally accept right now, and likes George decently enough, so being surrounded around people he trusts a bit is helpful. "You see the ghost? The one with red hair and power tools."

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Establishing a protocol with Rory's not hard! She's done this with Elner before. Her systems are amazingly intricate when ti comes to networking, and soon the map's being merged and updated. A plethora of wide spectrum passive and active scans are underway..

    And this includes a thermal view of the hut. But Rory doesn't stay! She only leaves a single Saucer behind to pick up audio. She and most of her drones head up the mountain and--

    It's not long until she does run into one of the mountain lions! Which she attempts to skirt around and ignore... until it hits her with a fireball and bashes her around on the trail she's blazing!

    With a frustrated hiss, Lionbot Rory leaps around and does her best to drive them off when they appear with tackles and dissuasively loud noises from her speakers!

    Along the way, she loses a few Saucers, but quickly realizes the reason and pulls them in lower...

    "I wonder, if we climb too high the normal way, will we still be safe?"

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Yeah I know it's surrounded by a weird psychic storm. Privacy! Why else? Ghost, red-headed... What, the girl who got here a while ago? I didn't see here when I came here last year. Whoever she is, you guys are the ones who brought her with you." George says, eyebrow up and grin lounging on his face like it's trying to take a nap on it. "That's the thing about Maslow Peak. There's nothin', and I mean nothin' dangerous about it. Maslow Peak's only as dangerous as Maslow Peak's climbers, and that's you." He points at August, but he means the group in general.

    "I'd say climbing Ol' Maslow is well worth a ghost fight or two though. Trust me, Gus, the view at the top is to-- Well, no, if I say 'to die for' you'll think I'm cryptically implying something. It's super good. Gotta watch out for telekinetic bears and a couple divebombing murder-birds, sure, but you ought'a try it." He says, gesturing up the path. "When it comes to climbing, though, anyone -- well, 'cept you, Bones -- who gets up there? They're really not gonna be getting away from their own problems the way a usual mountain-climbing trip does for ya."

    He rummages around behind the door and then hands off a little flag to August, marked with the Starbound logo. "Here's a tele-beacon. Plant this on some camps. Ought'a let you save your progress up without having to spend the whole damn time on it in one go." Then he looks really intently at August.

    "Hey, August. You been pondering my riddle?"

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    A2 gets a pretty full-fledged answer. "Oh! Well, it's sort of a trade. See, I told him about a hostile weird thing going on in his own brain. He's a psychic of a kind, you know, and he's been dealing with a bunch of psychic stuff. I've been helping him with that, and now he's decided to help me with this." Parsons says, hoisting his backpack. "And anything we find out is probably gonna be very psychic, so who knows, it'll probably help him too! Not like he doesn't need it right now. You're a Watch person, right? I'm sure you've seen how on-edge he's been lately." Then comes fire-wielding mountain lions. "Oh right, watch the wildlife!" He calls out, already working on distractedly fighting off the various foes.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa is moving ahead keeping in contact with Rory and yuna at htis point as there shouldn't have been any issue with a tatical link between them.

<<All right lets see what we got here woah!>>

She sees the lions which are looking for a fight, she'll be pulling a flash bang grenade out and calls out.

<<Flash bang going up>>

hopefully this might drive the lions off without the need to kill them or so she hopes at the very least.

<<No idea when dealing with stuff like this Rory>>

August Kohler has posed:
"We brought it with us? What? So you mean, that thing's connected to one of us?" August goes through his head. The people on the jet...one of them had to have caused it. But why? Who? He shakes his head, moving to grab the flag. "Got it. Thanks. So, watch out for telekinetic bears, murder-birds, radio's telling me about what I can only assume are flaming cats. What else? Flying wolves?" It's sarcastic, but August would not actually be surprised if the reply he got is 'yes'.

At the question about his riddle, August pauses, as he was about to turn away. "The one about society and people in a room, yeah? I don't remember it entirely. I know I couldn't figure it out, and honestly, I'm not good at riddles. So, I forgot about it, mostly. Been too busy actually working and fighting to chew on it all these months." He does tilt his head, though. He's very curious. "So, what was it? What was the full riddle, and what was the answer to it?"

August is planning on leaving shortly, but first, he wants to know the answer. George threw that riddle at him for a reason, after ll.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Driving off the mountain lions can't be done with just warning shots, but they're tough and rough enough that a few proper shots aren't gonna bring them down, and the focused shots from Yuna even less so. Kotone's got a good idea with those flashbangs too, as does Rory with the loud noises and head-on approach! The menacing mountain lions take the blasts and roar, but the pack, after firing off a few fireballs, seem primarily pretty well driven off. That's not the end of the wildlife, by any means, but at least it's a solid chunk of the threat for now; there's no question that someone more lethal like A2 would be driving them off swiftly with kills, too. These are beefy, but not beefy enough for this team.

    Aside from those, though, the biggest issue is what has been built on the path ahead. It looks like fresh construction. Rigged traps of some sort, forged out of heavy scrap metal. Heavy crushing apparatuses suspended from trees that try to drop dangerous chunks of steel when one passes below, huge logs rigged up to swing and strike one off the path, pits dug and rigged with false covers, and other such dangers. All rather mundane and mechanical, and all done with a very imprecise design. It's all been crafted in the last week or so, and seems to not be self-powered, but rather hooked up to a series of elaborate power relay stations that feed from up the mountain.

    What this means is, if the group can manage to get past the hazards, they can turn them off by flipping a switch and clear the path for future passage. Unfortunately, these sorts of hazards escalate to the level of a rush of mountain hares and other lagomorphic dangers that are blasting little machine-gun blasts of psychic energy at whoever tries to get through a sort of mess of crushing traps made out of scrapped cars suspended over a river where the only crossing options are hovering or jumping on big logs that float downstream. It's a chaotic mess of platforming combat danger!

    A darting flash of red hair across the river reveals the probable source of all this nonsense.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Bespoke cryptic riddles from a mentor figure? Septette is at war with herself. On the one hand, she can barely restrain her curiosity at what George might reveal. On the other hand, even her nosiness knows a limit. After a moment's indecision, she steps out the door of the cabin and shuts it behind her. There's no sense in prying.

     Besides, she thinks she knows the answer to this one anyway.

     An instant after Kotone's flashbang, there's a second, far less impressive flash of light, accompanied by an almost anticlimactic POP. Septette materializes just in time to see the Mountain Fryons dissipate- but the grim set of her jaw and the low groan that escapes her chest tells exactly what she thinks of the new obstacle course.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Flying wolves? Yeah, probably. Honestly, most of the wildlife here is kinda crazy. That's why it's a good hunting trip! You should try it, Gus. Whenever you're done with whatever this is, go on a nice trip here and just relax, you know? Aquakinetic deer make /great/ venison." George says, taking that utterly in stride.

    Then George glances to Septette and watches her leave... And nods, agreeably. He lets a smile creep over his face when he chats to August more. "There's a problem staring you in the face, kid." He says. "One you're not willing to deal with head-on. You've been hitting the symptoms and trying to go the indirect way. A thousand people can all want to do good, and instead they all do something awful that not a single one of 'em want. You've been all worked up in yourself trying to break the parts that are good to fix the parts that are wrong. Taking an indirect route. Not going for the throat. If you wanna plant that flag on Old Maslow, you're gonna have to square up and learn what it means to deal with what you really need to deal with."

    "The way I hear it, you don't much like that you can't make the progress in the indirect way, but you don't wanna just amp up the stuff you're already doing. You gotta look at what you're doing and see what your goal is. You don't wanna hurt the good people, but you wanna stop 'em from doing the bad things they all do together. So what is it you /really/ hate, and how can you stop messing around at the fringe and go right for the heart? You kill the people -- the problem's still there. The only way to fix what's got you /really/ messed up, is to find the right bullseye to shoot."

    George jabs a thumb up the mountain. "How about I check your progress as you go, huh kid? See you up there later?"

August Kohler has posed:
George's response about the riddle makes August pale in the face. "What? That's...not what I was expecting. I don't know what you're thinking, but I do things plenty direct. That's..." August has no idea what George means, but it does make sense. What is he doing indirectly? He's doing something indirectly. He can feel that. What is it he really needs to deal with? "I'm fine, whatever it is." It's a pretty bold-faced lie.

August moves for the door, nodding at George. "Alright. I'll see you later." It's sort of half-assed, the redhead lost in thought a little bit about 'what you really need to deal with'. Once he's out, he starts rushing up the hiking path, trying to regroup with the others. Any psychic animals that try to get in his way get shot with his pistol. By the time he's up there, though, they may have already shut down the traps.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 pointedly doesn't make use of the Rory/Yuna joint network, which is a slight oddity since her connective frequency has been open and ready this entire time. When people join up from the cabin to fight mountain lions, all she has to share with them are looks of mildly condescending disbelief at the manner they choose to do it with. Any mountain lion that comes at her, or by extension Parsons, gets a swift, android-strength punch or round kick to the face or midsection without hesitation. The only reason she isn't using her swords is because throwing the things around like dolls is less messy and involves less slowing down, though it's still pretty high up there on the kill/cripple/maim ladder, especially considering the terrain. She never shows remorse or hesitation in killing people, so why would she go soft on animals?

    From there, she continues to wordlessly and fearlessly take point, straight into the trapped territory. Though she does a pretty solid job of identifying and winding between them, where paths appear to be densely packed with hazards, or set up in a way that would make August or Parsons have a hard time getting through, she intentionally trips a couple until it's easier to move on. She positions herself beneath massive, crushing object and catches them with both arms, heaving and grunting before hurling them off the mountain path and yanking her heels free from the cold dirt. Swinging logs she cuts free from their ropes in mid-swing, to catch and repurpose them as bridges across pitfalls. It goes on like this, utilizing her absurd strength and generalized performance to brute wrestle with mechanical traps and clear a trail forward. It is anything but quick and elegant and 'likely to chase down a fleeing ghost', but it's safe, for a certain definition of the word. She's the android, and there are humans about.

    It's only when they eventually catch sight of that head of red hair that she finally answers what Parsons had said to her near the bottom of the trail. "He's always on edge. Has good reason to be too. Even I can tell there's something wrong with his head, though. Even if he's human, they're the symptoms of a logic breakdown. I don't know about psychic-whatever, but there's something in his head."

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     The deadly crushing and battering traps pose remarkably little obstacle to Septette's advance- she seems to actively invite them to trigger on her, and does her worst to damage them back before pressing on with minor scrapes and scuffs to show for it. The one pitfall she stumbles into is considerably more embarrassing, but poses little more risk.

     It's when she reaches the end of the gauntlet- having made the obstacle course incrementally safer for those who come after by leaving a wake of destruction and discharged traps- that she hesitates in earnest, looking equal parts revulsed and anxious.

     It's not the pseudomagical hellcritters or the car-crushers that earn her ire. It's the river. With a negative buoyancy to rival a compacted car, there's no way she's going to be able to-

     Oh. Right. Septette blinks, making a comical sound-effect like teacups clinking... and wades into the raging river, over her head. She's too dense for the currents to sweep her away, and doesn't have any need to breathe. The water above her freezes into a bridge of ice that connects several logs together into a mismatched span, but it doesn't hold for long before starting to treacherously crumble- anyone who wants to make use of that path will need to hurry.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Dealing with the material stuff isn't always the direct route. There's better ways. You don't wanna kill people, Gus, same as I don't make it a habit. That's what a lot of your stress is about. You wanna be direct, but you don't know how. You gotta find the right target, otherwise that urge is gonna keep growing. And from what I hear sometimes, it'll grow in a bad way." George says, not even the least bit joking. "Your problem is you're too clever by half. There's something you /have to kill/, August, and I agree with you plenty on that. But you gotta know where to point it. And then you gotta square up and pull that trigger."

    "Good luck with Maslow, Gus. You're gonna need it."

Rory White (673) has posed:
    "It's one thing after another, Kotone!" The Lionbot announces to her friend as they come upon the forest pathway, a lot of fire-breathing lion animals behind them.

    "That's odd. There's an abundance of metal in the trees?" Rory approaches cautiously as she usually does most things, sending in her Saucer drones via wireless control for a closer look. And when she sees things like trees suspended on vine lashes, big pits appearing on lidar...

    "Someone did this. Recently. But who? And why? The way forward is full of boobytraps!"

    And she will proceed very cautiously and slow through them, using her metal detection, heat differentials, and other minute measurements to detect the traps and skirt around them. Hopefully that will be enough!

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Booby traps. Go figure. Someone doesn't want them here.

But they have to keep going.

While Rebecca doesn't have heat detection like Rory does, she nonetheless has eyes and the ability to see what the traps are and how she might be able to avoid them. Although she'd prefer to be safe than sorry and decides to let Rory go first, waiting for her to get through so she can help Rebecca find a safe way through.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
That's not the end of the wildlife but hte pride got the message, get out of the way, which they have so she feels no need to follow up the attack on them. She will be wary for more, she might be less lethal sure, but the job is getting done so far. She does not notice Septette as more wildlife is wanting to play, even the Rabbits? Rabbits? At least she thinks they are, or were such.

She respect that A2's not wanting to use the network and it's her call, she'll eave it at that as there's local wildlife trying to shoot them with all sorts of mind bullets.

"It really is Rory and there's more!"

she will be force to fire some shots at the attackuing creature she will take them down as she's got a limited number of flash bangs she can put to use and doesn't wnat to blow them all givne what else there could be.

"Huh I guess we're the blue footed boobies."

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Septette will need a bit to catch up, in order to maneuver her way out of the surprisingly deep riverbed. While she is down there, something odd happens. A hand reaches out of the riverbed and tries to grab her foot, very suddenly. If she tugs, she'll be retrieving what looks like a skeleton, long disposed of. Instead of bone, it seems to be hand-crafted out of a shimmering purple stone-like substance, with chunks of wire and odd tubing jutting out of it at unnerving angles; the strangely-shapen non-hollow "skull" seems to be intent on... Examining whatever parts of her it can get into contact with, not even doing anything hostile. And it seems like it's stuck in a loop of trying to examine her, whatever parts of her it can get ahold of.

August Kohler has posed:
By the time August catches up with the group, moving to reach Flamel, most of the traps seem to have been dealt with. He moves through the traps Septette and A2 already sprung, crossing the log-bridges that have been created. The real problem is the psychic death rabbits. Whenever one fires at them, August fires his pistol at them, trying to put them out of their misery and draw their aggression towards him, if possible. Once he actually reaches the others, he speaks up. "The hell's all this? Think it was little miss welding tool? Not bad craftmanship, if I can say so myself."

August's tone isn't serious, as he looks towards Septette, who is hopefully fine, and then up towards the mountain. How far have they gotten already?

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
That certainly is a virtually-impassible obstacle course, Yuna thinks, looking over the array of traps, tricks, snares, and hazards which have been arranged along the bridge. She doesn't get a lot of opportunity to take notes on it, though, thanks to the Beamspam Bunny Battalion. And with the storm still ranging overhead, Yuna's thought of taking to Flight Form is quickly shut down by Elner, just on general principle.

Septette and Rory start making their way across the obstacle course while Yuna's still pondering her own best course of action, and with some serious misgivings, Yuna disengages from Flight Form, both her shield and the Matrix Divider allowed to remain 'gone'. "Marina, stick close to me," Yuna says to one of her android companions. "If I miss a jump in the river -"

"Then I need to combine with you so you don't get swept away or worse," Marina finishes, nodding. "Well, if you don't want to just wait for one of them to get to the switch ..."

"More of us means the gun-bunnies have to split their attention and firepower," Yuna points out. "Elner, you were watching where Rory stepped, right? Help make sure I don't hit any traps."

And with her 'plans' made, Yuna starts picking her way through the gauntlet, materializing her pistol so she can at least shoot back at the psychic hares going rabbit-tat-tat at them with telekinetic burst fire. She is, somewhat noticeably, not as gentle as she was about the mountain lion. Still not *deadly* by a long shot, but putting the hurt on those hares.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8OHSXvneOE

    The progress up the path is a lot easier with Septette intentionally triggering many of them, and A2 dealing with others; both can have little issue with it, if they follow Rory's vague guidance, but for obvious reasons the convenience of networking is absent. Pits and swinging things can be defused in a long-term sense, and the other hazards of wildlife teaming up with them are a lot easier to deal with that way. As they get through the lagomorphs, killing or driving them off with gunfire from Kotone and Yuna -- they burst in puffs of psychic energy as Kotone fires on them, so George's hunting trip must be going with a different technique -- fresh mountain lions start to menace and occasionally a telekinetic bear generates massive translucent psionic hands and attempts to wrassle at least one of the group, whoever steps up to the plate most bravely. It's a low to mid pressure sort of situation.

    By the time they're over the river and then through more of the woods with those further risks, they've definitely achieved at least a hundred meters of height after all that climbing, which means they do eventually wind up with platforming that becomes a little more precarious. Wider zones full of trees shift into occasional narrow paths moving along more sheer mountain formations, which of course provokes more traps as crushing hazards come from above, mountain birds divebomb with disorienting blasts of psionic energy, and rigged sections give way. Entire parts of the mountain appear to have been collapsed away, leaving only the options of twisty growths from strange evergreens to maneuver over and around the huge gaps.

    The Ghost of Maslow Peak isn't getting near them, but they can often now see the thin, feral-looking girl crawling like a gecko on walls far further up, leaping between trees, and occasionally carrying outrageously large collections of materials to and fro from who knows where, as she frustratedly haunts their path with this mess of booby traps and scheming tricks. One could possibly try to pursue her, but it would take a bit of effort to do so, and they'd not likely be able to have the whole group reach her in time.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     As soon as the bony fingers touch her ankle, Septette slows down her perception of the world to a crawl. Unknown, potentially hostile contact. From any external perspective, she whirls around to look at the hand quickly enough to give a normal human whiplash. From her view, the simple pivot takes agonizing lengths of time- but no amount of vigilance is too much under these circumstances.

     It takes a tense eternity, with her armblade held at the skeleton's throat, before she's satisfied that it won't try anything strange. A silent, shuddering sigh passes through her as her shoulders relax. Rather than risk damaging the skeleton by unearthing it with her indelicate talons, she simply freezes the muck and water around it and pulls it behind her with its weight counterbalanced by the surrounding ice.

     Finally, she stumbles up onto the shore with her dubious prize in tow, and very carefully melts the slushy muck and frost from around its robotic carapace. After a moment's thought, she waves August over- perhaps it's reflective of his mechanical spirit, somehow. If it 'awakens' in any sense, it will do so to Septette looming over it with one hand on its face.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    The skeletal thing doesn't seem to comprehend the armblade as even remotely dangerous. It seems much more intent on examining it, like it's trying to figure out what it is. It scans its shimmering eye-sockets over and over the length of the blade, but it doesn't seem to find what it's looking for, so it checks again, and again, and again, even as Septette extracts the waterlogged skeleton.

August Kohler has posed:
As Septette gestures for August, he moves over, and stares at the skeleton. The hell is this thing? It's not made of bone...and it has strange chunks of wire. "The fuck?" He zeros in on the wires, and moves to grab one, trying to trace it and figure out where it leads. If this wire works sanely, he's hoping he might be able to figure out what it does, but he's just knowledgable about mechanical engineering, not super psychic robots. "If it lunges, we slaughter it. Alright?"

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Reaching the ledge above the river brings Yuna to an outright halt. She's grateful that she didn't need Marina's help - but the scattering of the ledges and the increasing variety of obstacles make her heart sink. She confers briefly with Elner, then nods to Erina ...

And one secondary transformation sequences later, Yuna is in her Flight Form, able to flit about from one perch to the next rather than having to measure and time her jumps with painstaking accuracy.

(Then again, she thinks as she looks at a nest of spikes, the pain really *would* be 'staking' if she missed.)

Her slightly whimsical train of thought has to slam on its brakes at that point, when a psy-raptor comes screaming in at her; dodging is almost a reflex, while the barrage of pulse-blaster fire she unleashes is a more deliberate decision. Again, it's not likely to be fatal - but the bird is going to be way past getting its feathers ruffled, and for one simple reason: if any of Yuna's allies fall due to a bird strike, the odds of them surviving the ensuing plummet go down even faster than the fall itself would. In short, Yuna has a decidedly vested interest in keeping the raptors from even *attacking* her friends - and she can't afford to be so careful as to only go after birds who are coming in at just the wrong moment.

Additionally, the weather itself is turning noticeably hostile; it's not quite at 'blast Yuna out of the sky' level - which is what Elner was worried about - but the blonde idol-turned-warrior has to stay alert in pretty much every direction. She won't actually be making much faster progress, thanks to playing sky-guard for the rest of the party.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Squatting down, Septette watches closely and starts to rub the side of her head. One of her eyes emits stuttery clicking sounds, and both glow an unsettlingly bright shade of lavender as she observes August's examination. Here and there she places one hand next to his, repositioning the robot slightly to get a better view at a certain spot before letting him resume. Tiny purple-green sparks leap from her fingertips to its circuits, then jump back. "Think I might be able to figure out what it's looking for." A brief pause. "If it lunges I'm throwing you to safety. This thing might be worth more than you are, y'know."

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    The wires seem to obey no law of mechanical engineering August is likely or even unlikely to be familiar with. They have a system, and it's a very logical and rigorous one, one that's reflected over the whole of its body, but it's nothing that could be interpreted as machine-like, and its heavy damage makes it hard to figure out what it was properly for.

    As soon as August gets near, the lights in its eye-sockets go far brighter. It immediately... Doesn't lunge, per se, but it does immediately make very urgent "give me that" gestures towards August himself when he approaches. It tries to examine his arm as he examines its own body; if it gets a good look, it begins trying to examine his head. It's not doing anything hostile or damaging, but the only thing it seems capable of doing is trying to examine August's head. Is he going to let it?

    The buried, clumsy skeleton interfaces awkwardly with the magitech. Psionics are very different from magitech, but close enough that Septette can get some data. It's looking for... People? And yet, somehow it seems to have not recognized Septette as a person. Whatever it's looking for /in/ people, it can't seem to find in Septette. Something she doesn't have? Something she's missing? Something too well-shielded?

August Kohler has posed:
Damn, it's not a cool robot he can hijack. August frowns slightly, though as it moves to investigate his head, he hesitates. Taking another breath, August moves up, allowing the horrible psychic skeleton-robot to study him. He does move his mirrored bracelet he always wears upwards, ready to summon his Persona if it turns out to try and strangle him or something. "Alright, skeleton. What are you looking for?"

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
It's not much but it's better than nothing, right?

Rebecca draws her Beretta and fires upon the raptors that are attacking at Yuna. "Hey, leave her alone!" She calls out, knowing that the raptors will be drawn to her as well. "I'm a small woman and I'm pretty agile. Maybe I can try to distract them and dodge them..."

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Rejected? Spurned?? Septette stands up, her eyes unfocusing as she stares into the middle distance. Her shoulders square in proud, fatalistic fashion. Her chest- alright, her ribcage- puffs out slightly. A single tear runs down her cheek, and falls to the ground.

     It's really a droplet of condensation created via ice magic. But shhh.

     She turns on her heel and pulls her shawl tight, lowering her head. "Fine," she murmurs at the lowest volume she calculates August will still be able to hear. "I know when I'm not wanted. When I've been abandoned."

     She doesn't actually leave though. And a few seconds later, she brings a hand to her mouth to stifle the giggles that rattle her frame.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Working anti-air fire means more of those awful birds poof in blasts of their built-up psychic energy, leaving just the ruffled mutant avian and its own urge to fly away and flee Yuna's loud noises and pressing gunfire. Chambers takes a more direct approach, taking them out, thankfully covering many of the rest quite effectively. This gives Yuna enough space to float more safely, though in doing so, she'll have to stay below the treeline, whatever that may be. The crackling of electricity is visible a certain ways away from the surface of the mountain, threatening its blasts, but defining a clear border.

    Now that that's cleared up, Yuna's free to low-fly. Now, though, they still have to deal with the fresh mountain lions and that vile telekinetic wrestlebear that seems intent on menacing Kotone, A2, and Chambers. Assuming they don't deal with the big-handed psychokinetic ursine themselves, and its big menacing translucent claw-hands.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    August is closely examined. He's closely examined... There's a mental tickle, nothing that digs into his mind like Parsons does, nothing that even seems ready to change anything, but it's /looking/ for something. August can lock it out at any time, his mental resistance is certainly more than substantial. Not as full-shielded as Septette may be, but it looks like it wanted something... But there's also a familiar sensation. It's almost, but not quite, like that feeling August used to get before Parsons treated him. A lighter version of that sensation that his Persona was trying to self-summon.

    The skeleton makes a raspy noise. "Mmmmhhhhh..." It says, as its "jaw" clacks awkwardly against the main skull. "Myyyyyyy... Name..." The voice forms and resolves over time. It slowly surges down in its aural "youth". "My name... Is... August...? August Kohler. My name is August Kohler. My name is August Kohler. My name is August Kohler. I... hhhh..." Its whole body shudders painfully. There's a noise like some sort of flywheel spinning up at high speed. "I... Hate..." Something in its wires and tubes sparks badly, and it spasms, screaming with August's own pained voice until suddenly whatever mental nonsense it was doing is gone, and the skeleton stops glowing entirely, smoking and motionless like an overloaded fuse.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    With August lagging behind to examine what Septette claims to be a robot (which A2 very strongly considers going back to smash just on principle, considering the nature of the place and also being a robot), a significant chunk of the slack in pressing forward falls upon her to pick up. The traps are endless, and frequently exceedingly obnoxious, with A2 having to chain jump from the boulders of a crumbling cliffside and haul herself back to the path more than once, and resorting to maso to deflect the more obnoxious crushers here and there.

    She has no long ranged weaponry, being an Attacker model, and so has to just keep under the trees and leave it to the trigger happy softies. By the time an actual bear presents itself, she outright tackles it with a low-key roar of frustration, ducking and then phasing through the giant psionic ghost claws incoming, flickering into reality in front of the beast and then slamming her shoulder into its ribs. She gets her arms as far around it as they'll go and digs her fingers into its sides, as liable to cause small puncture wounds to the bear as its claws swatting at her armoured exoskeleton are to her. She grapples with the thing until she can haul it over herself, and then with a mighty spinning heave, throws the damn thing off a sabotaged section of path with a vengeance.

    The constant, ghostly blip on the radar that is the Maslow creature draws a backwards glance from her, quietly seething at the continued obstruction. "The /hell/ is that thing? It's /really/ starting to piss me off. This garbage never ends." A2 hesitates for a couple of moments longer, then says "Don't get yourselves killed by being stupid." before abruptly deciding to chase the phantom redhead that constantly keeps ahead of the party. This time she skips and weaves through the traps and wildlife, dodging them at high speed as she takes the path at a speed an Olympic sprinter would despair at following. If she has to take a couple of hits to the face, so be it, but her intent is no longer to clear a safe path for the others, but to catch up to the ghost by rabidly pursuing faster than it would have the luxury to keep setting up traps in her way.

August Kohler has posed:
As the robotic skeleton scans August, he feels something weird. He moves to shake his head away and step back...when it starts talking. Its name? He intently listens. "Yeah? What is it?"

'My name is August Kohler'. This causes August to startle and take a step backwards, reaching the mirror up as it shudders. "What the hell? Stay back..." 'I hate-' 'My name is August Kohler and I hate-'. This shouldn't unnerve him, but it does. Why did it say that? What did it hate? August actually grabs it and shakes the smoking corpse briefly. "Wait, what do you hate, you- agh!" He burns in his hand in the process, having to pull back. That's frustrating. And there's telekinetic bears ahead.

The mirror moves up to August's eye level as he moves to rejoin the others. "Persona!" The Tin Soldier manifests in blue sparks, feeling so right to vent his frustrations. The gun-leg is pointed upwards at that bear, and moves to spit out fire, hopefully charring it black. He's going to vent his problems with violence, right now. "Guys, it might be better to actually kill these things so that, you know, they stop being a problem?!" Maybe let a bit of it out on his allies. What George said before is getting to him, but in a different way. Is this all his fault? Did he summon the skeleton, with how Maslow Peaks works? "Take this, you stupid bear!" More fire spits out. He really wants that bear dead.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
With Septette trigginer many of the traps and A2 helping to clear the way? It's making life a heck of a lot easier for the rest of the people following up. Such as herself but the wildlife is sitll here and they will have to be handled, Kotone does drive some off, she kills some. She does not stop moving even as the mind bullets keep coming for them. Then comes the beat, what the heck is this? It wants to Wrestle then so be it, Kotone will shoulder her weapon and gets ready to face it.

She sees A2 go after it and she will make her move, she will not be idle here she'll put the full force, she will attempt o pounce on the beat and then well try to grapplke it and throw it away hopefully making it give up going after the part, or die.

"I have no idea what's up with this place other than it's just going to get worse before it gets better!"

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Never, Yuna thinks to herself as she watches the short-lived battle, get on A2's bad side. Then again, Yuna *has* been on the other side of a fight with A2 before - a couple of times, actually - and ... well, no, it wasn't fun. But seeing her take out the ursine monster puts a fresh emphasis on why Yuna would rather not fight her.

There are plenty of other hostiles to worry about - and while she wouldn't have minded getting some more help, Yuna has a hard time finding fault with A2's decision to just bolt up the path in pursuit of the red-haired ghost girl. That leaves Yuna herself still focusing on making life a little safer for the group who's still sticking more or less together. The raptors are easy enough, and Elner's guidance helps disable some of the more treacherous traps. The mountain lions ...

Well. Yuna's learned by now that they can take more of a hit than she was dishing out, and that it actually takes more than that to drive them off. (Let alone actually killing them.) Her protective streak towards her friends is still in play, so Yuna's not as worried about being gentle in driving the wildlife away.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Engaging in a rapid schtick-shift, Septette seamlessly glides into the role of a comforter and counselor. She shakes her head as she surveys the expended machine with a sorrowful countenance. "It's okay, Kohler," she pronounces solemnly. "They say the first lover you bury is the-"

     And then he's off. Aren't heroes supposed to grieve the loss of their soulmates? Maybe swear a dramatic oath of vengeance against their killer? Honestly, capes these days.

     The little killbot starts to leave the wreckage behind- then something occurs to her; a little light switches on somewhere behind her eyes. Pressing one hand to the ground next to it, she draws a small purple crystal forth from the ground and attunes her warp wires to it.

     She doesn't whisper anything dramatic to the corpse before catching up with the rest of the group. She doesn't say "I'll be back for you, George," or anything of the sort. She is a cool, calculating murderbot. And that would be silly.

     She does, however, leave one small wildflower on the machine's wreckage.

Rebecca Chambers has posed:
Rebecca keeps moving and shooting, trying to avoid that wrestlebear and anything else that comes her way. Even with Yuna and the others assisting her, she's still only human and can only do so much. "How much more will we have to deal with?" Rebecca asks, attempting to avoid the enemies as she attempts to slowly push forward, not wanting to waste her time dealing with these things.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    It's pretty awesome when a robot wrestles a bear.

    That's exactly what happens when A2 throws the thing over the edge; it roars and defiantly tries to scrabble its way back up, but it's well enough out of HER way, at least. She gets to surge forward, smashing her way through oncoming boulders and swinging traps and close in hard on the Ghost of Maslow Peak. The feral-looking girl in the scrappy clothes, face obscured by a welder's mask, immediately shifts out of fleeing and into a defensive stance when A2 closes in, skidding out of her most recent leap. She's got a heavy power saw in one hand, already active and maneuvered between her and A2.

    "..." She's silent, before pacing back. "You know there's something wrong with him. He needs to be facing his problems. He needs to be dealing with his issues. He's coming here to get away from his problems. He's pounding his head into walls to keep himself from thinking about the real issues. He's /not a mountain climber/." She mutters, urgently. "You know it, don't you? I heard. I was listening. On the radios and when you were talking." Her combat stance shifts low to the ground, like she's a wild animal cornered out here in the woods. "Are you going to get distracted? Or are you going to fight the problem head-on? Tell me. I don't want to stop someone who's going to help, but I'm not going to leave you alone if you're going to make this complicated."

    The wild-looking scrapper seems to have a certain kind of respect for A2, but far more goal-oriented than antagonization-oriented. The moment A2 doesn't seem to be open to what she's saying, though, the Ghost intends to surge forward and strike with that screaming power-saw, and a degree of absurdly superhuman force that shouldn't be in the body of someone like that.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    The North American Black Psychic Bear (ursus mentalis) roars its way back up, only to find a faceful of fire turning its black fur even more black. The pain is intense! It only barely manages to interpose a heavy psychic hand between itself and the flames, but that seems to damage the psionic construct itself, "burning" the hand permanently. It's "wounded" enough that it can't manage to use the heavy psychic paw against Kotone, leaving it incapable of wrestling her while she deals with the last of it. Once it's over the edge, August's continued fireblasts seem to eventually finish it off, wounding it so badly while it can't block that it just is overwhelmed by pain, passes out, and falls down the, what, two hundred meter drop to the area below?

    Well, if they wanted to make the damn thing leave them alone, that's a good way to make that happen permanently, or at least for a very, very long time. It looks like that's cleared the way for getting to some kind of cave formation or something like that? Assuming the last of the local threats gets cleared out, the large clearing in front of the cave area will be a good point to rest after that rush of danger... Assuming their ranged cohorts are able to clear the avian threats and other suchlike out!

A2 (1108) has posed:
    Of course, by the time A2 catches up with the ghost of Maslow Peak, she is very much armed as well. In her case, it's the single-edged, oddly angled long blade with the absurdly complicated, sleek-industrial hilt. She is absolutely ready and wired to charge the thing and cut it to pieces given the slightest opportunity. The context surrounding its existence is a quaint mystery that can go unanswered for all she cares, considering how much it keeps getting in the way.

    That idea (and A2 herself) comes skidding to a halt, not when the ghost brandishes its power saw, but when it actually begins speaking. ". . . wh- . . . it can /talk/?" A2 slowly sighs out in clear vexation. "The hell is a ghost anyways?" she finally thinks to ask herself. After looking around the path a couple of times, confirming that she has pretty quickly left the others in the dirt, and is alone up here with the weird, feral machinist ghost.

    "No shit." A2 begins, both tired and belligerent in tone. "Whatever the hell is wrong with that guy's head, nothing he does has anything to do with it. He coasts ahead of his friends, looking for someone else's battles to fight so he can forget his own. Nothing but finding things to be angry about so he can forget how angry he is at himself. You can't escape that kind of guilt and hate forever. He can't. I nev-" A2 abruptly cuts off and switches tracks. "So then what the hell do you expect? Does that angry jackass sitting at the bottom of the mountain help? Does him coming up here hurt? Nobody can answer the first damn question about what this place is or what's here. If /he's/ the one and only reason it's such a pain in the ass to get up here, he'll give up and sit back as soon as he finds out, since he's just getting in the other guy's way. You know he would."

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    Speaking of the avian threats and the broader mountain lions, Chambers and Yuna seem to have such things well covered. Yuna's maneuvering in low-flight ways is something that would take time to get used to, but she's probably doing well getting used to it right now. She and Chambers manage to keep the fight against the wrestlebear a bit more easy by making sure those pyrokinetic mutants don't get near, and by scaring off the rest of the birds. After a while, the whole flock seems well enough driven off by their combined fire, leaving the path to the clearing much more safe here.

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    "You're here." The Ghost says, jabbing a free hand towards A2. "That's the only thing that's here! That's the only thing that's in Maslow Peak. It's you, it's you, it's all /you/." She shakes the whole powersaw in gestures like hand-wringing. "That's what this place does. It's you and it's only you, only the things inside you enough that you can hurt yourself so much worse than anything he's already doing. He needs to deal with himself! He needs to figure out what's blocked in his head! The things he's... Refusing to think about! Because he /can't/ refuse to deal with it here, and he's not a mountain climber!"

    She seems to have less compelling reasons for someone to stay away, and more compelling reasons to not go to the top. "He's the one and only reason anyone wants to get to the top though! He's the one with something waiting in there! The things he thinks he's going to find there, the things he pulled out of minds... He's not going to give up like that, it'd mess up that damn /plan/, and I have to make sure that he doesn't hurt himself with what's in there!"

    Less and less coherent. She looks around, in an almost panicked way. They're nearer the clearing, and so the others are going to advance there soon. She jabs a finger at A2. "If you care about him -- if you care about dealing with problems head-on -- then you need to teach that to him! You need to help him! I won't go after you if you're not going to be some distraction or overcomplication, but you have to make him deal with this head-on!!"

    Her powersaw stops. She flicks her welding helmet up, jams the handle between her teeth, and leaps onto one of the nearby trees, clambering up it like a squirrel and leaping into the distance before the others get to where they could see A2 speaking with her.

Yuna Kagurazaka has posed:
Fighting off the flock becomes enough of a task that Yuna loses track of a lot of what else is going on, despite her best efforts to stay aware more generally of what's going on. There were That Many Birds. Also those fire-tossing mountain lions, when there was a break from the raptors.

So when Yuna and Rebecca run out of targets, it takes Yuna a few moments to *realize* that this particular fight is over ... and then she just hovers there for a moment , not quite 'slumped over' but definitely panting for breath as she recovers her focus. "Everyone okay so far?" she wonders aloud, looking about to take stock of who is where and who needs additional help.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Peculiar dragging, grinding, fumbling sounds are audible from somewhere near the new campground. Their source takes a minute or two to resolve. Eventually Septette drags herself up over the lip of the sheer drop, and throws the neatly-cleaned carcass of the fallen bear up after herself with an exhausted-looking heave.

     Her apparent fatigue is, as always, purely for aesthetic effect. It's only a moment before she's bright and perky again, dragging the entire ursine towards the clearing in front of the cave and then gathering some dry fallen branches to assemble some kind of campfire. She covers some cuts of bear- one for each party member- first in broad green leaves, and then in clay, and chucks them directly into the crackling fire.

     Then she kicks back, wholly oblivious to the ghostly goings-on or any remaining embers of conflict, and stares into the flames. It's nice to not have to do the heavy lifting for once.

     Her eyelid twitches slightly, noticing- as if for the first time- the animal blood spattered on her chassis. She solves this problem by flopping facefirst into the fire herself and lying there for a while, surrounded by bear.

August Kohler has posed:
August seethes a little as the bear falls down the drop. That felt good. Not the murder of a psychic animal, but the rush of fighting. Only lately has he enjoyed the rush, has he /allowed himself/ to enjoy the rush. He doesn't know that he's just doing what his Shadow wants, feeling the way it wants, but he knows its objective. George said August doesn't want to kill people, and that's right, atleast in that he doesn't remotely want was his Shadow does.

"Yeah, I'm fine." August breaks from his trail of thought as Yuna speaks to the others. "Yeah. You?" He glances at Septette bringing the bear up, and heads towards where they're going to camp, pulling out the flag. "Teleport beacon. It'll help us get back up here later. Let's make a camp and set it up." And then, August will work with the others to help set up a campsite, putting down the flag nearby as a beacon, trying to set it up. Is it some sort of weird space science?

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
The North American Black Pyschi Bear aka Ursus Mentalis is not very happy as it finds it's way back up to only find Kotone and others who are ready to deal with it, It's rare for Kotone to not hold back in a fight physically but today she's not. With some very good support form her allies. She sees the beast over the edge again and ginally August finishs it off, she'll move to dust her hands for a moment.

"Let's move."

She does not want to wait round for something else to menace them all.

<<Yuna? Rory? How are you fairing?>>



"Nice work August."

A2 (1108) has posed:
    Only about half of what the incredibly agitated, saw waving ghost had come out with ended up making any sense to A2. She already lacks too much context and culture surrounding how humans get crazy, and doesn't believe that they are ultimately far too similar to what she's familiar with, before the cryptic allusions are added in. She stares with wary mistrust, very slight alarm, and a tiny degree of disgust at the masked and armed ghost flipping out, before her expression completely blanks in the space of a blink when it says those last few words and scarpers, having taken at least something away from the encounter.

-----------------------------

    A2 wanders back to camp from down the upper ends of the Maslow trail, finding (with some dim amount of surprise) that everyone is still alive. Trudging past a fire-blasted spot where no more bear exists, she strolls casually into the campsite, walks past August, catches the back of his head with her hand, and then smoothly pushes him over, along the way. "Just why the hell are you /actually/ coming up here?" she asks, suddenly more piercingly critical than she ostensibly should be. "Is it really that guy?" she jerks her thumb at Parsons. "Is it really some psychic technology or some crap like that at the top?" She then points up the trail. "Is it just because you had some vague idea maybe going up there would help somehow?"

    "Because it looks like we're being suckered into what I think you really know what it is, and you're not really a mountain climber."

Flamel Parsons (1094) has posed:
    The campfire -- such as it is -- is set. The food is cooking. Smoke gently rises. The flag is set. It just sticks in the ground, there's nothing fancy here. The whole gang can gather around to have a meal. Parsons unpacks various things to make it camp-able until they're ready to progress properly into the cave itself.

    Fireside chillouts. Or, for Septette, fire-inside not-chillouts. A good point of relaxation on the first leg of the trip up the mountain.

August Kohler has posed:
As August sits and finishes tinkering with the flag, he moves to watch the fire. As he does so, A2 catches him entirely by surprise and pushes him over, forcing him to catch himself on the ground very narrowly, entirely startled by that. "Ugh, what the hell was that for?" He forces himself to his feet, and stares at her. "The hell are you on about? I'm here to help Parsons, as I said before. Why are you so suspicious? How would I know anything about this site? I didn't even know what it was called until Parsons told me!" He's frustrated, rubbing his hand through his hair as he paces around the campsite.

And then, gives A2 a pretty hurt look. "You think I'm duping you or something? Jesus christ, A2. What would I even get out of that? Parsons has a mental block on whatever this place is and we're trying to answer that. That's all." August doesn't seem to be outwardly lying, though there's a small twinge of guilt in his voice, as he moves to storm away from the site. "Whatever. I'm getting some air. I'll eat later." And then, he's gone.