The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    [Labs]

    Faith can't avoid glancing at Rein's tail as it swish back and fourth. Its movements was almost hypnotic and in the back of her mind she could picture him using it to swipe of test-tubes and other laboratory equipment from the tables. But that was of course ridiculous, he wasn't an actual cat nor would they allow him in here if he ever would do something that irresponsible.

    "So like a talent scout then? Fitting I suppose, you must have more experience with newcomers than anyone else around here." She looks around. "But is there something particularly impressive you could show me in here? Preferably something I could take a photo of."

  2. - Top - End - #272
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    [Labs -> Simulation Room]

    "Huh. I guess so." Reinholdt hadn't really thought about it like that. Maybe being old enough to remember NO is a resume bullet point.

    "Impressive? Mmmm..." Reinholdt only knows of one to two projects currently. Everything's still getting off the ground. "Well the scientists probably don't want pictures taken of incomplete works that could end up being misleading. And it's too early to have actually completed anything. But maybe there's one thing. This way."

    The cat leads the way to the training room and then a little used staircase within that leads to under the room to a relatively blank room, aside from a number of emitters and mirrors along the wall. "This room here is a simulation room." Reinholdt messes with some controls near the entrance and soon the entire area is replaced with a breathtaking mountain range, with Rein and Faith near the top of a mountain as if they just hiked up the cliff edge 'below them'. It's quite a sunset and maybe a little too real.

    "It is originally designed for combat I think, especially in different landscapes. Or just for taking brief vacations to exotic locales if you didn't want to go out and walk there." Rein glances at Faith. "Or, uh, take a taxi." Rein almost forgot she hates walking. Almost. "Simulation off." The mountains disappear.

    "Now though, it makes an excellent tool for predictive study." Rein taps the controls and a generic lab appears, with a number of bubbling chemicals in flasks that look ready to be mixed together. "This way, you can perform potentially dangerous experiments in a safe environment. Of course, there are limitations to this method, largely based on what the creators knew to be possible. For instance, if no one's ever time traveled before and you thought you cracked the secret to time traveling, you wouldn't be able to simulate the situation and get proper results." That would be wholly illogical!
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    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    [Simulation Room]

    "Understandable. Anything will do though, doesn't even have to be a machine, simply interesting visuals."

    Looked like Rein had a better idea though.
    Faith follows, taking a good look around the room as they enter.

    What's next surprises her though, despite Rein's warning she had not expect it to be this real and not to fill the entire room.
    For a moment she just stares out at the 'mountainside' before she realizes that Rein is talking to her again. "Uh, impressive." She agrees. "Very real."

    As the simulation turns off, she visibly relaxes. As breathtaking as that was, right now she preferred a safe laboratory. Not that she would mind seeing some other simulations with this machine.

    Rein's next claim makes her wish she had something to take notes with however. "Hold on, you can simulate how things react with one another? I thought it was just a projection." Computers predicting how chemicals would react was not new but from the sound it it this thing could simulate a lot more than that. "That's very impressive, so its not just a room then? We could, theoretically, have climbed down that mountain we were on top of?"

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by billtodamax View Post
    Nigel moves his mouth slowly while trying to work out the sentence. The boss because he knows what he's doing... He mumbles to himself. I suppose you might do things differently here. Is the conclusion he eventually comes to. Does he know that it's at least a partly magical disease and that these suits probably won't... help? He asks, motioning to his own suit. Well he's the boss. Where are the labs?
    Offices -> Labs

    Mirai raises up his hands in surrender. "I'm sorry, Nigel, I'm not a part of this plotline." He says, seemingly unaware of his breaking the fourth wall. "I just greet HALO newcomers, kill monsters and build electronic gadgets. Taking you to the lab, however, is something I can do. It's where I spend most of my time here." He says, leading the way to the lab and pointing out the different sections.

    "If you need a gadget to detect strength of the disease or something, I could help."
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  5. - Top - End - #275
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    [Simulation Room]

    "Hmm? Oh no, that was no picture. It's fully interactive. Like you suggest, you can climb that mountainside if you wanted. You could even re-enact your favorite book if you like. Try some what if scenarios to see how it would have played out if your favorite character didn't die too early. There are some safety features included as well, so any injuries sustained would be minor compared to what they'd actually be." Reinholdt moves over and grabs a beaker and dumps the contents into a flask. The two liquids start bubbling so Rein frowns and carefully puts the beaker down and backs away. He has no idea what he just mixed together.

    "I suppose that's pretty special in and of itself huh? It was built by some of the Ancients, so this room is more or less lost technology and we don't know how to replicate it." Reinholdt says, talking about them as if they were an alien race who long since went extinct but left bits of technology behind that's since guided all major civilized advancements. "I'd say it's wholly unique, but the second I do, someone somewhere will show up with the exact same technology because the Nexus likes doing that." Reinholdt shakes his head and shrugs. What are you going to do?
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  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Labs

    I will keep you in mind. Nigel says, looking around the labs. Looks pretty good for a start. Just a couple of things, are you fully human? I noticed your eyes are a little odd, so I thought... he trails off, walking around the lab as he speaks, looks at the various machines and testing apparatus and generally getting himself comfortable with the space. And uh... can I get that dude's number? You said his name was like... Reinholdt? Did Nigel know a Reinholdt? He wracks his brain, pulling out his phone and swiping through a few numbers. Not in there... I'm gonna want to be able to call him. Hopefully get my hands on some of those samples. He pulls a laptop out of his satchel along with a number of newspapers from various different publications, most of them with front page articles about the disease. If Mirai catches a glimpse of what he's doing on the laptop he'll see he's googled "cat".
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  7. - Top - End - #277
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    [Simulation Room]

    "I know what you mean, technology is a mess around here." Faith herself was stuck with pseudo-future tech. She didn't trust magic too much considering she had no idea how it would interact with her and the fact it was even more of a mess than technology was.
    "But it is remarkable, never seen anything like it if I'm going to be honest. So it would know how people would act as well? You did use a time-traveling example before so it seems like it'd be capable of something like that as well. Therefore, I imagine it would be amazing for therapy of various kinds, not to mention training or simple games. Indeed, the only negative side-effect would probably be that you spend too much time with it as it probably could simulate your greatest dreams. Why bother with reality when you have a much better one in this machine?" She gestures at the control panel.

    [HALO Phone]

    The public phone to HALO rings, it probably has for a while considering the whole memetic outbreak but now it's displaying a potentially relevant caller ID.

    Faith Sunsworn - Nexus Herald

    She's the reporter that first broke the story about the disease.
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-05-15 at 04:35 AM.

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    HALO Phone

    Nigel looks up from where he's working when the phone rings. Faith Sunsworn...

    Oh! That's mine! That's for me! He calls out, quickly setting down his computer and stumbling awkwardly out of his chair, making it to the phone on the fourth ring. Hello, yes, this is Nigel. Uh, HALO, rather. He says, slightly out of breath. You're Faith, yes? The reporter?
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  9. - Top - End - #279
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    HALO Phone

    "...that would be me, yes. Who am I talking to? I assume you've read my article already, I'm in need of whoever HALO has put in charge of combating the disease." She replies.

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    HALO Phone

    Sorry, yes, that's me, Nigel Rutherford, I work at a hospital in Riverside normally but, when duty calls, y'know. He says, taking the phone over to his desk and starting to paw through his notes. You called us so you better start - how can HALO help? Nigel doesn't know that he's really a member of HALO - or even if he's actually in charge of dealing with the disease, if it comes to it - but Faith certainly doesn't need to know that. Besides, this cat dude is definitely going to be infected by the time he comes back so Nigel can definitely assert leadership over this.
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  11. - Top - End - #281
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    HALO Phone

    "Okay, Nigel, I have some sensitive information to share. I've found more information about the disease, but my source still wants to remain anonymous and that might be a problem. This is highly crucial information after all so it must seem credible, and it is. Therefore, I need to know that what I say to you will remain confidential however as my source is secretive for good reasons." He won't be able to hear her breathing in the phone since she isn't, at all.

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    HALO Phone

    Okaaaaay. Nigel says. Sure, I promise not to share this info with anyone. He says, finding a piece of paper on which he's written "Faith Sunsworn" and "Source?" and not a whole lot else. Leaves him plenty of room to take notes!
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  13. - Top - End - #283
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    HALO Phone

    It sounds like Faith hesitates a moment before she continues. "Thank you, Nigel. If we are to end this outbreak, we need to work together." She pauses a moment before continuing. "My source works for an organization that are related to the people who created and failed to contain the virus. He has no relation to it himself, but they have been giving him information about it which is what I shared in my article." She explains and let him take in that for a moment. "And they don't have a cure. Apparently, that was one of the many reasons why they shut down the project to begin with, yet they still couldn't prevent it from spreading beyond their reach. My source wants to set things right despite likely getting in trouble for sharing all this."

    Faith had wanted to share more about the idiots, but she couldn't focus too much on it. The disease itself was the important part right now. "My source has shared that the disease needs two things to infect someone, vision and audio. If a person who isn't human or similar hear and see an infected individual speak, regardless if its over television, at the same time they will likely get infected. Recorded instances of infected individuals talking can remain infectious for about two weeks though the chance of spreading the disease decrease during all that time, though I don't know the exact numbers there. Furthermore, in addition to being immune, humans can't carry and infect others with the disease." She paused for a final time. "And that's all the information my source has for the time being."

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    HALO Phone

    Nigel starts scribbling down the dot points as Faith speaks, not wanting to interrupt.

    Developed by org.
    Source related not part of org.
    Vector: Sound and sight - inc. recordings?
    Humans immune, also not carriers.
    A few moments after Faith finishes speaking he starts to talk again.

    OK, um... I don't know if HALO has like a strike team or anything but I'm sure Inside can whip something up - did your source say where the lab was located? Hopefully be able to salvage something out of this with their research notes... A beat. Humans aren't even carriers huh? Bet I can guess what species the researchers are. Did he mention any of their names? Any papers they might have published before getting NDA'd to hell? Could be something useful there. If it's manmade and not natural then uh... hm. He starts scribbling down a few alchemical formulae in a seperate notebook. Does he know of any other projects they have going on? Other diseases, biomagical creatures, anything? Strike team probably has to be human... Nigel will probably keep going if he's not interrupted. Faith probably wants to interrupt him at this point anyway!
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  15. - Top - End - #285
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    HALO Phone

    She does, yes. "...my source didn't share anything like that I'm afraid. I should clarify, my source doesn't seem to know much about the research itself. They're working in a completely different sector so all the information they've been told have been put in layman's terms. But the organization isn't the concern. They're as helpless as us right now, which is why they failed to contain the disease in the first place. Our priority right now should be to get this information out to the public and that's why I need HALO. I want to use you as my source to all this information, that way it will be believable. You're the most advanced good-aligned organization out there. That, or simply go out with the information yourself, I don't care either way as long as it prevents the disease from spreading further."
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-05-15 at 06:28 AM.

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    HALO Phone

    Great, helpless, raid should be... wait you're covering for these a-holes? Faith people are dying, right now, because of these guys and their brain melting virus. We don't even know if the effects can be... reversed and you're worried about some screw-up scientists who can't even cure the disease they created? Nigel is angrily tapping his pencil on the table as he talks. Good God he hates morons.
    Faith pretty soon all the... the drow and snake people and orcs or whoever gets to keep their brain while infected are gonna figure out they can blame this on the humans and it's going to get bloody. Are you just... ok with that?
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    HALO Phone

    "Of course I'm not! I want to see them rot behind bars as much as you do. I just- don't know is responsible exactly. I know the organizations name but only tiny fraction of the people in there are actually responsible, you know? Everyone else know just as much as we do. So if you go there to just take them down a lot more people, innocent people, will get involved. It could start a war considering who is supporting them. So as much as I want these people suffer right now, we must handle this with care. I promise you though, I'm not intending these a-holes to get away with this." She pauses, hesitating for a moment. "So if you promise not to spread this information to the public for now, until we at least reduced the spread, I'll tell you the rest of what I know."

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    HALO Phone

    Nigel lets out a long, slow sigh. Why did other people always have to make his job so hard. Listen to the doctor should not be controversial advice. Alright, fine, fine. I promise. Who are they? Nigel says, going back to his alchemical notebook. This would help him calm down, at least.
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    HALO Phone

    "They're called 'the Azure Clover' and they're a research organization that's a part of New Inside's military, a city state in Outside. They developed this virus, and probably other weapons, in secret. Right now they are trying to cover up their involvement and are looking for patient zero in Inside. Finding them could be a chance for a cure though, or at least some clue how it actually spread outside their facility in the first place." Faith explains.
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-05-15 at 07:36 AM.

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    HALO Phone

    Azure... Clover... Nigel mumbles to himself as he starts copying down more information. Sounds like they have a bunch of people operating in Inside's borders without permission from the government that might have info on this disease. Is the conclusion he eventually comes to. You said they didn't have a cure, right? Jesus I can't believe the organisation you're covering for is a sovereign state's military. Alright, you're a reporter right? He says, jotting a few more notes down. You find where in Inside these guys are based at, I'll work on getting something done to treat this virus. As soon as this cat dude who is certainly infected gets back with samples of dubious worth, that is. That'll probably be soon, right?
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  21. - Top - End - #291
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    HALO Phone

    "As I said, I want to get them too. I just realize we have to be careful as this is big time politics we're talking about here. I always intended for this information to be shared. I just had to be careful to who I shared it to." Like, a guy who is not even a member of HALO for instance, and just happened to answer their phone. "But I'll go and do that. However, just so we're clear, are you going to share the information about the virus, or should I by citing you as the source?"
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-05-15 at 08:04 AM.

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    HALO Phone

    Go ahead and cite HALO as the source, yeah. He says, lost in thought. I'll keep working here. My number's <bwap> if you need to call me again. He adds, rifling through his bag and pulling out a few alchemical ingredients. After they finish with the pleasantries and exchanging details he hangs up the phone and looks at the assembled materials. Then he googles a few things and picks up the phone again, and rings Intersection.
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    HALO Phone

    The operator picks up immediately.
    “Intersection how may I help you?” Comes a masculine voice.
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    HALO Phone

    Hi, I'm Nigel, I'm in HALO currently working on a cure for this memetic virus thing that's going around. Are you the guy to talk to about this thing? Nigel asks, glancing back at his "Faith" page in his notebook while he talks.
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    HALO Phone

    “No sir, I answer the phone. Let me patch you into one of our doctors, please hold.”
    Nigel is treated to some bold music. -BIG IRON ON HIS HIIIIIIIP-
    After a moment a voice comes reverberating from the other side.
    “Hello. ARTAX, THE DOCTOR! thirsts to help you. Tell him your problems, yeeeess?”
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    Jesus Christ! Nigel yells, pulling the phone away from his ear until the yelling stops. Hi, I'm Nigel, with HALO. You learn to roll with the punches, working with academics. I'm working on this memetic virus thing. Not 100% certain you're the guy I should be telling this but whatever. Faith Sunsworn just came to me with info on who made the virus. Apparently it's the uh... he glances down at his notes. The Azure Clover, a research branch of the New Inside military. Apparently they have a team in Inside right now working on trying to contain patient zero, I figured you guys should know about it. Maybe you pass it along to a higher up or something, dunno. Oh, and you'll find out tomorrow when her story goes live, but the disease only needs sight and sound to spread, and that includes recordings or live tv. Update whatever quarantines you have appropriately, I guess.
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    HALO phone

    “Incursion of, foreign military on Inside jurissdiction. Release of weaponized virus onto civilian population by foreign power. A, political minefield.
    Mines must be dismantled, yeeeees?

    Infection vectors not consistent with data. Officers caught checking news examined, no infection. Factors at play. Unknown factors. Wooorst. Kind.
    Be proud. You have served, the Inter of Sections. Your doctor thanks you.”
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    HALO Phone

    The virus sounds like it was accidentally released from their labs. Might have been more infectious than they thought, maybe the vectors were some confluence of factors they didn't expect. Nigel starts writing down a few more notes. These officers 100% weren't infected? They weren't like... orcs or something where it might not be as obvious? Nigel has a low opinion of the police. He flips back to his alchemical notebook. That is good data though. I'll see what I can come up with - is this the best line to reach you on if I find anything else?
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    HALO Phone

    “Officers were lycanthropic. Officers have shown no behavioral changes, no instability, no tendency of chewing on grass or coworkers. No, dreams.
    Virus targets stereotypes, pre-conceived notions, yeees? Notions against individuals naturally challenged by own behavior. Not with therianthropes. Infected, recently. Not enough time to buck ideas. Ideas, durable. Therianthropes thus most likely to have extreme response. First infected officer, extreme results. Detective Simmons found, actually following orders, without question.” The being on the phone chuckles.
    “Possible Officers already saw report by Mizz Sunsworn, thought they were safe, protected. Confidence great shield against memetic triggers. Also, insidious killer. Seen it with plague on island of Golbos. Perhaps that is simple reason for discrepancy. Would be appropriate, yeees? Would-be patients shielded by...faith.”
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    Default Re: HALO 183: The Not Remotely Gritty Reboot

    I guess? Nigel says, not entirely convincedMaybe that's something we can like... fabricate. A belief in immunity to cure the disease. I dunno I'm just spitballing here. Anyway, uh... Faith said she was going to look into finding the location of New Inside's agents Inside, and also didn't want me to share this information with anyone so if you could do this search sneakily until you find them that'd be appreciated. If they have any data about the disease send a copy to HALO, yeah? Nigel is pretty ready to wrap this conversation up. He's got some alchemical formulas to mix up before this cat dude... hopefully arrives with the samples.
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