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?? ??????????? (13 Sentinels/Waifu Catalog)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Aoinfinity, Apr 7, 2021.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue part 1
    Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    “You already know that I’m going to say yes.”

    “Ms. K-------, the Company performs extensive market research on all potential Clients and Contractors, most often before they are aware that the Company exists. So yes, we are aware of a potential profile of your likely actions.” The agent smirked. “However, there are certain performative reasons why your explicit agreement is asked. Most pertinently, you would not be considered bound to a contract without your explicit agreement.”

    I gave a lopsided smile. “And I suppose that once I’m ‘bound’ to a contract, that’s as permanent as any of the Company’s other ‘bindings?’”

    “I could be flip with you and say the contract is shorter, since it ends at ‘Till death do us part,’ and the waifus we offer are generally sold for much longer than their initial natural life…” The MIB-looking guy squinted at me over the tops of his glasses. “But we both know that’s not what you’re asking. So, to answer your real question… You are correct. The Company always gets what we’re owed. One way or the other.”

    I forced myself to relax a bit, sitting back in my chair; I’d begun sitting up straight as a needle at some point in the guy’s spiel. “So, being so diligent at market research, you also know that I’m the type to read a contract in full before I sign it, and I have no doubt you have a copy ready for me to look over. But before that, two questions.”
    The guy in sunglasses smiled at me, motioning me to go on.

    I proceeded to ask what he doubtless already knew I would. “Why me? And, more importantly, what’s the price?

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Before Dawn
    Ashitaba City, October 2024
    Sector 4
    With a start, my eyes opened. That was… Actually, I wasn’t quite sure what that had been. Aside from a nightmare, obviously. All of a sudden, I had been overwhelmed with dread and the desire not to hear the answer to my question. The context was… some kind of contract? It had felt a bit more serious than a contract for a used car, but dreams are dreams, so who really even knew?

    More to the point, I was now wide awake and it was still five minutes until my alarm would go off. I considered rolling over, shutting my eyes and getting a bit more sleep. Then, internally shrugging to myself, I instead sat up in bed and began my morning routine.

    It was still a little less than nine hours before that big thing would fall into my life, and everything would change.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
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  2. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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  3. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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  4. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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  5. Threadmarks: FuAQ
    Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    Q: What is a FuAQ?
    A: It stands for Frequently Unasked Questions.

    Q: Why have a FuAQ and not a FAQ?
    A: Because it's misleading. Many of the questions in a typical story or quest FAQ were never actually asked by anyone, but the author felt like answering them anyway.

    Q: If it's "Frequently Unasked," why that capitalization?
    A: Because capitalizing the first two letters of "fuaq" next to a lowercase... Well, type it yourself and see how that looks. Yeah.

    Q: What about {some particular question}? That one actually was asked!
    A: I guarantee you that out of 7.86 billion people and counting, more people have not asked that question than have asked it.

    Q: Why does your previous story, I'm the Rebound Girlfriend of the Lord of Nightmares, use a different number for "people and counting" in the above question?
    A: When it was updated last, the number was different. Yes, even without Fertility Calibration, humans are born in the tens of millions on a regular basis!

    Q: Is Rebound Girlfriend dead?
    A: It is on hiatus! I definitely want to finish Rebound Girlfriend, and have loads of ideas, but I want to get ideas for other fics (like this one) down first and my ability to convert ideas into prose is, well, slow.

    Q: Is this fic dead?
    A: Nope! I promised the voices that live in my head that it wouldn't die, so you can rely on that.

    Q: Why were there a bunch of posts and then nothing?
    A: I was going to use leaving on a family trip as a deadline to get my prologue written, and my writing speed did not meet my expectations. Didn't manage to write more while on vacation either. On the plus side, something was written, which is a huge improvement from the previous five weeks!

    Q: Five weeks? Are you mad?
    A: Yes, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I tend to have trouble finding the right way to get moving on a story, but deadlines and feedback both hope me focus. If you want more story, even a "this story is cool, more plz" post is much appreciated! (As long, of course, as you're within the anti-necro rules.)
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  6. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    4/21/2021 Izumi's tier changed to 2 in Prologue, Part 3. The higher-tier estimate had been based on the assumption that purchasing a giant-robot pilot included the robot, which had been a misreading of the rule on iconic equipment. Without that he's just a schoolboy with a particular skill.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
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  7. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    The title of this work is under wraps for now and will be revealed in the "opening credits" after the prologue, along with the primary setting.

    If anyone guesses the setting before that point, they get a virtual cookie and my eternal congratulations.

    If anyone also guesses the title before that point, they are even more awesome than I expected.

    There is (conceivably) enough evidence right here already to guess the title, but it's scant enough at this point that I'd be flabbergasted. More is on the way shortly.

    And if anyone is already reading this, the reserved posts are finished and you are free to post.
     
  8. redaeth

    redaeth Stubborn pedantrist

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    Well, the only place Ashitaba City comes up is 13 Sentinals : Aegis Rim. And the ?? ????????? Matches 13 Sentinals as far as character count goes.​
     
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  9. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    You know, I thought that by putting the header in invisitext it was at least possible that it wouldn't be noticed right away. Well spotted!

    Edit: So, if anyone still feels like guessing things, the name of the main character might be guessable right now, although the to-be-revealed title of this fic is still a long shot. Anyway, the continuation of the prologue will be posted in drips and drabs as the night goes on.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  10. Threadmarks: Prologue part 2
    Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    Heading Home
    Satsuki Pond Park, 2024


    After that point, it was a normal day at school like any other. Well, the rain was annoying, though. I hadn’t really noticed while school was going on, but when I cut through the park on the way home from school, the dirt path had turned to thick brown mud.

    “It is so gross today,” I complained to my friend Megumi. “Muddy as heck! My shoes are soaked.” I grimaced as I walked. Why hadn’t I thought to take a main road today, or at least one with a paved sidewalk?

    Megumi was falling behind, so I turned to check on her. “What’s up? You look bummed.”

    “It’s nothing,” she replied. Yakushiji Megumi was a dark-haired girl with thick glasses, and sleek black hair that reached the small of her back. We’d known each other for most of middle school. She was a bit of a loner, but only because few people in our class had really gotten to know her. Come to think of it, maybe that was what was bothering her.

    “Thinking about how no one talks to you again? Is that’s what’s got you down?” I shook my head and smiled. “It’s just ‘cause you’re so quiet, Megumi. People take that as you thinking you’re better than them, or that you’re cold and distant. Not sure which is worse. They just need to get to know the real Megumi, the one who’s a hopeless romantic…” I rambled on for a while along those lines, but she was barely listening. I suppose I couldn’t blame her. This had been a problem since our first year, and as much as I wanted to help, it wasn’t the kind of thing that had a pat solution.

    But just because there was no quick solution didn’t mean I shouldn’t suggest one! A good friend ought to offer her an alternative, after all. “You should try posting videos online, like me!” I suggested. “It could really help you come out of your shell.

    “I think I’ll pass,” said Megumi. It figured. Well, that wasn’t exactly her character anyway, I supposed. I’d been making home videos of my songs since elementary school and posting videos online since the middle of the last year. It was nerve-wracking at first, but I got a lot of good comments, and there were even some people out there who really liked my songs, believe it or not.

    Megumi’s thoughts might have been going along some of the same lines. “You really are good at singing, Tomi,” she said as we continued down the muddy path.

    I grinned. “You watched my Inaba Rabbit video?”

    She nodded. “I never knew you were so talented.” Huh, and she seemed to mean it, too.

    I giggled sheepishly. It was one thing to get compliments online, but there was no substitute for hearing that kind of heartfelt praise in person. “Hehehee… Well, you’re in luck. I’m posting a new one when I get home!” I wondered what she’d think of what I’d recorded the night before? It just needed a few last minute touch-ups, and then…

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something glinting on the lake. Well, on Satsuki Pond. The name “pond” hardly fit it all that well when it was wide enough I could barely make out the other side through the rain and mist. “Hm?” I slowed to a stop as I looked out over the pond, scanning to try and identify what I’d seen. “Did you see that, Megumi?” I asked. “There was a light, in the water.”

    “Probably just a car headlight?” my friend suggested as she looked across the lake along with me. Honestly it had looked more like—

    A streak of red lightning danced over the lake. That was it, like that! Wait, what was this exactly? A thicket of red and, soon, white lightning flashed out of the sky, a sky that had up until now been completely clear of thunder or lightning. It was cloudy, but that was hardly—Hey, that was striking really close all of a—

    The ground quaked under me, and I fell unceremoniously on my butt in the cold mud. I dimly registered Megumi’s scream. A giant shape loomed in front of me. What was that? I wondered as I instinctively climbed to my knees. Something had fallen. Some…giant, metal thing just… hell out of the sky? Or… It actually had looked more like it appeared in a flash of lightning. As if that were a thing that could happen!
    TranshumanOS 1.0.21.01 initialized. Booting...
    Some kind of sensation was buzzing at me. Shock, I guess? Oh, Megumi was saying something. “Did that thing just fall from the sky? Are you okay?” Yes, those would be the normal, natural questions that anyone would ask.

    Rising to my feet, I tried to take stock of my wet, muddy body. “Geez, I’m completely soaked! And my umbrella got blown away. What a drag…” My eyes focused on the giant metal… something that had fallen into Satsuki Pond. “Holy crap, we could have totally died just now. What even is that thing?” Well, it’s Sentinel No. 13, but… What?

    Megumi was gazing out at the metal hulk. “Could it be a piece of an airplane? No, that’s not it…” No shit, Sherlock. Just the visible part of it was taller than any jumbo jet I’d ever heard of, and there was still a bunch underwater below that! No one would ever believe…

    That’s right, I had to take pictures! “I gotta document this,” I said aloud to myself. “Oh no, where’d my phone go?” It had been in the outside pouch of my school bag, right? If it had been knocked out of the pouch when the crash happened…
    TranshumanOS online. Beginning smart-device emulation.
    Simsong Galaxy S25 emulation active.
    I looked over the mud, trying to identify where I’d dropped my bag, and then my gaze instinctively returned to the metal giant in the lake. In the blink of an eye, I snapped six pictures. I imagined I snapped six pictures. I really had to find my phone…
     
  11. Threadmarks: Prologue part 3
    Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    A light brought my attention back up to the strange metal object. A blue light was now glowing from some big knoblike protrusion on its front, bigger than my head. Was this… whatever-it-is still powered?

    Megumi saw it too. “A light? And it’s moving?” she asked, clearly having trouble believing her eyes. I’d hardly believe my own eyes either if it weren’t all being recorded in my own brain’s biocomputer. …What?

    More importantly! “This seems dangerous,” I said to Megumi as I edged away from the shore. “What if it, like, blows up? We gotta report this to the police.”

    “Right,” my friend agreed. Before either of us could do a thing, though, a strange blue-white light started glowing from the mud under Megumi’s feet.

    “Whoa! Something’s happening… Get out of there!” I called out to my friend, who seemed to be reacting extremely slowly… or was the adrenaline from the situation just making me react more quickly? Either way, it seemed to take forever for her to amble out of the light, now forming into an eerie blue circle. And in a white flash, a boy in black appeared in the middle of the circle, stumbling forward to land on his knees in the mud.

    As the light faded, Megumi tentatively approached the boy. “Are you all right?” she was asking? As she checked on him, the part of my consciousness that seemed to know how to react was snapping several more pictures.
    Target identified. Begin capture now?

    Hai? I instinctively gave a confused mental reply while my mind reeled. What was this sudden inner voice? Was I losing it? Not waiting for my doubts, a 3D image blinked into existence in my mind’s eye, a brown-haired boy in a school uniform. I vaguely recognized that it was the guy on the ground. Kura- No, Izumi Juro, a part of me recognized. What was this now?

    Select a location to apply Stamp, or apply preset ([pubic area] / [lower back] / [back of neck]). The weird quasi-digital voice continued with no regard for my confusion. And that minds-eye image was highlighting places I’d rather have not thought about. The back of the neck was marginally better than those others—

    Now, in my mind’s eye, a round symbol appeared on the back of the neck of the 3D-modeled boy… and an identical one appeared on the back of the actual, physical boy’s neck. Oh, crap. Oh, crap! I had done something, just then. What had I done? How had I done it?

    Commencing capture of [Izumi Juro (Tier 2)]. Time remaining: 72 hours. Notice: Capture process is automatic once Stamp is applied, and cannot manually be stopped. The internal voice cut through my shock like a knife.

    “Wait, wait! Cancel, cancel!” I didn’t understand what was going on, but the feeling was overwhelming that I had done something irrevocable, made a mistake that would somehow screw things up irrevocably. Even forgetting about Megumi for a moment, binding Izumi here will mean that Kurabe Juro never exists. Wait, what? Where were these thoughts coming from, and what did they even mean?

    And now Megumi was staring at me. Oh, crap, apparently I’d yelled that “cancel” bit out loud. Awkward.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  12. Aoinfinity

    Aoinfinity Unlimited blue works

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    So, if you're familiar with 13 Sentinels, it should be clear by now that the main character is Tomi Kisaragi, who we're joining just as she sees a Sentinel for the first time and incidentally meets Juro. And if you're familiar with the Waifu Catalog it should be clear that she's accidentally activated the Megapixel app and stamped Juro, which would more or less guarantee that canon doesn't happen the way that it does it the game, invalidating most of the main character's plot knowledge. (Yes, she does have knowledge of canon, even if that knowledge is a bit out of focus right now due to an awkward Substitute process.) So, fans of the Catalog, what can she possibly do to fix this? I know what she'll be doing, but I'm a bit curious just how obvious Kisaragi's next move actually is.
     
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