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TINY CAT PEOPLE: THE MAZE TRIALS
T pose and start chanting "I'm normal"
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Oh I'm See! Our names rhyme!!
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[Image: 25-1.png]
 
You panic a bit, not sure what to make of the whole “beat” line. 

You do the best idea you have at the moment and T-pose.
 
SEE: I’m...See! Don’t beat me up- I’m normal!
SEE: I’m really normal, like, super normal!
SEE: TOTALLY normal! I’m normal!
 
Suzanne looks at you like you’ve lost it.
 
[Image: 25-2.png]
TeeVee stares, stepping back slightly- their voice is a little less sure now. 
 
TEEVEE: Beat you up? What? 
TEEVEE: This is a competition, I'm gonna win.
TEEVEE: And it's not a fighting competition, so I don't gotta beat anyone up.
 
[Image: 25-3.png]
 
TeeVee turns to Suzanne, clearly concerned by what's happening.
 
TEEVEE: Is this how they usually are?
SUZANNE: Um...no, not usually.
SUZANNE: But I told it about dealing with another TCP that wants to hurt people, and I guess it must be pretty scared about that-
SEE: Right, uh! Suzanne's friend got hurt, and I need to get over there to help out! 
SEE: It's really important!
TEEVEE: Oh well. That makes sense then.
TEEVEE: Sorry for the phrasing, let me try again.
 
[Image: 25-4.png]
 
TEEVEE: I'm gonna win, and you're gonna lose! But you totally can try to keep up if you want.
 
TeeVee backs up a few paces before crouching down, about to taking a running jump off their platform.
 
TEEVEE: I do hope you can help your friend though, that sucks.
SEE: Thanks!
SEE: ALSO OUR NAMES RHYME
 
You're doing great.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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You can win, I'm just gonna go over to where max's room is, I don't really need more ipmressions right now, I'd rather help suzzane.
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(09-22-2021, 03:10 AM)dediles Wrote: You can win, I'm just gonna go over to where max's room is, I don't really need more ipmressions right now, I'd rather help suzzane.

seconding
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Oh wait, we jumped off a platform once and got hurt. Does Teevee know what they're doing? Are they gonna get hurt? Can we warn them not to be too reckless?
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(09-22-2021, 04:17 AM)King-Clod Wrote: Oh wait, we jumped off a platform once and got hurt. Does Teevee know what they're doing? Are they gonna get hurt? Can we warn them not to be too reckless?

they seem pretty experienced in this, i wouldn't want to offend them by implying otherwise
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[Image: 26-1.png]
 
SEE: Oh, and...you can win!
SEE: I’m just gonna go over to where Max’s room is. 
SEE: I don’t really need more impressions right now, anyway!
SEE: I’d rather help Suzanne out.
TEEVEE: Not exactly how that works, See.
TEEVEE: You need to make an impression to leave, I think.
 
[Image: 26-2.png]
 
TeeVee takes off running, jumping off the edge of his platform towards another one.

TEEVEE: HOPEFULLY LIKE THIS!
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Ignore TeeVee and ask Suzane how to safely get over to her.(unless TeeVee gets hurt then try and help them)
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Hey sure, let's see how this goes for them. If they land the jump, give them a little round of applause! If they don't, rush in with healing.
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[Image: 27-1.png]
 
You watch TeeVee go for it, nerves spiking a bit as the TCP launches off. 

TeeVee soars through the air with all the experience of someone who has done this at least three times before.

They do stick the landing, though...

They look like they're waiting for something.
 
[Image: 27-2.png]

You break into applause, clapping for them- it was a hell of a jump. 

TeeVee stands up tall, clearly basking in it a bit. They shout so they can heard well, looking right at you.
 
TEEVEE: You saw that, right, See? Now you know what I mean when I say I'm gonna-
 
[Image: 27-3.png]
 
SEE: Suzanne, how am I gonna get over there?
SUZANNE: Well, um...I'm not sure, my room was connected pillar-wise-
 
TeeVee flails their arms, trying to get your and Suzanne's attention.
 
TEEVEE: HEY! I was- I was boasting!
SEE: Oh, sorry, TeeVee- I just really need to get going. 
SEE: A friend of a friend is in trouble!
TEEVEE: Trouble?
 
[Image: 27-4.png]
 
TeeVee pauses, thinking about something. You can practically see the gears grinding- whatever that means.

TEEVEE: Trouble how?
SEE: Well-
SUZANNE: This other TCP named Monroe really hurt him- they used a saw blade to nearly cut off his arm!
SUZANNE: See and I are going to heal him using its ability.
SUZANNE: He's in the room behind me.
 
TeeVee nods.
 
TEEVEE: That sucks. I hope that works out for you.
 
TeeVee then turns to another nearby pillar, starting to appraise how they'd get up it.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Lets try jumping. I dont see any other option
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Let's ask TeeVee for Help jumping across, they seem to be an expert jumper after all, and seem to be large enough to easily carry us while doing so...

-Marxz-
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We can't jump across- this is much further than when we got hurt last time, and I'm afraid if we land in the water we'll partially dissolve. If Tevee stands at the lowest platform they should be able to catch us, and maybe put us up on the second lowest platform, and the platform we're getting to from there. They look very strong, and liked our applause- maybe we can boost their ego a bit? Could we ask if an expert maze-goer like them could help teach a newbie like us? Reeaally play up how cool they are to us, wait until they do another cool thing and then get all starry-eyed and in awe, and ask for help after.

Oh also, if/when we get to Suzanne, can we talk to her about us meeting Monroe? She might've just heard about Monty from Max, and doesn't understand what sorta person they really are. And I'm not sure how many TCPs she's warned by now.
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[Image: 28-1.png]
 
You consider jumping, but rethink that when you remember how it went the last time. Maybe best to avoid that, especially when it’s even higher up. 
 
But...TeeVee could help.

SEE: Hey, TeeVee!
SEE: I bet an expert maze-goer like you can get around this chamber no problem!
TEEVEE: Expert... maze-goer?
TEEVEE: See, I've done like, three chambers.
TEEVEE: But you have the other part of that right, this chamber is no trouble at all for me.
SEE: ...Oh.
SEE: I bet you can do really cool stuff, though!
SEE: You made that jump like it was nothing!
TEEVEE: Well, yeah, I am good at jumping.
TEEVEE: And jumping IS cool.
TEEVEE: ...Why do you mention it?
 
TeeVee narrows their eyes at you.
 
SEE: I don't think I could compare to your skills, and well...the last time I did a jump like this, I screwed up and hurt myself pretty good.
SEE: I've gotta help Max, and it looks like you're strong enough to help me save the day!
 
[Image: 28-2.png]
 
TeeVee stares at you and then sighs.
 
TEEVEE: Well... You might not be a good choice for a rival.
TEEVEE: But...
TEEVEE: I guess you do need help.
SEE: Great!
SEE: Uh...I was thinking you could hop onto the platform in front of me, and catch me?
TEEVEE: Big jump, but I can handle it.
 
[Image: 28-3.png]
  
She goes for it, without hesitation... and makes it, with a roll to absorb the impact. But...that still sounded like it hurt a bit.
 
SEE: You okay?!
 
[Image: 28-4.png]

TEEVEE: Hell yeah!
 
TeeVee opens their arms wide.

TEEVEE: Now jump down here! And do it quick, the longer you wait, the scarier it gets.
SEE: Y-yeah, I get you...
 
[Image: 28-5.png]
 
You psych yourself up before approaching the edge, steeling your nerves...

And jump.

TeeVee watches you rapidly approach them and...
 
[Image: 28-6.png]
 
Makes the catch.
 
[Image: 28-7.png]
 
TeeVee then immediately turns around and runs towards the edge of the platform, hurling you onto the next one.
 
[Image: 28-8.png]
 
You flop forward onto the platform, grateful that at the very least, you didn't seem to take damage.

TeeVee backs up, getting ready to make their own ascent.

SEE: Th-thanks...Now I just...have to get up there...
 
[Image: 28-9.png]
  
The next pillar looks impossibly tall. TeeVee looks up at it, gauging the height.

TEEVEE: ... What was your friend's name again?
SEE: Suzanne, why?
SUZANNE: Hi!
 
TeeVee runs forwards, taking a leap towards the platform you were just thrown onto. He pulls himself up, a little slower than he was moving before. 

TEEVEE: Suzanne... 
TEEVEE: See is going to need your help for this next one.
 
[Image: 28-10.png]
 
TeeVee rummages in their belt, pulling out a rope (or so your mind tells you) and a weird dangly bit of metal. They start tying one end of the rope to the weird dangly thing.
 
TEEVEE: You need to wedge the wide end of this metal thing between the platform you're on and the pillar See needs to climb. I'm gonna throw it up to you.
SUZANNE: Got it! 
  
[Image: 28-11.png]
 
Suzanne gets into position to catch the equipment, more than a little bit nervous looking. TeeVee swings the rope a few times, and throws the end with the metal bit up to Suzanne. 
 
TEEVEE: Let me know when it's secure!
 
Suzanne fumbles with it for a moment before hooking it in place, making sure it's nice and tightly in there. 

SUZANNE: There! Done!
 
[Image: 28-12.png]
 
TeeVee turns to you.

TEEVEE: I'm gonna go first. Do you want me to like, tie one end onto you so Suzanne can pull you up?
SEE: That sounds a lot safer, yeah...
 
You really don't want to take risks with a climb this big, especially not when you need to heal somebody on the other side. TeeVee takes a few moments to tie a secure hoisting setup onto you.

He turns to the wall and starts scaling, it takes him a bit, but he does get there.
 
INTERCOM: TeeVee, you have earned an impression.
 
[Image: 28-13.png]
 
TEEVEE: Okay, well...
 
TeeVee looks back to where he came from, seeming to process the difficulty of getting back.
 
TEEVEE: Good luck.
 
 
He makes a face and goes to chill out by a wall.
 
[Image: 28-14.png]
 
Meanwhile, Suzanne reaches over to pull you up, the peril of dangling in the air not lost on you.

After what seems like an eternity, you're pulled up onto the pillar, and you have never been so grateful to be on flat ground. 

SEE: Thanks, both of you...
SEE: TeeVee, I couldn't have done it without your help!
 
TeeVee just waves off the thanks.
 
TEEVEE: Yeah, well, sure.
 
[Image: 28-15.png]
 
SEE: Oh, and, Suzanne...
SEE: I...actually met Mont- Monroe.
SUZANNE: You what?!
SUZANNE: And you lived???
SUZANNE: See, you could have gotten seriously hurt! From what I've heard, Monroe is bloodthirsty!
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I didn't even know who he was, he was just this big guy sulking in the corner. we played with plushes, he gave me a plush. when I did learn who he was, from the intercom announcing our impressions, he looked terrified of me. Something doesn't add up. I'm not saying he isn't dangerous, in fact he told me to stay away from him, but I think it might not be his fault entirely?
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monroe and i talked about how they're a "fear of failure" type and that they've earned so many impressions that it's becoming difficult to make more. what they did to max sounds like it was out of desperation.
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i don't think monroe is as dangerous as you think. i don't doubt that they did what you said to max but i think there must've been a reason beyond general bloodthirstiness because when we met they asked me if i was a friend or not and when i said i wanted to be friends they gave me a doll and we talked about all kinds of nice things theyd learned about the outside. hurting people isn't something they would do just because, i think something must've made them feel like they had to do that to max. there's something else going on here, it isn't just one cat choosing to be a jerk.
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I think it's a bit complicated. They taught me some nice skills, like cooking, and we had a chat about plushies and the sky and the outside world. They said that they try to get impressions through learning things, rather than hurting people. I'm not sure what to think, honestly, but I know it certainly isn't as black and white as you were saying earlier. Can I talk to Max about it? Would it be a touchy subject for him?
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[Image: 29-1.png]
 
SEE: When I met them, I didn’t even know who they were- they were just this big TCP sulking in the corner.
SEE: They asked me if I was a friend or not, and when I said I wanted to be friends, they ended up giving me a toy and we played together…
 
You feel a distinct warmness talking about Monty, fondly remembering your time together, as relatively brief as it was. 
 
SEE: They told me about the outside world too, what they’ve learned about it...I don’t know.
SEE: They even gave me some skills, and said that they were trying to get impressions from learning things.
SEE: I don’t think they’re the kind of person to do something like that just because, even if they did hurt Max.
SEE: Whether it was out of desperation or not entirely their fault, I don’t know, but there’s something else going on here.
SEE: It can’t be that black and white.
SEE: I just can’t picture it.
 
[Image: 29-2.png]
 
SUZANNE: I...I don't know.
SUZANNE: Max says that Monroe is incredibly dangerous...
SUZANNE: And he's helped me so much since I spawned here!
SUZANNE: He wants to protect you, too, ever since I shared the chocolate you gave me...
SUZANNE: Once he's healed up, he'll be pretty much the strongest TCP in the trials, I think!
 
TeeVee perks up a bit at the mention of a strong TCP, but doesn't say anything.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Hm. Monty did say about people liking chocolate mainly for eating, and not to let people take advantage of us. I'm afraid that the fact that Max wanted to protect us after eating our chocolate, and not knowing anything about us otherwise, means that he might want to help us mainly for our ability. Not sure if I'm worried over nothing though.

Ask Suzanne if Max tends to want to protect people, or if we're both special cases for him. And ask her if she knows how he mainly gets impressions, and how she earns them too, to frame the question as us trying to learn more ways to earn impressions rather than suspicion towards Max. And ask what she told him about us!
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I'm not sure I want protecting if it means people are gonna hurt each other. we should be careful, but we shouldn't pick fights, we should try to talk things out even if it probobly won't work because if it does that's the best thing that can happen. It feels like you or max want to hurt monroe back and I don't like that idea. I don't want to make more hurt, I want to stop hurt. That's what I'm made for, that's what I want to be, what I want everyone to be.
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Aight bet. Lets make an impression and meet Max then.
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[Image: 30-1.png]
 
You remember Monty’s words about your typing...and how people liked eating it. There’s a sense of unease that settles over you as this echoes along with Suzanne talking- especially when she mentions Max wanting to protect you. 

You can’t shake off a bad feeling about this. 
 
SEE: Does Max...usually want to protect people? Or are we special cases?
SUZANNE: Oh, no, Max wants to protect as many people as possible!
SUZANNE: He’s apparently one of the biggest TCPs in the trials, so he wants to use that strength to help gather people together and keep them safe!
SUZANNE: He says that once he’s recovered, he’s going to go all in on finding people who can all work together!
SUZANNE: When I mentioned how nice you were to me and how you want to help people, he thought you’d be a perfect addition to our little team.
SUZANNE: Like...you’re just a nice person! We need that!
 
[Image: 30-2.png]
 
TeeVee moves away from the wall and comes back over towards the conversation.
 
TEEVEE: So uh... I overheard.... this Max person sounds like he knows a lot about the trials?
SUZANNE: Oh, tons! We spawned around the same time and learned things together, but he’s way better at it than I am.
SUZANNE: He's been making impressions by solving puzzles and avoiding traps...
SUZANNE: Which is part of why it worries him so much that Monroe was able to actually attack him like that, pushing him into a swinging blade...
SUZANNE: He's usually so on top of things, so for someone to get the better of him like that, I don't know...
SUZANNE: They sound like someone who tricks people. That's how it had to have been for Max to get hurt.
TEEVEE: Do the trials get more dangerous as they go on? this is the most dangerous I've seen so far... but still not too much for me.
 
TeeVee makes sure to add that last bit.
 
SUZANNE: It depends...but Max says yes, he's been in some incredibly dangerous ones.
SUZANNE: If you want, you can come with us and talk with him about it!
SUZANNE: I'm sure he won't mind, especially since you helped us out!
TEEVEE: Well... it'd be a whole lot easier than getting back to my platform.
TEEVEE: Maybe I could help out somehow. Outside of the trial chambers, of course- I still gotta win.
 
[Image: 30-3.png]
 
Your unease only gets worse as Suzanne claps her hands together happily, what she said about Monty still hitting you deep in your chest.

SUZANNE: Of course! I'm sure that we can work something out! 
SUZANNE: Come on then, both of you!
 
She starts walking towards the open door. 
 
[Image: 30-4.png]
 
You hesitate.
 
TEEVEE: Yeah just one sec.
TEEVEE: See, you coming?
SEE: ...yeah.
 
[Image: 30-5.png]
 
You start walking forward, trying to play off your nerves. 

SEE: Just...taking my time.
 
TeeVee leans way down to gently punch you with a hand.

TEEVEE: You okay? Did getting hoisted up all that way freak you out?
SEE: Yeah, that's probably it...it was pretty scary.
TEEVEE: Well... feel free to take a break if you need. I wanna beat you at your best, not when anything is wrong.
SEE: I'll be careful.
 
You get the feeling that you better be.
 
[Image: 30-6.png] 
 
You enter Max's room, the door staying open behind you and TeeVee- it looks like it either only opens and closes when the occupant leaves...or the people watching you want it to. It's barely decorated, but there's clearly spoils from trials here- books on the shelves, what looks like a weird box on his table, and a pile of what your first aid skill informs you is medical supplies.

Suzanne is already by the TCP's bedside- and she was right, he is big. Even just lying down, you get the feeling that he could pick you up with a hand with no trouble at all. 

Even though the thought of that was comforting back when Monty was doing it, right now, it just feels unnerving.
 
MAX: Ah, visitors...
MAX: You must be See. I've heard so much about you even from just one encounter with Suzanne...
MAX: Oh, and...who's this? I haven't heard of you before, I don't think.
 
Suzanne pipes up, not wasting a moment.
 
SUZANNE: That's TeeVee! She helped me and See out with getting it over here!
MAX: Oh, good, good!
MAX: More company, the merrier.
 
[Image: 30-7.png]
 
TeeVee waves.

TEEVEE: Hey... uh... 
 
For once, he looks out of his element.

MAX: No need to be shy, come on in.
 
He gestures with a wide arm movement, and your gaze is drawn to his other shoulder- heavily bandaged, with (presumably) fluid staining through. 

Fluid isn't something you've actually...seen, yet, but you know about it from your first aid skill, and the fact that most TCPs have it. Somehow, seeing your first injury just makes that knowledge more chilling.

TeeVee comes a bit more towards the center of the room, looking around.

TEEVEE: I've never been in a room other than my own.
TEEVEE: It's different.
SEE: Neither have I.
MAX: Well, there's a first time for everything! 
MAX: Once you get through enough trials, you'll become more confident in yourself and your new experiences.
MAX: Come! Sit with us, I'd love to know more about you both.
TEEVEE: Well, I'm not too worried about the trials, everything so far has been easy. 
TEEVEE: But sure, I'll talk.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Ask about the injury and if there's anything you could do to help. Ask about how long people have been at this and see if you can fish for those strats.
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How are you so experienced if you and Suzanne started around the same time?
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Let Teevee do most of the talking for us at first and hang back a bit. Maybe look at the book titles?

Ask Max about the whole teaming up thing Suzanne was talking about. Are they going to gather a whole bunch of people to take on trials together, teaching them skills, and using abilities to make them safer and go through them and stuff? Who would be included in a group like that?

And...ask him if he can let us know how his arm got hurt, for medic purposes. We know he got pushed into a blade, could he elaborate? Tell him you'd love to get to know him more as well, you're just worried you won't be able to proper help without knowing precisely what happened and how. Frame it as trying to be the best medic we can be, but being worried about our own abilities.

I know Suzanne will probably know why we're asking this, and that we're obscuring our motive a bit here, but I just can't trust Max enough to tell him we met Monty yet.
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[Image: 31-1.png]
 
You decide to let TeeVee do the talking to start, scooting to the side to take a look at those books-
 
MAX: Where are you going, See?
SEE: Just...looking around.
MAX: Be my guest!
TEEVEE: Uh... 
 
TeeVee looks like she's thinking about saying something.
 
TEEVEE: Suzanne said you knew a lot about the Trials.
TEEVEE: Are you okay with telling me about that?
TEEVEE: I haven't seen anything super dangerous. but from what I was told. there are dangerous chambers?
 
Max nods, glancing over at his arm.
 
MAX: As you go along and complete more chambers, you'll be more likely to encounter chambers with more traps and threats...
MAX: Especially if the overseers determine that it's "interesting" to see you go through them.
MAX: It's a double edged blade that I'm good at avoiding and solving these various obstacles...It keeps me alive and gets me impressions, but at the same time, it shows what I am good at.
MAX: And they seem to enjoy seeing that kind of thing, very much so.
TEEVEE: Okay... and, you've been around the trials a while?
MAX: A decent amount of time, yes.
MAX: Suzanne and I started around the same time, so it seems, but I seem to have more of a knack for making impressions.
 
[Image: 31-2.png]
 
He gestures for Suzanne to come over, and reaches over to pat her on the head when she does. The chimera fish type seems immensely pleased at this, and can't help but giggle a little.
 
MAX: She's learning, though.
MAX: She just needs to find her specialty in these trials, and then they'll start handing out more impressions than she knows what to do with.
 
He pauses for a moment, looking over at you before you can even get a good look at the books. 

MAX: You're on a medic path, aren't you, See?
SEE: I mean- I guess so, I learned first aid and all-
MAX: Good. That will do you and your allies well in these trials.
MAX: It's also immensely easy for you to earn impressions, I'd imagine- by healing others, and learning more about this sort of thing. Even sharing your knowledge with allies may get you the impressions you crave.
 
He turns to TeeVee, now.
 
MAX: And what about you, TeeVee?
MAX: Have you found a specialization?
 
[Image: 31-3.png]
 
TeeVee gives a nervous shrug.

TEEVEE: Well... I'm not sure. I'm good at climbing things, and jumping around. That's what most of my chambers have had in them so far.
TEEVEE: ...I guess if I was helping people there's also my ability but I've never really wanted to use it.
MAX: Navigation through trial pillars is a great skill! You'll do very well with that.
MAX: Watch out in the future for pillars that move, however. I've even seen some that slam together, in order to crush unsuspecting TCPs.
MAX: As for your ability...I'm very curious!
MAX: In fact, why don't we all share our abilities- I'll start.
MAX: As a behemoth type, I can let out a loud roar at any time...said roar makes people less likely to fight and jump to anger, and fills them with fear.
MAX: While I do not enjoy the latter part, as I do not want to scare anyone...
MAX: It is helpful for deterring other dangerous TCPs. 
MAX: I can only hope it helps me save people, over time. After all, those who actually know me as friends and allies know there's nothing to fear!
TEEVEE: Oh uh, sure.
TEEVEE: I'm a destiny type. 
TEEVEE: I can use my ability to see the most important event in someone's life... even if it hasn't happened yet.
TEEVEE: It sounds kinda scary to know that sort of thing though.
TEEVEE: But I guess it could also be helpful.
 
[Image: 31-4.png]
 
Max nods, thinking it over. You're pretty stunned yourself- that ability seems awesome...but also, kind of scary. You can't help but wonder what she'd see if she used it on you, but now's not the time.
 
MAX: Hmm...that's an interesting ability indeed.
MAX: Should you join our little group, I'm sure we could find a way to make that applicable for getting impressions. 
MAX: Because that's the important thing, really- finding ways to make yourself stronger, and play into your natural strengths.
MAX: However...
MAX: I would be wary of using it on anyone willy nilly.
MAX: You might see things you don't want to, especially in the case of dangerous TCPs.
MAX: And some people may not want their futures spoiled, haha!
TEEVEE: Yeah, I kinda don't want to know what's going to happen to me
TEEVEE: And I don't know what I'd do if I saw something scary, or someone getting hurt.
TEEVEE: I've said it to Suzanne, I wanna Win these Trials whatever that means, but I don't want anyone getting hurt.
 
You notice that Max isn’t asking about your or Suzanne’s abilities.

Weird, but...maybe he’s just caught up in conversation.
 
MAX: Understandable, understandable! I'm the same way.
MAX: So is Suzanne...we just want to find ways to exist peacefully here.
MAX: The overseers may not want us to do such a thing, but I'm determined that if we can ally with enough like minded people, we'll be put in chambers with them so that we can cooperate on getting impressions.
MAX: What better way to appease them than to show that we can form an amazing, extensive team?
 
TeeVee nods, seeming to relax a bit.

TEEVEE: That makes sense, I think. 
TEEVEE: Do you really think the overseers wouldn't want that?
MAX: Judging by the existence of the traps in the first place...I have my doubts that they'd settle for peace.
Max: But! Cooperation!
MAX: Defeating these trials- together!
MAX: They must be impressed by that, gauging from how Suzanne and I have made impressions with other people.
TEEVEE: I don't like the idea that other people would put us in dangerous situations for fun.
TEEVEE: ...
 
[Image: 31-5.png]
 
TeeVee trails off, starting to pace. You decide to pick it up from there, having your own questions. 

SEE: How is the whole...teaming up thing going to work?
SEE: Are you going to gather a whole bunch of people to take on trials together, teach them skills, and use abilities to make the trials safer?
MAX: Exactly, my friend!
MAX: Using our personal strengths to gain resources...it will be an amazing plan!
SEE: Who would be included in a group like that?
MAX: Anyone who we feel can cooperate with us and our goals- it won't do us any good to have infighting, you see.
MAX: We want people who are kind and willing to work with others, especially for the greater good.
SEE: Okay...
SEE: And...can I take a look at your injury?
 
You start to head over, having given up on looking at those books anyway- they're way too high up to see.

MAX: By all means...that's a big reason for why you've sought me out, after all.
MAX: Please, come closer and play medic. I bet you could even earn an impression!
 
[Image: 31-6.png]
 
You get up close to the behemoth type, acutely aware of how large Max is.
 
SEE: What exactly happened to cause this?
SEE: I want to be the best medic I can be here, and to do that, I need to know what happened.
 
He turns his face away for a moment, his tone grave.

MAX: It was a standard chamber for me- almost too easy, in fact.
MAX: A long hallway, with a swinging blade in the center- chasms on either side.
MAX: Easy enough to simply walk down and avoid the blade, possibly earning an impression...
MAX: Another TCP entered on the other side, and we approached each other.
MAX: I introduced myself as Max, and they introduced themself as Monroe. 
MAX: They were kind at first...leading me to believe it was safe to approach.
MAX: I managed to avoid the blade, and we met on their side of the passage.
MAX: As I got closer, they said that they had never seen a TCP like me before, and asked my my ability.
MAX: I told them, because as I've stated- I want to ally with people, and they seemed so kind...
MAX: The most gentle voice I've heard in the trials, so far...
MAX: This was my mistake.
MAX: As soon as I told them my ability, they grew aggressive, approaching and hitting me with a fist- as it connected, I became completely aware that I had made a mistake...
MAX: And it consumed me, this fear of being attacked, knowing I had let my guard down...
MAX: In a normal situation, I would have been able to fend them off easily, and get to my side of the hallway.
 
[Image: 31-7.png]

MAX: But I was so wracked with fear that I panicked, and as they move to strike again...
MAX: I was pushed into the blade, nearly sawing off my arm. 
MAX: I could have fallen and died, even if the blade wasn't there. 
MAX: They earned an impression from doing this- and took their opportunity to flee.
MAX: They stopped before leaving, however- and told me to watch my back, for the next time we met, they wouldn't be so merciful.
MAX: I stayed there until their ability's effect wore off, and ended up earning my own impression by dodging the blade even in my injured state.
MAX: I suppose the overseers did not want me to bleed out and die yet...
MAX: I asked for medical supplies for my reward, and Suzanne found my room when it opened up.
MAX: She helped save me. I am forever grateful.
MAX: This kind of camaraderie...you will find it with us and our group.
MAX: You will never have to worry about suffering alone.
MAX: But should you find yourself facing deceitful TCPs like Monroe without allies...
MAX: You will surely die.
 
TeeVee stops pacing, just listening to Max.

TEEVEE: That's all awful... why would someone else go out of their way to hurt you?
 
[Image: 31-8.png]
 
You can't help yourself anymore.
 
SEE: They wouldn't do that!
 
The room is silent. 

You have officially screwed up.
 
SEE: I-I mean-
MAX: What do you mean, See?
SUZANNE: It's...met Monroe, Max.
SUZANNE: And it seems to think that they're...a nice person...
 
TeeVee glances between you and Max- they look uneasy.

You didn't even want to bring up Monty to Max, but you couldn't help it, not when they were so kind to you...

You have to think of something fast.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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cross examination time: why did monroe flip out at the mention of max's ability? If we assume monroe wants to earn impressions by doing harm, why pick that point to go agro? It could be argued that they were confirming an unkown type's ability before engaging, but that doesn't add up either, because max's ability should have been a turn off from attacking. 

If monroe wanted to earn impressoins through violence we wouldn't have stood a chance, so small to them, and visibly injured from taking that chunk out for max. They warned us not to associate with them anymore, not a threat, but a warning, why say that? 

Whatever is happening it's more complicated than monroe being bloodthirsty.
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We...no. We don't think that they're a nice person. They are. I don't know what to say though. I don't want to discredit Max's story in front of him, but also we can't let Max convince TeeVee that Monroe is evil like Suzanne convinced us at first.

Tell him we've met Monroe alone, that it went fine, it went well, even. They gave us good advice, gave us skills to help us, with no strings attached! Not even to get us to trust them or be on their side or anything, they said that it'd probably be best we stay our separate ways. They just seemed...scared, really. And that's with us! We're tiny!

We know that things went poorly, we don't know why, and it's not that we think Max is lying, really! Just. Monroe isn't like that. I can't imagine them saying what you said they said, I'm sorry. I don't know if they were afraid, or desperate, or...what. But it wasn't them at their best. I know that much. And it isn't who they are as a person.

...We should probably leave soon after saying that.
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[Image: 32-1.png]
 
SEE: When I met with Monroe, they just...seemed scared.
SEE: If they really wanted to earn impressions through violence, I’d be screwed- I’m so small compared to them, and I was still injured from taking off that chunk of chocolate for Max!
SEE: They even warned me not to associate with them after giving me good advice and some skills, with no strings attached...no attempt to keep me by their side.
SEE: Even though we had a great time together, they still wanted us to keep our separate ways for my safety!
SEE: I just don’t know why they’d say that if they were out for violence, or why they wouldn’t attack.
 
TeeVee is looking at you now- they aren't saying anything though, just.... standing there.
 
SEE: I swear-
SEE: They're a good person, I know it.
MAX: Hmm.
 
Max studies you with an almost fierce gaze, the room silent as he thinks this over. 
 
MAX: I worried, when I heard their voice...
MAX: ...that less experienced TCPs would fall for their soft presentation.
 
TeeVee looks like they have something to say, but they aren't saying it yet. They back up a bit from the other three TCPs.
 
SUZANNE: TeeVee?
SUZANNE: Are you okay?
TEEVEE: I think so, there's just a lot of sorta conflicting things being said.
TEEVEE: And I don't know why anyone would say something if it wasn't... like... real.
TEEVEE: You know?
SEE: I mean...I don't think Max is...lying, just...
 
He is definitely staring you down now.
 
SEE: ...I just don't understand.
SEE: Wouldn't it make more sense for Monroe to avoid attacking once they learned Max's ability?
SEE: I wouldn't want to mess with that!
MAX: While I would never actually hurt anyone unless absolutely pushed to, I believe they saw my ability as an inherent threat to their existence. 
MAX: So...they struck me before they could be struck, in their eyes.
MAX: With that ability of theirs, they were able to make it so that I couldn't use my own.
TEEVEE: What is their ability?
MAX: From what I can derive...they can make someone terrified of failing.
MAX: Pure, utter terror.
 
You hate to admit that that part tracks from what Monty told you about their typing.
 
TEEVEE: ...Like they can just make people afraid?
TEEVEE: That sounds...
 
[Image: 32-2.png]
 
TeeVee trails off, and then turns to you.
 
TEEVEE: See, you trusted me right away.
TEEVEE: And Monroe, and Suzanne, right?
TEEVEE: What's wrong here?
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Max's explanation is not compelling, Monroe's actions are inconsistent with Max's descriptions of how they should behave. I can't in good conscious team up with someone unless I know they're not lying to me.
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I think what's wrong here is that what I've seen and what I've been told don't add up. It... it isn't us versus them. we can be wary of monroe while still figuring out how to help them. I'm not going to live in a world that makes me pick between my friends. I'm going to help as many people as I can.
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I honestly just want to give an honest answer, something along the lines of this:

I'm sorry, I don't want to doubt anyone. I consider both sides my friends, but at the same time I have not known either long enough to definitely know what is true and what isn't, but something isn't adding up so I am just really anxious.
I don't mean to just assume bad intentions... I am cautious of either side, I just didn't think to ask Monty more questions about this whole thing before i left.

Since being a group and friends needs us to have trust with each other there shouldn't be issues with asking questions and trying to figure out where things don't add up and why, right? Cause either no one is lying and the trust is confirmed and there was just a misunderstanding somewhere, or it turns out someone is not to be trusted which should be best for everyone to know.
I just really want to get to the bottom of this cause i don't want to have to doubt anyone...


Also we did come here to help Max, so we should definitely still do that regardless of what is going, Max is injured and needs help.
 ~ Chompy -[Image: Trapling_Chompy_1.png]- some well chosen quote -[Image: Trapling_Cinnanom_2.png]- Cinnanom ~
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It's many things. I'd prefer to talk to you about some of it outside of this room later TeeVee, if I could. But I'll say for now that I don't entirely trust grouping up like he's saying. I'd rather just...help everyone I meet but still careful in case of untrustworthy folk. Grouping up can lead to uncomfortable power dynamics within the group, and to seeing the in-group as better than those who wouldn't/couldn't join. I think it just makes everything more complicated than it needs to be.
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[Image: 33-1.png]
 
SEE: I’m...sorry, I really don’t want to doubt anyone here.
SEE: What’s wrong is that I consider both sides to be friends at least potentially...and I don’t know enough to know what’s true and what isn’t.
SEE: But something isn’t adding up, and it’s making me anxious.
TEEVEE: It doesn't sound like both of these could be true though... you know? 
TEEVEE: I don't want anyone to be lying either but I don't see how it couldn't be that someone is.
SEE: I really don't want that to be the case, but...
SEE: I don't know. I can't in good conscience sign up with the group unless I know the full story.
 
Max continues to stare at you, the room silent once more.
 
MAX: ...I see.
 
TeeVee nods at you, but still just...seems uneasy in general.
 
TEEVEE: I get that, that's fair. But that's not something that could be resolved right now, right?
SEE: I guess not...I didn't get the chance to ask Monty more questions about what happened.
MAX: Monty?
SEE: ...Monroe. 
MAX: Ah. Nicknames.
MAX: Hm.
 
[Image: 33-2.png]

TEEVEE: ...If there's someone dangerous out there in the chambers I want to help. I like competing and I like fighting but I don't like hurting people.
TEEVEE: This seems kinda personal though, I don't know if I could help, even, cause I don't even know what's true...
MAX: It's personal in the sense of...I suspect that they're a danger to this group, to the people I love...
MAX: But at the very least, through working together, we'll have strength in numbers.
MAX: As soon as I'm healed, I plan on figuring out counter measures to protect those who are willing to commit to cooperation.
MAX: While I'd like to extend the offer to everyone in the trials, I've learned my lesson with trusting too much.
MAX: There are likely far more dangerous TCPs out there than just Monroe.
 
TeeVee nods again, and then turns back to you.
 
TEEVEE: Is there... uh... anything else you wanted to say?
 
[Image: 33-3.png]

SEE: ...I came here to heal Max, and I mean to stick to that.
SEE: I don't want to be torn between friends, and even if I can't sign up with the group...
SEE: I want to help as many people as I can.
 
You take a few steps forward, gesturing for Suzanne to put you on the box by Max's bed. She easily obliges, and you reach over towards Max's wound.
 
He shies away slightly.
 
MAX: I see.
MAX: In that case, I'd like some privacy while I get treated.
MAX: I have...things to discuss with you.
 
Suzanne backs up, clapping her fins together and approaching TeeVee. 
 
SUZANNE: You got it, Max!
SUZANNE: Let's go, TeeVee!
TEEVEE: Wait... 
TEEVEE: Wait a sec.
 
[Image: 33-4.png]
 
TeeVee takes a glance around the room, anticipating suddenly being the center of attention

Everyone turns to him. 

MAX: What's the matter, TeeVee?
MAX: Are you alright?
TEEVEE: Maybe there's a way for me to use my ability to help?
MAX: I'd really rather you didn't.
MAX: After all, I'd rather keep my future unspoiled-
SUZANNE: But! It could make See feel better, to know you're a good person! For sure!
SUZANNE: It'd be solid proof!
MAX: ....
MAX: See, do you consider this necessary?
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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It's not necessary for me to help.

It might be for me joining, but that depends on what the most important moment in Max's life is. Is it what he considers most important? What TeeVee would consider most important? There's no way to know of it would give anything useful. But we could make a deal, max gets to know ours if we get to know his.
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i agree, i will if you will. it's only fair.
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No, no ability needs to be used. I understand not wanting to see that. But I'd rather have someone else in the room with us. Can Suzanne please stay? I'm choosing her since you seem to be worried about privacy, and she's seen you injured before. She can be in the corner if you wanted to whisper something secret to me. I just like having someone I know nearby, at least when I'm in another TCP's room.
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[Image: 34-1.png]
SEE: ...not necessary to help you, but...
SEE: I'll show you my future if you show me yours.
 
Max is silent for a few moments.

MAX: ...very well.
MAX: TeeVee, I'm going to insist that you remain truthful when telling us the results.
MAX: I promise not to get mad at anything you say, as it is not your fault as to what you'll see.
MAX: I doubt it will be any cause for alarm, but...
MAX: I want you to know that I consider your ability to be a gift, and even if this is not something I'd choose for myself outside of this situation, I solemnly swear not to judge you.
 
TeeVee nods, and then looks between you and Max.

TEEVEE: Who's gonna go first?
TEEVEE: Wait, actually... I have an idea.
 
TeeVee taps one of their pockets, hands a bit shaky.

TEEVEE: There's pieces of chalk in here, I'll stick my hand in without looking and grab some. You can pick odd or even before I do?
MAX: That's fine by me.
SEE: I'll...pick evens.
MAX: Odds, then.
 
[Image: 34-2.png]
 
TeeVee sticks his hand into the pocket, rummaging for a bit before withdrawing it. Quickly, he opens his hand, four small chunks of chalk sit there.

TEEVEE: Okay then.
SEE: Okay, so...how does this work?
 
TeeVee takes a step or two back.

TEEVEE: I've never done this, s-so
 
[Image: 34-3.png]
 
The first thing that happens is TeeVee's feet leaving the ground, beginning to hover. As he slowly rises upwards, a ring of chains forms around his head, floating just away from his body. Next, his jumpsuit suddenly grows two more sleeves, which are rapidly filled as TeeVee grows another pair of arms.

Finally, TeeVee's halo and eyes begin to glow with an eerie blue light, more of the same blue light seeping out from the outermost edges of her jumpsuit.
 
TEEVEE: I...
TEEVEE: I have more arms now.
 
You're pretty stunned- you've never seen anything like it before...well, that went for most things, but this is a pretty significant first.
 
SUZANNE: Wow! 
SUZANNE: That's so cool!!!
SEE: Amazing...
 
INTERCOM: TeeVee, you have made an impression.
MAX: Well, that bodes well for the rest of us getting our impressions from this...we may as well go ahead.
 
[Image: 34-4.png]
 
TeeVee gently floats over to you. They seem less distressed now and more just... overwhelmed.
 
TEEVEE: Okay See, I'm going to need to touch you.
 
They reach out and gently touch your head. You hold still for them, your nerves plainly visible.
  
TeeVee stays silent, seconds ticking by.

SEE: W-well?
TeeVee: G-give me a second.
 
[Image: 34-5.png]
 
TeeVee: I... uh...
 
They wait another five before speaking again.
TEEVEE: It was... faint and... blurry... See was there... obviously. And there was a large blue TCP I think... I don't know what they were doing.
 
No one speaks.

Your entire body feels cold.

You didn't see the vision yourself, but you know.

MAX: ...Hm.
MAX: Were they dripping, in any form?
 
Oh, god, no.
TeeVee nods slowly, turning to Max.

TeeVee: Your turn? We can discuss... after.
TeeVee: This feels... Scary.
 
[Image: 34-6.png]
Max avoids looking at you. 
 
MAX: How curious.
MAX: You're doing wonderful, TeeVee.
MAX: You can look at mine, now.
 
TeeVee slowly floats over, expression getting more strained as the seconds move past.

They reach out slowly, and place a hand on his shoulder.

TeeVee's eyes widen, and they pull back, looking between You and Max, their posture is tense and they're not saying anything.
MAX: Are you alright, TeeVee?
MAX: You can tell me the truth.
TeeVee tenses more, arms shaking a bit. Since they've changed it's been almost two minutes.
 
TEEVEE: It also was blurry... it was you and see, in a long corridor with pits? On both sides.
MAX: Just a normal chamber, then.
MAX: Nothing to be alarmed about!
MAX: Seeing as the two of us are friends, as See itself noted, it's most likely a meeting. 
MAX: If anything, I'm pleased that I've already met someone so vitally important to my future.
 
[Image: 34-7.png]
 
TeeVee drops to the ground, all the changes vanishing and the jumpsuit reforming to a two sleeved form.

He immediately sits down, eyes still wide, still looking freaked out.

TEEVEE: Yeah... you're right.
MAX: I am concerned about See's, though...
MAX: You see, TeeVee, the TCP you described...
MAX: They could only be Monroe.
MAX: There is no doubt in my mind, from that description.
MAX: And to me, that makes me concerned about safety.
MAX: Both to See, and my group.
 
TeeVee nods along, clearly only half paying attention.
 
MAX: The way I see it, this could be one of two things...
MAX: See in danger at their hands, about to be harmed brutally...
MAX: Or See making a horrible choice.
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
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Yeah, alright. Rip off a chunk of healing and put it on the table. We're not discussing this further. I don't want to argue and make everyone else uncomfortable. Thank Teevee and leave the room if we can.
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EDIT: decided to remove the bits that were calling max out, don't think it's a good time for a confrontation.

to max: I'd also like to think I'm friends with Monroe. I'll be careful, I won't let them trick me, if there is something wrong with them, I'll help them if I can. I can still patch you up if you're comfortable with that, otherwise I can leave some more chocolate and go. But I don't think I'll feel comfortable with you on my own, or with your group. I also don't feel welcome, I don't like how you're talking to me, so I'm going to leave once everyone is feeling ok.
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as a medic, our priority right now is to make sure teevee is okay. abilities sometimes damage the user right? apologize to max and say you're willing to discuss after making sure teevee is alright. after all, they just used their ability to help us try to reach an agreement. after that, i'll heal you too and then i'm leaving. feel free to request my help as a medic at any time, but i don't enjoy being pressured or treated like i'm too helpless for my own good. i wish you well with your group but i'm more interested in helping others than gaining impressions so i don't think i would've been a good fit anyway.
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I have the feeling Max will remember this.

Max's vibes are rancid, we're going. Peace. TeeVee and Suzanne are welcome to make their own choice but my gut is telling me we gotta go. Give Max some snackies and jet.
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Seconding making sure TeeVee is okay. They used an ability which likely hurt them and also they seemed distressed prior to that.
They helped us so we should at least check in with them and see if we can do anything for them.

Also make sure to properly thank them for their help.
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Thirding making sure TeeVee is ok first thing, didn't think of it in my original post but he doesn't look like he's doing too hot.
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[Image: 35-1.png]
 
You get the feeling that Max will remember this interaction, and that only fills you with more dread. Right now though, there are more important priorities.

You ignore Max’s comments and hop off the box, heading towards TeeVee.

SEE: Hey, are you okay?
SEE: I can heal you if you need it.
 
TeeVee seems to be calming down a little bit.
 
TEEVEE: I'm not... really hurt, I don't think? 
TEEVEE: My head just feels weird.
TEEVEE: That... felt really strange.
SEE: Are you sure? 
SEE: Like, I can help.
TEEVEE: ...
TEEVEE: Yeah, I'm sure.
SEE: Okay...be careful.
SEE: And...thank you for helping, I really appreciate it.
TEEVEE: Yeah, of course, it was just really weird to experience.
SEE: You did great, I mean it.
 
[Image: 35-2.png]
 
You take a moment to gather your courage before walking over towards Max's bed. 

SEE: Max...
SEE: I can't join your group.
MAX: Hm.
MAX: Why is that, See? We have so much we could offer you.
SEE: I m-mean, I wish you well with it and all...
SEE: And personally, I'm fine with healing you or anyone else when you need it.
SEE: I just feel pressured right now, and I don't like that. 
SEE: I'm not...helpless, or ignorant. I may be new, but I can make my own choices.
SEE: I'd like to think I'm just as much friends with Monro- Monty.
SEE: So...I'm going to make my own calls on that.
 
Max is silent for a few moments.
 
MAX: Very well.
MAX: I cannot stop you from choosing your own path.
SUZANNE: But-!
MAX: It's okay, Suzanne. 
MAX: Let See make its own decisions, as it wishes.
MAX: It will learn on its own that our path is the safer, more cooperative one.
 
[Image: 35-3.png]
 
You step forward and pop a piece of chocolate off of the other side of your head, placing it on the box with a bit of struggle. Your health had healed some since your last break, but it is now at POOR.

You don’t feel so good.

SEE: Here.
SEE: I'm out.
 
TeeVee waves to you, still just chilling where he sat down. Suzanne says nothing, looking down at her feet.
 
INTERCOM: See, you have made an impression.
SEE: ...whatever.
 
[Image: 35-4.png]
 
You head out the door.

It looks like the way to your room has been made easier, something you can't help but feel relief over. You just keep walking, every footstep feeling heavier and heavier.
 
[Image: 35-5.png]
 
You're back in your room now, the door closing behind you.

INTERCOM: Welcome back, See.
INTERCOM: You have one reward remaining.
INTERCOM: You have three questions remaining.
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Can we just plop down and rest for a while before proceeding with reward and questions? our health is kind of shot right now and we could use the time to process what's happened so far
There's a 95% chance I'm thinking of either a Pun or Mega Man at any given time
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do some research on your computer before deciding on a reward or asking questions
-how to protect people
-how to get stronger
-how to get strong fast and free
-how to protect yourself if you're small and weak
-what skills are usefull in resisting manupulation
-what skills are good at understanding people
-what skills are good at helping people
-what is destiny

also play pinball. enjoy yourself a bit.
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See really needs to wind down after that.

But I also want to ask if we can ask about other people in the Maze.
Vic/Puck - Morbit Discord and Forum Mod - TCPdex Team Member -  Wiki Contributor
Ageless Fae Lord - They/He/It
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