[NPC] Ai:Be with you in a sec!...
Everything's spinning... I need it to not be doing that...
Ai is stumbling around, barely able to keep herself on her feet. Naru is no different, but recovers quickly.
[NPC] Naru:You think this is another ability of Black Naru's?
[NPC] Naru:Forgotten? Like our memories were altered?
One of the pistols Ai carries with her. No one is sure what kind of ammunition it uses.
A memory card-like object ejected from Ai's Rollback Magnum. They contain the memories erased by the Rollback Magnum. Like all abstract artifacts, they are indestructible.
[NPC] Naru:But why would you do that?!
Ai's time machine. Uses Zeitgeist Archival Technology to travel through time periods. The actual time machine is encased in the shell of a portable video game system. There's enough memory space to hold a few emulator programs as well.
[NPC] Ai:If I'm right about Black Naru's ability, then my Wayback Machine is no longer safe with me. A Black Naru with the ability to time travel is the one thing we absolutely must avoid.
[NPC] Ai:Naru, if we want to beat your Gemini self, we need to combine our powers. If you can use your spirit powers on my Wayback Machine, you can send your spirit into the future and predict how the fight will play out.
[NPC] Ai:You don't need to know how to use it. Just let your spirit operate it. It shouldn't take your body into the future, but you'll get a clairvoyant-like vision. We can use that to figure out how the fight will play out.
[NPC] Ai:One more thing. Once you see something in a vision, it absolutely will come true no matter what.
[NPC] Ai:Us Waybackers refer to the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment when it comes to altering the future. If you don't know how the future will play out, anything is possible. But once you open the lid, or know the future, there's only one possible truth.
[NPC] Ai:Don't worry about it! There's a chance that what you may see might not be what you think you see. Us Waybackers thrive on exploiting subjective context. Either way, I'm the one with the memory gun, so if you see something unavoidable I can always make you forget. Also, squinting sometimes works... sometimes...
Fate's a hard nut to crack, but with enough persuasion you can p'much make it do whatever you want.
Ai gives Naru a confident thumbs-up.
Only one way to be sure if this is a good idea. I'm going to trust Ai and look a minute or two into the future.
[NPC] Naru rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 10
Naru sends her spirit a minute into the future. The vision she sees is...
[NPC] Ai:Naru what's wrong?!
[NPC] Ai:Naru, you have to calm down. Whatever it is you saw might not have been what you thought it was. Tell me where I was in the vision. We might be able to play it out while avoiding whatever it is that happened.
[NPC] Ai:LISTEN TO ME! I want to help, but I can't with you in a panic. I'm not asking what happens, but if Black Naru is going to attack us I need you to describe how she attacks.
[NPC] Ai:Don't worry, it's fine. Look, I'll back up against the truck. If she tries to hit me I'll be able to see it coming from here.
Naru notices the blood splatter along the rafters of the warehouse when she skewered Black Naru earlier. Looking at the floor, she sees the blood splatter that was made when Black Naru fired off her rib missiles.
Get away from the blood as fast as possible!
[NPC] Ai rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 1
Ai's legs lift up at tremendous speed, but this isn't to get away. Somehow, she lifts both feet off the ground without kicking off, dropping her face first into the blood stain on the floor.
Before she even manages to catch herself, let alone hit the ground, the blood fires upward into thousands of needle-like projectiles. All of them relentlessly batter Ai, creating several bullet holes in her body, and blowing her left arm off in the process.
Ai's body falls to the ground, severely injured.
[NPC] Black Naru:Opps! I didn't mean to hit her that hard! Oh well, she was only holding you back anyway. You're better off without her.
Ai is still breathing, but she isn't moving much. Because of the severity of her injuries, in addition to a regular action, Ai will have to roll for her own survival on her subsequent turns.
[NPC] Black Naru:But her last act was pretty smart, giving you her time machine. Had she not done that I could have raided her corpse for it, then spend an afternoon doing all sorts of time travel hijinks!
[NPC] Naru:...but, your injured... really badly.
I know this didn't go so well last time, but once more I want to look into the future.
[NPC] Naru rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 17
Naru sends her spirit a few minutes into the future, desperately looking for a clue that would tell her Ai would be okay.
Ai is standing in front of her. She's perfectly fine, and alive. Even her missing arm is back. She's waving at Naru and smiling. Zarath's there too, sitting next to Black Naru who looks to have been beaten. This seems too good to be true, but somehow, without a shadow of a doubt, Ai is still alive in the future!
[NPC] Ai:...Stop Black Naru. I gotta tag out for now.
[NPC] Black Naru:Hey, you done? Did seeing your friend get decimated awaken some righteous fury in you? Hurry up! I wanna fight some more!
[NPC] Black Naru:You could try and, I don't know, not give a shit about what other people want you to do and live for yourself. You're only stuck in this endless cycle because you're afraid to say no.
[NPC] Black Naru:Come oooooon! You know I can't help it! That's what I'm saying! Once you move on from this weird obligated heroism you've set for yourself we both can move on! Don't you think that after all you've done people owe you a little respect? Is it so hard to blow everyone off for your own sake?
[NPC] Black Naru:...Why do I even bother? Even back in my time you still let others walk over you. Well... you did beat up a shit-ton of Reapers and got thrown in spirit jail for it. That was pretty awesome. But to expect you to change now would contradict who you will be.
[NPC] Black Naru:...You just don't get it.
Fine! Whatever! You want to be everyone's personal maid? Go ahead! I don't even care! Just try and carry the world on your shoulders! You'll fail! I guarantee you'll fail! And nobody will be there to help you get back up! Know why? Because to everyone else, all you're good for is solving their problems for them! And once you're of no use to them they'll throw you away! Nobody cares about your needs! Not even yourself!
It's time I showed my lesser self some tough love. Go Blackest Naru! Now's your chance!
[NPC] Black Naru rolled 1 20-sided dice. Results: 13
Black Naru instantly appears in front of Naru. In reality, Black Naru never left for the Gemini World, instead having camouflaged herself by altering her skin and hair cells to bend light around them.
Naru is too slow to react, and Black Naru lands a hit, knocking Naru back.
Before Naru can fall over, Black Naru extends one of her arms by shortening the other, grabbing Naru and pulling her back for another beating.
For my first roll, I want to use a free action to determine how angry I am at Black Naru.
For my second roll, since she likes being injured so much I want to summon my spear and stab Black Naru with it, pushing her away and gaining some distance from her.
[NPC] Naru rolled 2 20-sided dice. Results: 13, 1
Naru is justifiably upset, but she can't risk letting her emotions compromising the fight. Ai was proven to be fine in the future, so Naru is trusting she doesn't need any immediate help.
Naru summons her spear, but her hand refuses to grab onto it.
Quickly looking at her hand, she notices a cartoonish effigy of herself as some kind of tattoo on her hand. It laughs as its arms wrap all the way around to her palm, freezing her hand in place.
Naru's spear drops to the floor as Black Naru lays the smackdown on her. As a result, Black Naru is able to knock Ai's Wayback Machine off Naru, sliding it across the warehouse floor away from them. Naru will have to get it back before Black Naru can steal it.