I wrote this thing. I don't know if I'll continue it, but I wrote it, and here it is.
Brockton Bay Tactics
Summary: It wasn't the Queen Administrator, but the Queen Tactician, and so Taylor's power is completely different. Well, at least she's playing with a full party now.
Dad's gone. He left a note pined to the fridge. Apparently, there was a problem at the office. The Dockworker's Union technically had a hierarchic position above his, but the 'head of hiring' had long since become the 'guy that calls the shots' when it became evident that the Dockworkers responded to him, not to whoever it was that received a paycheck for never showing up every month.
This is convenient, to say the least, because I haven't been alone to test my powers since I got out of the hospital, and it's... honestly not powers that I want people knowing I have.
Because it's powers that are causing me to have ethical concerns.
I don't even know how to classify it, but I'll put it in the best way I can. I'm a summoner. I summon living beings. I don't have enhanced strength, agility or intelligence, I can't shoot beams or fly, I cannot change my being, I cannot affect the world around me in ways any non powered human can't and other than this one specific thing, I cannot break the laws of physics, whether it be thermodynamics or otherwise.
The point is, I summon things. What things?
People. I summon people.
I can feel my power in the back of my mind. It is a source of knowledge, giving me information on itself.
I know what I can do. I can summon five soldiers that will fight for me with absolute loyalty. It sounds uncomfortably close to summon five mastered individuals that have no freedom or anything of the sort. Slaves. I... I've been having concerns about it, not to mention the fact that they'd be highly visible and people would ask questions.
For now, though, after getting out of the hospital, it's the first time I've had enough time alone to try out my power.
I will summon five. I know that there are twenty, more or less, that I can summon, but I can only summon five at a time. It's not an impossibility that I could grow to summon more at a time, but right now, I can only summon five. So that's what I do. I need to know how my power works. Fortunately, it is kind enough to tell me that there is indeed enough space for them to be summoned within the living room.
The effort from summoning them is more than I expected, and before I know anything, I'm already stumbling and falling forward, but I can feel a strong, and slender, arm wrap around my midsection and someone pulling me slightly back.
She is breath takingly beautiful.
She has a halo of gorgeous golden hair, falling smoothly like a waterfall behind her and framing her face, all at once. Her bright blue eyes are focused on mine, and her face is an expression of concern I haven't seen for a very long time. She has high cheekbones, aristocratic features wherevery you look, and her face is clear of any imperfections.
"Master, are you quite alright?" she also has a bit of an accent to her words - very slight, as if she'd been born in a very distant place, but had long since lived in the USA.
I blushed as she looked inquisitively at me. "I, er- I-"
She gives me a smile and helps me to my feet. "It is a pleasure to meet you, my master. I am your Knight, to serve you until death us do part," she said, guiding me to dad's armchair. As soon as I was seated, she sank until she knelt, one fist planted firmly in the ground and her head bowed.
"Ah, uh, rise," I said, more squeaked really.
I cannot believe a being this beautiful, this impressive, is bowing down to me. To little old me. A knight, bowing to me, as if I were a Princess or even Queen. To be honest, this knight, with her beautiful face and golden hair, looks far more noble than skinny and yet pudgy Taylor ever will. I feel like I should be the one kneeling before her, not the other way around.
I took a moment to glance upon her. She wore a white cape over a blue silken tunic, which itself was drapped over leather armor. I could only see the top of her breastplate, peeking over the open tunic, which covered her shapely bosom. The tunic was sinfully short, stopping at just mid thigh, and though hard to see, I knew she was wearing reinforced leather boots that went up to just short of her knee.
My power feeds me what I need to know. She is my Knight. She possesses supernatural abilities. It is named 'Battle Skill', and they're all based upon the sword I can see hanging from her waist. I know that she possesses the ability to destroy any sort of armor or covering without harming the person beneath - regardless of what kind of sword she is wielding. Even with a blunted wooden sword, she would be able to destroy, say, Armsmaster's armor without the slightest difficulty, and without giving him so much as a bruise.
She also possesses the ability to, through the same means, diminish a person's intelligence, physical strength or agility, and induce mental fatigue as well.
Her main set of abilities is a very versatile one, in terms of nonlethal takedown. The effects of all her abilities are temporary, but they last for a day, which means that it ultimately doesn't matter that they're temporary, as they won't run out in the middle of a fight, and they stack. Meaning, she can keep reducing someone's physical strength until they can't even lift their own body.
Similarly, she possessed a form of battle precognition that would allow her to parry perfectly, and was instantaneously a master in wielding any sort of sword and shield. Though what made me wonder was how one could be a 'master' at wearing armor. I guess she instantly knows how to put it on? Maybe it extends to tinker gear, she can basically use any sort of armor... yeah, actually, my power supplies, so long as it is classified as 'heavy armor', she can wear and use it like a master.
So it probably extends into tinkertech stuff. That... could actually be very useful.
The downside is that while she is very tough and strong, she is not very fast, and possesses no ranged abilities. She is, without a doubt, more of a protector than an attacker.
"Master, you are a bit red, are you perhaps running a fever? If so, do tell me, I shall clear it up right away!" someone else said, and my head automatically turned to meet another of the people I had summoned. It was another beautiful female, though whereas the Knight gave me the distinct impression of a Noble, this girl gave me the impression of a professional, of someone who obtained her position from sheer hard work, rather than being born to the right womb.
I started at the bottom, simple leather boots with reinforced tips, going up, starting with slender legs covered in very dark stockings. There is a notable difference, I can see the powerful muscle underneath the soft and supple skin of the Knight's exposed legs, but this new girl is very slim. She wears a dark, almost black, skirt and has a rather large brown leather bag, with many pockets and a golden belt buckle attached to a thick strap that was likely holding it closed. She wore a green blouse and had a green cloth that was tying her hair and holding it most of it away from her face, leaving only her brown fringe to frame her face. The rest of it was tied in a high ponytail, and I could tell at a glance it would only fall to just below her shoulders, though it was quite voluminous.
Her last piece of clothing was a white apron tossed over her blouse.
"I am fine," I said automatically.
"Goodness, Master, there is no need to lie, you should know that as your Chemist, you can trust me to dispel any ailment that befalls you," she said, giving me a smile that for some reason sent shivers down my spine.
My power is filling me in with what I need to know.
I know that she is a chemist, as she said, and I also know what that means. I say it's more alchemy than chemistry, really - she possesses the ability to mix concoctions that perform rather weird but extremely useful concoctions. In fact, she possesses the ability to create concoctions that make modern medicine look like a bunch of chimps playing with chemicals. Concoctions that do anything from healing physical wounds to curing diseases, genetic defects, blindness, muteness, crippled and lost limbs and basically make herself able to pull off many of the miracles Jesus was able to do. Except replace 'resurrect the dead' with 'resurrect the dying'. Apparently she could even give people a second lease at life if their bodies weren't too far gone for her concoctions to work.
She could also perform maintenance on items, weapons and armor, and for some reason, it is impossible to break or steal anything she has because of it. I don't know how it works, I only know that it does.
She is very weak and is not able to move fast enough to escape, she must be kept protected, but as a healer, she is invaluable. She is also only limited by how much preparation time I give her, and might be able to concoct some powerful offensive creations with time, even if she doesn't know any right now.
"I'll be okay," I said, leaning a bit back as she put her forehead against mine.
"You're burning hot, master," she said, and for some reason I can tell she's getting excited about getting to feed me something.
"That's 'cause she thinks you're hot, dumbass," someone else said. Someone with a much rougher tone to her voice. It was another blonde, though her eyes were the color of honey rather than sapphire like my Knight. Her hair was cut short and roughly so. Unlike the other two, who dressed somewhat sensibly, even if with provocative flair, this one was... well, she wore only leather boots, reinforced leather gloves, a blue and yellow bra and similar panties.
If my face had been red before, it was positively glowing now.
"Hah, and it seems I'm taking the prize!" she said, laughing out loud.
Her tits are huge. I cannot take my eyes away from them. Life is unfair. I think they should kill me. I mean, this is dumb. I summon a bunch of guys to serve me, and they're all prettier and cuter than me and this one is giving me a worse case of breast envy than Emma ever did.
"Uhm... Master, your breasts are perfectly fine as they are, you don't need to, uhm, compare yourself to the Monk," my beautiful knight said.
"Oh, kill me now, I just said that out loud didn't I?" I asked.
"Yes, yes you did, and I'm glad you like my tits so much, Master," the Monk said, winking at me. "You can play with them wheneeeever you want! Just ask. Or don't. If you want to assault me while I'm sitting unaware, that's your right," she said, nodding at me. "A~ny~time~"
I think I might have fainted for a moment.
Still, the information came into my brain. She was a Monk, and she was all about punching people. To a degree. What 'punching people' here means can be rather wide a spectrum because of how her abilities work. She can punch at a distance. Or punch the Earth and cause it to be the one to punch you instead. Or punch a bunch of pressure points in your body that will cause a delayed effect and make you explode a while later. Or cleanse her own body of any abnormality by mentally punching her sickness or disability away. She can also enhance natural recovery of herself and those next to her - clearing both physical as well as mental fatigue, and restore consciousness. By yelling. No, I am not making that up.
She, too, possesses a sort of battle precognition, which allows her to know when someone will attack her and how to best prevent that attack from happening, namely, attacking first. It's not perfect - it won't trigger if she can't see the attack coming, unlike my Knight's instinctive guard - but it allows her to intercept attacks before they happen.
She gave me a friendly, carefree and lazy smile that told me she wasn't done teasing.
"Ah, Master..?" someone said, seemingly trying to call my attention. A female voice that my brain doesn't know, and doesn't belong to any of the three already introduced. "Uhm, I'm your squire, it's a pleasure to serve you!"
Unlike the others, who all look like grown up adults, the sight that greets me as I turn my head to face the Squire is that of a very young girl, possibly no older than me. She stands at about even height with our chemist, and while she's kneeling now, I know she would only reach my knight's shoulders, and would be even more out of place next to the monk. It's only now that I realize that these people are taller than me, and the Monk is approaching dad's height. Dad's a pretty tall guy, and women are, generally, shorter than men.
Still, I focus my sight on the Squire, who looks the youngest, and yet seems to take mostly after the monk, given how scantly clad she is. Her feet are armored, but instead of armor, she has stockings of the same color as her armor going up to her mid thigh, and what seems to be an armored bikini bottom. I need to get this girl a skirt ASAP. And a shirt, for that matter, given that her top is basically just an armored bra. And of course, even though she's shorter than me, she's got bigger breasts. Then again, hers are around Emma's size, so it's probably right for her, while I'm the breastless anomaly.
At least her arms are armored. She wears long gloves and has armored forearms and biceps. I know that she's probably going for something that is giving her freedom of movement, but damn, girl, that doesn't mean you should go around wearing something that can probably get one of us arrested for indecency!
Her hair is set in pigtails, and she has an innocent face, her eyes are close to my own shade of brown, and she looks a bit uncertain. "I'm sorry I'm such a weak soldier for you, Master!" she said, closing her eyes and bowing down her head.
Shit. I don't like that at all. That feeling... She goes down to her knees and I can't help but feel sympathy. "Ah- no, don't- Don't be-" I couldn't articulate it into words.
"I think," the Knight began, "that what Master means, is that she does not mind your inexperience," she said. "And appreciates your potential for growth," she added.
Goddammit girl I could kiss you for saving my bacon like that.
The Squire lifts her eyes and looks at me. I can see that she's about to tear up. "Really?" she asks.
"Yes!" I said. I can outright SEE the potential for growth in her. My power tells me that she is more than she might seem at a first glance. Yes, she is young and weak now, and possesses only basic skills, but I know that, properly used, her abilities are invaluable.
I can already tell that her Basic Skills are there to grow. She possesses no outstanding skills yet - instead, she can learn a great deal of abilities from her allies. She can learn to meditate and increase her strength like the Monk, she can learn to perform as a field medic, at least for preliminary treatment of injuries, like the chemist. Stuff like that.
Especifically, she possesses a Thinker ability that increases her ability to learn immensely, making her a potential Jack of All Trades, Master of None, that could even grow into a Master of All Trades with enough time, effort and discipline.
"Believe me, I know," I said, giving her the kindest smile I can. "You might be weak now, but give yourself time."
"Yeah, squirt, I can already tell - you'll be the strongest of us one day," the Monk said, grinning at her, "but it's gonna take time, effort and a whole lotta pain!"
She's not wrong. She might have advantages towards learning and training, but she still needs to learn and train like anyone else. She, unlike most of the others so far, is very mobile. It's probably why she wears such light armor - she has no other advantage, currently, over anyone else, so she makes do with being faster on her feet.
"Are we done with the sappy bullshit yet?" someone asked. It was another female, her voice being low, soft and almost lacking in any sort of emotion, despite the words utilized. There is a certain undercurrent of hostility and standoffishness to it.
But it's more apparent when I lay my eyes on the final member of the troupe I summoned. It is, yet again, a scantily clad woman. From bottom to top, she wore simplistic leather boots, though I can tell they had thicker soles than the others', bare legs and only something that can be described as someone having tried to use a hand towel for a skirt, which only wrapped around half of her, leaving her left leg bare and the leather, and yes I can tell they're leather, panties that she wore to be highly visible. Her top was a tube top, covering only her breasts and little else, though covering them fully, and it was strapped over her right shoulder. To complete the asymmetry theme, she wore a thick and padded arm sleeve on her right arm, but only a normal leather glove on her left. Her hair was loosely tied behind her, and it was noticeably untidy, as if she hadn't brushed it, ever.
An affront to my sensibilities. Hair is important, woman.
Also she has the smallest breasts of the lot so I'm happy about that at least - she's the only one that doesn't make me feel inadequate. Also she looks kinda angry, but not at me, more like angry in general.
"Such disrespect, I should-" the Knight began, but I raised my hand, causing her to stop immediately.
"No, she doesn't mean to disrespect me, I think," I said.
She snorted. "What if I do?"
The Knight was on her feet. "You're an Archer and you're locked in a room with a Monk and a Knight," she said, "how do you think this goes?"
"Stand down," I said, glaring at my overeager Knight, who seemed to be ashamed of her own outburst.
"Master, forgive my disobedience," she said, bowing her head at me, "but I cannot allow this upstart to go unpunished-"
"Look, girl, I'm all for defending Master and all that, but Master doesn't want us to pummel her, no matter how uppity she gets. Because she's nice like that, aren't you Mas~ter?" the monk said, turning to me.
"Well, if this is the issue, I do believe I know some medicine that should fix her rotten attitude," the Chemist said, giving the Archer a rather scathing glare.
"Ah, please, don't fight! Master doesn't like it!" the Squire said.
Well, at least one of them was paying attention to me. "Thank you," I said, "Archer, stop provoking them."
The Archer smiled at her nominal allies. It wasn't a nice smile.
My face must've shown my anger, because the Squire squeaked and tried to make herself look smaller. I... can't believe it. My power is feeding me information on her. She is the Archer.
I know that she possesses the ability to increase the power of her shots, seemingly without needing a better bow, just by concentrating and preparing for a shot, to a ridiculous degree. That ability alone makes her a Brute Killer, since she also possesses immense rage and ridiculous eyesight that allows her to hit targets she should not be able to hit, even if the enemy tries to dodge it. She is only limited by how far she can make an arrow travel, which will likely be a limitation that is easy to overcome. Maybe I can get her a tinkertech bow or something.
There's also the fact that she possesses precognition that allows her to dodge any projectile attack and even more, that when struck, she simply becomes faster, probably so she can dodge whatever comes next, and that she possesses an enhanced ability to jump... again, probably so she can get into better positions to shoot from.
I don't understand why she is hostile, though. My power tells me that they should be loyal and obedient, so why is she hostile and standoffish?
A wave of relief overcomes me. I understand now. They're loyal and obedient, but just because they are that way doesn't mean that it overwrites whatever personality they have. This... is actually relieving. They are their own people, yes, and they're obligated to serve me, but the fact that one of them can be angry about it means that the others are not being forced to say that they like serving me. That's just how they are.
"Archer," I began, thinking of how to solve this issue. Well... I think I got it. "Archer, Knight, I want you two to shake hands."
The Knight looked somewhat puzzled. "Master, this girl has insulted you, she needs to be disciplined."
"Pfft, I think I know what you're trying to do, and it ain't gonna work," the Archer replied. "Look, I can shut up and work with them," she said, "but just don't expect me to join in on all the sappy bullshit or group hugs or any of that crap," she said. "But otherwise, just let me do my own thing and we'll be fine."
"Uhm... okay, I guess." I can work with that. "Knight, is that enough of a compromise?"
"I still cannot condone her disrespect," she admitted. "I too, can work together with her if only for your sake, but still-"
"Please," I said, "just let it go. She is not intending to disrespect me, she is..."
The Chemist tilted her head. "I understand a bit of irreverence," she admitted, "but I think she's taking advantage of your kindness, master. I do believe I know a few concoctions that would help in this situation..."
"No, no blowing up your own allies and that's final," I said, frowning. "I don't intend to impose my will on yours. It's already bad enough that you're forced to serve me, I don't want to be a slave owner or anything of the sort."
The Knight sighed. "I see. That fear plagues you, then? Worry not, Master. Though I am bound to your will, know that I follow it willingly and with great pride," she said, drawing her sword. "On this, my sword, I promise my utmost and undying loyalty to you, my fair Queen."
The Squire quickly hurried to imitate the older, more experienced knight.
The Monk laughed. "Same here," she said, "I'm not one for formalities."
I gathered that much.
The Chemist smiled my way. "Master is nice, so I don't mind serving her."
The last one was the Archer, who just snorted. "What did I just say? I'm not participating in this," she said. "But fine, whatever," she said, shrugging.
"In other words," the Knight summarized, "we obey you because we want to obey you, Master. Even her."
The Archer made it a point to look away with an expression of distaste that even I can tell isn't entirely honest. The Knight is right, she's not as averse to working under me as she pretends to be - it's odd. Maybe her attitude was a test of some sort? If so, it seems like I might've passed and I'm really glad that she's not as hostile as I thought she was at first.
I sighed. It really is a load off my shoulders that I'm not enslaving them. "Thank you," I said, sincerely and giving my gathered troops a smile that I hope conveys just how glad I am that they're not unwilling slaves.
Also, if they've got their own will... I might even be able to have friends again.
Then, however, something struck me. I cannot unsummon them. And I just now realized that. My power did not tell me I would be unable to return my summons to their place of origin or even to somewhere they could wait until they were useful. Indeed, they were here, and they were stuck here, and there were a lot of problems regarding that, but one of them was the most pertinent.
It appears my agitation was evident, because the Chemist instantly seemed to be ready to offer to feed me something for whatever malady I might appear to have, but I preempted her.
"... how the hell am I going to explain your presence to dad?"
Yes, this is what you think it is.
Taylor just summoned five of the generic Jobs from Final Fantasy Tactics. She has the ability to summon each and every one of them. Yes, even the Dark Knight and the Onion Knight. Eventually. She needs to level up a bit first.
This idea came to me because while I was making wallpaper for my desktop I came across a picture withe lewded up versions of all of the game's female classes. Then I thought it would be funny if Taylor had to deal with her summons being scantily clad beautiful women, and being tortured with images of the beefcakes that could've been.
Her party is a very basic one. She's got a Tank, a DPS dealer, an utility fighter who can move around the battlefield to set up flanking, a ranged supporter and a healer.
For the record, here's their equipment, listing only the items that are actually giving them any benefits:
Squire: Broadsword, Clothes (well, she's not wearing them yet, but Taylor will give her a set), Battle Boots
Chemist: Dagger, Clothes, Battle Boots
Knight: Defender, Escutcheon, Silken Robe, Small Mantle, Battle Boots
Monk: Power Gauntlet, Battle Boots
Archer: Longbow, Clothes, Spiked Boots
All of them, except the Squire who has it at level one, has their job level at 8 and Mastered.
Running out of MP produces Thinker Headaches, so in return, Thinker Headaches can be countered by stuff like Chakra (which restores MP and HP, though I 'nerfed' it so that it only restores stamina and doesn't actually heal you because otherwise the Monk is retardedly powerful) and Ethers (which are hard to make).
Now, in order to make stuff fit better, I did change a few things around. For instance, the Squire can learn a wide array of skills from the other members of the party. Well, technically everyone can, it's just that the Squire has Gained JP Up, which I translate to her being able to learn skills at a rate fast enough that she can actually learn stuff fast enough to be useful. No magic, though, just physical and mental skills. So she could, say, learn Cheer Up from a Mediator, learn Accumulate from a Monk, learn how to dual wield from a ninja, etc. She's basically the only one allowed to equip other classes' skills, is what I'm saying.
I intentionally gave all of them basic equipment so one of the obstacles Taylor faces is getting them good equipment. Admittedly, the Defender is a very good sword, and a unique one at that, but it IS the weakest Knight Sword. The idea is that if she wants them to really excel, she'd have to get them Tinkertech stuff.
They also have ALL the reaction and support abilities of their class at the same time. For instance, Archer has both Arrow Guard and Speed Save, the Monk has HP Restore, Counter and Hamedo. This is why Hamedo is imperfect - if she can't see an attack, she can't use Hamedo to counter it before it hits her.
Does it make sense? No? Well, whatever.