Comic 1058 - Move toward the stage

Posted on 3rd Jun 2018, 5:24 PM in Chapter VIII
Move toward the stage

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 3rd Jun 2018, 5:24 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
"We're here to rescue the hostage you took!," Michelle yells over the gunfire. "The one you're keepin' and torturin' illegally! We're workin' with law enforcement, stand down and drop your weapons!"

You check on the audio/video room. It looks like Thale and his secretary have walked out... but you do hear some commotion from the adjacent hallway.

"Please!," Hope replies. "You can fool yourselves, but you cannot fool me and you cannot fool God. I haven't taken any hostages! This man broke into my church."

"And instead of calling the cops you strapped him to a fucking chair," yells Fuse. "You're not the good guy here."

You check on the monster below the church, and the bug it ate. You start using the bug as an entry point for more toxin--more and more, just pouring it into the beast. You want to be absolutely, positively certain it's paralyzed.

"GOD IS ON MY SIDE!," Hope shouts a little more impatiently. "That is all the good that matters, children! You will see! SOON, you will see!"

You have the big slab of meat you've grown over the upstairs window grow, then fire, bone spikes full of blood. ...Not directly AT any guards, but near them. You then use that blood as a portal to start bringing in more meat, trapping the guards in cages similar to Grizwald's.

As you block off more and more of the guards--and Michelle shoots the guns out of several guards' hands with the scoped pistol--your group inches further and further down the steps, closer to Grizwald, Hope, and the stage.

"...Any second now," Hope utters a bit less enthusiastically. "You'll all see. Should be... pretty quick, I think."

"It ain't happenin'," Caius states. You're close enough now that you don't really need to shout, just... speak kind of loudly at each other.

"What you're passing off as an angel is just some rich asshole and his science experiment," Fuse adds. "You're done, dude. Give up, get out."

"No!," Hope resists, starting to get his energy back. "Do you all not see?! You're being manipulated, controoolled by that woman! That SHE-DEVIL!"

He points an accusing finger in your general direction. "She's clouded your mind, brothers and sisters! My angel, my PATRON, he is the way!"

"Is that really what you're rollin' with?," Michelle asks. "WE'RE the ones bein' manipulated?"

"You can't even say your angel's name, man," Fuse adds. "That's control. Thale's got you on a short leash."

"That is the NATURE of the divine!," Hope proclaims. "Can any of you truly say that you are any different? CAN YOU?! I know full well how you refer to... TO HER. In codes, and nicknames! Just as I, a true believer, cannot speak the name of an ANGEL you... you followers of a dark master cannot speak the name of your DEMON! You are SHACKLED! You are RESTRAINED! You are CONTROLLED, children! You don't even REALIZE that your mouths have been kept from uttering the name Mi--"


"Mine," Michelle says, cutting Hope off. "Her name is Mine. ...We ain't got any problem sayin' it."

"Yeah." Fuse shrugs, looking at Hope like he's an idiot. "Her name's Mine. ...Blondie just kinda caught on. It's not a damn order from Satan or whatever, you fucking psychopath."

Hope, Hodges, and Gargan all look at Caius like he's somehow going to change the situation. Caius also shrugs. "Yeah, I ain't never had a problem sayin' Mine. I hope that wasn't like... your ace or nothin', was it? 'Cuz it sounds like you were sittin' on that one."

You confirm. Your name is Mine.


Hope looks... stunned. And disappointed. This was clearly some big, mind blowing twist he'd been preparing, and you all just... kind of took the wind out of his sails.

Adding salt to the wound, Grizwald's muffled voice speaks up from inside the meat cage. "Mine Ametsuchi," he says. "Ya still can't say Patton Thale, though, can ya Harold?"

"We... should go," Gargan mumbles. "They're letting us go."

"WE! ARE IN! THE RIGHT!," Hope screams. "I WILL STAND MY GROUND TO THE VERY LAST! HODGES, SHOOT HER!"

The rotund man lifts his gun, but Michelle (almost casually) shoots the pistol out of his hands. ...Not with perfect accuracy, bloodying the man's hand in the process. Or maybe that accuracy was on point, you're not sure.

Hodges just... turns and starts to hustle away, as quickly as he can. Which isn't very quickly at all.

Gargan, likewise, begins to cane-walk himself toward the stage steps.

Hope stays put. "IF YOU WANT THIS MISERABLE DRUNK, YOU GOTTA GO THROUGH ME AND GOD!," he yells. "I WILL NOT GIVE UP! THE LOOORD IS ON MY SIDE!"

You check the monster again. It's taking a while for Jury and her crew to tear through it, but they're gradually getting there. The outrageous amount of toxin you've pumped into it has made 100% sure it's not getting anything done.

You check on the A/V room again. Still no sign of Thale or the secretary... but the commotion in the hall is getting louder, and grosser sounding. You catch glimpses of shadows and movement.

...Thale's growing something up there.

Comments:

Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
She is the Blood.
And...
Blood is Mine. Of course.
Cuttlefish 3rd Jun 2018, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
Ahahahaha god that's so good!
Tobias23 3rd Jun 2018, 7:09 PM edit delete reply
O yes, that is good, I agree, that is really good.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:41 PM edit delete reply
Of all the hypotetical ways that the name could have been revealed, "humiliate a high-profile antagonist" is one of the best.
Istyatur 7th Jun 2018, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Indeed, this was perfect.
MoonEnder 3rd Jun 2018, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
this is the most hilarious and awesome name reveal i have ever seen
chaosblitz 3rd Jun 2018, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
Sooo... Who's gonna update the wiki? cause' I'd do it, but I don't have an account and this is //kind of// important.
chaosblitz 3rd Jun 2018, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
SO THANK YOU WHOEVER JUST DID IT (but also curse you because I JUST GOT an account specifically to update her name. damn it.)((but seriously thanks))
lil Joshu 4th Jun 2018, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I was not expecting that reveal... I mean, I know all the characters knew her name, but I thought it was kind of a silent protagonist thing going on here... avoiding her name so it could be self inserted...

... but at the height of an encounter with a manipulator that's... I don't know... it's kind of tear-jerking, and to see it's been staring us in the face all this time. Kudos.
Nick 4th Jun 2018, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
That... was really epic. Mine. You know, it has a nice ring to it.
Swagner 3rd Jun 2018, 6:10 PM edit delete reply
Swagner
How do you pronounce that? Just like the English word?
Xylas_Incarnum 3rd Jun 2018, 6:15 PM edit delete reply
Xylas_Incarnum
Eh, proboably. Last name's the only real bit I'm having problem figuring out how to say.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 6:26 PM edit delete reply
It seems Japanese. "Ah met suu chee."
The question is whether the first name is meant tobe pronounced in English or in Japanese (which would make it "Mee neh.")
WalkerOfSorrow 3rd Jun 2018, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
As someone who's learned basic Japanese, I'll confirm what Gigafreak said. Mi. Ne. A. Me. Tsu. Chi. Those are the "characters" or letters, the name uses. If it is pronounced the way it would be in Japanese, that's "Mee Neh Ah Meh Suu Chee." There is a Su and a Tsu in Japanese, but the only real difference is a hard sound. So Amesuchi would sound more like "Ah mess chi."
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
Well, just because her surname is Japanese doesn't necessarily mean her first name is. Some people have words as their first names in this world (though I wonder if "Fuse" was the name he was given at birth, or if it's a nickname earned from his pyrokinesis). And, well, multiple people at my workplace have Asian surnames but Western first names.

So there was a nonzero chance that today's update involved everyone in the room chanting "Mine, Mine, Mine" like the seagulls from Finding Nemo.
Blood is Mine, Mine, Mine.
Leafia_Barrett 3rd Jun 2018, 11:05 PM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
Matt and Mochi confirmed in the Discord that it's the Japanese pronunciation of Mee-neh.
Golnor 4th Jun 2018, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
Mee-neh? Mini?

So the little Jane back at base is "Mini-mini"?
T41 4th Jun 2018, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
Azith sais Ametsuchi means Heaven and Earth. What, if anything, does Mine mean?
Xylas_Incarnum 3rd Jun 2018, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
Xylas_Incarnum
might want to get a blocker for whatever Thale's got growing up above. The Fuse that might be was Crushed remember?
Azith 3rd Jun 2018, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
Ametsuchi means Heaven and Earth in Japanese. Just an FYI.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 7:47 PM edit delete reply
Fitting, for the hybrid daughter of a space alien and an Earthling.
ReikoLupus 3rd Jun 2018, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
ReikoLupus
Blood Hope and company, take Griz, and make a run to the Hummer. Be prepared to shoot explosive bullets at any moment.

EDIT: We can create eyes in the Meat-Walls to see the Monster that is being created in the hallway.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:37 PM edit delete reply
The thing is, I'm not certain there IS a meatwall in the upstairs hallway. If not... maybe we can form a bug golem from the egg in the A/V room and peek out from the crack under the door.
Tobias23 3rd Jun 2018, 7:11 PM edit delete reply
Guys. We can transfer mass between everything we perceive as our own. Thale can do the same. He already _has_ the mass down in the tunnels. Could he be growing, or rather transferring, the monster to the upstairs of the church?

Grab Grizwald and get out of there. Quickly. Let Jury do any and all mop up.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:19 PM edit delete reply
The monster downstairs has hilarious amounts of poison in its tissues and bloodstream. (Still giggling about that. "Sorry Hope, your ace-in-the-hole is too busy nursing a BELLYACHE.") Transferring that blood or tissue upstairs will likely end in giving the UPSTAIRS monster the same poisoning.

What I think he's doing is eating the guards nearby and gaining biomass that way. There are at least four or five bodies that he can reach without having to get past the meatwall or meatcurtain (which, incidentally, have him trapped in the building unless he can somehow safely travel through the electrified vents). So that's... maybe something of similar size as the last boss we fought in Bunker X floor 0, unless he's also importing biomass from other secretary bodies elsewhere. I suspect he might be running low on those, though, since he threw so many into the tunnel monster. He can probably produce more of them pretty quickly, but not "in the next five minutes" quickly.
lil Joshu 4th Jun 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Not if he transfers the monster meat and NOT the poison, he can convert too, remember. Leave ASAP, and expand meat walls to cover exit.
Twyll 3rd Jun 2018, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
If we can manage to blood these guys quickly and easily, that might be the best plan. If not, it's not the #1 priority-- we've already sown dissent in the ranks.

Now that the guards have stopped shooting, can we, like, schlorp the pillar of meat with Grizwald inside it towards us, and spit him out next to us? Then we need to hightail it out of here.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:54 PM edit delete reply
Blood Hope&Friends, or don't blood Hope&Friends...
Blooding Hope is likely going to end with Thale killing him. His zeal is... not something that Thale can really replicate; removing Thale's control won't stop him from continuing to do what little he can to interfere with us if we took him with us, whereas leaving him free will have him run straight to Thale (and his own death).
Maybe we can just meat-cage him, extract Griz, and let him stew in time-out as we beat our escape.
Tobias23 4th Jun 2018, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
While it's true that blooding the guys present would be beneficial, to them as well as to us, we should consider two things: a) their impression of us if we decide not to inject them (like we said), and b) how much we want to become like Thale. We picked up quite a troupe, but our latest addition, Elizabeth, injected the blood willingly, perhaps it would be best to stick with that.

Another thing, though: If I recall correctly, Thale plans to fill the tunnels under the city with synthetic blood. For that, he needs Gargan and his bioprinter company. We aren't likely to ever get that close to the guy again. Blooding him would probably be a death-sentence, not blooding him could mean the same. You think he/the others got a way out that doesn't cross paths with the monster? Can we put an egg on Gargan without him knowing so we can further spy on him and get more intel on the plan?
lil Joshu 4th Jun 2018, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
+1 Egging Gargan
winger 3rd Jun 2018, 7:27 PM edit delete reply
hahahhaah oh you bastered you fucking glorious bastered
Blue_Elite 3rd Jun 2018, 7:49 PM edit delete reply
Epic (un)reveal. Bravo Morgenstern bravo.
I'ma still call her Jane though.

We're not out of the woods yet. Check in with Dr. Finch in the hummer, see if whatever is brewing can be seen from outside. If we can send an advanced bug scout to check out the entry hallway, we really should see what's going on (assuming we can't perceive through the meat walls).
I'd like to keep Grizwald protected so if Caius can use the rope and haul the blood shield Grizwald is in, that'd be aces. Understandably, if he can't, we need to get Grizwald out of there (once he's safe from gunfire) so we can untie him and give him a tinfoil hat again.

As for Hope... I really don't know what to do. I kinda just want to leave the guy alone to stew. I don't know if I even want to knock him out, maybe just shove him on his ass and take Grizwald and go. If he's like Macland, he's not Queened (just far, far too afraid to say Thale's name); which means blooding him would be a death sentence. He's so inept, letting him go free might even benefit us in the long run.

EDIT: And just as a note, blooding anyone here and not having them escape with us is an almost guaranteed death sentence. This is still Thale's city and Macland/Gesenai have all but confirmed Thale won't be letting any of his big chess pieces leave the city.
I... also am considering just telling Hope that IF he has a change of heart to contact Macland about possibly arranging an escape from the city (we can leave out that we'd be the ones to arrange it). Maybe I'm being too soft though.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
Blooding Hope&Friends could possibly yield us some valuable information.

Or maybe not. I kind of suspect that Thale has been providing them info strictly on a need-to-know basis-- and that the current "public exorcism" thing is as far as they had planned.

...We can at least grab the big guy's big handgun off the floor on our way to let Griz out of the meat cage. (Maybe it's a magnum or something.)
Ablaze 3rd Jun 2018, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
Manefest a meat wall up there using the egg in the av room.

Move the meat cage with grizwald to us, and get the hell out of here. Expect to be chased!
chaosblitz 3rd Jun 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
Yes, have the meat cage grow legs (and a floor) and RUN.
lil Joshu 4th Jun 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Yes, AV egg activate. +1
Madd 3rd Jun 2018, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
Madd
Thicken the meat wall in the AV and put eyes on it.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:32 PM edit delete reply
Thickening the curtain (and the wall downstairs for that matter) might be good since it's likely that Thale's new monster will try to break through it. But we already have eyes in the A/V room (we put eyes and hearing-hairs on the egg we hid there) and it's currently empty.

I wonder if we can produce some bone-shrapnel bombs from the meat-wall and meat-curtain... on the surfaces facing US and not THALE. That way we can detonate them after Thale's new monster tears through the curtain/wall, and embed a lot of shrapnel-- covered in Mine's blood!-- into the thing's back. (We don't want the bombs on Thale's side, since he might see them and be able do something about them.)
Crestlinger 3rd Jun 2018, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
Will now refer to 'pulled from the red' as crossed the Minefield.
Gigafreak 3rd Jun 2018, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
You had to dig so far for that pun that you practically had to MINE for it.
chaosblitz 3rd Jun 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
*bu-dum-tss*
Leafia_Barrett 3rd Jun 2018, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
So, is there, um... anything else stopping us from just charging the stage, pushing Hope's dumb ass out of the way, grabbing Grizwald, and beginning the process of getting the fuck out? Because if not, let's do that thing I just said. We need to scram before that new monster can get in our way. Put up walls to slow it down, anything - we do not need to be fighting another monsterblob.
Gigafreak 4th Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Agreed: just cage Hope, uncage Griz, and get outta there before the upstairs monster becomes relevant. Can Griz run on his own? If not (and we're no longer being shot at), Caius can probably just carry him and sprint like that. If we ARE still being shot at, then Caius probably shouldn't be carrying the VIP while he's standing in front with his riot shield; Fuse or Mine can help Griz walk in that case.
Cyanic 3rd Jun 2018, 10:37 PM edit delete reply
THE NAME HAS BEEN REVEALED
THE NAME, THE NAME

Alright, besides that, it's time to get playing. Two plans:
1) we face the monsters outside
2) we evacuate with Griz quickly

Either way, let's neutralize the guys on stage first (except Griz), either blooding them or just trapping them in meat cages (if we blood them, we shoot the syringe in the neck, that way it has a direct path to the brain), whatever works

Also, we grow an eye and ear on our meatwalls outside to see what's happening exactly

for plan 2) Let's leave a lot of bone bombs by the door as traps as well as make tons of bugs, finally time for the bug swarm, let's give them wings and injectors filled with either blood or toxins

We leave the swarm on the wall where the entrance to the auditorium thing is, just like sticking to the wall, that way, whatever's coming through won't see it the first thing (like have you ever walked into a room and the first thing you do is look at the walls adjacent the door?)

Let's also make a meat/bone barrier for us so we have some cover in case those things still know how to use guns, then we just lay into whatever is coming through the door (we'd have visual first from the meat eyes outside, so we can confirm if it's friend or foe)
Ablaze 3rd Jun 2018, 11:04 PM edit delete reply
Uh oh.... We need to take out the new upstairs monster.

If we just grab grizwald and run, the monster might go after Jury instead. Or we need to be sure the monster chases us out... But there might be multiple monsters...
Barswanian 4th Jun 2018, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
Get people moving to the exit. Thee more tricks we use here, the more Thale learns.

That being said, we should be pulling things back into the red as we flee (obviously not the poison.)

Possibly watch for an opportunity to bug the secretary, if it arises. If Thale sees us running, he may not think we're actually advancing.
1977 4th Jun 2018, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
The secretary is likely nonexistent at this point.
As soon as the curtain in the room got up Thale and the secretary left to go outside and absorb everyone they came across.
Thaleclone, secretary, Knox and all the other guards up there are now one big ugly monster.
Guest 4th Jun 2018, 2:20 AM edit delete reply
So it appears the father was Japanese.

Of COURSE it's a Japanese that seduces an elder eldritch space alien.
PurpleKetchup 4th Jun 2018, 12:35 PM edit delete reply
This reveal with 100% less betrayal and relation to the big bad than usual. Nice trope subversion, MM.

Also, it's a nice name.
Espylacopa 4th Jun 2018, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
Espylacopa
Dad may have been living under an assumed identity after deserting Zone Fifty. If so, his original name could still reveal something.