Comic 1061 - Free Grizwald

Posted on 5th Jun 2018, 6:30 PM in Hope
Free Grizwald

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 5th Jun 2018, 6:30 PM edit delete
You evaluate Knox's... er... situation, inside the red.

He seems brain dead, almost. His eyes don't wander much, he isn't resisting. Thale's range of control doesn't reach Mars, you can't imagine it reaches to the inside of the red, either... but Knox doesn't even seem to be moving on his own. You... worry, that Knox might be similar to the miniature you back at the bunker--just enough brain to be easily controlled, but not enough to accomplish anything else.

You blood him, and make sure he can breathe, before bringing your attention back to the church.

Using your various eggs and meat walls, you check for Thale and his secretary inside the building. There's... no sign of them. On the one hand, you can't imagine how they would have escaped--the tunnel in the basement and the front door seem to be the only ways in or out.

On the other hand, you're not sure if anything would stop Thale from just... schlorping his own body out. You were already pretty sure it wasn't the "real" Patton, just one of his duplicates--he could convert it into mass elsewhere and not lose much. Doing the same to his secretary might be a bit of a sacrifice, but... when the alternative is you getting a hold of her, it seems like a valid option.

You check on the monster under the church. ...Or what's left of it. Jury and her crew have taken automatic weapons and flamethrowers to the thing, absolutely tearing it apart. While most of the team stays behind to finish off the pieces, Jury herself and a handful of agents have moved through the bay door and into the church proper.

...Which means it's probably time to get going. You uncage Grizwald, and bring up to everyone else the safe that's in Hope's study.

"You can git in there if ya want," Grizwald says, "but I already got tha best thing in there."

He fishes around in his sweatpants pocket for a moment... before pulling out an old photo, and handing it to you.

Featured in the picture are Patton Thale, and... some younger guy?


"That's Doug Gargan," Grizwald says with a point.

Fuse glances over your shoulder at the photo. "...Holy shit, it is. The guy's gotta be in like his twenties there!"

But Patton looks... identical. He looks exactly like he did today. Well, his clone, anyway. The posture, the hair, he's even wearing the same kind of suit, and wearing it the same way.

"That confirms our crazy ass theory, then, right?," Michelle asks. "Thale's a clone of clones of clones."

"Yeah," Fuse confirms with a nod. "That's pretty much it. There's no way Patton himself would've even been born when Gargan was that young... that's gotta be his 'dad,' or his 'grandad.'"

"What else was in tha safe?," Caius asks.

"Th'usual," Grizwald replies. "Proof o' tax fraud an' tha like, prob'ly."

Michelle chuckles. "And we got feds comin' in. Speakin' of--"

Yeah, you guys need to go. As Jury and her squad ascend through the church, you pull back the meat walls, bringing them back into the red. ...But not all at once. You leave some hesitance to it, making sure she's not getting here too quickly for your group to get out and go.

You, Fuse, Michelle, Caius, and Grizwald pile out to the hummer, passing Gargan and Hodges on your way out. It's a little tight with Lumpy and Dr. Finch waiting, but the hummer's pretty roomy. As you take off away from the church, you finish removing your barriers--and releasing the cages, and pulling your blood into... itself.

You clean up entirely, as though you were never there. ...Aside from some confused and non-combative bodyguards, and a belligerent Brother Hope, who is immediately arrested by Jury. Douglas Gargan and Mortimer Hodges get picked up by the other feds.

A couple of scarcely noticeable drops of blood soaking into the carpet are the only hints you were even involved to those that didn't already know.
Morgenstern 5th Jun 2018, 7:12 PM edit delete
As a side note, I have posted the unused art for the church monster on my Patreon.


Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 7:16 PM edit delete reply
Storm the gates, throw eldritch meat everywhere, have a shootout, banish a mutant monster into another dimension... and escape nary a trace. And
The perfect crime!

Anyway, time to get home and debrief. See how much time is left in the day; maybe we can do some rituals (petition the Tradesmen and/or make some trades), contemplate the Incident F thing, plan the next few moves. Maybe it's time for Project Space Car, or maybe it's time we found a way to smuggle our Mars friends to safety, or maybe it's time to put out feelers and see if Carpenter's plotting anything.
Cuttlefish 5th Jun 2018, 7:36 PM edit delete reply
We should also collaborate with Finch to fix Mine's damaged brain. Especially now that we are becoming so proficient at creating things in the red, a backup brain during repairs is the way to go.
pkrankow 5th Jun 2018, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
Yes. Heck, just make an entire duplicate in the red and trade places.
Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
Agreed. Dr. Finch did ask Mine to bring it up the moment anything seemed off about her brain. The crack in the mindscape wall seems like a telltale first sign.

There's plenty of time now. Thale's plans have been set back quite a ways, and judging by his absence in the alternate future, we know Carpenter will continue to lay low for at least two more days (if he doesn't decide to turn on Thale first while the latter is so thoroughly weakened).
Barswanian 5th Jun 2018, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
We have a monster man in the red, who we might bw able to practice on first. Trying to fix him is compassionate, and can turn a Thale ally into a friend. It might be great intel.

The mentioned brain damage etc gives the idea that we can make the attempt to do so, at the very least. And practice is something we want before confronting our own brain.
Frission 5th Jun 2018, 8:12 PM edit delete reply
We took our prep super seriously this time, and it paid off very well. Big grats to everyone who participated in helping figure out how to make things go so smoothly! *passes out cookies* :3
Tobias23 6th Jun 2018, 3:19 AM edit delete reply
I advise strongly against looking into our own brain.

We are the kid of an eldritch blood monstrosity from outer space, whose MO is to wander the universe, drink deep from all life and stretch thin, and a lowly human who somehow fell in love with … that lovely alien lady.

We can do things like squeezing ventilation shafts when our blood is inside them, because our human brain knows that our blood is inside them. We can "hear" and "see" through our blood by making eyes and hairs in them, without any connecting tissue that would allow perception in the usual sense.

We can make things work because we think they work. Our blood is … magic in the sense that it does what we want it to do, but is so far beyond our capacity to understand it, that we won't always get how it accomplished its end. I think this is what Finch figured out and why he advised us not to look too closely at our repaired brain.

It _works_. Why does it work? Because we actually repaired our brain, or because we offloaded some of its functions into our red liquid supercomputer I don't know. But to keep up the charade that we can feel like a human, it's imperative we don't look too closely into how our blood powers work.
Blue_Elite 6th Jun 2018, 4:00 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, I'd rather just table the whole thing until we get a healing spell from Bunker X. Otherwise I'm afraid if we bring up the subject too much that it will literally translate to Jane thinking about it and will consequently cause the problem to become worse.
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
We HAVE to look. At some point. If we completly copy ourself and have a new brain then we can move into the new body and look at the old body before altering anything. Suddenly there is no conundrum of will looking do harm, because we are inspecting a redundant system to decide if we should repair or replace.

Now this does mean we need to be able to perfectly make our replacement physique exactly match the OEM physique so we will very much look at the new brain before looking into the old one.
Guest 6th Jun 2018, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
The problem with making a full duplicate brain is that it will be a copy of our currently *potentially* damaged brain. I'm with Tobias23 and Blue_Elite, best not to look at it until we get some other method of healing, be it magic or alien/nanotechnology.
Japster 6th Jun 2018, 2:34 PM edit delete reply
+1 for Tobias and Barswanian
Cuttlefish 6th Jun 2018, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
But it won't be a replica of a damaged brain, as we can cleantex and use the work we did when Nil first infected us combined with a general understanding of the typical structure of a brain.
Nayru9572 5th Jun 2018, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
Now let's just scan Griz for bugs or trackers while we ask him how he feels, and what all happened before/during his capture. Also, hug him and tell him we're glad he's alright.
Fishbulb 5th Jun 2018, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
+1, and also just for super safety, ask him to repeat Patton Thale's name.
Spades 5th Jun 2018, 8:39 PM edit delete reply
I really don't see what Grizwald repeating the name would accomplish. No one had access to him between the time he said it and now except Mine.
Xylas_Incarnum 6th Jun 2018, 3:35 AM edit delete reply
And blood him for Paranoia insurance that he can't be taken by Thale in the future, both the blood thrall and the without us knowing kinds.
Blue_Elite 6th Jun 2018, 3:51 AM edit delete reply
I'm against preventative/security blooding. As much of a security benefit as it is, it's also a death sentence if Thale catches anyone with our blood.

If Grizwald wants to be blooded fine. But unless it's the only way to save him, let it be his decision.

EDIT: Also, we don't know someone has been taken until it's far, far too late.
Xylas_Incarnum 6th Jun 2018, 4:12 AM edit delete reply
.... Forgot about the barkeep.
Guest 6th Jun 2018, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
He already said Patton Thale at Mine's full name reveal a few pages back.
Skullrama 5th Jun 2018, 7:21 PM edit delete reply

Take Griz somewhere safe and secluded to check for trackers and offer blood. He's great and everything, but no taking him to the bunker unless he's blooded or blindfolded.

During the car ride, maybe ask Michelle about just how crazy good her aim has gotten? Shooting the guns out of people's hands repeatedly, without fail, over fair distance is.... Extremely impressive. Ask if it's maybe the new space arms or... Something else?
Twyll 5th Jun 2018, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
Make sure nobody's tracking the hummer! Don't go straight home! Also yes, scan Griz for bugs and also use the opportunity to check on his health and everything after that experience. The worst thing for his health might actually have been being forced to go sober suddenly-- if you are habitually drunk/on certain drugs, your body actually adjusts and raises your heart rate, so if you suddenly go cold turkey, you can have a heart attack. Better make sure he's in good cardiovascular shape.
Xylas_Incarnum 5th Jun 2018, 7:24 PM edit delete reply
Sit back at the bunker computer and watch the news? Maybe grab a couple pizzas and some soda and celebrate a minor win? given the whole dungeon of trials thing this counts as a boss fight... or would have if we hadn't cheesed the hell out of it.
Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 8:46 PM edit delete reply
If there isn't even a nasty surprise on the way back to the bunker, I'm fully expecting Caius to point out... that shit never got real because he declined to remove his armor.

And then proceed to shower and sleep in the thing until the next time it shatters, at which point he picks up the pieces and FRAMES them somewhere.
Akasha 5th Jun 2018, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
Great job, everyone! Smoothest mission we've ever had, honestly. Anyways... I'm, secondin' making sure nobody's tailing us and not going straight home. That, and pulling over somewhere safe to check Griz for trackers and maybe offerin' him another vial.

Either way, once we've done all that, I agree with debriefing, celebrating, and seeing how much time we have left in the day for other stuff.
Spades 5th Jun 2018, 8:17 PM edit delete reply
It almost went too smoothly. I half expected the real Arvin Carpenter to interfere in some way.
Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
Well, Carpenter wasn't involved when this raid went wrong in an alternate future. That's Sunday, and today is... Friday? So we have at least two days of him continuing to lay low.
Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
Check for another chaser in the tunnels, maybe. Though if there were one under the church, Jury's squad would have found it and shot it-- so it seems unlikely.
Ablaze 5th Jun 2018, 7:53 PM edit delete reply
Maybe drive to a random location, get a different car, store the Hummer in the red, and head home.
Gigafreak 5th Jun 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
That insurance claim is going to be... different.
"The circuitry is all shorted out. Looks like... flood damage?"
"More like blood damage."
"...Wait, WHAT?"
Blue_Elite 5th Jun 2018, 11:27 PM edit delete reply
We can say that we took a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP too far.
pkrankow 5th Jun 2018, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
Check Griz over for everything.

Blindfold and go to the bunker. Griz gets a shower etc.

After someone is cleaned up go get a fresh clothing (Send Liz) New undies, shoes, and socks, good charity store everything else, from whichever country is in business hours.

Heck, take Griz to England to chill for a few hours even. It will be good for him although he will both be agoraphobia and feel trapped by the experience, he will probably feel positive about it.

Don't forget to feed everybody.
Leafia_Barrett 5th Jun 2018, 8:36 PM edit delete reply
Give the hummer a sweep for bugs, trackers, what have you. Do the same to Grizwald, and give his injuries a once-over; offer him a new syringe of our blood, if he wants it. Once those are done, it's time to go home and celebrate. Order pizza or whatever preferred food everybody wants and just celebrate. That went spectacularly.
Blue_Elite 5th Jun 2018, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
Since we were victorious, I was gonna propose chicken pot pie (winner winner chicken dinner). It'd also give us something to do as no one wants to go straight back to the bunker. Also booze.
Maybe even just go to a bar and get spicy chicken wings and booze.
Twyll 6th Jun 2018, 5:23 PM edit delete reply
We could pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens! And some mashed potatoes and peas. Chicken dinner of champions right there, and you can often get the whole thing ready-to-go from the grocery store.
Guest 5th Jun 2018, 9:02 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to see the look on Patton Thale's sickly face about now.
Cyanic 5th Jun 2018, 9:17 PM edit delete reply
commend Caius on what a fuggen hero he is

well, commend everyone, but especially Caius for never taking off the armor lol
ReikoLupus 5th Jun 2018, 9:41 PM edit delete reply

-500 EXP.
-Grizwald (Without tinfoil hat).
-A giant Monster.
-+50 of Fame.

Now check Griz for "Gifts" left for Thale, ask him were he wants to go, and return home to perform Incident F XD.
Frission 5th Jun 2018, 10:07 PM edit delete reply
Also, go give Red a high-five. :3
the white 5th Jun 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Harold Hope leveled up! Harold reached level 9. Learned god will not save him.

Douglas Gargan leveled up! Douglas reached level 10. Learned when to walk away.

Mortimer Hodges leveled up! Mortimer reached level 6. Learned getting shot in the hand is not fun.
Japster 6th Jun 2018, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
Definitely ask Grizwald what he wants to do
Madd 5th Jun 2018, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
Bring Grizwald back to his place before he gets too sober.
Crestlinger 5th Jun 2018, 10:20 PM edit delete reply
Having everyone grouped up in one spot, even post victory advises caution, watch out for tails. Can we 'bug' one of the recently arrested? It might be handy to keep tabs on them. Also Caius call Jury and advise her to keep all three very incriminating prisoners in separate prisons, ideally with surveillance, overkill, and bomb protection present and ready to act if they start to look in any way misshapen.
Japster 5th Jun 2018, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
I have been reading this off and on for the past few months and it is AMAZING! I love just about everything about this comic. So glad to have finally caught up :). I'm not entirely sure what to suggest, but if the day is ending here, pick up celebratory meal on the way home. (It's weird. The whole time I've been reading, the decisions have already been made, and I had some other thoughts. But now that I'm caught up, I can't decide what to suggest!)
Blue_Elite 5th Jun 2018, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
Give Grizwald our tinfoil hat and offer to get him a replacement jacket and extra tinfoil to make a new hat (he probably needs an extra set of clothes anyway).

Everyone else has already made suggestions about being cautious so all I'll add is we should be prepared for a call from Jury at any time. We'll want to get her update about how things cleaned up. With any luck this may finally be Jury's in to getting the feds more thoroughly involved and we can kick back tomorrow and get everything involving Bunker E squared away (ghost children, Ilworth, etc.).

But mainly for now celebrate. Maybe eventually stop close to the bunker and trade Mr. Lumpy for Elizabeth so she can join us as well.
Arislide 6th Jun 2018, 12:13 AM edit delete reply
Well that went better than anyone could have hoped for
Espylacopa 6th Jun 2018, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
Speak for yourself, I had hoped we would have time to retrieve Grizwald's hat and coat, maybe even refill the now empty vial in his coat pocket with blood. :p That aside though, it did go rather well.
Xylas_Incarnum 6th Jun 2018, 12:35 AM edit delete reply
........ Oh look, Carpenter's been watching this. See the screens?
Japster 6th Jun 2018, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
Also something to try: bone swords and melee weapons (in case of close combat) It'd be better to have a little practice than if we had to do it on the fly!
Espylacopa 6th Jun 2018, 2:36 AM edit delete reply
While no mention was made of swords, I don't imagine they would present a problem as Mine has already practiced making maces, spears & knives.
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
Next time we are trading send a mace, a spear and a knife.
Blue_Elite 6th Jun 2018, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
I feel like we'll get a mini-bar from that trade as a joke.
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
I am sure it will be an epic mini bar if we did.
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Someone mentioned incident F. Yes, tomorrow.

I suspect that incident F will help with the brain issues. We should make a complete duplicate, redundant self, in the red with a brain that is as it should be. Transfer into the new body then examine the old body before storing it in our red for repair or whatever.

Repairing Knox, even if he is "dead" might be worthwhile too.
Blue_Elite 6th Jun 2018, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
"... with a brain that is as it should be." Does this mean copy our brain and then fix it so we can... fix our brain? If we can just flat out fix the brain damage there isn't a need to create a copy. Likewise, if we create a copy, we will still be looking into our brain. It's our ignorance that's preventing things from falling apart (just like it was Jane's mom's ignorance that allowed her to think Jane's dad was a part of her and physically modify him as such).

Per Dr. Finch's recommendation, we probably shouldn't be examining/experimenting with our own brain before we have a known solution we can actually try. Otherwise it may go the way of the "looking at the stars" memory we completely lost by mistake during our first attempts at brain surgery (only we'll lose our brain instead of just a memory).
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
It is a logic puzzle. Chicken and egg, Schrodinger's cat, whatever. One way to know the state of something is to change the state of something else.

If we create, in the red, a backup brain... just create a whole backup everything. The backup is now examinable. The brain inspectable and will be good.

Excellent. Now let us swap places into that body as our primary meat-think engine.

Excellent. Now suddenly the state of the brain in our current body _doesn't_matter_ since we are now using a known physically good brain.

So far so good. Next is to inspect the idle brain. The idle brain is idle - we are using our new meat brain. If the idle brain is undamaged we gain insight to our ability to heal. If damaged then we know we did not need most of the brain functions because we use our blood to think with and just the motor function portions of the brain.

Since we swapped out there is no problem with either realization causing our humanity to function less well.

I expect a similar thing happened when we vanished from the morgue prior to page 1.

Since this would seriously weird out everybody I suggest having only one body out of the red at a time.
Blue_Elite 6th Jun 2018, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
I think the problem is a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too scenario. You can have a Jane brain, and you can have just any ol' brain, but you can't have both.

As long as Jane is able to identify her brain, it doesn't matter how many copies are made. The nature of her ability is entirely dependant on perception. Whatever she thinks happened to her brain will happen to all her brains.

The solution would be just to make an entirely new brain. But of course, then it wouldn't be Jane's brain anymore exactly because of the association issue. We'd have to make a new brain and copy over all the memories and aspects of the old brain minus the damaged portions. That's new territory and if the past is any indication, the attempt would fail moderately if not completely. To compound that, this may be a one-shot deal. By looking at Jane's brain, acknowledging the damage and thus make it real, we may end up killing Jane's brain in the process of making the new brain (or trying to repair the old one).

Mainly what I'm getting at is that we may be experimenting on an all-or-nothing deal when we can put that off until we have more knowledge/experience/resources to give us better odds. Rather than take a chance now when we don't have to, let's put it off until we can be more reasonably sure we can, in fact, make it work.
pkrankow 6th Jun 2018, 10:39 PM edit delete reply
Incident F first.

I think the answer is meaningless. We already know a regular brain cannot do what we do...
Nick 6th Jun 2018, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
Now, we leave. But first, let's check out that room Knox and that other guy were originally guarding. Unless we already went there, then lets not.
1977 6th Jun 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
They guarded the room Thale and his secretary were in.
We got there through the bathroom and then into the vents.
Nick 6th Jun 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
Welp i dum
Then lets not go in there.
lil Joshu 6th Jun 2018, 12:47 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Okay, BEFORE we get pulled into the next set of wild-crazy-shenanigans, once we get back to base...

Blood. The. Doors.

We've got the blood for it now.

Seriously, one of the Thale-team suspects we're there. Once Thale decides to actually bother to check, we lose our safe-haven as DIRECTOR Thale would have all the codes. Blooding the doors would not only let us keep them from opening but maybe even keep them registering for the wrong person, or we could set them to open portals into the blood if opened by the wrong person. I dunno what we could and couldn't do, but I can say that blooding the doors sounds like a really smart idea.
Skullrama 6th Jun 2018, 1:54 PM edit delete reply
Actually, the whole issue with Zone 50 was that no one, Director or not, should know what was going on everywhere or how to get to everything. He cheated and learned more than he should before it all got locked down, but judging from his reactions to certain things and lack of using some very useful things, he clearly doesn't know everything.

As far as blooding the doors goes... the problem is that to control something with the blood, we have to know how it works. We... don't know how the portal doors work, like, at all. Maybe we could keep the mechanism just plain locked at least, if we did so.
Tobias23 6th Jun 2018, 4:17 PM edit delete reply
I think we don't have to know how the portaling works, so long as we know how the mechanical/digital lock works. Might be worth investigating.
lil Joshu 7th Jun 2018, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Skullrama, I'm more interested in Tobias' part. If we can learn how the portals work (maybe because we understand blood portals?) That's a great bonus we should pursue. However, the primary reason to blood the doors is just so we can keep them closed in the event of trespassers. In other words, the mechanical part of just keeping the things closed.
Japster 6th Jun 2018, 2:28 PM edit delete reply
Ooh! Another idea: give Lumpy the blood gun. Let's see what happens.
PurpleKetchup 6th Jun 2018, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Mine blooded monster!Knox... but she still can't give him orders even after some time has passed.

Slightly worrying.
pkrankow 7th Jun 2018, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
You are correct, there was nothing stated about giving orders. We need to examine Knox some more.
Japster 6th Jun 2018, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
Is it possible for us to sense blood we are unaware of? If so, we could create blood portals to anywhere that we have had our blood spilled, assuming that at least a few drops remain.
pkrankow 7th Jun 2018, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
We should. This should cover most of the city by now.

We should check our house just because.