Comic 1140 - Talk with the worm

Posted on 7th Dec 2018, 10:21 PM in Chapter IX
Talk with the worm

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 7th Dec 2018, 10:21 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
You calmly, politely, explain to the worm that you are neither--and that your power cannot be obtained by eating you. If it tries to consume you, it'll lose access to any help you could have offered it. You also explain that you've only been 'taking over' part of the facility to protect yourself--you don't mean to come off as hostile.

You state that you know 'the man that becomes a city.' You're actively opposed to him, and attempting to stop his plans.

"WHY?"

"THAT IS THE PROPHECY."

"THAT IS TO BE."

"THAT IS THE WAY OF THINGS."

"A NEW GOD."

You... ask about the prophecy. Specifically.

"A MAN WILL BECOME A CITY."

"HE WILL THEN BECOME THE WORLD."

"THE MAN AS THE WORLD WILL SCOUR THE COSMOS."

"HE WILL CONSUME OTHER WORLDS."

"ALL WORLDS."

"A NEW GOD."

"I WILL BE STRONG."

"POWERFUL."

"MY CHILDREN WILL HIDE IN THE INFINITE GOD."

"WE WILL CRAWL BENEATH HIS SKIN."

"WE WILL LIVE, FAT OFF THE MEAT OF THE PLANET."

"WE WILL BE THE WORMS IN THE FLESH OF GOD."

"AS HE GROWS, SO WILL OUR NUMBERS."

"FOREVER."

...Oh.

Huh.

Uhhh.

Where... did the worm hear this prophecy...?

"I SWALLOW SOULS."

"I HAVE VISIONS."

"I SEE THINGS. PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE."

"THINGS HIDING IN THE MINDS OF GHOSTS."

"I LEARNED ALL OF THIS."

"AND SHE, THE POWERFUL SOUL."

"I KNEW IF I CONSUMED HER, I WOULD BE STRONG ENOUGH."

"STRONG ENOUGH TO INFEST GOD."

"I SEEK HER HERE."

"SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN THIS TOWN."


...Wait.


Wait wait... wait.

It eats ghosts. Okay.

It learns things the ghosts knew. That... seems pretty straightforward.

If it learned about Faraday... if it knew she'd be at the bunker in Ilworth, the worm would've had to consume part of a ghost with that information. Only the crew of that bunker, and Director-era Thale, would have had that information.

Further, if the worm saw Thale's plan to become a city... only one person could have had that.

Did... did the worm eat an imprint of Thale?!

Imprints are supposed to take a long time to develop, typically, but Thale's been around for... well, over a hundred years. It's not... entirely out of the question that Director Thale could have, in a moment of great emotional duress (a really strange concept, considering how Thale is now), caused an imprint.

If the silkworm ate that imprint... it would have learned about Faraday, since it was Thale that pressured the Bunker E scientists to enact Incident F. And, with how confident Thale is--and likely was, even back then--in his plans to take over... the worm could easily have mistaken those plans as a 'prophecy.'

Not that you can ask the silkworm for clarification, really--if it's mistaking the insight gained from consuming imprints for prophecies, it probably can't tell for sure if the 'ghost' it swallowed was Thale's.

So... it doesn't want to stop this prophecy?

"NO."

"WE WILL RISE."

"WE WILL BE STRONG."

"WE WILL FEAST ON GOD."

"YOU CANNOT STOP THE PROPHECY."

Comments:

Gigafreak 7th Dec 2018, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
Mine is more powerful than The Man Who Would Become A God, and in fact has thwarted The Man's plots (including the Become A City part), but depending on how we phrase that, the silkworm might consider her an enemy.

...All it wants is to live off a god. We can let it do that by letting it and its larvae live in the Red dimension. I have no idea what kind of consequences that might have-- for the worms or for Mine-- but it'd get the thing out of the power plant without any bloodshed.
Cyanic 7th Dec 2018, 10:50 PM edit delete reply
the good thing is that it's not currently making any outward hostile movements so we can continue talking if we want to

The bad thing is that it's either only semi-sapient or one of those things that are extremely adamant about their stance.

I think we can ask one of our people outside to do an info ritual as they've never done it before and it might help them feel more useful. Let them ask the Tradesmen: "Can the Silkworm we found in the Ilworth Power Plant be convinced to join our side?" and "How can it be convinced to join our side?" The Tradesmen are professionals and decidedly not dicks so they should be able to answer those sufficiently provided our friend that does the ritual provides the price.

For now, we tell the worm that we are also a New God, we are the one that breaks prophecies and defies fate. We've done so numerous times already and aren't planning on stopping now. Tell it that we've already stopped Thale once.

Also propose if it wants to make a pact with us, ask if it wants to partake in our blood and we can share our knowledge and memories with it of the broken prophecy, and in exchange, they won't become infinite. (edit: the way it's phrased makes it sound more threatening than it is, I just realized that I think it just wants survival for its species, not just like an infestation)

Ask the silkworm if it has a name btw

If all else fails, we intimidate it, then we head off to Plan B: Blooding with our giant construct

Let's also get ready to defend ourselves

EDIT: oh crap, let's keep an eye on the electrical build up as well, get ready to either schlorp ourselves into the red, or build a meat cage around us
Twyll 7th Dec 2018, 11:23 PM edit delete reply
+1, especially +1 to your edit.
Skullrama 8th Dec 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
I am good with this. +1
Tych 8th Dec 2018, 12:28 AM edit delete reply
+1 to everything but the plan b
Twyll 7th Dec 2018, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
I see. Less of an Ilworthsormr, and more of an Ilworthoggr, content to gnaw parasitically upon more powerful beings.

Okay, well. We have a new plan, and a better one. After all, it is highly unlikely that The Man Who Becomes A City would *allow* parasites within himself. It's a trivial matter for one such as ourselves-- and we do have the potential to devour the world as he wishes to-- to create mouths and stomachs *within* ourselves. The wyrm and her children would all be consumed.

So. Here's the plan: Ilworthoggr accepts our blood. This means a few things.

One: no more eating souls/ghosts/imprints/etc. Instead, we can feed Ilworthoggr experiences directly via sync, just do an upload of interesting "prophecies" every once in a while. We could also look into feeding her life experiences via the methods that they use to put expertise into tube cops.

Two: instead of parasites of Thale, she and her brood become symbiotes of the red. They can defend the red from intruders-- we can come up with a method of signposting so we can communicate whether entities are *supposed* to be in the red, or whether they're intruding. We can learn from her how to use electricity as she does, and she can spin webs for us. The red is literally infinite, so there will be plenty of room for her children and their children and their children's children.

Three: no more devouring sapient, or near-sapient, beings, no matter how powerful. Food that Mine makes for her out of her own red is the exception, of course.

We must be honest that our blood will allow us a certain degree of control over her, and by necessity we'll probably have to blood her children too, if they are to live safely in the red. However, the benefits it brings are many; we can make it so they are not considered a parasite by their host, constantly fighting for their lives against the host's immune system, but instead living and functioning in communion with the host.

How does that sound?
Cyanic 7th Dec 2018, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
+1 to this, these are much better blood pact conditions than mine
Skullrama 8th Dec 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
These are some good conditions and I approve.
Taenidia 8th Dec 2018, 12:01 PM edit delete reply
+1 to Cyanic's self-presentation, and this offer of symbiosis

(With some concerns about the possible exponential growth of a Godpest in the Red. Although if its children eat the Red, does that actually count as successfully blooding them? Also, it's still possible that entering The Red will drive even a mutant silkworm insane, or will suffocate it.)
fellow 8th Dec 2018, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
fellow
I'm not sure we wanna sync with this silkworm.
Chaostraveler 8th Dec 2018, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
+1
Limrix 8th Dec 2018, 9:12 PM edit delete reply
Limrix
+1
Fishbulb 7th Dec 2018, 11:30 PM edit delete reply
Fishbulb
One more try: tell the worm that the prophesied one is under your protection, and suggest that if it is hungry, we can feed it, in return for it leaving everyone alone.
Twyll 7th Dec 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
We really don't need to let the wyrm know that its prophesied one isn't us. Let's keep Faraday's existence quiet for now.
wierdweblurker 8th Dec 2018, 12:06 AM edit delete reply
wierdweblurker
On one hand, we've made "allies" of far more insidious individuals, like Edison. On the other, they all had fairly human motivations, like fear and anger. This thing... has a simple drive to leech off of the powerful, and that drive brings it into conflict with several of our existing allies. Bringing the Hellworm into the fold is most likely a recipe for disaster; even if it agrees not to eat the imprint trio, it will likely just attempt to spread itself in other directions while our attention is elsewhere. It has fairly big mandibles with which to bite us in our asses.
I suggest blooding and draining it, then visiting its subconscious. An oversync is dangerous, to be sure. But it might give us insight into Thale's plans to attain godhood.
Reactinator304 8th Dec 2018, 4:06 AM edit delete reply
I'm still not sold on the maintained antagonism towards the worm, though I definitely support the idea of trying to enter its subconscious to get more about Thale. Some of those fun capabilities of Mine's that we haven't used in a long time.
Twyll 8th Dec 2018, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
It's far, far safer to have it on our side so we can monitor it. We don't need it to be ethical-- we just need to motivate it to behave ethically using its own desires as the carrot.

Force-syncing a creature with such an alien mind would be *incredibly* hazardous. We haven't even tried force-syncing a regular animal yet, much less one that's full of souls. It's far, far safer to do willing syncs. If we can convince this thing to offer its expertise *willingly,* that's the best option by far.
TheFullCrumb 8th Dec 2018, 12:10 AM edit delete reply
TheFullCrumb
(Previous comment was bogus)

I say we just let Caius know to sit on standby. Yes, negotiations have just started, but having some backup ready JUST IN CASE might be a good idea.

Also, MAYBE having Michelle load her crazy rad rounds might be in the cards. Just because something COULD be friendly, doesn't mean it always will be. ANd those rounds are basically warheads in bullet form, so...
Azith 8th Dec 2018, 12:18 AM edit delete reply
Personally, I see very little that Hellworm here can offer us, aside from the potential of learning Thale's plans from an earlier iteration of Thale. Mine already believes she can create normal webs, and if we can get our hands on the materials, she can probably mimic this thing's webs.

So on the one side, we attempt a seriously risky forced-sync with a an insect brain, and possibly learn more details surrounding Thale's plan. On the other hand, we do away with a giant worm who's idea of paradise is crawling around in the flesh of gods. Gods like us.

I'm going to call NOPE on this one, and vote for annihilation.
Twyll 8th Dec 2018, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
Things that the wyrm can offer:

1) Syncing the ability to control electricity with more finesse, just like we can sync expert gunplay from Michelle. It has a lot more experience being an electricity-manipulating entity than we do.

2) Knowledge of Thale's plans and mindset. Sure, it ate an imprint of Thale from before Thale became what he is; but there's still a *lot* of relevant information we can get. Details of his plans, resources he planned on using-- if he already had the plan in place for creating secretary clones, for example, we could possibly learn WHERE he intended to do that. Also, what event caused the imprint to be created? An experience that intense *must* hold relevant information for us.

3) Knowledge of Zone 50's activities and resources. This wyrm is obviously a Zone 50 project, and if it managed to eat an imprint of Thale, it might have also eaten other Zone 50 imprints and absorbed *their* knowledge. Since Zone 50 was so heavily fragmented, this diversity of viewpoints is incredibly valuable.

Force syncing for this information WOULD be incredibly risky. That's why I want to get this wyrm on our side if at all possible, and get it to sync us this knowledge and expertise *willingly.* It's certainly not guaranteed that we can bring it around, but we can definitely TRY before moving on to plan B.

We can try diplomacy and, if that fails, subjugation and, if that fails, annihilation. We can NOT try annihilation and then something else afterwards.
Mathbird 8th Dec 2018, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
Do we have absolute proof of the Wyrm being a Z50 project? Couldn't it be a bizarre mutant thing?
ReikoLupus 8th Dec 2018, 12:39 AM edit delete reply
ReikoLupus
Tell the Worm that even if Thale becomes The World, he'll simpyl be A World. Even if he eats other Worlds, he'll only be a Big World. But we have Infinite. The Red is a connection to Infinity, from where we can draw Infinity energy and flesh.
Ask the Worm if it is interested in an infinite amount of flesh.

(I want to throw this thing into the Red XD)
lil Joshu 8th Dec 2018, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I don't like the idea of us having worms. And this thing obviously has a parasitic mindset.
white 8th Dec 2018, 1:28 AM edit delete reply
Okay, we tried to play nice, but if our new acquaintance won't relent on this "prophecy" plan it might be time to get rough.
lil Joshu 8th Dec 2018, 2:00 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
It's a god-level parasite.

Time to break out the bug spray.
Twyll 8th Dec 2018, 5:39 PM edit delete reply
But what if we can turn it into a god-level *symbiote*? The red is literally infinite. We don't have to worry about it doing any actual harm to us by consuming us. Humans are caused harm by parasites, but Mine would not suffer harm from it; so we have to remember that and not make decisions *just* from the perspective of a fragile human.
1977 8th Dec 2018, 3:43 AM edit delete reply
I already said that Silky is not our friend or ally.
We can not befriend everyone we meet.
Time to accept that.
Time to put an end to Silky.
Twyll 8th Dec 2018, 5:35 PM edit delete reply
Silky is not our friend or ally, correct. But we do NOT know that Silky *cannot be* our friend or ally. (Well, it might not have the capacity for friendship. Ally, at least.)

We can try diplomacy and then, if that fails, subjugation, and if that fails, annihilation. We can NOT do these things in the reverse order-- if you destroy something, you can't then try something else with it afterwards. So let's follow the logical course instead of jumping ahead.
PurpleKetchup 8th Dec 2018, 4:25 AM edit delete reply
Of course, confidence is key. Back then Thale was sure he'd succeed.

To change mama worm's mind about this whole prophecy thing, Mine would have to give her an imprint of her own confidence and knowledge to feed upon in some form, then she'd see how the wannabe god has been consistently thwarted by the legitimate demiurge and may reconsider her approach.
Not too sure how to pull that one without hurting Mine or Red. Sacrificing a ghost-limb would be a powerful gesture, but ehhh...

Re: killing her - getting rid of parasites is a bit of a nasty business. There are too many to count, and there's nothing more alluring than a forbidden treat. Spellcasters worldwide are essentially red-parasites, and Mine's influence has caused spells turning towards a more protective angle since she started embracing her heritage.
I'd say it's fine to let various entities tap in the red (it's infinite enough, right ?), mama worm included.
Ablaze 8th Dec 2018, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
You could trick it by telling it there is a test/challenge to prevent she is worthy of being with if the God. The test is being blooded...
Waddle Dee 8th Dec 2018, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
I'm pretty against attacking the worm. Keep in mind that this thing is absolutely colossal, and also, it can send off electric shocks that would annihilate the entire party if we didn't ward it off. Save violence for if it utterly, simply cannot be reasoned with, and once diplomacy has been completely exhausted.

We have a chance to make a very powerful ally if we play our cards right.
winger 8th Dec 2018, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
really sound like we are not going to be able to talk this out
Twyll 8th Dec 2018, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
What makes you think that? The silkwyrm is working based on faulty information, but we can give it new information to work with or just manipulate it based on what it already thinks. There are plenty of ways to leverage this.