Comic 1141 - Make an offer

Posted on 8th Dec 2018, 11:44 PM in Chapter IX
Make an offer

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 8th Dec 2018, 11:44 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
Mentally, you contact everyone on the outside, and ask if one of them could possibly, quickly, start up a ritual to ask the tradesmen some questions--specifically, what it would take to convince the silkworm to join your side.

In the meantime, you try to find out the old fashioned way.

You begin to explain that you are new god yourself--one fully capable of changing fate, and breaking prophecies. You've done it numerous times now... in fact, you've stopped the plans of the Man That Would Become A City.

"WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?," the voice crackles, louder than before. The energy in the room... intensifies, but not to dangerous levels. Not yet.

You explain that it's very, very unlikely that the man in question would allow parasites inside him. He's--

"THAT IS WHY I NEED POWER," the worm replies. "WE WILL TAKE HIS MEAT. WE WILL TAKE IT BY FORCE."

--Okay, but it doesn't have to go through all that trouble. You can provide infinite meat and space for all the worms, ever, without issue. If the worm agrees to a small... let's say blood pact, you can even provide the silkworm with more knowledge and 'prophecies.' The worm will never have to eat ghosts again--they'll be directly linked into a network of information.

"YOUR BLOOD HAS POWER," the ghostly voices hum. "YOU SEEK POWER OVER ME. THIS IS A TRICK."

You shake your head. No, it's not. You're trying to find a middle ground, where the worm can get what they want, but no one else has to be hurt, no souls need to be consumed, and the planet doesn't have to be turned into a weird mass of god-meat. It's true that accepting the blood would grant you the ability to control the worm, but you don't want--

"WITH ENOUGH POWER, THE MAN THAT WILL BECOME A CITY CANNOT STOP ME."

"IF I ACCEPT YOUR PACT, YOU WILL HAVE CONTROL."

"FULFILLING THE PROPHECY WILL MAKE US STRONG."

"YOUR DEAL WOULD MAKE US SLAVES."

You emphasize, more strongly, that you have no intentions of manipulating the worm. You just want a peaceful resolution to this entire situation, one that doesn't result in the world ending.

"RIDICULOUS."

"WHAT DO YOU GAIN?"

"WHAT IS THE POINT?"

You, personally, would take solace in knowing that a species of giant worm gets to survive in spite of everything else staying normal and ungodmeated. Your own infinite expanse of meat will have giant worms around to protect it. Just as you can share information with the worms, you can learn from them--more about electricity, more about their silk, all kinds of things. It's a symbiotic relationship, instead of a purely parasitic one.

"ONCE I AGREE TO THIS, YOU HAVE NO REASON TO HOLD UP YOUR END."

"YOU CAN PRY KNOWLEDGE FROM US."

"TORTURE IT FROM ME."

"FORCE US TO WORK."

But, you wouldn't--

"I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT."

"NO ONE TRULY DESIRES PEACE FOR ALL."

"ONLY SURVIVAL."

"POWER."

"ALWAYS MORE POWER."

"THE WOLF CARES FOR THE WELL BEING OF THE SHEEP."

"ONLY AS LONG AS THERE ARE ENOUGH SHEEP STILL TO BE EATEN."

"I AM NOT SO EASY TO TRICK."

You check, quickly, on the others. Fuse, Caius, and Michelle have set up an impromptu tradesmen ritual, and Michelle is currently in the process of it--from the outside, you can't tell how her conversation with the tradesmen is going. It's... strange, in a way--when you perceive through her, it's like she's just standing there, staring off into space in the middle of the ritual circle. You imagine that's how YOU looked to others while YOU did the ritual, though.

You don't know how much longer it'll be before she gets answers, though--and the power circulating through the room is steadily increasing, drawing out of the worm and working its way into the walls.

Comments:

TheFullCrumb 9th Dec 2018, 12:19 AM edit delete reply
TheFullCrumb
I know our girl here don't advocate for violence, but hear me out here: incapacitate it. Maybe spike some of that paralytic you figured out how to make earlier into the Wyrm so that it doesn't do what I think it's going to. It'll give more time to... talk with it.

I still consider it a tactical threat, but then again, I get paranoid over drinks people give me, so take from that what you will.
Gigafreak 9th Dec 2018, 12:33 AM edit delete reply
Okay, first we need to survive the incoming electric attack. A few possible plans...

Maybe... assemble the cage, and once it's up, make MORE cage material and continually assemble them as the previous ones disintegrate. The worm's energy is not infinite-- it needs to recharge between attacks.

Or... Portal away. Drop into a blood portal and seal it behind you before the lightning follows.

Or... Find some way to make the worm reconsider killing us within the next three seconds.
Japster 9th Dec 2018, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
Japster
Give it a show of power.
Inject it with paralytics from the bug, make sure it understands that we have the upper hand. After that, we can show it our kindness, but this worm is arrogant and stubborn. It needs to be shown that this isn't bargaining, this is mercy.
lil Joshu 9th Dec 2018, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Does seem like the appropriate path at this point. Empty blood from the red out through the portals to fill up the entire structure to the point to where we ARE the whole structure (without blooding the worm itself, lets make that fairly clear) and restrain it in webbing. Once it's subdued, we withdraw the blood and continue conversation once it's less threatening and more docile. We'll give it the choice to join us, or remain neutral... but oppose us despite us being nice to it and... well... we just demonstrated we're not person you want antagonistic towards you.

Edit: That said, not a big fan of having worms in the red. There are summoners across the galaxy channeling the new red, remember? If we add worms... that could cause problems cross-galaxy. Offering a place *filled* with blood on the other hand, maybe better.
Guest 9th Dec 2018, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
+This. Gator pups are bitchy, scratchy, nastly little fuckers until you get your hands on it and squeeze the thing still. Makes it feel secure, like, "okay, you're big and scary and COULD squish me, but you're not. This is cool" and then they'll just chill in your hands.

Show it we are wyrm-mom but we don't take no shit.
undeadDreamer 9th Dec 2018, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
We don't have to blood it. But fine then. Let's sit down and ask if we can just talk to it for a bit. Maybe ask it about a few things. If we need time that could help get it. We need to be ready to make a cage at a moment's notice though.
wierdweblurker 9th Dec 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
wierdweblurker
We're out of time. One way or another, the time for talking is over. Tricking it is a risky proposition; it is already expecting a trap, since nobody else has the strange compulsion for befriending their enemies that we do. It will most definitely destroy any trust the worm had in us. So we have a decision. We could make ourselves well and truly vulnerable to the worm, as a show of good faith. After all, if we expect the hellworm to put itself in our hands, we should be comfortable doing the same. A safer option would involve us making armor to tank the lightning attack before continuing our conversation. On the other hand, we could fight the thing, and fight to win. Blood all the webbing and send the charge into the red, and get the team in here to fill the thing with whatever god-tier ammunition we've accumulated.
undeadDreamer 9th Dec 2018, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
or just keep talking and put up a shield, then let it attack and keep being nice and not doing anything against it.
Skullrama 9th Dec 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Okay, at this point, I think our friend the worm needs to be madr to understand something... It is not in a position to be rejecting generous offers of getting to live.

If it refuses our very kind deal, things will not go well for it. It does not have the power to resist us, and it needs to be made aware of thos fact.

A show of force, then. Lets go full, intimidating blood god. Flood the room, summon cages and hooks and terrible implements. Divert it's electricity - drain the flow using our blooded webs. Blood all the rest of the webs. Do all these things and make clear that we are the one who decides what happens.... But don't hurt it, not yet.

See if it changes its tune.
Limrix 9th Dec 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Limrix
Negotiations have broken down, so the first priority is to get Mine out of danger, as promised. Mine will fold herself into the red, and we'll have Caius spread some blood for us to emerge from. After Mine is clear, we can decide how to approach the worm.
Lu!dot 9th Dec 2018, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Lu!dot
i would advise spreading the blood on the ground around us a little more, and then dropping into it, as fast as we can.
after this we could push some meat out of the red for the wyrm. unpoisoned, untainted. if it trusts us, good, if not, oh well.
Cyanic 9th Dec 2018, 1:17 AM edit delete reply
Alright first order of business:
Meat cage then step out of the room.
Meat cage to avoid the electric discharge, then step out of the room to avoid the corrosive attack it'll spit at us as well as the lunge attack.

We tried, Silkworm, we tried.
Blood it, portal the giant injectiony thing through and just pump it full of blood. That's the first step. Avoid damage, then return an attack, after that, we'll just stop it from doing anymore and we can continue negotiations.

If that doesn't work, then fold and pop back outside
Causticius 9th Dec 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
First, we stand our ground. We're not leaving that platform -- that just makes us look weak in its eyes. Send the message that either we come to an agreement, or one of us is not walking away from this (hint: it'll probably be the worm in that situation).

Second, meat cage ASAP. Blood the floor -- via a cut on our hands if necessary. Use meat cage to tank the next electrical burst head-on. Show it that we can undermine what its throwing at us, to its face, without breaking a sweat; it might be thinking it just missed us before.

Thirdly, keep our cool. We can display our eldritch-divinity without going full Rambo or incapacitating the worm. Assert dominance (or at least disinterest(?)) without violence and give it a perspective that it may be more willing/able to accept and respect.

...Also, I don't think we ever asked if it has a name of its own, or something we could call it by (might be nervous about using True Names)? Preeeetty sure that never came up.
Skullrama 9th Dec 2018, 1:51 AM edit delete reply
+1 - show it that we're the dominant force here, but we really don't actually want to hurt it if it can be at all avoided.
undeadDreamer 9th Dec 2018, 3:42 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
Sounds like a plan Stan.
undeadDreamer 9th Dec 2018, 3:42 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
Sounds like a plan Stan.
Lunar Waffles 9th Dec 2018, 4:56 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
+1
Twyll 9th Dec 2018, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
+1. If it respects power, we'll show it power, but do so in a way that allows us to put off actually injuring it without its consent for as long as possible.
Leafia_Barrett 9th Dec 2018, 2:11 AM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
Didn't we blood the webs already? Drain the charge into the red. Blood the webs specifically in this room if need be. We have no reason to let this thing just slowly charge up its deathray. Maybe it will be a little more willing to negotiate if it realizes it can't zap us to death. If it'll take too long to blood the webs then start the process then build a shield around ourselves.

Tell it that the soul it was after is gone. There is no surviving Thale's plan, no source of power to allow it to infest god. If the prophecy comes to pass then the worm will die with the rest of us. Nothing good will come out of it. Helping us, on the other hand, will ensure its survival. If we just wanted power, then it would be dead already.

EDIT: The point was made on the discord that this could come off as too hostile - just go for the shield. If it keeps trying to zap us after this one, then we disable the contraption.
Lu!dot 9th Dec 2018, 3:04 AM edit delete reply
Lu!dot
+1, sounds good
PurpleKetchup 9th Dec 2018, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
It's in a place where the law of the jungle is one and only. Violence would only further that and entrench them against negotiation.
Try a hug while keeping static shock countermeasures up.

Please ?
Ablaze 9th Dec 2018, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
A silkworm had but one goal usually: to become a silkmoth. You could promise to help it become a moth! Conjure some blood moths as proof.
ReikoLupus 9th Dec 2018, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
ReikoLupus
Offer skipping the part of Blooding them.
If they fear the possibility of us slaving them, we can simply evade having even a mínimum amount of control over them. They'll be in our Red without us having control over them.
And that it's true that we won't search for the peace and understanding of everyone. The Man That Becomes The World will die, his allies like The Man That Works With The God Of Oblivion will die, and even The God Of Oblivion may die. But we want to find peace and understanding with everyone that decides to not bring a calamity. We don't need to consume others to be stronger, our Powers comes from an infinite source, we only take control of our enemies.
Twyll 9th Dec 2018, 9:43 AM edit delete reply
I agree with Causticius' comment above for what we should do. As for what we should *say*, we should mention that in respecting our allies' autonomy, really we're actually taking the most efficient route to power. It is draining and dangerous to force information or compliance from somebody; if we work with them willingly, it may be more effort at the beginning but, in the long run, it is much easier for us. It's simply a biological tactic for maximum efficiency and efficacy. So, we have no motivation to screw the silkwyrm over. It's totally understandable that it fears that such a thing would be logical, but from our perspective, it really ISN'T logical or biologically efficient to force control.

Thale doesn't understand this, and has had to divide his own mind and weaken his own self in the process. We are more fit for purpose than he is, because we understand our own powers and how they are best used. Similarly, symbiosis is less costly than parasitism. We're giving the silkwyrm the chance to *maximize* its power, while allowing us to share in that power and share of our own power in an efficient and useful way.

We respect that the silkwyrm is an incredibly powerful entity, and it has ways of making life *very* difficult for us even with our blood inside. We don't want to struggle like that, because it's wasteful, and wastefulness reduces how much you can bring your power to bear-- so we'd much rather have willing cooperation.

If the silkwyrm is concerned about the fact that blooding by us is permanent and it can't back out of the agreement if it wants (which is understandable, that's a BIG sticking point in this sort of negotiation)... I think it's okay for us to reveal that we have actually considered how to "unblood" people. We could possibly even demonstrate somehow if the silkwyrm would like to see. That's how dedicated we are to our path.
Skullrama 9th Dec 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
Also, maybe the fact that if we wanted to blood and enslave it, we wouldn't need to trick it - we would just do it. It's not like it could stop us.

But we're clearly not interested in that, or we wouldn't be going to so much trouble. Probably worth mentioning.
fellow 9th Dec 2018, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
fellow
One way we could get this worm to trust us is by feeding it an imprint of someone who knows we've got good intentions. I don't really want to feed him ghosts though.
Azith 9th Dec 2018, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
So. We have now tried diplomacy. We made the one offer we can that allows the worm to prosper like it's prophecy says it would. It all but spat in our face, and is gearing up to blast us again.

I'll +1 throwing up another cage, but at this close a range, shunting the electricity elsewhere might be a better idea. We were at a distance last time, and air is an insulator.

Now, negotiations may still be salvageable, Twyll has outlined that route, and if it works, great. If it doesn't we need to know whether we're going to try and blood the worm, or just kill it.

If we blood the worm, it will probably do everything it can to require our direct control, if only out of rebellion and spite. The plus side here is that we could potential sync with the worm, and gain access to it's memories and skillset, and giving us more info on Thale's plans.

On the other hand, is we attack and kill the worm, it could leave an imprint. It's highly electrically powerful, it's under some serious emotional stress, and it already eats other imprints. Oh, and let's not even touch upon the whole vengeful-ghost trope.

On a hypothetical third hand, we could just drag it into the Red. This avoids all of the problems implicit with killing the worm, and proves that we're an alternative to Thale. We can then also make a deal later.

At risk of turning this metaphor into an octopus, on a fourth hand, we don't need to deal with the worm at all. We can simply acknowledge that it doesn't want to make a deal, and leave. This preserves the worm, and we get to leave. Once we're outside (and hopefully out of range), we can come up with new ideas for dealing with it.

There are other options on the table as well, but this has become a wall of text.
pkrankow 9th Dec 2018, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
pkrankow
Admit it.

We do seek power.

We seek our own safety and well being. Our safety also includes the safety and well being of others, even others we don't know or maybe find undesirable, so long as they can live without ruining the safety a d well being of others.

Maybe a touch idealistic and not completely achievable but it is a real goal.
Swagner 9th Dec 2018, 1:13 PM edit delete reply
Swagner
This worm clearly understands power. I think the only way to make it trust us is to demonstrate that we don't need to trick it; that we already have more power than we know what to do with, and that fighting Mine is futile at best.
Departure_Dave 9th Dec 2018, 5:27 PM edit delete reply
Under Thale they would become slaves or fugitives. Under Mine they would be useful subordinates. Human minds cannot tolerate the red safely, but the worms are not human.

If they were eating Thale-fleshblood then wouldn't that be just as bad as being Mine-blooded?

The blooding is also ostensibly reversible, and the position they're being offered now is much more stable than the furtive position they would have to take by force.