Comic 1142 - Stand your ground

Posted on 9th Dec 2018, 10:32 PM in Chapter IX
Stand your ground

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 9th Dec 2018, 10:32 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
You begin to spread more blood upon the floor. You tell the silkworm that you're not trying to trick it--you don't NEED to trick it. If you wanted to enslave it, you could, and you wouldn't be having this conversation. You're making an OFFER--a deal, a generous one, that it should take. You don't want to have to fight it, but you will if it comes down to it... and if you fight it, you will win.

You pull a cage of meat, metal, and bone out of the red.

The soul that it wants to consume is gone. The worm isn't getting to it. There is nothing, no source of power, that could make the worm strong enough to survive in the flesh of a god. If the worm helps you, it can survive. If it tries to take power by force, it's not going to get anywhere.

You admit--maybe the worm's not wrong. Maybe this is, in its way, a method of consolidating power... but you don't want power for its own sake. You want everyone, on this planet, to survive. Everyone that CAN without causing a problem for everyone else. That means Thale has to go. If the worm insists on Thale succeeding, and insists on continuing to eat ghosts... then the worm has to go, too. It doesn't NEED to be this way--if they can just agree to a peaceful resolution, this doesn't need to get violent. You're offering a way for you to get what you want, and the worm to get what they want.

You respect everyone's autonomy. Plenty of people work WITH you, not for you, and you've already started looking into ways to unblood individuals for a time when that's no longer needed.

A tense silence sweeps the room. The worm throbs, and the air crackles.

"YOU HAVE POWER."

"A USEFUL AMOUNT OF POWER."

"BUT I THINK YOU'RE BLUFFING."

"I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH POWER."

"I THINK YOU'RE AFRAID OF ME."

"AFRAID OF THE PROPHECY."

"AFRAID OF THE FUTURE."

"I THINK YOU'RE LYING."

"I THINK THE ONE I SEEK TO CONSUME STILL EXISTS."

"I THINK IT MIGHT EVEN BE YOU."

Michelle snaps out of her ritual daze. "Blondie!," she yells at the air. "It don't trust humans!"

"I THINK YOU'LL SAY ANYTHING--"

"DO ANYTHING--"

"TO SAVE YOURSELF."

"THAT THING PROTECTED YOU."

"BEFORE."

"ONCE."

"IS IT ALL YOU HAVE?"

"It's eaten a lot o' liars an' assholes!," Michelle continues, hurriedly. "An' people that got screwed by those guys! It learned from those! It don't trust what folks have to say, it only believes what it learns from eatin' imprints!"

"BECAUSE WHAT IT PROTECTED YOU FROM--"

"ISN'T ALL I HAVE."



The lights flicker, once.

In an instant, you're surrounded--ghosts, partially consumed, four in total. They rush the cage, hands outstretched.


image

Comments:

Limrix 9th Dec 2018, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
Limrix
Time to go! Mine needs to portal into the red below her, now.
We promised our friends we would be safe. Staying here is not safe. The worm has already started its attack. Standing and fighting is only reckless. We can win from a distance. What do we really think we're proving to it? That we're stronger? That won't earn its trust. This is neither the time nor the place to assert our dominance. We've said what we came to say, now it's time to take our leave.
Gigafreak 9th Dec 2018, 11:29 PM edit delete reply
Agreed, it's time to go.

We can come back (potentially through the same blood portal) with the ghost gun. We can come back after figuring out how to make a nonsentient "echo on loop" imprint of Mine to feed it, so that it can see her intentions are genuine. But to do anything about this, we need to get away right now-- if Mine is pinned down either by the ghosts or restricted to the area within the cage around her, the silkworm can just reach its face over and swallow her.
chaosblitz 10th Dec 2018, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
-1, but only because cyanic has a better idea. You're right, it's not safe, but leaving now would only prove the worm right. We need to prove to it that we really are as powerful as we say, and we won't be dissuaded by it's threats.
Cyanic 9th Dec 2018, 11:06 PM edit delete reply
Sigh and just charge the cage with electricity and discharge it outwards like an EMP which should dissipate imprints/ghosts since they're electrical in nature

and if that doesn't work, just do the portal thing, there's tons of blood and other material on the floor, just make a red portal from that and slip on out, escape is a favourable option to showing force in case showing force doesn't work out

but yeah, worm's getting real annoying BUT, we can still resolve this super peacefully by just making an imprint of our SELECT memories and letting it eat that (after we deal with the ghosts). I emphasize 'select,' since we don't want the worm to eat the imprint and gain knowledge into our abilities just in case it's still uncooperative after that time

EDIT: regardless of how we deal with our current situation, I think it'd do us some good to work on a sort of 'eldritch form' that can speak to the worm properly. I don't mean the stretch thin form, just like a construct that looks eldritch enough, so something like a floating polyhedron made of bone and flesh and dripping blood everywhere, and then speaking through it with like a mouth.

make it float to the worm and then start talking. It distrusts humans, but maybe it wouldn't distrust what looks like something eldritch
Twyll 10th Dec 2018, 12:18 AM edit delete reply
I agree with the EMP idea. If we can combine that with blood-waterfalls as mentioned in another comment, we can create quite the powerful barrier against ghost intrusion.

It would be a bad idea to leave *right away* because that would be showing that we DO fear the wyrm, and thus weakening our negotiating position. It is unlikely to understand our leaving as being a choice that we make so we don't have to hurt it.
Blue_Fox 9th Dec 2018, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
...could we technically make a portal trap



but yeah we should just go right now
Tych 9th Dec 2018, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
Mine need to perform a show of force, not something that can kill it but something that will prove that one she isn't lying and two she isn't bluffing when she says she can kill it but that she doesn't want to
chandler1498 9th Dec 2018, 11:09 PM edit delete reply
chandler1498
Conserve energy, breathe, and blink. Fine. Step on the worm.

Spine the ghosts with bone or whatever the hell comes out when we think "stab."

General plans include answering a worm-rush with an open portal, and getting some blood on the lower floor.
I've got this feeling blooding it won't do much good.
chandler1498 10th Dec 2018, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
chandler1498
Update: Stab, step forward with confidence, and tell the silly grumpy worm to be cool and sit still while we confidently fuck off and whip up an imprint to feed it.

I'm so on board with this.
Waddle Dee 9th Dec 2018, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
Use a blood waterfall to block the imprints (since they can't pass through water), and schlorp back into the red for the most immediate moment.

We should work on getting a decoy imprint for this thing to consume, because we know it's set on eating a powerful imprint. If we can imagine up one using our own power and buff it using the strengthening spell, perhaps, it would see our memories once it's eaten and would likely be much more amenable.
Skullrama 10th Dec 2018, 12:21 AM edit delete reply
So pretty much this. In more detail:

Blood waterfall from the meatcage seems like a good idea. Then, will ourselves into the red from the blood at our feet as fast as possible.

Make a mouth from the blood - tell the worm that we are not just a human - we are something more. Perhaps it has heard of the fragments of the first womb. Tell it we will prove our intentions.

In the red, focus on the stress of our situation, the emotion of our genuine desire for a peaceful outcome and amicable relationship and... try to make an imprint. It might take a lot of effort, but... it seems like a thing we can do.

If we manage that, send the imprint up and out of the red, into the worm's domain and... well, let Silky eat it.
Tych 10th Dec 2018, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
+1 all the way
Limrix 10th Dec 2018, 12:33 AM edit delete reply
Limrix
+1
Lunar Waffles 10th Dec 2018, 12:35 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
for lack of any better ideas on my part. +1 To Skullramas Summary x:
Leafia_Barrett 10th Dec 2018, 10:42 AM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
This exact thing that Skullrama said.
PurpleKetchup 10th Dec 2018, 2:31 PM edit delete reply
A sound approach.
winger 9th Dec 2018, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
while leaving seems a bright idea thats letting the worm call your bluff. that would make us look weak and we to look strong. a emp blast should work and try flooding the area with the blood both for portal room but also for blocking more thunderbolts
Waddle Dee 9th Dec 2018, 11:21 PM edit delete reply
I'm still convinced there's a way we can do this without harming the worm. To attack it now would betray our principles, at the very least...and the practice with forming imprints may be useful, if we can understand how it's intending to weaponize these ones. It may also aid with reinforcing our sense of self further, which could help with Nil down the road. Worth a try, at least!
Tych 10th Dec 2018, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
Tell the Worm "we are a Fragment" and that we can prove our intention to it if it stands down if it still doesn't do so find a way to destroy the imprints to prove we are not bluffing then temporarely move to the Red.

Once their start converting Electricity into Signals and use them to try and form a Impromptu Imprint apply a powerful emotion to the imprint to convey our intention to the Worm and help give the Imprint form then return from the Red and offer the Imprint to the worm as proof of what we say if it doesn't believe us it will believe what it learns from the imprint.
Sekwel 10th Dec 2018, 12:27 AM edit delete reply
I do think we generally need to acknowledge when it's time to fight. Even if that instant isn't *right* now, I think it's time to fight.

Not being willing to call it is going to be a liability for us later. Michelle seems like she'd know a thing or two about how to think about it. Maybe ask for her advice later.
Archon 10th Dec 2018, 12:32 AM edit delete reply
...The worm is beginning to annoy me.
Give it one last chance to back down.
If it doesn't?
Bloodportal out of the dangerzone, and get ready to put on a show of force.

Well, a show of force and a test.
Let's try to boil some blood in the red, and release the resulting blood-mist into the area.
Our electrical powers may be helpful in this endeavor.
Twyll 10th Dec 2018, 12:37 AM edit delete reply
We definitely shouldn't leave now, not after it's accused us of being scared of it. We absolutely do *not* want to look like we're running away, because that will weaken our negotiating position. The worm is unlikely to understand our choice to leave as being about not hurting it, rather than being to save our own hide.

Combine blood-waterfall walls to stop the ghosts with an EMP to disable them, if possible. If we *absolutely* have to, we can retreat into the red and then just immediately pop up in another position that has also been blooded. By looking like we're *evading with ease* instead of retreating, we might convince the wyrm that we're as powerful as we say-- but it'd be better to be able to no-sell the attacks entirely.

And then... as we're withstanding this eldritch creature's assault... we need to go into Nurse Mode. Mine has no doubt had to deal with traumatized people before. Unless the laws of the future-US have changed significantly, a nurse is probably still legally required to identify and report abuse, and work to prevent it. Even if not, she still has experience working with people who are hurt and lashing out, people who are feeling betrayed or scared, people who can't trust. It's the same process we've been working through with Edison. But since the wyrm acquired its mistrust via the experiences of others rather than from personal experience, hopefully it will be faster to accept our sympathy and support.

Not just sympathy, but empathy. We, too, have been betrayed. Humans killed our father. Humans trapped us in a hospital and tried to kill us, and watched us from afar while we struggled. Humans have been *trying* to kill us for some time now. Heck, humans *did* successfully kill us, once. But we will not give up on them. (Holy shit, we kind of are Jesus, aren't we?)

We continue to work with humans because we know that there are others who WILL be good, loyal friends. Our friends would die for us not because we would make them, but because they would *choose* to-- heck, a couple of them have made decisions INTENDING to die for us (Caius taking a radioactive gut shot, Fuse disposing of dead bodies in the lower tiers knowing he may not come back), and they have all marched into danger knowing there was a very good chance of them never returning from it.

Imprints can be created from moments of strong emotion. Surely Zone 50 produced almost entirely negative ones, and we should apologize that the Silkwyrm has had to see such an ugly side of humanity. But on the flip side, we should also hopefully be able to invest an imprint with *positive* emotion. Is it possible to just... create a bundle of happy electricity, full of hope and trusting in your friends and the feeling that you get when you read cat magazines? I don't want to create any kind of sapient imprint because then, of course, it would be *incredibly* unethical to feed it to the Wyrm. But perhaps we might be able to distill how we feel and what we hope for into an imprint-like thing somehow. Or maybe if we just feel hard enough in the wyrm's general direction, it'll be able to pick up on it XD

Now's time for all that work we've been doing on meditation to come into play. Feel hope and love and friendship with laser focus and brilliant intensity! And maybe turn it into electricity somehow!
Skullrama 10th Dec 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Trying to make it understand that we're not fleeing due to terror so much as fleeing because if we don't we kinda have to fight it in self defense, and we really don't want to hurt it... it will be tricky. But standing there and trying to take on an unknown attack method while holding ourselves back is liable to get us hurt.

Popping up in other locations is fine a couple times - but if things get hairy and it starts, say, filling the room with electricity and/or ghosts indiscriminately... I'd rather let it think, briefly, that we're scared and fled then to take it on the chin to look tough.

In general, I am for most of this though! We just wanna make sure the imprint thing has some of the memories/thoughts about our desire for a peaceful solution too - just not enough to be a person.
Tych 10th Dec 2018, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
okay dammit this one also deserves a +1 because this is the most thought out version of the plan
Lunar Waffles 10th Dec 2018, 2:23 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
+1 aswell
pkrankow 10th Dec 2018, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
pkrankow
This
Nayru9572 10th Dec 2018, 4:59 AM edit delete reply
The thing Mine's been building in the Red - can it be used now? Also, try to get the blood bug into a safe(r) position near the silkworm to blood it.
Cuttlefish 10th Dec 2018, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
Portal out, leave it open and flood this damn place full of meat. Just pump it out maximum production until the wrym is stuck in place.
Twelveseal 10th Dec 2018, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
Twelveseal
Ghosts touching your puddle of blood? Two ways we can handle this: Knox them by drawing them into the Red, or try to "blood" the Imprints with Mine's own electrical impulses. The second requires a shift in perspective, the first may require a very quick blood "bubble."

Also, if this thing doesn't trust anything but imprints it's eaten... make a new imprint of Mine to feed to it. That way it'll find out the truth. We can try by attempting to copy Mine's electrical pattern, but we may have to ask the Tradesmen how remotely.
fellow 10th Dec 2018, 9:06 AM edit delete reply
fellow
So, ghosts don't like water vapors right? We could try to disrupt the imprints by creating some kind of blood mist.
Departure_Dave 10th Dec 2018, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
+1. "Blood Mist".
Luminous_Lead 10th Dec 2018, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Ask what happens to the imprints that get "eaten". If it's survivable, well... it wouldn't be the first time that Mine has left headfirst into the jaws of danger.
PurpleKetchup 10th Dec 2018, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
Oh also, better get ready to extract the team out of the plant, it's not like the worm can only zap stuff in this room.
rhyu 10th Dec 2018, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
Charge up the cage and EMP the ghosts. It should be able to disrupt the ghost, and continue to negotiate/intimidate.
kingoftheworld 10th Dec 2018, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
>finishes page
>scroll down to comment section
>noticesomething.jpeg
>League of legends ad
>caption says "IT'S ON"
>mfw
top fucking kek
Weezl 10th Dec 2018, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
I admit that one of the things that makes this comic interesting is that we are basically a hugging machine in pink. MINE, HUGGER OF WORLDS AND SUBJECT OF WEIRD MICHELLE SHIPS, and all that. The fact that so many commenters want to befriend a predator for no reason other than fuzzies and kawaii is both strange and part of what makes this comic work.

But what if we indeed thought like a god?

What can this worm truly offer the team? It's dangerous, but it's not necessarily powering Ilworth. How quickly could we make bone spears in the red and shoot them out of our blood puddles? Could we have absorbed the worm into the red like Knox? Could we indeed make mouths in the red and emit a bloody, meaty silkworm to counter/fight the big one?