Comic 1143 - Defend yourself

Posted on 10th Dec 2018, 8:54 PM in Chapter IX
Defend yourself

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 10th Dec 2018, 8:54 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
You charge up a large amount of electricity throughout your meat cage, and fire it off as a huge, disruptive pulse in every direction.

Electricity fires off in a similar wave from the ghosts, the energy forcing yours out of their path--almost like they've shielded themselves. You discharge enough power that it's not completely stoppable--you see the imprints distort and crack, but the damage isn't as much as you anticipated. It gives them pause, but it doesn't get rid of them.

The worm moves.

Or rather... it doesn't. You do something of a double take, as your feeling of it doesn't match up with what you're seeing--physically, the worm stays in place, but the power you sense from it moves in a very noticeable fashion. You're... not entirely sure what it's doing.

You follow up by pulling blood from beneath you. ...A lot of it, at high pressure, creating a sort of reverse waterfall or geyser around you. The ghosts try to push through it regardless--you see their limbs shredding apart, flickering, and dissipating as they fight to force their way in.

You open a portal directly beneath you, and begin to slip into the red through the blood on the floor--

but just as you do, something rushes through your wall of rushing blood.


Something big.


You're pushed into your red--or more like tackled into it, by

a swarm of ghosts.


It takes you a moment to register what's happening.


Just as Red, an aspect of yourself, has steadily become a separate entity with an electrical imprint-like body... it seems the worm can separate its consumed spirits from its physical core. You've seen hints of this--the ghosts it manifests. They're all the knowledge it has absorbed, all the figments of ghosts it's taken into itself... a part of it now, but able to break off and operate independently at its command.

What follows you into the red isn't just ONE broken off ghost.

It's a writhing mass of them, a far more significant portion of the worm's power, functioning as a cohesive whole. It didn't send a single aspect after you--it split a percentage of its vast power and hit you with that.

The gigantic... ghost worm grips you between its pincers as you both tumble through the red. You can see all the ghosts its swallowed, buried in its body, piling into its existence. Energy is violently ripped from your body, cerebral electricity torn in streams. You fight to maintain consciousness as it eats your mind, your strength fading as you fight to keep its pincers from crushing your body. You instinctively slam the portal closed, severing this half of the ghost worm from the rest of it... but to no avail. It keeps eating. Its own body is tearing apart before your eyes, the material of the red disrupting its electric form... but the entity is very large. You suspect that it's going to finish consuming you before the red finishes killing it.


And then... suddenly, you slip out of it.


Or rather, you slip out of Red, shedding her like a snake sheds its skin. She shoves you backward. You drift through the red away from her, as she takes your place in the creature's grasp.

"Feed it an imprint!," she screams, the worm sucking the life out of her the way it was prying the energy from you. "Show this thing who you really are!"




image




You're confident that you can do it--you did it with Red, creating an external imprint of a bundle of emotions and internal conflict and thoughts and perspectives but--

that took you almost a month, and you did it entirely on accident.

Given enough time to think you could do this, but the worm is tearing Red apart right now and you don't have--




time.



You're in the red.




You give yourself an imitated level effect... and focus on changing your perspective of time.

You watch as everything

decelerates.

Red is now being eaten in slow motion.

Slower.

You slow time from your vantage point to a crawl, nearly a full stop.

You take a breath.

You begin to work on creating an imprint.


You concentrate on the energy that makes up Red--how the neural signals are put together, how they exist free floating in the air, how they interact and stay cohesive.

You convert material in the red into an enormous amount of bioelectricity--a makeshift EM field.

You press yourself to think happy thoughts--your friends, and what they mean to you, and what you want for them. You monitor the signals as they fire off in your brain, and you replicate them outside, in the red--in the EM field you've made. You... force the signals to stay in their new environment, using the red to suspend the electricity in motion.

Your minutes turn into hours.

You add elements of what you are--what you've discovered yourself to be, the trials you've endured, the amount of power you've accumulated... but your outlook in spite of it all, that it hasn't corrupted you, that it hasn't turned you into a monster. If anything, it's given you the realization of how much you can still DO, of how you can make the world a better place if you can just... get the chance.

You hear sounds, dulled and distorted, reverberating through the red. They almost sound like voices, but you can't make them out.

Your hours turn into... you don't know how long. With only an infinite expanse of red in every direction, you lose track of time. Red and the worm have barely moved at all.

Carefully using Red as a comparison, you pile the signals together. It takes... many, many tries, to get the information to fire off correctly, synchronized, coherently in a shape and then a body.

Eventually, finally, you create something resembling an external imprint, a collection of your thoughts and feelings--or rather, a copy of them.

You launch your newly formed ghost, propelling it at the worm like a torpedo.

Things begin to accelerate again.

As the astral bullet bearing your declaration of peace draws nearer to its target, time from your perspective steadily returns to normal.


The imprint hits its mark, dispersing into the mass of half-formed ghost bodies.


The creature relinquishes its grip, and Red--looking damaged, but present--drifts free of its jaws.


There's a momentary pause, the massive imprint of the worm continuing to slowly deplete, pieces breaking free and fading out of existence. It seems... momentarily stunned.

"THIS COMPASSION," the voices crackle.

"THIS LOVE."

"THIS FORGIVENESS."

"I DO NOT UNDERSTAND."

"IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING--"

"EVERYTHING THE WORLD HAS DONE TO YOU."

"IN SPITE OF ALL THIS POWER YOU COMMAND."

"STILL YOU SEEK PEACE."

"STILL YOU HAVE HOPE."

"THIS BOUNDLESS OPTIMISM."

"WHY?"

"I DON'T..."

"UNDERSTAND."

"IT MAKES NO SENSE."

"YOU..."

"YOU DO NOT MAKE SENSE."

Comments:

winger 10th Dec 2018, 10:00 PM edit delete reply
because you can't understand. Evil can.t understand evil it seems
winger 10th Dec 2018, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
edit because of fail.
Because you can't understand Humanity. For all you have done is try understand a monster
Crestlinger 10th Dec 2018, 10:04 PM edit delete reply
"Because Life always finds a way."
Now get the Wyrm to join us and we'll have our Many counter.
If it Still does not wish to resolve things peacefully and tries to end us? Ash it.
Check in on friends and Red for damages first thing though.
Gigafreak 11th Dec 2018, 12:00 AM edit delete reply
Red's damage is likely repairable-- we can will her clothes to change, so we can likely will her wounds to be made whole again.
...And then thank her for saving both our butts for the umpteenth time.
Skullrama 10th Dec 2018, 10:08 PM edit delete reply
It is super great that this seems to have worked, but it will be kinda pointless if we don't get the worm spirit back to it's main host quickly. Let's do that before anything else, then we can take stock pf the damage to ourself and Red.
Twyll 10th Dec 2018, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
Very much this. Hopefully the information will get back to the main entity somehow.

If not, maybe we could... at least keep this bit of the wyrm-imprint?
Twyll 10th Dec 2018, 10:18 PM edit delete reply
Whew! That was perilous. Glad we made it through. As soon as we're done with this, we need to check on Red and make sure she's okay.

Also, I'm glad we managed to figure out time-compression so quickly, and also that we can work on things while maintaining time-compression. Now we can use that for things like working on biomechs!

As for immediate concerns...

You're right, Ilworthoggr. We don't make any sense. And that's why we're going to win. Because our enemies have *no idea* what they're up against. They're too sensible to understand us and our power, and that means they have no way of stopping us.

So, you wanna join us now? We promise we'll continue to be illogically awesome. And you can share that with us!

Edit (very belatedly) to add: we need to thank Michelle for doing the info ritual for us, and whatever she had to sacrifice to do it.
Limrix 10th Dec 2018, 11:49 PM edit delete reply
Limrix
+1 to all the stuff that's not relevant right now. Being able to control the flow of time in the red is huge. This means that we can take our time making rooms in the red so that everyone can take advantage of the extra time, not just Mine.
piichivy 10th Dec 2018, 10:32 PM edit delete reply
yeet them Feelings™
Archon 10th Dec 2018, 10:36 PM edit delete reply
No, no we don't. That's empathy for you.
Empathy for our friends, our enemies, and everyone caught between.
Frankly? It's going to bite us one day.
Someone who we can't convince, someone willing to fight us to the end.
But that someone doesn't have to be you.
The offers still open; a home where you and your children can survive whatever comes next.
skybirds15 10th Dec 2018, 10:45 PM edit delete reply
Heh. Well, not a lot has made sense in some time. Honestly, compared to what we've already seen, a giant sentient silkworm is honestly kind of normal.

You know... maybe this compassion we have is because we're essentially a fragment, probably the last real fragment, of an actual god-entity that creates things. So, a sort of Gaia thing. Creator gods kind of need compassion else they wouldn't create life that isn't completely subservient. During the Highlander quest thing it wouldn't make sense to be compassionate (even then look at Mine's mom), but now, when there's just us, well, love, peace and hope happens.

Unless that's just us and if the Mars one wins somehow he'd be an evil god but that's even more speculation than the rest of this.
skybirds15 10th Dec 2018, 10:48 PM edit delete reply
/sidenote

uh
probably should check how long its been on the outside
Sekwel 11th Dec 2018, 12:03 AM edit delete reply
Oh jeez.
Let's hope it wasn't too long.
Carpenter's not gonna wait around forever.
Skullrama 11th Dec 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
So, technically, having been fully immersed in the red here, we can leave into any time period *after* we entered without it being a problem to the flow of time outside.

So if we're careful about the exit portal, hardly any time needs to have passed at all. Definitely something we should pay attention to, though.
Xylas_Incarnum 10th Dec 2018, 10:59 PM edit delete reply
Xylas_Incarnum
Thanks for noticing our nonsense.
Limrix 10th Dec 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete reply
Limrix
Wielding power over others to gain power is a vicious cycle. And we? We break cycles.

We are Life. We hold the balance of all life in our hands, and our greatest desire is for it to continue. No matter what form it takes, we will protect life.

We are Life, we do not die.
We are Life, we do not give up.
We strive for a better future, even when no path exists.
And we'll break straight through any common sense that says it's impossible!

It might be strange. It might be unreasonable. But this is the path we believe in!

Let's do what we can to slow the breakdown of the ghost worm, and let it know that we need to eject it from the red if it doesn't want to disintegrate completely.
Gigafreak 11th Dec 2018, 12:09 AM edit delete reply
Mine is not the one who doesn't make sense. It's this twisted world that doesn't make sense. Mine is pushing against the hate, the betrayals, the cold conquerers, in what small ways she can. That way, the weak can survive long enough to contribute to the world what unique things they are able the offer, and grow together in harmony instead of on the corpses of their enemies.
Separation is a lie. The sacrifice of another is often the sacrifice of oneself. You, silkworm, want your young to propagate; to Mine, all creatures in the world-- including you and yours-- have value to us as your children do to you, and all such creatures deserve to grow as much as yours do. We want as many different types of people and creatures to live, and work together in their myriad unique ways, to accomplish things they could never have done alone.

We want your help, silkworm. And we want to help you.
Ablaze 10th Dec 2018, 11:46 PM edit delete reply
It will be difficult to teach this monster compassion. But perhaps you can tell him there's more power in collaboration than any one being can ever become
TGWMoC 11th Dec 2018, 12:50 AM edit delete reply
TGWMoC
Now let this portion of the worm back out, so the rest of it can learn too, and to show that you really aren't trying to hurt it.

Then, before you go back out yourself, make sure Red is okay, and find a way to heal her if you need to.
Memo 11th Dec 2018, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
Memo
+1
We should probably also have a look at our own biological body.
A lot of time must have gone for us, while we were making the imprint just right.
Hopefully time didn't move much in the normal world.
TGWMoC 11th Dec 2018, 12:51 AM edit delete reply
TGWMoC
Man, we've come such a long way from waggling some bandages.
Crayssius 11th Dec 2018, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
"Optimism and Happiness are just choices. All those you have encountered so far chose a different path. Do not make their mistakes."
fellow 11th Dec 2018, 2:14 AM edit delete reply
fellow
Huh, I didn't think mine could just create an imprint on command.

We should ask the worm if red is in trouble and if it knows how to help her.
Departure_Dave 11th Dec 2018, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Ware wa meshia nari.
Guest 11th Dec 2018, 3:20 AM edit delete reply
So after we explain to this version of the worm, and help Red out (it shouldn!t be too hard since we're in our domain)

In case this imrping is not not informationally tethered to the main body, let's time-dilate again and prepare tons more compassion torpedo-imrpints like a whole armada of them in case we need to shoot that at the worm's main body.
undeadDreamer 11th Dec 2018, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
That's just how we do it. We don't call ourself the goddess of blood and hugs for nothin'.
undeadDreamer 11th Dec 2018, 5:10 AM edit delete reply
undeadDreamer
RUSH TO RED. Also hug her.
Twelveseal 11th Dec 2018, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
Twelveseal
So that seems to have worked. Yay~ let's try patching up Red and see if she knows how much time has passed, if any, on the outside.

As for the worm? If we can't get its imprint swarm out and back in place, might be a good idea to start feeding it some juice in the form of good feelings. If we can make an imprint, we can probably just conjure up a component of one much faster and easier.

We should also address the fact that it's basically right; Mine's weird. Especially compared to its experiences. However, like begets like. The way the imprints it's eaten so far interacted with one another shaped their own outlooks and behaviors. Which is preferable, then? To repeat behaviors that reproduce negativity in others and towards oneself, or to cultivate positivity in ourselves and in others towards ourselves and others? Which is more beneficial in the long-run? That Cycle of consolidation has been played out before, and each time no real progress has been made. Even looking at it from a rational perspective, nothing is really gained in the long run from Stretching and Drinking Deep, just another link in an endless chain.

Perhaps it's time to try something... different.
Flaninious 11th Dec 2018, 10:27 AM edit delete reply
It’s because we can make the world a better place.
Because we can give hope to the hopeless and help those who need it.
Because we can beat back the villains, and light up the darkness.
But not just because we think we can.
But because we have.
And it works.
Before we met them, neither Fuse nor Dr. Fitch has much hope of changing their status quo, Caius and Michelle were barely considered people by the world at large, and poor Elizabeth lived as little more than a tortured effigy toyed with by a wretch with delusions of godhood.
But we worked together, helped each other, and we’ve overcome trial after trial, answered questions that were never even dreamed of being asked, done the technically impossible at least 3 times, and delayed the apocalypse a few times to boot.
We’ve seen that we can have our cake, and still have enough to go around.
That’s why we still do good.
And you can too.
PurpleKetchup 11th Dec 2018, 4:21 PM edit delete reply
Making sense is highly overrated.

Assist Red and bring everyone out of the red.
Limrix 11th Dec 2018, 7:07 PM edit delete reply
Before we exit the red, we need to confirm what the outside time is. As long as we exit shortly after we came in, we're good. We don't want to exit too late, and we certianly don't want to exit too early. We should be able to sync with our allies to find that out.