Comic 740 - Do some checking up

Posted on 16th Jan 2018, 12:32 AM in No Easy Way Out
Do some checking up

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (5 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 16th Jan 2018, 12:32 AM edit delete
Morgenstern
After finishing your ice cream, you do a quick peek into Michelle and Fuse's brains. Everything... seems to be... in order? You don't see anything weird.

You and Michelle head back into the lab area.

"Seriously?," Michelle laughs. "We all smokin' level now?"

"I had to help cut tha skin off a corpse," Caius says.

"I need it. Trust me. One minute," Fuse says. He seems... rather busy, messing around with the computer at a hurried pace. As hurried as he can while smoking level, anyway.

"You guys got, like, a lot of level," Zene concludes. "Like, a lot."

Caius chuckles lightly. "If we could use our teleportin' door to find a place that don't got level, we could make a small fortune hockin' our excess supplies."

"So, what I've determined..." Dr. Finch begins, "is that your assessment was more or less correct. This man's body was turned into an arcane symbol. Runes were carved all throughout his body. Deep in his body. My guess is that the rituals they're working with require a great deal of prep work--we shouldn't have to worry much about the church members spontaneously casting Spider Climb or Magic Missile at us. That being said, we do need to keep an eye out for any ritualistic markings--"

Dr. Finch stops, realizing that Caius is staring at him.

"...Er... yes?," Dr. Finch asks.

It's not Caius but Michelle who speaks up, fighting back her laughter. "Spider Climb? Finch, have you been smokin' level?"

"It's a small room," Fuse says with a grin. "We're kinda hotboxing it in this bunker. You guys really shocked that Dr. Finch is a dork?"

"What?," Dr. Finch asks. "It was an apt comparison--"

"Neeeerd," Caius interrupts.

Dr. Finch sighs. "My point is that they shouldn't be able to do much spell casting without adequate preparations. Marks, symbols, shapes. While whatever our bladed friend here was trying to do required verbal components, as well--"

"--ⁿᵉʳᵈ," whispers Caius.

"--if he could cast without having an ancient language carved into his spleen, I'm quite sure he would have taken that option," Dr. Finch finishes.

There's a pause before Michelle gives a glance to Fuse.

"So what's goin' on there?"

Fuse stops messing with the computer. He stares at the screen for a moment... and then takes a very long, slow drag off his level.

"So," Fuse starts, hesitating. "You know how I knew about Geoangular Control from Lydia's files?"

"Yeah?," Michelle responds.

"I didn't," Fuse states. "It's not in her files. Lydia hadn't heard of it. It's a real thing, because stuff about it comes up when I search the internet... everything I've learned so far's been legit, the book exists, it IS in a library overseas, I just didn't FIRST learn about it from Lydia."

"Then where'd you hear about it from?," Michelle asks.

"I don't know," Fuse replies. He takes another, shorter smoke. "I have no idea. Like, I remember seeing it in Lydia's files. I remember it vividly. Can't prove it, though."

"Maybe..." Michelle starts, her voice welling up.

"For god's sakes, don't," Fuse pleads.

"...It was magic," Michelle concludes. Fuse sighs. Caius shakes his head. Zene and Crease both chuckle.

You suggest getting cats. At least one cat.

"Yes," Michelle says, almost before you finish. "We need cats."

"Have you been smokin' level?," Caius asks.

"Cats would be cool," Fuse says, "but we don't need cats. We have ravens. Cats can't fly."

"Cats can go in vents," Michelle counters. "Ravens can't. And ravens are suspicious."

"We need pigeons," Caius replies. "Pigeons ain't suspicious, and they're cuter than cats. Fat pigeons."

"I don't know what you're lacin' that level with," Michelle begins, "but you need to lay off it. Pigeons are not cuter than cats."

"Guys," Fuse says, "before this turns into the laziest, most melancholy civil war in history, I got more news. Lydia's gonna try to look into the book now, see if she and Grizwald can dig up any pages or digital copies or anything from... wherever it is they get info. Jury's been totally shut out by the feds--she's trying to decide if she wants to go back up north and play ball getting her business checked, or if she's gonna just go maverick and join us here in the basement."

"Oh, yeah," Caius says with a grin. "She oughta join us. Ya know who's prob'ly immune to psychic stuff? Tha robot."

Dr. Finch shakes his head. "It's a bad idea, I suspect. The government is not going to release an experimental android with no doubt oodles of classified information from her position without something of a fight, doubly so if they already believe she's been compromised by conspiratorial forces."

"Oodles?," Caius asks, but Dr. Finch keeps going.

"If, if if if she managed to squeeze out of their grasp," Dr. Finch states, "then there would still be an abundance of eyes on her. People would be looking for Jury, specifically. Any association with us would be detrimental to both parties. Whether she decides to weather the storm and maintain her federal connections is certainly her decision, but should she break her ties to them, attempting to join our rag tag group of rebels as it were would make life very difficult for us and her."

"She could go after the book," Fuse suggests. "Though, I'm honestly kind of terrified of that book now."

Comments:

Memo 16th Jan 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
Memo
My vote is for Jury to stay with the Feds, but it would be prudent to check if a full personality/memory backup is possible for her, just in case.
Oh, and a pigeon and a cat is a good idea, as long as it doesn't eat Willard!
We should ask Red if she knows where the knowledge of the book came from..
Maybe it's a bleed through from syncing.
Twyll 16th Jan 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
Pigeons *and* cats. It's better to have more animals and not need them, than not to have enough. And the cats would likely do more staying around the bunker site, anyways.

Also, we might want to look into talismans from various cultures that are supposed to protect against evil/magic/psychic attack/etc. If actual magic works via geometry, maybe there are actually geometry-based defenses for it that people happened upon before. Like, the Helm of Awe, the Evil Eye, pan chang knots, that sort of thing.
Twyll 16th Jan 2018, 1:47 AM edit delete reply
...Also, is MomRed okay in here with all the smoke? I assume it's not really affected, since it has a whole other mouth in another location and I don't know if it even needs to breathe anyway, but hopefully Level isn't irritating to the membranes of alien beings XD
Twyll 16th Jan 2018, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
Also also, Finch should needle Caius about his (I assume) extensive knowledge of video games. Neeeeeerd!
Frission 16th Jan 2018, 1:47 AM edit delete reply
Frission
I like the idea of Jury going after a copy of the book, but we shouldn't try to get her in trouble. Still, I'm worried this 'system check' is going to be a 'system hack' orchestrated by one of our enemies with connections in the government. :s

And for crying out loud why have we not looked into the foil hats yet? xD Have Jane bring that up to the group at least -- it worked on Edison, it might help with these church psychics too.

Also: I vote kitty! Kitties equals wuv! <3 If nothing else having a kitty will give Jane a focus for re-centering herself as human again. The purrs of a happy kitty are straight-up magical. <3

One more thing: Offer Fuse a cleantex effect if he wants to check his memory of seeing the book in the files.
Memo 16th Jan 2018, 3:49 AM edit delete reply
Memo
Good idea with the cleantex, wonder how that works with level.
I don't think it was ever established that the tinfoil hats actually worked.
Blue_Elite 16th Jan 2018, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
It has not been 100% established the tinfoil hats worked but it did something. Whether or not it's the material or just having something solid protecting our head, our brains stopped getting scrambled by whatever powers Edison has (which also hasn't been established as either psychic powers, ghost powers, or electricity powers).
Twyll 16th Jan 2018, 11:30 AM edit delete reply
I suspect the reason that the tinfoil hats "worked" on Edison is that she found them incredibly silly-looking, and was laughing too hard to focus on messing with us, or it just amused her to let us think they worked.
Blue_Elite 16th Jan 2018, 2:32 AM edit delete reply
I laughed so many times throughout this update.

Jury joining us would benefit us in the short-term but I can't help but feel it'd negatively impact her in the long-term. Unless at some point we get a list of corrupt federal agents that are/were working with Thale; if she ever wanted to get back into her position she'd need proof that she had to go undercover to root out a problem in the federal government itself.
Granted, it is possible we'd be able to do that; but it'd be luck-dependant.

Unless that Geoangular Control book will also give us a solution to the psychic attack problem, we still need to deal with that.
Would it be possible to poison our minds? That was the route Zone Fifty was trying with the whole Nil deal. Obviously we wouldn't want to go that far; but maybe it'd be possible to use reverse suggestions to make the abomination quarrel with itself to the point of uselessness.
Or maybe we could intensify the effect of level to the point of obliviousness. Just make all incoming commands seem pointless so that only internal commands (coming from the person themself) make any impact. Or otherwise drown out all other commands.
Also we could try the tinfoil hats again. Couldn't hurt.
I'm really just spitballing ideas. We don't need to kill the abomination, just be able to deal with it long enough to get Zene's mom. With that out of the way, we can focus on actually dealing with Thale's/Carpenter's corruptions more at our leisure.
Wote 16th Jan 2018, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
We're definitely going to need to see how it works, but—based on similar concepts I've seen in other places—I'd be willing to bet hugs that we can at least find a way to alter the psychic topography in a way that will make the Church of Enyo very unhappy.
Zeddy 16th Jan 2018, 6:35 AM edit delete reply
Definitely at least one cat.
pkrankow 16th Jan 2018, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
pkrankow
Yes cat. Cats even. Practical limit of 3, no need to go crazy cat lady here. (Ok, maybe a whole freaking heard 'o cats, but not in tbe same neighborhood even, spread all through the city, but only 3 near the bunker)

Pigeons, sure. See if there is a homing pigeon breeding groups in town. Might be able to buy a small flock easier than catching wild ones.

Seal an ampule of blood into a bit of jewelry, small and opaque might be good, so we have a communication path, and ask Jury to see into the book.

Cleantex? Maybe. Definately not against it.
rufiangel 16th Jan 2018, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
rufiangel
Love this update so much XD

I've been kinda wondering if Fuse should be taking combat kick pointers from Caius, our melee expert.
Macheman7 16th Jan 2018, 12:14 PM edit delete reply
Macheman7
The book probably has some connection to Nil, then.
I don't know how much detail I need to go into to make that make sense, also somebody else probably said it first.
Michelle: Fight tooth and nail for cat.

Speaking of animals, our animal buddies have seen some fucked-up shit recently- How's their mental state? When we get a chance, we should let the ravens have a 'fly in the park and do whatever' day.
Portal In Time 16th Jan 2018, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
Magic is our priority right now, though I’m coming up blank. Let the others say their ideas on how to access the book, their opinion is good too. And to be honest, I don’t think our base is ideal for a cat to live in. If we start feeding a stray and let them wander around the outside city, that would be much better - they don’t deserve to be kept in just these four level-ridden rooms. We could just keep a nice little bond with them.

If anybody has any ideas that they think are more pressing than our geoangular book, let’s hear it.

Let’s check up on Zene and Crease, too. It seems they’ve lightened up, but I hope it’s not just the level talking. Their lives are kinda being flipped upside down, yknow?
Madd 16th Jan 2018, 8:43 PM edit delete reply
Madd
Get Kitties, at least two!

I think tinfoil hats might be useless to us, we could try hard hats stuffed with metal, but I don't think telepathy is blocked by metal.

Keep looking into the magic, make sure Nil is under control and not eating Mac's mind.
Frission 16th Jan 2018, 9:19 PM edit delete reply
Frission
Maybe, maybe not, but it hasn't been explored in the comic yet and I think we should at least get the others' thoughts on the subject before tossing the idea out.
Crestlinger 17th Jan 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Kitty huh. Siamese for guard duty, tabby for spying, or go straight to the BFC and blood a cougar. Don't Think a zoo type would be inconspicous enough. Do a quick blood check on everyone to get a feel for how much level they've had and if anyone is having any sideffects. Inform Zene and Creas about syncing, a hive mind is a terrible thing to waste after all.
Memo 17th Jan 2018, 12:25 AM edit delete reply
Memo
Unless we want them to become full members of our little gang, and not just temporary keep them, we should limit what they know as much as possible.
For example should facts about the magic door stay secret.
Baron11704 17th Jan 2018, 12:03 AM edit delete reply
Either A. Marsred is implanting memorys in people's minds to get them to tap into its power, and that book is the Windows manual. Or alternately, Nil put it there and it's a book that might accidentally free it
PurpleKetchup 17th Jan 2018, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
Geez, Jane could hit them with bloodlevel, it's cleaner and has less side-effects than smoking... Keep the real stuff for emergencies or something.
Mochi 17th Jan 2018, 3:18 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
jane's level effect is actually more detrimental in the long run. it has the side effect of wearing out the adrenal glands, or becoming highly addictive due to how she imitates the effects.
Heroshima 2nd Apr 2018, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
Heroshima
ᵒʰ ᵐʸ ᵍᵒᵈ ᵈʳ ᶠᶦⁿᶜʰʰʰʰʰ