Comic 797 - Drive away

Posted on 11th Mar 2018, 11:51 PM in No Easy Way Out
Drive away

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 11th Mar 2018, 11:51 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
You level Michelle, and give her an extreme dose of painkillers. It takes her a moment to recover--to peel herself off the front of the truck, to stop sobbing, to focus. She swallows roughly, and grits her teeth.

Michelle drags Mav out from under the pickup, and shoves her into the passenger seat. She grabs the injured cultist and puts him in the back. She trudges up to the driver side, and... gently pushes your body to the middle before climbing in.

"I know you ain't dead," she says, grimacing. "We still got work to do."

You start to draw on the processing power of those back at base. You have no idea what it probably feels like for them, but it's an emergency; you force their brains to work as a sort of temporary storage, helping you divide your attention across different subjects at once.

You keep Mav's throat blocked, and focus on keeping blood from escaping her, the injured cultist, Michelle... or what would be your body.

Michelle starts to take off down the street. The truck has trouble accelerating, but after a few stutters and questionable noises, it gets there. Before she can hit top speed, another cultist comes running out of a nearby alley... the one you blooded much earlier, as he was leaving the church. He's one of yours. At a full sprint, he barely catches up before Michelle's truck really gets going, grabbing onto the back and pulling himself in.

Thale is able to move the constituent parts of a body around, and convert bodily materials into other bodily materials, like turning meat into bone. Thale has bioprinted, artificially engineered blood; it is not more powerful than yours. Thale is not more powerful than you. You should be able to do the exact same thing.

You start with the bone shard in your eye. ...With slightly disappointing results. It's not yours, not part of your body. It's a foreign element, part of someone else's. There's... probably logistical questions to be asked about that, but you don't really have the time to pontificate on them. You slowly, carefully, force the bone shard out of your eye socket. You have to be extremely cautious, monitoring the flow of blood and making sure you don't deal any damage elsewhere. The bone falls out, tumbling to the floorboard.

"Holy--" Michelle hazards a glance at your body, but quickly turns back to the road. She is going very, very fast. "I knew it! C'mon, you can do this!"

Gunshots. People step out of their doors, lean out of their windows, turn corners and emerge from alleys. They throw glass bottles, fire handguns. Michelle ducks as much as she can, and lightly nudges you lower into the seat. Mav's passed out form has already slumped over, putting her mostly out of the way of the window.

You start working on converting mass. Again, you have to be careful. Sucking too much blood through the artery walls at once could cause a circulatory collapse. Moving too much fat from one location could leave a sudden cavity in your body. By repairing yourself this way, you don't run the risk of drawing too much material, like you would externalizing the red--but it's still not to be taken lightly, or rushed into.

You remember that Dr. Finch left the extra ear in your chest area. You carefully start to convert it into other materials. You have to work slowly, but you can move it safely through the body by configuring it in and out of states--turning it into bone to pass it through more bone, for instance. The one bone briefly becomes more dense, but the rest of the body is mostly unaffected. It becomes easier once you can get it to your veins, since you can then steadily turn it into blood cells and plasma and let it travel naturally up to your brain.

You can smell the burning rubber. One of the tires has been shot, but Michelle keeps pushing it. Both windows are broken, in addition to the windshield. At some point she tossed a spare gun to the cultist in the back, who is trying--poorly--to return fire. She just has to make it to the middle tiers, as Thale wouldn't risk exposing himself waging a war like this up there.

You feed material from your extra ear to fill in what you lost from the bone shard. It's fortunate that you have access to Dr. Finch's mind--otherwise, the human brain would be a terrible learning experience for self repair. You start to put your brain back together as well as you can, and as much as you need for it to function.

Michelle clears the technical line between the lower and middle tiers... but by this point, lower tier police have taken up pursuit. They're bolder in their chase, firing from the passenger sides of their vehicles in clear view of the public. They may have more freedom to chase her without looking suspicious, but they still have a limit; if they push too far past their jurisdiction, it'll raise questions. The pickup is smoking, and it's an absolute miracle it hasn't veered off road or flipped over with a messed up tire. The police vehicles can, in theory, outrun her... but the cops, under Thale's control, have some difficulty outgunning her. Each time they draw near to ram her, Michelle leans out, scaring them back with a few well placed shots.

You stumble

a bit

toward the end.

Putting the brain back together.

The exact configuration. The electrical signals. With the aid of a cleantex-like effect, you would be perfectly capable of remembering the exact layout of your brain...

...with that brain. The damaged one. That's where the memories are located.

But you know this as you, not the brain. You can cleantex the brain, but not... you? The blood? Should you have any memory issues as the blood? Is it purely perception? Why would

you

she

you'll figure it out later. You feel yourself slipping--the more you think about it, the harder it becomes to think about it, the less you want to think and for a moment, for just an instant... you forgot what you were even trying to do.

You've been the blood too long, you suspect.

You patch up your body's brain and head enough to keep her living of her own volition, skimping on anything that can wait. Priorities. Her blood pumps, her brain works, she breathes without your help. You stop focusing on her and start working on the others. Michelle's wounds aren't as complex, but she has a number of them, and they're fairly deep. You don't need to fill in the entire wound, though--just patch it up enough to stabilize everything. The body's normal processes can take care of the rest.

Michelle makes some... confused noises as you convert plasma, the faintest hints of fat, and escaping sweat into materials to seal her wounds and stop her bleeding. Once she's taken care of, you can take your mind off of keeping her from bleeding out.

You move on, to Mav, then the injured cultist. You get them stabilized. Mav is a little more time consuming, as you have to force the bone shards out of her body, and her throat is cut up pretty badly. You have to be careful about it, but... you end up converting a significant part of her tonsils into other materials to get her stabilized and safe.

Once you're sure everyone's safe, you attempt to become... uh... you, again.

It's something of a fight to get back into her brain. It feels strange, considering it now--you're not even sure how you backed... out of it, let alone how to get back in. It's a mental space, like a daydream. It's not really you, it's not real, it's just... pretending to be that small.

No.

You push harder.

The first few breaths are rough. You almost forget to take them. The adjustment from not really seeing to very specifically seeing... out of one eye feels extremely uncomfortable. Taste. Sound. It all hits you like a series of freight trains. Your first movement is your fingertips, then the rest of it starts to follow.

It takes a minute or two for it dawn on you that you're outside now. You can feel yourself consciously, physically pushing your eyes to look at Michelle, who meets your gaze. She smiles weakly.

"You back? The others are comin'. Truck blew up and I had to drag y'all out. One o' the cultists made a crazy ass last stand against the low tier cops. Z's mom's alive but her voice's messed up."

You force your gaze to the side a bit further. Mav gives an exhausted wave. The injured cultist from earlier gives a nod. You're all sitting down in an alley.

You wait there until a purple hummer pulls up. Fuse helps everyone load in. It takes you several tries to walk properly, but eventually, you all take off. After almost a minute of driving in silence, Fuse looks at you, Mav, Michelle, and then the cultist, cycling his attention via the rear view mirror before finally asking...

"So, uh, what the hell HAPPENED down there?"

Comments:

Leafia_Barrett 12th Mar 2018, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
Tell Fuse "A lot happened. Most of it bad, some of it good, and one instance of 'Thale just handed me my most powerful tool yet'."

Wait until we're back home and then hug literally everybody. Michelle, Fuse, Mav, the cultist, Red, everybody.

We need to fix the rest of our brain later, or at least attempt to.
Eternity 12th Mar 2018, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Seconded
Dromite 12th Mar 2018, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Thirded
Akasha 12th Mar 2018, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
Akasha
The short of it: a lot of goddamn crazy-ass bullshit happened.

Though, as amusing as it'd be to phrase it like that, I'm going to imagine Fuse is going to want a bit more info. So, let's try and give him a condensed explanation that he can, like... comprehend proper-like.

That aside, good fuckin' lord, that was a hectic shitshow and I am not happy about the loss of the pickup. That thing served as pretty damned well, so it's kind of a shame to see it go. Regardless, there's... certainly a lot to take in. And in all honesty? I'm glad we seem to have managed to transition from Jane to Blood to Jane again without... too much trouble, though it's clear that we need to get better at that so as to minimize difficulty in case we need to deal with more ridiculous bullshit again, because fucking hell.
Mochi 12th Mar 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
first, apologize to michelle about her truck getting trashed. then tell fuse that it was... a lot, and we'll do our best to explain maybe later once we're sure we're not being followed and are safely back at base. also, inform zene and crease that mav is more or less fine. we can work on further fixing up what's damaged later, as we should still have some biopaste left. and uh... i guess we kind of have to deal with our new cultist buddy. he probably has a name to go with that gunshot wound.
Wote 12th Mar 2018, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
We should probably also find out the names of the other cultists, if only so we can pay our respects. Especially to Mr. "I'll Hold Them Off!"
Twyll 12th Mar 2018, 4:45 PM edit delete reply
I agree with Wote; we need to set up a little memorial or something at this point, I think. Maybe on Mars, with the plant guy's grave.
UndeadDreamer 12th Mar 2018, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Thale exploded someone and we got a bone shard in the brain. Still need to finish fixing that. Needed to borrow some brains to fix everyone using spare materials from our bodies. We just learned that we can do a thing.
Portal In Time 12th Mar 2018, 1:22 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
Words cannot describe how relieved I am. I was seriously worried for a good two hours, I thought our Janey would never be herself again.

We need to hug everybody. Every-single-body. Even Mom's Red. Especially Willard, when he inevitably makes his way back up to our door. We need this.

I'd.. Really like a personal conversation with Michelle, too. I don't know what of, but it feels like it's the right time.
PurpleKetchup 12th Mar 2018, 1:30 AM edit delete reply
RIP Lone Cultist. You will not be forgotten.

I hope you still have a tank full of ice cream because some feels need fixing right now. This is going to be a long night.
Swagner 12th Mar 2018, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
Swagner
We ought to learn the surviving cultist's name.

Also, we ought to work on The Blood/Red's memory: this probably won't be the last time we have to pull ourselves together, unfortunately, and so it would be a good idea to know how to fix a brain without Finch's assistance (who knows, he might need patching up one day).
Twyll 12th Mar 2018, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
Have Dr. Finch start up the ol' MS-DOS bioprinter's boot process and get prepped to... do a lot of things.

Yes, we should do our best to explain things; hopefully we remember how to speak. Having a brain injury and then willing our brain back into existence and ourselves back into our brain might lead to some aphasia.

Thank you for your sacrifice, badass cultist ;_;
skybirds15 12th Mar 2018, 2:44 AM edit delete reply
'Adventures in bone shrapnel happened, Fuse. Also I may have done brain surgery again. Also I may have done brain surgery again. I might have skipped a couple things in my brain. Also the eye, again.'

If the eye thing happens again we need to through a metal or bone or something plate over our eye.
skybirds15 12th Mar 2018, 2:45 AM edit delete reply
Also she didn't say if crazy cultist died. Also wheres the rest of 'em?
Mochi 12th Mar 2018, 3:30 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
there were only five. two died in the loading dock. one escaped with suit man and made a last stand against the cops. one exploded. the last one is with us.
Memo 12th Mar 2018, 3:51 AM edit delete reply
Memo
Did last stand cultist die?
Mochi 12th Mar 2018, 3:58 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
i would assume so, that's generally what "last stand" implies. "crazy ass last stand" even more so.
Guest 12th Mar 2018, 3:12 AM edit delete reply
With this newly learned technique it probably wouldn't take very much to get Caius's skull back together faster than letting it heal naturally.
Mochi 12th Mar 2018, 3:32 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
you have a good point!
Blue_Elite 12th Mar 2018, 3:13 AM edit delete reply
For now tell Fuse it's a long story and try to rest. If Dr. Finch hasn't been informed already, tell him he needs to prep for surgery.

If not too mentally tired, check on Edgar the church raven and see if we're not already too late to try and track Carpenter's truck. Otherwise, again, just rest.

Things we'll need to eventually do (in no particular order):
Tell the story to the others.
Ask the cultist/Mav if they have any info on Thale, his operation, and his "magic."
Have an introspection with Red and see if what we pulled off was essentially her side of the whole eldritch personality thing we've got going on.
Finish any remaining healing that needs to be done (whatever Dr. Finch can't patch up like our brain; which we can use the mind-copy-sync technique to fill in things "forgotten" from brain damage).
Ice cream and hugs, lots of them (also Mocha and Willard deserve a treat).
EDIT: Also apologize to everybody for the sudden brain-cloud-network thing and especially to Michelle for pretty much everything that happened really. :\
Memo 12th Mar 2018, 3:50 AM edit delete reply
Memo
I agree with this
Twyll 12th Mar 2018, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
Ah good plan on following the van if we can, yeah. Also, we should do our very best to make sure we're not being followed.
Anotherdamntimeclone 12th Mar 2018, 7:36 AM edit delete reply
Ok so out of everything that happened what im thinking about is if the cultist is gonna become part of our crew, die, or leave with crease, mav, and zene.
Dasno 12th Mar 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
Try no to move as we have probably burnt through all of our energy and don’t want to pass out again maybe have Michelle carry us?
Twyll 12th Mar 2018, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
Michelle probably needs carrying herself XD we should maybe have Caius meet us outside to help carry everyone into the bunker.
Madd 12th Mar 2018, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
Madd
Okay get some food to eat, talk to Finch and finish fixing our brain.
Nick N. 12th Mar 2018, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
Nick N.
I think we should rest and hug everyone.
Azith 12th Mar 2018, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
That went better than it had ANY right to, actually.
Dromite 12th Mar 2018, 3:45 PM edit delete reply
Thirded