Comic 800 - Talk about Pierce

Posted on 13th Mar 2018, 1:29 AM in No Easy Way Out
Talk about Pierce

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 13th Mar 2018, 1:29 AM edit delete
Morgenstern
Once you get Michelle patched up a little better, you go to check on Pierce, as well.

...With a small stop to check on Edison's canister. It is, thankfully, as secure as it was when you last saw it.

You give Pierce a painkiller effect, and start working on getting the bullet out of his back. You ask him what kind of skills he has, and if he wants to join your group in fighting Thale.

"I am well read," he says. "It is hard to acquire literature in the lower tiers, but I take what I can get. I..." He stops, considering it with a tense expression. "I have made poor choices lately, especially with regard to joining alliances and getting in over my head. I had friends... brothers that died today in rapid succession. I thought I was prepared for it, ready for all the possibilities and I... I was not. Even what we summoned, or almost summoned, that... I could feel my heart in my chest."

Pierce bows his head, staring at the floor for a moment in silence. "I will answer any questions you have. I will assist you if I can. I owe you that much. ...But this, I suspect, is not my fight, nor am I prepared to fight it."

"If y'don't stick with us," Caius says, "Thale and his goons'll be after your ass. Ya won't be safe in this city--you get that, right? We're already lookin' for a way to get folks out, as far from here as possible, if that's what you want but..."

Caius trails off. Michelle picks up where he left off. "Those're your options," she says. "We can try to protect you if you're with us, but Thale ain't gonna let you live if you stay in the city by yourself."

Pierce nods. "I understand. That church was what I had left. When you find a way out of the city... I will take it."

You finish fishing the bullet out, and start mending the wound. You ask Pierce about where the cult picked up magic in the first place--and if he's heard of a book called Geoangular Control.

"Prophet had pages," Pierce states, "of a book. I do not think it was that one, though--this spoke specifically of the First Womb, a goddess of life and death that comes and goes with a cosmic cycle. There were a few spells among those pages, but they were all incredibly dangerous. A few among us were able to reverse engineer the rituals, however, and combine them with more traditional tradesman magic to work out... relatively safer spells."

"Tradesman magic," Fuse mumbles, before speaking louder. "What's that about?"

"The tradesmen are barterers," Pierce says, "brokering deals between places in time and space. Most magic is volatile, because you are prying power from greater beings--some who may be apathetic to your existence, others who are actively malicious. The tradesmen are safer to work with, as they want to be worked with. Their rituals have more leeway, the symbols more room for error. Magic that invokes the tradesmen has... great cost, however. There is always a trade involved. You will get what you want, but nothing is free. We tried to use them as a halfway point between us and the fractures of the First Womb."

You finish patching up Pierce. You're curious about some of the things he mentioned, and there's likely a few things you could learn once you have a clearer head. For now, though, you feel the need to speak with Michelle more privately about what all has transpired.

You send a mental note to Dr. Finch that, when he checks Pierce, he should probably check for internal ritual markings--to make sure Pierce isn't an unwitting weapon waiting to happen.

While Fuse and Caius continue conversing with Pierce, you gently take Michelle aside, asking to talk with her in private. The two of you head to the plant-filled hallway on the other side of the base.

"What's up?," Michelle asks. "What'd you wanna talk about...?"

Comments:

lil Joshu 13th Mar 2018, 2:17 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I suspect there's going to be a date thing happening.
FlockPack 13th Mar 2018, 2:26 AM edit delete reply
FlockPack
Okay, first, we say "the roof", to try and get a smile out of her before bringing on the serious topics. She isn't just a tube cop. She is our best friend. Tell her that you were happy she had so much faith in you, even as you had your brain impaled. Make a side note about being a pirate again to try and get another smile, before thanking her for getting everyone out of there. Tell her how proud you are for her focusing on everyone's safety, and not getting emotional over your body. Then. Kiss. Her.

Then Caius should come in and make some sort of joke about tube cops and gay genes, just cuz.
Leafia_Barrett 13th Mar 2018, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
As much as I'm a fan of yuri ships, I dunno if this is the time or place for a kiss, and also I don't know that any of us have given any thought to Jane's or Michelle's sexuality. Caius chiming in like that would be pretty funny, but... I dunno, I guess I'll let my vote for this be decided by everyone else. This would either be the best time or the worst time for a confession like that... I really just don't know.

EDIT: The point was brought up that what amounts to hitting on her while she's traumatized is probably a bad idea. Change my vote to no.
Memo 13th Mar 2018, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
Memo
Personally I am very much against making a move on Michelle.
Setting aside the possible risc to our friendship, we are fighting a war. A few hours ago she witnessed us with an impaled brain.
She was wounded as well.
Who knows what will happen tomorrow. Now is not the time.
There is also the question of whether or not her will is entirely her own.
Does she respond to us because she wants to, or because we want her to.
Swagner 13th Mar 2018, 9:35 AM edit delete reply
Swagner
Yeah, while it's definitely worth telling her we appreciate her, now's not a great time for romance.
the white 13th Mar 2018, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
I, for one, approve of this plan.
BunnyMuffin 13th Mar 2018, 2:29 AM edit delete reply
Ask her how she’s really feeling. Definetly assure her that we don’t just think of her as a “tube cop” or a tool, we see her as a person. A human being that we love and appreciate more than anything <3
Leafia_Barrett 13th Mar 2018, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Leafia_Barrett
I second telling her how much we appreciate her and reaffirming that she is most definitely so much more than a tube cop. I don't think anybody can dispute that after all they've gone through together, Michelle is definitely Jane's closest friend.

I feel like it would also be prudent to ask if she's okay. Like, actually okay. It's easy to handwave that question with a "yeah, I'm fine, don't worry about it" sort of answer, especially with Michelle's circumstances prior to meeting Jane, but there has been some really serious fuckshit going on lately. We have a moment of respite right now; we don't know when we'll have that again; this talk needs to happen now, while we have the chance.

Michelle just witnessed a man be forced to rot at an exponential rate, shoot a bone javelin straight through her body, and then fucking explode. She just saw her best friend have a piece of bone go straight through her eye and into her brain, which would have been lethal for anybody but Jane, and lethal for Jane if she hadn't literally just learned how to fix it. She had to deal with a hostage situation that went all sorts of wrong, deal with a giant mech trying to gun everybody down. The last several weeks have been nearly a constant endless stream of either eldritch horrors or traditional danger. It's a miracle the entire group hasn't just had a collective breakdown after this point, which speaks leagues for everybody's willpower. At the end of the day, though, they're still human. Even Jane, with all the weirdness going on with her, is still human. People can only take so much stress and trauma before it just becomes too much, and bottling it up just makes it worse. Hell, if there's anything we need to get off our chest after all this, this might be the time; Jane's had it the worst of the group, and that's saying a lot. I'd have collapsed into a sobbing wreck of a person long ago; the number of times Jane's allowed herself to cry can be counted on one hand, I think.
Memo 13th Mar 2018, 7:34 AM edit delete reply
Memo
This! I agree so much with all of this!
Wote 13th Mar 2018, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
This is such a bad time for anything remotely romantic. I have no clue what else we'd need to talk to her about aside from the whole "how are you holding up after I learned I could just fix your body in the middle of a firefight" thing, though.

... Actually, now that I think about it, let's talk to her about that.
Wote 13th Mar 2018, 8:09 AM edit delete reply
Actually, I can think of one other thing we need to talk about sooner or later: Whether or not a tactical retreat from the City is in order. Thale's proving a bigger and bigger threat from just about every conceivable angle, and if we're going to stop him from going full Fullmetal Alchemist on everyone, we're gonna need a plan.

... Yes, I'm saying we go hunt down Geoangular Control. I will die on this hill and none of you can stop me. :P
Memo 13th Mar 2018, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
Memo
We need to learn more about the first womb, the cycle and the tradesmen.
After our talk with Michelle, and possibly after some much needed rest, we should cleantex Pierce, and have him tell us and Finch everything he remembers.
Wote 13th Mar 2018, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Seconding this, too. If nothing else, we've learned a lot about knowledge gaps in the past few hours, and not just the ones resulting from having holes stabbed into Jane's brain. We need to start closing them.

... The gaps I mean. I assume we've already fixed the brain-holes.
Twyll 13th Mar 2018, 3:32 PM edit delete reply
We should also have Fuse start looking up the tradesmen using his future-Google-fu and darknet surfing skills.
Nayru9572 13th Mar 2018, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
I also think doing anything romantic would be a bad idea, not in the least because of all the trauma everyone literally just went through.
There's also the meta matter that not every fan might ship them, the problems in a romantic relationship in which a huge group of people can control the two persons involved, how much worse it'd make an event like what happened with Prophet...
For now at least, let's keep the romance for if MM ever gives us some type of 'epilogue' in which we can all happily argue over which ship is best, or just in the fanworks.
Nayru9572 13th Mar 2018, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Also, once this talk with Michelle's done we need to talk to everyone. Not necessarily for information, but to just see how they're holding up. We just used everyone's brain for something, which must've been weird (and probably synched a lot). Crease and Zene have only just been reunited with Mav, who went through some sh*t herself. Pierce... Well, he's probably fine for the moment, we already talked to him. Let's also check in with everyone else we've blooded, like Mac (to tell him what just happened since he probably felt it as well) and if it affected our blooded animals.
After that we can also talk with our Red for a moment, and MomRed to see what it knows about all those fancy new terms Pierce brought up.
Portal In Time 13th Mar 2018, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I guess I have to agree with everybody else here, this is a really inconvenient time for anything romantic. But she is our friend, and she's been through a lot. She cares about us, and just saw us push bone shrapnel out of our brain no more than 20 minutes ago. She deserves something more than a brushed-aside apology, because she really has done a lot for us.

Also, let's not call these yuri ships, yeah? It's kinda gross, it's not a fetish.
Macheman7 13th Mar 2018, 9:24 AM edit delete reply
Macheman7
When I suggested we talked to Michelle, I hadn't really thought it out that much. I figured the community had some plans or another.
In keeping with am human, do human things and say human things, start out with "uhhhhhhh" because only now realize that you hadn't thought out AT ALL what you wanted to talk about, because maybe you had some things you had thought about saying but now you're not sure if you want to say them and various reasons for not saying things keep showing up, if indeed there were things you wanted to say.

Then just kinda start spewing all the things you've been thinking of saying for a long time because this has been the absolute worst day and you are tired and exhausted and wounded and then probably start to freak out about it.

Alternatively, quickly make a hurried excuse and run away.
Macheman7 13th Mar 2018, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
Macheman7
I'm replying because this doesn't really fit with the thought stream of my first post, but also if there's any romance feelings that get spewed, maybe make sure The Red/The Blood isn't doing something funky that would force Michelle to think about us in any certain way because we might feel a certain way about her, because we already know it removes hostility, basically innately, toward us.

(It would be really gross, weird, and bad if The Blood basically served as a dating simulator catalyst and all the people we injected with it basically fell in love with us over time because of it, anyhow.)
Mochi 13th Mar 2018, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
Mochi
no smooching. now is not the time for that. jane is missing an eye (again) and just forcefully rebooted herself from a fatal brain trauma. michelle just fought through an army after watching her best friend basically die. they're both exhausted and covered in blood. let's just... make sure she's okay. that was... a lot.
Blue_Elite 13th Mar 2018, 11:19 AM edit delete reply
I've got something I've been wanting to discuss with Michelle: She has had that face scar for over a month. That itself isn't bad, but what is is that when everyone else was getting their skin replaced, she didn't. I'm VERY concerned she might not be considering herself, "worth the effort," or otherwise expendable.
This is the sorta thing that'd definitely be worth talking to her in private about. We really need to know if she's potentially going to throw her life away for us or if we can trust that, in a worst-case scenario where we're unsaveable, she won't simply let herself be killed along with us or unnecessarily take a bullet for us that's fatal to her but shrug-off-able to us.
pkrankow 13th Mar 2018, 12:26 PM edit delete reply
pkrankow
It would take just a little time with our new found skills to dissapear the scars.