Comic 926 - Agree to a few trades

Posted on 12th Apr 2018, 12:43 AM in Shipping Off to Southden
Agree to a few trades

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

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 12th Apr 2018, 12:43 AM edit delete
You agree to trade one flower. In exchange, the tradesmen will tell you if there are any parts of Lasker outside Bunker B.

There's a pause, presumably as they... teleport... a flower away.

"Yes," they say simply. "Another piece of him is being housed elsewhere."

You agree to trade 25% of your blood. In exchange, the tradesmen will tell you how to prevent what Thale is doing with the tunnels.

There is a pause. You definitely know what the pause is for this time. Your heart rate increases, and you suddenly feel weak, as a quarter of the blood leaves your body.

"To completely stop his plans for the tunnels, cut off his access to bioprinters. You would need to sever his control over the printers normally spread across the city, and shut down his building of additional bioprinters. The easiest way to accomplish this is to deal with Thale's hackers and Douglas Gargan, respectively. If you cannot accomplish this, you can still weaken the plan by blocking the tunnels off at key points. This would limit the results of his plan."

In exchange for finding out if anyone else has asked about you (outside of the cult), you tell the tradesmen that you learned this ritual from yourself, in a place you shouldn't be.

"We can confirm," they say, "that we have been asked questions about you from outside that cult."

You start to ask about their relationship with Nil, but you are cut off.

"Strictly to advertise a few of the other rituals that utilize our services, we would like to confirm that we are familiar with a number of other beings of great power. We are not always especially fond of them, nor do we necessarily condone their behaviors and agenda, but dealing with them allows ritual casters to utilize the power of said beings without having to meet them personally. We communicate with objectionable gods so that you may not have to."

You ask if Edison is redeemable within a standard human lifetime.

"Redemption is a concept that we understand poorly. We apologize, we cannot answer this question to your satisfaction. Redemption, much like emotional attachment, is something that humans can produce that many other species cannot. There is not as much of a market for redemption, but we are confident that if you seek it for yourself or others, you should be able to find it."

You ask how many Zone Fifty bunkers there are in total, if there's a master list of them, and if so, where the list could be found.

"We can provide this information in exchange for your hair color. You will not be able to dye it brunette again for a full year."

You ask what lies at the end of the railway on Mars.

"We cannot effectively price a question that you already have the answer to."

You ask if tinfoil hats actually could function as a defense against the Many's control.

"We can answer this question in exchange for your violet, civilian-brand humvee."

You ask if it's safe to open the metal box you're currently keeping on Mars.

"In the interest of our own business, we will assure you for free that it is not."

You ask about Thale's current location.

There is a pause.

"Which Thale?"

Oh, right. Clones. The... main... Patton Thale? With the most bioprinted control blood?

"To reiterate, we cannot effectively price a question that you already have the answer to."


Avery-Cross 12th Apr 2018, 1:27 AM edit delete reply
i think we can give up being brunette no problem =w=
T41 12th Apr 2018, 1:32 AM edit delete reply
Definitely yes to the hair thing, it never worked all that well as a disguise to begin with and I've been looking for an excuse to go blonde again.
Twyll 12th Apr 2018, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
I suggested strawberry blonde as an alternative hair color in the discord, but others have mentioned that platinum blonde would also work. We can definitely ditch the brunette though.

As for the Humvee, well, they didn't stipulate on this one that we can't get another one, so :P Guess we can just call Ges up and tell her that we traded our old Hummer to a group of interuniversal tradesdemons, and could we maybe get another one pretty please? <3 Perhaps we ought to ask that *before* agreeing to the trade, though XD and make sure we've taken all belongings out of it and such.

Also, regarding "there's not much of a market for redemption," guess we'll just have to start building up that market then! Since we're not gonna be a goddess of devouring worlds, we need to start figuring out what we *will* be a goddess of, and "hugs, cats, and redemption" sounds very Jane.
Tych 12th Apr 2018, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
all hail Jane the Eldritch Blood Goddess of Hugs, Cats, and Redemption
undeadDreamer 12th Apr 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
Trade hair colour, dye it strawberry blonde after.
psychoshen 12th Apr 2018, 1:48 AM edit delete reply
I'm ok with the hair and humvee deal, but we should definitely work out more transportation before we trade our SUV away. There's a chance that the answer for tinfoil hats is no. I think we should ask what will be an effective defense against the Many, so we can pick which price seems more reasonable.
Warp 12th Apr 2018, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
Guys, the Tradesmen already explicitly stated that they like us and want to give us infirmation for free, but IF, AND ONLY IF, WE PHRASE SOMETHING AS A QUESTION, they must put a price on it.

So lets try turning this into a trading of statements.

example: "Do you want a hug?" can be rephrased into "I want to give you a hug", they will reply to that with clarifications telling us hiw to hug them.

example: "How do i learn additional blood powers" can be rephrased as "I have learned all of Thale's tricks with the blood" and they will correct us with clarifications.

Also! We need to strike up a conversation of small talk without questions. Use assumptions instead! "How's the weather" csn be "the weather looks nice today" and "Do you want to talk and relax" can be said as "You seem to enjoy this conversation, i am glad to talk with you, it is quite relaxing" thus letting them have nore assumed facts to bounce words off of in response.

One More Thing!
Our survival is good for ALL business! If we "stretch thin and drink derp" due to dying or losing control otherwise, we (or lasker, or Thale) will EAT all of their customers in a great universal reset of all life!
Guest 12th Apr 2018, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
While they've given us some freebies related to questions we asked without technical answering, actually trying to manipulate the tradesmen into giving us something for nothing might be a violation of their ToU.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 2:47 AM edit delete reply
Ya, against gaming the system. They have been very generous thus far. I'd rather not risk getting on their bad side and maybe start getting worse deals or for them to start being less forthcoming with additional info.
Swagner 12th Apr 2018, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, that feels like a terms of service violation.
Archon 12th Apr 2018, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Gaming the system is acceptable, just have to be very, very picky about intentionally doing it.
As long as they end with a net profit as a result of our actions, it should be fine.
Akasha 12th Apr 2018, 2:11 AM edit delete reply
Makes sense that we'd need to knock over Gargan and deal with the hackers, though the bit about blocking off the tunnels to limit it also makes good sense.

As for the prices they're askin'...

I'm perfectly fine with Jane losing the ability to dye her hair brunette for the next while. Besides, I was thinking of going strawberry blonde next, given some earlier discussion.

I'm a bit iffier on the hummer, though, but that's mainly because I'm not sure if we'll be able to, y'know. Easily pick up another one? So that's another thinker, imo.

Good to know that the metal box is indeed unsafe, at least.

Only other question I can think of is, like... Where the location of Howler and the other hacker goons Thale has under his thumb are.
Swagner 12th Apr 2018, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
Ostensibly, Genesai and Mac are still loaded, we could probably get them to send us another Humvee. I say go for it.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
There's no hurry here. Let's change that, "Probably," to a, "Definitely," before giving the Humvee away.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 3:08 AM edit delete reply
Definitely give up the hair color. It was supposed to be a disguise which at this point, is effectively useless now. We needed to dye our hair a new color anyway.

Definitely wait on the humvee question. That'd leave us with one damaged car and a motorcycle in another part of the world for transportation. Also, as has been mentioned, it might be better to ask for a suggestion for something that would work rather than risk getting a flat, "no" answer that doesn't help any.

I also just want to note we shouldn't get too carried away going on a shopping spree. At this point, we've got our next steps for what to do in mind: try to fix Faraday and investigate Douglas Gargan (who we might be able to trace back to the hackers).

Also, don't forget once we're done with this to ask Dr. Finch to fire-up the bioprinter so he can give us a bioprinted-blood transfusion. It's not ideal, but it's better than running on only 75%.
Also if Elizabeth is any indication, we COULD try using an IV transfusion and convert the bio-blood into healthy blood like we did for her (just have it be injected slowly so we can convert it as it enters our bloodstream). Then have ice cream if that works.
pkrankow 12th Apr 2018, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
Drink juice and get a burger with broccoli. We are fine as long as we rehydrate.
Frission 12th Apr 2018, 5:49 AM edit delete reply
Let's not give up the Hummer. Is nice hummer. D: They s'pensive. Kinda something not to do without conferring with our friends first, for sure! D:

I would like to ask the tradesmen this: Instead of buying information from them, can we sell information to them? Like, is there information they would like from us and would they be able to offer us something in reward for that? Most information brokers buy as well as sell, after all.

I do like the idea of 'trading statements' as well. We should try that too. Just a few innocent ones to test the waters. After all, they've already given us rather valuable information by admittedly bending their own rules (but not outright saying they're doing such).

After that, blue's right; we shouldn't go crazy here on our first visit. Let's try what we've decided to do here and then probably wrap it up after the next page.
chaosblitz 12th Apr 2018, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
I agree with all of this, especially the bit about wrapping this up. We know how it works now, so we can confer with the others and figure out which questions we need to ask, and which aren't actually needed.
Ablaze 12th Apr 2018, 6:40 AM edit delete reply
How much time do we have to disable the printers before things become irreversible
Ablaze 12th Apr 2018, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
So i wonder what would happen if we went into the error room with the rat and minus an eye. Perhaps we could talk to a version of ourself that did do the trades, giving us a hack around the expensive questions.
lil Joshu 12th Apr 2018, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
They already know that's a thing we can do now, so...

... although I did notice that after they got that info, their prices did drop significantly.
Guest 12th Apr 2018, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
It may be expensive, but you might learn by asking: Is there some critical event imminent that you need to know about to address, e.g. the point of no return on shutting down those tunnels or some hostile action Thale has planned you don't know about?
Archon 12th Apr 2018, 7:42 AM edit delete reply
I'm curious. A while ago I was wondering whether we should embrace the alien aspect, or the human.
While not set in stone, our recent actions suggest a heavy inclination towards the latter.
So, two questions.
What would have happened had we decided to embrace the alien heritage, and become a (benevolent) blood goddess?
Would it be possible to arrange a meeting with the theoretical Jane that chose that path?
Cuttlefish 12th Apr 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
These might be dangerous questions to ask the Tradesmen. I am assuming that they share a similar point of view as the library re:not wanting the end to existence. If we give them reason to believe we are even a little curious about going full goddess, their helpful demeanour may change.
fellow 12th Apr 2018, 8:29 AM edit delete reply
I don't think there is such a thing as a benevolent blood goddess. They get stretchy and then they slurp up worlds like soda pops. Not a lot of benevolent interpetation to that.

Maybe knowing what would happen to the mind specifically would be helpful if we have to rely on being the red for a while, though. Helps watch for bad signs.
Archon 12th Apr 2018, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
Bit of clarification on my part.
We wouldn't be asking because we wish to go down that path, but to try and understand from the Jane that did. Learn from her mistakes, her regrets.
By benevolent blood goddess, I meant a Jane that retained her humanity in spirit, though not in form. Effectively becoming a kind of monstrous guardian for humanity, protecting it against those who wish it ill.

Wouldn't be much merit in meeting the malevolent blood goddess version. Well, yet anyways. Facing that one has its time and place, neither of which are in the foreseeable future.
fellow 12th Apr 2018, 10:15 AM edit delete reply
I don't know if you can go blood goddess without going malevolent. A blood goddess might also inadvertedly usurp jane on account of being larger and having more blood than her.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 3:26 PM edit delete reply
Pretty much what fellow said. Red pointed out our human brain is the reason we can let emotion override logic and avoid just drinking this world and be done with it rather than go through all this trouble and struggle.

The un-Janes we've met so far have likely helped us because of who we are. If WE ran across an alternate Jane that needed help, WE'd totally help them.
If we met a Jane that gave in physically to the eldritch side, it might be insane or have a broken logic and either attack us and/or decide to drink our world.
So if we're going to deal with an un-Jane that came close to that as a learning experience, we'd want it to still be physically human.
Guest 12th Apr 2018, 4:07 PM edit delete reply
Assuming I'm understanding Finch's comment on our brain, wouldn't that be the case only because we believed it to be so?
Wouldn't that then be a liability, the risk of losing a bit of our humanity each time we heal ourselves?
Rather dangerous when we could instead attempt to distance the whole concept of humanity from being a human.
Cuttlefish 12th Apr 2018, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
One vote yes for hair deal, no for Humvee deal.

So, goals - break into more bunkers, and kill/obtain the hackers. Blooding the latter may help with the former. Honestly, at this stage, the ethics of blooding someone who is already a thrall to Thale is not too troubling.

- where are the hackers housed?
- (if too expensive) which of our contacts would be the best means to discover where the hackers are? Jury, Lydia, Mac, Fuse etc?
- who are the mystery owners of the remaining property in Ghosttown?
Memo 12th Apr 2018, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
Yea to going strawberry. No to loosing the car.
We might do it later, but right now, it is the price to a yes/no question.
Maybe instead ask how to block the manys mind control.

Also worth considering is how long we are there. Is time progressing normal here?
fellow 12th Apr 2018, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
Doesn't Jane's ID for the dome have her hair color on it? We may need a new ID if we trade the hair color away.

If this trade is done we should comfirm that dying it some other color won't break the deal. We don't want to be a bad costumer.

It's probably gonna be expensive, but let's ask about the location of the hackers. Or perhaps where we could learn the location of the hackers.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 3:32 PM edit delete reply
I wouldn't worry too much about the ID. Women IRL dye their hair AND change their hairstyles all the time so that what's on their ID (which does not get renewed for years, possibly not even updated even longer) doesn't match their current look. As long as our face resembles the ID that should be good enough.
Also, "You will not be able to dye it brunette again for a full year," is pretty explicit. That even explains they're talking about our current hair color, not our natural blond. As long as we don't dye our hair brunette in under a year we're good with any other changes, color or style, we make to our hair.
Eternity 12th Apr 2018, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
I am also on board with the hair color trade, and talking the hummer trade over with everyone else.

If another piece of Lasker is elsewhere, maybe we could see about the price of finding out where...?
Guest 12th Apr 2018, 8:49 AM edit delete reply

I was wondering. What’s the high-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

... Heh.
Madd 12th Apr 2018, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
We'll give up our hair color, and not the hummer.

Ask where Thale's hackers are?

Ask where Howler is?

Ask if who owns Ilworth.
Leafia_Barrett 12th Apr 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
Answer 1 (Lasker): Ask for clarity, if allowed - a singular piece? Like, we have all but that one piece at Bunker B already?
Answer 2 (Tunnels): Alright.
Answer 3 (Questions): Okay, so there is definitely someone asking questions about us. Whether it's Thale-related or not remains to be seen, but we know that our secrets are not necessarily as secret as we would like.
Question 1 (Nil): Gotcha. Chances are high that we won't be using most of those services, but it's good to know.
Question 2 (Edison): N/A
Question 3 (Z50): Accept the deal, and I suggest strawberry blonde for a replacement.
Question 4 (Mars): So a Bad. Gotcha.
Question 5 (Hats): Uhhhh... yeah, let's not. Decline the deal - the hummer is far too useful of a vehicle.
Question 6 (Box): Oh. Well okay then.
Question 7 (Thale): So he's still at the known address.

Ask about the price of:
a) The locations of Thale's hackers
b) Where Howler is
c) If Howler is in the low tiers of the city
d) If any of Thale's hackers in the low tiers of the city
We can decide which one we want to pay for (if any) once we have the prices. I assume these are going to be expensive, though. If asking multiple questions in that manner would be taken poorly (like we're trying to cheat them), then apologize and simply ask question d.

If the multi-question format is acceptable, then also ask:
a) How many of the hackers are currently oversynced by Thale
b) Whether any of the hackers haven't been oversynced yet
c) Whether we can free the hackers from Thale's direct control alive (oversynced or not)
d) Whether we can free any of the hackers from Thale's direct control alive (oversynced or not)
Again, if the multi-question thing won't fly, then just ask question d.

One other question: Was Thale involved with our mother's death?
PurpleKetchup 12th Apr 2018, 2:02 PM edit delete reply
I see everyone already covered the essentials, so I'll jump out of the beaten path - I'd like to go the extra mile, since they're so nice, and give them some info they'd value for free on top of our payment.
The problem is, they're still information brokers, so they could sell it to someone else in touch with them.

So it would have to be something mysterious enough they don't know about (stuff about the red, maybe), yet unimportant enough it wouldn't worsen the situation if Carpenter or Thale got to know about it.

Or just ask them if they'd accept an extra donation as hug-trading.
a_name 12th Apr 2018, 3:02 PM edit delete reply
Subscribing this. The tradesmen are cool, just like the library was. Why can't eldritch gods be this collected and peaceful? I know that our success is in their interest - noting how business-oriented they are, and how the fate of many of their clients (and possibly them) is on our hands) - but still, they've been very nice.

So I'd like to offer them something, "strictly as a token of gratitude", "future investment" or some other reason that they may accept. As information brokers, they deal with information, so I'd be cool with giving them relatively safe knowledge as a tip (it's probably going to bite someone in the ass as per rules of narrative, but oh well).

Also, I'm not too sure about hugs being even possible. Jane can't leave the circle because, apparently, the atmosphere is hostile. And I would think that, for a variety of reasons, the tradesmen can't enter the circle.
Blue_Elite 12th Apr 2018, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
"We cannot enter the circle, as per its terms."

IF we want to give the Tradesmen a gratuity, I'd recommend figuring out how to get around the two barriers (theirs and ours) so we can hug them. Then we can tell them how we did it as a kind gesture.
Until we figure that out, we'll just have to accept the very generous trade deals they've given us; and look forward to doing business with them in the future.
a_name 12th Apr 2018, 3:14 PM edit delete reply
Also, as an addendum: the tradesmen, like most ethereal beings we've encountered, seem to understand certain human concepts poorly. Maybe they would agree to buying some of this *human information*.