Comic 1053 - Plan the attack

Posted on 30th May 2018, 5:33 PM in Hope
Plan the attack

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 30th May 2018, 5:33 PM edit delete
You have the egg in the audio/video room develop something like eyes and ears, letting you monitor 'Thale' and his secretary. You set an alarm to inform you if anyone mentions you.

You tell Michelle to hold onto the bullet. It'll probably be best if she fires it out of that specialized scoped pistol you picked up from Shirai's hitman.

You also compliment her on her hair. Michelle grins, a little more bashfully than you expect from Michelle. You also suggest that, for the rescue mission, a solid mix of ammo in her minigun might be best.

You decide to do a few more trades. Liz agrees to do them this time, since she won't be joining the rescue op personally.

First, she trades up a clip's worth of armor piercing, tracer, AND explosive handgun rounds. She chants the words, the smoke clears, and... what remains in the circle is a faded box labelled radioactive rounds.

"Should..." Michelle pauses. She mulls it over with a bewildered expression, staring at the box. "Should it say depleted uranium rounds? 'Cuz like, THAT'S a thing. Depleted uranium rounds are kinda messed up, but--"

"That's definitely not what it says," Fuse states.

Michelle, with some visible hesitance, picks the box up. "They're heavy," she says. "I'm still thinkin' depleted uranium--they're good for gettin' through armor, they just got a lot of uhhh side effects."

"There was both tracing and exploding ammunition in that trade," Elizabeth affirms.

"So tha bullets pierce armor," Caius suggests, "...and then explode."

"Radioactively," finishes Dr. Finch.

"Which, to be fair," chuckles Fuse dryly, "would be really traceable, too."

"Yes, with a geiger counter perhaps," Dr. Finch replies. "Those bullets may contain depleted and non-depleted uranium. They... they they may not even be safe."

Michelle shakes her head. "I don't think the tradesmen would slap a radioactive hazard down in our bunker. I'm also... not real sure we oughta use these bullets, though."

"Maybe in like... an emergency," suggests Fuse. "The worst emergency."

Michelle puts the radioactive bullets (?) aside.

Lastly, you spend some time in the red, making a few more sets of bone armor. You would make them via ritual, but you imagine casting it that many times may take a toll--you'd rather just do it the long way and not risk the stamina drain.

You place the various sets of bone armor in the circle, and Liz conducts the ritual. The smoke clears, leaving... a few scraps of blood soaked paper.

They resemble the same pages you got from Bunker X--the ones that provided the bone armor ritual. However, these aren't a cleanly written, eloquent journal. There's a lot of things written and then scratched out, a lot of side notes about making changes to the symbols, what runes worked and which ones didn't. The last page does feature an actual spell, not unlike your normal bone armor one... but a little different, in a number of ways. There's a few question marks scribbled around it, and the word "painful" hastily scrawled in the margin.

...And the word "messy," underlined three times.

You have acquired blood soaked pages (early draft).

"It's s'posed to be an upgrade, right?," Caius asks. "That's how tha ritual works?"

"Yeah, but..." Fuse throws his hands up. "At some kinda fucked up cost, it sounds like."

"The guy had to have tried it, right?," Michelle asks. "Or he wouldn't know it's... painful. And messy. So whatever it is, it ain't permanent."

"It's just--and I quote--painful and messy," Liz reiterates.

"So what's the plan?," Michelle asks. "We gonna bomb our way in through the sanctuary ceiling, rappel in from above? Or we gonna ram the hummer through the front door, charge in guns blazin'?"

That... is still a point you're stuck on. You'll poison the monster to paralyze it. Fuse will hack the video equipment on the way there. You'll set up eggs and meatwalls to keep the guards off of you. Jury and her crew will take out the paralyzed monster while you and your group rescue Grizwald.

...The question you still need to answer is how you'll actually get inside the church. Even with the meatwalls set up, you won't be rid of all the guards--there's a pretty good number just inside the sanctuary, with Hope and Grizwald. Thale could still be a problem, as well, though you could have a bug form a wall over the window so he can't see what's going on.

You've made a lot of preparations, and done a number of deals with the tradesmen. You think you're almost ready to get this show on the road.


Skullrama 30th May 2018, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
Whelp - the tradesmen ritual giveth and... not always the best stuff. I kind of want to have Lumpy try the painful, messy bone armor ritual, see how that works out.

EDIT: We were gonna explode the bug through the monster maybe, right? ...What if we lay an egg on the wall of the room Grizwald is being held and like... meat-bone-splode it with sudden growth? Could we make a shiny entrance straight to Griz?
Frission 30th May 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
Not a bad idea actually, if we could get a bug in position we could possibly isolate Griz before Thale or Hope's goons can do anything about it.

If we're going to try that though, I suggest we attempt to practice creating a meat wall in our own bunker first, to see if we can get the timing down. And, on the same note, see if we can figure out how to dismiss it as well.
Skullrama 30th May 2018, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
Having a dry-run before would certainly be a good idea rather than just do it all during clutch go-mode.
Swagner 30th May 2018, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
Sometimes, you get what you wanted. Sometimes, you get what you asked for.
Twyll 30th May 2018, 10:31 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm, in a related idea-- what if we place an egg under Grizwald and explode a meat wall into existence around him as a column, basically to keep the guards from immediately trying to shoot him? Definitely something to practice first so we don't accidentally squish the Griz, of course.
chaosblitz 31st May 2018, 10:46 AM edit delete reply
sounds good, but if we do that let's apologize afterwards for that probably traumatic experience. Maybe we could also use it to attack Hope if we find that the wall does crush the occupants? It just might be easier than having to find him and shoot him full of bullets. Also, I agree that if anyone is going to try the messy, painful bone armor, it's gonna be lumpy. I am NOT putting any of our friends or allies through that. (I also still think we need to talk to the cultist about the book and spells! but that can wait until after the rescue)
Gigafreak 30th May 2018, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
Front door, rooftop, or look for the vents' electricity source... I am leaning towards breaking in through the front. If things go well, we might be able to barge into Hope's study on our way out and haul the safe away to open later.

The possibility exists that the Thale clone (or the secretary) will be deemed an acceptable sacrifice and be transformed into a monster on-site. So there's a potential candidate for The One Bullet.
Frission 30th May 2018, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
It's entirely possible that, with good Egg > Wall placement, we could create a clear path from the front door straight to the sanctuary. We've got to make sure the monster is neutralized before we begin the attack though, or it'll just burst through the floor and crush everyone like in the alternate timeline. D:

I wonder if we'd have time to get a water saw and cut in through the roof with that?
ReikoLupus 30th May 2018, 6:31 PM edit delete reply
I say we use the Front Door. It is almost side to side with the place where Griz is being kept captive. My plan is:
-Poison the Monster
-Create Meatwalls to clase every route in the place except the one we need to take.
-Make a big Golem of the one egg monitoring the secretary and thale, and destroy all the equipment there before they can use it.
-Transform that same Golem into a meatwall that can block the Windows.
-Storm the place form the front-door, go to Griz, and rescue him in less than 5 minutes.
Don't give them time to respond XD.

And before we do this, I suggest 2 more experiments:
1) Trade a bunch of bone weapons, Spears are a good option. But trade a LOT of them, atleast the double of the armours we traded. Maybe trading more, we can get a better versión of the Spell, maybe in the level of the Spell we got in Bunker X.
2) Create a mini-Golem, equip it with a handgun with only 1 bullet: The Radiactive Bullet. Send the Golem to out town far away from home... And form there, send it to a place away of it, where there is no Civilization. Then, shoot the gun against a tree, sending the images of what the Golem is doing to everyone.
Frission 30th May 2018, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
Fair point with the experiments; knowledge is power after all. I don't know if we have time for them right now, but it's something to keep in mind for later. We shouldn't delay too much longer after all, or the odds of the alternate timeline becoming the current timeline will draw closer to 1.
ReikoLupus 30th May 2018, 6:40 PM edit delete reply
In whatever case: What hour is now?
We can go there 3-4 AM without issue, lack of sleep isn't a problem.
Maybe we HAVE time. I don't think going when almost everyone is asleep is going to make things more dangerous for us XD. Having fatigued Guards against us, and being undetected until we are there thanks to the Darkness of the night sounds like a good idea to me XD.
Cuttlefish 30th May 2018, 6:57 PM edit delete reply
The radioactive rounds could be rad. I’m thinking they may help drive out Thale’s control - like when we struggled to control a radioactive mutant much earlier in the story due to the radiation.

I agree that we don’t have time to test them. There is another fear, too, which is political - we will lose the war of public support real quick if we are using ethically repugnant radioactive bullets to shoot up a church!

Additionally, we know Jury has a number of in-built counter-magic programmes running within her. I bet a science/security bot built in the 50s (I think?) has some serious Geiger-counter tech built into it, and we don’t want some program inside her to report us to the Feds for having weapons-grade uranium.
ReikoLupus 30th May 2018, 7:03 PM edit delete reply
...True, we need to ask her if it would be a problem if we got radiactive weaponry in the future.
Frission 30th May 2018, 7:30 PM edit delete reply
Oh man, I'd totally forgotten about that. :o The radioactive mutant problem that is.
Cuttlefish 30th May 2018, 6:50 PM edit delete reply
Post-rescue mission, we should consider getting a nice big, thick lead box to put the radioactive (?) bullets and any of the boxes we got from the warehouse door heist that seem radioactive-y.

My vote is for kicking down the front door as a single fire team. Sure, the Thales may have something up their sleeves, but if we can get in and out ASAP, we can get out before Thale can respond in any planned manner.

Thale knows we know about Griz, but the only reason we know about the monster in the basement, Thale’s real trap card, is thanks to the ERROR room. This is our chance to just absolutely dunk on him. He’ll be fighting Jury’s best downstairs, us on the ground floor, an imaginary Carpenter on his computers, and meat will just be growing everywhere. I don’t think we need to worry about two bodies/minds under one (or more?) of the Thale’s control upstairs.
Gigafreak 31st May 2018, 10:17 AM edit delete reply

It's the other way around. Thale knows we know about the tunnel monster (since we used it to splatter the Hummer-chaser), but does not realize we already know they have Griz. For this reason, they don't expect us to DO anything about the tunnel monster yet: that'd require us to want something from the church, and... they don't realize we already know they have Griz.

Striking tonight, before the exorcism announcement, will still catch them very much off-guard. I wonder if Thale's paranoia would be cranked up to overdrive when it happens. Might actually help sell him on our hypothetical half-assed Carpenter false flag, actually.

Plus if Hope and his cronies get out of this alive and unblooded, they might turn on Carpenter themselves-- they're likely not clever enough to see through the illusion, and they have already considered the idea at least once in the past (when Lydia and Fuse snuck into the church the first time).
Cuttlefish 31st May 2018, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
You are right, and that actually works out better for us!
pkrankow 30th May 2018, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Attempt to port a spare thumb drive with the a/v hack to the a/v equipment.
Tobias23 30th May 2018, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
Posted this on the last comic, after this one was published, concerning the sniper rifle. With radioactive bullets, it seems even more relevant now, so I'll just repost it here:

I'm sure we could get our hands on a rifle and make one of our team members a sniper in some way (between the Finch's research ability, Michelle's general propensity towards firearms and Blondie, our resident sync specialist and elder blood god from beyond the stars, it should almost be trivial task to do so), but I'm honestly not sure if we need a sniper. First of all, we'd expand a lot of resources on getting the gun / the necessary ammo. Training, even with all the good factors, would take quite a bit of time as well (we could probably use Southden for target practice, unless the UK government has some sort of high-tech surveillance in place that detects gunshots from, what do I know, orbit).

More importantly, however – what would we do with a sniper? I'd wager one would be useless in winding, dark tunnels, as well as buildings, which, so far, have been our main battlefields. We could hope to pick off guards / bad guys when they're passing windows, but the tradeoff would be to drop one of our mates off relatively far from the scene of the action.

Hm. Perhaps for future battles against Carpenter / the many a long ranged rifle _would_ be nice, but for both, we'd need extremely high penetrating power.

Ah, here's another thought: Remember what I said about using our eggs as bugs, with which we can see and hear? Let's say we get one of those in a room with a target we want dead, a room that has an outer wall. Syncing the info from the bug to our shooter, armed with a powerful rifle, we basically got x-ray vision.

Trading up a bunch of hunting rifles and armor piercing rounds (for more HIABs) should also give us all we need to shoot through a wall, maybe even more than one.

Okay, I'm starting to like the idea of adding a sniper to our group. But it's something to keep in mind for later, I think, and not something for our current rescue plan. Or what do you guys think?
ReikoLupus 30th May 2018, 7:37 PM edit delete reply
A Sniper with a Wall-Penetrating gun and X-Ray-Vision... Someone else is thinking about certain old game? XD.
This could be really usefull. A bit limited in the situations were we are going to need it, but usefull. We can make this a Project for the future XD.
Gigafreak 30th May 2018, 8:30 PM edit delete reply
The more I think about this idea, the less I like it. Sniping is jabbing a needle into someone from a few blocks away; the required skill level goes far above and away from the "temporarily learn the basics of handgun shooting" that we do, and into the realm of practiced muscle memory for precision adjustments. Michelle's implanted muscle memory for long-distance shooting would not translate properly for someone with a different build-- the same amount of arm exertion would result in a different amount of barrel movement, meaning there's no way to keep a bead on a target.

Basically, the only one who could plausibly wield a sniper rifle would be Michelle, but we already need her wielding her minigun with her special space arms to aim through the recoil.

On top of all that, you're not "taking out one target at a time." You shoot once, and every other target hears the shot and flees your line of fire. You get one shot and then become irrelevant for the rest of the fight. And if we're looking at one of Thale's mutant monsters? Snipers are irrelevant there too; you'd love to put a single bullet into their vital spots, but... well, we have no idea where the tunnel monster's brain or heart is, so we can't make any assumptions where they'd be in any future creatures either. Maybe it'll have more than one of each, for that matter. Plus Thale's shoved extra brains into things on the fly via matter-redistribution before (famously, Elizabeth's arm); if there's at least one brain or heart still surviving in the creature after you shoot, Thale can shove another one into its body in a random unknown location before the next shot.
Tobias23 31st May 2018, 5:15 AM edit delete reply
I agree, having a sniper would probably not give us too much of an advantage.

The two situation I thought it might be useful for would be:
- Taking out a second huge Carpenter bot from a distance (where its miniguns won't be able to harm us)
- Taking out the many from a distance that doesn't put the shooter in its range.

I don't agree that we'd need to know their weak spot, as we have (ways of getting) incredibly powerful bullets, if our radioactive bullets are what they're advertised to be, they'd probably tear the many apart completely.

BUT! I still agree with you a sniper would require too much effort, especially now that we're getting so much better with remote-controlling brainless entities. By now, it would be so much safer and easier to take out the many with a toxin bug or lay an egg on carpenters robot and just encase that fucker in space meat.
Gigafreak 31st May 2018, 10:33 AM edit delete reply
Carpenter doesn't have an army of hackers anymore-- Jury caught them and they're behind bars now. Fuse could plausibly out-hack him and just straight-up steal the warbots from him. (Maybe that's why he's been so quiet lately?)

We can defeat The Many by using something that has no brain. A golem, for example, or even a blood-levitated syringe. Or a freshly-stolen Carpenter warbot.
Heroshima 30th May 2018, 7:40 PM edit delete reply
Just a random thought. Can we make some bone-spikes on Caius' hands? Like small thorns growing out of his knuckles. Or we could go full gauntlet on it and give him a ton of plating on his hands. It seems like Caius could turn into something like the Doom Slayer if we beefed him up enough.
ReikoLupus 30th May 2018, 7:42 PM edit delete reply
Apparently we can't. I'been saying about doing this since a while back, withouth sucess XD.
Swagner 30th May 2018, 9:41 PM edit delete reply
Probably not on him, but the armor might be another story. Gloves sturdy enough to have spikes might impact his ability to shoot, though, and he probably ought to stay armed.
Guest 30th May 2018, 9:34 PM edit delete reply
We know what this Thale's face looks like, can we modify our bone helms to look like him? Would be a doubly useful addition as it keeps the rest of us off the media and potentially puts some heat on Patton Thale to screw with his sense of self if news reports are constantly spewing his name.
Swagner 30th May 2018, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
If the hummer can't be driven all the way down to the stage, I think the roof's our best option for entry. Then we can leave right through the front door, as long as we run.
Gigafreak 30th May 2018, 10:24 PM edit delete reply
Which leaves the question... who will be the getaway driver? Maybe Lumpy? But then Jane would have to sit idle in cover (or offsite completely) to focus on puppeting him at the steering wheel.

Heck, even if we go in by driving the hummer through the front door... are we sure the thing will still be in usable condition for our escape? Because we don't want to escape on foot when any house along the way could have a Queened citizen with a gun.
Blue_Elite 31st May 2018, 1:16 PM edit delete reply
If necessary we could have Dr. Finch drive. He'd ram in, let us out, then drive off so Hope's goons wouldn't get a chance to tamper with the car. Then we just call him back when we're ready for extraction.
Literally all he'd have to do is drive an armored car so it shouldn't be too dangerous even for him.
Swagner 31st May 2018, 4:18 PM edit delete reply
Or Elizabeth. I bet she doesn't want to miss out on the chance for revenge.
Blue_Elite 30th May 2018, 11:49 PM edit delete reply
As long as Fuse doesn't need direct access to the media room to hack it, barging in through the front door with the hummer (ideally with a ram or armor added to the car) would be the best option. It gets us the closest to Grizwald initially and makes the most use of the meat walls (blocking off everything else except for the sanctuary).
If there's a way to break into the sanctuary directly that'd be preferred but I'm assuming A) the walls are too think to ram and it'd require too powerful an explosive to use demolitions and B) with the sanctuary going downward from the same door as the entrance, it's probably "underground" and unreachable without excessive effort.

Protecting Grizwald will be key, so part of this plan will need to involve putting up meat walls/barrier around Grizwald as well both to protect from gunfire and keep goons from dragging him off or using him as a hostage.
Don't forget to take our homemade tinfoil hat to give as a gift. Also we should take the rubber gloves as we know there are electrified traps.

Finally, if we're going to trade up anything more tonight, I'd like to try trading up multiple Mr. Lumpys with activated bone armor. The one thing we're missing is an expendable tank (Caius being a non-expendable tank) to soak up bullets and possible Thale monster spikes.
But big golems take a lot of time and I'm assuming effort, so it might be a bad idea before this plan because it'll leave Jane tired.

Then on a non-rescue plan note: dinner.
Guest 31st May 2018, 12:21 AM edit delete reply
I don't suppose we could get Pierce to refine this draft? He knows about magic, right?
Espylacopa 31st May 2018, 1:24 AM edit delete reply
He's well read about old rituals, no telling how well that translates to this new format. Probably no harm in asking though. However, unless he works exceptionally fast, this can wait until after our business at the church.
pkrankow 31st May 2018, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
We have a rough draft and a finished draft of the same spell. Yes, have Pierce work with both. Hopefully more awareness of the spell will become aparent. Hopefully the ability to modify it will present itself too.
Skullrama 31st May 2018, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Let's not forget that Peirce is also part of a crazy cult that wanted to summon us so we could SUBSUME THEM ALL. So... I mean, he's been very helpful, certainly, but giving him direct access to spell texts that are made specifically to draw from our Red is.. hmmm.

Then again, they seem to be written from a future perspective - maybe they are written by him in the first place.
pkrankow 31st May 2018, 12:14 PM edit delete reply
While we allow independent actions and do not exert control, Pierce IS nevertheless our "thrall" who is also under our physical control on Mars.

There is no risk. We went through this a while ago.
Skullrama 31st May 2018, 12:58 PM edit delete reply
The fact that we aren't constantly monitoring our thralls does lend itself to the opportunity for espionage if one were so inclined. Now, Peirce wouldn't be trying to harm us, I'm sure, but... I'm not sure he wouldn't try to hide developing spells we wouldn't approve of.

Certainly, were we aware he was doing something bad, we could stop him and command him never to do so again, but we would have to notice.
PurpleKetchup 31st May 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
@MM: small typo, "repel down" -> "rappel down"
1977 31st May 2018, 1:32 AM edit delete reply
I'm thinking it would be kind of funny if we send Mini-Jane first.
Let her knock on the front door while the others go in through the roof.
If the radiobulls are strong enough then we could just destroy the roof with a single shot.
As for testshooting the radiobulls: MARS! Someone was concerned there are satellites seeing our testshooting on Earth, not a problem on the surface of Mars. We could even see how radioactive they really are after the shot.
Skullrama 31st May 2018, 10:23 AM edit delete reply
Pretty sure guns don't function properly without a functional atmosphere.
1977 31st May 2018, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
I guess you're right. When i re-read my own 2 3 hours later I suddenly thought to myself: "Is testshooting even a word in english? Wouldn't it be testfiring instead?"
And then I got to think about the ability to even shoot in the first place on Mars.

Sadly I know no alternative shooting range, but we should definitely test the effect and the amount of radioactivity from the radiobulls before consider using them.

That said I still think one shot with a radiobull should be enough to destroy the roof so we can enter there.
Otherwise, if we don't have the ability to get through the roof quickly then we have no alternative to going through the front door.
Skullrama 31st May 2018, 11:33 AM edit delete reply
I did suggest making 'egg-bombs' for the walls, similar to what we were going to do with the monster, up above. Now, I'm not sure how well an explosion of meat and bone would get through the thick walls, but theoretically, if it has enough mass....
Blue_Elite 31st May 2018, 1:11 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, let's just save that ammo for Bunker X. That seems like a definite, "Forbidden weapon," to be used against the hardest-of-hard challenges it presents.
1977 31st May 2018, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
So, you want to use untested ammo with unknown destruction potential in the confined space of a bunker?
Blue_Elite 31st May 2018, 1:39 PM edit delete reply
Short answer yes. Long answer: I'd rather test them in a place where we know there are monsters that we can test on without fear of causing environmental/property damage and that we never have to come back to again if it turns out the bullets are extremely radioactive.

Bunker X is as much a good testing ground as it is a place to use weapons we'd normally have moral quandaries using elsewhere.
We COULD test the bullets on the corpses on Floor 0. Maybe make off with the rest of the ancients sodas and see if maybe we can replace some of those funds we just used on lots and lots of ammo (as well as pawn all those ancient coins we've collected).
1977 31st May 2018, 2:03 PM edit delete reply
The problem with that is the unknown destruction potential part.
The Bunker is very small, the explosion could be very big.
You don't try bombs when you're potentially within their blastradius.
Not to mention that we could destroy the whole bunker this way.
Skullrama 31st May 2018, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
I would be surprised if the bunker wasn't built of alien material that would be damn near impossible to penetrate. They wouldn't want us to cheat our way to other floors, after all.
Swagner 31st May 2018, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
Most modern gunpowders actually include the oxidizer, so you can shoot them in a vacuum, or oxygen-deprived atmosphere. I second test-firing on Mars. Just don't shoot too many, in those conditions the gun won't cool off normally, and we really don't want "atomic ammo" to cook off.
Cuttlefish 31st May 2018, 6:07 PM edit delete reply
Do we have access to a desolate snowy tundra via the bunkers, or am I misremembering? I am wary of test shooting stuff on Mars. We don’t want to activate the Lasker blood frozen under the surface.
pkrankow 31st May 2018, 6:59 AM edit delete reply
We need to locate a good geiger counter to evaluate those bullets.
Blue_Elite 31st May 2018, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
We should ask if Dr. Finch has one (or something that provides a similar function) among his equipment.
1977 31st May 2018, 1:17 PM edit delete reply
I don't remember the exact page, but I mean they already used one somewhere.
pkrankow 31st May 2018, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
Hey remember that blue cactus?
Does it bear more than a passing resemblance to Elvis the computer?
Nick 31st May 2018, 5:19 PM edit delete reply
Just reminded of that weird slime sample. What happened to it again?
Nick 31st May 2018, 5:16 PM edit delete reply
What if we go back to Bunker X?
Just a thought.