Comic 1063 - Check the arcade

Posted on 7th Jun 2018, 10:28 PM in Hope
Check the arcade

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 7th Jun 2018, 10:28 PM edit delete
Everything went smoothly.

Almost... too smoothly.

You, Michelle, and Fuse head into Rockwell with Grizwald, while Caius and Dr. Finch watch the hummer.

You bring the device to look for tracers and similar items, just to make sure the place hasn't been bugged in Grizwald's absence. While Fuse and Michelle look for anything suspicious, you offer Grizwald another capped syringe of your blood.

"Thank ya," he says, taking it. "Hope I won't be needin' it, but I guess today taught me I ain't a young man no more."

Michelle grins. "What--if you were younger, you don't think an electrified vent woulda stopped you?"

"Heck no," Grizwald replies with a slight chuckle. "I got outta tougher scrapes 'an that back in tha day."

While looking for bugs, Grizwald gives you a better look at his back room--which you hadn't really gotten to see before. It's... something. Legions of photos, newspaper clippings, and print outs are thumbtacked to three of the walls, connected with various colors of string and annotated with sticky notes. Grizwald's been working on every conspiracy theory from mind control satellites, to which major celebrities secretly died and have been clones for the last five years, to more relevant things like Patton Thale and his connections.

Having seen the photo of Thale and a young Gargan--and no longer requiring it--you give it back to Grizwald. He pins it up with the others, and strings it along to the rest of the bad guys.

Grizwald pulls a beer and a syringe full of cleantex out of his minifridge... and some tin foil out of a nearby cabinet.

"Y'all wanna beer?," he asks.

Fuse shakes his head. "We... probably need to get back. I don't think we've left Liz alone with the meat squad before."

"Oh, yeah!," Michelle exclaims. "Finch is usually there with 'em. All hell mighta broken loose while we were gone."

...Still, Michelle takes him up on the offer, grabbing one beer for her and another for Caius.

You give Grizwald a hug, and put your blood alarm on his vial. If he seems to be involved in any commotion, or any sort of trouble you can perceive via the needle, your alarm will go off.

You all load back into the hummer, Michelle passing the unopened beer off to Caius. You head back to the bunker.

When you arrive, things seem... intact. Elizabeth hasn't burned the bunker down, nor is she having a fist fight with Mom's red or anything. You all start stripping your bone armor off.

"Everyone returned," Elizabeth remarks.

"And Griz is fine," Michelle states.

"We stomped Thale's ass," Caius chuckles. "Stomped. His. Ass."

"Harold Hope, Mortimer Hodges, and Douglas Gargan are all three in Jury's custody now," Dr. Finch adds.

"And," Fuse starts, "Thale's big, stupid monster was right under the church, and that whole team of feds saw it. So... that might be getting tracked back to Patton soon."

Elizabeth doesn't smile, but... she almost does, you can see it. Her lips just... subtly shift in that direction.

"We still got Carpenter and Thale himself to deal with," Michelle says, "and whatever goofiness they got up their sleeves... but at least today, we got one less group o' scum bags to worry about."

It's already starting to get late, so you're not sure if you want to commit to anything really involving. However, with Grizwald saved, the countdown is off your shoulders--you believe you'll have some time to work with, and more wiggle room, moving forward.

Doing what you did today with portals, and with material construction, has already got you thinking. ...About giant mouths, and/or bigger armor.

Quite a bit bigger.


Blue_Elite 7th Jun 2018, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
Whatever we end up doing, read the Cat Magazine before bed.

I'm still in favor of trying to fix Elizabeth a little more tonight as something low stress, non-violent, and non-committal. But can totally understand just heading straight to bed (after Cat Magazine).

Also I'll propose cereal for breakfast tomorrow if we've got that stuff lying around.

EDIT: Also let's empty out the money box. Future currency may be useless to us, but The Tradesmen might accept it.
lil Joshu 7th Jun 2018, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Idea on the topic of food...
blood comes in multiple varieties... invigorated blood filled with food & oxygen & nutrients & needed resources (in our arteries) and exhausted and empty - needing refreshed (in our veins). All a body's nutrients and needs are carried as blood. We've shown we can replace lost blood in our veins using micro-blood-portals...

What about replacing exhausted blood with invigorated blood? It'd remove the need to eat & breath if necessary. (Amusingly, doing so should also allow Mine to walk on the surface of mars using only a thick winter jacket.)
Gigafreak 7th Jun 2018, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
If I remember Finch's lesson correctly... Blood doesn't stay liquid due to the low air pressure on Mars' surface. It evaporates or even boils. Not enough of an atmosphere layer to protect against the ultraviolet, X, and Gamma rays either. She would get wicked sunburns and probably a few new and interesting types of skin cancer.

Just put the space suit on...
pkrankow 7th Jun 2018, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
Sounds good
Twyll 7th Jun 2018, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
I agree, let's work with Elizabeth a bit, and browse the cat magazine.
PurpleKetchup 8th Jun 2018, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Agreeing on helping Elizabeth some more, plus a hug to make her smile again.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 12:34 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, with all the practice we've gotten with material lately, we can hopefully make some good progress on Liz with relative ease, and get a chance to tall with her a bit. Then sleep.
Leafia_Barrett 8th Jun 2018, 9:01 AM edit delete reply
Oh man, do we still have the cat magazine?

Fixing Elizabeth and emptying the moneybox both seem like good ideas too.
ReikoLupus 8th Jun 2018, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Let's do this XD.
Golnor 7th Jun 2018, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
Bigger is better!

If we got Illworth fixed up we would have a nice big area to practice in. And maybe space car.
lil Joshu 7th Jun 2018, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Secure as many bunker doors as possible using blood and/or mom's red for added security.
Sekwel 7th Jun 2018, 11:26 PM edit delete reply
One thing to keep in mind is that Thale might start learning from *us,* after this stunt.

We should be as discreet as possible with future efforts. Even though we were pretty careful.

I vote for sleep. We've earned it.
Cyanic 8th Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
Yep, we've agreed to prepare some anti-air in case Thale makes flyers next
Tobias23 8th Jun 2018, 4:24 AM edit delete reply
If I remember correctly, Thale doesn't have a red. But as he's shown again today, he's really good at growing things / transferring mass. He might imitate our flesh walls / try to grow us in via meat tentacles. Let's be vary of that; a good defense would probably be a quick way to transfer lots of blood from the red into a body. Hollow bone spears connected to the red?
Blue_Elite 8th Jun 2018, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
Ya, I kinda think we tipped our hand a little this encounter. We needed to tip our hand, but we kinda hit Thale too hard in the process and now he's probably going to shift focus from, "Take over the world and deal with those meddlers," to, "Deal with those meddlers, then take over the world."

The counter technology I think we need to prepare for next is anti-blooding tech. When we took over Elizabeth, we had a harder time than radioactive blood. It was mentioned there was a possible chemical agent involved.
I think we need to (eventually) learn to duplicate the Bunker X Headspider acid blood. It's a terrible idea to use against humans we want to keep alive but a great idea for powering through monsters (either we get control, or we damage/kill them in the process).
Guest 7th Jun 2018, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
Caius took off his armor, we're doomed! DOOOOOOMED!!!
zelly_fangirl 7th Jun 2018, 11:48 PM edit delete reply
Today, read the cat magazine. Tomorrow, *Incident F*
Twyll 7th Jun 2018, 11:55 PM edit delete reply
Yup, looking like it's time to go full Ghost Very Decidedly *Not* In The Shell.
Cyanic 8th Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Since we're about to get some sleep, just a few small things to do:
*Have Caius warn Jury of Thale's abilities and that they should get his blood out of Hope and co asap so that Hope doesn't turn into a bone-bomb

*Ask momRed some stuff: how's it doing? (especially still after really knowing that Thale was behind dad's death), are there some other entities beside fragments that use blood speech? and ask it to teach us sometime, also how is that secure storage we asked it to grow going?

*one last thing: Create just a segmented piece of bone and a piece of muscle tendon in the red, hold both things with each hand and see if you can control it like we did those bandages (this is the first step in bio-armor)
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 12:35 AM edit delete reply
That simple experiment would be a good proof of concept regarding the bio armor.
Twyll 8th Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
Ah, we might want to take a better look at the Knoxstrosity, now that we've got a bit of time. See if there's anything in there at all. We don't necessarily need to *do* anything with him tonight, but best to take a look-see just in case he's likely to deteriorate or something. If there's nothing pressing with Knox (like, if he's not likely to deteriorate immediately and if he's not in ridiculous amounts of pain or anguish), we might want to save working on him for later, and work with Elizabeth tonight since that is likely to be far more relaxing XD

Things to consider for making bone mechs: some sort of clearer membrane to see through (also would be useful for the helmets, so we're not looking through fingernails all the time), a simple brain so we don't have to manually move everything (VERY simple though-- let's not go full Evangelion; perhaps use Mini-Mine for inspiration), and a way of getting in and out that doesn't require Mine's control in case one of our allies needs to eject from a bone mech while we're distracted.

Also, we need to ask Mom's red about serving as a security system for the bunker door, in case Carpenter gets any stupid ideas. Would definitely be useful to have the potential for CHOMP to happen to any invaders.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 12:32 AM edit delete reply
Not sure hownwe would really make bio-mechs movable by our allies... Might be possible, but very complicated.

For us, as long as we're in contact with it, which being inside it would accomplish, we can just move it as if it were our body - see: blood bandages wrapped on arm. So there should be no need for a brain.... Unless we wanna be able to set it to autopilot, I suppose.
Twyll 8th Jun 2018, 12:37 AM edit delete reply
A limited brain could essentially take user inputs. It could be something like a Gundam, where a suit translates movements to the larger mech, or maybe a joystick or a game controller made of bone and connected with spinal-cord-like wires.

When it comes to Jane's control, anything that takes the burden of processing things off of her own mind is good. A limited brain would help her be able to delegate more and focus less, so she can turn her attention to other matters while the mech walks on autopilot.

Also, I'm really not sure where you got the idea that touching things makes Jane's control work better, necessarily? She could move her bandages because her blood was inside them, not because she was touching them. She can also move things that have her blood inside that are *not* touching her. It takes focus either way.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 2:34 PM edit delete reply
I don't have a link, but it was explicitly stated that while the bandages were touching her (wrapped around her arm), she could control them precisely and even feel through them when they touched things. Once they were separated from her, the control became clumsy and imprecise, and she could not sense through them nearly as easily, since they lacked their own perceptory facilities.

...Pretty sure I'm not making this up.
1977 8th Jun 2018, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
I think it was not so much her control of them but more the perception like you said.
Bandages don't have eyes so she could not see through them which meant controlling them alone was harder.
Attached to a rat it was practically the same as attached to her since the rat had the eyes the bandages lacked.
So, blood some bandages and give them eyes and other organs of their own and it is the same as our newly invented bloodbugs.
Blue_Elite 8th Jun 2018, 3:36 PM edit delete reply
We don't lose control but we lose sensation.
The difference being we still have complete control but if we don't have perception of the object, we're basically controlling it blind.

That problem has become increasingly less of an issue with our ability to create eyes and little blood golems/blood bugs. Granted, this is precisely why we can't blood bullets and just have them attack anyone like a swarm of bees: Trying to control a small object with no senses in 3-dimensional open space (i.e. in the air) is very difficult at high speeds.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
Nice, you found a relevant comic.

Being able to extend our perception through objects in contact with living things is definitely a big step up then - if we're wearing, basically, big macho arms, would we be able to feel the sense of touch through them, even without giving them nerves? It seems like that would make swinging them around precisely and quickly much easier, thus leading to better control, albeit less directly then I initially thought.
Fishbulb 8th Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
Perhaps tomorrow, Fuse can use the brain translator to try to interface with the living computer (there's a sentence I never thought I'd type) to see if it can help find more Z50 bunker codes. Maybe it can even locate some of the ones that aren't technically in this reality anymore?

Other than that, maybe a day off working in Ilworth would be a good idea. Maybe find some solar panels or something to provide temporary power so that the Bunker D crew can more there.

Edit: Also, maybe see if Lumpy would like to take a walk on Mars. Suit him up and send him into the tunnel.
Tobias23 8th Jun 2018, 4:32 AM edit delete reply
Say, guys, remember the rather cryptic way the tradesmen answered our question about which the most useful bunker for our quest would be?

We know Thale is/was the director of Z50. What do you think the chances are he's holed up in the most secure place on the planet, the top-tier Z50 bunker? I'm almost willing to bet money on that.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 2:51 PM edit delete reply
It is at least fairly certain that he keeps some stuff that would be highly of interest to us in one of the bunkers. Then again, one of the most useful things might have just been finding out he was the Z50 director - at the time, we didn't know.
barswanian 8th Jun 2018, 12:37 AM edit delete reply
Test distance of power.

Put a bit of blood down in earth bunker. Go to Mars bunker.
See if you can summon a meat wall on Earth, from Mars.
If you can't, see if you can do it from England.
If you can do either, make sure your allies have blood vials they can scatter/utilize so you can help from a distance.

Get a pile of burners, one for each ally. Label each. Instruct allies to call their specific phone. Ask Mom's red to watch them and to ask to contact you if one of the phones ring: do your blood alert for if Mom's red asks to talk to you. (maybe there's a blood vial in the room w/Mom's red.)
That way you have an alarm system of sorts for if any of your allies want to talk to you, wherever you are.
pkrankow 8th Jun 2018, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
We already know our blood powers work between earth and Mars without delay or effort.
Blue_Elite 8th Jun 2018, 10:32 AM edit delete reply
Phones don't work inside the bunker (either calling in or calling out). That has been an ongoing problem.
undeadDreamer 8th Jun 2018, 12:40 AM edit delete reply
Before we go to bed let's make some more golems, trade them up for more minis, and trade the minis up, just to see what happens. We can even make a big blood portal to pull them from by dropping some blood on the floor and pulling more blood from the red.
Loose Cog 8th Jun 2018, 1:39 AM edit delete reply
Loose Cog
Idea for dealing with Carpenter (huh... I just realized how appropriate his name is:P): Corrosive Blood! Actually, on that thought process, we could try making some "elemental" blood types. Y'know, like incendiary blood, ice blood (possibly accomplished by succing energy into the red), acid blood, etc. Things like that.

I still wanna see Lumpy with the blood gun.
Ablaze 8th Jun 2018, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
That's pretty interesting. Maybe an easier trick would be setting the blood temperature. Freezing and boiling blood might be possible.
1977 8th Jun 2018, 1:45 AM edit delete reply
I think there are a few things we didn't really check yet.

Alone in this picture we can see
the alien computer,
the dead spidermon and
the looted lasereyeimplant.

Things we can not see in the picture are
the fungus we collected in the radioactive powerplant, the slime from the cube in storage,
the catmagazine from floor 0 and
I'm sure there's more but right now nothing else comes to my mind.
Gigafreak 8th Jun 2018, 6:46 AM edit delete reply
Did Finch ever figure out what was up with the Red-Eyed Prophet's weird gray blood sample?
Blue_Elite 8th Jun 2018, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
@Gigafreak: Yep, Prophet was likely from the lower, lower-tiers. To the point Thale's bioprinter blood may have actually been an improvement to his natural blood.
pkrankow 8th Jun 2018, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
We need to use the earpiece and compare the cactus from 885 to the Elvis computer. They strongly resemble each other.
Nayru9572 8th Jun 2018, 2:26 AM edit delete reply
I am not at ease with how smooth all of that went.
Anyways, try to call or text Jury to ask what the feds thought of all this.
Ablaze 8th Jun 2018, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
New idea: construct a giant building entirely of meat and bone... in the red! Imagine if you could just throw blood on the wall and boom you have a new entrance to a base of operations! It's your red, so you can keep the environment pleasant. And you can furnish it with amenities from other bases. And if you can figure out how to move between blood portals... Even better!
pkrankow 8th Jun 2018, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
Constructing a "building" in the red may solve our mass transportation issues. We open a portal to our private living spaces, everybody goes in, a pre located bit of blood makes a portal, everybody goes out.
Skullrama 8th Jun 2018, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
Now, this is so unlikely as to be pretty much impossible, I would think, but can you imagine if someone wiped all our blood from all the surfaces while the team was just like, spending the night in there?

How do you get out of The Red then?
Akasha 8th Jun 2018, 5:30 PM edit delete reply
Okay, this is just starting to bug me but

why does everyone keep forgetting that teleporting through the red will likely not be fun for the psyches of others
Ablaze 8th Jun 2018, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
Maybe because that was so very long ago most if us do not recall it was ever mentioned as a problem...

Well, we could store non living objects in the red. Could be useful for reloading ammo or car fuel... Assuming we can't just create them out of the red...
zelly_fangirl 8th Jun 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
You know what? Now that we're getting good at manipulating the red (including remote matter crafting via portals), I think we should see about externalizing our red. We can create a new body for her rather than trying to externalize from us. Or better yet, MiniMine. We've got a perfectly good empty shell right there! We just need to dye her hair.

tl;dr: Externalize our Red into MiniMine.
Blue_Elite 8th Jun 2018, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
Our Red is just a dissociation of our eldritch side from our human side. As we're no longer splitting those two personalities up and rather integrating them into the same being, our Red is becoming more a projection of our self we can talk to rather than a separate being. In essence, there is no Red to externalize anymore. We'd just be making a 2nd Jane.
undeadDreamer 8th Jun 2018, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
Two Mines would be useful but I would say we should trade up for multiple minis and then trade them up to try to get a full sized body if we're going that route.
Crayssius 8th Jun 2018, 3:37 PM edit delete reply
Try to refine the lumpy process. we need cannon fodder.
Guest 8th Jun 2018, 6:27 PM edit delete reply
Perhaps we could arm said cannon fodder with the blood gun?
Loose Cog 4th Jul 2018, 2:39 AM edit delete reply
Loose Cog
Marshmallow 8th Jun 2018, 5:50 PM edit delete reply
talk to tesla