Comic 1120 - Trade Knox

Posted on 14th Nov 2018, 5:58 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Trade Knox

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 14th Nov 2018, 5:58 PM edit delete
You thank Caius, and hang up. You take a breath.

The tradesmen seem to sense your hesitance.

"To clarify," they begin, "what we would learn from Knox's remains, we would inevitably learn regardless--perhaps in less detail. What you would learn in exchange for him, you would inevitably learn regardless--perhaps in less detail. What is left of him will not be used for what you may consider... unsavory means. This trade would simply better fill in blanks for all parties involved."

You struggle over the decision a little longer... but you do finally agree to the terms. Information on what's stopping the tradesmen from gathering info, in exchange for Knox.

The feeling is... a little strange. Brief, but strange, as Knox is removed from the red.

"Magic has risk," the tradesmen state. "A poorly scrawled sigil, a mispronounced word, and a spell can go awry in unforeseen ways. We do our best to accommodate--we do not take advantage of such errors. We have nothing to gain from exploiting a miscast ritual. Other entities are not so generous--they will take any leverage they can find to further their plans."

What... does this have to do with...?

"Five days ago, you performed a ritual--"


"--to remove from existence a machine mentally tied to Arvin Carpenter... a ritual that invoked the power of Nil."

Oh no.

"Your casting of the ritual had a few small errors. While it did accomplish its intended purpose by destroying the machine utterly and completely, Nil--who had been seeking a path to Carpenter's mind--took advantage of your unpracticed methods. Nil rode the adjacent targeting of the spell. Magic is not always predictable, nor is it often clean. To say that Nil now possesses Carpenter would be... inaccurate. We do not know with absolute certainty what they are working toward, only that both are working toward it. Nil has made efforts to obscure their behavior, not just from your world... but from us. Even in his current, restricted manifestation, Nil is able to hide from us. He is Nothing. He wishes for us to see... Nothing."


Xylas_Incarnum 14th Nov 2018, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
Oof, we may have dun goofed here unless we remove them (Carpenter Nil) from this mortal coil.
Causticius 14th Nov 2018, 6:39 PM edit delete reply
Aww, shit.

Well, thank the Tradesmen and break the ritual, then... I dunno, let the rest of the group know what's up. As usual.

After that, probably poke around the power plant (maybe leave Michelle behind, just in case there ARE giant spider-goats around).
Some Random Guy 14th Nov 2018, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Also, let the gang know what happened, and take some time with them to think about how to deal with this predicament.
Skullrama 14th Nov 2018, 6:57 PM edit delete reply

Given this new information, I think our biggest weakness against this duo is the possibility of battle on a spiritual or mental plane. It is entirely possible they know our vast physical capability and have a plan to drag us into such combat against our will - Nil was able to use magic to ride to Carpenter through his link to the warmech, so they could get to us through our link to any golems we send in.

That being said, we need to beef up our spiritual combat capability. We should ask the tradesmen if they have an suggestions on training our spiritual power given our unique abilities and position - at the very least, the price for their answer lets us know how difficult it might be to figure that out ourselves.

Outside the tradesmen, we can also practice with Red - she is both the representation of our alien side AND also a ghost now, so she is the best bet for trying to power up our spiritual abilities via the red.
Chaostraveler 14th Nov 2018, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
Yeah. The idea of having to deal with Nil worming it's way into us through golems or other Red manipulated items is kinda terrifying. Like, having tea with Pennywise, Slederman and Cthulu levels of terrifying. Any ideas or hints from the Tradesmen would be a good idea to look into.
Lunar Waffles 14th Nov 2018, 8:04 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Twelveseal 15th Nov 2018, 5:06 AM edit delete reply
fellow 15th Nov 2018, 12:38 PM edit delete reply
We could at the least set one of our blood alarms to if something tampers with mine's brain. That way nil wouldn't be able to slip by at least.
Twyll 15th Nov 2018, 2:34 PM edit delete reply
Very much this.

We might be able to try some mental sparring with Mom's Red, too. The only alien entities I can think of to practice with at the moment are Red (since she's becoming her own entity) and Mom's Red... Could we ask the Tradesmen how to go about hiring a personal trainer, maybe?
skybirds15 14th Nov 2018, 7:01 PM edit delete reply
Well, I mean, oops.

Should probably ask how to stop this, since Nil only wants everything to become nothing and everything being nothing is only to the detriment of everything that isn't Nil, so the tradesmen would probably tell us how if they know for a lesser price than normal. Maybe.
ReikoLupus 14th Nov 2018, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
...Well, we messed things pretty badly XD.

Let's punish the person who suggested to use that ritual XD.
chaosblitz 14th Nov 2018, 8:30 PM edit delete reply
How about no, we were desperate at the time and couldn't think of anyway else to get rid of the machine. We didn't exactly have a bazooka or anything with us, and we hadn't figured out we could just bloodportal that shit yet. I say we just move on, calmly figure out how to track him down and, once we find him, *bURN THAT FUCKER AT THE STAKE*.
Tych 14th Nov 2018, 9:40 PM edit delete reply
who Nilpenter or the person who suggested that we use the Nil ritual?
Crestlinger 15th Nov 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
Considering the alternative was everyone dead in an explosion this is a fair price to pay, both then and now, as we now know Where Nil is and that Carpenter (who apparently doesn't need to sleep) is the new host.
T41 15th Nov 2018, 2:58 AM edit delete reply
Well, there goes any chance we might once have had of convincing Carpenter of focusing more on Thale than on us.

If nil is concentrating on a joint endeavor with Carpenter, does that mean Row is in the clear(for now)? Or maybe he's part of their plans?
skybirds15 15th Nov 2018, 3:35 AM edit delete reply
Actually, we might be able to ask them if there's a ritual or something to enforce things (Nil is nothing, so things) onto Nilpenter's building, allowing us access and thus the ability to thwart.
Twelveseal 15th Nov 2018, 5:37 AM edit delete reply
Hmmm... Nil is troublesome, but the impression I got was that Carpenter wanted nothing to do with it personally, and explicitly wasn't sleeping anymore to shut it out. Them working together is strange to me. There might be something we can exploit there, at least in the short term.

The fact that Nil is blocking the Tradesmen partially and the bystanders totally, but not us means the baddies know (or at least suspect) we're using the Tradesmen and are using them to control our information access by controlling theirs. It's blatantly a trap. Coming in clearly armed for Nil will prove their assumption to a reasonable degree. Remember, Thale is watching, and there's no telling whether Carpenter and he are still sharing info as a way to undermine our influence. Assume anything we bring to the table here will have a counter later from Thale or Nil. Because pretty sure we can't kill Nil as we are.

Since the Tradesmen can't get in, we can assume that the only path in is one that Nil allows, so we'll be stepping right into the killbox. We'd need to find a way to exploit his psychology in some way, to make him expect less of us than we are capable of, and to get around his rage at us over his current Nil situation.

It... might be a good time to look into cloning our team and finding some way to let them remotely control the copies. Makes it easier to fakd deaths.

Also, some ghost research might bolster our mental and spiritual defenses.

We should ask the Tradesmen if there's a way to shut Nil out of a living mind safely, so we can protect everyone from it. Not to mention an easier method of removing Nil than we've been through before.

Finally, after this Tradesmen chat is over, we should probably at least have a moment of silence for Knox. We did just literally sell sell him out for info.
pkrankow 15th Nov 2018, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
We only sold a corpse. Knox was already gone and dead. A moment might clear collected minds.
Lunar Waffles 15th Nov 2018, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
"if there's a way to shut Nil out of a living mind safely" The tradesmen already asked us for that info as a price one. the way we did it is probably the first time ANYONE has done it safely. x.x
The Chicken Guy 15th Nov 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
Well, on the plus side, Macland should have less to worry about, and we are narrowing down our enemy list. (By fusion isn't ideal, but at least we consolidated our targets)
fellow 15th Nov 2018, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
I don't think we could destroy the nil-carpenter combi thoroughly enough to really hurt nil.
winger 15th Nov 2018, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
thinking about it i don't think is setting a killbox. oh a trap yes but i don't think nil wants to kill us or MINE at all. He wants to control her. think for a second, nil want their to be nothing but the cycle stopped this. we have broken the cycle but this could lead to a whole new level of advancement or destruction and nil wants destruction
PurpleKetchup 15th Nov 2018, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
Well. Dealing with Carpenter is not going to be fun.
Consider: he's a terribly sore loser, and if we push him against a wall he will definitely strike a deal with Nil to bring us down along with him.
Maybe we can sneak around his robots and take him by surprise using ghostly powers, but I suspect he has a large choice of EMP weapons to deal with that.

And of course the possibility that killing Carpenter would give Nil yet another foothold in reality...
Not fun.