Comic 1129 - Discuss mutations and electricity

Posted on 23rd Nov 2018, 8:47 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Discuss mutations and electricity

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Morgenstern 23rd Nov 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete
You wonder aloud if the she the... ghost-eating, spider-thing wants actually IS you.

It could be Faraday, or one of the other girls, or the girl they're originally based on that it's after.

"That... that is a very valid point," Dr. Finch states. "If it is indeed an entity that can manipulate, and likely detect, electricity... then Faraday's previous stint as a potent electrical field could have drawn its attention. Of course, with the nature of the bunkers... she would have seemed to flash in and out of existence, detectable for brief periods, then abruptly vanishing as the bunker was cut off from Ilworth. It would be difficult for something with a vague electrical sense to pinpoint her exact location, only know that she was somewhere in Ilworth."

"But why call it a prophecy?," Michelle asks. "That's... a real weird way to word it, if this thing jus' sensed a lot o' power."

Dr. Finch considers it for a moment. "Difficult to say, without knowing what we're really dealing with. ...Faraday was in that state for a very long time. Whatever sensed her--if that is indeed what's going on here--would have to be very old. ...Or the offspring of something else that detected her. Or the offspring's offspring. If we truly are looking at a developed arachnid, it may have interpreted information passed on by its ancestors as something more profound, more religious in nature. Though, at this point I'm just building untested theories on top of other untested theories."

"It could just straight up be psychic, too," Fuse comments. "The prophecy the ghosts are rambling about might be something our bug saw with a brain mutation."

Michelle blinks. "Can... bugs GET mutations? Is that a thing?"

"It's a thing," Fuse replies. "I've never heard of a psychic bug, but giant rats, two headed dogs, flesh eating bees... it happens."

"I do believe the flesh eating bees were an urban legend," Dr. Finch comments, "but yes. The only thing potentially stopping an insect, arachnid, or other smaller creature from developing psychic abilities is that their brains aren't structured quite like ours are. A roach can live for weeks without its head--a great deal of its reflexes and other instincts are tied to ganglia distributed throughout the body, not in what we'd qualify as the brain. Given how little we understand about psychic mutations, however... the idea of a spider, an ant, or... or or or whatever it is we may be looking at, the idea that it could develop psychic abilities is not entirely out of the realm of possibility."

"So..." Caius pinches at the bridge of his nose, trying to sort all this out. "Could be a tube bug. Could be a psychic bug."

"Might not be a bug at all," Fuse adds. "Could still be a goat."

"Could be all o' the above," Michelle concludes. "Genetically modified bug--or goat--escapes, looks for EM fields, has kids, kids come out mutated 'cuz they were born in a broken down power plant."

Fuse nods. "Yeah. And when mutants can have kids, THOSE kids are usually mutants. Mutations get worse generation to generation."

"Though," Dr. Finch starts to clarify, "studies on that are a tad inconclusive. Humans with mutations, as I'm sure you're well aware, have... difficulties, socially, leaving the sort of environment that provoked mutation in the first place."

"Yeah," Fuse concurs, "if you were born in the lower tiers, your kid's probably gonna be be born there, too, so... it might not be that your parents' mutations snowballed, you might just be gathering more of whatever it is that fucks DNA up."

"At the very least, there's little evidence of consistency to it," Dr. Finch adds. "Fuse's children may be likely to have mutations, but evidence suggests the odds of them having his mutation, even a variant of it, is very slim. Science has barely begun managing the lofty task of replicating psychic mutations manually, and the human reproductive cycle is... messy, to put it succinctly."

"Only if you're doin' it right," Caius chuckles. Dr. Finch sighs, and fights back a smile.

"So--" Michelle leans her head back. "...To try and sum this up: one bug, at some point, mighta been a straight up psychic. That bug's baby bugs could've been mutants, but they might be DIFFERENT mutants."

Dr. Finch nods. "Which does not preclude any amount of genetic modification. These are, of course... all simply speculation based on what little evidence we have. Hypotheticals, based on minute research, and standing on the shoulders of debatable studies."

Caius shrugs, and grins. "Look, nine times outta ten when you say it's just a theory or whatever, it turns out to be totally right. That's good enough for me. Besides, it ain't gonna matter when we blow Spider Satan to hell, anyhow. I ain't writin' him a book, I don't need his friggen backstory."

"We can't be sure it NEEDS to die, yet," Michelle comments. "We've had some pretty scary stuff turn out to be friendly, even helpful."

"It's true," Fuse remarks, "but I don't think any of them put screaming, half-eaten ghosts in our faces."

Speaking of ghosts! You unceremoniously segue into what you, Red, and Dr. Finch have been discussing while the others were at the power station. You explain what you managed to accomplish in terms of willpower and... possibly manipulating your excess energy? You suspect there may be more possibilities here--like weaponizing that power, directly, or strengthening Red's ghost form... maybe even without a ritual, or Experiment Odin.

"Hell yeah," replies Michelle. "You should definitely get on that--Thale would crap his pants if you walked in throwin' lightning bolts."

"Our current concern," Dr. Finch begins, "is possible harm to Mine herself. Generating electricity directly from her bloodstream, without a method of protecting herself from it, could... well, it would be very dangerous, for all of the obvious reasons."

"So don't do it from your bloodstream," Fuse suggests. "You can open portals from any amount of blood, right? Drop the blood somewhere else, away from you, then pull electricity from there. I'm not immune to my own fire, either--but if the fire's coming out of me, I've already fucked up."

"That... that's a very good point," Dr. Finch comments. He digs around on his lab table for a moment before procuring an empty petri dish, and moving it toward the edge of the counter. "Here."

You bleed yourself a little bit into the petri dish... and then open a small portal from that blood.

You've converted material into electricity before--you charged the camera battery, back when you were trying to monitor the warehouse that Liz was working for. ...You heavily damaged the camera in the process, but you did it. Converting material in the red into electricity should be doable.

You focus on converting mass into bioelectricity... then pulling it through the portal.


The electricity is difficult to control--harder than blood normally is, at any rate. It fights back, coiling through the air wildly as the sparks kick off; you have to manipulate it very, very precisely to keep it from shooting everywhere. It reminds you of when you first started controlling animals, rather than people--how it demands more of your focus, more of a babysitter mentality than just telling it what to do and letting it go.

"That's cool as hell," Caius remarks.

"The truly difficult part," Dr. Finch begins, "will be utilizing that electricity appropriately. Experiment Odin uses its power to strengthen and reinforce imprints, while our anti-imprint weapon--though built on similar principles--stuns and subdues imprints. Not all electricity is harnessed the same way. I would say we should study the respective devices more carefully, but I doubt I can make much headway in that area regardless. It's... really not my field of expertise."

Caius grins. "Unlike mutations, medicine, bugs, brain surgery..."

Dr. Finch smiles back. "I have a number of interests, and do a great deal of reading. I may know some odd trivia here and there regarding animals, for instance, but I won't claim to be a veterinarian."

Red watches as you steadily get a better wrangle on the electricity flowing out of the petri dish. "So, if we want to give me a stronger form... we'll have to either use that machine in Bunker E, or take our chances field testing your electric powers. The ghost strengthening ritual could work, but that's only temporary."

"Well, at the very least--" Fuse starts, "I feel better heading back to the power station knowing Blondie can shoot lightning now. ...Even if it requires bleeding all over the place first."

"That's actually somethin' I was thinkin' about," Michelle remarks. "We can prep better, yeah--we can bring a golem, or at least a blood bug, and Caius could use somethin' more than a machete now that you can make armor and stuff. Maybe a bone hammer, or a sword or somethin'."

Caius stifles a chuckle, shaking his head and muttering "Bone hammer."

Michelle does her best to ignore it, restraining a small smile as she continues. "But, what if we jus'... like... flooded the whole place? Just... opened a portal and turned that facility into a horror movie. It'd give you a full view o' the inside, and Edison didn't like water--ghosts might not be too fond o' blood, either. Dumpin' blood all over the floor could stop those half-eaten imprints from attackin' us, if that's a possibility."

"Does blood conduct electricity?," Fuse asks. "I feel like this had to come up before, but hell if I can keep it all straight. If Spider Satan's really messing with lights and doing stuff with imprints, he might be able to light all that blood up."

"He might kill himself doin' that, though," Caius comments. "I mean, if he IS a spider he could prob'ly do it from tha ceilin', but... I dunno, I'm tryin' to put myself in Spider Satan's shoes here. S'a lot o' shoes."

"It is something to be wary of," Dr. Finch states. "Blooding the entire floor, up to the reach of something with electrical abilities of its own... there is definitely a risk involved. I'm hesitant to make a call on it with how little we actually know about the situation. We're putting a great deal on wild speculation, at this juncture--we haven't even seen, definitively, that all these oddities DO have a singular source. It could be something far less than we're crediting it with. ...It could be something far more. Difficult to gauge."


undeadDreamer 23rd Nov 2018, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
Flooding it with blood worst case scenario is what? The blood gets destroyed? Even if it'd be better to go in there personally Mine can just jump out of the blood. Besides. Blood lightening.
Mister 25th Nov 2018, 8:24 PM edit delete reply
Better than Grease Lightening too
Cyanic 23rd Nov 2018, 10:57 PM edit delete reply
blood-flooding might also not be the best idea since we're actually trying to fix the power plant up and soaking everything (including electrical components) in blood might damage them further

let's trying Odining Red if she's up for it, craft some weapons for our friends get some blood bugs ready and head for the power plant? (bloodbugs take point)
Mathbird 23rd Nov 2018, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
+1 to basically all of this, although we _should_ also work on blood lightning some more.
Mathbird 23rd Nov 2018, 11:14 PM edit delete reply
Darn it. I thought that would work for italics.
Twyll 23rd Nov 2018, 11:15 PM edit delete reply
I think we have enough control of our blood at this point that we could actually schlorp all of our blood back into the red, if we needed to.

Maybe a *limited* blood-flood would be best. Not flood the whole place, but sort of send small rolling waves through? Perhaps Archon's idea of blood-slimes would work.
Skullrama 24th Nov 2018, 12:52 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, this seems good - if we just blood the floor all over the place in a thin layers, we can see everything. Then we cam decide if the situaion needs MORE BLOOD or less blood, and act appropriately.
Limrix 24th Nov 2018, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I agree. All out flooding is probably a bad idea, but a light covering or a swarm of simple creatures lets us recon in a more controlled fashion.
Archon 23rd Nov 2018, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
Hm. No opinion on what to do, though this did give me an idea we can try out later.
Said idea being blood-slimes.
Thunder blood-slimes, with practice.
Could be useful as cheap, (relatively) quick to make critters. Or Thunder-blood-pudding mines with some adjustment of the blood alarm.
Twyll 23rd Nov 2018, 11:16 PM edit delete reply
I like the idea of blood-slimes. Actually, we could probably use them as a form of limited blood-flooding, making them able to burst into a flood if they need to, or congeal back into slime form.
Limrix 24th Nov 2018, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
Blood slimed sound like a stupendous idea. We can schlorp them together or apart as needed, and test putting dangerous things in them like acid or poison or level or radiation. Or make healer slimes with medicine, or any normal slime can also function as a healer. I really like this idea.
Some Random Guy 24th Nov 2018, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
In my opinion, stationary blood portal < mobile blood slime.

It would probably take some level of planning beforehand, as we must figure out as to what to make the outer layer (something along those lines of a fat wall, most likely) but creating mobile blood portals would be a certain step up from just dropping a puddle. Let’s, if we do actually decide to do this, make the slime a bit small, so that it doesn’t clumsily teeter around from the sheer weight of its own innards, and give it a sort of cytoskeleton (made of thin bone and very thin tendon).
Loose Cog 23rd Nov 2018, 11:13 PM edit delete reply
Loose Cog
I'm going to continue suggesting that we attempt transport through the red via ghost tube.

Since we are able to create electricity, could we make a golem to do it automatically? Can Red manipulate the red? Get her to test that.
Twyll 23rd Nov 2018, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
I'm a little concerned about Odining Red just yet. Would it wear US out, since she's still partially us and not *entirely* herself yet? What's her opinion on doing it? If she doesn't HAVE an opinion on it, then she's probably not independent enough to be Odin'd yet.

Weapons-wise, how would Caius feel about a scythe? We could make it metal as fuck. Not sure if a style of combat using a scythe would come naturally to him, though. A hammer (shaped like a skull! with spikes!) might be more his speed. But if he CAN wield a scythe, let's do a scythe.

For Mine, we might want to make a bone "wand" with a globe of blood at the end, so she always literally has a portal to hand. Then she can be a wizard and shoot lightning or blood-jets out of it :3
Cassumbra 24th Nov 2018, 12:49 AM edit delete reply
good ideas here
Guest 24th Nov 2018, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
We already have a blood dart gun, why can't we open a portal with the blood inside the dart and zap the target point blank?
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 2:42 PM edit delete reply
Mine has more control over things she’s physically touching, or at least it’s *easier* to control things she’s in physical contact with. So, my feeling was that a wand would be better than a dart for control because it remains in her hand, but also keeps the portal at least a certain distance from her body. I do like the idea of using the blood darts for electrokinesis too, though! If we can manage that level of control, that’d probably work well too.
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 2:51 PM edit delete reply
Another thought i’ve been discussing on the Discord. Mine can control people and animals by putting her blood inside them. Can she control ghosts by zapping them with some of her electricity? We might want to come up with ways of blooding (via, say, aerosolized blood) or “blooding” (via electricity or sheer force of will) ghosts, both so we can neutralize dangerous ones (like, potentially, Psychic Mutant Ghost Spider Satan) and possibly even heal friendly ones.

I hope that Psychic Mutant Ghost Spider Satan is able to be diplomacized somehow, even if we have to blood/“blood” it to calm it down first. I can only imagine how traumatic it must be to have extra cash consciousnesses thrust upon you when your base form is so very heavily instinctive. Assuming that we are in fact dealing with something along the lines of Psychic Mutant Ghost Spider Satan, of course.
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 2:54 PM edit delete reply
*extra consciousness

No idea where the “cash” came from, some autocorrect weirdness I guess XD can’t edit cuz i’m on my phone.

Now i’m picturing a very thrifty Psychic Mutant Ghost Spider Satan carrying many coupons in its many arms.
Guest 25th Nov 2018, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
As far as wands and risk of self-harm goes, how about looking into how animals like electric eels and rays use electricity without hurting themselves and adapt it for ourselves? Then Mine could just make them without any extra materials.
Mister 25th Nov 2018, 8:28 PM edit delete reply
Oh wow. Like a bone staff with blood bauble at the top!

Caius could do the whole Paladin thing, with a bone shield and mace (aka "Bone Hammer").
Crayssius 24th Nov 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
Caius Definitely needs a big ol' warhammer, and probably some armor with better coverage. his crotch, arms, and neck are uncovered, and considering he's the melee guy...
Baron11704 24th Nov 2018, 2:10 AM edit delete reply
Full bone plate armor, go medieval on their asses
Some Random Guy 24th Nov 2018, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Im my opinion, the hammer in question needs HUGE spikes on one side, for a little extra oomph. Also, we could give part of his armor some spikes, just in case he wants to pull off some body blows with smaller enemies.
Rich 24th Nov 2018, 3:02 AM edit delete reply
Bone hammer is the new nickname for Caius's _____
Tale Swapper 24th Nov 2018, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
I'm a little amused that our first instinct has become "can we flood the area with blood to solve our problems." Normally, that sort of thing makes the situation worse, not better. Still, if it works, and we don't get ganked by a scary psychic-ghost-goat-spider-mutant, I'm all for it. As long as we have a mop on hand to clean up afterward.
Ablaze 24th Nov 2018, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Electricity will travel the least resistive path to ground or other positive target. If you were to make some sort of conductive material to act as a lightning rod, you can protect the blood you make. Furthermore you should see if you can control the amount of free electrons within your blood. If you polarize your blood with enough, it could be more resistant. For more fun, you could generate lots of hair follicles to use to detect electrical surges.
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 2:45 PM edit delete reply
A flood of hairy blood... eeeww. Gross but effective. I like it!
ReikoLupus 24th Nov 2018, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
Let's make the new weapons for Caius, and investigate ways to make our party resistant to electric attacks XD. Maybe there is something in the human body that we can put in the bone armor to give it resistance?
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 2:57 PM edit delete reply
Maybe we could place hoops or nets of very conductive veins around them that connect to the red and ground them there? I don’t know all that much about electrical engineering, but I know that electricity likes to take the easiest possible path to ground, right? So we just need to make it so that there’s always an easier way to ground than “through our allies.”
Leafia_Barrett 24th Nov 2018, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Why don't we just insert a blood golem into the bunker and explore using it without anyone else going in? That way we can at least get a map of the place built up so we know where the shit we're going. If there are doors, we... can figure something out for it. We're a blood goddess.

Oh oh oh, I know! Can we practice shapeshifting a golem into a different shape, one that can get under doorways somehow, then shifting back into a functional form once we're past the doorway?
Twyll 24th Nov 2018, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
I kind of like the blood-slime idea that was proposed by other commenters. If we need to interact with objects, we can just extend pseudopods. We can now move material into and out of the red at will, so such a task shouldn’t be too hard— if we need it to be heftier to get a heavy door open, just pull more mass from the red.
Memo 24th Nov 2018, 3:36 PM edit delete reply
Completely in agreement here
Limrix 24th Nov 2018, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
Ablaze 24th Nov 2018, 5:53 PM edit delete reply
All this talk about flooding the base... Reminds me of starcaft creep. Maybe you could launch blobs of blood from puddle to puddle to quickly spread the blood to a target areas instead of simply flooding everything.
PurpleKetchup 25th Nov 2018, 4:16 AM edit delete reply
Not enough energy...
Crestlinger 24th Nov 2018, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
Blood is Mine, now with Lightning Mines.
Guest 25th Nov 2018, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Now there's an idea, combine this new ability with the meat cages from the church escapade. Shock cage! Could be a way to keep collateral down.
Golnor 24th Nov 2018, 10:49 PM edit delete reply
Hmm. When we first made flesh golems, we did it by turning our hand inside-out and creating a portal in our wrist. Can we you that with lighting? It may help with control.
Ablaze 25th Nov 2018, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
Could we make blood golem drones? Make autonomous blood golems and sync each with a friend, so you could have the whole team remotely investigate a site without actually being there?
The Chicken Guy 25th Nov 2018, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
Idea: could we make a trigger for bioelectric power? Like, set a puddle of the ground, PT comes along and we electrocute him? Now THAT would be an anticlimax!
Mister 25th Nov 2018, 8:31 PM edit delete reply
I have concerns about Odin-ing Red. I feel that Red isn't distinct from Mine. Due to that connection, there's a chance that whatever is done to Red, is done to Mine.

And if you haven't already, check out Twyll's comment (24th Nov 2018, 12:20) - there's discussions of bone staff/wand with blood for handy portal-ing of lightening etc. And Caius having a bone shield and "Bone Hammer".
BoneIdol 25th Nov 2018, 9:19 PM edit delete reply
Why don't we just cobble together a golem or camera or something and actually get a look at what we're dealing with. We know jack shit about what we're dealing with, with don't even know if the ghost zombies are even dangerous beyond being spooky.

(BTW my current guess for the true identity of spider-satan is some kind of maggot/silk-worm, it would explain the checking noises and the weird not-spider webbing)
Lunar Waffles 25th Nov 2018, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
+1 to all the weapon upgrading ideas and golem ideas x: