Comic 1155 - Call a meeting about mecha

Posted on 27th Dec 2018, 10:38 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Call a meeting about mecha

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 27th Dec 2018, 10:38 PM edit delete
You sneak up on the two of them. Fuse barely notices you, just as you get a surprise hug on Michelle.

"Gah," she laughs, turning to face you. "I must be gettin' slow, lettin' people sneak up on me. You doin' alright?"

You nod, and hug Fuse, as well. You tell them that you've been thinking about the biomech--and that, instead of building a full blown exoskeleton around a pilot, you could possibly run nerves or wires through the red... allowing someone to run an empty shell or surrogate by remote, basically.

"That's... yeah," Fuse replies, thinking about it for a second. "Yeah, that could work. One end in the bunker, the other in the mech, the middle in the red."

"You'd have to keep a portal open for that, though," Michelle remarks. "That gonna drain you?"

You're... not really sure. You haven't tried keeping blood in 'portal mode' for an extended period, yet.

Michelle nods. "Might be somethin' to mess with, then. If keepin' portals open like that wears you out, we'll have to go with pilots in the suits."

You also suggest talking to the Proto-Juries about it. They at least know enough to build and repair themselves--that could go a long way, especially if they know more about how their robotics actually work.

"Oh, hell yeah," Michelle replies. "Yeah, as long as they ain't gotta leave their bunker, they shouldn't have a problem helpin' us."

You decide to call a brief meeting--get everyone together to discuss the biomech project in general, and what your plans are moving forward.

You send the message to everyone mentally, and eventually, everyone gathers in Bunker A.


You fill in Caius and Dr. Finch on what you were discussing outside--about wiring through the red and remotely piloted shells.

"Controls are still gonna be a pain in the ass, even remotely," Fuse states. "Especially remotely. Translating any sort of like... grip squeezing or toggle flipping into anything close to human movement... it's gonna be some complicated controls, or we're looking at a meat tank instead of a meat mech."

"I've considered it further," Dr. Finch begins, "and I believe with Mine's help, I could get a much closer look at the technology underlying Caius's phone. It may be difficult for us to comprehend, but we could still reverse engineer it--and with a sort of... simplistic, prefab brain in the mech designed wholly for handling movement and balance, we could just wire that to the pilot's brain directly. Well, not directly, but through the red as Mine suggested."

"So..." Fuse pauses. "To clarify: we're talking about alien tech we don't totally understand, that we're gonna make ourselves, wired straight into our brains. Alright. Moving... past that, 'cuz that's a whole different conversation--even if Blondie can get a look at stuff that small, building it's a different problem. We don't have the tools or the resources to deal with... what's probably nano-tech type shit."

Liz's head shifts--she glances from the monitor, as though she's about to say something, but stops herself.

"What is it?," Michelle asks.

"No," Liz replies simply. "It's absurd, and grossly oversimplifying the matter, I'm sure. Pretend it didn't occur to me."

"Well, now I gotta hear it," Caius chuckles.

Liz gives a small sigh, and turns toward the room. "You mentioned earlier--the androids are capable of building more androids, with sufficient materials. They were built at some point when Zone Fifty was still active... surely technology has advanced since then, and technology for the most part has become more compact as it's progressed. Right? So what if you just... provided them the resources to build a smaller android."

"A Micro-Jury," Fuse mutters, fighting back a smirk. "Fun to say out loud, but I don't think anything they could build would be small enough to work with brain phone wires. We're talking real damn small."

"Wait." Caius holds up a finger. He squints. "What if tha smaller Jury... made an even smaller Jury?"

"Like a nesting doll," Dr. Finch says with a smile, shaking his head. "Just keep building Juries until we have a... a..."

"A Nano-Jury," Fuse finishes, no longer able to restrain his own grin. "Okay, I wanna like this idea, but if we could cram an entire Jury's worth of programming into a body that tiny we'd be millionaires. Processing power's gotten slimmer, but it's not a whole android at the microscopic level slim."

"Man," starts Michelle, "it IS fun to hear people say Nano-Jury, though."

"What if we jus' ghost ride it?," asks Caius. Everyone stops... and turns to stare at Caius. He shrugs. "We're talkin' about a human size shell or whatever, right? You power up a ghost, they can move stuff, but they can go through walls, too. So, when you're a ghost, you can decide if you wanna move stuff or not. Ghost ritual, power up ritual, get in the mech, boom. Ghost in tha shell."

There's a brief silence across the room.

Dr. Finch is the first to speak up. "It's not... the worst suggestion. At the very least, it would save us any complications regarding wiring and whatnot--we'd simply need the body, and and and the strength in astral form to maneuver it. ...Though, astral forms are still quite vulnerable to electricity, among other things. It would be risky."

Michelle shrugs her shoulders. "What're the odds Thale knows how to make bioelectricity?"

Another silence.

"At bare minimum," Dr. Finch states, completely sidestepping the question, "Carpenter having energy weapons is extremely likely."

Michelle nods. "Yeah, I guess that's true. Carpenter havin' explosions is pretty much guaranteed, and if ghosts don't like fire..." Her thought trails off, interrupted by a totally unrelated one. "You made some kinda partial ghost outta intentions and stuff, right Blondie? Any way we can work that in?"

"Not... impossible," Dr. Finch begins. "Possibly a very odd route to take--if we manufactured a brain capable of understanding what it receives... we could find a way to imitate basic commands using normal electricity, and create a control system that sends... well, intentions. Combined with basic training pre-programmed into the mech, likely using the... the same technology that genetically engineered individuals are trained with... hm. Hm hm hm. Unorthodox, but less complex than our other options, I suspect--not unlike the miniature Mine we have hanging about, but with a control setup that imitates Mine proper."

Michelle crosses her arms. "Ehhh. We'd be gettin' dangerously close to accidentally makin' a person."

"Yeah," Fuse adds, "the mini Blondie we got freaks me out as it is, I don't wanna puppeteer some kind of... me sized... Meat Fuse."


AgentKuga 27th Dec 2018, 11:54 PM edit delete reply
Ghost in the Shell was a pretty decent mecha anime.
Some Random Guy 28th Dec 2018, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
I'm happy to see how I wasn't the only one who got that reference.
Memo 28th Dec 2018, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Yea, I liked it too
Tych 28th Dec 2018, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
was more of a futuristic anime then mecha had androids shells and the Main character at one point could control dozens of bodies at the same time and was unsure of whether she was human or not
Twyll 27th Dec 2018, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
I'm not much of a fan of having ghosts in the shell-- we want our allies to be *less* vulnerable using this idea, not more; and they are definitely not super strong at being ghosts.

Is there a way we can project *consciousness* without projecting the *entire* psychic self? Sort of like the difference between scrying a location and actually astrally projecting yourself there? Nilpenter may still be capable of messing with people via that sort of link, but it would be substantially safer.

Perhaps we should invite Pierce to the conversation and see if he has any input on the matter. His knowledge of the mechanics of magic might allow us to create a set of magical commands that can be activated by the pilots. Magic has to have some sort of mechanism for affecting things at a distance, after all.

We can also just ask the tradesmen how to make a remote-control biomech :P Hopefully it'll come at a discount as one of those "you'd learn this eventually on your own" sorts of answers... It'd be good to hear the cost of such a question, at least.

I think we're getting *somewhere* with the idea of a mini-Mine-style brain and/or imprint manipulation... we just need to pull it all together.

Maybe we should talk to the Silkwyrm while folks do some more considering/research. If the Silkwyrm decides to join us, then we might be able to sync some expertise from her that would be helpful, too.
Limrix 28th Dec 2018, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
I think we should loop in Pierce and the juries since we have questions for both of them. I vote for grabbing Pierce and heading to bunker B to continue our discussion.
Hambone 28th Dec 2018, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Gotta be careful about what we tell Jury. Zone 50 safeguards and whatnot
Kumondo 28th Dec 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Well, whatever else we do, we should try out a little test with sustained blood portals. Just make a little pool of blood on opposite sides of a desk or table, make them portals, send something like a phone charging cable through and just leave it. See what happens. Don't intentionally close it, just continue on to the rest of the discussion/project.

(as an aside, I know we've got the whole wireless EM fields thing going on, so we won't likely have an actual phone charging cable, but whatever equivalent for the test will do. String or sumthin'.)
Memo 28th Dec 2018, 6:58 AM edit delete reply
I agree, we should do this.
Limrix 28th Dec 2018, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
I also agree that we should do this, but I'm pretty confident that portals don't take concentration to keep open. We've already portaled our optic nerve into a golem for an extended period of time with no noted strain, and we had to make an effort to close the portal when the worm chased after us. If we don't have to consciously focus to keep a portal open, there shouldn't be any other mental strain from it.
Some Random Guy 29th Dec 2018, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
It would really help our abilities in the fields of infiltration, siege and escape if we were to grow proficient with the blood portals. +1
Sekwel 28th Dec 2018, 1:00 AM edit delete reply
I know part of why we're doing this is to deal with Carpenter.

But if we can't work it out by then, he's got to have notes or _something_ that could help us along. Maybe make a small prototype and see what kind of recon we can do on-site?

Could we even connect with a mini mech past Nil's defenses?

Could we put mini-mine in a mini-mech?

Causticius 29th Dec 2018, 2:01 AM edit delete reply
We're already having trouble with a *human-sized* mecha. I don't think miniaturizing it would help much.

We really need to pick up some R/C aircraft/helicopter or drone mechanisms for ourselves. Operating them may require a license, but surely the innards would not?
Guest 28th Dec 2018, 1:02 AM edit delete reply
"Translating any sort of like... grip squeezing or toggle flipping into anything close to human movement... it's gonna be some complicated controls, or we're looking at a meat tank instead of a meat mech."

First off, there's nothing wrong with a meat tank. However, as far as controls go, is there really nothing that can offer fine remote control? Motion tracking gloves, VR? Anything?
Toricon 28th Dec 2018, 1:32 AM edit delete reply
Make sure to remind Fuse that he already is a "me sized Meat Fuse".
Fish 28th Dec 2018, 2:38 AM edit delete reply
There's a problem portaling humans through the red, due to their minds not being able to deal with infinity. Could we build actual rooms (out of bone or whatever) in the red, so they only experience limited space. Then connect portals to those rooms for quick travel.

Maybe we could also practice altering space/time with isolated rooms. Faster time in the red would let us train more and we already have a bit of experience altering time.
Guest 28th Dec 2018, 2:46 AM edit delete reply
If Mine can change time she can stop it to put things in stasis. Anyone critically hurt will have unlimited time and perishables will last indefinitely, maybe even portalling enemies into stasis.
Guest 28th Dec 2018, 2:49 AM edit delete reply
Unlimited storage space and item transport.
Kumondo 28th Dec 2018, 3:47 AM edit delete reply
Part of the problem with the Red isn't just infinity, it's the disorientation from, well, everything about the Red. The lack of gravity, and the points of reference it provides. Time is optional. Light isn't a thing, it's just red. I'll double check, but I believe it was mentioned waaaaay back that if you close your eyes, you still see red. Everything in the Red is the Red, which is meat which is blood which is energy which is void. I'm sure it's fun to try breathing there. Bottom line is that it really is a maddening eldritch horrorscape.

Mine can handle it due to being "native" to to the place. Knoxstrocity could handle it by being brain dead. I'm sure we could make something work to shield normal humans from the worst of it, or portal people though quick enough to avoid lasting damage, but the Red will be weird and gross at the best of times.
Fish 28th Dec 2018, 5:26 AM edit delete reply
Yeah but constructs are at least a bit seperate from the red, or you wouldn't be able to make them there then pull them out.

If you make rooms in the red there'll be a layer of seperation between you (you > flesh room > red), or am I missing something?
Memo 28th Dec 2018, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
The idea of building a room completely out of bone, filling it with air, and a portal in one wall is an intriguing one.
We could send in a camera, and show the recording to the others, and ask if they wanted to try being inside it.
pkrankow 28th Dec 2018, 7:48 AM edit delete reply
Maybe we need to get the PJ's a modern high end 3d printer or equivalent and materials to feed it.

We need to be careful about our blood powers around the PJ's as they are guarding Lasker and he is a fragment or something.

Maybe we need to complete another sidequest. Destroy the remains of Lasker.
Ablaze 28th Dec 2018, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
Miniturization is an interesting idea. I bet with practice, you could put something in the red and physically shrink it or enlarge it and then expel it at the new size. If we can manipulate time in the red, why not space as well?
Limrix 28th Dec 2018, 8:44 AM edit delete reply
Mecha Design Collab Doc:
ReikoLupus 28th Dec 2018, 10:48 AM edit delete reply
Wait a moment, the Silk Worm, in his Astral Form, was able to enter the Red. He was hurt by it, but maybe that was because we considered it an enemy. The Red is dangerous for living beings because it is something so complex and infinite, free from the rules of the material world, that physical being can't understand it. BUT, we are talking about Ghost here.
Maybe we CAN transfer Ghosts by the Red?
If we can, we can use the idea of Ghost in the Shell. And if things turns dangerous, we can not only move their Ghost to a safe place, we could even move them between different Shells at any moment.
Imagine it: You throw empty Shells everywhere during the mission, and when an Energy Attack is going to hit Caius, we instantly transfer his Ghost to a Shell behind the enemy.
Skullrama 28th Dec 2018, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
So, I know we're talking about controlling the mech, but we had an interesting discussion about armor in the Discord. The discussion involved making diamonds in whatever shape we want, since the red can easily have carbon, a very common element in the body, and we can control the pressure and heat at our discretion.

It eventually moved to the subject of carbon ('diamond') nanothread.

We could probably make this in the red - it's just benzene, an organic chemical made of mostly carbon with some hyrdorgen, exposed to extreme pressure that is slowly let off. These crystalline nanothreads approach the strength of diamond without the whole 'easily shatterable' issue - they are still flexible. We could potentially make some crazy mech-armor with this stuff.

I feel like we should bring up the possiblity with Finch and Fuse, see what they think.
zophah 28th Dec 2018, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
I can tell that it's just me, but is seems that the meat-mech is a few tiers above what we can currently do. Sure we can get it eventually, but there are so many other skills and ideas we can be working on right now that will be just as helpful. We still haven't gotten any conclusions about the acid spider-head, for example.

On a separate note, I feel something else we can train on is mimicked bodies. We already have an ability to 'scan' someone when looking for injuries to fix, so why don't we try constructing from the Red using a scan as a blueprint?
Cuttlefish 28th Dec 2018, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
It's not just you - I agree. Not to disregard Carpenter as a threat, but we should be training to better resist the assaults of The Many and Nil. We've learned more about psychic projections from our encounter with the Silkwrym, but we should practice a forced sync with someone willing to learn better strategies to cope in a mental arena.
lil Joshu 28th Dec 2018, 2:54 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Rather than a sustained blood portal...

Why not drop the spare bunker door into the red?
Skullrama 28th Dec 2018, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
Mostly because we then have no great way for our friends to get out of the city without also being across the ocean or on another planet.
Guest 28th Dec 2018, 3:47 PM edit delete reply
anyway we can use the tradesmen ritual? E.G. get a microJury similar to how we make MiniMine.
Ablaze 28th Dec 2018, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
Could we consider crafting things out of the ghost-like imprints?
Some Random Guy 29th Dec 2018, 1:22 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Huh. What would that result in?
rhyu 28th Dec 2018, 11:12 PM edit delete reply
Okay, so you know how Mine can control/command small animals with simpler brains? And that she can facilitate syncing between 2 people. Perhaps we could create a simple brain the the mecha like the mini Mine, and facilitate a sync to have others control it.