Comic 1159 - Check Red

Posted on 4th Jan 2019, 10:43 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Check Red

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 4th Jan 2019, 10:43 PM edit delete
You thank Michelle, and she heads out with Mav, Zene, Crease, and Pierce to find suitable living spaces.

You mentally check on Red.

"Things are... better," she says. "The refocusing definitely helped. We're not one hundred percent yet, but we shouldn't be at risk for passing out today."

You hear... something? Unusual?

Almost like a faint hissing from the back of the room.

You follow the sound to the crack on the wall. Putting your hand in front of it you can, indeed, feel something... faintly pulling at the air.

No. Not just the air. It's like... it's draining more than that, you just can't really pin down what. Your hand feels a little more... vaguely lethargic as you pull it back.

"We have a small leak somewhere," Red says simply. "It's a steady drain, but it shouldn't affect us too much."

You slowly walk your way back through the facility, through the empty town of Ilworth, and then back to Bunker A.

Dr. Finch has already gone to bed by the time you arrive. Fuse, despite looking worn out, is still determined to check on things before he calls it a night.

You all have some miscellaneous microwaveables--burritos, tiny burgers and the like--and wait until Michelle arrives.


Once she does, you all recap the progress made. Mav, Zene, and Crease have a place now, with Pierce living right next door. Caius has retrieved most of the groceries and amenities that were stocked up for the Mars squad, and retrieved them so they can start moving into their new homes.

You relay what you've figured out about spiritual warfare, astral projection, and defending against mental attacks.

"That oughta help us against... whatever the hell it is Nil does," Michelle begins. "What I'm wonderin' is, will that do anything against the Many?"

Fuse turns his attention away from the computer. "Haven't... really thought about psychic stuff, in the face of all the soul and magic business. I'd be real hesitant to say it's the same, though--even with what we know, like... ghosts don't read minds, and I've never seen a psychic go through a wall. The Many does what it does because it grew a psychic brain, right? That sounds super physical to me."

"But... like..." Caius pauses, collecting his thoughts, "it's gotta be kinda tha same, right? Ghosts're jus' electricity, brain stuff is electricity, psychic stuff is brain stuff... am I makin' any sense?"

Liz speaks up. "Psychic powers rely on neural activity, the same as anything else done by the brain. Ghosts are neural activity."

"Yeah!," Caius agrees, pointing at her. "That's it."

"I mean..." Fuse shrugs. "Yeah? I guess? Psychic powers do cause EM spikes. I just don't know how having a stronger soul or whatever's gonna stop the Many from telling us to eat our own guns."

There's a very brief quiet before Michelle replies. "Telepathy's gotta get to us somehow. Right? It's gotta send those messages through the air or somethin'. Last time we dealt with the Many, Blondie wasn't all suped up with lightning powers like she is now... maybe she can sense the mind control before it gets to us. Maybe she can stop it?"

The silence, this time, is noticeably longer.

Fuse exhales slowly and loudly. "That... could work. Maybe. That'd be nuts, though, you'd be like... catching thoughts right out of the air. That's like using your powers to intercept radio waves or scramble wifi."

He pauses, squinting, before adding "...Which you could probably do, too, now that I think about it. Fuck, this got weird."

"Radio waves and wifi travel at the speed of radio waves and wifi," Liz points out. "I'm not a scientist but that has to be near the speed of light. Mine's not going to just snatch that out of the sky."

Caius shrugs. "So what's tha speed of, uh... psychic?"

"The speed of thought?," Fuse asks, as though to just put the whole thing in perspective. "Yeah, okay, fair. Maybe Blondie can't just grab flying telepathy in mid-air like it's a kung-fu movie."

"Dodgin' a bullet's hard," Michelle states, "...but puttin' somethin' between you an' a bullet's real easy. Maybe she can make... I dunno, some kinda thought bubble? A thin layer o' brain energy to cut off whatever's comin' in."

"We'd have to hone it down," Fuse states. "Really zero it in... like, obviously cell phone towers aren't fucking up the Many's powers, so tossing up any old EM field won't work. We'd need... some kinda decoy thoughts? I dunno. I'll think about it."

"In the meantime," Michelle concludes, "we oughta think about what Blondie said. Confidence, knowin' who you are, not worryin' about the danger all that much. Just... be sure, and do it. No doubts, no weakness. That's the best we got so far against Nil. Tomorrow we can get crazy--maybe hit Bunker X, do force syncs, call Shirai 'cuz I sure as heck don't know how to run a town, whatever... but today we got Ilworth workin' an' I call that a win."

You also bring up another idea you had--one you'll probably want to run by the tradesmen before you even try it, but you bring it up here first.

Pulling the red out. Like... not material from the red, but the red.

There's a very long pause while everyone tries to process that.

"It's... infinite," Fuse finally says. "Would it ever stop, or would it just like... keep pouring out?"

"We'd only wanna do it in another dimension or somethin'," Michelle confirms. "Y'know, like Carpenter's place."

"We sure that's in another dimension?," Caius clarifies. "I jus' thought it was invisible."

"People can't see it and they can't register that they're not seeing it," Fuse replies. "That's way more than just invisible. That thing still has doors, though, power washing it with infinity feels like a bad move."

"Wait," Caius says, holding up a hand. He scrunches his face up, a thought coming to him... and then it hits. "What if his other dimension's just like ours? I mean, we ain't in another dimension, and he ain't really got a bunker door, but..."

"It could be similar tech," Michelle states. "Yeah, I getcha. Him and Nil could really be in like, another country or underground or somethin', even if the building ain't just hyper camouflaged."

"Psychic camouflage," Fuse mutters, shaking his head.

You point out that you have, actually, seen that--one of Prophet's men had the ability to make you just... not see things. He could only do one person at a time, though.

"So there's precedent," Liz concludes. "Arvin could have devised his own knock-off of the bunker technology, or it could work on whatever principle that mutant used."

"In either case," Fuse says, "we don't know how far the Nilpenter Zone actually is from... uhhh, us. Uncorking a whole new dimension in there might get real strange real fast."


Skullrama 4th Jan 2019, 11:51 PM edit delete reply
Our friends make fair points. Asking the Tradesmen about it and their thoughts on if doing it in the Nilpenter Zone is safe or gonna screw up the earth seems like it will be a requirement before the 'pull out the red' plan could be considered viable.
Kumondo 4th Jan 2019, 11:54 PM edit delete reply
On the topic of the "leak" in our head,which is a really scary phrase; it looks like the tiny cable portal has been successfully sustained all day, including through work and meditation, on an off day. Shall we close the portal and see if that stops the leak?
Cyanic 5th Jan 2019, 1:42 AM edit delete reply
true, might be the cause
TGWMoC 5th Jan 2019, 5:32 AM edit delete reply
pkrankow 5th Jan 2019, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
We need to understand the source of the leak. If it is the worm thing being a subordinate and requiring food then the leak needs altered and controlled, not shut off.

If it is just a leak it needs sealed. Likewise if it is someone else's ritual.

Without understanding the leak closing it may cause problems. Meditation is in order, probably. Followed by some appropriate action.
Nayru9572 5th Jan 2019, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
The silkworm left, though: it didn't become a subordinate. I doubt it'd suddenly be using us for food without letting us know first.
Limrix 5th Jan 2019, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
Breaking reality could have nasty consequences. Let's propose the plan of storming Carpenter's base with a flood of blood and redsnakes with backup on standby.

After that, let's do a quick experiment to see if the portal we're holding open is causing this leak: close it for a second and check to see if it's still there, and see if Red knows what a leak means.
We should deal with the crack in our head, but that can wait until tomorrow. The soul wind is escaping out the crack, suggesting that fixing the crack might fix the leak. I also think that fixing the crack, and accepting that we aren't defined by a human body is important for Mine to realize before facing Nil and The Many.

When we go to sleep, let's try to enhance the restorative effects for us and our allies.
Tomorrow, we should have someone gather a bunch of music to use in trade-up rituals. If there's power in music, trading up a bunch of songs with a common message might result in something useful.

I still think that time acceleration in the red is one of the most important things we can be doing. If we practice in the morning observing some clocks in the red from outside while we warp the flow of time around them, we should get enough of a hang of it to start slow time for ourselves in the afternoon, using songs and bloodspeak to avoid moving too far. Once we have that, Mine can work on fabricating things for the Carpenter fight in the red, and leave when she starts getting tired.
Some Random Guy 5th Jan 2019, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
+1 to all of this.
Taenidia 5th Jan 2019, 10:25 PM edit delete reply
psychoshen 5th Jan 2019, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
When we have a chance, we may want to check on our fallback spot in Ilworth we set up a while back. Now that there's power, there may be things we need to take care of. Or even just let Mav, Zene, Crease, and Pierce know that it's there in case stuff goes down and they need a place to escape to.
Some Random Guy 5th Jan 2019, 12:35 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
+1 to figuring out escape locations for the whole team along with the civilians in our care when we have the chance.
Vanya 5th Jan 2019, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
+1 also
Crestlinger 5th Jan 2019, 3:07 AM edit delete reply
Definitely want to at least take a look at repairing that crack before facing Nilpenter and the many. Avoid doing anything that would give either of them easy red access and if the cable is what is causing the slow leak shelve trying sustained portals until fully recovered and necessary as it seems more a channeled use that drain a certain percentage of reserves depending on the size of the portal involved. Based on the explanation of the stuff, maybe try to trade up the spider and whip and see what comes out of it.
PurpleKetchup 5th Jan 2019, 4:08 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, this whole thing doesn't sound very manageable. Or eco-friendly.
Which means Thale (or Red!Lasker, when we reach that point) might try to pull it as last resort. Here's another point Mine should practice - fighting against another red.

Maybe some sort of portal-sparring with Mom's Red ? Or empowering Red's ghost some more to see what she can do on her own ?
Someoneyoudon'tknow 5th Jan 2019, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
We could try to make multiple times foil hats and use the upgrade ritual to make a anti super tiny foil hat to counter many.
Someoneyoudon'tknow 5th Jan 2019, 6:17 AM edit delete reply
Tin foil hats*
pkrankow 5th Jan 2019, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
Search Amazon for

rf shielded cap

(Go ahead, really)
Limrix 5th Jan 2019, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
It's pretty late right now, but I'm 100% down for this tomorrow. This sounds like a great idea. At very least, we'll get a neat hat. We can ask Edison tomorrow if the hats actually did anything, though I think we would still do the trade regardless. Now that we're more ghosty as well, maybe ask Edison about how she was fighting against us tomorrow. She's the only imprint we know with combat experience.
Some Random Guy 5th Jan 2019, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Also, we could make a ton of low-grade EMPs and trade those up.

EDIT: As a side experiment, we could see what would happen when we trade up a bunch of knives.
Kumondo 5th Jan 2019, 12:36 PM edit delete reply
Seconding trading up tinfoil hats and speaking to Edison about imprint warfare in the morning. Both are low cost actions where we could gain an advantage.

Edit: also seconding the other Tradesman trade-ups.
Archon 6th Jan 2019, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Y'know, why not make a giant foil tarp or somesuch to drop on the many?
If it can keep the many out, could see if it can keep the many in.
Ablaze 6th Jan 2019, 9:03 AM edit delete reply
Could we identify where the leak is going? Create some sort of tracker (maybe a ghostlike tracker instead of blood) and pass it through the crack?.
Warp 6th Jan 2019, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
I am still recommending that we attempt the ghost-empowerment ritual on ourselves while still fleshy as an experimenter to see if we can get a "recharge" from it by converting the incoming ghost-power into mind-power like we did in reverse in the power station.
zophah 7th Jan 2019, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
'power washing it with infinity' is a great line. =)