Comic 1165 - Start work on time shenanigans

Posted on 14th Jan 2019, 10:52 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Start work on time shenanigans

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 14th Jan 2019, 10:52 PM edit delete
You lay a quick ground rule for the girls: no using powers on people without their consent, especially not possession (as you're not entirely sure what kind of side effects that could have on a full scale human).

Other than that, you have no problem letting them all--even Edison--be free to wander the bunker, and you're going to leave Mini Mine with them to try out possession with. You're going to try and find them some more things to do, later.

"Th-thank you," Tesla says.

"Thank you!," Faraday adds.

After a brief pause, she gives a very light elbow nudge to Edison. "Oh, right. Yes." She inhales slowly, as if mustering up the energy to overcome some great obstacle. "...Thank you."

You mentally fill everyone in on the new developments, and you return to Bunker A.

"Caius and Dr. Finch went to go get trade up stuff," Fuse begins. "So, I gotta ask--possession? Like, straight up? ...Can we do that?"

"Dunno," Michelle says. "That one ritual pretty much turns us into ghosts, right? Don't see why we couldn't. No idea what possessin' a real person's like, though."

"That..." Fuse pauses. "We could do something with that."

"Oh, yeah," Michelle agrees. "Hell yeah. Like, think about it: half of us stay physical, half of us go as ghosts. If the Many starts brainjackin' folks, ghost team takes over. If Blondie can blood puppet somebody under the Many's power, possession oughta be able to do it, too."

"Maybe," Fuse replies, and nods. "The Many's brain hax are psychic, and it doesn't even work on animals. So... it shouldn't work on ghosts."

"It may come down to exertion," Liz suggests. "Mine's powers override the Many's influence--the strength of a possessing spirit might not be an equal contest. It should at the very least make it harder for the Many, though."

"Yeah," Fuse says, and nods again. "If it does work, that's a way easier way in than a lot of our other answers. Our ghost selves'll be safer in someone else's body, too... at least, safer than they'd be just wandering around Carpenter's base. Depends on how weird possession is, I guess--for everybody involved."

For now, you want to focus on manipulating time in the red. This will be slightly easier once Dr. Finch and Caius bring back some watches to trade up (probably?), but you can at least get started now.

You cut your palm, and bleed out onto the floor. You open a portal into the red.

You try to see if there's any way to... maybe perceive time. You've grown so adjusted to being able to see through blooded people, down to a microscopic level, and you've started to get used to feeling electricity. It... feels a little like being blind, trying to manipulate time in the red without having any way to measure it organically.

Fuse pulls a cell phone out of his pocket. He flips it open, sets it to display the current time, and casually tosses it into the blood pool. Sploosh. It disappears into the red.

"...Don't you need that?," Liz asks.

"I've got a small collection of burner phones, at this point," Fuse responds.

The phone drifts through the red for a moment, eventually slowing to a stop... and then just kind of hanging there in the not-quite-air.

The numbers displayed don't seem to be changing on their own, at least. It may still be carrying some of its... uh... native time.

You can't alter the cell phone's personal perception of time--you don't have any real control over it. However, if you can change the way time flows in a sort of pocket around it...

You focus.

The time goes up by a minute.

Then, after a lengthy pause,

another minute.

Then another. And another. It begins to accelerate rapidly, minutes turning into an hour into a handful of hours. You pump the brakes, trying to get it to stop--and by the time it does, the cell phone has gone through about six hours in a few outside seconds.

You suspect that precision is going to be, uh, a bit difficult. Once you start manually changing time, it really wants to go.


Reax304 14th Jan 2019, 11:50 PM edit delete reply
So, is it possible to maintain two pockets of red, each in different time speeds, one at regular and one slowed or sped up, throw a clock in each one and observe from the neutral red around it? I feel like that may be the surest way of keeping track
Tych 15th Jan 2019, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
technically we only did sped up we haven't done slow down that is the real trick and the important thing here
Cuttlefish 15th Jan 2019, 2:49 AM edit delete reply
Is it? Minutes in the red with seconds on Earth is what we are shooting for - days of planning in a pocket dimension while Nilpenter and Thale get an hour.
Cyanic 14th Jan 2019, 11:52 PM edit delete reply
hold on hold on

Before we go further, we ought to ask either BigRed or the tradesmen if there's a native god of time or subgod that is narcissistic enough that thinks time is its domain

we don't wanna be stepping on toes and making more enemies when we have stuff we gotta deal with already
Tych 15th Jan 2019, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
Nabb 15th Jan 2019, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
We're working on a lot of good things right now. I'm not convinced we also need to be investing that much energy in time shenanigans.
Taenidia 15th Jan 2019, 12:33 AM edit delete reply
+1 (If it's in the Red, that might make it a special circumstance that still falls in our domain? But it's worth asking, and knowing more about why we're *super* not-allowed to go-back-in-time in the official world would be nice information to have anyway.)
AgentKuga 15th Jan 2019, 3:20 PM edit delete reply
+1 yes
Skullrama 16th Jan 2019, 6:39 PM edit delete reply
If we're gonna do a Tradesmen info ritual, we have a few other questions to ask as well - we might as well ask and get prices.

I'd like to ask about the potential consequences of pulling out the red, mixing dimensions. It would be good to know if this is a thing we could keep in our back pocket in case of emergency, or if it would basically doom reality and we should never ever do it.

On the plus side, if it WOULD doom reality, the Tradesmen are likely to tell us so cheap or free - dooming reality is probably bad for their business long-term.
TGWMoC 15th Jan 2019, 12:10 AM edit delete reply
Make a mental note to use the wand to make portals when you can, instead of cutting your hand, going forward. The damage is pretty much moot by this point, but there's no reason to get hurt, or even to numb your hand, cut, then heal it, when you can use your wand for the same effect without having to do any of that.

I mean, unless Mine likes the pain, or wants a reminder that she's not invulnerable, or something like that.
zophah 15th Jan 2019, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
Agreed. That's what the wand is for, at least.
Lapdragon 15th Jan 2019, 12:20 AM edit delete reply
I had a thought while I was driving into work tonight - Edison's "brain static" power makes it hard for anybody to think in the vicinity, and it's even stronger (and easier for her to inflict) if she's in physical contact. I don't particularly like the ethical ramifications of using her as a combatant in our little fight, but she (or maybe all three of them) might be quite capable of shutting down The Many.

If we're willing to entertain the concept, we should speak to Fuse and the girls to set up an experiment to see if Fuse can concentrate through the static enough to make his pyrokinesis work - if he can't, then we can talk to the girls about if they'd like to help us deal with The Many. If the girls can shut down The Many's psychic powers while Mine gets into range, we could just dump Many into a blood portal like we did with Knox, and then give them the ultimatum that either they leave us (and anybody else that they've got to be around) alone and we drop them off unharmed somewhere, or we're going to find a nice abandoned place like Illworth or Mars and leave them there for the rest of their lives.
Taenidia 15th Jan 2019, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Brain-static might not be Edison-exclusive. Next time we Astrally project someone, we should probably check if their aura is "spiky"? (...I strongly suspect Liz might have a spiky aura. If personality and manipulation-resistance play into it, if it's not just a learned skill... she might be spiky as all hell.)
Cuttlefish 15th Jan 2019, 2:55 AM edit delete reply
It might also be worth seeing if the brain static can be conducted through metal. If so, it might be possible to portal a wire conducting the effect across the red like we've done while planning mechas, minimising risk.
Limrix 15th Jan 2019, 11:50 AM edit delete reply
I don't think we should do this. Bringing the girls to the Carpenter fight is something we should only do if we think our chances are slim to none, and they'll be dead if we lose anyway.
Cuttlefish 15th Jan 2019, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
I definitely agree, no child warriors. They've been hurt enough.
Lapdragon 15th Jan 2019, 2:41 PM edit delete reply
Oh, believe me - I absolutely don’t want them “in combat”, but if Edison’s mere presence (via her prickly aura) is enough to cripple The Many, then I’d be willing to entertain the concept. I’m fairly sure that the only way anybody would be able to actually hurt her is if they came prepared for dealing with reinforced imprints (ghost gun, Z50 canisters, etc). While it’s likely that Nil himself (itself?) is capable of dealing with an imprint, I doubt Carpenter or Thale would know what to do - Director Thale might have had an idea, but Patton Thale probably doesn’t, because of all the memory erasures he’s done on himself.

At this point we don’t even know how Carpenter is keeping The Many from interfering with his own mind - he may not even be keeping them “on the premises” because of the danger that they pose to himself and his underlings.
Taenidia 15th Jan 2019, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
I'd like Liz to try out Astral Projection, if she'd consent to that?

Worst-case scenario, she gets some not-in-body time that she might enjoy. Best-case scenario, her aura's spiky and she and Edison can spend some adorable prickly bonding-time learning to weaponize it.

(...heck. It wouldn't surprise me that much if it uncovered that she's a bit body-dysphoric? In which case, we might get a glimpse of what she'd prefer to look like.)
fellow 15th Jan 2019, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
There's a good deal of thayle in elizabeth. Maybe she'll look more like him, though that would not be a pleasant revelation.
Taenidia 16th Jan 2019, 1:45 PM edit delete reply
Eugh... that does seem like a valid concern. She's been desynced from him for a while now, but it did take Fuse weeks to spiritually-disentangle from a mild oversync.
fellow 16th Jan 2019, 3:29 PM edit delete reply
Well, if it happens, ghosts can change their shapes so Elizabeth might be able to look more like how she wants in time.
Frission 15th Jan 2019, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
Hyperbolic Time Chamber? I suppose it'll be useful if we ever need to train for a year before Cell attacks the Earth. >.>
zophah 15th Jan 2019, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
Once we get them, it might be good to check with watches that can measure in seconds or even milliseconds. If we can get our time manipulation to a specific interval, say double speed, it may be easier to train the time ability. We should wait on higher intervals until we can get the basics down.
Limrix 15th Jan 2019, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
If we want something we can observe better, we could put a fork in the red and spin it slowly, and try accelerating that.
37212513 15th Jan 2019, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
Your doing it wrong and you can prove it in the error room.

Two clocks synced over a wire on an open portal, the one in real time-space giving the one in red time-space your exit data.

speaking of the error room, get some random tips and Carpenters fuck it, I'm bored date while your there.
Limrix 15th Jan 2019, 5:31 PM edit delete reply
Except that the flow of electricity will also be accelerated in the red, so the signal will be dampened by the factor of acceleration. Communication between two objects, one of which is accelerated is _hard_.
Reax304 15th Jan 2019, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
That being the case, if there's an external pov from where we can see time both accelerated and neutral, we may be able to close that gap. isolate time in multiple pockets of red in a way where we can see through the pocket lining. put a digital clock in each. presto. hopefully.
Limrix 15th Jan 2019, 9:02 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, the pocket of acceleration is a limited size, so we can just put a clock outside of it in the red and watch that for normal time.
fellow 16th Jan 2019, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
There'd be nothing keeping the clock in real world time though. And if you were to hook the clock inside the red outside the time pocket hooked up to something external, it would require an open blood portal which would cause a leak in Mine's brain.
Cuttlefish 15th Jan 2019, 7:02 PM edit delete reply
A legitimate use for our small range time acceleration at some stage might be to chew through the number crunching on finding new bunkers. If we got six hours out of a few minutes, half a day with the supercomputer in a time bubble might finish the job right there. That said, we already have two new bunkers to explore and limited time.
Taenidia 16th Jan 2019, 1:41 PM edit delete reply
+1 to that. Disposable computer, preferably; a lot could happen in the Red.
Antarean 15th Jan 2019, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
*Carefully* have some of the team practice with astral projection possession?
Master_of_Horns 16th Jan 2019, 6:09 PM edit delete reply
Hey so if we're going to be raiding carpenter's base and Nil's going to be pulling shit there as well... maybe we don't expose people's consciousness to the usher of unthought, seems like it could go wrong fast.