Comic 1167 - Track the noise

Posted on 17th Jan 2019, 6:35 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Track the noise

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Average Rating: 5 (4 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 17th Jan 2019, 6:35 PM edit delete
While Liz and Dr. Finch begin trying to sort the music, you decide to figure out where that noise in the ceiling came from. Most of your rats are still outside, out in the city somewhere--however, Willard should still be in the bunker somewhere.

You try to perceive where Willard is located, so you can send him to check on the sound.

He's somewhere... dark. And somewhat cramped.

You have Willard walk forward.

Everyone in the lab pauses as a shuffling, scraping sound travels back across the ceiling.

It's Willard.

"Oh god dammit," Fuse huffs. "I thought time monsters were coming for us."

"Time monsters?," Caius asks. "That a thing?"

"Maybe," Michelle replies. "Prob'ly nothin' to worry about."

You also take a moment to start feeling everyone's... uh... auras. They're not as pronounced as they are with the ghost girls--it's almost hard to perceive the ambient energy coming off each body in the midst of all the energy in the atmosphere, seeping out of the walls and forming the EM fields. It all mostly blends together.

Even with how difficult the auras are to tell apart, though, you can notice faint, subtle differences when you really look for them. You can barely make out thorn-like protrusions in Liz's energy, not unlike Edison's... though, Liz's aura is much more subdued, more passive.

Michelle's feels softer, blending smoothly into the atmospheric energy at the edges. It's almost hard to tell where it really begins and where it ends. Fuse's energy is... odd. Its erratic motions make it easier to notice, and you wonder if his being psychic has something to do with it.

Dr. Finch and Caius have strangely similar auras. Both feel... restrained? As though they're being pulled in and held close, like someone sucking in their gut. You imagine there must be more distinct differences between them--but again, it's hard to get a good read on. You suspect if someone were astral projecting, their aura may be clearer. Focusing intently on Caius and Dr. Finch, though, you do start to pick up that the 'held in' nature of their auras is... lessened, between them. Their energies almost pull toward each other, while recoiling somewhat defensively from everything else.


PurpleKetchup 17th Jan 2019, 7:10 PM edit delete reply
Whew, that's one less thing to worry about.
Talking about EM auras, how about Mamared's over there ?
Kumondo 17th Jan 2019, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
Well would'ja look at that, we're paranoid.

In that case, let's rev up the ol' trade-up Tradesman ritual and see what happens.
Gigafreak 17th Jan 2019, 9:04 PM edit delete reply
I wonder what Willard was even doing up there to begin with.
I'm also wondering if Red (the other personality in Mine's mind) has an aura-- and if said aura might have that prickly quality. She's not a gentle person, after all.
Snervalton 17th Jan 2019, 9:09 PM edit delete reply
I'm also wondering how he got up there. Is there some hole or weakness in the bunker that we should be aware of? Is there anything in the space he's in that we should be aware of?
Frission 17th Jan 2019, 9:18 PM edit delete reply
Spidermouse~, spidermouse~, doin' .... whatever a spidermouse does~ :3
Taenidia 17th Jan 2019, 9:33 PM edit delete reply
+1 on reading Red's aura!
Taenidia 17th Jan 2019, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
Although... if *I* were an ineffable Time Beast constrained by Laws that minimize my direct impact on Earth, through any but the most subtle or the most official of channels... serendipitous timing on an unsettling noise might be the extent of what I can do on a moments notice?

Try asking if there's a timebeast or other being sending messages with "one scratch for no, two unsettling noises for yes"?

(Probably nothing, though.)
Some Random Guy 17th Jan 2019, 8:07 PM edit delete reply
Some Random Guy
Whelp, might as well say that we can sense the auras of our teammates now.

winger 17th Jan 2019, 11:05 PM edit delete reply
i do wonder about Finch and Caius since their auras seem to interact
Taenidia 18th Jan 2019, 2:55 AM edit delete reply
Mostly, I figure it's a metaphor for "they're pretty closed-off people, generally speaking, and reluctant to share much about who they are. But their souls/hearts/emotions/communications are far more open with each other, than with the general world."

But... yeah, maybe there's practical uses for F&C's soulbond. I wonder if (with enough Astral Lifting) they can get spidey-senses about each other or something? Or easier and more fluid possession?
AlphaExile 20th Jan 2019, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
Smart money says they are attracted to each other in a more than "Friendly" manner... Caius was made that way genetically so tube cops wouldn't breed.
Taenidia 18th Jan 2019, 3:11 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, we're aura-readers now!

I'm curious what Willard the rat's aura is like, and at some point we'll want to check the people at Illsworth to see how it compares to Fuse. Feels like the later can wait, though.
Limrix 17th Jan 2019, 8:09 PM edit delete reply
Let's take a couple of the watches that have second/millisecond precision and try honing our time flow control more while the others trade up the rest of the materials. Firstly, we should check if time flows at normal speed in the red, or what the default relative time flow is without our manipulation. Mom's Red has mentioned it's naturally erratic, so it's likely not following the conventional flow. Second, what happens if we accelerate a region and then stop focusing on it? Will it remain accelerated, slowly go back to its base state, or something else? Third, what happens when we try to move an object from an accelerated region to an unaccelerated region? If that's hard, can we shift the accelerated region away from the object? It would be nice to be able to leave acceleration just by moving out of the area of effect. Otherwise we'd have to decelerate the bubble and risk overshooting the normal flow of time and ending up decelerated.

Pierce and Dr. Finch should probably lead the group that decides what music bundles we trade up, and the others can make hats and set the time incorrectly on half of the watches for us to blood before we trade them up.
Twyll 17th Jan 2019, 8:20 PM edit delete reply
Sounds like a plan!
Kumondo 17th Jan 2019, 10:53 PM edit delete reply
This seems like a very good plan altogether. Mine doesn't need to head up the trades personally and can instead move on to the next batch of experiments as Limrix described.

I will say though that we should be exceptionally cautious about passing through the borders of altered time bubbles. If you put your hand into an area where time runs faster, say double rate, it'll "live" and need resources at that double rate, while your heart won't keep up and electrical signals will be wonky. Rejoining in the same timeline it would be numb like ones legs after siting in one position for too long. If the time discrepancy is larger, you may see your hand shrivel and die before you even got a pain reaction. We should definitely do a test or two to see what happens when passing between time-zones, ( :-p ) but anything living will likely want to cross those borders very quickly. (Read: instantly)
Taenidia 18th Jan 2019, 2:48 AM edit delete reply
Antarean 17th Jan 2019, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
Let's take a moment to check in with each of our other animals, then try to determine how Willard got into the ceiling and how to get him out. Alternatively, we could have him explore a little up there, we might actually find something interesting.
Michael Chandra 18th Jan 2019, 1:21 AM edit delete reply
Agreed: If this isn't a divine sign we need to check on our animals, then nothing ever will be.
Antarean 18th Jan 2019, 1:03 PM edit delete reply
@Michael Chandra: You're saying it was a sign from above? :P
Michael Chandra 19th Jan 2019, 4:32 AM edit delete reply
PurpleKetchup 18th Jan 2019, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
Probably just doing rat things in the ventilation shafts. Willard took the vent hermit lessons to heart.
They grow up so fast.
Guest 18th Jan 2019, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
-wipes away single tear-
Seriously though, +1 for checking up on all our animals
winger 18th Jan 2019, 10:54 AM edit delete reply
agreed. i bet they are fine since they mostly act alone when not being watched. but yeah were the hell did willard get up there
Nicolas 18th Jan 2019, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
Called it.:3
I still say we should try using the bunker zero key from inside bunker zero. If there's no card reader, add one
WalkerOfSorrow 18th Jan 2019, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
I don't know if this is just my shipper sense, but I feel like I remember Caius and Finch having some romantic tension back in the library. Maybe (hear me out) the closed-off-ness has to do with who they're attracted to, or open to relationships with. They both have some baggage, so maybe the only people they feel they can really open up to are each other.

Cuz they're in love. Y'know.
zophah 18th Jan 2019, 12:03 PM edit delete reply
I just remembered: a while ago when we were talking with the silkworm the first time, Michelle traded for information on the silkworm's motivations. What did she trade away?
fellow 18th Jan 2019, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
She traded away access to her old appartment.
Warp 18th Jan 2019, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
She traded away her old apartment. A different apartment now retroactively exists where Michelle's apartment used to exist.
Flaninious 20th Jan 2019, 5:19 AM edit delete reply
I thought the trade was more along the lines of “your lease is expired now and perpetually and your stuff in in the garbage because you didn’t get it”-type loss than “this apartment was now never yours via timeline shenanigans”-type loss?
zophah 20th Jan 2019, 2:10 AM edit delete reply
Is it possible to look at Mine's aura somehow? I can just imagine how massive/overcharged it might be considering the imprint charge and the near-godhood.