Comic 1171 - Ask Pierce more questions

Posted on 31st Jan 2019, 8:47 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Ask Pierce more questions

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

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 31st Jan 2019, 8:47 PM edit delete
You show Pierce the other disc, and its elaborate casing--and you explain the effect it had on you.

He takes it, turning it over in his hands as he eyes it.

"...Interesting. The design looks... familiar, in a way, but I don't know these symbols."

You had a similar impression. It looks like things you've seen before, but you've never seen that design in particular.

Pierce nods, and hands the disc back to you. "Though magic is stigmatized, you'd be amazed how much modern design and architecture takes from arcane writings of old. I've heard that even some scientific knowledge now a part of our everyday lives was gained by magical means--though, that could just be mages trying to talk up the craft."

"That a good idea?," Michelle asks. "Y'know... puttin' magic stuff all over the place?"

"Well..." Pierce motions as though he's going to shrug, but never quite goes through with it. "I don't think anyone's gone so far as to put functioning sigils up at the mall or the like. Once you familiarize yourself with the patterns and aesthetics of the otherworldly, though, you'll begin to see hints of it everywhere. I doubt it's anything nefarious--someone just liked the look, at some point, and trends are what they are. The designs on that CD and its case may be the older foundations for things we see all the time."

"What d'ya think about the effect, though?," Michelle asks.

"It does sound like a ritual," Pierce replies simply. "A sort of... protected travel. The body and soul stay firmly where they are, safe in the caster's chambers, while the mind drifts to another place. It's not an uncommon way for humans to see outside our bubble."

What place, though...?

"Yeah," Michelle adds, "any idea where Blondie went?"

He's quiet for a second--you can't tell if he's hesitating, or just thinking about it. He finally forces a smile. "I'm honestly not certain. It doesn't sound like any place I've read about before... but I haven't read as much as I'd like, either. There is a lot to see in the universe."

You also ask Pierce how the sword handed guy was able to track you--he seemed to know where you were, even over a huge distance.

"That was one of the spells we had placed... well, in him," Pierce says. "Not too complex--if I recall, it called upon some minor demon or another. It sharpened his senses, to make him an impeccable hunter."

You also ask if Pierce has any thoughts on trying to track... uh, time. Possibly between two zones of varying times.

"Time, I doubt I can help with," he says frankly. "Any writing I've seen on the subject of time has simply said not to. There are... things, that it may draw the attention of."

Yeah. That seems to be the general consensus.

You send a message to Caius, asking how things are going on their end.

"We traded in some tinfoil hats," he says, and then gives a very long pause. "They uh... they didn't give us a helmet." He pauses, again, and inhales deeply. "We got a leech? Lookin' thing?"


"Yeah," he says. "That was kinda our reaction. It's a big ol' leech lookin' fella. He's in a glass case thing, so, y'know. That's nice. Ain't runnin' around tha bunker or nothin', but uh... we're not real sure what to do with 'em. We was holdin' off on tradin' anymore hats 'til we figured this one out."

You ask Caius if he could possibly contact the tradesmen--maybe by phone? Or by ritual, if necessary.

"I ain't got their number," he says, "but yeah, I can do tha ritual. Gimme a minute."

While Caius sets up the tradesmen ritual, a thought occurs to you--trying to pull from the people you've blooded. You were unable to do it before, as you could only portal or tap into the red from what you consider yourself, but you've overcome a number of limitations since then. Your powers might be more... flexible, at this point.

"Hell, I'm game," Michelle says. "Hit me with it."

You attempt to make more of your blood, using the blood currently in Michelle.

...To no avail.

It seems that, even though it's your blood, you still mostly see it as your blood in Michelle's body and therefor her blood. Somehow. Maybe because it's a gift, of sorts...?

"Pfft." Michelle grins. "You're still a nurse."


She's also currently within the range of your aura.

You... think about it differently?

You take a second to refocus, paying more attention to the auras in the area. You notice that Pierce's aura is... very calm, almost a coherent shape. It also has a similar... you don't know, something to Liz's. Texture? Color? They share a quality.

You focus past that, and onto the idea of Michelle being inside your... aura container.

You focus on the blood running through her veins. You can't... pull from it, though. Still. It seems your aura doesn't really... cross through her. She's in your aura, but the aura's not in her; you can turn the aura into things, and possibly pull from the aura, but you can't pull from her inside it.

Imagine having a bottle inside a larger bottle, and the larger bottle is full of blood. You can move the large bottle, and you can use the blood to move the small bottle, but you can't mess with anything inside the small bottle.

Or something.

You focus on it more, trying to come up with a way to circumvent this--

You then almost jump out of your seat as your phone rings.

On Mars.

It's just Caius, though.

"Hey, I'm here," he says quietly. "I know you know, but this is weird as hell. They already told me tha rules, though."

Two questions: one, who made the Combat #11 ritual? And secondly, is it safe to use on non-humans?

"Alright." Caius speaks louder, presumably out to the tradesmen. "That ritual we got--tha CD that said Combat 11 on it. Who made that?"

You can faintly hear the tradesmen in the background.

"We can answer this question, if in exchange you provide us with information. When you, Mine Ametsuchi, and Leopold Finch traveled to Southden, you entered one of the domes. Where did you go after that? There is a time between your entering the dome and exiting it that cannot be accounted for, not even with our resources."

"I, uh..." Caius hesitates. "I'll have to get back to ya on that."

It's very close to an exchange you've had before--you asked if anyone was asking about you, and the tradesmen asked where you acquired the ritual to call them. It seems like they're trying to narrow it down more specifically--your answer was... a bit vague, last time, but you didn't want to throw the Library under the bus (or reveal your error room shenanigans).

"Second question," Caius begins. "That ritual--s'it safe to use on mutants, lab meat an' stuff, or just full blooded humans?"

"We can answer this question," the tradesmen state, "but in exchange, you will never have the revenge you seek. You, Caius, will be rendered personally incapable of killing Macland Row or Gesenai Shirai. Any attempts you bring to bear will inevitably fail."

...Wait, was he still planning that?

Caius actually hesitates.

Not very long, but he does hesitate.

You hear him take a long, deep breath, and exhale slowly. "...Alright. Deal. Got it."

"The ritual recorded on that disc will be less effective when utilized by one it is not written for," the tradesmen reply. "There are not, however, any significant repercussions. As long as the one performing the ritual has anatomy similar enough, in broader terms, to a human body, the smaller details of genetics or brain structure only alter the degree and nature of the transformation. No long term damage will be inflicted, nor will the level of trauma be elevated if the ritual is used by a mutated human or a genetically engineered being with human-like physiology. The duration will also remain the same."


Gigafreak 31st Jan 2019, 9:05 PM edit delete reply
There's still a few things to discuss with the Tradesmen (including deciding whether to share the Library's involvement just in case The Time Cops are after that particular tidbit), but we now know we can safely use The Embiggening Ritual on Caius and Michelle.

We should test it with them, then, out in the mountains of Bunker A. See if their bone armor will expand with them, or if they need to resummon their bone armor once embiggened, or if the embiggening INCLUDES bone armor. See if Michelle's embiggened hands can still properly grip, aim, and fire her weapons.

...And maybe also see how large Caius is in that form, so we can build another warhammer for his new size and store it in the red until needed.
Fishbulb 31st Jan 2019, 9:30 PM edit delete reply
We may want to start with testing it on a Lumpy, if we can make one close enough to human anatomy to make the spell work.
Swagner 31st Jan 2019, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
To be fair, the brain structure specifically effects the spell, and lumpy has a practically non-existent brain. On account of making "people" being a kind of "playing god" that we probably aren't ready for the repercussions of.
Xylas_Incarnum 1st Feb 2019, 1:26 AM edit delete reply
it's not really "playing god" when you are one though.... even if Mine's just a fledgling Blood Goddess atm.
Swagner 31st Jan 2019, 9:56 PM edit delete reply
Actually, now that I think about it, isn't Dr. Finch a "baseline" human? If we wanted to test the spell under the most benign conditions, he'd probably be the safest, if he's up for experimentation of that nature.
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 2:10 AM edit delete reply
One big question to ask the tradesmen is what happens if someone gets wounded in the larger form. How badly does it effect their normal form? Is it proportional to the size change, or does the extra mass somehow absorb the damage leaving the person unharmed (after shrinking back to normal) except in extreme circumstances?
Cyanic 1st Feb 2019, 7:30 AM edit delete reply
this is a good question to ask +1
Chaostraveler 1st Feb 2019, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
Twyll 31st Jan 2019, 9:07 PM edit delete reply
Hmmm. I wonder if we ought to point out that giving an answer on where we went might compromise the safety of a certain entity because the Tradesmen might trade that information to someone hostile, or otherwise snitch somehow :P [EDIT: see comment further down the chain where I refine this a bit to not give any clues about the Library, since the other commenters pointed out that this version was likely a bit too concrete] whereas we intend not to pose any more risk to the authors of Combat #11 than they already face just doing what they do, and indeed help protect them if possible. So, it doesn't seem like this is actually an equal trade. Maybe we could request a different price instead, because of that?

Granted, giving *that* information might clue the Tradesmen in or help them narrow down things about where we went, but it's better than just outright stating it's the Library and might also be preferable to remaining in the dark about potential allies.

Random note related to what Pierce said, btw: irl, there is actually a sigil called the Ellis Sigil that people put up as graffiti in various places, including malls, that is in fact intended to function as a spell. It's part of a network of chaos magick intended to make shit more weird and break down consensus reality at the sites where it's drawn. Soooo, I bet there *are* people putting spells up at malls in Future Not-America too XD
undeadDreamer 31st Jan 2019, 9:23 PM edit delete reply
Twyll no. That's too much information. We don't know what could tip somebody off that the library helped us.
37212513 31st Jan 2019, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to double up here, on the "we meet someone whom we'd rather not rat out to powers looking in on even you".
If the Tradesmen couldn't see, there was a reason, and it's too soon to reveal it. That much we can tell them.
Twyll 31st Jan 2019, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
We could be even vaguer. Just say that we don't want to give that information because we don't know who could get their hands on it and what kind of harm might come out of it; whereas we've proven that we're pretty soft-hearted, well-meaning folks, and besides, we're pretty sure that the people we're inquiring about already know about us somehow and regard us in a positive light, so we have no reason to harm them. Thus, the price is imbalanced-- we expect little harm to come of our knowing what we wish to know, but potentially a lot of harm to come of revealing what they want us to reveal.

That way, we don't mention any specific entity. Still, I maintain that the Tradesmen likely already suspect the involvement of some entity or other-- we'd literally not be telling them anything they didn't already strongly suspect. We got a book from somewhere and they don't know where, and they don't know from whom; and we disappeared into a certain place. I'm operating under the assumption that, as effective merchants, they know how to add 2 and 2.
Limrix 31st Jan 2019, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
Agreed. Let's politely decline and leave it at that. There is nothing requiring us to give a reason for not accepting a trade. We should also avoid saying anything of questionable veracity. We do not have any agreements with Library, and misrepresenting that would be bad business.
Twyll 31st Jan 2019, 9:58 PM edit delete reply
We do have an agreement, though? The Library asked us not to tell, and we assented. That's an agreement. Things don't have to be described in formal language to be agreements.

We're not *required* to give a reason, no. The point of giving a reason for declining the trade is to prompt them to reconsider their asking price.

In any case, my updated comment doesn't mention that part at all, just mentions the concept of potential harm coming out of us learning things vs. the potential harm of us divulging things. I think that's neutral enough that it doesn't risk revealing our source.

I honestly believe that the price is not just more than we're willing to pay, but more than the product is *worth.* That is different from other times we've been unwilling to pay. This is likely because they don't know the details of what they're asking about. We don't have to *give* them those details, but just say enough to support an argument of "this is why you should reconsider."
Nabb 31st Jan 2019, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
+1 to a carefully vague "this is why you should reconsider."
undeadDreamer 31st Jan 2019, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
I consider saying we don't want to tell them because it could cause harm to be acceptable.
zophah 1st Feb 2019, 1:29 AM edit delete reply
+1 to keeping the Library a secret.
Vanya 4th Feb 2019, 2:31 AM edit delete reply
+1 to not snitching
Golnor 1st Feb 2019, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
I suppose the cheeky answer of "We went to the library and got a book." wouldn't work,would it?
undeadDreamer 31st Jan 2019, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
Tell the Tradesmen that our group is unwilling to trade that information. Apologize for not being able to help them find out what happened.
Fishbulb 31st Jan 2019, 9:32 PM edit delete reply

If we need to, say it would breach a confidentiality agreement or something.
undeadDreamer 31st Jan 2019, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
Pretty sure that would be not actually correct. We do not tell falsehoods to the tradesmen.
Twyll 31st Jan 2019, 9:54 PM edit delete reply
It actually would be correct. The Library asked us not to tell, and we agreed. Contracts such as confidentiality agreements can be informal; they don't need to be written (they're just much easier to enforce when they're written down properly).

Anyways, I do think it would be productive to let them know that the price they're asking for is actually too steep for the product they're offering, in our opinion-- not just more than we want to pay, but actually more than the product is worth. That at least gives us the chance to ask them to name a new price.
Lunar Waffles 31st Jan 2019, 10:06 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Gigafreak 31st Jan 2019, 10:07 PM edit delete reply
I don't know what kind of testimonies are admissible in Cosmic Time Cop Court, but the less we give them to go on, the better. I'd vote we either say nothing at all on the topic, or just give a flat "no" with no details.

We didn't ask after an idle curiosity just to possibly expose The Library to the Time Cops-- especially when we're declining to get anything out of it.
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 2:23 AM edit delete reply
+1 We've given our word not to speak of what happened there, and if they can give us another price we might consider that, but this is completely off the table.

It may be that the information really is that game changing that it would require such a cost, but that cost is just too high to pay.
Limrix 31st Jan 2019, 9:30 PM edit delete reply
Even if it's not inside our body, it is still our blood. No matter where it is, our blood is still our blood, and the thing we consider our body is just a container for our spirit in the first place. We may do many different things with that blood, but ultimately, that blood is Mine's.

I vote no to answering their question. Before Caius hangs up on the Tradesmen, tell him to say "We would like your phone number, if you would be so kind." The important part is it's not a question. After that, Michelle and Caius can begin testing the new ritual outside bunker A.

Dr. Finch and Fuse should start working on electronic warfare devices in Bunker B, and see if the Juries would be willing to help.
Skullrama 31st Jan 2019, 11:23 PM edit delete reply
I second stating that we would like their phone number. Couldn't hurt to see if they'll give it to us.
zophah 1st Feb 2019, 1:34 AM edit delete reply
Thinking that the blood is still ours does seem a bit 'slippery slope' about thinking like Thale. Thale already believes that everything with the blood is his and is willing to sacrifice people using it. I'd still consider this amount of the Blood being Michelle's.

Also +1 to asking for their number, or possibly asking for any other way to contact them without a ritual.
Limrix 1st Feb 2019, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
It may be a similar direction, but Thale's deal is mind control. I don't think viewing our blood in our allies as ours will hurt their existence as individuals. A body's just a container, right? Even if you put all kinds of stuff into it, it's not going to change who you are.
Kumondo 1st Feb 2019, 5:17 PM edit delete reply
Y'know, I am in accord with the idea that circumventing somebody's aura to pull Blood inside them is quite Thale-like. It seems that one's aura is strongly tied to ones sense of self; one's soul. Mine's aura is quite large from all the training, revelations and project Odin/incident F shenanigans. It should be quite encouraging that we are where we're at. But while our friend have also made much progress, their sense of self, their auras, are not yet at the same point.

Thale's deal is mind control, and body control, and really, just degrading everything about an individual's individuality. He is actively trying to force his sense of self onto the masses of the City, with certain targets taking priority. He can pull mass from regular, queened people because he views them as an extension of himself; he overrides their sense of self.

If we work around somebody's aura, or try to claim ownership of the Blood inside of them, we are doing exactly what Thale is doing. Overruling their sense of self with our own. Mine is definitely allowed to have a sense of self that transcends the meat shell she's in, but on the whole, most everyone else's sense of who they are is strongly tied to the skin their in. If anything, we WANT them to be able to resist that kind of control; it means they have a strong soul.

Alright, that felt rather negative, so let's try spinning this on a positive note to finish off. I think that Mine's thoughts on having given Blood and it being their Blood from then on is a very interesting prospect. It reinforces an idea I mentioned last page where our allies could use Blood powers. The Blood is still The Blood, even if it belongs to somebody else. I think it would be a more than fair trade off if Mine can't pull Blood into Michelle, but Michelle could pull Blood into herself. Mine of course has the most The Blood, and can decide what can and can't be done by others, but the sharing and co-operation opportunity presented is much more in line with the philosophy that Mine and the crew operate with.
Myya 2nd Feb 2019, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
+1 on no circumventing the team's auras. We just came to the conclusion recently that the aura/spirit/soul is the true self. Pushing their aura out of the way of part of their body would be very much Thale-like.

Agree that our friends have made progress, but I feel that they're in need of a real boost (and we all need to learn better control) before we face off with Nil/Carpenter.

One thing we may have accidentally learned about spirit strength and people's bodies recently is that the ghost trio, with power levels around that of a normal (not overloaded) Odin run, appear to be able to enter someone's body without frying it.

Perhaps talk to Finch on the possibilities of if Project Odin could be used to strengthen our allies' auras/sense of self, and see if anyone would want to try it out if it sounds reasonable?
Fishbulb 31st Jan 2019, 9:31 PM edit delete reply
While we've got the tradesmen, we should ask them if there is a reward in Bunker C that is worth entering it, and also whether or not we can enter Bunkers F and G without either being harmed, or releasing anything harmful.

Edit If the question about Bunker C is answerable, maybe also find out if the creature(s) within can mimic things other than voices.
Chaostraveler 1st Feb 2019, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
+1 to this and asking about the leech. If Tradesmen can elaborate on messing with time at a low cost that's a good question. As for ratting on the Library, if we could get an assurance that it would not harm them &/or be disseminated then maybe.
Myya 2nd Feb 2019, 3:56 PM edit delete reply
+1 to questions on the leech and asking about bunkers F and G.
Baron11704 31st Jan 2019, 9:31 PM edit delete reply
Definitely ask about the leech, since they gave it to us, i imagine the price will either be non-existent or low.
Lunar Waffles 31st Jan 2019, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Skullrama 31st Jan 2019, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
We might as well ask about it - the alternative is uh, letting it leech on someone.
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 3:09 AM edit delete reply
PurpleKetchup 1st Feb 2019, 5:13 AM edit delete reply
I guess that instead of simply redirecting EM fields, the leech is a similar mutant breed as Mama Worm and actually eats the stuff in a radius around it, protecting anyone inside from shenanigans.

Gotta check sentience and find a name for it (also mini-hug if appropriate) !
Guest 31st Jan 2019, 9:45 PM edit delete reply
One thing to keep in mind: The Tradesmen are principled. It'd be bad for business if us telling them what happened was immediately going to be used against us. And at the very least, should the information have wide-reaching effects via a third party casting the ritual, the cost for it might be steep enough to deter them.

I'd argue that even interacting with the Tradesmen (i.e. we have performed the ritual and made deals with them) is enough information for someone to fill in the blanks.

Further, the library entity may not be something they can reach even if they know what happened. They can't tell us about anything Nill hides, after all.

Let's think about it.
Kumondo 1st Feb 2019, 5:41 PM edit delete reply
These are some of the best reasons I've seen in favor of the trade, Guest. I kinda wanted to take a stab playing devil's advocate here and argue for the trade as well. The biggest thing I can see is that giving out a clients personal information is also rather bad for business, which is why the cost is so high. Ultimately though, there's far too many what-ifs, unknowns and well-maybes to really warrant basically betraying an ally in exchange for maybe a new ally.
Nabb 31st Jan 2019, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
First things first - Firm no to ratting on the library. I could be potentially convinced that the Tradesmen are asking of their own interest, and hypothetically persuaded to trade that information under assurance that no harm or... consequence would befall our mysterious and highly literate benefactor.

Personal curiosity aside, however, I'm not really convinced that we need this information.

+1 to Caius fishing for their number - except, does he think in numbers, or simply "Call Blondie's cell?"

Leeches will forever be colored by ST2: Wrath of Khan for me. Seems like an anti-mind-static symbiotic brain-leech. Do NOT take my word for this.
Nabb 31st Jan 2019, 10:04 PM edit delete reply
Also, for reasons I can't put my finger on, I'm uncomfortable following the "it's still our blood, we should be able to do blood things with it," train of thought, regarding our blood in our allies. Even though I do agree that it seems like something we ought to be able to do.
Archon 31st Jan 2019, 10:55 PM edit delete reply
Interesting wording on the Tradesmens part.
"You, Caius, will be rendered personally incapable of killing Macland Row or Gesenai Shirai."
So if in the future, eliminating Macland Row and/or Gesenai Shirai is something we wish to do, it can be done.
Caius might have his revenge yet, even if others are required to fulfill it in his place.

As for the first question, perhaps countering with "We would like to know that too." or something similar?
It is technically an answer, though the Tradesmen may in turn see fit to technically answer who made the Combat 11 CD.
Skullrama 31st Jan 2019, 11:26 PM edit delete reply
So, while we're asking the Tradesmen questions, I would like to ask them about pulling the red out of a portal into another dimension. Mostly, I want to see how they price the answer - the price alone could tell us a lot about how insanely dangerous or useful it would be.

I imagine if it is incredibly dangerous to the point of it being sheer stupidity to even consider it, the price for the answer will be pretty low - telling us not to shoot ourself in the head is not exactly 'tipping the balance', and they have a vested interest in us not accidentally destroying their other business partners.
Cyanic 31st Jan 2019, 11:36 PM edit delete reply
I think we'd also wanna train how fast we switch to aura-view, right now we have to focus a bit before we see auras, if we can just look at auras at a *click* then that might be really useful
zophah 1st Feb 2019, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
Add another skill to the 'train later' list. =)
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 2:04 AM edit delete reply
+1 on this. Mine needs to up her game on auras all around. Beyond the fact that seeing auras may help her detect and avoid a spiritual attack, the new ability to form mass and at least some amount of electricity from her aura could prove to be helpful in the coming fight.
It would be interesting if Mine could tune the sparks she accidentally made previously into a useful, ranged, electrical attack.
Archon 31st Jan 2019, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
As an aside, I wonder if we could set terms for what the Tradesmen may do with what we tell/give them?
A clause, counter-offer, addendum or what-have-you.

And as an aside-from-an-aside, I've wondered how intent factors into trades. Assuming it does, of course, could a written message meaningfully alter the result?
Or an object repurposed; say a helmet used as a bowl?
Perhaps ties to personal history and/or emotions?..
...Whether now is a good time to actually test these things I'll leave to others, but speculation should be feasible enough.
Kumondo 1st Feb 2019, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
As far as negotiating prices with the Tradesmen go, their prices thus far have been firm but fair. There's not really been a lot of wiggle room for negotiating beyond rephrasing the question or deciding how specific we are in our own answer. They've also expressed before that there are no specific questions they want us to ask: "Incidentally, we cannot prompt you for any questions in particular. That is one of our limitations. We don't prefer any questions over others, we're simply pleased that you are asking questions at all." (Page 925)

I also strongly suspect that if we were to come to them and say "we have one Willard to trade; what information can you give us?" they'll come back with "We cannot effectively price a question you have not asked." or something along those lines.

Now, as far as a note or intention affecting things, we do have an answer on Page 1119; basically, no. That said, the Tradesmen have done a rather decent job and inferring our intent with our trades so far, and more often than not given us exactly what we "ask" for or wildly better.
winger 1st Feb 2019, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
You know we can just tell Caius that if he really wants revenge of some kind. there are many kinds of revenge the tradesmen only said kill. and even then personally so he can still kick the crap out of them and as long as he only means to do that well it should work. heck we can control people. we could just control Caius and kill them through his body. WE still killed them we just used Caius's Body to do so. looophoooole
T41 1st Feb 2019, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
The Library seems like a decent entity. I'd rather not get it into any trouble if I don't need to.
Nicolas 1st Feb 2019, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
Trade in taller lumpys to get a bigger mine puppet. Test ritual on that. Also test if mine can more easily possess the puppet.
zophah 1st Feb 2019, 1:47 AM edit delete reply
A few things:
First, don't forget to ask (at least to know the price of) what the Z50 cactus and slime are. Oh, and also about our new leech. I wonder if it can be blooded...
Second, I'm concerned that Caius still wanted revenge, but also relived that he was willing to give up on it to help us.
Third, We are now learning how to sense with auras, so could we try and sense with the blood at the same time? Like looking at Finch's aura from Fuse's Blood or even looking at the Tradesmen's auras from Caius.
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 3:07 AM edit delete reply
Previously the tradesmen gave us a list of things that may or may not help (would border on deception if they told us it would help) with the fight against Nil/Carpenter. I propose Mine start working through the list of: practicing forced syncs, interacting with Red, and experimenting with forced perceptions in astral form.

Starting with forced syncs, I think the logical choice is to start with Michelle, as Mine has some experience with what she might be walking into. I know some people in the discord were concerned that killing spider Vasquez might alter Michelle's personality, so if we didn't want to risk that, Mine could (assuming that entity still exists there) work on simply restraining it, which would still allow her to train her skills in sync-land. Then as she walks out the door, she can release it again.

More interactions with Red and getting her sense of self built up sounds like a good plan in general. Perhaps do the imprint strengthening ritual on her and take her around and introduce her to the whole team to start. Which can lead nicely into the next part...

For the last one, more altering of her (and Red's ... or maybe even the full offensive team's) imprints in astral form would be good. Maybe start with the ghost girls and doing more harmless things like clothes and shape changes (Like change into a cat form or something... Assuming that would turn out better than the meat "cats" she'd make... or maybe just start with the ears or tail... She added ears to her armor already, so she's had practice there. XD ). Once that gets easier, split off from the girls and work on testing ways of using the ability for more active offense and defense. Red would be a good person to help test this aspect of the abilities. Probably rest back in the body for a bit every now and then just to ensure Mine doesn't get too worn out.
Cuttlefish 1st Feb 2019, 4:17 AM edit delete reply
Pierce and Liz were both oversynced by Thale. I'd argue that that is the similarity in texture to their auras.
PurpleKetchup 1st Feb 2019, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
Good catch. Keeping an eye out for this pattern might help heal oversynced victims by negating it, kinda like noise cancellation ?
If some free time comes up, we can ask Liz or Pierce if they'd be alright with letting Mine practice on them.
Cuttlefish 1st Feb 2019, 4:18 PM edit delete reply
If we get quick at aura reading, it could help us know who is being controlled by Thale in a given area, too
PurpleKetchup 1st Feb 2019, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
Oh yeah, btw. Modern buildings get power from induction, right ?
Since Mine can discharge sparks from anywhere in her aura, she can also probably charge back up using the incoming induction power.
She could sustain some heavy-duty mental effort that way.
zophah 1st Feb 2019, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
Draining power from the environment? nice.
fellow 1st Feb 2019, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
Wow, caius really gave that up quickly. I wonder what's up with that.
Cuttlefish 1st Feb 2019, 1:09 PM edit delete reply
The love of a gentle Doctor offering him a better option for the future than simply fighting until he breaks?
fellow 1st Feb 2019, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
Well, if he didn't want it still, the tradesmen wouldn't have offered to trade anything for it, would they?
Cuttlefish 1st Feb 2019, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
That's true, but the tradesmen are pretty wily and seem to be on our side. Maybe they saw this was something Caius needed to confront, and took the opportunity to play psychologist? I'm happy he is willing to pick a happier future for himself. That's my read on his choice, at any rate.
Myya 2nd Feb 2019, 4:18 PM edit delete reply
My guess is that Caius saw a lot of bad stuff while working for the two of them, and that was enough to make that desire stick. At the same time, he sees a brighter future with a family he's grown close to (especially Finch), and that Macland and Gesenai are at least working toward correcting some of their mistakes, though many probably cannot be undone. In the end, as long as they become a force for good, it's probably not helpful to remove them. Should they diverge from their current path, punishment doesn't need to come directly from him, as much as he may want to be hands on about it.
crawlers 1st Feb 2019, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
Why not ask the tradesmen if they are willing to accept something other than the price they offer? Perhaps something else of equal or similar value?
Twelveseal 1st Feb 2019, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
We may be able to figure out who made the combat disc on our own. They gave us some keywords and the indication that it was meant to be distributed. It's probably online. Just search for magic, blood, nice god, antifacism, and combat, and see what hits we get. We can also see if Griz and Co. Know of any potential Mine cults. While I don't think being worshipped is our thing, getting in touch with them might be a good idea. Though we should probably construct a list of values and ideals we support first and those we oppose, and point out that our followers might be in danger. That list might help strengthen our own spiritual power by solidifying our identity more.
Frission 1st Feb 2019, 11:46 AM edit delete reply
We should totally get the Trademen's phone number. :3
Night Ot Eternity 1st Feb 2019, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
Kudos for Caius in giving up his ambitions for the larger goal! Someone please give him a hug later??
Skullrama 1st Feb 2019, 1:18 PM edit delete reply
New suggestion:

The Library told us that the Tradesmen 'send cryptic messages on the cheap'. So, instead of asking the Tradesmen to reveal the ritual maker's identity, let's ask if they'll send a message to them for us. This could be much cheaper, and start up a dialogue.
Myya 1st Feb 2019, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
Twyll 1st Feb 2019, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
You know, this makes way more sense than asking them to directly reveal a client. Let's do that!

Of course, now we've gotta figure out how to make a message suitably cryptic that it'll be cheap to send. XD Maybe just a phone number or email address with no identifying information?

KittensAndEldritchHugs at gmail (the "g" stands for "goddess"!)
Nayru9572 1st Feb 2019, 3:28 PM edit delete reply
Guest 1st Feb 2019, 6:15 PM edit delete reply
Kumondo 1st Feb 2019, 6:16 PM edit delete reply
I also rather like this idea, but in the interest of not revealing anything about the Library, who we got this tip from, we should be just a bit sneaky in who we go about this. Instead of "Hey, I hear you guys send cryptic messages on the cheap." go with "Is there a way you, the Tradesmen, could send something like a business card or quick message to them?" They could follow that up with "We'll sell you the knowledge of that ritual for a yogurt parfait." or whatever they charge.
Lunar Waffles 1st Feb 2019, 6:30 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Lapdragon 2nd Feb 2019, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
+1 brilliance! :-)