Comic 1181 - Make connected portals

Posted on 5th Apr 2019, 10:21 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Make connected portals

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 5th Apr 2019, 10:21 PM edit delete
While Dr. Finch goes to check on how Caius is feeling, you increase the amount of blood on the floor in preparation for making a wider portal. You also have your raven fly back to the bunker.

You reason that, with Michelle still being wanted by the police, it would be better to take Caius out in public. Pierce agrees to go with you, as well, as his expertise on the arcane could be useful (depending on how weird this gets).

But, rather than take the hummer--which would likewise make you easy for Thale's men to track down--you want to try and create a portal directly to the bookstore. This would also make it easier to pull in reinforcements, if things do go south.

Traveling through the red is dangerous for regular humans... but you have an idea for how to minimize the amount of time that will physically be spent in the red.

Your raven returns. You step outside, make a blood bug, and give it to the raven. You have it fly back to the bookstore with the bug in tow.

By the time you all finish explaining to Caius what he missed--and what the current plan is--your raven has made it back to the bookstore. You have the bird drop the bug, which you then convert into another pool of blood in the alley next to the bookstore. You open portals--one here, in the bunker, and the other at the bookstore.

Time and space are both alien concepts to the red. You've manipulated both, time maybe more than space... but you should be able to alter it the same way. It takes you a while to focus on where the entrance and exit are within the infinite void of the red, but once you've located where both portals are... you begin concentrating on closing the distance between them.

Slowly, steadily, you move the two portals nearer to each other within the red.


Closer still.

As the portals draw near to each other, you slow down the rate at which the gap is closing--paying more attention to the exact distance, eyeing it more precisely.

You want the portals to just...




Whoops. Maybe too close.

You ... quickly adjust so the portals are touching a little less.

You look around the room, and no one else seems to have... uh... experienced that.

That... whole thing there.

You clear your throat, and look through the portal. It does, indeed, seem to lead straight to the bookstore alley with zero distance between the entrance and exit physically standing in the red. It... should be safe.

Safer. Safe-ish.

"You alright, Blondie?," Michelle asks.


crawlers 5th Apr 2019, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
Wow, that looks cool and dangerous. A new way to reach the error dimension.
Causticius 5th Apr 2019, 11:40 PM edit delete reply
Let's... let's avoid crossing the streams-- I mean touching portals from now on.

Maybe send one of the brave mice through first to test it. Before sending someone with more cognitive thought through.

WalkerOfSorrow 6th Apr 2019, 4:44 AM edit delete reply
I would say to take ANY instance of error world as a sign we should never, ever repeat what we did. It's like blue-screening reality. Or for you Mac users, endless pinwheel until you reboot. The way I interpret error-Mine is that the only way to prevent abject catastrophe is for Mine to stop herself. Only a Mine from a dead timeline would have opinions contradicting the current one's goals.
Limrix 6th Apr 2019, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
As for safety measures, instead of drawing the portals closer to each other, we can draw them together until they're a few feet away. Then we construct a meat tunnel between the two. Then we slowly shrink the meat tunnel by removing material from the middle, but making sure to never remove all of it. After that's done we can stabilize the space in the meat tunnel to make it as safe as possible for any passing humans. In addition to holding hands, I think Mine should go through first with a rope, as she doesn't have any issue being in the red.
lil Joshu 7th Apr 2019, 11:09 AM edit delete reply
I now have an idea for improved armor... armor covered in blood portals that connect to... the other side of the armor.

Bullet goes in one side of portal, bullet comes out other side of portal.
lil Joshu 7th Apr 2019, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Huh... didn't realize I wasn't logged in... but yea, that was legit me. Portal armor. Serious step up from bone armor.

Plus, bonus points for Caius: It'll look totally metal when all that's visible of a person is a floating skull and skeletal hands and feet.
Nabb 5th Apr 2019, 11:45 PM edit delete reply
+1 to Willard being the first interdimensional rat-o-naut.

And also to holding hands.
Twyll 6th Apr 2019, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
Not Willard-- one of the Pac-Rats, perhaps. Or one of our cats! Willard has been through enough, and is retired now.
Michael Chandra 6th Apr 2019, 3:22 AM edit delete reply
Agreed! Let's leave him to his ratkour.
Lunar Waffles 5th Apr 2019, 11:48 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
sheepishly admit to what just happened. also, test the portal with non human things/life first. x:
also, another +1 to hand holding whenever we jump through a portal. Oh, also, ask Big red if it know what happened, and if this portal trick will keep humans for going crazy or just prolong it or just take more trips or whatever.
Twyll 6th Apr 2019, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
Agreed on all accounts.

I think a good order of things is chucking an object or two through first, then something living (not Willard-- he's retired; another animal instead), then a person. Holding hands is not a bad plan, either.

We should also focus on making whatever tiny sliver of red there is between the portals as Earth-life-compatible as possible when we use the portal. Juuuust in case even a little bit of red exposure is too much.

Definitely admit to the ERROR thing, but also... consider what that means. We can produce an ERROR state in the universe essentially on command. We know that Fuse was able to create a whole ARG by "hacking" the ERROR room in an alternate universe, so knowing how to manipulate the ERROR state could prove *really* useful to us, even as just an "oh shit" button. It's too dangerous to use in anything but an emergency, but if we fuck up hardcore, we might be able to ERROR our way into a New Game+.
Limrix 6th Apr 2019, 8:49 AM edit delete reply
+1 to Waffles. I think we need to be very careful of cosmic forces in an NG+ scenario, as anything big enough to restart this comic would probably attract their attention.
fellow 6th Apr 2019, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
If we want to take extra measures to try keep people from going crazy, we should make some kind of capsule around the portals. Out of bone or something. That way they won't even get a split second of infinity.
Daniel 6th Apr 2019, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
+1 to all of the above, but also, ask Big Red if it knows *for sure* whether this is safe, and if not, maybe ask the Tradesmen. If not safe, also whether constructing a bone shell around the almost-touching portals would make it safe.

And, whenever we next do the Tradesmen ritual, maybe ask if anybody else noticed us doing that, and if any of the ones who noticed are likely to be hostile?
Lapdragon 6th Apr 2019, 12:39 AM edit delete reply
Ok, now I'm wondering if the ERROR bunker is a preexisting Z50 bunker, or something that we've accidentally created through fiddling with doors and portals.

If it's a preexisting bunker, then we can tick off another one of the "bunkers we can find" on the list that the Tradesmen mentioned. If it's not a preexisting bunker, then we should talk to them about what it actually is, and whether or not it's a potential safe "oh shit" hiding place if things go sideways. I'm also wondering if it would be a viable place to stash an errant Nilpenter.
WalkerOfSorrow 6th Apr 2019, 4:50 AM edit delete reply
I'd actually lean toward Nil having more in common with the error bunker. Putting him there is not a good idea. See, Nil is nothing. Not the incarnation of nothingness, or the physical manifestation of nothingness. He is not anything, not everything, not a thing. Nothing. Us meeting and talking to him would be like talking to Fairness or Justice or Malaise. Nil is a concept, one driven by a pure desire defined by what he is. As Nothing, Nil is driven to eradicate Everything. My examples would likewise be driven to Be Fair, Be Just, or eradicate health.

Likewise, the error bunker is not a place. It is a mistake. Our mistake. Whenever we do something we really should not do, we end up where we really should not go. Sending Nil there would just make him stronger, if anything.
Taenidia 7th Apr 2019, 3:12 PM edit delete reply
I agree with at least the gist of WalkerOfSorrow: putting Nil in an error room for anything but a short period of time seems likely to be a really bad idea. It'd be like letting malware buffer-overflow out of a sandboxed environment. It might initially confuse Nil, but there's a chance he'll stumble on a time-or universe-crashing function he wouldn't normally have access to.

I'm also wary of asking/telling the Tradesmen things about the error room. It's the sort of thing they might *not* know much about, and we should be careful how we bring it up. Some other universal entity could have ties to the tradesmen and consider our deliberate usage of the room to be strongly "against the rules."
Myya 6th Apr 2019, 12:51 AM edit delete reply
We should look through the portal to ensure which way is up on the other side. If the exits both point upward as one might expect from a portal that you're going to end up upright on the ground when you exit either side, we probably need to reach down and pull ourselves "up" through the portal. Jumping in would leave us in an odd position/painful heap on the other side if gravity is reverses on us... If possible, it would be best to put this on a wall, so that we can walk through like a door.
Taenidia 7th Apr 2019, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
Sekwel 6th Apr 2019, 1:04 AM edit delete reply
Mine wasn't subject to vanishing due to the error condition. (which I take to be the portals technically going through themselves too much.)

There is a chance that *this* is the level of shenanigans that would attract the attention of higher beings.

Our "error" room may be an isolated instance of this phenomenon? Would certainly qualify as Z50 tech.

I'm not saying "let's freak out," but maybe don't assume that we are the only beings who noticed that.

Let's stay focused and try not to do that again. I feel like the portal should be fine.
WalkerOfSorrow 6th Apr 2019, 4:51 AM edit delete reply
You absolutely have the right idea. We needed outside help to trigger an Error state before. This time we did it by sheer exertion of the Red. Somebody had to have "heard" that in the universe. I second the motion to "not do that again." But portals should be fine as you said.
Daniel 6th Apr 2019, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
I would definitely put, "Did someone else notice that? Are they hostile? Or do they just not want us to do it again in which case how can we tell them that we agree?" on the list of "questions to ask next time we do the Ask The Tradesmen ritual".
TGWMoC 6th Apr 2019, 1:12 AM edit delete reply
A bit of an aside, but we should put a blood tick on each of the animals we have, and keep it on them. That way we can open portals or whatever wherever we have one, without the extra trip.

That being said, our enemies still don't know we use animals as scouts, (as far as we know) and we should keep it that way, so discretion about when to use it will be super important.
zophah 6th Apr 2019, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
Lets… try not to do that again. Yes we can make an error state at will now, and we should avoid messing with the time-space continuum in a manner that will result in shenanigans. But I do say we should test portaling more later.
PurpleKetchup 6th Apr 2019, 2:31 AM edit delete reply
Well, at least that error room was empty and not filled with acid or horrible monsters or somesuch.
Feels like reality's quite fragile at that power level.
fellow 6th Apr 2019, 3:31 AM edit delete reply
The error room is dangerous. We should avoid going in there this way.
Lunar Waffles 6th Apr 2019, 3:39 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
+100 to this x:
Bagu 6th Apr 2019, 3:44 AM edit delete reply
Are we accessing the error dimension or creating it?
WalkerOfSorrow 6th Apr 2019, 4:54 AM edit delete reply
I commented on this up above, but in short, I think ERROR is the concept of Mine's mistake, just like Nil is the concept of Nothing. We didn't create the concept of us making mistakes, but all our mistakes are our doing, if that makes sense. When we mess up badly enough, we see ourselves entering a bunker that does not have a proper ID. It displays an error. More than that, it is the Error itself, where Mine has to stop herself from going any further.
fellow 6th Apr 2019, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
Maybe fuse noticed something?
Daniel 6th Apr 2019, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
+1—the fact that we didn't see him there makes it unlikely, but he would almost certainly *remember* if he did, and might be more sensitive to Weird Shenanigans going on nearby. Also ask Big Red if it noticed, actually. And our red, who almost certainly did so the question is more "what did that feel like".
Taenidia 7th Apr 2019, 3:18 PM edit delete reply
I'm curious about the same. Might specifically want to check if he had a brief memory-outage, or if we disappeared for half a second or something similar?
Guest 6th Apr 2019, 5:22 PM edit delete reply
What if we ARE the error mine, and we're both the same person with different minds, but since we both share the same red, we've oversynced and now we're slowly merging
Memo 7th Apr 2019, 4:57 AM edit delete reply
Just something I was concerned about.
If both portals is on the ground, how do we avoid getting stuck?
And how does holding hands work?
If someone jumps into the portal on our side, legs first, they have to come out the other side legs first.
As soon as they are out, they should fall back into the portal, head first this time, and come out back at our portal, head first.
All due to gravity.
This should continue until someone pulls them out, or they get stuck in the middle. The middle in this case also being in the Red.
We should create the portals on walls, so we can walk through them, stargate like.
Of course we could make the exit portal hover in the air, and drop us below it, but that makes a rapid exit difficult, and it is not exactly discreet.
Oh, and let's try not to cross portals in the future.
We are messing with the fabric of reality enough as it is. Let's try not to break it.
** Edit **
I just reread the last couple of pages, and no one actually states that the portals are at ground level.
That was an assumption on my part.
However I still believe that it is something we need to keep in mind.
Lunar Waffles 7th Apr 2019, 4:15 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Yeah, Mine can probably make a thin wall of skin and turn that into a portal, right?
PurpleKetchup 8th Apr 2019, 12:16 AM edit delete reply
Think with portals - with enough inertia you can beat gravity on the other side long enough to land on your feet.

Basically if a portal is on the ground, jump into it.