Comic 1182 - Admit to what happened

Posted on 7th Apr 2019, 11:09 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Admit to what happened

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 7th Apr 2019, 11:09 PM edit delete
You... attempt to calmly explain what just happened.

"...Huh," Fuse remarks. "Yeah, I... didn't see anything."

"Me either," Michelle adds. "You should uh... prob'ly not do that anymore, though."

Dr. Finch squints at the floor for a moment. "Hm. Hm hm. That... hm. That is quite interesting."

Liz, similarly, has a bit of a strained expression. "What would that have looked like outside the bunker?"

"Hey, yeah," Caius starts. "If ya did that outside, would there a big ol' ERROR on tha sides o' buildings an' stuff?"

"I don't... suspect so," Dr. Finch replies. He pauses, and everyone turns their attention to him, awaiting an explanation. "I... hm. This is only a theory, but... we first encountered the error room in a space where no space should technically be. Where no space could be. If you consider the logistics of our original error room, it was behind a door that should--for all intents and purposes--lead to no room at all."

You nod. Wondering what the heck could have been back there with the portal doors switched around was what lead you to investigate it in the first place.

Dr. Finch gives a few small nods. "Indeed. A door that had to open somewhere, but had nowhere to go. A room where no room could be. This time, you attempted to move two open portals together--and, if I were to guess, may have accidentally crossed them. The physical spaces that the portals opened to would have... well, occupied the same space, which is impossible. I'm... I'm mulling over a list of potential results, and outside possible edge cases like mutilated atoms and accidental fission, I keep reaching the same conclusion."

"Which is?," Michelle asks.

"A spacial paradox," Dr. Finch replies. "Literally accomplishing the impossible. A question with no answer. An event with no plausible outcome due to its absurdity. Not unlike the door that leads nowhere--it must, yet it cannot. The result is... an error."

"Blondie divided by zero and crashed the system," Fuse summarizes.

"That doesn't answer my question," Liz states. "What would it have looked like outside the bunker?"

"I don't think it would have," responds Dr. Finch. "Looked like anything, or... have happened at all, even. I... I suspect Zone Fifty may have implemented some manner of... of of paradox protection in these bunkers. The existence of the error rooms isn't happenstance or incidental."

"Yeah," Caius adds, "somebody had to've written those big ERRORs on tha walls."

"Indeed," confirms Dr. Finch. "But, on the other hand... they certainly don't seem to be places we're meant to occupy."

"That's for damn sure," says Fuse. "They're weird, and they play by their own rules."

Dr. Finch nods. "My belief at the moment is that the error rooms are a byproduct of some form of paradox safety net built into the bunkers--not entirely implausible, given the nature of the sciences Zone Fifty was dealing with. The... the the mechanisms involved with such a task would be mind boggling."

"Which might be why the rooms are so weird," Michelle states. "Might not be a perfect science... just somethin' they threw together to keep from--I dunno, whatever'd happen if you made a paradox normally."

"And that... that's the concerning part," says Dr. Finch. "I'm not even remotely sure of what the normal results of a paradox would be--temporal OR spacial. It... could potentially be catastrophic on an unfathomable scale. It could simply wipe the parties involved out of existence, or worse."

"It could crash the whole system," Fuse says solemnly. "Like... blue screen the universe, if I'm hearing this right."

"I ain't gonna go that far," Michelle replies. "They had to figure out this was a problem somehow, right? And you don't do trial-and-error when one mistake nukes reality. It's prob'ly that first thing, the uh... erasin' people from existence thing."

"Which would still suck," Caius adds.

"My question," Michelle continues, "is why JUST Blondie? We were all in this bunker with her when she made the portals touch."

"The portals did not overlap in this room," speaks the enormous mouth on the wall--prompting everyone but Liz to visibly jump. "They overlapped within the red that is within Mine."

"...Of course," responds Dr. Finch. "Of course! That dimension is, technically, housed in Mine's blood. The paradox was localized to... well, inside her, in a manner of speaking--so whatever paradox response system is in place began to maneuver her to an error room."

"Put in paradox jail for portal crimes," Michelle says with a grin.

"So how come we didn't notice?," Caius asks. "You'd think SOMEBODY woulda saw it."

"The nature of paradoxes," Dr. Finch states. "Such a thing cannot happen... and thus, it never did. Mine corrected the error and, from the perspective of stable reality, never technically left."

"And that's why regular folks can't remember goin' in the error room," Michelle says with a point. "'Cuz they didn't, even if they did. Man, paradoxes are dumb."

"So why didn't Fuse see it?," Caius asks. "Don't he have time powers or somethin'?"

Fuse shrugs. "I can remember shit that happened, even if it changes. I don't see 'dead' timelines, or shit that didn't happen, or I'd go crazy seeing all that error room alternate-you-death business. I think. I dunno, man--Michelle's right, paradoxes are dumb."

Dr. Finch nods. "Indeed, Mine's brief foray into this second error room would be an event that never occurred, as of now--a dead timeline."

Caius shakes his head. "Y'know what, screw it. I ain't gonna wrap my brain around this timeline paradox stuff, let's just go get tha book."

"Agreed," Michelle concludes. "Just... no more paradoxes for you, Missy," she adds with a smirk and a finger waggle in your direction.

Pierce slowly shakes his head. "My entire grasp of everything was just... unceremoniously shattered in a matter of minutes. You're all just... ready to keep going after that?"

Michelle shrugs. "Pretty much, yeah."

"This was fairly tame, actually," Liz states.

You start by tossing a pen through the portal. It goes through perfectly fine, coming out the opposite portal in the city proper.

...And then swings back around mid-fall, and launches skyward back into the bunker.

...Where gravity then carries it back down, through the hole in the floor, out the bookstore portal.

As you watch it slowly find an equilibrium lightly bouncing back and forth around the center of the open portal, you hear Liz loudly sigh. "You put the other portal on the ground, didn't you?"

Oh. Yeah.


"So we gotta really jump for it," Caius says with a shrug. "No biggie."

"I don't think gravity works like that," Michelle chuckles. "You gotta like... climb through. Or I can throw y'all, I guess. Spike ya like a football."

Just to be completely, entirely sure of the portal's safety, you call one of your rats from out of the city's tunnels. It takes a little while for it to arrive, but once it does, you have it jump through the blood gate... and you promptly catch it as it shoots up into the bunker, preventing it from falling into a perpetual back-and-forth limbo as gravity pulls it one way and then the other.

You also retrieve the pen you tossed in initially.

The rat seems unaffected, if a little excited. Passing through the portals didn't seem to have any negative effect.

"Well, hell. Let's get it on, then," Caius states confidently.

Getting it on turns out to be a little awkward, as the switch from falling down the hole to climbing out of it in an instant does end up being a bit disorienting. You, Caius, and Pierce sort of end up having to help pull each other through the other end, but eventually... you find yourselves at the used book store.

You relinquish the rat, and send it back to the tunnels. The three of you step out of the alley and approach the front of the building.


"Alright," Caius starts. "I'm gonna jump through tha window to get their attention. Blondie, you kick tha door in and start meat smackin' people unless you wanna bust through tha ceilin', Pierce--"

Pierce stares at Caius. Caius slowly smiles, and finally shrugs.

"--Yeah, I'm fuggen with ya. It prob'ly ain't gonna be like that.



It's a magic bookstore. Normal Tuesday for us. Think we oughta knock?"

"I'm... pretty sure it's Wednesday," Pierce replies quietly.

"Eh," Caius says simply, and gives a smaller shrug.


Archon 8th Apr 2019, 12:57 AM edit delete reply
There are windows to look through.
Couldn't hurt to take a look first, then go in after.
Twyll 8th Apr 2019, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
A good plan. We can get a sense of what it's like first, plus a little window shopping before your actual shopping is always enjoyable :) We can pretend that we're just browsing and looking at what's on display, and not paranoid about being murdered because we're trying to save the world...
chaosblitz56 10th Apr 2019, 7:18 PM edit delete reply
Yes definitely. look through, check to see if there's an open sign, if there is then go on in & if there isn't try knocking first & then check for alternate entrances.
Kumondo 8th Apr 2019, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
Thank you Morgenstern for more absolutely delicious dialogue.

For our course of action: yeah, it's a store or at least fronting as one. We go in and have a look around, perhaps greet whoever is inside if we're feeling particularly ambitious.
the white 8th Apr 2019, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
It's a store, you don't fucking knock, you just open the door and walk in.
Cyanic 8th Apr 2019, 1:17 AM edit delete reply
Let's just keep Pierce's red-form ready just in case
zophah 8th Apr 2019, 1:18 AM edit delete reply
First would be to check if it's open, which easiest would be to open the door and walk in. =P
twister1398 8th Apr 2019, 5:55 AM edit delete reply
How big is the chance that someone passes by in this alley and accidentally steps into the portal? I see this as a big risk of getting our bunker discovered... Maybe Mine should close/shrink the portal when we don't actually use it.
Limrix 8th Apr 2019, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Before we go in the bookstore, we should probably have Mine shove the portal behind a dumpster or something with her aura, making sure to not cross them again. Aside from that, I think we're good. Bookstores ahoy!
Chaostraveler 8th Apr 2019, 10:58 AM edit delete reply
This. The last thing we need is someone inadvertently stumbling into our bunker. There is no telling who's been infected with Queen or could otherwise compromise us. Moving or closing the portal would be the best thing to do first.

Afterwords, as it is a store, we can just walk in. Maybe be ready to apply bone armor, but lets not bust everything up if we can just walk in, buy book and walk out. Or even walk in, find a pocket dimension in the stacks, get book, leave pocket dimension and walk out.
WalkerOfSorrow 8th Apr 2019, 11:10 PM edit delete reply
Hey, a Chaostraveler! Two ships in the night.
Twyll 8th Apr 2019, 12:57 PM edit delete reply
Might as well turn the portal back into a blood bug, since we can just re-convert it again. Or something that looks innocuous but not like something you'd ever want to touch. A piece of pinkish-reddish used chewing gum?
Myya 8th Apr 2019, 1:18 PM edit delete reply
I'd be hesitant to remove the portal. We wouldn't want to accidentally recreate the error condition outside of the bunker where there's no protection from paradoxes. Putting something over the top of it would be a good idea though. We need something like a manhole cover that we can bring with us next time. Something that we can lock in place from the other side so that we don't have uninvited guests.
PurpleKetchup 8th Apr 2019, 1:34 PM edit delete reply
(15 minutes later... )

All right. Dr. Finch's hunch is a probably correct, and vital info.
Any weird experiment should be executed in a Z50 bunker exclusively. This paradox security feature is a massive boon and we should make sure never to try screwing with physics anywhere else.
Departure_Dave 8th Apr 2019, 2:52 PM edit delete reply
Let's throw Nilpainter into the Error room. Nil should be happy there.
WalkerOfSorrow 8th Apr 2019, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
Rather than repeat myself and disagree with you, I will instead take the time to appreciate what you accidentally created.

In past comment threads, I've described how Nil is the concept of nothingness. Not a human or even humanoid personification, but a literal concept. You cannot attack him because you cannot attack nothing. You cannot outsmart him because you cannot outsmart nothing. Nothingness isn't a weak, stupid creature, lacking these attributes. It is the screaming void. Beyond all strength is that which defines it. Beyond all intellect is that which defines it. Emptiness. Absence.

What you just said, "Nil should be happy there," made me think of what would happen if we could CHANGE the concept he represents. Instead of being Nothing, he becomes the concept of Happy. It is the ultimate, extradimensional version of how we hug and befriend everyone. And what's the best part of him being Happy?

Happiness is oh so easy to CRUSH INTO THE GROUND.
zophah 9th Apr 2019, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
Change Nil so that its no longer nothing, Like this?
Limrix 8th Apr 2019, 5:32 PM edit delete reply
While we're out, maybe the crew back at the bunker can try trading up for some kind of space multitool.
Antarean 8th Apr 2019, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
"Put in paradox jail for portal crimes."
"Man, paradoxes are dumb."
"My entire grasp of everything was just unceremoniously shattered in a matter of minutes."

So many great t-shirt ideas on just one page. :P
Lunar Waffles 9th Apr 2019, 3:12 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
it looks like a normal store, that means the "owners" probably want you to enter it like a normal store. x:
Young Nutz 9th Apr 2019, 7:27 PM edit delete reply
Let's eliminate Nil completely.
Mayteyalan 9th Apr 2019, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
Okay, deicide, cool... How exactly?
WalkerOfSorrow 10th Apr 2019, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
Step 1. Kill God.
Step 2. Become God.
Step 3. ????
Step 4. Profit
Memo 14th Apr 2019, 3:42 PM edit delete reply
This page made me very happy :)
And I really liked the solution to the portal issue.