Comic 1185 - Ask her some questions

Posted on 16th Apr 2019, 6:54 PM in Like a Bullet from Behind
Ask her some questions

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 16th Apr 2019, 6:54 PM edit delete
You, Pierce, and Caius thank her, and properly introduce yourselves. You also ask if she wouldn't mind you asking a few more questions.

"Oh, I don't see why not," the old lady replies. "You did come out all this way, I could take a few more minutes. I'm Helen, and this is Cora and Zed. I've hired them for protection. Though, this bookstore doesn't make much money, so I mostly pay them in interesting things I've collected. I'm sure you understand."

You ask how she knows about you.

"Oh, you know how us old people like to gossip," she says. "I know a few people that like to know things. I think you may be familiar with them. I don't know much about you... maybe just the important bits. My sources have been very stingy about you, if it makes you feel any better."

You ask about her current stance involving things going on in the city.

"Well, I don't pay much attention to politics," the old woman replies. "I can barely keep up, nevermind getting involved in all of that. When I was younger I was a little more adventurous, now I mostly just go where the world takes me. I do hope it all works out for the best, though."

She mentioned she owed it to someone to get rid of her book. What did she mean...?

"Think of it as a very lengthy trade. Our mutual acquaintances decided I should give you this in person, instead of me giving it to them, and they giving it to you. I think they're just being lazy, honestly, but I can't complain. After all these years, I still can't get them to tell me their customer support number."

You ask how she managed to get in touch with your... er... mutual acquaintances in the first place.

"I may have understated how adventurous I was when I was younger."

Does she have any advice for dealing with... individuals... of that variety? Of the more out there variety, that is.

"Just watch yourself," she says a little quieter. "No matter how many favors they do you, they all have their own interests in mind... and no one is untouchable. Not even them."

That... thing with the shotgun. Would she be interested in teaching you how to do that? You do have a few things you could teach her in exchange.

"Oh, I'm very interested," she says with a slight smile. "I'm sure you do have a trick or two I'd like to know. I'm afraid it may have to wait, though--there's been a lot of eyes on this store as of late. Lots of new people in town."

"We ain't cops if that's what you're thinkin'," Caius remarks.

Zed, the larger male bodyguard, speaks up. "These kinda cops, you might not even know if you are."

You pause--does he mean Jury? Specifically? You remember it being said that she had programming, which would automatically kick in if she saw evidence of magic business--even if she didn't want it to. It... should be pretty obvious that none of you are Jury, though.


Jury's not the only one. You've seen enough weird science that mental conditioning doesn't sound all that outlandish--are... are there sleeper agents in this city? Is that a thing? Could someone be working for the federal government, watching out for evidence of spellcasting, and not even realize it...?

You get a bit side tracked mulling it over, and quickly shake it off. This might just be full blown paranoia at this point.

You ask the old woman if she and her associates could say the name Patton Thale for you.

"I hope you understand that, with the kind of life I've lived, I'm suspicious of anyone asking me to say anything."

...You know, that's kind of fair.

You ask if she'd like a hug.

"Now that, I'm always ready for."

You hug the old woman, who happily hugs you back.
Morgenstern 16th Apr 2019, 7:39 PM edit delete
Two things, just as a quick note:

1.) I've released a new game, Labyrneath II. If you have a Kongregate account and want to show some love, it'd be greatly appreciated.

2.) I'm going to start uploading previews of games I'm working on on my Patreon. I'll still be uploading sprite sheets from the comic and the like, but since those tend to be months in between, I figured my current supporters should be getting a bit more. Hopefully this also adds incentive for new people to join up. If you like what I do and want it to continue, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Thank you very much.


Twyll 16th Apr 2019, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
Yay hugs!

We should definitely offer her a vial of blood in case she needs to get in contact with us or needs to use it as a last resort or something. Our blood isn't technically *magic,* so it shouldn't provoke the anti-magic police. On the one hand, giving someone with her level of power our blood would be really dumb if we were a normal human, but on the other hand, we're *not* a normal human, so I suspect it's safe :P

We also still need to pick up some books for the ghost girls. Maybe Helen has some suggestions :D
Lunar Waffles 16th Apr 2019, 8:26 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
how about instead of blood we maybe say something akin to "well, They wont give you their phone number, but if we can have yours you can have ours, you know, in-case one or both of us need to leave town for something." then have Caius give them a ring if they give it. other wise. +1
zophah 17th Apr 2019, 1:12 AM edit delete reply
I agree on the exchange of phone numbers and not giving out our blood.
Chaostraveler 17th Apr 2019, 6:18 AM edit delete reply
Chaostraveler 17th Apr 2019, 6:18 AM edit delete reply
Memo 19th Apr 2019, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
I agree with this!
Nayru9572 17th Apr 2019, 4:15 AM edit delete reply
Also on-board with phone numbers.
Besides, if she doesn't want to say something like Patton Thale, why would she want our blood?
Limrix 17th Apr 2019, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
+1 to exchanging phone numbers, but I'd also +1 asking if she wants some of our blood. I'm not sure if we brought any vials with us, but we could make a small blood sac or similar.
Limrix 17th Apr 2019, 6:40 PM edit delete reply
Okay, I guess we can get to know her better before trusting them with blood. We'll end up leaving a blood bug nearby anyway, so it's not a big deal.
Guest 18th Apr 2019, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
I would be very cautious about who we give blood vials to from now on. If we get to know Helen, and she's trustworthy (or in imminent danger from Thale), then we could give her the blood.
€heshire777 22nd Apr 2019, 2:08 PM edit delete reply
Gigafreak 16th Apr 2019, 8:04 PM edit delete reply
Har. We tried asking for the Tradesmen's customer service number just earlier today. Great minds think alike, perhaps.
Seems like Helen asked the Tradesmen for something, and the cost of said thing was "deliver that particular spellbook to Mine if-and-when she visits." ...It's probably not our business to ask what the "something" was, and it'd burn some goodwill to pry that hard on our first meeting. Best to let it be, for now.

Instead, let's see if their group has anything they'd like to ask us in return, and maybe also buy a few books so they can pay their more mundane expenses. We'll have to see if Helen and co. are still available after the Carpenter business, to see about exchanging magic info when they're under less heat from Zone 50's Anti-Magic Police.
Lunar Waffles 16th Apr 2019, 8:26 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Skullrama 17th Apr 2019, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
I'm good with this. Let them ask some questions back, answer if they are fair questions. Then buy some books and go home.
PurpleKetchup 17th Apr 2019, 12:28 AM edit delete reply
I'm less worried about sleeper agents and more about the spellcasting overly adventurous lady who doesn't pass the Queen check.
Kind of fair but leaves me suspicious. Now that's paranoia for you !
WalkerOfSorrow 17th Apr 2019, 5:39 PM edit delete reply
While her objection is entirely fair, you are absolutely right that she doesn't pass the Queen check. Do we have another way to tell if someone is connected to Thale, on Queen, etc.?
Limrix 18th Apr 2019, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Yes, we checked her aura, and it didn't show any signs of Thale over sync. We should probably still be a bit wary, as she's not likely to be as gregarious as ourselves.
Guest 18th Apr 2019, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
We could ask Helen if there are ways to detect any conditioning like that.
Taenidia 19th Apr 2019, 1:15 PM edit delete reply
You know, it hadn't explicitly occurred to me until you said it that auras are a pretty reasonable check-for-oversync, but it's true. Doesn't really answer the question of whether they have sleeper-Queen like Fuse did. But it looks like she has bodyguards, and her adventurous days were probably before Queen was on the market.
C-type 17th Apr 2019, 12:54 AM edit delete reply
I don't like thinking such things but this casts suspicion on Dr. Finch(he was in federal custody for a while) as well a Michelle and Caius if this hypothetical mental conditioning can be secretly included in their default knowledge set.
I hope it's just paranoia.
zophah 17th Apr 2019, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
Considering that all of them are blooded, and that none have 'activated' despite being in the presence of magic, I think it's safe to say they're clear.
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 1:58 AM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
probably isn't standard for Tube-People, if Zed is any indication. though to be fair i give him a 50% chance of being a Tube-Person.
(a 40% of being some kind of magic-made person
[like a golem given a soul]
and 10% for "some other thing i haven't thought up yet")
PurpleKetchup 17th Apr 2019, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Possibly just a mutant ?
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 4:51 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
i knew i was forgetting something! lets say, 40% Tube, 40% Mutant, 15% Magic and 5% Other then. x:
Taenidia 19th Apr 2019, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
Ah, fantasy-kitchen-sink problems... broad probability spreads, with so many unknown unknowns. It's nice to see the options for Zed spelled out!

I'm probably putting higher odds on Magic and lower odds on Tube. (Does Helen look like someone who trusts the corporations and governments who print Tube people at all? No she does not.) But similar odds on Mutant, now that you mention it.

My odds are maybe... 40%Mut, 30%Mag, 10%Tube, 20%Other
Swagner 17th Apr 2019, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
May want to explain the reason behind the Patton Thale thing, just in case.

Also might want to learn how she evaded detection by the feds for so long.
Tale Swapper 17th Apr 2019, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
I concur. Best to get that straightened out.
€heshire777 23rd Apr 2019, 10:55 AM edit delete reply
Limrix 17th Apr 2019, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
Helen has been around quite a bit, it might be a good idea to ask her about understanding yourself.
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 4:54 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
like, a vision quest, or walkabout?
Limrix 17th Apr 2019, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
Oh I get it, we can't talk about Magic here. They've probably got some kind of Voldemort filter going on over this area. I thought it was weird how, even though we both clearly know what we're talking about, both sides are still being coy.
Golnor 17th Apr 2019, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
I am now wondering what would happen if a vampire bit Mine.
zophah 17th Apr 2019, 11:50 AM edit delete reply
Vampirism probably can only infect her human side, and can be purged with the power of the Red. The vampire itself however, now has Mine's blood inside it.
WalkerOfSorrow 17th Apr 2019, 5:45 PM edit delete reply
We really can't know until it's too late. So far, the setting has been squarely within the domain of science fiction, if you include cosmic/eldritch horror in that. We have seen magic, but only in the context of that cosmic horror. It's portrayed as alien to conventional reality, perverting or distorting the laws of physics and reason, and often directly connected to creatures like Mine who are on an eldritch horror level.

We've otherwise seen things like mutants, cyborgs, hackers, artificial intelligence, and advanced weapons, and DEFINITELY aliens, but no elves, no dwarves, no orcs or goblins, no trolls (except for Carpenter, lol), no vampires, no werewolves, mummies, frankenstein monsters, and so on. Until we've seen how MM's unique world interprets something more fantastical, we can't know how vampires would work.
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 6:03 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Big foot is probably real though(the blurry fur).
also Zone 50 had an anti-vampire kit.
(we stole both from Thales warehouse when we picked up Liz)
WalkerOfSorrow 18th Apr 2019, 10:52 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles, your post made me review my knowledge of Speculative Fiction, and I now remember that there are three major nodes: Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. It seems like this story is a more general Speculative Fiction setting that encompasses all three. Thanks for clarifying this.
HoSt. 19th Apr 2019, 4:01 AM edit delete reply
In the early stages of testing they fed blood to rats instead of injecting it.
The rat could not be controlled, the vampire should be safe from our control too.
How it works the other way around, that is the real question here.
Guest 21st Apr 2019, 8:34 AM edit delete reply
Theoretically, mine could force the blood pellet through the stomache and into the bloodstream, allowing control over it. Food for thought.
37212513 17th Apr 2019, 1:12 PM edit delete reply
Does anyone else remember Willard in the vents? All we did with that was call him down, find out how he got up there to begin with. Has Morgan ever done anything just to do dead end? Soon as we get back, we should find out about those vents, not just the new book.
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
Mine does love a good vent climb.... x: might have to bring a flashlight though. also, that's for when we get back like you said. so no +1 yet sorry XD

wait, was the hole/vent big enough for a person?
NightOfEternity 17th Apr 2019, 10:11 PM edit delete reply
Please tell me that is not Macland Row at the end of Labyrneath II?
Lunar Waffles 17th Apr 2019, 11:33 PM edit delete reply
Lunar Waffles
#1 probably not.
#2 um, dude, spoilers?
#3 if you REALLY want to talk about it the Blood is Mine Discord has a gaming channel
GS 19th Apr 2019, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
… I have a lot of catching up to do. ^^; I kind of stopped reading BiM when Nast ended, and I wasn't up to date then. Oh dear, oh dear.
Young Nutz too lazy 20th Apr 2019, 6:10 AM edit delete reply
Very nice
psychoshen 22nd Apr 2019, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Labryneath II was quite fun, good work!
€heshire777 22nd Apr 2019, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
I would suggest attempting to ask her about the blue cactus, she seems like she would know about that kinda thing; also ask what her bodyguards' deals are (and hug them too (°Г~))
€heshire777 23rd Apr 2019, 10:57 AM edit delete reply
Oh, and the psychic leech
Natural 20 26th Apr 2019, 9:15 AM edit delete reply
Buy some books on psychic powers and neurology to trade up later. Psychic stuff is a bit of a blind spot still.
WalkerOfSorrow 27th Apr 2019, 12:22 AM edit delete reply
Probably the aspect of this story/setting that I am the most impressed by is this Tradesman ritual of "trade in things and get something better, no matter what the definition of that is." Like trading tinfoil hats to get a brain leech, and trading cellphones to get a mind-hacking parasitic superphone.
Natural 20 27th Apr 2019, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Addendum: a book on mutants would also be good.

If we can't find some of it, there's always printing stuff off the net.