Comic 557 - Bring ice cream to Dr. Finch

Posted on 6th Nov 2017, 3:17 AM in Doors
Bring ice cream to Dr. Finch

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 6th Nov 2017, 3:17 AM edit delete
"You want one?," Fuse asks Caius, offering a level.

"...Yeah. Y'know what, I do."

As Caius starts lighting it up, you ask them what happened, and why Caius is so tense.

"'Cuz," Caius starts, taking a puff. He coughs a little, either having not smoked in a while or not smoked much at all. "This whole friggen part o' tha city's gone nuts."

"Seriously," Fuse says, "it's like a scary movie down here. Candles everywhere, Enyo symbols painted on doors--"

"We hope it's paint," Caius adds. "We're guessin' it's paint. There's guys in hoods runnin' around, too."

"Red hoods," Fuse states, taking a slow drag of his own level. "Like Prophet, but they're all over the place. It's weird."

"I been waitin' for a brawl to break out since we got here," Caius says. "Every time some jackass takes a second glance at the tha truck my blood pressure goes up another two points. They're starin' out tha windows at us an' shit."

"I can't tell if they actually recognize us, or if they're just paranoid about outsiders," Fuse says. "If they wanted to stop us I'm pretty sure they could. I think everyone's just on edge... well, that and drugs. People are getting ready for war."

"I tried callin' Jury again," Caius says after a pause. "Still nothin'. Startin' to worry."

You and Michelle bring your ice cream to the lab, and leave some on the counter for Dr. Finch. You ask him how it's coming along.

Dr. Finch takes a deep breath. "I'm making notes, but... at the very minimum you'll need to find a way to maintain the cells that proliferate cellular senescence. Cellular senescence kills cells before they mutate too far and become cancerous. Gene P53 in particular helps halt division of damaged cells, but tends to cease functioning as a result of progressive cell mutations in older human bodies. One easy answer may lie in... in in in redundancy.

I was slightly inspired by your desire to keep extra hearing bits! Naked mole rats, as it turns out, have multiple mechanisms for preventing excessive cell growth... and incidentally, naked mole rats don't get cancer. It may take some time to hammer out the details, but scientists have been working for a while now to duplicate one of those mechanisms--high-molecular-mass Hyaluronan. It's a long sugar polymer that the human body already produces, but naked mole rats produce it at five times the size--"

"So, hold up," Michelle finally says, lifting a finger. "You're sayin' step one to immortality is mole rats?"

"Naked mole rats," Dr. Finch states confidentially. "Frankly, most of the answers you seek are going to be found in the evolution of other animals. Humans can't repair damaged organs, but but but there are animals that can. Human genes evolved with an emphasis on surviving beast encounters and finding food--things like endurance and perspiration and walking upright took center stage in our development. Salamanders can regrow limbs at the cost of... well, being a salamander. But you... you you you," he stumbles, waggling a finger at you, "YOU have the potential to modify a human body at even the most microscopic level, yes? Yes. Beyond simply herding blood cells and sending signals to the brain, if you can push yourself to alter DNA at a fundamental level you could... you could solve mortality."

"Well gee, Finch," Michelle says, "don't try to make it sound easy or nothin'."

Dr. Finch smiles, adjusting his glasses. "Oh, that's only the start of it, I suspect. Human evolution has been outright sabotaged by the engineering process. Michelle, your body is, most likely, a genetic worst case scenario--a veritable mine field where "death by natural causes" is a list five times longer than normal. I'll need a blood sample from you sooner or later... there is no telling what those butchers sacrificed in terms of genetic makeup to make you into what you are."

Michelle heaves a sigh. "Sure. On the plus side..." Michelle turns to you. "If you can pull all that off--givin' people salamander powers or whatever--then you oughta be able to do anything."

Dr. Finch nods. "It will be a... a learning experience, to put it succinctly. I'll need more time to refine the details in a controlled setting--we don't want to just rush in, filling our bodies with strange new macrophages before determining any side effects. The more I look into it, though, the more feasible it appears."


Archon 6th Nov 2017, 4:17 AM edit delete reply
Very good news to hear.
Who knows, if this pans out we might be able to go even further with this DNA tinkering, even being able to make mutants.
Or help those who are already mutants by fixing the downside of whatever power they may have.
I imagine fuse might be happy if we figured out how to turn people fireproof, but this is all a long term project.
Nayru9572 6th Nov 2017, 4:36 AM edit delete reply
This would, however, require people to be injected with our blood. And we already went over how bad an idea that is multiple times.
WArp 6th Nov 2017, 5:28 AM edit delete reply
I am enjoying the sensation of time's passing provided by Lil' Red's wall-growth into a Mouth-Face for Mother's Red.
Blue_Elite 6th Nov 2017, 5:46 AM edit delete reply
Any other projects while we wait for Fuse and Caius to return? We can't really explore other side-Bunker B because we're afraid to stir Lasker/Mars blood mutants if our personal presence is there and Michelle needs a breather.

While we're on the subject, should we ask Dr. Finch what would be the most basic level of healing/regeneration for practice purposes? Our attempt to heal our shoulder went wrong on so many levels, but maybe trying to fix something like a minor skin tear or just replace minor blood loss (something VERY useful in our case) would be much more manageable.
Warp 7th Nov 2017, 4:11 PM edit delete reply
If you recall, we spoke with our Red on the matter, and our Red explained that the art of healing/regeneration using our blood powers was a matter of brute force over finesse; we got extra organs inside our shoulder by healing it carefully and slowly, but reapired the rest of the arm properly by forcing the regeneration to happen as fast as possible. That way we avoided allowing our Red's instincts (or our own human mental static) time to sneak changes in through when channeling the blood power.

What we DO need to do, is let Dr. Finch have a chance to talk directly with Jane's Red by letting Jane's Red speak through our mouth. Maybe we could sync with Dr. Finch slightly to insure that Jane's Red also has access to the background knowledge it needs to comprehend and translate in reverse the definitions of the words Dr. Finch uses and expects to hear to describe certain things.
rufiangel 6th Nov 2017, 9:44 AM edit delete reply
Okay, so now Enyo is taking over the Lower Tiers real bad. That doesn't sound so good. A class war triggered with THAT going on is just going to cause incredible damage and casualties, I fear. ;_; And red hoods, like multiple Prophets running around all over the place? That's kinda scary.

Caius taking a puff and coughing on it made me smile XD; aw, Caius. But great, now we can't blood-alarm him on getting any emotions riled up, either. YOU GUYS BETTER MAKE IT BACK SAFE AND SOUND.

I also like that the thing Michelle points out is that (naked) mole rats are the secret first step to immortality XD that would be the thing that catches her attention, LOL.

This whole update was fascinating to read, I enjoyed it very much. <3 I love the idea that cracking this means that Jane gets to learn how to do some REALLY kooky things that could really super-human-ise everyone XD hehehe. Salamander powers. <3 (Turning Fuse fireproof sounds amazing btw Archon XD)

Take a li'l break and eat the ice-cream before it melts, Dr. Finch. <3

As a side-note, definitely worrying a bit about Jury now. We don't really know where she might be, do we? >_> Maybe we should check the news and see if there's anything happening in particular that might be drawing her attention?
PurpleKetchup 6th Nov 2017, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
I also worry about Jury. I fear she already reached the point where some of her colleagues just stashed her away in a stolen car and are driving it to the nearest trash compactor.

I kinda want to focus on finding her. As soon as Fuse gets home, ask him to localise her phone... considering how the call ended, there's a chance it was left on.
lil Joshu 6th Nov 2017, 10:31 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Just to check... is it bad I fully understood Dr. Finch?
Deadly Death Sickle 6th Nov 2017, 12:03 PM edit delete reply
Deadly Death Sickle
No, it just means that I'm not alone
Twyll 6th Nov 2017, 1:36 PM edit delete reply
Well, that whole "Enyo symbols on doors" thing has me a bit worried. Seems rather blood-of-a-lamb-so-the-Angel-of-Death-doesn't-visit to me. I'm *really* hoping they don't plan to go full Old Testament on the city...
Cuttlefish 6th Nov 2017, 3:25 PM edit delete reply
As far as immortality goes, we already know it works to some degree - Jane’s father lived well beyond a natural timespan.

Could we enquire with Finch about potential avenues for neuro-regenetive treatments we could mimic with our blood? It might take some research time for Finch, and a Sync, but restoring Mac may cause both he and Gensai to go rogue and take their resources with them. At any rate, it’s a better option than Carpenter getting ahold of him - I have my doubts that Gensai would come out on top against Carpenter.
Baeronius 7th Nov 2017, 3:25 AM edit delete reply
I always wondered why Kim Possible's surrogate pet was a naked mole rat.
Skybirds15 7th Nov 2017, 4:36 AM edit delete reply
Well, he did become the dominant species in the story where they went to the future
hireath 7th Nov 2017, 12:49 PM edit delete reply
so i've been thinking why not spike the STQ with our blood while its being made instead of outright destroying the plant? it'll inoculate its users so they would'nt be thale's pawns.
Skybirds15 7th Nov 2017, 1:44 PM edit delete reply
We had a discussion vis-a-vis blooding random people and we determined it to be detrimental to our mental state, the mental state of the public, and the whole 'let's get the government to not kill us cause alien' situation.
hireath 7th Nov 2017, 12:50 PM edit delete reply
so i've been thinking why not spike the STQ with our blood while its being made instead of outright destroying the plant? it'll inoculate its users so they would'nt be thale's pawns.
Warp 7th Nov 2017, 3:57 PM edit delete reply
That is impossible, because STQ is comprised of bioprinted Red, and wherever it comes into contact with the Red that comprises our blood it will freak out and start fighting our blood to the death.

Patton Thale is the over-mind of STQ. He would instantly feel such a reaction take place, and the blood-hatred instinct would drive all of his attention onto the incident in a literal instant.
Baeronius 7th Nov 2017, 5:25 PM edit delete reply
Ah, but so far that's what happens when a WHOLE red detects the bioprinted Red.

We don't know what would happen if a Whole was trying to mimic a Printed Red.

Would the Printed version be able to detect the mimicry of a Whole?

Is it possible to tell our red to try to do things in a covert manner? Such as would she attack just because, or is the attack byt the adult Reds because of personal bias of some kind ingrained in them? Like some kind of conflict that happened a long time ago, that they never forgot, yet didn't try to kill each other till that point occurred?

Like what I'm saying, is the Adult Reds might not attack just because it's a Red, but because of some kind of PTSD they're unable to filter out of action.

There are so many differences, yet so many similarities.
Warp 7th Nov 2017, 5:52 PM edit delete reply
I understand your conclusion, but you compiled your theory after forgetting the Lasker incident catalyst: Lasker had an injection of inactive Mars Blood that left him largely unchanged, followed by an injection of bioprinted blood. That alone woke up the Red of the Mars Blood into mad senescent state as the BLOOD ITSELF assumed it was under attack.
It's called an instinct for a reason: the reaction for blood-to-blood contact is automated into the fifth-dimensional DNA of the blood, not into the Red that evolved from the blood.

Additionally, note the times we attempted to blood STQ thralls while working to rescue Caius: the description explicitly states that Jane's blood was being fought on a cellular level by the STQ bioprinted Blood.

The only time there as no apparent reaction to our blood contacting STQ was when we first blooded Fuze, and that was only because Fuze had only ever ONCE used STQ, years ago, and even then he reported a strange ill feeling as our blood took over and purged STQ on contact.
Baeronius 7th Nov 2017, 10:12 PM edit delete reply
Except for the point that what I was saying entirely fits your objection.

1. The Lasker blood was with unguided bioprinted Blood that was basically bumping around clumsily and woke up or triggered the Blood PTSD which made it go on the offensive.

2. When injecting the Printed thralls, the intent was not to be stealthy, as the blood was immediately directed to be on the offensive.
If it had been stealthy, there is a question that the printed blood may not have been able to identify it.

3. Implies that the bio-printed Blood has a lifespan and will die out over time, but the blood was again directed on the offensive.

It could frankly be that the Blood was directed on the offensive so often in relation to another Blood that they forgot how to not be.

We on the other hand don't have that habit engrained, or so it seems. It is unknown if the attack is truly an ingrained thing, or a learned trait that took root and extrememly long time ago, and the source conflict was forgotten.