Comic 687 - Try to pry a little more

Posted on 15th Dec 2017, 6:24 PM in Ghosts
Try to pry a little more

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 15th Dec 2017, 6:24 PM edit delete
"Psh," you say. "How hard could a resonant... brain... whatever actually be?"

Nil starts to explain some convoluted process of backward angles, geometric synchronicity with post-causality events, and the self as an intangible psychic entity, but you're completely lost. After a while of struggling to piece together what Nil's feeding you, you throw up your hands in frustration.

"Y'know what, forget it. This stuff's over my head and I don't know what you're on about. What I do know, Nil, is two things: I'm done being played, and whatever it is you're acting like I need you for, that crazy nurse can probably do without you. You've done a lot of spilling, but between this and all that time we spent buddying up when I was comatose, the one thing you've made ABUNDANTLY clear is that you're scared of the red. Full blown, absolutely fucking SHOOK, and I think you wanting to save Caius isn't just about getting my body. I think you're trying to earn that chick's favor or whatever, just in the most fucked up, stupid way imaginable. You don't get people--if you did, you wouldn't admit to wanting to undo thought. Fuck you, Nil."

You give Nil the finger.

You wake up.


Your phone rings.

"Seriously?," Fuse grunts. "What the hell is it now...?"

Despite your focused attention on stopping Caius's bleeding, you feel somehow compelled to answer the phone. You know that it's important.

You answer the phone, squeezing it between your cheek and shoulder while your hands work on Caius.

On the other end, Macland frantically explains everything that's just transpired. Though he rushes through the story, missing a number of details, you are... somehow perfectly aware of what he's conveying. He tells you the address of where Shirai's unused guard is stored.

You hang up the phone... and start trying to explain everything to the occupants of your car, as well as Dr. Finch.

"Holy shit," Fuse replies.

Michelle has tears in her eyes, but tries to stay focused on the road. "So wh... what're we gonna do? Wh... we gotta..."

"A full brain transplant," Dr. Finch states solemnly. "The surgery would be very doable. Or... or or or you could map out the electrical impulses in Caius's brain, and set the other body's brain to imitate them. With a thorough search and the use of cleantex, you should be able to perfectly replicate the sequences that form Caius's memories. You've delved a great deal into the workings of neurons, yes? Yes. Creating a replica of... of of of the entirety of his mind on a neurological pathway scale should be..." Dr. Finch stops for a moment, quieting, swallowing hard. "...feasible. It should be feasible."

You bring these options up in the hummer. There's a moment of silence before Fuse speaks up, wincing.

"I... I hate to bring this up, but we're already way past crazy here, so... screw it. Lydia's files mentioned a book called Geoangular Control--it's supposed to be about... reality altering circles, or something. That... kinda sounds like what Macland was ranting about...? Maybe Nil wasn't bullshitting about, uh... magic."

"F'real?," Michelle replies. "Like, you're seriously tossin' magic on the table."

Fuse shrugs. "Is it any nuttier than a brain transplant, or trying to rewire every neuron in a brain to look like Caius's? No matter what we do, it's gonna be insane. I just figured I'd mention it."

The hummer screeches to a halt. You have reached the bunker door. Caius is still alive, but half conscious and barely responsive. You've managed to dramatically slow his bleeding, but his internal injuries are quite severe.


WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Possible problem with using cleantex to study an entire brain: won't that just make US Caius? If we're remembering the contents of a whole brain, I don't think we have a second brain to store that in.
Blue_Elite 15th Dec 2017, 7:11 PM edit delete reply
That's the point of the unused guard and why we've got to make a tough decision. Either bring Caius directly to the unused guard and try to transplant the brain/memories as quickly as possible; or leave Caius under the care of Dr. Finch to try and keep him alive as long as possible so we can bring the body to him.
WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:13 PM edit delete reply
Perhaps I misspoke. If all the information about Caius' brain has to go into ours, so that we can use that information to make a new Caius, how does that not replace all the information in our brain, ergo making us a new Caius?
Twyll 15th Dec 2017, 7:13 PM edit delete reply
We have a Red to store it in, though. We might be able to do that.
WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
The properties of the Red aren't exactly confirmed in that regard, I think we'd have to externalize brain matter and that is dodgy at best. But you do have a point.
Twyll 15th Dec 2017, 9:03 PM edit delete reply
I think we're capable of pulling *information* from the Red (or we wouldn't be able to talk to our Red, after all-- since we haven't externalized her); it's when we're pulling *material* from the Red that it's dangerous.
rufiangel 15th Dec 2017, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
Tie up the random in the back of the hummer and chuck him in Bunker Mars, since if he has a tracker or whatever no one will be able to find him there. We can deal with him later. Maybe Michelle could help us do that for now.

Most importantly, bundle up Caius onto a surgery table and work on him with Dr. Finch pronto to stabilise. Sorry Fuse, we'll work on your leg as soon as we can, after this.
rufiangel 15th Dec 2017, 7:08 PM edit delete reply
Michelle baby boo I AM FEELING YOU RIGHT NOW

Also Dr. Finch, you optimistic, crazy scientist man, ily
Twyll 15th Dec 2017, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
"Geoangular Control"? Welp, this sounds like the sort of thing that will have Hounds of Tindalos coming for our throats. Buuuut... worth looking into, all the same.

Let's focus right now on keeping Caius' brain alive. If we have to oxygenate it manually (er, bloodually), that's what we'll do. His other organs should be on bare-bones maintenance only.
WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:16 PM edit delete reply
"Sanguinally?" Just a thought.

But yes, let's keep our baby boy safe. Revenge can come after he's recovering peacefully. -steely glare-

In this setting, yes, sounds like we'd have an interdimensional horror after us. Another one, that is. But I would totally be into reading that if I found that book on a shelf somewhere.
Wote 15th Dec 2017, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
We know that we can keep Caius alive for two days if we play our cards right. I vote we go with Magic. Or, at least, see if we can dig up more info in that direction. Fuse's suggestion might turn out to be a lot of nonsense, but if there's anything to it, we might be able to fill in the blanks.
WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:19 PM edit delete reply
The main thing that concerns me is we don't have a Mage. Hear me out.

Michelle and Fuse are techno. Michelle and Caius are the muscle. Finch and Jane are medical. There's no arcanist or advanced mathematician in that group.

If we had somebody like Prophet or Edison on our team that was gung-ho about helping us, that Geoangular Control book would be a bigger asset. Perhaps Mom's Red?
Wote 15th Dec 2017, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
We don't *need* a "mage". We just need Jane to be able to piece together the bits of the conversation where Nil told us what to do and parse it in terms she can understand (like say, from a book written by a human). If we're super-lucky, Jane's nature might even give her an intuitive grasp of what needs doing.
Auron 15th Dec 2017, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
Looks like we need some time. We know with the options we would've been able to think of before that it would be possible to get Caius to live two years. That's plenty of time to figure this out. Try to speed up Caius's healing but if that doesn't work you may need to put a piece of yourself into him and start creating flesh. It'd be ugly but you survived regenerating your shoulder that way and we just need Caius to survive for a bit. Get everyone's best ideas on how to immediately keep Caius alive.
Auron 15th Dec 2017, 7:20 PM edit delete reply
Nevermind that was days but two days is enough.
WalkerOfSorrow 15th Dec 2017, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
Let's store that flesh golem idea in the "last resort" section. I'm not happy with how much of Caius might be left afterward. Remember that Nil said if the Red tries too hard, it could lose control of the situation. Maybe that means turning Caius into a mindless thrall.
Auron 15th Dec 2017, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
Not flesh golem. Just his side.
Blue_Elite 15th Dec 2017, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
I believe we should drop Caius off with Dr. Finch and let him care for him while we go pick up the unused guard. That way Caius will have constant attention and if we run into more trouble we don't have to worry about him getting any more hurt.

Before that though, we really need to patch everyone up and do something about our "guest." I'm still in favor of blooding him just as a by-the-way. Kinda concerned we might have led Thale to our secret hideout already. ;>_>
Auron 15th Dec 2017, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
Is there a properly equipped hospital nearby? That'd probably be better for Caius though it may get us caught.
Auron 15th Dec 2017, 7:26 PM edit delete reply
Is there a properly equipped hospital nearby? That'd probably be better for Caius though it may get us caught.
T41 15th Dec 2017, 8:15 PM edit delete reply
I know things are gettin crazy whrn a brain transplant sounds like the most reliable option to me.
warp 15th Dec 2017, 8:43 PM edit delete reply
Transplant a SHITLOAD of Jane's blood into Caius, use it as a nanobot army to manually hold things together in his body. hell, we could do it here in the car right now with syringes.

Caius is going into SYSTEMIC SHOCK, and that's what will kill him first before any of the power-plant toxins kill him off, so that needs to be canceled out!

yugi0998 15th Dec 2017, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
i second this
Blue_Elite 15th Dec 2017, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
He have a finite amount of blood.
The_Rat_King 15th Dec 2017, 9:28 PM edit delete reply
Have they not developed anything readily available to the public that could help in a situation like this? Imitation/cybernetic organs, Bio-Paste or something else.
Guest 21st Dec 2017, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
Yessss give the god of undeath the bird. Also I love the name of him, Nil which usually means zero, also very similar to the word Null which is computer talk for absence of data, Null isn't nothing, it's basically 'I don't know' where 0 is nothing, Null is the essence of the unknown and the most unknowable thing is death, even in this comic, we can't remember crap from when we were dead