Comic 713 - Propose recruiting Zene

Posted on 23rd Dec 2017, 11:32 PM in No Easy Way Out
Propose recruiting Zene

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 23rd Dec 2017, 11:32 PM edit delete
You update everyone on what Fuse has said to Zene... and you propose recruiting him to your team.

"Hard pass," Caius says. "We're all consentin' adults, two of us lab meat and one of us a friggen genius. Fuse is a kid, but he's a kid that can start fires with his mind. Junior's jus' gonna slow us down."

"I..." Michelle starts, but pauses, wincing a bit. "I kinda agree with Caius, but not for the same reasons. We've all almost died. Caius did die. If Zene joins us, then what? We just... keep 'em in the bunker, like some kinda pet? Or we let 'em go out there with us, and if we do that... if somethin' happens to him..."

"Even keeping him restricted to one of our bunkers only promises a hint of safety," Dr. Finch states. "It's only a matter of time until they find our door, and I'm sure there's any number of ways they could find their way inside. I know that we're all quite attached to this place, but it's not guaranteed to protect us forever. ...Zene would be safer outside this city and off the grid than he would be in our company."

There's a brief silence before Michelle states, "It is your call, boss."

"I ain't sure it is," Caius says. "That kid dies, that's on us. We ALL gotta deal with that. We all gotta have that hangin' over us. I ain't down for recruitin' child soldiers. I don't even think Fuse is old enough for this shit, if I'm bein' real honest here."

"Caius," Michelle says, "if Zene wants to join us then--"

"--Then fuck 'em," Caius interjects. "He's a dumb kid, and he don't know what this is like. We can tell 'em whatever we want, but he ain't gonna get it until he's in it."

"That--" Dr. Finch starts to speak, but seems surprised when Caius actually lets him. "I must concede, that is a fair point. All of us were more or less aware of what we were becoming involved with. Michelle, you and I saw the monsters firsthand. Fuse had learned of the cult, and seen the depths of the conspiracy, by the time he made the conscious decision to stick by us. Caius had been interrogated, and threatened, and knew what manner of resources Macland Row and Gesenai Shirai had at their disposal when he elected to stay. We can explain the dangers to Zene--it will not have the same effect."

"And if he chooses to bail after he's seen some real shit?," Caius tosses in, "Then he becomes a liability. Tha more he knows about us, the bigger a risk he is when we cut 'em loose. They don't gotta Queen 'em to get info out of 'em--an' you ain't convincin' me a freak like Carpenter won't torture a kid."

There's a long, tense silence.

Dr. Finch finally speaks up. "We... we were interested in retrieving that book, yes? Geoangular Control? P... perhaps, if Zene would like to aid us, we could--"

"Send him after tha magic book?," Caius interrupts. "Yeah, I'm sure there'll be no brain monsters or old gods hangin' over that, or fucked up cults or black ops groups guardin' it. He'll be fine, right? We can all bet his life on it, he'll be fine."

"Caius," Michelle says, a little more stern in tone than before. "I get that you're pissed, but you need to dial it back a little."

"Do ya get it?," Caius asks, tensing up as he turns to face her. "'Cuz tha fact that we're still talkin' about it makes me think ya don't."

Caius storms out of the room, almost brushing shoulders with Michelle on his way. You hear the entrance to the bunker slam open and shut.

There's a long pause.

Michelle sighs.

"Fuse took the door to Mars last, and none of us reset it, so... I think Caius just walked out into the cold."


Steve 24th Dec 2017, 12:30 AM edit delete reply
I... don't feel right with suggesting Zene stay around anymore. I don't really know what to suggest this time... Damn, Matt, you magnificent bastard.
Steve 24th Dec 2017, 1:03 AM edit delete reply
After discussing it on the discord, I've reached my conclusion. I vote we try and send Zene to Grizwald and Lydia.
Winged Crusade 24th Dec 2017, 1:11 AM edit delete reply
Winged Crusade
Or at least call them first. They may know a safe place. Right now, given their resources and how they’ve stayed hidden thus far- they may be our best bet. Heck, maybe the kid would be safest with them- and even enjoy it, who knows? I second this vote. Call Grizwald and Lydia. We need to consult them.
Baron11704 24th Dec 2017, 12:31 AM edit delete reply
On second thought, I'm going to have to go with caius on this one, even if he's being a dick about it, I think we should just get Zene outta the city, we could send him after the book, but it's going to be awhile before he can get it, and it may not even be worth the trouble, we gotta remember this death magic is something Nil mentioned, for all we know it might give Nil an In that we can't afford right now
Swagner 24th Dec 2017, 12:35 AM edit delete reply
I gotta agree with Caius here; the danger to Zene, and the rest of the group, is the lowest if he can just get out of Dodge until this whole thing blows over. Perhaps Shinrai and Mac could be convinced/strong-armed to help him stay undercover?
Mochi 24th Dec 2017, 12:48 AM edit delete reply
i mean, macland does owe us like... infinite favours, considering what an ass he's been and what we've done for him so he could probably be convinced to get this kid somewhere safe pretty easily.
Auron 24th Dec 2017, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
Woah there Jane. Recruiting kids is a bit much. Looks like we're just going to have to send him off with some money.
Mochi 24th Dec 2017, 12:41 AM edit delete reply
put on a sweater or borrow michelle's jacket and follow caius to talk to him. he probably feels responsible for this whole mess, since he grabbed the kid. i dunno what exactly we can say to make him feel better or anything, since the damage has already been done, but putting across that we understand where he's coming from is probably a good start?

anyways he has a point. i think it's probably best to just let zene go, maybe check in on him from time to time, but other than that we leave him be until we know it's safe for him to come back.

edit: i went back and read over it and it is entirely on caius that zene is here in this situation now. we didn't tell him to grab the kid and toss him in the back of the car, he made that decision on his own. i think we should do him the same courtesy he did us and not sugar coat it. he fucked up, this is fucked up in general, and now zene's stuck paying for it. the best thing we can do is try and work this out to the best possible conclusion we can with our limited resources. right now, that's letting him go.
Guest 24th Dec 2017, 2:20 AM edit delete reply
Second all of this.
Dragon_ANG 24th Dec 2017, 12:43 AM edit delete reply
Hmm. I know this might sound even dicier than recruiting Zene or just straight up killing him, but we know now how to copy brain patterns and memories and such - can we EDIT Zene's memories, so that he has a blank space on us? Get it so that he has the money and an imperative to get out of the city somehow, but eliminate the possibility of him becoming a liability.

Just sending him out, does involve the liability he might become, trying to contact family/friends. Could allow him to join the reporter, whatshername, in becoming an undercover agent for her or something.
Twyll 24th Dec 2017, 12:54 AM edit delete reply
That might just lead to him being tortured over something he has no memory of.
Crestlinger 24th Dec 2017, 12:52 AM edit delete reply
Ultimately it boils down to how far up the hierarchy he already is. If just an executor of tasks fine, another set of hands can do the jobs. But as a Successful one means him being then hunted Because of his track record and his parents involved as hostages, curious as to where their son is, or hunters themselves. Regardless of his leaving or staying they will have to be addressed as well, hopefully by him from a burner phone.
Twyll 24th Dec 2017, 12:56 AM edit delete reply
Do we know exactly how far Patton Thale's influence extends? I mean, not his blood influence, but his political power and personal wealth and business interests and such. Is it feasible for Zene to get to a Thale-less place relatively quickly? Because if so, that's probably the best idea, but if we can't be sure of that, then I think he might actually be safest with us.
Guost 24th Dec 2017, 1:41 AM edit delete reply
The fact that Zene has admited to shooting cops when he had something to gain from it means I can't think of him as completely innocent or helpless. Still, I mostly agree with Caius on this one. Unles he's puting up an act it really seems like he's a scared kid more than anything else at the moment.
Swagner 24th Dec 2017, 2:05 AM edit delete reply
To be fair, this is a scenario where shooting cops being legitimate self-defense is not only possible, but likely; remember that Michelle was originally sent to capture Jane, and ultimately killed her boss who was on the same mission.
Guost 24th Dec 2017, 2:12 AM edit delete reply
True, but he specifically mentioned "gettin' somethin' out of it" which sounds like more that just self defense to me.
Deminia 24th Dec 2017, 2:03 AM edit delete reply
On one hand I don’t think we should recruit him he doesn’t seem to have useful new skills to add to our group. On the other hand we don’t know how far Queen’s influence stretches, say we put him on the train to some other city, who is to say there won’t be someone there that’s been Queened and still under Thale’s influence because they are close enough. And his death will then still be OUR fault.

I think we made a mistake injecting him while he was on Mars. Our main bunker is more or less on the other side of Earth isn’t it? If he’d been free from the influence there we could have injected him then and found the nearest city from the bunker to release him in.

I think the best way to deal with this might be to have Zene contact his parents through a burner phone to lure them to a location where we can knock them out with reasonable little risk to us. Get them in our bunker and see if they are under Queen’s influence. If they were but no longer are then we blood them and they can live in reasonable safety, assuming there is a city within reasonable distance of our bunker of course.
rufiangel 24th Dec 2017, 3:22 AM edit delete reply
Wow, that was a pretty heavy conversation. I appreciate the drama.

Second Mochi on borrowing a jacket and heading out to talk to Caius. Ultimately I'm not comfortable making any decisions that are so utterly against the grain of the party.

The book is something I thought would give Zene a goal. Currently he has no idea what to do or where to go outside the city. If he could at least have *something* to focus on, it might actually help him feel better, was what I was also thinking. But if there's too much risk for Zene we're obviously better off not asking such a thing from him.

We didn't know who Zene was, he was somewhere he really shouldn't have been at the wrong time. I don't think it's fair to put all the blame on any one party. It just happened and now we just have to work the best way out.
Baeronius 24th Dec 2017, 3:23 AM edit delete reply
It may be time to open the book on the XCom Operatives.

Beginning the creation of bases for de-queened individuals. Hopefully returning to regular livig within these environments, and potentially, they could launch their own operations to de-queen others.

The individuals in these bases would have to be minimally blooded. Only enough to take out the StQ influence, but not enough to spy through, nor recieve information from alternate methods.