Comic 714 - Follow Caius

Posted on 24th Dec 2017, 2:48 AM in No Easy Way Out
Follow Caius

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 24th Dec 2017, 2:48 AM edit delete
You go and grab Michelle's jacket, and you head out into the cold after Caius.

"I fucked up, alright?," Caius says, without even turning around. "I grabbed him. I tossed him in tha car. I got shot in tha gut. Me. This is on... me."

He sighs, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"This is all on me. If I'da known how old he was-- if I'da thought--"

He stops, briefly.

"I didn't think. I don't. I never do. I just... jus' good guys an' bad guys. I fucked up, and... if that kid dies, I basically killed him. I basically killed him myself. I separated him from his parents. I did that."

You can't get decent enough reception out here to make a phone call, so you ask Fuse if he can step out and call Lydia and Grizwald about Zene maybe staying with them.

Fuse moves out into the hall, out of earshot of Zene, so he can speak to you.

"Lydia was living out of a van, last time I checked," he says. "Grizwald still sleeps in a game machine. We can call them if you want, but... really, you might be better off trying to squeeze help out of Macland and Gesenai. I'll try to find out what I can about Zene's parents, maybe we can do something about that."

For now, you tell Caius that you understand where he's coming from. You don't plan on recruiting Zene. The situation is bad--and you don't approach it gently that Caius is responsible, in a large way--but the best you can do is deal with what you've got. You're going to send the kid out of the city, away from all this.

"Alright," Caius says. "...Alright. Just... leave me out here for now, I need to think about shit."


rufiangel 24th Dec 2017, 3:25 AM edit delete reply
Well not for too long, you just had a brain transplant sir and it's very cold out here >__> but I can respect giving him some space to think.

Let's see what we might be able to do about Zene's parents? Might be safer to leave that well alone though, imho.

EDIT: I just realised it's a GIF. That's purdy, senpai. <3 Drifting snow.
Baeronius 24th Dec 2017, 3:27 AM edit delete reply
Xcom resistance stuff.

Uh. I think I'll write more on it tomorrow.
Twyll 24th Dec 2017, 3:34 AM edit delete reply
Let's also do some research on exactly how far Thale can reach, so we know how far away to send Zene for him to be safe.
Twyll 24th Dec 2017, 3:36 AM edit delete reply
Also before we go outside, let's give Caius a quick hug. And maybe flip the hood of his hoodie up to cover his head so it doesn't get too cold :P Then leave him to have some alone time.
Baron11704 24th Dec 2017, 3:49 PM edit delete reply
Yeah but doing that requires kidnapping someone and if we just grab someone and continually ask them to say patton thale, could put the kidnappee in danger, could put the whole Patton Thale name trick in danger, and it might alert Thale to his range, and he might figure out how to extend it, if we get him far away enough fast enough than it should be fine, theres no way for him to track him, if he could he'd have been tracking fuse this whole time and that wouldve been made a lot more obvious at this point
skybirds15 24th Dec 2017, 4:04 AM edit delete reply
There's no good answer to any of this. Zene's in danger no matter what. He's separated from everyone he knows no matter what (until we destroy the StQ monster, but that could take years, centuries, who knows). What other realistic choice did Caius have when Zene rushed out of the building? Let him go and tell people what we're doing, not just possibly Thale? Kill him? This might be the best possible result from the situation. No matter what, it's the one we have. The best thing to do is do the thing we think is best in the future, and let this situation inform our decisions. But, in my opinion, this was probably the best choice.
We, maybe, could help his parents. Maybe. If they're lower tier, probably not. Low middle is probably our best bet.

Also Caius is teddy bear confirmed
Wote 24th Dec 2017, 5:29 AM edit delete reply
I'm honestly not sold that we're able to position Zene to be out of this. Like, all of our allies are involved in one way or another, so it's not like he'd be removed from things so much as placed slightly farther back from the crossfire if shit hits the fan. Letting him loose on his own in some distant city isn't much better if our justification for trying to leave him out of this is that he isn't mature enough to make clear-headed decisions. Heck, even if we can put him far enough away to be safe from Save the Queen, there's no guarantee that he won't be a target for allied groups elsewhere—since we went ahead and assumed visiting a library for us would put him in mortal peril. And if the whole point of this discussion is that we made a mistake dragging him into this, getting his parents involved is just going to compound the error unless we have a concrete plan.

I guess what I'm saying is that we should actually try to *talk* to Zene (through Fuse if necessary) and find out what he wants. Not recruit him or anything—since apparently everyone but me agreed with Caius—but because unless we make decisions with his input, we're rolling the dice as to whether or not we're just going to make things worse again. If the whole point is to keep him out of danger, we need to realize that the universe of "danger" is pretty friggin' extensive and conduct ourselves with that understanding.
rufiangel 24th Dec 2017, 5:42 AM edit delete reply
I'm going to kind of second this - my last comment on the previous update came exactly when the next comic went up, lol, so I'll just sort of reiterate my thoughts there, here again.

Letting Zene leave the city is one thing, but assuming that that completely separates him from our responsibility and/or other dangers is a bit much. I know Zene's young, but he's not so young that he can't share his thoughts on this whole thing. Depending on what he wants to do, I still support the idea of tasking Zene with maybe checking out the book, because the book is something I thought would give Zene a goal since so far he's expressed that 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. Obviously if we confirm the risk is too high, we can call him off it, but we won't know until we actually try.

As I said on the previous update, 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. I don't know if taking on all the blame (especially on Caius) is really the way to be looking at this - I mean, Caius obviously didn't mean to get shot? Yeah.
Twyll 24th Dec 2017, 6:01 AM edit delete reply
Thinking about it more, I do think y'all are right. Zene may be young, but getting his input on this is probably the best way to be fair to him anyways. Especially given that we know he would probably fall into a life of petty crime to support himself... I mean, we can give him money, but we can't give him the ability to budget or find a safe place to live or cook or do any of the things that he might need to do to support himself alone. Especially being a lower-tier kid, he's probably missing out on a lot of the life skills that would help him to survive in a way that *doesn't* involve crime.

After we give Caius some time to himself, I think we should emphasize to him that it's not his fault. He's not the one who injected the guy with a mind control drug; that was ultimately Thale's fault. He didn't make Zene go into the power plant; Zene and his friends made that decision. Because Caius picked him up, Zene is no longer under the effects of a brain-rape drug that he didn't even know he had taken. Now he *knows* what's going on to a certain extent, instead of being completely unaware of what was controlling him, and he's free from being controlled by force.
Blue_Elite 24th Dec 2017, 5:42 AM edit delete reply
Oversized jacket Jane sprite is best sprite (shame we don't have more excuses to use it).

I don't know about LIVING with Grizwald and Lydia but Grizwald is a slippery fish. Maybe they can get Zene out of the city. It'd be LOADS better than just taking him to a train ourselves which I assumed was going to result in a shootout in public or Zene's train being attacked by a flesh monster.

Zene can also help with the whole, "how far is Thale's influence" question. I assume he's familiar with drug circles and he'd need to look out for StQ anyway. If he's seeing a lot of it in the next city over we can assume Thale's influence also extends that far. If he's seeing little to none, then that should probably answer our question.
We (by which I mean Fuse) can just explain that part of what we was injected with was something like CODEC radio, but that it's kinda one-way in that he can hear us but he has to speak out loud for us to hear him (which should hopefully alleviate any fears he might have that we can mind-read him). Then just inform him we'll check on him from time-to-time to make sure he's staying safe.
PurpleKetchup 24th Dec 2017, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
re: influence range experiment: Zene already carries Jane's red - Thale's control is gone forever, and he will not feel him coming back on Earth. No go using him.
Testing would also be a massive risk and Thale might make it as fuzzy as possible to fake a weakness and lure us in yet another deathtrap. We basically couldn't rely on any result we get, so might as well ignore that and just teleport to Mars when needed.

Although, let's not abuse that more than necessary. With Zene, from his point of view a tiny blip shut down on his radar around our doorstep (which, if he was not actively monitoring him at the time, should still be vague enough...) but if we keep teleporting his thralls he'll pinpoint the location and investigate.
Right now there's a large chance Thale is assuming we just injected Zene with Jane's red when we reached that street, and then kept moving to lose any pursuers.
Let's not give him reason to doubt that.
Nayru9572 24th Dec 2017, 7:37 AM edit delete reply
Maybe put a blood alarm on him to make sure he doesn't stay out in the cold for too long?
Macheman7 24th Dec 2017, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Hand Caius Michelle's jacket, tell him okay, but don't go and get hypothermia, and you probably ought to be in bed anyway mister.

As for Zene, check up on him, fill him in that we can talk into his mind, BUT NOTHING ELSE, or the bare minimum (monsters show up and people are awful and it isn't quite the rich guys' fault but basically it is).

Ask him about his family more, and exactly how old he is, and then ask what he'd like us to do with him.

If he decides to leave the city, go in his brain and delete everything he remembers about the bunkers. Not what we told him, but what she saw while he was here. Don't tell him about it because it's kinda irrelevant since then we'd have to delete that too.

I'm 19, and I know past me in this situation would be all in on wanting to fight monsters and stuff. It's imperative that we don't just let him do that. Show him Fuse's leg. Show him Michelle and Jane's various scars. Tell him what caused those.
Blue_Elite 24th Dec 2017, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
Just commenting about the examples: remember we actually brought one of the mansquito corpses with us. We can give him a very real example of a taste of the monsters we have to deal with.
Baron11704 24th Dec 2017, 3:46 PM edit delete reply
Suggest that he think somewhere not freezing cold, and offer him the level effect to soothe his nerves, but other than that leave him be, and just check on him every now and again to make sure he doesnt get hypothermia
lil Joshu 24th Dec 2017, 3:48 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I know I was in the "present the 4th option" camp.
This isn't because I think the team needs a pet or him as a recruit.

It's because when someone is thrown about by the turbulence of the world, and they're told their options are "You die, everyone you loves dies and you die, or run away and leave everyone you love." That's a serious feeling powerlessness. And he needs to know that there's an option to do something, that he -might- be able to be with family again, and that he could actually work towards it. Otherwise, he's going to be traumatized and fearful and alone for the rest of his life, feeling small.

I'm not saying he needs to be brought in full circle, going on missions, thrown in the line of danger and such. I'm saying give him an option that doesn't leave him completely out of the loop, that gives him a chance to at least do a little something to help out. Even if the instructions are, "Get out, build your own life, work on being a better person, get as smart and strong and capable as you can fast as you can, we'll keep an eye out on you, and if you get to a point to where you can help get your family to safety and get them free, we'll let you know. And if you want advice, we'll give it to you."
Swagner 24th Dec 2017, 5:38 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I'm still siding with Caius, the kid'll be safer under Maclands protection, especially if Mac knows that we've got him, as my grandpa would say, "by the short hairs".
echo 25th Dec 2017, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
If this is still the latest page at this time does that make it a white Christmas?