Comic 738 - Take a breather

Posted on 14th Jan 2018, 12:52 AM in No Easy Way Out
Take a breather

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 14th Jan 2018, 12:52 AM edit delete
You get everyone into the bunker, then take the blindfolds off.

"What'd I miss?," Caius asks as you walk into the lab area.

"You should've been there," Fuse replies. "We had to fight a dude with swords for hands."

"Dammit!," Caius exclaims.

"Yeah," Michelle adds. "Fuse did some kinda fightin' game fire kick nonsense with his robot leg."

"Dammit!!," Caius exclaims louder.

You introduce Crease, Zene's dad, who looks... rather startled

by the mouth on the wall. Oh, right.

"Is... is that thing... is it...?," Crease manages to stutter out.

"Ah, it's harmless," Michelle says. "The mouth just hangs out and says mind blowin' stuff sometimes. Speakin' of mind blowin' stuff, sword guy had straight up magic."

"What?," Dr. Finch finally speaks up.

"Yeah, for real though," Fuse says. "He had arcane symbols under his skin, did a chant, almost turned into a monster. We got... most of the body, if you wanna look at it. It got real weird toward the end there."

"I..." Dr. Finch pauses. "Hm. Hm hm hm, that is most worrisome. Where could he have possibly acquired magic from...? Surely Carpenter wouldn't..."

You explain your theory--that the bladed man was sent by the church, along with the psychic... thing... in the truck. In general, you give a better, more detailed recount of the events than Caius and Dr. Finch have really had a chance to receive.

"Oh, dear," responds Dr. Finch. "That's... that that that's concerning on so many levels I can scarcely determine where to begin. I'm now quite curious as to whether the church of Enyo utilized passages from this Geoangular Control Lydia wrote of, or if perhaps it's something else--something specific they may have derived from their contact with Thale and their dealings with Prophet. It would very concerning if an entire book explaining how to draw power from the red is just... sitting in a library somewhere. I will most certainly take a look at those remains. Caius?"

"Dammit," Caius mumbles more quietly. "Sword guy and he had magic, an' I missed tha whole thing." Caius follows Dr. Finch out to retrieve the corpse from the hummer.

While Fuse goes to check on the news from the computer, you check on the raven following the truck. The truck has made its way to the lower tiers, where it seems to be heading for... the church. The very same church that Crease's wife/Zene's mom works for. It parks around the back side of the building, backing up to a loading dock--you can't really see what's being unloaded from here, however. You didn't see any trucks here earlier, which means...

they're preparing.

The church is likely anticipating you coming after Zene's mother, and/or the church she works for in particular. The thing in the trailer managed to scare you away once, so it's the most logical defense to put in the building. If Zene's mother is holding up in that church, then getting to her will mean dealing with that psychic thing again.

"Good news is," Fuse starts, "I think we're in the clear. Truck's being reported as a normal tire blowout... if the cops are aware the tire was shot out, the news isn't talking about it. There's reports of numerous gunshots overheard near Everautumn Park, and police suspect some arson might've happened--they're still investigating and have taped the place off, though."

Michelle nods. "...Which means they're prob'ly suspicious o' the ashes and chunks we left behind. We didn't leave much of a body, though, and if the news ain't talkin' about a murder, we might be good."

"I kinda figured," Fuse says. "If nobody claims the guy, cops'll just shrug it off as some vagrant getting lit up. The usual suspects are already spinning this from 'crime's so bad even the upper tiers are seeing it' straight on to 'it's those damn poors, we really oughta do something about the lower tiers.' I mean, in this case it totally was the lower tiers, but they can't prove that and they shouldn't jump right to that conclusion. Not every rich people problem is caused by poor people... idiots."

Fuse looks slightly past you, at Crease.

"Can we get that guy some level?," Fuse asks. Crease is, indeed, still taking the giant mouth on the wall very poorly.

"I... l-level?," Crease asks. "My job, they... oh." It takes a moment for it to sink in. "I... I guess that might not matter as much anymore, does it?"

"Nah," Michelle says. "After we unbrainwash your wife, you guys are gettin' the hell outta here. If you still wanna help there's plenty o' stuff we might need from outta town, but this city's the last place you wanna be. We're in a war, and if today was any hint... it's just gonna get worse."

Caius and Dr. Finch return. You can hear them in the front room, bickering a bit over what to do with the bladed man's charred remains.

"What're you gonna do?," Michelle asks you. "About... y'know. You been kinda out of it."

You tell her that you're going to try and... er, re-humanize yourself, if that makes any sense. Sit, think, eat ice cream. Be the brain for a while.

Michelle gives you a very odd look at that last comment. "You did have a bad day, didn't ya? Geez. Yeah, let's eat some ice cream."

You start to contact your red, but she seems... tired? She's not present at the forefront of your mind, but it doesn't feel like she's disappeared outright--it's not the weird distance you felt in, for instance, Macland's brain. It's more like Red's just... taking a nap. She's there, but you're not sure you can squeeze much in the way of answers out of her just yet. You decide to try again a little later.

"You should give us magic," Fuse says to your mom's red. "I feel like you're holding out on us."

"Of course," the mouth on the wall says. "I will grow hands with which to draw your ritual circles. I've had such a capability this entire time, and only neglected to mention so because I dislike the idea of fingers."

"Oh... my god, it talks," Crease exclaims.

"Yeah, and it's learned sarcasm," Fuse scoffs.

"Z, let's go get your dad some level," Michelle offers. She gently takes Zene and Crease, a hand on each shoulder, and leads them out of the lab. You follow, and begin retrieving ice cream from the refrigerator.


rufi (lazy to login) 14th Jan 2018, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
I haven't been able to comment much this weekend but just wanted to say I love this entire update so much, from Caius's 'Dammits!' to Crease's stunned reaction to Mom's Red's sarcasm. Just everything. XD <3
Wote 14th Jan 2018, 2:32 AM edit delete reply
Same. I'm fine with just letting things ride for the moment. Folks have stuff to do and there's nothing we need to force along right this second.
Blue_Elite 14th Jan 2018, 4:37 AM edit delete reply
Sarcasm is a good thing. It takes a special kind of understanding of the world to know how to "lie" without really lying. I'm glad despite mom's Red's reservations about humanity xe's adopted some of its mannerisms.
EDIT: Also is that a bit of a beer belly on Zene's dad? X)

Let's move Allan (Edgar has done enough traveling today) to Zene and Crease's home so we can monitor there as well.

Ya know, I never thought of this until now, but we should move Poe from the park back to the arcade. We could get in touch with Grizwald and company via like, pecking/scratching in Morse code. It's like a carrier pigeon/raven without the travel time.

Otherwise if our Red is beat, we better chill for now. Let everyone do their own thing.
Then we'll need to make a plan for blooding Zene's mom (assuming some other event doesn't come up first).
pkrankow 14th Jan 2018, 8:05 AM edit delete reply
Griz still has the syringe and we can buzz it, and send code. Griz is also expecting this since we used it before.
Golden_Eagle 14th Jan 2018, 4:59 AM edit delete reply
Haha oh my god, Mum's Red has learned sarcasm. I love it even more now.

Well, for now, everyone just needs to chill. They can figure out how to get Zene's mother later- though it will be harder since the psychic guy is there. Is there a way we can test how to stop psychic stuff? Like, maybe Jane can try to send commands to someone and they can try to stop it, and from there figure out what the best defense is- we should also figure out if tin foil actually works.
Terrabrand 14th Jan 2018, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
I swear Caius is the best damn character.
Nayru9572 14th Jan 2018, 6:43 AM edit delete reply
Can someone who's not (mentally) exhausted contact Lydia (and by extension Griswald for the podcast) to tell them about what's happened? Maybe Jury as well, just in case the feds are looking into it.
Speaking of which, maybe someone should check in on the Proto-Jurys. Just in case they need something.
Blue_Elite 14th Jan 2018, 7:46 PM edit delete reply
We (and by which I mean Fuse) can upload to Lydia's server. Jury may not be of much help as the Feds may be trying to actively get rid of her.

We also need to give Unity her name. That keeps slipping for some reason. Maybe it's not dramatically appropriate yet?
Crestlinger 14th Jan 2018, 12:07 PM edit delete reply
Requesting that the chant we use for said magic circles, after exhaustive research into their application and safety, be 'The Blood'.
skybirds15 14th Jan 2018, 2:45 PM edit delete reply
Uh, did we check if we did any brain damage to ourselves there? I mean... we did cause our brain to bleed quite a lot there. Might wanna get on that.

Aside, they know that we have no defense against this right then and will use it when we get Zene's mom. So, get defense, shoot it. Griswald probably knows something, or maybe tinfoil again, though it seems to work differently than edison. Do we really need the magic circles, anyway? We are the red it'd draw from. Maybe the others could use it I guess? Or just know your enemy, I suppose.
Lazarus 8th Aug 2022, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
Oh man, that quote from the Red reminds me a lot of the way the Tradesman talks in MDA... I stopped reading MDA around the introduction of the Tradesman to read BIM, so no spoilers please, but I'd be very happy if there was some connection there.
Caustic 30th Sep 2022, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Why do I have it in my head that the wall mouth sounds like Vincent Price? XD