Comic 966 - Ask about the hackers

Posted on 24th Apr 2018, 11:06 PM in Shipping Off to Southden
Ask about the hackers

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 24th Apr 2018, 11:06 PM edit delete
You agree to give the tradesmen what's left of Caius's bone armor, in exchange for what information you can tell Jury about magic.

"Almost nothing," they state. "She has protocols in place regarding the use of magic that even she cannot override yet. It is a deeply kept secret on your planet, and there are numerous organizations that exist with the sole function of snuffing it out. One of those organizations persists within your federal government. Jury becoming aware of any rituals you have performed, or any spells that you have access to, would have negative repercussions."

You ask how Thale made the monster arm, back when you were rescuing Elizabeth.

"We would like to assure you that we do not mind... but you do ask many questions that you already have the answer to."

You ask what the most dangerous thing at the hackers' location is.

There's a small pause before the tradesmen answer.

"Technically speaking, at this exact moment... Jury is. More broadly, neither she nor the hackers will be at that location for much longer. They are currently being taken into federal custody, out of the reach of city police. The security measures that Thale placed to protect the hackers are no longer active."

You start to ask if Thale will guard the tunnels more closely now that you've used them to escape, but the tradesmen continue from their last answer:

"...With his hackers no longer available to him, a significant portion of his long term goal is severely hindered. Had the hackers escaped, he would likely have doubled his efforts in protecting the tunnels... but now, he does not see the point. Instead, he will reevaluate how best to achieve his goals, and search for an alternative method, likely doubling down on his efforts to eliminate you in the process. This plan has been in motion for a very long time and thus, changing its details will also take... a great deal of time."

You start to ask about the first floor of Bunker X, but--

"Unrelated, but," the tradesmen begin, "we noticed that you recently reached Bunker X. As much as we would like to further our business by providing you answers about it at standard fees, the nature of the challenge sadly prohibits us from answering questions concerning it. It would irritate the other entities if we provided spoilers, as it were, and that would be bad for business."

You ask if the beings that made Michelle's new arms could be contacted directly.

"We can answer that question... in exchange for some of the chicken your allies prepared."

Well, that seems easy enough. You agree to it.

"They can be contacted, but we do not have connections in place to acquaint you with them personally. The methods of magic required for you to reach them are not presently in your possession. As an additional note--free of charge, for your continued patronage--you would not likely enjoy being in contact with them. They do not prefer the company of ancient skin, as they call it, and would most likely insist on improving you. ...And your entire species. We use their advancements sparingly, at best. There are no side effects to the arms you received in trade, save that their new owner may feel a desire for... further improvements, in the future. It is not a sentiment provided by the material directly, but what many would deem a natural conclusion upon experiencing something better. It is not a foregone conclusion, and many can be satisfied with what they have. If it does come up, we suggest discouraging it."


Reiko Lupus 24th Apr 2018, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
Well, the answers... Are surprising in some cases.
1) Making known that we can use Magic can become VERY problematic. Let's keep the use of the Ritual of Nil as an Attack to a mínimum...
2) This answer was expected, but is reasurring to know that Thale isn't putting some mambo-jumbo or whatever non-sense to multiply the cells processing air or whatever like that.
3) ...Seriously? We risks our necks, and almost lost them, and Jury already captured them? If she says that our actions were irrelevant, and she didn't use the oportunity we created to do it, I'll be very upset XD.
4) Now we can roam freely in the tunnels!!! But that psycho is going to be searching for us constantly, and do whatever is necesary to Kill us XD.
5) If he didn't put it like "Spoilers", I would be upset. But everyone hates Spoilers, so I think it's fine XD.
6) Let's not touch this theme again. Never.

We got a lot of useful info... And some surprises. Now we don't need to go to Fight with the hackers tomorrow. I NEED to see the faces of the others when we tell them XD.

Now, the next questions:
-Was the robot we fought today the most powerfull Carpenter has?
-What are the Access codes for the satellite Lydia found?
-How to contact the other entities supporting us?
-Can we get an answer of what are we going to get in the other ritual if we ask before doing it?
-What is the cactus we found in the things of Zone Fifty? (I'm curious XD)
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 3:13 AM edit delete reply
Actually... I'd rather not tell the others just yet. I think we should make sure Fuse is genuinely surprised when he contacts Jury and finds out the hackers are already taken care of. With the new knowledge we really, really need to keep Jury out-of-the-know, we don't want her getting suspicious if she thinks we somehow found out what she did before she told us.
We can just tell the others that Jury has a pleasant surprise for us and to not disappoint her when she reveals it the next time we contact her.
T41 25th Apr 2018, 4:02 AM edit delete reply
We don't need magic to know that, we have a raven watching them right now.
GivingTree 24th Apr 2018, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
3) Jury only knew where they were because we hacked their location. The whole point was to find out where they are and sick Jury on them.

As for more questions....
-Will looking at the damage to our brain have negative consequences?
-Is there a way to get back our memory of stargazing with mom and dad? If so, what is it?
-How does moving inanimate objects we've blooded actually work?
-What is The Many's biggest weakness we don't know about?
-Are there things the bioprinted mars blood can't do that we can?
-Do Thale&Co specifically suspect the zone fifty bunkers to be our hiding place?
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:18 AM edit delete reply
Ooh, just saw your post. your questions are actually really good, too. Gonna have to think up a new list that includes those as well.
Frission 25th Apr 2018, 7:04 AM edit delete reply
I definitely am curious about the brain thing, and this seems like the safest way to circumvent the placebo effect conundrum.
Swagner 25th Apr 2018, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
We might also want to ask if we can fix the brain damage, instead of just ignoring it forever and hoping for the best.
Guest 25th Apr 2018, 10:34 AM edit delete reply
if we phrase the brain things right, we may get a "already know" freebie."

We might also ask where the Many's loyalty/motivation lies. We might be able to simply convince it we're cooler than Carpenter if we get the chance.
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
Actually, it would be better to limit the questions to:
-Satellite access codes for Lydia
-Cactus and slime from the Zone Fifty stuff
and then end it there. Carpenter is most definitely going to send a bigger and stronger enemy at us. We instantly destroyed his last bot while it was in the middle of EXPLODING without leveling the entire building like it was probably meant to. If the next fight is going to be just another one of those, we should be looking out for two or more of them. In regards to the aliens supporting us, we're probably going to interact with them in Bunker X. Another thing to keep in mind is that this will exhaust us if we ask too many questions, and we have other things to do. Like test out those new arms of Michelle's in Bunker X. We should just limit ourselves to these few questions, give our thanks and hugs (as we have yet to do so, and they've long earned their share of hugs), and leave.
Mochi 25th Apr 2018, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
as much as i'm down for team hugs, stepping outside the ritual circle will kill us.
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:50 AM edit delete reply
Darn, forgot about that. Maybe finding a gift for them would work.

Also; Hi Mochi! :D
Always love your picture with baby red :3
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 3:17 AM edit delete reply
If it makes you feel any better, I always figure if we can figure out how to hug The Tradesmen (and said knowledge will not result in our death), THAT can be our gift to them that everyone wants to give.
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 3:56 AM edit delete reply
Then Jane can continue on in her quest of Serial Hugging!!!
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 5:34 AM edit delete reply
Jane the Hugger.
Has a nice ring to it.
Guest 25th Apr 2018, 10:35 AM edit delete reply
ask if it will kill mini-us... and bring her next time as a hug-golem :)
Archon 25th Apr 2018, 12:41 AM edit delete reply
Very interesting.
As long as we play it safe, dealing with the... "Flesh Refiners", I'm going to call them, should be safe enough.

If the opportunity comes up, I suspect we may be able to leverage their pride for a discount. Not everyone has the privilege of not only improving the ancient skin, but also offering them tutelage.

Admittedly we don't need the entirety of their knowledge on the subject, but learning how to get the flesh to look correctly should be safe enough.

Assuming, of course, we have the option of dealing with them directly in the future.

For now however, one question to check a lingering suspicion.
Does intent matter when using the trade ritual?
GivingTree 25th Apr 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
Dealing with them seems like a horrible idea??? No????? What part of the warning did you not read?
Archon 25th Apr 2018, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
Hm. The two points of potential concern are that
A. We have no information on their "improvements", though the arms indicate they involve doing the same things, but better. An admirable goal, but without certainty that this is the case it would have to be a very, very good offer to accept them improving humanity as a whole. Also B.

B. Humanity's general desire for "further improvements." As the tradesmen mentioned, not everyone would want such things; but enough of humanity would to cause a problem.

The former issue can be resolved readily enough through studying and learning about them, and the latter would, sadly, be difficult to resolve in a reasonable amount of time. Not that we have to share what we learn with other humans, making better homunculi should prove sufficient.

Regardless, this may not even bear relevance. It's wholly possible we never discover how to contact them in the first place. Had to go through quite a bit of trouble for the book we do have, after all. It's also possible there are methods by which we learn their techniques without dealing with them directly at all.
Quite a bit is up in the air, and may be for quite some time yet.
Guest 25th Apr 2018, 11:54 AM edit delete reply
i would not want to meet them, but at least we know we can probably get some pretty cool bone armor if we do trade up a few pieces.
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Okay then, full list so far:
-What are the Access codes for the satellite Lydia found?
-Will looking at the damage to our brain have negative consequences?
-Do Thale&Co specifically suspect the zone fifty bunkers to be our hiding place?
We should limit to these questions because out of our questions so far, these are of the most significance to our concern right now. Our brain is going to be of big concern if it gets damaged again, and we really need to now if its alright to try and fix it. The access codes for the satellite, or at least info on where we can find them if the price is to high(and most likely it will be for that big of a game changer) will help speed things along on the warfront, and Thale&Co being suspicious of our hideout is a matter of security. We do NOT want him tracking us back here, especially with the access to Mars, Laster, and Mom's Red being here.
We already have a basic understanding as to why blooded inanimate objects work: We control the blood, and the blood makes the components move. If we think to much into it, it'll probably just screw ourselves over. So do a Caius and don't think about it. The other questions are kind of mox-nix, or we can probably find out ourselves with little to no trouble(in comparison to the trouble we just got ourselves out of), and we have more important things to do than tire ourselves out on a game of 20 Questions with the tradesmen. Like try out the new arms in Bunker X.
echo 25th Apr 2018, 12:48 AM edit delete reply
Is our brain Schrodinger's cat?
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:54 AM edit delete reply
Judging from how Dr. Finch talked about it, it very well could be. It would be really good to confirm or not if we do have a "Schrodinger's brain".
pkrankow 25th Apr 2018, 1:50 PM edit delete reply
Our "brain" is fine. Either we are using our brain because we repaired it or we are using a volume of our blood to think constantly and the rest of our body is still our physical avatar.

It doesn't matter either way currently.

It may possibly matter when we confront the Lasker fragment not guarded by the PJ's.

It may matter when we directly confront a desprate and loosing Thale, but I doubt it.

Red may not be available to contact anymore if we have only a single means of thinking.
Matanui3 25th Apr 2018, 12:49 AM edit delete reply
Wait, I don't see any price put on the information about the most dangerous thing at the hackers' location. Did the tradesmen break their own rules, or is this an error?
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 12:52 AM edit delete reply
Naw, that info didn't tip the balance in any way, and we would probably have figured that out on our own shortly, so it was free.
echo 25th Apr 2018, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
It's been stated that they'll sometimes answer a question at no cost if the deem the information to be inconsequential. If Howler Ferrings and his comrades are no longer a threat I might not matter that we know Jury already has them.
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 3:03 AM edit delete reply
What the others have said. What would have happened is either tonight or tomorrow Fuse would have gotten in contact with Jury, ESPECIALLY after tonight and finding out we CANNOT allow Jury to find out (or at least confirm directly from us) that we have access to magic, to make sure we didn't interrupt her portion of the operation on the hackers. She would then tell us it's already taken care of, there would be a long pause, and we would want to confirm that for once, we didn't have to risk our butts stopping Thale.
Then we would have leftover chicken dinner to celebrate... except we've already used that in the ritual. So maybe actual tacos this time (as opposed to breakfast burritos).
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 3:29 AM edit delete reply
With the knowledge that we don't have to fight the hackers tomorrow, I've really got nothing else.
Though to note: We need to ask Fuse what the price/job was for the computers/hideout and if we can help in any way with that.

All I'd recommend is to still limit the questions as energy spent asking is energy we can spend on bone armour and fixing Elizabeth.
I'd like to make an honest attempt at Bunker X tomorrow and, depending on how we come out of that, look into one of our many other side projects (astral projection so maybe we can finally finish up Faraday, purchasing Ilworth and maybe get the power plant running, project space car, etc.).
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 3:58 AM edit delete reply
We do need to hang out with the cats more. The only real social time we've had with the cats just for fun, correct me if I'm wrong, was back in chapter one when we found the book of cats in the drawer with the severed hand back in the hospital
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 3:59 AM edit delete reply
and that was just pictures of cats, so it doesn't really count? Or was there another time we've played with cats since?
GivingTree 25th Apr 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
We really should just, take some Jane Time to decompress and play with the kitties. Talk to our friends as friends rather than a strike force commander. Let's take a little R&R, after all Jane is a person and no matter how little we have her emote she's probably still feeling the wear by now.
T41 25th Apr 2018, 4:07 AM edit delete reply
(Anyone else Slightly disappointed we never really got to see Howler?)
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 4:20 AM edit delete reply
Another question for later is, what all do we even have at our disposal at the moment? A full list to review would be helpful
Blue_Elite 25th Apr 2018, 5:38 AM edit delete reply
On the one hand I'm guessing Fuse will be disappointed he doesn't get to face Howler before being taken in by the feds.

On the other hand, if he did get to face Howler, I'm guessing Thale would have made him a sacrificial pawn and killed him in an attempt to kill Fuse as well. So it's probably for the best the feds got him (assuming Thale doesn't mysteriously kill them all off and further implicate himself in magic usage).
Memo 25th Apr 2018, 4:36 AM edit delete reply
I have a feeling the "improvers" might be from a possible future where humans have evolved into pod people.
We should keep as far away from them as possible!
But maybe trying to analyse the arms would lead to interesting discoverys
Reiko Lupus 25th Apr 2018, 5:55 AM edit delete reply
Now that I think about it... Where the Tradesmen got a Mini-Jane?
For what we know, the things we get in the Ritual are obtained from other places, not created in the moment... Who the hell created the Mini-Jane thay gave us?
...I need to ask it.
I REALLY need to ask for it.
Frission 25th Apr 2018, 7:05 AM edit delete reply
O_O oh god now I'm thinking about it too.
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 8:59 AM edit delete reply
They probably made her from the golem we gave them that first time
pkrankow 25th Apr 2018, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
No to directly contacting the improvers. They sound too "Borg" like.
Ablaze 25th Apr 2018, 7:21 AM edit delete reply
We need to start thinking about defenses. Thale will be now devoting all his time at attacking us.

We need to know if there are other Gates we don't know about that could be used to enter our base. Additionally we need a way to block others from entering.
Golnor 25th Apr 2018, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Ask if there is a way to get the Southden properties for cheaper
lil Joshu 25th Apr 2018, 12:31 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Ask what the Tradesmen would find to be a pleasant gift. They have been very good business partners, even when just telling us that we already know things. Maybe we could put on a space suit, go through the ritual circle and give them a hug?

Also... stupid question... could we trade up some of the bunkers we aren't using for a better bunker?

Also... more questions... the spawn of the first Womb... the adversary, Mom.... why'd they split, and then, after that, why did they fight? After Thale, will we have to worry about other first spawn?
the white 25th Apr 2018, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
The only one we heve access to which I think we have no current use for is bunker C.

Also... stupid question... How do you propose we put multiple bunkers in a single ritual circle?
Terrac 25th Apr 2018, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
The library already told us we were the last fragments.
pkrankow 25th Apr 2018, 2:02 PM edit delete reply