Comic 1052 - Start making trades

Posted on 28th May 2018, 7:30 PM in Hope
Start making trades

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 28th May 2018, 7:30 PM edit delete
You start by informing everyone that, uh, Thale and his secretary are at the church.

"WHAT?!," is Michelle's reaction.

"Hoooly shit," adds Fuse.

Caius inhales sharply. "Good," he says simply. "He can get some, too."

"It can't be Patton Thale himself," reasons Dr. Finch. "Wandering out into the open with his core identity would be stupendously foolish."

"It has to be a duplicate," Elizabeth agrees. "How did the secretary look?"

You describe the woman you saw, especially her height.

Liz gives the slightest nod. "It may not be Patton in person, but that does sound like his personal assistant. Newer versions should be taller than I am."

"Oh, and we took a look at the church from above," Michelle says. "It uh... wouldn't be easy, 'cuz there ain't really a way in from the top. We'd have to cut through concrete, or blow some stuff up. We can reach it, though."

You update everyone on what you've done thus far, and what your plan is. Once you've opened the bay door and the monster eats the corpse and becomes poisoned--which should take somewhere to the tune of 45 minutes, maybe--Jury's team can mobilize and take the thing out safely. While they're doing that, YOUR group can hit the church proper and rescue Grizwald. You can have your bug drop eggs at key points prior to that, letting you create meat walls to block off guard routes.

"So all we'd have to deal with is the guards in the sanctuary," Michelle replies.

"And Hope, and his goon squad," adds Fuse. "The big dude packs serious heat."

"And whatever countermeasures Patton can improvise," adds Dr. Finch. "We could attempt to wait until the fake Thale has left, but he may be waiting for something--some sort of answer from Grizwald, or just for us to show up and make a mess of everything. Sleep... may not be an issue for an oversynced clone."

"Hell, sleep's barely an issue for us," Caius responds. "We get tired, yeah, but Blondie could keep us from sleepin' if we didn't want to."

"Indeed," agrees Finch. "We could wait, but we may be waiting a while if that's the case."

You also bring up the idea of pinning the whole thing on Carpenter--or at least, making it look like he's involved to further confuse the situation. Fuse could hack into the building's private network, and put Carpenter's dumb silhouette up on all the big screens, blare hip hop, or whatever.

"It's doable," Fuse says. "I doubt the security's top of the line on that stuff. Dunno if it's worth it, but I could take a crack at it."

You also start to trade items up, alternating between different people for the ritual so no one becomes completely drained.

You start with the translation guides--piling them all into the circle, performing the ritual, and as the smoke clears... first, you think something's gone wrong. You don't see anything. It's only after the smoke has vanished completely that you notice a very, very tiny device on the floor. It's so small you can barely pick it up, but on very close inspection... it vaguely resembles the same technology as Caius's communicator.

"Oh, cool," Fuse comments sarcastically, "more brainware."

"It may be the most effective way to utilize that strange computer," Dr. Finch states.

"No, it definitely is," Fuse responds... and then gives a small sigh. "I was just hoping to maybe avoid shoving space things in my head."

Next, Michelle trades up a huge pile of normal handgun clips. The smoke clears, and... what remains is a drum for a minigun.

Michelle's altered E1M2, to be specific.

"Good enough," she says, picking it up. "At least now I can swap out ammo without it bein' a thing. I'll prob'ly pack explosive rounds with some tracers goin' in, just in case we get more monster than we wanted, but havin' some piercin' or regular for backup wouldn't be bad."

Dr. Finch goes next, doing the ritual for a pile of the piercing rounds. Not enough that it tears into your normal stock, but a pretty substantial amount. He speaks the words, smoke fill the circle, and as it clears...

there is exactly one bullet.

"For real?," Michelle asks. "They gave us rolls o' bandages, they couldn't give us a box o' bullets?"

"Must be one of helluva bullet," Caius comments.

Michelle picks the bullet up, staring at it. "I mean, it looks like a normal handgun... minigun... bullet. No tellin', though--oughta save it for a special occasion."

"If this is attempted again, you should consider altering the quantity," Elizabeth suggests. "Perhaps fewer bullets would result in a less effective final product, but more of them to compensate. More bullets traded in would likely result in more of... whatever that ammunition happens to be."

Dr. Finch nods. "We seem to have scarcely slid across the threshold into a very potent ammo type. Had I offered any fewer bullets, we'd have likely received a box of something else."

Michelle continues to look at the bullet, but finally shakes her head. "Yeah, I just gotta assume this bullet kicks ass, 'cuz I ain't seein' nothin' magic about it."


Frission 28th May 2018, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
It is the bullet that pierces the heavens! xD We should try trading a couple clips of each type of ammo combined. See if we get something that merges all of their traits into one.

Have Liz do that one, or whatever we trade up next. She's not using that energy anyways! xD
Gigafreak 28th May 2018, 8:40 PM edit delete reply
I think we'll have to give it a name, so we don't mix it up with the others. Like, "The Magic Bullet" or "The Mystery Bullet."

Or "Patrick."
ReikoLupus 28th May 2018, 8:45 PM edit delete reply
Let's call it "The HIAB".
Hell in a Bullet XD.
Gigafreak 28th May 2018, 8:36 PM edit delete reply
So the entry points for Team Jane would be either storming in through the front door, or digging through the roof with demolition explosives that we may not actually have.
Even if we managed to disable the electricity in the vents, our muscle units can't fit into them anyway (and the openings looked like it might not be possible for Jane and Fuse to fit OUT of, besides).

If we COULD disable the electricity and get Jane and Fuse through the vents (including out through the openings in the Sanctuary), the possibility exists that Caius and Michelle could lure the army of guards away while the two smaller units smuggle Griz out.

Though we searched the whole building fairly thoroughly (everywhere except the men's restroom) and saw nothing that might control the electricity in the vents. It worries me that it might be on the outside the building... in the tunnels, in range of the monster. Or worse yet, the panel could be obstructed by the monster's body, in which case the controls would still be out of reach even after we slay it.
Tobias23 29th May 2018, 2:34 AM edit delete reply
Couldn't the vent controls be in the same room as Patton and his PA are?

As far's storming the castle is concerned … if our plan for poisoning the monster works (and I suggest once we've set it in motion, we grow at least an ear near Thale to monitor his reaction) I think the ground floor is a better idea than the roof. If I remember correctly, Griz is held on the ground floor, so we would have less space to traverse. And Thale's closer to the top (btw, could we maybe get an overview of the church's layout, Morgenstern?).

Also, I just had an idea. We can grow bugs and walls out of eggs. We can grow hairs on bugs that allows them to listen. Thus, we should be able to grow hairs/a single hair/an eye of some sort on any egg we want to, right? We could make each egg a bug (pardon the pun) and place a blood alarm on the one in the most critical areas – one that would react, for example, when Thale says "Nurse" or something along those lines.
Crestlinger 28th May 2018, 8:38 PM edit delete reply
'Noisy Cricket.' Also Coneheads 'firework'. be Wary of things in small packages.
Frission 28th May 2018, 8:40 PM edit delete reply
Yeeeeeeeesssss. x3 You get +10 Awesome Points for the Coneheads reference. :3
Gigafreak 28th May 2018, 8:42 PM edit delete reply
Michelle has the best aim, so I figure we should give her The Bullet. Perhaps in a specially-marked handgun by itself, for use on the next Very Big Threat we meet.
Skullrama 28th May 2018, 9:20 PM edit delete reply
Michelle also has space arms for handling recoil, so she is definitely best.
ReikoLupus 28th May 2018, 8:44 PM edit delete reply
If we use that thing, we MUST be prepared for a hell of a recoil... And be at a REALLY decent distance of the target. In our planet, we have bullets made with the same science than a nuclear warhead, bullets that can make a tank dissapear with one shot. (They are REALLY illegal XD). For what we know, this thing can destroy the Monster in the tunnels with one hit... And in the process, collapse the entire net of tunnels XD.

Make some bone weapons and armors and exchange them.

Ah, and apply Poison to the tip of the bullets that don't explode, specially in the piercing bullets. This was a really effective tactic in the Wars of the past before it became a war crime XD.
Skullrama 28th May 2018, 9:23 PM edit delete reply
Trading a few sets of bone armor sounds like a good idea. Better protection could be awesome.
Swagner 29th May 2018, 12:48 AM edit delete reply
I'm pretty sure nuclear bullets aren't a thing that exists, IRL. If they were, nobody would use tanks. Or the anti-tank weapons that they do use. Likewise, poisoned bullets aren't a thing, largely because of what a pain they'd be to manufacture (you can't just cover the bullet in poison, it'll burn/blow off). The only laws on toxic weapons I've found were in response to gas weapons, etc.; I've never even heard of poisoned bullets being used to any effect.
Gigafreak 29th May 2018, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
Lead is already toxic. "Acute lead poisoning" is sometimes used as a sarcastic nickname for "bullet wounds." Any "special" toxin attached to a bullet would likely be vaporized and/or burnt into uselessness either when being fired or upon impact. Heck, the LEAD is slightly vaporized, if I remember correctly. Dart guns exist, but are far less accurate due to far lower projectile velocity (whereas conventional bullets fired from proper rifles can exceed the speed of sound).
Cuttlefish 29th May 2018, 1:46 AM edit delete reply
Are you perhaps thinking of depleted uranium anti tank rounds? Depleted uranium, a bi product of nuclear power plants, is incredibly dense (and hence good at penetrating). It has been used for antiarmour rounds, but has been criticized as it is still somewhat radioactive. This isnt really important to those getting shot, but bullets that miss and are not recovered can impact anyone who lives local to the area.
Blue_Elite 28th May 2018, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
Let's put the special piercing bullet in the Scoped Pistol for maximum effectiveness.

Perhaps we can trade up the shotgun shells to act as a demo-charge so we can blast in through the roof (I'm not sure which type would be more effective in that regard; perhaps Michelle knows). One of the major advantages of the roof assault is we can try and take out that media room so they can't use the cameras to make us Public Enemy #1. Also we can pick up Grizwald's stuff along the way (we don't want him to lose that epic tinfoil hat if we can help it).
The downside being it's a much longer path to Grizwald and the meat wall idea will have only limited effectiveness.

Just busting through the front door with the hummer (we can attach a bone plate for ramming to the hummer) would give us the quickest way to Grizwald and make the most use out of the meat walls.
The downside would be Thale would have front row seats and might be able to use the media cameras against us to hurt us in the long run (we might have to shop exclusively in Southden or find shady shops in the middle/upper tiers).

Actually, why not do both?
Roof team can be Caius and Fuse: Small rooms and hallways offer close-quarters combat and Fuse is needed to ruin the media room.
Team hummer can be Michelle and Jane: The sanctuary was stated to be able to hold 5-10 thousand people, ranged combat is going to be a requirement; and Jane is needed to provide possible emergency support for Grizwald/anti-monster defense.

This way we avoid the cameras being a problem and have the fastest route to rescuing Grizwald. Roof team should take the abundance of rope we've gradually built up so it can come back out of the hole in the roof when done (and possibly join us down below as well). Setup a meat wall to block the door on the way out (both the media room and Hope's building when we escape).
Gigafreak 29th May 2018, 1:12 AM edit delete reply
The camera feeds are a worthwhile concern, I agree. If Fuse can hack into their media feed remotely, he can disable them as a problem (and maybe do the Carpenter Silhouette thing at the same time for laughs).

Thale having a front-row seat can be addressed by having our bug stick an egg on the wall in the sanctuary, near the one-way window. We can have it spring into a meat-curtain, obstructing their view-- at which point they might turn towards their television screen for the camera feed and be greeted by Carpenter's silhouette.
Tobias23 29th May 2018, 2:43 AM edit delete reply
The feeds would be a problem, I agree. But I second that it's a better idea to have fuse manage them remotely. With two oversynced Thale-bodies in the building, I vote against splitting up our forces, and sending just two people into the room they're currently in (and will probably stay in) sounds … dangerous. The last time, Thale had just one body, and we had Michelle and Jane, and Jane almost didn't come back from it. Better to detain them in the room and have Fuse take care of the threat of the cameras remotely.

I have a question, though. We've seen what Patton can do with a host body. Do you think he could somehow … make the meatwall part of his body? Inject his blood and grow a brain, something like this? Can't really see a way of it happening right now, but it might turn into a real problem if our own walls suddenly start crawling towards us.
Blue_Elite 29th May 2018, 4:07 AM edit delete reply
As long as anything has our blood in it, Thale can't do anything with it. That's been the one consistency throughout this adventure. He very specifically has to cut us off at the source before he can do anything.

Unless, of course, he's found a loophole to that. But generally whenever Thale shows us a new trick, we can copy it.
Tobias23 29th May 2018, 4:49 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, you're right. I was just wondering how much blood would be in a meatwall, would we have to add blood vessels to be able to keep the wall under our possession, etc…

But as we're growing the whole thing out of the fabric of our own red, I guess it'll belong even more to us than a bucket of regular jane-blood would.
Espylacopa 29th May 2018, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
While what Blue_Elite says has always been the case thus far, worth keeping in mind is The amount of blood in the body and whether it's genuine or bio printed is important, but that difference can be overcome if you desire it enough. If there's anything Thale needs or wants desperately enough the potential exists for him to override our control.
Skullrama 29th May 2018, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
Honestly, it's quite possible that was a contributing factor in what took so long when blooding Elizabeth. Heck, Elizabeth's will to no longer be under Thale's control may ALSO have been a factor - hard to say for certain.
Accidental Dragon 28th May 2018, 9:03 PM edit delete reply
Unrelated to the current situation, just a simi-random though: If someone traded up a bunch of toilet paper would they get the three seashells from Demolition Man?
Skullrama 28th May 2018, 9:22 PM edit delete reply do I use the shells?
Blue_Elite 30th May 2018, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
There's this girl named Sally, she sells seashells by the sea shore. She can instruct you. But she won't be there when it's raining; rather, she'll be on the plains. But you have to remember that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. That causes the water level to raise and swans to gather around. If you can find seven silver swans swimming silently seaward, you should see Sally nearby when not by the seashore.
pkrankow 28th May 2018, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
Load the drums with a carefully sorted set of ammo.

Example both drums the same
1 regular
1 armor piercing
1 regular
1 tracer
1 regular
1 explosive
And repeat till full.

Alternately one each drum
1 regular
1 explosive
1 tracer
And repeat
1 regular
1 armor piercing
1 tracer
And repeat

If this is not where a solid hit should be put

3 choice of AP or explosive
1 tracer
And repeat the same for the whole drum. The opposite for the other drum.

I think the initial load out will work best for versitility. The other loads will hit harder.

If we have enough magazines consider getting a third magazine for the mini gun.
Ablaze 28th May 2018, 9:58 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to practice moving objects across the red. Consider this: take a towel covered in blood, then take a long tube such as an intestine and pull the middle section into the red so both ends stick out of opposite ends of the towel. Cut the towel in half. Transport one half to another building. Then put something in the tube (such as a bullet) and pass it through to the other side. If that works, you could later try scaling it up.
Gigafreak 29th May 2018, 2:01 AM edit delete reply
If there's still time before the operation (and it sounds like there is), then fiddling with blood portals seems like a good thing to do while waiting. Even if we can't quite get them to do what we hope, we might still be able to pick up a useful trick or two-- like the thing with the coin earlier.
pkrankow 29th May 2018, 7:25 AM edit delete reply
Maybe send a thumb drive with a Carpenter-esque hack on it that our golem can plug into the a/v equipment?
pkrankow 29th May 2018, 6:13 AM edit delete reply
If Fuse is posing as Carpenter we will need to take anti counter hacking precautions. Carpenter might be notified and try to find out what is going on, and may even be a team player to counter our efforts.

Having our hack physically loaded on a thumb drive and used on site might be the better way to go.
chaosblitz 29th May 2018, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
Can we also just tell Michelle that her hair looks really pretty today? I just think it looks nice for some reason.
Accidental Dragon 29th May 2018, 9:00 PM edit delete reply
In previous chapters she was always wearing a headband. Going without one makes a noticeable difference.
Marshmallow 29th May 2018, 9:09 PM edit delete reply
Make some poison and trade that in.
Marshmallow 29th May 2018, 9:13 PM edit delete reply
next time do you think we could get a sniper or something so that we could get like tactical support and pick off his goons one at a time. What if we got explosive sniper rounds for big monsters.
Gigafreak 29th May 2018, 10:18 PM edit delete reply
Sniper rifles are decidedly not civilian-grade, and likely would not be available for legal purchase at gun shops. Hunting rifles, though, can serve as an adequate alternative. If indeed hunting is even a thing in this city's society.
Swagner 30th May 2018, 12:11 AM edit delete reply
A "sniper rifle" isn't a term with any technical or legal meaning (nor a corresponding ban). Nor are there any significant restrictions on ammo below what are classified as "destructive devices" (i.e. cannons), or on scopes. I'm sure we could get any kind of long-range rifle we need. The real question would be how long of lines of sight most tiers of this city would afford (no sense getting a 32x scope if your furthest target is only 100 yards away, after all).
pkrankow 30th May 2018, 7:43 AM edit delete reply
Sniper rifle is simply a scoped rifle, moderately powerful, with a relatively flat trajectory and excellent level of accuracy and precision.

Civillian shooting contests with practically out of the box weapons and scopes reach out a mile, 1600m. Of course there are more reasonable distance classes that are more accessable mostly due to having non-military locations to practice and compete. The required equipment to be competitive is also more accessable as common hunting rifles are more than capable.
Blue_Elite 30th May 2018, 7:28 AM edit delete reply
The biggest deterrent isn't accessibility to the gun but in the profession of "sniper" itself. Being a sniper means being able to take into account factors that can normally be mostly ignored when firing a handgun at a target some 30 feet away like wind direction, bullet falloff, bullet lead time, ect. Anyone can fire a gun from a range, but being able to take into account the increasing complexity as distance increases is where professionalism becomes required.
I'm going to assume Michelle, being designed as a street cop rather than special forces, lacks that particular brand of knowledge/training. Doesn't prevent us from getting a high-powered rifle; just I don't think we'll be using it for "sniping."
Tobias23 30th May 2018, 5:52 PM edit delete reply
I'm sure we could get our hands on a rifle and make one of our team members a sniper in some way (between the Finch's research ability, Michelle's general propensity towards firearms and Blondie, our resident sync specialist and elder blood god from beyond the stars, it should almost be trivial task to do so), but I'm honestly not sure if we need a sniper. First of all, we'd expand a lot of resources on getting the gun / the necessary ammo. Training, even with all the good factors, would take quite a bit of time as well (we could probably use Southden for target practice, unless the UK government has some sort of high-tech surveillance in place that detects gunshots from, what do I know, orbit).

More importantly, however – what would we do with a sniper? I'd wager one would be useless in winding, dark tunnels, as well as buildings, which, so far, have been our main battlefields. We could hope to pick off guards / bad guys when they're passing windows, but the tradeoff would be to drop one of our mates off relatively far from the scene of the action.

Hm. Perhaps for future battles against Carpenter / the many a long ranged rifle _would_ be nice, but for both, we'd need extremely high penetrating power.

Ah, here's another thought: Remember what I said about using our eggs as bugs, with which we can see and hear? Let's say we get one of those in a room with a target we want dead, a room that has an outer wall. Syncing the info from the bug to our shooter, armed with a powerful rifle, we basically got x-ray vision.

Trading up a bunch of hunting rifles and armor piercing rounds (for more HIABs) should also give us all we need to shoot through a wall, maybe even more than one.

Okay, I'm starting to like the idea of adding a sniper to our group. But it's something to keep in mind for later, I think, and not something for our current rescue plan. Or what do you guys think?
37212513 30th May 2018, 9:36 AM edit delete reply
Hey mama-red, would you do me a favor? I think the stress is getting a little thick in this room. Stress is one of those things that shorten human lives. Small amounts are okay, but too much and people start making mistakes, or outright vomiting. So break the stress for me will ya? Make a joke, say something relative enough to be worth considering, but so odd that now one knows what to make of it. You might even get an amusing response from it.