Comic 1088 - Check on Knox

Posted on 26th Jun 2018, 11:31 PM in Hope
Check on Knox

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Morgenstern 26th Jun 2018, 11:31 PM edit delete
You mentally check on Knox, or... what's left of him, in that massive monstrosity Thale turned him into.

He's... not doing so well. His body's breaking down, clearly not intended to last much longer than his battle with you. ...Knox doesn't even seem to notice, however. His stare is vacant, his behavior docile. Without Thale giving his simplistic brain orders, there's... just not much there.

Thinking about objects in the red, though, reminds you of one of your bigger problems--that is, finding things in the red. ...And finding exits in the red.

You ask Mom's red how they can locate their miniature selves. For all the things you've figured out how to do, that's... still not one of them.

"I resonate internally in blood speak," replies the large mouth on the wall. "By gauging the distance of the... sound? Sound is surely not the correct word. By gauging the distance and direction of that resonance, I can tell where others that share my blood are located."

...You still really don't know how to 'blood speak,' either.

"It may not be a comfortable learning process, given your physical configuration," says the mouth.

"That's the screechy... blood shaking thing you did when we first met, right?," Fuse clarifies. "Yeah, that sucked."

Using blood speech--even if it's just to locate things in the red--may require you to disassociate, or at least turn off your nervous system for a bit. You remember when Mom's red tried to communicate with you that way--you could feel your blood, distinctly. It was like your veins were trying to escape your body.

"Alright, spa day started as a joke," Michelle begins, "but now I'm thinkin' about it. We can rent a car or somethin' from Southden, right? We oughta take a day off tomorrow, get some us-time."

"We do have very legal-looking credentials for that sort of business," Dr. Finch says with a slight smile. "I think I would feel a tinge of guilt abandoning everything to relax for a day, especially doing so in a different time zone, but... I can't say it isn't an option."

"Hey," Caius remarks, "it ain't like we didn't earn it. We been worried about our mental strain or whatever, ain't we? One day ain't gonna kill us."

"That sounded an awful lot like you were jinxing us," Fuse says, fighting back a smirk.

"Dammit," Caius responds. "Do I gotta put tha armor back on? No jinxes. I'm jus' sayin', ain't nothin' gonna happen--we got all our bases covered, we know what's comin', we can kick back for one--"

"You're just makin' it worse," Michelle laughs. "Just... diggin' that hole deeper."

Fuse nods. "You've pretty much guaranteed that Carpenter's gonna blow the city up or something tomorrow."

Michelle nods, as well. "Thale's gonna mainline straight Lasker blood as soon as we walk out the door."

Dr. Finch forces a sigh, covering his smile with his hand. "Someone will perform a dark ritual to resurrect Prophet."

"...Simultaneously," Elizabeth concludes.

Caius throws his hands up. "Well, maybe Carpenter blowin' up tha damn city'll take out Lasker, Thale, and Zombie Prophet while I'm chillin' in tha steam room. Don't bother me none."

"I feel a tinge of guilt just joking about all this," Dr. Finch says, shaking his head slightly.

"It's the stress-induced madness kicking in," Fuse says. "If the courts try to convict us for making fucked up jokes about the apocalypse, we can plead insanity."

"This," Michelle says, pointing a finger. "This is why we need a spa day." She chuckles, but then sighs herself. "Seriously, we're losin' it. We're laughin' about it, but... we're losin' it."

"I think we lost it a while back," Caius replies.

"Yeah, I've been saying we lost it for days now," Fuse adds. "Weeks? Whatever, it's been lost."

Dr. Finch adjusts his glasses. "I know this is being said in lighthearted fashion, but... when this is all said and done, we may genuinely consider therapy. ...All of us."

Fuse scoffs, waving a hand. "Sure, good luck trusting strangers ever again. Locking myself in a room alone with some random dude? It's not like he's prepared for all this, even if you could convince me not to flip out."

The playful remarks end in a somewhat awkward silence, everyone suddenly mulling over what was said. ...You don't really know what it's going to be like for you after Thale is stopped. Knowing how much power he has... it might be difficult not to think he's everywhere, or that his influence isn't still tainting everything after you've thwarted him. You're... sort of being conditioned by the state of affairs to see everyone as a potential thrall, to see anyone on the street as a suspect. You can't fully trust anyone unless you've blooded them. There was even some hesitance about Jury when she returned. You had the faintest concern Grizwald was in on it after the rescue at the church.

You want to play it off as Fuse just being a paranoid type of person, but... when it's all said and done, you're not really convinced you'll ever feel safe again.

"...Perhaps that bridge is best dealt with when we reach it," Dr. Finch finally says, quietly. It's all he can think to say.


Xylas_Incarnum 27th Jun 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Aye, sounds like a good time for a spa day.... maybe go buy a tv and a gaming console or two along with games to go with them. Set up a bit of a rec room in one of the bunker rooms. Probably stockpile/hoard level again. Gotta remember to relax every now and then, people ain't made to go full throttle all the time.

..... Maybe also get some table top games for the hell of it. Suddenly got the notion of the Blood is Mine crew playing D&D or another table top rpg stuck in my head.
Espylacopa 27th Jun 2018, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
Suddenly struck with a vision of Caius calling you a nerd.
Twelveseal 27th Jun 2018, 2:58 AM edit delete reply
D20 Modern: Dark Matter Campaign Setting, Cthulhutech, Call of Cthulhu, Monte Cook's World of Darkness, D20 Future, Starfinder, Pathfinder's Strange Aeons...
PurpleKetchup 27th Jun 2018, 12:34 PM edit delete reply
Re:Call of Cthulhu - they would all start with 1 SAN point and lose under 15 minutes...
Twelveseal 27th Jun 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
All of the PTSD. Nevermind that no therapist in his right mind would believe a word of it outside of some Gub'mint insider, an alien deity-cum-psychoanalist, or someone Mine blooded.

Yeah... the bad thing about Lovecraftian eldritch horror; not enough good mental help in the world.
Cyanic 27th Jun 2018, 12:40 AM edit delete reply
Wow, what a fun, lighthearted conversation with no paranoia at all!

For today, should we try off-loading Knox somewhere and experiment with him as much as possible before he starts breaking down more? Maybe give him some additional meat so he breaks down slower?

Also I still wanna start trying out biomech tech, aka producing a small piece of jointed bone and a small piece of muscle fibers, holding both in both hands and see if we can feel through them (apologies if this is getting annoyingly persistent)
Espylacopa 27th Jun 2018, 12:40 AM edit delete reply
If/when we think it's over we can just ask the tradesmen, they don't lie. If Thale, Carpenter and whoever else really have ceased to be threats, that information should be cheap or even free. It can't tip the scales if there are no more scales to tip.
Twelveseal 27th Jun 2018, 12:49 AM edit delete reply
Ooooooh, nice.
Blue_Elite 27th Jun 2018, 3:16 AM edit delete reply
Actually a really good idea. We can ask specifically if everything regarding Patton Thale and blood control as a threat to us is over with. If yes, then that means the threat of anyone possibly being a Thale thrall has passed. Whether others or any backup plans of Thale's might still be a threat is another matter, but at the very least we could start trusting ordinary people again.
37212513 27th Jun 2018, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
To what extent have we gone so far to ensure the parties health? This is how we temper that guilt.

I can personally vouch for the effects of stress on a persons state of being, both mentally and physically. The entire team needs a day off. When may be debatable, whether or not it's at the same time is up for debate, how to go about it is very much arguable. The fact remains, they all need time off.

Anyone whom doubts my qualifications to argue and scale this matter can speak with my neurologist and offer him a slightly more medical reason for me still being alive.
..../I wonder what I have to trade up to get Morgan to drop these guys a note directly from one of us.../
Espylacopa 27th Jun 2018, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
You make a fair point.
Warp 27th Jun 2018, 3:45 AM edit delete reply
Speaking as a /tgchan/ veteran, i vehemently refute any suggestion geared towards any direct audience-character communication. Even one such interaction will break the audience-mentality in an unhealthy fashion, and the break within the audience-mentality then breaks the audience-driven story.
Twyll 27th Jun 2018, 1:15 AM edit delete reply
Self-care is important! Taking a mental health day is important. If it's going to be difficult to find counseling, then that makes it all the more important for us to do what we can to be healthy in the moment.

I agree with the idea of maybe examining Knox while we still have him around, see what we can learn from him. Even if it's nothing that Jane can apply immediately, we might learn something more about how Thale functions. Meanwhile, the others can acquire a rental car and we can make plans for a spa day tomorrow.
Gigafreak 27th Jun 2018, 1:49 AM edit delete reply
The blood screech happened before Mine really got to "humanize" her own red as the mental aspect she calls Red with a capital R. Maybe now that Red and Mine are friends, Red can actually do stuff with blood-speech. Red might be able to learn and perform the resonance trick more easily than the more human sections of the mind... but I also wonder if Red even still exists as a separate entity within, considering the mental merge at the end of the Incident F trip. Also wonder if the mindscape room might have the other aspects inside it now that Mine is aware of them.

It's a poor substitute for therapy, but maybe Mine should peek into her own mind and see if there's anything left to see.
Blue_Elite 27th Jun 2018, 2:59 AM edit delete reply
This is my personal take, but at this point I'm pretty sure Mine's Red is like a conscience: An entity that is rooted fully and completely within oneself but that is still consulted and treated like a separate entity.
While they're still the same being, Mine being alien to her... alien self, she typically speaks "out loud" to herself when it comes to contemplating matters of the red.
Twelveseal 27th Jun 2018, 3:02 AM edit delete reply
She might even be able to do similar things for the others via forced syncs.
Blue_Elite 27th Jun 2018, 3:10 AM edit delete reply
I didn't think the group stress was that bad; us having recently come off a major victory over Thale, but this conversation has shown otherwise. Group absolutely needs to take a day off. Might as well while the big gun is down anyway.

It's only a 40-minute drive roundtrip. We could send a group to Southden (exchange for some lady bucks if needed), rent a car for a day, and come back and get everyone for at least several hours of relaxing.
Once everyone has had some time to recover, we can get back to work restoring Ilworth, learning blood-echolocation, etc..
Warp 27th Jun 2018, 3:40 AM edit delete reply
It is time to do something funny as well. Something genuinely humorous.

Such as recreating Loony Tunes portable holes with tablecloths soaked with (in a circlular area) Mine's blood, pigmented black.

Or watching Future Monty-Python or Future-MST3K. There's got to be something hilarious the gang can all enjoy after they go on the spa trip.
Warp 27th Jun 2018, 3:59 AM edit delete reply
Speaking of Miniature selves. Where is Mini-Jane? Should we call it Mini-Mine now? Or Chibi-Mine? or Chibi-<LastNameHere>?
Twelveseal 27th Jun 2018, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
Ametsuchi is Mine's last name, iirc.
mr. thought 27th Jun 2018, 9:16 AM edit delete reply
yeah let's all go to the spa. Oh and let's let the Mars crew come to Ilworth so they can get a break from the Mars base. Get them some fresh air and all.
They can work on making Ilworth livable while were at the spa. They will probably enjoy having something to do sense they have been cooped up for so long.
Yuki 27th Jun 2018, 4:07 PM edit delete reply
This. Either bring the Mars crew to the spa with us or let them explore Illworth while we do, maybe have a picnic outside. They need a mental break after being cooped up indoors for so long.
Leafia_Barrett 27th Jun 2018, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
Will Knox last until we've rested? Or should we do a bit of emergency patching up before we go?
Skullrama 27th Jun 2018, 11:07 AM edit delete reply
Since Knox doesn't seem to be suffering at least, I don't see any harm in doing what we can to elongate his lifespan here, at least until we have time to thoroughly examine him later.

Letting him just kinda peter out in the red would, at best, be a terrible waste of an opportunity to gain insight into Thale's methods.
PurpleKetchup 27th Jun 2018, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
Mine can probably do that while her body is sleeping now.
ReikoLupus 27th Jun 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
Let's wait for tomorrow for the spa-day. We already consumed part of the day working. Is better if we take a WHOLE DAY for that. Work a bit today, and prepare things to rest at the fullest tomorrow. For example, we can get a car to go to southden tomorrow, so we don't need to go get it, return to get everyone, and go again.

We NEED the day off, but is better if it is a WHOLE day. Let's prepare today, do some light work like working with the ghost girls, cheking that the people in mars is... alive? Where was the last time we talked with them? They HAVE food? XD.

Today, let's do some light work and prepare to rest tomorrow.

EDIT: When everything ends, ask the Tradesmen how to contact a good therapyst that know how to help humans in a situation as... Unique as ours.