Comic 198 - Rest, catch up, look into the club

Posted on 7th Aug 2017, 3:49 AM in Blood on Mars
Rest, catch up, look into the club

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 7th Aug 2017, 3:49 AM edit delete
You all spend some time catching your breath, so to speak. Most of the day has been running around, running from things, or getting ready to run. Dr. Finch runs a few basic tests on everyone, making sure vitals are normal, and that your blood isn't having any strange effects--since this is the first time he's been able to compare tests on anyone but himself.

You pitch the idea of trying to get a blueprint, or map, of Elegance. Fuse and Dr. Finch scour the internet for one, but with no such luck. It seems that, with the club being as private as it is, its floor plan is also a closely guarded secret.

"From what I can tell by word online..." begins Dr. Finch, "no one sees the inside of this club unless the existing members want them to. There are no photos of its inside, no footage. The only people that walk in are part of an elite and very exclusive club."

"...And prostitutes," adds Fuse. "They bring in girls, but good luck getting one of them to talk about it. Working girls in a room full of the richest, most powerful snobs of the upper tiers... they might as well be slaves."

Dr. Finch nods solemnly. "Expendable. That's the word you're avoiding. They're expendable. With everyone involved being thick as thieves, these men could commit murder in that club and no one would ever know. They may very well do just that--there is no real account of what debauchery takes place in Elegance, only rumors, and even those rumors aren't very loud. Reporters doing stories on Elegance have gone missing. Books about it have been announced but gone unpublished. These men have wives, families, none of them speak up about it. It's not even known who all is a member of the club, only that they're all very very powerful... and in this city, in this context, that means very very dangerous."

"So why the unguarded vent, then?" Michelle speaks up with a very skeptical expression. "The guy that clued us in ain't a superspy, just a really slippery hobo. Havin' the back vent exposed seems like an oversight."

Fuse runs a hand through his hair. "It is. They don't expect anybody to have the gall to try anything. The fear of god is the single biggest security feature that place has, bar none."

Dr. Finch nods, adjusting his glasses. "They don't anticipate anyone to have the audacity to sneak in there. Again, I'd like to emphasize--they could literally kill you inside. No one in that club would report it. They've all probably done worse in front of each other. People without money have gone in and never come out. The people with money use that money to make sure no one prods further. What's one vent? You'd have to be out of your mind to try and get one over on these people."

Michelle's skepticism gives way to a light grin. "What does that make us, then?"

"Uh, we're freaking psychopaths," says Fuse. "It says everything you need to know about this city that we're not all four in a padded room yet."

"Right across the hall from Grizwald," adds Michelle. "So, Blondie's got a surgical mask and a hat. We slap her in a change of clothes, maybe some sunglasses, and we shove her in the ventilation system. She should be good. Fuse--you can fit in the vents too, right?"


"We might wanna buy a ski mask or somethin' for you. All that green hair won't be easy to hide. What're the odds you can hack their cameras ahead of time?"

"Slim," replies Fuse. "I'd bet my good arm their surveillance system isn't on a server. Too risky. They might not even have cameras."

"They'd HAVE to have cameras," speaks up Dr. Finch. "As much as none of them would like to be filmed doing anything unbecoming... I doubt they trust each other enough to go completely unchecked. They may be thick as thieves, but they are thieves none the less... and make no mistake, there is no honor among thieves. Creatures that foul only cover for each other to save their own skins."

There's a pause before Michelle chimes in. "Man, Finch. You have gotten surly about this whole thing."

Dr. Finch clears his throat, straightening his lab coat a little. "I... have. Yes. Yes I have." He pauses. He sighs. "They filmed us, Michelle. They watched us scamper around that hospital like we were a cartoon show."

"They didn't just film you," Fuse says, "they streamed you. A bunch of sickos--probably the same kind of sickos that'll be in that club--all got online with popcorn and sodas and watched the whole thing play out."

"Exactly!," states Dr. Finch, pointing affirmatively. "They didn't JUST try to kill us. That... that would have offended my sensibilities, no doubt, but death is a natural part of existing. That... that they made a mockery of it, that they entertained themselves on the thought of torturing us... it makes my skin crawl. I was impaled. Michelle had half of her face shredded from her skull. Did they cheer? Did they laugh? How much enjoyment did they derive from our fear, and our torment?

That such levels of hedonism exist, in this day and age, in this city... I've lost sleep. I am a man of science, I am gifted, and brilliant... and those dimwits made me into a chew toy. All the good I've done this world, all the good I could do... it means nothing to them. They have more money than I. That makes me less than human to them. The thought makes me ill."


CookieNommer51 7th Aug 2017, 4:33 AM edit delete reply
Get the gear, Raid the Nightclub!

also ask him if he has any info on what your mother could have possibly been.
rufiangel 7th Aug 2017, 4:37 AM edit delete reply
MM, I have to say, your writing is riveting. <3 Thank you for this.

I appreciate this downtime and catching our breath. Poor Dr. Finch... I totally agree though, this is messed up and it has to stop. Grr. This will at least help us gain one chess piece on the board, if we manage to do it right.

So if I read this correctly, there *is* a chance there are cameras, though perhaps unlikely to have the surveillance system anywhere hackable. Great.

What if we kind of spent some time in the vents looking for the control room or whatever, and then tinkered with that before looking for the guy we're supposed to kidnap? Control rooms might help us get a better sense of the layout of the place, too, assuming they've got monitors up...
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
You should read that as there ARE cameras in there, just on a closed circuit inside the building to encourage neutrality between members and preventing anyone with a decent computer from accessing them from the internet. Either that or they are all queen users which makes cameras a bit moot.

As for monitors, security cams don't really mean much if you can't check them in real time. If there's cameras there will be a security room. Guess the bigger question is if we'll be able to SEE the cameras if they are there. I remember something about tiny cameras coming up at the hospital in act 1.
PurpleKetchup 7th Aug 2017, 4:42 AM edit delete reply
Hmm, I see his point. It's reassuring in a way - Jane's blood doesn't change people's mind too much even after a few weeks.
Anyway, no map means they'll have to crawl through a lot of ducts to find their target. Let's get this show on the road.
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 4:58 AM edit delete reply
Patience, the guy we want seems to be a daily visitor to the club, likely the same goes for the other members. We don't need to do it TODAY, it probably would be ideal to use 48 hours or so gathering supplies (weapons, ammo, explosives, body armor) and formulating a bare bones plan. I mean, this is going to get messy no matter how you slice it. We're a ragtag group, and only one of us is even slightly military trained.

Ideally I'd say to take a month to plan but I doubt we have that kind of time before Queen's drones find us again, and they're likely to come in numbers instead of as a pair.
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 4:51 AM edit delete reply
Yeah, we definitely need some more firepower for this. maybe find a way to get Michelle a light machinegun or something. Should get a shotgun and an automatic for Jane and Fuse. Maybe give Jane a satchel of rope or something with her blood soaked into it. Oh and don't forget the cable ties/zip ties, they're good improvised handcuffs, though I wouldn't be surprised if some of these guys had knives hidden on their person.

I love this about money blinded sycophants of the top 1%, they never quite understand that they aren't untouchable when people prepare properly.

Do Tube Cops get explosives training? Even if it's generalized Michelle's probably the one out of the whole group who knows something about making a shaped charge to blast open an exit... or entrance.

These guys are protected by the power money has over the law. They aren't quite as protected when the law's ignored entirely.

Hell done right, there's good odds that the media will consider us vigilantes if what's been going on inside gets flung out into the open after we've gone in and got who we're after.

That said, Fuse will probably need a few doses of Level for this. I'm doubting things would go anywhere near silently even if we had insider information and plans. Best to make a lotta noise and go in and out fast as possible.

As I've said earlier, From what Grizwald says the guy on the cell who exclaimed about Jane's adverse reaction to Queen is probably there every night. I vaguely recall that the rich don't like to change their routines that often.
Macheman7 7th Aug 2017, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
Weapons are important, we need more options.
But less so for Michelle, right now. She won't be able to get into the Nightclub vents, and there's no guarantee she'll be able to get in fast enough, even with explosives and general awesome Michelle-ness, if shit hits the fan.

Furthermore, knowing what we do about the state of the world, and that cloning is very much a real thing, it's very likely kill all these rich guys wouldn't help much, even the one we need. (I know cloning was covered in Chp. 1.)

Possibly have Fuse or Jane borrow Michelle's pistol, if it's usable for normal people, although an assassination from the vents could end poorly if Elegance has yet another vent basement... That could be <i>worse</i> than the last two. One run by our Big Bad, even, perhaps, that's ready to crank out some monsters to tear shit up at a button's press.
Furthermore, these are rich dudes. Who knows what kind of 'kill the peasants' type features they have? Heat-seeking turrets? Something even more diabolical?
Double furthermore, we still can't quite trust Grizwald 100%. If there were a way to explore the vents without going in them, like with blood-soaked rope or something...
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
..... Where are you getting assassination from again? I'm talking armed robbery and abduction.

Explosives to allow Michelle access into the building from somewhere other than the front door. She's practically born for heavy weapons and intimidation so that's what her job's going to be here.

While fuse is the tech guy right now, I think he should look into branch over to also being the demolitions guy. Being a psychokinetic means he can save on some forms of detonators.

Jane probably hasn't had much in the ways of firearms training. shotguns are, off the top of my head, one of the simpler weapons to use, even if it's pump action.

Fuse can probably use a smg fairly well.... either way they can get pointers from Michelle about how to fire a gun.

As for exploring the vents..... Uhhh.... R/c car with a go pro attached to it with the cam feed streaming to a laptop or something?
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 5:18 AM edit delete reply
.... Is it just me or do I have a odd kind of professionalism when it comes to this sort of thing?
white 7th Aug 2017, 5:36 AM edit delete reply
Less than human, he says, to a piece of "lab meat", a mutant and a half alien.
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 5:39 AM edit delete reply
Being human is not genetics but more a state of mind when you get down to it.

Though I get the irony.
CookieNommer51 7th Aug 2017, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
So are the Meat monster's gone now forever or will they be back, no too obvious spoilers just yes or no.
PurpleKetchup 7th Aug 2017, 8:22 AM edit delete reply
From #188, it's pretty much what we should expect to happen.
At one point the controller will be desperate enough to destroy Jane that they'll use the final bit of original Red used to make Queen a century ago.

That might be the final shot of this chapter, or maybe the next. Depends how fast the eldritch Godzilla threshold is reached.
JackFractal 7th Aug 2017, 8:37 AM edit delete reply
> Do an experiment. Dr. Finch is a doctor, presumably he has lab animals like rats or insects. If you give your blood to a rat or a cockroach, could you use it as a scout?

The cockroach would be more innocuous, but its senses would be really alien, a rat would probably be more useful.
5007-574in3d 7th Aug 2017, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
I really like that idea.
Kitty 7th Aug 2017, 12:03 PM edit delete reply
Oooh good idea. We could literally be a fly on the wall!
rufiangel 7th Aug 2017, 12:29 PM edit delete reply
Fanart time! :D This time a rendition of this scene.


I imagined Jane had her hair under her hat like this, but I'm not 100% sure. >_>

Also, it's a sign of how much I really liked this scene that I attempted to draw cars. ;;;; I hope it's not too off!
PurpleKetchup 7th Aug 2017, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Reminds me of good ol' Bioshock (warning - fire spreads !)
Xylas_Incarnum 7th Aug 2017, 3:11 PM edit delete reply
Pretty sure incinerate's safer for the user.... provided you're not standing in oil.