Comic 343 - Save Dr. Finch

Posted on 7th Sep 2017, 12:52 AM in Unfathomable Hate
Save Dr. Finch

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 7th Sep 2017, 12:52 AM edit delete
You tell Dr. Finch that you think you can cure him and the agent, but you need to know what this is and what you need to do, exactly, to stop it. ...And that he may need to find a way to blood the agent. Preferably non-violently, because you don't want Dr. Finch to get shot.

"Okay. Okay." Dr. Finch adjusts his glasses, taking a moment to gather his thoughts. He hangs the phone up and tosses it on the floor.

"What's going on?," the agent asks.

"One... one one one moment, I need a moment." The agent waits in the living room as Dr. Finch hustles back to his lab, crawling through the hole in the door. "Cleantex, I need cleantex." You give him a cleantex effect. He pulls his microscope off the floor and sets it back on the counter, emptying the contents of one of the needles into a dish. He only has to look at the fluid for a moment before he reaches his conclusion.

"Weaponized streptococcus," he states out loud. Even with the calming effect, he sounds very nervous. He can already feel it--the stinging in his throat, a burning in his chest. "It's likely provoking aggressive necrotizing fasciitis... it it it's a flesh eating bacteria," he says.

He starts to dig through the cabinets below the counter. He grabs a sample of your blood, and the now empty needle that contained the bacteria, and he starts climbing back out of his lab. "I need you to target the bacteria, however you can. I'll most likely need surgery to remove the dead tissue. Stopping the strep will slow the process down, but the necrosis will continue on its own."

He heads to the bathroom, and begins to wash the needle out in the sink. He starts to fill it back up with your blood. He has to take a moment to wipe his own blood from his mouth, staining the sleeve of his lab coat. In the bathroom mirror, he can see his throat and upper chest beginning to turn purple.

Your car pulls up in front of Dr. Finch's house. You ask Michelle and Caius to take care of the Elegance driver while you help Dr. Finch. You focus on removing the bacteria.

Dr. Finch's own immune system isn't strong enough to take care of the bacteria. Not even if you hone it, focus is deliberately on the act, could it conceivably stop what's happening to him.

You begin to perceive not through Dr. Finch, but through your own blood in his body. You sync his medical knowledge... and more specifically, what he told you about your own blood cells. That they can fold. Change. You concentrate on weaponizing your own blood cells, turning them into aggressive simulacra of antibiotics.

It takes the entirety of your focus. You lose sight of everything else trying to maintain the state and agenda of your blood cells, and in pushing them toward hunting down the streptococcus. Even with the sheer amount of your cells in Dr. Finch's body, the task is difficult. You feel physically and mentally exhausted by the time you finish, pulling back "out" of Dr. Finch's body.

Michelle and Caius have returned to the car. The driver of the Elegance vehicle is very much unconscious.

You check on Dr. Finch. He is offering a needle of your blood to the agent.

"Y-you... you you... you need to take this, Miss. It's the only way I can save you." He strains to speak. His voice cracks. You quickly start to give him a painkiller effect, realizing what immense pain his throat and chest are in.

The agent doesn't take the needle, though. She's on her phone, speaking, practically ignoring Dr. Finch. "Yes, it is absolutely an emergency. We have some kind of bacterial outbreak... I need those medical personnel in hazmat suits, and someone to clean this up."

"Miss... please..." Dr. Finch wipes more blood from his mouth.

"Yes." She answers into the phone. "As soon as possible. Be prepared for possible resistance, I'm not sure this thing is over yet."

She hangs up the phone, slipping it back into her pocket. She turns to Dr. Finch, who's shaking hand is still holding out the needle.

"Miss... you need..." It hits him all at once--and you, synced with him, realize it as well. No bruising. Dr. Finch's throat, and likely a major section of his chest, are a very visibly dark purple by now. The agent looks perfectly fine. She doesn't even look worried.

"Wh..." Dr. Finch wheezes, the swelling in his throat making it harder to speak.



He hits the floor, unconscious. You're abruptly shoved out of the sync with him. You believe he may be in some sort of physical shock, either due to interruptions in blood flow or the sharp increase in toxicity over such a short period of time.


Baeronius 7th Sep 2017, 1:36 AM edit delete reply
I think I made a few squeaking noises while reading this, but other than that, I'm at a blank.

Did the agent plan this? O>o;

So I see 3 possibilities here (or more I haven't thought of)
1. The agent was far enough from the gunshot splatter to not get infected.
2. The infection only goes after the Blood.
3. The agent was pre-immunized against this.

3 has 2 branches
3.1- The agency knew about the disease and had their agents immunized as a precaution.
3.2- The agency planed this from the start.
WalkerOfSorrow 7th Sep 2017, 1:52 AM edit delete reply
The agent was certainly aware this was a possibility. She's not even on edge.

The gunshot splatter explanation is possible, but it may be communicable through air within a limited radius. It is also possible the infection only goes after the Blood, but he said it was very contagious. Not many people have the Blood, ergo it would not be VERY contagious.

If the agency planned it, they wouldn't need a medical force to be in haz-mat suits. They could just clean up and decontaminate themselves afterward, before re-entering society. What I find more likely is that there's something about Miss Agent that makes her immune.

Mutation? Personal antidote? Android?
Baeronius 7th Sep 2017, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Aaah... well... uhm...That logic for contagion kinda doesn't hold up.

For example, Ebola is classified as a contagious disease, but if you put it in a flock of birds it does nothing. Yet it's still a contagious disease. There is even a strain of Ebola that only affects primates, but not humans. It can be transmitted by humans to primates, however.

So you have vectors, who deliver disease, and targets, who the disease acts upon. Like a Mosquito with Malaria.
AlphaDragon 7th Sep 2017, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
Could be another type of alien to... I mean after all that is what Jane is. Who's to say there aren't more out there?
PurpleKetchup 7th Sep 2017, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
A possibility.
Mochi 7th Sep 2017, 1:57 AM edit delete reply
if it was meant to target our blood, i don't think that our blood would've been able to weaponize against it. that gets rid of your second theory. also, finch and the agent were standing relatively close to one another. if finch got infected, she would've been too. the most likely conclusion is probably that she's immune somehow.
Baeronius 7th Sep 2017, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
If it's a dangerous and exhausting process to remove we can assume that to be a victory for its point of attack.
Also, if there were changes to the cells of the host for the Blood, if the disease targets that the changes effectively only occur in Blood recipients, hence you might be able to target them,
--if such changes exist. I remember talking about this earlier in the comic to a degree on this "big if statement."

Just because you know how to chop a tree down with an axe, doesn't mean it's not exhausting to chop at it.

So far we can only react to infections, we don't have any methods for preventive care or immune response updates.
So this can effectively be used repetitively by the opposition until such a discovery is made.

We don't know if Finch's body gathered any immunity to the disease. It could very well work again.
WalkerOfSorrow 7th Sep 2017, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
Well, this has officially gone sideways. And I am so glad I was right: this fed bitch is BAD news. What we do next needs to be VERY carefully calculated.

I recommend we immediately contact our Red and ask her to guide us in restoring ourselves. We need to enter a physical and mental state that has the Maximum potential to promote healing, so we can be ready to help Finch as soon as possible. Until then, Jane doesn't need to do jack shit.

Michelle and Caius need to steer clear of the incoming cavalry, and Fuse needs to be our hands. We can't be of help to anyone right now.
tor 7th Sep 2017, 1:59 AM edit delete reply
Well this is bad. I hate being the jerk, but we're probably going to have to sit back and watch how this goes.
Mochi 7th Sep 2017, 2:03 AM edit delete reply
we... we can't get to him. we can't risk everyone else being infected. if we go inside, we're compromised. it was only because finch has so much of our blood that we were able to do what we did. we wouldn't be able to save michelle or caius or fuse in the same way. jane could go in and get him, potentially, but she's just one person. she could get caught, or shot, or killed. and even if we did get to him, we don't have anywhere to take him for surgery if he needs it. i don't think we can do any more, aside from focusing on our blood in him again and forcing it to even out the toxicity and get where it needs to go so he won't die. we might... want to leave before the cavalry arrives. keep the raven that's outside here. have it keep an eye on things. it can follow the agent or finch, if we need it to. preferably finch. we do have the one with us in the car, so we can potentially tail two targets, but we need to get somewhere where we can let it out without being noticed.
rufiangel 7th Sep 2017, 2:15 AM edit delete reply
Oh. Sheeeeeet.

Okay, TELL EVERYONE WHAT'S GOING ON, STAT. We have to keep track of Dr. Finch somehow; use a raven? Oh geez. Can we not go near him yet? Is it safe to even approach the "Fed" lady for a confrontation?

Saving him through our blood was one of the most intense and great sequences to date, by the way. Kudos, MM. I was at the edge of my seat the whole way. ;v;

But this turnabout is NOT good at all. That Fed lady took a long time to get backup. Maybe she was waiting for some kind of signal or confirmation.
WalkerOfSorrow 7th Sep 2017, 2:28 AM edit delete reply
Important question: does he have any of our blood left in storage? Because if so, we have to risk everything to get it. Why? Because if the government gets their hands on a pure stash of our blood, the world ends. That's why.
Mochi 7th Sep 2017, 2:32 AM edit delete reply
they already have it. they found it in the hospital. they've done tests on it. she said all this when she was talking to caius.
rufiangel 7th Sep 2017, 2:55 AM edit delete reply
Thanks for reminding me to read back on that conversation, Mochi. It makes it extremely clear that what the 'Fed' lady and the people behind her want is just one thing: Jane. They don't view her as human but as an alien, and if I read the conversation again, it seems to suggest they'd rather like to dissect her.

What this does mean is - since we have the "Fed" lady's number - we can bait her right back if we utilise the information and opportunity correctly.

The way she acted while Dr. Finch was trying to help her - desperately, even while HE was still in crippling, flesh-eating-bacteria-induced pain - was chilling, and awful. She didn't give two craps about him. What's worse, Carpenter seemed to know what she was up to. She might not be with Carpenter, but she certainly doesn't give me a good vibe.

We only have a few good people with us. Like our Red said, because they chose to stick with us, they'll be forced to go through all kinds of hell. We're not losing even one of them.
Varil 7th Sep 2017, 8:15 AM edit delete reply
Huh...I forgot that. Do you...suppose the blood they have is...IN something? Some sort of container? Do you think we could try sensing through it?
Baeronius 7th Sep 2017, 2:38 AM edit delete reply
Ah, that statement was actually made about some form of The Blood without a living owner. If I recall.
The ownerless Blood went into a rage when it interacted with artificial blood.

As long as Jane is still alive, the disaster can be averted, but it's still not a good outcome.
Kitty 7th Sep 2017, 4:24 AM edit delete reply
So this thing seems to be airborne, right? It attacked his lungs and throat first.

We might be able to get in to him safely if we slather cloth in our blood and place it over our face, having the blood seek and destroy pathogens and basically turning it into a gas mask, and if we put Fuse's visor on (with blood-soaked bandages around the edges) to protect our eyes. And we should probably plug our ears, too (since we can hear through our chest anyways), just to make sure every possible opening that bacteria might get through is covered. It would be kludgy, but it might actually work.

Now that our blood "knows" the pathogen, we might be able to inoculate the rest of our crew, too.
AlphaDragon 7th Sep 2017, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Inoculation seems like a valid idea to me. However Finch still needs treatment. He was the Dr of the group... I understand everyone's concern at letting one of ours go. But he might get better treatment if we led the Feds take him and rescue him later, and we will rescue him. They don't dare kill him because they want us, as long as we are alive Finch is safe.
PurpleKetchup 7th Sep 2017, 12:52 PM edit delete reply
Miss Fed doesn't sound on the evil side of things. However, she might still be working for less than tasteful people.
Maybe the kind to make super vaccines out of kidnapped aliens' various fluids and prep their agents using the stuff.

The place is going to crawl with CDC guys and added federal support pretty soon.
Now I see a path relying on heavy luck (so it won't work), where we wait for them to get there, acquire a hazmat suit to conceal one of the team, get inside, free the rats as diversion, grab Jane's blood, extract Dr. Finch and leave scot-free.
But that won't work.

Well, maybe Jane can directly control her blood in vials that syringe in Dr. Finch's hand there. Have some of it in each glass container turn into/mimic hydrogen peroxide. It's going to boil and degrade everything right off. Maybe the produced gas will pop a cork open or crack the syringe, but no explosion (and it's not toxic either).

That deals with that. Dr. Finch left.