Comic 622 - Send Michelle and Fuse

Posted on 26th Nov 2017, 5:25 PM in Ghosts
Send Michelle and Fuse

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 26th Nov 2017, 5:25 PM edit delete
You decide that Michelle and Fuse should go check out Howler's apartment. In addition to her normal equipment, you give Michelle your scoped pistol and some burn treatment supplies.

You also suggest that Fuse takes level with him, just in case.

You send one of your ravens on ahead to Howler's apartment. You send another raven to the hospital Macland is at. This leaves your third raven to continue watching Rockwell Arcade.

You give yourself a painkiller effect, and decrease you and Dr. Finch's intakes of adenosine--boosting your ability to stay awake and alert. You also imitate cleantex for both of you.

You sync with Dr. Finch.

"Scientists have done many studies on brain activity in patients normally waking up from anesthesia," Dr. Finch says. "I believe the easiest thing to attempt would be imitating that process, as far as we understand it."

You begin to seek out neurons whose signals aren't being received. One of the leading theories on consciousness is that it's processed separately, in discreet portions of the brain... then transmitted to a sort of central network, where all of the distinct aspects of the conscious thought launch simultaneously. If this is accurate, then no single change is going to "reactivate" Macland's brain--you'll have to hit all of the key points necessary for running that alleged central cluster.

The running theory isn't that neurons are blocked by anesthesia, per se, but rather, being forced to fire simultaneously. Data suggests that propofol in particular causes signals to "sync up," and with every message trying to force its way through, none of them can make it. It's a bit like trying to talk in a loud, crowded room.

Your process becomes not just figuring out which neurons' signals aren't being received, but why. Are the neurons incapacitated? Or are they all trying to send their signals at the same time, and need to be de-synced?

It takes you a while to start detecting individual neurons. It takes you a while longer to start sorting the functioning neurons from those that aren't having their signals received. It takes you longer still to begin comparing clusters of neurons, and interpret their signals. By this point the entire thing feels like an out of body experience--you're "feeling" the rates and strengths of synaptic signals in a nervous system on the other side of the planet. You start to lose all sense of space and time as you monitor the firing synapses, figure out the pace, delve into Dr. Finch's thoughts to try and get some hint of an idea of what an appropriate rate should be before you decide to try and wing it...

you force the handful of neurons to signal at different rates, and with varying signal strengths. More specifically, you try to communicate to them to return to their natural pace, though you're not sure that intent can be interpreted correctly.

They begin to change their behavior.

They de-sync.

It's only the start, as there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain and you have no idea how many of them have been disabled, or how many have to be brought back on before the rest of the system kicks back on, but the fact that you can fix neurons at all is a great start. If you can just figure out a way to shorthand the tracking and rebooting process, maybe send a generalized command to--


You watch.

The neurons are unfixing themselves, redistributing their signals to line up and block each other out again.

You stare, as much as you can do such a thing in the strange sort of perception you presently operate in.

What if Fuse and Michelle, and Mom's red... what if they were right? What if the thing in Macland's brain is able to imitate your powers?

But but but that should only be possible while you're synced to Macland, if it's possible at all. The entity shouldn't be able to give commands to Macland's body the way you do while you're mentally outside it.

... Unless.

If-then statements. While you were synced with Macland--if the thing did, in fact, "trick" you into emulating anesthesia on Macland--it may have rigged up an if-then statement regarding the condition. "If the neurons start to de-synchronize, re-synchronize them." That would mean his brain is automatically rigged to keep Macland unconscious.

You begin to sort through Macland's brain. Something has to be sending the signal to those neurons to make them function that way, and since the neurons are receiving the message the sender of that message must not be disabled. You use what you've figured out about discerning active from inactive transmitters to try and track down where the signal could be coming from

but after a great deal of searching you find nothing.

You check the neurons themselves--maybe the message was delivered on an individual level. You tell your experimental neurons to disavow any possible if-then statement regarding re-synchronizing, and then you try to de-sync them again.

It doesn't work. They break themselves shortly after you fix them.

You're trying to think of the other possibilities--of how the thing in Macland's brain, existing outside your system of body control, could rig up a method of undoing your work without taking control of you

and then it hits you.

Information leaks both ways in a sync.

You picked up part of Fuse.

Fuse picked up part of you.

You picked up part of Macland.

The if-then statement isn't in Macland's brain.

It's in yours.

You're subconsciously undoing your own attempts to repair Macland's mind.

Some portion, some aspect, some figment of the thing is in your mind.


Twyll 26th Nov 2017, 6:27 PM edit delete reply
Right, time to take a break from the sync. We started to "and and and" in there. We also need to consider what's going on here.

We might need to tilt ourselves closer to our eldritch side in order to be rid of this thing-- since I doubt its powers will be able to take hold on a more alien mind. We'll just have to trust in the Power of Love and Friendship to bring us back to ourselves afterwards. Like inducing medical hypothermia and then warming ourselves back up-- could be traumatic, might not come back, but it should wallop the brain-thing too.
dudecallmecool 26th Nov 2017, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking we could try go into our own brain and see if we can stop it there
Twyll 26th Nov 2017, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
That would be putting ourselves into a domain where we already know it has a great deal of control. It's not an advantageous playing field for us. We need to think of something entirely different, something that will take the thing by surprise or at least catch it at a disadvantage.
Crestlinger 26th Nov 2017, 6:57 PM edit delete reply
Break out the the the kitten magazine because it's time for some Self-reflection!
rufiangel 26th Nov 2017, 7:03 PM edit delete reply
I love how this update just makes me reel, like how Jane and Dr Finch must be feeling. Let's unsync, see what time it is, take a mini-breather (and coffee with Caius), check on Michelle and Fuse if they're not back yet, and discuss with Dr Finch and Red (both mom's Red and our own - I wonder if the doctor can now see her after this?) what comes next because delving into our own head is a whole new level of Weird XD
Mr.Fugglebutt 26th Nov 2017, 7:43 PM edit delete reply
Breaking the synch might not separate it from us. Maybe try to fool it by working on something else in his mind, like uncovering more secrets. It might prioritize stopping us doing that, meanwhile we can use a small bit of our minds to keep fixing him.
Blue_Elite 26th Nov 2017, 8:03 PM edit delete reply
Desync and let's get talking.

Aside from the subject at hand; if Dr. Finch, Mom's Red, or our Red have ANY ideas about improving our force-sync ability, we're horrifically weak in the mental world and could really use any suggestions we can get. We get repelled by basic mental defenses - we won't stand a chance against an actual mental monster unless we've got some angle we can use.

Perhaps the key lies in trying to stop imagining what we're doing and actually do it. To act not with thought, but with will.

EDIT: Caius is included as well. He might not be the brightest bulb but his down-to-earth logic has proved valuable in the past.
rufiangel 26th Nov 2017, 8:50 PM edit delete reply
Now that you mention it, 'just doing it' is essentially how the regeneration worked. It may not be perfect, but...