Comic 712 - Send Fuse

Posted on 23rd Dec 2017, 8:14 PM in No Easy Way Out
Send Fuse

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 23rd Dec 2017, 8:14 PM edit delete
"What else you know about that place?," Michelle asks. "The power plant, I mean."

"Nothin', man," he replies. "Like... there used to be a dude that sold shrooms outta there, but we quit seein' him. I dunno where he went, he just... quit leavin' the place. We figured he mighta died, or got busted or somethin'. Then the noises started--sometimes in the building, sometimes under the street. We figured somebody else was movin' into the operation, or maybe the old shroom guy struck a deal--like, maybe he was workin' for somebody now. Never saw nobody leave, though. There was still gear down there for workin' with shrooms--good stuff, too. New stuff. So... I dunno. I guess somebody started hookin' him up? No reason to deal shrooms on the corner if you got somebody payin' you straight up, but I dunno how he'd deal without leavin', and with nobody comin' in. Nobody ever went into that place 'cuz of the radiation."

"How you feel about all the stuff you did? Y'know... the stuff you couldn't explain."

"I dunno. Confused? Wasn't nothin' worse than what I'm doin' day to day, I guess... I just don't like workin' for somebody if I'm not gettin' somethin' out of it. Like, I've shot a few cops before... but I don't just do it to be doin' it."

Michelle nods, and considers it a moment. "I'll see what I can do about all this."

She heads back to the entrance, and you sort the bunker doors out so Michelle can return to Bunker A.

"I don't think he knows anything," Michelle tells you. She fills in everyone on what she's learned.

"It does sound as though Patton Thale's influence is limited by distance, then," Dr. Finch states. "Hm. Hm hm hm. Not extremely useful information yet, as that places the restriction on his range somewhere between across the city and the distance between Earth and Mars, but it's an interesting note nonetheless. This could come in quite handy if we can further narrow down the range of his power."

"So what're we gonna do with 'em?," Caius asks.

"We can't just let him loose as-is," Fuse says. "He's still Queened, and he's seen too much. Thale could figure out what we know about his range problem, for starters."

"We could blood 'em," Caius says, "but Thale knows who he is. He goes back to tha lower tiers, they'll eat him alive... or strap 'em to a girder in a warehouse somewhere, an' interrogate the hell outta him."

"So we blood him, give him some money, and send him outta town," Michelle says. "Right? Get him as far from this pit as possible."

"If he agrees to it," Fuse suggests. "I'll... I'll talk to him. Pretty much let him know what the stakes are. I don't wanna have to force him to do anything, but... his hands are tied about as much as ours are, at this point."

Fuse leaves, heading to the Mars bunker. He approaches the tied up young man, a little hesitant.

"What's your name, guy?," Fuse asks.

"Zene," he replies.

Fuse begins to untie Zene. "I'm Fuse," he says. Once he's untied Zene, he steps back, taking the plate and fork from the counter and holding it out to Zene--scrambled eggs, which Michelle brought in earlier. Zene takes the plate, cautiously glancing from the eggs to Fuse.

"Here's the deal," Fuse starts. "You have... accidentally stumbled into some real deep bullshit. The realest, and the deepest. You got three options: one, we inject you with something, and you go home. People you know, and people you don't know, will both try to kill you. Straight up, no questions asked... if you're lucky it'll be quick. If you're not, they're gonna torture you, interrogate you, or turn you into some kinda sick experiment. Option two, we inject you with something, we give you some money, we buy you a ticket out of this city. You leave, and you don't look back. It sucks, but you'll live."

Zene, by this point, has started to eat the eggs. He stops long enough to stare at Fuse, letting it all sink in. "You said there was three options... what's the third?"

"We don't inject you with anything, and you don't leave. We stick you in... I dunno, a fucking cage or something."

Zene begins to breathe more heavily, taking a moment to consider it all. "What're you gonna inject me with?"

"Short version," Fuse begins, "it's part tracking device, part mind control agent. You already injected one before--Save the Queen. What we're gonna hit you with will counter it. The difference is, we won't be using you for anything. We won't take control of you, we won't do jack. Frankly, I wish we hadn't met you in the first place, because you're just one more bystander getting dragged into a shitty war. There's a lot of people with Queen in them, though... and if you come out a guy that's not on Queen anymore, all those people on Queen turn into enemies. This city will murder you--friends, family, strangers, anybody that's ever been hit with Queen--on purpose or otherwise--could be controlled by a dude that gives zero fucks about you. You stay in this city, there is no good ending."

Zene mulls it over a few moments, but his body language makes it clear he's beginning to stress about it. "Man... I've lived my whole life here. All my friends, my parents... I... dude, I don't know what I'd do anywhere else."

"Yeah," Fuse says. "It blows. That's it, though. That's the best you can do. People you've known since you were a kid could turn out to be monsters now. You don't get the luxury of trusting anybody ever again, not in this piece of shit city. You could go home tonight and get choked to death by your parents. They'll feel the whole thing. They'll experience all of it, and they won't understand why they did it. That's what we're dealing with here. Those are the stakes."

Zene puts the plate aside. "That stuff you're gonna inject me with--can... can you get my parents, too? So I can... I can leave with them...?"

"We could try," Fuse says. "But you being gone... the asshole doing this might be ready for us. If I walk into your house and your parents start trying to kill me, what do you think I should do?"

By this point, Zene is fighting back tears. He slowly sinks into a sitting position on the bed, clasping his hands, staring at the floor.

"Y-Yeah," he says. "That... I get ya. I... I guess hit me with the stuff, then. I'll get on the... the train, and stuff."

Fuse crouches next to Zene, slowly pulling out a needle full of your blood.

"I'm sorry," Fuse says. "I'm sorry it had to come to this. I'm sorry you got dragged into this shit. I... we're gonna try to make this right. When it's all fixed... we'll let you know."

Fuse injects Zene with your blood.

You can now give orders to Zene.

Zene just sits there for a little while. Fuse waits, giving him time to process it all.


Twyll 23rd Dec 2017, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
If he *absolutely* doesn't want to leave the city, we could give him the option to stick around with us. Granted, he'd be spending most of his time in the bunker, but he might be able to go out with people fetching groceries and stuff. How old is he? People grow up young in the lower tiers, so he might be old enough that he could join in some of the more dangerous activities, only if he's really okay with it though. Otherwise, staying in the bunker would keep him very safe, and he might have useful talents that he can use from there, or just help us out with our knowledge of the lower tiers. Or just hold down the fort and keep MomRed company.

Also, we can use this opportunity to see if our blood can sense when Thale tries to send commands to someone who has previously been Queened. Thale might try to order him to do something, and we might be able to notice that. It wouldn't exactly be experimenting on him because we'd just be trying to test our own sensory abilities, and of course we'd get his consent first.

If he wants to leave, though, then that's the best option.

He could let us know who his parents are, so we know where to send them if we ever end up coming across them. Does he know if they've ever done StQ before? It's possible they were Queened unwillingly, but if he knows that they've already tried it, that would be good information to have.
Wote 23rd Dec 2017, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
It can't hurt to at least extend the offer. Find out what Zene does, what his interests are, etc. Worst case scenario, if we can find something for him to do to help us fix this, it might help him come to grips with the situation faster.
rufiangel 23rd Dec 2017, 11:00 PM edit delete reply
Ima third just talking to him and learning more about him. If he's up for it, there *is* something he could help out with outside the city... :P
Swagner 23rd Dec 2017, 11:25 PM edit delete reply
That's fair. Now that he knows, he may be as interested in helping stop Thale as anyone, and he's not going to be in any more danger than the current party is (Fuse was on StQ, too, after all)... but in terms of being able to defend himself, he's probably only a little better off than Finch (no pyrokinesis, superhuman muscles, etc). If he lacks any particular skillsets, that very significant danger that the party is always in might be more than he can handle.
Steve 23rd Dec 2017, 11:52 PM edit delete reply
I agree, let's give him the option to stick around. It might be dreadfully dull, but at least he doesn't have to abandon the city right away.
skybirds15 23rd Dec 2017, 9:15 PM edit delete reply
Well, say hi, I guess. Don't let him know who we (the voice in his head) are, so he'll know less about the situation. At this point, for all he knows this is just three people. Let him know that after he leaves the city, we'll try to keep tabs on him. We could give him the number for a burner phone, so he can call or something.

Ask him who he got the queen from, and if he knows about any other mushroom places or anything, and also the people who came in while we were leaving the shroom place. In a while, after he comes to terms.
Twyll 23rd Dec 2017, 9:16 PM edit delete reply
I feel like maybe we shouldn't start talking directly into his head just yet, not when he's still processing everything that's happened to him. It would just freak him out.
skybirds15 23rd Dec 2017, 9:21 PM edit delete reply
We need to do it sometime before he leaves here. Speaking to him for the first time when he's in trouble would be a bad idea.

Also, blindfold him when he does leave. Keeping this place secret is a good idea.
skybirds15 23rd Dec 2017, 9:19 PM edit delete reply
Right, also, sometime between now an him leaving, tell him that we'd like him to stay relatively clean. As in, try not to kill people or anything. Drugs, whatever (not StQ obviously) but more major felonies.
rufiangel 23rd Dec 2017, 9:17 PM edit delete reply
Well dang, poor kid. I feel so sorry for Zene! Dangnamit, senpai.

I mean, we could offer him a chance to stick around if he wants, but it's not going to be risk-free, so that's kind of difficult. He's pretty young, too. Man. u_u

I kinda like that Zene ate the eggs, as a random side-note. So young. ;_;*
Auron 23rd Dec 2017, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
Wellllll option four we could let him stay in the bunker 'till it's over, but that wouldn't be the safest for him.
Auron 23rd Dec 2017, 9:26 PM edit delete reply
Actually considering the other options it may be the safest option for him.
Madd 23rd Dec 2017, 9:27 PM edit delete reply
Option four and five let him stay in the bunkers, or let him join the team.
Auron 23rd Dec 2017, 9:26 PM edit delete reply
Actually considering the other options it may be the safest option for him.
Blue_Elite 23rd Dec 2017, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
That was option 3. The only difference is now he's blooded. It'd still mean keeping him trapped here more-or-less.

Joining us wouldn't be much, if at all, better than taking his chances with Queen zombies and lying low. The growing laundry list of injuries and near-death experiences really goes to show joining our group isn't for the faint of heart. We have VERY NARROWLY avoided death for the human members of our group.
Blue_Elite 23rd Dec 2017, 9:42 PM edit delete reply
We should still at least blindfold him while escorting him out. The less he knows, the better for him and us.

On that note, we'll probably have to accompany him to make sure he gets away safe. This'd all be one big waste if we send him to the train only for him to get shot right before even boarding the train.
Caius is out of action so, in the interest of keeping him metaphorically blind, I'd recommend Michelle and Fuse drop him off. We can send along a raven just to be safe-r.
That leaves Dr. Finch to look up cybernetics and us to either help out or ask mom's Red about battling Nil/in forced sync.
Madd 23rd Dec 2017, 10:00 PM edit delete reply
Talk to Finch about making blood sprayers for airborne conversion.
skybirds15 23rd Dec 2017, 10:21 PM edit delete reply
Assuming you mean on an individual basis instead of on a mass scale, then yeah, it might be useful. The thing is, though, is that we don't know if the blood works when inhaled. Molecules are much smaller than cells, and the blood might not work as well if it's just in someone's lungs.
Madd 23rd Dec 2017, 11:41 PM edit delete reply
Oh, yeah duh. We couldn't effectively do that. It sounds like it'd be nice, but yeah.
Baron11704 23rd Dec 2017, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
First off, Give him the fourth option of joining our ranks, inform him that we treat our men like friends, not weapons, and he's free to leave at any time at all, he'll have food and shelter here in the base, and he'll be alongside us in stopping this abhorrent madness, but it's going to be dangerous beyond belief, and again you're free to leave any time you want, and you won't be forced to do anything.

Also if he chooses to leave, we gotta hold true on our promise to not give him commands unless we absolutely have to (like he's about to be stabbed in his sleep or something)
Swagner 24th Dec 2017, 12:15 AM edit delete reply
Except if he joins, he's not really free to leave: if he's going to leave, he has to do so completely ignorant of things like the base's location(s), Jury, and our other allies' identities. It's ride or die when anyone could be an enemy agent.
Crestlinger 23rd Dec 2017, 11:31 PM edit delete reply
First, with consent, one quick sync look to see if there's anything useful he knows: gang slang, locations, drugs and harvesting procedures, contacts and what his family looks like (hopefully we didn't already meet and off them).
Second based on decision to stay or leave if leaving sleep him so this all seems a dream. If staying he can help as an extra set of hands, mental stabilizer for sieving off excesses through syncing and other stuff. Introduce him to Everyone if this is chosen.
Third, if staying, see if he has any input on that one odd shroom we picked up.
lil Joshu 23rd Dec 2017, 11:44 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Yea, we didn't tell him the fourth option: Stick around and help out, dive in, and become part of the underground self-designated black ops fighting to clean the place.

And instead of him going home, he knows his parents daily routine. They could get blooded someplace besides home and gotten to safety too.

And even if not in the city, getting them out and having contacts outside the city to help fix things from the outside would be helpful.