Comic 736 - Cut his head off

Posted on 13th Jan 2018, 2:24 AM in No Easy Way Out
Cut his head off

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 13th Jan 2018, 2:24 AM edit delete
The glowing beneath his skin intensifies. Symbols, patterns, etched beneath his flesh. Carved into his organs. Bone begins to crawl its way out of his bleeding stump.

You use the blood in his severed arm to levitate the bladed limb. You bring the sword to his throat. He continues chanting, but his demeanor changes; he's pained, you can actually tell now. Tissue seeps from his wound. His chest and collar bone area bulge as musculature spreads under the surface.

You can't cut his throat.

You can't.

Your brain can't.

Not your brain.

Not... your brain.

You are the blood.

You drag the blade. You slit his throat. His chanting stops.

The growing doesn't. Not quickly. More bone. Too many bones. It twists around itself, intertwining, growing in inhuman ways as it bursts from where his arm used to be. It's not trying to form another arm--you're not sure what it's trying to do. Organic material pours out to fill the spaces. Too many nerves. It explains why he started hurting all of a sudden.

You keep sawing, desperate to make him die.

His head comes off. His body hits the ground.

The shapes of teeth stretch at his back. Mouths growing around his spinal cord, trying to bite their way out. Masses of tissue writhe like tentacles, almost breaking free of his torso. Their motions slow. The mouths tire. It's hard to get a clear view through all the fire.

Eventually, the man stops moving. All of him. Every inch, except for the parts that are burning.

You feel a something immense, something overwhelming, that you can't describe. It squeezes at your heart. It makes you want him to burn faster, burn hotter, but you're not sure that's possible.

You're so fixated on watching every last inch of him be expelled from existence you don't even notice that Michelle's stopped the hummer. Or that Fuse is no longer staring at the body, but staring at you. It all hits you at once.

You don't know how long you've been standing here, watching the man disintegrate inches at a time.


Xylas_Incarnum 13th Jan 2018, 2:41 AM edit delete reply
well, more powers have surfaced. And more questions with no straight forwards answers.
rufiangel 13th Jan 2018, 2:49 AM edit delete reply
Oh man...

Really, really great updates MM, btw. I don't have time to say much else but danggggg. I'm feeling them!
Portal In Time 13th Jan 2018, 3:15 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
This is all real good.

I think we should switch perspectives, a bit. Jane needs to get her bearings back without us getting in the way. Other than that (and a long rest), it seems Church of Enyo is the next best thing to take a look at.
Wote 13th Jan 2018, 3:26 AM edit delete reply
We need to get in the Hummer and leave. Now. Get to ground, hope nothing else is following us, and for the love of Red [i]get someone after Geoangular Control, even if it's sending Dr. Finch to the nearest library to try and ILL it.
Twyll 13th Jan 2018, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
Yes, this. We need every resource on magic we can find.
Blue_Elite 13th Jan 2018, 4:23 AM edit delete reply
Whelp, seems we've gotten a taste of the eldritch-side of things. We tap too much into that and we'll probably lose our humanity; which is why we need to take care to only turn to that in emergencies (which, this clearly was).
Also this marks Thale's and Carpenter's abilities. I'm not sure which as Carpenter was the one to use Nil while Thale probably has access to the Lasker-esc projects. We should look out for more "magic"-based monsters in the future.

For now, take a breather and IF we can get back to the bunker we probably should. I don't think we can take the monstrosity in the truck in our current condition. We definitely need some sort of psychic defense (aside from bruteforce solutions, which are clearly physically harmful).
Check Edgar at the truck and make a plan for getting back with the others. Also Jane and Michelle should probably go straight to Mars in case that whole mental-hex thing was the way they were being tracked.
Xylas_Incarnum 13th Jan 2018, 4:55 AM edit delete reply
Oh right, we should see if Finch and Fuse can brainstorm some means of increasing the cash we've got on hand. Preferably legally but I'm not entirely all that picky.
PurpleKetchup 13th Jan 2018, 5:04 AM edit delete reply
Ok... Correct me if I'm wrong: from the looks of it, this was a psychic mutant. His deal was mentally imprinting people with orders and being able to track that link down. Then on top of that he got an extra large dose of red-like substance (maybe normal Queen, maybe a different strain) that let him grow tissues as true reds can and probably helped with their endurance. Add a layer of cult-brainwashing on top and jury-rigged bulletproofing.

Now, it would be nice if the body wasn't completely burnt off. Dr. Finch would have a field day with it.
Jane should check in with Red to discuss the last few minutes (and hug).
Twyll 13th Jan 2018, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
The orders didn't come from him-- they came from the thing in the truck. MM has confirmed this.

This does seem similar to how the red functions, though. I suspect it's not a physical augment, but that he was using a spell to summon material from the red.
Mochi 13th Jan 2018, 6:14 AM edit delete reply
so... just so we're clear, everyone realizes that the whole "make sure he's really ultra super dead" thing jane just experienced is the innate hatred borne by that which bears a red, right?

swordhands was using magic to pull material from a red that was not ours, and as such, jane's blood's innate hatred and overwhelming desire to see everything like it (but not it) wiped from existence took over. we should be terrified that this is even possible, let alone that it is a thing that our enemies are capable of.

also if you're not on the discord yet you should be. while only the suggestions posted here affect the comic, you're missing out on a lot of good discussion, and horrifying gems like "[2:47 AM] Morgenstern: The Church of Enyo has begun to utilize blessings from Enyo"
PurpleKetchup 13th Jan 2018, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Hmm, interesting tidbit indeed.
Blue_Elite 13th Jan 2018, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
I figured as much, given Jane's reaction, that it was another Red and not our Red Swordarm(s) was pulling from.

This might be an area where our humanity will be useful. If Thale ever figures out he can bait us with Lasker/whatever Red, we'd need to use our humanity to hold back that unrelenting hatred our eldritch side has.
Golden_Eagle 13th Jan 2018, 7:10 AM edit delete reply
So, Mr Swordarm was somehow able to materialise a Red, and that Red was not Jane's if her immense hate towards it is any indication. If Thale or even Carpenter is able to give someone a Red... that's very troubling. If Thale has a Red, he could be on par with Jane.

I wonder what the chanting was about, though. Probably a chant from the Church of Enyo... maybe he was trying to summon something? Or maybe it was the chant that was helping the Red come out of him.

This doesn't really bode well.

I wonder what stuff the thing in the truck has up its sleeves.
Azith 13th Jan 2018, 12:12 PM edit delete reply
It was probably something from Geoangular Control, disguised and distributed via the Church of Enyo. Which is now next on our list of things to mess with. Hugs all around first.
Nayru9572 13th Jan 2018, 9:31 AM edit delete reply
Have the raven check on the truck's progress.
And while it's not a vote for it, if it's decided to bring Crease to the bunker, make sure to blindfold him and Zene, just in case.
Macheman7 13th Jan 2018, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
It's pretty clear that when backed into the corner where Jane has to use the Blood for her thinking process, against something similar to the Blood, the Real Blood gets pissed. This was something of a mini Blood War.

Anyway, have Fuse put out the body and stick it in the jeep, then ascertain if there's any funky brain things going on any more. If not, go home, try to figure out if we can put the body in a frozen containment unit like Lasker, and call it a day.

Unless possibly have someone go out and blood some large/medium/small dogs, and maybe a cat. Options.
Swagner 13th Jan 2018, 1:59 PM edit delete reply
Would his body need to be frozen? IIRC, Lasker is being kept on ice because Lasker isn't dead, but sword-hands McGee is. This ad-hoc cremation seems to work just fine, for damage control. Although we could bring the body along for study.
Twyll 13th Jan 2018, 3:03 PM edit delete reply
I don't think we need to take the whole body (especially because much of it is on fire), but a fragment of bone should be plenty to work with and would be much more portable. It seems like the bone blades are the relevant part here, that were likely summoned from a red via magic, and that's the part we need Finch to confirm.
lil Joshu 13th Jan 2018, 2:35 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
So now we've peeked into the can of snakes, time to train em' so the snakes don't eat eachother but instead work together (stretched metaphor, I know, I'm sorry.)

Okay, since we are currently "the blood" and not "our brain"....

We've linked with Fuse, so blending programming and bio knowledge here to get across idea...

Local blood... copy the information in the brain. Full redundant copy, neural network of information based to mimic synaptic connections; set the values, ideals, experiences as part of primary cognitive OS but create firewall (whitelist system) to block out third party thoughts; if possible, add similar system for actual brain. In short, if we screw up our brain, we don't want to stop being us. Also, repair damage done to brain, but do a good job... no rush. Any programmer knows data redundancy is a good thing. From now on, brain and blood working in parallel, also means we should be able to process information twice as fast, meaning accelerating response time in an emergency.

Also, in Red, might want to start making third constantly synced third copy of self as 'off-site cold storage backup'.

All three copies should be regularly syncing.

Also, we may want to work on talking with Mom's red, asking how she would respond if we externalized a bit of our own red (we keep talking of externalizing something rather large, but maybe we could probably start with just a few drops of blood in a bowl and build up over time until we're ready) and then have that started. Also, how will it respond if they're in close proximity? Will they start fighting? Start teaching family history? Eventually merge into one? So many questions that would affect future plans.
lil Joshu 13th Jan 2018, 2:40 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Seriously, if we're going to start unlocking Eldritch God mode, let's try to make sure we're more of a Nodens or Bastet instead of Cthullhu (which seems to be the direction Thale is going).
Twyll 13th Jan 2018, 3:06 PM edit delete reply
We could make our OWN Bab Red! Not immediately of course, we'd need to start small and work our way up to that, but that would be awesome.

We were unwilling to externalize red before because we didn't have enough control not to mess up our meat-body in the process, but I think we're proving that we've learned at least enough control to start practicing with this, now. We shouldn't do it immediately, though, because Jane needs time to settle back into her human brain after reaching into her alien brain under such stressful situations.
lil Joshu 13th Jan 2018, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Agreed, but the fact we had to rush into this shows we need to be more prepared in the future, so pretty much, as soon as we get to base, heal up, repair, and start practicing and improving our otherworldly powers to handle them reasonably. (Prepare the training montage music!)
Twyll 13th Jan 2018, 3:09 PM edit delete reply
We definitely need to have our human friends look into magic as quickly as possible, and gather all possible resources on the subject. Heck, if Jury has to leave the city, she might be able to help us get resources that are stored in other places, too! And maybe Macland and Gesenai can help us too.

Jane, though, needs to rest and be exceedingly human for a while, to give herself time to process the fact that she briefly un-human'd herself, under incredibly stressful circumstances no less, and with a time crunch. She needs to do things that settle her back into her human form-- eat ice cream, snuggle her fluffy toys, do some exercise, anything that emphasizes physical form and sensation and human emotion.
lil Joshu 13th Jan 2018, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Mom's red said some kinds of 'Magic' are simply tapping into her own capabilities and interfaces and she doesn't do anything about it since it's such a minor issue. Maybe she could run an internal look-over and see if any of them are Thale's minions, and maybe we could... I dunno... bother them? Maybe re-blood them away from Thale with our blood?

On that note, I vote we -don't- mess with just any magic, since we've seen the other side of it with Mom's red, we don't want to tick off what we borrow from. It'd make a lot more sense to simply learn our own and Mom's red's blood "magic" so we don't leave ourselves open to a serious vulnerability.
Crestlinger 13th Jan 2018, 3:35 PM edit delete reply
Prophet MkII, this time for more than the minute it took. Best look into methods to control it, and sniper scopes for dart guns. Check in on the truck raven as that may have to be our next target, rested or no. also check on Zene, Finch, etc. and fill in those who need to know about the level of weird that just happened.