Comic 747 - Discuss robotics

Posted on 5th Feb 2018, 10:15 PM in No Easy Way Out
Discuss robotics

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 5th Feb 2018, 10:15 PM edit delete
You wake up the next day, and head into the lab to check on things.

Everyone is enjoying egg and cheese sandwiches, and discussing cat names. No one can seem to get to a consensus, however. You ask if Caius ever came to a conclusion about the pigeon's name.

"Yup," Caius answers. "His name is Caesar."

"Caesar the pigeon," Fuse mutters, shaking his head but chuckling a little.

You ask if anything's going on in the news, or if there seems to be anything you should worry about today.

"Nothing I can tell," Fuse replies. "It's still quiet, even with everything that went wrong yesterday. Either the cops and news people are dumb, or they're getting paid to keep a lid on it... hard to take bets on that one."

"So what's the plan?," Michelle asks.

You admit you're still rather stuck about how to approach the church, Zene's mom, and the psychic... thing.

"She ain't goin' nowhere," Caius says. "They know we'll come for her, and they got her blooded. They ain't gonna hurt her. She's too good as bait for them to do anything to her."

"That... is my wife that you're talking about," Crease replies.

"It ain't how I'd phrase it," Michelle says, giving Caius a side glare, "but Caius's got a point. Mrs. Z's Mom ain't in an ideal situation but she's pretty safe. This is basically a hostage situation--they'd be givin' up too much if they did somethin' to her. We got some time to figure this out, and do it right... and we definitely need to do it right. This whole setup is too risky for us to go in guns blazin'."

"Unless..." Caius starts, "we got really big guns."

Michelle smiles, but shakes her head. "I mean, we could. We got the money, if we shopped around we could prob'ly get some decent firepower... but if we're talkin' Stratemeyers, that's gonna be most of our money. It still don't solve the real problem, either--at best, the brain monster'd just make me blast y'all with a laser cannon. We've done some messin' with drones, right? Could we pull somethin' like that?"

"Our drones don't have a great history of, uh... working," Fuse says. "We're not roboticists--if we couldn't get one through the power station intact, we sure as hell won't tear through the church with one. Maybe if we practiced... Dr. Finch, you wanted to check out those tracks on Mars, right? Think we could blood up another robot, see what we can manage?"

Dr. Finch hmms to himself. "I considered it. Heavily, I might add. However... keeping blood whole and fluid on the surface of Mars is going to be a dilemma."

"Oh, yeah," Fuse says. "The... Armstrong thing, with the air pressure. I didn't even think about that."

"Indeed," Dr. Finch replies with a nod. "The same science that keeps rivers from running on Mars will likely deter any attempts at exploration via unsealed blood golem. I've pondered working a similar blood-based automaton setup into a sealed suit solely to keep the whole thing preserved, but it may be more effort and more difficult logistics than we're prepared for, not to mention time and physical resources. We'd essentially be turning a space suit into a hematological robot."

"That sounds awesome," Caius interjects, "but yeah, that might take a while."

You take a moment to eat an egg and cheese sandwich yourself. Everyone considers the matter further.

"We still got the Proto-Juries, too," Fuse comments.

"What, like, we gonna send 'em to Mars?," Caius asks.

Fuse seems to blank out for a moment, then shakes his head. "Nah, like... I just meant the big parts list. Like, we could try to put a dent in that, if we there's nothing better to do today."

"Wait, though," Michelle says. "Y'all might be onto somethin'. What if we did send a Proto-Jury?"

"There's no way they'll agree to leave the bunker, never mind going to Mars," Fuse responds.

"We did a deal with 'em before, right?," Michelle asks. "The new one and the warbly one, they ain't as crazy about that bunker as the stuttery one. We might be able to work somethin' out--like, strap a camera to one and send 'em down the tracks. If somethin' happens, we'll just scrounge up the parts to repair her. Easy."

You state that you've started calling them Trinity (#3 of 12, THE "WaRBLY ONe"), Infinity (#8 of 12, THE "ST-STUTTERY ONE"), and Unity (the new, unnumbered one) in your head. Dr. Finch smiles.

"They were eager to help Jury," Fuse says. "She was another robot, and they've got like... android survivor's guilt. This involves one of them leaving their bunker, and to do something that doesn't benefit them or appease their weird AI at all. It's gonna be a hard sell."

"You guys are waaay overthinkin' this," Caius says. "RC car. Boom. Done."

"It's not a bad start," Dr. Finch replies, "but we'd be stuck the moment we encountered a door, a switch, a button... we're not even sure how far that track runs. If we put our remotely controlled vehicle in the cart, we wouldn't be able to get it back out at its destination without accompanying it. If we simply drove the car the length of the track, it might go beyond our control distance or lose power. That's before it inevitably needs to go underground--the tracks do likely lead to a mine, after all. And that's not accounting for terrain--"

"Alright, alright, tha RC car was a bad idea," Caius relents, holding his hands up.

Dr. Finch shakes his head. "It's not that it was a bad idea, it's just... well, it's Mars. It makes the situation a tad more complex, I fear."

"Everything's more complex," Michelle says. "Like, I want us to kick in that church's front door, light the place up and save the day like we always do. They're makin' this stuff tougher. Maybe we should start lookin' at how Z and his dad are gonna get outta here--Thale might be watchin' the trains, at this point."

"That might be getting ahead of ourselves," Fuse says. "Planning is good, but... I dunno. I feel like every second we're not making some kind of progress, the clock is ticking. Even my idea to work on the Proto-Jury list is just... spinning our wheels. I just don't know what else to do. They can't just be waiting for us--Thale and what's left of his goon squad, they've gotta be working on something behind the scenes. Right? Like, we woke up today and everything was fine, but we can't expect that every day. We might wake up tomorrow and the whole damn city's fallen apart, or everybody's eating each other, or Lasker'll be loose, or Southern Pass will be declaring martial law, or--"

"--Yeah," Michelle says quietly. It's enough to get Fuse to stop. "I know what ya mean."

There's a brief silence before Michelle continues. "...We gotta breathe sometimes, though. Like, we might be supercops and half-gods and stuff, but we're still people. We been runnin' almost non-stop for like two weeks now, that stress is gonna kill us before Thale gets to. We can't take every day like it's gotta be THE day. Small progress is still progress. Lookin' into... ways outta the city, or parts for the Juries, it's somethin'. Not everything we do's gotta get somebody killed."

Caius sighs. "S'weird, ain't it? Tha stronger we get, an' tha more we get done, tha more it feels like they got us by tha short hairs. Harder we fight, tha more they tighten tha grip."

"Like a finger trap," Dr. Finch adds in a sullen tone. "It should be relieving, the things we've already accomplished... but each victory we earn likely provokes more desperation and anger from the other side. I suspect it will become much worse before it gets better."

"Y'all are killin' me with this mopey stuff," Michelle says. "We got cats, and Fuse is a cyborg now. It ain't the time to get all depressed."

Everyone fights it, but everyone cracks at least a faint hint of a smile.

Michelle continues. "We'll figure this stuff out. We always do. We're the good guys, and we do more from our little hole-in-the-wall bunker with a handful of people than Patton Thale does with years of prep and billions of dollars. Let the crazy bastard get desperate. Let 'em get mad. He ain't safe. He might be the last name on the list, but he's gonna get his. It might take us a little longer, but we're comin' for him. He's gotta know that."


Twyll 5th Feb 2018, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
Excellent opportunity to look into geoangular control, then!
Twyll 5th Feb 2018, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
Because if they're gonna get desperate, we should increase our arsenal. By adding *magic* to it.
Frission 7th Feb 2018, 11:42 AM edit delete reply
I'm with Twyll, I think today's the day. We've been sitting on this one for a while, let's go for it.
Madd 5th Feb 2018, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
Okay lets make plantable remote bombs in an inconspicuous pack for a cat to carry, maybe an fake dead bird. So we can use the cats to plant charges and blow shit up without anyone noticing.

Blobby was unloaded at the church, even if they want us to try to recover Zene's mother (and fail), we should still try to kill it so we don't have to worry about telepaths for a long while.
RemnantSoul 6th Feb 2018, 12:38 AM edit delete reply
Bombs are always a great solution.
lil Joshu 6th Feb 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Here's my thought on what we do...
Thale's got prep, we might as well spend the time getting some prep of our own.

Find out the other door locations, see what areas outside of the city we're accessing besides Mars. That right there could be an easy out for Z & his dad.

Then, instead of doing everything ourselves, maybe hunt down some groups that look like they'd be sympathetic to our side. Let's get us some allies, makes some friends, schmooze a bit.
Blue_Elite 6th Feb 2018, 12:47 AM edit delete reply
I'd Like to make a vote now that we hug a Proto-Jury if we can get one to leave their bunker. Maybe not right away, but certainly at least once before she returns.

We should be able to "buy" the services of Unity as she's no longer a staff of the 12 android group. We can try offering X% of the big list for her services.
Something else we could also try is seeing if we could get the Proto-Jurys to build us a "hematological robot." Basically just an empty Proto-Jury shell that we could fill with blood (how we're going to get that much blood is another question but it's a start at least).
There's also the matter of checking behind Bunker B's door.

Otherwise with no better suggestions (and no leads), we could take a day off (Caius is still recovering, Fuse has had his robot leg for less than a day, and we JUST got over our brain hemorrhaging). Maybe go to some place nice in the upper tiers (Jane seems to know at least a few good places). Or maybe go outside Bunker A and build a snowman (another excuse to wear Michelle's jacket!). Maybe even give raising our body temperature via blood abilities a go (so we won't freeze to death making snow abominations angels).
lil Joshu 6th Feb 2018, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I'm honestly against getting the PJs to leave their bunker. They're keeping watch on some pretty dangerous stuff.
undeadDreamer 6th Feb 2018, 1:06 AM edit delete reply
try a hamster ball drone, later you are having a movie night.
pkrankow 6th Feb 2018, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
I'm for using a party balloon or water balloon (with air) and trying this concept. Already sealed is a plus, light weight will make the results easier to achieve.

Movie night is good. Just need a movie. Action, comedy, romance?

Just get the car. Caius practically wants it anyways. Maybe he has some level of competition in RC track racing along with the plumbing in that head of his. This might also relate to the parts hunt side quest.
Guost 6th Feb 2018, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
If I remember right the phone and bandage golem actually worked pretty well. If we sent something like that to the church to do some recon we could get some idea of what all's waiting inside and where without risking anyone's life. Just gotta be stealthy.
Portal In Time 6th Feb 2018, 2:21 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
Check in on Jury, look into transportation, robotics, and if it's a viable plan, talk to the other Proto-Juries about sending one of them to Mars, preferably with a blooded camera for recording. Maybe we could wave some fancy schmancy electronics over their heads to help coerce them, if they could use them.

When all of this is said and done, we should do a movie night! Make some popcorn, grab a few drinks and watch old cop movies that say cheesy lines like "The heat is off" :)
PurpleKetchup 8th Feb 2018, 2:51 PM edit delete reply
Seconding checking on Jury, since she might need an emergency extraction.
Golden_Eagle 6th Feb 2018, 3:06 AM edit delete reply
Man, that got kinda sad near the end. Good thing Michelle's there to lighten the mood!

I think looking into that magic book might be a good thing since it may have something in it that could help Jane and co dispel psychic influences.

As for the Mars exploration, maybe Unity could do it? Or maybe Jury, but I don't think she'd be able to.

While getting that laser gun may not be the best choice now, they should definitely get some more weapons- and not just guns. Maybe a weapon that better utilises Caius' fighting skills?

I think we should also check up on Grizwald and make sure he's fine. Maybe he'll know something they can use.
yugi0998 6th Feb 2018, 1:27 PM edit delete reply
what if we go after Thale now? i mean he has bloodied guards but what else does he got? the psychic blob is at the church and there are probably no one who has "blessings" and the church won't help him directly so why not hit him? beside him being the man on top?
pkrankow 6th Feb 2018, 2:49 PM edit delete reply
What if we take some blooded bandages, cloth, whatever, some thick plastic sheeting, run it through a sewing machine to quilt the layers, apply the space suit repair materials to the stitching and make a space capable cloth blood golem with camera eyes?
Portal In Time 7th Feb 2018, 8:47 PM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
It would take an awful lot of blood, but it could work. There's still some blood of ours at Finch's house back when he was doing tests, I think. If we don't want to drain ourselves dry, we should use that as a stockpile.

Also, duct tape could probably work rather than the space suit materials. It doesn't have to breathe or be immune to radiation, just be airtight.
Memo 6th Feb 2018, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
I'm also very much against talking the proto - jurys into leaving the Base.. they are protecting the world from eldritch stuff after all.. but maybe they can build us a small scout robot for mars. They are robotics experts after all.
Maybe something spider shaped that can maneuver in and out of the mine cart.
We should also at least discuss the possibility of getting the magic book, although it can probably wait.
I'm strongly in favor of going to the bunker with snow outside for a good old fashioned snowball fight, and then movie night.
Will be good to take a break, and breathe a little.
Oh, and if there is a bunker we haven't been on the other side of the door off, we should look into that too.. not counting the one with the scary voice behind, that place is creepy! And possibly also hell.
pkrankow 6th Feb 2018, 3:09 PM edit delete reply
I'll second some winter fun. Not sure about a snowball fight, but see what happens.

I agree with leaving the PJ's to their assigned task... but consulting them might be reasonable. Have them design, provide a parts list, and then build.
skybirds15 7th Feb 2018, 2:54 AM edit delete reply
I think that telling the protos that there's a mine on mars that is definitely related to the thing that they are keeping locked up in there might actually be quite the motivation for them to check it out. He did come from mars originally, and there's a distinct possibility that there's still blood somewhere down there that we'll want to dig up and incinerate, and the protos will probably be interested in that as well.
To that end it would be useful to be able to detect the blood through means other than hatred proximity. If nothing else, they'll probably find/scavenge something useful from the mineshaft.
Frission 7th Feb 2018, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
Actually this is the pseudo-future right, so RC car wasn't a bad direction -- what about an actual drone? Like the hover-drone style we have irl already. Maybe in this world they've got some for sale that have a maniuplator arm? Or something a little more miltech? I mean we could go into full Shadowrun style drones here, too. I'll bet they exist, and prolly we can afford quite a few.
Mochi 7th Feb 2018, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
we've looked into a drone before, but unfortunately in order to buy one, you need a drone permit, which involves jumping through a whole bunch of legal loopholes that takes time (and probably money). also, a drone wouldn't be able to fly effectively on mars. there's no atmosphere to provide air resistance and gravity is one-third that of earth so it'd take a lot of trial and error to keep it from just... careening off into space. it could be a very expensive learning curve.
Frission 8th Feb 2018, 1:33 AM edit delete reply
Did we? Aw I missed that. We need like, a list of things we have and things we've tried and things we have yet to do. D:
Blue_Elite 8th Feb 2018, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
Honestly we kinda need a "plot synopsis" as the comic is reader-interactive and the longer it goes on, the more of a backlog new readers will have to go through to catch up and not accidentally suggest things that have either been shot down already or previously established as outright impossible (such as many of the asked-for uses of blood abilities).
Basically one of those, "New Reader? Click Here!" buttons.
Guest 9th Feb 2018, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
An inventory page would be nice too. I'm always second guessing what we do and do not have at our disposal.
Crestlinger 8th Feb 2018, 10:42 PM edit delete reply
While we're on the topic, did anyone have any analysis done on that funky shroom we snatched?
Also establish a code of some sort to say to prove X person isn't possessed.