Comic 918 - Discuss Pierce and the book

Posted on 10th Apr 2018, 5:47 PM in Shipping Off to Southden
Discuss Pierce and the book

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 10th Apr 2018, 5:47 PM edit delete
You return to everyone gathering around Geoangular Control, which has been opened up and laid upon one of the counters.

"We need something akin to a... a a a chart or a guide," Dr. Finch says. "It keeps insisting on these vague references to entities with a a a dozen titles and names, I can scarcely begin to parse which ones are the safe ones."

"I don't think any of them are safe," Fuse replies. "Like, the first mention I saw of they who go between--the tradesmen, not Nil, who is he that exists between 'cuz that's not confusing or anything--is that you shouldn't try to screw them or they'll eat your family. The book phrased it better, but that's the gist of it. We need to not just figure out what all these guys are, we have to avoid stepping on their metaphysical toes."

"You could begin taking notes," Elizabeth suggests. "Cross reference each title. Keep a list. If the book doesn't provide a guide as to what gods are which, document your own."

"It's gotta mean tryin' to screw tha tradesmen on purpose, right?," Caius asks. "Pierce was sayin' somethin' about 'em wantin' to do deals. They'll prob'ly give us tha benefit o' tha doubt if we pick tha wrong candles or whatever."

"Crap, we do need candles," Fuse says.

"And... herbs," Dr. Finch adds, "depending on which ritual we're aiming for. I don't even begin to know where to pick up some of these materials."

You speak up, pointing out that Pierce has helped perform rituals before... and knew a few things about the tradesmen, at minimum. He could be a big help with this.

"Can we trust Pierce?," Fuse asks. "He was kind of in a cult, and now he's mostly Thale."

Elizabeth gives Fuse a hard stare.

Fuse breaks eye contact, not subtly turning his attention back to the book. "If, uh, the book's really as powerful as it sounds... Pierce could try to get weird with it."

Michelle shakes her head. "C'mon. Pierce is clean, we're buds now. The guy was scared straight after everything went down like it did--findin' out your god is just some rich wacko has gotta be a soberin' experience. And, the big ritual they were tryin' to summon Blondie failed horribly. He ain't gonna want to take a second swing at that. ...And, y'know. She's here, he ain't gotta try to summon her now."

Dr. Finch gives a small sigh, adjusting his glasses. "Pierce... could absolutely be of assistance. I am mildly hesitant about bringing him in on this, but progress is going to be very slow without his expertise, I suspect. Magic is not my wheelhouse, and I'm still struggling to piece together how this all works. I don't want the book's assurance that almighty-so-and-so will fulfill their end of the space bargain, I want to know why it happens at all. I understand that there are untold physics in play... but I want those untold physics to be told. To me. Specifically."

Caius chuckles. "Sometimes... ya just gotta accept that ya ain't gonna know. S'magic. Jus' let it be."

"I do not have to accept that," Dr. Finch protests. "I refuse to. I will crack this code."

Fuse shrugs. "I'm not putting any bets down... I'm just saying, it would be cool if we could hash out how all this junk works. Look, sword bro was pulling from Lasker's red. Pierce flipped that into a spell to summon Blondie. Being able to reverse engineer the magic like that would be real useful."

"We could summon Thale," Michelle says, before adding "...summon him straight into the sun. Hey, y'know who reverse engineered a spell like Pierce did? Pierce."

"Dammit," Fuse says. "You can't just reverse engineer my point like that."

"Do we wanna talk about what tha library said?," Caius asks. "Or is that too dangerous, too? Takin' tha... uhhh... thing we ain't s'posed to have, to tha... uh..."

"Place we shouldn't be," Dr. Finch finishes, "to learn something we shouldn't know. ...It has crossed my mind once or twice."

It has to be the 'error room,' the one you reached from going through the bunker doors inappropriately. You reached a place that shouldn't have existed, and met some bizarre mirror version of yourself.

"Yeah, sounds about right," Caius replies. "We wanna take a swing at that?"

Fuse exhales slowly. "Taking an arcane tome to a glitch in reality. What could go wrong?"

"Look," Michelle says, "we gotta do somethin' dangerous. We don't wanna do a ritual, we don't wanna get Pierce's help, we don't wanna take the book to the error room. Playin' it safe is fine, but we can't play it too safe or we'll never get stuff done. We need to start whippin' some magical asses, or we're gonna be hidin' in this bunker arguin' about a book forever."

Caius nods, and points his thumb back at Michelle. "I got nothin' to add, and I ain't good at speeches. What she said, though."

Fuse throws his arms wide. "Blondie's call. Pierce, no Pierce, error room... no error room. I can admit this magic stuff scares the ever loving shit out of me, I'm probably not the guy to talk to about what's a good idea here."

Dr. Finch nods, hesitating somewhat. "It... it's uncharted territory, to put it lightly. However... I do agree. We are going to need to step out of our comfort zone somewhat if we're going to utilize this tome to its fullest potential."


lil Joshu 10th Apr 2018, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
1. I agree with Finch that understanding why and how is important. It's not "dabbling in powers beyond your understanding" if you actually understand them.

[Apologies for second part not getting on post initially.]
2. Hey, Finch... FYI, all the ritualistic mumbo-jumbo aside, it's actually pretty straight forward. You have other multi-dimensional entities like Jane. Further, by a major interpretation of string theory, all points and particles are the same point and particle just oscillating through time and space. As soon as you have advanced enough science to understand and interact with reality on that fundamental of a level, it's really easy to get lost, but also fairly easy to find an identifiable signpost if you know -exactly- what you're looking for. The rituals probably don't actually -do- anything by themselves but serve as signposts for other mechanisms in play. It's kind of like a phone number, but more of a "Hey, Intergalatic operator, please connect me with the person who has a ritual involving three candles (not four) and a star with six tips, and an array using specifically chicken's blood, (not to be confused with the one who uses ox's blood, that's three higher-dimensional forces down the street, but the entire five candle block is all used up by this one really powerful entity who uses each different type of animal blood to pass the buck along to one of his specific underlings.)

Basically, it's a phonebook for higher-dimensional beings and their task-specific extensions. (Addendum... might have some other info too though, who knows?)
Toricon 10th Apr 2018, 6:41 PM edit delete reply
Of course, dabbling in powers WITHIN your understanding isn't *necessarily* safe either (see: nuclear energy, ordinary fire, etc.).
lil Joshu 10th Apr 2018, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Yea, but it's easier to avoid screwing up if you know the safety parameters.
lil Joshu 10th Apr 2018, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
That said, somebody really needs to update the communication system of the old gods though, they're horribly out of date in regards to standardization and user-friendlieness). And as Finch has pointed out, the navigation is horrendus.

I bet we could scan and upload the whole thing into database, build a couple scripts for indexing and cross-referencing, and we could have a "Geoangular Control Wiki" up and running in several hours...

Major concern is if we can get our hands on a non-destructive book scanner (I doubt the library would be happy if we tore the book apart to put it in a top-loading scanner... unless we have someone who can book-bind it back together afterwards?)

And now I'm envisioning replacing the spellbook with a spell-app afterwards. If it's the imagery that's important for the summoning, a portable projector could be fed the parameters and we could do all the rituals with a much higher degree of accuracy. Maybe also contrast/compare all the costs/benefits into some kind of metaphysical amazon-like program so we can get the best deal with each infernal bargain?

Also, for those that offer something in exchange for a soul, is that a hard fast price or is that just their opening bid? Can they be haggled down?
Tych 10th Apr 2018, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
um Lil Joshu your second part explanation hurt my head up till you're analogy(?) of the book is the phone book of the old gods not sure if I was the only one but again thank you for a headache
lil Joshu 10th Apr 2018, 8:20 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
... sorry, Tych, I get excited and don't put things simply all the time...

Basically, Timey-Wimey Wibbly-Wobbly, everything's connected, and if you have cool alien-level super-technology you can take advantage of it. Let's call it super-google, only instead of scanning the internet, it scans reality. Now, reality's big (like the internet), so you really need to know what you're looking for in order to find it.

So, basically think how Disney hunts down people who break their trademark by doing a google image search or video search on youtube of their own stuff. Basically, imagine super-aliens doing that same thing with their super-google. Only difference instead of them sending lawyers, they send salesmen, saying, "Hey, we see you're using our trademarked calling card. You must be interested in talking a bargain."(or they assume you've already agreed to the bargain if you're making the call, kind of like a 1-900 number.)

Then, this book comes along and tries to document all their trademarks, (the rituals), basically making it a phonebook of their backwards-arse ways of getting in contact. (Because maybe not all of them use super-google, some may use super-yahoo, super-craigslist, or super-facebook).

Then, the person who writes this phonebook is an arrogant @%$ who's a bit full of himself, and rather than writing a neatly organized manual, he writes his phonebook using creative language so he can show off how clever he is for writing it (which, to be fair, he can do what he wants, writing something useful, but it still makes it less convenient for everyone else.)

So the ritual really doesn't do anything other than it catches the attention of this super-alien thing that's specifically watching for it as he's skimming' through his feed/search-results/etc.
undeadDreamer 10th Apr 2018, 6:34 PM edit delete reply
Pierce would be useful. You could ask him to teach what he knows. The error room is probably safe enough. The library wouldn't have given us advice that'd get us killed.
crawlers 10th Apr 2018, 6:58 PM edit delete reply
We must go into the error room, for it is way too awesome to leave unexploited.
Baron11704 10th Apr 2018, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
Error room error room~, im dying to know whats going to happen, screw consequences, for SCIENCE!
lil Joshu 10th Apr 2018, 6:45 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
I second this.
Leafia_Barrett 10th Apr 2018, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
I say we learn before we act - Jane should take the book to the error room. The others can go start asking Pierce for details - he might not be able to provide huge amounts of help right off the bat without the book in front of him, but it's... something to do while Jane's busy.
Wote 10th Apr 2018, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
I like this course of action.
Akasha 10th Apr 2018, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
Aye, this sounds like a sound course of action to me as well.
skybirds15 10th Apr 2018, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
Problem is we weren't supposed to be in the library either. As shown by the fact that it no longer exists.

The error room does seem like the most likely candidate, and seems relatively safe. Safer than magic, anyway. We don't have to bring the book into the room at first, but we can grab it if that doesn't work.
Wote 10th Apr 2018, 6:37 PM edit delete reply
Personally, I think I vote "Yes" on consulting with Pierce and trying our luck in the Error Room. I'm adamantly against the rituals until we have some sort of understanding of what we're doing.

And when I say "consulting with Pierce", I mean that we need to ask him about how he did what he did and not let him review the book. I think Elizabeth has the right idea in that we need to straight up take notes. Normal grimoires are complicated to deal with, and this ain't a normal grimoire. Plus, it'll make what we're look at in a cosmological sense a little more sensible.

Also, not that any of us would know that, but our dear Dr. Leo is as equipped to delve into the mysteries of the occult as most practitioners before him. A lot of them were also doctors, after all. :P
Someoneyoudontknow 10th Apr 2018, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
To the error room
Nayru9572 10th Apr 2018, 6:39 PM edit delete reply
I definitely want to go to the error room with the book.
Pierce helping with the contents would be useful, but that might take long. And considering that the library made any photocopies on the web disappear (at least I think it was the library that did that), it's unlikely we'd be able to get a second chance for that on the off chance that going into the error room causes difficulties with the book itself. On the other hand, decoding it might also take a while, and I really want to see what'd happen in the error room.
Btw, could we take Fuse aside and tell him that according to a sentient library, he's 'a bit mor psychic than he thought'? We should let him know, and I imagine that he'd have an easier time talking about it without anyone else making (good-natured) comments or asking questions.
psychoshen 10th Apr 2018, 6:46 PM edit delete reply
If we're trusting the library that the book isn't going to utterly end us somehow, then its advice about the error room is probably the safest thing we can do right now.

I'm with Michelle (against Fuse) on the point of Pierce. If he's not our ally by this point, I don't know what else we could possibly do without violating our own tenets.
Twyll 10th Apr 2018, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
Does this universe have a version of the Liber 777? It's basically just a massive table of correspondences that could help us with the various entities' multiple names and their characteristics. Pierce might be able to help us locate the same sort of thing. There are also probably websites that present the same sort of information-- even if the text of Geoangular Control was always removed from the web, tables of correspondences and lists of common names would probably still be there.

Also, in IRL traditions, there are often entities whose purpose encompasses explaining things and teaching fundamental truths of the universe. They might be cryptic or vague, but they do at least state *truth,* if not necessarily *fact.* Perhaps that would just irritate Finch more :P But it's still an option worth considering. And entities do generally seek to explain things in a way that's perceivable by the person who evoked them, so if we have Finch take point on the evocation, he will hopefully receive information in relatively scientific terms.

I don't see why not to bring Pierce in-- we have access to his *brain* after all. If we can't trust him or he's being intentionally evasive about something, we'll know.

...Also Fuse should apologize to Elizabeth, cuz that was kinda mean.

I suspect there should be places to get herbs and correctly colored candles in Southden. Most cities of a certain size have little occult/mystic shops, and we can likely get some advice from the proprietor if we can figure out what questions we need to ask. Look for a shop with figurines of dragons and fairies and Egyptian gods in the windows.

The first thing to look for is preparatory rituals, if we want to start doing ritual magic. Most grimoires will have rituals that you do to prepare yourself for the rest of the rituals in the book; for example, to balance your energy in the correct way, or to craft a ring that you can use to avoid any deleterious effects of the noxious gases that some entities emit when evoked. These rituals are by nature much safer than all the others, because they are safety-focused in the first place. Unfortunately, some of them can take months if done correctly, so we'll need to figure out if we can abbreviate some of them.

We should remind Finch that he is smarter than he thinks, and this is probably throwing him for a loop, but just tackling it as methodically as he can will help. Take notes, make charts, take breaks whenever he feels his brain start to spin. Have a cup of tea and approach it as if he were reading a very poorly structured research paper or a medical journal with the pages shuffled.

My personal thinking is that we should do our best to read the book and take notes before we take it into the Error room.

Also, we should definitely start a meditation club for everyone in the bunker (with Faraday and Tesla too, because meditation will help Faraday with her sense of self). Try to do it every day before bed, or ideally every morning so we can practice before we're exhausted. Our practice should focus on visualization and mental control; often, rituals require a baseline level of mental focus that has to be maintained. Even if we don't do rituals, simply *communicating* with dubiously-physical entities will probably require a certain degree of visualization ability, as they will likely work upon ways of "seeing" that don't use any of our normal human senses, in order to allow us to perceive them at all.
Madd 10th Apr 2018, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
Hey, what about we study magic ourselves like I said we should.
Twyll 10th Apr 2018, 7:14 PM edit delete reply
Because if we have someone else study it, we can just sync the info from their brains, so we don't have Jane spending all her time and focus on reading for a long time when she is the one who needs to be able to focus on managing people and doing various blood-powered things.

Finch is probably a lot better at parsing this stuff than he gives himself credit for; he just needs to calm down and approach it methodically, taking notes and such. Once he gets a grasp of how the system seems to work, I suspect that he'll be the best at drawing useful conclusions from the disparate, poorly-organized information in front of him.
Necryel 10th Apr 2018, 8:05 PM edit delete reply
WE have to remember, The Library broke a number of rules in order to help us. It was THAT important to make sure we got a hold of this book.

That said, for us to have the book and be unable to make use of it would defeat all of The library's efforts in getting us the book in the first place. Ergo, The Library then gave us a hint on how to make use of the book. Ergo, we should take the Library's advice.

Also, the line "To learn what you shouldn't know" implies something specific, there is no guarentee that doing things Finch's way or even with Pierce's help is going to teach what the Library specifically wants us to know, beings of this nature are often unable to tell falsehoods. They tend to require knowing cooperation in order to get anything done, that seems a somewhat universal rule if Nil and the thing behind The Door to Bunker C while Michelle was in there are any indication.

This also brings up the point that it MUST be us and our self alone who goes into Bunker C. Michelle's experience indicateds that what is behind the Door To Bunker C varies depending on who is in Bunker C. Remember that what was behind the door wanted Michelle to open it, while we found the "Error Room" with backwards copy of ourself. and it was only our double that told us we shouldn't be there. The Library is specifically referencing this. "Blondie" alone should go to Bunker C and bring Geoangular Control WITH US.