Comic 857 - Give your names

Posted on 28th Mar 2018, 11:39 PM in Shipping Off to Southden
Give your names

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Morgenstern 28th Mar 2018, 11:39 PM edit delete
Before you give any names, you want to know what kind of opponent your friend might be facing.

"There are no firearms, if that's what you're asking," Lovers replies. "No weapons, no psychic attacks, unarmed combat only. All of the mutants presently on our rosters are quite subdued in nature--I believe Emperor has a man with four arms on his payroll, that's about the most exciting mutation in the arena thus far. Genetically engineered fighters are allowed..." She smiles a little. "Obviously."

"Caius," Caius says. "Ain't got a last name."

"Dr. Finch," states Dr. Finch. This prompts Lovers to tilt her head slightly... and then smile, just a bit more than you've seen her give yet.

"Fair enough," she says.

You can see the brief, amused frustration on the face of Caius, who was hoping to learn Finch's first name.

You tell her your name, as well.

Lovers nods, and then pauses--then gives her very brief, subtle smile. "They are ready for us," she says.

She motions toward the door at the end of the bar, pushing it open to reveal a staircase. You follow her into the depths below.

As you walk down the stairs, she explains further. "A large train derailment forced a section of the city's underground to be cut off about... oh, I would say six years ago. It put a small vice on the local economy, and the government--being the bloody government--were in no hurry to get things back on track. ...No pun intended, I assure you. Officially, no one owns this little piece of sub level, but since no one of importance has filled out the paperwork to repair and reinstate it... well, we in the Deck have begun to stimulate the economy in this neighborhood in our own way."

She leads you into a sub level, which has been refurnished as a makeshift fighting arena. There's a fairly large crowd on either side of the ring, kept at bay by the walls of a metal cage. Lovers whispers something to a woman in a red outfit, who opens the cage door for Caius to enter.

"You don't have to do this," Dr. Finch says.

Caius peels his shirt off, tossing it to Dr. Finch with a cocky smile before entering the cage. The woman in the red attire follows, a microphone in her hand. She makes her way toward the center of the ring.

"Ladies and gentlemen, your third bout for this evening..."

The crowd roars to life, cheering and physically shaking the cage. The announcer grins.

"On this end, in his first fight in our arena... representing Lovers... CAIUS!"

The cheers aren't quite as enthusiastic--in fact, you hear some booing, and a few firmly anti-police slurs are lobbed in Caius's direction. Caius rolls his eyes, and huffs, but tries not to let it get to him.

"And on the opposite side... representing Chariot... THE PAINIAC!"

The cheers are loud, but not as loud as the footsteps. Off beyond the other end of the cage, in the dark, you can see a man's form squeezing through an already wide doorway. Even just seeing his silhouette approaching, you know that he's big. Massive hands fumble with the clasp on the cage entrance. Dr. Finch's mouth is agape.

Somehow, the giant of a man manages to fit through the cage door.


The announcer (cautiously) maneuvers around Painiac, closing the door behind her as she leaves. Caius is locked in with the giant.

"How?!," Dr. Finch yells, barely audible over the cheers of the audience. "Wh... what... is that a mutant? And am I really to believe his actual, legitimate birth name is the Painiac?!"

Lovers breathes in deeply, actually looking a little disgusted herself. "A genetically engineered soldier. You heard me correctly: not a cop. A soldier. Military grade."

A bell rings. Caius begins to circle the tower of a man, evaluating his pace, watching to see if he makes the first move. He keeps his distance.

"So," Caius says, "they teach you to talk?"

Painiac's voice booms, deep, gravelly. "THEY TAUGHT ME TA SHAG YA MUM!" The crowd roars at this retort. Caius looks genuinely taken aback that Painiac can talk, let alone... say that, in particular.

"Again," Dr. Finch utters, "I must ask how. How... how how how would any of you get access to that creature? I knew lab meat of that kind existed, I've just... never seen one in person."

"He's from a rejected batch," Lovers replies. "The brilliant minds in the military decided they would tweak the numbers a tad. The result was a soldier for whom training wouldn't stick. Attempts to download full combat programs into that small head just end in an aneurysm. When the big bastard strings more than one syllable together it's a bloody miracle. We in the Deck rarely resort to violence for our needs, but Chariot enjoys collecting misfit weaponry for its own sake. Thus, he sprang for that beast, and named him... ugh... Painiac."

Caius baits a few swings, staying loose as he moves, trying to gauge Painiac's range. Despite his ridiculous size, it's quickly discovered that the tube soldier is fast. Painiac throws wild, untrained punches, but they come out exceedingly quick. Even just testing the waters, Caius takes a glancing blow across the jaw--and stumbles, almost dropping to a knee.

...But he learns.

Caius rushes in hard after drawing out another opening. He moves in close--very close, close enough that Painiac can't get a full head of steam on his punches. Caius throws a rapid volley of his own blows, blitzing Painiac's stomach and ribs. Painiac tries to back away, but can't reposition himself quick enough.

You can see the slight strain on Caius's face. It's actually hurting him to punch Painiac.

The giant is slow to learn, but he does learn eventually. Rather than trying to throw another tight, awkward punch with his huge arms, Painiac simply... grabs Caius.

By the head.

His hands are large enough that he can almost palm Caius's whole face with one hand. He takes hold of Caius by the head and shoulder and hurls him across the ring. Caius soars through the air, rolling across the concrete after he lands on it. He takes the fall in surprisingly safe fashion, albeit contorting mid-air to do it.

Caius staggers to his feet, rolling his shoulder a little. He mutters under his breath, so quiet that no one should hear him.

You, of course, practiced understanding him over the sound of a motorcycle the last two days.

"Okay," Caius says silently, "I know I talked a big game before but fuck this guy. I need help."


Frission 29th Mar 2018, 12:42 AM edit delete reply
Gorignak! Gorignak! Gorignak! o_o

But srsly I have no ideas here. D: Finch? Roll your Tactics skill!
wierdweblurker 29th Mar 2018, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Adrenaline, and a lot of it. After that, perhaps some biological knowledge of weak points from Finch, if he knows any pressure points then Caius can actually start dealing some damage. Have Caius get behind him; his muscles may be big, but he's probably not all that dexterous.
Portal In Time 29th Mar 2018, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
Well, I think I'm gonna vote that we blood him. Let's not use needles or anything, but I think we should try and get some of the ambient Jane Blood floating around in Caius' veins out onto his knuckles, and onto the bandages Painiac already has. Open wounds = good port for blood

At that point, let's just shut 'em down - Have his legs buckle after some good whacks by Caius, maybe sabotage his insides and slow his reaction rate.
Guest 29th Mar 2018, 1:30 AM edit delete reply
Is that even a thing we can do?
Guest 29th Mar 2018, 1:33 AM edit delete reply
A strong, faster Nimrod.
Twyll 29th Mar 2018, 1:43 AM edit delete reply
Sadly, we can't blood people via other people, only via our own undiluted blood; we've already done experiments to that effect.
undeadDreamer 29th Mar 2018, 1:22 AM edit delete reply
Adrenaline. Try to give Caius full access to his muscle strength. We can fix any damage that does to him. If the potential of tube muscles is anything like normal muscles Caius should be able to throw Painiac across the cage. Also heal any non-visable damage he may have sustained.
Twyll 29th Mar 2018, 1:23 AM edit delete reply
Let's do some painkilling (not ALL the painkilling though, because we need to make sure Caius is aware of what bits of him are being damaged), actively heal up any damage he's taking, and sync medical knowledge so hopefully Caius can figure out his weak points. That massive wall of flesh has *got* to have vulnerabilities, because the human form simply wasn't meant to do stuff like that. His legs are probably under a lot of stress holding up all that mass-- maybe his hips and knees are (relatively) weak, or already previously damaged somewhat?

Let's also ask Finch if he can think of any tactics Caius might employ to take advantage of his opponent's lack of, er, intellectual chops.

We can also sync whatever women's self-defense tactics we know to Caius, because it'll help now that Caius is smaller and weaker than someone for him to know how to fight that way. It's the sort of thing that would normally take a long time for a big strong guy to get used to, but since we can sync knowledge and hopefully sync *muscle memory,* we might be able to get him some useful info that way.

Just generally, this guy seems really vulnerable to techniques that capitalize on momentum-- he's big and moves fast, which means that if we can throw him using his own momentum, we can throw him *hard*. Hopefully one of our party members has some Aikido knowledge in their background... Caius should do all he can to not be where the guy expects him to be, and to move at slight angles from what he expects; timed right, just *jumping* can cause your enemy to get carried in a certain direction by his own momentum. Make sure to focus on the core, moving in such a way that Caius' legs get maximum stability from the ground, and his arms get maximum stability from his legs, and so forth. Always have his hips pointing in the direction he's moving. Keep his arms aligned with them instead of reaching outside alignment with his torso, because that will magnify the force he can apply with them, and we need as many positive modifiers to the force he's putting out as we can get.

Also, Painiac's muscles are likely very rigid, which should make it easier to do techniques that involve *twisting*, because he's probably lacking in flexibility. If he tries to grab us again, we might be able to get his wrist, and because he's probably inflexible, that could give us a *lot* of control. Twisting the wrist outwards while moving our own body out of the way can keep his other arm away from us and allow us to pin him relatively safely.

I'd say to kick him in the balls, but he's probably gengineered so hard he doesn't have any.

Finally, remember that the weakest part of someone's grip is where their fingers meet-- so if he manages to grab us again, twist so we're pulling away from him in the direction opposite the palm of his hand, and we should be able to break free far more easily than pulling in any other direction.

Can we perhaps slow down Caius' perception of time a bit, to help counter how fast this guy moves? Maybe adrenaline can do that?
Twyll 29th Mar 2018, 1:34 AM edit delete reply
Another reason to use throws and holds: usually, the way you learn to counter throws and holds is through training, and we were explicitly told that he wasn't able to be properly trained. So yeah, less trying to punch him, more trying to throw him-- and with that much mass and lack of training, "throw him" can literally mean "duck at opportune moments, with the barest hint of guidance as to which direction we point him and how we get him off-balance a little, and he'll throw himself."

We should sync some of Jane's Vent Hermit ability to fold herself up small to Caius, to help with his throwing efforts; it can actually help a lot when throwing a large opponent to suddenly become smaller than they expect. For example, fold your arms and torso in and use your hips to propel a rushing attacker over your back head-first.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
Everything here barring the healing - we need to be really careful about that sort of thing, so save the healing for after the fight. Don't make it obvious we're helping out.
Archon 29th Mar 2018, 1:29 AM edit delete reply
Taunting the giant should buy some time.
Doubtful it was trained to ignore such things, and the distractions should throw it off enough to give us an edge.

Focus on repairing internal damage, slow bleeding on open wounds. Avoid fully restoring visible wounds unless necessary, as that risks unwanted attention.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 10:28 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, any healing is risky - Lovers has likely seen enough fights to recognize the signs of injury, I doubt she won't recognize that something's up if Caius suddenly doesn't seem to be affected by an injury. Slowing blood loss is something that can be observed externally, so I don't suggest it either. If the fight becomes grave enought that Caius is at risk of dying, that's another story, but currently that's not the case.
Twyll 29th Mar 2018, 11:35 AM edit delete reply
*Slowing* blood loss is much different from *stopping* blood loss-- we can likely slow blood loss without being detected simply because it will make it look like the wound just wasn't as severe as it initially looked. It's perfectly normal for some wounds to bleed more than others based on how deep they ended up being, and it's hard to detect *exactly* how deep a wound "should" be based on how hard someone was hit. Also, some people have very deep veins, while others have veins that are closer to the surface, and some folks have more fragile capillaries and such; so we should be able to slow the bleeding and it'll just look like Caius is a guy who doesn't bleed easily.
YetAnother 29th Mar 2018, 1:29 AM edit delete reply
Human muscles aren't usually workin at the full power due to safety concerns.
Override safety protocols and let muscles work at 100%. Yes, that's gonna tear them, so we also need to prepare to heal and give painkiller effect to Caius.
lil Joshu 29th Mar 2018, 1:41 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Heck, the materials are still -there- when they rip and tear, just not connected properly. We've already shown the blood can re-arrange and move. So all we have to do is making working muscles and tissue out of broken tissue, letting us push it to the max - Caius doesn't even have to suffer over-exertion.

I second this.

Generally, Andrenline roughly triples strength (all strength, which makes it appear as even more).

As an additional idea, further, since we can rearrange and nearly any body part can go without re-oxygenating for awhile (that's what happens when something falls asleep), we could probably go PAST 100% by selectively turning off energy-requiring organs that don't need -immediate- attention, and redirect that energy towards fight stuff (stomach & intestines specifically). Basically that would double energy effeciency.

Further, if Dr. Finch is familiar with this works of Dr. Feldenkrais (a muscle-neuorology doctor) every moment of 'ciricling', with the assistance of the blood to accelerate the process, we could be creating more efficient neuron-muscle connections, letting Caius increase effective strength and speed fourfold (and unlike andreline, THAT effect is permanent... or at least the lifespan of Neurons which is about 40 years).

All in all, we play our cards right, I estimate we could make Caius about 24 times stronger all said and done if we get the full Feldenkrais boost. That guy is only about 4 times bigger than Caius and doesn't have combat knowledge. So instead of it being like Caius fighting a guy as powerful as 4 Caiuses, it'd be as if Painiac was fighting 4 Painiacs in a more compressed and efficient package and better combat knowledge.

Honestly, we do all this, a larger concern would be not to accidentally kill Painiac as that wouldn't get us in as good of graces. Cubic law says Painiac's body is under a lot of stress keeping itself together, meaning he's at high risk for getting hurt if actually overpowered.
psychoshen 29th Mar 2018, 1:59 AM edit delete reply
I'm on board with everything that's been suggested so far.

Get behind Painiac, or at the least, not in front of him
Go for joints. Breaking an arm as long as Painiac's should be easy with a well placed kick if we're holding his wrist or hand.
Choke him out? Painiac doesn't look like he can reach behind himself. When Painiac inevitably tries to crush Caius, have Caius prop his feet against the pillar or floor. Finch and Jane can help here with spotting.

Increase adrenaline
Reinforce knuckles
Increase bloodflow to remove lactic acid faster (makes Caius less tired, also extra oxygen means more endurance)
Make sure Caius doesn't have a heart attack

Finch's knowledge of anatomy could be helpful in identifying weak points like the solar plexus or other nerve clusters, but as a trained and engineered brawler, Caius' knowledge probably overlaps here. Finch may have a shot at spotting weaknessness within Painiac's creation. Lab meat only lasts a short while, because of the extras, so with Painiac, he may have other handicaps besides the subpar intelligence.
Blue_Elite 29th Mar 2018, 3:21 AM edit delete reply
Since it appears strategy has already been given, I'll move to tactics:
We should focus on looking concerned and maybe scared (I doubt either would be hard to show). Mainly we do not want to look like we're offering any psychic aid or otherwise rigging the match via whatever. Ask Dr. Finch to cover for us in case Lovers looks at us suspiciously or tries to get a conversation going with us.

If the phone rings at this very inopportune time, we should ask to be excused as it is a VERY important call and leave for upstairs. Ideally we can ask Ms. Voclain to simply stay on the line while we address the current matter at hand. It might even work out in our favor: Being nowhere near there and having Dr. Finch to perceive through, we can still play helper to Caius without being implicated for any, "dirty tricks," he might pull from our help.

EDIT: Since I haven't seen it explicitly mentioned: Power always comes with a tradeoff of efficiency. The big lug might swing fast and swing hard, but those muscles have to pull their own weight as well as the weight of the swing they make. That favors us in two ways:
1. That guy probably has horrible endurance. If Caius can simply keep baiting him into swinging and missing, he'll get tired very quickly.
2. The backswing after an attack will be long and pronounced. The more tired he gets, the longer and even more pronounced. Caius can compensate for the range/strength difference by moving in-and-out. Get the guy to constantly commit to actions that have no payoff. As he gets tired, it'll become easier and easier to get him to overextend himself.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 8:45 AM edit delete reply
Looking worried to try to make it not look like we're helping is a definite idea, yeah.
pkrankow 29th Mar 2018, 4:41 AM edit delete reply
Get the big lug moving. He is big so won't corner well. Caius is supposed to be full of multi dicipline fighting. Key up some judo type leverage throws, add in some parkour to move. Kickboxing to land some heavy blows when the brute is open. If Caius has to take a hit, it has to be shortened by getting close. Example: Stepping into a wild roundhouse takes all the power out of it. It looks impressive to take the hit. Keep talking, especially since language is supposed to be a challenge.

While we cannot count on low endurance, it might help. One or two good throws will probably have it down, especially if we force a bad landing into these concrete posts.

Judo throw as a goal
Kickboxing for steady hard hits
Parkour like Yoda
Work the multi dicipline fighting skills
Don't let him grapple, grab, or wrestle
Shorten up wild blows so there is little force and take a couple hits.
Talk and try to get him talking.

For Jane
Pain control, but don't numb, just the hard edges
Adrenaline for speed
Endurance - aid flushing metabolic waste
Repair hidden damage as needed.
Wit for banter

Feed weak points
Pressure point information
Wit for banter but keep the language to what Caius would use.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
Trying to get him talking could be a good idea, actually.
Nayru9572 29th Mar 2018, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
I'm mostly for slightly painkilling, the tactics and maybe adrenaline, if we don't immediately heal any damage it does. We don't want to make it too obvious Caius is being helped: in a club like that, we might get lynched. Or blackmailed into really immoral stuff.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 10:07 AM edit delete reply
I'm with you - save the healing for after the match, when interference won't get us thrown out at best. If it's a grave emergency, I'll reconsider this train of thought, but right now we're not at risk of dying, so let's hold off and stick to adrenaline + mild painkillers + fighting smart.
Loki 29th Mar 2018, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
Jane could use her matter rearranging trick to deposit iron from Caius’s bloodstream into the bones of his hand, making his punches land harder and hopefully hurt a bit less. Obviously the goal would be to avoid any obvious external changes.

She could also maybe sync with Finch for some knowledge about how to modify the his remaining hemoglobin to make it more efficient at transferring oxygen from his lungs to the rest of his body to keep him from getting tired. That plus some painkiller and adrenaline and ongoing repair of internal injuries and he should be able to fight more than long enough to just wear the big guy down, basically a supercharged rope a dope strategy.
Madd 29th Mar 2018, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
Take out his legs, the people who make big lab meat tend to not make the legs as strong as the upper body for some reason. (From observing ones we met, and our own. Also because his upper body is massive yet his legs are much thinner than his arms)

Now this guy could move around with just his arms most likely, but he'll be down for a while. Also he's supposed to be a soldier his flesh is probably reinforced somehow.
Leafia_Barrett 29th Mar 2018, 8:43 AM edit delete reply
Aim for the legs! He's outrageously top-heavy and his leg joints can't appreciate that kind of weight on them.
This is like a boss battle - we try to just slug it out with him, we're going to get our asses beat. We need to fight smarter, not harder. He's not that bright, he's clumsy, he's not very flexible, and he's top-heavy. Keep changing our attack pattern so he can't learn how to handle us, aim for the legs when possible, try to use his weight against him. I'd suggest grapples too, but trapping ourselves in immediate range of him makes me nervous.
Fishbulb 29th Mar 2018, 8:55 AM edit delete reply
Sweep the legs.

Seriously though, with that much upper body mass, Painiac's knee joints should buckle if Caius gets a good kick in to the side. Aside from that, attacking with some sort of suplex type maneuver, where Painiac's weight would be coming down on his neck might be effective.
pkrankow 29th Mar 2018, 10:17 AM edit delete reply
I still think a couple good throws will put him down, but really... those legs, Caius has nearly the same size legs. Yea, they make a good target and this isn't boxing so nobody will seriously shout "Marquess of Queensberry rules!" However a heckler still might.

Heck, CAIUS can heckle with that! Cycle through fighting styles and poses with the banter... just dont get cocky and unexpectedly hit.

(Um, yea, vgo for the legs as opportunities present themselves. )
Swagner 29th Mar 2018, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
I'd double-check Caius's skull and neck after that throw, he's sturdy, but that can't possibly be good for him.

He might even need some less-visible reinforcement: I suspect some of this was already done on account of him being lab meat, but could we increase his bone density, and maybe the fiber density in his muscles, so that he gets stronger without getting bigger? Maybe increase the oxygen in his blood, too, so he stays energetic.
Guest 29th Mar 2018, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
Is it fair game to break fingers? It would make it harder to throw punches/grapple with broken fingers.

Careful if you re-route any iron - now is not a good time for Caius to get anemia.
Guest 29th Mar 2018, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Also, a knock-out has a lot to do with head/neck structure and how easy it is to get blood to the brain. Consult Finch if there's an opportunity there with the tiny head and the fact that a large body strains the heart/ lowers blood pressure.

Also, with so much heart strain from such a large body, you might be able to wear him out 'till he has a heart attack.
lil Joshu 29th Mar 2018, 2:07 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Boosting biological traits is cool (And I gave my suggestions for additions to the process in response to YetAnother up above), but just saying, rather than just improving his body using conventional knowledge, we literally have eleritch powers that are specifically attuned to interacting with biology since they're 'blood'. Let's see if we can just straight-up supercharge him by channeling red's power through him.


After all, this is a fighting tournament, this is literally the most iconic place to try to unlock new fighting techniques.
psychoshen 29th Mar 2018, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
Ha, I love this picture.

Caius: "That was a good warm-up Painiac, now witness my true POWER!"
lil Joshu 29th Mar 2018, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu

Well, a red power glow was less disturbing than the other way I thought of presenting it which looked more like something from Parasyte Eve XD