Comic 924 - Ask a few more questions

Posted on 11th Apr 2018, 9:09 PM in Shipping Off to Southden
Ask a few more questions

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 11th Apr 2018, 9:09 PM edit delete
You start to ask more specifically about the eye thing, but the tradesmen beat you to it.

"To clarify," they begin, "as we may have been vague, and if so we apologize. If we take your eye, you will not be able to place another functioning eyeball into that socket. To prevent confusion, you will be rendered entirely incapable of replacing it. You will not be able to break the deal, as to prevent you from breaking it unwillingly or accidentally. Eyeballs made for purposes other than filling the socket of the original will not be considered replacements. Non-eyeball objects placed into the original eye socket will not be considered replacements, either."

You start to ask if you can come back to these deals later, if you want to talk it over with your friends f--

"Any trades we offer for information as a part of this ritual will be valid until the situations surrounding them change. The price will be altered if the answer to a question becomes more or less powerful. You are free to perform the ritual at a later time if you wish to weigh your options first. Making a trade more expensive arbitrarily would be bad for business."

You ask what the entry code to the most useful Zone Fifty bunker is.

There's... a slight pause, oddly.

"Useful is a word we are having trouble with. Useful could be defined many ways, even when narrowed down to your specific set of circumstances. To prevent a less than satisfactory transaction, we would prefer that you rephrase this question. We apologize for any inconvenience, but of the eight Zone Fifty facilities that are still standing and still accessible by conventional means at this time and that you have not discovered yet, several could be interpreted as 'the most useful.'".

You ask if it's possible for someone that's been consumed by an oversync to return to their original self.

"In time, we hope that you will be trading us the answer to that question. We cannot answer it ourselves. That is one our limitations."


Fishbulb 11th Apr 2018, 9:36 PM edit delete reply
Well, the Tradesmen have either intentionally or accidentally given us a bit of information, in that there are eight functioning Z50 facilities. We have keys to five, so there are three that remain undiscovered.
LytharWolfe 11th Apr 2018, 9:38 PM edit delete reply
Eight functioning that we do not have access to yet, actually. So there are another 8 we can locate.
Fishbulb 11th Apr 2018, 9:40 PM edit delete reply
Yes, I missed that bit. But it's also interesting that there are more Z50 facilities that aren't accessible by conventional means. We'll just have to come up with some unconventional means to explore them, if we find some.
pkrankow 11th Apr 2018, 9:51 PM edit delete reply
8 more functioning bunkers. This has been a valuable conversation.
Fishbulb 11th Apr 2018, 9:42 PM edit delete reply
Ask if there are any pieces of the other blood alien/Lasker in locations other than Bunker B.
Swagner 11th Apr 2018, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
And maybe what it would take to destroy them permanently.
Cuttlefish 11th Apr 2018, 9:45 PM edit delete reply
Both the Tradesmen and the Library have been pretty rad to us, huh? I imagine having something stretch thin and devour the universe isn’t any good for business.

Given how the Tradesmen seem to be on team blood, we should take the opportunity to state how nice it would be to get another of Michelle’s FWOOM cannons... and then later, we should trade up some of our loose guns!
Twyll 11th Apr 2018, 9:52 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to ask if the price for just asking how to *prevent* whatever Thale is doing in the tunnels is different from the price for asking *what* he's doing.

As for a definition of "useful," how about "gives us access to new abilities and/or resources." I'm not sure whether to prioritize abilities or resources, honestly... but maybe that kinda sorta narrows it down a little? Maybe asking which would give us the most resources would have one price, and asking which might give us new abilities would have a different price?

Other things to ask:
1) How to neutralize Lasker permanently.

2) What we need to know to be able to do the trading-many-items-for-one ritual safely. Also, if it can be reversed and allow us to trade one item for many.

3) How they intermediate rituals involving Nil without being subject to his powers themselves.
Cuttlefish 11th Apr 2018, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
Which new bunker would best enable/aid our short-term survival? Which bunker would best assist us in defeating Thale?

Although as someone earlier suggested, possibly we might be better served asking for an improved algorithm for crunching these codes.

There’s no real harm in asking, at any rate!
pkrankow 11th Apr 2018, 9:53 PM edit delete reply
Ask if there are any specific questions we _should_ be asking...
Twyll 11th Apr 2018, 9:55 PM edit delete reply
If that doesn't work, then maybe ask if there are any questions the Tradesmen want us to ask?
pkrankow 11th Apr 2018, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
Ask if there are any questions we should seek answers for as potential future trades.
Ablaze 11th Apr 2018, 10:06 PM edit delete reply
Oh... Has anyone else asked the tradesmen questions about you? If you can gain intel on your enemy this way, what's stopping then from the reverse?
pkrankow 11th Apr 2018, 10:30 PM edit delete reply
We know the church of enyo did this, and Pierce is proof.

Asking if others we are not aware of have asked about us may help.
Guest 11th Apr 2018, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
Let's keep these guys happy
- if we happen to learn something while asking questions, do the tradesmen consider this cheating? Especially if we learn enough to made the original question obsolete?
- is there something cheap the tradesmen desire as a gift (it would be good for business)

- Are hugs ever acceptable payment? maybe we can send a blood golem.
pkrankow 11th Apr 2018, 10:14 PM edit delete reply
Physical contact was already stated as unwelcome. The atmosphere outside the circle will harm us and they are contractually bound from entering the circle.

A small gift might be appropriate, like a fruit basket that was very specifically brought into the circle, or if we had a flower in our hair, again very specific.

If they volunteer information it is freely given.
Guest 11th Apr 2018, 10:24 PM edit delete reply
Ask - or, rather, state - that you would be more inclined to "pay" Willard if you knew what would happen to him... whether he would he be destroyed, or become a happy trades-rat, forever safe from Tale's heels?
Tych 11th Apr 2018, 10:38 PM edit delete reply
if Willard becomes a Tradesrat does that mean he has to help other rats who perform tradesman rituals to get things?
psychoshen 11th Apr 2018, 10:49 PM edit delete reply
I'd like to ask them if there are any alternatives to their pricing. For instance, would they accept another rat instead of Willard?
So I feel like the pricing is based on what it takes to rebalance the situation after the information is given, so it's likely that Willard is the only price they would accept if that's the price they stated.

I'd like to follow up with a few more questions:
Is Edison redeemable within a normal human lifetime?
Did our mother consider our father a part of herself?
Which head of the Many is the psychic one?
What is on the far end of the Mars railway?
Is Macland safe enough from Nil?
Is there a way currently available to us to test for the presence of Thale's blood?
Cuttlefish 11th Apr 2018, 10:58 PM edit delete reply
It is good to know that we can sell what little knowledge is not already held by the Tradesmen. Could it be worth seeing if they have knowledge of the Error Room, and if not, if they like to purchase what little we know?
Guest 11th Apr 2018, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
or, would they like to commission any "research" in particular? We might learn a lot be knowing what they want to know.
Necryel 11th Apr 2018, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
We've learned a few things here.

1- The space and entities behind the Door to bunker C is of little significance to us. (We can always replace Willard with another as heartless as that may seem)

2-The purpose of Thale's tunnels is of Great significance as we are asked to sacrifice a body part and never be able to replace it with a functioning organ or even a cybernetic implant of any kind, giving us a permanent handicap. (it may seem minor, but the consequential loss of depth perception would prevent us from firing any kind of gun accurately. Not to mention present us with a blind spot from which we can be physically attacked.)

3- We know that there are eight more functional bunkers.

We should probably ask if Thale KNOWINGLY has access to any of the remaining functional bunkers.
Dragonstrike 11th Apr 2018, 11:24 PM edit delete reply
So many free samples! Still, these guys are *Tradesmen* so shouldn't we be, you know, trading? We should throw them some easy questions that we can buy and see if we can sell some info ourselves.

Answers should be cheap! Constantly fishing for free info without ever paying is rude, it's free *samples* not free meals. Still, we don't want to pay anything big yet. So let's see if we can get some low cost answers.

Q: Can you list the nations that the Zone Fifty bunkers located in.
Non-nation bunkers are not included, and no info about multiples in the same nation. This lets us do a bit of research ahead of time, but shouldn't change fate by much. Should be cheap.

Q: After we help Faraday back to her (un)usual self, will Edison hurt anyone if we release her in the presence of Tesla and Faraday?
I *think* this will turn out fine, but better safe than sorry.

Q: We know Nil is bad news for us, but is Nil a threat to you?
"Ally" is too strong of a word for these guys, but having business partners with a strong desire to see Nil cut down to size would be nice. This doesn't really change our course of action, we gotta deal with Nil one way or the other.

Also, let's see if they are interested in any info about how we got Geoangular Control, how we got the spell to contact them, and maybe info that we know about our mom. They might know all that already, but a mutual relationship with these guys is going to be VERY useful. Any schmuck can ask them questions, but not many people can answer theirs.