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Fireproof is not heatproof. Something to keep in mind in the future.

 

To compensate for not having a frying pan, I tried to encase my hands in the fireproof chemical I found in my suit and Ifrit’s sweat, but the stove uses a heat-coil to transfer heat into the pans. Flesh doesn’t transfer heat very well at all, and when my hands reached a high enough temperature to start chemical reactions, they fell apart from micro-units self-destructing. This in turn dumped a bunch of dust and flesh onto the heat coils, which started a small fire. Especially the oils and grease in the tofu patty, those took a while to burn out. The next attempt was to hold the patty over the coils with a knife, but the coils seem to only transfer heat through solid objects, and placing the patty on the coils directly just started another fire. I gave up and called Mikey after a ‘neighbor’ came to see if everything was fine.



Admittedly, I may have been a bit hasty in trying to cook the burgers without a pan. The tofu patties were kept frozen at the store, and I was worried that they would go bad before I could acquire a pan of my own (the bag says to keep refrigerated until used). I needn’t have worried, one of the kitchen devices was a cold storage box called a ‘refrigerator’, a fact that a confused Mikey pointed out when I explained what happened and why. I need a good backstory to explain why I’m so ignorant of common human objects and terms. I’ll think about it.

 

At least Mikey’s attention was somewhat diverted from my ignorance when I told him the address. He insisted on using the elevators to get to me, as my current dwelling was apparently in a ‘rough neighborhood’. I met him back at the base, in the elevator corridor, since he would need a keycard to use the apartment elevator. He stepped off his normal elevator with a bag that I presumed held the pan I would need.

 

“Hey Tofu. From your description I expected you to be extra crispy.”

“I already regenerated the damage.”

“Oof, I was joking. So you actually fried yourself? Musta hurt.”

“Extremely.”

 

Mikey stopped moving and blinked at me.

 

“Whyyy... would you do that then?” he asked.

“Because I wanted to make a tofu burger.”

 

Long moments passed in silence as we waited for the elevator, Mikey staring at me the whole time. It started to get a little uncomfortable actually. Fortunately the elevator arrived, and snapped Mikey out of it. Unfortunately, it prompted him to start asking more questions.

 

On one hand, I like Mikey’s questions because they tend to point out flaws in my disguise that I need to account for. On the other hand, Mikey is too perceptive sometimes, and he often comes dangerously close to asking questions I never want to have to answer. It’s good that I’ve been getting so much practice at diverting attention from the main topic of conversation. I’d hate to have to kill him.

 

Finishing our elevator ride (during which I let him know that yes I can turn off my pain receptors, and no I’m not a ‘masochist’), I led him down the halls to my apartment. We passed other residents and dodged playing children, while I explained to him that pain receptors are an important combat tool, and that turning them off is a bad idea.

 

“True enough I guess, but if you aren’t fighting anyone, and your hands are already on fire, wouldn’t that be a good time to turn them off?” pointed out Mikey.

 

“Uh…” Admittedly I couldn’t think of a counter argument to that logic. It just hadn’t occurred to me to turn them off. Pain was just another sense before I got Human.exe, and afterwards… well I guess I was just used to it by then. There were a lot of tests back at the lab. And besides, I wasn’t going to let some pain get between me and learning to cook tofu burgers.

 

We arrived at my apartment, and I let us in. I was glad to find that the annoying alarm had finally shut itself off, although the apartment still smelled a bit like smoke.

 

“Whoa dude. Crack a window or something.”

 

Okay, maybe a lot like smoke.

 

Mikey headed to the kitchen corner as I opened the window again. Then he pulled out a pan from the bag he brought, and surprisingly a lot of other items. A stack of paper plates, plastic sporks like the ones at the school cafeteria, and some napkins.

 

“Man, I’m glad I brought plates. You said you moved in recently, but its pretty bare bones in here. Haven’t moved your stuff in yet?”

“I didn’t have anything to move. I keep all my stuff with me.”

 

Mikey gave me the same type of look that Sandra did when she found out I was homeless. Then he turned back to the supplies and busied himself organizing them.

 

“Sooo… did you know some of the other minions have a betting pool about you?” asked Mikey.

“What about?”

“On where you’re from.”

 

Uh oh.

 

I tried to divert the question; “...They want to know the sector?”

Pft, no dude. They’re betting on how you joined the masked life. It’s kinda obvious you’re used to this kind of thing, no one is this casual about hanging around so many supers and criminals. Like, if you were trying to hide it you weren’t doing a very good job,” he finished putting the ingredients and supplies in order, then turned to me, “Right now the top bet is that you’re a villain’s kid.”

Relief. They were quite a bit off in their guess. “That’s a poor bet. Powers aren’t hereditary as far as I’m aware.”

“That’s what I said, although Tedic is convinced. Mind giving me the insider info? The pool’s pretty high now.”

“Um…”

Mikey smirked and raised his hand in a stop gesture, “Say no more. Anyways here, let me show you how to make a burger sans self-immolation.”

 

Mikey proceeded to cook two tofu patties from start to finish. It seemed rather simple, although I found it somewhat distressing that he didn’t follow a recipe. He even added some ingredients that weren’t mentioned in any of the recipes I found. He asserted that cooking was an art form, and it takes practice to find your own style. This part I understood completely, it was similar to martial arts, and developing a combat style that suited your abilities.

 

Mikey’s burgers were not like Maggie’s, however they were still tasty. I cooked the rest of the patties I had bought, some with Mikey’s method, some with the recipe, and some with a few modifications I thought might be nice (Mikey hypocritically criticising my use of extra sugar on these patties). We sat and ate once I was done, and for once Mikey actually put down a decent amount, eating at least a third of what I did.

 

Mikey finished his last burger, burped, and leaned against the kitchen counter. “Man, didn’t really realize how hungry I was until the smell hit me.”

“Well you didn’t eat any lunch after all. You should really eat more.”

“You sound like my grandma,” Mikey chuckled.

“I’m serious. You never know when something is going to happen. You wouldn’t want to be low on energy when it does.”

“Pft, if I stuffed myself like you do I’d be too bloated to run. Although I will admit that I didn’t expect just how much crap happens while on the job. Can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. That job with the explosion was barely on Sunday, but it feels like it happened last year or something.”

“Maybe your internal timescale is faulty?”

“No you doof. It’s just so much crazy stuff,” he sighed and let his head fall back, “I’m starting to think this job might be a bit more than I can chew.”

“Uh, take smaller bites?”

Mikey rolls his eyes, “I mean this job might be more than I can handle. I’m really grateful you helped me get it, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been thinking about quitting.”

“Have you been at risk of dying?”

“What? No. But we’ve had quite a few close calls with the heroes dude. Turbo was Sunday, Brick today, and you’ve even had it out with Magenta. You’ve basically had run-ins with all three of E13’s heroes in a four day span! That’s nuts!”

“I’ve also met three of E12’s heroes.”

“See? I figured heroes would show up eventually, but this often is just ridiculous! We’ll never make it through Odd Summer without being arrested.”

“It didn’t seem that bad when they brought me to the station in E12 though. We were only there a few hours and I even got to eat donuts.”

“Dude, that barely even counts, that wasn’t a real arrest. And no offense, but you have powers and I don’t. I doubt Hellion’s lawyers will be quite as prompt when they are just trying to get some grunts released. If I get pinched I’m basically on my own.”

“I’ll try to help you.”

He rolled his eyes, but muttered, “Thanks.”



I considered his concerns. We had indeed been running into supers on a regular basis, but I had thought this was the norm, especially considering the job description. It matched my experiences after escaping the lab at least. Plus the heroes wouldn’t even try to kill you, only villains, vigilantes, and monsters tried to do that. Other villains were mostly intimidated by Hellion, vigilantes were rare, and monsters were a risk no matter what you did.

 

To be fair, getting arrested was probably a much larger concern for Mikey than for myself. I had no social position to defend, and my own abilities would likely facilitate an escape even without outside help. Hellion’s Henchmen didn’t strike me as the type of organization to go back on it’s word, but if they did indeed withdraw lawyer support Mikey would be at far more risk than myself.

 

“You have a point. It might be smart to quit now.”

Mikey seemed a bit surprised by my sudden proclamation, “You think so? I sorta thought you were rather gung-ho about this.”

“Well, for me this job is perfect. It’s proven quite profitable, and the benefits counteract my biggest concerns, but your situation is different. You have to measure the risk versus reward.”

He grit his teeth, “Yeah, that’s probably why I’m so torn on this. The pay is good. A few more jobs like the last one and I’ll have the entire first year paid for, not just a single semester. But if I get pinned even once...”

 

Hmm, a possibility for great return, but with a chance of complete disaster. Personally I would never take such a gamble, but I didn’t know many jobs that would give the necessary payout for this college advancement Mikey was set on.

 

“Would a job with the heroes be a better fit for you perhaps?”

Mikey scoffed, “Central only takes people with powers dude, and the non-hero positions are basically fought over tooth-and-nail. I’d be laughed at for trying.”

 

Hmm, that was indeed a problem. Mikey had little in the way of combat skills. Maybe if he trained with Adder more often he would be able to fight ‘tooth-and-nail’ before summer ends. I’d have to make sure he doesn’t miss any sessions though.

 

We cleaned up the kitchen supplies (Mikey letting me keep the utensils and pan), and were getting ready to go to the elevator, when the ‘doorbell’ rang.

 

“Expecting anyone?” asked Mikey.

“No, but it might be one of the neighbors again.”

 

And a threat wouldn’t use the doorbell anyway. I checked through the ‘peephole’ (a clever little device, I was glad they were standard), but it was only Cindy. I opened the door to see what she wanted.

 

“Hello Cindy,” I greeted.

 

She blinked as the air from my apartment hit her, and took a few sniffs. Admittedly it still smelled quite smokey despite the open window. Surprisingly, when she spoke, her voice was not nearly as raspy as I was accustomed to.

 

“Tofu. You having fire trouble?”

“No, just trying to learn cooking. Some of the results got burnt.”

“Mhm.” Her piercing gaze drifted between Mikey and I for a bit, then she said, “Well don’t burn the place down,” and handed me a small red device, basically a cylinder with some kind of nozzle/handle at the top. Then without another word she abruptly turned and left.

 

I went to go place the device in the kitchen (a ‘fire extinguisher’ if I was reading the label right), when Mikey spoke up. He seemed a bit… stunned?

 

“Hey Tofu? Who was that?”

“That was Cindy,” I replied, using her civilian name as she hadn’t been wearing a mask.

“Oh, uh, where do you know her from? She a neighbor?”

“Yes, but I know her from work.”

“Oh. Oh! So she works for HH huh? Haven’t seen her around.”

“Well we do wear masks.”

“Heh, true enough. Still, I think I’d remember a hottie like that, mask or no mask.”

 

Mikey continued to act a bit odd, muttering to himself about quitting or not quitting. We reached the elevator and both got on, donning our masks before we did so.

 

“You’re heading to the base too Tofu? What for?” asked Mikey.

“I want to ask one of the lieutenants if they have a place for ranged target practice.”

“Like a gun range?”

“Perhaps, but not for a gun. Sandra says minions shouldn’t use guns, for several reasons.”

 

I pulled out the weapon I had taken from the four-armed Tinker Tot.

 

“I was thinking slingshots.”




 

 

As it turned out, there was not a dedicated ‘gun range’, but there was a very large room with a lot of durable targets placed at the far end of it. Seems it was mostly used by powered minions for target practice; the walls and targets were pitted and scarred with various blast marks.

 

Mikey had followed me down to the target practice room despite the late hour, apparently curious what I was going to do with a “flimsy slingshot.” Truthfully it wasn’t the slingshot itself I cared about so much as the concept of it. Between guns, throwing knives, and a few other weapons I had researched such as a ‘bow’ and ‘crossbow’, the problem with all of them was that they required a specialized ammo. Guns were the worst offenders of this, requiring metal carved in a specific shape with explosive powder set correctly. My few attempts to create a working bullet launcher had either fizzled or nearly blown my arms off. The micro units unfortunately clung to the powder I produced, and made it rather unstable in comparison to the real thing. Outright buying the bullets was a possibility, but it was expensive! According to Rattleback a single box of fifty bullets could cost over a thousand dollars, not because of production cost, but because they were labeled as highly illegal contraband by Central.

 

Bows were a much better bet, but once again the ammo was a problem. Bone spikes of the correct size and weight for ‘arrows’ were easily produced, but once launched the micro units quickly self-destructed, rendering the arrows to powder. My best result was up to twenty feet or so, after which the resulting shards and powder were unlikely to result in fatal wounds. Good for suppressing normal humans perhaps, not so much for mutants or supers.

 

But a slingshot requires no specific ammo. The concept was similar to the bow, but the power was in the elasticity of the band, and not in the shape of the ammo. This meant I would never be at a lack of ammo. If I ran out I could just take small chunks from my environment (cement, glass, metal, anything!) and launch them as is. No major shifting, no paying money, and easily prepared on the fly. Versatile. The only requirement was an elastic band that could handle the forces I planned to use, and luckily this task my micro units could handle easily.

 

I tested the slingshot a few times with some rocks I saved, and had Mikey try it a few times just to make sure I wasn’t missing something obvious. Nothing really to it, just an elastic band and some aiming required. The next step was to begin testing different organic material. I began shifting along one arm, intending to pull out a tendon to start with, when suddenly Mikey protested.

 

“Agh dude, warn me the next time you do that. Don’t wanna lose my dinner.”

“What’s wrong?”

“That thing you’re doing with your arm, that’s your power right? No offense but it looks pretty disgusting. Like a scene from The Thing.”

 

I had no clue what he was talking about, although his reaction was surprisingly strong. Thinking back, I realized the only humans who had really seen my shifting up close were Magenta, and humans I had killed. Had they also been averse to the nature of my shifting? Perhaps, but I couldn’t be sure if there reactions were disgust or fear due to the circumstances. If humans reacted adversely to my shifting I’d have to account for it in the future.

 

“Is it really that bad?”

“Well… yeah kinda. Hate to say it, but it looks kinda like mutavus on fast forward. We had to watch a video of it once in Health Ed.”

 

Not too surprising. If mutavus worked as described it had to be doing cellular reconstruction in a manner similar to my micro units. The results would look quite similar to someone who wasn’t aware of the specific mechanics. Still, better to distance myself from the idea of mutation, humans were very skittish when it came to mutavus.

 

“I can assure you it isn’t mutavus, it’s just a result of my power. You don’t have to stay if it makes you uncomfortable though.”

“I’m not worried about that, it’s just kinda hard to watch on a full stomach. You gonna be doing it a lot?”

“Yes, I need to do all the design testing manually.”

“Then I think I’ll bow out for now, it’s been a long day anyways.”

“Alright. Will I see you tomorrow? Or have you decided to resign?”

“Oh. Um. I’ll see you tomorrow, gonna think about it a bit more for now.”

“Okay. Later Mikey, and thanks for the pan.”

“Ha, no prob man. Laters.”

 

 


 

 

The next day, Mikey and I helped distribute the last of the devices Socket had for us. It went even smoother than last time. The only interesting event was when we met with what was apparently a Tinker Tot lieutenant. He was was wearing a mask much like Socket’s, with lots of extra devices attached, as well as a plethora of other makeshift devices strapped around his person. What I found odd was that I estimated his age at thirteen to fifteen years old, and despite appearing to be a tinker he was also a mutant. Throughout the conversation he twisted small devices together, small bits of wire and metal that he flexed into new shapes before storing in his many pockets. I had thought being a tinker was a power, and therefore inaccessible to mutants.

 

Fred finished up his conversation with the Tinker Tot (basically an apology from both sides for the ‘scuffle’ from yesterday), and when we were far enough away I broached the subject of a tinker/mutant with him.

 

“I thought mutants couldn’t be tinkers.”

“What’s that Tofu?”

“The Tinker Tot. He was assembling devices as well as wearing them, but Pebbles said mutants can’t get powers.”

“Oh, umm…” he looked back the way we had come, “...maybe he’s just practiced? The Tots do a lot of work with gizmos and junk. Or maybe his benedicci reaction carried over after he mutated?”

“Benedicci reactions can do that?”

“Sure, wouldn’t be the first time benedicci made someone smarter. Mutavus wouldn’t throw that away.”

 

“Hmm…” I wasn’t so sure. The way the Tinker Tot assembled those gizmos had been… like a trance, like he wasn’t aware he was doing it. It reminded me a lot of Socket at his workstation.

 

“Hey, don’t take my word for it man. I’m no expert,” said Fred, “Weirder stuff than a mutant with powers has happened. It’s called Odd Summer for a reason.”

 

Good point.

 

 


 

 

Nothing else happened on Thursday, and I spent the rest of the day testing slingshot designs. My hope was to make the launcher compact and versatile. If I could get it right, it should be able to handle multiple ammo types in addition to whatever I picked up. I hadn’t completely given up on arrows.

 

And I wonder what the policy on grenades is?...

 

Friday morning was a bit different from normal. While I didn’t have a “job” to do, I was still required to attend a small orientation for the upcoming job on Saturday.

 

On my way to the orientation I received a text message from Nicole, an unusual occurrence. While she often responded to my texts (I messaged her about Gribblin Tamer often), she had yet to initiate one herself, although I immediately understood why she did in this instance.

 

Nicole: Hey Tofu? By any chance did you hear anything back from the police? Another monster body turned up.

 

Oh! Another bio-weapon body. Maybe this one would reveal more valuable information.

 

Tofu: I have to go to an orientation for my job, but I’ll come over when it’s done.

 

I sent the message and headed for the orientation room. She sent several messages back saying I didn’t need to come in person, but I pretended to not be watching for messages and ignored them. I wanted an excuse to get my hands on the bio-weapon.

 

At the orientation room I met up with several other powered minions, Ifrit, Gregor, Olson, Pebbles, and several others who I hadn’t met before, most of whom were combat model mutants. Imp was there too, his red villain mask standing out starkly, and it seemed he would be leading the meeting.

 

Once the last minions to arrive were settled (all minions in powered masks surprisingly), Imp started to outline the upcoming job. This one would be a robbery like the last one, but in this case it would be during the day, at a busy location, and civilians would be a big concern. This “bank robbery” was apparently meant to be high-profile on purpose, and the villain who had hired Hellion’s Henchmen had a detailed list of requirements that had to be adhered to. Imp passed out packets of paper with specific details.

 

The instructions were… excessive. Most of it was details on where to be and when, but it also contained specifics on conduct, and what we needed to accomplish in different phases of the plan. Multiple backup plans were provided based on the situation, and there was a confusing section that detailed what to do if… the “robot lemmings” escaped early? Normally I would have approved of such a detailed plan, but the discovery that each minion had a different set of instructions specific to them seemed utterly impractical. Surely this “Trebla the Terrific” understood such a complicated plan would never survive application?

 

Imp finished up the meeting, leaving the minions scratching their heads in confusion and frustration as they puzzled over their own specific instructions. I quickly memorized my packet, before heading over to where the other newbies had gathered. Maybe if I looked at their instructions as well the plan would make more sense?

 

The reactions to the plans were varied. Gregor seemed as confused as I was, Ifrit seemed focused on memorizing the plans precisely, Olson was surprisingly laughing as he read through the robot lemming section, and Pebbles just sat in his chair with his head in his hands, grumbling about eccentric villains. I decided to ask Pebbles about Trebla, since he seemed to have encountered him before.

 

“Hey Pebbles? Would you happen to be able to tell me more about the client?”

 

The other newbies turned at my question, also curious about what Pebbles had to say about the villain. Pebbles raised his head, and sighed before answering.

 

“Well, as you might have guessed he’s the eccentric type,” he flicked his already crinkled packet, “everything you need to know is probably in these stupid packets. But if it’s advice you want all I can tell you is to brace yourselves for tedium and chaos. You’re about to hench for Trebla the Terrible.”

 

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Newbage @Newbage ago

Yay. Thanks for the chapter. It was very satisfying.

kgy121 @kgy121 ago

I'm betting that 'The Terrible' is just a moniker used by people who have to work with 'em, not something given by the media/heroes for adequecy in villainy.

Brian P. @Brian P. ago

Woo! 

Mikey heads to the kitchen corner as I open the window again. Then he pulls out a pan from the bag he brought, and surprisingly a lot of other items. A stack of paper plates, plastic sporks like the ones at the school cafeteria, and some napkins.

This paragraph is in present tense, but the rest of the story is in past tense.

At the orientation room I met up with several other powered minions, Ifrit, Gregor, Olson, Pebbles, and several other powered minions who I hadn’t met before, most of whom were combat model mutants.

I don't know that you need to repeat that they're powered minions.

Edit: Also, this bit uses "former" and "latter" incorrectly, they only really work in a list with two options. First, second, final/lastly would make more sense.

Plus the heroes wouldn’t even try to kill you, only villains, vigilantes, and monsters tried to do that. The former were mostly intimidated by Hellion, the latter was rare, and lastly monsters were a risk no matter what you did.

 

Moridain @Moridain ago

That super powered mutant tot has me concerned. Somehow that raised some big 'DANGER' flags for me.

Also, Trebla sounds like an OCD Supergenius. That would be a pretty horrifying combination to live with.

    koenji @koenji ago

    Actually it's probably just foreshadowing eluding to the possibility of Tofu getting powers, since from what we read he was based off of mutavus virus experimentation.

      Moridain @Moridain ago

      Well Benedicti seem to be a viral thing too, just one that is more subtle than Muta. Maybe he can 'learn' how it works? I don't think he has eaten anyone with Benedicti yet.

      Moridain @Moridain ago

      ... Wait, what if 'Human.exe' IS benedicti? O_o

      Misticsword @Misticsword ago

      Wow. Fascinating. Very fascinating.

      Babin @Babin ago

      That's what I've been thinking too

      kaizo @kaizo ago

      I think everyone has Benedicci. So he definitely has.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      Benedicci seems to be a bacteria, i doubt tofu would allow such a thing inside of himself without eating it. Most likely he eats it when he eats people, and then if someone has a higher concentration of it, aka has improved bodies from it, he copies the good bits.

      Remember, tofu doesnt have a body like we think of them. He built a approximation that can do the same things using what he learned from his food, but he is more...i dont know the appropriate terminology in real world biology, but you could probably imagine him as a slime in a rpg, but one able to modify his form to harden and change on a mollecular level. Basically anything touching him could be eaten, and being inside is probably a "very bad" idea, and then he modifies his body as he needs based on what he ate.

      He probably doesnt have an immune system or something specifically, he just directs his units to eat the things in contact with him/inside him. Its hard to get sick when your body eats whatever goes inside

      GoodOldChap @GoodOldChap ago

      Human.exe might be a superpower though

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      I doubt it, its a program, has been stated a such several times and he apparently had a choice to accept its download.

      That doesnt seem much like the powers we have heard of. Especially since they seem to be shaped by desire vs mutavus's needs...and without human.exe im not sure he has any desire besides being a better weapon...which could result in many far more likely evolutions.

      Course, i could be wrong but i dont think its a power

      Moridain @Moridain ago

      When it was absorbed it was basically a bunch of nanites in a puddle of mutavirus goo. If its Benedicti it might have sought to integrate as much as it could with what it had on hand.

      Also since we have heard that benedicti tends to make humans stay human seeming and just improve them, then making a monster more 'human' would be within its modus operandi.

      As to how it got into contact, what if one of the animals/monsters/things that it was set on had the virus perhaps intentionally introduced as part of the experimental process?

      It is a long shot guess, but I do see a small possability that it is correct.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      You realize that you have attributted a LOT to the benedicti that is far beyond the current show knowledge of it (which albeit limited, is within a defined scope of making people "better" but not like mutavis or the powers). Including apparently the ability to act as software program, duplicate human understanding and make other species more human. This is not counting that the exact state you suggested our mc was in is exactly the state that is most likely to simply consume the bacteria for food (and if he copied its structure...its a bacteria, as far as i can tell nothing is special about it until it performs unknown actions within a host, which as a bunch of nano controlled units i dont think our mc could benefit from without explicitly adopting a human form and cutivating them, which, why would he do so, he isnt human, all he needs to do is sample someone with the bacteria and figure out the changes, unlike superpowers this appear purely biological and he can duplicate that), and that when we met him he was already at the stage of having a physical form, apparently insectoid, and fighting various wild animals, not a bunch of nanites in goo. At least no more a bunch of nanites in goo than his entire existence is, which was actually what i was arguing earlier about why he likely just eats the benedicti and everything else biological to interact with him. Hell he would probably have a field day with poison, either it infects him and damages his structures (aka his bodily form) causing some effect, it is pulled apart by his units without issue, or it damages his units/form (aka corrosives, best handled by severing/blocking off injury site, possible internal barriers?). Even if his body is poisoned he is technically the nanites/control unit and can purge his body. Worst case scenario is some nasty material cuts off his nodes/control and his body disintegrates on the spot.

      Moridain @Moridain ago

      Yeah, as I said its a long shot guess. But things attributed to Benedicti so far are healing, enhanced strength, enhanced defense and improved intellect. We have yet to hear of anything with benedicti that wasn't human (that I remember?)

      My guess is just based on the fact that if it is focused on improving humans and someone uber mutated under experiments (Tofu might have been a human once after all) caught it then it might try to 'fix' him. And the thing missing from him most was intellect and humanity.

      Alternateively it could just be a hacker/tinker screwing with the lab. We don't have enough information.

      Poisons: Yeah, at the moment I suspect it already has a cache of them but it hasn't really thought of this yet. After all poisons that enter its system and disassembled and studied as a matter of course. The idea of introducing poisons to others hasn't really come up yet, since so far its best method of attack is just to put sharp bits in them and pull their bodies apart.

      Poisoned sling shot bolts are almost certainly coming though, perhaps even something like a capsule that explodes into a gas cloud?

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      Issues with poison is the same as making bullets and arrows though.

      Its possible, but the question is does the pro/con outweigh the benefits?

      He would have to synthesise them internally from material not related to his body and then store them internally without consumption, and with his track record of injury i would not want a number of dangerous chemicals stored inside me. If its made from him it will likely break down before doing too much harm...probably better learning to make hair thin nano strands to touch people and insert his units into their body for control, if the units arent destroyed by white blood cells, electrical signals, or anything else in our bodies (sure enough will overwhelm these issues, but likely be detected and then break the string, imagine swating an itch or something) i mean if static electricity can obliterate them...

      Why_0h_Why @Why_0h_Why ago

      There is no approproate term in biology as Tofu is at it's core synthetic.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      I was thinking of how the (excuse any mistakes here, microbiology is not my field) single cell organisms basically eat anything they touch by dissolving it, then perhaps a multicellular colony that has total control over each cell? That operates the same...thats basically tofu, but the colony of cells is big enough and complex enough to fake human bodies.

      And we do know he has a core or nucleus that directs the rest of him. Im sure there are words for him, from the looks of it though, unless his core is organic he is an AI, it it is organic he probably counts as a cyborg

      Ashcheul @Ashcheul ago

      >You realize that you have attributted a LOT to the benedicti that is far beyond the current knowledge of it

      Yeah, I too think it's far fetched at this point. Both mutavus and benedicci so far behave just what you'd expect from Powered bacteria.

      Side dish #3 gives a lot of clarity regarding current knowledge of Powers and Power-like effects:

      1. True Powers - each True Power finds a way to say *fuck you* to a stable subset of laws of physics as we know them. Tinkers might gain abilities to design and build crazy tech.

      2. Benedicci low resonance - makes human more healthy and more resistant to diseases. Just a bit above vanilla human. Nothing eye-catching.

      3. Beneditti exceptional resonance - may look like True Power sometimes, but it's scope is only about enhancements of a normal biological functions of organism - exceptionaly healthy, faster muscles, stronger muscles. (It's still unclear if exceptional resonance gives these as one unified package, or random pieces of it).

      4. Mutavus - warps and remodels host. Where True Powers and benedicci do not change how host looks, mutavus does.

      So to me it seems like benedicci and mutavus are Powered Diseases, that just turned out to be symbiotic.

      The way Tofu operated before Human.exe - he was a tinker-tech. A technology that seems impossible. It was confirmed that Brett Savvy was tinker, and he was part of team that designed Tofu and was heavily invested in this project that brought together fields of organics, nanobots and computer design.

      But Human.exe still is not explained. By the way it says *fuck you* to logic, it seems like and effect of Power or the granted Power itself. The one who sent this Human.exe to Tofu was perhaps unknown tinker that messes with Dawn; perhaps it was doctor Savvy behind the scenes that has some kind of plan or ideology; perhaps it was Odd Summer itself - deeming young Tofu as worthy of Power as it found worthy different animals or bacteria. He was a piece of tech but he was found "organic" or "sentient" enough to become Powered.

      I think that if Tofu gets his hands on somebody who has extraordinary resonance with benedicci, and if Tofu recreates organs that benedicci infects, he might get this extraordinary resonance going. I doubt it will give him something he can't do now; but where he was spending his own energy before, he'd be making benedicci pay the bill with it's Power. So energy efficiency might be gained. One problem is - benedicci is Powered bacteria. Introducing it into your body can backfire - what if it decides that nanobots are worthy to be eradicated? It would be a mess. He'll need to make a choice - does he want to start this experiment or no.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      1. How does human.exe say fuck you to logic? All it would take is a defined set of parameters to provide a human perspective to his calculation algorithms, a program that simulates the human mind for him is pretty believable. Especially in a world that can make him, who is potentially, and most likely, an AI.

      2. If the benedicci decides the nanites are a problem and tries to eradicate them chances are it gets eaten immediately, even if it somehow overpowers his nanites it wont somehow make him human or something. Tofu is as much those nanites as our flesh and blood is us.

      3. I can accept that maybe the mutavus and benedicci are power viruses, but i have no evidence either way so its just another option. Id also however lay money that anyone with good resonance with bendicci also requires a higher sustenance intake, even if they break down food better i doubt a normal diet for an unpowered person can sustain them.

      Ashcheul @Ashcheul ago

      >1. How does human.exe say fuck you to logic? All it would take is a defined set of parameters to provide a human perspective to his calculation algorithms, a program that simulates the human mind for him is pretty believable. Especially in a world that can make him, who is potentially, and most likely, an AI.

      That's a valid question and I think I need to clarify. *Fuck you* factor comes from few directions:

      A.) Tofu is f*king unique hardware, and unique programming environment. Then Suddenly somebody sends him a program that is compatible with his unique prototype environment. I will reiterate this point: for a 1 unique OS/hardware/wetware somebody designed algorithm of Human.exe or adapted it from another existing environment. That unknown author/collective of designers had documentation for pretty high secret and experimental project that might or might not succeed. With non-Powered methods this all becomes quite an obstacle. You can overcome it, but resources, power and spies spent are mind-boggling. And for what? Does it worth it?

      B.) On the other hand, I feel like designing an algorithm to emulate a human-like individual requires A LOT of human-hours even if you find capable scientists. In our world problems of this complexity are taken on by institutes or mega-corps with close ties to military - like Google for example. With not-Powered methods it seems not a cheap endavor - in personal, in time, in money, in influence, in secrecy and loyalty.

      C.) A pretty weird access restrictions that Tofu has imposed upon him, regarding Human.exe . It's mighty suspicious that program which he was pretty guarded against, suddenly has unexpected priviliges. Of cource it could be explained that it exploits backdoor that is part of his design, he does not know of.

      A, B, C can be countered with mundane methods, true, but I want to point out, that cost and time spent to do that seems unreasonable.

      A+B+C together are a bit too much of coincidences. If we try to explain how Tofu got Human.exe by non-Powered methods - that's a lot of power, time and personel spent... To make Tofu escape? Also, regarding power-money-time spent... Organizations in this world use tinkers. Even if it's diversion - why not use a specialised Powered that can pull it off if his cost/effect/political consequences of using are acceptable?

      Of course I operate by things I know about AI development. My knowledge might be flawed. Also, in the future, where story takes place my there might be toolchains and theory that makes process of creating/altering AI much more cost efficient that it is today. But I will operate on my current knowledge for now, until we get more info in the book.

      >2.

      If we take into account that it's a Powered phenomena we do not understand yet, it's not impossible that it can plays by set of rules that we do not understand yet.

      As a sidenote, consider that what we know so far is public knowledge (i.e. censored perhaps to prevent mass panic, or protect business that makes benedicci vaccination, or to covet knowledge which is power in itself).

      So if there are rules we are not aware of, it might be that benedicci by some bizzare Power can take down nanobots. Will nanobots explode upon deconstruction by benedicci? Will benedicci spread fast enough to reach Core? Or what if they behave well for one week, and then suddenly rebel when Tofu's guard down? Can Core be damaged by benedicci?

      We know that benedicci would not survive inside of Tofu if they kill nanobots. But are benedicci capable of predicting that? Will it stop them?

      So I say there is a risk of Tofu experimenting with benedicci directly. I think there are countermeasures that can mitigate risk, but risk can never be mitigated 100%. It's a step into unknown, a leap of faith.

      >3.

      Interesting. Maybe. We definitely need more experiments to clarify this point Tongue

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      I can 100% agree that human.exe is either a super project (aka someones magnum opis or something stolen and tweaked to fit this situation, i mean, they had to do a lot with Tofu, if his core programming was simple an AI kernel that grows as exposed to new data...then any program made for a similar AI will fit him or at least be adaptable, id find it logical to find his core program being used somewhere else if its a successful basic AI) or made by a super powered person. But i dont feel that makes he program itself a powered entity which is how i read it earlier.

      And my main issue with benedicci is that we dont know enough about it, and in general it hasnt been given any indications of being worthwhile/attractive to Tofu in general. I mean if Tofu really wanted to do something to gain more powers, he can eat a mutavis person, or even better get infected with mutavis, trigger it, learn that form, and reset himself.

      Many people are looking at these as "the cool virus/thing that can give tofu powers" but i personally dont find likely vectors for his grow, not through self infection and power development...at most i see him doing the same thing he is doing. Acquire biomass, acquire new structures through consumption of enemies and learn new tactics/strategies, Tofu is already a freaking terrifying being with just those 3 things. If he can learn to control his units better, possible make it so he can do so at a range or stick portions of himself into an inactive mode... id consider those more in line with him, with the units control being a result of him poking around his systems (or maybe getting nicole the maybe tinker to? If he realizes that she can maybe work on it and gets his probability analysis to allow it) and removing some of the programmed controls/limitations

       

      And lets face it, can a disease even infect tofu unless he goes to a signifigant effort and devotes biomass to it? Why would he logically do so when he has easier methods (take a bit of someone or something), have you ever tried to create the enviroment inside your body? Its pretty complex in there

      Ashcheul @Ashcheul ago

      I think I can better understand your point of view regarding these topics. Interesting ideas. New food for thought.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      The joys of discussion, at least you talked about it logically from your point of view *thumbs up*

j_i_m_s @j_i_m_s ago

My boy Tofu is alive and kicking! Slingshots could work yeah, or maybe a arm cannon? Like a hollow arm, you insert a projectile and than launch it like a high speed elevator.

Nicole and the bioweapon sound like a juicy morsal to chew on.

Finally Trebla the Terrible sounds like a great time if they got so much planned out lol.

Read2live @Read2live ago

Most gracious thanks extended.

Alpharius_Omegon @Alpharius_Omegon ago

Tofu should just say he has no memory prior to mutating.

    human 000 @human 000 ago

    Yeah that would help his situation

    flssdd @flssdd ago

    He has "combat" and shapeshifting experience so the assumption is that his powers are not new to him and he should have been around enough to have a common sense... Also he is casual about most things, efficient, cold and brutal, perseptive and smart enough to get things at once. Doesn't fit for someone with new powers and amnesia (very selective one at that). And there is still the problem (even if it doesn't come from him and he seems to not care) about his past.

    Way better excuse is that he just lived in the tunnels till recently with little to no social contact (just enough to learn the language, clothes and other basic stuff, but otherwise still a caveman) and doesn't know when, how and why he got his power, he's been like that and lived like that since he can remember. He'll get some weird looks and probably sympathy, but no more deeper digging. (unknown origin, plausable enough and not in the system in the first place, nothing to dig for and he himself doesn't have more answers.) That is actually closest to the truth so it will be even easier.

      Bedeulfi @Bedeulfi ago

      why make it complicated? He can just avoid the question and go stfu if pressed and if he really neads to explain himself than he can just tell the truth that he was held captive by a secret organization and that they did inhumane test on him where he had to heal himself regularly.

      Doubt anyone would really dig into his past after that.

      flssdd @flssdd ago

      I mean just for an excuse if he needs to explain something or other, not to just go out and proclaim it to everyone.

      Secret organization is bad idea. He obviously escaped, so they will look for him to recapture or eliminate. So HH that took him in will be in the crosshairs and will want some info and he can't say he knows nothing about it if he himself shares such story. If anything there would be more digging.

      Nightmaretree @Nightmaretree ago

      Dont directly say anything, honestly tofu may not even know what a secret organization is...i mean by context yes, but doesnt he just consider them a organization? Not secret at all.

      And im pretty sure at some point Tofu is gonna say for X reason that he was made in a lab and people are gonna assume human testing, not bioweapon

      Bedeulfi @Bedeulfi ago

      Well, don't forget it is a super world. 'secret organisations' can be run of the mill and nothing special there. And if I recall correctly someone already mentioned that everybody has their secrets and they shouldn't press for more.

      Just saying, in general and especially in a super world (with mindreader, truthsayer and other crap) it is better to stick close to the truth.

    Brian P. @Brian P. ago

    Tofu doesn't know HR has a lie detecting power. It'd be well advised to obfuscate rather than directly lie about anything, so just keeping quiet is probably the best bet.