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  • wahahahaha

    Have none of these adults read a comicbook before? You locked up a telepath, experiment on him and expected to get a functioning member of society? Its like they wanted a supervillain.

    • AbacusWizard

      Makes me wonder if Somebody was pulling strings behind the scenes to ensure precisely that result.

      • Dave M

        Well, they did corral up all the biodynamics they could find and put them in spandex, capes, and secret identities (where possible) and create real life comic book supers. And what’s a super hero without a super villain? Indeed how do you justify something like the Guardians without the threat of “Menace”? And provided the researchers are two stages isolated from anyone who knows that this is a deliberate attempt to distil a foe for their heroes to fight, even Patrick would not scan any evidence of it. Of course this would indicate that the storm was deliberate and that Patrick is merely the first data point, which does seem more and more likely.

        (Sings) “They tied you to the hospital chair
        They drugged your mind and zapped what was there
        And from your lips they drew the Hallelujah”

        • Sanguich

          This might, MIGHT, not be the conspiracy. Seems like medication and electroshock therapy for a kid whose parents think is crazy.

          • Tylikcat

            How old is he supposed to be in that frame? What are the standards for ECT in kids? *clicks over to the clinical literature*

            …well, in our world, on really brief glance, it looks like guidelines vary a lot by state, with an allowed range of “after 12” and “banned until 18” popping up immediately. “Safe, effective, and underutilized…” Well, then.

          • AshlaBoga

            I’ve heard as young as 10.

          • Weatherheight

            EST/ECT has had such a *huge* range of application and recommendation and proscription over time. To quote a former psych professor of mine who worked in the state system for extremely psychologically/emotionally traumatized:

            “I’m not saying I’m for having 20,000 volts send through my head – but if I’m trying to kill myself or maim myself and meds aren’t doing the trick, you have my permission to try a reset on me.”

            It’s pretty much a last resort now (well, except for depression, I think), but it was pretty commonly used in the 40’s and 50’s. The tendency seems to have been to use it on either violent or suicidal patients from what I’ve read (and I am not well read on this subject, and feel free to correct/enlighten me). Since most children aren’t generally physically threatening to themselves or others, that might explain some of that. I suspect the potential problems of anesthesia application and potential brain damage limit experimentation to determine best practices for best efficacy.

            That said, the more someone places on the periphery of society, the more likely it is they will be treated as a test subject/guinea pig without compunction.

          • Tylikcat

            I hang out in such a different area of neurobiology – I mean, out here, people are likely to come up with mathematically elegant models for stopping cardiac rhythm using a very small amount of current. And then try it. Oops.

            And, of course, in the hacking community, it’s pretty common for people to build their own rigs for transcranial magnetic stimulation. There’s this whole subculture…

          • Weatherheight

            Wait, wait… you said “stopping cardiac rhythm”.
            Please tell me that was supposed to be stopping cardiac arrhythmia… 😀
            You’re awfully quiet….
            ::shuffles his hooves nervously::

          • Tylikcat

            Ha, you even got me when I was online, if eating dinner. (I’m getting the zendo ready for close down for the holidays, and me ready to fly back to the west coast tomorrow. *does a little dance*)

            But indeed, no. This is one of the great classic stories in phase response curves – and why sometimes trying things out on your own body is really dumb. Let me see now…


          • StClair

            “In particular, Winfree describes the work of George R. Mines (1914), who was doing phase-resetting experiments by shocking rabbits at various phases of their heartbeat. He found the phase and shock that could stop a rabbit’s heart (black hole in Fig.10.8), and then applied it to himself. He died.”


          • Tylikcat

            It’s an awesome field. Another great story is about how a region in the brain stem that handles respiratory rhythm was named after a type of wine. (In revenge for the guy who stole another person’s work and then tried to name it after himself.) A friend of mine who works in the region buys a case of the wine and gives it out to friends every few years.

            …I should say, I’ve been working more in soft body biomechanics recently. Hence the impending move into robotics.

          • Xin

            “I hang out in such a different area of neurobiology – I mean, out here, people are likely to come up with mathematically elegant models for stopping cardiac rhythm using a very small amount of current. And then try it. Oops.

            And, of course, in the hacking community, it’s pretty common for people to build their own rigs for transcranial magnetic stimulation. There’s this whole subculture…

            But indeed, no. This is one of the great classic stories in phase response curves – and why sometimes trying things out on your own body is really dumb. Let me see now…”

            Haha, that experiment is simultaneously awesome and terrible. Inquiring minds prevail through the ages and always want to experiment with their own bodies… amazing.

            There is Newton’s needle in eye socket stuff…

            It does make one stop and wonder why the fellow might try it on himself in the first place. Curiosity killed the cat?

            Come to think about the hacking community, is “hacker” now the proper modern term for some subsets of “mad scientist”?

            Should I refer to mad scientist folk who experiment on themselves by that moniker instead?

            Funny how with the stereotype of mad fascination with electrical phenomena, it’s pretty interesting stuff that humans now actually do have the ability to play with things like transcranial magnetic stimulation.

            Or deadly stuff.

            But hopefully not.

            “MORE LIGHTNING!!! YESSS!!!!

            …now, what if ve try this in ze brain? *mad gleam in eyes*”

          • Enjoy the West Coast!

          • Tylikcat

            Assuming I can get there (in there airport, awaiting a substitute plane) I fully expect to!

          • ECT was used in some gay conversion therapies, and there seems to be continuing use in self-injurious autism. Electric shock ‘aversion therapy’ was also used extensively by the Judge Rotenberg Center for non-injurious autism and other behaviours – resulting in multiple referrals to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, being labelled ‘a form of torture’ by President Obama and culminating in a 2011 criminal trial of its founder for child endangerment and obstruction of justice.

          • Weatherheight

            Yeah, it’s been used a lot by a lot of Little Tin Gods and Dictators as one-stop a torture / reprogramming / pacification of dissidents technique way to often, too. It’s funny / not funny at all / horrifyingly sad how often what starts as an attempt to help turns into a method of domination…

          • Incendax

            That brings back so many memories. When they were trying to figure out what was wrong with me, they went right down the list. Ritalin, antidepressants, muscle testing… Finally they decided to try ECT out of sheer frustration on their part.

            Turned out it was just Autism (this was before the Autism fad diagnosis, back when nobody had a clue what it was until Rain Man came out).

          • Dave M

            Electroshock, Lobotomy’s, and the like were actively pushed as the magic bullet for curing/stabilizing non-conformant behavior over the years. One source I read a few years ago claimed that some (not all) of the push came from medical professionals who felt threatened by the rise of psychological methodology and its claim that not all behavioral issues were treatable by physical means (even if they resulted from physical trauma).

          • Weatherheight

            Overweening pride is something all sides can share. 🙁

          • David Brown

            When I was 8 years old, I was locked up in a mental institution that shared a property line with my elementary school. Was experimented on in the institution (nearly died) and yes, they could see me through the barred window from the playground.
            This was in 1988, before the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) which meant it was all openly legal.

          • Tylikcat

            Ugh. It’s easy to forget how recent the ADA is (and then how much its been undermined already.) That’s just awful.

            1986 was when I became a 13 year old university student… and research subject. And while the program was a really fucked up place (who puts 13 year olds in twenty credit hours and then goes on about how their inadequacies ad nauseum while trying to get them to drop out of anything that gives them joy? I mean, seriously? Well, I suppose I could give you names…) it did give me a peer group, many of whom are friends to this day.

          • Dave M

            You could be right. And it would lead to the same end result anyway. The sad thing about if you’re right? It’s the optimistic reading.

  • MoonicaMusing

    It’s ok, I didn’t want to not cry at work or anything

    • palmvos

      someone once told me- the depths of your pain define the heights of your joy. I liked him too much to kill him.

      • Giacomo Bandini

        So i guess you had someone else do the deed.

        • palmvos

          as far as i know no hes still around. I just changed time zones.

      • friendlymosquito

        I’ve heard that before and I wanna say it’s from a Discworld book but I could be making that up.

  • Meghan

    christ. He’s literally locked away his most painful memories because he can’t deal with them. This is all.. disassociation of the highest order. And how could he ever function otherwise?

    • Weatherheight

      We all lock away the stuff we just can’t handle at the time – the trick is figuring out how to drag it out into the daylight when we *can* handle it.

      • palmvos

        you are assuming the memory can be retrieved. sometimes all that is left is the pain, hurt and a wish for someone else to blame (suffer actually). and also, how do you know it is time?

        • Weatherheight

          My life experience suggests that if there’s pain, the memory is still functional at some level (both in myself and in others), but facing that memory and seeing it for what it truly is (as opposed to how we’ve reconfigured it) is sometimes worse than the original experience.
          Yeah, figuring out “When” is tough in practically everything – timing is tricky.

      • And if it’s useful to do so. If locking stuff away works, then, well, I’m not going to tell anybody that they HAVE to wake up a sleeping dog in their brain.

    • Tylikcat

      Locking away is a pretty common coping strategy, sure, but…

      “And how could he ever function otherwise?”

      Well, you grow up, you get into a safer space, and you remember. (“Remember” and “forget” and really the right terms for my experience.) Maybe it messes up your life for a while (my mid-teens were tumultuous – but then, I moved out on my own, and then took my father to court, was super absorbed with trying to pay rent and keep myself fed, so maybe it wasn’t that…) Dealing with shit is also kind of a skill, so it gets easier over time.

      I’m not saying all this directly applies to Patrick – his situation is a bit off the common track. But horrible things happen to people all the time. Not the infrequently, over a pretty extended period of time. And, amazingly, an awful lot of those people aren’t forever broken and doomed to become drug addicts, prostitutes and/or serial killers, but one way or another get themselves together and get on with life. Repressing their experiences is hardly the only way, or if they do, often, they deal.

      And – okay, here, I realize my experience is in the minority, but I will generalize anyway – you can’t live in the full immersive memories. I mean, they can be there, so you can visit them, but they’re too much. Just revisiting some of my memories of what it was like to be four (and earlier ages, but I spent a bunch of time with four) while interesting and worthwhile was also… disorienting. My four year old brain was a strange place to revisit. You index the important stuff, mostly stay close to the index, and get on with life.

  • Gotham

    I too would reject Alison’s gesture of affection if “Green” was a constant reminder of the worst torture a four year old can survive.

    Silliness aside, thoughts in order:
    – Maybe this is the origin of the Conspiracy. No time travel involved, no shenanigans with the Storm™, just enough research done on a four year old telepath to know there will be more.
    – Dr. Moss and his parents and all the people they told about are dead. They /have/ to. It could explain why Patrick was so reluctant to respond to his parent’s call two pages ago. He killed them. Again, at four.

    – Alternatively, this strikes me as more and more suspicious. No time to waste, he said? Let’s just /happen/ to revisit the quick succession of memories that would make anyone sympathetic with Patrick by sheer coincidence? Alison was already apologizing like no one’s business by memory one, by this one here she almost word for word gave her approval for time travel.
    Maybe it’s all bullshit created by Patrick Prime from the beginning to get her to stop hating him, to the extent of fake memories.
    Maybe it’s all real but carefully curated by kid Patrick to achieve this effect.
    Maybe Menace is not working alone and kid Patrick is on his side. Trying their hardest to get an Alison to join them in their quest to achieve time travel.

    • Weatherheight

      I want to believe Patrick is up to something good, but I keep running down paths like this.
      I’m aware this doesn’t say much good about my level of cynicism…

      • palmvos

        indeed. this could all be part of the plot. come give into your anger and join me… I have cookies. ::offers weatherheight a cookie with chocolate/peanut butter chips::
        ::munches one just like it::

        • Weatherheight

          ::makes swirly spiral eyes and munches the cookies::

          • palmvos

            Good, Good.

    • palmvos

      on your last point the painful memories are the most powerful (I’m sure an evolutionary something will point out a good reason for this but….) so it stands to reason that the most painful memories sit at the edge of any barrier. they are the ones most likely to breach it.
      also, how could Alison who is primarily known for violently solving her problems help with time travel? we have seen no evidence of a supersmart powerful being who’s arm could be twisted for the secret.

      • Gotham

        I figure she could easily stop Patrick doing the time travelling if she’s not convinced of whatever the plan is. It’d not be so much to get her help as to get her approval.

        • palmvos

          she could interfere.. but that is just a secrecy thing keeping Alison from finding out about a device is probably the simplest course. she isn’t Bruce Wayne with informants on every corner. (excuse me i have to take this call.) in any plot remember KISS. or another way- I played with mechanisms a lot when i was young- and the more moving parts… the harder it is to keep it working.

      • friendlymosquito

        I think it’s something to do with the amygdala? Strongly emotional events get burned into your memory more brightly, and pain is a pretty strong emotion.

        • Weatherheight

          I heard something very similar on NPR as regards Alzheimer’s/dementia and the possible relationship to atrophy of the amygdala.

    • Tylikcat

      Maybe we’re just finally learning Patrick’s history. And exactly why he’s suck a fuckwit. *grabs some more popcorn*

    • Lisa Izo

      Seriously, he does not look four years old at all. Although I agree with you that Alison should be suspicious of Patrick, that he might just be letting her see memories to make her more sympathetic to him. Tugging on the heartstrings as it were.

      • Gotham

        Neither does Brain Patrol kid Patrick, and still. Art is representative.

        • Lisa Izo

          Well… I don’t think either of them are four years old. 🙂

          • Gotham

            Brain Patrol kid Patrick absolutely undeniably is.

  • Gotham

    Also: “for what”? The Patrick Brain Patrol team can’t read minds.
    This is… odd? Why wouldn’t they?

    • sagelynaive

      I assume it has something to do with the fact that Patrick can’t read his own mind.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      Well, tecnically Patrick.is trading her mind- all the action of the Allison’s Avatar are mentale impuses which Patrick is reading and responding real-time. Probably his primary ability to read peoples thougths and the seconary to create a virtual shared world cannot ne used at thebsame time.

      Thinking about it, when i dream i act, but i Aldo think, despite the fact that these are both a kind of thougths. Probably the immaginary actions imake indice the dream world and my thoughts are a Different kind of mentale impulses.

  • JohnTomato

    Hard reboots from ECT usually don’t work.

    • Weatherheight

      Relapse is likely within 12-15 months in most patients. ECT is a tool to buy time and keep people from self-destruction while you find something that works long term and that isn’t totally debilitating.
      Short term, if done correctly, it’s pretty effective. “Done correctly” is the sticky point.

      • Hey, Carrie Fisher only died last year. ECT was among the tools that kept her alive long enough to become a brilliant script doctor, author, director, and be in THE LAST JEDI.

        • Weatherheight

          I wasn’t saying it was bad – I was saying it has limitations. As I said above, if the choice is between (a) me continuing to try and kill myself or others and (b) 20k volts, give me the juice to buy time for the stuff that will work long term. I agree with your statement 100% – it’s not helpful for everyone, but it can be amazingly helpful for some.

          And yes, I was aware – she was both so strong and so fragile…

      • JohnTomato

        Most especially by patients who know how to play the “Therapy Game.”

  • ColaKitteh

    I didn’t realize Pearl was Patrick’s mom!

  • Incendax

    All these scenes are supposed to be horrible, but when I was a kid they were just Tuesday.
    Man, Healthcare has come a long way since then.

    • Tylikcat


      When I was, oh, five, probably, I was brought in, hooked up, had a number of tests run on me that involved a fair bit of electrocution (and it hurt, and I screamed a lot) for what, best as I can tell was suspect muscular dystrophy. (Spoiler: my muscles are fine. Better than fine. I have some kind of familial joint laxity, something in the hypermobility area, which gave me the typical floppiness that made them think muscular dystrophy. This wasn’t diagnosed for decades, and I still don’t really do anything about it.)

      • Nerve conduction testing probably, from which I got the classic diagnosis “well, something’s clearly not right” (probably C5/6 disc impingement). I didn’t find it too bad (and I wasn’t 5), but opinion varies massively.

        • Tylikcat

          I had standard nerve conduction more recently. The set up was different – it’s kind of hard to compare the subjective pain, because so much of what was going on when I was a kid was me being scared / indignant that I was at the doctor’s and people were hurting me. I found a paragraph describing the old test once, though it didn’t go into the details, but I suspect they were sending current down the nerve, and then measuring muscular response across the neuro-muscular junction (which, to be fair, I’ve been known to do in the lab, though generally to highly reduced preps) as opposed to sending current down the nerve and seeing if the nerve is carrying signal. Similar, though. Being strapped down to a table didn’t improve my experience of the matter!

          There were also a few bits I haven’t figured out – there was a whole bit where they wanted me to make a line move on a screen without moving my body. Which, five year old me thought was pretty cool, and I was into it. But as soon as I got it to work well, they wouldn’t let me play with it and figure out what was going on, so it has been a mystery – for the last 39 years! (Some kind of biofeedback? Minor muscle activation? I would totally have worked it out – at least to the limits of my understanding – if they’d just let me play with it a little longer! Heh – when I was eight, and had found out what had been going on with the somewhat traumatic incident with the Rhine cards at the family reunion, I concluded that they must have been testing me for ESP. *earnest nodding eight year old me*)

          • Weatherheight

            Totally not fair – at the very least they should have told you what they were doing *after* they were done with the experiment.

    • Arkone Axon

      I was put through some of this. Never had ECT, but the pills, being sat down while very respectable seeming people in coats gave my parents ironclad edicts which they never thought to question, and of course the whole “waiting around” bit, because all that stuff takes TIME, time spent waiting for the procedures and sessions, time for the sessions and procedures themselves, time spent driving to/from the hospital or clinic…

      Years ago I forgave my parents for everything they’d done. They truly thought they were doing what was best for me. You don’t sacrifice your entire day, several times a month, just to be Vernon Dursley-tormenting-Harry Potter levels of cruel. You put in that level of time and effort and money because you love them and you’re trying to help.

      • Weatherheight

        This is one of those cases where generally it is either or, not both.
        It’s good that you were fortunate to have parents who loved you truly, and also that you came to recognize that they did.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    “It’s beyond the barriers now.” I’m gonna use that in place of “what’s done is done” from now on. It’s kinda the same thing, in the long run.

  • Julia McGuire

    Ok, new theory about what Component is. What if Component is painful memories or emotional pain? Instead of dealing with it and learning from it, Patrick just pushes it out beyond the barriers.

    And Anima noting that Patrick’s happiest memory is infected with component now shows that after his estrangement from Alison, it’s become both a happy and a sad memory.

    This casts Anima in a more sympathetic light (though not necessarily a correct one). She wants to keep things running in Patrick’s head, and in order to do that wants to continue burying painful thoughts and emotions.

  • Johnny Awesome

    Panel 2: Patrick drinks his water with two hands, just like Donald Trump. And we know ‘golden pumpkin’ isn’t Donald’s real hair colour. And Trump is somehow one step ahead of the millions of attack dogs who are out to get him, it’s as if he knows what they are going to do before they do it. Pundits gave Hillary a 99% chance of winning and yet….

    Naw, it CAN’T be…

    • Hiram

      Okay, that’s really not a fair comparison. Patrick is clearly holding that glass with two hands to control nervous shakes, and not because his hands are too tiny to otherwise hold a glass.

    • Darkoneko Hellsing

      the hell, man.

  • Hiram

    On the one hand, that’s a terrible thing to have happened to a child…
    on the other, it looks like a pretty useful primer for old age.

  • R Lex Eaton

    Beyond the barrier…?

    Is this what excising this stuff is supposed to achieve?

    Jeez, Patrick. I get why you’re doing it, but you can’t solve a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist. You’ll go into a dissociative fugue state by the end of the month!

    If Alison isn’t thrilled about having you show up on her doorstep drunk, she certainly won’t be any happier when you show up in a stranger’s stolen clothes having forgotten your past identity due to excessive mental editing.

    (Also, still taking all this with mountains of salt. We still have Gurwara to deal with.)

  • Nightsbridge

    Remember when people treated people who were having trouble by stabbing their brains and turning their frontal lobes into mush?

    Oooooh lobotomies.

  • And of course the real horror here is Patrick isn’t mentally ill, he’s being given ECT for being mentally different.

    There’s a pretty obvious analogy to IRL attempts to ‘cure’ autism and neurodiversity there.

  • Lisa Izo

    Seriously the kid Patrick doesn’t look 4 years old.

  • Kid Chaos

    Merry Christmas, Patrick. 🎅