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  • Gotham

    I like how Alison is just as confused as we are as to who exactly constitutes the five member team of the Patrick Brain Patrol.

    • Weatherheight

      Menace Psychic Super Sentai…
      “Sidekick WAaaaaaave!”

    • Yes, was about to comment as much before I saw this one. Nice allusion to the confusion in the discussion board – I’d all but assumed the Sentinel counted, but now my mind is reopening!

  • Arcian

    Also, nobody is trying to kill Alison in Feral’s mind, so that’s nice.

    • Livingwish


      • Weatherheight

        Aye, be patient, wait a wee mo…

    • Kid Chaos

      Feral has a beautiful mind. 😁

  • bryan rasmussen

    maybe feral is the fifth patrick here, the fifth patrick colonizes other minds and uses those minds as his communication method.

    • zarawesome

      Maybe they’ve never left Patrick’s mind.

      • Dean

        Maybe the whole strip to date has taken place in Patrick’s mind. It’s St Elsewhere all over again!

        • Weatherheight

          Now there’s an obscure reference…

          • Bob Stewart

            Not so obscure for my generation. You have no idea how cheated I felt when that cat flatlined.

        • Merle

          Damn it, not everything can be St. Elsewhere! Just…most things.

  • Markus

    I choose to believe that Feral’s mind has What’s New Pussycat playing on loop.

  • Weatherheight

    “Understanding why he’s a bad person makes me want to believe that maybe he could be a good person. And I can’t tell if it’s naive and foolish to believe that or it’s naive and foolish not to”

    This is why I love Alison. I have thought exactly this about way too many people, and, dammit, I don’t have a freaking answer either.

    • R Lex Eaton

      Indeed. I dunno about a lot of people, but I do think there at least IS an answer.

      • Weatherheight

        I believe there is an answer.
        I believe it’s available to all.
        I believe we all spend a lot of our time getting in our own way.
        I believe that’s me, too, which means I’m not qualified to d much advising.
        This situation is disheartening.

        • R Lex Eaton

          Human irrationality. Responsible for so much good and so much bad.

          But the process of Refinement has an endpoint.

          You are not obliged to complete the quest, but you are not permitted to abandon it.

    • Walex B

      But she is saying it wrong — Patrick from his backstory is both “good” and “bad”: he has done a lot of crimes, but he also tried to do something good with Alison as to the “conspiracy”, and he somewhat had a feeling of solidarity for the other biodynamics that he has hired.
      The big problem Alison refers to is that he has been traumatized into wanting to be a psychopath (and a cute, dark, brooding one, so hot), but that is not what he is, and this is destroying his mind.
      The story of his childhood contains a big hole: we all understand why he escaped his mother (and it is amazing that a politically-correct comic depicts a woman as an abuser), but he also ran away from his father, who had good feelings for him, and Patrick did read them. How can he say that the world of adults was only monstrous when his father cared for him, and he being a telepath knew that with certainty?

      • Incendax

        I’m really curious if Gurwara (or someone similar) has erased or changed Patrick’s memories such that he was destined to become Menace, or at least some kind of troubled deviant. It seems like an unnecessary amount of work when you could just kill the boy, but maybe they have a need to periodically manufacture bad guys?

        But it seems unlikely. Just being a telepath who can’t turn it off is enough to make anyone traumatized at that age, unless you are surrounded by saints.

      • Devon Jolly

        The question is, will breaking Lord Boy(Ego?), Animus(Id?) and Menace(superego?) help or hurt him?

        Given the hints thusfar, I think the best way to save him would be to take Lord Boy and plunge him into the sewer so he can reabsorb his own emotions. He already has the wall and watchtower in place, so he’s defended.

        Reintegrate those emotions he’s in about as good a position as a Telepath can hope to be.

        As a sidenote, another thing he needs to do is clear out that city. Keeping all of that in there is no doubt wearing on his brain meats. Memory works by recording images sounds smells and sensations and then linking those recordings together. The more often a set of inputs are recorded, the longer they’ll last if left unused for a while, and the more connections are made between cells. What we remember of the past is based on this web of connections so what would normally happen with all of those peoples life experiences is that they’d assimilate under his own and become indistinguishable, reinforcing his knowledge base and available skills… probably to the point of instinct. Instead everything appears to be distinct which while it can be done with Eidedic memory, would be wasting TONS AND TONS of space with or without it. It’s little wonder he claims to have a section of his mind which is sheer undiluted chaos and insanity.

        • Happyroach

          I think the best thing would be to strand him on a desert island, a thousand miles from any other human. That way he can go on dealing with his trauma- or not- in peace, without hurting anyone else.

      • Happyroach

        I honestly don’t see him as having done a lot f good, just self-justifying what he did a lot.

        Are you sure we aren’t just making excuses for him, like we tend to do when a charismatic guy does a lot of shit?

    • Zac Caslar

      And it’s heroic to believe in rescuing and redeeming bad people.

      Not always possible nor wise, but definitely heroic.

    • Dan Nicholson

      My answer for this sort of situation: It depends upon what resources are available. If you can afford the risk, you try to save them. If you cannot, you save… everyone else, including yourself.

      • Weatherheight

        Dad often said, “You can’t save anyone unless you save yourself first. Don’t drown saving the drowning.”
        He wasn’t perfect, my dad, but pithy sayings were kind of a motif for him…

  • Everything you can think of is true,
    The baby’s asleep in your shoe
    Your teeth are buildings with yellow doors
    Your eyes are fish on a creamy shore

  • Yirtimd2

    And then they went into the mind of fly, sleeping near them on the bed…

  • MaxArt

    Feral: “You have a mind-numbing crush, you know that?”

  • GreatWyrmGold

    I firmly believe that this sort of empathy is an almost inevitable result of a reasonable person understanding another on such a deep level. Hate almost always comes from either a lack of understanding or a lack of willingness to understand (which may or may not be reasonable). It should be interesting to see where this goes.

  • Gotham

    So Alison how about there is no such thing as people so easily and completely defined with β€œgood” and β€œbad” did you think about that one it’s a shocker I know do I win did I answer the ultimate question did I solve your Patrick puzzle

    • R Lex Eaton

      And what is someone supposed to do with that answer? How’s that help?

      • Gotham

        …not… whine about it?
        Obtain a clearer focus about the battle plan moving forward? Decide with Feral what do to about their current predicament, regardless of whether the pointedly irrelevant binary variable assessing if “Patrick” = #bad is set to True?

        • R Lex Eaton

          I don’t see how a painfully obvious observation would help with any of that.

          And that’s a simple answer, but it’s not satisfactory. It doesn’t seem to resolve the issue in her mind at the moment.

          Given the path that Patrick took to get to where he is and do the things he did… is gaining the knowledge he has more important than he is?

          • Gotham

            See I agree with the first part, only the “painfully obvious observation” is the one displayed here that “it’s really really difficult to tell if people are good or bad!!!”
            But I see where our disagreement stems from, you seem to think that doing ethically questionable things is less complicated when we do it on “bad” people, and yeah I can understand why then the question of whether people are good or bad is important to you guys thinking like that. I don’t, because ew

          • R Lex Eaton

            Well… That’s a good point, actually.

            Why does the situation have to play like a zero sum game?

            Find a way to work it all out, Al. We’ll be rooting for you.

          • R Lex Eaton

            Addendum: sorry for giving you the wrong impression. I really try to keep perspective on things like this.

          • Weatherheight

            Gaining that knowledge might be precisely the key to giving Patrick what he needs to redeem himself (insofar as he is able to do so…).

    • JeffH

      Maybe she’s using simplistic language to describe a more complex problem that she’s considering: Should she try to help Patrick, or cut bait?

      • Gotham

        It genuinely astounds me that the answer to this question whatever it might be would depend on whether he’s a “good” or “bad” person.
        Hey Al, remember when you said “saving everyone forever, that’s the plan”?

        Fucking commit to what it means.

        • JeffH

          One of my favorite things about this comic is how interpersonal issues are depicted as being so much more complex than black and white decisions. It surprises me that you are so enraged by the fact that she’s thinking hard about this. She’s not being attacked, so I don’t see a problem with her taking a minute to gather her thoughts.

          It seems to me that deciding whether to attempt to save someone who’s actively trying to kill you isn’t as black and white as you are making it, and I think her stated conflict shows that she doesn’t think it’s a simple, binary decision, even if she’s using words that you assert are absolute.

          • Gotham

            /I’m/ the one dissatisfied with how black and white Alison makes it out to be with her dumb points about are people good or bad!

            I wish I could get more enjoyment out of being so right people end up unwillingly using my own points in what they consider to be against me, but really it’s just annoying.

        • Margot

          You could call her hypocritical, or you could say she’s wondering whether she should reconsider her approach, since trying to save Patrick has lead to her being trapped in his mind while he tries to kill her.

          Is it naive to think that she can ‘save’ him without getting herself killed, or is it naive to think that she can give up on him without losing an important part of herself?

          • Gotham

            I’m not calling her hypocritical, I’m calling her clueless. (Although yes there is a underlying part of her authoritarian tendencies seeping through the cracks and that’s, as always, extremely worrying)

            Look, these are interesting questions to thematically coalesce with future plot, but I just think what we got is a bit underserved. here’s the overall feeling I wanted for this moment to convey, the global thought process for Alison I would have found interesting to be at:

            She braced herself for this. It’s been approximately one year since the mug throwing incident now, and she didn’t miss a day mentally preparing for when their paths would inevitably cross next. When they first met, just when she finally freaking had him, had the world’s most dangerous super-villain in her grasp, she let herself be conquered by mere words. She let him go. Do you realize how humiliated she would be if people knew? Not just discredited, distrusted and abandoned by everyone of her friends, /humiliated/. Mega Girl? The world’s strongest human and fiercest, most ruthless teenage girl there could exist, swooning over a boy who talks good? Focus on the guilt, the regret. Focus on the friends of yours he killed right in front of you. There has to be so many, she can’t remember them all.
            That sympathy she felt? That anger and hatred she repressed for so long? It will never happen again. Never. And oh, Patrick will try, and he will be very good at it. In the intervening time, he got to be one of her closest friends, he knows her better than she knows herself, and time only makes him better at mindreading, manipulating and charming his way out.

            So she practiced, every day. In secret. Got back in the very, very dark place growing up as a child soldier got her to. It was going to hurt, going back to these traumatic memories of distancing yourself from others, of getting used so fast to killing, and it would hurt, it would make her lose so many years of progress mental health-wise. But it’s necessary. Because Menace has to be stopped. She might be the only one who can. Because he might still harbor some affection for her. That’s the sole advantage she can have, that nobody else in the world can have, IF ONLY she manages to stop harboring some affection for him.

            So nope, these nights when she felt so alone and was dying to text him back, never happened. The part of her that wants to cry because she misses him, dead.

            AND AFTER ALL THAT…
            It takes her fifteen goddamn minutes in his brain to take an oath to murder his memory mom.

            So yeah admittedly most of it is fanfiction, but I’d like to see her grappling with this catastrophic failure and learning to deal rather than pondering if people are good or bad.
            You know what Alison? Patrick’s bad. I personally don’t agree, but let’s admit that according to her metric, he’s bad. Irredeemably. He’s bad, and she loves him. What now? How does she deal with this, and with herself?

            What we do have is a case of “oh thank god you’re a bad person thusly making it okay for me to not care that your inner mindscape is literally tearing down.” It’s just not great.

          • R Lex Eaton

            I get where you’re coming from. I don’t want to see Alison played for a sap three issues in a row. And I fully admit I got a little tautological when I first replied. Because I’m just as frustrated as you are and as she is.

            I really don’t think Patrick has been playing some kind of long con since he hung up the helm of Menace. At least, not regarding her. If he were, I doubt he’d be in this situation right now.

            Watch me be super wrong about this, but I think his actions over the last three storylines are those of someone who sees his entire worldview in jeopardy and is doing everything possible to convince himself that every bad thing he’s done up to this point hasn’t been unnecessary. But there’s a better way. Alison and people like her showed that. And even if it’s hard to achieve–and to stick to in the face of a dilemma–it’s worth it.

            And knowing that you’ve done something terrible under the assumption that it’s for the greater good? And that nothing good can come of it?

            THAT SUCKS.

            It sucks so much that it’s a reoccurring plot point across multiple characters in Order of the Stick.

            Alison’s decision and subsequent mistake regarding Max Prescott had little enough good come out of it. Good that could prove unnecessary by the end. All she can do is carry that weight and try to not make the same mistakes again. So I don’t think she’ll be as quick and eager to abandon Patrick here, vile though his acts might be. It’s not a zero sum game. Patrick isn’t the real villain of SFP.

            Cynicism itself is.

        • Todd

          More like knock off the kindergarten binary-thinking.

          You’d think after that bit with Moonshadow and Furnace she’d be a bit less willing to toss around good and evil with such ease . . . .

  • StClair

    “… mostly plant sex organs, I mean, flowers.”

    • Zac Caslar

      Feral is not coy.

    • Weatherheight

      Where’s a Georgia O’Keefe exhibition when we need one?
      ::wiggles his ears suggestively::

  • Walex B

    Ohiohi, Alison has not yet mentioned Gurdwara in Patrick’s mind eliminating bits of the conspiracy wall.
    Has Gurdwara entered Alison’s mind and deleted that memory from her?
    Our author has to be careful: if the telepath characters are too powerful, then the plot dies.

    • Grayson Towler

      Or the telepath has to be repeatedly removed from the story through various contrivances in order to make any plot possible (see Professor X… just about any X-Men storyline will suffice for a good example).

      • Weatherheight

        It really does help if the writers quantify what telepaths can / can’t do and to what extent they can / cannot do it.
        One of the advantages of using a Supers RPG to write up characters is it makes it really easy to define what is and is not possible.
        And all you have to do is make writers stick to it… πŸ˜€

  • George Talbot

    Isn’t it horrible that even people teeing to make changes in their life sometimes backslide, relapse. And have cheat days ?

    • Weatherheight

      I don’t know if the tendency itself is horrible so much as human, but the outcomes surely sometimes are.

  • Patrick_GETS_me

    What I’m wondering now is, which Patrick invited Allison into his mind in the first place?

    Was it Anima, hoping for help defeating Menace, deliberately ignoring The Boy’s wishes?

    Was it the record-keeper? He certainly seems to be the most fond of her among those we’ve met.

    I also like this theory that the Feral who Allison is talking to is actually the fifth Patrick, the only one who is able to enter other people’s minds. It might be the only explanation why Allison could enter Feral’s mind but none of the other Patrick selves could. It would make sense that the Patrick who can enter other people’s minds would be the most fond of Allison and the only one who could have invited her in.

  • zellgato

    Gonna be real bothered if that connection makes him able to influence Feral somehow

    Though, again that would be the way for his death via the good portion of him I guess.

    Clevin.. its gonna be…. really awkward when you come bak isn’t it?

  • Stephanie

    Those aspects of Patrick’s mind “burnt up”? I initially assumed they were just unable to follow Alison, but Feral makes it sound like they were destroyed.

    • Weatherheight

      ::wiggles his ear happily at Stephanie::

  • Herwood

    So does Patric have less mental defenses now? If Sentinel and Menace burned up she might have a chance…

  • David B Huber

    My take is that the Sentinel is a construct symbolizing safety to all Patrick’s aspects. The four fragments we’ve seen are schizophrenic but essential offshoots of the 5th. core personality which threatens Lord Boy’s hegemony. Patrick’s emergent concern for others is rooted in his awareness of the conspiracy which is apparently being dismantled by Gurwara. His breakdown is a symptom of the independence and conflict between his coping mechanisms, which are inadequate for theft of memories. Like the HAL 9000 he’s being reduced to “Mary had a little lamb”…

    He reached out to Alison for help, inviting her into his mind, returning the trust she placed in him. Which sustained his maturation and left Lord Boy outside the boundaries. But Lord Boy is most likely to survive Gurwara’s invasions so Alison must die so Lord Boy can reign… But Alison ducked into Feral’s mind when Patrick put Feral to sleep.

  • Jshadow

    Firelord from Avatar was one an adorable little baby… that doesn’t make him a good guy.

  • Philip Bourque

    Questions Al should be asking, but never will: what would it take for Patrick to be considered “good”?
    Does that negate or make up for all the “bad” he’s done?
    Will that stop him from doing more “bad” things?
    Does she really need to know the information she claims to?
    Is the conspiracy real or nothing more than a fabrication of Patrick’s fractured patchwork of a mind?

  • Pomegranate

    Sooo..,. Feral can smell emotions :>
    I’d wager she knows more then she is letting on

  • Umbrazoro

    I’ve just finished reading this entire thing in one sitting. Brad is definitely my favorite character. Tara is probably second.

    • Lucy Merriman

      I’m reversed but it’s a close call, Feral #1 Brad #2. But have they ever been in the same scene? That’d be interesting.

      I don’t think I’d ship Brad and Feral / Tara, mainly because I love Tara being hella gay even if Lisa strikes me as a bit boring. But I’d love to see them interact. Brad is so careful, and Tara is so wild, but they’re both good-hearted.

      (Also, no offense meant to Lisa fans. I think Lisa has potential, but so far what I get from her is “smart” and “likes Feral.” But I think others pick up more to her than I do.)