SFP

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  • Julia McGuire

    Kid Patrick is my new favourite Patrick! He’s so cute!

  • 3-I

    You spend your entire life uninvited in other people’s minds, you little brat. =p

    • The_Rippy_One

      He didn’t quite have a choice, though. and he did have to put a lot of effort into not going nuts (nuttier, anyways) because of it.

    • Kid Chaos
      • Weatherheight

        I wore out a vinyl copy of that album.

        • Dave M

          As did I. Incredibly funny stuff.

    • Urthman

      Which is exactly why he’s all “WHY would you do this if you didn’t HAVE to?!”

  • AdamBombTV

    Calling it now, Skip the Dog is behind the whole thing.
    Look at him, being adorable, and cute, and playful, and squishy, and whosagudboy, whosagudboy?
    *Ahem* nefarious I tell you.

    • Weatherheight

      And insidious…

  • Markus

    Kid pat seems like a wholesome dude.

  • Abel Undercity

    Oh my God. If I were a telepath, I’d only ever hang out with dogs.

    • Anarquistador

      It’s probably very soothing. A dog loves you no matter what kind of person you are.

    • Guilherme Carvalho

      That’s an easy choice to make even without telepathy. 🙂

    • Gotham

      It’s a good thing Patrick can read dogs’ minds like it ain’t no thing.
      It confirms he doesn’t need to learn any langage to understand anyone, and he can tell us so many wonderful things about which animals can “communicate” and which can’t.

      ARE MICE CONSCIOUS PATRICK?!
      WHAT DO THEY KNOW

      • sambaynham

        “These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vast hyperintelligent pandimensional beings. The whole business with the cheese and the squeaking is just a front”

        • Gotham

          I am /irate/ you’re getting more upvotes than me

          • Tsapki

            Both at eight right now! No need to thank me.

          • palmvos

            ::makes Gotham a really good sandwich::

      • JohnTomato

        Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
        Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!

    • Herwood

      I don’t know, it would get kind of awkward when they are in heat.

      • Eve

        And the leg-humpers, and the ones who happily curl up on the pub floor and suck themselves off…yeah.

      • Nightsbridge

        Get your cats fixed, folks

    • Haven

      You can get 90% of the experience just by being a normal person who only ever hangs out by dogs.

    • Eve

      Never mind dogs, I am afire to know what cats are really thinking.

      • Abel Undercity

        “Oh, it’s you. Is it the feeding time yet? I say it is. Amuse me, underling.”

      • Gotham

        I love you. No I don’t. Go away. Never leave me alone. Pay attention to me. Let me free. I despise you. The ghosts in the house are getting restless. It’s cuddle time. No, it’s over, you missed it. Your whole life is a succession of objects for me to sleep on. CATNIP!

        • Abel Undercity

          Don’t move. You are one of those objects. You shifted slightly! I am offended. Good day to you. I love you.

        • Lisa Izo

          Gotham… I have never seen someone as attuned to a cat’s mind as in your post.

          Except you missed ‘I’m going to scratch or bite you now’

          • Gotham

            Context.
            You didn’t expect Patrick to read “I’m going to pee on things to make them mine!”, did you? Kinda woulda ruined the moment, wouldn’t it

          • Eve

            Well, it seems like a happy dog, so if you changed that to a happy cat, it wouldn’t be thinking that. Cats who are healthy and happy mark territory in other ways, such as scent-marking. If your cat is urinating outside the box, get it checked up by a vet. And if you think that cats pee on things out of “spite” or “to make them mine”, please go and learn more about cat psychology. That’s really not how they work. One cause, for instance, is older cats with arthritis no longer being able to climb over the sides of the litter box, which is far more common in cats who have been declawed. Another is stress, for instance if there is tension between cats in a multi-cat household. That’s one reason why the rule for litter boxes if you have more than one cat is to have one litter box per cat, plus one extra.

            On the other hand, knocking things off shelves, sitting on your keyboard, demanding belly rubs and then joining in with teeth and claws, using various tactics such as sticking their bum in your face to nag you for food – yeah, that’s perfectly healthy annoying cat behaviour.

            I’m trying to think what a happy, loved up cat would be thinking in that situation. “Yes, yes, yes! All the neck rubs! And the chin pettings! And the ears! What? Goodness, no, I’d never bite that hand, I was grooming it, see? Can we get back to you scratching my forehead now? Maybe just a little nip? Such a dirty hand, I must wash it. Oh, look, an unattended box. I need to get on that situation right away.”

            They’re pretty adorable when we’re playing with them with wand toys and the like, but that’s hunting behaviour, so realistically they are thinking DIE DIE DIE while they are tumbling around grabbing at feathers. Probably when she’s pole-dancing upside down on her cat tree, too, looking absolutely ridiculous. And I’d imagine it’s similar when we throw balls for her. Perhaps, “Catch it catch it catch it! Aaaaand veer off to the side! And, erm, well. I appear to be stuck behind this door. Don’t mind me, I am just going to come out backwards and covered in dust. Total dignity at all times.”

            Cats totally wouldn’t work for this scene, would they. Although I hear they can be amazingly patient with young’uns, doing things like waving their tail for the kid to catch, then pulling it away gently and repeating the game, putting up with a surprising amount of grabbiness from the human kittens, but I think that’s more toddlers than kids this age. I was raised by Yorkshire terriers myself, I didn’t come to cats until I was an adult and realised my true identity as a cat person.

          • Nightsbridge

            Cats organize family groups into colonies, and co-parent each other’s babies. The reason they are so gentle with babies in the family is because, as far as they are concerned, those kids are THEIR babies.

          • Lisa Izo

            Depends on what sort of freaky stuff Patrick was into.

        • BMPDynamite

          … I miss my cat.

      • Shjade

        This is my book now. Also this is my desk. I don’t want your things on my desk. Here they go. Oh, you want them back up here? That sounds like a personal problem. Bye. Bye. BYE. STOP IT.

        • Lisa Izo

          This is my favorite thread that I’ve ever seen on this comic.

      • Eve

        I was thinking more of those times when they’re curled up on you giving you a succession of strange looks. Projecting what cats are thinking is part of the joy of having a cat.

        Also she has very strict rules about things, and we’d love to know why. At around 10pm, if she is in my flat she will go and spend some time catloafing in the dark under my dining table. We spend half the week at my flat and half the week at my partner’s. (We are so lucky, she is absolutely fine with being popped into a carrier and taken down the road twice a week for the last four years.) She doesn’t have an equivalent habit at his flat.

        She has incredibly complicated rules about how she will sit on one of us, depending on the person, their position, the situation, and the time of day. If she’s on his ankles when we’re watching TV in bed, there’s no point trying to coax her to sit higher up so we can pet her, because *obviously* that’s only allowed earlier in the day and usually only with me (but at this point she doesn’t sit on me, only on him).

        Current mystery: did she come to bed last night? Normally she is guarding his ankles by the time we fall asleep, she knows her duty, but we didn’t get over here until late, it was still rather cold, and she was last seen in her little tunnel in the living room, on the rug in the gap in between the radiator and the futon. When we woke up she was in her cardboard crisp box on top of the bookcase opposite the bed, which is probably the warmest spot when the radiators aren’t on. At least she values warmth over food a lot of the time, so she’s not nagging us for breakfast horribly early now the temperatures have dropped.

      • Nightsbridge

        I imagine they’re way more loving than we give them credit for. A lot of their idiosyncrasies can be accounted for cat psychology. Generally speaking, a cat considers hanging out in the same room as you as ‘hanging out’ and they get overstimulated REALLY fast, which is part of why they tend to bite.

        (That’s why they love boxes and small spaces. It lets them hide, and limit the amount of sensory info they get, making them feel more safe)

        I mean, a dog will wag his tail to demonstrate he’s happy to see you. A cat, on the other hand will stare silently into your eyes and blink slowly, demonstrating that they trust you by letting down their defenses and giving you a chance to exploit their lack of vision, while trusting that you will not.

        Same with exposing their bellies! Normally it’s not ‘pet me.’ But instead, ‘I trust you enough to expose my vulnerable belly to you, because I believe you will not attack.’ But people get mixed up because with dogs that means ‘PET ME HERE NOW’

    • Lisa Izo

      Only if you were a telepath? There is never not a good time to hang out with doggos.

  • Dean

    You know that Patrick was probably with Skip and hearing his thoughts when he eventually died, right?

    • tygertyger

      [sobs inconsolably]

    • Zachery Mixdorf

      HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME FEEL MY OWN FEELINGS

    • Jacob Johnston

      Yes, but do you know how much easier it would be to care for a dog if you could understand it’s thoughts? Just a “im not feeling good” would be invaluable to see problems coming.

    • CityFace

      And those thoughts were still, “You are the boy. I love you the most.” And then they stopped.

      • Johnny Awesome

        WHY GOD WHY

        • palmvos

          because

      • Ricardo Alves Junqueira Pentea

        YOU MONSTER.

        Loved it.Time to choose in which RPG I’m gonna torture my players with it.

        • Tsapki

          Looking for Emotional Torture? The Unexpectables D&D stream gets into that pretty well around episode 16 and on (freaking crescendos in episodes 20 and 21).

          Not sold? Three words. The Dog Zone.

      • Abel Undercity

        (Hugs you while sobbing)

    • Gotham

      OH MY GOD THAT’S WHY HE WANTS TO TIME TRAVEL

      • Weatherheight

        Makes as much sense as Rosebud…

        • palmvos

          you are going to make me want to go sledding again…. where i am now snow is rare… and too thin for a sled.
          but then i have to drive in snow……

    • Wolftamer9

      This is… this is probably what’ we’re about to see, and I’m now dreading every second of it.

    • zellgato

      yeah.. but taht dog was probably happier than anythign ever….
      assuming it wasn’t hit by a car or something..
      in which case its last thoughts were probably “ow” and “I’m glad you’re here.”

      • MichaelMRT

        What? I got something in my eye, okay?

        • zellgato

          Yes.. and iti s tears.
          I know because I do too

    • Mechwarrior

      You are evil.

    • MisterTeatime

      People tell themselves a lot of stories about death. We invent ways to believe that it’s not the end, ways to imagine that it’s not coming for us, ways to plan and prepare as if the things that happen afterward will still matter to us when there’s no “us” to matter to anymore.
      If the ‘dialogue’ we see here is the level on which Skip thinks all the time, Skip probably doesn’t worry about what’s going to happen when he’s gone. He doesn’t think about whether his life matters in some greater sense, or whether things will be different in the future because he was here. If he knew he was dying, he would probably think back on the things he did and didn’t do and judge his life based simply on that- did I do what I wanted with the time that I had? I spent my life. Am I happy with what I got for it?

      Patrick says a lot of awful things in issue 5, but I’ve never counted the last panel of this page among them. In context, talking specifically about murder and other violations of self-determination, it’s certainly bleak and disturbing. But the basic sentiment is that a life is a resource, and the Civil War example points out instead that each of us gets to decide how to spend ours. Those soldiers didn’t choose “my life” or “my death”, not really- they couldn’t have opted out of death, only rescheduled their appointments. They chose between “spend my life to get another few decades of personal happiness” or “spend my life to try and change the way things are in this country”. I think that’s a beautiful perspective.
      A lot of people worry about whether they’re doing something “worthwhile” with their life- whether it’s going to “matter” when they’re gone, whether they’ll be remembered, whether they’ve improved things for the people who come after them. And those may be valid concerns, but they don’t determine the value of an individual life. Their life doesn’t belong to the people who come after them! It’s theirs. At the end, the only person who gets to decide whether it was “worth it” is them.
      Maybe that’s something Patrick learned from Skip.

      • As someone who visited the Land of the Dead, remember that the viewer is not voice activated but does respond to gestures. That’s about all I had time for before I came back.

      • Weatherheight

        We often undervalue our own contributions to the lives of other people. It’s interesting to me how often what didn’t mean much to me meant a lot to someone else, or how something really significant to me has become utterly forgotten by the person who said or did it.

        You may never fully realize or understand how what you do matters, but it does.

      • Merle

        Life is finite…for now.

        When time travel becomes a factor, you get the option to change that.

        • MisterTeatime

          Not sure what you mean.

          • Merle

            The overall thrust of medicine over human history has been towards staving off and – hopefully – removing mortality entirely. Ending death is the (or an) end goal.

            If you have access to time travel, you may then be able to stop people from dying, retroactively. You could potentially go back and stop deaths from happening that have, from your origin point in spacetime, already occurred – or, barring that, find some method to preserve the human mind after death of the body and implement it, both forward and backward in time – “timeless heaven” or the time-traveler’s afterlife.

            Personally, I’m hoping that that is the case in our own universe, but I don’t yet have evidence supporting it.

          • MisterTeatime

            Ah, OK, the “get better medicine from the future” route- time travel doesn’t guarantee the option of immortality, but it certainly improves your chances.
            (There were a lot of possible arguments, most notably “whenever someone is going to be killed, stop that from happening”… which only works until you encounter a death you don’t understand how to prevent.)

  • Theobservantwolf

    I think talking with kid Patrick will be very illuminating! The frank and open nature of conversing with kids, after all.

    • Eric Schissel

      not entirely untrue… (hence eg the two songs “Children never listen” / “Children will listen” (ie are always listening), from the same musical…)

      • Theobservantwolf

        Indeed! His powers make him all too good at listening!

      • Weatherheight

        I upvote any reference to “Into the Woods”…

        • Eric Schissel

          Actually, a song or two from Follies seem even more a propos to this arc.

  • Kid Chaos

    “So what’s the deal with Gurwara, anyway?” 😜

    • tygertyger

      Gurwara is Skip’s human form, of course. The rumors of biodynamicism only affecting humans have been greatly exaggerated.

      • atiaxi

        And that’s why Gurwara appears older than the other biodynamics! He’s that old in *dog years*!

      • Weatherheight

        I hope this is true, but it probably wont be…

  • tygertyger

    Ah… we finally meet the Patrick who’s really in charge.

  • Giacomo Bandini

    Actually you did invite her.

    • Tylikcat

      This was my first response. But then I wondered a bit about “in”…

      If this were my mind, Alison would have been wandering through the index and general organized processing space. (Alison, be glad you’re where you are. Unless I could have shuttled you so kind of polite anteroom, you would have hated it. Very few people enjoy seeing how I think.)

      …but then she dived into the pool of component. Now, to continue the metaphor, which may or may not be apt, she’s now into raw memory / interpretation space. Now, I have a pretty good index, but if there’s something that isn’t indexed or close enough to the index that I can find it quickly, *I* don’t go rummaging around in that unless I have time and energy to spare, and it’s my head!

      It might be the equivalent of someone who was invited into the living room for a chat, and who decided to bull their way down into the basement and start going through the boxes. (My actual basement is quite spare and organized. My memories… are not disorganized, but do they come with date stamps? Bah.)

      • Weatherheight

        or searching the medicine cabinets in the bathroom just off the master bedroom…

  • Walter

    Skip is the new protagonist. I’m sorry Alison, but you did your part.

    Good Canine Protagonist opens next Tuesday. Calling it.

    • Tylikcat

      I am still Team Amanda.

    • Weatherheight

      Covfefe AF.
      They’re all good dogs, Brent.
      h*ck yeah.

      https://twitter.com/dog_rates

      • Abel Undercity

        13/10, would read mind again.

  • Gotham

    The Patrick Sentai team is almost complete! They even a cute mascot doggie!

    So was this one just casually replaying one of Patrick’s memories from the backseat? if there’s only five of them, does that mean that only five memories can be replayed at the same time? Or did Alison have a chance to stumble upon a version of this memory where the conscious, /present/ kid Patrick was just not there (like, anywhere else in the city for instance)

    If so, it’s a neat coincidence to have found him amidst millions of memories.

    Alternatively, Alison might have found kid!Patrick currently playing one the later, shadier memories of Patrick while in his passive past body, which could have been… weird.

    • Herwood

      I am still disappointed that there are only five and not millions of patricks

      • Eric Schissel

        I missed something. We’ve only met five. Aren’t you taking a leap?

        • Herwood

          http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-7/page-51-5/

          The anima Patric says that there are five of them.

        • Gotham

          Menace, Anima, Record-Keeps, kiddo Patrick.
          That’s just four for now.

          Well, that’s if Gurwara doesn’t count.

          • Weatherheight

            And/or possibly the Sentinel.
            I’m with you, the Sentinel probably doesn’t count, but I’m making an assumption that is not yet supported by the text.

    • MisterTeatime

      Assuming what you mean is “if this is one of the five ‘active’ Patricks, does that mean he’s only in one place at a time, and there are memories Alison could’ve landed in that would’ve just been memories and not contained anyone capable of reacting to her”…

      Anima’s warning wasn’t “don’t go to that place, it’s dangerous!”- it was “you don’t know where you’re going!”.
      This is a mindscape- it only has the geometric properties that people define it to have. This particular area is suffused with irrational Component and (we infer) largely avoided by the locals; it may be even more intuitive to navigate, and behave less like a space with linear dimensions.
      Alison jumped into it without knowing the first thing about what it was or where she might end up- all she was thinking was “I want to find Gurwara”. And she’s very aware that everything she believes about Gurwara, right down to his name and face, is unverifiable and may be a complete fabrication.
      How extraordinary is it, really, that she found someone else instead?

      • Weatherheight

        And what if Arjun is merely a dumb construct/illusion meant to lead Alison down a primrose path, because Alison is such a good doggy and oh-so-predictable (“It’s running, Gotta chase it!”)?

  • Christopher Dacombe

    As cute as the interaction with the dog is, it’s kind of even more worrying about Patrick’s potential mental state. It was bad enough when his mind was being overwhelmed by the thoughts of hundreds (or thousands, or whatever) of other humans, but now he’s also been having to handle the thoughts of every animal with a complex enough brain, and all the non-human mind patterns of thinking. No wonder Patrick doesn’t think of himself as human anymore.

    • Gotham

      The worst part is all the ants who can only think “WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK” in unison

      • Fluffy Dragon

        I imagine that it could actually turn into sort of white noise that drowns out everything else in the vicinity.

      • Callinectes

        No, the worst part is hearing the minds of all the ants infected with lancet flukes or cordyceps fungi.

        • Tylikcat

          Didn’t you hear? It turns out that’s not what Cordyceps does – and what it does is worse! It totally leaves their brains alone and takes over their bodies only! So you’d get to hear the entirely intact brains of the ants while their bodies were hijacked by Cordyceps!

          …and that, my dears, is why I am a biologist.

          • Gotham

            GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED GETTING SIDETRACKED

          • Tylikcat

            smiles primly

          • Gotham

            But seriously the prospect of being fully self-aware while not in control of your body actively being used as a disposable ressource by an alien entity is the most terrifying experimental short story I need to write

          • Tylikcat

            This board used to be *all about* elaborate tangents.

            I do suspect with the latest twist on the Cordyceps story, there will be a few of those coming out. (Mira Grant’s Parisitology triology has echoes of it – in fact, the original idea was fungal, I believe…)

          • Olivier Faure

            You may want to check out the Animorphs series, or one of its many yeerk-focused fanfictions. I recommend Animorphs: The Perspective and Animorphs: The Reckoning.

          • Callinectes

            I know that. I know all of my people’s secrets.

          • Raven Black

            Could Patrick also hear the thoughts of the cordyceps itself?

            … I hear it’s a fun guy.

          • Tylikcat

            I hereby issue you a violation for making expired puns. That one is moldy.

          • Lisa Izo

            I’m really wanting to play The Last of Us Part II.

      • Zorae42

        That might not be an issue. Similar to how ‘normal’ humans don’t go death from the sound of hundreds of thousands of ants walking. It seems like smaller animals would have smaller brainwaves and thus ‘quieter’ thoughts.

    • Tsapki

      Just pray he can’t hear squirrels.

      I’m sorry.

    • Eve

      I could see this happening with young Patrick passing a cat in the street.

      “Sun. Warm stone. My garden is secure. There’s Calico in her patch, and Tabby on patrol. All is well. Sun….

      Hello, human child! Would you like to pet my head? Would you like to –

      ALERT ALERT
      SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG HERE
      ALERT
      INVIOLABLE BOUNDARIES BREACHED

      HISS
      HISS
      HISSSSSSSSSS”

  • zellgato

    Haha. True facts
    also..
    he can read animals then? I was kind of curious about the limits
    WHY DIDN’T HE GROW UP TO BE A VET THEN!?
    was i that do little movie?
    it was that do little movie wasn’t it?
    Yeah..

    • Weatherheight

      Naturalist, not veterinarian.
      But yeah, I thought so too at first, had to look it up.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Dolittle

      • zellgato

        Naturalist would work too . but was referring to vet. I dont’ remember what dolittle’s job was other than that it made “talk toanimals” laughable for folks

        • Weatherheight

          Heh. No, I meant Doolittle’s occupation was naturalist, not a veterinarian.
          But I had to look it up – I thought it was veterinarian.

    • SnowDemonAkuma

      No one who can hear the thoughts of animals would be able to handle being a vet. Vets kill more animals than anyone else in the world.

      • Eve

        Content note: animal abuse, domestic violence.

        I’m not sure putting animals to sleep would be all that much worse for a telepathic vet. Vets can already read the body language, and have to get into the mindset they need. Helping an animal too ill to go on to die is the last act of love you can give them, and vets make their peace with that. It would be great for diagnosis, and occasional abuse/neglect could be flagged up immediately, with superpowers available for dealing with the humans responsible. And then he could call in in Valkyrie, because these things go together. I’m liking the idea of setting Patrick on my friend’s abusive ex, who murdered her hamster when she escaped and was assessed as “high risk of murdering her” by the refuge.

        Working in a shelter, however, especially an overcrowded shelter which has to euthanise: HOLY HELL NO.

      • zellgato

        Yup. They do. But with the way Meanace’s non evil side has been presented.. at a younger age before he hated the world, I think he would actually feel like “I can understand them. I should be there for them in their last moments” sort of way. Or even “if I can talk to them.. I can find the problems earlier” (sure they kill besides sickness of course. but idealism was strong in him obviously at one point)
        Honestly. I wouldn’t be surprised if half his plan for becoming an evil overloard was.. to be able toa fford to rescue as many dogs as he could because of his childhood dog

        Yakno before he found out how utterly shit the world was and lost it.

  • So Patrick really does have an inner child 🙂

  • Nathan B Earl

    Pat, you COLLAPSED ON ALISON’S DOORSTEP AND ASKED FOR HELP. If that isn’t inviting someone to come into your mindscape I don’t know what is.

  • Weatherheight

    …..
    This never has occurred to me.
    If Patrick had a dog, he had someone who would love him so much.
    God help the bastard who hurts that dog…

  • Nightsbridge

    So. This is what Allison sees after she jumps in the Component, huh? This is what the walls were meant to keep out? Stuff like this?

    Gosh

    • Gotham

      Yeah Anima’s intentions are getting shadier and shadier by the minute

    • AbacusWizard

      Sure, this scene looks sweet and innocent *now*, but I can imagine it getting a lot darker. We all know what happens in books with a boy, a dog, and a Newbery Medal on the cover.

  • BMPDynamite

    Too … much … CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE~

    WAIT

    Wait.

    Buster detected Alison’s abilities before anyone else. And now Skip is how Patrick learned he had a special power…

    IT’S A DOG CONSPIRACY CALLING IT NOW ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED

  • Tylikcat

    So, is anyone else concerned about the information that Gurwara is apparently looting for Patrick’s mind? Just asking…

    I mean, looking is one thing, but sticking it under your arm and taking off is something else.

    • Gotham

      “Kid Patrick, you are the cutest and I love you but it is impressive you manage to engage with me politely considering the amount of profanity piling on in my thought process geared toward the facts that I still don’t fucking know jack about the Conspiracy and I still don’t know who or why or HOW Gurwara is here—despite asking you!—and know he knows I’m here and he has a head start and I was supposed to leave as soon as I could because you still pissed off my boyfriend above-ground and I’m super conflicted with my own feelings about the whole Sentinel thing so while my mouth says “Hi Patrick” I would really kindly ask you not to be like your Pals Anima and Record-Keeps and waste my goddamn time by being willingly obtuse.”

      Honestly though, the way I took it, Gurwara “stealing files” was just visual flavor for me. I don’t think we’re supposed to understand it means Patrick doesn’t know anymore because someone played with some papers.
      Because it would really be annoying to have another roadblock toward that exposition, mostly? And that’s not evidence at all you say? Why yes yes it is

      • Tylikcat

        Are you saying that you find the idea of Gurwara taking information out of someone’s mind improbable?

        I mean, under other circumstances, I wouldn’t posit Patrick as a likely target, but that wouldn’t be drunken unraveling Patrick.

        • Gotham

          I guess what I’m saying is the improbability lies in the coincidence of events. Maybe Patrick is not doing well because someone is rattling his brain from the inside trying to get to the info, and that person is Gurwara, and okay fine I’m cool with that it makes sense, but having him appear right in the middle of the pseudo start of the explanation for the Conspiracy to PREVENT that explanation from resuming later is just the absolute worst tease and while I can suspend disbelief just fine for ducks who are revealed to be masterminds of world conspiracies, plot convenience has me cringing hard.

          • Tylikcat

            Oh, I figure he’s either causing Patrick’s breakdown, or the timing of everything was based on it.

    • Weatherheight

      I’m not particularly concerned – if it’s that important, Patrick’s methodicalness will be manifest in a backup/actual repository somewhere else and this whole shrine is just a “duck blind” / false trail set to trap the unwary into revealing themselves. Not that the information isn’t true, but it seems possible that it’s not all the truth.

      And Arjun just fell for it.

      (Having done this on at least three occasions to the same group of players in my Super’s game, I can tell you it’s super effective).

    • palmvos

      first lets ask a question. are we seeing what anyone standing next to Alison would see? or is this what Alison herself sees? we are in a realm of fairly pure thought, Gurwara may be how Alison recognizes whatever that is, it could be the natural entropy of memory, or the specific effects of his concussion, drugs, or whatever.

      • Tylikcat

        We don’t know, of course, but Tara saw Alison and the door before she entered properly…

    • Xin

      Indeed, something else! He was also looking quite sneaky.

      But, I suppose the level of concern depends upon whether Gurwara is part of The Conspiracy and what his intentions are.

      To play devil’s advocate, perhaps his intentions aren’t altogether bad, and he’s trying to carefully upkeep Patrick’s mind until he can handle dealing with The Conspiracy?

      It seems that there are many possibilities given that Gurwara is appearing after Partick being close to a breakthrough in time travel quite some time ago.

      • Xin

        Meant to say also that it depends upon whether The Conspiracy is itself some sort of anti-hero organization.

        But where is Gurwara, anyway? Did the Component lead them to the same place?

    • At the very least Gurwara seems to have disturbed the web of information Patrick was building. How serious that is depends on whether he’s taken a memory factoid, or a deduction, Deductions can be rebuilt, memories…we don’t know. The holographic memory model argues for non-localised storage, but we aren’t working at that level of abstraction, we’re working in an abstraction where memories have a physical existence. RAID might keep info over multiple discs, but a hacker can still get in and do a secure delete on every copy of the file. Redundancy doesn’t exist if something can still affect every copy. So we have to assume he may well be altering memories, which isn’t good.

      Which incidentally leads on to… we’re in Patrick’s brain, directly accessing
      memories, and there is a whole web of information about the conspiracy,
      which rather blows away the theories he was making it all up.

      Getting back to Gurwara, we still don’t know how he fits into this. He played head games with Alison, but the lesson he taught was one she needed teaching. Doing it by messing with her proper professor’s head was clearly unethical, but the lesson itself was about the ethics of control and coercion, and the revelation of what he did actually reinforced that. Gurwara working to a do-the-least-harm scenario is still possible.

      I don’t think we can call him an agent of the conspiracy at this point, it’s at least as likely, if not more so, that he represents a third, unknown faction. But whatever he’s doing, his aims don’t seem entirely congruent with Alison and Patrick’s. (For creepy thoughts, his presence in Patrick’s brain likely means he’s nearby, which also means he’s in the vicinity of Alison’s unconscious body. Admittedly, my money’s on Feral keeping Al safe. In a fair fight)

      While we’re on the subject, someone should probably tell Patrick he’s running his brain on an unsecure server. And yell at him until he changes his admin password to something that’s not ALISON.

  • Stephanie

    This memory of Patrick’s child self seems a tad young to already be able to read minds, doesn’t he? He looks less than ten here.

    • Gotham

      On a previous page, Anima said he started showcasing his powers at four(!)

      • Stephanie

        Well that’s weird in itself. I thought most of them manifested at 14.

        • Weatherheight

          It is weird – maybe the telepath variants developed earlier than physical powers. Maybe mentats don’t have to deal with the same physical stresses all the rest of the more physical powers do.

        • Danygalw

          Also, the Conspiracy knew about the kids before they were 14.

  • Nobody likes a smart-ass kid, Patrick.

    • Danygalw

      *I* do.

  • Jimmyjims

    Alright, this is the best Patrick.

  • Radon

    So is this
    a) one of the five Patricks
    b) just a memory that can notice if an outsider is “inside” it
    c) the personification of the Component
    more than one of these?

    Also, how interesting that the first thing we see of Patrick’s childhood is so remarkably like Alison’s. A cute doggo and a nice little garden/meadow to play on. /:7

  • Mechwarrior

    Okay, now that we’ve had an in-depth look at how Patrick’s telepathy works, here’s something utterly horrifying: imagine what it would be like for Patrick to be incarcerated in a maximum security facility for any length of time.

  • Teka the Budgie

    Is it just me, or is Allison a little bit stockier than she was a few panels ago before jumping into the component? It’s like the art style changed slightly to reflect a childlike cuteness.

    It’s also interesting that this version of Patrick split off from a memory, unlike the other two Patrick’s we’ve met so far. (Not the Anima really could do that anyway.)

    Allison seems to have landed in a different location from Guwara, so the component must cover quite a few memories.

  • Xin

    This may be a bit finicky, but are Patrick’s irises usually that colour?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Wait, so was it pointed out in past issues that Patrick manifested his powers earlier than the rest of humanity? That he’s one of the special early ones, just not obvious enough or important enough to be targeted by the conspiracy?

    • Julia McGuire

      Anima said a few strips ago that he developed his powers at the age of four. Presumably the conspiracy just didn’t think he was dangerous enough to kill, for whatever reason. But we don’t know for sure yet.

  • DonSimpson

    So, is Skip the dog in the page 19 “headache” visions?

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Woah.

  • Peter G

    I wonder if this Patrick is #5 or whether he wasn’t counted when they said there were 5.

  • Hiram

    REMINDER – NET NEUTRALITY IS UNDER ATTACK.

    YES. AGAIN. I KNOW.

    https://www.fcc.gov/rulemaking/most-active-proceedings
    17-108

    This is going to be apocalyptic if the fuckers get their way.