Comic 305 - Send in the rat

Posted on 31st Aug 2017, 2:39 PM in Unfathomable Hate
Send in the rat

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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 31st Aug 2017, 2:39 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
You ask if anyone present recognizes the car, or its license plate. Nobody seems to.

You suggest that you're going to leave the rat here as a scout... though, you'd like to give the rat a little snack first. He's been through a lot.

"Seriously?," asks Caius. "You're jus' mind controllin' him, right? Why ya worried about tha rat's feelings?"

"He deserves a snack," insists Michelle. You're not sure, but she likely hasn't forgotten how sad she felt about the brown rat, back when you were all synced.

"What does a rat even eat...?" Fuse mutters.

You get in touch with Dr. Finch, and ask him what a good snack for the white rat would be.

"Oh... erm..." Dr. Finch adjusts his glasses. "There's a certain brand of cereal that one always liked. It's the circular ones, they're low in sugar. Rats in general really enjoy grains, in my experience."

You're given a slight pause by how specific that was. Unfortunately, you don't think you have the time to go cereal shopping--you're not sure how long the owner of the black car will be there, after all. You stop by a convenience store not too far from your house, and buy a small package of crackers. You give the rat a cracker and send it on its way.

You tell the rat to go check out your house, but to be careful, and not be seen... and avoid the weird door in the basement level. It takes some maneuvering, but the rat eventually finds a way into your home. Good news for now, bad news if you ever start living there again. The rat begins to explore your home, sneaking behind furniture and the like, but hasn't found anything unusual just yet.

You also check on Macland. He's back at the hotel--maybe even the same room--and seems to be talking business with one of his employees. Macland is talking down to the young man, wielding a hateful and belittling tone. You don't know Macland well enough to say whether he's just riled up from recent events, or if this is just how Macland treats his employees.

Comments:

Morgenstern 31st Aug 2017, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Morgenstern
Today I found out rats sometimes lay on their backs while they're eating. This information isn't useful, but I'm glad to have it
Mochi 31st Aug 2017, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
Mochi
rats are adorable and really clever!! i had pet ones for the longest time. they're really wasy to train and they can learn all kinds of tricks. and when they're happy, they do this thing where they grind their teeth, or
brux, and their eyes boggle. it's super adorable!
rufiangel 31st Aug 2017, 8:49 PM edit delete reply
rufiangel
I just spent a minute of my life watching that rat eat that cracker and it was spent going 'AFWUFUFUF THAT'S SO CUTE AFWUFUFUWFU' the whole time.
worthless 31st Aug 2017, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
well...I guess keep on looking but be VERY careful we or at least me Worthless doesn't want anyone else to die by our hands, mind or weird lovecraft inspired blood powers and I like to tell myself that Jane thinks that too
AlphaDragon 31st Aug 2017, 3:28 PM edit delete reply
This might be a good time to explain to everyone that we aren't just going to mind control people. That we are trying to look out for people that have our blood and those that don't. That's the whole reason we are doing this is to protect others.
Mochi 31st Aug 2017, 3:39 PM edit delete reply
Mochi
we care about the rat for the same reasons we went through hell to rescue you, caius. we're just trying to keep everyone safe. and our friends -- be they people or rodents -- mean a lot to us. they're all we have. that includes you, now, too.

also, rats are cute. and to answer fuse's question, they can eat just about anything! they're omnivores. meat, veggies, fruit… one of mine used to loooove hamburger helper. they are lactose intolerant, though, so too much dairy is bad, and chocolate is bad for them for the same reasons it's bad for dogs.

…iknowalotaboutrats…

on a more serious note, if there's no one in the house, the chances are the black car is staking it out to see if we'll come back. probably best if we leave it for now, unless the rat manages to find something else in the other rooms.
worthless 31st Aug 2017, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
that is a bit of a weird analogy don't you think wile true, its quite the funny thought heh anyway in the far future will we ever do anything about this three tier thing after we "defeat" the queen we should keep that in the back of our head
worthless 31st Aug 2017, 3:40 PM edit delete reply
as a side note are there pet shop around here a crow would have be quite good at scouting I imagine and who knows it might just be smart enough to be sentient yea that is a bit of an impossible stretch but it was fun imagining for a few seconds a sentient crow how cool would that be anyway my point stands scout crow very unexpected very smart if we can find any
AlphaDragon 31st Aug 2017, 4:00 PM edit delete reply
Totally in on the crow idea. From what I have seen and read they can even use simple tools (Sticks for moving things etc)
WalkerOfSorrow 31st Aug 2017, 4:03 PM edit delete reply
Actually, worthless, I think you're right on the money! Crows/ravens are very intelligent. They're social animals, natural born thieves, they even hold grudges. Getting our hands on one could take a bit of work, but not with a good syringe.
Kitty 31st Aug 2017, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
And crows are city dwellers, too, so they'd be relatively accessible to us. (Ravens not so much, probably.) They can even hide small trinkets in their feathers, in case we need to smuggle anything. They're curious (and greedy) enough that we might be able to blood them by feeding them meat with our blood in it, too, so we wouldn't have to try to syringe a small moving target.

If we can't find crows, pigeons or seagulls would do in a pinch. They're not as smart, but still capable of some of the things that crows can do. Pigeons are particularly good at navigation, and seagulls are just mean, all-around capable sorts of birds.

If it weren't an issue for Michelle, I'd also suggest trying to seek out a few jumping spiders for some VERY tiny intelligent "bug on the wall" capabilities, since jumping spiders can often be found in urban environments too. And many of them are bold and curious enough that they wouldn't run away from us at first sight, making it easier to just plop a drop of blood in front of them and see if they taste it or something. Their vision is much better than other spiders' vision, and they also have good vibration-sensing abilities.
Mochi 31st Aug 2017, 3:48 PM edit delete reply
Mochi
also, macland is a dick. can we make him spill a hot drink in his lap later?
Wii G 31st Aug 2017, 4:26 PM edit delete reply
While tempting, he'd probably just take out his pain and frustration on someone else. We know he can get away with that sort of thing.
Mochi 31st Aug 2017, 4:42 PM edit delete reply
Mochi
i mean, he's already doing that...
WalkerOfSorrow 31st Aug 2017, 4:02 PM edit delete reply
I've been thinking a lot about things to this end. Like, if we can make people say things, or make people do what we want, why take broad strokes? We could influence Macland where every fifth step he takes feels like there's a rock in his shoe. We could spy through him to find some random, tough-looking guy, and alter Mac's stride just enough that he bumps into the dude and starts a fight.

Macland probably won't ever be our friend, but we can make good use of this link. We could even play a game of Hangman with him, make him start writing TH's name at a rate of one letter per day, and destroy the paper every time he writes a letter so there's no paper trail. We could even inflict something like dyslexia, where he starts mistaking one letter for another, switches syllables around at random, suddenly feels like a word makes no sense, etc.
Mochi 31st Aug 2017, 4:13 PM edit delete reply
Mochi
wow. i just wanna fuck with him a little, but you're gonna make him think he's insane! not sure which would be more fun in the long run...
Kitty 31st Aug 2017, 4:34 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking we could push him toward starting to muse about things aloud-- only when he's alone. I have a form of OCD that makes me blurt things out loud sometimes, but I usually manage to suppress it in the presence of other people. If we can mimic that, and create a specific "say things that trouble you out loud" compulsion, we might not even have to sync with him-- we could just have him babble what we want to know.

Generally, this kind of OCD and Tourette's work best when associated things that the person stresses about. And what luck, WE stress Macland out, and all the stuff related to our situation and our enemies is a stressor for him! So it should be relatively easy to poke him into telling us what he knows in a fairly subtle way (and also, as a bonus, make him feel very uncomfortable while he does it).
WalkerOfSorrow 31st Aug 2017, 9:50 PM edit delete reply
I don't know if anyone will see this, since the comic is already a step ahead of here at the time of writing, but two things: I wanted to commend you for really thinking out that suggestion, good job, and also I think I may have something that works -- either as a step toward what you suggested or as a replacement.

We can't read Mac's mind until we Sync, but we can plant thoughts and know for a fact they went in his head. What if we use that OCD concept, and make him go all sappy teen drama? Poke tiny thoughts in to make him think things are a little more stressful than they are. Mundane things become a bigger deal, and his serious stressors (like us) become difficult to bear day-to-day. Past that point, we plant the suggestion that if he writes about what is stressing him out, it will make him feel better.

But after he starts doing that, we seed the thought that if anyone found his journal entries, that might cause trouble for him, and cause more stress. Since it's counter-productive, he should do something just as meaningful to him, but abstract to outsiders, like drawing or painting, or even sculpting, whatever works.

Once we have him making art of what bothers him, we step up the program. Now when he doesn't draw his problems, they get worse, and drawing them is the only thing that keeps him on a level (pun semi-intended).
Crestlinger 31st Aug 2017, 6:38 PM edit delete reply
If any trouble shows up, hiding spot under the couch.
tor 31st Aug 2017, 7:12 PM edit delete reply
Caught up finally, love your work.

I guess we could have the rat give a cursory look at the house and check vent to see if anyone has touched it.

Also I kinda want to ask Caius why he shaved his head.
rufiangel 31st Aug 2017, 8:01 PM edit delete reply
rufiangel
Could we ask Caius a bit more about Mackey? Like, is he always like that? ;;

Also, did Caius know about the torture room at Elegance?

So happy Willard got a cracker. Dr. Finch's specific response and Michelle's insistence made me chuckle XD