Comic 313 - Catch ravens

Posted on 3rd Sep 2017, 5:47 AM in Unfathomable Hate
Catch ravens

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (1 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 3rd Sep 2017, 5:47 AM edit delete
For now, you set your blood alarm to notify you if your rat sees anyone in your house, and you drop the rat off at your home. You tell the rat not to leave the premises, try not to be seen, stay out of trouble... the usual.

You decide that, given the potential cost and risk of exposure if you go shopping around for affordable ravens, it's probably better to just catch wild ones. You send a message to Dr. Finch, asking where you might find ravens in this city.

"Hmmm. Hm hm hm. Well, you've never seen birds in the middle tiers, have you? No. No you haven't. Unless that bird was lost, and sad. You'll need to go higher... past tier 150, at least."

And so, you drive.

And drive.

While the lower tiers are very cramped--and even the middle tiers are fairly space efficient--the upper tiers feature long stretches of open road. The higher you go, the emptier it feels. Gone are the dense neighborhoods; instead, you begin to see only brief clusters of buildings, and large, isolated homes. Though you and Dr. Finch both live in the upper tiers, you don't live this high, this separated from the rest of society.

You reach the 155th tier before you, and the others in your car, start to really look. There's a variety of small, park-like areas, with streets that cut through them. While driving through one of these areas, you spy what definitely looks like a raven. You drive into the park, pulling over to the side of the road. Everyone gets out. Though you and Caius are already starting to approach the birds, Michelle and Fuse are both distracted.

"I don't... I don't think I've ever been this high up before," Fuse says, staring off into the distance.

Michelle smiles. "Really puts things in perspective, don't it?"

"Yeah," says Fuse, "you can't even see the lower tiers anymore through all the pollution. The poor are god damn invisible from where the rich live. You could come out every day, breathe the clean air, look at the sky, and never have a clue that people are suffering down there."

His bitter tone isn't quite enough to wipe away Michelle's smile. "Not really what I meant, but... yeah. It's a lot like that." Michelle turns toward you. "Hey, Blondie. You ever been to this part of the city?"

You tell her that... when you were a little girl, your parents would sometimes take you up to these heights to look at the stars. Just... every once in a while.

Fuse and Michelle both fall silent for a moment. Caius is still quietly watching the birds.

"Wow." Michelle finally breaks the silence. "That... geez, Blondie, I'm sorry. That's all prob'ly taken on a whole new meaning now, huh...?"

"I wish you could see them better," you remember your mom saying. "They look bright now, but... there's still all this smoke and neon in the way. They're so much more beautiful when you can see them clearly."

Your dad smiled at her, and hugged the two of you tighter. "Maybe she will, someday. You never know."

Your mom returned the smile, the tinge of sadness leaving her voice as she spoke to your father. "Maybe. Maybe we can find a better view of the stars together."

"She could have lived forever,"

your red says.


"She could have wandered the stars for the rest of eternity... but she didn't want to abandon us.

She wanted to be with us as long as she could.

She gave up forever for us."

"Hey." You're snapped out of it by Caius, who finally speaks up. "How we gonna catch these birds?"

Michelle's grin relights as she approaches the birds. "Well..." she begins, "if I were a bird, I know how I'd get caught."

Michelle then pulls out the small bag of crackers from earlier.

"I think ravens are supposed to be like... super smart," Fuse suggests. "I don't think they're gonna fall for convenience store crackers."

"Oh, they're smart alright," Michelle says as she crouches toward the pavement. She holds out a single cracker "Smart enough to know how nummy crackers are! Yes they are!" She puts on a... babying tone, one that visibly bewilders Fuse and Caius. "C'mon! Come get a tasty cracker!"

And, much to the shock (and possibly disgust) of everyone present, one of the ravens begins to hop toward her.

"No fuggen way." Caius doesn't move an inch for fear of ruining it.

The raven hops over... carefully... tilting its little raven head... and then snatches the cracker from Michelle. Michelle, in turn, snatches the raven. The raven panics, Michelle fighting to hold it firmly, but gently, until you can get to it. You quickly lean down and inject the raven.

You can now give commands to a raven.

"How..." Fuse mutters, still stunned by the display. "How did that work? Why did that work?"

Michelle sets the raven down, and you tell the raven to hang out for a bit.

"Uh, 'cuz these little guys are adorable?," Michelle says it like it's both an obvious and acceptable answer. "I guarantee I ain't the first person to feed these birds. They've prob'ly learned by now that people equal food. Free food. Easy food."

"Well, don't spoil it," Fuse says. "I don't know jack about ravens, but I'm sure a cracker-only diet isn't good for it."

"Wouldn't be good for nobody," Caius points out. "You ever read the ingredients on that junk? It's barely a cracker in tha first place."

Michelle pets the raven a little before standing. "Hopefully, livin' in this part of the city hasn't wrecked his instincts. I'm sure he still hunts, or... whatever it is ravens do, not just relyin' on handouts from rich people."

There's a brief pause before Michelle lightly chuckles to herself. "Ya ever think about how crazy this is?"

"Twenty four seven," Caius replies. "Like, every second since I got hit with a syringe and didn't tell nobody."

"I do kind of take it for granted," Fuse says, nodding. "We just injected our friend's blood into a raven but we're worried it's not getting fed properly."

"We gotta watch his feedin' habits," Michelle says firmly. "If he's gettin' too much people food, we're gonna have to rehabilitate 'em. Get him back in fightin' shape, be an example to the other ravens." She almost makes it through the whole statement without cracking a smile, but not quite. "He's a majestic creature," she adds, the slight smile spilling into a full blown grin.

It takes you about twenty minutes--as this raven's panic scared the others off, briefly--but you inject two more ravens.

You now have a total of three ravens.


PurpleKetchup 3rd Sep 2017, 5:56 AM edit delete reply
The bg is looking gorgeous. Impressive work.
rufiangel 3rd Sep 2017, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
Commenting on the update overall before I talk about potential actions to take thereafter:

This update... this update was gorgeous. Absolutely worth the wait. <333

More information given on the tiering going on in this city; that it goes up to 150+ is pretty intriguing and I love the world-building here. It's just fantastic. <3 Fuse's bitterness really rounds out this world, showing us how multi-faceted our group is, and how everyone represents something a little different.

The memory of Jane's parents was beautiful and sad and finally confirms the reason why Jane's mother died. I was wondering if that was the case; now that we know for sure, it's made her mother all the more of a beautifully tragic character. "She gave up forever for us." ;__;* Jane, you were so loved. Don't forget that.

The raven catching scene was amazing XDDD revealing this side to Michelle was so entertaining, especially with everyone's reactions LOL. She's a raven-whisperer! ... almost. Dat babying tone <333

And finally, I loved how we ended the segment with everyone reflecting how weird their lives have become, since meeting Jane XD seriously, this group, I love every single one of them. So. Much. <3
Varil 3rd Sep 2017, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
Our good buddy Finch has actually brought up a small problem with our plan...if birds aren't common lower in the city, they ain't much good for spying easily because they'll stand out. We can still have them hide in a tree or something but we can't exactly just park them next to some more birds and call it good.

But...if we figure out where some bigwigs who are "in on it" live, we could use them to spy on those guys pretty easily. See their coming-and-goings, for instance.

And it is true that ravens are pretty you figure we can teach them to tell time in a basic sort of way? Set them to watch for when someone leaves, and tell us when they did? Maybe just a general morning/afternoon/evening/night deal. It could be a useful trick.

It might also be useless, I dunno.

So anyway, what are our current short-term goals? Learn more about the Fed(?) lady(who didn't give us a name, did she? Gosh that isn't suspicious at all.) Learn more about TH. Maybe try and turn a few of our enemies, somehow. Ideally through diplomacy, but some of them are fanatics, like the prophet.

Kitty commented about growing extra eyes last time...I'm not sure about that one way or the other, but it is true that learning more about manipulating our own physiology could be important. Last time we tried to heal ourselves we came away with some notable oddities in our body.

Can anyone think of any "small scale" things we could try to get more practice changing ourselves? Or at least healing ourselves.

Oh! Can we stimulate ourselves and others to make adrenaline? It probably isn't "tube meat" levels of badassery but being able to push ourselves(or our allies) to our physical limits on demand could be a powerful asset. Especially if we get better at regeneration, since it would mean that any self inflicted injuries caused by over-exertion could be mitigated quickly.
rufiangel 3rd Sep 2017, 6:49 AM edit delete reply
Could you possibly repost the pic a smaller size? :'D It's breaking the website for me!
PurpleKetchup 3rd Sep 2017, 6:52 AM edit delete reply
The image's so huge it murdered the formatting on its own.
Vahno 3rd Sep 2017, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
This place is beautiful... but... Terrible too. Things need to change, somehow. With our power, we could easily change the city for the better... But... that just seems terrible...
rufiangel 3rd Sep 2017, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Okie, commenting now on actions XD

I don't think we have anyone in particular we want to sic our ravens on right now, but we'll be able to do so later when the situation arises. -v-

Regarding the bigwigs Varil mentioned, how about that membership list Fuse pulled from Club Elegance, to start with? We could cross-reference their residences with places Shirai owns, maybe, or with recent political events involving Patton Thale or Theodore Reigns.

Also I know I keep harping on about these two ideas, so excuse me XD; but I still think we should investigate the mysterious number we found on Tiger-mask's phone, not calling it just yet but just looking into what we could learn from it. And also looking into other properties owned by Shirai that could potentially be housing stuff that could be what the initial bio-printer monster back in the hospital was 'practice' for.

(Also, on the topic of prep in general, I still think we should prep bottles of blood for future potential blood-portaling XD)

Are we ready to try a sync with Macland tonight?
PurpleKetchup 3rd Sep 2017, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
I'd like it if the first sync with the Mac was during his sleep.
His mindscape is probably inhabited with monsters now due to Carpenter's process, but at least he won't actively fight Jane or try to read her thoughts.

Talking about readiness, maybe Jane can try syncing with a friend and asking them to try and repel our "intrusion", sparring style.

Surely there's a way to practice fighting mind-monsters efficiently.
rufiangel 3rd Sep 2017, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
Oooh, that's a pretty cool idea, to try training sync repulsion with friends! We could do something innocuous, like 'think of the most embarrassing thing that's happened to you' and then attempt to sync to learn it. They'd have motivation to actually try to repel us so we could see how it goes XD;;;

I am in agreement with attempting to sync with Mac while in dreamland, given what we learnt about it being slightly less damaging to us - though of course, perhaps more volatile in nature since the human's subconscious mind can be scary. This is, of course, barring any random stuff happening that prevents us from being rested enough to try it at night. >___> (I'm looking at you, MM.)
Varil 3rd Sep 2017, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
The blood-portaling is a good idea. Finch could keep some of our blood on ice that we could use to get home.

...actually, our blood was "in" the sheets when we used it, right? Can we do something like...popping out of people who contain our blood? Preferably in a way that isn't horrifically violent. Blood-portaling is one of many tricks we really need to practice with.

I like the idea of cross-referencing locations with the Elegance list. It might also give us some high-end homes that might be worth parking a bird on.

I also think PurpleKetchup's idea of practicing against an ally is a good one, with the catch that we should be very, *very* careful at first. We don't know what kind of mental trauma might result from a brain-first kind of fight. We should start gently, is all I'm saying.

Would it be better if said ally took a nap when we tried to "invade"? If we're gonna hit Macland while he's napping then having some sense what comes of entering a dreaming mind would be valuable.
WalkerOfSorrow 3rd Sep 2017, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
I think it's hysterical how we keep referencing Persona in one way or another; what with all this talk of invading people's subconscious and mental defenses and stuff.

But yes, I'm actually in agreement with the crowd today. Consider my support given to all the expressed ideas: dream practice, dream-syncing with Mac, raven targets, all of it!
AlphaDragon 3rd Sep 2017, 12:06 PM edit delete reply
I think (unless I missed it in prior days) we actually have 2 numbers that need investigating. One on Tiger Girls phone, and then the "Alleged" Fed... Have fuse use his skills to check both numbers...
I assume they don't match, but you never know with "Choose your own fate" stories.
worthless 3rd Sep 2017, 7:23 AM edit delete reply
I cant see the image
PurpleKetchup 3rd Sep 2017, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
It's a 1920x1080 pic of a raven perched on a lady's gloved arm.
Morgenstern 3rd Sep 2017, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
Sorry to 5007-574in3d, but I ended up deleting the picture. D: It kind of broke the page for a while.
5007-574in3d 3rd Sep 2017, 6:51 PM edit delete reply
Well, as long as people saw that ravens were the size of a medium-sized dog, that's all that matters.
Baeronius 4th Sep 2017, 11:15 AM edit delete reply
I was wondering where that picture went, then decided to read down a bit.
Whelp! There I go!
Zeddy 3rd Sep 2017, 11:01 AM edit delete reply
Send a raven to Winterfell and tell them winter is coming
3rd Sep 2017, 12:06 PM edit delete reply
Actually, murder applies to a group of crows. A group of ravens is called an unkindness.
Mochi 3rd Sep 2017, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
well i mean we could certainly do an unkindness to someone with a large group of ravens
Kitty 3rd Sep 2017, 12:53 PM edit delete reply
So, if ravens aren't gonna work for middle-tier recon, because they'd look out-of-place... maybe snakes? They can be pretty stealthy when they want to, and might be more likely to live in the lower tiers. Sneks can do a sneak!

Also, beautiful background. And even if we can't use the ravens for lower-tier recon... I'm still super-excited to have them!

Can any of them talk? :D We should try talking through a raven, just to freak everyone out.
Kitty 3rd Sep 2017, 2:21 PM edit delete reply
To clarify: all our ravens probably *can* talk, since ravens have the same physical equipment, it's just that only some of them bother with learning how to use it to make human speech-sounds. So I guess the real question is, can we figure out how to *teach* them to talk, if they haven't figured that part out already on their own.
Dragon_ANGL 3rd Sep 2017, 12:57 PM edit delete reply
It's a wonderful comic strip, like most of yours are, but I have a comment on red - can we personalize her more, perhaps? Capitalize her inner/alternate self as Red, or perhaps alternate the alternate self's name? Perhaps Crimson, or Scarlet?
Kitty 3rd Sep 2017, 2:17 PM edit delete reply
We call her Red, and she is our red. Like our mom would be called Mom. So when we use Red as a proper name it's capitalized, and when we use it as a noun that describes a kind of thing (there are multiple reds out there), it's not capitalized.

Hence, Red is our red; we have a red named Red.

(aaaahhh semantic satiation, now red doesn't look like a word any more...)
tor 3rd Sep 2017, 1:20 PM edit delete reply
Guess we should ask Finch about people in the upper tiers we should have the birds keep an eye on.
Passerby lost one 3rd Sep 2017, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
I didn't think my 1st comment would miss being on top of the list.(Was a bit too hesitant I guess.)

Any way,my suggestion for my upper class commenters, did Flinch get questions about the event already? If so he could just repeat his answer,unless Ms.federal agent has new questions or asks for more details. Then Finch with his best judgment,tell her the truth,right up until Jane and M left to search for more information. Just to see the reaction of the agent, act like he is not sure of your current location,then brace for a possible negative action. Of course this is presumably if the agent vists him today.

Last suggestion...take one bird in the car ant have the other fly down to Jane's house, you know...for practice.
Mochi 3rd Sep 2017, 2:44 PM edit delete reply
if we need sometbing for middle to lower tiers, could we use a stray cat? or something like that?
Mochi 3rd Sep 2017, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
also i just realized this might be the first time caius has ever seen a bird, rofl… no wonder he's so interested in them.
Guest 20th Apr 2018, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
ah i no seeing a pic of a raven. guess it was deleted already