Comic 741 - Look for cats

Posted on 17th Jan 2018, 6:22 PM in No Easy Way Out
Look for cats

<<First Latest>>
Average Rating: 5 (6 votes) / Rate this comic

Author Notes:

Morgenstern 17th Jan 2018, 6:22 PM edit delete
You ask Mom's red if the smoke bothers it at all.

"It is of no consequence to me," the mouth states.

You also ask Mom's red--and your own red--about the book, and magic, and if they have any thoughts.

"It is a curious thing," the mouth replies. "To cut an edible bite from something so much larger than oneself. Ingenuity and desperation in equal fractions, very fitting for what I know of humankind. Alas, I have little to add; even the idea of a book is somewhat alien to me."

You hear your own red speak, but she doesn't make an appearance. She also sounds like she just woke up. "We might not want to mess with what's in Geoangular Control--other god-like beings might not notice if a human uses a tiny bit of their power, but they might notice if we do it. That being said, learning the basic principle behind it could be useful. If you could figure out how to... I dunno, narrow the scope of your powers using magic? Maybe start doing rituals to yourself to take out some of the risks. Regenerating by perfectly manipulating your infinite power to duplicate human anatomy without panic or zeal is hard--regenerating by drawing the right symbols and saying the right words might be a lot easier. I don't know if it works like that, but... it might be worth a try. We'd need some kind of magical text to learn the basics from, though, and Geoangular Control's all we know about so far."

"So... outside o' gettin' the book, what do we got for dealin' with the psychic?," Michelle asks.

"Tin foil hats?," Caius asks.

"I'm not real convinced the tinfoil worked the first time," Fuse replies. "Edison might've just been messing with us. It's not like the tinfoil blocked Blondie's signals, either."

"True," Dr. Finch states, "but what she does is decidedly not psychic. From what I can gather, her blood communicates with itself via a pseudo-physical connection in the red. It's as if we're all in... in in in a sort of intangible neural network. The link is direct, but exists on a different plane, or a different spectrum of reality."

"Ya lost me," Caius replies.

"Blondie is a corded phone, psychics are wi-fi," Fuse says. "We have the blood, so now we're corded phones, too."

"So where's tha cords?," Caius asks.

"The cords go into the walls, where ya can't see 'em," Michelle replies. "'Cept the wall is like... another dimension."

Caius shrugs. "Whatever, I'll take it."

"Is it always like this around here?," Crease asks. "My head's spinning just trying to keep up."

"Oh, this is the easy stuff," Fuse replies. "I'll take this all day over talking about what a memory really is. Anyway, my point was that we don't know for sure if the tinfoil would work, or if it just works on ghost psychics and not regular psychics, or... whatever the hell this thing is, because it's probably not a ghost or a regular psychic. Like, we could give it a shot, but a creature that can make us eat our own guns is a bad testing ground. It's a good plan B--there's no reason not to wear tinfoil hats if we're going to infiltrate that church--but we need a really solid plan A."

"And all we seem to have, at present," Dr. Finch admits with a sigh, "is that infernal book."

"Any one of us could get it in a day or two, tops," Caius suggests. "Any of our heavy hitters oughta be able to deal with whatever library cult could be guardin' tha book."

"Thaaat's an assumption," Fuse says. "For all we know they've summoned two Laskers to guard that thing. This is magic, and we don't know jack about it--we don't know if the book's protected, we don't know who would protect it, or how."

Michelle scratches her head. "Did anything online make it sound like the book was bein' guarded...? It's just in a library, right?"

"It's in an old, mysterious library," Fuse says. "And everybody's going out of their way to hide everything about the book, and almost everything about the library. If they publicized that it had magical sentries protecting it at all times, it'd just make people more curious. Right now it's just an allegedly arcane tome that only one copy exists of, and that any duplicated pages of suddenly disappear off the internet. I was starting to think it might have been BS in the first place until that talk with Lydia."

You ask Fuse if he wants to be cleantexed--it might help him remember where he actually learned about the book.

"I mean..." Fuse hesitates. "Yeah, I guess. I don't think I'm gonna like the answer, but it beats not knowing. I'm gonna have to hunker down and really dig, though--if it's like any of the Nil stuff, my first thought about the book could've been planted anywhere. I really hope it's not Nil again."

You imitate cleantex for Fuse.

"Even if we did send somebody..." Michelle starts, "that'd be like a day, maybe two days they'd be gone. That's two days we'd be short somebody, and we sorta need everybody."

"Would... it be possible for me to go?," Crease offers--to the surprise of Zene. Crease continues. "I feel like... well, I know this isn't directly my fault, but I do feel responsible on account of my wife. I need to do some foreign house hunting for the aftermath of all this, anyway."

Michelle smiles. "Thanks for offerin', Z's Dad, but Fuse has a point--it could be guarded, an' with all the other stuff we've had to deal with... if somethin's watchin' that book, I don't think a regular guy could deal with it. No offense."

Crease nods.

Michelle gives a small sigh of her own. "I say we go get cats."

Caius loudly clears his throat.

Michelle rolls her eyes. "...And a pigeon. Who's goin'?"

"I'm afraid I still have some work to do with this body," Dr. Finch replies. "I'm going to transcribe what I can from what's left of the runes--on separate pages, of course, so as not to accidentally cast anything. It may help us do comparisons later on."

"I'm gonna stay behind an' make sure tha Doctor don't get possessed or nothin'," Caius says. "Besides, he might still need my help with this guy."

Fuse shakes his head. "As much as I'd love to chase cats around, I'm going to focus on finding where I learned about that book from."

Michelle looks at Zene and Crease... but then shakes her head, giving a shrug. "Well, me and Blondie, then."

You head out of the bunker and begin to wander the empty streets. You and Michelle roam the debris-riddled roads for a while, peeking down alleyways and checking in broken shops. Eventually, you do stumble onto some cats in an alley. You and Michelle approach quietly; she keeps her voice low.

"We can prob'ly get one easy enough, but when we do, I'll bet it scares the others off. Might take us a while to find more after that... might depend on how many cats we want."


crawlers 17th Jan 2018, 7:27 PM edit delete reply
Get something small and stealthy too, like a spider or some insect. This could be useful in case whatever guards the book is not friendly to large animals but might have something tiny slip its gaze, allowing us to scout unnoticed.
Nayru9572 17th Jan 2018, 7:30 PM edit delete reply
I think that it was already mentioned before that trying to blood an insect's not that easy, not to mention the different senses. We can still try, but don't expect too much of it.
Twyll 17th Jan 2018, 10:32 PM edit delete reply
If we could find a jumping spider, that would be ideal, because they're largely sight-based hunters and thus have minds that work kiiiiinda closer to human minds than other spiders' minds do. They're often difficult to find, though, unless they just happen to wander across your path, because they're tiny and very mobile.
Baron11704 18th Jan 2018, 2:10 AM edit delete reply
I think any implement we use to insert blood is going to out right kill any insect, usually you can't stab a spider with a syringe and expect it to live
Deadly Death Sickle 18th Jan 2018, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
Deadly Death Sickle
Could we just like, put our blood in water and wait for a spider to drink it?
Fish 20th Jan 2018, 4:25 PM edit delete reply
Dr. Finch might be able to do it, given his surgical experience. But it would be much easier to do if we caught a breeding pair or three of some insects, perhaps flies, and injected them at the pupal stage. Source: this is how we inject insects in bio labs for research.
Nayru9572 17th Jan 2018, 7:29 PM edit delete reply
We don't need too many cats: think of the litter and cat food and all. Personally I rather like how the grey striped one looks.
wierdweblurker 17th Jan 2018, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
Cat food, yes. Wait... with the blood, could we technically train the cat to use a human toilet?
Madd 17th Jan 2018, 8:37 PM edit delete reply
Let's sync the cats with Caius, I'm sure that will go over well.
Twyll 17th Jan 2018, 10:36 PM edit delete reply
Presumably, the cats would continue to live outside, like the ravens do. We don't want to keep the cats inside with Willard, after all.

Speaking of which... we need to make a standard order for anything with our blood not to try to eat anything else with our blood.
Blue_Elite 18th Jan 2018, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
I was thinking this'd be the Disney princess scene we'd recreate in the Mars bunker would be all about. Jane with a raven, Willard, and a cat; and have her test giving orders not to attack/eat each other and see how that works.
lil Joshu 19th Jan 2018, 4:12 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
We have an endless supply of Mars sand. I don't think we have to worry about litter. And we dump it all out on Mars, because heck knows Mars is in desperate need of fertilizer. We should also experiment with some Earth extromophiles to see if we can get them growing on Mars.
RemnantSoul 17th Jan 2018, 7:31 PM edit delete reply
9..... we want 9 cats.
Tsukistar 17th Jan 2018, 7:32 PM edit delete reply
I vote getting the tabby or the black kitty, personally - they both would probably make better stealth kitties than the calico, as much as I love the lil fella.
Waddle Dee 17th Jan 2018, 7:40 PM edit delete reply
Weeeell, if we only have to pick one right now...

Let's try blooding that black cat first. It's probably the most suited for being sneaky, since its coat is so dark. Perfect for covert operations.

As for the overall number, I'd say we blood only one or two. Two would be ideal, since we'd be able to cover a lot more ground, but if time is of the essence, one will do.
Twyll 17th Jan 2018, 10:34 PM edit delete reply
Solid black actually shows up more clearly than patterned dark brown or gray, so if we're thinking in stealth terms, we should probably go for the striped grey one.

Ideally, we can get multiple cats, though. Can we tempt them over with food, then use our bandages to do a multi-stab?
Madd 17th Jan 2018, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
I say we get all three and a pigeon.
The grey striped one and the black one are for stealth, and the calico is for indoor emotional support.
Black cat, then striped, then calico.
Then we find the fattest pigeon we can.

When we get back we need to keep looking for a way to get around the fucking psychics.
Mochi 17th Jan 2018, 8:04 PM edit delete reply
hmm... feral cats are generally very skittish towards humans. we should've brought something to tempt them with, honestly. and they're fast -- throwing a syringe at one probably wouldn't work. there's a chance, i guess, that some of these could be domestic cats who were displaced by the destruction, which means they'd be amicable to us and probably even want attention. maybe we should just hang out in the alley for a bit and see if any of them want to be friends?
Mochi 17th Jan 2018, 8:10 PM edit delete reply
also, we should hazard a trip to a nearby pet store for cat food, litter, litter box etc. and maybe some actual supplies for willard too, like rat food and a cage to sleep in. ... and the same for the pigeon, if we end up finding one.
Portal In Time 18th Jan 2018, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
The others were talking about using our blood to train the kitties with using a toilet if they’re staying inside, so I don’t think kitty litter will be a problem. I do agree with the food, though - We need to feed our sweet baby rat son, along with these lovely feline fellows.

My thoughts are that they should just wander around the neighborhood, though. We shouldn’t confine them to the bunker, they’re probably feral/like the outside more.
lil Joshu 19th Jan 2018, 4:15 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Many feral cats, if fed, gladly migrate to being indoor home cats. They generally are domestic shorthairs afterall. That said, once blooded, we can always just sense which they prefer.

Edit: On that note... once we blood a cat, we should see if we can use them to learn how to properly speak cat.
Mochi 17th Jan 2018, 9:16 PM edit delete reply
also i want the orange and white one.
skybirds15 17th Jan 2018, 10:10 PM edit delete reply
Proof that this is the best webcomic: we need a solution to eldritch horror psychic possession, and we're rescuing a cat.

Granted, we'll then possess it (and a pigeon) with blood, but still.

We could always just light the truck on fire, after sneaking into max fire distance. Can't psychic possess fire. Might not work, though, but can the psychics tell what brain is what without explicit guidance via a third party?

We could go whole hog and steal a goddamn APC from the PMC. Deal with explosive rounds to the truck, psychics.
Frission 17th Jan 2018, 10:25 PM edit delete reply
Grey Tabby <3 Most loving, smart kitty I've ever known.
pkrankow 17th Jan 2018, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
Get a couple live traps and some tins of tuna. Cats within an hour if they are present. I have trapped feral cats before, this method is nearly fool proof.

The pigeons will take more work, but people may feed them in the parks. The wiki says they eat fruit and seeds, so popcorn is pretty ideal.
Madd 18th Jan 2018, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
I've also done some feral cat trapping, canned cat food works as well.
Also cats usually learn after the first time being trapped.

Yeah, we should buy some live/catch and release traps and some wet cat food or canned tuna.
pkrankow 18th Jan 2018, 2:59 PM edit delete reply
Yes they learn, but often forget after a year or so...
Deadly Death Sickle 17th Jan 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
Deadly Death Sickle
Swagner 18th Jan 2018, 12:26 AM edit delete reply
As an alternative method of handling the giga-psychic: really big guns, the sort Michelle was wielding way back in the first chapter. The psychic's clearly got a maximum range, if they can be shot from outside of it we could sidestep the mind-control issue entirely. Alternatively: some blood-controlled bomb delivery system; perhaps a round bomb that could be rolled?
Blue_Elite 18th Jan 2018, 1:30 AM edit delete reply
Step 1: Blood a cat.
Step 2: Use blooded cat to catch and blood a pigeon.
Step 3: Profit There is no Step 3 Use blooded pigeon to bait and blood more cats.

I'm fairly indifferent to which cat we should catch. Though I'd like to recommend the name Alley-Oop for whichever one we catch first.
Crestlinger 18th Jan 2018, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
If numbers aren't an issue (check that there aren't anymore in the dumpster), grab all three, no sense leaving them there when we have a cozy bunker (after giving a 'no eating friends' order, human or animal). If Willard's any proof they will go about their own thing quietly and a kitty pile will be a welcome sanity balm based on what's been happening so far.
Portal In Time 18th Jan 2018, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
The black cat is probably best at being stealthy, let’s go for that one. If we need more than one, go for the tabby next, then the calico.

To be honest, I didn’t think we were actually getting cats, I thought our yearning for a good kitty was just going to remain an inside joke for the rest of the comic!
skybirds15 18th Jan 2018, 2:10 PM edit delete reply

The enemy psychic sounds a lot like us, the commanders

A bunch of disparate voices that have different ideas on what to do, but end up agreeing on something to do in the end

Are we fighting ourselves? Is there a secret other webcomic from a different perspective?

*conspiracy nosie*
Madd 18th Jan 2018, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
Probably that's because we suggested one or two of the things it wanted us to do, that and we saw that it's an amalgamated flesh pile with a bunch of minds in it.
Memo 19th Jan 2018, 12:34 AM edit delete reply
If we can levitate more than one syringe at a time, we should go for more cats. Less difficult to inject the cats than catching them bare handed.
pkrankow 19th Jan 2018, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
Some wet food or tinned fish would make this pretty darn easy.