926: Time Vulture
Title text: In a way, all vultures are Time Vultures; some just have more patience than others.
This comic is about a time vulture, which as far as I can tell is not a reference to anything, but something made up by Randall for the comic. A Time Vulture as explained in the 3rd frame is a type of vulture that can live for millennia and wait long enough for someone to die of natural causes. A vulture is a type of animal that preys on other animals (and humans) who are sick or dying.
Because the Time Vulture lives for so long, in its point of view, everyone says "But, I'm not about to die" right before they do. In our point of view it could be several years, but since the Time Vulture lives for so long, years are mere moments in its view.
In the image text, since all vultures wait for their prey to die, all vultures are Time Vultures, but time vultures are able to wait decades for their prey, whereas regular vultures do not have that kind of time.
- [A bird with apparently fractal wings hovers above a dude, standing with a friend.]
- Friend: Dude, you've got a Time Vulture.
- Dude: Holy crap! What is it?
- Friend: They're predators that use aging to kill prey.
- Dude: Huh? What do you mean?
- [The panel zooms in on the Friend's face. Dude comments from off-panel.]
- Friend: They live for millenia and use little energy. They can slow down their internal clocks so time speeds past. To hunt, they lock on to some prey, and when it stops moving, they eat it.
- Dude (off-panel): But what if the prey doesn't die?
- Friend: I don't think you quite understand.
- Dude: I mean, I'm not about to die...
- Friend: From the vulture's viewpoint, everyone says that moments before they do.
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