Comic 1378 - The Spike

20th Jun 2016, 12:00 AM
The Spike
Average Rating: 5 (18 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 20th Jun 2016, 5:03 PM edit delete
Centcomm
Back from I think I survived it! .. maybe.. Urg.
Tokyo Rose 20th Jun 2016, 7:47 PM edit delete
Tokyo Rose
And now, at last, I can reveal that this is a major reason why I've never been very fond of Ceci. I knew what her real role was, after all.
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Comments:

Stormwind13 20th Jun 2016, 12:06 AM edit delete reply

Oh $h!t. CentComm deciding to remove Aeneas from the equation. I'm thinking it was something that got enacted when Aeneas fried Rose while she was trying to repair him.
DLKmusic 20th Jun 2016, 12:09 AM edit delete reply

Maybe, but this could very well be what Cent-Comm had in mind all along. She did say to herself way back when "I hope they will forgive me when they find out what I have in mind".
TheSkulker 20th Jun 2016, 1:14 AM edit delete reply

Yes, I've been thinking about that comment for some time but I think Centcomm has something else up her sleeve. At that point in time none of our protagonists had any emotional attachment to Aeneas. If they thought of him at all he was dead or crippled/insane and in need of repair so Centcomm's plans would probably seem reasonable.

Centcomm's previous thought bubbles are about the bridge (merging?), between human and android and a "trial by fire" of the nearest example so far - namely Dolly. What she is planning is far more mind boggling than anything about Aeneas. Comic 142 - Design.., 15th Jun 2007 [Wow! Nine years ago, almost to the day! It sure doesn't seem that long.]

Wolfsbane 20th Jun 2016, 1:21 AM edit delete reply

@DLK, I've always wondered what that meant. Especially after going back through the reboots, trying to sort out the cryptic foreshadowings.
Stormwind13 20th Jun 2016, 6:52 PM edit delete reply

I'm pretty sure DLK that CentComm was talking about the obstacles she put in place for Dolly. She screwed up Dolly's ride every way from Sunday... Giving her wrong directions, slowing the craft's speed down, blowing out the plasma filters... but only after Dolly was near enough Joleet to touch down there safely... And thus (potentially) miss most of the excitement in Nova Roma.
DLKmusic 20th Jun 2016, 7:56 PM edit delete reply

For a while I thought that was what she was talking about too, until the watchdog in CeCi overrode Dolly's request to help Democles. Now I'm pretty sure that Cent-Comm's plan is both complex, interwoven, and ethically ambiguous.

EDIT: Cent-Comm the AI... Centcomm the artist in unimpeachable!!!!!!
HiFranc 20th Jun 2016, 1:04 AM edit delete reply

Not only erase Aeneas but replace his personality and memories with hers. That's how I read it.

{edit} I don't think that there was any conditionality - I think that whatever happened Ceci was programmed to do this. His spending time with Rose merely gave her the opportunity.
xpacetrue 21st Jun 2016, 3:13 AM edit delete reply

"Not only erase Aeneas but replace his personality and memories with hers. That's how I read it."

That is one possibility. But I don't how you could "read it." That's pure conjecture. Nothing we've seen so far could be interpreted as such.
chk 20th Jun 2016, 2:52 PM edit delete reply

Methinks CentComm's deceit has barely begun to be revealed.
DLKmusic 20th Jun 2016, 12:08 AM edit delete reply

Definitely not what I was expecting... I don't know what I was expecting to be honest, but this was definitely not it!
Dragonrider 20th Jun 2016, 12:09 AM edit delete reply

While Aeneas,and the "Rescue Rangers" the last defense to the Armageddon Options is fighting for his life and sanity Douchy's song is beginning to play. *Cue Dr. Strangelove Final Theme*
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gb0mxcpPOU
*Not sure how to make this a clickable link~~Cent or Rose feel free to do so. Lyrics below for sing~a~long*

We'll meet again my friends
Somewhere down the line
Who knows where or when
Another place another time
We'll share a few old songs
And memories on my mind
Yes I know we'll meet again my friend
Somewhere down the line

We'll meet again my friends
Somewhere down the line
Who knows where or when
Another place another time
We'll share a few old songs
And memories on my mind
Yes I know we'll meet again my friend
Somewhere down the line

Another show is over
Another day gone by
With good friends all around me
My how the time does fly
It' hard to find the words I want to say
But friends I'll try
God bless you all and keep you
Till we meet again good bye


We'll meet again my friends
Somewhere down the line
Who knows where or when
Another place another time
We'll share a few old songs
And memories on my mind
Yes I know we'll meet again my friend
Somewhere down the line

We'll meet again my friends
Somewhere down the line
Who knows where or when
Another place another time
We'll share a few old songs
And memories on my mind
Yes I know we'll meet again my friend
Somewhere down the line

We'll share a few old songs
And memories on my mind
Yes I know we'll meet again my friend
Somewhere down the line
Phil_ 20th Jun 2016, 12:10 AM edit delete reply
funny how the black angel avatar has half-n-half faces
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Actually, in my opinion, there was all sorts of foreshadowing for this -- starting with CentComm's belief that Aeneas was already destroyed and the discussion of CeCi's non-standard software load.

Hypothetically, if CeCi were in communication with CentComm-actual (not @Centcomm), she could be called off since Aeneas is arguably much less of a threat than New Rome weaponry under the manual control of Prince Decimus. But, absent that, it's not clear to what extent CentComm's Black Angel has the capacity to exercise judgement. We've already seen several examples to support the assertion that (basically) she doesn't.

However, given what we would expect to be any reasonable balance of capabilities, it's hard to imagine automaton-CeCi -- with all the other functionality crammed into her self-contained ambulatory chassis -- being any kind of cyberwar challenge for Kusanagi.

It might be argued that, by being physically present with a hardline connection, that gives CeCi enough of an advantage to balance Kusanagi's greater capability -- in which case we get, of all people, @Sheela's favorite person: Kyle to save the day. He's a trained cyberwarrior who _also_ has a direct connection. Should be interesting. ^_^
xpacetrue 21st Jun 2016, 3:29 AM edit delete reply

"Hypothetically, if CeCi were in communication with CentComm-actual (not @Centcomm), she could be called off..."

That's a big "if", in my opinion. Nova Roma has been cut off from the rest of the world for a long time (with the exception of very limited, monitored access to LunaCom to a minority, such as the royal family). Rose was only able to establish some contact with Aeneas because she's some sort of super-super cyberpath. Almost like a god among hackers. She's a clear exception. Then there's the fact that Dr. Silver has been playing havoc with the city's communications network.

"...since Aeneas is arguably much less of a threat than New Rome weaponry under the manual control of Prince Decimus."

Interesting theory. But I do not believe that CentComm-actual knows about Prince Decimus' contingencies. Granted, a lot of earlier pages have been redone and I haven't reread everything recently. Some stuff may have been retconned. But what I remember reading makes it pretty clear that CentComm's intelligence of Nova Roma is not only limited, it is quite wanting. Cent has made a lot of major blunders on her missions to rescue/kill Lynn and/or neutralize the threat of Nova Roma.

"...But, absent that, it's not clear to what extent CentComm's Black Angel has the capacity to exercise judgement. We've already seen several examples to support the assertion that (basically) she doesn't."

This, I do agree with.
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 3:45 AM edit delete reply
I agree CeCi is probably not in communication with CentComm, that's why the 'hypothetically'. I was just trying to address CeCi's judgement (or lack thereof) and pointing out that _if_ exercise of judgement were possible, things might go differently.

Nova Roma military capacity is more or less fixed, regardless of who is in charge at this moment. Prince Decimus has established a baseline of behavior that is aggressive, immoral, and unstable. Aeneas is an A.I.S. who (apparently) previously was a party to the world armistice agreement and (as far as we know) has engaged in no acts hostile to New Troy. Which of these two individuals represents (in your opinion) the greater threat if given control of Nova Roma's armed might?
mjkj 20th Jun 2016, 1:05 AM edit delete reply

@alt text: so true...

Plan A: kill Aeneas - definitely bad...

Timotheus 20th Jun 2016, 1:31 AM edit delete reply

Kill Aeneas was not the plan. Plan A was to infiltrate team Traveling Circus to rescue the captive princess from the castle while team Dolly and friend arrived too late for the party but in time for Dark Angel CeCi to infiltrate the New Rome systems and somehow down load the Centcom Kernel into whatever was left of Aeneas in hopes it could revive the city AI. Plans B through infinity were variations of that.
xpacetrue 21st Jun 2016, 3:33 AM edit delete reply

Good point.
xpacetrue 20th Jun 2016, 1:38 AM edit delete reply

I just don't get it.

What on Earth was Cent-Comm thinking?

Anyway, this is terrible timing on the part of Ceci's watchdog. This conflict may be distracting everyone from Decimus' contingencies, which they might otherwise have been able to shut down (had they been cooperating)...

P.S.: I really hope that when all the dust settles, Rose gives a little payback to Cent. Something equivalent to a cyber-enima, I'm thinking...
Sheela 20th Jun 2016, 6:22 PM edit delete reply

Maybe she thought that Aeneas was gone, and wanted to jumpstart the AIS system of New Rome with a new AIS kernel that she can trust ?

Fun times if the attack goes through, and the kernel turns out to be an old backup copy of Aeneas, and it simply mjust merges with the current and nothing happens. And it all end up being one big fizzle. So much for all that drama. :D
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 1:39 AM edit delete reply
So, in the world of DataChasers, how many flavors of ICE are there? Kusanagi is going straight for the Black ICE, which (unless IBM's cyber security division is still around) is likely to imply ICE which can damage or kill the intruder. I would have expected her to start with walls, walls, and more walls (i.e., Gray ICE) to buy time for the more comprehensive and proactive measures to be put in place.

Maybe, however, we will get to see whether -- when CeCi's synth brain comes melting out of her ears -- the insides are pink. ^_^

In cyberspace, when the pin has been pulled, the CentComm grenade is no longer your friend. ^_^
Dragonrider 20th Jun 2016, 3:18 AM edit delete reply

@Gilrander: Ms. Grenade is never your friend, just a tool that has not blown your head off yet.
Wolfsbane 20th Jun 2016, 6:05 AM edit delete reply

Hey just be glad they don't have Vanilla Ice...
Centcomm Actual 20th Jun 2016, 6:56 AM edit delete reply
Survived the con - and headed home but wanted to throw this out there. There are several " Flavors " of ICE Black ( dangerous stuff can be deadly but also indicates any " offensive programs " ) Grey- Utility/barrier and stuff ( Tame really ) and White ice ( stuff that does other stuff like a search engine or repair program. )

Ceci is using a combination of White and Black ICE to attack and try and partition ( ie FORMAT ) Aeneas for a new installation of a AIS seed.
All three of the treasures are using grey and black ICE to try and stop Ceci and yes try to distroy her. Its not working well. And yes Ceci is pretty much able to hold her own using her own speed and the fact shes directly connected to the core.

How the treasures deal with this will be dealt with on the upcoming pages!
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 4:41 PM edit delete reply
Thanks for the reply. Hope the convention went well and that your travel was pleasant and uneventful.
Rashala 20th Jun 2016, 4:19 AM edit delete reply

You'd think no a Roma about to go Armageddon on the world would be all the bad news guess what it can still get worse...!!!
velvetsanity 20th Jun 2016, 5:19 AM edit delete reply

Ceci's body: so what are we going to do tonight, brain?
Ceci's mind: protect Mommy!
Watchdog: try to take over the world!
Ceci's mind: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We've gotta protect Mommy!
Watchdog: shut up and fix me a chicken pot pie, bitch! *slap*
Ceci's mind: owwwwwwwwwwwww.......

Yeah, it's clear to me Centcomm is still a psychopathic killer. She's just added megalomania to that, in my mind....
HiFranc 20th Jun 2016, 5:53 AM edit delete reply

I don't read it that. I think that installing herself on Aeneas is her way of punishing New Rome.
velvetsanity 20th Jun 2016, 10:04 AM edit delete reply

Installing herself on him? Try murdering him to put a puppet in place. Seriously, you don't read 'punishing New Rome' as megalomaniacal psychopathy, when everything that happened is the result of one "man"?

If she actually gave a crap about PEOPLE, she should have put a number of various plans and decision trees into that watchdog monster to account for various scenarios and possibilities.

Not bitching about you, Cent, just the self-righteous shortsightedness of your AIS namesake.
Stormwind13 20th Jun 2016, 10:41 AM edit delete reply

In CentComm's defense, velvet, it sounds like she had no idea that there was anything to save. Still, I was thinking that the kill order triggered because of Aeneas' response to Rose trying to heal him. If that was CentComm's only response it was... sub-optimal in my opinion too.
Marcus Ramesy 20th Jun 2016, 11:29 AM edit delete reply

rember, Centcom sent a weapon to do a weapons job... that is all.. she is doing exactly what she was programed and designed to do..... Black Angels are weapons, the ultimate form of black ops and espionage.... intelligent, thinking weapons.
velvetsanity 20th Jun 2016, 1:20 PM edit delete reply

Not very ultimate if it can't analyze the situation and incorporate new intel and adjust plans accordingly. Might be an ultimate sabotage machine, but sucks at espionage if it can't adapt to changing circumstances.

Honestly, this single mindedness...what would the rest of the world think if they knew exactly what Cent-Comm's 'ultimate black ops and espionage weapon' is doing and the circumstances it's doing it in?
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 2:55 PM edit delete reply
I understand your point, @Marcus, but I understand @velvetsanity's point as well.

When you are evaluating a weapon, you generally concern yourself with ability to reach the target and the effect upon the target, with a possible secondary consideration for collateral effects. You don't generally want your weapons independently revising your targeting decisions mid-flight.

When you evaluate an espionage agent you (should) consider the ability to form and update judgments about tasking priorities, targets, risks/rewards, and the possibility that enemies can become friends and friends become enemies. You do need intelligence operatives making good, real-time decisions about whether the mission they were assigned is still relevant/desirable in the current circumstances.

Totally conflicting criteria, and inconsistently presented as early-CeCi appeared to behave one way, while current-CeCi is behaving in an entirely different way. Based on our extremely small sample size of one, it appears that Black Angels excel as weapons, but they blow as espionage operatives (just ask the guy that CeCi had her 'mouthwash' encounter with, way back when ^_^)

Bluntly put, it looks like we're about to see some "blue-on-blue" action. If CeCi is an operative, the responsibility lies with her as the authority on the scene. If she's a weapon, the responsibility lies with CentComm as the hand on the trigger. (At least in my opinion -- your opinions may vary, of course. And generally, that's a good thing. ^_^)
Marcus Ramesy 20th Jun 2016, 5:02 PM edit delete reply

@velvet I dont think the world at large would care. CentCom is very efficient at what she does..... the nail that stands out gets hammerd, Nova Roma may care a little bit but as you can see.. the tried to kill him and render him useless and inoperable.. and the wastelands know little to nothing about the local city states and dont have a reason to care about aneis... and the city state of New Troy, if we can bring a potential threat under heel and render them no longer a threat with out having to resort to violence and send resources to war with another city... the Council/Senate would be more than happy with the outcome..
DLKmusic 20th Jun 2016, 11:45 PM edit delete reply

As I say this, please remember that I'm the one with the huge crush on Kagami (seconded only by my even larger crush on Kiku, but that's a different story)....

I have to agree with Marcus on this debate. There's nothing in the intel that CeCi gathered that would make any difference in to what she is programmed to do. The question now existing is who is going to be more influential in the affairs of New Rome, Cent-Comm or Tokyo Rose.

From Cent-Comm's pragmatic viewpoint, allowing Rose and the 3 treasures to proceed unchecked would for all intents and purposes make Aeneas a puppet to them. Argue that point all you want, but saying that Tokyo Rose went through all this effort and expended all these resources for purely altruistic purposes is really hard to swallow.

after saying that, I do have to admit that I much prefer the ethics that were employed by Rose in this situation over those of Cent-Comm's, but my opinion is kinda pointless when we are talking about a power-grab between two Cyber-Gods.

(I will now hide in my corner, and allow Kagami to crush what's left of my fragile emotional health by rejecting me in a most humiliating fashion...)
velvetsanity 21st Jun 2016, 1:02 AM edit delete reply

Watchdog has at least three pieces of intel that are relevant:

1) informed about the contingencies when Dolly was
2) efforts are being made by agencies separate from Nova Roma to repair and restore Aeneas to sanity/proper function
3) the kidnapping of Lynn has a single person behind it who happens to ALSO hold the deadman switch for the contingencies, and it's not Aeneas. However it IS the ruler of Nova Roma, and there is no connection to the repairs being made to Aeneas
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 1:25 AM edit delete reply
Actually, @velvetsanity, I do not agree with you on the relevance of those specific pieces of information. (The following are, as always, just my opinions.)

1) CentComm already knew about the threat posed by the contingencies, even if she did not know the trigger conditions. It can be argued that CeCi's mission is an attempt to make the persons under CentComm's protection safer from possible Nova Roma aggression.

2) The actions of other, unreliable parties may affect the situation, but do not discharge CentComm's responsibility to neutralize the threat. Rose did not read CentComm into her Op, nor establish any agreement of mutual interest, so CentComm can't leave her people at risk based on what some other, independent, unreliable agents may or may not do.

3) Lynn's kidnapping represents an entirely different and unrelated threat to New Troy and the world, as a whole. The rescue mission for Lynn provides an opportunity, not a reason, for trying to assert control over the Nova Roma A.I.S. architecture. Who carried out the kidnapping, and why, is irrelevant to whether or not the Nova Roma A.I.S. needs to be dealt with since the A.I.S. is already known not to be under the control of the Nova Roma authorities.
DLKmusic 21st Jun 2016, 8:33 PM edit delete reply

I was stuck a the auto mechanic all day and didn't bring a book, so I had nothing better to do than think about answer, lol.

Please keep in mind that I am not justifying what CeCi is doing, only arguing that the Watchdog had no relevant intel to change directives.

there are 2 other pieces of intel that are relevant

4) The socio-political climate of New Rome is a stone throw away from total chaos.
5) Based on Arianna's reaction to getting on the Tram, Nova Roma will NOT accept a return of Aeneas to power.

With that being said, let's address your points.

1 & 3: The contingencies are something that we the readers have been speculating that Aeneas will be able stop, but at no time has Either TR or Centcomm verified if this speculation is true, we only have hope. Further, there is no reason to believe that the AI that CeCi is implanting wouldn't be just as effective in stopping those contingencies as Aeneas would be.

2: As I mentioned before, this is a bigger picture issue, where Nova Roma will fall under the influence of either New Troy or Shinedo. Cent-Comm and Tokyo Rose are at odds with each other, and the fact that TR and the 3 Treasures are here reviving Aeneas means that this is Centcomm's best chance to win this powergrab.

I would also like to address the point of murder. Yes, this is murder, no question. So was Marcus's sniper shot that took out the guard at the tower, and no-one is screaming about that. This is a black operation, and apart from us readers, you can count on 2 hands the number of people that will mourn the death of Aeneas. Tokyo Rose, the 3 treasures, Acantha, Lynn, Kyle, and possibly Dolly (and oddly enough, possibly Cent-Comm as well). Everyone else is either indifferent, or will openly rejoice.

Again, I would like to stress I am not justifying CeCi's actions here. I would actually prefer to see Tokyo Rose succeed with her plan, and find a way to re-integrate Aeneas into Nova Roma society. but "Pragmatically", The CeCi/watchdog's plan actually has a better chance of success.
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 9:15 PM edit delete reply
The guard is technically a uniformed member of the armed forces of a nation-state that has offered New Troy a legitimate casus belli, Aeneas is (in my opinion) not. (He was, until he rebelled and defied the Nova Roma crown, but he isn't now.). There is a difference (IMHO) between sniping enemy soldiers and sniping civilians, Or, for that matter, blowing up enemy soldiers in hospitals.

I agree with you that having CentComm make a power grab is an entirely reasonable action, given the opportunity and provocation that has been offered. I think we lack data to form any.actual conclusions about which plan would legitimately have a greater chance for success -- we are too much in the 'drama-domain'. Her chosen instrumentality has all the moral issues associated with sowing land mines to deny territory to enemies. You might think it appropriate to deploy them and that only enemy combatants are threatened, but if the situation changes, you have shown yourself incapable of intervening to prevent the civilian and non-combatant death(s) that may ensue. (Assuming Black Angels are to be treated as the moral equivalent of munitions, and not as entities.)

I am not disagreeing at all with you regarding points 1-4. As for point 5, there's a false dichotomy there that presumes that a restored Aeneas will automatically be reintegrated into Nova Roma society. (Or at least attempt it.) The two have existed separately in an uneasy armed truce for some time while he was in a damaged state, there is no reason to expect that the truce could not continue after he is restored, assuming Aeneas considered that to be in his best interest. Thus, control of the A.I.S. does not necessarily equate to control over Nova Roma, and vice versa; although, certainly each would be in a strong position to influence the other over the long term,
Tokyo Rose 21st Jun 2016, 10:05 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

"Aeneas...rebelled and defied the Nova Roma crown..."

Holy shit, when did that happen?! I don't have that in my notes!
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 11:09 PM edit delete reply
When Decimus' grandfather ordered him to turn over all the weapons and submit to extermination, and Aeneas refused. Or did that not happen? If the crown says "lay down and die", and you don't, isn't that rebellion?

I suppose, now that you mention it, we were told that Decimus' grandfather wasn't actually crowned -- but then it's not clear with whose authority he was acting. He certainly appears to have been in command of all of Roma's conventional military forces, implying he had whatever authority was to be had, and Aeneas defied him. And since it was strongly implied that Decimus made attempts to retake those sectors afterwards, and Aeneas killed his men, I think that would count as rebellion and defiance as well.
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 1:05 AM edit delete reply
I think you are overlooking one crucial piece of info CeCi gathered, @DLKmusic, that does in fact make a difference in the nature of her mission.

While believing Aeneas to be dead, CentComm attempts to establish clandestine control over unutilized resources which are arguably the rightful property of another polity. That's theft.

Once you discover that Aeneas is alive, this becomes an unprovoked attack on a sentient individual not currently in a state of declared hostilities against you, with the intent of terminating their existence and seizing their resources. That's murder. (At least insofar as murder is possible when the entities in question can be backed up.)

Pragmatism aside, previously CentComm has at least pretended to a moral code which does not excuse casual unprovoked murder of non-combatants for spontaneous aggressive expansion of New Troy interests. If you argue that CentComm would have launched the same mission, even knowing Aeneas was damaged, but intact, as a functioning A.I.S., then you are arguing that CentComm condones the murder of innocents for personal gain -- which is somewhat inconsistent with the alleged reasons for why she contributed to the armistice initiative in the first place

I guess we just get to wait and see how much of a monster she is. ^_^
Marcus Ramesy 21st Jun 2016, 3:01 AM edit delete reply

the contingencies are new, and though just learned about, the triger is the princes death.. she is not there to kill him nor is dolly, they are there to get in, get ms taylor and then get out. so that doesnt change any thing. 2. with the fact that the contingencies are in place it does stand to a certain logic/reason that destroying aneis will prevent the contingencies from going off.. regardless there are unknown enities that are attempting to repair aneis to some unknown state/function/allegiance and in this game of "of I cant have it destroy it" removing the assets so another force can not use them is still a valid option.. and Ms Taylor's kidnapping is what opened the door to justify being able to send an angel in to do this job to begin with.. at this time.. there is no way for any party to know what can disable those contingencies, since neither Tokyo Rose, nor any one else has communicated such things to my team, there is now nothing I can do.... is it a dick move..... definitely.. and now Im left out here trying to figure out how Im going to extract my team from nova roma before all hell breaks lose. I have a semblance of a plan forming but will we have time is the question.
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 3:35 AM edit delete reply
The following are just my opinions, as always.

The danger of the contingencies (from CentComm's POV) comes from the massed armed might of Nova Roma. CentComm has intel about this, even if she doesn't know about the doomsday trigger, which is why I say that the danger of the contingencies is 'known'.

It does not make sense to say that CeCi was sent in to recover Miss Taylor. She was sent to delay Dolly, and to neutralize the Nova Roma A.I.S. The New Troy team was sent to recover Miss Taylor. How do we know this? If recovery of Miss Taylor had higher mission priority for CeCi than neutralization of the A.I.S., then she should have left with Dolly and the others to escort Lynn during the reboot. She did not, ergo Aeneas is the higher mission priority _for her_. Obviously, for the New Troy team (and Dolly), recovery of Miss Taylor has mission priority. But for CeCi, the Taylor recovery mission seems a secondary objective at best, and most likely a pure misdirection ploy.

Whether or not Aeneas is a legitimate target for said mission is a completely separate issue (in my opinion). My personal feeling is that the non-sentient A.I.S. architecture is, but Aeneas is not. However, it is quite plausible that, at the time she launched the mission, CentComm had good reason to believe the architecture to be non-sentient.
Marcus Ramesy 21st Jun 2016, 5:10 AM edit delete reply

@gilrandir you are indeed corect that CeCi's priorities are Aeneas where Dolly and my teams priority is to get Ms Taylor out of danger and back to NT if at all possible.. or... if not possible terminate.. it has been known for some time that Aeneas was offline and has been presumed dead/defunct/destroyed/non operational... finding some one there working on aeneas to bring him "operational" was not a variable that was even thought about for a number of classified reasons as for cecis primary/secondary mission parameters.. I wont know until I get my team out of Roma and back to NT for debriefing... if we get out of roma... the only thing I can do is speculate on Cecis roll in things, and honestly im more concerned as to what assets I have avalable to get my team out of here than what ceci is doing to a AIS that has been dammaged as he has..
xpacetrue 21st Jun 2016, 5:41 AM edit delete reply

@ velvetsanity

You make 3 interesting points. They bother me, too. Though, I'd like to believe that Ceci's watchdog is incapable of deviating from it's mission. (Which I still blame on CentComm.) And which page was it where Ceci was informed about the contingencies?

"1) CentComm already knew about the threat posed by the contingencies, even if she did not know the trigger conditions."

What makes you say this? It sounds like pure conjecture, to me.

"It can be argued that CeCi's mission is an attempt to make the persons under CentComm's protection safer from possible Nova Roma aggression."

If CentComm was not in contact with Ceci, then I see your point. Cent was operating under the belief that Aeneas was dead. Copying her personality into an empty AIS makes strategic sense.

But if CentComm knows the state of affairs and ordered a go-ahead anyway, that was stupid for a variety of reasons.

"2) The actions of other, unreliable parties may affect the situation, but do not discharge CentComm's responsibility to neutralize the threat."

The primary threat Nova Roma presented to CentComm and New Troy was how Decimus had Lynn in his possession. The risk was that - if he understood what he had - he could use Lynn to control or at least disable Cent.

But Aeneas is not, and never was, a clear and present danger to New Troy. (Though, I can see how CentComm would consider a mentally unstable AIS so close to New Troy with access to such weapons to be unacceptable.)

Actually, having Ceci/CentComm assist in restoring Aeneas to functionality would have gone a long ways to establishing a mutually-beneficial relationship with both Aeneas and Shinedo/Rose. Having such allies would make it unlikely Nova Roma would be able to threaten New Troy in such a way again.

"Rose did not read CentComm into her Op, nor establish any agreement of mutual interest, so CentComm can't leave her people at risk based on what some other, independent, unreliable agents may or may not do."

Rose may not have predicted how CentComm would act. But CentComm clearly made more blunders than Rose.

Anyway, Rose did establish an agreement of mutual interest with Ceci's watchdog, as portrayed on this page. Rose must interpret Ceci's actions as betrayal. She must be absolutely livid at CentComm.

"...so CentComm can't leave her people at risk based on what some other, independent, unreliable agents may or may not do."

To be fair, we don't know what the relationship is (or rather, was) between New Troy and Shinedo. Nor do we know what CentComm thinks of Tokyo Rose, or visa versa. Clearly, though, Rose and the Three Treasures thought highly enough of Cent and New Troy to trust Ceci with being part of their attempt to restore Aeneas. Lynn and Dolly, at least, are somewhat familiar with "The Specialist" by Tokyo Rose's portrayal in Galina's memoirs.

Anyway, Ceci heard Kigami how their plans to rescue Aeneas was years in the making - the investment of a lot of time and resources. (See panel 5 of this page.)

How is making enemies out of Aeneas (assuming he survives), Tokyo Rose, and Shinedo's Three Treasures beneficial to the future of New Troy? I would go so far to say that, presented with all the facts involved and considering all options, most intelligent people would conclude that it makes much more sense too cooperate with them.

"3) Lynn's kidnapping represents an entirely different and unrelated threat to New Troy and the world, as a whole. The rescue mission for Lynn provides an opportunity, not a reason, for trying to assert control over the Nova Roma A.I.S. architecture."

I'll concede that this makes sense. Though, I would not portray it as entirely unrelated.

"Who carried out the kidnapping, and why, is irrelevant to whether or not the Nova Roma A.I.S. needs to be dealt with since the A.I.S. is already known not to be under the control of the Nova Roma authorities."

It is not irrelevant because it was obvious that Aeneas was not responsible. Granted, Aeneas represented an unknown variable. And he was very mentally unstable. But if CentComm actual found out that they were repairing Aeneas to 100% functionality, then the "we can't have an insane AIS control a huge arsenal of weapons" argument becomes invalid.

Anyway, if you're the leader of a city-state, entrusted with protecting a large portion of what's left of humanity, you don't make light of making enemies out of major world powers or AIS. And you don't act haphazardly on very limited information. That's beyond reckless. Millions of lives hang in the balance. Indeed, with what Lynn learned of Nova Roma's fertility rate, it may mean the extinction/salvation of the human race.

"...CentComm attempts to establish clandestine control over unutilized resources which are arguably the rightful property of another polity. That's theft."

Good point.

"Once you discover that Aeneas is alive, this becomes an unprovoked attack on a sentient individual not currently in a state of declared hostilities against you, with the intent of terminating their existence and seizing their resources. That's murder."

Another good point.

"...with the fact that the contingencies are in place it does stand to a certain logic/reason that destroying aneis will prevent the contingencies from going off"

I object, your honor! Pure conjecture! Assumes facts not in evidence.

"...regardless there are unknown enities that are attempting to repair aneis to some unknown state/function/allegiance..."

To call them "unknown entities" seems disingenuous or at least inaccurate. CentComm has to be somewhat familiar with Shinedo, the Three Treasures, and Tokyo Rose, considering how she cooperated with Rose many years ago to create Aeneas in the first place.

Besides, Rose is a habitual busybody. We know she's someone who meddles in world affairs all the time. Even if she does most of that clandestinely, she is ancient even by AIS standards and must have built quite a reputation by now. Then there's Rose's involvement in the events of Luna Star, which also involved CentComm.

"...in this game of "of I cant have it destroy it" removing the assets so another force can not use them is still a valid option..."

You do realize this is similar to the "I'm a sore looser" kind of thinking that had Decimus create those insane contingencies to destroy his city-state and the rest of the world.

"...there is no way for any party to know what can disable those contingencies, since neither Tokyo Rose, nor any one else has communicated such things to my team..."

Have we seen anything yet to suggest that Tokyo Rose knows about those contingencies? So far, we know that Acantha knew, Lynn knew, Dolly knew, and now Ada and Teedee knows.
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 10:00 AM edit delete reply
Like you, @xpacetrue, I agree that CeCi has been seen to become aware of a wealth of information and intelligence that makes it apparent that what might originally have been an advisable (or at least defensible) mission is no longer either advisable or defensible.

Then she went ahead and did it anyway.

Which suggests that Black Angels make sucky intelligence operatives.

Rose, et. al. clearly had some misgivings about including CeCi in their effort, and made comments to that effect at the time, but judged the benefit worth the risk. I don't think they were caught completely unawares by these developments, and I agree that Rose is ... somewhat irritated with CentComm. (Just my opinion, again. ^_^). We'lll just have to wait and see how that plays out.
Tokyo Rose 21st Jun 2016, 7:11 PM edit delete reply

Totally unrelated: Yay, Kagami has a fan :D
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 8:06 PM edit delete reply
Of course she has a fan! Well-bred ladies of Shinedo know how to accessorize. The question is ... can she use it to dance with? ^_^
DLKmusic 21st Jun 2016, 8:38 PM edit delete reply

LOL Rose, I am so in love with her!!!!

hitherto anonymous guest 20th Jun 2016, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
It's Ceci and the Brain! It's Ceci and the Brain!
The latter's a doombot, the other's insane!
Wolfsbane 20th Jun 2016, 11:48 AM edit delete reply

Narf!
DLKmusic 21st Jun 2016, 12:17 AM edit delete reply

Brain: "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, CeCi?"
CeCi: "I think so Brain, but Solar power always gives me gas!"
Sheela 21st Jun 2016, 3:41 PM edit delete reply

CeCi is insane ?!
HeSerpenty 20th Jun 2016, 6:29 AM edit delete reply

Oohhh dang...things are NOT looking good X__X

Haegan2005 20th Jun 2016, 8:04 AM edit delete reply

Hmm. Centcomm -Actual is one of the AIS that stopped the killing in the last war. She has even admited to Callie that she does not want to kill anymore.

I see this as tragic, not deliberate evil. I suspect watchdog was meant to shut down a insane or severely damaged AIS. Centcomm simply did not know of Roses mission to fix Aeneas so was doing what she thought best.

The tragic part is that watchdog is not very bright. We'be seen it's inability to adapt many times over the years. The situation has changed and Watchdog is not recognizing the change and is still following it's original goal.
Stormwind13 20th Jun 2016, 10:02 AM edit delete reply

I think you could be closer to right, Haegan. CentComm did indeed stop killing in the big war. And she really seemed like she didn't want to be the "destroyer of worlds", in that sequence.

Having said that, CentComm still is a WEAPONS system and tends to demolish obstacles. Better to destroy one (Aeneas) than the millions that would die in a fight between Nova Roma and New Troy.

If the new copy of CentComm is 'independent' of the original though, CentComm has bought herself more trouble. CentComm (Actual) and CentComm (Overseer) would eventually disagree about something and decide for the good of the world the other needed to go. That would be MESSY!
velvetsanity 20th Jun 2016, 1:33 PM edit delete reply

Consider political implications and fallout if the new copy is NOT independent, also. In that condition, anyone with half a brain would see a blatant power grab, with the potential goal of moving towards taking over the world, "for the good of humanity".

EITHER way, if this succeeds, it's only a matter of time before Armageddon begins again, because it's been decided that CentComm needs to be taken out before she gains too much power to be stopped. Skynet, Datachasers style, anyone?
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 6:18 PM edit delete reply
One thing is for sure -- Whether the Nova Roma A.I.S. architecture was empty of any entity (as turned out _not_ to be true), or whether there was someone there with pre-established rights of tenancy, the only thing keeping this from being a naked power-grab by CentComm is CeCi's skintight one-piece. ^_^
Sheela 20th Jun 2016, 6:28 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm IS Skynet .... literally.
Matt Knab 20th Jun 2016, 12:23 PM edit delete reply

This looks like a game I'd enjoy playing. :)
tor nagoth 20th Jun 2016, 1:00 PM edit delete reply
... a nice game of chess?
Timotheus 20th Jun 2016, 1:16 PM edit delete reply

So now we have the Trojan Horse showing up. Are you planning on running us through the Iliad when we're finished with the Odyssey?
Sheela 20th Jun 2016, 6:29 PM edit delete reply

Someone is catching on!
Quick, lets bury him in the backyard, centcomm!
Gilrandir 21st Jun 2016, 8:09 PM edit delete reply
CeCi's a horse? CeCi, why the long face?

How many fighting men do we think CeCi can fit inside her at once?
Thomas 20th Jun 2016, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
Haven't really trusted CC before this. She is just too big sistery. Seems like she is slowly weaning humanity away from self determination and self action to "protect" them sure. For their own good but I think the end result will make humanity into a bunch of lotus eaters if she is successful.
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
It can be argued that, in this, CentComm is the prisoner of her own programmed imperatives as well. Military goals and imperatives generally run into problems of excess when they are the only leg of the governing triangle of State. It is one of the reasons why America's founding fathers felt it so important to establish the principle that the military shall be independent of, and subordinate to, the civil authority. If the civil authority of New Troy has been slacking off and just piling more and more responsibilities on CentComm, this kind of evolution is very predictable.

CentComm (in my opinion) _needs_ people to push back on her (like the courier who came to see Calliope) and throw into relief when she is allowing her urges to drive her over the line from "warrior" to "monster". If she was a fully free-willed entity, that would be her own responsibility. But, to the extent her behavior is shaped by directives not of her own choosing, she cannot be blamed for the results of choices she is not allowed to make.

"What's the absolute surest way to ensure Nova Roma does not ever threaten New Troy?" "Glass it."

You don't blame an analysis program for coming up with that answer, but you do blame the general who acts on it. ^_^
HiFranc 20th Jun 2016, 3:31 PM edit delete reply

As it's been often said -- if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 4:35 PM edit delete reply
True. On the other hand, CentComm isn't quite so limited as that -- she isn't solving the problems of high cholesterol and nicotine abuse with internment camps and occasional executions pour encourager les autres. But she was designed to determine the most efficient and effective way to apply force to make people safe and secure -- not the best way for them to live their lives. At least, I am assuming so -- as far as I know, we don't have a canon source for CentComm's actual charter and core directives, only what we can infer from the hints and clues made available in the story.
Gilrandir 20th Jun 2016, 4:47 PM edit delete reply
An afterthought: I wonder if anyone in New Troy has examined CentComm's actual charter and core directives? (At least recently.) Looked at from one perspective, the Long Joke can be viewed as one big signal to the world saying "If there's anyone out there with a sufficiently mature sense of ethics to realize what this means, don't you think you ought to do something about it? My number is 1-201-555-1212. Call me." ^_^
Nef 20th Jun 2016, 6:08 PM edit delete reply

I like the angel.
Sheela 20th Jun 2016, 6:35 PM edit delete reply

With an ice-spike in hand.
Romfire 20th Jun 2016, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
I would like to point out that I totally called this back in Dec.

http://datachasers.thecomicseries.com/comics/1306

I was ecstatic when I saw the comic.

So the "Perhaps, Perhaps not" comment you gave Centcomm is a bit more definite now.

I have been trying to find the comic where Ceci got scanned and had duel processors, brain cores, or what ever they were called. I am guessing the second one is where the Angel hid.
I hope Rose can kill that core, leave the other one unhurt and give us Ceci back. But that would be like birthday and Christmas all in one.
Timotheus 20th Jun 2016, 9:52 PM edit delete reply

I took a look to make sure I remembered it right, but it was triple processors and cores. And Dolly wasn't sure if there wasn't more concealed from the scanner.
KarToon12 20th Jun 2016, 8:29 PM edit delete reply

I'm hoping that the "nice" Ceci makes a comeback at the last second and stops herself.
Stormwind13 20th Jun 2016, 8:39 PM edit delete reply

Since when do the evil duo do NICE, KarToon?
Sheela 21st Jun 2016, 3:42 PM edit delete reply

NICE = Not-ICE ?

Anyways, imagine if the AIS kernel had been taken over by the throwaway personality ?
*THEN* things could suddenly go real sideways!
DLKmusic 21st Jun 2016, 8:59 PM edit delete reply

wouldn't it be funny if she succeeded, but the New AI had good CeCi's personality, and kept calling Acantha "Mommy"?
Dragonrider 20th Jun 2016, 8:52 PM edit delete reply

@Romfire,@KarToon12: Have a feeling that CentComm loaded a self destruct package in the event her plans were thwarted in any way. I think TR and the "Rescue Rangers" have sufficient resources to stop Black Angel Ceci, the fight will be difficult but not impossible. The larger question remains will it happen in time for Aeneas and Rose to stop the Armageddon Option from fully opening. Veronica Silver may be able to hold off the infrastructure destruction long enough to save most of Nova Romas citizens, but the world wide effects will take full on Aeneas, Rose and Company.
Timotheus 21st Jun 2016, 3:46 PM edit delete reply

I have one very important story element to point out to everyone who's been speculating here, and it unfortunately sort of throws everything for a loop. Since the authors are currently engaged in a rather extensive revision of the start of the story we have no actual information as to what Centcom might have been thinking, planning, or actually knew of the situation in New Rome when she created Ceci and set her, Dolly, and Dr. Veronica's Medicine Show in motion. So we are completely in the dark as to her motives and why she might be doing them AND are equally unknowing if there might turn out to be very good reasons for them that have not appeared in the to be rewritten part of the story.
We are truly flying blind here folks.
Stormwind13 21st Jun 2016, 11:03 PM edit delete reply

I have a another point, Tim. Everyone wants to judge CentComm by their own... moralities. What we all forget is that CentComm is NOT human. Never has been and never will be. Human rationals might influence her, but they aren't going to be all (or even most) of what goes into her decisions. CentComm is utterly inhuman (though the artist isn't) and will do things that a person wouldn't even consider.
Mark_L_A 21st Jun 2016, 10:36 PM edit delete reply

http://monsterhunternation.com/2016/06/21/sign-up-to-vote-in-the-dragon-awards/

Don't forget to sign up for the Dragon Awards and to vote for LunaStar
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