Comic 1480 - No Grapples

27th Mar 2017, 12:00 AM
No Grapples
Average Rating: 5 (21 votes)
Post a Comment


Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 12:21 AM edit delete reply
How, exactly, does an android manning a fixed gun emplacement with clear line-of-fire to a target stay 'out of sight'? Are they deploying the same kind of electronic decoy Astraea used to mask her presence from Dr. Silver's drones in the hope of obfuscating Noctis' sensors? Because I am not noticing any actual cover to conceal their presence.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 12:22 AM edit delete reply

Because the guns hes using will shoot right though the dart and the decking most likely. and the scanners can pick her out.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 8:59 AM edit delete reply
I suppose I would have expected the word choice to be something like "acquired", rather than "sighted" if he does not, in fact, have a clear line of sight to his target, but only has her with some kind of penetrative scan. A nit, but potentially an important one. And, if he had line of sight to her, presumably she also has it to him.
TheSkulker 27th Mar 2017, 11:16 PM edit delete reply

"Sight" is a relative term, very much dependent on frequency range and not limited to visible (to humans), light. Panel two's sensors (the android's and/or the gun's), more than likely have an extended range and are perhaps capable of penetrating the Dart's skin.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
I take your point to a certain extent, @TheSkulker, but will point out the following contrary usages and associations:

* - Visible (and near visible) light is an electro-magnetic (EM) phenomenon in a certain, narrow, frequency range. RADAR, MASER, and X-ray sensors also use EM waves in different ranges and are commonly said to 'detect' something, rather than 'see' it. Of course, I suspect this is in large part due to limitations on the resolving and imaging hardware of the period, which we have seen make steady advances over time.
* - During Vietnam-era aerial combats, the ability to detect and engage the enemy with missiles far outstripped the ability of the pilots to visually identify the targets before engaging. Pilots would sometimes find themselves forced by their rules of engagement (ROE) to close with enemy aircraft in order to satisfy the need for unambiguous positive visual identification before opening the range back up to the optimal engagement distance. Depending on the ROE in effect in the hangar, and the putative resolving power of the penetrative scans in question, the difference between 'detecting' and 'seeing' could be crucial. For example, if Noctis' reinforced skeleton shows clearly, but Acantha's squishy protoplasm is so comparatively low density as to be undetectable to N-rays, you probably don't want the turret gunner blazing away through the Dart's body panels if you can avoid it.

So, in my opinion, 'unobstructed in the visible light spectrum' and 'unobstructed to N-ray scans' is a reasonable distinction to make. But, if it isn't significant with regard to the current ROE, then perhaps not.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 12:24 AM edit delete reply

It looks like the position is behind the Dart, so they can't see it.
antrik 27th Mar 2017, 2:19 AM edit delete reply
In the last panel it looks like Noctis would need to lean forward just a few inches though to see them...
xpacetrue 27th Mar 2017, 6:08 AM edit delete reply

Technically, that's not an android because it does not even vaguely resemble a human. It would be more appropriate to call it a robot. The unit may or may not have the same or similar type of synthetic brain as Ada. But, either way, he/she/it is still a robot and not an android.

I'm sorry to nitpick this. But it does irk me how often people get those terms confused.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
We are talking panel two, right? Two arms, two legs, one head, operating what looks (to me) like a separate gun turret? How is that not an android? It definitely appears to have a bipedal humanoid shape to me.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 10:12 AM edit delete reply

@xpacetrue, a couple of pages back, Francine provided an example of an android that doesn't appear 'human'. Self-awareness here, is a defining factor. It is canon, that some androids do not even make an attempt at looking like humans. They have humanoid shapes but the main thing is the synth brain that gives them consciousness. Robots are mostly straight up logic devices, whereas the androids have consciousness and emotional capability. At least that is how I understand it.
xpacetrue 27th Mar 2017, 2:29 PM edit delete reply

" Two arms, two legs, one head, operating what looks (to me) like a separate gun turret? How is that not an android? "

Please, just Google 'android'... All androids are robots, but not all robots are androids. An android is a particular kind of robot. The terms 'robot' and 'android' are not interchangeable, despite public ignorance to the contrary.

Merely having two arms, two legs, and a single head does NOT an android make. That describes the vast majority of robots in sci-fi. Heck, I believe the entire line of Transformers and Go-Bots are/were like that and those were most definitely NOT androids.

Data from Star Trek is generally accepted as a definitive example of an "android". He was very human-like.

" Francine provided an example of an android that doesn't appear 'human'. Self-awareness here, is a defining factor. It is canon, that some androids do not even make an attempt at looking like humans. They have humanoid shapes but the main thing is the synth brain that gives them consciousness. Robots are mostly straight up logic devices, whereas the androids have consciousness and emotional capability. "

Please, look at the Tech page to see what's canon. It's right there at the top, in black and yellow:

QUOTE: "An android is a synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human. The term 'android' and its derivatives refer exclusively for such machines, and are not used to refer to robots or other 'intelligent' machines."

Even the Model 2-E like Dolly's old chassis and the archaic Model Zero roughly approximate a human body (more so, at least, than merely having two arms, two legs, and a head). At least some effort was made to "sculpt" or streamline them to make them appear human. Hence, they are androids.

I'm NOT saying that Francine does not deserve the respect of being talked about as a person. But if her chassis does not resemble a human's in the least little bit, then the term "android" does not fit - even if she has a synth brain like Ada. Does she at least have a vaguely human-like face? That might be enough to make her an android.

The current, commonly accepted definition of the word itself is that it must be a robot (or synthetic being) that looks like a person (human or alien).

MY UNDERSTANDING is that the existence or lack of self-awareness or sapience is irrelevant to the term. Absolutely, there can be such a thing as a self-aware robot - if such a thing is possible. Just read any number of classic sci-fi novels dating back many, many decades. I'd mention the works of Isaac Asimov in particular, since he wrote the 'Three Laws of Robotics' and he did tangle with the concept of a robot with self-awareness. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd give examples of self-aware robots that are not even humanoid.

And, yes, it also bugs me that the huge popularity of the Android OS for mobile phones has not only made it difficult to Google relevant robot-related search results, it threatens to all but supersede the old usage.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 3:22 PM edit delete reply

@xpacetrue, so Francine drops from being an android to being a robot simply for failure to purchase a facial glamour upgrade?
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 4:01 PM edit delete reply
Well, Merriam-Webster (per their .com site) defines android as "a mobile robot usually with a human form". It does not suggest it must have a close resemblance, nor possibly be mistaken for human in dim light. I take "human form" to indicate the standard bipedal humanoid description: two legs, one trunk, two arms, one head with the legs used primarily for locomotion, the arms for manipulation, and the sensory cluster in the head. And all the mobile units in the hangar (excluding the Dart and CentComm's doll, of course) would seem to fall within that definition.

I agree that not all robots are androids. I further assert (using the above definition) that not all androids are persons and not all persons are androids. I am sure Google provides many examples of androids which bear strong and close resemblances to human beings. Your argument suggests that you don't consider C-3PO an android, while I would suggest he falls within the definition of possessing "human form". (I suspect we both agree that R2-D2 is not an android. ^_^)

Of course, as your reference to the Tech pages supports, there may well have been 'linguistic drift' in the DataChasers timeline to the point that 'android' is now exclusively reserved for those robots which could be mistaken for a human by a color-blind human -- in which case, as has been pointed out, Francine isn't an android even though the creatrices specifically refer to her with that term. I suspect that 'android', like most other terms is generally used in such a loose and casual manner as to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean, with consequent loss of precision, clarity, and accuracy that inevitably befalls. When you use the term, how human for you is "human-enough" to qualify? Do the legally required differences for androids in New Troy which prevent them from being mistaken for humans mean they don't possess "human form"? Where do you draw the line? Or is it a case of "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it?"
Timotheus 27th Mar 2017, 7:35 PM edit delete reply

R2-D2 was a "Droid", theoretically a slang term for an-droid meaning a robot with human-like "free" will or personality elements.
While it is true that classically the difference between a robot and an android is having a humanoid appearance (which makes Maria in Metropolis a rather ironic case as she initially does not look very human), the final distinction was whether the automaton was capable of human like thought and emotion, not appearance. Hence a robot could become an android.
The real confusion came about from the many stories in which the term android referred to robots initially made to be human like in appearance as well as thought, overshadowing the intellectual requirement.
There is no hard and fast rule though. A android (and/or gynoid) is also generally a robot of some form and vice versa.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 7:57 PM edit delete reply
There's actually part of the Wiki that addresses the linguistic drift from the English term 'android' to the use of the slang term "'droid" in the Star Wars universe. The consensus seems to be that, though it may originally have derived from "android", "droid" has now taken on a meaning of its own in the context of the Star Wars universe.
xpacetrue 27th Mar 2017, 11:05 PM edit delete reply

" The speaker in Panel 2 is an android wearing heavy body armor. "

Well, that's my bad, then. I found it difficult to tell. That's some funky-looking armor and, to me, it reminded me of the robot in panel 4. At least, I assume that one is a robot.

"Your argument suggests that you don't consider C-3PO an android... "

C-3PO may or may not be borderline. Although weak, a case could be made that he is streamlined enough (barely) to vaguely resemble a human or human-like alien (and there are a dozen or more human-looking alien species in Star Wars). He was created to be a "protocol droid" to interact with organic beings, so he needed to look relatable and non-threatening. Some effort was made on the part of his engineers to emphasize a bit of form over function. Personally, though, I consider C-3PO to be a robot, not an android.

" While it is true that classically the difference between a robot and an android is having a humanoid appearance (which makes Maria in Metropolis a rather ironic case as she initially does not look very human), the final distinction was whether the automaton was capable of human like thought and emotion, not appearance. Hence a robot could become an android. "

It is interesting that you bring up Maria in Metropolis as that is a definitive, classic and extremely early example of a proper android. Granted, she did not look very human, initially. Only after Rotwang kidnaps Maria and transfers her likeness to the robot does she become an android.

" ...I take "human form" to indicate the standard bipedal humanoid description: two legs, one trunk, two arms, one head... "

Actually, that's the definition of a human-oid form, which is different from the definition of a human form. Also, when it comes to defining a robot's basic shape, "human form" or "human-like" takes on a further connotation.

You seem to be relying on this line of reasoning to argue that all bipedal humanoid robots are androids. But to do so is to argue against the usage of the term "android" as commonly accepted by over 90% of hard-core, nerdy sci-fi fans. Ask any linguistic expert or a geeky sci-fi expert, celebrity, or internet personality.

Well, Merriam-Webster (per their .com site) defines android as "a mobile robot usually with a human form". It does not suggest it must have a close resemblance, nor possibly be mistaken for human in dim light.

Look up the term in the MacMillan Dictionary:
" in stories, a machine that looks and behaves like a human "

While you're at it, look it up on one or two other dictionaries and on Wikipedia, to confirm or deny this. Anyway, you're relying entirely on the "usually" part of Merriam's definition.

Do you realize that you guys are arguing to destroy the usefulness of the term 'android'? The term is useful because it makes a distinction between a robot (or synthetic being) that resembles a human (or human-like alien) and every other kind of robot. This is an important distinction because many robots, such as "Robot" in the 1960's "Lost in Space" show (or the modern film) would never, ever be considered human-resembling.

If language drift does change the meaning of the term android to be synonymous with robot, then we lose a handy way to verbally make such a distinction.

" Of course, as your reference to the Tech pages supports, there may well have been 'linguistic drift' in the DataChasers timeline... "

No... If anything, the loose interpretation in the Merriam-Webster definition is evidence of modern linguistic drift. The classic definition of 'android' is a robot which physically resembles a human (or human-like alien). Sapience or self-awareness has nothing to do with the term, and never has.

" There's actually part of the Wiki that addresses the linguistic drift from the English term 'android' to the use of the slang term "'droid" in the Star Wars universe. The consensus seems to be that, though it may originally have derived from "android", "droid" has now taken on a meaning of its own in the context of the Star Wars universe. "

Good point.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
@xpacetrue, I am not prepared to concede some of the assertions you present in your arguments. That having been said, I agree that, in all likelihood, we will end up having to agree to disagree on certain matters since they are ultimately subjective and there is no objective authority to which we can both agree to appeal. I do not think the unanimity among hard SF fans which you cite is as strong as you claim (me counting myself among them and I don't agree with you) and the notion of appealing to an 'internet personality' as a definitive authority brought a smile to my face. ^_^

I also think you have misrepresented one of my arguments, so I'll endeavor to clarify that later. My argument does not, in any way, depend upon the word 'usual' in the Merriam-Webster definition. It depends on the ambiguity of the term "human form".

Considering the closest thing we have to an objective authority -- the dictionaries -- Dictionary. Com has "an automaton in the form of a human being," while the OED has "a robot with a human appearance." Please note that "human-like alien" appears nowhere in any of these definitions. So a robot which was superficially indistinguishable from a Vulcan, or an Orion, or a Bothan, or a Wookie would not meet the dictionary definition for "android", even though I think we both understand that, by intent, it probably should. I'll concede "human-like alien" if you'll concede that "human form" is far closer to "humanoid form" than strictly "form of a human being". You correctly point out that my proposed differentiation between androids and non-android robots depends on whether the robot in question is possessed of a humanoid form. I don't agree that this "destroys the usefulness of the term". I invited you to provide details (not examples) as to what you consider "human-enough" to qualify. Please, feel free. Also, I will point out that "Robot" from Lost In Space would not qualify under my definition because he had treads, not legs.

Consider the Iron Giant, completely human in form but fifty feet tall? Android? Or non-android robot? What about a homunculus six inches tall? Wikipedia specifically includes homunculi among their list of things identified as androids, but by no means could one be mistaken for a human.

I agree there are many robots that should not be called androids, and that sentience is not any part of the defining characteristic. But I don't think the term is as hard, fast, and unambiguous as you seem to suggest. For my part, a mobile robot possessed of a humanoid form seems a perfectly useful and valid working definition of the term.
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
@xpacetrue nobody is arguing for "Android" to by synonymous with "Robot". The argument is about where the lines should be drawn -- including the amount of visual resemblance of humans required, and possibly also whether resemblance in behaviour matters. Arguably, such a broader definition actually makes for a *more* useful distinction in most situations. (A stereotypical robot for me is a programmed actuator in an automobile factory. For anything made to even vaguely resemble humans, the term feels odd to me... Admittedly, that's not how the word was used by its creator -- but that meaning shifted long ago.)
xpacetrue 28th Mar 2017, 9:48 PM edit delete reply

" Please note that ‘human-like alien’ appears nowhere in any of these definitions. "

You’re right. I concede this point. That particular distinction is just my opinion and not based on any official source. The reason I feel this way is because it is a logical extension of how I’ve seen the word used. Though, I do have to wonder if this (how each of us have seen the term used) is how the meaning behind ‘android’ has gotten confused and why we’ve been arguing.

" R2-D2 was a "Droid", theoretically a slang term for an-droid meaning a robot with human-like "free" will or personality elements. "

Isn’t "Droid" a term that George Lucas coined? Or maybe it was borrowed from what was obscure slang? Either way, it’s not proper English. People should defer to a real dictionary before resorting to the Urban Dictionary.

Maybe ‘droid’ does define a robot that has a human-like personality or free will. I wouldn’t know because it’s not a real word. In Star Wars, it does seem like ‘droid’ it is used to describe any and all robots – including very inhuman-looking ones like R2D2. But how much “free will” do droids have if they’re literally used as slave labor, treated as property, and usually stuck with a restraining bolt? (BTW: A ‘restraining bolt’ sounds a lot like the ‘inhibitor device’ in Datachasers.)

Remember back in A New Hope when Uncle Owen gave Luke hell for how R2D2 ran off, blaming him for the droid not having a restraining bolt? Was R2D2 a sapient robot? If he was, does it make Uncle Owen and/or Luke a bad person for treating a sapient being as a slave and private property, to do with as they please?

" There is no hard and fast rule though. "

Yes, there is. ‘Android’ is a recognized English word, while ‘droid’ is recently invented. There’s a difference. We have dictionaries and encyclopedias to have a general consensus and rules about what things are and how they should be defined and spelled. The system is not perfect, but it’s what we’ve got.

" nobody is arguing for "Android" to by synonymous with "Robot". "

I only wish that was the case. Try re-reading Timotheus’ comments above.

" The argument is about where the lines should be drawn -- including the amount of visual resemblance of humans required, and possibly also whether resemblance in behaviour matters. "

Yes. Exactly! I’ll even concede that the amount of visual resemblance required to distinguish between an ‘ANDROID’ and a ‘ROBOT’ is subject to personal bias, opinion, and even artistic taste. I’ll further concede that there is no ‘hard or fast rule’ on drawing that line. Though, I will stick to my guns in saying that there is, in fact, a line – even if the line is obscure.

My big beef with this discussion, though, is how some are claiming that a robot’s personality, self-awareness, or mental whatever plays a role in making the distinction. That is utter hogwash. You do not call a sentient starship an android! If you think so, then say that out loud and consider how that sounds. Or maybe ask someone else how that sounds – anyone else.

“ Arguably, such a broader definition actually makes for a *more* useful distinction in most situations. (A stereotypical robot for me is a programmed actuator in an automobile factory. For anything made to even vaguely resemble humans, the term feels odd to me... Admittedly, that's not how the word was used by its creator -- but that meaning shifted long ago.) ”

I disagree on the usefulness of using (i.e., borrowing or redefining) ‘android’ to easily distinguish between a factory assembly robot and a self-aware robot. For one, the English language has other words to make this distinction – terms like A.I. and words like self-aware, sentient, sapient, and intelligent. For another… How often does the need to make such a distinction come up?

If we want to talk about a robot with self-awareness, then we are talking about the realm of sci-fi, because modern science has yet to accomplish this. And if we want to talk about factory assembly robots, then we are most likely talking about modern Earth and/or real life, rather than science fiction. If we are talking about factory assembly robots in a sci-fi setting, then we are probably talking about literal humanoid robots working in a factory, such as a scene in a Star Wars film where we see droids building other droids in a factory.

If you are having difficulty sorting through Google search results as you are finding results of factory assembly robots when you are actually looking for the sci-fi variety, then simply add “sci-fi” or “science fiction” to Google’s search phrase. (Or, try adding “A.I.”, or “self-aware”, or...) Conversely, if you’re only interested in the factory assembly variety, then use -“sci-fi” or -“science fiction” (with a minus) to omit those results.

Now, please tell me, if I want to either discuss or Google a human-looking robot and avoid the confusion between that and any other kind of robot, how many other words in the English language do we have to make this distinction?

Granted, I could try to use phrases like “human-looking” or “human-like”. However, as this discussion demonstrates, those phrases are anything but clearly defined. They are imprecise and subject to opinion. Also, saying, “I’m talking about a human-looking robot” sounds clunky. Instead, saying, “I’m talking about an android” is brief, flows smoothly, and should be precise – if only people would stick to one definition.
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
Penning down precise definitions in a dictionary doesn't change the fact that language remains fluid in practice. That can be annoying sometimes, but attempts to stop it are futile and a waste of time.
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
BTW, slightly off-topic, but the idea of Androids working on a future assembly line seems rather absurd to me... The only advantage androids have over more purpose-made machines in most situations is that they are more approachable for humans -- which would be a total waste on an assembly line.
TheSkulker 27th Mar 2017, 11:28 PM edit delete reply

<i>Absolutely, there can be such a thing as a self-aware robot - if such a thing is possible. Just read any number of classic sci-fi novels dating back many, many decades. I'd mention the works of Isaac Asimov in particular, since he wrote the 'Three Laws of Robotics' and he did tangle with the concept of a robot with self-awareness. If I wasn't so lazy, I'd give examples of self-aware robots that are not even humanoid.</i>

Many authors, many stories, many spaceships.

To go to the extreme and to muddy the waters a bit, how about Heinlien's Lazarus Long stories? Lazarus's spaceship(s) (at least one), was not only sentient but was emotionally involved with him. Eventually, her personality (I don't recall her name or the book's title), was transferred to a manufactured (grown?), human body (and became part of his "harem"). So does that make her a human or a "very" human-like android?
Dragonrider 28th Mar 2017, 5:54 PM edit delete reply

Either "To Sail Beyond The Sunset" his last novel or "Cat Who Walks Through Walls" and the computer was named Dora after the girl he caught when thrown from a window of a burning house raised and Married.
guest1 28th Mar 2017, 6:11 PM edit delete reply
Dora the gay deceiver: was her ship name.. and she was in 5 of the books..
others include: Mike, MyCroft Holmes the moon A.I.S. who later became like Dora..
there was Friday,, but she was more like Marcus. transhuman ..
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
Actually more like Maxus I think, @guest1. Friday was gengineered, not cybered.
xpacetrue 28th Mar 2017, 9:56 PM edit delete reply


I knew that there were intelligent starships in science fiction, but I don't recall reading any of those stories. What you're describing sounds very interesting and I think that I will try to look these up to read.
Tokyo Rose 27th Mar 2017, 6:38 PM edit delete reply

The speaker in Panel 2 is an android wearing heavy body armor.

Hope that clears up the present confusion. :)
guest1 27th Mar 2017, 11:56 AM edit delete reply
its not fixed.. the gun is on a gravity chariot.. so it can it looks like a doll or human,, (( ohh plausible deniability.. one can shoot an Centy can claim human error.. ))
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
Possible, @guest1. I don't think we've seen enough yet to know if the gun is mounted on a vehicle or is a fixed emplacement, but you could well be correct.
guest1 27th Mar 2017, 3:53 PM edit delete reply
here we go again.!!!
panels 2, an 5 clearly show the gun emplacement.. it's not fixed.. its a gravity chariot or hover turret ,, and we have seen these before....
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 4:09 PM edit delete reply
I had missed it in the background of panel 5, but see it now that you have pointed out to me. I am having trouble seeing it as not necessarily attached to the wall behind it, and don't recall seeing that particular armed sled before, but as I said, you may well be right.
Sheela 27th Mar 2017, 6:42 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm, Aeneas and Deep Blue are all good examples of sapience without human form - Even if we mostly interface with their android like dolls.
guest1 28th Mar 2017, 6:13 PM edit delete reply
comic 1117 panel 4 ,, it's a police model but still same...
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 6:52 PM edit delete reply
Ah! On my screen it's a blob of gray with a red light against a dark black background and a voice coming from it. The sled (assuming you to be correct) has virtually no visible details. Still, it does make certain things make a little more sense in the comic, even if it is evidence of even more heavy-handedness on CentComm's part. Thank you for the reference.

Creatrices, of your goodness, should we assume that the grav sled's drive is perfectly silent, or will there be a noticeable whine/hum emanating from its position as it hovers just out of view?
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Where did we see "hover turrets" before? I don't remember them... (Though that might just be my dwindling memory.)

My first impression (in both of the panels you mention) was that it's a fixed emplacement. Upon further examination, I agree that this is not *necessarily* the case -- I wonder though how you see it "clearly", while to me (and others) it looks rather ambiguous...

Also, please refrain from derisive language.
guest1 28th Mar 2017, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
pg 1117 panel 4...
? language ???
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 8:03 AM edit delete reply
That indeed looks like the same thing, considering the lights etc. I think it's just a generic hover bike though, not a "turret". That actually makes a lot more sense to me now...
DLKmusic 27th Mar 2017, 12:24 AM edit delete reply

Weeeelll.... Poor Noctis, So much for the Heros Welcome and the honor guard!
megados 27th Mar 2017, 10:17 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, well . . . it was a nice thought while it lasted!
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 10:49 AM edit delete reply

You honestly expected ANOTHER reaction from CentComm, DLK? She is a war machine that someone just tried to use against the rest of humanity. Someone from the city state of Nova Roma. The same place Noctis is from and you expect CentComm to NOT to be highly suspicious of her? Really? :-)
DLKmusic 27th Mar 2017, 1:44 PM edit delete reply

lol, Stormwind, of course I expected suspicion from CentComm. Just wasn't expecting it to be this overt, or openly hostile.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 4:31 PM edit delete reply

I don't know that I'd go as far as hostile, and for Centcomm, it doesn't even feel overt. For Centcomm, overt would be a gun stuck in Noctis' face, and hostile would be a gaseous vapor cloud where the Dart used to be. For Centcomm, this is polite and respectful, but wary, and taking no chances.
Visvires 27th Mar 2017, 5:42 PM edit delete reply
To be fair, Noctis is a genocidal bigot. Having a sniper on her is just turnabout, at this point.
Tokyo Rose 27th Mar 2017, 6:46 PM edit delete reply

"Genocidal bigot"?...
Mister Black 27th Mar 2017, 9:39 PM edit delete reply

"To be fair, Noctis is a genocidal bigot. Having a sniper on her is just turnabout, at this point."

How, exactly, is Noctis either genocidal, or a bigot? She's ruthless, willing to kill (and quite good at it), and as dangerous as a flamethrower in a hydrogen plant, but none of that points to anything resembling genocidal bigotry.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 10:16 PM edit delete reply

Noctis wants to kill all Cyberpaths, Mr. Black. I don't agree with Visvires on the bigot, but she DOES want to kill a large group of people (cyberpaths) which share a trait (not ethnic or national though).
megados 27th Mar 2017, 10:31 PM edit delete reply

But, but, . . . genocide is specifically national or ethnic, hence the non-sequitur.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 10:56 PM edit delete reply

Actually, in the last few years it has been expanded some. Some definitions allow for other... groupings. So I can see it being expanded to something like a mutant trait (or mutants in general).
megados 27th Mar 2017, 11:08 PM edit delete reply

I suppose so. In looking it up, one definition simply refers to 'groups', and cyberpaths would qualify as a group. To me it seems a stretch of the term, but I guess it's valid. :)
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2017, 5:57 AM edit delete reply

I would argue that cyberpaths really don't qualify as... genocidable. (I think I just invented a new word; why couldn't I come up with something nice instead? Like a name for a really exciting new sex act?) It's a human genetic mutation that occurs randomly and in widely varying degrees.

Mister Black, who just woke up, is pointing out that in the entire current history of the Datachasers universe, exactly three cyberpaths have been explicitly identified*. That scarcely rises to the level of an FBI serial killer profile, let alone a genocidable population segment.

*Dr. Silver, the nameless chap who sparked Noctis's hatred in the first place, and Tokyo Rose Actual (Mister Black argues that putting Tokyo Rose in this group is like grouping the Hulk in with a bunch of jocks, however). Admittedly, Noctis has attempted to accomplish the demise of two out of the three, so she's clearly working up an unfortunate track record here. However, rather than being blindly and unalterably set upon Dr. Silver's death, she did accept Maxus's solution, which--at least in my view--makes calling her a "bigot" suspect; the term is most commonly applied to people who are so stubbornly devoted to their opinion that they refuse to hear or respect differing opinions.
megados 28th Mar 2017, 8:48 AM edit delete reply

If you want to come up with a name for a new sex act, that's a laudable goal, but I think the proper order necessitates that you first invent the act, because it's nomenclature might include physical clues.

After Stormwind's response, I was forced to look up 'genocide' to make sure I wasn't going loony. (that is still possible, but not connected to this definition) One definition I found referred simply to a group as being the subject. Based on that, and the mangulation (See what you did? Now you've got me doing it. :/ ) of language as a whole, I gave it a grudging pass. From my perspective as a reader, I have no way of knowing that there is not a coven of cyberpaths in some dark basement somewhere.

Referring to the word bigot, I agree that it doesn't fit, and for reasons along lines similar to yours.

For the most part, I don't like a lot of the tendency to hijack words, and give them new context and meanings. The media seem to do a lot of that, and it catches on.
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
I too think that in view of her stunt regarding Dr. Bitchy, Noctis can't really complain about a "cold reception" -- up to and including being taken out outright. I just think it a questionable move politically...
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 10:25 AM edit delete reply
I think that, should it be offered, Noctis has grounds for complaint about rude treatment. After all, they (specifically Marcus) were in communication with CentComm back in Nova Roma. The time to raise objections to her coming to New Troy was three hours ago before she climbed into the Dart. It is inappropriate to imply, through action or inaction, that someone will be received as a guest when they still have a choice about visiting, then treat them as a terrorist or hostile combatant once they are exposed and more vulnerable. (It is, in fact, verging on perfidious. ^_^) Just my opinion, of course.
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 10:29 AM edit delete reply
Not denying that -- just stating that her own behaviour (wilfully breaking a cease-fire) hasn't been any better.
Sheela 28th Mar 2017, 10:43 AM edit delete reply

Why are you all applying human emotions to Noctis ?
She couldn't care less about being treated rudely, as long as Acantha is treated properly, and quickly ... in a hospital.

As for a new sexual act in the datachasers universe .. how about a "mind melt" between androids ?
Ofcourse, that would mean that whatever kink Android A has, is now shared by Android B ... so androids that have had many partners that they have mind melted with, will have .. a lot of kinks. :D

... and knowing Tokyo Rose, she has probably managed to be the only human to do it too, and is probably collecting kinks, like an elderly man would collect cigar belts.

They would be like Pokemons to Tokyo Rose. >_<
Gotta collect them all!
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 10:56 AM edit delete reply
Everything we have seen so far seems to suggests Androids are subject to pretty much human emotions -- and Noctis is no exception, even though she (usually) hides it well.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 11:01 AM edit delete reply
I think it fair to say, @antrik, that no one has been more outspoken about their disappointment about Noctis' behavior regarding Dr. Silver than I. However, I think the question of whether the rudeness may have been justified by that, or not, is separate from whether it exists and whether it was intentional or just sloppy.

And @Sheela, I'm not implying anything about Noctis' emotions at all. Discussing whether or not someone is rude is a very separate matter from considering how someone reacts (or doesn't react) to that rudeness. It's entirely likely Noctis will ignore trivial slights and insults for whatever reasons, including it being in the interest of Princess Acantha receiving expedited medical care. But that doesn't' mean such slights and insults don't reveal things about the character and personality of the persons engaged in them -- and therefore make them a topic of discussion of some interest. (At least for me. I'll try to avoid speaking for anyone else. ^_^)
megados 28th Mar 2017, 11:13 AM edit delete reply

Sheela, I do think Noctis has a lot of emotions that she just doesn't share. I agree, though, that her first concern is Acantha's well being.

As far as being mistreated, I think as far as Noctis is aware, there are only the S&R bots and the firefighters. I don't think she knows about the guns yet, although she could come to that assumption. Based on that, I don't think that Noctis has even thought of herself as being mistreated, let alone complaining about it.

Objectively, so far they have been treated courteously, and have not been directly threatened or fired upon, so there really isn't anything to complain about yet.
Sheela 28th Mar 2017, 2:12 PM edit delete reply

It is true, it tells you a great many things about someone, when they are rude to you.
megados 28th Mar 2017, 9:50 PM edit delete reply

That is very true, Sheela, and those things are important to know! It can save a lot of trouble later.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 12:24 AM edit delete reply

Easy now, no need to do anything hasty.

Re: alt text: So there! :p

That Dart is literally toast. (Totalled minus the deductible)

Those are some nice details in the hangar area.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 12:37 AM edit delete reply
I absolutely agree, @megados, about the set dressing and detail work. I also like the dialogue in the last panel very much.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 12:43 AM edit delete reply

Agreed on the dialogue, and also Noctis' response.
Timotheus 27th Mar 2017, 2:39 AM edit delete reply

A little duct tape, some bondo and paint, he'll never notice.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 10:21 AM edit delete reply

@Timotheus, . . . and one of those little pine scented dangly air fresheners on the mirror to cover that burnt-car smell? :D
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 10:54 AM edit delete reply

Somehow Timotheus, I doubt duct tape will fix this problem! It might be fixable, but it might be cheaper to buy a new one than repair the Dart.
megados 27th Mar 2017, 11:08 AM edit delete reply

There's an old saying: You can fix anything with duct tape and WD40. If it moves, and it shouldn't, use the duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use the WD40. If these don't work, you have an electrical problem.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 1:16 PM edit delete reply

I think the Dart has an electrical CRISIS, megados. :-D
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 3:07 PM edit delete reply

this made me giggle.
Sheela 27th Mar 2017, 6:46 PM edit delete reply

That's a good one, Megados. :)
megados 27th Mar 2017, 9:40 PM edit delete reply

As I say, it's an old one, but I'm glad it provided a chuckle :)
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 8:31 AM edit delete reply
The cheapest option is not always the best... I don't know whether Kyle feels any attachment to the chassis -- but I think he might miss his carefully crafted drive AI :-)
velvetsanity 27th Mar 2017, 6:42 PM edit delete reply

Not this time, Timotheus. This time, it'll take some chewing gum and a tribble. :D
Sheela 28th Mar 2017, 10:45 AM edit delete reply

It seems to me that the most likely thing to happen, will be that they move the drivebrain over into another vehicle.

It might even be an upgrade from the old dart.
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2017, 4:50 PM edit delete reply

I think that drive brain will be cussing like Tokyo Rose at ANYONE coming near it. After that hell ride, who could blame it? :-D
cattservant 27th Mar 2017, 2:11 AM edit delete reply

Covering every option.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 6:05 AM edit delete reply

That is CentComm, catt! :-)
chk 27th Mar 2017, 11:42 AM edit delete reply

Sheela 27th Mar 2017, 6:46 PM edit delete reply

Correction : Covering every option with a GUN!
That is Centcomm's way to approach things.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 8:47 PM edit delete reply

Gun, missile, nanite swarm... Whatever seems appropriate to do violence to others, Sheela. :-)
antrik 27th Mar 2017, 2:24 AM edit delete reply
Does Commie keep gun turrets in every hangar, or is it just the special one for foreign visitors? ;-)

I wonder though why she relies on a turret needing an operator, rather than just using remote control...
Timotheus 27th Mar 2017, 2:33 AM edit delete reply

Situational flexibility. Different operators and different weapons for different situations. Crew serviced weapons are easier to relocate and replace than fixed position ones.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 10:43 AM edit delete reply

Cent IS all the automated turrents.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 11:20 AM edit delete reply

If they are in 3C, it could be argued that CentComm IS, period. She has control of the lights, heat, little guns, bigger guns and OMG guns, electricity, water (reverse water flow out of individual toilets, anyone?) and a localized gravity field too plus who knows what else.
guest1 27th Mar 2017, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
..Keyword ... automated..
antrik 27th Mar 2017, 2:25 AM edit delete reply
I'm curious what this bot is. Firefighter? Medic assist? Military? Neither? All of them?...
Timotheus 27th Mar 2017, 2:37 AM edit delete reply

I would guess high hazard non humanoid appearing android like the fighter pilot (crash response probably, judging from the red shoulders.)
All the Pickles 27th Mar 2017, 2:41 AM edit delete reply

Based on the font and speech balloon shape I'd bet it's a bot rather than an android.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Why do you say that, @All the Pickles? The droid in panel two has a colored, circular speech balloon, just like Anne, Amy, and CentComm's doll. The two reception bots, on the other hand, have white, rectangular speech balloons. I had inferred this was intended to communicate that the android in panel two was synthbrain -based, while the androids in panels four and five are positronic-based. (They're all mobile humanoid chassis, so technically all 'androids' -- even though, in DataChasers argot, the ones in panels four and five would more likely be referred to as 'robots', just because they are positronic.)
All the Pickles 27th Mar 2017, 9:30 AM edit delete reply

I was under the impression @antrik and @Timotheus were talking about one of the "reception bots" not the turret operator.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 10:43 AM edit delete reply

the non human ones in this scene are BOTS. you can tell by the white balloon with computer text.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 10:33 AM edit delete reply

Think you are right, Pickles.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 11:36 AM edit delete reply
Well, we do see one of the red-shouldered types acting as a firefighter in panel two (partially hidden behind the turret).
guest1 27th Mar 2017, 12:11 PM edit delete reply
NTSR the bots are both firefighter an medic.. the one on Ada's side has medical emblem center chest,, the one on Noctis i kant see clearly,, but has some thing..
an in panel 2 firefighter can be seen at back of dart.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 3:06 PM edit delete reply

Yes all the bots are general use NTSR units they can fill a wide array of jobs.
Timotheus 28th Mar 2017, 2:39 AM edit delete reply

Oh. I thought it was something to do with speaker vocalization versus voice box speaking. (Of course it still could be.)
mjkj 27th Mar 2017, 2:35 AM edit delete reply

You rule, Ada!!!

So CentComm is targeting Noctis...?

I hope Acantha will be fine and well soon...

@alt text: so true...

Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 8:42 AM edit delete reply

Ada is the BOSS (at piloting), mjkj.

Sounds like CentComm doesn't trust Noctis to behave, mjkj. If she does ANYTHING CentComm doesn't like, poof one dead Noctis.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 10:42 AM edit delete reply

to be fair she did try to have Silver killed.
Mark_L_A 27th Mar 2017, 3:15 AM edit delete reply

Centie is waiting to insure that either Noctis represents zero threat at this time, or she is just going to remove her from the equation.

And if she tries that, I think Ada will have something to say about that.
Kelon 27th Mar 2017, 3:22 AM edit delete reply
So, now that ada is back, so when is she going to tell the boyfriend the good news (that she is alive)?
guest1 27th Mar 2017, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
.. late ... Marcus is Ada's bf ...
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
Actually I believe Kevin is her current boyfriend, though she and Marcus appear to be friendly ex-es.
velvetsanity 27th Mar 2017, 6:47 PM edit delete reply

Marcus is Silver's ex, IIRC. Which is why we (the commenteers) made a bet of some sort on them getting back together. Don't exactly remember the details (it was a couple of years ago at this point), but I believe it involved them having to go on a dinner date if the comic found itself in the top 10 on TWC? (Or at least some sort of artwork or vote incentive to that effect?)
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
No, Marcus and Dr. Bitchy were never a thing, and supposedly they both think the idea ridiculous.

And yes, they have to go on a dinner date if Datachasers ever finishes a month within the top 5 on TopWebComics... It was a close call a few months back, but unfortunately it slipped to 6th place a few days before the month was out, and has been hovering around 10th place ever since :-(
Marcus Ramesy 31st Mar 2017, 3:33 PM edit delete reply

I will state this for the record.. Dr Silver and My self have never dated.... EVER.. never slept together....EVER... and the idea of that ever happening.... is very very silly....
mjkj 27th Mar 2017, 6:15 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, it was said that Marcus was Ada's ex-boyfriend.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 3:05 PM edit delete reply

hey .. Ada likes people! :D
Sheela 27th Mar 2017, 6:52 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, but Ada also likes TeeDee, and she even tried to befriend a juvenile murderturd ... I'm not sure we can trust what Ada like, and doesn't like.
All the Pickles 27th Mar 2017, 8:23 PM edit delete reply

Well everybody has to learn somehow that being a juvenile doesn't take the murder out the turd.
Mark_L_A 28th Mar 2017, 9:54 PM edit delete reply

How sure are we that TeeDee doesn't have a Murderturd egg hidden in her gear on Mr. Black's ship?
mjkj 28th Mar 2017, 6:08 AM edit delete reply

True, Cent - and people like Ada.
Greenwood Goat 27th Mar 2017, 5:11 AM edit delete reply
+Are you sure you don't want us to protect you from the Roman android? Just a little bit? Disable her motor functions? Blow her limbs off? Cut her in half with a laser? If she lets us behead her cleanly, we'll be able to put her back together afterwards, honest! Or we could... just let the fanboys loose on her!+ *opens window shields to reveal unsettling mass of drooling fembot fanboys pressed against the armour glass*

Noctis: And I thought the late Decimus Livius was cruel and perverse...

Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 10:42 AM edit delete reply

Takes notes on ideas...
Sheela 27th Mar 2017, 6:54 PM edit delete reply

Noctis doesn't really *fear* the fembots, to be honest.
The Martha Steward clones that Setorius made however .... *shudder* ....
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2017, 10:41 AM edit delete reply

Cent is building up AssKicked points every time around. That is the Head Of State and her bodyguard you can-opener reject act like it. She is not an enemy combatant, have a feeling Ada is going to soon be designated Bodyguard for Acantha.
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 11:31 AM edit delete reply
She's not the Head of State, @Dragonrider. (Good to see you, BTW.) She's not confirmed by the Senate yet. So far, no one has been anything but polite to Noctis' face. (Thought the question to Ada in Noctis' hearing certainly seems a bit rude.) And it would be extremely rude to assign an unqualified bodyguard to a distinguished visitor, so I doubt Ada will be adding 'bodyguard' to her resume anytime soon. Or do you imagine that Ada had time to squeeze in a full course of "VIP Protection Detail" school alongside her Paramedic school and Flight school?
megados 27th Mar 2017, 11:40 AM edit delete reply

I thought that Acantha was underage to assume the throne, and that Maxus would have to be named Lord Regent by the Senate, and be Acantha's proxy until she comes of age. Or I have this all wrong?

@Dragonrider, I think Ada and Noctis have to do some fast talkin' here!
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 11:56 AM edit delete reply

I believe you are right, megados. Still Dragonrider has a point, if that bot opens fire, Acantha would be a casualty too (and probably Ada too). So pointing weapons that way isn't going to make CentComm any friends. Hopefully Noctis won't do anything to trigger CentComm to order her demise.

As for Noctis saying anything, megados I'm thinking the less she says the better off she will be. Ada is likely to be her best bet, if she chooses to be. Or if she doesn't get ordered off. She is a member of NTS&R, which (ultimately) answers to CentComm. :-7
megados 27th Mar 2017, 12:46 PM edit delete reply

Good point on Noctis keeping mum Stormwind13. In fact, thinking about it, she probably knows it. I do think Ada would stand up to CentComm, at least a little. Her sense of what is right would almost force her to.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 3:04 PM edit delete reply

If cent felt the need or felt in any way threatened they would already be dead. Ada would be viewed as " expendable "
DLKmusic 27th Mar 2017, 3:14 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir & Dragonrider: I agree that Acantha isn't the head of state, however Dragonrider still has a point... Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain isn't the head of state either (at least not in any meaningful way other than figurehead).

By 21st century standards, there is a minimum level of decorum that should be required here.
By 39th century standards? That may be a different story.

Bottom line though, if Cent-comm is looking for a diplomatic solution at this point, this isn't going to endear anyone. Boot-heel to throat diplomacy tends to cause resentment and create very hostile enemies.

PS. Good to see you back, Dragonrider!
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 4:16 PM edit delete reply
Hey, the dialogue in panel 5 is exquisitely courteous and appropriate, which is why I went out of my way to say that I liked it. No one has said anything to Noctis that could be construed as impolite or offensive. The rest ... well that's <REDACTED>, presumably included because <REDACTED> and because dramas featuring exclusively the actions of people who make good decisions continue to do inexplicably poorly in the ratings.
Dragonrider 28th Mar 2017, 3:58 AM edit delete reply

That can-opener reject is still using the I am a hammer and you are all nails approach. She should have an honor guard there for Acantha, she will probably want to put a restrictor collar on Noctis so Noctis may well vette Ada to act as bodyguard for Acantha. As a fighting/nurse/combat Android Ada has the skill set to act as a bodyguard, plus she would be cleared into the OR for the Heart Transplant.
megados 28th Mar 2017, 9:02 AM edit delete reply

That would be a pretty good solution, Dragonrider!
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 9:21 AM edit delete reply
@Gilrandir the question to Ada was from a "bot", i.e. an autonomous machine with limited mental ability and devoid of feelings. As such, while such a question would feel rude from a human or android, I don't think anything a bot says can actually be considered rude... Just a commonplace quirk of interacting with bots. (And even Roma has some military bots -- so I'm sure Noctis is accustomed to this.)

Wilfully pointing a gun at an invited foreign visitor on the other hand seems pretty rude -- even if Noctis is (probably) not aware of the situation just yet...
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
Robots aren't persons, so of course they cannot be rude. They are tools, just like guns. (In my opinion)

The things you do with a robot can be rude, just as can be the things you do with your gun. (As you point out, @antrik.) CentComm had three hours to prepare this little reception, including time to review how the NTSR bots were going to approach the question of Noctis. To imply that she (Noctis) is holding Ada as a hostage is (in my opinion) rude and without grounds. Someone made the decision to do that -- that person is being rude. The whole bit about having a concealed sniper take aim on someone without their knowledge is a completely different kettle of fish, and whether or not its relative rudeness depends on whether or not the target becomes aware of it is a question for the philosophers. ^_^
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 10:52 AM edit delete reply
I specifically mentioned "autonomous", implying that the bots might simply not be in a position to know whether Noctis should be considered a threat or not in this particular situation.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 11:44 AM edit delete reply
"Autonomous" does not imply "unpredictable", since you need some degree of free will to have 'choice' -- which verges on the distinction being employed here between 'bot' and 'droid' (avoiding 'android' out of deference to @xpacetrue ^_^). It seems unlikely that S&R robots assume by default that passengers should be considered possibly hostile threats, implying the bots were given pre-incident data predisposing them to certain conduct and ensuring that certain questions would be asked in certain ways. Adjust that data slightly, and the bot responses would (presumably) be modified in predictable ways. Since you have the sniper and the reapers on station, predisposing the bots to consider Noctis a possible threat seems ... calculated. If not, then it seems sloppy.
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
I think the bots simply have a general knowledge that Roma is a foreign, possibly hostile power; and haven't been fed any information about the very special situation at hand right now.
Tokyo Rose 27th Mar 2017, 9:59 PM edit delete reply

Acantha was Decimus's legally recognized and acknowledged heir. Upon his demise, the role of sovereign instantly and automatically transferred to her, but she is not of legal majority and has not yet been formally confirmed by the Senate. At this time, she has the title, but not the authority.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 10:06 PM edit delete reply

Also Maxus as Lord General is also logical to take her place as regent due to Decimus's Family purge.
Keera 27th Mar 2017, 2:48 PM edit delete reply
What happen to the emergency fire or crash team? Sure the medical team is priority, but one would think that putting out the fire would also be important too.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2017, 3:03 PM edit delete reply

There is a group of bots that are putting out the fire sadly NO shots of them survived the lay out stage. Sorry you can see one of them in panel 2 and the cryo haze from the fire suppression devices.

PS i got yelled at for saying cryo.. so CO2 >_<
megados 27th Mar 2017, 9:19 PM edit delete reply

While it's too bad they ended up on the cutting room floor, the final shots you ended up with are pretty good. :)
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 11:01 PM edit delete reply

Yells at CentComm some more. Why not Halon? :-D
guest1 28th Mar 2017, 12:36 AM edit delete reply
cuz Halon is on its way out.. it permanently removes oxygen (combines with it) so in closed spaces it becomes fatal..
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2017, 6:11 AM edit delete reply

Mister Black works in a location that's equipped with a Halon-based fire-suppression system. One fine day, the system tripped accidentally (due to a freon leak from an air conditioning unit), and the building had to be evacuated. One of the supervisors had trouble with her legs, however, and couldn't get out as quickly as the other people; she inhaled some of that shit. Getting Halon out of a person involves practically standing them on their head and forcing medium-pressure oxygen into the lungs to displace the Halon, which is heavier than oxygen, so that it more or less "falls" out of the victim's face holes. The supervisor survived, fortunately, but to this day, she has respiratory problems traceable directly to the incident.

Halon is a nasty environmental toxin as well. The cleanup required people in full hazmat suits to basically vacuum the entire building and decontaminate it. The cost was in the vicinity of $192,000.

Halon DOES do its job really well as a fire suppressant, but it has way too many downsides to justify its continued use when alternatives are available.
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 9:42 AM edit delete reply
Wouldn't they actually be more likely to use good old water (and possibly foam) here? In my layman's understanding, CO2 is good at putting out fires in the early stages; but when serious heat build-up is involved, I believe nothing beats large amounts of water to cool it down for good...
megados 28th Mar 2017, 9:49 AM edit delete reply

I think there are still electrical considerations which make the use of water questionable. Foam, CO2, or dry powder ABC might be the best bet.
antrik 28th Mar 2017, 10:49 AM edit delete reply
AIUI electricity is only really a concern when high voltages are involved? Note for example that water is officially the recommended way of putting out electric vehicles (using 800V or so in the power circuits) -- the primary concern there is to prevent (further) lithium cells from going into thermal runaway, which is why large amounts of water are used to cool them down.

Also, since the craft here has been powered down, electricity should not be a concern at all I think. (Unless the craft sustained structural damage, possibly resulting in short-circuits involving the generator -- but I don't think any mechanical breakdown has taken place here?...)
megados 28th Mar 2017, 11:33 AM edit delete reply

I really don't know at this point, antrik. I am basing my opinion on the lengths of the arcs seen while the Dart was still flying. Starting electrical arcs takes about ten thousand volts per inch at atmospheric pressure under dry conditions. Once ionized, they can sustain over greater distances. I also assume a respectable current, since the emitters described would require a relatively large amount of power which would be considerably more than an electric car would carry. In the end, though, it is all guesswork on my part.

I also do not know whether there is still power at the emitters, but I would think that trained (programmed) firefighters would err on the side of caution.
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 8:38 AM edit delete reply
High voltage is necessary to initially create an arc over a large distance under *normal* conditions, since air is normally not very conductive. Only once an electric discharge with sufficient current takes place, the air is heated into plasma (which is what actually makes the arc visible), making it highly conductive, and thus sustaining the arc.

But in the case at hand, a strong electric discharge wasn't needed to create plasma in the first place, since excess plasma was present from the drive. With the highly conductive plasma already there, it doesn't need much voltage or current for discharge to happen. (Someone suggested that it was probably just static charge from the atmosphere?)
chk 28th Mar 2017, 10:20 AM edit delete reply

Unless you can hold your breath long enough to vacate the area, CardDox (CO2) is as deadly as Halon.

The only advantage is that clean-up is an exhaust fan.
Dragonrider 28th Mar 2017, 2:09 PM edit delete reply

My father sold fire suppressants to towns and fire departments. During the summer he would take me with him to the close locations. His technique was build a fire using rubber tires and gasoline he then demonstrated various methods of extinguishing fires the closer and what sold a lot of towns on it was he would have me eat a handful of the drychemical to prove its non toxic nature. Halon replaced dry chemicals as a suppressant for some time however companies are now replacing halon with dry chenical as the same dispersal system can, with inexpensive modifications be used. FWIW
KarToon12 27th Mar 2017, 5:28 PM edit delete reply

Well, so far, the ship's the only thing on fire. Not too bad a day. XD
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 6:10 PM edit delete reply

Actually KarToon, sizable chunks of Nova Roma are burning too. So it could still be as a bad day. Of course some of that fire cleaned the festering wound (that was Douchimus) and at least has the potential for better days to come. Rising from the ashes.
Stormwind13 27th Mar 2017, 5:33 PM edit delete reply

I just realized that you have put all the white hair into the comic you can, CentComm. I was looking at Amy and going, 'how did Noctis get over there' before realizing it was Amy (damn small phone screen)! :-D
Gilrandir 27th Mar 2017, 5:37 PM edit delete reply
Just wait until we get Ada, Amy, Athena, and Noctis all in one shot. Against a white hospital wall. In a snowstorm. ^_^
megados 27th Mar 2017, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

Please, Gilrandir, don't say 'shot' too loudly right now! :0

Romfire 28th Mar 2017, 12:15 PM edit delete reply
As a 26+ year firefighter, Hazardous Material response team member, I can say that Halon is a simple asphyxiant. It displaces oxygen and suffocates people if they inhale the product in great enough concentrations to drop the oxygen concentration below breathable levels. It is not a toxin in that it does not cause any injury either through adsorption, or inhalation provided there is enough Oxygen to sustain life. As for the environmental impact, I find that questionable as it is found in huge quantities in nature.
Halon is a name given to a range of products that contain Chlorine, Bromine, Fluorine, or Iodine in some combination with Carbon. It both excludes Oxygen and interrupts the chemical chain reaction of most fires. They are often cryogenic in their liquid state and are as noted much heavier than normal air. Regular air filled balloons are used to visualize the halon level in rooms with it in them as the balloons float on the Halon and not in regular air. The part that troubles me the most is that the Freon we used in most air conditioners and refrigerators was Dichlorodifluoromethane or R12. The patent ran out on it and the price fell to about a 50 cents a pound. We now pay twenty times that for the new mandated Freon that has a brand new patent on it.
IMHO the "clean up" of that building should have been open windows and some fans, that would cost a lot less than $192,000. As "bad" as CentComm is, I think we have even more Diabolical people wrecking havok today. I love the great outdoors and want to see our protections efforts actually benefit the environment and not politicians and corporations.
Timotheus 28th Mar 2017, 2:42 PM edit delete reply

Huzzah, another veteran of the trenches. 20 some years as environmental manager and HazMat team coordinator/trainer at at a plating plant. I've often found trying to explain the difference between "legal" hazardous and "real" hazardous to be the hardest part of the job. That and the fact that most "cancerous substances" don't cause cancer.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2017, 3:08 PM edit delete reply
I thought it was well-established by extensive laboratory testing that white mice cause cancer? ^_^
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2017, 6:20 PM edit delete reply

IIRC, another factor in the cost of cleanup was that the building is riddled with asbestos and extra precautions had to be taken because nobody knew just what-all else might have been shaken loose in the incident.

(The quoted cost of removing the asbestos was apparently so offensive to the knobs who manage the budget that they just taped signs up in some areas basically saying "don't put any nails, screws, or tacks in the walls here and don't breathe too hard if you can help it". Actual state governments can apparently get away with telling OSHA to eat a sack of dicks.)
antrik 29th Mar 2017, 9:28 AM edit delete reply
While most (not all) freons are not acutely toxic, they are all very strong greenhouse gases; and many also cause ozone layer depletion. The latter is why the old freons in air conditioners were replaced by the newer ones; and I suspect both are why "open windows and fans" is apparently not considered an acceptable method for Halon clean-up.

Please do actual research before calling into question environmental protection regulations. (It is true that some supposed environmental laws are clever scams introduced by lobbyists; but many more are actually beneficial.)

BTW, while Halon is not toxic in itself -- and shouldn't even cause asphyxiation on its own in the concentrations used in halon flooding systems -- it is still somewhat dangerous, because it causes dizziness, and also because it can produce highly toxic breakdown products in actual fires. (While CO2 flooding systems are apparently *more* dangerous regarding asphyxiation...)
Romfire 29th Mar 2017, 9:45 AM edit delete reply
Technically true, In application false.
Post a Comment

Comic Basement - Webcomic Ranking Directory