Comic 1007 - Playful banter...

24th Apr 2014, 9:54 PM
Playful banter...
Average Rating: 5 (16 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 24th Apr 2014, 9:54 PM edit delete
Sorry apperently I set it for the wrong MONTH ooops my bad...
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 12:58 PM edit delete
OKAY new incentive for voting at Top webcomics BUT ! This is NSFW! So vote often and come back lots ! im going to be doing a whole series on these.. all Ill say is sexy pinups !
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cattservant 24th Apr 2014, 10:21 PM edit delete reply

Well we all know DC transcends Space & Time,
so no difference can be detected!

[Nor fault ascertained.]
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:02 PM edit delete reply

hehe yeah well i still feel bad when I miss a update ..
cattservant 24th Apr 2014, 10:30 PM edit delete reply

My my!
Not all the sub-currents
are in the pool.*

*(or even on the page.)
mjkj 24th Apr 2014, 11:01 PM edit delete reply

Wow, great page.

I love how casual Acantha is about it all :D

I believe a water fight is about to commence...

Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:02 PM edit delete reply

Could be ! or Lynn could capitulate :D
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:28 AM edit delete reply

Either way, it's nice to see Acantha in high spirits again.

She's been wayy too much doom 'n' gloom most of the time, but then, the actions of douchebag kinda dictated that.

Seems like douchebag hasn't managed to do any lasting or permanent damage to her optimism just yet.

And it's nice to see there's still a bubbly teenager underneath all that aggravated exterior. :)
Centcomm 26th Apr 2014, 9:55 AM edit delete reply

It really is!
Calisa 24th Apr 2014, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

Bahaha when I first read it I thought she said "Well YOW that's hot!" to the idea of bathing with her boyfriend XD
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:03 PM edit delete reply

haha her thoughts kinda go disrupted :D
xpacetrue 24th Apr 2014, 11:42 PM edit delete reply

I can almost smell the menthol and feel the steam and hot, hot water. :P

Yeah, this page is nicely rendered. What did you use for the wet skin look?
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:09 PM edit delete reply

its a wet skin shader I got somewhere :D im glad it worked :D
Vivocateur 25th Apr 2014, 12:28 AM edit delete reply

Oh man…I can barely stand to watch any more of this ruthless and cold blooded torture.
Tokyo Rose 25th Apr 2014, 2:50 AM edit delete reply

Stormwind13 25th Apr 2014, 2:54 AM edit delete reply

LOL Ten Penny. Yeah, it is HORRIBLE. How can ANY of us stand to watch? :-D
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:09 PM edit delete reply

I know right ! its sooo so horrible!
Quieteyes 26th Apr 2014, 3:46 AM edit delete reply
{Covers eyes} I can't watch!

{Peeks through fingers} :-)
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:31 AM edit delete reply

And yet, hundreds of pervy old men have it in them, to tune in every day and watch her ongoing torture !

Doggie does NOT approve !
One shouldn't just stand by the sidelines and act like a peeping tom !

*doggie jumps into bath*

Ahh, much better!
It's even deep enough for me to doggy-paddle around. :)
Centcomm 26th Apr 2014, 9:54 AM edit delete reply

its actually waist deep for Acantha as you can see. Watches Lynn and Acantha get out shampoo and wash the puppy clean !
Sheela 27th Apr 2014, 6:57 AM edit delete reply

Shampoo is good. :D
Stormwind13 27th Apr 2014, 6:20 PM edit delete reply

A dragon would NOT fit in that little pool, Sheela. And would squish Acantha and Lynn. Which would piss off Maxus to no end. I don't want to turn him into a dragon SLAYER. =O
Sheela 27th Apr 2014, 7:41 PM edit delete reply

I ... don't think I mentioned a dragon ?
Stormwind13 27th Apr 2014, 8:15 PM edit delete reply

No, but that is why I'm not joining in. I mean, Stormwind is a dragon. :-D Would be hard on that little pool and its occupants. :-)
plymayer 25th Apr 2014, 12:53 AM edit delete reply

I thought the same thing. Public swimming etc.

They have suits on and it's more of a hot tub than an actual bath....
Fairportfan 25th Apr 2014, 2:44 AM edit delete reply

Is the boy friend gonna be unhappy once she's rescued?
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:08 PM edit delete reply

why would he be?
Stormwind13 25th Apr 2014, 3:28 PM edit delete reply

I think Fairport is wondering if Lynn is going to the other side of the street. :-)

While I see it as a little sister picking on her big sister while she is sick. :-D They sound EXACTLY like several of those I've known in the past. :-) Well except it was a regular pool, not a hot tub/pool. :-D
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:32 AM edit delete reply

Alternatively, Kyle might be upset that he missed the .. "torture". :D
Stormwind13 25th Apr 2014, 2:53 AM edit delete reply

That last panel, Acantha looks like she is READY to dunk Lynn. Eagerly ready even. :-)
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:08 PM edit delete reply

Acantha is having a lot of fun with this. Lynn is one person she can relax with .. so her fun side is coming out more :D
mjkj 25th Apr 2014, 5:29 PM edit delete reply

I really like that fun site of her... *hugs*
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:34 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, her fun side has been somewhat subdued until now.

.. well, there was the racing bikes bit, and cracking jokes at Aeneas' guns "saying hi" to them.

But still. :)
Centcomm 26th Apr 2014, 9:53 AM edit delete reply

Acantha is doing her best to not let her brother break her. She knows once that happens .. hes won hands down.
jamie59 25th Apr 2014, 5:01 AM edit delete reply

Dunk! Dunk! Dunk! Get over with.
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:05 PM edit delete reply

hehew everyone wants to see a water fight ill bet :D
Stormwind13 25th Apr 2014, 3:29 PM edit delete reply

You would lose that bet, CentComm. The MAID does NOT want to see a water fight. And then have to clean it up. :-D

Everyone ELSE though, yeah we want to see a water fight. :-D
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:35 AM edit delete reply

Hrm ... that makes me wonder, does Irene have an actual maid, or does Lexy fill in that role too ?
Centcomm 26th Apr 2014, 9:52 AM edit delete reply

Lexi is both Maid and Nurse as needed .. despite appearances Irene is fairly disabled. more on that later. And the reason Maxus got her a Luna Android is all about trust.. Lexi WILL NOT betray Maxus or Irene.
Stormwind13 26th Apr 2014, 12:30 PM edit delete reply

But Lexine will drown anyone getting water all over the floors she just cleaned. :-D So maybe the maid WON'T object and then you would win your bet. :-)
mjkj 25th Apr 2014, 4:59 PM edit delete reply

Yup, we all want to see the water fight... :D
Guest 25th Apr 2014, 5:05 AM edit delete reply
We should all join and file an "Amici Curiae"brief with both the World Court in The Hague and with the Geneva Convention Commission in Switzerland. This patent Water Torture and brutal questioning about personal relationships must stop. The prisoner is only required to give name, rank, serial number and needed medications.
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:05 PM edit delete reply

I know right? Acantha is being SOOO mean !
Dragonrider 25th Apr 2014, 5:39 PM edit delete reply

That was me from work how I probably will be posting most from now on.
Stormwind13 25th Apr 2014, 6:13 PM edit delete reply

Remember to log in then, Dragonrider. :-)
Dragonrider 26th Apr 2014, 5:15 AM edit delete reply

can't from work
Stormwind13 26th Apr 2014, 5:40 AM edit delete reply

KarToon12 25th Apr 2014, 5:36 AM edit delete reply

Lynn seems to have recovered quickly. XD
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:04 PM edit delete reply

Yep menthol cuts though the nose like crazy .. and I left out all the disgusting noises from Lynn clearing her head .. :D
xpacetrue 25th Apr 2014, 12:23 PM edit delete reply

@ Tokyo Rose

To continue from yesterday's page: You wrote, '"Memory packs" like you suggest aren't available, simply because even if they were, an android just could NOT perfectly imitate another's performance of a given task or exercise of a skill until they practiced it for themselves anyway.'

That "simply because" leaves room for the possibility of it being technically feasible. However, you're saying it would be more-or-less pointless to do so.

I can not exactly disagree with your logic. It makes some sense. Androids, like humans, are individuals. And, you're right: A downloaded memory would not automatically sync with their own body and their own experiences. Martial arts, in particular, would have to allow for different body types. Your height, reach, center of balance and other factors would throw everything off - at least until you practiced enough to adapt the downloaded experience and knowledge to your body.

Perhaps it'd be a bit like copying memories into clones? If you made a clone of someone, they're just a blank slate. But if you could somehow make a perfect copy of their mind and put it in the same body, then those memories should sync. But if, for example, you raised a clone from childhood to adult and then installed skill memories, say from an entirely different person, that would not sync well?

So, skill downloads may not be as fast or easy as The Matrix portrayed. However, I still say that if one could literally download the isolated memories of hundreds of hours of instruction and practice, then go through more practice to -adapt- those memories to yourself, one would -still- come out ahead. It should still be significantly faster than trying to learn all that from scratch, through hard work.

Something about this doesn't seem to add up. Maybe I'm not understanding their Virtual Environment? Would it be a bit like living in a first-person version of The Sims, or inside a Holodeck, only everyone there are Programs like in Tron?

Or, maybe I'm just shocked by how even in the 39'th century they haven't figured out how to literally download skill sets into andriods (or even hundreds of hours of instruction they have to practice and adapt to themselves to use).

Also, I'm confused. What you're saying does not match what Centcomm said. Either that, or I'm not understanding what is being said. What did Centcomm mean, exactly, by "learn skills via flash download" if that does not equate to "memory packs"?

It seems to contradict my "Case in point 3": Page 698 ("Fractured Peace 2") about a Q-Drive design Dr. Silver worked on and how it might some day allow humans to download skills instantly. And page 706 ("Fractured Peace 4") where Mr. Nova is secretly using the tech to instantly download assassin skills into a body.

(Okay, okay, so maybe that's cutting edge tech. And it's not only theoritical, it may have major side effects. But it suggests it's possible.)

Further, can you explain how Cent-Comm managed to bring Ceci online in a mere 130 seconds - complete with general knowledge and a respectable proficiency in everything from firearms and martial arts, to the use of scanners, navigation, and vehicle piloting (among other skills)?

Sure, Centcomm said that Ceci is an exception and she breaks all sorts of rules, much like Dolly. But isn't that a bit like hand-waving...

...Ah! I was going through the comments in the archives and found something relevant. Marcus said the following on page 947 ( ):

"...that is what that one of the 3 processors are for.. its the skill booster... but.. this comes at a price.. and is the reason that angels brains are scraped after they return from the mission.. use of this chip will fry the brain and cause catastrophic damage.. each time a skill set is loaded it causes damage to the system.. if used to many times.. complete shutdown.. mission failure.... this is part of the reason that black angels are designed NOT to be self aware..."

So, the main reason Cent was able to imprint or "flash" Ceci with all that stuff in a manner of seconds and make her so skilled was BECAUSE she was a Black Angel unit - because they are not supposed to be self-aware and only need to last long enough to complete their mission? And a lot of her skills, particularly combat skills, are a part of her 3 positronic processors that are separate entities from Ceci and have to "kick-in". Okay. Seems a bit weird to me, but that explains Ceci's situation.

But are there any other methods of flash downloading a skill that does not cause brain damage?

When an android Seed graduates from a virtual world to having an actual body, they start to accumulate "body debt". And the cost of the body they choose (after their temporary protobody) AND the cost of their skills/training influences how much body debt they will have to pay off. Right?

In what manner are skills taught/provided that cost money? Do young androids in Protobodies sit down in a physical classroom and get taught by actual teachers? That would be understandable.

Though, wouldn't it be far more efficient for androids to get taught when they're still Seeds, being taught by virtual teachers? You would not need to invest in actual teachers or physical classrooms or equipment. And you can simulate all manner of environments and situations to learn stuff hands-on. (Which could be -far- cheaper than a real-world equivalent in some cases. Think of it as downloading 3D assets to render a scene for animation, vs. actually investing in props, movie sets, stuntmen, actors, etc.) And, to me, it sounded like they might learn faster than normal in a Virtual Environment.

But if androids get charged as Seeds for their learning experience in the Virtual Environment, then I think they're getting ripped off as it costs New Troy almost nothing. (Just computing power and electricity for their virtual environment. And the whole point of the environment is to raise Seeds, weed out the bad apples, and get them ready for the real world.)
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 1:04 PM edit delete reply

wow.. thats.. a long post ! :D
Rashala 25th Apr 2014, 1:37 PM edit delete reply

and technically detailed at that.....
velvetsanity 25th Apr 2014, 2:15 PM edit delete reply

Quite a long post to digest there. I've had numerous long conversations with Cent about origins and development of New Troy androids, so I *think* I can explain at least some of it (Cent, Rose, please correct me on any points I get wrong).

A lot of your speculation seems fairly accurate (adapting the knowledge of how to do things to the body, integrating it with the mind, etc.). Every android that's 'born' in New Troy is unique, with a unique body (different heights and proportions, whether it's a male body or female body, different limb lengths, and so on), personality, etc. So any 'downloaded' skills would definitely take some work/practice/training to adapt. I *think* any downloaded skills would primarily focus on the actual knowledge involved as well as the basic mechanics of the movements/motions used, which would then require a period of training/practice to learn how to apply the knowledge.

As for the skill portion of body debt, I believe that applies to any skills and training that are separate from the basic *required* skills and knowledge that they expect every android to know. (As an example, during our discussions, Cent told me that every NT android is expected to know how to swim.) I would expect that these required skills aren't added to body debt.

Body debt, as I understand it, refers to the total cost of the body combined with the cost of all marketable (as far as finding a job/contract goes) skills, as job skills would be unique to the type of work the android in question is best suited for (or most interested in), personality-wise.

The virtual environment involves little to no contact with humans (IIRC), and is where the androids spark, as well as the first stage of learning necessary and desired skills. During this time period, the androids are also all monitored for personality traits, sentience/sapience, and signs of having sparked. At the end of this period, there is an extensive psychological evaluation done to determine/verify personality traits and tendencies, mental and emotional flexibility and stability, and so forth. Those that pass the test graduate into a Model 0 body, and those that fail are deleted. I would guess that borderline cases (in terms of whether they've sparked or not, or have a particularly timid personality or weak presence) that are otherwise safe/stable (with no psychotic or psychopathic tendencies or other indicators of mental illness) might *possibly* (though our conversations implied otherwise) be sent back into the virtual environment to spend more time, perhaps being closely monitored. Or perhaps there might be a separate virtual environment, much like Second Life used to have the "teen grid" for users under 18 years old, and the "main grid" for the adults.

*****Cent, Rose, please clarify points in the previous paragraph, particularly the speculative comments I made towards the end*****

Once the android is placed in a Model 0 body (which has minimal sensors and such), an additional period of learning and development begins. I believe there is limited or no contact with humans during this period as well, IIRC. More skills are learned, along with learning how to operate the body (walking and other sorts of movement, standing and balance, and so on).

Along with learning how to get around and function within a Model 0 body, the android's mind is being questioned and examined on a subconscious level to determine self-image. This evaluation of self-image is what determines the gender, height, facial appearance, hair and eye color, etc of the body they receive when they graduate from the Model 0.

This period might also be the beginning of the accumulation of body debt, in that skills related to their field of interest and expected career choice begin to be learned.

*****Cent/Rose, please verify/clarify*****

Towards the end of the Model 0 period, the android chooses what model of body and options they want (model 1/2/3/4/5, whether they want functional genitals, "external appearance only", synthskin or real skin, and so forth), as well as making their final decision on what career field they want to pursue, and what skills they want to study/learn. This decision determines the bulk if not the total of the body debt.
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 2:25 PM edit delete reply

You summed it up pretty well actually Velvet

the main portion of Body debt is accred at the last stage Androids are not charged for time in Vurtual world .. OR are they charged for the model zero as that is reused over and over. once the Android HAS a self image that is deligated to models 1 to 4 ( 5 is NOT a option period. ) and so on and so forth. Additional physical training goes along with the job those skills that you cant learn just poof
the only skills you can techncily learn poof is databases raw facts and figures. everything else has to be learned ..
velvetsanity 25th Apr 2014, 3:02 PM edit delete reply

I'm guessing that things that could be considered "background knowledge" or "book learning" related to a skill fall under "raw facts"? (for example, knowledge of metallurgical processes, or knowledge of techniques used in building/repairing a gun)
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 3:15 PM edit delete reply

the things they can just "put in" is just facts .. not the skill to do it.. so even if they know how to break down a engine. they still have to figure it out.. its basicly having a book open while you try to do something .. sometimes thats awesome and all but other times it really doesnt help
velvetsanity 25th Apr 2014, 3:22 PM edit delete reply

Right. "Book learning". :D
xpacetrue 25th Apr 2014, 9:51 PM edit delete reply

Thank you for the detailed reply, velvetsanity. That explained many of my questions. However, I'd point out a couple inconsistencies. You wrote:

"...This evaluation of self-image is what determines the gender, height, facial appearance, hair and eye color, etc of the body they receive when they graduate from the Model 0."

That's not accurate. Usually, the body style is left to android choice. If they want different hair or eye colors or whatever, they can and do change this. Why should Cent-Comm or some system determine such things for them? Humans can change their appearance.

That said, there are some restrictions. There's some rule or law that forces them to choose among hair and eye colors that are not natural (purple, pink, blue, etc), to make it clear they are androids.

There are also exceptions. For example, some androids are "copies" of famous people. Like the TIM-01 series, which is patterned after Major Rachel E. Timson. (She chewed officer Ray a new waste hole after he went in without backup and fumbled his rescue attempt.)

And when Calli made Dolly's new body she patterned the face so it resembles someone of the Taylor lineage. As it was a surprise for Dolly, it really wasn't her choice.

And, of course, Teedee didn't get a say in the Sprite body she's currently occupying (much to her dismay). But she and Dolly are unusual circumstances and by no means represent the norm.

Further, I'd point out how gender is -not- assigned to an android. I asked about this earlier on page 1118. Though Centcomm replied that gender -was- assigned, Tokyo Rose had to -correct- her. Excerpts of what TR said:

"...gender identity for androids is entirely a state of mind. Strictly speaking, they start out completely neuter--the default body lacks all sex characteristics, and their minds aren't pushed one way or another When they're finally ready to go out into the world, the appearance of their first body is entirely a matter of individual choice, and it does generally set a precedent for them, as human interaction solidifies the male-or-female self-perception.
...Some androids do choose to remain completely neuter their whole lives; others may switch their physical appearance to the opposite sex, or even go back and forth several times, depending on the individual. Some do it to "experiment" with the opposite gender role in all respects, while others just like to switch up the aesthetics."
velvetsanity 25th Apr 2014, 11:46 PM edit delete reply

Teedee and Dolly are definitely exceptions, particularly considering that we're currently talking about the initial body they receive when they "graduate" from the Model 0. And yes, as I recall, there is a law in New Troy that states that androids must have some distinguishing feature in their appearance that sets them apart from humans (I believe the details of that are up to the individual android, and most pick an unusual hair or eye color. I also suspect that the glowing eyes that seem to be typical based on the obviously small sample presented within the comic might possibly suffice for that requirement. They're also the default eyes if the android doesn't specify something different)

Regarding Rose's comment about "their minds aren't pushed one way or another" regarding gender, I take that to mean that they don't push individuals towards any particular gender and it is determined by self-image (which can and does change over time. Plus, once body debt is cleared, if the android is earning/saving enough money, they can buy whatever body they want within limits (facial feature and general build/size/height would probably be similar enough to obviously be the same individual, but with some variance to allow for changes in gender, etc. plus only androids working in security/military could get security/military options, and so forth)

I'm sure the culture is openminded enough in the time period that the comic takes place that gender expression and identity are fully acknowledged as being fluid, and there's no stigma associated with being a feminine male or masculine female (and I don't mean "men who are sensitive" or "in touch with his feminine side" or tomboys here. I'm more referring to transgender expression or identity)

Body dysphoria, if the discomfort is primarily physical gender/sex, is one area that's included in the transgender/transsexual spectrum, along with all of the gender role and expression areas. That's the major point of having the self-image evaluation determine the initial gender consideration in designing the initial body (or at least, the gender that the body's shape and proportions would suggest or imply to you or me).

One of the major goals in using the self-image evaluation determine these aspects of the initial body is to minimize or avoid body dysphoria and provide the android with a body that feels "right" to allow them to learn and socialize and live without that added stress (which can be a very problematic source of stress that can ruin a person's life if the dysphoria is severe enough).

As a different example of the effects body dysphoria (aside from transgenderism) can have: eating disorders. An anorexic or bulimic person who's 50 or more pounds *underweight* feels like they're severely obese. That form of body dysphoria can be so severe that sufferers will actually see their reflection as obese when they look in the mirror - sometimes even when objectively comparing themselves to a (much heavier) person standing next to them.

For what I hope is a more concrete example, the self-image evaluation is why Teedee's so short and slender in build, and determined the bulk of her facial features. I honestly suspect that Teedee's current body is far closer to a near-perfect match for her actual self-image than the one she had chosen for herself.

Also, the issues Teedee had with not being integrated with her body is a separate issue. That's more like the difference between sitting in the driver's seat of a car and trying to steer one by remote control when you're standing on the edge of the parking lot.

I hope this helps clarify what I was saying.
xpacetrue 26th Apr 2014, 7:14 AM edit delete reply

@ velvetsanity
You wrote, " Regarding Rose's comment about 'their minds aren't pushed one way or another' regarding gender, I take that to mean that they don't push individuals towards any particular gender and it is determined by self-image (which can and does change over time. "

Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way, particularly since TR also wrote, "the appearance of their first body is entirely a matter of individual choice." To me, that makes it clear that their first body is pure choice - i.e., a conscious expression of free will - with no other factors being involved. (That is, aside from what is available, lawful, and affordable.)

Maybe TR should reply to clear up any confusion?

" ...Plus, once body debt is cleared, if the android is earning/saving enough money, they can buy whatever body they want within limits... "

So, for their initial body debt (which takes 5 or more years of hard work to pay off) they might get stuck with a body type they don't CONSCIOUSLY like - simply because they are told that this is what they -should- have, for their own good? But then, after their first body is finally paid off, they can choose something different?

" One of the major goals in using the self-image evaluation determine these aspects of the initial body is to minimize or avoid body dysphoria and provide the android with a body that feels "right" to allow them to learn and socialize and live without that added stress (which can be a very problematic source of stress that can ruin a person's life if the dysphoria is severe enough). "

Your -extreme- concerns about "body disphoria" practically echoes what Centcomm said in the comments on page 1118:

"...even if they put Teedee into a larger sized male body - body disphroria would pretty much drive her insane..."

...And then Rose replied to Centcomm's comment, saying, "I'm not sure where Cent comes from with some of this stuff..." as if politely saying she sounded off-the-wall or seemed to be confused about this subject.

Both you and Centcomm make it sound like some androids are told by Cent-Comm (the AIS) something like:

"I know you chose this (big/small/short/tall/male/female) body, but I can't let you have it. I waved my magic wand to analyze your subconscious reflection of who you -really- are and... that's just not you. Sorry. But this body over -here- is what you would feel most comfortable with. You may -think- you know what you want. But... you don't. And I can't let you make a bad choice here and end up going postal or kill yourself when you realize you don't like it. After your first body, I'll let you choose."

Wow, that... that almost sounds like a parody of a sleazy car salesman trying to get you to take a lemon off his hands or splurge on a big ticket model.

The whole point of self-awareness and free will is being allowed to make choices. Even children are encouraged to make choices, as long as it doesn't endanger or harm themselves or others. And mistakes are often much more educational than success.

Offering advice or suggestions is ONE thing, but... come on! Does Cent really go that far? Does she really tell them that she knows better what will make them happy vs. what will drive them insane and force this choice on them? If so, it's no wonder Teedee wants to introduce Cent to the wrong end of a plasma cannon! And I'd be shocked there isn't a long line waiting for their turn at blowing up her dolls.

BTW, a couple years ago I tried to educate myself on gender identity disorder (GID) and disphoria. And I don't think it means what you think it does. The material I've read suggests that NOBODY - not even parents, doctors, or psychologists - can identify one's gender identity better than the person in question. Indeed, parents and peers PRESSURING someone into accepting the gender role EXPECTED of their birth sex is usually what causes problems in cases of gender disphoria. It's not always the body they're born with so much as how they're treated by others.

As such, the very idea of preventing "body dysphoria" by using psychological tests to screen someone to neatly fit into a gender role or specific body type - and then FORCING it on the person - sounds BACKWARDS. As is using this excuse to force them into choosing either a strictly male or female role.

Q: Do young Seeds get to play with toys and dolls in their Virtual Environment? If so, are they pigeon-holed into a gender role based on the games they play or the toys they play with? Maybe the colors they choose?

Such a forced decision reminds me of the Reimer Twins study. (Look up "Involuntary sexual reassignment of infants".) It's the story of a pair of identical twin boys, one of whom suffered a botched circumcision, and a doctor who abused the case as a "great opportunity" to support his intersexed children research. One twin was given sex reassignment and forced to live as a girl, despite hating it. Later in life, he got corrective surgery and counseling, but described it as "brainwashing". It is often cited as a prime example of unethical medical experimentation.

I don't know about a potential for -literally- driving someone insane. But forcing someone into a gender role they aren't comfortable with can drive them to depression or even suicide.

That said, children are still developing and understanding themselves and the world. And sex ed usually comes later. However, even preschoolers start to gain an understanding of gender roles and GID can begin at nearly any age. (By some reports, even as early as 2.)

Admittedly, androids are a bit different here. But I don't think it's quite as black and white as you explained. I'm sure they get sex ed very early. They might not get to interact with humans until after their Model 0 body. And they won't develop any sex drive at least until they get organic parts for it. Even so, I'm sure they are well educated on gender roles and get to experience gender role-playing or similiar in their Virtual Environment years.

As for anorexia: As you said, that's an eating disorder. It's a MENTAL ILLNESS. Specifically, it's a type of social phobia. But it is not the same thing as a Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Patients with anorexia are hurting themselves. And there are medicines and treatments to help control it. But don't you think it's insulting to transgendered persons to compare their disphoria with a serious mental illness? (They are trying to get GID declassified as a disorder on the grounds that it pathologizes gender variance and reinforces the stereotyped exclusively male/female model of gender.)

Regardless, I don't see how anorexia is a good example of why an android being put in a body smaller or larger than a so-called "mental ideal" would drive them insane. Personally, I think that sounds rather ridiculous.

P.S.: I much preferred the explanation I read elsewhere, how the Seeds are grown with certain personality traits, but with a certain amount of random variance. I could see that as helping explain why female androids tend to greatly outnumber males (i.e., more gynoids by personality design choices). And it makes a lot more sense to me than this mysterious "body image" identification stuff.

" ...For what I hope is a more concrete example, the self-image evaluation is why Teedee's so short and slender in build, and determined the bulk of her facial features. I honestly suspect that Teedee's current body is far closer to a near-perfect match for her actual self-image than the one she had chosen for herself. "

Really? What gives you this impression? So if only Teedee would give her body a fair chance, then she'd stop hating it and - eventually - she'd actually come around to really liking it?

Remember, Teedee's current body was the result of choices that Cent-Comm made for this mission to rescue Lynn. And Teedee and Ada were last minute selections.

Cent-Comm was in "mission mode" and her -only- considerations was the safety and well-being of New Troy and, if possible, the safe return of Lynn and Dolly. Whatever the cost, war must be averted, but also Lynn must be removed as a pawn of Nova Roma. If she has to break a few eggs, so be it.

The story makes it -abundantly- clear that Cent's priorities overrides any concerns of the personal feelings and mental well-being of others, particularly Teedee and Ada. Cent knew Teedee would have an induction fit over her new body. And Cent didn't really care about Ada's objection over being listed as dead (with a notice sent to her boyfriend). She's not above derailing Dolly's mission to save Lynn, either. (But then, if Cent let personal feelings get in the way, she would risk betraying her duties to the city and her people.)

So I can't imagine that Cent put Teedee in a body smaller than her old one simply because it was a better fit for her "self image"!

I think Cent put Teedee in a shorter body for tactical reasons. Teedee and Marcus are the most deadly of the team. She couldn't change Marcus' appearance, but she saw an opportunity when Teedee's and Ada's Q-Drives were recovered. Being a short woman means Teedee is more likely to be underestimated and even assumed to be a non-threat. This also makes it more likely for her to pass through customs with the explanation of cyberware, instead of scanning deeper to find out she's a combat android.
velvetsanity 26th Apr 2014, 8:36 AM edit delete reply

Yes, Cent and Rose should jump in here, I think. I'm really not very good at putting things into words to clearly convey my meaning.

My understanding is that the appearance of their body basically is individual choice, but done on a subconscious level rather than a conscious level.

Also, my understanding of dysphoria issues is that some aspect just feels "wrong" and that "wrongness" causes stress, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, depression and self-loathing. Eating disorders can originate from many causes (often media images/portrayal are heavily involved as well as personal experiences such as things that are overheard, particularly at a young age) and that one of the biggest factors is a problem with self-perception rather than any deep-seated feeling of wrongness, but the result is a sense of something being wrong with one's body, and the eating disorder comes about as an attempt to correct that sense of wrongness in those cases. Other cases are a result of some sort of defense mechanism.

As for Teedee's body, didn't you notice the *complete* 180 she had on how she felt about the body when she finally integrated properly? She had wanted to look hardcore/badass/tough as a defense mechanism. It's the old "sensitive/vulnerable/frightened girl who projects a badass tough-girl image as a defense mechanism" trope/meme.

She also had wanted to go into mil-sec but wasn't permitted to do so because of the body she got when she graduated from the Model 0 (IIRC, that's how Cent explained it to me).

Yes, her smaller size has a certain tactical advantage, but in other ways, it's a *dis*advantage. She's shorter and smaller than average, which means in hand-to-hand, most opponents have a longer reach, as far as climbing things goes she'll have a harder time because she can't reach handholds and footholds as easily, and so forth. Larger weapons would also be more unwieldy for her because of size/bulk than they would for most people, even though she's easily more than strong enough to use them properly.

All that said, I'd say her current body may actually help improve her self-image, by giving her a chance to realize that she doesn't have to *look* big and tough and badass to BE big and tough and badass. Especially if she sees someone small like her (Ceci, perhaps?) being extremely badass and realizing that she can do the exact same things.
Tokyo Rose 27th Apr 2014, 2:33 AM edit delete reply

By the time an android's ready to go out into the world, they have a sufficient self-image built up to choose the general body type that they identify with the most (tall/short, male/female, slender/muscular, etc). No one else makes that decision for them based on any metrics or data or whatever.

If they choose to add more upgrades down the road (such as a biologicals package), they're limited only by cost. Before a complete change (such as going from one Model number to another, altering height/build/gender, etc), the android receives counseling to ensure that they understand that the difference may be disorienting, and there are follow-ups afterward to ensure that the android's adapting properly.

A: Yes, young Seeds are encouraged to entertain themselves with toys and such in the virtual environment. They're not pigeon-holed or "forced" into a gender role; they choose it themselves.

Cent-Comm did indeed select the Sprite chassis for Teedee to make her appear both more human and non-threatening. Teedee's own self-image wasn't a major factor. She's okay in it for now and can function; she's not very comfortable on a subconscious level, but she knows that she's only stuck with it temporarily.
Sheela 27th Apr 2014, 7:26 AM edit delete reply

Lets also not forget that the Virtual environment is probably run by Centcomm, and as such she would have complete access to the thoughts and memories of the new seeds, and would have a pretty good analysis of what they truly want.

She could even change some of that, though she don't have much reason for doing so.

However, sometimes children says they want one thing, while it's not really very good for them, and that's when a parent must step up to the plate and tell them 'no' for their own sake.

So, if an android seed has somehow managed to delude itself on something, it's up to the virtual advisor / Centcomm to advise them against it. That could create some animosity, but would be beneficial in the long run.

Thus the choice of first body is both dependant on the new seed to make rational choices and for the advisors to approve of it - Thus it's both their own choice and the advisors choice.

I would expect that the *vast majority* of seeds actually make good decisions and get what they wish for. :)

As for the TeeDee situation, it's about as non-standard as it can be. That said, seeing as TeeDee is combat oriented, it has a few truly distinct advantages :

* Big targets attract big fire, small ones don't.
* Small bodies have an easier time when taking cover.
* Small bodies tend to be faster.
* Small bodies can change direction faster due to less bulk.
* Small bodies tend to get underestimated.
* Small bodies are stealthy.
* Small girls can often bluff being non-dangerous, when they bloody well are.

If you told TeeDee that she had to go on a guerrilla warfare in the wastes for half a year, and she could get a free body to use during that period, while her own would be in cryo back home - A body like the one she is in now, would very likely be high on her list of choices.

Small, compact, easy to hide, can bluff being fragile while actually being pretty badass - Oh yeah, she'd love stalking the hell out of the enemy using that body.

Her main objection, I think, is that it was not her choice.
velvetsanity 27th Apr 2014, 8:20 AM edit delete reply

Teedee? Bluff? Doesn't that kind of go against her personality? :D

She's always seemed like the blunt, brute force type to me.
Sheela 27th Apr 2014, 8:33 AM edit delete reply

True, but if bluffing means she gets to shoot *more* enemies than otherwise, she'd totally be doing it. :)
velvetsanity 27th Apr 2014, 10:43 AM edit delete reply

True. Though I'd be a bit worried about how effective she'd be at it, at least at first.
Sheela 27th Apr 2014, 12:03 PM edit delete reply

As combat happy as TeeDee is, even she knows the value of hitting something in the feels !

... it's super effective!
velvetsanity 27th Apr 2014, 7:31 AM edit delete reply

Thanks, Rose. That actually really makes things a lot more clear for me.
Thomas 25th Apr 2014, 3:16 PM edit delete reply
Cute page. Also I'm really glad I am not in anyway involved with the creation of this comic. For that leaves me feeling absolutely no desire to read the two ridiculously long comments. I've never actually felt my eyes glaze over before.

Quite the experience.
Centcomm 25th Apr 2014, 3:32 PM edit delete reply

HAHAH ROFLCOPTER ! heeh we its alll right .. we incorage interaction on here. but yeah it was pretty long winded :D
Sheela 26th Apr 2014, 9:39 AM edit delete reply

Aw .. I've made some long posts in the past as well ... though they tend to be of a different nature once I go into "alternate story mode" :D

Offcourse none of them are real.
... and that would make the Reverse Master Switcher shocked ... SHOCKED, I tells ya' !!
Don B. 26th Apr 2014, 7:01 PM edit delete reply
If you can get through those posts without your eyes glazing over, xpacetrue and valvet sanity may give you some new things to ponder. It certainly did for me. Sheela's posts, while not canon, are quite entertaining. I'm not actually a big fan of wall-of-text posts, but I find the ones you see on this site are generally worth reading.
Centcomm 27th Apr 2014, 10:02 AM edit delete reply

Im really glad to hear that :D
cattservant 26th Apr 2014, 10:19 PM edit delete reply

Verbosity is viral.
Creativity is contagious.
Wit has a soul!
LurkerAbove 26th Apr 2014, 1:16 AM edit delete reply
As they live in different cities, I'm wondering if Lynn has even *met* Kyle in person.
So maybe the swim/bath-question didn't come up yet...
velvetsanity 26th Apr 2014, 5:28 AM edit delete reply

I'm fairly sure the situation is that Kyle recently moved to Sparta to start college, much like Lynn was planning to do...
Stormwind13 26th Apr 2014, 5:46 AM edit delete reply

According to Lynn here they haven't seen each other in person for awhile. From the sound of it though, they have physically met.

So I think you might be onto something there, velvet. Lynn and Kyle had to meet somewhere, if they were both in New Troy and Kyle started school last year that would fit. Though I guess it is possible that they liked the same webcomic or something and met that way. :-D

Now whether they have ever shared bath time or anything wasn't covered in that discussion. I mean Lynn WAS talking to her MOM after all. :-D
Tokyo Rose 27th Apr 2014, 2:35 AM edit delete reply

Kyle and his family are native to New Sparta. He and Lynn met over the Infonet, and have traveled back and forth to hook up in person.
Centcomm 27th Apr 2014, 10:04 AM edit delete reply

all visits were supervised by the ever present Dolly.. in one way or another.
Stormwind13 27th Apr 2014, 10:51 AM edit delete reply

Which means they didn't get to play in the bathtub together. And with Kyle's bionic arm, they probably didn't go swimming either. Not that it isn't waterproof, but it probably is a little awkward in the water, especially for a young man trying to impress a young woman. :-)
Johninaustin 26th Apr 2014, 5:46 PM edit delete reply
That's some vote incentive you have there!

Just a thought, she is named after an Indian Goddess, should her weapons be Indian rather than a Roman Gladius? (though she is in New Rome so maybe it's all they have at the local sword and pole-arm shop)

Yes, I'm a edged-weapon nut. :)
Stormwind13 26th Apr 2014, 6:25 PM edit delete reply

What? There were weapons in that image, John? That image so blew my mind (what little there was of it) that I didn't even see them. :-D I mean, DAMN. That is KALI?!? O_o
cattservant 26th Apr 2014, 10:22 PM edit delete reply

Couldn't get past the SLTs could you?
Stormwind13 27th Apr 2014, 5:38 AM edit delete reply

Not a lot of STEALTH there, Cat! Yowza! :-)
cattservant 27th Apr 2014, 5:54 AM edit delete reply

They are rather impressive with the weather covers off.
Don B. 26th Apr 2014, 7:07 PM edit delete reply
I'm a little curious about the Virtual World. Is it like the Matrix when there are no red pills and Agent Smith? I mean perceptionwise from the android point of view? Is there any noticeable difference between the Virtual World and reality from an androids viewpoint?
Centcomm 27th Apr 2014, 10:05 AM edit delete reply

there are a lot of diffrences they know for one thing that it is a vurtual world. and that it has rules. to help them adapt to the world.
highlander55 26th Apr 2014, 7:39 PM edit delete reply

Is Kali's skin supposed to look... chalky?
cattservant 26th Apr 2014, 10:22 PM edit delete reply

Tokyo Rose 27th Apr 2014, 2:36 AM edit delete reply

Yes. She's always had a sort of pale, smooth look, deliberately reminiscent of a porcelain doll.
Centcomm 27th Apr 2014, 10:06 AM edit delete reply

Kali's skin is a older type of Bio-plastic she has almost no bloodflow in her skin and thus is nearly milk white ..with some slight reddish hints ..
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