Comic 1136 - Seven of Swords

12th Feb 2015, 9:00 PM
Seven of Swords
Average Rating: 5 (20 votes)
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Haegan2005 12th Feb 2015, 9:07 PM edit delete reply

So long as Lynn is alive, Nova Roma has some measure of protection from weapons of mass destruction.

While I do not believe that Cent wants to kill off a city full of humans, Calli's order has been given. Cent will play within that order to save those she can, but there is a limit to what the AIS can do about a direct order.

Funny no one is mentioning the fail safes that Deci has in place in case he dies. While we have had foreshadowing on this, we still do not know the specifics. Or at least I do not remember them.

I also not what Cent has NOT said. But what has been said is the absolute truth. With a few minor and a few gaping omissions.
xpacetrue 12th Feb 2015, 10:54 PM edit delete reply

"While I do not believe that Cent wants to kill off a city full of humans, Calli's order has been given."

That was not a directive or an order. Calli merely stated "I want...", which is her desire. Remember back in Joleet when Dolly learned their ride was sabotaged and suspected Cent did something with CeCi? Remember how Dolly made a carefully worded order beginning with "Directive"? Remember CeCi's inner dialog and how her Watchdog responded with: "Awaiting command..."? Calli is not even aware that she can override Cent-Com.

Cent slyly replied with, "Your feelings on this subject are very clear." This is telling. Cent did not promise to fulfill Calli's wish. Merely, she confirmed that she clearly understood Calli's desire. This reminds me of that family vid where Lynn made Dolly promise not to die.

"So long as Lynn is alive, Nova Roma has some measure of protection from weapons of mass destruction."

No offense, but this joke seems in bad taste. How can anyone condone the use of weapons of mass destruction? Granted, Douchebag is a menace to society and deserves to die. But how does his sins apply to the whole of Nova Roma?

Another words, if Acantha, Julia, Maxus, Miraiko, and millions more must perish so a grieving mother can feel some sense of justice... that's okay? Let's not forget, either, that it was the madness of war and WMD's that turned this Earth into a nuclear toilet to begin with. Cent ended the last war, so she has a right to start the next one? And since the Taylor family brought humanity a chance at salvation, it's only fair that a Taylor can end all hope? So, while it's okay to start "preemptive" wars on Middle Eastern dictators merely on evidence of possession of WMD's, it's still somehow fair for other nations to possess or even use them if the cause is "just"?

That said, I'm tempted to give Calli a pass here because she's a mother who had her daughter kidnapped by an insane dictator and she's worried sick. Even so, this page has changed my views of Calli and Cent. I now believe Cent was justified in hiding stuff from Calli. And Cella was justified in being concerned that Cent may be too close to the Taylor family at the risk of New Troy as a whole. I'm saying Calli now scares me. What Calli just stated: In a worst case scenario, she WANTS Cent to become the Goddess of Destruction she once was - despite Calli's promise earlier that she would not let that happen.

Anyway, the depopulation of Nova Roma (or conflict of any sort) would be a huge blow to the entire human race. Remember what Acantha told Lynn about how New Troy's fertility rate is quote, "crap" and how high Nova Roma's is in comparison? If Nova Roma gets a good leader and rejoins the rest of civilization, that'd help fertility worldwide. It could literally mean the difference between extinction... and hope.
DLKmusic 13th Feb 2015, 1:15 AM edit delete reply

You make a lot of good points, but I would like to add one more.

Cent-Comm DID commandeer the military to prevent the extinction of the human race, and her response to Calliope is in keeping with that directive.

IF, and that's a big "IF", it does come to war, Cent-Comm will have multiple scenario's to present to Calliope that will cause minimal loss of life, while taking down the current Regime.

One of those is already in the works, with the Kidnapping.... excuse me, "Rescuing"... of Acantha from Nova Roma.

And I agree with you about justified uses for WMD's.... there are none.
Aetrun 13th Feb 2015, 11:16 AM edit delete reply
Hoping I don't open a verbal war up here, but as to the actual use of nuclear weapons that occurred in our history - At what point do you believe the Japanese would have surrendered? It is my understanding from everything I have learned about their leadership, politics, and culture of the time that their government/military (at the time the same thing) would have preferred extinction fighting the US to surrender. The use of nukes in that case was justified by the enormous emotional impact it made that scared them into surrender, saving countless lives. I do not argue against it being an atrocity, I only argue that for extremely unfortunate reasons it was a necessary one.
KittyHodge 13th Feb 2015, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
From what I've read, people high up in the Japanese emperor's advisers were already suggesting finding a way to back down and save face at the same time, and were very much against the attack on Pearl Harbor. They were actively looking for ways to get out of the conflict. We may or may not have known this at the time we decided to use WMDs on Japan. It's hard to second guess these things, but using WMDs is a decision that can't be called back. When a conflict gets so intense that one side or the other feels they MUST use WMDs, it is not a success, regardless of who wins. It's a LOSS for all of humanity. We are simply lucky that Japan was unable to respond in kind.
Stormwind13 13th Feb 2015, 4:55 PM edit delete reply

I have to agree with you KittyHodge. It was atrocious; however, don't let your enemy run up the body count because you are afraid to use all the weapons at your disposal.

Truman made a tough call, but the estimates I've seen ran over a million US casualties with anywhere from 200,000 to 800,000 of those fatal. The initial atomic blasts between them killed fewer Japanese than the fire bombing raids on Tokyo! But the shattering suddenness of the damage, shocked the Japanese into (finally) capitulating.

America did not fire the first shot, Japan fired the first shot against America. But America did fire the decisive shot. Just like CentComm didn't start this fight, but she damn well might just finish it. And finish it in a manner that might make the next Douchebag think better about going there. The current Douchebag would no longer be around to cause any further problems.
Computant 18th Aug 2016, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
There was a alternate history story I read once about the January society, named after the bombardier on the plane that replaced the Enola Gay when she had engine problems. January decided to intentionally miss Hiroshima and bomb the ocean instead. The US strike on Nagasaki was rushed because they didn't want to fail twice-and ironically because they rushed, that nuke also missed (or the bombardier agreed with January). Japan, seeing two nuclear weapons go off just offshore (still with major effects including thousands of dead, but not hundreds of thousands), surrendered.
Needless to say, there was one more casualty, this time by court martial.
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 4:44 AM edit delete reply


Calli cannot override Cent-Comm. Ceci is an android; Cent is an AIS. The rules are... slightly different, to say the least. (Incidentally, no one can compel the average android to do anything just by prefacing it with "Directive"; Ceci had been explicitly put under Dolly's command, however.)

What Calli says she wants and what she actually wants are quite different. Who hasn't said something in a moment of emotion that they didn't really mean?
xpacetrue 13th Feb 2015, 6:50 AM edit delete reply

"Who hasn't said something in a moment of emotion that they didn't really mean?"

I had hoped that's all it was. But it's sometimes hard to tell the difference. And I didn't like reader inference that it was to be taken seriously. Though, I still think this suggests that Calli would be too emotionally involved to make sound tactical decisions.

Rose, I am surprised that you say Calli cannot override Cent-Comm. I remember a conversation during the Ramesy/Cella briefing where Cent reveals that Calli can "override my systems. All of them".

Am I misremembering that page, or misinterpreting? Did she mean that Calli could deny Cent access to stuff or countermand any orders Cent gives? You know, the way Calli countermanded Cent's orders to take Miss Ankur away and superseded Cent's security clearance in the Taylor Building?

Now that I think about it, that's very different from being able to order Cent to launch attack drones, etc, etc.
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 3:14 PM edit delete reply


In virtually the same breath that Cent reveals to Cella and Marcus that Calli could override her systems, she also states Calli doesn't know this. It's not something that can be stumbled across by accident with poorly chosen words.

Inside Helios Tower, Calli does have a lot more power than Cent realized, but that is indeed a far cry from being able to yell "FIRE ZE MISSILES". :)
Stormwind13 13th Feb 2015, 5:03 PM edit delete reply

No, xpaceture I think Calliope meant it. On the page for 5 February 2014 (Queen of Staves), Calliope says, "..And if they've hurt Lynn, if they won't see reason... they'll see HELL. I'll kill every last gully worm involved in this rotten little scheme, even if it means hunting them down and crushing them in person."

To me that is a vow. And I think Calliope doesn't make false vows. Doesn't strike me as part of her personality. Lynn comes home, safe and whole or Nova Roma gets turned into a sheet of glass. Douchebag started the game, Calliope is going to finish it.
DLKmusic 13th Feb 2015, 6:16 PM edit delete reply

Respectfully, Stormwind, I disagree with you. We saw Prince Decimus have his Hissy-Fit after the conversation with Calli, then we got to watch Calli throw HER Hissy-Fit (or if you prefer, "Hersi-Fit") over the same conversation. Once she's calm, she will regret having suggested the callous murder of millions of innocent people.

She's still mad though, and once thinking calmly again will see the benefits of "alternative" solutions.
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 10:43 PM edit delete reply


Note Calli's exact words: "I'll kill every last gully worm involved in this rotten little scheme, even if it means hunting them down and crushing them in person."

Not "KILL EVERYONE IN NEW ROME, TURN THE WHOLE PLACE TO CINDERS"--but very specifically "the people involved in this scheme".
Stormwind13 14th Feb 2015, 6:42 AM edit delete reply

True, Rose (and Lukkai); however, how is she to determine the guilty from the innocent? They don't come with little signs strapped to them that say 'Guilty' or 'Innocent'. In order to get all the former she might hurt some of the latter.

Also @DLK, I don't think that was a hissy fit on Calliope's part. I think that is the merciless cold of the depths of space. She is praying to get Lynn back, but if not people are going to die. A lot of them! Hopefully not everyone in the entire city, but probably more than are truly guilty.

The city itself might have to go. Let no two stones stand atop one another, so that they couldn't rebuild and threaten anyone again. And as a warning to anyone ELSE thinking about doing bad things. That would be how I would handle it.
Lukkai 14th Feb 2015, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
Hurt some innocents (at least in this scheme)? Yes, could happen. All of them probably being either gutters, Nova Roma military (specifically special ops), palace guards or close advisors to Decimus though. Maybe, and that's a big maybe, some senators as well. Anyone else is just too unlikely to really have been involved in this, that he would become a target without evidence gathered along the way clearly pointing towards them. Of which there's none since there are none.
Some other people might be caught in the crossfire here and there, but for an operation like this, we're talking something up to double digits if it gets bad. Triples in a worst case scenario that actually involves small scale military action.

That is not to say I condone every kind of violence or something along those lines. I just want to point out that the statement in question would not include the slaughtering of tens of thousands of innocents. Or even destruction of the whole city.
Lukkai 14th Feb 2015, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
1:43 AM, 1:45 AM...

We were writing at the same time, weren't we? XD
Lukkai 13th Feb 2015, 10:45 PM edit delete reply
"I'll kill every last gully worm involved in this rotten little scheme, even if it means hunting them down and crushing them in person."

I think that is an important part of that citation that you must not ignore. Specifically the "...every last gully worm involved in this little scheme..." which is NOT the same as "...every living thing in a huge city-state of millions..."
In fact, it's something entirely different.
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 3:06 PM edit delete reply

as Rose Stated saying "Directive" to a standard Andriod is more like saying this is a direct order to a human .. it has no real teeth .. in the case of someone like Ceci who has protocols in place saying "directive" ( also a android outfitted with a inhibitor ) THAT will have a direct and hard effect forcing the android to comply - you say Directive to Teedee and she might just punch you in the face. But Ceci would Stop dead in her tracks .. ( NOTE there are exceptions to this .. ) It all depends on the hard wired instructions that the Andriod was built with .. NOW a AIS is something orders of magnatudes diffrent ..

Cent can ignore a direct order the ONLY way to force Cent to do something against her will is to go to her core and physically modify her command structure ( the code that makes her a sentient ) That requires a number of codes and "keys" to get to Calliope can get to her core and if she had the missing bits of code cent has hidden she could access Cents command structure and alter her. It would be .. a breech of there friendship .. the same as giving someone a forced lobotomy .. yeah.

What Calliope did in the Taylor building was take over the revers that were standing next to cent Calliope is allowed to do that.

She was also prepared to kick cent out of the Taylor tower by cutting all computer hard links and wireless links it would have made the doll drop to the floor. BUT this ONLY works in the Taylor Tower .. it would not work say in Three Cee Command. thats Cents "Home"
Sheela 13th Feb 2015, 4:13 PM edit delete reply

Fire ze missiles ?
But I'm le tired! :(
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 10:45 PM edit delete reply


Well, have a nap. THEN FIRE ZE MISSILES!!
Sheela 14th Feb 2015, 8:00 AM edit delete reply

Right-O. :)
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 10:44 PM edit delete reply

Clarification: The only person who can say "directive" to Ceci and freeze her in her tracks is Dolly. She's the only one with a registered voice-print with command access, basically.
Sheela 14th Feb 2015, 11:03 AM edit delete reply

Well, Centcomm-actual could probably do it too, I reckon.
But then, she's not a normal person either.

As for the whole "bombing others is bad" discussion, lets not forget that just because it's wrong, that people won't do it.
In fact, since 1945, when US gained air superiority.
The US has bombed :

- Japan
- Korea
- Vietnam
- Laos
- Cambodia
- Lebanon
- Grenada
- Panama
- Iraq
- Serbia
- Somalia
- Bosnia
- The Sudan
- Afghanistan
- Pakistan
- Libya
- Yemen

And the US is hardly the only ones with bombs!
Once emotions run high, people will accept the most extreme acts of violence in the name of "justice" and "freedom".
And I suspect that the Datachasers universe is any different.

Sidenote :
I'm not particularly picking on the US, but at this point in time they are the most well documented case - And I didn't feel like doing hours of research, just to make a point.
DLKmusic 14th Feb 2015, 3:14 PM edit delete reply
Sheela, I'm not denying that the US is an international Bully, or that 44 cents of every dollar spent on military buildup is spent by the USA.

But I do submit that bombing an industrial complex is a far cry from firing a few Lewisite containers into the area.
Sheela 14th Feb 2015, 5:20 PM edit delete reply

I'm not just talking about the US, I'm talking about all governments of all time, if they have a big nasty weapon, that is really quite amoral to use, they will still use it.

At least, that is what history shows us.
Dragonrider 12th Feb 2015, 9:57 PM edit delete reply

Still am surprised that Calli hasn't sent a Merc force with her at the lead to level the Black Palace. Of course none of them are aware of Tokyo Rose and her back door to get the AI repaired and rescue Lynn and Acantha from Douchebag.
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:59 PM edit delete reply

Calli hasnt had a chance to hire a merc force.. and Cent already has that well in hand :D
Draginbeard 12th Feb 2015, 11:08 PM edit delete reply

Well that scene came across much like I would imagine a DOD chief briefing the president on a IMF operation. :)
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:59 PM edit delete reply

not a bad anology :D
anonymous coward 13th Feb 2015, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
Hold on, I'm drawing a blank on your acronym: IMF stands for, "International Monetary Fund," to me and I don't understand.
highlander55 13th Feb 2015, 8:07 PM edit delete reply

IMF.. Impossible Mission Force
Draginbeard 14th Feb 2015, 6:17 AM edit delete reply

Highlanders got it :)
cattservant 13th Feb 2015, 12:27 AM edit delete reply

Sky full of rocks.
metaphorical or otherwise.
Fairportfan 13th Feb 2015, 6:45 AM edit delete reply

Heinlein - "Throw rocks at them."
Hornet 13th Feb 2015, 6:54 AM edit delete reply
Orbit Mass Driver = literally throwing rocks.
Dragonrider 13th Feb 2015, 8:30 AM edit delete reply

"The Moon is A Harsh Mistress." Wasn't that what Prof said or was it Manny?
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 3:15 PM edit delete reply

"We throw rocks, Man my only friend." It was Mike. :)
Sheela 13th Feb 2015, 4:15 PM edit delete reply

Throw rocks through stargates, watch the enemy look confused, as a meteors comes out the other end.

Then send in TeeDee to "clean up". XD
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:48 PM edit delete reply

hehe also a option !
mjkj 13th Feb 2015, 3:14 AM edit delete reply

Very subtle answer, CentComm...
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:58 PM edit delete reply

yes indeed :D
Matt Knab 13th Feb 2015, 4:37 AM edit delete reply

I love the cityscapes out the window! :D
xpacetrue 13th Feb 2015, 6:30 AM edit delete reply

Yes. It really is -epic- scenery.

Cent, is that from a scene or backdrop package?
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:55 PM edit delete reply

The cityscape is a backdrop to help conserve memory and resources :D im glad it looks as good as it does :D
jamie59 13th Feb 2015, 6:11 AM edit delete reply

Cent skiped over that Ada & Teedee were part of the initial rescue team.
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:55 PM edit delete reply

Nope she refered to them as a S&R Pilot and EMT and a heavy rescue specialist :D
Sheela 13th Feb 2015, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

There's probably more than one team of S&R people out there, so Calliope wouldn't know for sure that it was the same ones.
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:48 PM edit delete reply

Calliope doesnt know any of the S&R people personally :D
VanEzzania 13th Feb 2015, 7:25 AM edit delete reply

I can see CeCi's boobies :3
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:56 PM edit delete reply

you can see a lot more than just her boobs .. her internals are visible too!
jas 13th Feb 2015, 8:16 AM edit delete reply

Just so we're clear (about the ash and glass part)...

Translation: Do not mess with the Taylors. They will end you -- and everyone near you! XD XD
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:56 PM edit delete reply

heh .. :D THe Taylors are badasses .. remember Halloran Taylor from Luna Star
Stormwind13 13th Feb 2015, 4:34 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, jas. What is running through Calliope's mind, "Piss me off, pay the consequences."
Sheela 14th Feb 2015, 8:02 AM edit delete reply

Lynn seems to be a bit more mellow.
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:44 PM edit delete reply

well she also gets to spend more time with Acantha and Max So yeah shes a bit more mellow for now :D
Stormwind13 14th Feb 2015, 12:55 PM edit delete reply

Not sure about that Sheela. When Douchebag was attacking Acantha (19 October 2012, ]Knight of Swords), someone Lynn cares about, she let him have it. Of course, she didn't have access to tri-fusion bombs, thousands of armed drones and androids to do her bidding or even a gun (at the time). So she used what was at hand, and let him have it pretty hard. And told him in no uncertain terms that she was willing to let him have it again (23 October 2012, The Lioness), if he didn't decamp. Doesn't sound TOO mellow to me!
Sheela 14th Feb 2015, 5:21 PM edit delete reply

Well, I wasn't claiming she was non-aggressive, just a bit more mellow. :D
XMinusOne 13th Feb 2015, 9:08 AM edit delete reply
A smoking crater where the Imperial Palace once stood would be ample revenge I should think. It would also do much to eliminate Monarchial rule of Nova Roma and set it on the path to self-governance. Kinetic weaponry should do the job nicely with no pesky radiation problems.
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:57 PM edit delete reply

Tri fusion weapons also have little fallout .. :D
Sheela 13th Feb 2015, 4:17 PM edit delete reply

Alternatively, send in TeeDee with a really big gun.
Lukkai 13th Feb 2015, 10:49 PM edit delete reply
But Nova Roma IS self-governed. It just happens that their kind of government is an imperial system with a hereditary line of monarchs.
And leveling the palace might just as well set them unto the path of anarchy and constant raids from local warlords and outside mercs.
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:45 PM edit delete reply

its unknown what happens although the average Roma citizen has some combat training with madnitory military service ( 2 years ) Starting at 18 ( for men )
ChaosTheory 13th Feb 2015, 1:17 PM edit delete reply
Yes, man?
I have a new target for you...
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:57 PM edit delete reply

not sure I get the refernce :D
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 3:16 PM edit delete reply

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", natch. :)
Stormwind13 13th Feb 2015, 5:44 PM edit delete reply

Good one, ChaosTheory! Drop the rock right on Douchebag's head.

@CentComm - O.O Turn in your GEEK card and go sit in the corner! (Re)Read a great book while you are there (I'll send you a copy if you need one)!
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 6:40 PM edit delete reply

I have read it .. but its been years :P So there :D
KarToon12 13th Feb 2015, 1:41 PM edit delete reply

Mr. Black has a particular set of skills...skills that make him a nightmare for people like...well, you know. ;)
Centcomm 13th Feb 2015, 2:58 PM edit delete reply

.. I think thats also Dolly's line :D
Sheela 13th Feb 2015, 4:18 PM edit delete reply

Dolly's skills makes her a nightmare to crooks, and a wet fantasy for lost kittens.
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:45 PM edit delete reply

this is true :D
Timotheus 13th Feb 2015, 2:27 PM edit delete reply

Glazing a city site does not necessarily mean killing everyone in it. They could just relocate the populace in stages after destroying the military infrastructure. (Which the death of Decimus would probably do automatically due to his "safeguards")
A glazed crater makes for a nice lake bed to start a restored fresh water ecosystem. (And lakefront property for the survivors)
Tokyo Rose 13th Feb 2015, 3:17 PM edit delete reply

Unfortunately, the death of Decimus would also destroy the city and everyone in it, along with an awful lot of other stuff.

However, a glassed-over crater would probably make a very pretty lake :D
Marcus Ramesy 14th Feb 2015, 11:35 AM edit delete reply

@rose: Im already looking over maps determining where I want to put my winter home next to said glass lake...
Centcomm 14th Feb 2015, 12:46 PM edit delete reply

hehe lake front property .. cheap!
Guest 14th Feb 2015, 3:01 PM edit delete reply
Great fishing too, if you don't mind 3 headed bass!
Marcus Ramesy 14th Feb 2015, 6:58 PM edit delete reply

absolutely... and with the advances in technology the water will be clean.. the area cleared of radiation and suitable for habitation in just a few months.
Rashala 14th Feb 2015, 2:20 PM edit delete reply

*Submits a massive public works project after IT is Glassed. to take and arrange the colord glas shards into a massive Picture of Deci....with the following words under it

Hornet 14th Feb 2015, 7:56 PM edit delete reply
I rather do that "Venus / clam shell" deal with Acantha as Venus.
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