Comic 1189 - Two of Swords ( Reversed )

4th Jun 2015, 9:00 PM
Two of Swords ( Reversed )
Average Rating: 5 (23 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:00 PM edit delete
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Comments:

Lukkai 4th Jun 2015, 9:05 PM edit delete reply

Not much of a "silent knock" type, are they?
Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:06 PM edit delete reply

they are trying for more "shock and awe" .. not so sure they succeeded .. but they did tick him off..
Lukkai 4th Jun 2015, 9:08 PM edit delete reply

Shock and awe...

Against a former gladiator champion and now long time military commander.

Riiiiiight...
Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

didnt say it was the BEST plan...
anonymous coward 5th Jun 2015, 1:38 AM edit delete reply
On the contrary, it is a pretty good choice to start off a civil war Decimus is likely to lose. Nobody missed that part of how pissed off the Cassians on these special assignments from the prince were, did they?
Stormwind13 5th Jun 2015, 4:59 AM edit delete reply

Definitely not the best plan for taking on Maxus. Especially not in his own quarters! Double especially not with Irene there. Talk about motivators.

They may kill them both, the attackers will PAY to kill Maxus. In blood! I'll be surprised if any of the attackers walk out of here. Crawl or get carried out, that is definitely likely. Still, it looks bad for Maxus and Irene, they are outnumbered, pretty badly with the Cassians there.
Sheela 5th Jun 2015, 6:26 AM edit delete reply

Trying to use shock & awe on a veteran, usually falls short of it's intended purpose.
They are veterans, after all, they've done some shock & awe in their lifetimes too.
Marcus Ramesy 5th Jun 2015, 7:16 AM edit delete reply

I forsee this ending badly... very very badly for some one.
Stormwind13 5th Jun 2015, 7:54 AM edit delete reply

I foresee this ending badly for potentially EVERYONE, including you Marcus! If Maxus goes down one of the counterbalancing forces on the Prince will be gone. Which will mean the Prince can do even more than he already is!
Marcus Ramesy 5th Jun 2015, 1:45 PM edit delete reply

Sadly the political situation in New Rome is not of my concern. I prefer to do this with minimal loss of life and keep civilian casualties to a minimum, and thought I understand politics and maneuvering, my orders are to retrieve the targets and not start a war with new troy... political infighting will keep them from looking at us too closely
CptKerion 5th Jun 2015, 4:33 PM edit delete reply
THis could actually be worse than Maxus going down. If I'm right and the other troops in the palace respond to the explosion and side with Maxus, you may well have yet another side shooting to kill and on high alert.
velvetsanity 6th Jun 2015, 9:26 AM edit delete reply

The catch, Marcus, is that Maxus is one of the sources of political infighting. One who would be on your side if circumstances present/allow.
Marcus Ramesy 6th Jun 2015, 7:25 PM edit delete reply

yes.. but as of this moment.. I am not aware of any thing with Maxus, the resistance has requested that I leave him be, and not touch him if at all possible, and if I can I will respect those wishes... potential ally perhaps.. but im going to be out there shooting up his men, any individuals that hinder my progress, will be dealt with as such..

thats not to say that I dont know or vaule the political views.. its just that im not here to make nicey nice.. im here to do a job and get out.. its their mess not mine to clean up.. if they didn't want the mess, then they shouldn't have delayed Ms. Taylor to begin with
Rms2000 7th Jun 2015, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
As far as their tactics go, the intruders could probably have done better. That said, we have three grunts, a commander and a Cassian, all armed and (except for the Cassian) armored, against Maxus, who is literally in his underwear, and Irene wearing her Luna-suit (with unknown combat capabilities). All three grunts already have their weapons drawn and aimed, while Maxus and Irene are in the middle of a fairly large room and thus probably several feet away from anything like a weapon, and I doubt any of the furniture will be useful as cover.

Maxus is a big guy, and a skilled fighter, but if the shooting starts now then (barring intervention by the DM or other story-driven weirdness) I don't think Maxus will survive.

The commander gave the impression that they were supposed to capture Maxus and ensure his execution later, though. If Maxus cooperates and they don't knock him unconscious for transport, then I can only see the tactical situation improving en route to the holding facility.

Long story short: Maxus is definitely in a pinch, but if he's lucky and he plays his cards well he can probably escape and avoid capture long enough to find some of his allies. And with her Luna gear, I have no idea what, if any, tactical significance Irene has.


On a side note: we've seen a fair bit of new tech lately, and the Tech page hasn't updated in a long time. For example, a lot of the drones we saw didn't have anything and the "Luna CAV-magnetron" pistol that Dolly picked up is missing as well. In fact, the only microwave-based weapon on the tech page is the MK-8 Macro-MASER, which is a tad larger than this pistol. And then there's this "active scrambling" stealth tech that Kyle is using. And while I'm on the subject, a lot of the descriptions on the tech page need to be re-written. There are typos, capitalization mistakes and a lot of punctuation errors. Maybe I'm the only one who pays attention to the tech, but on the off-chance I'm not, I'd really like to see some improvement.
Tokyo Rose 7th Jun 2015, 3:38 PM edit delete reply

There are actually six grunts, but system limitations are keeping Cent from putting them all on screen at once. We apologize for the confusion. :)

As to the tech page, I did the writing for the parts that I felt were most important to the story, specifically the sections on androids, races, robotics, bio-weapons, and general tech (and I need to do some fixing, the text looks blurry thanks to image compression). The rest of it is Cent's project, mostly done on a spare-time basis, and since we're coming into a very work-intensive part of the story, spare time is going to be in very short supply. Maybe we'll get a breather later on. :)

Edit: Updated the android section in the tech pages to fix the damn blurry text and tweak a few lines. Next up, the rest of the blurry crap. :D

Edit the Second: Deblurring complete.
Pirtnac 4th Jun 2015, 9:07 PM edit delete reply
I don't know.... I see them wearing blue shirts, but I highly suspect red would be a fitting color for the helmeted troopers.

When does "No Witnesses" kick in?
Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

Pretty much now..
xpacetrue 4th Jun 2015, 9:29 PM edit delete reply

"No witnesses" means everyone, including the blue-shirts... At least, it should be as far as the Cassians and their mission is concerned.
Centcomm 5th Jun 2015, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

Actually the Royal Pretorians are immune to the "witnesses" clause here ..
velvetsanity 6th Jun 2015, 9:28 AM edit delete reply

That still means the 'witnesses' present are innocent bystanders...and Malati has already been shown to severely dislike the leg breaker thug role drekhead's forced the Cassians into...this is going to be ugly all around. If Irene gets hurt...total bloodbath
Sheela 7th Jun 2015, 4:25 AM edit delete reply

Well, we don't know how much that tech suit that Irene is wearing can be cranked up.

She might turn out to be both faster and stronger than anyone would expect. She does after all have the stamina to keep up with Maxus, so she's probably no slouch, especially if Maxus has been teaching her selfdefense all this time, so she wouldn't end up a victim again ?
Lukkai 4th Jun 2015, 9:11 PM edit delete reply

I'm starting to wonder...

How exactly does the judicial system of Nova Roma work, especially concerning an accusation of treason and even more so when the accused is someone of high ranking?

In short: Is what they're doing even legally sound?
Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:14 PM edit delete reply

It all depends if he survives.. what you think Deci would let this go to a real trial.. you don't send Cassians to serve a arrest warrant normally..
Tokyo Rose 4th Jun 2015, 9:28 PM edit delete reply

This'll actually be answered Monday.
Cal 5th Jun 2015, 10:03 AM edit delete reply
More to the point, is telling him his sentence is death a real good motivation to surrender?
Centcomm 5th Jun 2015, 11:59 PM edit delete reply

The Cassians are trying to do this "by the book" and that means giving him the chance to come quietly .. they already knew how this would go down..
Dragonrider 4th Jun 2015, 9:16 PM edit delete reply

Based on her comment to thug number one Hrist would be barrels of fun at an orgy.
Centcomm 4th Jun 2015, 9:17 PM edit delete reply

The grey was Malati .. :D and she does like orgys .. :D
Dragonrider 5th Jun 2015, 5:35 AM edit delete reply

Can the Cassians change skin tone at will? Malati was not a grey when we last saw her.
Centcomm 5th Jun 2015, 7:22 AM edit delete reply

yep shes got the same skin tone as always ..
here
plymayer 4th Jun 2015, 9:54 PM edit delete reply

The sentence is death?

No point in doing anything they say. Resistance in this case would ruin whatever fake trial they have in mind. Gonna die anyway, take some of them with ya.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:01 AM edit delete reply

I like the way you think :D
plymayer 4th Jun 2015, 9:55 PM edit delete reply

He's a general, there will be weapons near.
Tango Xray Actual 4th Jun 2015, 11:04 PM edit delete reply
Yet even so, most play for time, hoping for an opportunity where the chip are more likely to fall in their favor.

Besides, his Lady is hostage to his good behavior as close as she is to the lines of fire.
madned 5th Jun 2015, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
I'm curious if the "stand down, fools!" is more along the lines of professional analysis. They could be standing in a killzone for all we know...hence, fools b/c they didn't do their research.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:01 AM edit delete reply

There are weapons all over the place..
velvetsanity 6th Jun 2015, 9:30 AM edit delete reply

I suspect that Maxus has more weapons hidden just in this one room than Mr. And Mrs. Smith had on their entire property
plymayer 4th Jun 2015, 9:56 PM edit delete reply

Very exciting.
DLKmusic 4th Jun 2015, 10:20 PM edit delete reply

Even if there is a "backdoor" clause in this, I'm sure that it's eating Malati alive doing even this much. Dunno enough about Hrist yet to say the same for her though.

and to the idiot guard behind Malati? all I have to say is "You gonna take that from her? Shoot the clockworks bitch and put her in her place! ya know ya wants to.... "

In case anyone missed the intent of that last sentence, nothing would please me more than to see the prince's own turn on the Cassians, who would in turn rip them to shreds.
Tokyo Rose 5th Jun 2015, 6:04 PM edit delete reply

There has been exactly one transgression against a Cassian by someone in the prince's personal guard contingent.

The example made of him was sufficient that even Decimus's pet psychopaths are, to a man, pants-shittingly terrified of the Cassians as a whole.

Malati could give that guy a graphic description of the unnatural and disgusting sex acts she feels he should take part in, and he'd just stand there. (Or, knowing the prince's guards, happily relate an anecdote about the last time he performed the described sex act.)
DLKmusic 5th Jun 2015, 8:12 PM edit delete reply

knowing Malati's imagination? ewwwww.....
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:10 AM edit delete reply

Malati is very creative..
Timotheus 4th Jun 2015, 10:28 PM edit delete reply

At the moment I would say the smartest thing he could do was nothing. If the Cassians are inclined to play it by the book and he gives them no cause to take action, he and his lady could stall for time until friendly forces arrive to take him "into custody". Or the "Prince's Own" break the rules and wind up being chastised first after which all bets are off.
velvetsanity 5th Jun 2015, 2:55 AM edit delete reply

Keep in mind that the jackbooted thugs could technically be labelled as witnesses... :D
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:09 AM edit delete reply

as nice as that would be .. its not possible .. sorry. THe Cassians cant just up and kill them. and only Kali can order a "Hit" on certain targets .. other wise it falls to Noctis to call the shots on Day to day actions..
Tango Xray Actual 4th Jun 2015, 11:01 PM edit delete reply
And thusly begins the end of the current regime of Nova Roma....

Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 9:39 PM edit delete reply

lets hope so!
Lukkai 7th Jun 2015, 7:33 PM edit delete reply

I'm guessing that one way or another it will.

Let's assume this goes exactly the way Decimus imagines. Chances, from what we've seen so far, are actually rather high that a good amount of troops would consider to go and save or avenge their general. All it would take would be one halfway charismatic officer to start moving and there's civil war.
Of course I might be wrong about how the army feels about Maxus and Decimus. I'm merely speculating based upon what I've read so far.
CptKerion 4th Jun 2015, 11:03 PM edit delete reply
They just drew attention... oops.
Now the heightened state of security will be alerted and a force of people likely more loyal to him than to the prince. Then what amounts to a civil war starts now. Ontop of all the other clusterfuck...
ho-ly-shit

Never go shock and awe in a black op.

EDIT: What concerns me more is that such a civil war may be the intent behind the shock and awe.
The implies another party very much manipulating events with great expertise.
The difference between a sniper's shot and an explosive entry could be just that sort of interference.

Then again, all the layers of onion may just be driving me nuts and making me want to wear a tinfoil hat.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 9:39 PM edit delete reply

Onions for everyone!
mjkj 4th Jun 2015, 11:20 PM edit delete reply

oh, the Cassians have arrived...

Seems like the rotary ventilating device is going to be busy...


Yeah, you tell him, Malati!

Sheela 5th Jun 2015, 6:24 AM edit delete reply

Malati is definately not a happy camper.
That might change, if someone finds another solution to the clusterfuck she's currently in.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 9:38 PM edit delete reply

it hit full speed already :D we are going to add the splattering stuff monday!
StellarJay 10th Jul 2015, 5:07 AM edit delete reply

mjkj wrote:
"Seems like the rotary ventilating device is going to be busy..."

The first thing that I thought of when I read this was that a Gatling gun was going to be used. Well... it does cause some ventilation to occur in its target. :)
cattservant 5th Jun 2015, 12:15 AM edit delete reply

Plans will be perishing right about now...
anonymous coward 5th Jun 2015, 1:30 AM edit delete reply
Some plans, sure. Dolly, Ramsey and Tokyo Rose and the rent-a-riot couldn't DREAM of better conditions to operate in than the start of a civil war. Everybody who should be paying attention to what they're up to will be too busy.
Sheela 5th Jun 2015, 6:24 AM edit delete reply

Methinks there might be a bit of confusion in the army, when their general suddenly disappears.
Stormwind13 5th Jun 2015, 6:35 AM edit delete reply

Hopefully Maxus planned for that possibility, Sheela. So there will be a force to protect the Princess and oppose Douchimus' plans.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:08 AM edit delete reply

yeah this is going to cause far reaching effects no matter what happens .. this isnt something Decimus can just go OOPS over..
Sheela 6th Jun 2015, 4:26 AM edit delete reply

It's also something that has already involved the cassians so they cannot stay on the sideline either, and dismis it as 'just politics'.
T1G3R-2501 5th Jun 2015, 5:40 AM edit delete reply
*points at the comic* No..... no no no..... Son of a Bitch....No....Damn it....

*Drops to knees*
Damn you Rose and Cent!! ALL MY FEELS!!!

*corner huddles*
Stormwind13 5th Jun 2015, 6:38 AM edit delete reply

Plan on it getting a whole lot WORSE, T1G3R. Fasten your seatbelts, the ride is going to get BUMPY from here on out!
T1G3R-2501 5th Jun 2015, 10:37 AM edit delete reply
*prepares security blanket*

Aww man
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:03 AM edit delete reply

I think you are gonna need that Blanket..
Sheela 6th Jun 2015, 4:27 AM edit delete reply

*tears down walls*

Cool-Aid foar everwun! :D
jas 5th Jun 2015, 6:50 AM edit delete reply

Something tells me this is a bad day to be Malati, even more than it is for Maxus.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:04 AM edit delete reply

this is a bad day for everyone! most of the Cassians at least respect Maxus .. if not outright like him.
VanEzzania 5th Jun 2015, 7:18 AM edit delete reply

Maxus Valerius, we acknowledge your right to privacy but assert our authorities as the law enforcement by coming in anyway!

Seriously though, things going down!
Stormwind13 5th Jun 2015, 7:57 AM edit delete reply

Things going down...hill RAPIDLY!!! Actually, it isn't a hill, it is FREEFALL!
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:04 AM edit delete reply

nobody expects the Spanish inquisition .. !
*snare drum*
Lukkai 7th Jun 2015, 7:34 PM edit delete reply

I don't think they'll stay with the comfy chair as a punishment though.
Mark_L_A 5th Jun 2015, 9:42 AM edit delete reply

I have an eeeebbiill thought, that Noctis and the rest of the Cassians have found a third option.
Guest 5th Jun 2015, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
http://datachasers.thecomicseries.com/comics/1246
This was the sequence of comics where they were shown to be planning their third option. Naturally we have no information on either what EXACTLY their orders are or how they have managed to subvert them.

Best guesses: Eliminating witnesses might mean that Malati and Hrist start by killing the thugs they brought with them--slowly so that Maxus can figure out what orders they're subverting and make a run through Decimus' loyal barracks--since they're 'witnesses.' Also, Nox has just assigned herself as bodyguard for Acantha and Lynn. Noctis is backup, which is just about the vaguest order that could be given, and basically can be read as a blank cheque to reinforce or 'back up' anyone or anything she pleases.
Mark_L_A 5th Jun 2015, 5:12 PM edit delete reply

Thank you for whoever posted that. It shows up as Guest.

If you ARE a Guest, please sign up for an account and subscribe.

I'm hoping to get both DataChasers and LunaStar to over 300 subscribers before the end of June. So I blog about it once a week on my blog.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:05 AM edit delete reply

Whats the link to your Blog?
Mark_L_A 6th Jun 2015, 12:39 AM edit delete reply

http://txfellowship.blogspot.com is my main blog, I'm also one of the Associate Editors of The Gun Blog Black List http://gunblogblacklist.blogspot.com/ and I have 3 writing blogs which I only use for my writing which I really need to update someday.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 9:37 PM edit delete reply

thank you kindly!
Mark_L_A 7th Jun 2015, 12:25 PM edit delete reply

When I find good writing with a story I WANT to read and to never End, I try to get others interested in it also. It gives so much more things to talk about and have good conversations over.
anonymous coward 7th Jun 2015, 9:46 AM edit delete reply
That was me. The cynical contempt for the spirit of the orders involved wasn't indicative of my cynicism? We consulting IT workers are usually pretty distinctive in terms of how utterly we can misinterpret something while holding to literal meanings (comes from experience with both coding and legalese).
Sheela 7th Jun 2015, 7:03 PM edit delete reply

I for one is hoping for a bit of lateral thinking in this particular situation, otherwise some rather interesting characters could end up dying quite horribly.

... say, where did the Luna maid-bot go ?
Lukkai 7th Jun 2015, 7:38 PM edit delete reply

I'm actually currently thinking about the Cassians "unfortunately had to retreat and regroup after the target fought back with surprisingly high efficiency, outright slaughtering the detachment of troops we had with us".
Regrouping and securing another batch of support troops obviously would have taken some time, during which they lost contact with their target. Working currently on finding it again.
Cal 5th Jun 2015, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
Oh, shit...
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:06 AM edit delete reply

that about summs things up neatly
Rashala 5th Jun 2015, 3:19 PM edit delete reply


*Facepalms* Yep Deci did the DUMBEST THING POSSIBLE

Annnnnnd this children is when Our nation of Nova Roma started towards being under the rule of our wise beautiful and compassionate Queen Acantha...and The name DEcimus Became analternate word for DUMBASS
Haegan2005 5th Jun 2015, 5:10 PM edit delete reply

I have to admit, I REALLY like the explosion!

As always, the emotions are beautifully done though Malati reminds me of one of those Japanese live action poses that they take just before a fight... :D

Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:07 AM edit delete reply

heh .. Yeah Malati and Hrist are in Martial poses. the pretorians are in "military-ish" assault poses.
KarToon12 5th Jun 2015, 5:30 PM edit delete reply

Maxus is going to kick all their butts. *plays Mortal Combat music*
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:07 AM edit delete reply

hehe I like Two steps from Hell for most of this..
Guest 6th Jun 2015, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
Since it's the palace, My thought was "Ballroom Blitz"
DLKmusic 6th Jun 2015, 6:43 PM edit delete reply
Damn, I really shouldn't be posting at work. I hate when I forget to put my handle on a post!

shinka 5th Jun 2015, 6:20 PM edit delete reply

nice work!

i like the fx and how you cut the scenes
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 12:07 AM edit delete reply

thank you very much!
Timotheus 6th Jun 2015, 1:29 AM edit delete reply

Strangely enough, the one I keep thinking they should be worried about is Irene in her nano suit. I'm sure her dearest one has made sure she can take care of herself since that earlier "incident." Maybe not weaponized per say, but defense capabilities...?
Draginbeard 6th Jun 2015, 3:23 AM edit delete reply

As much as I think Maxus can handle himself, there are limits. Being unarmed and unarmored against Cassians does not bode well at all.
Centcomm 6th Jun 2015, 4:23 PM edit delete reply

this is very true.. :D it does not bode well at all.. but notice how worried he looks :D
Stormwind13 6th Jun 2015, 7:37 PM edit delete reply

He doesn't look worried at all, CentComm. He looks PISSED. So either he is HELLACIOUSLY good at Poker, or he knows something the rest of the folks in the room don't.
Hana 6th Jun 2015, 3:23 AM edit delete reply
Its so great to look back at the orders/conversation between Noctis and Malati and see the detail that was actually important - the "exercising caution when you approach". You realize how important that is when against a smart, OP fighter. The "eliminate witnesses" isnt important - at least not yet.
velvetsanity 6th Jun 2015, 9:35 AM edit delete reply

Thus, the shock and awe approach was decided upon with due caution and the intention of maximizing the odds -- in Maxus' favor. :D
Tokyo Rose 6th Jun 2015, 3:45 PM edit delete reply

Noctis could not, of course, outright tell the others how to contravene their directives. She could, however, drop hints. :D
Evervigilant 6th Jun 2015, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
Max must have some huge steel ones. Notice how he's standing there in his underwear and he's more pissed off than worried when some soon to be "retired" military types blow a hole in his wall and point guns at him. I think that it's not going to go easy for anyone.
Sheela 7th Jun 2015, 4:37 AM edit delete reply

If they just wanted him dead, they should have sniped him, or used a lot more explosives to take him out.

This way, they have pretty much ruined the first surprise attack they could have had. ... I wonder if the cassians made them do it ? They are definately up to shenanigans.
anonymous coward 7th Jun 2015, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
As moronic as this is, it's plausible that some thought went into this 'plan' and that it is a better 'plan' than sniping Maxus. Supposedly Decimus is fairly intelligent, and I have some experience with people who are unflappably committed to bad ideas and plans. (All people have this problem of bad ideas and plans they should abandon, but don't, actually. Smart and not-as-smart people alike have this problem and yes, this means you.) Something that happens is they make questionable choices and accept other moronic ideas and plans to support the original, fundamentally-flawed ideas and plans because of their refusal to change their mind about it.
Right now Decimus is committed to killing Maxus as a way to shut up people grumbling about him, because of his commitment to all his other bad ideas and plans. In order for him to use this to intimidate people the way he wants he has to take credit for it, so it has to be unmistakable that Decimus did this. That means using resources and tactics that plainly identify him. I wouldn't be surprised if the words that Hrist calls out were actually picked by Decimus too, setting this up so he could claim that Maxus was killed resisting arrest. (That bullshit is a favourite dodge of paramilitary and military thugs everywhere to get out of responsibility for premeditated/prejudicial assault and/or murder.)
Sheela 7th Jun 2015, 7:07 PM edit delete reply

I only have two kinds of plans :

The ones that are fantastic, and everybody loves them.
And the ones that make ME very happy, and makes everyone else into bloody smears on the floor.


... hrmm ... actually, those are both fantastic plans, now that I'm thinking about it. :)
DLKmusic 7th Jun 2015, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
As plausible as that seems, I respectfully submit the "No Witnesses" part of the order actually negates it being Decimus setting it up this way.

The more I think about it, this particular tactic is designed to make the "No Witnesses" order impossible, and if they can't kill him with no witnesses, then they can't kill him (assuming Maxus does surrender).

velvetsanity 8th Jun 2015, 10:33 AM edit delete reply

Thus, as I said, giving Maxus the best odds of survival that they possibly could.

Also, Malati could and likely will interpret the no witnesses clause as you just described. However, the jackboots will likely interpret it as 'eliminate any witnesses'. Which means, when they attempt to harm Irene, Malati might then be free to take them out for attempted murder, as Irene is an innocent bystander.
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