Comic 1320 - Multiple Factors

8th Mar 2016, 9:00 PM
Multiple Factors
Average Rating: 5 (18 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 8th Mar 2016, 9:15 PM edit delete
Hi everyone - I hate doing this but I need to ask for any help I can get - My living situation has changed a bit and I need to come up with 300.00 per month. So if you can please help. Via patreon or the donate button It would be very much appreciated.
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Dragonrider 8th Mar 2016, 9:05 PM edit delete reply

Looks like the sins of omission and commission are being counted and will be reckoned with in a short while. I do hope there is a stasis pod available to drop Douchie in so he doesn't set off all the bang~bangs.
Hey Folks! Back at number 18 lets vote~vote~vote and make Number 1!!!!
cattservant 8th Mar 2016, 10:48 PM edit delete reply

A lot of raw ends to line up!
DLKmusic 8th Mar 2016, 10:50 PM edit delete reply

Actually, from Dust's standpoint, that may be disrespectful, but it's not that unreasonable.
anonymous coward 9th Mar 2016, 1:48 AM edit delete reply
Are you sure it's reasonable to whine about someone else's past inaction in a burning battlefield with fighting still to finish? The sentiment is at least understandable, perhaps the word choice isn't excessively unreasonable, but there are definitely better times and places for complaining about should have been than a burning battlefield with hostiles still around.
Deoxy 9th Mar 2016, 7:46 AM edit delete reply
And Maxus' reply wisely walks that exact route.
Lukkai 9th Mar 2016, 2:01 PM edit delete reply

Reasonable might not be the best choice of words. But it's certainly how things would look like from his point of view. Which is, granted, not showing him the full picture.

And Maxus shows again that he feels pride goes far below duty in importance.
JackOfClubs 9th Mar 2016, 1:58 PM edit delete reply

Many revolutionaries sound reasonable when you don't consider all the facts. In fact a willingness to form judgments without considering (or knowing) all the facts is characteristic of revolution.

I am not saying Dust should have known about the Contingencies, but he is willing to make assumptions about Maxus' motives without considering that there may have been extenuating circumstances.
Visvires 9th Mar 2016, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
It's characteristic of people who've never learned better. If looking at only part of the picture, one can as easily see all the positives to a regime and be a loyalist as see all the negatives and be a revolutionary.
Gilrandir 9th Mar 2016, 5:33 PM edit delete reply
Remember: You are never looking at the WHOLE picture. You never have ALL the facts. (At least for any reasonably complex, real-world scenario). If you restrict people from coming to a conclusion until some indefinite and unachieveable future state, you condemn them to 'analysis paralysis'.

Not that an erroneous judgement based on incomplete data is not a bad thing, but if you are unwilling to ever put yourself at risk for that, you give up the ability to act in any meaningful way.
Visvires 9th Mar 2016, 9:24 PM edit delete reply
On rare occasions, you will have sufficient relevant facts. (What's our confidence on concluding that Decimus needs to go?) The rest of the time, it isn't an all or nothing proposition. You can act on your present knowledge while being aware of its limits, including the possibility of surprises, hedging against being in the wrong, and seeking additional information where possible. Bounded rationality. Doing what seems appropriate while being cautiously aware of one's own fallibility. It's a learned trait.

E.G. Ask what prompted Maxus' actions, rather than immediately going all in on him being self serving.
Gilrandir 10th Mar 2016, 10:40 AM edit delete reply
I would argue that the occasions where you have "sufficient relevant facts" aren't rare at all -- they're just less interesting to tell stories about. ^_^

And I agree that one can (and arguably should) adopt conservative, bounded strategies with contingencies to allow for the possibility of errors. But, of course, different people use different definitions of the word "sufficient". ^_^
Lukkai 10th Mar 2016, 1:40 PM edit delete reply

Granted: Just having been in a firefight that would quite certainly end with your death can cloud your judgement somewhat. So I wouldn't hold it against Dust all too much. As, I think, Maxus doesn't either.
plymayer 8th Mar 2016, 11:08 PM edit delete reply

Like the navy lieutenant at tail hook.

She witnessed countless attacks and incidents against ladies at those annual conventions. She only became offended and did some thing about it after she, herself was victimized. Suddenly, it was all wrong and there was to be none of it.
Dragonrider 8th Mar 2016, 11:36 PM edit delete reply

Should never have happened the first time. Officers are taught how to act in social situations and are instructed and expected not to attend drunken brawls like tail hook.
lirvilas 9th Mar 2016, 2:13 AM edit delete reply

Can't speak for the bullshit "Old Navy", but I concur that that sort of behavior (e.g. Tailhook-ish public drunkenness and sexual assaults) is explicitly discouraged these days. And punishment might not be swift, but it is most certainly severe.
lirvilas 8th Mar 2016, 11:09 PM edit delete reply

Man, I want to read *that* report.

Hopefully it has enclosures!
anonymous coward 9th Mar 2016, 1:50 AM edit delete reply
The report or the movie inspired by it? I'd go for the report too, but most people would probably prefer the movie.
Stormwind13 9th Mar 2016, 9:06 AM edit delete reply

I want a vote incentive of "Damnito's leader as favoring red lingerie and 'looking hotter than a plasma torch' in same." That would make a very nice vote incentive, in my opinion. :-)
sigpig 9th Mar 2016, 12:08 PM edit delete reply

Read Eternal Knights to see some VERY NSFW Artemis drawings. If course, it would behoove CentCom to create such a rendering, (for the purposes of scientific research and comparison, of course)...
mjkj 8th Mar 2016, 11:48 PM edit delete reply

Wow, that must be quite the surprise...

So, I guess that means cease fire except for the blues.

I hope that news will get out before sniper cassian snipes at doc Silver...

Timotheus 9th Mar 2016, 1:03 AM edit delete reply

That has nothing to do with this fight. It's more of a Vampire vrs Werewolf situation. (Cyberpath vrs Cassian)
anonymous coward 9th Mar 2016, 1:56 AM edit delete reply
"Paid for his iniquities" -- I can't say I support the payment-balance concept of revenge and justice implied in this statement. According to Decimus' perspective a lot of his assassination and terrorism bullshit is all about collecting HIS DUE according to his beliefs about what other people owe him. As long as the concepts of justice in a society are focused on retribution and punishment... all it takes is a little bit of excess, imbalance or misunderstanding to send everything crashing back into primitive feuds, vengeance, and vigilante lawlessness in which nobody is safe.
Evervigilant 9th Mar 2016, 2:59 AM edit delete reply
Perhaps Decimus is meant to pay the debt that cancels all others, or paying Charon's fare, as the euphemism goes.
anonymous coward 9th Mar 2016, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Decimus, the new son of God, dying for our sins so that we may get into heaven? REALLY?!?
sigpig 9th Mar 2016, 12:11 PM edit delete reply

@anonymous coward - similar to Libya/Somalia/Yemen/Iraq/Syria these days?
anonymous coward 9th Mar 2016, 1:12 PM edit delete reply
A full list of places I would point to would be total flamebait, don't tempt me. :)
Tokyo Rose 9th Mar 2016, 3:10 PM edit delete reply

(I have no idea how, but apparently I got logged outta ComicFury and this originally posted as "guest"...)

A discussion of "retributive" justice versus "restorative"/"reparative" justice could go on for a while. Suffice to say that in New Rome, proportional punishment for wrongdoing is codified in law.
anonymous coward 10th Mar 2016, 2:36 AM edit delete reply
One of the best sources of slaves in history is retributive justice being applied for crimes and debts, and Nova Roma does seem to have a thing for slavery.
Lukkai 10th Mar 2016, 1:41 PM edit delete reply

Heh! I thought that's gotta have been you or Cent. (^_^)
Just_IDD 9th Mar 2016, 2:55 AM edit delete reply
I want a shoulder mounted mini-gun with laser pointer aiming aid. Also with Dec and his contingencies, I figure you want him unconscious and gagged. Deci doesn't seem like the type of person to go for a brain plant to issue his final options....a ranter to the very end.
Mark_L_A 9th Mar 2016, 4:50 AM edit delete reply

Dust may have a point, however what Dust and others do not realize is just how much Maxus was actually restraining Douche Boy. And it wasn't the attack on Maxus that really forced him to take the actions he is, it was the fact that without any stabilizing influence would mean Nero/Caligula/Julius Caesar all rolled into one, without ANY moderation.

Maxus is trying to stop not just the destruction of Roma, but the destruction of the entire world.
Stormwind13 9th Mar 2016, 5:40 AM edit delete reply

Very good point about how much Maxus was moderating Douchimus' activities. If theyDID know, they might get down and kiss his feet!

As for when Maxus went active on his plan to remove Douchimus, I believe it WAS when Douchimus ordered him killed. That proved that he had lost his ability to moderate Douchimus' behavior by less extreme means. Also a factor was the fact that Irene was included as a target. Like Maxus needed the EXTRA incentive to remove Douchimus. By targeting her Douchimus made it PERSONAL!
Lukkai 9th Mar 2016, 2:12 PM edit delete reply

Dust is right about Maxus only getting up to dethrone Decimus after the latter orders him murdered.
What he's wrong about is the reason behind. It's not that he wasn't a target before. It's that he was still able to do more good for the people while in a position of power.

As I said above: Dust's argument is logical from his point of view. Which however is not showing him the full picture.
Tokyo Rose 9th Mar 2016, 3:19 PM edit delete reply

Y'all are hitting the nail squarely on the head here. Maxus was able to keep Decimus under control, or at least limit his ability to fuck up. He demonstrated that at dinner; instead of just going "no, nuh-uh, 'cause I said so", he calmly laid out the reasons why Decimus couldn't just slap a collar on Lynn and declare her a legally purchased slave. Decimus's response wasn't to gin up some false charges to lay against Maxus; it was to order him assassinated. That told Maxus that Decimus has reached the point of going completely outside the law. He's no longer "following the rules", which means Maxus (a) is not going to be able to restrain his excesses as before, and (b) can now exercise full authority to remove the threat to Nova Roma.
TheSkulker 9th Mar 2016, 5:09 PM edit delete reply

Centi & TR - Two concerns:
1 - The status and reliability of the contingencies
2 - Maxus' thoughts and plans (hopes?) regarding said contingencies
Your explanation, logic and rationale regarding people are all reasonable but I find it hard to accept the assumed status of the contingencies.

Decimus is an idiot, even if he wasn't crazy. He could not have setup the contingencies by himself. Ergo, others must have been involved. Even if he had them all killed, the location(s) of where they were working must still be known by some people, even if just as rumors.

More importantly (especially given the state of NR's technology), the command, control and communication equipment, access mechanism(s), weapon systems, etc must require continual maintenance. Who or what is performing this maintenance? Humans would be a weak link in Dec's plans. These systems also have to be periodically tested. Are AIs capable and available?

Secondly, Maxus is not aware of TR's and Kyle's attempts to restore Aeneas so (as far as he knows), the contingency threat has not changed. Other than his hand has been forced and he seemingly has no other choice, what makes him think that the contingency threat can now be forestalled or defeated when it couldn't be a week ago? Does he know something that we don't? (Indubitably!) Or is he just going on hope? Specifically, how is Maxus going to "remove the threat [of the contingencies] to Nova Roma"?

Without giving out spoilers, would you please address these concerns? You guys are much more creative than me and must have something up your sleeves that I can't imagine and makes all this plausible.

[Please don't take this as criticism. This is one of the most well thought out, creative, self consistent, engaging, interesting, beautifully drawn of the more than fifty web comics/graphic novels that I follow. I just need a little help on the suspension of disbelief.]

Timotheus 9th Mar 2016, 7:55 PM edit delete reply

You must allow an author an occasional Magguffin in order to make their over all plot work, as long as they don't make it too unbelievable. I've been wondering if it might turn out to be that the much dreaded "contingencies" are going to turn out to be a bluff created by Decimus's grandfather to keep the government and people in line after the fall of Aeneas and no one realizes it anymore.
StellarJay 10th Mar 2016, 1:06 AM edit delete reply

This is an example of what fiction writers have to deal with: "The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense."
Tokyo Rose 9th Mar 2016, 7:55 PM edit delete reply

Human technicians do maintain the systems involved. They don't know about the contingencies, and even if they did, they don't necessarily know what parts of the systems are involved. When any testing is required to confirm operation, Kali carries it out.

As for the second part... let's just say that Noctis has told Maxus about the New Troy team having a cyberpath. I can't go any farther without risking spoilers, but I hope that's enough dots to connect. :)
Visvires 9th Mar 2016, 9:28 PM edit delete reply
So an early part of the conversation will be asking that Dr. Silver not eat the Cassian's souls? Followed by the only slightly less important request that nyan cat stop looping on comms. And the sniper can chill.

I hope she puts in one final rendition of Rick Astley.
TheSkulker 9th Mar 2016, 11:21 PM edit delete reply

"When any testing is required to confirm operation, Kali carries it out."

Whoa! That's interesting and opens up a lot of possibilities.

Kali is in cahoots with Maxus and both are pledged to the betterment of Nova Roma, not the douchbag. It wouldn't be unreasonable for Kali to mention to Maxus her knowledge and access to the contingencies. She presumably doesn't know enough or have enough access to shut them down by herself but being able to test them implies a level of access that may at least give them some breathing room. Maxus may also be counting on help from the NT tech, especially Doc Silver. We've already seen that NR's security is not all that great and was easily compromised. Et tu contingency?

In any case, given access to the testing console, there are cables and/or network nodes to be traced, commands to be hacked and security to be subverted. Good fun.

Another highly probable event (given the evilness of our authors), is a cliff hanger to end all cliff hangers! I am calling it right now: Either the dickhead presses the red button or fails to enter the "stand down" code in a timely fashion. Somehow the contingencies get triggered and we will see some sort of race against time to disarm/disable the weaponry in order to prevent eminent destruction. That is just too good a plot event to pass up!
Tokyo Rose 10th Mar 2016, 1:22 AM edit delete reply

Kali's core directives differ somewhat from the rest of the Cassians in that they involve protecting and serving the royal family, not Nova Roma itself. She's received some carefully-worded orders specifically to prevent her from giving away information about the contingencies, whether through action or inaction. :/
Mark_L_A 10th Mar 2016, 8:50 AM edit delete reply

TR then the question becomes who gave her those orders.

I highly doubt Prince Venereal Disease was ever coherent enough to formulate those orders, so it had to have been his father or his grandfather who gave those orders.
Sheela 10th Mar 2016, 10:40 AM edit delete reply

Unfortunately, their nuclear missiles got eaten by a Murderturd. :D
Tokyo Rose 10th Mar 2016, 3:17 PM edit delete reply


Decimus is indeed the one who gave the orders to Kali; the contingencies didn't exist before Decimus put them into place. (We really DO need to do some flashbacks or prose stories about Decimus to illustrate that he's got brains and cunning; the present story arc is documenting his breakdown without having sufficiently demonstrated how he was put together before.)
TheSkulker 10th Mar 2016, 6:15 PM edit delete reply

TR: I knew you guys would have plausible explanations for the cast's behaviors.

There must be a ton of unpublished backstory that you and Centi have brainstormed and discussed. I am sure that would make interesting reading as well. The attention to instory, let alone backstory, details and character motivation is a major unsung reason we all love DC.

I also did notice that you did not deny the forthcoming super cliff hanger. ;-)
Gilrandir 10th Mar 2016, 10:59 AM edit delete reply
It seems likely that the Cassians would be the ones to maintain the contingencies since they are 'hardwired' for loyalty. As far as "eating the Cassian's souls" ... Decimus has been doing that for a while now. What can be chained can also be set free -- if you can trust the cyberpath.

I don't think Kali can be said to be in 'cahoots' with Maxus ... yet. She seems, at the moment, to be trying to 'finesse' her directives like Malati was before she ran into an insurmountable 'wall'. I am sure that, at this point, she would _want_ to be in cahoots with Maxus -- which just leads to the question of whether or not _Kali_ has the 'fun package' installed. ^_^ (And whether Maxus and Irene like to share.)

[Yes, I know such speculations about Kali are likely to be grossly out of character for her -- which just makes her situation even more tragic.]
Tokyo Rose 10th Mar 2016, 3:19 PM edit delete reply

Kali is "functional" in that sense. Now think about what that implies for anyone so totally subject to Decimus's commands. You may now want to go drink a bit to forget that thought.
TheSkulker 10th Mar 2016, 6:00 PM edit delete reply

Gilrander said: "I don't think Kali can be said to be in 'cahoots' with Maxus"
I agree but at this stage of memory loss it was the best word I could come up with. I am thankful for still (I think), being able to write coherent sentences even if all the words aren't the best.

BTW, do you have a better word that would fit?
Gilrandir 10th Mar 2016, 10:27 PM edit delete reply
I think the word choice is fine, @TheSkulker. It's more her condition I was considering. Noctis, for example, is in cahoots with Maxus. They are in communication, working toward an agreed-upon goal, and each able to contribute to that goal according to a plan formed with at least some degree of coordination.

Kali is far more helpless to pursue any of her own goals, out of communication with Maxus (which is presently a good thing), and left out of any of the coordinated planning (also a good thing). She is, just at the moment, a highly deadly Damsel In Distress. And, given Rose's comment, imagining how much distress is not for the faint of heart. Especially since I suspect that Cassians are trained to respond to distress with anger and violence.

I wonder if that might give us a key to understanding some of the Cassian character: Cassians with particularly bad reputations among the populace, such as Nox and Kali may be inferred on the basis of indirect evidence to be 'fully functional', while those Cassians with more even-keeled dispositions have not had to undergo that particular kind of abuse?
Lukkai 10th Mar 2016, 1:53 PM edit delete reply

Ah, should have read TR's response before posting.
Lukkai 10th Mar 2016, 1:51 PM edit delete reply

I've been thinking about this. And I believe the Cassians might either be involved in any necessary maintenance process that isn't covered up by standard maintenance on whatever in that part of town needs it. Or they'd be able to localise and counter enough of the contingencies for the continent and Nova Roma to be able to cope (it being less damage that Decimus staying in power would do), if not all of them.
Problem there being that they can't be doing that so long as Decimus stays in power. And it needs a very special way for him to be removed from it for it too work before the contingencies are put in motion.

Total speculation of course, but it would be possible.
Sheela 10th Mar 2016, 4:05 PM edit delete reply

Soo .. if Decimus ordered Kali to have sex with him, she would have to do it with him ?

...... poor Kali, she really is living in a worldly hell.
Stormwind13 10th Mar 2016, 6:30 PM edit delete reply

Probably even WORSE than we can imagine, Sheela. Douchimus is a real piece of work. :-7. I don't think we've seen the worst yet.
Lukkai 11th Mar 2016, 3:09 PM edit delete reply

Though I'm not fully sure whether Decimus would even be interested in something not of flesh and bone.
I am fully sure though that I don't really want or need to know.
Gilrandir 12th Mar 2016, 10:30 AM edit delete reply
He might not be interested in having sex with them ... but he would certainly be interested in torturing them. To paraphrase George Orwell's _1984_,, "That's how you assert and certify you have power -- by making other people do things they don't want to do."
Mark_L_A 11th Mar 2016, 7:35 AM edit delete reply

I wonder if there is a chance Rose would write another side story, only this time about Kali and the other Cassians and about how their current master and their previous master differ and how it actually tears them up mentally.
Gilrandir 11th Mar 2016, 1:07 PM edit delete reply
I suspect she has ... then said to herself, "This is such a downer, it would just depress everyone and open me up to accusations of gratuitous character abuse. I'll just show this to CentComm, then file it under 'Backstory'. Also, note to self: buy more tissues."
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