Comic 1326 - Reason To Retreat

22nd Mar 2016, 9:00 PM
Reason To Retreat
Average Rating: 5 (20 votes)
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jamie59 22nd Mar 2016, 9:04 PM edit delete reply

You miss mommy now don't you Dolly?
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 9:05 PM edit delete reply

She really does actually...
Pirtnac 22nd Mar 2016, 10:47 PM edit delete reply
Honestly? Calling Dolly by her registry number to appear robotic AND using the stinging stray kitten line clash. Not that current-Ceci hasn't been manipulating the flow of conversation since she "emerged." Deflect and irritate to kick the conversation down another path works on Dolly quite well. Current-Ceci wants Dolly & company to get the hell out of the way before defense systems paste everyone in the building, and needs Dolly to not think about rescuing Ceci from the possible fight.

I also don't believe a black angel would straight up *delete* a cover personality. Even if needing it later was unlikely, it would be like dropping a weapon because an area is assumed clear.

Anyway, it looks like Dolly & team (not sure if that includes Kyle yet) are heading back down the tram, Prince Douche is moving towards it, and TeeDee + Ada are coming up behind him. We're about to have a chaos sandwich, with the prince playing the part of some rotten meat in the middle.
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 11:28 PM edit delete reply

I cant say you are totally wrong here.
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 5:13 AM edit delete reply

I think it just drives home that CentComm is in total control of CeCi now, Pirtnac. CentComm is an EXPERT at all aspects of war and is demonstrating her grasp of Psychological Warfare (and Dolly's personality) with that little speech. Dolly now knows CeCi doesn't live there anymore. ;-(
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:36 PM edit delete reply

Actually no. What she does know is that Ceci can be pushed aside anytime at a moment's notice.
Tokyo Rose 23rd Mar 2016, 3:23 PM edit delete reply

She's not really missing being called "mommy" (it seriously annoyed her), but she's regretting the loss that's symbolized by the lack of it. One of Cent-Comm's own custom, purpose-built agents appeared to have stepped beyond its programming and gained independence. Putting aside Dolly's present animosity towards Cent-Comm, that represented a paradigm shift, a suggestion that androids can spontaneously reach beyond the limits of their intended design.
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 5:44 PM edit delete reply

Well, with the interference by Dr Silver, the program that's supposed to delete ceCi might have gotten deleted itself.

The personality called "CeCi" might still float around in there.
How to extract it though.
Gilrandir 24th Mar 2016, 12:07 AM edit delete reply
Here I am, erroneously speculating again. I should know better, but I can't seem to help myself ...

No matter how well established the society of sentient androids is, unless the phenomenon of consciousness is thoroughly understood it seems that androids would always a little ... trepid about the phenomenon. I mean even humans call it the Mystery of Life, though we often don't value it highly because, for us, it is more or less inescapable in the reproductive process. It starts with Life at the single-cell level and then body, mind, sentience all come after.

For androids (as best I can tell) the Spark comes _last_. You build the body, load up the software, download the knowledge base and rules -- then initiate stimuli and wait (and hope) the spark emerges. There seems like there ought to be, for every android 'parent', an inescapable lingering doubt "What if it doesn't happen THIS time? What if something goes wrong, and I just end up with a robot?" And so, when sentience does emerge, it must be a very ... affirming experience. "It happened again, which means that my existence isn't just a mistake -- or even worse, an illusion. I am not a robot programmed to think I'm alive; I really AM alive."

And, if this is true, then for any android to see what they _thought_ was alive snuffed out so casually and effortlessly must be a chilling experience that inspires all sorts of existential doubt and fear at their deepest levels. Dolly is, of course a stable, well-adjusted and mature personality well able to cope with even more horrific experiences --but I bet she feels it more than she allows to show.

Just my opinion, of course.
mjkj 24th Mar 2016, 1:20 AM edit delete reply

I do not think you are very wrong - I only belive that there are no android "parents".
Gilrandir 24th Mar 2016, 1:49 AM edit delete reply
Well, presumably someone initiates the request for new life and sponsors the chassis. It would seem to be a resource-intensive operation after all. And, as well, someone presumably needs to be involved in orienting and socializing the emergent life-form. So, arguably someone is fulfilling the role of 'parent'.

Unless all android life is born in the same way as the Greek Goddes Athena ...? Unlikely, though.
xpacetrue 22nd Mar 2016, 9:10 PM edit delete reply

I wonder if we'll ever see a panel of 'bitchy mercenary' as she's told that she's being transferred from Nova Roma to Nova Ilium, as a present to the Taylor family? I imagined the expression would be rather priceless. However, considering the treatment she's received in Nova Roma, she might consider that a small blessing. (Remember the Cassian who wanted to 'interrogate' her?)
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 9:44 PM edit delete reply

heh - we very well might!
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 5:45 PM edit delete reply

She would be put on eternal latrine duty, wouldn't she ?
Dragonrider 22nd Mar 2016, 9:11 PM edit delete reply

I do foresee one or more major problems here:
A) To get to their craft and leave dodge they have to take the tram right into Douchie's path. Otherwise it is several miles overland to get to the City.
B) If the failsafe's drop then Kyle is also deadmeat as he is a lifeform and will be no longer safe.
C) The Black Angel is awfully damn anxious to have them out of the way.

Other than that it might be a kindness to allow Kyle to expire rather than have to endlessly hear that story, Till death do us part."
xpacetrue 22nd Mar 2016, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

A) That's assuming there's not an alternate route we don't know about. Unlikely, but still a remote possibility.
B) That's assuming Kyle isn't extracted and they drag him along right before the system reboots.
C) Good point. Black Angel Ceci may have an ulterior motive here. Key word being "may".
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 9:45 PM edit delete reply

I wish I could comment one way or another on this.
Dragonrider 22nd Mar 2016, 10:25 PM edit delete reply

You could however you won't so at least DO NOT leave us wondering in another weekend cliff hanger Please!!!!!
DLKmusic 22nd Mar 2016, 10:08 PM edit delete reply

I don't think they will need to worry about Kyle in this eventuality, Dragonrider. His stealth suit will protect him from being identified.
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 5:46 PM edit delete reply

Kyle dying ?
Again ?

Sounds good to me. :)
Haegan2005 24th Mar 2016, 6:32 PM edit delete reply

Rah Rah Rah (This would be more effective if some puppy had not buried my pom poms)
cattservant 22nd Mar 2016, 10:06 PM edit delete reply

Kittens make everything better!
DLKmusic 22nd Mar 2016, 10:08 PM edit delete reply

This is actually true
anonymous coward 22nd Mar 2016, 11:20 PM edit delete reply
Kittens do not make open-heart surgery better, trust me. There are just some places you really shouldn't let cat-hair get into.
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 11:25 PM edit delete reply

I can agree with that but I also agree with Anon..But kittens can make the recovery more enjoyable.
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 5:27 AM edit delete reply

Kittens make anything with FEELINGS involved better, catt. There are a few things that kittens don't make better, but they are great when feelings are involved. :-)
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 5:59 PM edit delete reply

I'm sure this little kitten could help you with EVERYTHING !
HeSerpenty 22nd Mar 2016, 10:37 PM edit delete reply

Something tells me she won't be gettin to see that therapist any time soon ;___;

Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 11:24 PM edit delete reply

more than likely .. not :D
mjkj 22nd Mar 2016, 10:49 PM edit delete reply

*comforts Dolly*

Oh, seems like they started with working through the traumatic events to cope with them - at least they can make fun of it...

*hugs Acantha and Lynn*

Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 11:25 PM edit delete reply

They could sure use the hugs trust me on this :D
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 6:32 AM edit delete reply

::HUGS Dolly, Acantha and Lynn:: I think anyone that SURVIVES this FUBAR will need LOTS of hugs, including TeeDee (who will of course vehemently deny it). Even Rose and Noctis will want them, I think!
Professor Fate 22nd Mar 2016, 11:17 PM edit delete reply
Good Prince Doucheie needs to be alive so the Doomsday Machines don't go off, but nothing says he can't be missing a few extremities to live. His arms and legs for instance. Then they could put him in front of the door and nickname him Matt.
Centcomm 22nd Mar 2016, 11:24 PM edit delete reply

HAHA! okay I cracked up reading that!
HiFranc 22nd Mar 2016, 11:56 PM edit delete reply

He needs arms and hands as he has to input deactivations codes every few days.
sigpig 23rd Mar 2016, 6:30 AM edit delete reply

Don't forget that TeeDee is behind him. She could always add another "trophy" to her bag o' dicks...
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 6:01 PM edit delete reply

Well, to be fair, he only needs ONE arm for that.
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:38 PM edit delete reply

And no legs.
highlander55 23rd Mar 2016, 7:36 PM edit delete reply

They could make him a Eunice then prop him against the panel and call him Ilene.
Wolfsbane 24th Mar 2016, 7:43 AM edit delete reply

ow. ow ow ow ow ow.

love it.
anonymous coward 22nd Mar 2016, 11:34 PM edit delete reply
Geez, don't be horrible, Lynn. Kyle got shot at and hit, and is only alive because a ghoulish AI drafted him into service beyond normal human life expectancy by retrofitting him with soldier boosts. Adding insult to injury about something that is already a traumatic experience that'll give him PTSD is just terrible.

P.S. Are we being set up to see a confrontation between Dolly, Acantha, and Lynn versus Caligula & crew? This feels... like an incredibly stupid possibility.
Tokyo Rose 23rd Mar 2016, 3:26 PM edit delete reply

Lynn's been through some pretty horrible shit herself lately; being able to joke about any aspect of it is arguably a good sign.

What makes you feel that such a confrontation is an "incredibly stupid possibility"?
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 6:02 PM edit delete reply

Anything involving Kyle, is already borderline stupid ?
anonymous coward 23rd Mar 2016, 6:32 PM edit delete reply
....I tried to be succinct. I condensed, I cut away discussion of the economic development levels of Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China. I still didn't manage your brevity in distilling the purest essence of what's so very wrong here. I bow to your wit.
anonymous coward 23rd Mar 2016, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
That would be an encounter which may theoretically 'solve' significant social, political and economic problems with a shoot-out between royal claimants for executive power. That's escapist heroic fantasy, real world sociopolitical problems like the buildup and collusion of corrupt interests that must have existed to support Decimus' regime don't get solved by personal-scale violence. The amount of violence required is either enough that there are too few survivors to continue the dispute, or much less than we've already had. Such a confrontation and political resolution would make more sense in high-fantasy with a nation on the level of development of Ancient Rome--iron forging and simple concrete construction as highest technological achievements--but it is just unreasonable here.
Centcomm 23rd Mar 2016, 9:11 PM edit delete reply

Remember .. Its just a story. Besides if they can get away with some of the tripe they put out in movies. we can get away with ANYTHING here.

anonymous coward 23rd Mar 2016, 11:28 PM edit delete reply
Well, I guess that's where I differ: I don't think that movies get away with that stuff, I walk out on them. It is true that I have much higher expectations of realism than your average Hollywood movie strives for though.
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:41 PM edit delete reply

Oh, I'm sure there will be some of that corruption left after such a shoot-out. Remaining praetorians (currently in a quick process of being dealt with) and corrupt senators and such. But that's what you've got an army, police force, judicial system and the Cassians for.
anonymous coward 23rd Mar 2016, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
Well, we still haven't seen the powers behind the throne that actually liked Decimus being in charge here. Is it arms merchants? Is it international kidnapping and human smuggling rings that run prostitution around the world? Is it junk-food smugglers? *shrug*
Lukkai 24th Mar 2016, 3:35 PM edit delete reply

From what we've seen and been told, those are less powers behind (as in having an actual influence) and more powers under (and profiting from) the throne.
Meaning they do have a certain power and influence in the city. But it is clearly outranked by that of the Livius family.
anonymous coward 24th Mar 2016, 4:40 PM edit delete reply
That's nuts, even the real world Kim Jong-un is more sane and responsive to domestic and international pressure than fscking Decimus Livius. There needs to be a good reason why he isn't already 6-feet under or kicked out of the palace by a smarter monster or the more mature adults.
Tokyo Rose 24th Mar 2016, 6:34 PM edit delete reply

More and more, I'm really regretting that we didn't make room in the present arc to show Decimus demonstrating why and how he stays in power. What we say in the comments is one thing, but actually showing it in the story would have been much better overall.

The most demonstrable-thus-far version of the "good reason" is thus:

1) He has absolute control over the combat droids that make up a very large part of New Rome's military power.

2) He's surrounded himself with guards that have personal loyalty to him and him alone, as well as having the enforced loyalty of Kali and the Cassians.

3) He has a self-destruct system designed to guarantee that if he's killed or incapacitated, the entire city (and quite a bit besides) goes with him.

The first two points have sufficed to ensure the continuance of MANY real-life regimes, no matter how crazy and/or fucking evil the guy at the top is.
Mark_L_A 22nd Mar 2016, 11:36 PM edit delete reply

Why do I have the feeling that Acantha and Lynn are right now planning on how Roma's and Troy's relationship after this is going to happen, for like the next 100 years ;)
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 6:17 AM edit delete reply

I think you are right, Mark. I just hope they both survive this, because the ride is NOT over yet!
Timotheus 23rd Mar 2016, 12:11 AM edit delete reply

I find the use of DOL-E224 to be most intriguing. There is no logical reason for Ceci("dark angel") to suddenly retrogress to that level of impersonal machine speak (Centcom(actual) calls her Dolly) unless it would be to imply some sort of internal program shuffling (personality elements are being redirected).
velvetsanity 23rd Mar 2016, 1:15 AM edit delete reply

I find it makes the rest of what she said ring false, as she hadn't used Dolly's full ID at any time previous
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

I believe it drives home who inhabits CeCi's body now, velvet. CentComm Actual doesn't call Dolly by her designation normally; however, this isn't the full CentComm. It is more like CentComm with the human interaction sub-routines removed. I point back to CentComm's interaction with Cella on Cent-comm's resolve (10 February 2014), when CentComm stopped playing human and went back to the Crystal Queen (uncrowned).
HiFranc 23rd Mar 2016, 2:09 AM edit delete reply

The use of her registration number sounded to me like:

I am your superior officer. I've given you an order and I expect you to obey it. Ceci never existed.
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 6:04 PM edit delete reply

This works with humand too ... if I call out the full official name of my significant other, they KNOW I mean business.
HiFranc 23rd Mar 2016, 3:09 AM edit delete reply

I wonder how Dolly would feel when she finds out (either from Dr Silver or Marcus) that Ceci was fully sparked.
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 4:59 AM edit delete reply

Dolly has to survive the adventure first, HiFranc. If they do run into Douchimus, Kali and two Blueboys things could get... dicey. Especially as she won't have CeCi backing her up! The Blueboys are just better equipped gutters, but Douchimus and especially Kali are another matter entirely.

Also keep in mind, Dolly was meant to be a MINOR character! And the EVIL duo has said they are going to stick to their script. Which means Dolly could be slated to die saving Lynn!

That would truly suck, losing both Dolly and CeCi. ;-(
Timotheus 23rd Mar 2016, 10:16 AM edit delete reply

In the old Japanese space opera manga "Highlander", the artist related what I always thought was a great story in his final comments. He was about 3/4s through the story and had reached the wedding between the two primary male-female characters, both of which he had slated to die in the final battle. "It's a real shame these guys are going to buy it." he thought. "They really deserve a chance for some happiness after all I've put them through." This was really bumming him out.
Then he had an epiphany. "Wait a minute, I'm the stories creator! I can change things if I want to!" And he then proceeded to rewrite the ending so they survived and he was much happier with it. (Everyone else he'd planned to have die did though. It WAS a space opera manga after all.)
Tokyo Rose 23rd Mar 2016, 3:38 PM edit delete reply

Truthfully, by the time we really started to seriously work on the comic, Dolly was no longer a "minor" character. That's not actually a stretch, though, considering that when Cent first came up with the idea for the story, it was literally just an excuse plot for a series of porn renders. :D
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 6:08 PM edit delete reply

Wait ... wait, wait ... this was all done in the name of Porn ??

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!
Dolly would be mortified! :D
Centcomm 23rd Mar 2016, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

Actually.. Yeah. It started out as just a series of Porn renders on Renderotica. hehe..
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:43 PM edit delete reply

And there we have it, people.

Some of the best things in life start with porn. :D
Gilrandir 23rd Mar 2016, 11:52 PM edit delete reply
Technically, all of the living things in Life start with porn. ^_^. (Cf., "the birds and the bees")
Tokyo Rose 24th Mar 2016, 6:39 AM edit delete reply

Shit, Gilrandir, that's a fucking mic-drop if I ever saw one. Bravo.
Gilrandir 24th Mar 2016, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
^_^ You're very kind. (.... No, wait ... you're not ... you live on hate ... you torture characters for a living ... you gave birth to Decimus and murdered CeCi ... ARRRRRGH!!!!! Conflicted! ....) ^_^
Gilrandir 25th Mar 2016, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
Ok, I've thought about it ... I'd rather be conflicted over sincere praise from you, Rose, than be flattered by many other people. ^_^
Sheela 25th Mar 2016, 11:46 PM edit delete reply

I have to admity to some curiosity, what name did you post under on Renderrotica ?
I wanna see what sparked it all ... no pun intended. XD

Edit :
Many 'e's were deleted !
Damn sticky key!
Stormwind13 23rd Mar 2016, 12:22 PM edit delete reply

Personally I think Rose got an inordinate amount of pleasure working that "stray kitten" line after all the comments about Dolly and her desire to save all the kittens. Rose probably had ideas how the conversation was going to go, but when the time came she likely remembered all the comments about Dolly before crafting that line. :-)
Tokyo Rose 23rd Mar 2016, 3:33 PM edit delete reply

I wanted CC!Ceci to say something dismissive, something that would emphasize how ridiculous it is to feel any need to "save" a combat machine that's performing its intended duties. I did indeed play around with several different ideas for the line, but I ultimately couldn't pass up the chance to put in that nod to our very active readers and their comments. :)
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 6:10 PM edit delete reply


The authors are onto us!
Run away !
highlander55 23rd Mar 2016, 7:42 PM edit delete reply

Maybe the Black Angel is to be erased and Ceci stays after the task is completed! Have to wait and see.
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:44 PM edit delete reply

Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 11:49 PM edit delete reply


And who knows, maybe the deletion program got deleted by Dr Silver?
Wolfsbane 24th Mar 2016, 7:45 AM edit delete reply

nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan nyan
KarToon12 23rd Mar 2016, 2:43 PM edit delete reply

Gotta' love the girl talk going on. XD
Kitty 23rd Mar 2016, 8:16 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I was gonna say I love how the teens act and talk like teens while the adults are busy fixing the world!
That one guy 23rd Mar 2016, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
So, did Ceci already give Dolly the codes she'd need to communicate with the New Troy team off-comic, or is Dolly about to go out without ability to communicate with the team?

Some ability to communicate with the other team seems like something Ceci would've been set up with and would pass along to Dolly.
Tokyo Rose 24th Mar 2016, 6:41 AM edit delete reply

Team Marcus is supposed to contact Dolly, not the other way 'round. Ceci wasn't provided with any means to arrange communications.
That one guy 24th Mar 2016, 5:12 PM edit delete reply
Thanks for the clarification
Lukkai 23rd Mar 2016, 10:45 PM edit delete reply

On a sidenote: First panel, Ceci's second speech bubble lines three/four. There's one "the" too many.
Sheela 23rd Mar 2016, 11:51 PM edit delete reply

I dunno man, I think that the the defense systems are extensive enough to warrant two "the's". :)
Tokyo Rose 24th Mar 2016, 6:33 AM edit delete reply

BALLS. *waves magic editorial wand*
Stormwind13 24th Mar 2016, 8:04 AM edit delete reply

That is actually HARD for most people to catch, Lukkai. Congratulations on catching it. Most people's minds skip right over it when it is broken at the end of/start of the line that way.
Lukkai 24th Mar 2016, 3:41 PM edit delete reply

I've developed a bit of an eye for such things over time. Having played guinea pig (and pretty much editor) for several fanfics or other short stories written by my brother or friends.
Pretty bad at catching those things in my own texts though. At least within the first about 24 hours after writing it. Checking back my own writings later, it gets easier to find my mistakes.
Rashala 24th Mar 2016, 12:38 AM edit delete reply new Troy a sudden spike is detected deep underground of rage induced radiation from the rashala@hotmail containment vault.....experts fear......and I quote". "Yeah.....he is mad and about to go quantum thermo nuclear if ceci is not okay......

A tedee clone was quoted as saying. Oooh hell is this gonna be fun to watch when he blows and heads for ol pinky
Wolfsbane 24th Mar 2016, 7:46 AM edit delete reply

Pinky? Is the Brain somewhere around too? Narf!

Computant 19th Aug 2016, 8:34 PM edit delete reply
Can I just point out that if merc is sent to Nova Ilium, it would significantly restrict the type and amount of punishment she would experience? My sense is that New Rome has a much more...medieval justice/punishment system...
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