Comic 1328 - Planning The Escape

27th Mar 2016, 9:00 PM
Planning The Escape
Average Rating: 5 (16 votes)
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Mark_L_A 27th Mar 2016, 9:04 PM edit delete reply

Acantha is growing in more ways than one.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2016, 10:42 PM edit delete reply

That she is :D Shes in fast forward at the moment even if she doesnt realize it.
DLKmusic 27th Mar 2016, 9:05 PM edit delete reply

Just because it's the big elephant in the room, it has to be said!

HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!!!! (or whatever other spring type celebration you celebrate)
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2016, 9:12 PM edit delete reply

Thanx, for those of us who celebrate the Elder Holidays, Ostara was a week ago, but wish you a Blessed Spring.
T1-G3R2501 28th Mar 2016, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
And a good Day of Free Nap to you as well!!
kitty 28th Mar 2016, 6:36 PM edit delete reply
And a Happy Dyngus Day!
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 9:20 PM edit delete reply

Happy easter !
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2016, 9:09 PM edit delete reply

Count on confrontation with Douchiemas, Question here will Acantha be able to order Kali to cease and desist quickly enough when they meet? Also where is Miraiko haven't seen her since she left Julia and rushed off on a special mission. Could she be coming with a stasis pack to encase Douchie for all eternity?
Sasky 27th Mar 2016, 10:41 PM edit delete reply
That'll be on Friday so we can have a cliffhanger.
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2016, 11:39 PM edit delete reply

You know our torturers all too well Grasshopper.
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 6:36 PM edit delete reply

Miraiko is off doing Miraiko things :D
jamie59 27th Mar 2016, 9:12 PM edit delete reply

Happy collision with douchebag & company.
CptKerion 27th Mar 2016, 9:37 PM edit delete reply
in reference to Alt Text: backtracking into a boss battle is worse though. "Grr. Time to go back the way I came." *plodplodplodplod* "GRRRAAAAAGGGGHHHH" "Oh you are shitting me."
Centcomm 27th Mar 2016, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

Been there done that. Too many times!
Timotheus 28th Mar 2016, 12:40 AM edit delete reply

To quote the Trojan army in "The Cartoon History of the World", "Trudge, trudge, trudge, we're off to settle a grudge."
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 9:20 PM edit delete reply

hahah good one!
Professor Fate 27th Mar 2016, 9:47 PM edit delete reply
Dolly's in her guardian role again and she's gonna be locked and loaded and ready to rock n' roll. I wonder if Prince Douchie has forgotten that Princess Acantha can control Kali as well? He's so focused on his endless monologue of revenge that little fact may have slipped his little deranged mind.

Heh! I'd like to see Kali take him apart like a chicken at a barbeque. Yes, I know, the Doomsday Machine Codes. I think between Aeneas and Doc Silver, there won't be much of a problem taking him off line.
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2016, 10:31 PM edit delete reply

Problem is Aeneas won't be on line and up to that task for several days yet. TR may have some plans along those lines, one would hope, after all she did set up and send out the invitations for this party.
cattservant 27th Mar 2016, 10:16 PM edit delete reply

Beat feet!
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2016, 6:56 AM edit delete reply

It won't be feet that get beat in this collision, catt! I expect it to be UGLY, I don't see how everyone can survive either. :-7
anonymous coward 27th Mar 2016, 10:19 PM edit delete reply
Wrong move Dolly. She has two VIPs and one self here, which is not a useful force for moving through chaos. The smart move is to hide, fortify, and arrange extraction. I don't know if that involves calling the other New Troy team, or instead means using some other contingency extraction fallback.
Dragonrider 27th Mar 2016, 10:27 PM edit delete reply

@AC: Call Grandma on the moon have her get one of the ET Space Ships to fly over from New Troy and beam the three of them to safety.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2016, 10:40 PM edit delete reply

Problem with staying there. This area is NOT going to be safe for them to stay there. Period. They cant stay.
anonymous coward 27th Mar 2016, 11:38 PM edit delete reply
False dichotomy, there are more places to go than just back to the palace and staying in Aeneas' installation.
Centcomm 27th Mar 2016, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

Sure there are. But they have to get there first. - And Im not sure I like the Argumentative tone of the post. I don't mind if you don't like Dolly's course of action. But please be nice to us.
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2016, 12:39 AM edit delete reply

What Dolly would really like to do is get the girls back to the palace, get them into a secure safe room, and--as she remarks above--find a way to contact the New Troy strike team for assistance in extraction. The problem with ducking into a hole, though, is that one runs the risk of getting trapped in it...
anonymous coward 28th Mar 2016, 1:46 AM edit delete reply
Offense not intended, sorry. You're both right that anywhere someone goes they can be trapped, but doesn't that go triple for retracing their steps going back to a burning palace full of combat, along a route that may* have been specifically tracked no less? Dolly has responsibility for two inadequately protected people it would be strategically-bad for New Troy to sacrifice or lose, and no other backup nearby if Ceci isn't coming with her. The sane thing to do is to consider and exhaust any and all other feasible options first before bring vulnerable VIPs where she knows there are armed hostiles.

One simple idea would be to talk to the rest of the New Troy command and build a joint plan instead of going back into the mess they recently escaped from. It should be at least possible to talk to New Troy through Luna Comm, and patch through to home, who can then use their reserve contact methods for talking to Ramesy's team. Even if any and all viable extraction plans involve craft from the palace alone that's still not a good reason by itself to go there: While the Nova Roma air defense grid is thoroughly sabotaged it would be much smarter to get Ramesy's people to fly craft to meet them at a third location away from both the palace brawl and Aeneas' potential danger.

A second plan that is useful even if somehow it turns out that Ramesy's team is too deeply in cover and can't talk back to New Troy command where they are, another simple plan would be to go loot something and use that to move. Maybe they would use such a vehicle to leave Nova Roma, or maybe they would use it to get near enough to the palace to contact Ramesy's people without actually entering the brawl. Can they not get anything to drive, fly or sail from Aeneas' bunker, somewhere nearby, or somewhere they can reasonably get to without going back to the palace itself?

A third plan that's worth discussing with Acantha if neither of the first two are practical is who to go to or ask for help in the local population. If Acantha is as popular as she seems to be there has got to be someone else they can ask for help to either hide or leave. Even a regular Nova Roma army barracks could be a good place to go at this point if word of the failed assassination attempt on Maxus and prince nutjob's plans to declare war on New Troy got out.

These are just three simple ideas, Dolly is supposed to be an ancient veteran who's got more experience with this than I could ever have. Trying to make this decision about what to do without calling home to let them know that Ceci's in place and checking for additional information seems pretty irresponsible, especially since Dolly does know about the existence of Ramesy's team.

*With two strategic-level VIPs in tow it's only sane to assume that Decimus has sent out units to track them down, instead of what he actually did charging after them.
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 2:16 PM edit delete reply

To be honest she is HOPING that Acantha is actually skilled with that pistol. She has no reason to doubt that she is. So Thats the second gun. Also shes hoping that Acantha can smooth the feathers of any possible friendly along the way.
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2016, 3:49 PM edit delete reply

It would be slightly incorrect to assume that Cent and I haven't thought about and discussed this at some length.

Plan One is not viable because Dolly has no way to communicate with the New Troy strike team. That's why she's entertaining a slight hope that she might be able to parlay with some of the rebels and make contact through them. There's no uplink to Luna-Comm available in Aeneas's complex (his comms were high on Aurelian's list of Shit To Break), and the Shinedo connection isn't an option because it would divert bandwidth away from the job of fixing Aeneas.

Plan Two is not viable because, no, they can't get to any sort of vehicle--there's nothing close enough to loot. Aeneas's complex isn't sitting in the middle of lovely downtown New Rome; there's a five-kilometer no-go zone around it wherein the local flora and fauna has been generally left to itself for years, making it incredibly unsafe to traverse on foot even if Aeneas's external weapons aren't taken into account. No sane person even wants to get very close to that area, much less live or work there, so figure in at least another kilometer of Effectively Nothing (aside from, possibly, a few complete lunatics, Gutter gangs, or utterly desperate down-and-outs--not groups who tend to have much in the way of reliable transportation) beyond that.

Plan Three runs afoul of the same basic snags as Plan Two. There's simply no safe route out of Aeneas's complex, aside from the same tunnel they came in through. There are no extra tram stops available along the way to try to leave the tunnel at any point between the complex and the palace to take their chances elsewhere in the city.

They must return to the Black Palace before they can even ATTEMPT any other plan of escape.
TheSkulker 28th Mar 2016, 1:40 AM edit delete reply

I have been thinking about this all weekend and it seems that just heading back is an extremely risky plan.

Dolly knows that the palace is a war zone. She knows that Lynn was wearing a tracker, must assume that their escape path is now known, and that the return path will likely encounter hostiles. While she is enhanced and weaponized, she has two very vulnerable non-combatants to protect which will degrade her fighting potential against pure fighting machines. The odd are not good.

While the defense system's meltdown was just a possibility in last week's strips, prudence would dictate getting the hell out of there. Your comment now makes that non-optional. Dolly and company are indeed between a rock and a hard place.

However, isn't there the possibility of a third alternative - i.e., time?

Aeneas has been dysfunctional for years and there are still over 27 million known errors to be fixed. Why the rush? Are they not risking a complete meltdown of Aeneas, not just the defense system? Could not the reboot be delayed for a short period (minutes? hours?), to fix more errors, allow time for Dolly to gain better intelligence, and for her to attempt contact/request support from other strike force members?

A second question: Dolly's one and only priority has been and still is to safely extract Lynn. Ceci's mission was to assist but her prime priority has now been revealed to be the repair of Aeneas. This could potentially be in conflict with Dolly's. If it comes to a choice between Lynn and Aeneas, is Ceci/Cent-Comm willing to sacrifice Lynn to promote/protect Aeneas' repair?

Exciting times. I suspect you two evilsters are thoroughly enjoying (and laughing at), our speculations, flailings and wails of despair over ongoing cliffhangers! You do good work!
Sheela 28th Mar 2016, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

As far as I can see, the most glaring issue here, is walking back the path where you know whoever is tracking you, will be coming.

An alternative route back to the palace, would seem prudent.
Well, *if* there is one.
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2016, 5:10 AM edit delete reply

No Dolly's problem in finding an alternate route is TIME, Sheela. If the alternate route takes much more than 5 minutes they might as well not leave because they will still be in the threat zone when defenses reset! Best of bad options.

Plus they don't KNOW Douchimus is that close. By rights he should be in the Palace directing defenses.

The only trackers they knew about are DEAD (Nox and company). Temporarily at least the way should be clear.
Visvires 28th Mar 2016, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
What about just smashing the defenses of a single room, and locking themselves in it? Is it that hard to make a blind spot?
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2016, 8:35 AM edit delete reply

Some of the defenses are mobile, Visvires. Remember the warbot Lynn saw when her and Acantha visited? I doubt they would enjoy a visit from a score or more of them. Especially after FURTHER damaging Aeneas' environment (just like Livus did).

Plus I'm not sure how Dolly would achieve the destruction. Currently she doesn't have a weapon! Aeneas' armored walls should be sufficient to protect emplaced guns long enough for Dolly, barehanded, to run out of time to disable enough of them to isolate a room.
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 8:39 AM edit delete reply

There is a reason old man livus was not able to kill Aeneas. Cent designed most of his defensive systems that includes self repairing and self guided robotics and emplaced weapons. Kyle and Ceci are immune to retribution by being physically connected to the system.

Dolly and Lynn as well as Acantha cant do that. Also Dolly is wearing light combat armor. It wouldn't stand up to more than a shot or two.
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2016, 2:39 PM edit delete reply
I understand the reason why it has been set up this way, and why it makes a great story that Dolly, Lynn, etc. have to leave.

I understand the concerns about exiting back along the only path which the hostiles are _most likely_ to be pursuing you, even though (for aforementioned story reasons) no alternate paths appear to exist.

But, when I read your latest comment, CentComm, I had an unworthy thought: Does this mean we get a bondage scene involving Dolly, Lynn, and Acantha?

After all, the only reason they have to leave is that they aren't "tied into the system". ^_^ Strap them over a couple of those consoles ... no problem! ^_^
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 3:22 PM edit delete reply

errr.. thats... Something that might come out of Folder 201!!!
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2016, 4:47 PM edit delete reply
Oh? Can I get a copy of the contents of Folder 201?
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2016, 5:00 PM edit delete reply


Gilrandir 28th Mar 2016, 5:20 PM edit delete reply
Ok, Rose. Ok. Just relax. I'm only into the consensual exchange of _information_. ^_^

Besides ... just knowing Folder 201 exists will help keep me warm at night.

(If Rose can use profanity as her chosen medium of artistic expression, is there any reason I can't use entendre? ^_^)
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2016, 6:58 PM edit delete reply

Besides risking gaining Rose's ire, Gilrandir? :-D
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2016, 7:10 PM edit delete reply
Hey! I can tell that Rose appreciates a well-turned ... phrase. ^_^
Gilrandir 28th Mar 2016, 7:19 PM edit delete reply
Or maybe my request is being rejected because of a filename error.

Can I get a copy of the contents of "Fold-her 201"? ^_^
Lukkai 28th Mar 2016, 10:19 PM edit delete reply

Well, Skulker: We already learned that CentComm is absolutely willing to sacrifice Lynn if necessary.
Wolfsbane 28th Mar 2016, 11:07 PM edit delete reply

...and we have also learned that there *is* such a folder known as '201'. Kind of like confirming the existence of Area 51, maybe? ;)
Sheela 29th Mar 2016, 2:17 PM edit delete reply

Lets not forget that Datachasers started because of .. porn.

Some day, we shall track it down, if nothing else , then to see what sparked the comic.
Tokyo Rose 29th Mar 2016, 3:47 PM edit delete reply

Hilariously, I don't think it ever actually got to the stage of being porn before plans changed. The initial setup had Lynn being an eminently hateworthy spoiled little bitch who whined at her mom to get her own way and treated Dolly like absolute shit, and that was pretty much where I and Mr. Black (not realizing what Cent had in mind) stopped Cent and went "Why would anyone even read this?"

The rest is like nine years of unexpectedly fun work.
Gilrandir 29th Mar 2016, 7:39 PM edit delete reply
Mirror-universe DataChasers? Kali with a Van Dyke? Cute & Cuddly Nox? CeCi with a barbed-wire whip?

... Naaaah. No one could imagine anything that twisted ...

(You're imagining it now, aren't you? ^_^)
Sheela 30th Mar 2016, 7:39 AM edit delete reply

Kali was a dyke ?
Lukkai 30th Mar 2016, 4:56 PM edit delete reply

Cue the Kali-Malati slash fics. May God have mercy on our souls. *facepalm*
mjkj 28th Mar 2016, 2:13 AM edit delete reply

Ok, they will run into douchie, it seems...

...and I wonder how close Ada and TeeDee are and how much do they have to backtrack...

Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 10:19 AM edit delete reply

TD and Ada are on the way to intercept Dolly. :D
mjkj 29th Mar 2016, 12:18 AM edit delete reply

Only thing is that they are above ground and the train is below.

Maybe they will find a maintenance access...?

Highlander55 28th Mar 2016, 3:17 PM edit delete reply
But they can take the train back and run over Douchies royal ass right?
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 9:19 PM edit delete reply

If hes on the tracks sure!
Sheela 29th Mar 2016, 2:18 PM edit delete reply

Just make sure you don't miss him. ;)
Mark_L_A 28th Mar 2016, 6:07 AM edit delete reply

A thought...

What happened to Lynn's tracker. CeCi took it off, and was going to put it on the railcar.

Democlus's body is missing, Arianna is supposed to be somewhere around there. Isn't it possible, Arianna found Democlus somewhat alive, took the tracker and the two of them are holed up waiting for someone to open the door to give them a nasty surprise?
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 10:20 AM edit delete reply

it wound up getting dropped to the floor and forgotten.

as for Demo and Arianna we shall see what happened to them later.
Stormwind13 28th Mar 2016, 5:37 PM edit delete reply

Why would Arianna want to ATTRACT attention with the tracker, Mark? I mean, it would lead Cassians to your position. That was how Nox was closing in on Lynn and Acantha.

As for Democlus... I don't think he was in any condition to help himself. Arianna isn't large enough to move him, especially without leaving trails where he bled as he was moved.
Mark_L_A 28th Mar 2016, 10:09 PM edit delete reply

My thinking is thus: Arianna knows that they were being tracked through the bracelet. She knows what will happen to her Princess if she is found, so she would take the bracelet thinking she was protecting her princess.

At the very least she could have picked it up and put it on a rat or something to give Prince Douche something to chase.
chk 28th Mar 2016, 8:20 AM edit delete reply

Not the route I would have thought. Not a lot of options, I suppose.
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 10:20 AM edit delete reply

Nope not a lot of options.
Thundarl 28th Mar 2016, 10:26 AM edit delete reply

It might be interesting to see if Douchie and company wind up in the middle between Ada, TeeDee and Dolly. Douchie will have to cover his butt and his front side and not become a walking Smore from the crossfire action.
Centcomm 28th Mar 2016, 2:14 PM edit delete reply

That sounds like a rather painful sandwich!
Sheela 28th Mar 2016, 2:23 PM edit delete reply

Hrm .. having to rely on the kindness of the big bad monster that could kill you in a heartbeat, or stay at a safe distance ?
Kinda reminds me of when Mrs Brisby had to ask the Old Owl for advice ... owls eat mice, yanno?
And the owl was an ally, who knows what Aeneas will be ?!
Highlander55 28th Mar 2016, 3:19 PM edit delete reply
Aeneas will be really pissed off at the least. If he is capable.
Morituri 28th Mar 2016, 7:05 PM edit delete reply
I like the idea of Deck getting absolutely flattened, and then the Cassians getting to watch as the hated cyberpath Dr. Silver is the only one who can get the contingencies shut down. Think they might make peace with cyberpaths after that? Assuming of course, that Acantha says they don't get to kill her, and she gets the hell out of their town immediately afterward?
Tokyo Rose 28th Mar 2016, 9:02 PM edit delete reply

No, it wouldn't really alter the Cassians' view. If anything, they'd point at a successful attempt as clear proof that Silver is indeed able to fuck around with high-security programming and therefore is every bit as dangerous as they feared. The only thing that would save her from death at Cassian hands is a direct order for them to stand down.
Morituri 28th Mar 2016, 9:48 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I figured the "get the hell out of our town" bit was going to be non-negotiable.
Tokyo Rose 29th Mar 2016, 3:55 PM edit delete reply

Oh, absolutely.
KarToon12 28th Mar 2016, 7:59 PM edit delete reply

Time for the women to get stuff done! :D
Guest 28th Mar 2016, 10:56 PM edit delete reply
I just had a horrible thought. Did the creators just put a red shirt on Acantha?
mjkj 29th Mar 2016, 12:23 AM edit delete reply

Nah, it is Lynn who wears it. =p
Stormwind13 29th Mar 2016, 6:48 AM edit delete reply

If either Acantha or Lynn dies, everything goes sideways. Both of them are needed to try and heal the rifts between the city states. It will be a whole lot harder without BOTH of them.

If Douchimus wins, it will be HE!! on Earth for both 'Princesses'. Of course that would be fodder for more stories.
Sheela 29th Mar 2016, 2:21 PM edit delete reply

On the bright side, it's a Number 42 shirt, so it might be immune to the red color.
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