Comic 1352 - Gloating

17th May 2016, 9:00 PM
Average Rating: 5 (19 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 18th May 2016, 2:41 PM edit delete
For those of you who asked for it .. Check out the TWC incentive! New one up!
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ProfEtheric 17th May 2016, 9:03 PM edit delete reply

I do believe he just signed his death warrant. It's one thing to possibly defeat someone. It's another to humiliate them. But this? There is a special bad villain hell for this, and Douchimus has reservations...

(When I say bad villain, I mean "stupid", not poorly done. He is excellently done.)
Thormation 17th May 2016, 9:11 PM edit delete reply

Especially considering he just admitted treason against the Empire in the hearing range of the enforcers of the Empire.
Tokyo Rose 17th May 2016, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

Decimus did just freely state he murdered a princess consort and a ruling prince, but Kali can't do anything about it. For one thing, words aren't evidence; for another, she has to obey him. I can't emphasize enough how much this has pissed her off over the years...
Visvires 17th May 2016, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
I maintain continuous contempt for the software designer who made that call. These are Romans. They invented the legal fiction. Holy formalities, Batman. Why is there no relief of command provision? They put in an inhibitor but neglect to afford safeguards against tyrants, even within the family? Bad plans, Mr. Kali Builder. Bad plans. No more building secret police robots for you. We're revoking your robotics license.
Tokyo Rose 18th May 2016, 3:59 PM edit delete reply

Mr. Kali Builder would like to be called DOCTOR Kali Builder; he did not spend all those years earning his robotics degree to be called MISTER. ;D
Hornet 18th May 2016, 5:31 AM edit delete reply
If words aren't evidence then confessions wouldn't be admissable in court...
StephenHFoster 18th May 2016, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
I believe, under Talmudic Law (Jewish), confession is inadmissible in court. A neat solution to the problem of coerced self-incrimination.
Tokyo Rose 18th May 2016, 4:03 PM edit delete reply


People confess to shit they didn't actually do all the time; that's why most modern legal systems incorporate further investigation, forensics, and cross-examination, among other things.

In this case, it could be argued that Decimus is TRYING to upset Acantha as much as possible for reasons known only to him, and could be twisting the truth or outright lying to serve that end.
Hornet 19th May 2016, 6:18 AM edit delete reply
Oh I know they do. And while you're correct that normally a confession alone is not enough for a conviction, it is still given weight as evidence.
As for theocratic law they have all kinds of interesting rules, usually based on the limited scientific methods they had at their disposal.
Mister Black 18th May 2016, 6:53 AM edit delete reply
Before you accuse Dec of treason, remember that it's only treason if you stage a coup and lose. As John Harrington put it, "Treason never doth prosper, what's the reason? For if it prosper, none dare call it treason.".

Regime change via assassination isn't exactly a new concept.
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
Or, to quote Ben Franklin from "1776", "Rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as "Our Rebellion". It is only in the third person, such as "Their Rebellion", it is illegal." ^_^
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 4:00 AM edit delete reply

Yeah i think Deck just crossed ALL the lines.. and then set them on fire!
Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 4:42 AM edit delete reply

With HELLFIRE even! Hopefully it will burn him properly!

GAH. You two made someone that I ACTIVELY want dead! In the most horrendous way possible even!
velvetsanity 17th May 2016, 9:03 PM edit delete reply

Fortunately, I don't think that will be much longer
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 4:00 AM edit delete reply

Proably.. *Spoilers*
Beltboy 18th May 2016, 4:31 AM edit delete reply
Please say this is a set up for him winging about feeling so cold as his life blood drains away.
velvetsanity 18th May 2016, 10:57 AM edit delete reply

Anyone want to start a betting pool on how many more pages before drekhead is fatally wounded? Maybe one on how many more minutes (in setting time) until he dies?

I doubt anyone would put money on him surviving, but we'll include that option for completeness.
Nystran 18th May 2016, 3:23 PM edit delete reply
I'd love to take that bet... It would be a shame to lose a villain with as much flavour as Deck.

Then the plot would have to focus on CentComm.

Oh wait...
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
Dragonrider 17th May 2016, 9:06 PM edit delete reply

I do believe someone just signed their own death warrant. In the background, somehow Dolly is holding off Kali and seems to be getting in some licks of her own, Kali's face doesn't look as fresh covered in 10W-50 or whatever she uses for lubricant/blood also looks like Dolly may have gotten off a shot dead on.
Edit Note: ProfEtheric posted a few seconds before I made the same comment. I do agree with him Douchimas has a front row SRO place reserved in the Ninth Circle of Dantes Inferno.
Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 4:34 AM edit delete reply

The ninth is NOT deep enough for him, Dragonrider!!! Dig some more and bury him on the 13th!!!
Timotheus 18th May 2016, 3:04 PM edit delete reply

I wish I could remember the story, but it ended with the villain being taken to the ninth circle of hell by the devil, handed a shovel, and ordered, "dig".
HeSerpenty 17th May 2016, 9:13 PM edit delete reply

Dam what a monster! D:
I hope this guy gets his head smeared on the wall.................... like a skid mark in the diaper of justice >:/
Centcomm 17th May 2016, 11:59 PM edit delete reply

Oh just wait for Friday and Monday! It gets even worse!
Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 4:32 AM edit delete reply

Agreed. We knew he was a monster, but the LEVEL. Talking about killing his own Father that way! That is SO monstrous! Acantha, please just SHOOT him! REPEATEDLY!!!
Wolfsbane 18th May 2016, 8:04 AM edit delete reply

Thanks so much, Cent. As if the bile of hate wasn't strong or deep enough, you two have to just keep pouring on more... :P

Maybe it *should* be a battle 'to the pain', ( so that he can wallow in freakish misery and soak in the howls of derision and hatred towards him that he so richly deserves for many many long healthy years.
Timotheus 17th May 2016, 9:31 PM edit delete reply

His Lowness is making the ultimate fundamental error of gloating before the fighting is over. Fratricide is hard for someone with any sense of ethics, but he's doing his best to help Acantha out. As for Dolly and Kali, I'd say the most important factor is that Dolly has motivation in quantities that register off scale. Kali only has her (programed) sense of duty to the abstract concept of Nova Roma (and even this tells her that Acantha would be the better ruler) and the real desire to prevent the contingencies from being enacted (which Prince Unstability could still set off on some whim even if he isn't hurt).

Nobody's mentioned the fact that Decimus could voluntarily set off the contingencies just to punish Nova Roma, have they?
The Old Scribe 17th May 2016, 9:33 PM edit delete reply

Jesus Christ, Acantha, exactly what WILL it take you to drop that brother of yours? For a possible ruler of New Roma, you're acting more like Mary Jane than Spider Man. Shoot his fucking knees and elbows why don'cha? It won't kill him and set off the Doomsday Trio, but he'll sure be in a world of hurt. Oh, and you can kick him in the face for the finishing touch.
Tango Xray Actual 17th May 2016, 10:19 PM edit delete reply

Well color her a redhead ;)
Centcomm 17th May 2016, 11:58 PM edit delete reply

I didnt understand the red head comment..
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 12:46 AM edit delete reply
I believe it's a reference to comparing Acantha's behavior to that of Mary Jane Parker nee Watson -- a well-known redhead to those familiar with the Marvel Universe.

Or I could be completely wrong. ^_^
Centcomm 17th May 2016, 11:59 PM edit delete reply

well to be fair to her - she is having a moment here..
sigpig 18th May 2016, 9:14 AM edit delete reply

@The Old Scribe - I would suggest a few VERY firm kicks to his baby-makers, if only to ensure that his genetic materiel doesn't get the opportunity to pollinate...
Nystran 18th May 2016, 3:27 PM edit delete reply
Some life forms pollinate by air...
Tokyo Rose 18th May 2016, 4:05 PM edit delete reply

Nah, it's okay. He's as sterile as a mule.
Gilrandir 17th May 2016, 10:09 PM edit delete reply
I really like the picture-in-picture technique for showing the dialogue going on in parallel with the fight. Very nicely done ... however, the red overlay and the many obscured details do make it difficult to puzzle out the action sequence. For example, that kind of looks like Dolly's K-Bar going flying in one panel, not one of Kali's eastern-style blades -- but I don't recall Dolly drawing her knife in the first place. Any chance we could get the action sequence, unobscured, in the gallery to appreciate?

I apologize if I overstep with this request. I appreciate the comic just as it is and don't want to add to your work. But, if it isn't too much trouble, it seems there is more there that deserves to be appreciated.
Tokyo Rose 17th May 2016, 10:28 PM edit delete reply

Originally, the "action" panels were set up on their own separate pages, but as I looked them over, I realized that cutting back and forth between the drama and the action just didn't work. It was jarring and broke the flow. I feel Cent's compromise is fucking brilliant and cinematic--a very brutal and ferocious fight's going on in the background, but the confrontation between Acantha and Decimus is the truly important part of the scene.

That said, I'm pretty sure Cent won't mind putting up those action pages as vote incentives ;)
Centcomm 17th May 2016, 11:57 PM edit delete reply

That sounds good.. I could do that probably :D
chk 18th May 2016, 7:53 AM edit delete reply

Yeah. I like that picture in picture idea too.

It wouldn't work in a lot of scenes, but it sure does here.
Tango Xray Actual 17th May 2016, 10:16 PM edit delete reply
1) Fantastic artwork!!! Congrats

2) When are villian going tolearn to cut the gloating monologues.... it gives the good guys time to set up the kill shot!

3) DOUBLE KNEECAP THE SOB!!!!!!!!! Then blow away a few more major joints!
mjkj 17th May 2016, 10:41 PM edit delete reply

Ugh, taunting... shoot him already, Acantha!!!

Nooooo!!! Kaliiii!!!!

mjkj 19th May 2016, 12:07 AM edit delete reply

Thank you for the new vote incentive. Now I can clearly see that Dolly just hit Kali - and not decapitated her... *is relieved*
DLKmusic 17th May 2016, 10:50 PM edit delete reply

From an artistic standpoint, this is one of the best pages you've ever done, Cent! Seeing both Kali and Dolly pushed to their limits against each other, while Decimus is gloating.

Don't really have much to add, except I would like to see someone rip Decimus's tongue out by the roots...
Visvires 17th May 2016, 11:07 PM edit delete reply
I could really go for some Nightmare Fuel right now.
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 12:46 AM edit delete reply

Thank you DLK! :D
Visvires 17th May 2016, 10:54 PM edit delete reply
Do you want her to ignore the Contingencies and shoot you? Because that's how you get her to ignore the Contingencies and shoot you.

His pistol is out of ammo. His sword is buried. If he ticks her off enough to employ her gun, and stays too busy enjoying her suffering to realize the danger...he's going to get shot. There are dire consequences for a lethal shot, and its hard to open fire and ensure no lethal shot, but I expect that the dice will be rolled if he keeps this up.
Rashala 17th May 2016, 11:44 PM edit delete reply

rest of his life? so both seconds of it?
Sheela 18th May 2016, 12:43 AM edit delete reply

Meanwhile Dolly is getting her body a proper workout.
Told ya all that it wasn't as fragile as it looks - That body was MADE for a guardian, not some ditzy maid.
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 12:46 AM edit delete reply

Very true Sheela..
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 12:49 AM edit delete reply
This is not the Dolly/Kali full-body workout I might want for a vote incentive ... but it will certainly serve until something with less clothing comes by. ^_^
sigpig 18th May 2016, 9:18 AM edit delete reply

Remember - Kali is like a Barbie doll - she didn't get the fun-factory upgrade (just like all the other Cassians)...
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 10:50 AM edit delete reply
As I recall, though I could be wrong, @Tokyo Rose has said that Kali (and some other, but not all) Cassians are "fully functional". And that Decimus has used this fact to abuse them -- specifically her -- further (in case some of you out there don't yet despise him sufficiently).

We do know that she comes with attractive and decorative sleepwear -- which it is hard to imagine her choosing to wear of her own free will.
velvetsanity 18th May 2016, 11:00 AM edit delete reply

Nothing wrong with a little bikini- (or less) clad mud wrestling lol
Sheela 19th May 2016, 10:56 AM edit delete reply

Malati had the fun-factory, and it was hinted at that she used it on the "hulking, sweaty, virile gladiators possessed of a square jaw and flowing golden hair". :)
Morituri 18th May 2016, 1:31 AM edit delete reply
It's bad tactics, as well as bad style, to make such statements to someone in the line of succession who is STILL ALIVE.

I mean, Deck has not been terribly bright this whole time, and his crippling ego probably can't allow him to recognize the danger of what he just did - but *one* of the reasons he's had such an easy time staying alive is that Acantha has not been sufficiently provoked until now to actively seek to kill him.

But he's just placed his own demise at the absolute top of her to-do list, with a higher priority than even escaping. The contingencies and the cassians are now merely tactical considerations, no longer a reason why he can't be killed.
Kamy 18th May 2016, 2:02 AM edit delete reply

Does she become the queen or does she stay the little girl. Acantha, that's the time.
Don B. 18th May 2016, 2:03 AM edit delete reply
With each page since I first discovered Datachasers I've found something that has impressed me. Be it the dialogue, artistic choices and/or various other things...but every now and then you do something like this. Dex revealing the depths of his madness, the fight in the background but most of all (and this is what really riveted my attention) the absolutely horrified look on Acanthas' face in response to all that. Dex would probably call it priceless but I sure as hell wouldn't. This is gonna be one of my all time favorite pages. Not really sure what I was expecting when we finally got to the point that the fan broke from all the shit hitting it at once but I am sure that my expectations have been pretty exceeded overall.
Matt Knab 18th May 2016, 3:07 AM edit delete reply

A stray bullet would be super welcome right about now. XD
Visvires 18th May 2016, 4:34 PM edit delete reply
Careful. Our dear authors might place it in someone you like.
KarToon12 18th May 2016, 3:20 AM edit delete reply

*grabs shotgun*

Okay, that's it.

*click, click*

He's going down.
Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 4:36 AM edit delete reply

Better use SILVER, KarToon! Make sure the SOB STAYS dead!
jamie59 18th May 2016, 4:46 AM edit delete reply

She's not going to care any more about the consequences. Just that he's dead!
Greenwood Goat 18th May 2016, 4:49 AM edit delete reply

Acantha: D-X *strike*

Decimus: *dies*

Lynn: You... you've...

Acantha: ...Killed everyone. I...

Lynn: *sigh* I forgive you. *hugs her* You couldn't help yourself.

Tokyo Rose: +I don't! Aeneas! Gimme a hand here!+ *initiates total (but reversible) cascade failure of everything in Nova Roma*

Nyan Cat worm: ♫-nyanyan ♫ nyanyanyanyan ♫ nyany-*

Noctis: +Gratia!+ *flicker of a half-smile*

Company of praetorians facing her: *see smile* *faint, suffer seizures or drop dead from shock*

Or maybe...

Decimus: ...And then, and then - when you were three, I destroyed your favourite dolly! And again when you were four, and four-and-a-half, and five! You thought it was me, but I was too clever to be caught, and father wouldn't believe it and wasn't interested! I was laughing at your tears all the time! I still play back the footage I took and laugh at it! Maybe I'll do a compilation video of all the best moments for you to watch when you're chained up- Oh, yes - and when you were a toddler, I made you walk into things! I'd wave shiny things at you, and you'd toddle over, straight into overhanging furniture, trip hazards or my Ludo brick traps! I laughed every time! And-

Dolly: *ahem* Hi. While you were busy gloating, I was able to defeat Kali, and hunt down those two fleeing praetorians, and secure the area. And Tokyo Rose was able to restore Aeneas to full operation. And together they have been able to expunge those contingencies of yours, and revoke your control of the city's combat droids. I mean, you've been going on for hours...

Decimus: You-

Dolly: *shoots him twice in the guts and once through each shoulder* And I was also able to get these- *hands Lynn and Acantha a nail-studded club each* Now, if you let me take the armour off him, you can start at the bottom and work up...

Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 4:54 AM edit delete reply

Still better end than he DESERVES, Goat!
highlander55 18th May 2016, 5:59 AM edit delete reply

Very good Ladies, great overlay of 2 different action segments.

As for Acantha killing Decimus, that issue was brought up in a previous page about her killing him it would look like a power grab by her. With agents from New Troy helping her it would seem like they are trying to put Acantha in charge as a puppet as there are no other witness's to his actions about how he killed their father and her mother.
Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 6:13 AM edit delete reply

Anyone that knew both of them would believe Acantha, highlander. Entirely too plausible. And Acantha isn't tripping on power, that isn't her thing.

Now some of them might dispute her purely for political gain. They would know Acantha's version was true though.
Mark_L_A 18th May 2016, 6:18 AM edit delete reply

He is violating the Rules of an Evil Overlord
Romfire 18th May 2016, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
I don't get Tokyo Rose's statement about what he said not being evidence. In the USA,

1. You have the right to remain silent.

2. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.

Kali is the Court of law in Nova Roma.
She acts as Judge, Jury and most importantly Executioner.
I really doubt that the laws in Nova Roma are more criminal friendly than they are in the USA.

A voluntary confession is admissible as evidence. Kali has not arrested his lowness, so there is no reason for a "Miranda" right reading. While suspicion is not enough to act on, a confession is. He just admitted that he is not the rightful ruler of Nova Roma and is in fact a criminal against the state. So unless Kali is out of hearing range, or Dolly damaged her ability to hear, her next move should be to hit Decimus with all the force of a "...a car moving at speed...".
She would not only be constrained to take action, she would take great pleasure in doing so. She would also be constrained to take action to subdue him, yet keep Nova Roma safe from the contingencies that would be set off of if Acantha shoots him dead.
Decimus would have to have had the cassians hardwired to serve him alone, not the ruler of Nova Roma, not his family, but just blindly obey his every whim.
Sorry if I am lawyer ising this up, but I can't find any other way to read this.

Stormwind13 18th May 2016, 7:50 AM edit delete reply

Kali is the personal protector of the head wearing the crown, Romfire. At least as I understand it. So she can't act against him without directly witnessing the act herself.

The other Cassians COULD probably act on the information in ways Kali cannot; however, I think they would have to get through Kali first.
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 8:47 AM edit delete reply
As has been pointed out before, Kali is the protector of the Livius family, and is outside the normal apparatus of state. It isn't clear she could act against him, even if she did directly witness him committing a criminal atrocity. We have been told, however, that if she personally witnesses Acantha kill Decimus, that would prevent her loyalty from transferring to Acantha. I haven't figured that out yet, but I'm working on it. Current (inconclusive) results keep pointing to something involving Dobby and socks. ^_^
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.

Confessions are not evidence. Testimony given under oath (including properly signed and witnessed confessions) may be admissible as evidence. Eyewitness testimony may be admissible as evidence, including things like "I heard him say he did it." (But not hearsay like "She told me she heard him say he did it.")

There's also the issue that who says a criminal can't be the Imperator of Nova Roma? It might (and probably should) be a barrier to him being confirmed in office (if it was known). However, once confirmed, you shouldn't get to just invalidate a Senate ruling just because he admits to some past crime prior to taking office. Presumably there is some formal political process akin to impeachment (if you can gather enough support and survive long enough to bring it to bear) -- but that isn't really relevant here.
Guest 18th May 2016, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
@RomFire: I think the mistake you are making here is thinking that Kali is the Law in Nova Roma. She is not. She is the equivalent of the leader of a Black-ops intelligence service that answers strictly to the throne.

Although The Cassians responsibilities do cross over with the law in many instances, Her function and purpose is to protect the person sitting on the throne.

This has been stated many times by both Rose and Cent-Comm. The only way Kali can stop taking orders from Decimus and start taking orders from Acantha is if Decimus dies and Acantha becomes Ruler. Decimus Admitting to Fratricide in her presence is not enough to transfer that power, or for her to act against him.

DLKmusic 18th May 2016, 12:47 PM edit delete reply

GAH! I did it again!!!!

please stop me before I guest again, I am becoming a nuisance to fellow commentors!

(and I meant Patricide/Matricide, not Fratricide, although he's trying to commit that as well at the moment...)
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 12:59 PM edit delete reply

Ok .. Kali may be the head of the Cassians who have been refered to as the " Secret police of Roma.

If a Roma Law enforcer tried to arrest Deck Kali would be bound to protect him. Period.

But she is NOT a law enforcement officer. She is the princes personal body guard. and as such is totally separate from the legal system.

IF Deck had shot his father in FRONT Of her she could act. but he didn't so she is bound by her inhibitor.

She CANT act against the prince in anyway currently. Noctis would have to find a loophole to act on and could not act directly. Nor could any Cassian.

chk 18th May 2016, 7:56 AM edit delete reply

The expressions on Acantha's face are just beautiful.

You two just keep raising the proverbial bar.
sigpig 18th May 2016, 9:26 AM edit delete reply

So here's the question: Where is Lynn? I wonder if she grabbed Acantha's pistol and is currently sneaking up behind Douchimus for a back-shot...


@Gilrandir - You mentioned that Kali's loyalty won't transfer to Acantha if Acantha kills Douchy McDoucheFace, but I wonder if it would if Lynn takes him out?
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 9:47 AM edit delete reply
I'm just quoting @Tokyo Rose, there. I won't claim to understand the principles and protocols at work.
chk 18th May 2016, 10:47 AM edit delete reply

Lynn can't fire Acantha's gun. It's got some kind of bio-metric code on it.
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 1:02 PM edit delete reply

Yes Acantha is the ONLY one that can use the gun Aeneas gave her.
Mark_L_A 18th May 2016, 2:14 PM edit delete reply

But could Lynn use Dolly's weapon which Kali knocked out of Dolly's hand?
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 1:03 PM edit delete reply

Then Kali would be bound to retaliate against Lynn.

Lynn would most likely not survive. Even if she were to applaud the act privately.
Visvires 18th May 2016, 5:31 PM edit delete reply
Can Acantha pre-load the order to stand down? Give it in advance of the shot, then authority comes along after?
Tokyo Rose 19th May 2016, 5:02 AM edit delete reply

What, like saying "Kali, don't attack Lynn" and then signal Lynn to shoot Decimus? No. Again, Acantha does not have the authority to issue commands to Kali while Decimus is alive, and an attack on him in her presence invokes immediate retaliation.
rfaramir 24th May 2016, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
not that directly, as she doesn't have authority at that moment. More like: "Kali, if I ever somehow--not by my own hands, of course--become Imperator, I would order you to consider Lynn's protection second only to my own. Consider it a pre-loaded order so I don't have to mention it at the time. I might be busy."
Tokyo Rose 24th May 2016, 4:01 PM edit delete reply

At most, it would be a suggestion, not an order. But I appreciate the creativity on display here :D
DizzasterJuice 18th May 2016, 9:43 AM edit delete reply

Nice page layout! I'm still not caught up on the story yet but I'm getting there.
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 1:01 PM edit delete reply

Thanks .. I really appreciate it!
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 9:59 AM edit delete reply
More entries from the Big Book of Dialogue We'll Never See:

Kali (mid-punch): "So, Dolly ... do you ever find yourself wishing that the last members of the bloodline you're hardwired to protect will take each other out so you can finally be free of those damned Loyalty Protocols?"

Dolly (mid-block, emphatically): "Tell me about it!"
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 1:01 PM edit delete reply

Um Actually Dolly is under no such constrant. She loves her family. Period.

She is motivated by the same thing that motivates any other family member to protect another.
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 1:04 PM edit delete reply
Hence "Dialogue We'll Never See". ^_^

I understand (and thank you for taking time to reply). Just another few of my weird brain cells firing.
Nef 18th May 2016, 10:04 AM edit delete reply

Get him while he monologues! That's the best time to hit them.
Centcomm 18th May 2016, 1:01 PM edit delete reply

Sadly Acantha is frozen in shock.
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
You don't want to start prematurely terminating villains who monologue. The moment you begin the process of Natural Selection to evolve villains who don't monologue, you start making your own life that much more difficult. ^_^

Plus, see Terry Pratchett on why you want villains to monologue and why, if you are at the mercy of anyone, you don't want it to be the good guy.
CptKerion 18th May 2016, 2:14 PM edit delete reply
I can speak to this. My GM had one villain in the middle of a monologue and my hardened veteran Starship Marine levelled his mag-rifle at the guy and unleashed hell. No villain has monologued at us within range since that.

I intend to get a Self Propelled 120mm Howitzer to fix that problem.

Also, the exact Quote from Terry Pratchet:
"If you have to look along the shaft of an arrow from the wrong end, if a man has you entirely at his mercy, then hope like hell that man is an evil man. Because the evil like power, power over people, and they want to see you in fear. They want you to know you're going to die. So they'll talk. They'll gloat.

They'll watch you squirm. They'll put off the moment of murder like another man will put off a good cigar.

So hope like hell your captor is an evil man. A good man will kill you with hardly a word."
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 3:25 PM edit delete reply
Yes, thank you, @CptKerion. Your research-Fu is strong and that is the quote to which I was alluding.
CptKerion 18th May 2016, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
Officially into "You ever been buggered by a chainsaw? No? Well, you're about to find out first hand." territory
this chainsaw with roughly that expression
CptKerion 18th May 2016, 2:09 PM edit delete reply
I think I found a song that quite effectively portrays our feelings toward Decimus at the moment.

The Devil Gets Your Soul by Nick Nolan
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
Thank you for the vote incentive. It is, as I was confident it would be, very nice.
Gilrandir 18th May 2016, 3:48 PM edit delete reply
Yet another entry from the File of Unwarranted Speculation:

WARNING: The following is a horrible, hurtful, terrible condemnation of a person I have never met and about whose real-life character I have no legitimate reason whatsoever to impute such malignant and cruel intention. I can only hope she will be flattered by it. ^_^

That monologue up above. The one where Decimus is cruelly reveling in Acantha's play of facial expressions as he reveals the extent and the depth of his abuse of those she loves, all with an aristocratic sneer ...

Picture that look on the face of @Tokyo Rose as she imagines your faces and continues to put poison pen to paper (metaphorically) and fill Decimus' mouth with dialogue! Harsh, I know. But I did hear somewhere that she is a "spiky ball of hate". ^_^
Tokyo Rose 18th May 2016, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

Hang on, I have to adjust the lighting in here to properly under-light my face and sinister grin, and I have to get Ben to lie in my lap so I can stroke him ominously...
chk 18th May 2016, 4:59 PM edit delete reply

That new TWC incentive is sweet.

What is Dolly doing in the last panel? It looks seriously damaging.
Cal 18th May 2016, 5:07 PM edit delete reply
Oh, Douchimus.

These are your final words; make them a prayer.
Morituri 19th May 2016, 7:19 PM edit delete reply
Indeed, the memory will warm him for the rest of his life.

That's maybe, what, another couple of minutes?
mjkj 19th May 2016, 12:10 AM edit delete reply

Thank you for the new vote incentive...
Stormwind13 19th May 2016, 8:06 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, thank you for sharing the images with us, CentComm. They show just how brutal this fight is. Neither Kali or Dolly is giving an inch.
highlander55 19th May 2016, 5:13 AM edit delete reply

In the Vote incentive panel #2 Dolly blocked Kali's right arm and there was a knife but in panel #1 there is no knife in Kali's open hand? Oops maybe?
Stormwind13 19th May 2016, 5:20 AM edit delete reply

My impression is that we are seeing snap shots of the fight. There are blocks and evaded punches, possibly by the dozens. The medium doesn't allow for CentComm to show EVERYTHING going on.
TheSkulker 19th May 2016, 1:29 PM edit delete reply

We've given Cent lots of well deserved kudos for her fantastic art but I wonder how much of her perfectionistic attention to details goes unnoticed. For example, hair. I first noticed this way back on Acantha and Lynn's first outing. You could almost feel the breeze blowing their hair around. Dolly's hair in today's strip is another example and it is almost criminal that most of it got covered up by the dialog. Only in the TWC voter incentive can we see the full picture and how it reflects Dolly's movements. Likewise the little skin folds on Kali's knuckles in panel one and the true-to-life variation in finger vs knuckle sizes. One has to look very close in the background view as it has lost a lot of the contrast. The details pop right out in the TWC view, however.

And the artwork is not the only area that gets detailed scrutiny. Quite a while back Cent or TR mentioned that they had spent a day and a half just deciding on a name for one of the characters that would be historically accurate and fitting for their universe. They don't get paid enough!

What is really sad is their lack of recognition. The Hugo finalists have been announced so I took a look at the choices for graphic novels. Two of the five had links to their web comics. How they even got nominated let alone be finalists is beyond me: the art is juvenile (and cut and paste), the story lame and the setting/environment pretty barren. The contrast between them and Luna Star leaves me scratching my head. Something is very wrong here.
Timotheus 19th May 2016, 1:42 PM edit delete reply

Logic and talent has nothing to do with it. It's all demographics and the way the numbers fall. I stopped worrying about awards and ratings as a measure of quality a long time ago. (I quote, "There's Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics'")
As a side example, a few years back I noticed that most winners of the supposedly all important independent quality awards in small and medium sized industry went out of business within two years of getting them.
Gilrandir 19th May 2016, 1:55 PM edit delete reply
(I found these opinions on my doorstep. Would you please give them a good home?)

Speaking only for myself, @TheSkulker ...

I agree that much of what goes into the fine graphic storytelling here is unappreciated by ... well, me. Honestly, I don't know enough about the mechanics by which the art is produced to know which details (hair, texture, etc.) are easy, and which require artistic skill and dedication beyond the norm. I'm sure that a lot of hard work is going into it, because (as artists have lamented since the beginning of Art) when you get it right, no one notices, but when you get it wrong, everyone notices. ^_^ So, my thanks to the creative team for doing all the things I am not skilled enough, trained enough, clever enough, or smart enough to enumerate and appreciate in detail. I hope they will just be satisfied with me appreciating the resultant gestalt of the finished product.

As far as the Hugos go ... it's a process. Which, of course, means it's a flawed process. Certainly name recognition is huge in the nomination process, which is why it is hard for first-timers to erupt onto the scene and win a Hugo. It's also why a campaign helps a lot, and starting one up late may not produce satisfactory results. You need to campaign early and hard to reach as many potential nominators as possible if you're not already well known in the field.

I will take a moment to call folks attention to the Campbell Award for new writers, which has a two-year window of eligibility. I don't know if Ms. Hale & Smoot would be eligible because I don't know if a graphic novel would count as a 'first work' and when the clock would start on it if it were. I'll also point out that people shouldn't give up on the notion of getting them an award because I agree their work deserves recognition. We just need to put in some due diligence. Identify a coherent story arc within DataChasers that is either about to wrap up, or has already wrapped up in 2016, and start promoting it now for the awards in 2017. Even if that doesn't win, you gain visibility for the next story arc which wraps up in 2017, to be promoted for the 2018 awards, etc. Just getting on the final ballot would give a big push, because once people get used to seeing you on the ballot, they tend to seek you out and reinforce that expectation.

Just my opinion, as always.
Johninaustin 19th May 2016, 4:58 PM edit delete reply
EXCELLENT work. Esp Acantha's expressions.

Pardon me for being late, but I have a thought. Would Douche's admission of essentially, exterminating his way to the throne have any effect on Kali's protocols? After all, regicide may be frowned upon by the local bodyguards, even if they found out about it afterwards from a gloating dirtbag.
Tokyo Rose 19th May 2016, 7:37 PM edit delete reply

No. It's been said before in the comments, but I know that not everybody reads them all, or catches details. If Decimus had shot his father IN FRONT of Kali, that would have been one thing; him stating he'd done so (years after the fact, no less) has no effect on her protocols whatsoever.
Morituri 19th May 2016, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
I sincerely believe that one of Acantha's first acts as queen, ought to be making a shrine to free will and housing there Malati's remains, then impressing on the Cassians that she does not want butchers on the throne in the future - not even herself - and offering them the opportunity to continue in service as free beings - with a request that occasionally one of them should go to that shrine and tell people Malati's story.
Tokyo Rose 19th May 2016, 7:42 PM edit delete reply

That would be... meaningless, to say the least. The Cassians do what they're told, thanks to their inhibitors, and Acantha is very unlikely to authorize the removal of said inhibitors; it would be utterly insane and stupid to completely cut the leashes of the most dangerous and deadly killers around. She's much more likely to order the Cassians destroyed. Remember that New Rome's attitude towards androids isn't as free and easy as New Troy's.
Morituri 19th May 2016, 8:09 PM edit delete reply
Well, drat. I see the logic, but honestly I think the whole city would be safer in the long run if they served out of loyalty and honor than continuing under coercion. Malati's excesses being a case in point.

I think of Malati as one of the most tragic victims in the piece. She was forced to become a butcher, and lived a lifetime of self-loathing over it. She made herself into a monster to express her guilt at, well being a monster. Her raging frustration at her inability to get at the moral rot at the top led to moral rot within herself. And eventually she suicided rather than allow herself to be used to destroy Nova Roma's last hope.

I say she's a cautionary tale about how horrible things can get for beings who are denied free will.
Tokyo Rose 19th May 2016, 8:18 PM edit delete reply

It's not as though anyone else really comprehends Malati's internal struggle. Most Nova Romans would be confused at the idea that an android COULD feel remorse or guilt at all.
Gilrandir 19th May 2016, 8:14 PM edit delete reply
Well, they don't always do as they are told (cf. Malati). The problem is we don't know whether that was a random instance, peculiar happenstance, or manifestation of design flaw. Did Malati's inhibitor fail because of a defect in materials or workmanship? Was it stressed by something beyond its design limit? Or could any Cassian defy their inhibitor and self-terminate at any time if they were just possessed of a sufficiently strong spark? Was Malati unique, or typical of the breed? What if it were her bio-conversion that allowed her to beat the inhibitor?

One imagines, however, that when all the after-action reports are processed, several people in Nova Roma will need clean trousers after they realize that a Cassian successfully defeated the inhibitor -- and a few microseconds later they will, in fact, introduce a proposal to scrap the Cassians. The logical thing for Acantha to do is counter-propose exile and let them emigrate to New Troy in exchange for other concessions -- which might give Tokyo Rose kittens at the thought of CentComm with even more uber-lethal god-mode assassins under her control, instead of them coming to Shinedo.

After that, it might get complicated ... ^_^
Tokyo Rose 19th May 2016, 8:24 PM edit delete reply

Self-termination isn't an option for Cassians - otherwise Nox would have most likely offed herself years ago. Malati's inhibitor was working perfectly. The only way she was able to do what she did was the fact that, at the time, the top priority in the command list was "kill Maxus and Irene". The inhibitor could either force her to kill them, or force her to stop attempting to kill herself. The conflict of commands left her one tiny opening, and she used it.

(However, this information isn't going to make it into the public record, so...)
Gilrandir 19th May 2016, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
Won't there always be _something_ at the top of the tasking list (unless they are off-duty)? Which implies that every time you give a Cassian an order they find sufficiently repugnant to divide the inhibitor's capability, the window for self-termination opens. Maybe Malati was just the first one clever enough to figure it out, but Hrist was a witness, so (assuming she survives and is ordered to provide a complete after-action report), the story and it's implications should get out. Maxus, at the very least should recognize the dilemma and the implications. At least I would think so, but I apologize if I overstep.
Morituri 19th May 2016, 7:12 PM edit delete reply

Your work on facial expressions here is nothing short of amazing. Acantha, in particular, in this sequence is more expressive than I've ever seen ANY cgi character.

I don't know if this is a thing, but if 3d artists have toolboxes with macros in them to "apply such-and-such facial expression to this character" or even "I want 30% of the 'smile' transformation with 70% of 'smirk'" or whatever -- Your stock of facial-expressions have value on the same scale of worth as the 3d models themselves.

I mean, I'm not knocking the work of people who make these 3d model characters at all - getting the measurements and dynamics down to that level is an enormous challenge and the recent models are just about photorealistic.

But what you're doing with facial expressions here is nothing short of magical.
Romfire 19th May 2016, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
As stated by others Cudos on the great artwork.

To comment on chk's comment about Dolly's attack in the last pannel: Lynn had a energy "sword" in a bracelet. A tiny one at that. I doubt that Dolly wasted any space on her armor. She probably has many tricks literally up her sleeves. (and everywhere else).
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