Comic 1368 - Hammer

23rd Jun 2016, 9:00 PM
Average Rating: 5 (18 votes)
Post a Comment


Dragonrider 23rd Jun 2016, 9:09 PM edit delete reply

Aeneas is going to have to step up to his "A Game" real fast otherwise the Armageddon Options are gonna do a number on the green hills of earth. Either that or Kyle is gonna have to step in and save the day.

(Bonus points to the first person to cite the reference.)
Centcomm 24th Jun 2016, 12:36 AM edit delete reply

Ive read it many many years ago! :D

Robert Heinlein made a serious impression on me. I adore "Friday" and Stranger in a strange land as well as many of his books.
Mark_L_A 24th Jun 2016, 1:50 AM edit delete reply

The books of RAH that made the MOST impact on me as a kid. Have Spacesuit Will Travel, Citizen of the Galaxy, Podkayne of Mars, Space Cadet, Between Planets, Tunnel in the Sky. As a teenager, Starship Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Friday, Farnham's Freehold, Stranger in a Strange Land, Job: A Comedy of Justice, add in Asimov's Foundation Series, and I was hooked on Sci-Fi.

One book however that actually helped me in a time when I really was in a bad place was Armor by John Steakley. Felix and his "Engine" got me through a very bad time in my life.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 5:16 AM edit delete reply
Seconded, Felix is cool. Based on the above list, I'm guessing I don't need to recommend Dickson's 'Childe Cycle' to you. (I.e., the Dorsai books) But I will anyway, just in case. ^_^ Or Moon's "Deed of Paksennarion".
Mark_L_A 24th Jun 2016, 11:55 AM edit delete reply

Dorsai, et Dorsai!!;) And I have Paks on my cellphone with McCaffrey, Bujold, Asaro, Weber, Ringo, Corriea, Lackey, Sanderson, Holt, Williamson, Niven, Modesitt, Foster, Asprin and I could go on and on. I have over 500 novels, shorts, novellas just on my phone. On my computer, thanks to, and I have well over 3000 books. And I still have about 25-30 boxes of books in my mothers attic.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 1:37 PM edit delete reply
Apropos of nothing in particular then, for those who know Dorsai, like filk, but haven't stumbled across this before, I give you The Ballad of Jacques Chretien.
Timotheus 24th Jun 2016, 10:58 PM edit delete reply

I was a big Andre Norton and H Beam Piper person myself. Unfortunately most of my SciFi Paperback were lost in a storage unit fire in Atlanta about 5 years ago.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 11:19 PM edit delete reply
Ouch! Sympathies.
Stormwind13 24th Jun 2016, 8:52 PM edit delete reply

"Books, young man, books. Thousands of them. If time wasn't so important, I'd show you something. My library. Thousands of books." :-D

(Now who knows where that came from?)
DLKmusic 25th Jun 2016, 3:23 AM edit delete reply

Ursula Le Guin (I still have a first print of "Lathe of Heaven"), Asprin, Weber, Alan Dean Foster, A first print of McCaffrey's "Crystal Singer" (which I thought was better than the Pern series).

I'm also a huge fan of C S Lewis (if you think he's just children books, read "The Screwtape Letters").
Timotheus 24th Jun 2016, 11:04 PM edit delete reply

Do you remember, "The Roads Must Roll."
Dragonrider 25th Jun 2016, 10:00 AM edit delete reply

@Timotheus: Also "The Unpleasant Profession of Johnathan Hoag"
Centcomm 25th Jun 2016, 2:46 AM edit delete reply

Minor addition .. I will fear no evil. thats another one i love as well as Anne Maccaffery :D
DLKmusic 25th Jun 2016, 6:39 PM edit delete reply
Good lord, I believe we have the beginnings of an "Old Book of the Month club"!!!!
Timotheus 25th Jun 2016, 8:20 PM edit delete reply

We have some first edition "Wizard of Oz" books. Do they count?
Computant 19th Aug 2016, 9:45 PM edit delete reply
As much as I like "the green hills of earth" there was another story in that compilation I liked more, "The long watch."
Actually a very appropriate story for this segment I think...
Will 23rd Jun 2016, 9:26 PM edit delete reply
"The Green Hills of Earth"
-Robert Heinlein
Dragonrider 23rd Jun 2016, 10:24 PM edit delete reply

Wondered if anyone else was old enough to remember that one.
Haegan2005 23rd Jun 2016, 9:54 PM edit delete reply

I thought centcom was originally a weather prediction program?

Or am I thinking of something talked about in comments?
Guest 23rd Jun 2016, 9:58 PM edit delete reply
According to the side-arc with the hybrid (I don't remember he or the arc's name), Cent-comm was originally one or more war AIs that decided that the best way to win a war was to take matters into her own hands.
Centcomm 23rd Jun 2016, 10:44 PM edit delete reply

Do you mean Luna Star? With Galina?
Visvires 24th Jun 2016, 1:40 PM edit delete reply
Today's forecast is an 80% chance of steel rain, with 20% sarin humidity, and light to heavy shelling. The weekend forecast includes a 100% chance of nuclear Armageddon, high winds, high temperatures, and radioactive fallout carrying on through next week.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 2:07 PM edit delete reply
Nova Roma's gonna put on a fireworks show, and audience precipitation is encouraged. ^_^
Haegan2005 24th Jun 2016, 7:52 PM edit delete reply

Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:17 AM edit delete reply

Centcomm is literally Skynet.
xpacetrue 23rd Jun 2016, 9:56 PM edit delete reply

Seriously, ladies! You are great story tellers. But why must you keep drawing out these crises and ramping up the tension and anxiety without giving us a respite? It's killing us. (It doesn't help that I have definite risk factors for an anxiety disorder.)

BTW: I always felt that Freytag's Pyramid is way overused in modern fiction, whether it be written, broadcast, or film. I tend to favor stories that are entirely one-sided - where there is very little doubt that the protagonists will win. (Among others, the "Gate: Thus the JSDF Fought There" anime comes to mind.) It may be a matter of preference and opinion, but I do not find the tendency for such stories to lack tension and be more-or-less predictable to depreciate the entertainment value. Not one bit.
Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:19 AM edit delete reply

To be fair, if you read it one page a week, everything is slow.
If you read it like a normal comic book, ie. about 2-3 pages a minute, it wouldn't seem drawn out.
xpacetrue 25th Jun 2016, 2:20 AM edit delete reply

You may have a point. However, even read at a rate of about 2-3 pages a minute, that wouldn't change how the next page very often ramps up the tension from the previous page. Too tense is still too tense. :P
Just_IDD 25th Jun 2016, 11:03 AM edit delete reply
I don't find this to be too tense. If you do, you should definitely not read "Reality Dysfunction," by Peter Hamilton.

The other half of my mind wants me to add that if you are two tents you should go camping with friends. I need to end this comment now because I am a tired.
Timotheus 23rd Jun 2016, 10:13 PM edit delete reply

Do all the people who mentioned the hammer and nail quote previously get a gold star?
(Gate was great, but have you read the manga version? A bit different)
Tokyo Rose 24th Jun 2016, 12:17 AM edit delete reply

Sure, why not, considering these pages were uploaded like three or four weeks ago and thus y'all just anticipated it :D
Wolfsbane 24th Jun 2016, 7:33 AM edit delete reply

Three or four weeks ago? Hmm, that might mean that the *next* three or four weeks are already uploaded. I wonder if the secret stash can be found on ComicFury somewhere... bwaha. Kyle? Oh, Kyle! I have a side project for you, if you can spare a few cycles...
xpacetrue 24th Jun 2016, 1:06 AM edit delete reply

Yes, I have read the Gate manga. And I will agree that it is a bit different. Though, really, the main difference is that, for some strange reason, the anime clearly left out the best and most hilarious scenes and lines.
mjkj 23rd Jun 2016, 10:25 PM edit delete reply


Poor A...
Gilrandir 23rd Jun 2016, 10:30 PM edit delete reply
Where's Bob the Guardian when you need him?
Wolfsbane 24th Jun 2016, 7:34 AM edit delete reply

With Bob the Builder?
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
Hey, they could use him, too. And maybe Fix-It Felix as well. ^_^

Is Kusanagi's mission to 'mend and defend'? In private, unguarded moments, does she call her sword 'Widget'?
DLKmusic 23rd Jun 2016, 10:32 PM edit delete reply

Well, the good news is that our evil duo have just confirmed that Aeneas DOES have the ability to stop the contingencies...

Assuming he lives long enough to do it...
velvetsanity 23rd Jun 2016, 10:37 PM edit delete reply

Uh, no, they haven't confirmed that. All they've confirmed is that he knows about them. And that Rose thinks he's sufficiently repaired to hold off the knife that CentComm is trying to stab him with.

If they've confirmed anything regarding his ability to stop the contingencies, it sounds to me more like he *can't*.
Centcomm 24th Jun 2016, 12:36 AM edit delete reply

Aeneas can not stop the contingencys otherwise He would have already done so.
Dragonrider 24th Jun 2016, 7:26 AM edit delete reply

Can anyone, or is the end of civilization as they know it?
Wolfsbane 24th Jun 2016, 7:36 AM edit delete reply

and I feel fine...
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Well, the contingencies, as described, really only seem to relate to the end of Nova Roma as we know it. No one has established that SAMSON possesses world-destroying MAD force when unleashed against Roma's neighbors. Especially if they got some warning so they could launch pre-emptive strikes of their own. We are probably talking about the total loss of Nova Roma and the millions (tens of millions? hundreds of millions?) of souls therein, but certainly not the end of civilization everywhere. (I'm just assuming that there are that many people living in Nova Roma. I suppose there could be only a couple thousand living there, but it didn't seem like it.)

Or, you know, someone could make a phone call.

Rose and the three treasures are apparently using 'ssh', or the equivalent to work from home. Someone could always call CentComm up and let her know "Your clandestine sabotage device has, through a strange combination of circumstance, become a WMD, and you're about to become a monster all over again to rival your good-old pre-armistice days -- not to mention murdering one of your peers. You think you could help us shut it down?" It probably wouldn't do any good, for some very important reason, and all the phones to Calliope Taylor are currently mysteriously out, but ... it's a thought. Maybe the feeling is that CentComm wouldn't help because it's been a while since she got to add any significant numbers to her score and they know she'd hate to waste the opportunity?

(Much of the above is probably unfair to CentComm, who previously did express some regret about the possibility of being used to murder millions of people but, who nonetheless did pull the trigger on the Black Angel that is about to murder millions of people. However, there does seem to be some expectation among those who know her best that this is the way she would want things to go, so why even bother trying to get her involved in changing things. I don't know ... maybe she has a bad reputation or something?)
Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:24 AM edit delete reply

Being a cyberpath, Tokyo Rose could probably disable the contingencies ... if she had the time for it.

What annoys me, is that she haven't done that already.
Frankly, that would have been a priority to me, if I was her, and it's been years since Decimus came to power.
Centcomm 25th Jun 2016, 5:01 AM edit delete reply

Sadly she couldnt....
Gilrandir 25th Jun 2016, 7:51 AM edit delete reply
I get the impression that the contingencies are not a centralized package, like a single, ticking time bomb. They appear to be a diverse, distributed collection of malware, all linked to a common, multiply redundant trigger. So, Tokyo Rose could probably easily disarm any one of them, thereby saving Power Substation #14, or the residents of Residential Block #87, but such efforts would have a negligible overall effect in the event that the contingencies trigger.
The Old Scribe 23rd Jun 2016, 10:39 PM edit delete reply

Okay, now I'm totally confused. Did CentComm purposely have Lynn captured, thereby allowing 'her' to send a rescue team into New Troy that contained a ringer (CeCi) intending to destroy Aeneas and the city/state? I guess 'she' considers Lynn, Dolly and the others collateral damage in the greater goal of eliminating New Troy. I'm wondering why all the dancing around? Why didn't Cent just nuke the place off the map if 'she' considered it a threat?

Help me out here. I'm confoozled.
Centcomm 23rd Jun 2016, 10:43 PM edit delete reply

Ok this is word of god. Cent had nothing to do with Lynns kidnapping. Sorry i cant say more yet...
six 23rd Jun 2016, 11:17 PM edit delete reply
I would guess Centcom don't want other cities and her own human population to go against her on eliminating another city.
If a broken AI where to blow up his city none would be surprised or all that angry about it. So perfect scape goat even if the other AI's find out it's unlikely they would/could act on it.

I don't think she let Lynn be captured but rather that her capture is a major part of blowing up New Troy. Seem's Lynn got some kind of core access to the AI so if discovered by someone else CentCom would be put on a leash. So Lynn is better dead than in the hands of an enemy.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 12:29 AM edit delete reply
Every time I try this, I end up showing my inability to read between the lines, but there are windmills out there, so here I go ...

CentComm is/was a military defense A.I., so the best way to figure what it will or will not do seems to be to imagine a military think-tank tasked (currently) with ensuring the security of New Troy. This implies that it is war gaming various situations all the time. (This is counterintuitive for some people who freak out when the press asks the Pentagon "Does the U.S. Have plans to invade Canada?" The U.S. has plans to invade everyone, and plans to defend against an invasion from anyone. They just don't ever expect to use any of these plans. Hopefully we never dust off the folder labeled "Operation: Great White North". ^_^)

So, here CentComm is, blissfully running its war simulations and it reaches the conclusion: The neighboring city state of Nova Roma has a 30 percent chance of launching a conventional strike at New Troy within the next ten years, with the intention of gaining control of the civilian population and military equipment. This strike is 92 percent likely to fail, with only 25 percent loss of defense forces and a further 15 percent loss of civilian population. Any plan to prempt this strike by effecting regime change has a 65 percent chance of failure, with even more negative consequences. Recommended action: wait.

No problem. As time passes, the numbers float up and down a bit, but the conclusion remains essentially the same.

Then Lynn gets kidnapped.

Now the numbers say Decimus is coming within two years. Plus, having control of Lynn, there is now a far greater chance that he can successfully gain control of New Troy through diplomatic means, or with limited military action. The numbers now say: Don't wait! Immediate action is required!

CentComm could start with a pre-emptive military strike, but her own civilian controllers probably wouldn't stand for it, and the cost would be high. There's very little downside to trying a clandestine recovery operation first. And, if she's going to do a covert op anyway, might as well add in the opportunity to significantly reduce or eliminate the future Nova Roma threat. Things are already worse than they were before the kidnapping, and a failed recovery attempt doesn't make much further difference but a successful recovery event brings things back to acceptable risk levels, and destruction or acquisition of the Nova Roma A.I.S. architecture represents a potential long-term strategic improvement. So, the teams get sent. Dolly gets lied to because that's how CentComm calculates Dolly is most likely to act as desired in order to fit into the overall plan.

So, CentComm doesn't need to be complicit with the kidnapping in any way, but can still have put the entire complex plan into action as a result of the kidnapping. And, of course, the fact that Tokyo Rose has her own clandestine, complicated plan which was further rushed into action as a result of Lynn's kidnapping has just complicated matters even further. (Remember, Miraiko claimed she was originally put in place to extract Acantha, but she was being retasked to go after Lynn.)

And all the plans encounter different awkward aspects of reality of which their planner was unaware, causing actions with unintended consequences and the need to improvise and people bumping into each other and shooting each other and stabbing each other ... and that's how you get "Lost In Translation"! ^_^
Centcomm 24th Jun 2016, 12:35 AM edit delete reply

Wow gil. you HAVE been paying attention .. brovo!
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Thank you. The comic is worth paying attention to -- which reflects only credit to its creative team. <smile>
Guest 24th Jun 2016, 1:08 AM edit delete reply
What we have here is a "Gambit Pileup".
Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:33 AM edit delete reply

Yeah, lots of Gambits, lots of operatives, and lots of ways for all of them to fail.

Next up: Ranger Logrin. :)
(no, we have'n't forgotten about him, OR the eggs, yet)
Guest 25th Jun 2016, 4:29 PM edit delete reply
chk 24th Jun 2016, 8:16 AM edit delete reply

Ha. Called that one.
cherub laws 24th Jun 2016, 9:44 PM edit delete reply
Has everyone overlooked the fact that Centcomm accually tasked CiCi with preventing Dolly from even getting to nova roma in the first place and sabotaged their transport as well.
Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:37 AM edit delete reply

If CeCi had managed to stall Dolly entirely, then CECI's Aeneas programming wouldn't have become active.
However, Centcomm knew that Dolly was resourceful and would eventually reach New Rome, so she just tried to stall her.
She probably wanted Dolly to capture Dari as well, because Dari was a nasty loose end.
All in all, that part of the plan went almost perfect for Centcomm ... but then Dolly became more resourceful than she expected and still beat her strike team to New Rome. Probably a somewhat vexing state of affair for Centcomm. :D
Rigor 24th Jun 2016, 10:18 PM edit delete reply
Good analysis, Gil. You'd make a great military planner, or maybe you are already.
Gilrandir 24th Jun 2016, 11:17 PM edit delete reply
Thanks, no. A consumer of early Tom Clancy novels and military SF -- plus an occasional fling at a variety of board games,
Sheela 25th Jun 2016, 1:39 AM edit delete reply

The best way to stop a Hammer from hitting the nail on the head, is to either present it with a screw, or have another nail for it to hit!
Gilrandir 25th Jun 2016, 7:54 AM edit delete reply
Technically, the best way to stop a hammer from hitting a nail on the head is to put it down. ^_^
Just_IDD 25th Jun 2016, 11:14 AM edit delete reply
Or failing that, put your other hand on the nail.
Gilrandir 25th Jun 2016, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
Now that sounds painful. We may disagree about the interpretation of 'best' there. ^_^
Timotheus 26th Jun 2016, 10:57 AM edit delete reply

Back in college we discovered that if you coat the head of the nail with ammonium tri-iodide it acts like reactive armor when you hit it. It can be rather dangerous for all concerned though.
Gilrandir 26th Jun 2016, 11:29 AM edit delete reply
Great! Now a whole new generation of DataChasers readers are going to go 'hands-free'. Kids! Don't try this at home. Seriously.
Oldarmourer 11th Jul 2019, 12:00 PM edit delete reply
When it comes to woodscrews, hammers can put them in quite well, you only need the screwdriver to take them OUT again...
Timotheus 26th Jun 2016, 1:45 AM edit delete reply

Forgive me, this has been bugging me since I first mentioned it the other day. (When the muse hits..)

Picture yourself in an inner dimension,
With manga style avatars and anime eyes.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly;
A girl with mechanical arms.

Digital backgrounds of binary forms
Towering over your head;
Look for the girl with the mask on her face,
And she’s gone.

Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!

Follow her up through a hole in the ether, Where digital people fight wars for control.
Everyone stares as you drift past the star bursts
That glow so incredible bright.

Virtual fireworks appear on the walls,
Trying to get in the away.
Step through a hole in the world that you see,
And you’re gone.

Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!

Picture yourself on a tram in a tunnel,
With guardian androids and heirs to a throne.
Suddenly, someone is there at the blastdoor:
The girl with the mask on her face.

Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
Ceci in the sky with crystals!
DLKmusic 26th Jun 2016, 11:44 AM edit delete reply
That's Awesome, Timotheus! Well done!

now the question is, which version of the song are we hearing? the Beatles, Elton John, or William Shatner?
Centcomm 26th Jun 2016, 11:55 AM edit delete reply

Wow.. seriously .. wow! thank you Timotheus! That is amazing!
Gilrandir 26th Jun 2016, 12:08 PM edit delete reply
I hope that, after the Muse struck, you told her "Thank you, ma'am. May I have another?"

Very nice. Thank you for sharing.
Stormwind13 26th Jun 2016, 4:25 PM edit delete reply

Simply WOW, Timotheus.

Thank you for sharing. That was amazing.
DLKmusic 26th Jun 2016, 1:02 PM edit delete reply
On a completely different note, I just noticed that Data Chasers has over 10,000 votes as of today.

Keep up the good work, everyone!!!!
nobody important 27th Jun 2016, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
There seems to be some soft cap/speed of light barrier on it… no matter how much I vote the ticker never gets above 11th place.
Post a Comment

Comic Basement - Webcomic Ranking Directory