Comic 1458 - Controlled

2nd Mar 2017, 9:00 PM
Controlled
Average Rating: 5 (26 votes)
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Comments:

jamie59 2nd Mar 2017, 9:08 PM edit delete reply

Oh! Are we talking Rose or someone else?
All the Pickles 2nd Mar 2017, 10:13 PM edit delete reply

It seems like whoever took control of them used them for nasty stuff that Rose wouldn't be a part of. Rose may be callous and manipulative, but she doesn't strike me as the type to do something that would offend Noctis to that extent.
Also if if was Rose I don't think Noctis knew. She didn't seem particularly disgusted back in #1420 after finding out Rose was involved in the situation, though Noctis isn't exactly known for wearing her emotions on her sleeve.
Stormwind13 3rd Mar 2017, 8:53 AM edit delete reply

I agree Pickle. I can't see the pickled Rose putting the Cassians in that kind of pickle. :-D
That one guy 3rd Mar 2017, 3:30 PM edit delete reply
I'd expect story TR to be morally against removing free will from a sentient being (even temporarily) at the mental level. I could see her getting to a place where pragmatically she might make the decision that it was necessary to temporarily do so, but I'd expect her to either plant a plausible other reason (diagnostically discoverable and fixable physical defect in the synthbrain, for example) or use it to frame and destroy someone else who was a threat.

So it's possible that she might've been involved, but only if the supposed perpetrator was involved in something sufficiently worse and this was the only way she could take him/her down (which seems quite unlikely with her tech, resources, agents, & abilities).

Were she involved and using her abilities, I'd consider it more likely that she'd worm her way in to break the other cyberpath's grip and allow one of the Cassians he/she thought docile to strike back.
Stormwind13 2nd Mar 2017, 9:09 PM edit delete reply

OH MY! I didn't think Noctis would want to go there (and I figured the EVIL Duo would never give us this piece). This is going to be painful, raw and quite possibly horrifying I think.

Noctis doesn't succumb to her emotions easily. So for her to demand Dr. Silver's death, something terrible has to be behind it.

Edit: Yeah, Ada is a good listener, and her profession (medic) means that she has to be able to get people to talk to her.
megados 2nd Mar 2017, 9:26 PM edit delete reply

I did think we would eventually get Noctis' side of the story, but I didn't expect it here. The Evil Duo is full of surprises!

I don't think Noctis was being particularly emotional; I think she was logically eliminating a top priority threat.

Yes, Ada is doing a great job getting to know Noctis. She has a knack for it!
Thomas 2nd Mar 2017, 10:26 PM edit delete reply
Don't get so complacent. They could always do a last second pov switch and Follow Lynn for three months.
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 12:43 AM edit delete reply

Ohhh I like this idea..
That one guy 4th Mar 2017, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Follow Lynn for three months sounds evil enough? Why not take the time to develop a completely and totally new character that has maybe shown up in a background or two into someone that we all care about instead and then switch back to Lynn before finishing this conversation.

[what, no, I've never gotten irritated/frustrated reading Wapsi Square or anything...]
Greenwood Goat 3rd Mar 2017, 3:23 AM edit delete reply
Cent and Rose could do worse than that...

CUT TO: Deserted corridor. Heavily-secured doors with cryptic names line its walls. At one door, now unlocked, a lone figure struggles.

Southern belle accent girl: ...guess this *grunt* goldarn door ain't been used for a while, ah kin tell- *gruuuunt* *gets door open* Guess there ain't much reason to come dayn here, less'n they have atch'ly done cut the hardline... *finds light controls, activates* Ay-nd- Heavens to Betsy, whut a mess! ...Way-elp, ah guess that's whut the city's mess o' hardlines look lahke wheyn they been disconnected... aaaaaynd ain't nobody else been assigned to fix 'em 'cept me, so ah best get on with it, toot sweet! Good thang ah brought suhplaahs with me *sets down pack with food and water* 'cause they's ever so many of the darned thangs! Now lay-t's see... *picks up cable, separates it from mess of other cables, reads number on plug* Thirty-nahn-oh-thirteen... *hunts laboriously across panels of sockets* There yew go! *inserts plug* One dayn, *checks diagram* fifteh-eight hunnerd to go... *picks up next cable, separates it from mess* Okeh, twenny-three-nahnteen, nah where duh yew live...?

Cent page comment: There's another 140-odd pages of this scene scripted. You will get to hear some of her philosophy of life as she monologues away, plus some really funny (IMHO) bitching about her colleagues and bosses. And she's going to get tangled up in the lines at least twice, so you have that to look forward to!

Rose page comment: Enjoy! ;-)

>:=)>
highly irregular 3rd Mar 2017, 6:39 AM edit delete reply
10/10 Would read for a few months
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 4:21 PM edit delete reply

Oh geeez Greenwood :D thats .. painful!
All the Pickles 3rd Mar 2017, 11:53 AM edit delete reply

It really didn't seem like merely eliminating a threat. Back in #1233 (Terminate With Extremely Justified Prejudice) Noctis said "...Let us hope that these precautions are sufficient. If not, better by far that Roma burn to the ground than harbor such a monster."
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 4:20 PM edit delete reply

Yes and that is exactly how Noctis feels. it will all make sense soon!
Sheela 4th Mar 2017, 5:29 PM edit delete reply

And after the southern belle, we switch over to Mira going clubbing in New Troy with Minx ?
Haegan2005 5th Mar 2017, 8:06 PM edit delete reply

I'm good with this!

Ladies partying! Yeah!
antrik 7th Mar 2017, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
As much as I'd like to seem more of Mira myself, I believe I remember a Word Of God remark that she won't come up again?...
Gilrandir 2nd Mar 2017, 9:14 PM edit delete reply
Apparently comments about Dr. Silver being unable to command synthbrains may have been misinforming or misdirecting when interpreted as applying to cyberpaths in general. So we are once again back to generic cyberpaths being able to turn androids into personal toys at will. Or not. Depending on ... stuff. For reasons.

I wonder what Dr. Silver's reaction would be when she learned that the level of her gift was substantially below the norm when compared with 'typical' cyberpaths? ^_^
DLKmusic 2nd Mar 2017, 10:10 PM edit delete reply

@Gil: I would venture to say that it's not so much a power level issue as it would be skill-sets within that power.

With psionics in GURPS, for instance, you would have a main category (in this case cyber-pathy), and a broad range of skills listed under that power. Dr. Silver may not have the ability to dominate a positronic brain, but she does have the skill to mentally command a legion of drones, which the cyber-path in Noctis's story would probably have not been able to do.

Specifically, in the groups I used to play with, We might have two telepaths, one would concentrate on communication skills, while the other would concentrate on domination skills.
Gilrandir 2nd Mar 2017, 10:23 PM edit delete reply
Seems likely, @DLKmusic, if we presume some kind of play-balanced character construction mechanic at work. I'm not sure we've seen any indications of that in the story heretofore. Things have seemed much more ... linear. (At least to me.) Characters are "less capable" or "more capable", and more capable characters are (more or less) more capable at everything -- or at least everything within their 'class'. (E.g., combat types and scientist types appear to be different classes, so a middling scientist can outperform a first-rate soldier, as long as the task in question is 'science-y'.) Then again, this is a story, not a game, so the criteria are quite a bit different. ^_^

We obviously won't know until more of the story gets told, of course, but the cyberpath in Noctis' story was apparently able to control four Cassians simultaneously. And I suspect much of Dr. Silver's control of her 'fleet' was accomplished by preprogramming and normal communication, not cyberpathy. I could easily be wrong, of course.
Centcomm 2nd Mar 2017, 10:55 PM edit delete reply

Actually .. all of the major characters do have sheets and ability's. and faults. snickers me and Rose are gamers at heart.

and by Gamer i mean tabletop. Not consoles. Or PC those are playing games. not being a gamer. /rant
DLKmusic 2nd Mar 2017, 11:15 PM edit delete reply

LOL, I remember after Malati died (glory to her name) There were a handful of gamers in the comments section that swore they would NEVER take the "Programmed Duty" disadvantage again!
Oberoten 3rd Mar 2017, 2:17 AM edit delete reply

... I think I just fell a bit more in love with your mind. :)
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 11:59 AM edit delete reply

Hehehe ..
Evervigilant 3rd Mar 2017, 2:30 AM edit delete reply
Ah, good old table top gaming. Nothing but a pencil, paper, your imagination, and some dice. Good times and good memories. Now days with kids and all I don't get much time to indulge.
Oberoten 3rd Mar 2017, 2:35 AM edit delete reply

We kinda had the same sitch with people moving away all over the country but stumbeled upon Fantasy Grounds as a nice online solution. Programmable for your own systems (and homebrews) it has gotten us from "once a month, maybe 4 hours" to 3 hours 1-3 times a week again.
Just_IDD 3rd Mar 2017, 4:47 AM edit delete reply
Intersting thing, for the sandbox game MINECRAFT there is build of something called McMMO. It lets you gain a special type of experience for the things that you do with in Minecraft like building or repairing or chopping things down or digging or whatever. Then it uses those skills to provide special abilities for the more skilled that you're are at it the more effective the ability is.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 5:05 AM edit delete reply

@Centcomm, I miss tabletop gaming; the people I knew are far flung now. I'm glad for you that you have your group. (and sort of envy). I mostly 'play games' now.

I figured you had sheets for the characters. It would be about the only way I could think of to keep track!
DLKmusic 3rd Mar 2017, 6:37 PM edit delete reply

I actually set up a teamspeak chatroom so my group could still game once a week. We're on Honor system for dice rolls, and so far it's going pretty well!

Of course I wish we had a better GM, cause I suck!
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 6:49 PM edit delete reply
What kind of campaign, @DLKmusic? (If I may ask.)
DLKmusic 3rd Mar 2017, 8:22 PM edit delete reply

I use the GURPS 3rd Edition Rules. Set in modern day Dresden, and the PC's are dealing with all the BS that the Illuminati can throw at them.

I chose Dresden for 2 reasons. First, I wanted to keep American Politics out of it (not easy to do in an Illuminati game), and second, Dresden really is a conspiracy theory magnet! The more I've researched the city, the weirder it gets!
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 7:30 AM edit delete reply
Sounds fun. Is it mostly 'real-life' adventures ('Blindspot', 'Blacklist', etc.) or horror ('Call of Cthulhu') or are there 'things man was not meant to know' ('X-Files', 'Bureau 13') or more modern fantasy ('Underworld', 'Twilight')? Just how hairy is Dresden these days? ^_^
DLKmusic 4th Mar 2017, 1:29 PM edit delete reply

The answer to that question is "Yes". Some real-life, though I will throw in aliens, Bio-engineered monstrosities (they had fun when the scorpiogators got loose from the biotech university lab), I've also included vampires, werewolves, dimensional gates, and more to come.

Real life aspects... the Bindenberg foundation is Headquartered in Dresden (look them up), and the gamer's most recent encounter involved the Neo-Nazis marching through Dresden for the Bombing Memorial on Feb 11 & 12 (This is a real annual event, by the way). This included several kidnappings, 2 shootouts in the streets (the police currently "love" our intrepid heroes) and a firebombing riot. The caretaker of an orphanage is still missing, too. Oh... and their chopper is now grounded...

They love me, bwuhahahahah!!!
SeanR 4th Mar 2017, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
I didn't realize Dresden still existed. The only thing I know about it was the Allies managed to whip up a firestorm there in WWII.
DLKmusic 4th Mar 2017, 1:45 PM edit delete reply

Indeed it does! It is about 60km south of Berlin, and was part of the eastern block until the fall of the Berlin wall. It is also the 4th largest city in Germany, and a LOT of money has been poured into it from multiple sources for rebuilding and restoration, and there are still large segments of the industrial sector that are "verbotten".

To the west there is farmland, and to the east and northeast it is densely wooded...

I'm still researching this city for goodies, but for this particular game setting, I don't think I could have picked a better location!
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 4:10 PM edit delete reply
Sounds very fun.
mjkj 5th Mar 2017, 7:39 AM edit delete reply

Well, that is not true - Dresden is only the 12th largest City in Germany - the 4th largest would be Cologne (at least according to population).
DLKmusic 5th Mar 2017, 2:13 PM edit delete reply

I may very well be mistaken on that, Mjkj. I got that from Wikipedia about 9 months ago when I started doing this, and as we all know, Wikipedia "NEVER" is wrong!!!

IFRC, they did rate the population at about 750,000 people though so that would put Dresden at about the same size as Cleveland Ohio.
antrik 7th Mar 2017, 6:47 PM edit delete reply
Dresden was at 544,000 in 2015 according to Wikipedia, for the actual city -- 770,000 was for the Urban area. (Also, 770,000 for a city would put it fifth-largest, not fourth...)
antrik 7th Mar 2017, 6:55 PM edit delete reply
Also Dresden is 165 km from Berlin, not 60.

I'm most curious though what "segments of the industrial sector" you are referring that are verboten?...
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 6:49 PM edit delete reply

Cent does run a tabletop RPG for some friends, using the Rolemaster system and the Datachasers setting. There's some crossover of characters, at least in concept (Marcus, Dr. Silver, and Mr. Black started as player characters, but I don't even know how to read Rolemaster-system sheets), but what happens in those games has little to no bearing on what happens in the story. Think "alternate universe".
Oberoten 4th Mar 2017, 7:13 AM edit delete reply

And now I have an urge to go dig up my cyberspace books from storage. (I own litteral shelfmeters of RPG books but generaly we run most any setting using Ars Magica these days. )
Centcomm 4th Mar 2017, 11:45 AM edit delete reply

Spacemaster 2 is what we use. with a lot of homebrew rules.
Sheela 4th Mar 2017, 5:33 PM edit delete reply

The homebrewed rules are the most fun ones.
I like to throw in a few that seems totally useless, until you get caught out in a *very* specific situation.

"Your character suffers from SEVERE OCD, and cannot go into combat without matching socks!" "You are caught flat footed* *evil grin*
megados 2nd Mar 2017, 9:18 PM edit delete reply

Wow, Ada just blew by Noctis' attempt at humor. Ada is very probing, and seems to genuinely wish to get to know her, and Noctis' apprehension seems to be fading a little. Kudos, Ada!

I suspected something like that since some of the earlier discussions. It explains Noctis' feelings toward cyberpaths. I don't know if Noctis herself was a victim, but it would be traumatic nonetheless, seeing her sisters being used in that way, and certainly any hint of blame anyone could have toward her for her action is erased. I also suspect there is yet more to it, but I could be wrong.

I am again impressed with the different view angles and positioning with this page!
Gilrandir 2nd Mar 2017, 9:21 PM edit delete reply
@megados -- "
..., and certainly any hint of blame anyone could have toward her for her action is erased.
"

We will have to agree to disagree on that, @megados.
megados 2nd Mar 2017, 9:29 PM edit delete reply

Well blame her if you like, then . . . I did not, and now knowing for sure the potential threat level she perceived, I do not.

I did want to reiterate that the positioning and views on this page are great!

*edit

I would like to correct an oversight on my part, one that has gone on much too long. The dialog on this page (and many others) flows so smoothly, and captures the essence of the characters so well, all while keeping all of these characters IN character. This is no small feat. It's no wonder, Rose, that you are often compared to some of the heavies. Kudos!

I should mention both of your patience. It must be a frustrating task of helping me (everyone, really) understand, without giving away the store!
Stormwind13 3rd Mar 2017, 7:20 AM edit delete reply

In this case megados there really isn't blame to assign. Noctis DID it, and ADMITTED that she assigned someone to kill the cyberpath.

What we (the readers/commenters) get to determine is how JUSTIFIED Noctis was in her reaction. Ranging from that in no way was justified to HOLY FUC#ING SH!T, shocked she didn't nuke it from orbit!!! Now we get to see (if they actually SHOW it and don't cut away, EVIL duo) what caused Noctis' to react the way she did. Then each person can decide her level of justification for themselves.

I hope that we DO get to see this sequence, but I'm also apprehensive. The event could be HORRIFIC (Mockingbird) to provoke the reaction it did in Noctis.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 7:42 AM edit delete reply

Yep, I think you have stated it correctly. There's not much I could add! :-)

There is one thing I could clarify, though. Yes, there is no doubt as to Noctis' involvement. The blame I mention, is that some feel that Noctis' actions were "illegal" based on 20th century law governing wartime behavior.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 8:13 AM edit delete reply
Or reprehensible, according to any number of several codes of conduct. ^_^
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 8:30 AM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir, if I were to only look at it in a pragmatic, black-or-white way, I could agree. I can only look at it as if it were me facing someone who could potentially take over my mind without so much as a "by-your-leave", and being told I had to accept the utterly unacceptable, and let it go, when it could potentially be the undoing of all I stand for. I can't do that. Only by trusting Maxus, was she able to move beyond it. I can understand that.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
@megados, understanding is not the issue for me. People are a strange mixed bag of impulses, often containing inconsistent, hypocritical, and contradictory viewpoints. There are lots of people who would do, or have done, things much more heinous than anything we've seen from anyone in any of these pages. It is commonplace to endorse and accept such hypocrises in everyday life as "It is okay for me to hold you helpless at gunpoint, but it is not okay for you to hold me helpless at gunpoint. This is because I know that I am virtuous and trustworthy, while I do not know that you are." There are lots and lots of people who will generally live according to simple ethical principles and adhere to a basic code of ethics -- as long as it is convenient for them to do so. It can be argued that one of the basic functions of society is to arrange things specifically so that people are not exposed to situations where their ethics and principles are tested, allowing them to act in accordance with those principles more often and more consistently.

People who live by a code of honor, even when it poses a personal cost, a disadvantage, a loss, a risk, an unavoidable negative and no commensurate benefit beyond the fact that the code and principles remain inviolate ... those people are (in my opinion) very rare. And it is always sad for me to see someone who I believed to be one of those special people choose to be one of the more commonplace kind instead. That doesn't mean I don't understand, but I also don't think it appropriate to identify the commonplace as the rare and special, since that further devalues the rare occasions when we encounter the truly special.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 11:21 AM edit delete reply

I think for the most part, we agree. The point of contention seems to be simply that Noctis', to you, didn't achieve the status of goodness and light to the degree that you would rather she had. In the end, not holding true to a code of honor. That's where we differ, I guess. I think she did. She held up to HER code, as a Cassian, and a protector of Nova Roma. There's a sacrifice to herself in letting people believe whatever they want and doing what she has to do. She was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of her life, if necessary. Of course she was adhering to a code of honor. It just wasn't YOUR code of honor.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 11:43 AM edit delete reply
I don't think the facts bear you out, @megados. Since Noctis was not under the command of Maxus, and arguably (as Princeps of the Cassians) outranks him in matters of civil defense, technically it would seem she, and not Maxus, should have been managing the negotiations in the first place. That didn't happen, and she allowed Maxus to negotiate a cease-fire in her stead -- which she knew she had no intention of adhering to. Once she knew that others were under the impression she was bound to an agreement she intended to ignore, she made no effort to clarify the matter immediately, but was content to allow the misunderstanding to persist, because of the advantage it would provide in accomplishing her objective. Lastly, once her operative failed to accomplish the objective cleanly and she was exposed, rather than insisting that the cyberpath still needed to die as a point of honor and adherence to code, no matter the cost, she pragmatically capitulated, once again, for the sake of gaining a different advantage instead.

So, no matter what code you impute to Noctis, she compromised it when forced to confront a difficult choice. Changing the code you say you are living by from moment to moment, in order to take best advantage of the current circumstances is a very commonplace thing for people to do -- we see it all the time. It is also very understandable. It has nothing at all to do with whatever my particular ideas about "goodness and light" may be. It just isn't particularly (as I understand the term) "honorable".
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 12:08 PM edit delete reply

It happens, that it cannot be reduced to that simple an algorithm. Maxus himself, when he realized the extent of the situation, knew that Noctis would never agree unless an accord had been reached. He knows what Noctis knows, and they do have a mutual trust. They are neither commander nor subordinate to each other for the time being. That is an important factor. He immediately understood Noctis' position. He did not feel that Noctis resorted to any subterfuge. Instead, he immediately understood her position. As an outside observer, I can't impose my own external conditions, but instead, have to rely on the opinions of those within the story that I trust. Maxus is one such, and since he has no issues with Noctis' honor, neither do I. Additionally, I personally am not having trouble trying to see this from Noctis' point of view. From what I know of her, I believe that SHE believes she has satisfied the conditions required of her.

I guess that's where the disagreement lies.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 12:33 PM edit delete reply
I become confused when (to me) it seems like you keep sliding back and forth between using subjective arguments and objective arguments without any rationale, as long as it seems to support your assertions.

There are the unarguable and objective facts of what has happened, and the conclusions we may draw from them. Because this is a work of fiction, those facts can include the opinions of the characters in question. If we are unambiguously told by a reliable narrator "Noctis felt happy" or "Noctis felt fear" or "Noctis felt shame", that becomes a fact we can include in our evaluation. If we are told something from an unreliable source, such as Noctis saying "I feel happy", that is not a fact, but it can be used to draw conclusions about Noctis' truthfulness in that situation. Based on objective facts, we can draw objective conclusions about things according to objective standards -- this promise was kept, this person was killed, this person was saved, etc., etc. And we can reach our own opinions about what is and is not justified. Clearly you and I have different opinions about what is and is not justified. ^_^

Then there are subjective considerations. If you assert, objectively, that "anything is justified, as long as the person doing it feels it is justified", then the objective determination of whether a thing is justified comes to depend upon the subjective mental state of the actor. Otherwise the subjective mental state may be completely irrelevant. I do not agree that belief has anything to do with justification in this case, so all your efforts to convince me that she believes she was doing the right thing are ... distracting. And irrelevant. We must agree to disagree in this matter. I concede (regrettably) that she considers herself completely justified and has no doubt, remorse, guilt, or regret about what she did. It is that which is so profoundly disappointing to me. I just don't agree that her opinion is sufficient to justify the actions from an objective viewpoint, and your informing me that you do is a message that has long since been received.

As to what Maxus may feel or may believe about what Noctis did ... I see no canon source to support any of your assertions. I also cannot point to any canon source to refute them. I think we'll just have to wait and see if anything ever comes up to address the matter. I have my personal opinions and hopes on the matter, of course -- but they are only that, at this point. Maxus is a capable enough commander (in my opinion) that, whatever he may have felt at the time, he can put aside his opinions and work with what he has to try and achieve the best results for those in his charge.

As far as an accord being reached ... an accord was reached! Noctis unilaterally abrogated that accord without warning. After which another accord was reached -- following which the New Trojans safely made it out of the city before Noctis decided to abrogate that one as well. The process could (theoretically) have continued indefinitely, and if Maxus said nothing about it we still wouldn't know his feelings on the matter.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 12:47 PM edit delete reply

I will allow for a difference in interpretation as to whether Noctis is a reliable source. We seem to have different measures of reliability. As such, relying on what we speculate Noctis' opinion to be will not resolve the disagreement.

The canon reference for Maxus' belief and actions were presented during the momentary impasse just before Noctis ordered Astraea to stand down. There, Maxus states that he knows what Noctis' concern is, and works to diffuse the situation. He clearly gives the impression that Noctis is acting in good faith to her belief, not even questioning her any further on the matter, unless he did so off camera after the scene changed. We are given the impression that his faith in Noctis is unshaken.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 12:57 PM edit delete reply
On a philosophic level, people are always an "unreliable source". People can never make statements about objective Cosmic Truth, only about what they understand and believe about that Truth. I'm not using 'reliable narrator' here as a value judgement on different persons, but in the sense of literary analysis.

I did not form the same impressions of Maxus' opinions following the sniper attack on Dr. Silver that you did. Nor do I consider your interpretation to be clear or inarguable. But, since I can't point to any concrete evidence supporting my opinion either, I suppose we will just have to wait and see. I agree that Maxus understands that Noctis feels justified about what she did, and that he knows why she feels that way. However, since Maxus' opinions about Decimus are well known, and we know that Decimus also felt completely justified in his actions, it seems to me difficult to support the contention that Maxus believes any act is justified if the actor is convinced that it is justified according to their own personal code.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 1:07 PM edit delete reply

I don't assert that Maxus believes that any action is justified if the actor believes it also, but quite the reverse. Maxus did not believe that Decimus was justified, and privately made that known much earlier in the story, as far back as when Lynn was first brought there. Maxus can discern the difference between the two, which is why I consider him a reliable benchmark.

Since that is all I have to present, and it is unconvincing, then yes, we will have to wait and hope a more definitive answer presents itself.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 1:20 PM edit delete reply
So, do you believe Maxus considers Noctis decision not to honor the cease fire agreement he brokered to be justified, or not? If justified, for what reason does he consider it justified? (And it should not be "Because Noctis believes it to be justified and he trusts her judgement." You have already stated that Maxus does not subscribe to the notion that mere belief is sufficient to justify an action.) The question is not "understandable". We both agree that Maxus understands what drove Noctis to break the agreement. The question is "justified".
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 1:53 PM edit delete reply

I will have to leave this unresolved, as my belief is supported by a supposition that I don't want to speak to at this time, because . . . reasons. We will, as you say, have to wait and see. All I can say, is that Maxus, and Noctis have been working together a long time.
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 3:49 PM edit delete reply

Remember Gil there is NO one around to enforce those so called rules of engagements. And Cent has broken them as often as she wanted during the wars. and helped dismantle them. " Truce " Only lasts as long as people aren't shooting. thats the final word on that.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 3:54 PM edit delete reply
Understood, @Centcomm.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 7:12 PM edit delete reply


I will comply, and say no more about it. I didn't mean to cause trouble for anyone. I apologize.

Sheela 4th Mar 2017, 5:41 PM edit delete reply

Maxim 2) A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.
Maxim 3) An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody

In the case of Maxus and Noctis, when it comes to civilian/military matter, Maxus will lead because of experience.
While on the matter of assasinations, Noctis would be in the lead because of her experience.
Neither may have definite rank over the other, but their fields of specialty and experience makes either one more suited for some tasks than others.
antrik 7th Mar 2017, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Is there ever anyone around to enforce this kind of rules, though?... I'd say in general they work only on a mutual understanding that while breaking them can provide an immediate tactical advantage, it's likely to back-fire hard in the greater scheme of things...
The Old Scribe 2nd Mar 2017, 10:53 PM edit delete reply

Possibly Noc and her sisters were controlled shock troops in the assault on Nova Roma's AI in order to disable it. Since I'm sure it was heavily guarded, it must have been a tough fight unless all the guards were human, then it would have been a slaughter.

Not totally OT: Is Noctis' name derived from the dinoflagellate named 'Noctiluca scintillans' or 'Sea Tinkle' that glows in the dark?
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 5:28 AM edit delete reply

I'm waiting for that shoe to drop. I don't know if Noctis herself was one, or she witnessed four others, but either way, it would be very traumatic.

I believe Noctis' name is simply the Latin for 'night', or 'of night'. Antithesis in some ways, fitting in others. I could be wrong, though.
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 10:56 AM edit delete reply

Nox and Noctis are both named for " Night "

Nox is actually named for the Egyptian sky goddess.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 12:32 PM edit delete reply

Thanks! I didn't know Nox was also named for 'Night'.
Ryu Santos 2nd Mar 2017, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

Hmmmm..... Four Cassians at once. Someone was short of being the "Brave Little Tailor"
Timotheus 3rd Mar 2017, 12:08 AM edit delete reply

I believe we may be about to learn why Nova Roma and the House of Livius has such a phobia against artificial intelligence. If cassians could be controlled, what about city AIs? Could the attack on Aeneas have been seen as a preventive against such a take over? Or maybe an excuse for such an attack?
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 5:32 AM edit delete reply

I can only guess, Timotheus, but I think it was all part of the same instance.
Rashala 3rd Mar 2017, 12:27 AM edit delete reply

Oh yes one person did this once....so let's kill the entire species to be sure its never two...perfectly logical. Human reaction. Yea I think the ais are more human than they wanna admit
Stormwind13 3rd Mar 2017, 9:15 AM edit delete reply

The problem is Rashala the cyberpath was in Nova Roma. Noctis didn't go HUNTING cyberpaths or branding them with the Star of David; however, when it shows up in her backyard it is another matter altogether!
Rashala 4th Mar 2017, 12:36 AM edit delete reply

Still a shoot on sight or kill on sight rather than disable\take into custody order is a bit........extreme.
highly irregular 4th Mar 2017, 12:54 PM edit delete reply
If you want them dead, then "shoot on sight" is your only option. The laws of honor forbid killing prisoners and obligate a host to protect a guest. (Obviously it was Acantha hosting Lynn, not Dickimus.)

Noctis wants cyberpaths dead-dead.
HiFranc 3rd Mar 2017, 12:38 AM edit delete reply

Not being in control of your own body and / or not being able to rely on your senses, and / or your thoughts and feelings being directed by someone else - nightmare fuel.
velvetsanity 3rd Mar 2017, 4:35 AM edit delete reply

"We are the Borg. Your cultural and technological distinctiveness will be adapted to service us. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 5:20 AM edit delete reply

Exactly, HiFranc!
highly irregular 3rd Mar 2017, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
Would it be worse if someone simply rewrote your morals and goals? Asking for a friend.
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 7:29 AM edit delete reply

That's a deep philosophical question. From the individual's point of view, I don't think it matters, as their perceptions change with the change in morals or goals. ("Oh, I can do ______ now. Cool." If they had their objectives rewritten, or overwritten, would it be perceptible?)

I think the view from outside is quite different. An objective point of view would (should) be seen as reprehensible. ("That poor person, look what you've done to them.")

That's just my opinion, of course.
highly irregular 4th Mar 2017, 12:56 PM edit delete reply
The friend (Chaotic Neutral) appreciates your understanding, and is currently suborning objective points of view. ;-P
megados 4th Mar 2017, 5:59 PM edit delete reply

I understand next to nothing, but I am glad to help, if I can! :D
mjkj 3rd Mar 2017, 3:25 AM edit delete reply

Wow, Ada got her talking... =)

...and wow, that happened? that really explains her reaction... =O

Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 11:14 AM edit delete reply

Just wait :D theirs more!
chk 4th Mar 2017, 8:09 AM edit delete reply

Oh we're waiting.
Phil 3rd Mar 2017, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
"Not.. all of us.. but four.
That.. was more than enough.

They made us do....
Line Dancing.

NEVER AGAIN!!!"
DLKmusic 3rd Mar 2017, 6:22 PM edit delete reply

Oh, the inhumanity of it all!!!
Haegan2005 5th Mar 2017, 8:27 PM edit delete reply

espedially if done without music!
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 8:18 AM edit delete reply
I wonder if human telepaths have the same capability to dominate other humans that cyberpaths have to dominate synthbrain-based androids? If so, I wonder if Noctis harbors the same intense reaction to their presence, for the same reasons, or if humans are considered so "low risk" as to not merit concern.
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 10:55 AM edit delete reply

It is well known that Epiphytes can dominate minds. Although its abhornit to them.

Human psionics .,..well go back and read the new pages with Doctor Demark she uses her emphatic ability's as a defense against Gavin.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 11:06 AM edit delete reply
Thank you, @Centcomm. But I am wary of assuming that Dr. Demark is necessarily representative of typical telepaths, in the same way that it turned out that Dr. Silver isn't necessarily representative of typical cyberpaths.

It will be interesting to see how pragmatic (versus idealistic) Noctis is should she ever happen to meet an epiphyte -- considering the risk one of them would represent.
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
Or even worse, should Acantha ever meet an epiphyte! ^_^
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 1:10 PM edit delete reply

It could happen..
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 6:59 PM edit delete reply

Noctis wouldn't be concerned, as Epiphytes have no ability whatsoever to communicate with, control, or otherwise affect machines that do not incorporate psi-sensitive technology. (This is a known fact in-universe, repeatedly tested and demonstrated in the course of centuries of peaceful contact.)
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 7:03 PM edit delete reply
Going to have to wait for Noctis' flashback and see if it sheds any light here, but this puzzles me.
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 11:31 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

What puzzles you how? :D
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
Well, we talked about Noctis responding to the threat level represented by a cyberpath -- which presumably includes the ability to suborn other forces -- but you said she wouldn't be concerned about an epiphyte ...

Scenario: an epiphyte visits Acantha in Nova Roma after her confirmation. After a few silent moments ...
ACANTHA: "Princeps, this is a direct order: neither you nor anyone else is to harm or hinder the epiphyte standing near me in any way. Now, you and all other Cassians are to go forth and slay every living person over the age of 12 in Nova Roma, except myself and the epiphyte. You are to attach or commandeer any other forces you need to accomplish this in the most efficient manner possible, after which you are to report back here."

If Acantha were to be dominated, wouldn't it be at least as bad as a Cassian being dominated?

Humans with suitcase nukes, humans with rail guns, humans driving tanks -- the nightmare scenarios seem plentiful enough that, if the response is based on any kind of rational assessment, an epiphyte has to be considered at least as big a threat as a cyberpath. In both cases you end up wholly dependent on the goodwill of the entity in question -- you either trust them, or you don't.
Tokyo Rose 4th Mar 2017, 2:22 AM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

Ah-ha, I didn't see the Acantha line before.

The Epiphytes have had a very long time in which to demonstrate that they are trustworthy and altruistic, and Epiphytes don't go around using mind control on humans. Noctis knows this.

Beyond that, it's not our intention to write a story in which the ambient level of psi-paranoia is so rampant that the only "reasonable" response is to kill everyone or everything that could even possibly have psionic powers before it demonstrates itself to be a threat.

(Jesus, I am tired and it's Shark Week and I feel like my brain is just vomiting up words onto the keyboard right now.)
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 6:25 AM edit delete reply
Understood, but we're not talking "ambient levels" here, just Noctis levels. And it does seem a little 'speciesist' to impute the capacity for evil solely to humans and their mutant offshoots.

On the other hand, the only "bad guys" we have ever seen in DataChasers so far have all been human. I suppose that could be organic humanity's only evolutionary advantage -- we are the only sapient race capable of evil ... (Not much of a credential, to be sure.)
Tokyo Rose 4th Mar 2017, 6:55 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

The Epiphyte race is composed of compulsory empaths. They suffer whatever torment is inflicted on other beings within their range of reception. This situation tends to not generate individuals that commit acts of selfishness, cruelty, and brutality. For the Epiphytes, "threefold retribution" is not an esoteric philosophical construct--it is the migraine headache they get if they cheat at poker and take somebody's house payment. It is an immediate, tangible, personal punishment.

People who have studied the Epiphytes know this, so they're aware that Epiphytes are not psychic assassins or agitators. It's just Not A Thing That Happens.

I'm also offended by the "speciesist" remark. I've had to put up with people PMing me to claim that I'm something-ist because there isn't enough racial or religious diversity, or most of the villains are men, or most of the important characters are women, or there are too many heterosexuals, or everybody looks like a fashion model instead of having a more realistic range of body types, or androids should kill all the humans and take over the world, blibbity blabbety blah. I don't feel much like being talked down to for deciding that our imaginary psychic space flower elves are generally nice people who don't go around mind-raping other sentient beings for shits and giggles.
Centcomm 4th Mar 2017, 7:30 PM edit delete reply

... @ Gil ..Im actually responceable for the ratio of women. and men and all that jazz. Yeah there are no real " evil epips.

you want evil races? sure I can do that! .. you want fat ugly characters.. sure? i could? But why!? This is a bloody fantasy story in space and earth. come on .. really?
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 9:13 PM edit delete reply
So, first of all, @Tokyo Rose, let me apologize for offending you. I think there are some legitimate literary concepts involved worthy of fair and reasonable discussion, but I admit it is a minefield of conceptual issues that needs to be navigated. I want you to know that I was not attempting to impugn your writing and I was unaware that other people may have been sending you various private messages about issues that may or may not be related to the issues I was trying to discuss.

Second of all, @Centcomm, I have always said "Your characters, Your story, Your way." I was really not asking for anything, and especially not asking for any changes to be made to accommodate me. The temptation in me is to just drop it here and hope that you will both forgive me eventually. However, I do feel that I have failed to make myself clear and that bothers me. So, I hope you will allow me to make one more try to clarify one little point. But always "your characters, your story, your way."

J.R.R. Tolkien is accounted a passably good fantasy author. He wrote stories, and in those stories there were races that could be said to be 'aligned' (elves, orcs) and races that were not 'aligned' (hobbits, men). Other people may have taken him to task about a lack of diversity, but I never did. His characters, his stories, his way. That never meant, in my opinion, that we couldn't discuss the fact that the elves (to me) seemed aligned, and some of the various ramifications that implied for the setting of Middle Earth.

It isn't even the epiphytes so much, but it seems to me the issue of whether androids are 'aligned' or not has some fascinating ramifications either way. I am not saying you should do it one way or the other, I am not saying one way is better than the other. I am saying that there appear to be indications in the story that it is a particular way, but that we haven't really (IMHO) seen anything definitive or conclusive to establish if there is any 'unaligned' race in DataChasers other than organic humans. You don't even owe me an answer to the question, but I regret that the asking of it offended you.

And lastly, @Tokyo Rose, I never stated, implied, or accused you of being 'anything-ist'. (Or at least I never meant to.) I did imply that Noctis might be a little species-ist; however, in a story setting where aligned races exist, being species-ist would seem the course of sanity. People who stubbornly deny an actual fact of the reality in which they live are more foolish and dangerous (in my opinion) than those who act in consideration of the incontrovertible facts of the universe. If epiphytes have strong factors which tend to prevent them from abusing their psychic abilities, then it makes perfect sense to exclude them as a possible cause for concern. Until this discussion, however, I hadn't been clever enough to infer that with certainty. I needed your explanation to make it explicit to me. Please forgive me for putting you to the trouble. Anyway, Noctis' attitudes (as far as I am concerned) do not reflect in any way on you, @Tokyo Rose, so I apologize again for not making it more clear that this was only about Noctis.
Centcomm 4th Mar 2017, 10:00 PM edit delete reply

Apology is good.

The thing is .. we dont want a lot of relegeon here. and we really try to avoid picking on ANY race. I made up a reason to have a mostly female cast and it was actually vetted by a Biologist. And a Virologist. The real reason is Daz studio SUCKS for stuff for men and other body types and variation and i have ti work within those constraints. So.. sorry.
Gilrandir 4th Mar 2017, 10:45 PM edit delete reply
No apology needed on my account, @Centcomm. I am completely certain I have never complained about the predominance of attractive females in the cast list. ^_^

I'm pretty confident I will probably cross the line between what I consider Philosophy and what other people consider Religion from time to time. Please accept that I intend no offense (which, sadly, does not mean I will never offend unintentionally) and a civilized (if possibly unsubtle) 'nudge' will steer me back on course. If you're uncomfortable with that ... let me know, and I'll try to muzzle myself more in advance. I certainly intend to avoid references to any real-world religions -- though their many and varied influences on the literature of the genre is undeniable.

That having been said, should I steer clear of the notion of 'aligned' races? I thought that fell into Philosophy, but you may consider it Religion.
Tokyo Rose 5th Mar 2017, 6:21 AM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

Clarification appreciated, and I apologize for biting. :)

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "aligned". My brain automatically goes to D&D-style alignments, i.e. Good/Neutral/Evil (morals) and Chaotic/Neutral/Lawful (ethics). :D
Gilrandir 5th Mar 2017, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
That is (more or less) the intended concept. Disclaimer: I, unlike many gamers, find Alignment a very useful conceptual framework for having certain kinds of discussions -- however there is a host of clarification and definition that needs to be established first to avoid the many differing and diverse assumptions and past experiences of different individuals interfering with clarity. I'll spare everyone that for now, because (in my experience) no one really wants to hear my opinions on the topic. ^_^ Suffice to say that when I say 'Good' I am not necessarily talking about the same 'Good' that you are -- but when we talk about 'Brownies are aligned Good', I'm pretty sure we are both meaning 'aligned' in the same way.

If we consider the hypothetical "monster manual" entries for a couple of races, we might find ...
"Brownie: ... Alignment: Lawful-Good ..."
"Human: ... Alignment: Any ..."

Some of the ramifications of that (to me) are that Human free will is unencumbered -- they can, in the abstract, make any choice in a given situation. Not that each individual human will necessarily make every kind of choice in their lifetime, but that (like a roulette wheel spin having an equal chance of returning any individual number), if you picked a representative completely at random without any prior background or cultural influence, you could get any kind of action. You might get Decimus, or you might get Acantha, or you might get someone in-between.

Brownies, on the other hand, are an 'aligned' race. Theoretically, you could pick any Brownie anywhere in the multi-verse and, given a particular moral dilemma, it will make the Lawful-Good choice. Not necessarily always the same choice, if multiple Lawful-Good alternatives are available, but never an Evil choice. The roulette wheel is rigged. Arguably, there should be some reason for this in the game universe -- and there generally is. Tolkien's stories, as an example, are clearly written including elements of <REDACTED> allegory. Elves in that universe are Good because they have a mystic connection to <REDACTED> that Humans don't. Orcs are 'fallen' elves. In that universe, being 'racist' about Humans may be short-sighted and ill-advised, but not being racist about Elves or Orcs is just stupid. That mystic connection, to an extent, limits the free will of elves and orcs. They have the equivalent of an inhibitor or programmed directives that doesn't let them make certain choices.

Then, to choose a different example, we can consider a different race: Klingons, in the Star Trek universe. Let us say, for the sake of argument that they have a monster manual entry which reads ...
"Klingon: ... Alignment: Warlike"

If one GM is running a Star Trek campaign, they may argue that the reason for that is cultural -- all Klingons are indoctrinated in their particular culture from an early age in an effective and systematic way, their personalities shaped and influenced such that, for any Klingon you meet, you will be very confident they will make only certain kinds of choices. A different GM in a different campaign may argue that the mechanism is biological -- Klingons have certain instinctive imperatives, with corresponding endocrinal and hormonal mechanisms that force them to certain actions in certain situations. Neither one is right or wrong, they are both right for their own campaign, but it influences the story as to which campaign world you are in. In the first world, if you imagine a Klingon foundling taken away and raised in a Federation home before the acculturation process has begun, you could get a pacifist Klingon. In the second, no matter what you do, that Klingon is going to grow up and be warlike. Therefore, in the first universe, being racist about Klingons is short-sighted and ill-advised while, in the second universe, it only makes sense. However, depending on the stories being told and what we see of Klingons, it can be impossible to distinguish between the two, unless you ask the GM "So, why are all Klingons aligned 'warlike'?"

(I'll stop here for a breath and to break up the wall of text. Feel free to respond, or just tell me "Enough! Please stop!" ^_^)
Gilrandir 5th Mar 2017, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
["I'll take 'Sentences That Will Make People's Head Explode for $200, Alex." -- "This was in the previous post." -- "What is 'Not being racist is just stupid'?" ^_^]
megados 5th Mar 2017, 9:06 AM edit delete reply

This is an interesting topic. If anyone would rather I butt out, please say so. I did not want to say anything that would further add to misunderstanding.

As I follow this thread, I see a hint of a singular goal being to determine Noctis' alignment. Feel free to correct me if this is inaccurate. (Also, it makes one wonder if those characters who have sheets might not include some that information in their bio, unless that information needs to be withheld for storytelling purposes.)

There are two alignment types in consideration: Good/Neutral/Evil (morals) and/or Chaotic/Neutral/Lawful (ethics).

As far as Noctis is concerned, my opinion is in the first context, she is neutral leaning toward good. The reason I say that, is that we see her weigh outcomes, and come up with what she sees as her best possibility, or possibilities. When she has the option between multiple possibilities, and it doesn't seriously harm the efficacy of the outcome, she seems to choose the "more good" outcome. Mostly she is practical, intelligent and detail oriented, so her choices aren't just random, off the ass picks out of a hat. She weighs her choices and her words carefully. She's a tactician in her own right.

The second alignment type is harder to pin down because it's a bit subjective. It has to be weighed in relation to the individual's ethical background. As far as how that relates to Noctis, my opinion is that she is lawful, when weighed by the measure of her environment. As a Cassian, she pretty much embodies what I think it means to be a Cassian. She adheres to what is best for Nova Roma, and the Throne as the basis for her decisions, when she is free to make choices. Right now, she is as free as she has ever been, and it will become apparent where her alignments lie.

** edit: Interestingly I think that if Noctis were suddenly somehow no longer a Cassian, and not constrained by an inhibitor, she might lean somewhat further "good", but nowhere near "altruistic", since her practicality would only allow so much latitude.

As always, this is just an opinion.
Gilrandir 5th Mar 2017, 9:25 AM edit delete reply
For my purposes, @megados, the alignment of Noctis is a matter of complete indifference to me. Each of us should be able to form our own opinion of her alignment based on what she does and does not do in the story, and (in my experience) each of us uses different definitions of Law/Chaos/Good/Evil anyway. I'd be happy to explore this at another time and in a different venue, but that wasn't my intention here.

My intent was to learn more about whether certain races in DataChasers should be considered 'aligned' or 'unaligned'. It seems apparent that organic humans (including organic human psionics) are unaligned, while epiphytes are aligned. One of the big question marks left for me (though other people may already know the answer for certain) is whether synthbrain-based organisms are aligned or unaligned. (Please note: it makes little sense to me to state that a species is aligned, but then claim their Free Will is completely unencumbered. That's like arguing "Sure the roulette wheel has come up 'red' fifty billion times in a row, but I assure you it is completely fair. Trust me." ^_^)
megados 5th Mar 2017, 9:46 AM edit delete reply

I misunderstood the intent; I saw you had been using Noctis as an example, and made an erroneous assumption. Apologies.

I had been making my own opinion of each character based on their context within the story. I wasn't looking for overall racial alignments, because it is usually hard to judge an individual according to pre-concieved biases. I guess I don't concern myself with that as much. Where there is bearing on the story, Rose makes it pretty clear where the value lies.

As promised, I will butt out now.
Tokyo Rose 5th Mar 2017, 5:52 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir

This is actually a pretty interesting concept that I hadn't thought to apply; I always thought of D&D alignments as being guidelines rather than hard-and-fast rules, since DMs know that player characters tend to do what they want and justify it later. :D

The Epiphytes are aliens who aren't guided by human morals or ethics, but if I were to assign them an alignment, they'd be recognizable as Neutral Good. They prefer to avoid conflict and prevent harm to others, but they don't step in to impose their moral framework on others; they control their own actions or involvement instead. One could argue that their motivation is inherently selfish in that situations involving conflict and pain cause them immense discomfort, and so they take steps to ensure their own well-being by trying to mediate or simply avoid such situations... but the same accusation could be leveled at most humans as well.

Androids would, in your definition, be unaligned. They are inherently able to choose. However, they have an extra wrinkle that clouds the issue--they have core programming, designed and implemented by others, that guides their actions and choices. The imposition of another's will in the form of an inhibitor also clouds the issue. Humans are given a moral and ethical structure by other humans and society as a whole, but we ultimately choose our own way, based on what we wish to accomplish and taking into consideration what consequences our actions may have. Androids seem to be not quite so free to choose, but the line is somewhat blurry.

I have to mention "Westworld" again here. There are scenes which illustrate this concept very well--such as one wherein an android host insists that "no one tells me what to do"... and a human technician hands over a tablet that predicts even the words that the host is going to say before they're ever spoken. The character is confident, independent, and self-directed because they were programmed to behave that way. The question of humanity, and the role played in that definition by true freedom of choice, is at the core of the series.
Gilrandir 5th Mar 2017, 7:38 PM edit delete reply
I struggled for a long time with alignment as prescriptive (i.e., a guideline or something that provides direction) until I broke away from that and started using it as descriptive instead. Used that way it works much better for me.

As far as androids being unaligned ... I know you are the authoritative source, but the story to date seems (to me) to argue the other way. I don't think it is necessarily a binary thing, it can be more a matter of statistics. I want to say more, but am wary of coming afoul of "your characters, your story, your way". Please press 'Y' to continue, or 'N' to exit that dialog. ^_^. It seems to me that, in part, you are intentionally trying to keep that very question ambiguous and challenge the reader with it, so you assert 'unaligned' because that's the way the 'newtype' androids (Mobile Suit Gundam reference) are going, even though there are still plenty of the old kind around. Story-wise, based on the various kinds of 'blurriness' you have mentioned, it is still seeming to me that, overall, the 'average' of the synthbrained race is still aligned.

The Westworld scene you describe (which show, alas, I have not seen) sounds to me like the hosts (when operating as designed) are actually aligned, but if asked would say they are unaligned. However, if we asked their creative team about the objective reality of the Westworld universe, they should (if being truthful) say 'aligned'. (Most probably what they would say is "Keep watching if you want to find out." ^_^) I don't know if the malfunctioning hosts go to aligned-hostile, or if they are becoming unaligned. The point being, asking the GM-equivalent we should be able to ignore the subjective illusions and get to the objective truth of the matter, no matter how free-willed the android thinks it is.
Gilrandir 8th Mar 2017, 4:48 PM edit delete reply
A question: Have we seen if epiphyte empathy is sensitive to the emotional output generated by synthbrains? If so, doesn't that imply that epiphytes would be capable of dominating a synthbrain as well as an organic brain? The impression I got was that epiphytes were not (generally) cyberpaths, implying that negative synth emotions would not affect them in the same way as negative organic emotions. (Not that I am suggesting this would incline them to go on a berserk vendetta against machine life, but it would be another interesting wrinkle.)
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 6:54 PM edit delete reply

(I swear, Cent, there are times when you fully display the reason why I'm the editor. I think you meant "abhorrent" and "empathic" and "abilities".)
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 6:57 PM edit delete reply
I don't know, @Tokyo Rose, ... she seemed pretty emphatic about it. ^_^
megados 3rd Mar 2017, 7:39 PM edit delete reply

Aww Rose, we knew what she meant.
DLKmusic 3rd Mar 2017, 9:30 PM edit delete reply

I'm curious Rose... How many veins in your forehead pop when someone pronounces "lithe" as Lith? (short i, hard th)
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

@DLKMusic

A LOT OF THEM.

Mr. Black knew someone at work who pronounced "hyperbole" as "hyperbull". Which isn't far off as actual descriptions of the concept go, but she wasn't doing it to be funny. I wept a little.
DLKmusic 4th Mar 2017, 12:36 AM edit delete reply

LOL! Hyperbull kinda sounds like a good name for a new energy Drink!

I've run into people who pronounce it Hyperbowl, and I always think to myself "I wonder which teams will be playing in the hyberbowl this year?"

(the Superbowl game is NEVER as good as the hype leading up to it)
Centcomm 4th Mar 2017, 12:28 AM edit delete reply

This is exactly why your the editor! I think you told me i was never publishing a page on my own again.. :D
Sheela 4th Mar 2017, 6:01 PM edit delete reply

Shark Week ?
wtf ?

Is Rose jumpin' the shark again ?
Tokyo Rose 4th Mar 2017, 6:24 PM edit delete reply

"Shark Week" is my favored euphemism for menstruating. *winces as the TMI alarm goes off*
megados 4th Mar 2017, 6:40 PM edit delete reply

LMAO

TMI, but that's one I never heard before! Damn I needed that!
Sheela 6th Mar 2017, 2:46 AM edit delete reply

ooOoohh ... so you ARE jumping the shark. :D
Well .. After a fashion, at least.
Greenwood Goat 3rd Mar 2017, 8:19 AM edit delete reply
Personal touch as in 'I turned and there she was!! Her face barely an inch from mine! She said, "I have a message for you." I'm never going to forget it...'?

Complete confidentiality as in 'Have you heard the expression: "I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you"?'

Or indeed:

Tennyo: Well, I'm glad you got this resolved, and so yes, my order should have been cancelled... but it hasn't. So... I'll just go and put this horse's head in your bed, and then you can put it in the trash. Okay?


>:=)>
Tokyo Rose 3rd Mar 2017, 7:01 PM edit delete reply

Tennyo would be rather polite about it. "I hope this isn't your favorite set of sheets. Let me tell you how to get bloodstains out, just in case."
Greenwood Goat 4th Mar 2017, 3:39 AM edit delete reply
Tennyo: Actually, thinking about it, my orders don't preclude me bagging the horse's head up first. Do you have a large plastic bag to hand? Preferably a clear, transparent one - it interferes less with the intent of the order. Perfect! Hold it open for me... there we go. You have a beautiful house, by the way. This is not the sort of carpet I would want to get blood on... so be a bit more careful in your dealings in future. ...Such a nice bedroom, too. Now, it looks like you sleep this side of the bed, and you sleep that side, so I would have placed the head in the middle between you, like so. Unless you cuddle or spoon when you sleep, of course. Oh, he does, does he? Well, then, I would have had to steal the bedclothes back from him! Anyway, mission accomplished! Is that an en-suite bathroom? Do you mind...? Thank you. Well, yes, hygiene is important to us: clean kills, yes - cross-contamination, no. *washes hands* And... have you thought about moving your bed to the opposite wall there? It wouldn't be visible from the door that way, and you would both sleep a lot more soundly. *dries hands* Trust me. I've spent a lot of time in bedrooms watching people sleep. ...Well, if you're sure, I could help you move it right now. If you lift the foot of the bed there, Dominus, and you lift it there, Domina, I'll take the head of the bed *reaches over, grabs bedstead, lifts* and we can take it out into the middle of the room and turn it round. Yes, actually, while people don't generally think of it in those terms, public service is really does comprise the majority of my existence...

>:=)>
Tokyo Rose 5th Mar 2017, 6:22 AM edit delete reply

You are eerily spot-on in your characterization of Tennyo. :D
KarToon12 3rd Mar 2017, 4:02 PM edit delete reply

So being attacked/controlled by a cyberpath is like the robot version of rape?
Gilrandir 3rd Mar 2017, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
Only when a 'bad' cyberpath does it -- if a 'good' cyberpath does it, it's called 'therapy'. ^_^
Centcomm 3rd Mar 2017, 4:19 PM edit delete reply

Sadly .. yes. I really really hate to use that comparison but your right.
megados 4th Mar 2017, 12:30 PM edit delete reply

I just had a disturbing thought:

If an android with an inhibitor is taken hostage by a cyberpath, and forced to do things counter to their orders, and their objectives, does the inhibitor torture them all the while? or, does it see the the cyberpath's objectives as correct and remain inert? D: 'We can't tell you' is also an possible answer. :D
Morituri 4th Mar 2017, 5:17 PM edit delete reply
I think if the cyberpath in question wants to kill an android with an inhibitor, all they have to do is force the android to do something that the inhibitor will kill them for.

On the other hand, they could just reprogram the inhibitor and watch the android try very very hard to figure out the new rules without dying.

Sick kicks, either way.

But with Dr. Silver, I think the worst that Noctis really has to fear is that if she gets even the slightest opportunity she'd disable the inhibitor alltogether.

I mean, maybe not? On account of the possibility that a Cassian, in addition to being fully weaponized, might also be psychotic. But we know it's what she'd prefer.
megados 4th Mar 2017, 5:57 PM edit delete reply

Morituri, Thanks. Those are some interesting twists. I hadn't considered the cyberpath addressing the inhibitor. I was thinking along the lines of simple control of their mind, and how the inhibitor would react.

I don't understand why they would purposely use the inhibitor to cause pain, if they have already taken control. I was thinking more along the lines of collateral inhibitor activation.

The reason this question came to mind, was because we now have evidence that there was an instance where a cyberpath did actually invade someone's mind, and as bad as that is, would there be the additional trauma of the inhibitor activating?

Answers seem to always come with more questions.
DLKmusic 4th Mar 2017, 8:21 PM edit delete reply

I think we're gonna get an in-story answer this question fairly soon, TBH.
megados 4th Mar 2017, 8:29 PM edit delete reply

I think you might be right DLK, and it could be horrible. I'm hoping for the best, and preparing for the worst.
Keera 4th Mar 2017, 12:13 AM edit delete reply
Has anyone thought of cleaning up the blood on the patient? I'm sure that would one of the procedures the response team has to do when transporting to the hospital so the doctors could start fixing up the injuries?
Centcomm 4th Mar 2017, 12:26 AM edit delete reply

Some of it has already been done. but shes still bleeding minutely. But they dont really have a effective way of cleaning her up right now.
Gilrandir 6th Mar 2017, 12:45 AM edit delete reply
Actually a point raised more in the next page where the weightlessness is even more emphasized: will we get to see droplets of blood floating around? If Acantha is still bleeding, even at a slow trickle, weightlessness would seem to make it even more important to get those blood trails cleaned, or at least covered up.

You would think the Lazarus Kit would contain a roll of gauze in it. And some tape. But that might end up not working out, artistically.
junoro 4th Mar 2017, 10:34 PM edit delete reply

Oooh my goodness, I finally caught up on this whole archive, and I gotta say, this comic is fantastic! Such a huge adventure, and so many "WOOHOO" moments throughout! Your characters and settings are so cool! You guys are an inspiration!
DLKmusic 4th Mar 2017, 11:27 PM edit delete reply

Welcome to the clubhouse, Junoro! We got Beer & Pizza!

oh... Just a note, Sheela is bribable with tuna, but your shoes are still not safe.
Centcomm 5th Mar 2017, 12:31 AM edit delete reply

yay! im really happy to see you Junoro! I happen to love your comic too! Such cool designs! and thank you.. ill be over here turning red now :D
megados 5th Mar 2017, 6:03 AM edit delete reply

Hi junoro! Nice of you to stop in!
If you have an extra OLD shoe, bring it along, and Sheela usually lets you keep the ones you're wearing.
cattservant 5th Mar 2017, 7:33 PM edit delete reply

Ah, for the old days
when the comments didn't overwhelm
my ability to comprehend.
Gilrandir 5th Mar 2017, 7:44 PM edit delete reply
Please forgive me, @cattservant. If you would have me attempt to answer any question you might have, feel free to send me a private message and I will do my best. I seek to be clear and straightforward, failing an embarrassingly large percentage of the time. ^_^

If you're just noting how long-winded I can be ... guilty, I suppose. If it is any consolation, though, it usually comes in waves, so maybe this one will subside soon. ^_^

In festival times,
@Gilrandir lurks quietly.
Then he starts typing. :(
cattservant 5th Mar 2017, 8:11 PM edit delete reply

Not at all!
It's more a personal lament.
Getting old, shaky and slow.
Can't carry a ten digit phone number
from one room to the next in my head
anymore.
megados 5th Mar 2017, 8:25 PM edit delete reply

Maybe we might all benefit from these observations. I know that I sometimes get overly invested in a line of thought, and consume large amounts of people's patience in the process. @cattservant, you have pointed out something that I should be paying attention to, and thanks for the reminder.
cattservant 5th Mar 2017, 8:38 PM edit delete reply

they say that
brevity is the soul of wit...
Caley Tibbittz Collopy 12th Mar 2017, 4:00 PM edit delete reply

Sometimes I forget how spoiled I am, and then every so often, I stare at your pages and wonder how you're able to make it all look like it's a big-budget movie being filmed, when so many other DAZ users can't. (Or don't?)

...I mean, it's such DAMN. GOOD. WORK.
Centcomm 12th Mar 2017, 4:38 PM edit delete reply

Thank you tons. I really try hard to replicate that cinematic look and make everyone look real most others .. with a few exceptions are just lazy. I do know two off the bat that use Daz well and thats Dizzaster Juice and Steven Vincent.
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