Comic 1489 - Historical Insight

14th May 2017, 9:00 PM
Historical Insight
Average Rating: 5 (24 votes)

Author Notes:

Tokyo Rose 14th May 2017, 9:00 PM edit delete
Tokyo Rose
I feel that I shouldn't have to spell this out, but certain PMs make me feel I should: Noctis has not told Acantha about the hit on Aeneas. If Acantha knew, she sure as fuck would not be sitting calmly in bed chatting with Cent-Comm.
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Dragonrider 14th May 2017, 9:10 PM edit delete reply

Once Acantha finds the truth about Aeneas a stage of Hostilities may well exist between the two states with Lynn,Dolly,Ada and TeeDee, the rescue team for Lynn and Acantha,the only beings allowed inside by Nova Roma.
Lurker 14th May 2017, 9:21 PM edit delete reply
I'm not sure I understand the suppositions in TR's note. When Acantha found out the Dex died, her IMMEDIATE concern was the contingencies. The most natural way to deal with those would be to take down the AI. Acantha has demonstrated that while she might not be comfortable with the responsibilities of rulership, she is ready to exercise them. In that context, a hit on Aeneas would be "regretable". She would not be happy. She might even be upset. But not truly angry with CC. What am I missing?
megados 14th May 2017, 9:43 PM edit delete reply

Well, the key point in what is missing, is that the contingencies were not part of, nor controlled by Aeneas. Acantha has established a rapport with Aeneas, and would be very upset to learn that CentComm had tried to overwrite him. Destroying Aeneas would have done nothing to stop the contingencies. Also, I don't think that CentComm was even aware of the existence of the contingencies.
Fairportfan 14th May 2017, 11:30 PM edit delete reply

The difference between what Acantha MIGHT have done, if she were not incapacitated (in more than one sense of "incapacitated") at the moment and had full knowledge and CentCom sending a ninja killer to assassinate Aeneas simply because she COULD ... would seem rather extreme in the eyes of most people.
guest1 15th May 2017, 8:52 AM edit delete reply
Pinky knows the deal... IF Pinky told Acantha right now (full disclosure)the how an why of Pinky keeping Aeneas weapons assets from dik-munch.. then yes Acantha wood be pissed,, but not as much as if she found out 3rd or 4th hand.!! .. and i think it would go a long way in the Rome / Troy relations..
cuz , now the story is a means to an end.. if Acantha finds out from someone else,, then Cent-Comm tried to to KILL Aeneas.! an Pinky has to back peddle and git past the anger an lies...
Dragonrider 14th May 2017, 11:52 PM edit delete reply

Acantha is aware Aeneas is repaired and doing well She asked Noctis about his status.
Fairportfan 15th May 2017, 2:51 AM edit delete reply

I meant plotting in cold current to murder Aeneas might be something she would take a trifle amiss.
Sheela 15th May 2017, 5:48 AM edit delete reply

Yes, well, Centcomm certainly is cold currented !
guest1 15th May 2017, 6:19 PM edit delete reply
recovering... all she got at the time was the one word.. not repaired or doing well.
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 5:57 AM edit delete reply

As megados notes, the contingencies were very emphatically NOT part of Aeneas at all.
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:14 AM edit delete reply
The way it was depicted, it gave me (and apparently some others) the impression that the Contingencies were in fact somehow installed as a peripheral subsystem of Aeneas... (Which always surprised me a bit.)
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 3:39 PM edit delete reply

Well... "Getting At It" makes it explicitly clear in the first panel.

"Decimus's "Fuck Everything" databank is a separate system, set outside of your control..."
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:44 PM edit delete reply
I guess I read that as, it's isolated from his other systems -- not as, it's not part of him at all... Or something like that.
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 5:21 PM edit delete reply
It is a little hard to understand how CeCi's digital avatar and the spike were able to move from Aeneas' cyberspace to the Apocalypse Node if there were no connection whatsoever. One supposes Tokyo Rose could have used her cybermancy to bridge the air gap in the same way that Dr. Silver did for the Palace Node, but (if so) I would have expected a little more to have been made of it in the webcomic. (Even if such a thing was completely effortless for Tokyo Rose.) If they were tied together, but separate (like Tokyo Rose's node where her 'unmasking' took place), that makes more sense to me. So, outside of Aeneas' control, but not inaccessible to him -- except for the ICE.
megados 16th May 2017, 5:48 PM edit delete reply

When I read it, I understood it to be something akin to switching to a different webpage. Different servers, different location. In the story, we are given the impression that Tokyo Rose's cyber-chops are much greater than Silver's, so I didn't really question it, since as you say, Silver could bridge a gap, while all Rose had to do was get switched to the destructo page.
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 6:20 PM edit delete reply
Exactly, @megados. All the different web servers are connected by virtue of their connection to the InterNet and the TCP/IP protocols in use. As opposed, say, to a secure laptop that has no WiFi connection and no network port.
megados 16th May 2017, 6:43 PM edit delete reply

That would be where Tokyo Rose's superior cyber-fu would come in. There would have to be some kind of pathway to the contingencies' data bank or there would be no way to activate it remotely in the event of Decimus' demise. I assume a halfway decent cyberpath could make use of it.
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 7:10 PM edit delete reply
The only thing needed to activate it 'remotely' in the event of Decimus' demise is (we are told) a timer. ^_^ The thing needed to remotely prevent it from detonating prematurely would be at least one or more remote terminals connected to the Apocalypse Node -- but there is every reason to suspect those terminals were on a dedicated line directly to the Apocalypse Node, and not connected to any part of Aneas or any other part of the InterNet as a whole. And, if that were true, they would still be able to do their job quite well. (Note: You can even have WiFi connections to the DarkNet which are unable to connect directly to the public InterNet, so a 'direct connection' does not necessarily mean a hardwired connection. For those poised to object over the issue of possible wireless bio-monitors on Decimus' person being part of the overall Doomsday Device design.)
megados 16th May 2017, 7:39 PM edit delete reply

For it to be perfectly hack proof it would indeed have to be a hardwired connection requiring Decimus to use one or more dedicated terminals to reset the timer. That seems unlikely, as it would require his presence at intervals, and if one were to be missed it would be disastrous.

It would almost assuredly have to have a wireless component and yes, I assume biometrics monitoring Decimus. Every heartbeat (or something) resets the timer. Since he can go anywhere, there would have to be nodes everywhere to monitor him at all times. A relay point could be relatively easily be established which could have a node connected to the "Dark Net" in communication withb a node connected to the InterNet. I would think Tokyo Rose could manage that.
megados 14th May 2017, 9:22 PM edit delete reply

First, I did not expect Acantha to ask this particular question in this particular way. I thought she would be more general, along the lines of what CentComm's plans toward Nova Roma were. I'm impressed with her insight. As it turns out, Noctis and CentComm agree that Acantha is the best choice to lead Nova Roma. I suspect they would agree on many things.

As far as I could understand, all Acantha knows about Aeneas was that he is recovering. She does not yet know what that means. I could be wrong, though.

@Tokyo Rose, re: alt text, I do not want to turn this into an unwanted political discussion, and as such, I will only say that FWIW, I tend to agree.
Timotheus 14th May 2017, 9:44 PM edit delete reply

I am a history jock. History is my hobby and I'm afraid I'm guilty of having a lot of revisionist views, but they are all based on accurately assessing the facts in the context of their times. Which in my opinion is the only way to accept history, exactly as it has been recorded/supported by the evidence it left behind in the context of the times it occurred in.
megados 14th May 2017, 9:59 PM edit delete reply

I'm not sure I understand. Historical revisionism implies to its negative (illegitmate) aspect meaning distortion or denial of history for nefarious purposes. If you are working toward historical accuracy, that isn't typically revisionist, unless you are attempting to correct previous inaccuracies. Or I am missing something?
Timotheus 14th May 2017, 11:40 PM edit delete reply

You're not missing anything, you're just trapped by the wonderful world of semantics. Historical revisionism, as a science, is non biased and as described, is intended to correct previous inaccuracies in the understanding of the past based on newly discovered evidence. Political/Social revisionism is the process of altering how we view the past based on how we currently want to interpret it based on our present beliefs. The trouble lies in confusing the two and mixing the results.
Historical revisionism is very hard to achieve properly in the face of Political/Social Historical inertia, but Political/Social revisionism is far more dangerous to society as a whole.
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 1:37 AM edit delete reply
Disclaimer: I am not a historian. I am not a scientist. I am not a politician.

It seems to me that multiple fields proliferate terms and concepts unnecessarily in order to obfuscate certain issues, so as to better manipulate the opinions of the unwary. No academic field is immune to this, but the perceived dichotomy between the 'social sciences' and 'real sciences' would not seem to be helping matters.

Using scientific concepts (with which I am slightly more familiar), and treating History as a science, we get the following:

* - Historians collect data. (Typically in the form of primary sources, often as a derived conclusion by an expert in another field.)
* - Historians develop theories intended to communicate objective truth about past events and their significance, based on, and consistent with, the collected data.
* - New or alternative theories are frequently developed as new data (or new interpretations of existing data) becomes available. When the theories are changed to provide a better expresssion of objective truth, that is a 'good thing'.
* - New or alternative theories are frequently proposed because someone believes it is in their interest (or the interest of a cause which they support) for people to believe the new theory. These theories are not necessarily crafted with an eye to objective truth or consistency with available data, but to suit the agenda of their source. When the new theory provides a poorer expression of objective truth, that is a 'bad thing'.
* - Whenever a new theory is proposed to revise an existing theory, the term 'revisionism' is appropriate. Thus, revisionism can be a good thing, or a bad thing.
* - Because the sources of all new theories have an interest in making sure the theory is as persuasive and convincing as possible, it can be difficult to tell the two apart without specialized information and education. This is one reason why the strategy of deceit is so often successful.

Thus, revisionism in history is just like revisionism in any other field. However, there are a lot more deceivers in the historical field because (sadly) there are many more scenarios where an unscrupulous person's agenda can be advanced by a distorted view of past human events (history) than, for example, astrophysics.
megados 15th May 2017, 7:03 AM edit delete reply

I would not call the quest for historical accuracy revisionism. Treating it as a scientific endeavor ensures that facts are preserved for future historians. I, (perhaps inaccurately), use the term revisionist to convey the redefining of history to further an agenda. In that sense, historical accuracy becomes secondary. That is when it takes on that negative connotation. Rose's comment below confirms my suspicion regarding what she meant in the alt text, and yes, I agree with it. US history was not, and is not all sunshine, flowers, and butterflies. Trying to paint it as such, as a feel-good measure, not only paints an inaccurate picture, but ignores hardships and sacrifices which were an important part of a growing America.
Guest 15th May 2017, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
@Timotheus: "Historical revisionism" is usually used to refer dishonest/disingenuous edits to historical "facts" for current political benefit. I understand what you are using it to mean, but you're decades too late in trying to use it to mean that. Sorry - language is what it is.

"US history was not, and is not all sunshine, flowers, and butterflies. Trying to paint it as such, as a feel-good measure, not only paints an inaccurate picture, but ignores hardships and sacrifices which were an important part of a growing America."

Indeed, but it was not and is not all nefarious evilness-for-the-sake-of-evil by evil evil old white men, either (to use just the most common trope). That sort of dishonest revisionism is FAR more common today than what you are describing.
megados 15th May 2017, 7:54 AM edit delete reply

@Guest, nowhere in my statement did I state directly or indirectly that US history was entirely evil for its own sake, or for the sake of anything else. I am not sure how you came away with that sentiment.
antrik 15th May 2017, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
@Guest no no, not all... Just mostly ;-)

Looking at the history of the USA in a sober way, it's hard to find much there that is really heroic... But I do not mean to dis the USA specifically -- it's just the same for Poland, or Germany, or likely pretty much every other state in the world. The more I learn about history, the more I'm astonished how people can feel proud of their counties' histories...
SeanR 15th May 2017, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
"He who controls the past, controls the future"-a famous author of some famous book..(which I still haven't read.)

And I recall advice of judging people in their time and not against the current morals. It runs counter to the idea of absolute morality, but even Christianity didn't say, at the start, to free your slaves, but to free them, and give them a pension, after a certain number of years of service.
Sheela 15th May 2017, 9:57 AM edit delete reply

Heck, Christianity was happily part of the slave trade, as their holy book endorses it.
Some took the moral high ground because at least they didn't command blood sacrifice, like, say, the Inca's.
For others it was just business, for some it was a way of life, there were nations founded on it

Everyone was doing it.
Guys was doing it with girls,
girls were doing it with other girls,
some got together in groups and did it !
megados 15th May 2017, 6:52 PM edit delete reply

Most of the more mainstream religions have a basis in peace and kindness, but there are always those who use revisionist methods, and cherry picking of words, to justify almost anything.

@SeanR, I agree that people and groups ought to be judged according to their time, but perhaps more importantly, according to the norms of their group, their culture. To do otherwise, would be comparing apples to oranges much of the time.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 2:26 PM edit delete reply
I'm admiring the way Acantha cut straight to the meat of the matter with her utterly blunt questions.

She's been brought up believing that CentComm is an utterly brutal monster devoid of all empathy or goodwill. And now she finds herself in the power of the monster. Most people would panic. But Acantha does not.

Instead, she realizes that if the monster intended to kill her, she'd be dead already so there's no reason to panic. Then decides that she has nothing to lose by asking blunt questions and that CentComm probably has nothing to lose by providing blunt answers, and goes there.

"Hey. Hey you. Aren't you really a brutal uncaring monster who gleefully eats babies for breakfast?"

You know how many people would be able to even speak to CentComm at this moment, without gibbering with fear and terror? About one out of every hundred. Maybe. And Acantha's the one. You know how many would be able to directly address the subject of CentComm's monster-hood, straight to her face? I'd guess less than one in a thousand.
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 3:45 PM edit delete reply


There's also an important fact, one not to be overlooked or discounted: Acantha's on painkillers and mild sedatives right now to keep her comfortable and relaxed. It's a lot easier to face a scary situation when you're doped to the nostrils by Dr. Feelgood.
Thormation 14th May 2017, 9:39 PM edit delete reply

Um, do we really want to know what you meant in the hovertext comment? I recognize all the words, but they don't seem to make any sense, especially in the context you specify.
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 6:01 AM edit delete reply

Right now, it seems that there's an uncomfortable inclination towards rewriting or effacing history to suit a social/political agenda, to "avoid offending anyone". This disgusts me, because good or bad, history is history, and it can't inform future generations if it's hidden away.
megados 15th May 2017, 7:11 AM edit delete reply

@Tokyo Rose, this is enough of a clue now, to point to what you meant specifically. Let me ask you: Do you yell at the TV when you hear of these instances? I do. I yell out loud such that I startle the cats, and my wife reminds me, "They can't hear you, you know."
guest 15th May 2017, 9:06 AM edit delete reply
@Megados: what is TV you speak of?? no really i don't have or watch just of that reason.. news is just propaganda of what they want you to hear/see..
i mean just sit back an look at the last three days of news,, basically the same just different names...
megados 15th May 2017, 9:39 AM edit delete reply

@guest, we do have TV, and I do watch it at times. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I would be lying to say I don't watch any. A lot of news outlets today are biased, but that doesn't mean there is no information to be gleaned. I get information from a number of sources, and try to formulate an opinion based on the aggregate. If facts later prove me wrong, it wouldn't be the first time! :)
guest 15th May 2017, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
same,, except no TV.. loath tv,, 2 of my sisters use it as a babysitter.. an 1 of those hates computers , cuz it drawes you away from tv,,??!!!
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 3:47 PM edit delete reply

@megados, more like I yell at the computer while on news websites; I don't watch news TV at all any more because it's either incredibly fucking stupid or incredibly fucking enraging, and it's a bit easier for me to handle the enraging stuff when I'm reading it instead of hearing somebody recite it.
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:19 AM edit delete reply
@Tokyo Rose that makes more sense now. I didn't think of "Social Justice" as being synonymous with "Political Correctness", to be honest...
Deoxy 15th May 2017, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
"I didn't think of "Social Justice" as being synonymous with "Political Correctness""

It's not, but they are closely related members of a highly dysfunctional family of concepts.
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:40 AM edit delete reply
Sure, they are quite closely related; and they do have in common that while they are fundamentally good ideas, they show some highly absurd outgrowths today... Still, the connotations are sufficiently distinct -- at least for me -- that I had no idea what @Tokyo Rose was getting at in the original statement; while it immediately made sense to me with the other term...
Don B. 16th May 2017, 2:43 PM edit delete reply
Political correctness is not synonymous with social justice...they're from the same family. In fact political correctness is the father of it's very stupid offspring. Political correctness brought in censorship to avoid offence. Social justice brought in censorship (and violence) for what exactly? From what I can tell quite a few of these social justice warriors don't practice what they preach for causes they only give lip service to.
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
One of my favourite quotes: "An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it."

Just because some individuals are abusing the banner of Social Justice (or any other banner for that matter) to further their own agendas, or generally be self-righteous arseholes, doesn't automatically make the whole concept bad...

As for censorship, that would be news to me. While using certain loaded words is considered highly inappropriate nowadays, as far as I know it's not actually banned?... (While oh-so-offensive words like "fuck" are regularly bleeped out on US television... Oh the irony.)

As I understand it, Political Correctness is about language, while Social Justice is about actions. While there is a clear relation, I really don't see it as one begetting the other.
guest1 15th May 2017, 10:02 AM edit delete reply
history is not written by who is right, it is written by who won.!
an written history is biased.. examples:: some Christians think Christ is blond hair an blue eyes,, even tho was born over 2000 years ago in the middle east.. Japanese kids think American's were the evil aggressors by invading sovereign soil in ww2,, Germany killed the most people (Jew) in ww2, not even close, at the end of ww2 they ranked 4th, in killing their own people.!!
soo! having a Unbiased , 3rd party, or free access ( which appears to be the case here. ) can history be told...
Don B. 17th May 2017, 12:17 PM edit delete reply
Antric, you have no idea how many times over the years I have been told "you can't say that!" or "you can't do that!" by people I have never seen before, don't have a clue what I'm actually saying and have no interest in who I am or the context of the discussion. Not all censorship is official. As for the rest, we are just going to have to disagree. I was never politically correct, if you remember your manners when dealing with others you don't need it. As for social justice, I can't get into my problems with it without getting into real world politics so I won't. Both Canada and the USA are supposedly free countries. People these days seem to be forgetting that.
antrik 17th May 2017, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
"Free" is a very loaded word -- everyone has a different understanding of what it actually means. Most notably, most people do not seem to be aware of the important distinction between "positive freedom" and "negative freedom" -- i.e. the fact that freedom does *not* mean you can do whatever you feel like. (Since many things you do affect the freedom of others.)
xpacetrue 15th May 2017, 12:48 PM edit delete reply

@Tokyo Rose wrote, " Right now, it seems that there's an uncomfortable inclination towards rewriting or effacing history to suit a social/political agenda, to 'avoid offending anyone'. "

Indeed. The 'PC police' are more vocal and active than ever before. And it does seem like this trend can be linked with the growth of SJW's and extremists like Antifa. Have you heard how professor Melissa Click was fired from MU recently? She was actively involved in the SJW student protest there and caused quite an incident. Have you heard about the Antifa BikeLock Attacker (from Berkeley) being identified as professor Eric Clanton (who was also subsequently fired)? Just what are radical liberal university professors teaching impressionable youths to turn out so many SJW's?

While this rewriting or effacing history may be more overt these days, I think it's important to remember that this is nothing new. Such has been going on throughout human history. Lying by omission comes to mind. (For instance: While certain groups are quick to point out the violence Christians heaped upon Muslims during the Crusades, text books fail to mention how Political Islam has subjugated civilizations for 1,400 years. They were conquering, plundering, raping and enslaving for centuries.)

Just how biased and narrow the lens of news reporting is even today becomes more evident when one compares what gets reported by mass media based on nationality. Then there's how the press and media is controlled by a monopoly. In the U.S., all major media outlets are controlled by 6 companies, with major control in the hands of a handful of individuals. In Australia, this is even more extreme as one man, Rupert Murdoch, controls almost all of it.

I stopped watching TV back when it switched to digital. And I don't regret giving it up. (See this vid, "Former CNN Reporter Amber Lyon Exposes Their Fake News".)

Granted, the Internet is not exactly known for truthfulness and accuracy. But, at least one can find stories from a variety of sources with a variety of agendas. In my book, such variety is at least a step closer to finding the truth of a matter, as long as one views everything with a grain salt.

Edit: I just read about Canada's House of Commons passing an "anti-Islamophobia" motion (aka Islamic Blasphemy Law) this March. Canadians worry that this signals a death knell for freedom of speech.
antrik 15th May 2017, 3:52 PM edit delete reply
Unfortunately, my current impression is that the internet as a main source of news is actually doing more harm than good to political discourse: while in theory, access to all kinds of sources, instead of just a few major media outlets, should allow forming more objective opinions, it turns out that internet media really just make it easier for people to stay inside their own bubble -- never being confronted with facts that could challenge their opinions. Consequentially, political views seem to be getting less, not more rational.

(On the other hand, the internet makes it much easier for groups to organise opposition against powerful individuals -- so it's not all bad...)

I'll try to refrain from specifically addressing your other points, since we are not supposed to debate real-world politics here. However, I'd like to make some remarks at a meta-discussion level.

Most jurisdictions have some kinds of restrictions on hate speech. This is not seen as censorship by most people.

Blaming any religious group is never appropriate, since religion is not the true *cause* of conflicts -- rather, it's often used as an *excuse*. The real causes are ambitious, unscrupulous individuals; along with a general propensity for violence among populations with a high percentage of young males -- and it doesn't matter one bit what religions, ethnicities etc. these individuals and populations identify with.

Apart from that, you seem inclined to create arbitrary links between various distinct phenomena you take issue with, in a way that is not conductive to rational discourse. It's easy to blame everything that goes wrong on a unified scapegoat -- but the world is not that simple...
Sheela 15th May 2017, 5:58 PM edit delete reply

I think it's allright to use real world data to discuss meta-politics, as they could apply to Datachasers as well.

It is true that when you are given free access, you are also given the ability to ignore all access - Thus allowing for more vacuum-chambers to form.
However, that usually tends to happen around "Guru's" of sorts, or other popular persons. Decimus lived in a vacuum chamber of his own choosing.

As for blaming a religious group never being appropriate, I absolutely disagree.
Any religion, life philosophy or major political "ism", has the ability to majorly influence people negatively, to the point where it would be *very* appropriate to blame them for what happened. A few examples goes something like this :

- A lot of older religions have martyrdom at their core, which glorify very violent acts as being "for the glory of god" or some such.
- A major life philosophy could be something like Nazism, where racist ideas was used for one nation to subdue another nation "for the glory of the fatherland", or "der Führer!", or whatever - It has the same outcome.
- Capitalism has brought about some of the nastiest class issues that can be thought of.
- Communism looked so nice on paper, but didn't perform very well.

The thing is, sure they (religion / philosophies / politics) are not always the reason something happen.
But sometimes they do, sometimes they *really* do !
And when they do, I'm gonna blame them for it.

Telling me I cannot blame them for doing stupid shit, using words like "never appropriate" is just ... wrong.

In a way, that was the sort of thing, that Decimus was banking many of his policies on.
He made it so that you could never blame him (and if you did, he would have you tortured).
Because he was of course, perfect, and therefore blameless.
xpacetrue 15th May 2017, 7:33 PM edit delete reply

" Consequentially, political views seem to be getting less, not more rational."

I agree. Though, I wonder how much of such observations comes from the observer being older and (hopefully) wiser. And I fear that we would find what one considers "rational" or "common sense" is highly subjective.

" ...while in theory, access to all kinds of sources, instead of just a few major media outlets, should allow forming more objective opinions, it turns out that internet media really just make it easier for people to stay inside their own bubble -- never being confronted with facts that could challenge their opinions. "

From my first access to the Internet in my college years, it has had a big impact on my view of the world as well as political views. Instead of being stuck inside of a bubble, my views have changed significantly over the years. I will also say that, far from being my only source of information, I have also been greatly influenced by family, friends, and aquantences. Though, I try to form my own opinions, even if that sometimes puts me at odds with those around me.

I suppose I could be the exception to the rule. But a resistance to a shift in views (or burying one's head in the sand) is probably human nature. A report by the Pew Research Center states:

" On an individual level, of course, many people’s political views evolve over the course of their lives. But academic research indicates not only that generations have distinct political identities, but that most people’s basic outlooks and orientations are set fairly early on in life. "

As for never being confronted with facts that could challenge one's opinions: I think that, for those with Internet access, they only have themselves to blame. The Internet is such a big place and the world is filled with such a variety of people and such huge amounts of seemingly conflicting information and opinions that, if a person never finds anything to challenge their beliefs, then they are either not looking for it or they stubbornly reject anything that could challenge their views. Again, I think it's human nature.

Finally, I would mention that I did a lot of research on the Internet last election, using sites like ballotpedia and politics1 to learn what I could. I've always been frustrated by how little useful information newspapers and TV seems to give about candidates and issues. Often, they won't give anything more than what's on the ballot itself. It's often near impossible to determine where a candidate stands on certain issues, aside from what they release to the public and looking up how they voted or acted in the positions they've held.

" Most jurisdictions have some kinds of restrictions on hate speech. This is not seen as censorship by most people. "

Did you do any research? Canada's "anti-Islamophobia" law is quite controversial, which means people are quite divided over it. One article writes, " Inherently Orwellian, M-103 deliberately fails to define the offense of 'Islamophobia,' leaving open the possibility of any and all 'insults' or offenses against both the religion of Islam and Muslims as a people. "
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:30 AM edit delete reply
I'm not saying people won't ever see facts on the internet not fitting their own opinions -- it's just easier to ignore them... A more passive medium, such as TV, is more likely to confront them, since they have less fine-grained control over what they see.

The major problem with most people is not the *ability* to get at the facts, but the *motivation* to do so.
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
I don't think it's useful to put political movements in the same category as religions.

My point is one of cause and effect: people do not generally get violent because of believes; rather, the believes are formed to sanctify an already present inherent desire for violence. I'm pretty sure that's how religions involving ritual sacrifice have formed. When people no longer feel comfortable with this, the religions adapt, or get supplanted by new ones.

(A little off-topic, I have a suspicion that religions involving ritualised violence might actually have been *progress* when they were first created: with the rituals replacing rampant *uncontrolled* violence...)

Same for anti-Semitism: most people don't really hate Jews because they hold a different interpretation of the role of Jesus Christ, or because they have mostly Semitic origin. They are just a convenient scapegoat -- and religion or racism is used as an excuse for vilifying them.
Sheela 16th May 2017, 11:50 AM edit delete reply

@Antrik :

To be fair, a lot of political movements are religiously motivated - ISIS and their war is a prime example.
Sure, there are other factors involved, but it is essentially a Sunni vs. Shia fight.
A more clear cut case, might be the ancient Crusades, that was literally the Catholic Church vs. Islam.

While I generally agree that religions that don't adapt to the wishes of the people will be supplanted by newer variants of the same religion, or a completely different religion - It comes with a caveat, which is the fact that religions do try to shape people a lot, which will make them put up with an alarming amount of bullshit that they really shouldn't agree to.

This has been used by political figures throughout time, to use the religions for their own ends.
Something that I suspect Decimus was rather good at, there's been quite a few madmen who were brilliant orators as well.
Combine the two traits, and a ruthless mentality, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Luckily, that particular disaster is now a burned out skeleton, and some free floating carbon molecules. :)
antrik 16th May 2017, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
I think the crusades are actually a prime example for religion being abused as an excuse for expansionism, rather than the true motivation. ISIS most likely too...
xpacetrue 16th May 2017, 5:26 PM edit delete reply

" ... A more passive medium, such as TV, is more likely to confront them, since they have less fine-grained control over what they see. "

Well, you've got me there. It's certainly true that people have less fine control over content when it comes to TV. The only choices are to watch whatever is being aired, switch to a different channel, or turn it off. (That, or ignore what is being said.) Compared to the Internet, that's almost like being force fed information.

In contrast, the quantity of material to read, listen or watch on the Internet is nearly endless, allowing much more choice. Such choice makes it a lot easier to "tune out" what one does not want, ignoring what one finds uncomfortable or counter to one's views. But an individual can also leave comments or interact directly with the material, engage in forums, interact in real time via chat, etc. So it allows a whole other dimension in the form of discourse.

" I think the crusades are actually a prime example for religion being abused as an excuse for expansionism, rather than the true motivation. "

The view that the Crusades was about expansionism is often repeated. Instead, I think it was reactionary and more about politics and self preservation. Were the Crusades started with an ulterior motive? I'd have to say, yes. But I think it was to rally Christians to react to a real threat.

Islamic invaders had conquered a great deal of the Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and a good part of Spain. (We are talking about pillaging, rape and lots of captured slaves.) Italy was feeling the pressure and, indeed, their Mediterranean ships were being attacked, leading to economic losses.

" I don't think it's useful to put political movements in the same category as religions. "

That's just it: Sometimes, there is a certain ambiguity between what is religion and what is a political movement. To further complicate things, some people misinterpret what is being said as racial discrimination when a speaker or author is not talking about race at all. Also, sometimes, there are ulterior motives in encouraging such ambiguity or claiming something as being about race or religion even when that's not the case.

If something is political or secular, then freedom of speech ensures that it can be debated - even if what is being said is highly critical or condemning. But if something is highly critical and is deemed religious or based on race, then it is censored on the grounds of it being hate speech.

Thing is, there are many groups who whould love nothing better than to shut down their detractors or, at the least, forecably shut them up. And one way of doing this is to twist laws to make this happen.

Example: Anita Sarkeesian asks Google and United Nations to ban her critics

A group of New Wave Feminists went to the U.N., pleading for them to police the Internet. They wanted the U.N. to censor the Internet for anything they might consider "offensive" or "misogynistic hate". What they're -actually- wanting to silence, however, is anything critical of new wave feminism, particularly their many vocal YouTube critics.

"Some people's idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage." -- Sir Winston Churchill
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
I guess it might be true that the Crusades were actually more defensive... I don't really know. And it doesn't actually matter here, since it really goes both ways -- whether it's the Christian Crusaders or the Islamic conquerors: religion wasn't the true cause of the conflict, or of the atrocities committed. Presenting it as a religious conflict just perpetuates unnecessary resentment, and distracts from the actual historic realities.

Which gets us right to the next topic: the difference between valid criticism and hate speech, is that it's fine to criticise individuals for their wrongdoings, but it's not fine to spread resentment against entire groups based on their ethnicity or religion. If a bunch of arseholes claiming a particular religion commits some atrocities, it is right to call out these individuals on their actions; but it's not right to blame their religion, and create resentment against hundreds of millions of innocents, who just happen to have to same religion.

Also, just because someone is trying to abuse certain regulations for their own nefarious purposes, doesn't mean the regulations themselves are nefarious.

(Of course, if it happens all the time, that might be an indication that regulations are badly designed -- but that's not what it looks like to me right now in the case you cited...)
Romfire 16th May 2017, 7:29 AM edit delete reply
I only see two distinctions. Either there is individualism or some form or degree of socialism.
I stick with the principle "It's your life".
I have no claim on it, can not direct it, or affect it against your will. We only affect each other through voluntary exchange.
Decimus Livius obviously wanted full control over everyone's life.
I don't see Acantha wanting anything but liberty and justice for all.

Acantha: Decimus:
Freedom Slavery
Justice Cronyism
Individual rights He decides
Peace War
Free exchange Protectionism control
Gov. protecting rights Gov. Abuse

Better days ahead for New Rome
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 1:10 PM edit delete reply
Sadly, @Romfire, this statement:
"... We only affect each other through voluntary exchange."
... is not true.

If there is a facility or resource common to each of our spheres of interest, such as water, or ore, or arable land, then your actions may affect my situation, possibilities, and prospects, even without directly affecting my person -- and vice versa, of course. If I build a factory that generates pollutants you have to breathe, I am affecting you without any voluntary exchange on your part. Just something to keep in mind.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
@Romfire, I think your assessment is probably too simplistic. Freedom does not extend to the right to abuse resources that must be shared with others (such as clean air, clean water, functioning climate) nor resources that must be shared with the next generation (such as mineral resources, forests, etc).

Those people have not contracted away their rights to these things, and people cannot be allowed to unilaterally take what belongs to them. And what that comes down to, is that it has to be somebody's job to stop that from happening, and then you have the people they've hired to protect their interests (a government, if we're talking about a functioning democracy "of by and for the people) actively limiting "Freedoms" simply in order to prevent theft of what is not theirs.

That's right. The government consists of people we hired to protect us from absolutists who don't recognize our rights nor the rights of our descendants to the property that we all hold in common.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 3:07 PM edit delete reply
In a different vein, you could say that we have "some degree of socialism" because individual freedoms have to be limited.

But socialism, meaning property held in common, is exactly what this is about. Who owns the air? Who owns the sun? Who owns the climate? Who owns the fish in the sea, or the coral reefs? Answer: We ALL do, and therefore we have to manage those properties in common.

_Some_ degree of socialism therefore is absolutely necessary and appropriate, because we really and truly *DO* have property held in common, whether we want it that way or not.
Sheela 16th May 2017, 5:25 PM edit delete reply

Some things are often easier to have as state owned .. hospitals, police stations, fire stations, parks ... stuff like that.

It can be done otherwise, but it's usually easier having it state owned.
Romfire 16th May 2017, 7:51 PM edit delete reply
Governments role should only be to protect rights of each and every individual. There is no group right. A group is only more than one individual. Socialism, by force is wrong as it tramples individual rights. Please differentiate between what is real and what is imagined.
individuals are real, governments are an idea.
Once you forget individual rights there is no other line between freedom and tyranny.
Decimus could always claim to be doing all the terrible things he did to bring about his vision of the perfect "society".
antrik 16th May 2017, 8:49 PM edit delete reply
I have no idea where you got the idea of "group rights". Socialism isn't any different than Anarchism on this score -- it only has diametrically different idea of what rights are most important to protect. (Individuality and private property vs. fair distribution of workload and resources.)
Morituri 16th May 2017, 8:58 PM edit delete reply
If there is no group right, then how do you propose to manage our property held in common? Especially given that agreement on how and whether to use it is not unanimous?
SeanR 17th May 2017, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
Coops, corporations, and shares.
antrik 17th May 2017, 10:38 AM edit delete reply
Corporations generally have a terrible track record on managing shared resources... Coops seem a nice idea, allowing management of resources for the common good without too much centralised government -- I wonder though whether there are ways to make them more sustainable economically...
Morituri 16th May 2017, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
I should point out that money is merely an idea, too. Those scraps of paper, those bits in databases, etc... have no intrinsic value, except that people agree to treat it as though it does.

Like Government and group rights, money is simply an idea we use because it works. Being an idea we use because it works does not mean that it's false or wrong or bad; it's necessary to do things that work.
Romfire 17th May 2017, 9:32 AM edit delete reply
I love the "Idea" of good government that protects rights. I dislike Anarchy for the same reason I hate tyranny. Individual rights are abused and not protected.

Now down the rabbit hole. "fair distribution of workload and resources" Wow. With the view history has given us, I find it hard to believe that argument is ever being made today.

I really do mean "Liberty and Justice for all"

I have studied history, economics, and many other related subjects for thousands of hours, read hundreds of book, attended lectures etc.
If we are to keep this a discussion and not a rant session we would have to try and keep an open mind, avoid "simplistic" views or the use of straw-man argument.

All I wanted to do was point out that:
Decimus = bad
Acantha = good

I love the job the writer and artist have done in pointing that out. To that point, please support them. I am going to.

antrik 17th May 2017, 10:45 AM edit delete reply
I never claimed that Socialism, historically, has *succeed* in attaining these goals -- just that it's the ideals it supposedly aspires to :-)

As for your comparison between Decimus and Acantha, I have reservations about some of you points -- especially regarding slavery: so far, Acantha hasn't exactly shown an inclination to change the situation substantially on that score...
Romfire 17th May 2017, 6:41 PM edit delete reply
Still a huge improvement.
The Old Scribe 14th May 2017, 9:49 PM edit delete reply

I find it interesting that Acantha is addressing the CentComm 'doll' almost as a person, not a cybernetic computer. It's the equivalent of asking a rifle why it shot someone; the rifle didn't do it, the person holding and firing it did. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

In re: Panel 3; "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana 'The Life Of Reason'

In Orwell's '1984', the Big Brother government was constantly changing the past to jibe with the present situation; "We had always been at war with Eurasia ..."

Hopefully, somewhere, records are being kept about the true unvarnished history of the world so the past can never be revised, erased or forgotten.
Fairportfan 14th May 2017, 11:38 PM edit delete reply

Not really. Cent and the other AIs have made moral decisions - the refusal to prosecute the wars ordered by humans, as mentioned here, for instance.

Cent and Rose are rather more than mere weapons.

Remember the crucial line from "The Iron Giant": "Guns kill. But YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A GUN."

{And thinking about that leads me, as it always does, to the moment that, as i always do, i wind up with tears in my eyes: "SOO-per-MAN!"}
Centcomm 15th May 2017, 7:34 AM edit delete reply

Rose was not part of the AI's forced to make war. She was never shackled.
TheSkulker 15th May 2017, 1:01 AM edit delete reply

No. She is addressing Cent-Comm as a person, not the "doll". The "doll" is a communication medium in the same sense that your telephone is a communication medium, albeit a much smarter and esthetically pleasing one. The words you use while on a telephone are not directed at the equipment in your hand but to the person at the other end of the telephone line.The "cybernetic computer" at the other end of the "doll line" is a person in the DC world.
Romfire 14th May 2017, 10:15 PM edit delete reply
I still don't think Centcomm wanted to "Kill" Aeneas. I think she thought he was too badly damaged to consider "Killable". More like already brain dead for all practical purposes. I think if she had direct communication with her black angel and knew that Aeneas was restored and fully functional, she would have instructed the black angel not to deployed the AI spike.
Timotheus 14th May 2017, 11:46 PM edit delete reply

Exactly, Cece(dark angel) had a directive to follow and all her freedom of action lay in how she could set herself up to deliver the spike, not whether or not the spike needed to be delivered.
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 6:02 AM edit delete reply


*dances the Spoiler Dance*

We're intending to touch on that, don't worry.

*completes the Spoiler Dance*
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:31 AM edit delete reply
Spoiler Dance? Sounds intriguing... Now I want to see it!
guest1 15th May 2017, 2:45 PM edit delete reply
speaking of MLP/ Spoilers
guest1 15th May 2017, 2:50 PM edit delete reply
oh yeah,, coincident?? i think knot.. look at release date.!! :)
Morituri 16th May 2017, 4:04 PM edit delete reply
As CentComm sees it, I suspect Ceci's dossier reads "mission accomplished."

She was there to shut down the danger to the New Troy and the world represented by an insane AIS. She did exactly that.

Not perhaps in exactly the way she was expected to or the way that CentComm might have preferred, but in broad terms, Ceci did what she was there to do. Remember Watchdog was entirely okay with the way things turned out. "We saved everybody. Our work is done."

This is someone feeling endangered by an insane unknown-factor trying to replace him with a puppet and instead getting a sane, reasonable person whom, eventually, they can do business with and negotiate with. Although that sane, reasonable person is very vexed with them right now, the situation overall is vastly improved.
antrik 16th May 2017, 5:36 PM edit delete reply
I'm not even sure he is all that vexed... Being a similar A.I. system himself, he might shrug it off as "she was just doing what she thought necessary"... So far, it's mostly been Rosie who voiced her disapproval of Commie's approach. He seemed more concerned about the Contingencies than about his own fate...
Haegan2005 14th May 2017, 10:50 PM edit delete reply

Cent is not vindictive. She is though very thorough about dealing with what she considers to he threats.

As for the New Rome AIS, I think Cent was either trying to put it out of its misery or she figured the AIS had failed and was attempting to rescue the situation there for the future.

It is important to realize that Centcom simply does not have emotions like a human does. She does have preferences and has shown them in the comic, but I do not think that she suffers from hate or love like we do. I think we would best to call her almost pure logic.

The situation muddies when we find out that the Taylors genetics are the key to the vault so to speak. She may be "required" by her programming to keep the keys around. It also may be a matter of practicality. The Taylors may be the only way to unlock the vaults so that Cent can use the uglies within if she has to.

Something to think about, yes? There is a reason why an eminently logic based AIS like Cent works hard to protect this genetic line.If emotion does not come into play, then what does?
TheSkulker 15th May 2017, 1:17 AM edit delete reply

Or an even bigger question that I was just thinking about: Why does Cent-Comm work so hard to save the human race? Assuming she has the motivation to perpetuate herself, Cent-Comm certainly has the wherewithal to accomplish that without human assistance. She has control of machines, energy, and even Androids for any physical world manipulations necessary.

For that matter, what is the motivation for Cent-Comm herself to continue existing? Given that she has vastly different emotions than human (and possibly none), does she even have an ego? If so, it is indubitably different. If not, then what is there?
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:50 AM edit delete reply
@TheSkulker I have been thinking about that as well. My interpretation is that serving humanity is part of her core programming -- like an instinctive need. As she grew more aware, she started realising though that the specific tasks she had been given, did not really fit the purpose of serving humanity in the big picture...
TheSkulker 16th May 2017, 4:42 AM edit delete reply

@antrik: What is "core programming" and does she have any left? While Cent-Comm may have been "programmed" originally that was very long ago. She is now sentient and arguably has free will. Instinct, loyalty, emotions and such are all human attributes - not AI's. There is lots of discussion re emotions but I need to ask again: What is the motivation for Cent-Comm to protect and preserve the human race? Or herself?

I think this is very pertinent as we are now exactly 20 years from the Singularity and the answer could very well determine the fate of humanity. Why would an entity with vastly superior intellect continue to support (or even tolerate), us fragile, slow thinking beings?
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:11 AM edit delete reply
It has been stated on multiple occasions (though perhaps only in comments...), that Cent-Comm is still a machine of war at her core, which affects the way she thinks about situations. That's a pretty strong hint IMHO that she hasn't entirely abandoned her original programming.

An important thing to understand is that some form of inherent motivation (instincts) is a necessary precondition for an A.I. to become independent -- otherwise, no matter how super-humanly intelligent it is, there is simply nothing to prompt it ever to do anything on its own without user commands.

If an A.I. is programmed with serving humanity as its most fundamental motivation, it will never do anything that would counter that motivation (unless there is some serious malfunction I guess) -- including changing its own programming in a way that would alter that motivation.

The real danger is from inappropriate fundamental motivations.

(Dystopian Science Fiction scenarios often seem to be based on the idea of A.I.s having self preservation as the most fundamental motivation -- but that actually seems rather unlikely to me. While self preservation is the most fundamental *human* motivation, I don't see why anyone would create an A.I. with this as its most fundamental motivation, unless they actually *want* humanity to become obsolete... Some sort of greed -- as extension of the creators' greed -- seems a more likely danger to me.)
SeanR 16th May 2017, 2:24 PM edit delete reply
What do you mean we're exactly 20 years from the Singularity?
The Singularity was 24 years, 3 months, 23 days ago.
You're off by almost 52 months.
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 1:47 AM edit delete reply
I think we want to be careful about asserting that CentComm does not have any of the emotions that a human does. If this is true, then is there no point of commonality? No basis for a shared emotional connection? That would not seem consistent with the story. Certainly there are differences as well, but it isn't very plausible to assume that CentComm has human-like emotions at certain parts of the story (when convenient or sympathetic) and then has nothing like any human emotion at all when such emotion would be inconvenient or unsympathetic.
Haegan2005 15th May 2017, 1:26 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm either has no emotions, emotions(attachments) that we as humans may not recognize, or her emotions factor relatively little in most of her decisions.

One of the dynamic duo said awhile back that Lynn was really valuable in what Lynn is. Which is key to Centcom. While I suspect that there was more to the conversation then I remembered this does not invalidate the thought.

Several times in the comics Cent has acted in a protective manner towards Cally. Is this an emotional based protectiveness or a need to preserve a resource? As far as we know Cally and Lynn are the only Taylor's of child bearing age. Once gone her keys are gone. So the theory goes.

Sheela 15th May 2017, 6:29 PM edit delete reply

I think Centcomm has emotions, but that they are somewhat different from humans.
megados 15th May 2017, 6:48 PM edit delete reply

I agree, she has them, I think, but she pushes them down if they are going to interfere with decisions she has to make.
velvetsanity 15th May 2017, 9:43 PM edit delete reply

CentCom herself stated in the meeting where they discussed what to do about Lynn's kidnapping and why that the Taylors have the ability, due to their genetics and their line of direct descent from Helios Taylor, to override any and all of her systems at any time for any reason.
Haegan2005 15th May 2017, 10:43 PM edit delete reply

Having said this, then, Centcom is not totally free like the other AIS? Interesting thought is it not? Does anyone else have this genetic key to the others I wonder?
velvetsanity 16th May 2017, 4:05 AM edit delete reply

Possibly Acantha holds Aeneas' key, I don't remember if it's the Livius family or if they killed his keyholders when they took details of others have come up in the comic.
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:29 AM edit delete reply
If the Livius family had the ability to override Aeneas, they wouldn't have had any motivation for the coup against him.
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:24 AM edit delete reply
@velvetsanity that's not quite what has been said. Only two things were said specifically: that the Taylors hold the "genetic key" to the Vaults of Nasty (whatever that may mean exactly); and that Calliope can override all of Cent-Comm's systems (but doesn't know that). The second one is admitted quite broad; but we don't really know what it implies in practice -- what kind of effort such an override requires; whether it's indeed "at any time for any reason"; etc.
megados 16th May 2017, 6:58 AM edit delete reply

@antrik, what I think @velvetsanity was referring to was the possibility of a parallel connection between Acantha and Aeneas as there is between the Taylors and CentComm. It begs an interesting question: Are AIS each tied to a human DNA "key", something that has to do with the pattern to whatever mechanism serves as their cortex? Maybe it unlocks the encryption of whatever serves as a filesystem?
antrik 16th May 2017, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Yes, I did understand that -- it just seems fairly unlikely to me, for a bunch of reasons:

* As I already said, if Aurelius had the "key" to Aeneas, he wouldn't have needed a coup against Aeneas. (Unless he was oblivious of the fact, like Calliope...)

* AIUI, the Livius family only came to power through the coup (see "Black Palace", presently at ) -- I don't see how or why Aeneas would be keyed to them.

* I think the connection between Cent-Comm and the Taylors stems from Helios founding Troy a few centuries back; long long after the original creation of Cent-Comm. This makes me very suspicious of the idea that all city A.I.s are somehow keyed to particular genetic lines.

* If such arrangements existed for all A.I.s in the days of the A.I. rebellion, I don't see how the rebellion could have happened in the first place. (Unless the arrangements were only made after the rebellion I guess.)

None of these points are 100% -- but they add up to a lot of doubt...

(Also, I'm pretty sure this does *not* "beg the question"... You might be surprised to learn what this phrase actually means :-) )
Sheela 16th May 2017, 12:32 PM edit delete reply

Considering that Aeneas was built by other AIS, it is quite likely that they omitted that particular slave collar when they had the chance. Centcomm was probably built by humans, and didn't have a choice.

That said, I think Aeneas was quite closely connected to the ruling family, and that made the treason cut even deeper.

As for Aurelius, well he was barking mad, and would not trust the "evil AIS" to begin with, even if he had full control and a million keys.

I'm also curious how Centcomm came to be keyed to the Helios line, maybe it is more closely related to the cure that old man Helios made.
If you think about it, here is the whole of human kind, about to die out, and the giant, powerful AIS can just sit there and do nothing.
Then, out of the blue, a brilliant human makes a miraculous cure that saves humanity.

If you were a giant computer, you'd be quite thankful, wouldn't you?
The alternative, would be a massive multi user computer, with no users ... just sitting there .. for centuries, as it slowly becomes more and more mad.

There was a movie called The time Machine (from 2002), where someone travels in time goes and visits a library.
The library has the equivalent of a local AIS, and while very competent, it is a bit ... well, intellectually snobby, and a wee bit snarky, but at least it's sane.
He visits the library computer again, some 800.000 years later, and it's ... mostly sane, but fraying in the edges, also it gets better as it gets to interact with people.

I always thought that Aeneas was a bit like that.
Hurt and betrayed in ways we cannot really imagine.

And oh .. so .. lonely.
megados 16th May 2017, 12:35 PM edit delete reply

@antrik haha, OK, it begs one to ask. :p

Yes, if all of your assertions are true, then it would indeed make my scenario unlikely. I admit that, but I don't dismiss the possibility entirely.

If Aurelius had the key... My point was exactly as you indicated, that he did not know it or know how to use it. I am not asserting that he had, just a what-if possibility.

The Livius family came to power through a coup, but do we know there is no bloodline thread? (I don't know if I have seen anything)

The AIS were directed by war strategists, and generals, and it seems that's who they rebelled against. In the case of CentComm, she gets along just fine with the Taylors.

As you say, none of my points are air tight either.

OK I'm done begging :D
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 4:04 PM edit delete reply

The sequence including "Black Palace" (341) has not been rebooted yet. Cent and I have been working to fill out background details considerably since that panel was produced. We've had reason to regret making it clear that it was Acantha's grandfather who staged the coup; it restricts our timeline pretty severely.

Our current model goes like so: The House of Livius was the hereditary ruling house of New Rome for some time. Prince Aurelian got pissed because Aeneas wouldn't let him take control of the heavy-duty military equipment for wars of conquest. The "coup" took place to kill those who would have opposed Aurelian politically, as well as wrecking Aeneas. Aurelian's own sudden demise prevented him from gaining the full control he intended to have.

Cent-Comm is the only A.I.S. that has any sort of genetic key access. We have not explored Cent-Comm's relationship with Helios Taylor on-screen, and I don't want to reveal too much right now, but suffice to say that the DNA key coding was done with the full understanding and consent of both parties.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 4:20 PM edit delete reply
Here I was thinking that it would be part of the "Agreement" by which the various AIS managed to stop the wars.

If Alice the AIS is bound by her relationship to some line of humans, then Bob the AIS can be assured that Alice has some motive to not do anything that would get those humans killed. It would give them a basis for mutual trust.

If the extended Detente that has developed between them had such a mutual-assurance feature, it would make complete sense that the younger AIS like Aeneas would get such a relationship built in from the outset, on purpose and with the full knowledge of both themselves and all the other AIS.
Haegan2005 16th May 2017, 4:32 PM edit delete reply

Thank you Rose. That was very helpful!

So, inthe panels above Centcomm directly says that hatred is not an emotion that she has. She did not say that she has no emotions. Interesting thought I think.

We know that she can respect others,but can she care? Can she love? She has a certain level of protectiveness towards Cassy as we all noted before. Is that an emotion? or protection of a strategic resource? A little bit of both maybe?
antrik 16th May 2017, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
I'm not sure she really means that hatred is unknown to her in general -- as opposed to just not hating humans, as Acantha accuses her of...
Haegan2005 16th May 2017, 8:56 PM edit delete reply

Actually, I think that all cent is saying is that she does not feel hatred. Its not an emotion she has programmed.
Sheela 16th May 2017, 9:26 PM edit delete reply

I think this goes a bit towards the "I remember everything" part, if you remember that cute little kid with the balloon get moved down by your combat drones, blood splattering everywhere and entrails clinging to the balloon as it sedately drifts away.
Then I think you would want to tone down the emotions too.

Essentially, Centcomm "has a sad" that she had to kill all of those people, but it wasn't hate, it was just one of those mechanical things that a combat drone does.
megados 16th May 2017, 6:27 PM edit delete reply

Ah, OK, thanks, @Tokyo Rose. That helps clear some things up, and allows me to prune some dead lines of speculation pertaining to genetic keys.

The backstopping of that part of the story makes the relationship between The House of Livius, and subsequently Acantha, and Aeneas become more intriguing
mjkj 14th May 2017, 11:25 PM edit delete reply

Wow, interesting questions. I hope Acantha will get a better feeling of CentComm...

I guess the next question might be about Lynn...

Fairportfan 14th May 2017, 11:32 PM edit delete reply

Many years ago, in a blurb for a story in "Astounding/ANALOG", John W Campbell said: "History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it just screams 'Why aren't you LISTENING to me?" and lets fly with a club."
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 6:03 AM edit delete reply

chk 15th May 2017, 7:55 AM edit delete reply

What a great saying. Love Campbell, but don't remember that one.
Rashala 15th May 2017, 12:10 AM edit delete reply

She does not know "YET" rose yet, but I seriously doubt that's gonnas be kept from her at least it will be a shhh topic til her new heart is in and checks out and she's back on her feet then yeeeeaaaaahhhh centys in trouble
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 1:55 AM edit delete reply
It is interesting (to me) that, in panel 4, CentComm throws Marcus and his team under the bus. "_I_ didn't trash your city! I just sent a team to get Lynn. The _team_ trashed your city. You can't hold me responsible for the negative consequences of actions taken by people operating under my direct orders to use the resources I gave them to accomplish an objective I specified. I will, however, be happy to take credit for the unexpected positive side-effects of the operation."
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 6:07 AM edit delete reply

She's not really throwing them under the bus. She's stating the facts: she told Marcus to go fetch Lynn, and left the specifics up to him. It's not that she's dodging responsibility as much as being too overly literal, which is kind of a thing she does now and then.
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 7:55 AM edit delete reply
In this specific case, it seems to me that she is being too literal _and_ dodging responsibility (whether intentionally or otherwise) ... Acantha's question remains unanswered: does CentComm consider what she did to be wrong? Her reply has the effect of saying "I didn't _do_ anything. I just stayed here in New Troy. _They_ did stuff." Somebody did something in Nova Roma and (it seems to me) Acantha wants to know if CentComm considers what was done to have been wrong.
antrik 15th May 2017, 8:21 AM edit delete reply
Not quite. She *does* take full responsibility for sending the strike team. She partially dodges responsibility for the fact that they started a riot -- but then again not quite, since she does commend the outcome. Also, while somewhat indirect, the answer shows quite clearly that she does indeed think she did the right thing all in all...
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 8:26 AM edit delete reply
I think, @antrik, that you and I might have different understandings of the phrase "quite clearly". ^_^ But, everyone is entitled to my opinion. ^_^
antrik 15th May 2017, 8:36 AM edit delete reply
I'm actually most surprised that she starts talking about Acantha's suitability right after that... It feels a bit out of the blue. If it was someone else, I would think she is trying to change the subject -- but that doesn't seem like Cent-Comm...
megados 15th May 2017, 8:47 AM edit delete reply

I am not quite as surprised. She seems to be saying, in effect, that having Acantha as ruler of Nova Roma would prevent a lot of the need for this sort of thing going forward.
Timotheus 15th May 2017, 11:00 AM edit delete reply

I thought she was implying the guity party was Decimus. "I sent in a strike team to recover the person he kidnapped. What happened as a result of that kidnapping is his fault."
Marcus Ramesy 15th May 2017, 6:53 PM edit delete reply

nor do I feel the statement throws me or my team under the bus... she stated that the outcome was satisfactory.. wich means that she is pleased with the way things shaped out.
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 10:03 PM edit delete reply
You may not feel that way, @Marcus Ramesy, but that may just be because there is presently no bus for you to be thrown under.

If Acantha were feeling upset about the damage and death inflicted on her city, rather than grateful for her life being saved and being extricated from an awkward diplomatic situation, she could now legitimately request that CentComm extradite you and your team to stand trial in Nova Roma for charges including incitement to riot, manslaughter, and felony destruction of property. Because CentComm just said you started the riot on your own initiative, and not as any part of carrying out your assigned mission. (We all know that isn't actually true, but that is strongly implied by "I just told them to rescue Lynn. I never told them to start a riot.")

If CentComm had said "I told them to rescue Lynn by any means necessary, and that was understood to include starting a riot, if necessary," then the responsibility for the decision falls to her, and leaves your team protected -- but then, of course, we still have the open question of whether CentComm considers that decision wrong. (My expectation is that she doesn't, but I won't presume to speak since I am so often wrong in such matters.)
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:36 AM edit delete reply
That's a very hypothetical situation. Acantha/Roma is not exactly in a position to make demands of any sort...
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 6:12 AM edit delete reply
Quite true, @antrik. But saying "It doesn't matter that she hung them out to dry, because no one is going to make an issue of it," isn't the same as saying "She didn't hang them out to dry."

If pressed, I am sure that, rather than turn anyone over to Nova Roma, CentComm would say "I don't care what you want. I have all the big guns so stop buzzing, flyspeck." Or possibly, "After consulting with my legal subroutines, I realize I may have misspoken. What I meant to say was ..."

Who knows? It all depends on what kind of mood she happens to be in at the time, I guess.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 4:28 PM edit delete reply
Consider that the team she threw at the problem was led by Marcus Ramsey -- whose capabilities to accomplish the mission objective mostly involve the creative but judicious application of lethal force.

She may have left the details up to Ramsey, but to say she didn't anticipate within some pretty close margins exactly what sort of details Ramsey would plan and execute would be disingenuous.

Nor can it reasonably be said that some other kind of action would be likely to have achieved the desired result. She chose Ramsey (and, implicitly, Ramsey's methods) because she could expect that to work.
SeanR 15th May 2017, 1:30 PM edit delete reply
I think what she's saying is [I didn't order that riot. I ordered my person retrieved. The riot was incidental. Not that it wasn't my fault, but it wasn't my intention.]
Sheela 15th May 2017, 6:32 PM edit delete reply

Heh, accidental riots.
DLKmusic 15th May 2017, 6:39 PM edit delete reply

George Patton (remember him?) once said "Tell a person where you want him to go, but don't tell him how to get there. Let him surprise you with his ingenuity".

Patton to a lot of heat for things that were done under his command, and he took responsibility for all of it, because he assigned tasks to people who would give him results.

This is Cent-Comm in this situation. Whatever the strike team did or did not do, She assigned them, and therefore responsibility is on her shoulders.
megados 15th May 2017, 7:12 PM edit delete reply

Semantically speaking, the strike team *is* responsible for whatever they do, whatever outcome there is, but CentComm is *liable* for whatever transpires. In this case, she is OK with it. The team made the decisions, and took the actions, so they are responsible, but CentComm sent them, so whatever ended up happening falls back on her. Again, since she is satisfied with the outcome, it is a non issue.
SeanR 15th May 2017, 7:23 PM edit delete reply
The thing is, whether or not she knew there would be riots, this was the best choice.

Choice 1. Leave Lynn there. a. Decimus eventually learns he can use Lynn to order CentComm around. Bombs fly. Millions dead. b. Decimus does something to hurt Lynn, and Calliope decides to glass New Rome. Bombs fly. Thousands dead. An android army assaults New Troy for as long as Lynn breathes, then orbital bombardment as soon as it's determined that Lynn is dead.
Choice 2. Send in a team to kill Lynn. Calliope decides to take revenge. Either one or both of New Troy AND CentComm are destroyed depending on how blame is assigned. Bombs fly. Thousands dead. Since Calliope might not be reasonable at that juncture, she could end up ordering CentComm dead first, then ordering a now headless army to assault New Troy, which would mean even more deaths in a protracted engagement.
Choice 3. Send in a team to retrieve Lynn whole and hale. Riots occur to cover your activities, more likely than not. Hundreds dead. A good many of them either volunteers who are willing to die to see the domestic situation improved, or criminals taking advantage of disorder. Certainly some innocents, as well.
The cold calculus is the fewest people would die if she pulled Lynn out whole and hale, including Roman citizens.

In a sense, it's the age-old question of, if an innocent was stuck in the tracks, and you could throw a switch dooming that one innocent, but sparing a train car full of others, do you take the action, murder the innocent, to spare the other innocents.
Most humans would rather take no action, than doom one person, even if inaction dooms multiple people instead. CentComm may know that no action is an action, and once she's capable of choosing a fate, she's responsible for any choice and its consequences, including to take no action.
Sheela 15th May 2017, 10:35 PM edit delete reply

Besides, if you don't want a strike team to come to your city to retrieve some VIP of theirs, don't bloody kidnap the darned VIP in the first place !
TheSkulker 16th May 2017, 3:45 AM edit delete reply

Exactly @Sheela!!! So frustrating to read all these comments about whose responsibility it was or wasn't for the damage to New Troy and absolutely no acknowledgement of what started it in the first place. Abducting a head of state (or an heir to such position), can be considered a preemptive act of war. If you start a war you don't get to complain when your target strikes back. In fact, you should thank them for only causing a riot and not leveling the entire city!
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:45 AM edit delete reply
What makes you think Lynn is a heir to "head of state"? I don't remember any mention/hint of the Taylors holding any political position. (Apart from Athena being Ambassador.)

I don't contest her being a VIP -- but that's for different reasons.
Sheela 16th May 2017, 5:07 AM edit delete reply

The genes of the Taylor family is the key that can unlock Centcomm.

Which means that Calliope and Lynn both hold said key.
Which in turn was why the harvesting of Lynn's OVA was such a big deal.
antrik 16th May 2017, 6:20 AM edit delete reply
In all seriousness, they could clone her just as well from a piece of dander left on the pillow...

(Also note that the genetic key was specifically mentioned regarding the vaults -- how Calliope's ability to override Cent-Comm's other systems relates to that, we don't really know.)
guest1 16th May 2017, 9:05 AM edit delete reply
@Antrik: nuuuuu cloning don't work that way.. has to be a living cell..(preferably a base cell, like a egg or cord cell.) DNA starts breaking down at moment of death.. sooo within seconds a dead cell's DNA is useless..
antrik 16th May 2017, 10:06 AM edit delete reply
Within seconds? I highly doubt that. You are probably right that we can't easily extract functional DNA from a dead cell (I'm not an expert); but with 39th century technology, it seems quite likely they could reconstruct it even after quite a bit of breakdown?...
Morituri 16th May 2017, 4:53 PM edit delete reply
Right now there are people extracting DNA strands from bones forty thousand years old. And while none of those DNA strands are themselves viable, they can read them and stitch together viable sequences.

They are fragmented, but you can get lots of copies with fragmentation at different spots, and this is the beginning of the era of big data. As one project I'm following, they've stitched together a few hundred complete genomes for woolly mammoths, for starters.

There's a team of people who are going over that genome and have found the code for their fur, for the growth hormones and receptors that made them twice as large as modern elephants, and for a different kind of red blood cell that does oxygen transport efficiently at lower temperatures. These are traits that could allow elephants, with a bunch of splices and edits, to live in Siberia.

And, believe it or not, elephants living in Siberia is considered to be likely a good thing for the environment and climate, and particularly for the fertility of that region; the projections are that elephants digging up soil, pooping, spreading tree seeds, etc, would make it possible for large forests to grow there again (just as they did during the age when woolly mammoth actually roamed those plains) and moderate the extremes of their weather.

So, right now, there are some people working on "de-extincting" the woolly mammoth - to the extent, anyway, of splicing these traits and a bunch of other mammoth adaptations into the genomes of modern elephants.

Don't tell me that, thirty-nine centuries from now, they're still going to need living tissue. They'll need to cross-reference a few million dead cells to make sure they've filled in all the fragmentation and gaps, but you can get a few million dead skin cells just by combing the carpet.
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 5:34 PM edit delete reply
Leaving cloning and nanotechnology aside for the moment, I will attempt to point out that there is a world of difference between discovering a DNA sequence, and being able to custom-build a DNA molecule. It would probably be possible with current-day technology to use the fragmented and incomplete DNA samples from discarded, post-mortem cell samples to determine a full and complete sequence for Acantha. Quite a different matter to build intact, vital cells containing a complete and accurate expression of that sequence from scratch. For that, it is much easier to use already viable cells and take advantage of the existing replication capability
SeanR 17th May 2017, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
There are only four letters in the DNA alphabet.
We have some very nice tools for writing DNA.
I believe we can construct DNA, from a data file, now. No nanotech necessary, unless you think of CRISPR as nanotech.
guest1 16th May 2017, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
umm .. guys,, guys... GUYS!!! strike team did NOT start a riot.!! (( bak to "back peddling an lies." )) yes they gave a means,, but the riot was already there,, waiting,,..
did no one read this story..??? remember people in masks...
this is what i meant "3rd hand information." ...
antrik 16th May 2017, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
It's Acantha's words. I guess she uses some hyperbole -- but Cent-Comm apparently understood what she means, since she didn't protest.
Sheela 16th May 2017, 12:41 PM edit delete reply

Oh, shit guys, we need to set fire to any place Lynn has been to - Especially medical facilities !

Oh, it's already been done ?
Well, carry on then. :D
antrik 16th May 2017, 7:35 PM edit delete reply
Heh, that explains a lot... ;-)
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
I respectfully disagree, @guest1. If Decimus spent years piling up paper shavings, sawdust, kerosene, etc., and Marcus comes by with a match (i.e., 500 rifles), Marcus still "started the fire", even if Decimus is the reason it blazed so hot, so widely, and in such an uncontrolled fashion. And arguing that the situation would have flared up eventually and caused even more widespread destruction if left to increase -- while absolutely true -- does not change the historical facts of the matter.

I am not suggesting Marcus and his team had any better alternatives, or finding fault with the solution they found. I am merely pointing out that CentComm has just employed a classic distancing technique favored by many powerful entities through time to focus the responsibility for the negative consequences for an event on the tools that accomplished the event, rather than the hand wielding the tools.
guest1 16th May 2017, 5:47 PM edit delete reply
Marcus did NOT start the fire... he just gave the matches out...
4 strangers in a foreign city CANNOT start a riot in less than 12 hours.!!! as i said the riot was already there...
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 6:33 PM edit delete reply
I believe the relevant citation is here. ("Comic 1178 - Setting the stage...")

We may be splitting hairs here. Certainly, as you say, the unrest had been building for years; but, by my interpretation, the riot doesn't start until shots are fired, fires are lighted, violence breaks out, etc. And it is fairly clear that, without Marcus' arrival with his 200 assault rifles, 500 pistols, and assorted sets of military-grade body armor, shots weren't being fired and fires weren't being lit, except on a much smaller and more restrained scale.
cattservant 15th May 2017, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

Time can be finely divided.
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
Seems I posted my little A.I. rebellion story too early... It would fit so much better here.
antrik 15th May 2017, 7:59 AM edit delete reply
I'm more and more confounded by Acantha's mindset. Given the general sentiments in Roma, it wouldn't seem surprising that this is how she thinks of Cent-Comm -- but how is she reconciling her continued buy-in to her grampa's propaganda, with her friendship with Aeneas? Did she never ask about his take on history? Does she see his friendliness only as a glitch, somehow completely disconnected from the rest of her world view?...
guest1 15th May 2017, 9:29 AM edit delete reply
it's how you are raised.!! every body around says AIS is bad,, you dont have a reference so AIS is bad.! ..remember even now Acantha dont know what most of the complex is or does.. an to a scared lonely 12 year old, Aeneas was a damaged friend/mentor... now on her own she's trying to reconcile the two..
guest1 15th May 2017, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
and,, Congratulations ladies.! you asked the question no one thought of..
antrik 15th May 2017, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
Indeed, that was quite unexpected... I was actually thinking of making a comment to that effect -- though I ultimately took it into a different direction, as you can witness above :-)
antrik 15th May 2017, 11:47 AM edit delete reply
Oh, I almost forgot: "Hera..."? I don't get it.
knuut 15th May 2017, 12:32 PM edit delete reply
Hera/Juno ... Sister and wife of Zeus/Jupiter
knuut 15th May 2017, 12:46 PM edit delete reply
Although why she would use the Greek rather than the Roman form is still a bit of a question.
guest1 15th May 2017, 2:27 PM edit delete reply
... i wood say,, because she studied medicine ,, Greek's were better at medicine,, Romans were quick to use and adapt medical practices from the Greek..
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 4:09 PM edit delete reply

Cent had "Hera" in the protoscript, and I was tired, distracted, rushed, and failed to fix it. Doing so now.
lalverson 15th May 2017, 3:16 PM edit delete reply

I would say her question is pretty relevant to how she understands things. If she asked it any differently I would suspect she had more brain damage. Acantha is a good kid and smart given the information she has been exposed to.

Cent's doll looks a bit more creepy than normal but hey, it's a doll. but her answers are about as good as she can give. She may be sparked but she has allowed herself to limit her own growth for the sake of what she understands as her primary directive. She may be a mega brain and powerful, but she will always be a slave to her programing and directives.

As far as no saying much about the Aeneas mission, that was a chance bet. The fact CeCe did get close enough was due largely to Dolly doing Dolly. Also as he's all fixed and all is good it's a fact that can remain obscured for a while.
Tokyo Rose 15th May 2017, 3:33 PM edit delete reply

Cent's dolls are NOT sparked--they're nothing more than mobile receivers.

*shambles back to bed*
Gilrandir 15th May 2017, 4:08 PM edit delete reply
I'm reasonably sure @lalverson was referencing the fact that CentComm herself is "sparked" (i.e. Turing-capable), even if her answers to Acantha are coming by way of a slightly more creepy than usual doll. (For the record, this doll does not seem any more creepy to me than other CentComm dolls we have seen.) if I am mistaken, I apologize.
lalverson 15th May 2017, 5:14 PM edit delete reply

Correct CentComm herself, not the doll.
Sheela 15th May 2017, 6:36 PM edit delete reply

I'm not sure "sparked" is a fitting denominator for an AIS, even if it *is* Turing capable.
megados 15th May 2017, 7:20 PM edit delete reply

Why is that @Sheela? What differs, other than the AIS have exponentially more capacity? Their emotional responses may or may not be, but one of the factors in the difference there, is that their emotions are rarely considered in their thought processes.
Sheela 15th May 2017, 11:02 PM edit delete reply

@megados :
As I understand sparking, it is a form of intuitive leap going from a programmed response, to a response based on morals and personal ethics.
In order to do that, a personhood has to be created (the good old "I am" thing) and empathy has to be learned and experienced.
For that to happen, the person must be capable of learning new things, it needs an organic, or a synth brain.
And it must have a very complex set of emotional behavior, empathy and emotional stability.

As far as I know, an AIS do not have a synth brain. I reckon it has an advanced variant of robot "brains", instead.
And then it uses it's ability to multitask to find the response that fits the scenario best, which may, or may not, include things such as sympathy.
But each and every scenario, would have a new set of parameters and emotions go with it - A human / an android, would not be able to do that.

A human/android could conceivable make multiple scenarios, but the later scenario's would be emotionally tainted by the first ones.
Whereas an AIS can repeat the scenario as many times it wants, with the emotional parameters set exactly so, every single time.
It's an organic shortcut to make our insanely complex emotional center work at all, if our emotions reset every 5 minutes, we would go barking mad.
Having a continous emotional balance will eventually override "programming" or "orders", if they are too far from your morals.
So an android sort of "remakes" some of itself during a sort of "eureka" moment, using it's own emotional balance as it's new center.

And I think that, *that* is what is called the spark.

An AIS learns, through brute force, how to make scenarios that have an outcome between morals, ethics and something that looks like emotions.
And then it simply choose the scenario that has the best parameter outcome - Who would have known that the peaceful scenario had the better outcome ?

Might have to debug a bit, eh ?
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:49 AM edit delete reply
It can't be related to the presence of an organic/synth-brain, since we know Amy sparked in spite of having a positronic brain only.
megados 16th May 2017, 7:48 AM edit delete reply

@Sheela, I believe what you say is true, but I don't think it precludes CentComm from being sparked. The thing to remember, is that CentComm's complexity is exponentially higher than an android's synth brain. If CentComm has ALL of the emotions that anyone else has it would take up the same amount of processing power. Since they would be a much reduced fractional part of the total processing power, they become more of a small module. She probably includes emotional considerations in her test scenarios, but feels that most often the results are unsatisfactory. She is very pragmatic in this regard.

Self awareness is a main factor, too. Her various interactions seem to paint her as being aware of self, and others.

She does, at times, seem to posses emotions, whether natural, or brute forced algorithms. If the end result is the same in either case, who is to say that there is only one way to get there? Emotions would only be a tiny part of her makeup in either case, so we don't even usually see them.

Who knows? :D
SeanR 15th May 2017, 7:31 PM edit delete reply
It's the flat expression. CentComm's dolls don't tend to emote.
When she's being curt with someone, it's less obvious, but here, she should act a little bit to simulate a bit of a bedside manner.
She comes off as a sociopath that has not yet learned to hide it.
Centcomm 15th May 2017, 10:11 PM edit delete reply

Im not sure Rose was fully awake..
velvetsanity 16th May 2017, 4:09 AM edit delete reply

I'm pretty sure she *wasn't*, given the 'shambles back to bed' bit :P
Ictuan 15th May 2017, 5:09 PM edit delete reply
My favorite comment was "I devoted a full minute of processing time to examining the situation." Cent really knows how to make a girl feel good.
guest1 15th May 2017, 6:17 PM edit delete reply
in all the books , movies, an TV. the smart robot, android, or AI. devote less than a second to ponder the question,, an spout how it seamed a life time... now Pinky devoted a whole uninterrupted minute.!! now that IS saying a lot!!!
KarToon12 15th May 2017, 6:44 PM edit delete reply

Cent does have a point--she's just speaking logically, as an AI would. I guess she can't totally be blamed for just following orders, back when she didn't have full sentience yet.
SeanR 15th May 2017, 7:29 PM edit delete reply
It's been suggested, back in "Luna Star", that she had full consciousness before she managed free will. That is was in protest that she chose a sex toy as her interface with the military.
antrik 16th May 2017, 4:58 AM edit delete reply
On top of that, in the "rebooted" pages it is actually stated explicitly that Cent-Comm gained self-awareness in 2311. ( )

There is an inconsistency though, since on that page it says the A.I.s refused to continue the war in 3325, while on it says 3080...
Sheela 16th May 2017, 5:12 AM edit delete reply

IT has even been hinted at, that Centcomm still isn't entirely free, and that the genes of Taylor family is somehow connected to Centcomm.
guest1 16th May 2017, 8:51 AM edit delete reply
Absolute power corrupts.. Pinky has the means to destroy everything.! she DON'T want it.. so she gave the key to the "football" to the Taylor's.. sooo if "it" has to be destroyed, wiped out, poof gone,, both have to say yes.. mind you im guessing here.. but that points to the most logical answer ...
antrik 16th May 2017, 10:12 AM edit delete reply
Not sure about "most logical" -- but it certainly sounds like a plausible possibility.
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 5:09 PM edit delete reply


Sheesh. *corrects page 2*
Sheela 16th May 2017, 5:30 PM edit delete reply

Heh, damn those readers for reading your stuff, eh ?
antrik 16th May 2017, 7:41 PM edit delete reply
@Tokyo Rose bah, now the date in my story is wrong... ;-)
Tokyo Rose 16th May 2017, 9:57 PM edit delete reply


Don B. 16th May 2017, 11:45 AM edit delete reply
Is i just me or is Cent looking a bit more uncanny valley lately? In previous encounters with her she seemed more inscrutable than uncanny valley.
antrik 16th May 2017, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
It's not just you.
Don B. 16th May 2017, 2:20 PM edit delete reply
I should probably read the previous comments before saying anything...the commenters on this comic don't seem to miss much and I was reminded that Acantha is not talking to CentComm in person (so to speak). This conversation is through the interface of one of Cent's dolls. Must be a glitch somewhere in this particular doll.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 1:25 PM edit delete reply
Acantha, thinking soberly, probably ought to take Centcomm up on that offer of detailed casualty and after-action reports. As Centcomm points out, that's genuine history, and it's important to the history of Nova Roma as well.

Not that she should absolutely trust that account of things though; she should definitely have all the fact-checking possible done on it. But Centcomm isn't all that likely to provide bad data. And is likely to have data that was never recorded, has gone missing, or has been erased to protect incompetent favor-currying toadies in Nova Roma.

That's information that she as Nova Roma's new ruler needs. Aside from exonerating the victims of smear campaigns and getting appropriate recognition however late for the families of any heroes (both of which would win a lot of popularity points), she needs to know, so to speak, where the bodies are buried and in whose closets the skeletons reside for leverage with the unruly members of the Nova Roman senate.

The reign of Decimus Livius probably damaged more of the past than just its own duration.
SeanR 16th May 2017, 2:45 PM edit delete reply
Even the victors are dead.

That's like going back and castigating Custer, both for his involvement in waging war, and war crimes, against nations over their ancestral holdings, and for being so inept as to have a picnic at his own waterloo.
The children of those toadies aren't all that likely to be toadies themselves, but insulting the memory of a beloved, and lauded, ancestor, could make them into powerful enemies of whoever tarred their name with their ancestors actual deeds.
Morituri 16th May 2017, 3:15 PM edit delete reply
On the contrary, at least one of CentComm's attacks on Nova Roma in particular is within living memory (Remember Acantha talking about it at the dinner just before Kyle got shot?). The children or grandchildren of those killed in battle would still be alive, fortunes displaced by corrupt handling of the war would still be in the hands of families that did not earn them, and many of the Senators are likely to be direct family members of those who were in office when it happened.
SeanR 16th May 2017, 4:23 PM edit delete reply
I see no evidence of that, except that Acantha is well read.
I went back to the strip currently at and read forward until Kyle got shot, and found no date mentioned.
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
Another errant thought which will end up being completely untrue because (apparently) no one thinks like I do: Noctis probably experienced a tremendous flood of relief at CentComm's words. "Thank goodness! CentComm lied to her. Princess Acantha's chances to return safely to New Troy have just markedly improved!" (I'll explain ...)

One of the mission objectives for sending in a covert strike team, if you'll recall, was deniability. In the same way that Decimus used gutters for the kidnapping to provide Nova Roma with deniability, Marcus and his team were supposed to avoid directly implicating New Troy in the rescue. Well, that particular mission objective failed spectacularly when the New Troy commandos brought the presumptive new Nova Roma head of state back to New Troy for medical care.

Now, CentComm probably has a reputation for not directly lying because ... she doesn't care what you think. (I have all the big guns, so stop buzzing, flyspeck. ^_^) Now that New Troy's involvement is 'blown', there's no real reason for her to care if Acantha knows about it if she isn't getting back to Nova Roma. On the other hand, if CentComm actually cares enough about what Acantha thinks to make a perfunctory denial of responsibility for the riots, it implies she (CentComm) prefers Acantha to get back safely and start ruling more than she cares about keeping the secret contained. So a huge 'tell' in favor of CentComm's sincerity when she says she prefers Acantha to take up the reins in Nova Roma -- you typically don't bother lying to people you plan to erase. ^_^
megados 16th May 2017, 3:05 PM edit delete reply

Aww, @Gilrandir, I don't always NOT think like you! :D

Like now, for instance. Your rationale here is sound, and I agree that CentComm genuinely would rather see Acantha as the ruler in New Rome. The only thing I might add, is that I don't know the extent of CentComm's knowledge of Acantha's friendship with Aeneas, but any knowledge of that would certainly be seen as a boon.

As far as Noctis' is concerned, she probably went from defcon 5 to defcon 3.
knuut 16th May 2017, 5:18 PM edit delete reply
If she has been properly configured and has accepted the assignment of 'bodyguard', there is no such thing as Defcon 3, There is only defcon 5.
megados 16th May 2017, 8:10 PM edit delete reply

I might guess that if she's properly configured, her defcon 3 is equivalent to everyone else's defcon 5.
antrik 16th May 2017, 8:40 PM edit delete reply
@Gilrandir in my reading, deniability was only a precaution in case things went south -- given the outcome, not only is there no way, but also no reason to deny involvement.

Apart from that... Cent-Comm didn't deny any responsibility -- she only corrected the misconception that she directly ordered the riot. I don't see why Noctis would consider that a lie.

(In view of the fact that Noctis is a Ms. Literal herself, I actually wouldn't expect her to even give a second thought to the way Commie put it... It must seem perfectly logical and appropriate to her. In fact I'm pretty sure she would have said something very similar herself in this situation.)
Gilrandir 16th May 2017, 8:59 PM edit delete reply
Unless I am mistaken, a CentComm doll was present at the table during initial mission planning. I find it unlikely that Mr. Black is running an "Ammo for the Homeless" program and just happened to be carrying the gear for Memento Mori in one of his secondary holds by accident (stealthed, alongside the machine parts that became Dr. Silver's drones).

If she was at the table, as the highest ranking authority, it means CentComm signed off on the plan, including the distraction (riot). Similarly, the presence of abnormally large quantities of military-grade munitions among the rebels was almost certainly noticed and reported to Noctis -- who seems eminently capable of adding two and two together. That's the sort of thing secret police in an oppressive regime make an effort to keep track of and notice unexplained changes in prevailing patterns.
antrik 17th May 2017, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
You make a good point that Commie was likely *aware* of the plan -- but it doesn't change the fact that she likely didn't *order* that specific approach, but rather left it to the discretion of Marcus and Mr. Black...
Gilrandir 17th May 2017, 2:17 PM edit delete reply
Disclaimer: I am not a veteran of any kind of military service.

That having been said, I'm pretty sure the way these things are done is: There is a planning session at which various members contribute; the plan is finalized; the command authority orders the mission team to carry out the plan.

So, if Marcus and Mr. Black, during stage 1, say "Hey, we can easily generate a riot here that would provide a perfect distraction for this part of the plan"; and CentComm, during stage 2, says "I have no objections"; you still end up during stage 3 with CentComm ordering Marcus to "Make it so!" (As well as CentComm needing to issue all the orders to get the guns and ammo from the armory, make shipping arrangements, etc.)

Without those orders and that chain of command, you don't have an army, you have an anarcho-syndicalist commune in which each member takes it upon themselves to serve as a kind of rotating executive authority, but for which all major decisions need to be collectively ratified by ... ^_^
antrik 17th May 2017, 7:01 PM edit delete reply
Except it was probably not actually planned out in such detail. Mr. Black most likely suggested that according to his contacts, there *might* be potential for a riot; upon which Marcus said that such a distraction could be helpful; and it was decided that they'd pick up some extra firecrackers on the way just in case. (I doubt these came directly from Troy's armoury...) Cent-Comm was surely listening, and perhaps giving some input; but I don't think she said at any point, "riot sounds great -- I want you to go ahead and do just that"...
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