Comic 1607 - Side Trip

14th May 2019, 6:48 PM
Side Trip
Average Rating: 5 (18 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 14th May 2019, 9:39 PM edit delete
and dont for get you can drop us coins if you like! it helps a lot!
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Haegan2005 14th May 2019, 7:09 PM edit delete reply

Well, sure. I'll play it safe and say sure!
Jason Moon 14th May 2019, 7:17 PM edit delete reply

It looks good on her
Ictuan 14th May 2019, 7:37 PM edit delete reply
Yes this dress is a big improvement over the drafty lampshade. I didn't think 1950s at all.

Now what kind of directive could cause Noctis to request to see some historical thingy?
Evervigilant 15th May 2019, 12:58 AM edit delete reply
I would say more 60's in some ways. I don't think anything in the 50's would have had a hemline that high. In the 60's came miniskirts, short shorts, and high hem dresses. Man I'm getting old! LoL
Oldarmourer 15th May 2019, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
add some brightly flowered or wild paisley tights and it's Soho Sixties all over again.
Tom 15th May 2019, 6:38 AM edit delete reply
Skirt's a little short for the 1950s after all.
megados 14th May 2019, 8:09 PM edit delete reply

That dress seems more fitting for someone in Acantha's position.

Cella appears to be caught a bit flat-footed, and maybe a little unsettled by Noctis' request. By her description, it seems an odd place to go. Seeing as how it's "not much frequented by most residents these days", she'd be right to be suspicious.
robnot 14th May 2019, 9:29 PM edit delete reply
@Megados: so you ALSO , "don't see an issue of an out of towner asking bout a obscure park NO goes to any more..?"...
no red flags,, old dude behind the curtain,, or just the out of the blue random park... nope nothing to see here move along...
DLKmusic 14th May 2019, 11:49 PM edit delete reply

Right there with you, megados... Even if I hadn't known about the directive, a request like this is out of character for Noctis.

I like the dress too, very retro! Kinda reminds me of an USO uniform from WW2, except the hem is too short (WW2 it would be just below the knees), and it's short sleeved instead of long.

megados 15th May 2019, 9:20 AM edit delete reply

As I understand it, we are supposed to know there's a directive, but not what it is. So far the story lines up. The hitch was that it was given unbeknownst to Acantha, Lynn, and Cella, which wasn't supported by their being so close to Noctis in the layout. Nothing is too severely broken by that. We have the information we're supposed to have, and yes, in context, it's a very unusual request by Noctis. She's not likely to suggest random itinerary changes.

I'm still also wondering who in New Troy would have authority to issue orders to Noctis. I can only speculate it's someone (higher up) from New Rome.
knuut 16th May 2019, 7:35 AM edit delete reply
Or with the knowledge and/or power to circumvent New Rome security measures
robnot 16th May 2019, 10:09 AM edit delete reply
yes .. "what we know." i was talking about the group.. WHO in that room,? would not go "Wait what.?" cuz Pastey asked that random question...

an my personal guess (again) is some NPC, that has some cyberpath power, is trying to "control" Noctis,, an do 'something' to the foreign dignitary to make Centtcom look bad.. and as to how 'they know her name' , it's not like her name has been said, a bunch of times...
HiFranc 14th May 2019, 11:26 PM edit delete reply

Who is the person on the last frame and why is she joining their party?
DLKmusic 14th May 2019, 11:56 PM edit delete reply

That's the sales clerk, HiFranc.
Nystran 14th May 2019, 11:58 PM edit delete reply
The shopkeeper...
Nystran 14th May 2019, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
... and if you trace the text balloons, she's not coming.
HiFranc 15th May 2019, 2:38 AM edit delete reply

Was half asleep.
KarToon12 15th May 2019, 7:38 AM edit delete reply

She's like a futuristic Carmen Sandiego. :)
robnot 15th May 2019, 9:54 AM edit delete reply
except no hat or coat... oh hat in back ground panel one..
Siren 15th May 2019, 9:52 AM edit delete reply
I know everyone has their own tastes and all, but c'mon Lynn, that is a cute dress.
Thracecius 15th May 2019, 10:22 AM edit delete reply

I agree with you, Siren, that's definitely an appropriate style and color for Acantha. :)

Oh, and funds on the way, Centcomm. :)
Oldarmourer 16th May 2019, 7:56 AM edit delete reply
Not what most sixteen year olds would choose, but sort of fitting for a 'sixteen going on thirty eight' future head of state, and more than a little reminiscent of the dress she chose for the banquet with douchewaffle that got the whole 'fight for the palace' started.
robnot 19th May 2019, 8:02 AM edit delete reply
@Oldarmouror: "Not what most sixteen year olds would choose," .. For todays teens.. yes .. but remember 'fashion" is cyclic ,, an what is the teen fashion (that all parents hate..) here ..
for all we know,, hoop skirts an bell bottoms are ALL the rage...
we already know of the 'breezy' almost there, high society side of fashion...
Oldarmourer 19th May 2019, 4:15 PM edit delete reply
I menioned that below, having once been a teenager and raised a few myself, I do believe I can unequivocally state that teen fashion consists largely of what their parents don't wear, which is fun today since their parents wear and have worn just about anything teens can come up with so it's hair colour, piercings and "I didn't want a job anyway" tattoos rather than clothes for rebellion, that and picking ludicrous causes to protest for that they'll end up disowning themselves once someone decides to make them practice what they preach.
Just_IDD 16th May 2019, 9:07 AM edit delete reply
That dress has *huge* shoulders. I've see something similar in Asian formal wear from the 90's but the round render almost makes them look robotic.
Oldarmourer 16th May 2019, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
very '40's and who knows maybe that's the current fad in this time period, I think what makes it look 'robotic' is the lack of elbows on Acantha, especially noticeable in the first frames, but given that my command of 3D artistry is limited to maybe being able to draw a box and sort of have three or so sides parallel with no perspective whatsoever, and having no idea 2what the limitations of the models used for rendering here are, even mentioning it in passing (without complaining at all)gives me a feeling that I should just shut up and go sit in the corner while the pros do their jobs.
Blotto 16th May 2019, 10:39 AM edit delete reply

I know we don't see much of it, but I really like the dress that the clerk is wearing.
Sheela 16th May 2019, 3:12 PM edit delete reply

Cella seems confused, I would not be surprised if she didn't report that to Centcomm, maybe have her run a few virtual scenarios to try and figure out what is happening.
Oldarmourer 16th May 2019, 4:18 PM edit delete reply
I'd be surprised if she hadn't already but more likely Cent has the room bugged already and has something sneaky following their every move, and if she hasn't then Tokyo Rose does ;)
Sheela 17th May 2019, 3:32 AM edit delete reply

Hrm .. a sneaky man following them ?
And a sneaky man giving Noctis order, huh ?

*tries to add the two together*


.... SNAIL !! 😁
robnot 17th May 2019, 9:00 AM edit delete reply
ohh ,, spikey ball o hate,, furgot to throw that chaos into the mix.!! (but no i don't think T.R. has a hand in this.. ((maybe a stretched out pinky toe..))..
and as CentComm has said, "she may have eyes an ears every where,, she can't be every where.!" she has a city to run.. but yeah IF Cella was to notify Cent, then it wood become to her notice...
robnot 17th May 2019, 9:09 AM edit delete reply
ALSO: since Cent, can't be "there" , she sent her most trusted White Angel,, to let her know IF her presence is required.!!
an i don't know bout you,,, but if as a normal citizen of sed city.. i wood not want to be the reason they had to call CentComm here.!!
Gilrandir 17th May 2019, 2:56 AM edit delete reply
Go, Aeneas!
DLKmusic 17th May 2019, 7:40 PM edit delete reply

That's an interesting hypothesis, Gilrandir.

The question i would pose for it though is who would Aeneas know in new Troy to give the directive after being out of circulation (literally) for over 50 years?
megados 17th May 2019, 8:13 PM edit delete reply

The question is difficult to answer. It could be an operative specifically sent by Aeneas, or a New Roman operative living in New Troy who may or may not be undercover, also since we know Aeneas has one doll, maybe it's him. (I don't know if he has more dolls as CentComm has, or if he employs a Nova Roman equivalent of CentComm's angels). Maybe a Cassian carrying authenticated orders. Lots of possibilities there. Heck, we don't even know if Aeneas has reached out to anyone since his restoration.
Gilrandir 18th May 2019, 7:53 AM edit delete reply
To be honest, we don't know much about Aeneas, post-reconstruction. Hypothetically, he has all the computational power of CentComm, while also being possessed of an intuitive capability and degree of personal integration she lacks. (Because she was the prototype, and he incorporates lessons learned -- which was why he was able to go mad, rather than merely become non-functional.)

The point being, he does not need to have maintained assets for all these years, so long as he can barter for them or co-opt them. And we know he does have resources. The question is whether he has motivation to move and the ability to move quickly enough. Realistically, I am probably completely wrong, but I have always liked Aeneas and it would be an interesting narrative curve to once again remind us that "covert" is not always the same as "sinister".
knuut 18th May 2019, 8:57 AM edit delete reply
Or if the message is a friendly one, he might have co-opted a disguised Kyle to act as a delivery agent. Given his relationship with the Taylors, Kyle likely has entry access to New Troy and would certainly go for a belated surprise birthday party.
Gilrandir 18th May 2019, 9:19 AM edit delete reply
Possible, but it is unlikely (in my opinion) that Kyle would use the word "orders" when talking to Noctis in the scenario you describe.
DLKmusic 18th May 2019, 12:42 PM edit delete reply

Possible, I guess... It seems awfully short period of time for Aeneas to have been able to coopt anything yet though (AI's may be fast, but human's are notoriously slow to move).

Kyle is a possibility, and I would love to see this as a belated birthday party for Lynn (IIRC, the term was "directive", not "order"). If this were the case though, I would assume that Acantha would also be in on it, which doesn't appear to be the case.

More likely, IMHO, this is either a sleeper agent from Nova Roma, still loyal to Deckhead's regime, or equally likely, a Luna Agent (again, IIRC, the Cassians were Luna built for Nova Roma). either of these scenarios bring up a lot of disturbing possibilities.
knuut 18th May 2019, 3:24 PM edit delete reply
Agreed, Kyle is probably not the most likely possibility (nor is Tokyo Rose, who might also have a sleeper agent or two) but he is more likely than a Dickhead or Luna sleeper. 'Directive' appears to be a command override code word and there is no way someone as competent and wily as Maximus would allow Noctis to serve as Acantha's bodyguard without restricting it's use to himself, Acantha and (perhaps) Aeneas. Without such a restriction, Noctis is a lethal weapon available to anyone with a voice. We may not have seen the the act but he could easily have done it remotely as soon as the secure link was established.
megados 18th May 2019, 8:09 PM edit delete reply

Noctis has always presented a challenge in reading her. If I look at Noctis' expression, she looks a little surprised, but she doesn't seem upset. Hard to tell, but it lends credence to the 'friend' angle.

Between her inhibitor, and her own mental faculties, Noctis isn't very likely to blindly follow orders. She has a track record of not blindly following orders. If Noctis is to follow these orders, it will be either from someone she trusts, or someone authorzed to give her instructions that go along with, or supersede "Working for the Glory of Nova Roma". Right now, I believe, that is her main directive.
Gilrandir 19th May 2019, 8:20 AM edit delete reply
I agree 'co-opt' could be a challenge -- but if you compromise a secure communications protocol, you can insert your own orders into the stream fairly efficiently.

'Barter', however, is easy. "Regent Maxus. Greetings. I understand you recently suffered unfortunate losses on one of your perimeter patrols. I would like to offer the service of ten Mark XV Assaultmechs to reinforce Nova Roma's external security forces, allowing you to preserve the internal peacekeeping and law-enforcement personnel assignments in place. To facilitate this, however,, I request that you ..."

Seems like win-win to me.
megados 19th May 2019, 1:51 PM edit delete reply

*quote* " . . . but if you compromise a secure communications protocol, you can insert your own orders into the stream fairly efficiently."

Not necessarily. A properly secured system can also contain a means of content authentication, beyond encryption security, such as a ZKT (zero knowledge test) based on algorithms using pairs of large prime numbers, or other means of making sure the communications are genuine. (layered security) If one breaks the encryption, but fails the authentication, the chance is lost. Thus you could succeed in circumventing a layer, unaware there are more layers, nor what they consist of. Failure at any point tips your hand.

Having said that, I wouldn't think Aeneas would need to compromise the system; he probably has all he needs to use "proper channels".
Gilrandir 20th May 2019, 12:23 PM edit delete reply
It is true @Megados that, when I said 'protocol' I was thinking in terms of all the layers, in aggregate. If there are multiple layers, some of which are not spoofed, then subversion has not yet been accomplished and may well be detected.

As far as barter goes, @DLKmusic, remember Aeneas doesn't need to deal with the worst case, only the best case. I believe Maxus knew that Acantha had a special relationship with Aeneas -- though I am not going to go through the archives to confirm that at the moment. Also there are many techniques that have evolved to permit dealing with people of unknown trustworthiness. Heck, Maxus made a deal with New Trojans _while_ his city was literally under armed attack at their instigation. Dealing with a sane-sounding Aeneas in a carefully circumscribed way for things he really needs right now would be a strongly attractive option, I should think.
megados 20th May 2019, 8:19 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir, I agree completely, although 'spoofing' isn't a term I'd use for it. My main point is more along the lines of the possibility that no breaching of security would be needed. Depending on the timeline of his incapacitation, he may possess a 'set of keys' to the system.

It's a bit nebulous as to how much time has elapsed, and I can't put a number on how quickly Acantha went from 'emergency patient' to 'out and about shopping', but it's possible for Aeneas to have at least gotten a start on an operation of unknown intent. Whether or not he is involved, or by what means is unknown, but the possibility is there.
DLKmusic 19th May 2019, 3:45 PM edit delete reply

@Gilrandir: in most cases i would agree that bartering might be fairly easy, In this particular case, not as much so. Aeneas has a reputation in New Rome that is even less stellar than Deckhead's reputation was. even after being repaired, I wouldn't expect anyone to want to even deal with him, never mind allowing him access to even more toys that can kill people than what he already has.

it's unclear (at least to me) whether Aeneas was broken before or after Nova Roma started using Cassians (I think it was after, but I can't be sure). If he has command codes for them, either he got them before he was broken, or else he stole them, and be all the more reason why citizens of Nova Roma wouldn't trust him to wash their driveway!
Guest 18th May 2019, 4:59 PM edit delete reply
I'm pretty sure we saw Noctis (or maybe it was Kali) state quite some time back that only three people could give directives to Cassians, douchewaffle (who overrode anyone else's), Maxus and I forget the third but I don't think it was Aeneas, maybe Setorius ?

I can, however, see what happens if it was Kyle that lured them to this secluded park...

Kyle rushes toward Lynn and she to him.

Dolly's protection protocols flash into overdrive.

The 'extra' protocols added by the nanobots in the drinks Breaker fed her are triggered.

Dolly drags Kyle into some nearby bushes and renders him completely exhausted using several subroutines also found in Feelie's temporary body that the nanobots added to hers.

Sometime later she staggers out of the bushes and heads directly for Breaker's bar where she finishes her days in nymphomanical bliss.

Noctis successfully fights the directives Kyle tries to make her follow and ends him on the spot and immediately returning to Nova Roma with Acantha who closes the city completely to outside access and spends what time she has left with Aeneas.

Lynn then shows her mother what REAL catatonic state looks like and eventually Centcomm ends up with complete control over the city when no more Taylors remain.

Tokyo Rose claps her hands in glee and erases Centcomm's AI substituting her own then some years later eventually finishes spiking Aeneas and controls most of North America.

TR and the rest of the AI's on the other continents sit down to an eternity of poker, bad jokes and creative cursing contests until the Earth finishes healing itself then junk all the weapons and head for the stars to do it all again.

Sorry for the spoilers ;)
knuut 18th May 2019, 6:14 PM edit delete reply
I include Aeneas because no 600+ year old AI is going to let killing machines run around loose in HIS territory without a back door absolute control of some sort whether the humans like it or not.
Oldarmourer 18th May 2019, 7:04 PM edit delete reply
It might have been, I definitely remember it being said sometime before or during the battles in the palace but I forget the exact content.
Oldarmourer 19th May 2019, 4:43 AM edit delete reply
and with Dolly's 'human' form being based on Lynn's what does her DNA scan as ? would Calliope have used Lynn's DNA as a base to grow the biological parts since she probably knew it well ? seeing as her mind was still a little off the rails at that point not knowing if she'd ever see Lynn again could she have subconsciously (or consciously) used Dolly's new frame as a surrogate ? and if that's the case, would Dolly's DNA scan closely enough as a member of the Taylor family to override CentComm ? or is that something we find out on the last page of the story ? ;)
knuut 19th May 2019, 1:23 PM edit delete reply
Which gets us right back to a problem first posed by Asimov in 'Caves of Steel' (1954?). How does a (mostly) logical robot (or AI with finite resources and time) correctly identify 'human'. In a world made fuzzy by prosthetics, cyborgs and clones, accurately identifying a particular human is not an easy task.
Oldarmourer 20th May 2019, 5:02 AM edit delete reply
and with that decision, knowing our delightful duo's keen sense of story pacing and interest grabbing (and not so well hidden sadistic tendencies) don't be surprised if there's a scene shift coming up right about now ;)
knuut 20th May 2019, 12:22 PM edit delete reply
I just wonder if they are sadistic enough to change the story line for the joy of it if one of us guesses right.
Oldarmourer 20th May 2019, 2:06 PM edit delete reply
The creatrixes are usually pretty non-commital if anyone stumbles on a potential spoiler but it's fun reading the possible story lines people come up with and then speculating on whether or not they follow canon, are probable or even possible.

That's been going on forever in the forums and some have been very complex and entertaining to read with no apparent impact on the story so far, but who knows what's been tweaked, changed or rearranged to either offset a good guess or to include something new in the story later on ?

The battle in and flight from douchewaffle's palace was the main overarching story arc so far, but it spawned so many loose ends and sidestories still left to tie up that I don't know if we could guess them all anyway.

All I know is, it's fun seeing the genuine theories and even moreso the fanciful scripts and various outcomes people come up with.

It gives us something to do while waiting for a new installment and some of them are hilarious :)
DLKmusic 20th May 2019, 2:33 PM edit delete reply

I completely agree, oldarmourer! Some of our guesses have been pretty close, and some of them weren't even in the same ballpark, but the guessing and discussing what's coming is half the fun (the other half is actually reading what Cent and Rose do next!)

I don't think though that any of our guesses or ideas have had any impact at all on the story line though, with one possible exception! That's when Caliope explained to Dolly why she couldn't return to her old frame... To avoid us arguing about the explanation or poking holes in it, we got 3 frames full of the word "Explain"...

I still kinda giggle over that solution!
robnot 21st May 2019, 7:52 AM edit delete reply
hehe... story line.. canon.. creatrixes..
i can so.. see them taking all the guesses an original story,, loading them in cannon , firing , an what hits the target is the next story arch...
DLKmusic 21st May 2019, 9:08 AM edit delete reply

@robnot: bwahahahah!!!! "FIRE AT WILL LADIES!, CANNONS AWAY!!!"

imagining Terri and Krissy in pirate outfits, stuffing a cannon is definitely worth the price of admission!
Highlander 20th May 2019, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
Maybe a Cyberpath issued order to Noctis!?
Oldarmourer 21st May 2019, 5:24 AM edit delete reply
Not a word from any of the creative combo in a week, I know life has been unkind to them yet again and that has to be the primary concern, I just hope nothing else has afflicted them. No rush on the comic, get to that when you can, I just like to hear everyone is alright, even Sheela has been uncharacteristically quiet while I'm babbling on more than usual, guess I'm subconsciously trying to make up for them ? Hope all's well and life starts treating you better.
DLKmusic 21st May 2019, 9:21 AM edit delete reply

@Oldarmourer: if Terri is the one making the funeral arrangements on top of keeping a full time job, that's concerning enough for her to be gone for a couple of weeks.

everyone thinks of Terri as this immovable object of indomitable will, but everyone has a breaking point, and the amount of stress she's under right now is literally mind-crushing.

Let's keep her, Krissy, and Mr. Black in our thoughts and prayers, because right now they need to now how much we care about them!
Oldarmourer 21st May 2019, 10:21 AM edit delete reply
Agreed, and what I assumed was likely the case. I just get a little concerned when people who post often suddenly go dark, G-d knows they have enough and better things to do right now, I just like to hear that they're holding up is all, I think we all do. That's the thing about internet families, we get too concerned with each other's well being sometimes.
DLKmusic 21st May 2019, 12:30 PM edit delete reply

good point! Although, when you care about someone, "Too concerned" isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing...
megados 21st May 2019, 2:37 PM edit delete reply

Being concerned, and caring are good things! I know I get concerned sometimes when life gets in the way of their living. Also, though, sometimes they don't say anything for other reasons. I imagine one is that they take a little sadistic joy in reading all our attempts to guess at what's going on. Maybe sometimes they don't have anything they really want to add, or the thing they would say might be a spoiler. A lot of the time they probably don't have an opportunity to do a lot of reading and commenting. I'd rather think it's something like that, than their having a bunch of additional trouble. No one needs that. I hope all is OK!
mjkj 25th May 2019, 11:24 AM edit delete reply

So, somehow Noctis is still on shady business...

...I wonder what will happen in that park
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