Comic 1624 - Neutralize

10th Sep 2019, 9:00 PM
Average Rating: 5 (15 votes)

Author Notes:

Centcomm 12th Sep 2019, 12:13 PM edit delete
With any luck the new ram should arrive and let me start kicking out more pages faster.. thats the plan an awyWAY!!

i know you all would love more pages .. right?
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Lurker314 10th Sep 2019, 9:01 PM edit delete reply
Welp, I cannot say I called THAT.

I guess the best we can hope for is that their emergency distress signal transmitter wasn't the obvious one & that they got some intel out.

megados 10th Sep 2019, 9:23 PM edit delete reply

Aww, Skeeter! We hardly knew ye. :(
Look out, Braden! Now would be a good time to get Cyana out of harm's way, Olina! This isn't looking good. :(

This one in the last panel looks like an infiltrator type. The leader of this group? I'm wondering more than ever who these guys are.
Ryu Santos 10th Sep 2019, 10:03 PM edit delete reply

Chopperrrrrrrr! Errr..., Skeeeetteeeeerrrr!!!!

Sorry, I was having Ace Combat 5 flashback.
Sheela 11th Sep 2019, 4:14 AM edit delete reply

Don't worry, Skeeter can still say "ow" … it's probably just a flesh wound.
robnot 11th Sep 2019, 7:30 AM edit delete reply
this looks like a Feelie situation all over again... just load into another chassis.
DLKmusic 11th Sep 2019, 12:39 PM edit delete reply

Flesh wound, Sheela? Looks a lot more like a Nano-carbonite composite polymer wound to me. (grin)
robnot 11th Sep 2019, 2:53 PM edit delete reply
tho ,, that much deb ris, (grin) , in panel 2.. that im surprised that there is that big of a chunk of him left in panel 4...
an look closely that was 3 hits to take him down... but not out.. completely
Just_IDD 11th Sep 2019, 5:02 AM edit delete reply
Who was saying that experimental models don't get killed off....every previous time they have experimented this has happened unless its a non-playing character.
Tom 11th Sep 2019, 7:11 AM edit delete reply
And then they all died. :/
Gilrandir 11th Sep 2019, 7:17 AM edit delete reply
It occurs to me that, in a world of configurable physiology and downloadable consciousness, the phrase 'radio for backup' could take on an entirely different meaning. ^_^
megados 11th Sep 2019, 8:39 AM edit delete reply

That's an interesting take on it.
DLKmusic 11th Sep 2019, 10:15 PM edit delete reply

LOL Gil, +1!
Oldarmourer 11th Sep 2019, 7:54 AM edit delete reply

Interesting skullface on 'ol blue eyes
At least they didn't coordinate their attack and all fire at once on seperate targets...
And SKEETER still lives, for now anyway...maybe he has beam-proof armour ?
So many things to ponder so little to ponder with...
megados 11th Sep 2019, 9:43 AM edit delete reply

Frank Sinatra has a skullface? :O
Oldarmourer 11th Sep 2019, 12:43 PM edit delete reply
Wondered if anyone would get that ;)
Thracecius 11th Sep 2019, 9:59 AM edit delete reply

Welp, that's it for you Braden, unfortunately. And since Olina isn't even holding her weapon right now and Skeeter is most definitely "down", she and Cyana are most likely next.

Time for a miracle, folks, otherwise this whole family is SMEAT* without the tin.

*bonus points if you know the reference
Oldarmourer 11th Sep 2019, 12:50 PM edit delete reply
I'm wondering how many SKEETER's or other assorted bots and turrets can fit in that water tanker...
megados 11th Sep 2019, 1:26 PM edit delete reply

*not wanting to spoil it, I'll just say it's from a fairly well known movie. ;)
robnot 11th Sep 2019, 3:14 PM edit delete reply
i lost count when it got to my gills,, but there over 13 (recurring number) movies an TV shows that reference it...
robnot 11th Sep 2019, 3:02 PM edit delete reply
there are 13 different flavors,, and is over 75 years old... an was a medical experiment,, hence the "M" in smeat.. and I would think Mr. Black (if he read this.) will get the reference...
Rigor 12th Sep 2019, 5:44 PM edit delete reply
I was thinking Waterworld, but am not surprised the word appears elsewhere as it is a pretty obvious parody of Spam.
megados 12th Sep 2019, 6:13 PM edit delete reply

@Rigor, that was what I was thinking.
robnot 13th Sep 2019, 9:34 AM edit delete reply
since we are all alts.. of course you know what it is,,, water tanker = oil tanker.. mariner = gills.. oh an S.M.E.A.T. an whiskey..

an useless info: smeat = Skylab Medical Extreme Altitude Test..
Thracecius 13th Sep 2019, 12:05 PM edit delete reply

I had forgotten about the reference in Waterwold (not a surprise since it's been 20+ years since I've seen it), but the show I was thinking of was "Millennium". SMEAT only appeared in one episode, but it was pretty much the only amusing non-character driven thing in the entire series. It was a disturbing show in many ways, but Lance Henrikson was fantastic and I really enjoyed his character. He's also one of my favorite voice actors, with Andmiral Hackett of Mass Effect fame being his most notable role.
KarToon12 11th Sep 2019, 11:43 AM edit delete reply

Poor Skeeter. :(
DLKmusic 11th Sep 2019, 12:35 PM edit delete reply

On page 1654, I said "Ok, I'm gettin onboard with the Skeeter fan club!

(Which means he'll probably get blown to smitherines next strip... Sigh)"

Can't say I called it, because the evil Duo waited 5 strips before fulfilling that particular prophesy.

Oldarmourer 11th Sep 2019, 12:44 PM edit delete reply
With all these machines, there's still time for a Deus ex machina :) we can hope...
Morituri 11th Sep 2019, 7:21 PM edit delete reply
Well, considering Centcomm's choice of chassis model, it would amuse the heck out of me if it turned out to be a 'Deus Sex Machinima' ... but this isn't that kind of comic, is it? Got to keep it at least a little bit SFW around here, more's the pity.
Oldarmourer 13th Sep 2019, 8:40 AM edit delete reply
well...looks like somebody's getting fucked... :(
megados 11th Sep 2019, 1:17 PM edit delete reply

There's enough left of him to say "OW", so it's kinda like the sign at the morgue: "Remains to be Seen!"
Centcomm 11th Sep 2019, 3:14 PM edit delete reply

Hehehe true!
The Sunny Side of Life 11th Sep 2019, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
And here I thought _my_ puns were dead on arrival with their stiff and wooden delivery while trying to bury the subject matter in trivia instead of getting to the heart of the matter.
Centcomm 11th Sep 2019, 3:14 PM edit delete reply

Yup.. :D
mjkj 11th Sep 2019, 3:21 PM edit delete reply

noooo... they got Skeeter... :'(

I hope they can use his destruction as distraction to kill the other daleks goldiebots... =S
Oldarmourer 12th Sep 2019, 7:38 AM edit delete reply
With any luck, all that 'debris' coming off of SKEETER was ablative armour soaking up most of the blast...he's still functional enough to speak and maybe functional enough to shoot...or activate something that can
mjkj 12th Sep 2019, 11:38 PM edit delete reply

Yeah, hopefully - that or the remains of their "bullets"...
Sheela 13th Sep 2019, 4:29 AM edit delete reply

For all we know, he could have a backup body ready to go.
Or he may be a tiny "AIS" for the farm stead, and what we have seen so far, was just one of his "dolls".

Next up … a Skeeter army launches form the homestead?
Oldarmourer 13th Sep 2019, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
Send in.....the swarm...
robnot 13th Sep 2019, 9:39 AM edit delete reply
hehe.. send in the ,, ALT's ,, :)
DLKmusic 14th Sep 2019, 1:11 PM edit delete reply

@robnot: I would tell you how funny that is, but... I'm only an alt, so.... (grin)

waitaminnute!!!!! You're sending ME in to fight those things? Does my shirt look red to you???

hmmm... wait, it is red... well, $&%#!
Sheela 14th Sep 2019, 2:24 PM edit delete reply

Skeeter Zerglings !!
robnot 15th Sep 2019, 8:27 AM edit delete reply
ah. the Queen of Blades..
robnot 15th Sep 2019, 8:25 AM edit delete reply
well hopefully we "Alts" have rrr brown pant's then...
DLKmusic 15th Sep 2019, 12:06 PM edit delete reply

had a very sad thought for a vote incentive...

a stick figure drawing of all of us "alts" together in one room... including a stick figure Sheela doggie gnawing on someone's shoe!
megados 15th Sep 2019, 1:22 PM edit delete reply

You couldn't resist, could ya? You had to bring up the shoes!
(not the vodka at least though)
DLKmusic 16th Sep 2019, 1:51 AM edit delete reply

LOL megados. I learned a trick that will help preserve your vodka stash! Watch!

***Breaks out the 24 year old Jaimisons, 2 glasses, and a bowl, puts some in each***

Here you go, Sheela!

Cheers, my fellow Alt! Bottoms up!
megados 16th Sep 2019, 5:11 AM edit delete reply

Za zda-ró-vye! (cheers!) Or in this case, more appropriately, sláinte!

Sheela 16th Sep 2019, 10:52 PM edit delete reply

D-did someone mention gnawing sticks ? 😃

ooOoohhhh … a whole room full of them too!!!
Morituri 11th Sep 2019, 7:17 PM edit delete reply
Goldie-bots have a devastating ranged attack that tends to give humans 'flesh wounds' that involve 100% of their flesh.

So why is this one actually within arms reach of Braden? As far as we understand what they are doing by their behavior with the gutters and with Ophelia's squad, they are making no effort to avoid killing.

So, whatever its mission objective is, would it not have been served faster, with greater certainty and with less risk of damage, by blowing him away from a distance?

Apparently whatever's doing the thinking for these things doesn't see it that way, and that may mean that their mission objectives here are very different than they were when they were seen earlier.

And what the hell is doing the thinking? Why the slow, slurred speech? Why audible speech at all? Does it serve some tactical purpose? If so what?
The Sunny Side of Life 11th Sep 2019, 10:07 PM edit delete reply
Collected samples must be fresh, preferably alive. Samples which respond to commands are even more preferred...
megados 15th Sep 2019, 2:52 PM edit delete reply

The more I think about it, I can't help but to get that nagging feeling that Braden is about to get captured.
Morituri 16th Sep 2019, 9:55 AM edit delete reply
Capturing Braden alive is consistent with their action as we've seen it so far here. Now I'm going to engage in wild speculation about why.

Gutters aren't valuable to anybody, not even each other. If you hold a gutter for any kind of barter or ransom, his or her 'buddies' are more likely to argue over who gets their favorite gun than they are to lift a finger to help them.

Nova Roman Troops are valuable, but holding them for barter or ransom is damned dangerous. Even if you can keep them contained, any attempt to ransom them or hold them hostage is more likely to call in an air strike than result in getting what you want.

So this may be the first time they're around someone who can be held to barter or ransom to somebody else, and that would explain why their behavior here is inconsistent with their previous objectives.

However, if their objective is to maximize the value of their hostage, they rely on someone placing very high value on that hostage.

Olina in particular will do her utmost, will move heaven and earth if need be, would even betray allies or principles, in order to get Braden back alive. Nobody else places as much value on Braden's life as she does. Well, nobody except Cyana, but Cyana's help isn't likely to be as valuable.

So if they're taking Braden hostage, their mission objective fails unless they also leave Olina alive. And if they are doing this to coerce Olina's cooperation, they would be leaving Cyana alive as well. Killing the kid would make mama all nonlinear and unpredictable.

So if my thread of flimsy logic and speculation holds up, Goldie-bot there being within arm's reach of Braden, instead of just roasting him from a distance, means Olina and Cyana (and likely Braden as well) will survive this encounter.
megados 16th Sep 2019, 1:58 PM edit delete reply

That's a good possibility; he would be a good ransom target.

My thought runs along a somewhat different thread; I hinted at it in another comment a few pages ago. He might be valuable for a different reason, one that fits in well with the rest of the story. I don't want to get super-specific, but it may have more to do with him, physically, than who or what he is.
Morituri 16th Sep 2019, 4:06 PM edit delete reply
Is it something about him, physically, that wouldn't have applied to the gutters?

'Cos given an opportunity to capture gutters, the Goldie-bots passed. One adult human is very like another, if you're talking about them strictly in terms of the physical.

Hmmm. What separates Braden from the gutters?

Oh. It's Cyana, isn't it? Her existence means Braden is not just a human male; he's a fertile human male. He exhibits some degree of resistance to the virus that made most males in the setting sterile, and could therefore be valuable as a genetic specimen.

Except their behavior doesn't make sense for that either. If you want a guy to act as a genetic specimen for you, you don't spend however many hundreds of thousands this assault cost them; you offer him a couple hundred for a 'sample' that he can produce, completely painlessly, with about three minutes of work. Striking a non-coercive deal, they could be coming back weekly for a decade for less than they've already spent here, and Olina wouldn't even become their sworn enemy.
Morituri 16th Sep 2019, 4:28 PM edit delete reply
Well, it looks as though you may have a point. 1609 shows Ophelia's memory of a goldie-bot leaving the gutters' place carrying some kind of case or package.

If the gutters are in the business of selling bits of people, it follows that they might have valuable tissue samples in their base.

And it follows that the goldie-bots might have the overall goal of collecting biological specimens.

And it follows that they might have an interest in Braden himself, as having a daughter means he himself is an unusually valuable biological specimen.

Yeah, this line of speculation also holds up. I don't like it as well though.
megados 16th Sep 2019, 6:32 PM edit delete reply

Understandable. The further we get from *now*, the more divergent the threads become.

I can think of three different threads of speculation emanating from my line of thought. One points to someone in, or connected to the Senate, one pointing to Setorius, and one, oddly enough, pointing to Decimus.

I realize I'm being coy, but that's partly because I haven't fleshed it out completely in my own head, and partly because it should be one of those things best left for people to think about. Additionally, I could be barking up the wrong tree.

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention, that your line gives Olina and Cyana a roughly 50% better chance of survival than mine does. :(

Of course one can always hope.
Oldarmourer 16th Sep 2019, 6:59 PM edit delete reply
Sadly, I sort of think the only reason Braden isn't dead yet is that the Goldiebot isn't close enough to him.
Still, they could as easily shoot him and the rest from a distance, so what's the holdup ?
I doubt it's blackmail or hostage, maybe the tech Olina creates or modifies ?
Since there are several Feeliewhackers, including one with blue eyes instead of red who may or may not be the 'leader', why send just one in at first ?
Overwhelming firepower cuts your losses, and they did lose one going head-to-head with SKEETER.
I still have hopes for the cavalry to come racing over the hills or the secret weapons to start firing but I'm afraid the Devious Duo expect us to expect that and they've already planned around it :(
robnot 17th Sep 2019, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
ok long post...
go back an look at gutter base,, whats missing,?? and how did it end.?? when Scorpion Group arrived "NO bodies.!" yes there was the few that fought back (skeleton, an blood pool),, an when Ivy an Jordan salvaged Feelie there was NO tech..
now they attack water farm, an say "must harvest",,, so what are they after,, YES.. it looks like they are locus, an are swarming...
so i wood say they are either,, ET's after resources , or more likely (cuz of markings) an "Old military experiment." gone wrong..
so yeah,, like locus swarming,, (or the Borg.) they just take,, ' feelie " was too badly damaged, the group was to much resistance,, here, Skeeter was to much resistance, an Cyana is too young or too damaged (hopefully) to be harvested..
Oldarmourer 17th Sep 2019, 8:35 AM edit delete reply
If we assume that Braden, Olina and Cyana do in fact live and are taken away by the Feeliewhackers to parts unknown (as of yet), how long before Logrin shows up wondering where his water delivery went and then starts to track them down, after of course sending a message about what happened to the appropriate city-state for analysis and possibly to request some backup ?
Morituri 11th Sep 2019, 7:25 PM edit delete reply
Anybody else have a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach when they consider the implications of "mommy I can't feel my arms and legs" and how it combines with Cyana's butt being on fire in the fourth panel?
DLKmusic 11th Sep 2019, 10:24 PM edit delete reply

About Cyana's possible spinal damage, yes, I do get that feeling, but even more so that it may very well be moot, as she will be dead before she can get medical care. However, I think the flame you're looking at is a fire-lick from skeeter, about 10 feet in front of Cyana, and not coming from her.

Cogito ergo blog. "I think... Therefore, I post..." (I'm only slightly ashamed of that)
Centcomm 12th Sep 2019, 7:59 AM edit delete reply

Yes Cyana is not on fire .. no roasted kid .. :D
Oldarmourer 12th Sep 2019, 5:19 PM edit delete reply
Centcomm 14th Sep 2019, 3:14 PM edit delete reply

Rashala 11th Sep 2019, 11:40 PM edit delete reply

This is gonna get a lot worse... I knew the should have stopped her but no what harm could teedee cause trying to get crowdfunding for her human eradication army/mobile micro brew distilleries.
megados 12th Sep 2019, 6:24 PM edit delete reply

Re:A/N, Glad to hear that, mostly in the help it gives you. More pages would be a nice bonus.

My luck seems to be going in the other direction. My main PC developed a hardware problem that I traced to the HD controller, so I have that to deal with . . .
mjkj 12th Sep 2019, 11:39 PM edit delete reply

<quote> Re:A/N, Glad to hear that, mostly in the help it gives you. More pages would be a nice bonus. </quote>


nicely put, Megados. I fully agree =)
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