Comic 1625 - What Do You Want?

17th Sep 2019, 9:00 PM
What Do You Want?
Average Rating: 5 (16 votes)

Author Notes:

Tokyo Rose 19th Sep 2019, 7:42 AM edit delete
Tokyo Rose
After getting a couple rounds of feedback to the effect that the Creepy Things' creepy speech was more "indecipherable" than "creepy", I've altered the warp effects and increased the font size a couple of notches. Hopefully, the creepy effect remains, but is more readable. :)
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megados 17th Sep 2019, 9:25 PM edit delete reply

Did he just knock Braden down and shoot him? :O (and then Olina off-camera)

Well shit

This is difficult to parse. Seems they want parts. 'Not gutter (scum?)'. They need 'more components'. (Components of what?) Then one suggests finding more targets, and this one says 'No more'. (No more targets?) Then 'Disappointing'. 'Small machine disabled'. and 'Small human here'.

At least that's what I think is going on. @_@

Poor Cyana :(
robnot 17th Sep 2019, 11:18 PM edit delete reply
stun,, stunned blue eyes stunned Braden then Olivia...
an by the damage to the other goldie, i think the "parts" are human organs.. which i think Olivia just realized this..
Evervigilant 18th Sep 2019, 12:40 AM edit delete reply
Not so sure they were being stunned. I would like to hope so but it seemed more "final" than stunning. Mom's don't usually tell their kids to close their eyes when people are being stunned. I've suspected that these goldies were harvesting organics since a strip or two back but I'm still not 100% sure. I'm kind of hoping Skeeter downloads into a back up chassis nearby and saves Cyana.
Sheela 18th Sep 2019, 2:06 PM edit delete reply

Curious .. they *are* sorta mechanical gutters.

But they seem to be in denial.
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:15 PM edit delete reply

I wish i could comment ..
megados 18th Sep 2019, 6:20 PM edit delete reply

I wish you could too, but not really, cuz that would be spoilers and then it wouldn't be any fun! ;)
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:17 PM edit delete reply

@Megados.. yes.. yes he did.
megados 19th Sep 2019, 8:25 AM edit delete reply

Re:A/N, yes, Rose! That is more readable, while keeping the 'creepy' effect intact. Nicely done. Thanks!
Rigor 19th Sep 2019, 10:53 AM edit delete reply
Thanks for the transcript because even with the changes I still can’t read some of it.
megados 19th Sep 2019, 1:42 PM edit delete reply

You are welcome. In my head, the intent is a kind of breath-y reverberating sort of voice. If I envision hearing it, I might have nearly the same task of figuring it out. It would be difficult to convey it, and make it unmistakable, since hearing it might require a little attention for it to be understood.

I have to apologize to Rose, since my comment wasn't meant to be a complaint, but a sort of disclaimer if I got it wrong. Rose was very accommodating, (for a spikey ball of hate ;) ) and I don't think she could do much more without destroying the effect. :D
Centcomm 19th Sep 2019, 10:17 PM edit delete reply

yes, they have strong creep factor to the voice
Haegan2005 17th Sep 2019, 9:25 PM edit delete reply


Just... Ouch.
Ganurath 17th Sep 2019, 9:35 PM edit delete reply
Branded upon brow
A skulls and wings on two oars
Hint at his story
Morituri 18th Sep 2019, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
You have misidentified the device on his helmet.

It is a locust, with four wings and body, with its head superimposed by a skull.

An odd substitution has been made on the antenna as well. They look more like tiny representations of radio antennae than they do like locust antennae.
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:15 PM edit delete reply

Might want to take another look...
Guest 18th Sep 2019, 7:15 PM edit delete reply
Things I have identified in the helmet badge.
1) Shape that closely resembles the wings of a Marine Corps Combat aircrew badge.
2) A skull.
3) Crossed oars.
4) A sword vertical, point down.
Oldarmourer 23rd Sep 2019, 6:47 PM edit delete reply

the device looks glaringly similar (as in pretty much identical) to one version of a USMC 'Force Recon' or MARSOC badge...


with a few minor changes...although various, often completely different, designs are in use for individual units now.

Given that a few things likely changed over a couple of thousand years, and this IS a 'slightly parallel universe'...
this might be one in current use at the time of the story,
one that came and went sometime over the past few thousand years,
something completely coincidental designed by one of the various city states or some other group,
something co-opted by them,
artistic licence
or maybe whatever's wearing it just found it and thought it looked shiny ;)
I kind of doubt copyrights are valid after thousands of years...

But I do know that
a) the writers aren't showing any disrespect for any of those units and
b) most people who'll protest they are, never served in any unit.

It could even be from a different country, I know my military specialist badges look radically different from the US ones
but they mean the same thing and I do have the US one because I took their course too, top student at the time :)
That was over 25 years ago though, I'm sure someone topped the mark by now..
but there wasn't much room to do it ;)


Centcomm 23rd Sep 2019, 7:30 PM edit delete reply

Someone did there research! :D
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 1:00 AM edit delete reply

The 'research' part took less than 30 seconds...once I could stomach looking at the pages and comments again.
What kept me up was wondering about the significance.
Assuming the badge is authentic (for this particular universe)...
That would mean the Goldiebots were originally US troops of some sort...
Centcomm was in control of US forces...
Did she lose track of some of her toys ?
Have they been wandering around for millenia ?
Did they just come out of some sort of hibernation ?
Are these some of the 'horrors' seen sleeping in rows upon rows under the city and elsewhere?
Did centcomm activate them ? if so, why ? What's their mission ?
Did someone else manage to find and activate them accidentally or deliberately ?
Are they collecting DNA or just scavenging spare parts to keep themselves running ?
Are they following a preset mission or misinterpreting centuries old orders ?
They seem to be partly humanoid or derived from humanoid parts in a shiny candy shell, do they degrade over time ?
Do they have any redeeming qualities left or are they just 'point and shoot' ?
Questions beget questions, but Marines like kids so perhaps hope exists....
Morituri 24th Sep 2019, 12:14 PM edit delete reply
Okay, congrats. I didn't find that one (USMC force recon) when I hunted for several minutes, and it absolutely is the thing we're looking at.

Which makes no goddamn sense whatever as the USMC is presumably a distant memory here, would be absolutely without strategic objective in the absence of a functioning United States, and would be way the hell out of their operations zone even if they still existed.

But time is long, unexpected things deflect the course of what would otherwise make sense, and we know that CentComm was, at one point in history, a United States military system.

And these are the sort of thing some USAmerican madman would build for military forces, given another few decades of technological advancement. Indeed, as far as can be seen in terms of mechanics, they're not too unlike the things that some are trying to build now.

And then there's the fact that military companies deployed in hot zones have a long history of starting independent operations when their parent company ceases to exist. Combat makes strange consequences and strange alliances.

I guess we shall see, as the story unfolds. But that is definitely the insignia, six hundred years and a thousand miles out of place.
Morituri 24th Sep 2019, 12:16 PM edit delete reply
Err, excuse me, I said 'parent company' when I meant 'parent country.'

Not too far off the mark as most of the situations described have the military companies starting commercial operations as mercenaries, but still.
megados 24th Sep 2019, 12:46 PM edit delete reply

That brings us to the creepy thought that this is what's left of a USMC company or unit that refused to die, and is keeping themselves alive any way they can? I hope that's wrong! D:
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 12:51 PM edit delete reply
thousands of years from 'now'...parallel universe...anything can happen or have already happened...
Romfire 24th Sep 2019, 7:54 PM edit delete reply
If they are collecting parts, the insignia may be from repurposed items. And not really representing the group identity.
HiFranc 17th Sep 2019, 10:19 PM edit delete reply

“More targets”?

They are the killer drones from an AIS.
robnot 17th Sep 2019, 11:22 PM edit delete reply
i think they were asking "if there were more humans inside."
Sheela 18th Sep 2019, 2:09 PM edit delete reply

Might not be connected to an AIS … They could be the equivalent of what TeeDee talks about .. robots/androids who thinks they are superior to humans.
Kinda like the nazi vs. jews
But with humans and robots/androids instead.
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

I love seeing what you guys have to say ":D
mjkj 17th Sep 2019, 11:39 PM edit delete reply

...poor Cyana *hugs and comforts her*

...seems Skeeter is still alive...

*dreads next update*
Guest 18th Sep 2019, 1:20 AM edit delete reply
Um... This sounds like Doctor Who's "The Girl in The Fireplace" where half crazed robots that no longer have human handlers are attempting to make repairs using human organs
Random 18th Sep 2019, 4:00 AM edit delete reply
My thoughts exactly
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

heh i remember that episode..
Jayhwke 18th Sep 2019, 5:25 AM edit delete reply
this is going to hurt....
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:16 PM edit delete reply

only for a few seconds?
jawbone 18th Sep 2019, 6:05 PM edit delete reply

"It only hurts for a little while
That's what they tell me
That's what they say". . .
Anne Murray
Oldarmourer 18th Sep 2019, 5:57 AM edit delete reply

Ant thus, with the cruel but efficent despatch of her parents...begins the story of BatCyana, heroine in training. o.O
With her trusty sidekick SKEETERobin they use their grav-sleds to fight for truth, justice and working legs...
I think I'm going to leave this alone after that.
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 4:17 PM edit delete reply

BatCyana?? LOL!
Sheela 20th Sep 2019, 7:53 AM edit delete reply

And then she will come back and take vengeance, with her newly upgraded body and it's mighty SLT's !!

Alternatively, she could be using shapely charges, and FIRE ZE MISSILES !!
Edit : That was not the link you were looking for, was it ? Mua ha ha ha!
megados 18th Sep 2019, 8:49 AM edit delete reply

This is one of those 'gritty' sorts of pages that grabs you by the feels, and hits you over the head with them.

Good job, ladies.
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 3:53 PM edit delete reply

you are welcome!
Thracecius 18th Sep 2019, 10:53 AM edit delete reply

One thing that still bothers me, even though I agree with the assessment that they are harvesting organs (or just "parts" of bodies?) is that they said "destroy", not kill or some other more appropriate word. Destroy primarily means to reduce something to useless bits, though it can also mean simply to kill, but that's not the meaning that comes to mind for me when I hear the word. Is it possible there's another meaning behind what they're saying?
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 3:53 PM edit delete reply

wistles innocently
jawbone 18th Sep 2019, 6:06 PM edit delete reply

Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 9:01 PM edit delete reply

Thracecius 19th Sep 2019, 9:12 AM edit delete reply

Nah, it they meant to exterminate they wouldn't be so inefficient about it, unless of course they are sadists by nature/programming. I'm still not sure what these things are supposed to be, other than deadly.
Sheela 20th Sep 2019, 7:58 AM edit delete reply

Reader : "Are you sure it's Exterminate ? I mean, it could be Exfoliate as well."
Robot : " … uhhmm …"

And thus began a new golden age for Dalek Cosmetics! 🤣
Thracecius 20th Sep 2019, 10:42 AM edit delete reply

Heh, funny you should metion that, Sheela. That's a running joke I have with my younger sister who's a Doctor Who fan - the Dalek Spa:

Woman: "Dalek, I need to be radiant for the party. What can you do for me?"

Dalek Beautician: "EXFOLIATE! EXFOLIATE!" *zap*

My other favorite joke about Daleks would be a crossover with Edmund Blackadder from "Goes Forth", just because I want to hear him say, "Ahh, Dalek." in place of "Ahh, Darling." ;) I'm sure a writer more clever than me could turn that into a hilarious scene, especially if the Dalek was thwarted from exterminating Blackadder repeatedly. :D
megados 20th Sep 2019, 11:40 AM edit delete reply

One: Rowan Atkinson is great everywhere he goes. (Mr. Bean, for instance, is another favorite)

Two: If the premise is Blackadder thwarting Daleks, then it might be bolstered by having Davros behind it all
KarToon12 18th Sep 2019, 6:23 PM edit delete reply

Well this little girl's day just got worse....:(
Centcomm 18th Sep 2019, 9:01 PM edit delete reply

just a bit..
Sheela 20th Sep 2019, 7:59 AM edit delete reply

Could be worse … it could be raining.
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 6:23 AM edit delete reply
another one of my signature phrases...used at least three times a day :)
*searches for the 'made in Denmark' bug in the room*
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 7:48 AM edit delete reply

and yes, I know which movie used it, and loved the comedic timing throughout
but it was a standard expression around these parts long before that ;)

could be worse...
Sheela 24th Sep 2019, 8:34 PM edit delete reply

Oh, very nicely done … though I notice I got it slightly wrong.
Still, +1 for that reference catch. 😃
Siren 19th Sep 2019, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
I didn't know we were supposed to be able to read the robot speech. It's clearer now, but is some of it gibberish? After "NOTNOTNOT" I see "CHTCHTCHTTER SSKSKHMM" and the last panel I can't figure out what "BISABABAB" in "SMALL MACHINE BISABABAB" should mean, either.
megados 19th Sep 2019, 8:50 AM edit delete reply

"Not gutter scum"
"Small machine disabled"
. . . is my interpretation.
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 7:49 AM edit delete reply

hmm the 'not gutter scum' does hold out a tiny hint of hope.....
one that will likely be dashed upon the rocks of plot requirements :(
Centcomm 19th Sep 2019, 6:43 PM edit delete reply

some of it IS gibberish and noise..
Centcomm 19th Sep 2019, 10:18 PM edit delete reply

the Last word is ..
Guest 20th Sep 2019, 4:50 AM edit delete reply
Thanks, Cent. :)
I guess I have to brush up on my creepy-ese. :D
megados 20th Sep 2019, 4:52 AM edit delete reply

Gah! that was me. Somehow I got logged out
Siren 25th Sep 2019, 9:27 AM edit delete reply
Ok. Well if "small machine" refers to Skeeter and if he's merely "disabled" maybe he isn't dead after all.

Of course, the bot could see humans as a type of organic machine (what with all this talk of parts and whatnot), and could just be commenting on the kid being injured/immobilized.
Rashala 19th Sep 2019, 5:05 PM edit delete reply

Oh yeah rose mega creep factor here. Why do I get a feeling c1 knows exactly what they are.
Morituri 20th Sep 2019, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
Honestly, I haven't figured out why they're talking at all. Either they are robots or they have mechanized armor. Either way I'd expect their communication channel to be radio, and inaudible from outside their helmets.

If the objective of the speech was to make them creepy, then they should just giggle occasionally instead of speaking words.
Centcomm 20th Sep 2019, 9:36 AM edit delete reply

(( Mostly for the readers.. )) :P
Morituri 20th Sep 2019, 3:17 PM edit delete reply
On examination; these are definitely not standard humans in suits. In panel 2, we see a creature whose waist is smaller than its thighs.

So; either these are robots/androids, or they are nonstandard humans (like thin and stringy loonies using mechanized armor to make up for lack of muscle mass or something), or they are .... something else.

I'm still trying to get a good read on the forehead insignia that appears in panels 1, 2, and 4. Panel 4 is by far the best shot of it.

I took it for an insect of some kind (four wings at four angles, and a central body) with a skull superimposed on its head.

'Guest' and Ganurath saw crossed oars (the things I took to be antenna on top would be the oars' handles and the things I took to be the lower wings would be the oars' blades), plus a vertical sword (which I took to be the body of the bug) and the same deaths-head I saw.

Then Cent came back and said we should look again or look closer, but it wasn't clear who she was talking to, or whether she was talking to all of us.

Looking closer, I think I'm now more inclined to believe in the crossed-oars plus vertical sword and deaths-head, mostly because I see a cross-bar right below the skull that could be a crossguard.

But I can't for the life of me think of anything which would tie the emblem of crossed oars together with the death symbology of the sword and deaths-head. Locusts sort of made some thematic sense with the deaths-head, but I'm baffled as to meaning if that's oars.

These guys are living in a deep desert for petes' sake. It's unlikely that they're being attacked by some kind of nautical or naval force.
megados 20th Sep 2019, 5:19 PM edit delete reply

I still think these are *some sort* of organic beings in exo-suits of some kind. The speech, and mannerisms, as well as the splatter when they're shot/injured, do not say 'robot' to me. Maybe not humanoid, maybe some engineered beings, or alien, the suits might even be of Luna make. Cyborgs also come to mind. Androids are also possible, although their speech would be inconsistent with that theory. 'Course I could be wrong! :D
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 3:59 PM edit delete reply
possibly a human torso attached to a droid lower ?
I'm still hoping that since Blue eyes recognized that they weren't dealing with the 'gutter scum' they're used to and I somehow don't think our writers want to make Marines look bad, that there's an ever increasing chance Braden and Olina were only stunned to keep them from shooting at any more of the Goldiebots while they made sure there was nobody else there and they'll be treated better once they wake up...
That's not too much to hope for ? is it ? guys ? might not get it but there's always that chance...
megados 24th Sep 2019, 6:18 PM edit delete reply

A human torso with a 'droid' lower unit would more or less be a type of cyborg I might guess. Given that some of the puzzle might be becoming a little clearer, its likelihood becomes greater. Since the creative duo has hinted at creepy, that would have a good chance of being one of the possibilities.
Morituri 20th Sep 2019, 3:31 PM edit delete reply
So is that a four-winged insect with a deaths-head superimposed on it, or is that a mashup of (1) deaths-head, (2) crossed oars, (3) vertical sword, and (4) a pair of bird wings?

Locust and deaths-head works thematically.

Sword and deaths-head also works thematically.
But if it's the latter, why the bird wings and crossed oars?

Appearing on military seals, wings are often a symbol of airborne mobility. We haven't seen anything to support that idea, nor has it been specifically contradicted.

Crossed oars on the other hand do not appear in that orientation anywhere I can find. The US Coast Guard has some crossed-oars insignia, but those are ALWAYS blades-up rather than blades-down, and anyway this story is taking place about as far away from a coast as you can get.

Trying to interpret wings and oars, so far, makes a lot of nonsense to me.
Oberoten 21st Sep 2019, 8:05 AM edit delete reply

Here is my take on it (and what I'd do as a GM).

Our shiny friends are some sort of self-replicating combat drones. They propagate by building new chassis but the brain and some of it's support organs is what takes the most time and effort to produce for a proper droid, especially the programing for baseline tasks.

So the simple thing to do is to open up the meatbags you find and scoop out the nice spare parts in there to make a new battle-buddy.

The process is imperfect meaning that these nearly perfect machines might still glitch and missfire on the things that is not part of the slave-collar's programing.

They speak because that is what their poor victims were used to doing. Some of these imperfect sloshy brains even try to futilely fight their new programing.

As a GM I'd also drop these things in the middle of a family feast on session one, have the PCs get away with as many as possibly of their family memeber but eventually have one of the drones show behaviours, language patterns etc of a loved one. ;)
Oldarmourer 22nd Sep 2019, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
Right now, I'm just hoping that given the blue-eyed beastie didn't use the same weapon the red eyed ones did, or let them use theirs, preferring a hand weapon that makes a noise oddly similar but not quite the same as Ada's stunner, which made a much more pronounced noise when she set it to 'fuck everybody'.

This leads me to hope that maybe they were just stunned, although it could be a means of just damaging the bodies less for other purposes, next page may tell or we might get strung along for a few more, the pacing is good as always, it puts us on the edge of our seats but for different reasons.

Personally I have trouble with anything involving children in this light, at least Noctis let one live and was pleased about it. This storyline is another thing altogether and more than a little disturbing to me, although that has no bearing on the story being told.

I have nothing against the writers telling the story in the way it needs to be told, that's perfectly alright, I'll just suffer through what I have to in order to see what's next, even if I might not like it :( who knows what might happen in the next few pages ? could be a complete reversal or another 'mockingbird' that's the way stories work...
Oldarmourer 23rd Sep 2019, 2:01 PM edit delete reply
On the bright side, I have no trouble whatsoever reading the Feeliewhacker speech, just drop enough repeated letters until it makes recognizable words if that's what it takes. I think it's a nice touch and shows a definite difference in the speech patterns between humans and these things, almost like zombie speech or the stereotypical 'lizard/snake-man' speech style used in so many sci-fi comics/books.
megados 23rd Sep 2019, 6:47 PM edit delete reply

There's no telling what's in store. So far, I haven't been able to give myself a definitive premise. Last page, I thought Braden was about to get captured, but he got knocked on his ass, and shot instead. If you're right, he may still be OK, and Olina as well. Hope, of course, but we know that the creative duo can dish out some tough issues. A good story gets you emotionally invested, and involved. It matters what happens next. It's a gripping tale, and we're along for the ride.
Oldarmourer 23rd Sep 2019, 7:07 PM edit delete reply

Might be stunned, might not, stunned might even be worse than being shot...
not going to look at Patreon until after Wednesday, too many spoilers, even if I might want it spoiled this time...
...just a little.
PriorKnowledge 24th Sep 2019, 4:59 AM edit delete reply
I don't understand. Do these attackers want parts of the little girl. Is that why her mother said, "Don't Look"

I'm a father. I would die fighting before I let someone hurt my child.
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 6:16 AM edit delete reply
Braden may very well have done just that...
Shot in the back tends to hasten the 'die fighting' part and hold up the 'protect family' part :(
Oldarmourer 24th Sep 2019, 6:21 AM edit delete reply
Olina didn't have much of a chance either, she laid down her weapon to tend to Cyana when it looked like the shooting was over...both Olina and Braden were distracted by Cyana's injury while SKEETER cleaned up the first Goldiebot and were ambushed as a result...nobody was securing the area, not that it would have made the slightest difference, except for maybe one or two more pages before the inevitable...stealth fields are a 'yay for our side' when Marcus and GiGi used one, not so much when the Feeliewhackers get ahold of them too...
Just_IDD 24th Sep 2019, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
The only upside I can hope for is that they wont kill Cyana because she never made a move to attack them. Sadly i don't hold much hope there. I foresaw this general outcome once we could found out this sequence was done to test a new process -- Tests END, and get CLEANED UP. I keep trying to force myself to remember these are not real people but characters in a story.
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