Comic 1677 - First Stop

30th Dec 2020, 12:00 AM
First Stop
Average Rating: 5 (13 votes)
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HiFranc 30th Dec 2020, 1:02 AM edit delete reply

Are they going to pull the images directly from he mind? Will they find more stuff? If so, will it be traumatic for her?
Greenwood Goat 30th Dec 2020, 4:14 AM edit delete reply

Cella: Scan finished. You're clean. And I found 119 different installable versions of the "ERO-WAIFU" sim that you mentioned, in various places across the 'net, but you're clear of all of them.

Ophelia: :-D Freakin' fablulous!

Cella: There is still the obedience program for your late lord and master Decimus Livius, but you know all about that of course.

Ophelia: Ugh! Too right! *makes obscene gesture* But nothing else suspicious-lookin', right?

Cella: Well... there is your database of callouts to the "Sexy Sheila" voiceprint, which-

Ophelia: "SEXY SHEILA"!???!?!?!!

Cella: Yes. While I was isolating the callout codes to the Commander Pauline voiceprint you were having to use, I analysed all the other callout codes and the phonic net they're working to, and it all matches that one voiceprint. It went out of fashion a long time ago, but is still available. Clearly, someone went through and changed all the identifier names in the voiceprint fileset so they wouldn't show up on a self-test, but the phonic net and phonemes match yours exactly. According to your stats, you make the most use of the "Acting Nasty" and "Taking It Up the Dunny" vocal sets.

Ophelia: ...I am going to KILL those fuckin' techs!!!!

megados 30th Dec 2020, 6:56 AM edit delete reply

If it's voiceprint, and phonic net callout code, mightn't it also be "Sexy Sheela"? XD

W/O knowing spelling, or Ophelia's tastes, can we be sure? Just sayin' XD
Sheela 30th Dec 2020, 7:48 AM edit delete reply

*struts my stuff*

Awww yiss, still got it!! 😆

Edit :
I just realized that Megados is implying that Ophelia might like it "Doggy Style" ! 🤣
megados 30th Dec 2020, 1:39 PM edit delete reply

It's possible! I don't know her well enough to know what her kinks are! 😂
DLKmusic 31st Dec 2020, 9:28 AM edit delete reply

Except for maybe "Lusty Bunny" of course...
Oldarmourer 30th Dec 2020, 5:53 AM edit delete reply
Hope this doesn't jinx it with one day left, and considering Cent's hands, but once upon a time, a long way back...
It was implied that if DC finished a month in the top five there would be a 'special' prize for the voters...
What about finishing in the top five for a year ? ;)
Just wondering...2020 needs a good one finger salute on the way out.
Oldarmourer 30th Dec 2020, 5:54 AM edit delete reply
Almost to #4 !! vote hard people !!
Sheela 30th Dec 2020, 7:51 AM edit delete reply

The vote is hard !!

mjkj 30th Dec 2020, 11:02 AM edit delete reply

Well, IIRC, it was when top 5 is reached, Doc Silver will go out with ... uhm, I think it was Mr. Black? or was it Marcus Ramsey?
Oldarmourer 30th Dec 2020, 12:21 PM edit delete reply
I thought it was more of a night 'in' ;)
Oldarmourer 30th Dec 2020, 1:51 PM edit delete reply
and I thought it was Ada, but I'd have to go back to search the comments and that takes forever...
mostly because I read page after page instead of looking for what I came for...sort of like grocery shopping
megados 30th Dec 2020, 6:05 AM edit delete reply

Ophelia's stoked, and with good reason! If she doubts her own sanity, this should put everything to right.

NT has enough wherewithal to get Kyle back to whole again, too.

Maybe Samanta's meet-up with Noctis is to report on the outcome of Feelie's scans? They would verify the existence of the Goldies.
Sheela 30th Dec 2020, 7:53 AM edit delete reply

Interestingly, she doesn't seem to mind that it's a non-New Roma tech that is going to mess around in her mind. you would think that a Cassian would be highly suspicious about anyone else gaining access. And she's probably going to have a heart attack is Doctor silver shows up for it.

But then, ol' Feelie is a bit rebellious, isn't she ? 😁
MirrorField 30th Dec 2020, 9:57 AM edit delete reply
Couple notes:

*She's been away for quite a while, most of her knowledge on New Rome's military stuff is from time before Decimus met his end and obsolete.

*Maxus most likely kept her in the dark on more delicate and important political developments <em>specifically</em> because she'll be going to New Troy. After all, you can't reveal what you don't know.

*Scan and data recovery is kinda different thing from leaving behind spyware or malware. And you can be absolutely positive that Noctis (or Samantha) will be monitoring the process with equal alacrity as Acantha's surgery was monitored. Sisters in arms, after all.

*They've already trusted New Troy and CC with Acantha, who is far less ...expendable. It's a gesture of trust.
robnot 30th Dec 2020, 10:22 AM edit delete reply
..since Samanta was not suppose to be there..
im expecting,, one others to ask her . if she want's to sit in on this ,, just to be sure.!
since she (Sam) has to report to Noctis anyway...
megados 30th Dec 2020, 1:52 PM edit delete reply

That makes sense. Maybe Noctis requested her in her chaplain capacity, both as security for Kyle, and also to sit in on Feelie's examination. As an aside, and since it might be possible, Doc Silver may well be there. I can't say for sure if Ophelia would be as nervous about cyberpathy as Noctis would be. Noctis' traumatic experience would make her, very uneasy. Feelie might be a little wary if she heard the story, but not as much as Noctis would be. It may be possible that Noctis might have requested Samanta for that reason. Now if Feelie does interact with Doc Silver, maybe she could recount the experience to Noctis, (if Noctis isn't actually there) and maybe allay some of her uneasiness.

Besides, what could possibly go wrong?
Naldru 10th Jan 2021, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
A chaplain would be extremely appropriate for assisting with an individual suffering from PTSD, survivor guilt, and other psychological problems. With regard to security problems, an appropriate approach would be.

Clone all of the storage on the equipment to be used and use the clone drives during the procedure. After the procedure, the cloned drives could be erased or destroyed with witnesses from both sides attending. In fact, the entire computer system could be destroyed if necessary. Samanta might also be carrying security keys to bypass self-destruct mechanisms that might be triggered by the procedure.
mjkj 30th Dec 2020, 10:44 AM edit delete reply

*lol* Ophie surely is eager...

...and Kyle is heartbroken...
Morituri 30th Dec 2020, 10:54 AM edit delete reply

A CASSIAN of all people - what's been on the givin' end of a lot of shady shite an knows where all Nova Roma's dags are, to use her own style ....

Is consenting, EAGERLY, to have her brain and memory scanned by representatives of Nova Roma's longstanding political adversary, with whom diplomatic relations are only just barely beginning?

I'm thinking Noctis as Princeps with a sworn duty to serve the interests of Nova Roma might have a second opinion.
Gilrandir 30th Dec 2020, 11:35 AM edit delete reply
Well, this visit was presumably coordinated with, and approved by, Regent Maximus. So, if Princeps Noctis has any concerns about New Troy techs violating Nova Roma classified data, the time to air those has no doubt come and gone.

@Sheela does make a good point, though. Does this mean, at some future point, we are going to see Noctis obligated to THANK Dr. Silver for her efforts on behalf of one of the Cassians under her command? That could be very interesting ... or completely anti-climactic. I guess only time will tell.

Here’s a real brain-woggler: What if someone came to Noctis and said “You know, these techniques could work for you, too. Ada told us about the incident with the Technopath. Would you like us to try to recover the memories you have of that traumatic event in the hopes of uncovering the identity of the murderer? Or would you just rather leave matters as they are?”
Oldarmourer 30th Dec 2020, 12:20 PM edit delete reply
If I remember correctly, that particular technopath was summarily tried, sentenced and executed on the spot...
posthaste...with alacrity and exuberance and the thundering approval of all present
Now...whoever put him up to it is a different story...
Just_IDD 30th Dec 2020, 1:19 PM edit delete reply
That is correct. Noctis identified him by where she was looking. Human agents detained and stunned. Valerius executed him by sword.
Just_IDD 30th Dec 2020, 6:53 PM edit delete reply
If anyone wants to go back and avoid most of an Archive Dive, this is where Noctis describes the episode.

Or conveniently a few pages earlier where Ada starts destroying Kyle's Dart....
Gilrandir 30th Dec 2020, 11:47 PM edit delete reply
@OldArmourer, this is true. However, I will point out there is concern about the integrity of Ophelia's memory due to the trauma she experienced, right? And the account of Noctis during the technopath assault might also be considered traumatic. There is still the mystery of that moment when the technopath's control slipped and why it slipped. So it isn't as if there might not be valuable information to be had.
megados 31st Dec 2020, 5:53 AM edit delete reply

@Just_IDD, there is also the Blog post by Tokyo Rose called "Motivation" which gives the POV of the cyberpath.

@Gilrandir, I didn't think it was a mystery that his control slipped. I had thought it was a lapse of attention, as he was also still causing trouble for Mariposa and Nox, and probably overextending himself.
KarToon12 30th Dec 2020, 1:50 PM edit delete reply

Goes to show that there's a difference between lying and unintentionally speaking false information.
Oldarmourer 1st Jan 2021, 10:26 AM edit delete reply
When all you're given to read is false information and you don't care,then you can get a job reading the 'news'...
The minute a newsreader says something unacceptable to those who pay them then it's...
'resigning for personal reasons' or a sudden scandal if they can't find any reasons on their own...
gmg2dave 31st Dec 2020, 12:19 AM edit delete reply

I've been doing a re-read of the series, and really enjoying myself, kudos to the authors once more.

But, I have a question. So, the Cassians aren't technically under Maxus' command, more like they are going along with him because Noctis has been put in charge of them and so far she's content to follow along because he wants to put Acantha on the throne. And the military is busy putting out fires & re-asserting order in the city. And the Church's forces are protecting their assets and helping as best they can, etc.

So, it would seem, this would be a perfect opportunity for the cassians to clean house as it were. Or, to put it another way, to expand on the number of people who were killed in the chaos.

After all, they would know who Dec's supporters were, and why they were supporting him, and as has already been pointed out his personal guard were some pretty sick SOB's and I kind of doubt that this was just the people in his guard that were like this. He had to have spies and informants in the city who made sure that he was well informed as to who might be a possible threat to him (or his follower's) position. And surely the cassians would have knowledge of these people. And I'm sure that the cassians would have ample evidence of what crimes these types of people were commiting while being protected by their connection to Dec. So... He's dead, Maxus is busy getting the military and the city un-screwed, and that leaves the cassians... taking out the trash?

And I can certainly see the cassians veiwing this as just carrying out their primary duties of keeping law and order (ok, fine, through carefully applied terror, but still.) and making sure that these kinds of people are not around anymore as a possible threat to Acantha's eventual rule. And there's really no reason to bother Maxus with such minor details, he's got enough on his plate already. No, no, we got this, no reason to inform him.
Gilrandir 31st Dec 2020, 4:01 AM edit delete reply
As I understand it, the Cassians are not under the command of General Maxus, Supreme Commander of the Armed Might of Nova Roma, but they ARE under the command of Regent Maxus, Who Speaks For The Throne Of Nova Roma (until Acantha is crowned), because all of the Cassians (except Kali) answer to The Throne. So they are not free to go on a rampant purge unless they are handed a ‘blank check’, like Decimus did for Noctis. They can (and apparently did) recommend candidates for purging to the Regent, but cannot operate with total autonomy.

But I could be wrong.

If they just killed everyone who wasn’t a Cassian, then they could be sure the population of Nova Roma was 100 percent loyal to the Throne.
Morituri 31st Dec 2020, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Just imagine it though. The Cassians may be human-shaped, but they are under absolutely no requirement to behave as though they had human limitations.

Just some of the things we've seen already indicate the kind of stuff they could do. Tearing through the streets almost too fast to see, taking leaps over crowds that have no clue what's going on, springing off buildings to make turns.

There are considerations that have slowed them down in the past, that don't apply in the current situation. The insurgents were, nevertheless, Nova Roma citizens they'd prefer not to kill if not killing them is consistent with mission objectives. They had to work with and protect slow-moving guards and legionnaires. They had New Troy troops attacking stationary targets they needed to protect. They faced enemies with high-powered smart weapons that wouldn't let them get away with speed stunts.

But they're free from all that now. Any of them can be anywhere in Nova Roma within a minute and a half or so, and they've got real-time access to the security cameras and city records of people moving around, doing transactions, etc... so they know where to go.

From the POV of someone talking to one of their targets, something flickers past in the air and the guy's head falls off. Or, if they're using firearms to extend reach, a bullet hole suddenly appears on one side, a spray of gore on the other, and a shot rings out. And as far as anyone can guess from the angle of the bullet the shooter must have been in midair over a nearby intersection.

Just sayin' if these ladies pull all the stops out, and they have a list of people to kill and no particular need to slow down to protect anyone or counter the moves of an opponent or protect property, etc.... They could cut a swathe through Nova Roma that would make the survivors shit bricks.
megados 31st Dec 2020, 12:44 PM edit delete reply

It would seem unlikely that the Cassians will be completely running rampant anytime soon. Just because they can do something, doesn't mean they should or would.

Noctis herself states pretty much why the Cassians wouldn't be wantonly cutting swathes through large sections of the populace here . Their core purpose is the protection of the Throne, Nova Roma, and its citizens, and "only the guilty should fear". Basically, under Decimus, they were used as a blunt instrument against anyone he didn't particularly like. Noctis wants the Cassians to go back to being the respected "surgical instrument" that they were under Valerius. She has no desire beyond her, and the Cassians', core purpose. As Gilrandir points out, Lord Regent Maxus is seated on the Throne in Acantha's stead until she comes of age, and I don't believe he or Acantha has any intent on using the Cassians as a "hit squad".
Gilrandir 31st Dec 2020, 11:16 PM edit delete reply
Oh, @Megados, I absolutely disagree, Maxus has every intention of using the Cassians as a hit squad and a 'black bag' operation. That is what they are. But, like most professional military soldiers he knows the best blade is the one that stays in its sheath.

If the Cassians just go on a rampage of independent clockwork extra-judiciary murder of Nova Roma citizenry with no oversight or accountability, they are just proving true all the horror stories of Decimus' grandfather. I wonder how Aeneas would react to that? After all, he has a bit of a vested interest in proving the old man wrong.
megados 31st Dec 2020, 11:47 PM edit delete reply

You have every right to disagree, @Gilrandir! Happy New Year, BTW! Your doing so keeps me on my toes. It's all good.

My opinion is borne of the notion that Maxus is level headed, and would choose order over chaos. Noctis, for her part, speaks of choosing order over chaos as well, and Acantha doesn't seem to have a malicious bone in her body. Noctis would choose Acantha to be seated on the Throne, and that speaks to me of Noctis also wishing for order over chaos. Taken together, I get an impression of change, and divergence from Decimus' rule. It's certainly not the first time we have disagreed, and in the end, you could be proven right. My opinion, and interpretation is that Maxus, and Noctis would like nothing more than to break from the status quo that was prevalent under Decimus. I guess it's because I don't think that either Maxus or Noctis are inherently malicious people.

Noctis and the Cassians do employ tactics involving assassination and execution at times, but it's under the strict Nova Roman conditional laws, and rules, and orders furthering the Nova Roman wellbeing. That was put aside under Decimus, and that is the major difference.
Gilrandir 1st Jan 2021, 5:43 AM edit delete reply
I think I failed to make my position clear. I completely agree with you that Maxus would resist and minimize extra-judiciary renditions and murder. I just disagreed with you that he would not regard Cassians as a tool both intended and suited for such. Having this tool does not mean you have to use it.

Noctis and the Cassians do what they are told. If what they are told is in strict accordance with the law, then that is what they do. If what they are told is erratic, malicious and arbitrary, then that is what they do. As Maxus said to Hrist after she tried to assassinate him: lacking free will, they can neither be blamed nor credited for their deeds of action or inaction. They are just clockwork tools, trapped in an awareness of their state and (presumably) hoping they will be used to create art, rather than carnage. (Except for Nox, who probably liked being used for carnage.)
Gilrandir 1st Jan 2021, 5:46 AM edit delete reply
If CentComm is a gardener, did that make CeCi a hoe? ^_^
megados 1st Jan 2021, 5:59 AM edit delete reply

Ah yes, I do see your point. My confusion came from my missing your referral to the "blade that stays in its sheath". When I think of the term "hit squad", it makes me think of the lawlessness that was prevalent under Decimus.

Aeneas, for his part, I think, will be pleased with the return to order.

*edit: I see what you did there ;)
Lurker314 2nd Jan 2021, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
Clearly, Feelie was being sent to clean out the trash when she herself got left as trash.

What is proposed is a cute (and perhaps cathartic), I agree that if the populace were to get the sense of out-of-control clockworks running rampant, that would be B*A*D. Moreover, they don't have authority to act indepenedently.

Maximus has a priority list for trash. The wasters are on the top because they can be hard to track down (very few city cameras out there), and they have the ability to more-or-less lay siege via intercepting traders. I doubt that Feelie was the only Cassian sent out on such missions.

As I understand, Prince Toasty offered his personal guard their positions as opposed to long prison terms. I expect that those terms will be reinstated, with possible credit for "good behaviour." Well, 0 is a number, right?
TMLutas 31st Dec 2020, 12:37 PM edit delete reply
I wonder what's. going on with Feelie being monitored by Samanta being monitored by drone podX.

It's a very interesting composition in that next to last panel. Perhaps Samanta is not only escorting Kyle. Perhaps the job is not only escort.
HiFranc 31st Dec 2020, 9:33 PM edit delete reply

The talk of scans reminds me of the discussion that starts in the last panel of Hurry up and Wait and continues in Surprise .
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