Comic 1697 - Introductions

12th May 2021, 12:00 AM
Average Rating: 5 (13 votes)
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mjkj 12th May 2021, 12:04 AM edit delete reply

Oh, it comes back to that attack...

...I hope the little one is doing better...
megados 12th May 2021, 4:49 AM edit delete reply

I hope she's OK too.
megados 12th May 2021, 4:49 AM edit delete reply

Re: alt text, Mara totally owns the visual distinctiveness directive!

With Ophelia's info verified, and Logrin's input, and an account from Cyana, they should at least have a starting point. I still have my suspicions.

Also, "Personal Attendant"? :/ I realize Acantha hesitated for not knowing what to say, but still, kind of a slight.
oldastronomer 12th May 2021, 10:08 AM edit delete reply
Maybe not a slight, but a subtle bit of misdirection, obfuscating the Cassian/bodyguard nature of Noctis?
Acantha will have really good crummy vibe detection nerve endings!
megados 12th May 2021, 10:44 AM edit delete reply

That's an interesting possibility. It would suggest that Acantha is more savvy than I was giving her credit for.
DLKmusic 12th May 2021, 1:44 PM edit delete reply

Misdirection was my guess as well, @megados. Acantha has already shown that she is pretty Savvy, She doesn't trust Cent-Comm yet, and has no reason to trust anyone else except Noctis and Max (and of course Lynn, but she can't even trust her with too much information because Lynn would open her mouth).
Morituri 12th May 2021, 3:51 PM edit delete reply
I would guess she chose the designation in order to communicate something to Noctis.

"The Cassian Noctis" would presume that the Cassians' reputation is widely known and that Princess Acantha is happy to play that as deliberate intimidation for leverage in this meeting.

"My Bodyguard Noctis" would communicate, both to Noctis and to this man, that Noctis is expected to have no input into this meeting unless Acantha's safety comes up. But "Mara" has been introduced as his "Assistant" and that gives Mara permission to think and speak. So saying "Bodyguard" and denying that latitude to Noctis would leave Acantha at something of a disadvantage in terms of handling conversation and negotiation.

Finally, Noctis is Ophelia's commanding officer. She's a witness whose testimony about what happened to Ophelia is likely to be important here and whose military judgment about what it means is likely to be very insightful.

So Noctis is her "Personal Attendant," a title that deliberately leaves out any information about in what capacity Noctis serves, dropping the 'Cassian' warning/threat with a certain level of ambiguity and indirection as befits civilized people while leaving negotiating options open and giving Noctis permission to inform, think, and speak.

I suppose it took her a second to run through the options, but I think she chose well.
megados 12th May 2021, 6:24 PM edit delete reply

All good, logical conclusions, especially once I realized that I had clearly underestimated Acantha.
DLKmusic 12th May 2021, 8:50 PM edit delete reply

@megados if it makes you feel any better, someone who is as insightful as you usually are to underestimate her actually bodes well for her when she's back in Nova Roma.
Her enemies will underestimate her as well!

And quite honestly, I keep having to doubletake with her as well, because her appearance is kinda that of a lost puppy, and it's hard to get around sometimes!
megados 13th May 2021, 5:37 AM edit delete reply

Well if nothing else, it reminds me to do a better job of thinking things through before sticking my foot in my mouth. :D
robnot 13th May 2021, 10:13 AM edit delete reply
heh,, foot in mouth disease,. we all suffer from it.. some alot more,, as in my case ..
DLKmusic 13th May 2021, 11:17 AM edit delete reply

That is a lesson that we all will continue to learn up until the point we are dead and gone!

And if you believe in the Zombie Apocolypse, in some cases not even then!
Sheela 15th May 2021, 5:20 AM edit delete reply

I read this as more of an "When in Rome, do as the Romans do"
... and, well ... she is literally THE Roman in the room!!

Also, if Noctis felt slighted, I'm sure she will speak up about it, after the meeting.

I don't think she will, because the Cassians were created to serve and protect the Livius family. I think she'd be fairly at peace with this new designation, as long as she doesn't have to dress up like a doll.
megados 16th May 2021, 4:47 AM edit delete reply

I don't think Noctis would say anything either way. At least not directly. If she had to play "dress-up", though, she would likely make her protests loud and clear. XD
DLKmusic 16th May 2021, 9:10 AM edit delete reply

if it didn't inhibit her mobility, I don't think Noctis would object too much to Military Dress as befits her station in a formal setting...
In this case, the attire would have meaningful function beyond the satisfying the whims of a teenager.
megados 16th May 2021, 11:22 AM edit delete reply

Exactly. Noctis' view of attire would lean heavily on lack of restriction or impediment to her full range of motion.
Gilrandir 16th May 2021, 5:43 PM edit delete reply
I agree with you, @DLKmusic. More to the point, I think Noctis would be happy to wear anything or be called anything if she believed it contributed to the efficiency and success of accomplishing her mission.

As a Cassian of authority and experience, she is more likely to choose or be selected for assignments that don't force her into embarassing, degrading, or compromisinng circumstances. But I suspect if circumstances played out in some bizarre way that Noctis ends up in a ballerina's outfit or a pair of Daisy Dukes, she would wear them with confidence and aplomb, while at the same time obdurately resisting any attempt to force her into such garb that isn't mission-oriented.

With regard to the label of 'personal assistant', I suspect Noctis is fine with that simply because it gives the least amount away (while still being completely truthful) and she knows that the less you give any potential enemy, the greater chance for an error on their part.
megados 16th May 2021, 6:33 PM edit delete reply

Happy to wear or be called anything? I don't think Noctis is that malleable. She does think for herself. If she were absolutely convinced it's the only way for the mission to succeed, she would acquiesce, but it's doubtful she would be 'happy'. She might go as far as to suggest alternative mission specs that might offer similar results. However if it were necessary, she would comply, but only if it did not hinder her abilities as Acantha's guardian, and that is dependent on her agility and speed. As far as what she is called, it probably doesn't matter as long as it's not out of disrespect.
Gilrandir 16th May 2021, 10:01 PM edit delete reply
Her _current_ assignment is Acantha's protection, so her wardrobe will naturally reflect that, but we know Cassian's are given all manner of Black Ops/Black Bag operations. And, since Noctis definitely likes to 'win', I imagine her as more like Angelina Jolie's character in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" Left to herself, she seems to prefer simple outfits offering a good balance of protection and mobility, but once given and accepting a different assignment I would expect her to cope without batting an eye. Which is different from possibly recommending the assignment itself be given to another, more suitable Cassian.
megados 17th May 2021, 5:15 AM edit delete reply

Remember, though, she more or less assigned herself the role of Acantha's protector. It was due more to circumstances, but as Princeps, she can also delegate. Her "Plan for the Glory of Nova Roma", after all, was to ultimately see Acantha seated on the Throne in Decimus' stead. There are currently only two people who can assign her anything, being Maxus or Acantha herself. If she is fully invested in a role or assignment, which would require certain attire, and satisfied that she is free from a responsibility requiring her physical talents, she would likely acquiesce. If directed to carry out an assignment that she is NOT on board with, I'd expect it would be met with some resistance, along with suggestions as to how it can be modified. If, in the end, she's ordered to comply, she would cope, yes, and any opposition probably wouldn't be vocalized. Maxus would be the one more likely to give her such an order, although he, too, listens to Noctis on such matters, as most of the Black Ops/Black Bag operations are of Cassian design anyway, and Noctis is Princeps.

Having said all that, I do agree with your assessment here, depicting it more as coping/doing what's necessary, rather than being happy to do it.
DLKmusic 18th May 2021, 2:17 PM edit delete reply

the Example I was using of Military Dress Uniform is something that she may need to do in the short term future, at least in New Rome.
One of Acantha's challenges is to elevate the status of androids from "clockwork slaves" that they are currently viewed in. Noctis is Princeps of the Cassians. A visual of Noctis dressed appropriately for her station at a formal function would be a Huge statement on Acantha's part... and let's face it, it bears a psychological affect on Acantha's retractors as well.

Whether this type of visual would be as effective, or even needed, while in New Troy remains to be seen, but it would be foolish to take it completely off the table.
megados 18th May 2021, 6:59 PM edit delete reply

That was a good example of something Noctis might not quibble about. It's a suitable professional look, and likely not too restrictive. Some of the dress uniforms of the upper brass get a little gaudy, but Noctis is more like the Sargent-at-Arms, and the uniform wouldn't be quite so "frilly". Function over form, and form if it's functional. That would be my guess.
DLKmusic 19th May 2021, 1:07 PM edit delete reply

@megados: respectfully, Noctis is Princeps, a position of both power and authority. her attire in a formal setting would need to reflect exactly how much power Noctis wields in this scenario. She is not Sergeant at arms, she is Spy-master/Director of Internal Security... or however else you would like to phrase it to be politically correct.
megados 19th May 2021, 1:14 PM edit delete reply

That's a good point. I really don't know what her Job Title should actually be, but it would be a mouthful, if it has to cover her job description, so Princeps of the Nova Roman Cassians will have to do. ! XD
megados 19th May 2021, 2:09 PM edit delete reply

I forgot to add, the main point was not the job title, but the uniform. I would think a dress uniform befitting her position probably wouldn't be ostentatious, or restrictive, and so, would be acceptable to her.
Oldarmourer 12th May 2021, 9:05 AM edit delete reply
Duno if it's the lighting or something else but this guy looks about as trustworthy as a politiican angling for re-election and any help he gives would likely be dependent on how the outcome affects that.
Centy would, of course, be well aware of virtually everything he does (and maybe says) but as she said, even she has her limits on what she can find out and he might be slippery enough to slide under her radar...for now
Mara is well done, but that 'smoky eyes' look turned into a tire fire in the first panel, time will tell if it suits her, although it does add a level of recumbent evilness that may or may not be deserved ;)
Nice lighting, the past few pages have been quite different, is that part of Centy's meeting room ambience ?
Bear 12th May 2021, 3:58 PM edit delete reply
Keep in mind where Acantha's from. She's spent her life walking around in a powderkeg full of political animals of various species, and is likely to read this guy like an open book.

It makes me sad just to look at him. How many centuries on, and he's still wearing a damned necktie? with a leisure suit and button-down shirt no less? That's ostentatiously retro like walking around wearing Elizabethan garments is for us. He imagines something very peculiar about himself, and bears watching.
Sheela 15th May 2021, 5:34 AM edit delete reply

Curiously, I read this guy as less of a schmarmy politician, and more as an ex-military politician.

Sure, they can both be real bad, but if Centcomm invited him for this meeting, there must be a good reason. And if he is ex-military, he would fit the bill.
Oldarmourer 15th May 2021, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
hitler was a Corporal in WW1.....
robnot 17th May 2021, 7:13 AM edit delete reply
Lance Corporal.. he only got one stripe.! also was a draft dodger (when caught was deigned due to medical.) was allowed in german army (was not german) by a clerical error. an was a regimental message-runner..
KarToon12 12th May 2021, 5:53 PM edit delete reply

George Clooney?! What are you doing here? XD
Oldarmourer 12th May 2021, 6:54 PM edit delete reply
Playing politics, it's what he does...
Gilrandir 12th May 2021, 8:52 PM edit delete reply
This is a fine page, with many good things about it. I am not sure I am sold on Mara's appearance wholly -- but then she did not dress to please me. ^_^

There is one question that emerges for me upon re-reading though: Why is Princess Acantha's continued presence in New Troy an item for today's agenda? CentComm is obviously in a rush to discuss the attacks. Discussion of the 'New Rome Incident' is delayed until later this week. CentComm obviously has discretion to entertain a visiting dignitary and has had weeks to coordinate outstanding issues with the Council during the Princess' recovery. So, what is both so discretionary it could wait until now, but so urgent it cannot wait until the full Council meeting later this week?

Will Acantha be sent packing? Confined? Given a bill? Offered a marriage proposal? Does letting her move into Helios Tower require approval from a New Troy Council representative? I look forward eagerly to seeing this question answered.
Phoebe 13th May 2021, 4:17 AM edit delete reply
It's only been a few days. She came in dying, got a mechanical heart, went out and almost got abducted a couple of days later. I don't think there's been much official discussion about her being in New Troy.
I haven't checked exactly, but this may well be her 3rd day in Troy.
Centcomm 13th May 2021, 9:05 PM edit delete reply

Correct.. well maybe 4th.. :D
Oldarmourer 14th May 2021, 1:15 PM edit delete reply
Almost died...
Woke up with an artificial heart...
Just about got kidnapped...
Dropped into a meeting with senior leaders of a City-state your brother tried to blackmail...
Not bad for your first four days on the throne
Next week should be a doozy ;)
Oldarmourer 14th May 2021, 3:47 PM edit delete reply
How could I have forgotten to add the absolute worst thing to happen to her this week ?
She missed out on a high-speed sub-orbital flight complete with fiery re-entry and a 'not quite crash' landing...
She'll probably ask Ada to do it again, with her awake this time ;)
Gilrandir 16th May 2021, 6:08 PM edit delete reply
Per Comic 1580 - Scorpion Group (panel 1), it has been at least a week since Acantha was sent to New Troy for surgery. And I would think at least a couple of days have passed since then to give Ophelia time to get recovered, re-embodied, repaired, transported to Nova Roma, re-re-embodied, and transported to New Troy. How long did they leave Acantha to sit in cryostasis before operating on her if she went shopping the day after she woke up and has only been up for four days? I would have expected Acantha to have been in New Troy and conscious for at least a week before this meeting. But I may be missing something important.
megados 13th May 2021, 5:32 AM edit delete reply

Her continued presence may have to do with her condition. When she came here, she needed an immediate implant of an artificial heart. Continuing to have an artificial heart would be unacceptable in New Rome, though, especially for it's would-be leader, since New Rome mostly shuns technology. Last we heard, Acantha was awaiting an organically grown biological heart to replace the mechanical one. Maybe it's possible that there may be some discussion in that regard?
Gilrandir 13th May 2021, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
We know she is staying until her replacement heart is grown and installed, and we know that at least one attempt has already been made on her person, with the implication that, as long as she stays, New Troy is exposed to risk of something happening to a ‘high-profile’ guest under their protection. I’m not sure why either of these facts rates an agenda item at a discussion about mysterious attackers with superior weaponry.

Although as I type this a thought does occur to me. My original thought was that an appropriate item would be to inform the Council that, as a result of the attempted kidnap, extra security was being assigned to Acantha — except at first that seemed silly since CentComm probably already had ‘excessive’ security in place. BUT, this may be how we get Ada and TeeDee back in the picture: CentComm deciding that the princess ought to have some heavily-armed medically-trained personnel to accompany her while she is in New Troy.
Sheela 15th May 2021, 11:01 AM edit delete reply

Hah, yeah I could see some whiny politician compaining about the "added security risk" that Acantha might pose, and her frustrations when CentComm completely and flat out ignores her, until she uses the words "increase security", at which point CentComm becomes painfully interested in what she has to say. 😅

And then assign Ada and TeeDee and maybe a few security bots to Acantha.
After that point, the whiny politician would learn to shut the hell up. 😁

tl;dr :
don't tell a War AI that it is allowed to assign more "security" !! 🤣
Morituri 12th May 2021, 10:37 PM edit delete reply
At what point does she start correcting people who call her Princess Acantha Livius?

Isn't she now Imperatrix Acantha Livius? Or "Empress Acantha of the house of Livius" if she wants to go Euro style?

As sole surviving member of the Royal family, that sort of thing gets accelerated and is traditionally proclaimed very very loudly, as a tactical matter of quelling various claimants to the throne who think a 'weak' heir can be deposed before people start thinking of her as the new Empress.
Lurker314 13th May 2021, 2:02 AM edit delete reply
Are you forgetting the funeral of the second-rate hatrack? There are forms to be followed, and while there is a proclamation most certainly coming, absent a truly urgent need, that proclamation is done with the subject in suitably regal repose. It awaits her return.

However, it is not at all clear than her title will change. If it does, it will most certainly NOT become "Imperatrix"--she is not of age, and will almost certainly prefer to let Max handle things until then. There is a lot to be said for allowing an interim government rub feathers the wrong way while cleaning up a mess. Especially in a Game of Thrones-styled polity such as NR. Even if, by some continuity flaw, she desired the throne before then, she would have to gather and spend enough support to win over the Senate to do so. And I'm certain that she does NOT want to be indebted to the Senate (or certain senators) for her throne.

As was noted above, she has not been some pampered princess. She is clearly prepared to act as nobility, as we saw on the Night of Deliverance, and has been actively shifting into Imperatrix-in-waiting mode as we saw when greeting her old friend the diplomat.
Centcomm 13th May 2021, 9:07 PM edit delete reply

Remember that prince Decimus used prince and not Emperor.. even though that's how he saw himself.
Oldarmourer 14th May 2021, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
It's a wonder doucheimus remembered his own name and didn't end up using some of the ones his 'subjects' had for him
He may have had some delusion that by not taking his father's title he could say he didn't kill him for it...
Psychopaths very often rationalize their doings in such ways
StellarJay 14th May 2021, 10:49 PM edit delete reply

Something like one psychopathic ancient Roman emperor that we only know by the nickname some soldiers gave him when he was a boy instead of his actual name.
Sheela 15th May 2021, 11:06 AM edit delete reply

I think Acantha is of the opinion that the Throne of Nova Roma can wait until she is damn well ready to take it .. or not!

Her choice, not the thrones!
Rashala 12th May 2021, 10:56 PM edit delete reply

And this is where the crap hits the air intake
Johninaustin 13th May 2021, 8:33 AM edit delete reply
An apt description of this guy would be "Smarmy"
Just_IDD 13th May 2021, 11:57 AM edit delete reply
I totally didn't see this before I posted it because I started typing the message last night before I fell asleep.

It's sad that we both see him as smarmy.
Sheela 15th May 2021, 11:09 AM edit delete reply

Interestingly, I don't see him as particularly "smarmy", but rather as an ex-military dude turned politician ... (not that that cannot be a bad person), I think Centcomm has only invited useful people to this meeting.
And an ex-military politician would fit the bill for the sort of problem that they're talking about.
Just_IDD 13th May 2021, 11:51 AM edit delete reply
Issue 1: smarmy politician calls own assistant's report of occurrence a 'wild rumor.'

Issue 2: Smarmy politician uses redundant wording. Special VIP vs regular VIP? why does she require this very special extra tag?

Precious! Oh my Precious! - Gollum
Demarquis 14th May 2021, 7:00 AM edit delete reply
He was invited by Cent-Comm, so she must think he will serve some useful purpose. Which is odd considering that the next item on the agenda is a series of attacks. Why do they need a representative of the City Council here? Is he some expert on this subject?
Gilrandir 14th May 2021, 9:17 AM edit delete reply
I get the impression that Ward’s presence here serves two purposes (at least — CentComm being CentComm)

1) To provide some degree of ‘transparency’, allowing CentComm to include the Council in the ongoing activities and not be accused of working ‘in secret’, even if he has no expected contributions of his own. And,
2) To satisfy etiquette since it seems Mara does have desired information and it is considered bad form to invite a man’s assistant without also inviting the man themself.
Oldarmourer 15th May 2021, 9:26 AM edit delete reply
Or perhaps she either knows or suspects he has other loyalties and would be a convenient spreader of disinformation...
Then again, given the datardly duo's penchant for taking what we come up with and turning it against us, he might be the stauchest defender the peoples of New Troy ever had...
Sheela 15th May 2021, 11:11 AM edit delete reply

Alternatively he could be an ex-military politician, who have connections to "the human elements" in the military, both of New Troy origin, and of waster origin .. such a person could be very useful to have around.
Oldarmourer 15th May 2021, 3:00 PM edit delete reply
'ex-military' doesn't always mean competent in anything, I worked with/for/over/under a lot of people I wouldn'twant anywhere near the halls of power...
Myself included, I simply can't do what politicians find easy, I have this self-defeating habit of not wanting to cause anyone difficulty to advance my self and I hate lying.
Once you get above the middle ranks, you dont get promoted on your own abilities, senior officers are political appointments and they know who they need to keep happy to get more promotions.
Sheela 15th May 2021, 6:00 PM edit delete reply

Indeed, but if you rise to the very top rank, others must at least *think* that you are useful.

Also, considering they'll be talking about attacks in the wastelands, having someone with experience, would be useful. It's much easier to explain military matters to someone who have been in the military, than to someone who have not ... even if he was incompetent.

He doesn't have to be useful himself, as long as he have connections to someone who does!
Oldarmourer 15th May 2021, 6:56 PM edit delete reply
When it comes to political appointments, it's not what you 'can' do but more what you 'will' do that matters.
DLKmusic 16th May 2021, 9:16 AM edit delete reply

Personally, I find the over-use of Eye-Shadow a "Shady" practice.

(badda-bum Tssh)
Antonious 16th May 2021, 8:39 PM edit delete reply

Oldarmourer 17th May 2021, 3:38 PM edit delete reply
In order to rise to a pun like that, it's required that I mas-cara lot...I don't ;)
Antonious 17th May 2021, 6:49 PM edit delete reply

Groan even more
Gilrandir 17th May 2021, 8:55 PM edit delete reply
Twenty lashes!
Oldarmourer 18th May 2021, 6:57 AM edit delete reply
Forty thicker, even more voluptuous, lashes !!!
Try Mara's Miraculous Mascara, available at leading drugstores and body shops everywhere.
Jeaux 19th May 2021, 2:42 AM edit delete reply
The guy looks like a real douchebag, but then again, he's a politician so that tracks.
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