Comic 1701 - Code Locks

16th Jun 2021, 12:00 AM
Code Locks
Average Rating: 5 (12 votes)
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Ryu Santos 16th Jun 2021, 12:15 AM edit delete reply

An alliance between New Troy and Nova Roma. And what will a certain newly fixed AI think about this.
megados 16th Jun 2021, 8:27 AM edit delete reply

I wonder if Aeneas is being kept in the loop, or is he too busy with the mess in Nova Roma, or is he sitting in the dark?
Centcomm 18th Jun 2021, 1:22 AM edit delete reply

hes in the loop
Centcomm 18th Jun 2021, 1:22 AM edit delete reply

good question..
Sheela 18th Jun 2021, 7:22 AM edit delete reply

I'm sure he's still catching up on cute cat and puppy dog videos !
Luckily he can multitask and watch both cat videos *and* puppy dog videos at the same time !!
Lurker314 16th Jun 2021, 12:24 AM edit delete reply
Our princess is talking out of turn. It will be interesting to see if there are repercussions. I expect a quiet chat from the actual person in charge is all, but you never know...
Evervigilant 16th Jun 2021, 1:22 AM edit delete reply
I'm not so sure she's really talking out of turn. Yes Maxus is technically in charge holding the spot for her until such time she's ready to take over. I think this may be looked upon by him and others as a good sign she's paying attention and thinking like a ruler should. Note she says "I think" and makes more of a suggestion than a declaration. There may be a quiet chat afterwards to discuss ways to improve or suggestions on when, where, and how to make suggestions but I don't think she will be chewed out.
Just_IDD 16th Jun 2021, 3:04 AM edit delete reply
I agree, it also means that the Romans will stand a chance during a second engagement. They were Already dressed for a party when they showed up at the gutter base. Also this will get Roman eyes on the Troy tech and maybe boost the zergs to a higher level.
me 16th Jun 2021, 3:33 AM edit delete reply
As I understand she'a nominally the ruler and he's only her regent. And since she'l be coming of age soon enough it would be prudent to allow her to get familiar with the role she will have to perform ...

Not to forget that she has much to learn, much catching up to do. It's probably better for New Rome if outsiders get used to her taking charge then start seeing her as a spoiled brat who's not even trusted by her own advisors.

Also I'm under the impression that Maxus doesn't really want to stay the regent longer than he has to, so it's in his own best interest to encourage her.
robnot 16th Jun 2021, 7:49 AM edit delete reply
out of turn..? no this not a board room or a court room.. so there is no 'out of turn',. but, she was going to call him familiar (Maxus) , but since this is "official", she added his title (lord regent)..
being that she is Empress (not official) she CAN make orders (decree) , but official regent can countermand them if they deem unwise,.. hence why she ran it past the lord regent...
Lurker314 16th Jun 2021, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
no, No, NO.

In order to have a functioning government, you absolutely CANNOT have the kind of sloppiness that is being suggested. Functionally, it makes no difference if a minor is 1 or 20--the regent is in charge until they are not.

Of course, there is training, and that included being in the room when the grown-ups are talking.

Lets look closely at this precise situation.

She clearly takes over the discussion on behalf on NR. SHE quizzes Cent. SHE decides when there is enough information to propose a course of action.

What does she know about the disposition of NR forces? What are we, a week post civil war and regicide?

Given the current company, (excepting counselor Lizzard) the effects aren't really problematic, but if she were to pull a stunt like this in front of the NR Senate, it would put Maxus in a major bind.

And as I've mentioned, it is very much in her benefit to be seen as not having any kind of power during the transitional government. Maxus can take out the trash without anyone getting ***hurt at her, and when she ascends the thrown, she's the beloved new ruler. She loses that if she's seen to be driving policy like she is here.

As I said, I expect a quiet chat.
megados 16th Jun 2021, 5:06 AM edit delete reply

Well done, Acantha. That's the kind of levelheadedness that will earn her respect as head of state.

Maybe this project is one of those that fell dormant and never did get officially shut down in the confusion during the war. CentComm should make sure not to take too long working out the pass keys for the code locks.
robnot 16th Jun 2021, 8:28 AM edit delete reply
Pinky said project "Golden Shield" was officially shut down..
BUT, that does not mean , they moved across the hall, and called it some thing else.!
megados 16th Jun 2021, 8:35 AM edit delete reply

All she really says here, is that "many such projects fall dormant before they were officially shut down", and basically, that it began before she gained sentience. It could have been moved across the hall before, or if there even was a shutdown, or possibly was never shut down at all, and simply fell through the cracks (per the Alt Text).
Oldarmourer 16th Jun 2021, 7:38 PM edit delete reply
The AI project was defunded, so in order to continue research they reorganized a sub-component to operate autonomously in the cafeteria, they called it the golden arches...
megados 17th Jun 2021, 6:28 AM edit delete reply

"Robotic assembly lines for fast food".
Oldarmourer 17th Jun 2021, 3:34 PM edit delete reply
already in use today....
megados 17th Jun 2021, 4:13 PM edit delete reply

Yeah. I was quoting CentComm above, so apparently she's unaware of the status of this project. I hope she doesn't spend a lot of time unsealing the records on this one! XD
Oldarmourer 18th Jun 2021, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Most of the records only refer to a cryptic list of components, two all beef (doesn't say what part of the beef) patties, a semi-liquid substance listed only as 'classified', lettuce, cheese-like substance, pickles and onions resting on a nominally edible delivery device
Kiddeagle 17th Jun 2021, 9:23 PM edit delete reply
I hope all that harvesting don't mean a new burger joint's gonna open soon
Sheela 18th Jun 2021, 12:10 AM edit delete reply

Fanciest human meat burgers ... yummy !!

All the doggies go there. 😁
Gilrandir 16th Jun 2021, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
I think that is a mildly unfortunate ‘shadow effect’ creating a ‘mask’ across Acantha’s face. It was present on the previous page, but less noticeable.(At least to me.) Here it kind of sticks out (in my opinion) and doesn’t seem to have an obvious source.
Oldarmourer 16th Jun 2021, 10:24 AM edit delete reply
it seems to match up with the shadows across the windows, the sun must be at the right angle to shadow the lower half of the room, guess flowered curtains don't fit the decor for a briefing room ;)
On that though, why would they even have windows to the outside for a high security briefing room ?
Too many chances for optical eavesdroppers, even the minute vibrations from windows can be picked up by a laser and used to hear conversations.
Unless, of course, the windows aren't 'windows' at all but just monitors picking up cameras on the outside of the building (or elsewhere) for a little artificial atmosphere.
I'd be more worried about people who were supposed to be listening watching the world pass by outside instead ;)
Gilrandir 16th Jun 2021, 10:49 AM edit delete reply
Windows seem to have a powerful beneficial effect on people which more than redeems the additional effort involved in many cases. And there are things like white noise generators that can be attached to window panes to (partially) foil optical eavesdroppers.

It may not be the most secure, but it is possible that -- on average -- the beneficial effects on productivity make up for the increased vulnerability.
megados 16th Jun 2021, 10:47 AM edit delete reply

I'm more concerned that Acantha appears to have a 5 o'clock shadow.
knuut 16th Jun 2021, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
'LAKE Phoenix"??? (first Chicago, and now Phoenix! Fortunately I have a hidy-hole on the other side of the planet if I can just get there in time)
Guest 16th Jun 2021, 8:00 AM edit delete reply
Phoenix lake CA,. is a lake on the north west side of San Francisco. .. is about a 20/30 min drive from the military base at Alameda..
has some really good scuba diving.. has a flooded cabin at the western side...
robnot 16th Jun 2021, 8:01 AM edit delete reply
oops , fur got to sign in
knuut 16th Jun 2021, 10:11 PM edit delete reply
Unlike San Francisco, Phoenix AZ is generally regarded as being in the southwest and has more than enough military and industrial targets to justify 'lakeing'.
robnot 19th Jun 2021, 8:10 AM edit delete reply
phoenix ,, military, an industrial.. but not San Fran..??? phoenix has one little base (that they keep threatening to close..) industry.?? that town is an has been a retirement community.! to hot to do anything else... (at times it gets so hot they CLOSE the airports because its to hot to fly...)
San Francisco,, has the west coast navy ship yard.. AND Silicone Valley.
Oldarmourer 16th Jun 2021, 7:45 PM edit delete reply
Someone explain to me why I never noticed Pinky's badge until now....
I worked for that organization and still have the patch ;)


Centcomm 17th Jun 2021, 1:43 PM edit delete reply

Good eyes!
Oldarmourer 17th Jun 2021, 3:33 PM edit delete reply
eyesight's getting a bad as the rest of me
Its' probably been there all along and I just didn't see it
Unless it's been cleverly tucked behind word ballons and scenery waiting for just this moment...
Nope, went back and looked, it's been there all along, just didn't notice it before
Take that as a compliment on the other skilfully executed distractions in each scene it was in...
That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it ;)
Guest 17th Jun 2021, 8:53 PM edit delete reply
There is a crazy level of details put into the artwork. I wonder how many other Easter eggs have been missed. I'd love to know the back story as to why Cent wears this patch - she doesn't do anything random.
Sheela 18th Jun 2021, 12:13 AM edit delete reply

It's even in Centcomm's avatar icon thingamabob. 😁
Oldarmourer 18th Jun 2021, 7:15 AM edit delete reply
It seems to be canon that Centcomm 'evolved' from the computer system originally put in place to run NORAD's SAGE system starting early in the second half of the 20th century, in the 39th century things might have shifted just a teeny little bit but she's still a tube girl at heart ;)
megados 18th Jun 2021, 8:52 AM edit delete reply

Well, nowadays, you sure can get a lot more 'system' into the space once occupied by tube equipment. ;)
Oldarmourer 18th Jun 2021, 7:27 PM edit delete reply
wanna bet there's still an IBM MTU system, maybe an FSQ-7, quietly blinking it's lights somewhere in a dark forgotten corner of an underground complex spliced into Pinky's personal 'net', waiting patiently for instructions these past few millenia ?
Gilrandir 19th Jun 2021, 11:30 PM edit delete reply
“3C Command Sector — Home of the WOPR.” ^_^
Oldarmourer 23rd Jun 2021, 8:41 AM edit delete reply
The 'golden arches' project evolved into something useable ;)
Why didn't I think of that one *sigh* I'm getting too old for this
megados 23rd Jun 2021, 9:44 AM edit delete reply

Arches is Big Mac. ;)
Gilrandir 23rd Jun 2021, 10:01 AM edit delete reply
“WOPR”, of course, is a reference to the NORAD computer from “War Games” (featuring Matthew Broderick).
Naldru 23rd Jun 2021, 4:27 PM edit delete reply
I find the idea of there being an FSQ-7 ( ) in place. Maintaining a tube based system is a nightmare, even if it is in storage. I wold not be surprised if there was FSQ-7 emulator in case CENT-COMM wanted to wargame the cold war. By MTU, do you mean Magnetic Tape Unit? The Library of Congress has a bunch of "obsolete" magnetic tape units in case somebody sends in an old tape. (They probably share with the National Archives. After all, you never know when you're going to get an old 800 or 1600 bpi 9-track tape or maybe an old DECTape.
megados 23rd Jun 2021, 5:15 PM edit delete reply

Maintenance of vacuum tube systems in storage, oddly enough, isn't as much from degradation of the tubes, as it is from degradation of the capacitors. Tubes can get gassy, but not as often as capacitors absorbing moisture, and getting leaky, in the case of paper capacitors, and breakdown of electrolyte barrier in electrolytic caps.
Rashala 17th Jun 2021, 11:11 PM edit delete reply

Am I alone in getting a feeling this c6ber rabbit hole is going to be very very unsettling and not pleasant for everyone involved?
Deanatay 18th Jun 2021, 9:49 PM edit delete reply
I'm very interested in the composition of this joint task force being proposed - could be a great chance to see more of some of our fave secondary characters!

On the NT side, Marcus will almost certainly be leading the task force. Potential candidates for the team include:
- Ada and TeeDee
- Dr. Demark
- Cella or other White Angels
- Dr. Silver

On the Roma side, that's less clear. Probably a Cassian - Ophelia's the best candidate, given she's there and has experience of the threat. They may want to include members of their military - if Democlus is recovered, he'd be a good choice.

Third party candidates might also be desirable.

- Mr. Black
- Kira, Pyre, and Celeste?
- Ranger Ingram (and the Kittehs?)

Or, Cent and TR may pull entirely new faces for the team. I look forward to seeing the new adventuring party^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D^D task force in action!
DLKmusic 19th Jun 2021, 7:01 AM edit delete reply

In all probability, Ophelia & Samanta will be sent as Roma representatives. Doc Silver will not be selected for this because you can't get a Cassian within 50 feet of her without the Cassian freaking out.
I would guess Marcus, Ada, Tedee, and Denmark for New Troy.
If they are going after flesh specifically, Doc Denmarks Empathic abilities would be useful.

We can call it the Troma patrol 😎
megados 19th Jun 2021, 7:52 AM edit delete reply

Would *all* Cassians be bothered by Doc Silver, or just Noctis, and possibly Mariposa? My impression is that Noctis' gets the willies from her because of her horrible experience with the cyberpath back in the day. The events of that day left Columbina dead, and Nox and Mariposa in (an unknown to the readers) condition, after being contorted into grotesque positions by the cyberpath. We know Nox survived, but had a hatred of humans, and we don't really know what became of Mariposa. For Noctis, it was traumatic, because she ended up cutting off Columbina's head, and she was held immobile by the cyberpath. The helplessness she must have felt must have also left its mark. The other Cassians had second hand accounts of the event, but I'm guessing one would have had to have been there.
robnot 19th Jun 2021, 8:24 AM edit delete reply
have to agree on this,, not every one has the same phobias..
and . since they never met.. (in person) that any would know,, except by name an rep... so if she was introduced as Dr. Argent (i know A name.. sorry Krissy..) would not know till power was used...
DLKmusic 19th Jun 2021, 10:06 AM edit delete reply

@robnot maybe, but on the other hand... Just because I've never been in Tokyo during the annual Radioactive Mutant Monster migration, doesn't mean I would ever willingly ride on Godzilla shoulder in an unrelated activity. (yeah yeah, I know, I'm radioactivemonsterphobic... shame on me)
DLKmusic 19th Jun 2021, 9:59 AM edit delete reply

@megados Even if it were just Noctis, I based on what happened in New Rome, I would say that she would Veto any suggestion that Doc Silver be anywhere near her sisters, even after listening to Ada's commendation.
Silver would definitely be an asset. Samanta might argue a case for Silver, but I don't think Ophelia would... seems she's already on more or less permanent probation with the rest of the Cassians, after all...
megados 19th Jun 2021, 10:28 AM edit delete reply

@DLKmusic, that's a good point. If Noctis is making the decision, as princeps, she would probably preemptively veto it, unless others could somehow talk her into it, but that would take some doing.

*edit, I forgot to say, I wonder what would happen if, say, Ophelia volunteered to work with Dr. Silver, would Noctis stop her?
DLKmusic 20th Jun 2021, 6:37 AM edit delete reply

@megados that is an excellent question! Part of me wants to say "Absolutely she would", which is my kneejerk reaction... Feelie may be an annoying wildcard, but she's still a sister.

Another part of me wonders, though. Feelie gets along well with people, is far more social than most Cassians, and Noctis may be willing to trust Feelies instincts on this.

So assuming that the latter would be the case, do you think Feelie would actually Volunteer against Noctis's initial veto?
megados 20th Jun 2021, 12:49 PM edit delete reply

There are a few ways that it could turn out, I think, @DLKmusic. Noctis could probably be counted on to be against the idea. Feelie might likely be willing to work with Dr. Silver, but it's pretty much up to whether Noctis can be convinced. Feelie is obligated to follow Noctis' orders, backed by inhibitor if she disobeys. It would probably come down to Feelie's (and any others') ability to talk Noctis into it. So, at the end of the day, if Noctis gives a hard "No", Feelie would probably not be able to 'officially' volunteer, but she would make her dissatisfaction known, and maybe try to talk Noctis into it.
Oldarmourer 22nd Jun 2021, 1:21 PM edit delete reply
I can see TeeDee and Feelie giving each other a high five and shouting 'Road Trip !!!'
Then TeeDee saying "let me get that Sprite body out, we can stick a blank brain in and use it for bait"
Oldarmourer 22nd Jun 2021, 1:31 PM edit delete reply
I can also see Logrin being useful as a local 'expert' and Scout
I don't see any purpose or reason for Mr Black at this point, nobody needs smuggled anywhere.
Same goes for our 'kitteh' girls, this is most likely going to be a search and destroy mission.

Air support and heavy mechs as backup might be useful but it looks like they're going to need to travel fast to catch up with the goldiebots and they'll likely be going by air until they find something to investigate on foot, maybe some 'assault dune buggies' in transport Aircraft a la the 'Delta Force' movie ?
Either that or start mass producing SKEETER's or Silver's drones ;)
The remotes, especially semi-autonomous ones could be very useful indeed.
mjkj 19th Jun 2021, 4:54 AM edit delete reply

Well, joined operation...

...I hope they are strong enough for the threat...
Oldarmourer 22nd Jun 2021, 6:45 PM edit delete reply
Remembering that the Nova Roma force that encountered the Goldiebot wasn't just four or five individuals, that they had air cover and armour attached to them and they were advancing to contact, sloppily but still awake and aware and moving under direction, they had a Cassian with them and the ywere still completely wiped out in seconds, I'd tend to lean toward a sliiiiightly larger force than used to infiltrate Nova Roma, remember they had help from a very large and well armed rebel force, without whom they'd never have even got started( RIP the rebel wearing the BidiBoom mask)
They also won't be going after a single Goldiebot, but an unknown number. potentially more than the group everyone's assuming will go.
I'd say Battalion strength, or the equivalent in Mechs, Robots and Black Angels with heavy Air and Armour support, minimum, split into half-company sized groups for search but still close enough to react if one group makes contact...
Oldarmourer 22nd Jun 2021, 6:50 PM edit delete reply
and the two org tables aren't necerssarily mutually exclusive. medium and heavy transports with top cover and ground attack escorts can carry groups to start points and be ready to either evacuate or drop reinforcements as required, stealth doesn't seem to be the priority here although it never hurts, massive firepower is going to be needed here unless and until some weakness is discovered in the Goldiebots and their leaders, they can be killed but they need to go down before their energy weapons can cause too much damage.
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