Read transcripts of this page in different languages:

PANEL 1:

A) DEACON: DOCTOR, PLEASE...

B) DEACON: I KNOW I'VE... MADE MISTAKES...

C) DEACON: THERE'S NO DENYING THAT!

PANEL 2:

CU, MAVEN, gazing down at him, sneering with contempt.

D) MAVEN: AH, BUT A FEW HOURS AGO YOU SEEMED PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF DENYING IT!

PANEL 3:

E) MAVEN: I'VE MADE MY DECISION, DEACON. IT'S FINAL. I'M SORRY.

PANEL 4:

F) DEACON: BUT I'M NOT JUST TRASH TO BE THROWN OUT!

G) DEACON: DOCTOR! I'M BEGGING YOU -- LET ME SHOW YOU!

PANEL 5:

H) MAVEN: SHOW ME WHAT?

PANEL 6:

I) DEACON: SHOW YOU I REALLY AM A GOOD SOLDIER!

English transcript submitted by Alex Woolfson on

PANEL 1

A) DEACON: DOKTOR, BITTE...

B) DEACON: ICH WEIß, DASS ICH... FEHLER... GEMACHT HABE.

C) DEACON: DAS BESTREITE ICH NICHT!

PANEL 2

D) MAVEN: AH, ABER BIS VOR EINIGEN STUNDEN SCHIENEN SIE SEHR GUT
IN DER LAGE ZU SEIN, ES ZU BESTREITEN!

PANEL 3

E) MAVEN: ICH HABE MEINE ENTSCHEIDUNG GETROFFEN, DEACON. SIE IST ENDGÜLTIG. ES TUT MIR LEID.

PANEL 4

F) DEACON: ABER ICH BIN KEIN MÜLL, DEN MAN EINFACH SO WEGWIRFT!

G) DEACON: DOKTOR! ICH FLEHE SIE AN – LASSEN SIE ES MICH IHNEN BEWEISEN!

PANEL 5

H) MAVEN: MIR WAS BEWEISEN?

PANEL 6

I) DEACON: IHNEN BEWEISEN, DASS ICH WIRKLICH EIN GUTER SOLDAT BIN!

German transcript submitted by ckazka on

Artifice Page 69

Gosh. Deacon looks really scared…

We have new Fan Art from Audbot—it’s a 3D rendering of Jeff shirtless. Thanks, Audbot!

And we’ve yet again hit the donation target! This means that in addition to our regular Saturday updates and bonus updates on the 25th and 1st, there will also be a bonus update on Wednesday, February 8th! O_O You all are totally amazing! :D

Special thanks to long-time supporters Meghan P., Jami E. & Catarina M. and a warm welcome and grateful bow to new supporter Clayton A. for their generous donations over the last few days.

Big hugs to new friend of Artifice Aya D. whose $28 donation put us over the top (Hight five, Aya!) and also to Artifice superfriends Larisa V. (who has just made their sixteenth $25 donation to Artifice! You are awesome, Larisa!) & Safiya M. (whose $35 donation was their 2nd in a week and was made well after we had already hit the target! Thank you so much, Safiya!).

And finally huge, heartfelt, jaw-again-dropped-to-the-floor android-strength hugs to Artifice MEGA-friend Ethan R. who with the battle cry of “Begun, the donation wars have” has set a new donation record with their stunningly generous $175 donation! OMG, thank you very, very much, Ethan! You are a SUPERHERO!

Thank you all so, so much for your generosity!

(And thank you all also for the amazingly thoughtful comments you’ve shared on the last few pages. Your speculation about what might happen next and your analysis of Maven’s motives and character have been a ton of fun for me to read. Smart, cogent and fascinating. Y’all make all the hard work of creating a webcomic totally worth it, you really do! :D )


If you particularly enjoy any of these pages and use Facebook, please click the Like button on that page. It’s useful to know what’s working and it helps me get the word out!

Donate For An Extra Page of The Young Protectors

A good reader suggestion here: donate to support The Young Protectors and get an extra page. Once $400 in donations are received, I will post an additional page of The Young Protectors the following Wednesday, making two pages for that week!
$0Raised400Target
Choose donation amount:
Subscribe to The Young Protectors via RSS, Email, Facebook or Twitter
  • http://www.facebook.com/PoynterJones Claire Thackray

    Oh God… Oh no..

    I have this really ominous feeling that to prove that he’s a good soldier, she’s/the military’s going to make him execute Jeff…
    PLEASE GOD NO!! Do NOT let that happen..
    I will cry for forever and a day if that happens…
    :'(

    • Kel Z

      The plot potential with that though is amazing! All it would be asking him is to finish his mission, which would just make sense. :)

      • krissdevalnor

        agree

    • http://getmeafuckingfanta.tumblr.com/ James

      OH GOD NO

    • Sequinn

      I predict that just as Deacon is about to kill Jeff, Mavin steps in and stays his hand.  She looks at him divinely and says, “Now I know you fear the company.”
      Deacon grabs a passing cleaning bot and sacrifices it instead. (Ref: Genesis)

      Now if Mavin’s crotch suddenly bursts into flame, you’ll all know I’m right!  Oh wait…no…that comes later.  ; )

  • http://twitter.com/TornadoconDoc The Doctor

    Kay.  Show you’re a good soldier by killing that human you fell in love with.

    Why is it I can see something like that being given as an ultimatum?

  • http://twitter.com/TornadoconDoc The Doctor

    Sidebar:  Deacon has some GREAT teeth.  Obviously he has good dental.

  • crimsonkiss22

    @twitter-193872381:disqus Oh yeah, totally agreeing with you there. Maven is about to ask something of Deacon that I just don’t think he can do: Kill Jeff. Of course… Maybe I only really really hope he can’t do it ;A; 

    • http://twitter.com/TornadoconDoc The Doctor

      Maven is really complex though.  One moment she’s kind and nurturing, the next; a hella crazy cynic.  Part of me wonders if she’s just fucking with him, and Jeff has been watching the whole time.

      • crimsonkiss22

        That’s certainly true, she’s one tough lady to figure out. Probably why I enjoy her character so much. Well, here’s to hoping that your suspicions are right, although I get a feeling Jeff is probably in a sticky situation somewhere. :

  • AnyOtaku

    I’m scared… Does that mean Deacon is going to kill Jeff? I don’t to ser that, it would break my heart, but I hope that IF this happens, Deacon will react and safe Jeff and live happily ever after in a little house near the beach! Sorry, fangirl mode.

    • RustyBurrell

      Immediately thought the same thing x.x

      • http://vaslittlecrow.com/ Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz

        Same here… :(

    • krissdevalnor

      same :S

  • Andrea Kelly

    Being teased like this is ridiculous ._. lol However, I love you work !

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Thank you, Andrea. :)

  • RustyBurrell

    I… Idunno… I wanna say maybe there’s hope for a happy ending since she seems to have stopped to listen but… *bites nails*

  • Michael Chapman

    I absolutely love Deacon’s facial expressions here. The anguish, the desperation… from a story standpoint, it’s heart-wrenching. From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s magnificent. This isn’t a face you get to see too often in comics.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UY6MFIQ4LQ3HPB5HGWNERIAKFU Noah

     Oh noes Deacon! *clutches chest* This conversation is steadily going into not-looking-good-something-bad-is-drawing-near territory . . .

    (Also, Maven’s face in panel two is exactly how I look when my little brother asks if he can borrow my car. “I DON’T THINK SO PUNK.”)

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Hehe. Do you ever say yes to him?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UY6MFIQ4LQ3HPB5HGWNERIAKFU Noah

        NOPE! I may sound mean, but if you knew him, you wouldn’t either…

  • Aikka

    Not only Deacon is scared.

    We are too.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ODTYRNLPDTIZWUVMJBCDAFY27E DivaLady

    Maven is masterful, she really is.  And poor Deacon played right into her hands.  She’s going to do something horrible to him, I can just tell.  I can’t wait to see what it is.  ;3

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

    i wonder what Deacon has in mind…

  • eleutherios

     Put your foot through her face!!

  • krissdevalnor

    oh no no no no no no! her assignment will be to kill Jeff :S doooooooooooon’t! but well… Maven’s a complicated character. She -could- end up being nice in the end.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

      that makes no sense. if Deacon really cares/loves Jeff, it would make sense that he would elect to be destroyed rather harm Jeff.  after all, it’s not like Deacon’s situation will ever be certain to improve under the control of the corporation, so why kill the one thing you love only to remain in the clutches of those who will destroy you?

      • tom1988

        The ultimate test of loyalty. Let’s see what happens…

        • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

          that should be a no brainer for even an emotional machine. calculate the odds that though he destroy Jeff he remains in the uncertain clutches of the corporation with eventual termination hanging over his head weighted against the odds that Jeff will survive should he allow himself to be destroyed, and then evaluate the relative successes of both.  No matter what he does, Deacon would be eventually doomed regardless of his actions. On the other hand, there is a slim possibility that Jeff might be spared, and logically it would not be sensible for Deacon to terminate that possibility in order to extend his own imprisonment in the hands of corporation. 

    • tom1988

      I had some vague idea a week ago that she would have him execute Jeff as some kind of torture or punishment or something. I didn’t say that though because I’m a stickler about spoilers.
       
      Besides I can’t remember what Maven said about Jeff. I think he may be alright; that they interviewed him and concluded that he knew nothing.
       
      Also I couldn’t think of any really plausible reason for the corporation to get Deacon to kill Jeff because if they wanted him dead it seemed a bit contrived to have Deacon do the deed. From this page, it looks like Alex might have had that reason after all ;)

      Edit: I just realised how stupid what I said was i.e. Jeff knows a) His entire colony was wiped out under coporate orders and b) Deacon is a love machine. Seems like Jeff’s fate is doomed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EC2PGGNT5DWMNBDD6ZGQ5LHFGQ Jaiden

    My first thought was “He’s going to kill jeff.”

    …it won’t be that easy, though. There’s no way. Holy crap. I’m on the edge of my seat here…Eek! D:

  • xenie

    Oh Snap – she is going to order him to kill Jeff… NO!!!!

  • Lunnette Mabinogi

    It’s quite obvious she wasn’t actually planning to destroy him. Instead, she worked him in a way that he has absolute loyalty (or she’s trying to). See, she froze in the 5th panel instead of just walking out, she was waiting for him to say that. Judging by her expressions in previous comics, she’s a sadist, and she’ll probably want him to kill Jeff. Also, they’ve probably been torturing Jeff (she said they were conducting some kind of interview, not like the one they were having).

  • SigmundReimann

    I see where this is going…

    …or do I?

  • C K

    SHE’S GONNA MAKE HIM KILL JEFF oh God…

    Not that I think he’ll ever go through with it.  At least not without some sort of code abuse.  Because I think it would be too much of a punch to the gut for this to turn into “Artifice: The Sci-Fi Romance In Which One of the Lovers Shoots the Other In the Head”.

    Love the panel with Maven in the doorway, as well as the drawing of her sneer in panel 2.  I’m currently a big ball of emotion, though, because I’m anxious at how this is going to go…because with Maven in charge, I don’t think this is headed somewhere pretty.

  • Krondor2000

    OMG! I really hate it when I am thinking what everyone else is thinking what Alex and Winona is leading us to will happen next!  Poor Deacon! Poor Jeff! Poor us fans! (with a few exceptions of some who really enjoy this sadist scene)  THIS IS SO NOT GONNA END WELL!!!!

  • erunuo

    ;_; Jeff

  • fujoshifanatic

    Aaand Deacon just took another step towards becoming more human by making a deal with the devil!

    The consensus seems to be pretty clear as to what is going to happen next, and I concur…to a point. I have a feeling that the title of this web comic will come into play rather dramatically in the next few scenes, but we shall see. *strokes chin*

    Very dramatic and awesome page guys–the fear in Deacon’s face is almost palpable (I just want to kneel down and give him a hug!), and the last line sent chills down my spine!

    On to the next page! *runs to get more popcorn*

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Thank you for the props, fujoshifanatic. :)

  • http://twitter.com/SarielLunar Sara Barrera

    Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Please don’t do what I think you’re going to do! Please no!!!!!!  This is worse than watching a frigging novella or soap opera. I’m biting through my nails while I’m in freak out mode!!!!!  POOR JEFF!!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/SarielLunar Sara Barrera

    She must be enjoying her power trip… that… that…. I will take the high road here. That evil evil….  I can’t do it so I’m just gonna post!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A6LXNDBF65PDZYZ7FYMBBRFGXI Alex S

      I’ll do it: “That evil smug stick-up-her-ass bitch!”

  • ScreamingFurby

    Hey, who knows. Maybe Deacon is actually playing her. Maybe playing the Absolute Loyalty card is the only way he can learn Jeff’s whereabouts. Jeff and Deacon had a lot of time alone, and I’m sure, at some point, they would have talked about what to do when the retrieval team came :|

  • Darby Roorda

    DEACON! No! Tell me he didn’t just say that! Son of a bitch, now Maven is going ot command him to kill Jeff, just to show her that he’s a good soldier. Dammit Deacon, now you’re screwed.

  • coco1128

    What if Jeff is already dead?

    • wasEnkidu

      You have a point. He was still alive earlier today, but that was hours ago. They could have finished up there interrogation and decided to neutralize him.

      Hey I just had a thought. What if they had more of Deacon’s model available? I know Dr. Maven said he was the last remaining one and that’s why he’s being questioned, but what if?
      If they sent another one to kill Jeff, would he know it wasn’t Deacon? Clearly it wouldn’t act like Deacon, but what if he figured they’d just wiped his memory and reprogrammed him?
      That… That would SUCK! How can I even READ a scene THIS PAINFUL and think of ways to make everything more of an emotional clusterfuck for the characters!? O[]o I really must be a sadistic little nutjob, oh god no!!

      • coco1128

        SEe that’s what I mean! For all we know Maven is just toying with him. She’s mentioned nothing of Jeff’s condition. AAAAHHH I can’t wait for the update

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

    I’m surprised at the lack of faith in Deacon.  I really sincerely doubt that he would comply with an order to terminate Jeff. I think Deacon is hoping he could perform another assignment and thus redeem himself.   It’s hard to believe that he’d go through killing a bunch of people just to kill the one thing that he was trying to protect.  

  • Cass Small

    xD Oh dear.

    I shall present a dissenting opinion!
    I believe Maven is secretly wanting to over throw the company, so she’s going to use Deacon as her kill-bot to do so. >D  By holding his life, and Jeff’s hostage. ESPIONAGE!
    -whimsical reader-

    • JM

      that would be *so* awesome

      • qu_gon_robot

        I second that >:)

  • ithilloke

    I’m betting that’s not the answer she was expecting…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A6LXNDBF65PDZYZ7FYMBBRFGXI Alex S

    Yes Deacon, prove you are a good soldier by rescuing the hostage (Read: Jeff) from the unfriendlies (read: SatanCorp) and escape to safe zone (read: my house)

  • http://twitter.com/RyanEly1 Ryan Ely

    And here I feel, is what she’s been waiting for, the chance to make him correct his first “Mistake”. She’s gonna make him kill Jeff, and that will break him. He’ll become the cold unfeeling machine they built him to be…or IF HE COULD JUST BREAK THAT DAMN PROGRAMMING AND RESCUE JEFF….*cries* I honestly don’t think He’ll do it, and maybe this is all a ruse, who know. Alex is a good writer, he keeps us guessing and on the edge of our seats begging for more. ^_^ Love ya Alex, keep up the good work!

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Thank you, Ryan! Glad you’re enjoying the ride even if I make you cry sometimes. ;)

  • http://twitter.com/chubbylovenug Erin Brady

    I don’t think she’s going to kill him… I think she’s going to make him “interview” Jeff to get further information from him.

  • wohdin

    hnggggggg dat foreshadowing….

    • wasEnkidu

      Lol dat sum sexy foreshadowing fo’ sho’.

  • WynterKnight

    I don’t think she would order him to kill Jeff. That wouldn’t be prudent in light of his admitted feelings for him. No, I think she will try to get him to extract information from Jeff by whatever means necessary. It’s much easier to convince yourself that if you are the one hurting you beloved, it is better than letting someone else do the exact same thing. You convince yourself that you are only doing what you have to in order to keep you both alive and that if someone else were to do the torture, they would be more heartless. 

  • Ferris_Ahiru

    his emotion chip just exploded

  • Ferris_Ahiru

    bet she’ll say to kill Jeff

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

    I’d like to think that Deacon’s emotionality will allow him to overcome the control codes.

  • JM

    So, I know I’ve defended Maven a lot in the past, but her behaviour in the last few pages really has me wondering if she’s not just power-tripping like crazy. I mean, she seems to enjoy treating Deacon like a scrapmetal dog. That’s not the Maven I thought I knew! Unless she’s actually just using these tactics to scare Deacon (very effectively) so that she can control his next move, I can’t get my head around her superiority complex right now. Maybe I can’t ride the Maven train anymore :(

    • http://twitter.com/_BrantM Brant Martin

      I think it’s simply homophobia

      • JM

        That might have a hand in it, but I mostly think that she’s just judging him as a piece of machinery that killed a bunch of humans because of a malfunction. After all, the Corporation has an obligation to those families, that much is true. But although he’s a machine, I feel like after this long conversation she should be able to empathize with him just a little – or, she’s just a really good employee who doesn’t let her emotions get in the way of her job. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KNBCTG2TULCHY4DQISWB7HUNRQ caddy

    I honestly believe Deacon could go over the edge …kill this one dismember her and move on to saving Jeff

  • Yukiness

    Maven has an overbite?!

    *celebrates*

  • Lorescien

    Ah, super bitch… you’re cruel and heartless. But if you let Deacon show you that he’s a good soldier, maybe you’re not as bad as I thought. Maybe. XD

  • http://twitter.com/AyakoNoChou Nan (Deanna)

    Oh my God, Alex!
    What the fuck and where is this going? I can hardly even begin to guess now!  Is she gonna order him to kill Jeff, or actually kill him, or is he gonna break codes to save Jeff (or actually kill him) or what?  Like fuck this could go sooo many places right now and I just want to have all of it right now!  Amazing work, I don’t usually get this invested in web comics, but you’ve killed my usual-ness and gotten me totally wrapped up in this

    Winona, I can’t tell if I like panel 2 or 6 better right now, there’s just so  much feeling and everything in each (like Maven’s glasses, and her chin, and eyes and eyelashes! and the values range!  But then Decon’s like whole face, his expression, and how we can see his eyebrows angled without super angling and everything, just oh god!  Your art has me fan-gasming yet again.)

    Ethan R.  – If you see this, I love you.  That quote made me fangirl so hard.  Alex got it right, you got Superhero status man, Superhero status.

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Hehe. Thank you, Nan (Deanna). :)

  • http://twitter.com/metacarpi sleuthed

    omg I really want her to make him kill Jeff but he won’t of course but yeah. would be good drama.

    • Miyu_chan

      I have a feeling that’s what she’s going to say T_T  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BBHOWFDLZLECVVMJZBJH6FHR7U Toki

    Oh man, you can tell she was just waiting for that. “I’ll do anything!” “Anything, you say?”

    I wonder why Deacon is so fixated on being a good soldier. Surely he’s seen that being a soldier means being a pawn in the hands of the corporation that made him, so why does he want to continue being one? 
    I wonder how much of that is himself and how much of it is his programming. He was built as a soldier of course, so maybe he’s incapable of seeing outside that box at the moment.
    But then again, people volunteer for military service everyday, for their own reasons. I’ve never understood them, so I doubt I could understand Deacon in this instance.

    • wasEnkidu

      Because it’s what he was made to be. For Deacon, the meaning of life is not some big mystery, it is “Be a good soldier.”
      It’s not that he has no choice, he does have an amount of free will that is staggering in a military appliance. But if he chose to be anything else then they have no reason to keep him anymore. If he’s not a good soldier that leads to complete rejection by his creators, his society and everything he knows;  followed by death.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BBHOWFDLZLECVVMJZBJH6FHR7U Toki

        I agree with you, but I wonder if he’ll reach a point of self-awareness that he realizes he doesn’t -need- to be their pawn. (Though the recharging issue might be a problem. I wonder if he can plug into a standard outlet, or if he needs a special machine. That might be a good way to control future AIs, should more become sentient…)

  • http://twitter.com/lilianajoo Liliana Joo

    I actually haven’t seen a character thus far that I purely disliked. Thank you, Mr. Woolfson, for you have changed my opinion on that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_M4UNUNBBI3JFHQ76SLIHCI6Y3A December

    Hm I have a really bad feeling about where this is going… I have to wonder if this is all just part of her preplanned script, or if Maven’s really made that decision and now Deacon’s behaviour might really change the course of things…

  • akagenki

    Just to clarify: as much I detest Maven, I would certainly not take her out of this comic. The story could never be all it is without her and I’d never have gotten into Artifice this much without her. I admit that freely.

    • wasEnkidu

      A story is only as strong as its villain. Without something powerful or intimidating to overcome, the victory or personal growth of the hero is worth little.

  • Brittany Brain

    OMG THOSE FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
    SO AWESOME

    Wow is Maven serious or is she trying to get something out of Deacon.
    This comic is so suspenceful.

  • AnimeBlade

    Deacon why would you say that!?
    Who else thinks his proof of being a ‘good’ soldier will be to kill Jeff or something of the like?

    • wasEnkidu

      *Raises hand sadly* :(

    • http://profiles.google.com/anne.agramm Anne Agram

      *raises hand enthusiastically from popcorn bag*

      *notices spilt popcorn*
      Nooooooo….

    • Ryn

      *raises hand*

    • qu_gon_robot

      Over here :(

  • Andr913

    Oh Maven, you bitch.

    I think you’re strangely hilarious, but you’re a bitch.

  • Andr913

    Oh Maven, you bitch.

    I think you’re strangely hilarious, but you’re a bitch.

  • Finzz

    I would have loved to see Mavens face in panel 5, just to have so many sides of her in one page.  Much more dramatic this way though, loving the suspense…and hating it!!

    She’s doing her job, and she’s damn good at it with a personality like that, but I’d like to see a job description of what exactly it is she does and what her duties are.  The perfect picture of a character you love to hate, no doubt.

    • wasEnkidu

      I think we are all slowly being introduced to why she no longer takes human clients.

  • Cydalima

    Oh, I have such a bad feeling about this… :/ Gorgeous, as always!

  • XXX XXX

    Deacon knows 1,293 methods of torture using his hands alone. I wonder if he’ll have to use any on Jeff…

  • wasEnkidu

    Deacon engage panic mode. Holy cra-HE HAS A PANIC MODE? O.o He really must be going above his parameters here! I can’t imagine building an android soldier to feel panic or fear his own death like this.
    And THIS is the page where Dr. Maven finally falls a few notches in my esteem. :(
    She’s manipulating Deacon into killing Jeff! I can’t imagine that the company would show him any mercy if he wasn’t able to bring himself to do it, either. So as much as I want to believe this could be an elaborate test to see how human he’s become, I can’t. She already admitted that there was fascinating data to be had from him studying him, but that it wasn’t worth the cost of keeping a killbot who didn’t follow his orders.

    In an only partially-related note, I think I’ll add Killbot to the Artifice dictionary that I’m working on. I seem to recall that others have used it to refer to Deacon.

  • Ryn

    uh-oh

  • Hyperminimalism

    Deacon’s just promised something he’ll regret; I can tell.  As some other have mentioned, Dr. Maven will definitely use Deacon to her benefit.  For what reason, however, is yet to be seen. :D

  • qu_gon_robot

    Whyyy Deacon whyyy, what about THE POWER OF LOVE?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jennifer-Bishop/1746401527 Jennifer Bishop

    Deacon gets more and more human with every panel.  Makes me forget he’s an android.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J7W4JMZ6MXCVA6KKCFVAMW44OU Summer

    Personally, I think I agree with everyone else here in that Maven is now going to make him kill and probably torture our beloved lustrous-locked Jeff.  Professionally?  It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to deconstruct him, killbot tendencies or no.  If NoNeCo is anything like a great many other organizations that have been in the news operating what has been proven to be defective machinery (I’m looking at YOU, BP), they’re looking to cut and save on costs wherever they can.  Maven, I’m betting, was assigned to him not only to find out what was going through his handsome metallic head during the DV4 mission, but to determine if there was a way, ANY way, to salvage him and what it took to give Deacon life.

    Though from the fairly pissy way Maven was acting up until panel 3 (which I’m going to get to in a minute), one wonders if Deacon, during his actions to save Jeff, killed whoever was foolish (brave) enough to actually bed the good doctor.  Some of her spite seems a bit more than professional witness-badgering.  I can understand her potential impatience with Deacon’s attempts to sway her to his way of thinking, but it’s always seemed slightly too excessive to be pure disdain at his methods.

    …now having said all that, even though she started once again referring to him with his designation instead of his name in the prior pages…does anyone else notice that in panel 3 she not only USES his name, but apologizes to him for her decision?!  Dear Maven, make up your mind.  He’s either a machine and you shouldn’t care whether or not you’re sentencing him to destruction, or he’s an inhuman being that you’re condemning to death.  

    This an emotionally gut-wrenching page.  Well done.

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Thank you very much, Summer. :)

  • http://silentlark.tumblr.com/ Wonderland

    Deacon’s desperation is delicious. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to see the next page.

  • yellowrock

    I bet she does make him try to kill Jeff, but then Deacon and Jeff find a way to escape.

    And I gotta say, Deacon’s face looks a bit odd in that last panel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dkkauwe Daniel Kauwe

    Oh for gods’ sake people, have more faith in Deacon.  Surely if he can overcome his initial orders to kill Jeff he can work his way out of this situation.  I recall Maven being curious/surprised that Deacon directly disobeyed his instructions to kill everyone, and she also seemed curious/surprised that Deacon seemed to have come up with a pretty weak excuse to do so.

  • the_duck

    I see what she’s doing there. :D:D

  • keisha prioleau-martin

    Why do I feel as if shes going to ask for something?
    BTW Deacon’s face doesnt look convincing but ill get over.

  • Amerou

    Panel 5:

    Maven: . o O ( Hook, line, sinker. )

  • http://twitter.com/PockyPuck Meghan

    Ohhhhohohoho, now that is the action of a woman who is dangling bait.  She didn’t have to tell him what she was going to do–in fact, even if she just wanted to be sadistic, she could have hinted or smirked and left him to speculate.  She is dragging this out for some reason.

    …Ilovehersneer. <3

  • jen hemstreet

    lol sorry but i just have to point out, this is page 69. 

  • jen hemstreet

    what if in order to prove hes a good soldier, he is forced to kill jeff. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BFUFQTQJJXDJJDICVGRLIYIW64 My lifei

    Oh, no, this can’t be good. Will he be forced into a suicide mission – one too tough for humans, but not for him? Will he be stranded somewhere – alive – and have to slowly wait to die as his battery runs out? Or will there be something to do with Jeff in his near future – I’m assuming he’s not going to have to kill Jeff, given he’s a human, but the guy -was- going to be killed a couple of months ago -anyway-, so…

    Oh, so many directions this could go~!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=749628191 Fatuma Hydara

    Oh, the facial expressions are absolutely STUNNING!

  • Eric Jones

    Oh what a lovely shade of bitch she’s wearing!

  • MaeveG

    I just want to say thank you for presenting a webcomic of such a high caliber; well plotted, compellingly scripted, and beautifully rendered.  One that I never find trite or boring. I read four different webcomics, a few of which are very well known and popularly touted as excellent work, and this is the only one that always feels as though it was written by an adult, with more on his mind than just sex and shock.  Obviously, there are redeeming characteristics for the other comics I read (I’d give up on them otherwise) but Artifice stands head and shoulders above the rest.

    As a life-long fan of psychology, I truly enjoy the complex thought processes you give to your characters, Alex.  Also, Winona’s art routinely astonishes me.  Maintaining such continuous quality is extremely difficult work, I know, and the fluidity of the visual storytelling is perfectly harmonious with the story.  Thank you so much for sharing with all of us, including poor little nobodies like me.

    By the way, I love the development of the story!  I’m eagerly looking forward to more.

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Wow. Thank you so much for such kind words, MaeveG! :D I’m really glad to hear you appreciate what we’re trying to do here—tell a grown-up sci-fi story for other grown-ups. (And, well, for me, also having the opportunity to create the kind of story I always wanted to see.)

      You’ve put this big smile on my face. Thank you! :D

  • HoneyThistle

    …why do I get the very nasty feeling that Deacon’s going to end up having to kill his lover in order to prove he’s still worth something to his creators…?

    • mikakitten

      I agree!! I have that feeling too ;_; nuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!

    • Ryn

      or watch Jeff be executed without interfering. that was the second scenario i thought of. I’m just hoping he’s not suggesting he kill Jeff. that seems…

  • http://profiles.google.com/ninelegyak Alan Williams

    A note on presentation:  Would it be possible to replace the “Random” button with an “Archive” button?  Sometimes I don’t visit for a few weeks at a time, and end up having to reverse through pages I haven’t seen yet.  Besides, does anyone even use the “Random” button?

    • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

      Hey Alan!

      Some folks do use the Random button (and have talked about some of the fun it’s brought them in the comments), but it’s not a bad idea to replace it with an Archives link. Let me think about it. :)

      In the meantime, you might not have noticed, but there is an Archives link in the top menu above on every page, so if you are looking for a way to not reverse through pages, that might be something you can use for the time being.

      Hope that helps!

  • aquadrago

    Romeo and Juliet ended up dead. This could be a tragic romance, but Deacon has shown that he will go to great lengths for Jeff. Should Deacon betray Maven? (Well Duhhh)

    Maybe Deacon can just stall until a sane person enters the plot and takes Maven to the veterinarian to be put to sleep. It’s better than such a dog  deserves, but I still want to watch.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J7W4JMZ6MXCVA6KKCFVAMW44OU Summer

    I probably should have said this earlier, but here I am, camping nervously.

    • Kel Z

      Hotdogs on a stick time! :: plops down :: I love camping!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J7W4JMZ6MXCVA6KKCFVAMW44OU Summer

        Dude, pass one over.  I have not had a hotdog in ages!

  • http://webcomics.yaoi911.com/ Alex Woolfson

    And here I am, with an early work day tomorrow, thinking strongly about posting the next page early… :)

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AJUHDYHMSGTLC6CTQYV64PSIJQ Blitzava

      AUUUUUUUUGH just admit it, you don’t WANT me to ever get to bed friday and tuesday nights!!!!! Now I’ll never be able to sleep until it’s posted -_-

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_J7W4JMZ6MXCVA6KKCFVAMW44OU Summer

      You are a tease!  You know we’ll never object to you posting early or more often!

  • Superjenny

    ~giggle~  Page 69…  XD

    • SolrSurfr3

      Pffft *giggle-snort*
      Oh great, your immaturity is contagious! P:

      • Superjenny

        Glad I could be of service!  =3

  • SolrSurfr3

    Deacon, where exactly are you going with this…? 0_0

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GIRBDGJATX6535WYBFTMY7HMTI Grianne

    This was so hard to read. Deacon’s pitiful pleading, the look of sheer TERROR in his eyes, his unnaturally submissive body language… Wonderfully done. Well and truly heart-wrenching.

  • Lindsey Amethyst Hampton

    On a reread, it occurs to me that Maven was planning on getting EXACTLY this type of reaction from Deacon, she just didn’t expect what happened after.

Comic Rank