Read transcripts of this page in different languages:

PANEL 3:

A) MAVEN: DEACON, YOU ARE NOW IN ROOM G713. WHILE IN THIS ROOM, YOU MAY TAKE ONLY TWO ACTIONS -- YOU MAY SPEAK AND YOU MAY TRIGGER THE MECHANISM THAT WILL TERMINATE THE TARGET. NOTHING ELSE.

B) MAVEN: HAVE I MADE MYSELF CLEAR?

PANEL 4:

B) DEACON: I KNOW WHY I'M HERE, DOCTOR.

C) DEACON: AND YES, THESE INSTRUCTIONS, AS WELL AS THE MULTITUDE OF OTHER COMMANDS YOU'VE GIVEN ME OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS, HAVE BEEN VERY CLEAR. THERE IS NO NEED TO REPEAT THEM.

PANEL 5:

D) MAVEN: FORGIVE MY DILIGENCE, DEACON, BUT I AM WELL AWARE OF YOUR ABILITY TO... CREATIVELY INTERPRET ORDERS.

English transcript submitted by Alex Woolfson on

PANEL 3

A) MAVEN: DEACON, SIE BEFINDEN SICH JETZT IN RAUM G713. SOLANGE SIE HIER SIND, IST ES IHNEN ERLAUBT, NUR ZWEI AKTIONEN AUSZUFÜHREN -- SIE DÜRFEN SPRECHEN UND SIE DÜRFEN DEN MECHANISMUS AUSLÖSEN, DER DAS ZIEL AUSLÖSCHEN WIRD. NICHTS SONST.

B) MAVEN: HABE ICH MICH DEUTLICH AUSGEDRÜCKT?

PANEL 4

B) DEACON: ICH WEIß, WARUM ICH HIER BIN, DOKTOR.

C) DEACON: UND JA, DIESE ANWEISUNGEN, GENAU WIE DIE VIELZAHL DER ANDEREN BEFEHLE, DIE SIE MIR IN DEN VERGANGENEN TAGEN GEGEBEN HABEN, WAREN SEHR DEUTLICH. ES GIBT KEINEN GRUND, SIE ZU WIEDERHOLEN.

PANEL 5

D) MAVEN: VERZEIHEN SIE MEINE SORGFALT, DEACON, ABER MIR IST IHRE FÄHIGKEIT BEFEHLE... KREATIV ZU INTERPRETIEREN, SEHR WOHL BEWUSST.

German transcript submitted by ckazka on

Artifice Page 77

Oh, Jeff… Dude

All right… Deep breath. First off, there will be a bonus page on Wednesday. I’d like to send out a special thanks and a warm welcome to new supporter Thomas M. for their generous donation this week!

Also, a big hug goes out to long-time Artifice superfriend Larisa V. for their super-generous $25 donation! Thank you, Larisa!

And… as I’ve mentioned in the comments before, it was my goal to make sure I could tell a complete story arc as a webcomic by writing a shorter sci-fi story with a clear beginning, middle and end. And we’re now finally beginning the last scene of Artifice. Hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I started posting these pages up! And I have to say that you all, with your thoughtful comments and brilliant insights, have made the whole journey a tremendous pleasure. Having the opportunity to tell this kind of story, the kind of story I’ve always wanted to tell, and find that that there are others out there who actually would want to read it… Well, it’s tremendously gratifying. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. :)

But it’s not over yet! So… what do you think is going to happen? Will Deacon go through with this devil’s bargain with Maven? Will Jeff be able to talk him out of it? Will they even be allowed to speak to each other? It will all be revealed over the next several pages. Hope to see y’all on Wednesday!


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  • Momo_Shikiro

    His hair! D: its gone! NUUUUUUUUUUU! Damn. Now I have to wait for more XD it’s so addictive XD

  • qui-gon-robot

    Omfg last scene? There shall be KILLAGE *Q* my troper senses never let me down!

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

    Initially, I thought, somehow, that it was DEACON on the bed, not Jeff.  Holy cow, hair does make the person.  Also, this is a horrible cliffhanger to leave us on until Weds!  ARGH!  If it weren’t for the fact that I just witnessed how a different hairstyle can change one’s appearance, I’d tear my OWN hair out!

    • tom1988

      Same thoughts about everything but the hairstyle. I think short hair is really attractive most of the time.

  • B_u_b

    Toooo muchhhh suspenseeeeeee 

    and what happened and will happen to Jeff? D:

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

    LAST SCENE???!!!!!!!!
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
    PLS PLS PLS this must go on. I want to see them grow old together. I want to see them talk together in normal circumstances, and laugh, and make love, and have adventures.
    I so much don’t like the idea of this ending. Why does it have to? Hasn’t it gone beyond your original vision, haven’t all the readers shown they see more than an arc in your story? How about Artifice 2: The Return of the Droid? Or something like that…

    • tom1988

      I prefer A2: Jeff Strikes Back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1096996726 Anne Staszalek

    ::sitting and waiting until wednesday, firmly believing in the NEED for a happy ending, trying not to be fatalistic::

    ::still trying::

    … really really trying….

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

    *flips table* They… cut… his… HAIR!? Those bastards!…. But for real, I can’t believe Artifice is drawing to an end! :(  Man, I don’t see how this is going to have a happy ending. I’m so nervous to see the outcome and I honestly can’t say whether I think Deacon WILL or WON’T go through with this awful deal.

    • qui-gon-robot

      Table flipping FTW! >:D YARG
      Disqus would be x1000000 more awesome if we could insert rage faces.

      • wasEnkidu

         (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ DOES THIS HELP!?

        • qui-gon-robot

          ┬─┬ノ( º _ ºノ) meep

        • ErykaSoleil

          That is awesome. I love it. :)

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

      Heh, drawing to an end. I can’t be the only one to notice that pun.

  • samae

    *asplodes*

  • Hikaru Segura

    Oh, Jef… I want to cry …

    • Hikaru Segura

       awww… sorry, Jeff*

  • tom1988

    I suppose I’ll never know how much he creatively interpreted her instructions in their bed together over the last few nights. And I don’t want to know the hell those pigs put Jeff through.

    But way to raise the stakes to the extreme, Alex. This mind game is dark and beautiful.

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

      Thank you, tom1988. :)

  • ErykaSoleil

    AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!111!!!!!ONE!!!!!!!TWO!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/christina_handt Christina Handt

    I have a feeling that Deacon has given up hope of being with Jeff again, but just wanted one last moment with him. I think Deacon will put himself up for destruction after not “being able to” (read: never intended to) finish his mission. Then Jeff will be set free and Deacon’s memory will forever be in Jeff’s heart.

    That’s a realistic scenario in my mind :)

    You do not seem like a fairytale-writer, so I doubt it will be a lovefilled-Deacon-being-a-saving-hero-ending. Your story is always filled with a alot of realism and exciting turns and twists.

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

      Thank you, Christina. And I think that’s a very sweet, sad ending you’ve come up with. :)

  • LeiseFlustern

    Oh no!!! His beautiful hair!!!

  • ErykaSoleil

    And with my earlier response out of my system (for the most part), I like that I seem to have gotten my wish for a teal suit-and-eye-color match (or close enough to it, anyway). <3

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

      Yes. Winona and I had a little chuckle about your on-the-nose comment about Maven’s color choice. ;)

      • W Nelson

        Hehe yep!  Good call, Eryka!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Christian-Ashlar/184104651 Christian Ashlar

    Interesting…she said “you may trigger the mechanism that will terminate the target” but she did NOT say “and use it ONLY on the target, Jeff” nor did she say “and the ONLY target CAN BE Jeff” – lots of room there for interpretation.

    • ErykaSoleil

      But if it’s a bomb or poison or something else directly linked to Jeff, Deacon may not get too much sway there.

  • B_u_b

    Deacon.. please use your ‘creativity’ to get out off this please. I don’t think you dare kill Jeff with your own hand. Do that and you will regret for your entire robotic life!
    [Sorry I am really into this]

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

      It’s very gratifying to me to see you’re so into it, B_u_b. :)

      • B_u_b

        you can just call me bub.. i use b_u_b because bub was already taken :D

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

          Oh, OK, I see—I’ll do that! :D

  • RustyBurrell

    I suspect trickery on the level of ‘that’s not really Jeff in that bed’

    • ErykaSoleil

      They’re pranking Deacon. ;)

  • fujoshifanatic

    *Blinks hard* Oh…so many feelings right now…I can’t…that poor boy…why?…I need to go lie down right now…must process…*stumbles away from camp*

  • Momo_Shikiro

    Uh-oh…. When you say final pages, how many are we talking? 1-10, or more? ._. I’m afraid to find out……

  • AnyOtaku

    When i saw the first pannel I though that Deacon will have to help to kill one of the androids that are like him, but after seeing a few comments I guess it has to be Jeff, but… I keep seeing Deacon. Jeff, where’s is your hair? Without it I can’t even recognise you!! Sniff. Also they said he was alive but he looks KIND of dead, poor little thing…
    And what will Deacon do? He HAS to save Jeff!! Seriously, if one of them die I’ll be in a depression for a year!! They have to end up loving each other with a passionate kiss!

  • http://twitter.com/PockyPuck Meghan

    *deeeeeeeep breath*

    *and another*

    *and another*

    Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnaaaaaaggggghhhhhhh not workinggggggg ;_; JEFF NO.  His poor abused self!  Deaconnnnnnnnnn!

  • ErykaSoleil

    Have we all been so anxious and suspense-filled that nobody’s done any fan art lately? (Not that I could offer any up–I’d have to do stick figures of Deacon and Jeff frolicking through fields of pink daisies.)

    • Aikka

      That’s true ^-^”

      I failed again and no fanart from me under that page…
      because simply…
      it is not so easy to draw a fan-art now,
      with all what is happening in the comic… ;-;

      • ErykaSoleil

        But dark times are exactly when you need happy/comic/uplifting things.

        • Aikka

          Why i wasn’t informed i got a reply >.<""

          I know, and many times that's what you want to draw when there are but.. this time it was different o–o"

          anyway i doodled something finaly – but not much-  xD should be under one of the next pages soon i think o.o

  • Ayella

    Oh Jeff

  • wasEnkidu

    Holy God…
    I didn’t even recognize him. Jeff… Oh Jeff what did they do to you?
    ;_; they cut his hair…
    I have nothing pithy or snarky to say to this. They want Deacon to kill a guy who is so unarmed that he’s hospitalized?? You could not get farther from a fair fight. But then… If he’s able to actually kill the one he loves under THESE conditions than it pretty much effectively shows them that he’s emotionless again.

    I just can’t see any happy way out of this. One of them is going to die.
    Alex, you’ve managed to bring me to tears. It doesn’t help that I’ve been bummed out for a few hours already. It’s just so frustrating and hopeless that you actually made me cry out loud, which is something I’m hardwired to try and avoid doing.

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

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been bummed out, Enkidu, and I’m sending you a sincere hug.

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

       I’m sorry you’re feeling bummed out. Now sending virtual ice cream and cookies your way ;)

      Hopefully, the ending I’m imagining happens. For sure, I know what some of my roleplaying game characters would do in this situation, since they’ve faced something like it.

      Maven said nothing about what Deacon could do outside of that room. Provided he doesn’t try to harm those corporate types, only to talk to them, I don’t imagine anyone will use Deacon’s command codes to send him back into the hospital room.

      When my characters tried that tactic, some didn’t achieve their goals. Others did. Some took the situation in a
      direction the corporation couldn’t have predicted in a million years.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/circasassy/ Boweneer

    Oh my … I’m speechless. I hate this powerlessness. Please find a way out Deacon. Anything.

  • AeeDee

    Ooo. Fantastic page. I’m sitting here on the edge of my seat.

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

      Thank you, AeeDee. :)

  • catyra

    Omg, can’t take the wait! And what did they do to Jeff’s pretty hair :(

  • grinsekatze

    I know that there is actually something really dramatic and exciting going on, but all I could think of was: “NOOO his beautiful hair!!!!!!” Maybe I should work on myself. I have a feeling I am too shallow from time to time xD

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

      I don’t think you’re shallow. I suspected folks would have a reaction to that… ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001135588578 Ellie Patrick

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLAEAS PLEASEPLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SAVE JEFF DEACON! OMG HIS HAIR TO!!! D: D: D: D:

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mikal-Rowse/100000890463266 Mikal Rowse

    OR MAYBE JEFF WAS A DEACON ALL ALONG.

    I dunno, that’s the only reason I can come up with as to why he looks identical now to the other androids. Or that that isn’t Jeff in bed at all, but a very convincing dummy- Maven did say, “what if we decided not to kill him?”

    I think Jeff survives this ordeal. I remember the advertisement where he wakes up in bed all confused, so I’m pretty sure that was a little excerpt from the comic, since that scene hasn’t happened yet.

    And wow, almost over already? Short story, even if it has been about a year. I was expecting a very, very long tale.

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

      What you suspect may be true, but I think the image of Jeff in bed you saw in the ad is from the second panel of page 40. :)

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

    D:

  • http://www.facebook.com/mandy.aspen Mandy Kiturtle Aspen

    AGGGHH! Why are you doing this to us! It’s torture! TORTURE! I kind of like Jeff better with the short hair, but he doesn’t look in very good shape overall. DARN YOU! I don’t want this comic to end! I WANT MORE! Not just one more scene! I still hold hope that Deacon will put love first somehow. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

  • yellowrock

    It’s not /really/ Jeff, just a dummy of sorts.  They’ve decided to keep Jeff for whatever reason, and are using this as a test of Deacon’s loyalty.  Or maybe Deacon himself is a test to try to make the cyborgs more human, and be able to experience love and other emotions, in which case killing the dummy would count as a failure of the test.

    Or I’m completely wrong, either way.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/62KZNJIFG4POK5VV7YP4X5GQCU Tommy

    Your work is amazing! The drawing as much as the story… and as for the story:

    NO DEACON DON’T DO IT!!!! :-o

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

      Thank you, Tommy—much appreciated! :)

  • C K

    *Jesus*.

    I know I called it that Jeff was going to look awful, but seeing him just makes me sad.  Especially the hint of injuries under his wrist cuff — it leaves me wondering if whatever was done became too much and he tried to end it himself, which is just heartbreaking.  I’m not sure we’ll find out exactly what was done to him and I’m not sure I want to know.

    In some strange way, I’m glad Maven is continuing to be smart about this.  She’s made this as straightforward and safe for herself as possible, and surrounded herself with people.  Presumably they all also know Deacon’s codes as well — can’t take too many risks when he has a history of going on a rampage.

    Still.  I’m left with a sinking, foreboding feeling about this — I had assumed Jeff would be conscious, maybe assumed there would be less people around.  I honestly don’t know if there is a way around what Deacon’s been handed.  Unless he just breaks down and says “I can’t”, I don’t know where this could be headed so that Jeff doesn’t get killed.

    So: wonderful comic, as always, but I am left with a very strong feeling of dread about what’s to come.

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

      Thank you, C K, for the props and your thoughtful comment. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Planetes_Aster Maeglin Bashimoto

    Jeff’s hair is gone – noooooooo ! It better come back somehow, like in a ”flash forward” or something. And now the serious stuff…
    Poor little Jeff! God knows what he’s went through… And the suspense is killing me, I can’t wait for Wednesday. Good thing I’m busy these days so it’ll keep me distracted.

  • Krondor2000

    This makes no sense. Why did they harmed Jeff to the point that he is now lying in bed in a comatose state? What danger does he poses to the corporation? I’m sorry Alex, but this scene makes me sad and angry that we do not have an answer of why the order of massacre occurred on the colonists. It just doesn’t make any sense.

    • crimsonkiss22

      It’s perfectly fine to be sad and angry as a story progresses. Just bear in mind that these things will likely be explained to us over the next several pages. I’m not sure what kind of threat Jeff poses to the corporation, or if they just meant to make an example of him as the last surviving colonist of Da Vinci Four. That seems the most likely to me. 

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

    shorn hair is never a good sign…definitely curious to see where this train wreck is going…

  • Falconfly

    Now that he’s going to do it I’m so rooting for the totalitarian bitch. Unless there’s a pleasant surprise.

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

    Maven continues to be very, very savvy, which I appreciate.  I’m actually a little worried about what’s going to happen to poor Jeff.  I didn’t even recognize him at first!  ;-;  I guess that we’ll find out about the colonists and why they were supposed to be killed through Jeff.  I predict that by the end of this, Jeff will be begging Deacon to kill him and we’ll all be tearfully begging for the same.  *sheds a premature tear*

  • http://twitter.com/Its_me_Alis Alis~~

     Oh God! I’m in Brazil and well it’s Carnival here and before I go out to enjyoy the sun and all th fun I had to come here and read the new page! And I’m squeeing! And incoherent! I can’t think of a good comment to make, all I can think is NEXTPAGENEXTPAGENEXTPAGE!

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

      Heh. Next page up in less than 4 days. And Carnival? That does sound like a lot of fun! :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OXPDZNZ3FTN6UW4AS7F33Q4U4U AeryonSun

    No!!! Jeff’s hair!!!

  • crimsonkiss22

    That is… painful to see. Says a lot about your talent, sir, that you’ve managed to make me care so much about these characters. Looking at Jeff, shorn hair, bruised, bloodied, helpless, I can’t imagine Deacon actually going through with ending his life.

    That doesn’t mean that I’ll be entirely surprised if he does, though. Deacon might even convince himself it’s a mercy for Jeff to be killed quickly. He appears to have been put through a tremendous amount of pain and torture. Deacon might see it as an act of loving Jeff to end his life.

    Again, I’m a fan of hopeful, or even unhappy endings. But in this case, I’m rooting for the happy.

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

      Thank you. crimsonkiss22; I’m glad to hear that you care so much about Jeff and Deacon. :)

      And as for myself, I almost always root for happy endings… Even if I recognize that’s not always possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1359661748 James Smith

    I could be wrong, but it more seems like Deacon in the bed, and the test to is to make sure he can kill when ordered to.  As much as I think that is Jeff, it doesn’t look like it in anyway.   I do feel that this is a test of some kinda and if Deacon can pass the test they Jeff will come along somehow.  If he fails, Deacon may be the one that will be killed off…

    • ErykaSoleil

      That would require a fake Jeff here, though. And if Deacon passed by killing the fake Jeff, the real Jeff might be a little pissed that Deacon still did it.

  • Spirited_Dreamer

    Did Maven’s eye color change or do her eyes simply reflect the color of the outfit she wears? I know people in reality whose eyes really do that. On another note…the bruises are simply amazing. As painful an image it is, I cannot get over how detailed and real those bruises are. I must have gone back up  half a dozen times to just explore and examine those bruises and abrasions (and Maven’s eyes because I swear they were like a violet before and now they look kind of green).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Levi-Lowrey/1660492637 Levi Lowrey

       You are not wrong, Maven’s eye were the same color as her earlier dress(or at least close) and now they match this one

      • W Nelson

        They did change…  Maven is very detail oriented with her accessories :)

        • Spirited_Dreamer

          I am so glad I caught that detail!

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

      I think Winona did an awesome job with those bruises too. When I first got this colored page, I couldn’t stop staring at them…

  • LaSalvi

    Oooh, I was dead sure it was another android in the bed XD

    He looks A LOT like Deacon right now. 

  • Momo Javrotsky

    Oh god oh god oh god ;__; *hugging teddy bear VERY tightly*

  • Yukiness

    Oh god, I can barely look at this page now. I knew something like this was coming but…

    I just can’t, it hurts too much

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1266425104 Kelsie Snyder

    Oh dear lord…. No… Please, no! How could they strip him of his dignity like that? It isn’t fair!
    Will Jeff even wake up befoe whatever happens happens? Will they get to share one last tender moment? Oh god, it’s all too much!

    Please let there be a happy, love-filled ending, though I get the impression that for that to happen, more blood must be spilled.
    ;_;

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

    Grrrr… What have they done to Jeff!? What possible reason is there? I figured they’d interrogate him and either kill him or let him go? And who are the assholes in the window, with their smug self-satisfied faces! *rages* And you, Maven! What’s with the wardrobe change?

    That does it. I’m figuring out a way to transplant myself into this comic and I’m rescuing Jeff my damn self. Sad to say I don’t trust Deacon anymore.

  • tom1988

    “It’s too bad he won’t live,” said Maven, folding a little origami Jeff, “but then again, who does?”

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

      Nice reference. :)

    • ErykaSoleil

      What is that referencing? I feel like I should know it.

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

        Blade Runner.

  • tom1988

    The arseholes are good for one thing though. They will look cool in the next page or so when Winona uses a lovely perspective to capture them. But yeah I share your pain completely and sympathise with everyone.

    Actually I trust Deacon and even Maven (fanboying aside). I can’t help but hope against all odds that she has some trick up her sleeve. At the very least I believe she is sorry for those two and just isn’t saying it.

    Do let me know if you manage to transcend the fictional barrier so I can do the same and errr…. rescue Maven from her evil employers.

    edit: Stupid disqus. That was a reply to Alex S obviously.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Don’t forget your guitar, so you can serenade Maven after you’ve rescued her. :)

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

      Yeah, that’s one thing I love about this comic. I’m not sure where to place my trust. Deacon could have some last ditch plan and Maven may or may not help him. Even Jeff might have some master scheme like some have been suggesting. I have so many ideas as to what could happen next that I don’t completely trust ANY of the characters anymore, except maybe Jeff considering the state he’s in. Lol, I came expecting a romance and wound up watching a thriller.

      PS: I’m kinda hoping those two guards from the beginning bust through the doors and kick everyone’s ass and scoop Jeff up.

      PPS: The only way I know how to transcend fictional barriers is through writing fanfics. But I’m working on more effective means.

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

        I think it would be awesome if Bob and Roy burst in to save the day. That’s a scene I’d like to see.

  • thewebdevil

    “While in this room…”  hmmm  haha!  Since some very important people are in the next room, I would suspect that Deacon can use some of his creative logic to obtain some pretty good bargaining chips.  Maybe they can make it out after all!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristi-Schoenhaar/100003523327316 Kristi Schoenhaar

    Hello. I’ve been reading this comic for a while now, but I’ve yet to comment.

    So, since I’ve not commented before, I’ll start this off with a complement. That is, as one of the very few readers who has no interest in the sexual features of Artifice, I can tell you I enjoy the writing quite a lot.
     
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with sex between two consenting adults, but I know a good few people who have enjoyed media simply because the characters are pretty.)

    Some of my most favorite scenes include the dumb guards interaction with Deacon, and Deacon’s nervous realization on page 49 that his actions during his mission conflicted with his good soldier’s design. Well, at least I interpret that page as if his skirting around the issue is him thinking, “Ohhhh. I’m seeing where I goofed. This isn’t looking so good for me, huh?”

    Finally the reason why I’m here: Oh my gosh THANK GOODNESS they cut that stupid hair of Jeff’s! I know this isn’t the reaction that picture should get out of me, but yay!

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

      Thank you, Kristi, for letting me know what you’ve been enjoying about Artifice. I love hearing specifics.

      And for me, the erotic scenes are part of the fun, but as I’ve said before, I see Artifice as a sci-fi story first and foremost so I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been enjoying it on that level. :)

  • Syanana

    Oh God… Jeff TT^TT

  • http://twitter.com/Eithne2204 Eithne2204

    OMG!! can’t believe it!! no way Deacon is gonna kill Jeff…that would be so horrible, so wrong! Please make a happy ending…I couldn’t deal with a sad one!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristi-Schoenhaar/100003523327316 Kristi Schoenhaar

    Oh! I also want to give props for making a therapist knowledgeable as one should be (especially in her position), if a bit volatile. It gets under my skin when therapists are made out to be dense in fictional media. The Departed comes to mind…

    Sure, Maven is less calm than a professional should be and sort of a jerk, but that’s the sort of person this corporation would hire!  

  • http://www.facebook.com/reinah Sherry Reina Hochbaum

    Is there any way to get a link to the latest page so that when I bookmark it, it will always take me to the current page? The homepage always takes me to the first page.

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

      There isn’t one button to do that, but from any comic page, you can always go to the most current page by hitting Shift-Right Arrow on your keyboard. Or you could also bookmark the Archives page as some have chosen to do.

      Hope that helps! :)

      • http://www.facebook.com/reinah Sherry Reina Hochbaum

        Yeah, I guess on most comics there’s sort of a home button which brings to the most current comic, so that current readers can always get there in 1-click from there bookmarks. Maybe something to think about for the future!

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

          It is a good idea and I know many other webcomics offer that functionality. Unfortunately my webcomic app, while awesome in many ways, doesn’t offer that feature. But I know it would be very popular so I’ll suggest it to the developer. :)

    • ErykaSoleil

      You can always hit “Last” at the bottom of the first page, too.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7JG6IJJRMTGOP55X47NF3DHEBU Ryan

    I kinda want him to kill Jeff…thats bad isnt it?

  • http://twitter.com/Jeshuea Felicia Phillips

    Awe I miss his hair…. Can see him kill Jeff then deactivate himself XD

  • http://www.facebook.com/ladykazumi Jamie Johnson

    mmm short hair ^.^

  • http://twitter.com/Lum_Cheng LumCheng

    Uh? That does not even look like Jeff. Not even a bit.
    Even if you cut his hair, he dun have black hair, right?
    This is weird…

    • ErykaSoleil

      I thought it was Deacon at first, or another D-model. But having cut my hair SUPER-short before, I can tell you that the hair right at your scalp is a little darker–it hasn’t had time to be bleached by light, dye, etc. And because it’s so short, the slightly darker color is more clustered together and catches light differently.

      I think his eyebrows look a little different from before, though. Maybe that’s just the angle? (Or maybe it’s a fake Jeff!)

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

         Another thing to keep in mind is that Jeff has clearly been battered and bruised.

        After a bicycle accident where I went headfirst over the handlebars onto concrete, my face was pretty swollen for a couple days, and I didn’t look much like me at all. I looked like some weird lumpy zombie! The swelling made me look much worse than I really was.

        The only lasting damage I did was bust out a front tooth (whole! All the student doctors and emergency dentists in the hospital came to oggle that!), hairline fracture my chin, and damage the cartilage in my TMJ. That kind of damage, once you’ve got a replacement tooth, and everything’s healed the best it can be without surgery, doesn’t change how you look all that drastically.

        Public safety announcement here: wear a helmet kids! If I hadn’t worn one, I would either be dead, or brain-damaged. No question! The foam in that helmet increased the duration of impact, and that reduced a very serious impact to one that (only) gave me a concussion and broke my jaw.

        • ErykaSoleil

          Very true. I’d totally forgotten about head injuries causing swelling. (And I’m glad you were wearing a helmet, Sharon.)

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

            Thanks Eryka! I’m glad I was wearing a helmet too. Most of the time, I didn’t bother, it was just luck that had me wearing my helmet that day. Thank goodness I did.

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

          Yikes! I’m also very glad you were wearing that helmet! Reading your response makes me want to send you hugs! :)

          • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

             Aw, thanks Alex! That accident was well over a decade ago, but it’s a story I think it’s important to share, in case it’ll help someone else decide to wear a helmet. :)

  • Winterlove

    Ok if he kills Jeff im not reading this anymore >:(

  • melinda stumpf

    hey cut his hair off and Deacon is going to save him if not the Army of fans I made will

  • Erica

    … hi… hi…. HIS HAIR! IS LUSCIOUS BEAUTIFUL HAIR THAT I WAS ABLE TO DRAW SO WELL!! NOW I CAN’T DRAW EITHER OF THE TWO!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! No more fan art from me ): BOOHOOHOOOOOO ; ^ ; on a sidenote! AWW i wanna kiss jeff’s face better!!! it’s so beat up and WAH ): 
    It needs to be “i understand your orders, very clearly… but let me have a moment alone before i obey them” ; ^ ; wahhhh Jeff!!!

  • Myrtu

    I assume Maven has turquoise nail polish on to match that suit of hers now.

    Maybe it’s the lack of beautiful hair, but I didn’t recognize Jeff. Or the angle. I’d like to see what’s to go on next. I hope this is a ‘decoy’, and Jeff is safer somewhere. I hope. :<

  • http://twitter.com/metacarpi sleuthed

    AWWW YEAH NOW IT’S GETTING INTERESTING

  • HoneyThistle

    Oh.  Good.  Gods.  
    Is heart-breakingly broken bit of humanity strapped down to that hospital bed really poor Jeff?
    …words cannot describe my disgust for those human-shaped THINGS in suits, sitting behind the glass, watching…

    • Ryn

       just imagine they’re strapped down and being skinned alive.  certainly makes me feel better.

  • Little Miss Perspicacious

    The… the last scene? No! This cannot be the last scene! Jeffy-poo has to recover and grow old with deacon!

  • Brittany Brain

    The last scene? NOOOO IT CANNOT END ; n ;

  • http://twitter.com/irenicPie Lucy

    JEFF NO ;_;

    AND WHERE IS YOUR BEAUTIFUL HAAAAAIR

    deacon i swear to god IF YOU KILL HIM I WILL KILL YOU

    • B_u_b

      Lets prepare rescue team!

  • ErykaSoleil

    Just out of curiosity, are you two planning to do another webcomic after this story wraps up? Or will I have to go stumbling about the internet listlessly, looking for something even a fraction as gripping and nerve-wracking?

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

      Aw, you’re a sweetheart, ErykaSoleil! I would love to work on another comic with Winona but, not surprisingly, she is a super popular, super busy, much in-demand artist and so that will depend on her availability, schedule, etc. Right now, our focus is to finish Artifice and get it ready for print. But like I said, I sure would love to work with Winona on another one! Her art is stunning, she spins gold out of the straw of my scripts and she’s a dream to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better collaboration. So, fingers crossed… :D

      Speaking for myself, I am working on another webcomic, actually a much longer webcomic, that I’ll start posting here once Artifice starts wrapping up. You can see some of the early character designs for it in this blog post. 

      It’s a much longer story and it starts off quite a bit lighter than Artifice did, but I think there are things you’ll enjoy in it, including a bit of the nerve-wracking once the plot gets cooking. I certainly hope you’ll stick around and let me know what you think of it! :)

      • ErykaSoleil

        Awesome! DeKraker isn’t Winona, but I guess he’ll do. ;)

        Is there an ETA for the Artifice printing? I would LOVE to have a copy of my own. (See how awesome you two are? You guys have me sold before I even know the ending!)

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

          Well, thank you, again! :) There is an ETA of sorts for the printing of Artifice.  Be on the look out for an announcement of a Kickstarter campaign in these very pages sometime in March… :D

        • tom1988

          I’m really glad you’ve asked these questions. I enjoyed reading the blog, especially the posts regarding Artifice and the new comic sounds great.

          I don’t know if you’ll like this but I’ve been following http://adistantsoil.com/2009/01/09/a-distant-soil-cover/ for a while now. Closest thing to Artifice I have for my intelligent science fiction gripping/nerve wracking story fix. http://www.freakangels.com/?p=23 looks lovely and surreal enough for my tastes but for some reason I haven’t read it yet although I understand it is complete.

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

            I have read all of Freakangels and really enjoyed it, actually. One of my favorites of Ellis’ work. And you can get it in print form if you prefer. Totally worth your time.

            As for A Distant Soil, it does look intriguing. Maybe I’ll have to check that one out. :)

  • Saberri

     I’m more heartbroken over the fact that Jeff’s head got shaved than the fact that he might be dead in the next few pages.

  • http://twitter.com/Brejar Brejar HowlynStar

    I hope you aren’t going to kill Jeff.

  • erunuo

    I’m really unhappy : (

  • xLizardx

    Nooooo! They cut off his hair! His beautiful HAIR! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • http://tetrakisses.tumblr.com/ Jupiter Lord

    I can’t! I just can’t go on! I won’t be able to click the “Next” button when it goes up! I just can’t witness it!

  • blupo

    Mr.Alex, somehow I remember you saying the page count of artifice was about..82 pages? It was so long ago and I’m not even sure if I’m correct or not, but somehow that number jumps out to me. Is..is that right?? 6__6

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

      Actually no. Even though I have revealed the page count elsewhere, the number isn’t 82. And I’ve deliberately refrained from repeating the page count here (and have removed it from the comments when I’ve found it) so it wouldn’t be a spoiler in any way. :)

      But I will say there are more than 82 pages to this comic.

  • qui-gon-robot

    Here’s some silly fan art of my favorite Artifice ship and crossover:
    http://qui-gon-robot.deviantart.com/art/Agent-Maven-285852806

    • ErykaSoleil

      Hahaha! That made me laugh. When I finally get back to loading photos up to my DA page, I shall stalk you there. :)

      • qu_gon_robot

        It’s a date!

        • ErykaSoleil

          It really is. I bookmarked you so I could easily find you again when I sign back into my DA. You’ll know it’s me. :)

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

      Cool! Thank you! :)

      • qui-gon-robot

        Hehe no problem.

  • Gaz Hawkins

    I think it’s a decoy, another “deacon” model and it’s to see if our deacon would kill him or not – but unless deactivated, deacons sensors should be able to detect that.

  • Yaoiequalslove

    Deacon! Don’t do it!! You love him, and he loves you!!! Don’t do eetttt! QmQ

  • Ryn

     holy crap they cut his hair! that i did not expect. everything else, oh yeah. though i did expect him to be conscience.

    *sighs* sad that this is almost over. really have enjoyed reading this and i’ll miss it when it’s gone. Even if the worst happens… but GOD do i hope the two of them manage to get away from this damn company.

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

      I’m glad to hear you’ve enjoyed reading the comic, Ryn. I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. :)

  • milo

    the truth. Deacon is a slut droid, he will follow orders and then find himself a new sex toy

  • eleutherios

    THEY CUT HIS HAIR

    THE BASTARDS

    D:

    KILL THEM ALL, DEACON

    • qui-gon-robot

      *joins in* THEY ARE PLANNING ON KILLING KENNY JEFF, THOSE BASTARDS!!

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    but…but his hair was so fabulous! how could you? noooo!!! *gross sobbing*
    if Deacon doesn’t save him and they run off together i’m going to cry

  • elijah elquest

    Romeo and Romeo!

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

    omg, this page makes me want to cry…

  • ErykaSoleil

    The words Deacon and Maven are choosing so carefully in the third and fourth panel give me hope that maybe I was right about the lovely doctor being a resistance fighter (or undercover agent). The “target” could just as easily be the corporate people behind the glass, for all we know. That would also explain her having to give Deacon the “multitude of other commands” that he mentions; if she just wanted/needed him to kill Jeff and be done with it, you’d think she could narrow it down by simply saying something along the lines of, “You are only allowed to speak, and kill Jeff. All other actions are forbidden.”
    I was close on the suit color, so maybe I got this at least partially-right, too. ;)

    • Lithekitty

       That’s an interesting idea. I hadn’t thought about that. I actually like that Idea.

    • neo_play

      I think you’re on to something! I also thought it interesting about the word choices, the other commands, and Maven clearing herself of any involvement with “creatively interpret orders”. I think this is gonna be good. :D

      p.s. Thanks Alex and Winona! I’ve been reading since October and I love it! XD

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

        You’re welcome, neo_play! Really glad to hear you’re enjoying it! :)

    • AllyssaC

      I hope you’re right.. I ship this idea too, though. Maven has been really careful about what she’s been telling Deacon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brittany-Hyde/1784483900 Brittany Hyde

    I miss his hair…. T_T

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OOZREC24TBHQEHSLTZFA6UW2ZU Sephi J

    Oh man, I had no idea it was going to end soon! I don’t know of my poor heart can take this though. I just can’t believe in cut and dry story-telling, as in he kills him story over. But all I know if I feel like I should avoid the story for a few weeks and hear from someone else if it ends good… otherwise I might find myself depressed if I check and it ends bad! 

  • mikakitten

    Eeek!!! Nooooo!! This is getting too sad…is that really Jeff? ;_; I wanna cry…please…nooooooo!!! Don’t kill Jeff, Deacon!! You can’t :'( …need more!! I shall return! <3 Wonderful work guys! x

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

      Thank you, mikakitten! :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W7TCY24F2ILZGSVJ32TJG4LJGU Jamie

    *sniff* OMG, the only other webcomic to make me cry like this is KaitoShuno! Ugh, I can’t believe they shaved Jeff’s head!  Deacon I hope you have a bazooka or at least a really good plan up your high-tech sleeves! 

  • LauraMacDonald

    I am disturbed by Jeff’s new hair cut, but more disturbing is knowing that Mavis owns that exact same pair of earrings in pink for her pink skirt-suit. 

    • tom1988

      The only Mavis I know has a very different vocation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulene.japitana Paulene Japitana

    I’m glad to get on board before it comes to an end. I was a little surprised to see it ending (it’s only been just one sitting so far for me lol), but if I think about it, it’s best not to drag a good story. But of all the luck, I end up on quite a cliffhanger page. Can’t wait for the update ^^,
    PS this web comic just made me giggle and blush so much. I learned a lot in reading this. I hope I can apply what I learned when I start my new comic.

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

      Thank you, Paulene. And good luck with starting your comic! :)

  • Enk Satsuma

    it’s almost over? It feels like the bulk of the story was just Deacon talking Mavis… that’s kind of disappointing

    • tom1988

      You just made me think of “Maven Beacon Teaches Typing”. That would rock.

      • ErykaSoleil

        You would be first in line, wouldn’t you tom? :)

        • tom1988

          Sadly I think I would be the line.

          • qui-gon-robot

            THE line?! XD

          • tom1988

            Well, unless you made it “Maven, Deacon & Jeff Teach Typing”. Then there might be one.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/K6UBXTK4ZGAHZRRWHCQZW6ZVNM Topsy Kretts

    The only outcome I can see from this is a Romeo/Juliet sort of ending… or else a really depressed Romeo because he has to give the poison. 

    If he does kill Jeff, it’d be interesting to see a follow up of how it destroys the humanity he had manage to build. O: Total voluntary destruction, because he couldn’t handle the pain. >D

    Kinda like what happened at the end of Black Plague. xD Except, instead of on accident, it was totally on purpose. Which makes it darker

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/K6UBXTK4ZGAHZRRWHCQZW6ZVNM Topsy Kretts

      Also, I love Jeff’s new haircut. xD Just saying. I think it’s a pivotal dramatic change and leaves a fantastic impact on the readers. 

    • ErykaSoleil

      Black Plague? Is that a movie, comic, book . . . ?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/K6UBXTK4ZGAHZRRWHCQZW6ZVNM Topsy Kretts

        Mistype, It’s the Black Death. xD I was thinking ‘Bubonic Plague!’ but couldn’t remember the movie name beyond ‘black’, so things mushed together.
        It’s a movie with Sean Bean. Pretty good one, actually. 

        • ErykaSoleil

          Ah, o.k., thank you for the correction. :) I found the movie “Black Death” on Google, and wasn’t sure if that was what you’d meant. I’ll go check it out now, thanks.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/K6UBXTK4ZGAHZRRWHCQZW6ZVNM Topsy Kretts

            xD No worries. Let me know if you liked it!

  • HoneyThistle

    Several things I’d like to note; it has been several days since Deacon’s debriefing, and we don’t really KNOW for sure what instructions Mavin has been giving Deacon in that time, and the way she’s speaking, so careful to avoid actually NAMING a target…  I have hope that perhaps this is not going to end quite as tragically as I initially thought.
    Also, Mavin’s eyes seem to match her current outfit, a BLUE dress suit.  I wondered about her eye color when she first entered the story, with her lavender eyes…  Seems either contacts or some other means of changing eye-color is alive and well in the future.
    I don’t want this story to end…!  It’s been such a singular treat to watch it unfold…  You DO have other stories in the works, right Alex?  I’d be so sad if you didn’t…  DX

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

      Thank you for the very kind words, HoneyThistle. :) I started releasing Artifice as a webcomic as an experiment and this has been an amazing experience for me. So, yes, once Artifice wraps up, I’ll start posting another webcomic here, a much longer webcomic. It starts off a bit lighter than Artifice did, but I hope you all will like it! :)

  • Lorescien

    Yeah, if he really does go through with this, I think I’ll probably cry my eyes out. :( But it’s been so beautifully created that I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the printed copy.. even if he does kill the only person he’s ever fallen in love with. Tragedic love stories can be so beautiful. But HAPPY endings are always better! :) So I hope you guys don’t make Deacon kill Jeff… or if he does, then he obliterates everyone and offs himself as well.

    Lovin’ everything so far, though! ^_^ You guys do such lovely work!

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

      Thank you, Lorescien. :)

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2FXEYYT4UYPRQBKRYEN72S5WFE Brandon

    nooooooooo a clifhanger anticipation beyond human control present

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Élodie-Mercier/1216181720 Élodie Mercier

    My guess is that deacon won’t be able to kill Jeff and that he will speak the codes that will desactivate him ^^

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Élodie-Mercier/1216181720 Élodie Mercier

     But seriously, I loved this story! It’s an awesome piece of work.

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

      Thank you, Élodie! :)

  • http://twitter.com/jadika Jade Thompson

    JEFF??? :[

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

    Jeff, baby, what have they been doing to you? :’c

    I have to wonder what’s going through the minds of the guards standing there. Surely they know what happened to the other ones when Deacon was around…

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

      That’s a good question. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristi-Schoenhaar/100003523327316 Kristi Schoenhaar

      I get the feeling they got the big “behave or get canned” speech.

      • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

        They may very well have had it pointed out to them that if they mess with Jeff while Deacon’s there, they’ll literally be ‘canned’, and probably pureed too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Amber-Carmel/682592851 Amber Carmel

    its a trap!!! Theres no way that is our sweet loveable jeff!!!

  • metisofarabia

    THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME

    Also I miss Jeff’s hair already… it was pretty.

  • Ionopachys

    I’ve been reading this for a while, but this is my first comment.  I have loved the story, but I feel compelled to say that it doesn’t make much sense.  Why would they design an android that is capable of perceiving sexual pleasure? Why make it look human at all?  If all they want is a killing machine, why not build a Cylon?  At first I thought that he wasn’t just an android but some sort of genetically engineered, vat grown cyborg.  That at least would explain why he’s capable of human behavior.  I just can’t help but feel that something is missing.  The story seems
    too simple, and the question of why they would design a robot that can
    so perfectly mimic humanity, both physically and mentally, really needs
    to be answered. 

    I’m hoping there is going to be some big reveal that puts everything in a completely different perspective.  Maybe the whole thing was an experiment from the start, with Jeff a machine to test Deacon, or maybe the mission is a false memory programmed into Deacon to test his ability to outgrow his programming, or maybe he isn’t a robot at all and is suffering from a psychotic delusion, and this is the psychologist’s latest attempt to break through.

    I hope this doesn’t come across as offensive.  I have a tendency to over analyze.  Despite my rambling critique I have enjoyed this comic, and I’m looking forward to it’s conclusion and your new project. 

    • http://enblackink.com/ enblackink

      no worries.  in reply to your first paragraph, don’t know what anybody else thinks, but i said something similar a couple pages ago. so. if you’re over-analyzing then so am i.

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

      Howdy Ionopachys!

      Your question does not at all come across to me as offensive. Debating these types of issues about sci-fi work we enjoy (which I’m glad to hear has been the case for you with Artifice!) is half the fun of being a fan. :)

      So, before I descend into TL;DR territory, let me say right up front: you’re not going to get a clear and detailed answer to this question in this comic. Exactly how human Deacon is will be something that shall be explored in the remaining pages. But why Noneco made him human-like at all? For me, that wasn’t one of the questions I was interested in exploring in this Maven/Deacon/Jeff arc—in part because to answer that might also give a tip-off for the answer to the first question and I wanted the suspense.

      This is not to say that I haven’t thought about it or that I don’t have an answer (or answers to that) which I might choose to explore in a later story. It’s a fun and interesting question which could offer a lot of narrative juice. But do I think we need to know the answer for that for Artifice to be successful in what I’m trying to achieve? For me, as a writer (and putting myself in the mind of my readers as I wrote the script), I felt it was OK not to answer that explicitly in the text.

      Obviously, though, your mileage may vary. You have said that for the story to work for you, you’d really need to have that question answered. Now, some might argue that “Hey, you’re willing to suspend your disbelief about Faster Than Light travel which Artifice also contains, what’s so different about suspending your disbelief about Deacon’s human-like design?” But I actually think the suspension of disbelief regarding Deacon’s nature requires an even higher standard.

      Why?

      Because while FTL travel breaks our understanding of how physics works in the Universe, if it makes no sense for them to have designed a robot soldier that “mimics humanity”, then that breaks our understanding of human motivation which is a much bigger deal in story-telling. My personal belief is that we’ll accept all kinds of fantastic elements in a story—dragon-fire, magic school, FTL travel, teleportation, human-like aliens, god-like aliens—so long as the reactions of the protagonists to those elements feels real to us. I like to say this about successful genre writing: “The situations and events can be as extraordinary as you’d like so long as the characters react and respond to them as we would if we were in their shoes.”

      And that’s what’s at stake here. You and I both know that the human form would not be the most efficient form for a combat robot to take. If Deacon’s creators’ goal was merely to create a “killing machine” and efficiency/effectiveness was the priority (and they were competent, of course), a bipedal form with natural looking skin in fact seems a rather poor choice. And not only that, Deacon says on page 46: “I’m designed to experience the full range of human emotions and sensations.” WTF??? That seems like the last thing you’d want in your purely efficient killing machine! Really, would anyone want to design an H-bomb with a heart?

      Now, I said I wasn’t going to answer your question, but I’ll Word of God this: the creators at Noneco Artificial Life didn’t “just want a killing machine.”

      The question for our suspension of disbelief here then is, are there any other plausible motivations behind designing an android solider besides pure efficiency and effectiveness at mass slaughter? Would we be able to accept that the designers would have had any understandable reason to create an artificially intelligent operative “in their own image”?

      This has actually been discussed some in the comments already and our super-smart readers have come up with some great answers. But here are some possibilities:

      One possible account for why they might design Deacon to look human would be for “covert operations”. For me this is at least one plausible reason. (And I essentially Word of God-ed it in a playful Noneco response in one of the comments on an earlier page…)  There could be other reasons for choosing this form, such as coming up with one design for multiple purposes—soldier, secret agent, personal companion, servant, nanny—which could reduce costs in terms of design. (And I think I also offered that possibility in one of my Noneco comments, but I can’t remember which…) I imagine you could think of even more, perhaps more ego-based reasons.

      But what possible reason would they have had for an android to mimic human emotions and sensations with any degree of success? Here I want to be more cautious because I don’t want to give anything away. But some generic reasons might include

      — not to do so would make ASOs detectable on covert missions

      — actual personal experience of emotions and sensations is necessary to understand those mental states in others (and use them as a weapon against the enemy—an idea that was actually explored in an episode of Space: Above and Beyond)

      — in order to approach the level of intelligence they were hoping to achieve with their current technology, it was all-or-nothing. They just couldn’t get a bot with human-level intelligence without also including these other aspects of the human mind

      — or a variation of that which has been explored in other sci-fi: They took a short-cut in developing this AI by basing it on a template of a human mind and the emotions/desires/sensations came along for the ride.

      I imagine our smart readers can think of other, possibly even better, reasons. :)

      Now, you might still feel that I as the author should have made my choice among those options clear in the actual text of the story for this comic to be a success, for it not to be “too simple.” If you still feel this way after reading my response, I’ll certainly understand. But at least you now know my thinking about this matter. And I thank you for raising such an interesting question. :)

      • ErykaSoleil

        I would also throw in the existence of the “Uncanny Valley”–if you make a human-looking AI operative that is really, really close to human but isn’t quite there, it would seriously creep out normal humans.

        That out of the way: Alex, I love you for that response. Please tell me you plan to do more sci-fi work? I’ve honestly been into the question of where machine stops and human starts since I was a little kid, and that is a huge reason behind why I find Artifice so gripping.

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

          Thank you, ErykaSoleil. It’s definitely a fascinating question. :) 

          And yes, I love sci-fi and certainly plan to do more sci-fi work. I’ve got another couple comics “in the queue” but after those get cooking, I have a couple sci-fi stories I’d like to work on…

  • Jackson Dean

    Hi my name is Maven, and I am so creepy I have the same suit in 12 different colours.

    I also miss Jeff’s hair D:

    • tom1988

      Hello Clarice…

    • ErykaSoleil

      Having the same suit in multiple colors isn’t all that unusual in an office setting; it’s the matching contacts for all 12 colors that is bordering on OCD. (But if I had the money, I would totally do it!)

      • tom1988

        I wondered about the contacts though. I guess it’s the simplest explanation but I thought it was strange to wear them and choose to wear glasses. My friend can’t stand contacts and I don’t think I’d like them either. So I thought maybe she has a machine that can laser colour her eyes somehow. Or she actually has artificial eyes and she can just choose the colour as easily as thinking about it.

        • qui-gon-robot

          Maybe she does it like the secretary from ‘The Terminator’ does her nails?
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hfPV7Ircug&feature=player_embedded

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

            How geeky am I? Geeky enough so that I’m pretty sure that shot is from Total Recall and not The Terminator. :)

          • qui-gon-robot

            Psssh way to steal my geek credo XD
            LOL I remember now why I mixed those up- they came as a 2 for one deal; watched all the ‘Terminator’ movies in one sitting, followed by ‘Total Recall’.

        • ErykaSoleil

          I’ve known one or two people who wore clear-lensed or lensless glasses, because they thought they looked better/smarter/more professional with glasses, but had perfectly good eyes. I like the suggestion qui-gon-robot made here about Maven’s eyes being like the secretary from Terminator.

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

          Or perhaps it’s a special feature of the glasses. :)

  • YangYueLan

    Jeff, Deacon and I all have the same hair cut….it was not intentional. 

  • Alex B.

    so sad looking at Jeff who’s so battered and abused – just laying there. I really hope that neither of them die. there’s far too many “gay stories” that end in tragedy for both one or all involved. I hope they can escape and live happily ever after.

    • ErykaSoleil

      True. But to be fair, there are a lot of “straight stories” that end in tragedy for one or all involved, too (like opera and soap operas).

      • Alex B.

        I meant more in movies and tv – a lot of them end in drama – most of them aren’t “and they all lived happily ever after” 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VTQI6HZGNODVSILUT35TD6WGSU Kitty

    What did they do to his pretty hair?! O.o

  • http://www.facebook.com/Belphegor23 Shannon D. Kuiken

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I can’t wait to see what happens with Jeff. I’m on the edge of my seat here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000130665367 Brooke Jones

    Th-they shaved Jeff’s pretty hair off!? D:  And they’re making Deacon kill him!?
    (╮°-°)╮┳━┳
    (ノಠnಠ)ノ 彡┻━┻

    • ErykaSoleil

      As long as you’re not flipping the table that has your laptop on it . . .

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

        Ahhh! Now I understand what that emoticon means! Thank you! :)

        • tom1988

          I hope you don’t give us all more reasons to use it.

          • ErykaSoleil

            I prefer raging up at the ceiling–I have way too much crap on my tables that I’d have to replace. :p

  • Ambler

    What’s with these people and buzz-cuts? Shave off the-rapist’s hair and see how she bloody likes it…

    • ErykaSoleil

      Hey, now. Maven didn’t shave Jeff’s hair; she was busy with Deacon. The guards just really messed up when they tried to trim Jeff’s split ends.

    • tom1988

      I think the haircut was the one favor they gave him.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Wow. Harsh.

  • strangeangel24601

    First off, let me apologize in advance for befouling the comments page with profanity, but… Holy *shit*. Seriously, that’s the first thing that came into my head when I saw the first panel.
    Okay, now that some of the shock has dissipated, I can actually think about the rest of this page. As a few others have pointed out, Deacon and Maven seem to be extremely careful about the words they’re choosing, and we have no idea what’s happened or what orders she’s given him over the last few days… I honestly have no idea what to expect at this point. Is “the target” everyone in the room besides the main characters? Is Jeff actually the key to whatever they found out on daVici Four, and Deacon is willing to kill him
    because of this? Is that even *really* Jeff? I guess we don’t have to wait too much longer to find out…
    Also, one more question – is it weird that the way I finally recognized Jeff was by his hand in panel two?

    • tom1988

      That’s an excellent summary of this entire page! You nailed all questions this page invites.
       
      And no, it’s not weird. Jeff is beautiful and so is his hand. I thought it was a visual clue actually when you see the same green fabric that his clothes were made of. To tell you the truth though, I only realised it was Jeff after reading Maven’s speech bubble. I had a real sense of desperation when I first read the page; the scene change was so sudden, all the characters were so threatening, and I literally felt like I was clinging onto Maven’s words (like a babe sucking it’s mother’s tit) amidst all the uncertainty. The anxiety is only more striking when you find so little comfort in what she’s saying.

      • ErykaSoleil

        tom, what will you do with your Maven obsession when Artifice ends (besides buy the print version)?

        • tom1988

          Hopefully I’ll stop making comments that make me sound like a complete psychopath. There’s no guarantee but it’s likely since I’ve never had so much fun doing it and once Maven ends so does the fun. Parodying yourself on a continual basis has it’s limits. btw Freakangels really is really good.

          • ErykaSoleil

            Haha. As long as you admit that’s what you sound like, you should be o.k. :)

            My sister just suggested Freakangels to me recently, while I was suggesting Artifice to her . . .

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

            Yep, Freakangels is a very fun ride. :)

  • qui-gon-robot

    Finally remembered who Jeff reminds me of(or used to remind me of before he got the haircut)…Jim Hawkins anyone? http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/16900000/Jim-Hawkins-jim-hawkins-16926227-308-329.jpg

    • B_u_b

      ohhhh he’s my favorite character ;)

      • qui-gon-robot

        Mine too, ever since I read the book in primary school ;)
        The doctor was awesome too…

  • tom1988

    So it’s really Jim they shaved and abused! It’s all finally coming together.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/5O6ARO3GXHX47KUQAX22BRNCQ4 Juliette

    how can that be Jeff? The one on the bed looks exactly like Deacon!  Jeff has lighter hair too.

    When I first saw this page I thought that maybe it was the ‘real’ (our) Deacon on the bed and that all of those talks, etc with the Dr. was actually a computer simulation (Matrix, anyone?) and now the Dr., in this simulation, is having Deacon ‘kill’ himself to somehow stop a part of his programming.  But that’s just what my immediate thought was before reading everything… so now… I donno.  I read and watch too much sci-fie perhaps. lol

    But I still don’t see how the person on the bed could possibly be Jeff, it looks like one of the models that Deacon is

    • JenniferHume

      He looks exactly like Jeff to me. He just looks different because we’ve only seen him close up at an odd angle and his hair has been shaved.

      • qui-gon-robot

        Yeah I gave him hair in MSpaint…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/5O6ARO3GXHX47KUQAX22BRNCQ4 Juliette

        really?  well, everyone seems to think that so my eyes must be wrong….  I know when people shave their hair off it sometimes make it look like their hair is darker, but I still think the eyebrows look a little too dark…. 

        poor Jeff  :0(

        • qui-gon-robot

          /-

  • Fabiana Nonato

    I’m crying already… 
    Deacon, please, don’t kill Jeff! *sobs*

  • Orenda Benson

    Long time reading, first time commenting.

    This is a question not so much about the comic’s current plot (although I’ve been reading it near-fanatically since about page 10 <3) but about the comic itself. Are you going to continue Artifice after this portion finishes (you mentioned in another comment the word arc, which usually denotes a continuing storyline), or are you going to move onto another setting/storyline entirely? Not that either choice is a bad thing – the writing and art in Artifice is absolutely wonderful – but I would like to see more story involving this setting, even if it is not the same characters.

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

      Hey! Welcome! Alex (the other, more talented Alex) is about to put the next page, so he may not see your comment. I’d guess your best bet is to repost your comment there. Or email.

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

      Alex S is right—I can sometimes miss comments put up while I’m busy working on the next page (so it can be a good idea to repeat the question on the new updated page if I haven’t responded) but I caught this one. :)

      I’m delighted to hear that you’ve been enjoying Artifice and this world.  I do have some ideas for an “Artifice 2″ of sorts, but no script yet. Whether I start writing up those thoughts will depend a lot on Winona’s availability and interest (she’s not surprisingly a very busy, very much in-demand artist :) ) and whether I feel I can come up with some truly satisfying stories. But I agree it would be fun—and I’ve been thinking a lot about it!

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

    Camping.  Now on season 4 of Supernatural.  The angst, it multiplies…

    • ErykaSoleil

      Right here with you.

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

      Wow you’re quick! So how’s the “angst” in season 1 looking in comparison?

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

        Like a day at the beach.  Holy crap.  I’ve been taking in a few episodes a night, since the DVDs don’t have those pesky commercials that take up the time, and yeah, it’s hard to stop watching, but the angst is getting so thick that it’s also hard to KEEP watching…

    • Kel Z

      Camping party! :: lights something on fire for giggles ::

    • clive37

      Oh, dude, just wait until you get to season 6…
      *camps right along with you*

  • ErykaSoleil

    If I hadn’t already cut my fingernails down short, I’d be biting at them right now.

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

      I know what you mean. This is the LAST SCENE. I just can’t sit still!

  • Cydalima

    I’ve been trying to say something since Saturday but I can’t. I just can’t. Oh, Jeff ): 

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

      Well this might cheer you up. I was playing a word game while I’m waiting for the next page. It’s one of the ones where you have to unscramble letters and make as many words as you can. I saw your user name and immediately read it as “chlamydia”. I think it’s time for a break.
      To be fair, all the letters are there except the “h”.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Making new friends isn’t exactly your strong point, is it Alex? ;)

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

          What do you mean?
          “Did you know that if you mix the letters in your name, it almost comes out ‘chlamydia’?”
          How is that *not* a great ice breaker?

          Yeah, sorry Cydalima. I might be a little overtired.

          • Cydalima

            It’s ok ^^

      • Cydalima

        Chlamydia? xD Well, that certainly made me laugh. I’ve never noticed that, actually (but that should be because English is not my first language xD).

  • B_u_b

    refresh refresh REFRESH!

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

    All right. Here’s a heads-up for my beloved campers. Due to unforseen circumstances, the update is still a couple hours away.  I’m working hard at it and will put it up before I go to bed, but if you’re on the East Coast or if it’s very late where you are, I thought I’d let you know it’d be up later than usual.

    I’m loving reading your comments, though. Good morale booster. :)

    • ErykaSoleil

      Thanks for telling us, Alex. I guess I should do some house cleaning and such while I wait . . .

      • Erica

        *hug*

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

        Oh yeah, you’re in Alaska. Lucky you. It’s 3:30 here in Massachusetts. What time is it where you are?

        • ErykaSoleil

          Awwwww, you remembered. :)

          It’s 11:50PM here now (AKST is 4 hours behind EST. Plays hell with calling my East-coast family).

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

            It’s not everyday a woman (I assume) asks me to do a Charlie’s Angels pose with her, so when it happens it’s memorable.
            Funny story: I have family in Alaska. There’s a running joke that Aunt Leena (not my aunt, I have no idea what our relation is) is secretly a vampire. The woman is somewhere in her 60s and looks 27. I’ve seen pictures. This has only gotten more hilarious since Twilight came out.

        • ErykaSoleil

          While we’re at it, it’s 1 degree and snowing here. What’s it like where you are?

    • Aikka

      Ouch o.o

      Just when for once i couldn’t sleep and waited for a few hours here already… oh well xD i just hope nothing bad happened? *hugs*

      • Erica

        *hug* X2 yo

    • Erica

      I was staying up late just to read it. XD I don’t wanna go to sleep without reading it!!! boo boo lol oh well… i guess i’ll have to waittt ): lol work hard! no rush! make it beautiful dahling. :D

      • Aikka

        *hugs* o..o

        • Erica

          hugs everywheree!! *hug*

    • tom1988

      And there was I, thinking you were feeling over-burdened by the guilt of more heart wrenching panels, knowing the weight of the tears that would be shed, unable to post the page because of that ridiculously huge responsibility.

      • Erica

        *hug*

        • Aikka

          *group hug*

          • Erica

            :D

          • ErykaSoleil

            -Throws in a pat on the head and a “There, there” for good measure.-

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

        That too. ;)

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/WXZRFOK6Q75RKVIXFUT56HJ22Q rick

      But it’s already been Wednesday for 9 hours over here! Don’t you make me start my workday without Artifice, mr. Woolfson…

      Well, it’ll be a great read during lunch, I’m sure :D

      • Aikka

        9 hours? where are you from if i can ask? ^_^
         [we may live close XD]

        • Aikka

          Nevermind, i checked on your profile! o..o

    • ErykaSoleil

      -Blinks.- Wow. I rested my head on one hand for a moment while scrolling a little with the other . . . and suddenly realized I was on the first page and had no idea how I got there. I think that’s a sign that I need to call it a night. :p I’ll have to read the new page in the morning, while I make myself coffee. Enjoy the campfire, ya’ll. :)

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

      Well, that’s the thing about camping. You’ve got the campfire, junk food, stories, and most importantly- *reaches behind himself*- a sleeping bag! I’m hitting the hay. ‘Night/morning everyone! Catch you all later.

    • Yukiness

      Dat’s alright; I just woke up to get ready for school any way meaning that it will be the last thing I shall see before my dreaded math final (it being now 4:40am here in the good ol’ NYC) and such beauty will serve as my motivation for the test

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

        Thanks for understanding. Good luck on that test! :)

    • Erica

      im still up at 4:47 am … since waking up at 9:30 a.m. 21st lol

      • Aikka

        *hugs again* o..o you should sleeep!

        Well for me it’s better as the update is in the morning o..o

        • Erica

          oddly enough im not tired right now. lol

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

            All right. Finished working on the page. Should be up in just a minute. Thank you for your patience! :)

          • Erica

            WOO! You’re awesomeee! :D

          • http://twitter.com/christina_handt Christina Handt

             can’t wait :D

  • SolrSurfr3

    Jeff… T-T What did they do to you…?
    I don’t know if I can keep reading this!! …But I have to!

  • Mary Short

    HIS HAIR!!!! HIS BEAUTIFUL HAIRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    NEVER FORGET… NEVER FORGIVE…

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    Poor Jeff looks a little worse for the wear….and his hair!

  • Ree

    BABY
    WHY
    WHY
    WHAT
    WHY

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

    NOT THE HAIR!! Oh, it’s worse than I thought! ;_; Oh, Maven. You devilish space cow. You ought to know creativity is the most dangerous weapon any living being can possess. Even – no, ESPECIALLY if you’re a super-advanced murder-bot in love, planning a daring prison escape. Woah. There’s a description I never thought I’d write again… LMAO

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1488912128 Melanie Gonzalez

    His beautiful hair has been cut! Why do you have to be so cruel!? TTwTT

  • http://www.facebook.com/MaylinDarkwolf Kayla Atkins

    Jeff looks just like Deacon now :O

  • Noriam Gutierrez

    Ohh, nuuuu! My poor Jeff! Look at his beautiful, pink, chapped lips and those gorgeous eye lids… *tears* DON’T YOU DARE KILL HIM, DEACON!

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