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Artifice Page 18

81 Comments on Artifice Page 18

Hmm… what were you feeling, Deacon?

After a couple quiet pages, we now get a little dialogue and some more plot development! Anyone amending their theories?

Special thanks to Judith W., Danielle D. and Heather M. for their generous donations this week!

(And will you look at that! We’re less than $25 away from a bonus page for Wednesday. Will this be the week that happens? DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Thanks to an awesome $25 donation from Larisa V., we are now over $250 and there will be a new, extra page—page 19!—posted on Wednesday, June 22nd! Woo hoo!)

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  • Danielle Charman

    Mister Survivor’s face in panel 3… T_T

    First time commenting, but LOVING this comic so much! Gorgeous art and great storytelling – I am absolutely INTRIGUED to find out what’s going on, and what made Deacon keep him alive after finding out he was the only one left! Sadly I don’t think I can do it yet, but I am very VERY tempted to donate towards a new page with one of my next 2 paychecks coming, which I’ve never done before with an online comic. Keep up the great work, love it!

    • SteveMcSheffrey

      Deacon did something to his retrieval team.  Perhaps defending the concussed guy in today’s installment?

    • Thank you very much, Danielle! Very glad you’re enjoying it—and happy to be tempting you… 😉

      And yep, poor survivor guy…  Ouch….I really appreciate you’re taking the time to comment! Hope to hear from you again! 😀

  • Rissicat

    Ah… there we have it. Confirmation that the androids were sent in as part of a “mission” to exterminate the population. (Which brings in the bigger question of who sent them and why.) But this flies in the face of the original setup which implied that the artificial persons had gone out of control or berserk.

    EEEEeeee! Intrigue!
    (Free Lunch, you get to live a little bit longer!)

    • Hehe. 🙂 Glad you’re liking the intrigue. Getting to the bottom of exactly what happened is much of the fun over the next pages. 🙂

      • Rissicat

        Huuuhhh… maybe I’m reading into it, but I like that touch of vulnerability on Deacon’s face when the therapist brings up the survivor… and the way his face gets closed and cynical when he’s being watched by others.

  • If he banged the guy’s head against the wall hard enough to make what appears to be a six-inch dent in the concrete, wouldn’t the back of the survivor’s skull be crushed? I suppose that might not matter as long as the guy didn’t actually die before Deacon could press his hand to the proper panel to unlock the energy source or whatever. But it does seem a bit risky from a purely practical standpoint, unless Deacon knew that those very solid-looking walls were actually just some futuristic version of plywood convincingly designed to look like concrete. 

    I’m really enjoying the comic so far, and the art on this page looks great, as usual. It just seems as if that intense a blow to the head would almost certainly induce either death or severe brain damage in anyone who wasn’t either Kryptonian or another android.  

    • Rissicat

      It is startling, isn’t it? Perhaps the wall isn’t concrete, but something like wall-board?

      And I’m always shocked at how thick and solid a human skull is… but then it was designed to protect the one organ that keeps all the rest of us functional.

      You can be the survivor’s going to have one hell of a concussion though!

      • Yep, the survivor is definitely going to feel that in the morning. Should Deacon let him live that long… 😉

    • I agree. If it were concrete, it would be a devastating, perhaps even killing blow. But while it looks like concrete (and has been designed by NoNeCo to withstand harsh elements on a variety of off-world environments), it is in fact a softer material.

  • :O Oh my! I must admit I was a little relieved when Deacon said he wasn’t going to kill him! But then BAM you hit us with the whole “is was his mission to kill them”  bit and now I’m just…wow. Loving it as always, great job guys!

    • Thank you, Aspen! Glad to hear you’re loving it! 😀

  • Oh, no don’t stop there! more, want more

    • Your wish is my command. Thanks to everyone’s generous donations (including yours!), page 19 will be posted this Wednesday! 😀

  • I just love the way Deacon’s throwing him around like a ragdoll, makes you really realize that he’s not a human.

    • Exactly. Much, much stronger than any human, actually.

  • Ditzite

    Ooooh ouchies! x_O I like how tenderly Deacon is holding Jeff after his impromptu meeting with the wall there! Gives us a slight taste of what the future may hold…. As to How little Jeffy’s head didn’t smush I am choosing to assume it is one of the glorious applications of NoNeCo’s scientific teams. Cause I mean really if you can’t be bothered to reinforce the bone strength of people working on a military base then it seems like you aren’t supporting your investments properly. XD

    • Hello Ditzite!

      I have reviewed your application and see a bright future for you in NoNeCo’s Genetic Enhancement Research & Development team (managed by the Patrinos Procreation Design Group on Mendel Six). Congratulations!

      While no positions are open at this time, due to the aggressive promotion policy we have in place for our off-world teams, something is sure to open up in the near future. One of our representatives will contact you then.

      Thank you very much for your interest in joining the NoNeCo family! Together we can manufacture a brighter tomorrow.

  • singerblooming


  • Preeeeetty sure that would knock me out.

    (Therapist) Hmm, and how do you feel about that?

  • “what were you feeling, Deacon?” exactly my question before i scrolled down and read the same line in the comment XD

  • yellowrock

    Dude must eat his Wheaties every day…for every meal… :O

  • M P

    I wonder why is the survivor bleeding from his mouth? I can’t really think of any connection beetwen head injury and the bleeding, which would be rather caused by stomach? or maybe he bit his tongue, which would be logical. Anyway the boy is damn cute why do I even care about that bleeding hahah

    • I think a mouth injury (like a bit lip or tongue) is the most likely explanation.

      And glad to hear you’re finding him cute. You’re going to get to see a lot more of him. 😉

  • ErrorTime

    I wonder why you need a human to keep yourself fully functional……..
    And Deacon is totally gonna just be nonchalant about everything. I wonder what the Doctor will think.

    • Both your questions will be answered very soon. 🙂

  • An awesome story so far…I just came across it for the first time a couple days ago, and read the whole thing in one (albeit too brief) sitting. 😀 I am a very picky sci/fi fantasy reader, and always have been. You have gotten my attention fully with this. Excellent characters and situations, plenty of questions being raised. What was the specific malfunction? Is the young man Deacon introduced to the wall still alive? What was the original objective of this mission? Who were all those dead people, and who did they work for, represent? Who was it wanted them so dead, and why? I will be following closely to answer “these questions and more in our next exciting episode!!” (Oops, had the announcer from the old “Underdog” cartoons talking in the back of my mind.) 😉 Any relation to Eric Woolfson from the Alan Parsons Project?

    • Really glad you’re liking it, Paul. And those are all good questions. (And ah yes, Underdog. I was always a Courageous Cat man myself, but I did love me some Underdog…)

      As far as I know, I am not related to Eric Woolfson. Although I was a huge Alan Parsons Project fan as a kid and thus was thrilled to find out that not only was there a famous person with my last name (which I’d never seen before) but also that he was a singer/songwriter for one of my favorite groups! That’s meant he’s always had a special place in my heart. 🙂

  • Patrick Bremhorst

    I think my heart may e’splode out of my chest before wednesday

    • Looking forward to seeing you then—hopefully, chest intact!:D

  • Holy wow….!

  • Malin Skutnabba

    After a long day at work it’s nice to come home and find there’s a new page here! Can’t wait for the next one! 😀

    • Yay! Glad to hear it’s something you look forward to. See you on Wednesday!

  • Hummm…so how can a live human keep him functional? 

    Love the new page and can’t wait for the bonus!

    • It’s a good question. One that will be answered soon.
      Glad you like the page.

      And I’m actually really excited for Wednesday myself. Putting up two pages in a week is going to be a lot of fun. 🙂

  • I can only express my anticipation and excitement for the next page with this emote –> 😀

  • eleutherios


    Friendships have been built on worse foundations, I guess.

    • True dat. So, you think they’ll become friends?

      • eleutherios

        I really wouldn’t count on it; he did just crack the poor guy’s head against a wall.  On the other hand, Russell Brand claims that he fell in love with Katy Perry when she threw a bottle at his head during the rehearsals for the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards and now they’re married.

  • 2 pages soon YAY



  • yellowrock

    I’m thinking he needs a human to operate the computer system so he can charge himself on it.  Then he’ll probably need the human to get his escape set up.  Then the human will develop stockholm syndrome and they will fall in love on the long trip back~

  • His mission. HIS MISSION. All this time I thought he was defecting from his mission. Or didn’t have a mission. Or something else! HIS MISSION. AHHHH.

    Also someone said his name was Jeff. He looks like my boyfriend, Jeff. O.o

    • Yep. His mission. So we now have some additional understanding of his line: “For the most part, everything had gone well. Our objectives appeared to have been achieved and we were preparing to leave.”

      And he looks like your boyfriend? That’s very cool. (And now I want to see a picture! 🙂 )

  • Hmm, this is quite interesting, and raises a few interesting questions!

    -Deacon is totally harming humans here, I guess it’s a piece of his programming that can be turned on and off? (Also, thinking back, the Da Vinci people were totally ready for hostile forces to arrive, they seemed to have barricaded and armed themselves…even more suspense about what the whole premise is)

    -With regard to other parts of his programming, how is he wired with regard to things like truth and scheming? Will (can?) he lie to his doctor? To the survivor? How ruthless of a plan is he capable of? Will he “use” someone?

    -I seem to have misinterpreted his statement on what I think is the 5th panel: is he saying he needs the human to remain functional, or that he needs the human to himself remain functional? The way he says it, both are possible meanings…which seems a little imprecise for a robot, or perhaps intentionally so, which goes back to the second question…!

    • Good questions. 🙂

      The first two will be answered as the story progresses, but the last one I can answer right here. Deacon is talking about himself remaining functional.

  • 😀 I’m so anxious to find out what is actually going on here! I have maybe like a zillion half formed suspicions and no way to express what I think will happen, and don’t really want to because then it’s more fun for me to find out what’s really going on, and not have to feel like aww man I was so off, anyway.
    Considering I found this comic through ‘hey check out this gay comic’ rec somewhere, I’m delighted to find I’m hooked on the story itself too.Love love love Jeff’s hair, not much for guys with long hair normally but damn his hair is beautiful. I’m oddly fixated on the way Deacon’s hand is tugging it there too. heheheAnd in the fourth panel there, while the therapist’s back is turned, what is that face you are making there Deacon??I also wanna just say, Winona has an amazing skill at drawing facial expressions. That third panel there is no mistaking that Jeff has been knocked out, even if you took it out of context. 😀 You must be some kinda pro comic artist, I keep looking around for the catch or something because really??? This is free??<3<3<3

    • Hehe. Really glad to hear you’re enjoying it. 😀

      I too am not wild about long hair on guys, but for Jeff, I wanted to see if I could have a character with long hair whom I did like. Winona and I worked on the look together and I think did a fantastic job of creating such a character.   I’m delighted we have similar tastes here!

      I agree, Winona is awesome with the facial expressions. I’m glad Deacon’s face in Panel 4 has you intrigued. 😉

      And yep, this is all free—and I’m happy to make it available for free to such cool readers. Thoughtful comments like yours really make all the hard work worthwhile. (Although donations certainly help us continue the work in a big way!)

  • Oh Deacon, such a romantic, aren’t you? xD

    • Indeed. When Deacon says he needs Jeff, he really means it. 😉

  • OMGOSH!!! This is soooo cool!!! Im actually in the process of doing a LGBTQ webcomic also!!! Woolfson and Nelson – you guys are such inspirations – thank you for putting us on the map 🙂

    • Hey, thank you, Steven! Always nice to get props from another creator. When your LGBTQ comic is ready, please be sure to let us know! 🙂

  • Kyoki Hinote

    He won’t kill him, but he apparently has nothing against giving the poor boy a concussion! Ouch. As someone who has hit their head against a cinder-block wall (although I definitely didn’t hit it hard enough to dent it or even bleed) I can empathize.

    • Heads don’t dent cinder-block walls!  It’s gotta be drywall, or similar.  A concrete wall thick enough to stand up like that isn’t going to be affected at all by a human skull.  The skull would take all the damage.

  • For all his “I’m not going to kill you” claims, he certainly didn’t hold back on breaking the wall with the guy’s head. O_o

  • KBatty

    I think part of Deacon’s problem may be that he can’t accurately gauge his strength in comparison to the tolerance of the human body, much in the same fashion that you’ll see a small child pet a dog too hard when first introduced to it. His intentions were far less violent than the outcome of his actions.

    Or maybe I just have a soft spot for socially inept, emotionless characters (lmao).

    • KBatty (and @facebook-1346277709:disqus and @google-ba9bb70e635780a79e207ea5305291a1:disqus  ): LOL! While I love that you  have a soft spot for our hero, KBatty, Shannon and Kyoki might have a more accurate assessment of Deacon’s intentions here. 🙂

  • Patrick Bremhorst

    is it wednesday yet ?

  • Diseasedface

    Deacon seems to have encountered a sexy Dea-coy…. PFTTT! ahaha.Pun entirely intended.
    What a delight to see this updated week after week! And WHAT HO! An extra page!  MORE DELIGHT! Huzzah!

    And i must say i do like male characters with long hair!

    • Glad you’re liking the updates! 🙂 

      (And I imagine many of your fellow readers share your affection for guys with the long hair. 😉 )

  • Daww <3
    The third panel makes Deacon look so gentle and caring
    Even after slamming his head into a wall XD

  • Um, Deacon, sweetie, you might already have killed him. xD That was my thought in the third panel. xD

    Awe, but look, he just couldn’t wait to get his hands into that lush lovely brunette hair.

    I love Deacon’s expression in the bottom left panel. Its like he’s thinking about what he wants for dinner after this woman stops harassing him.

  • Rocket

    So… You smash his head into the wall, and then claim to not wanna kill him.


    Good call, Deacon >_>

    I’m a little confused. If the back of his head took the blow, why is he bleeding out of his mouth O_o

    Ohhh, Wait, so these therapy sessions are AFTER everything? Crap, so does that mean that the Uke-Brunette dies? Cuz that’s what it’s looking like to me, by the way they’re talking ::D)

    • hah. like Deacon would let them. >83 He probably knocked Jeff unconscious and hid him in a suitcase. xD

      • Or killed the people trying to retrieve him because they were going to ‘finish his mission’ and kill little Jeff. >:D

    • Glad to have you back, Rocket! Yep, these therapy sessions are indeed after the events you just saw on Da Vinci Four.

      And I’m thinking a mouth injury is responsible for the blood. Or, you know, it could be his brains. It was an awfully hard smack on the wall.. 😉

      • Rocket

        No, no, I meant after the WHOLE story, like, you started from the end type-thing, and everything else is just memory to elaborate on the sessions…
        …or something like that >_>

        • I think we mean the same thing. 🙂 The events on Da Vinci Four are flashback. And what we’re seeing with the security officers and in Maven’s office is the present.

  • hrm pain.. so much pain going on and there’s no love yet pft

  • I just noticed Deacon’s face in the fourth panel when the doctor’s back is turned to him! So CUTE! >w<

    • Yeah, I think so too. 🙂

      • Quick Deacon! Think of a good reason! Something she’ll buy, but whatever you do DON’T say it’s because you liked Jeff’s long purdy auburn hair! DX

  • lol so kinky.