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Artifice Page 36

273 Comments on Artifice Page 36

Hmm. Curious, huh? And I wonder what kind of “interactions” Deacon is talking about here?

We have some new Fan Art by Diamond-Skull! It’s Deacon and Jeff sharing a tender moment, up close and personal. Thank you very much, Diamond-Skull!

And wow, you folks have been amazingly generous this week. In just three days we’re more than halfway to a new bonus page with $126 in donations! Very special thanks to long-time supporters Laura Beth W., Elyse B., Cotina S., Marina T. & Jennifer B. (donating for the second time this week!) as well as a hearty handshake and hello to new supporters Kyle A., Zoellen F., Christina K., Amanda D. and Charli C.

And a big hug to new friends Jordan R. & Kim and also to long-time friend of Artifice Larisa V. for their super-generous $25 donations!

I am so humbled and grateful for your support. Rock stars. All of you.

DING! DING! DING! DING! DING! Good gosh! At the 11th hour, you folks got in the last $10 bringing us to $250—in one week! OK! There will be a bonus page for Wednesday, October 5th in addition to the regular scheduled update this Saturday! I’ll try to get it ready by midnight tonight, but I might need a few more minutes because your awesomeness totally surprised me! One week—wow! THANK YOU!

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

    Deacon adorableness levels have hit a new high!

  • oldmanqfwfq

    D’aw, goin’ all blushy and what-not

  • LadyThanatos

    Ahh Deacon BLUSHES! He looks like a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

    It’s shocking to see the doctor shouting in panel 3. Is she really that frustrated, or did she know her shouting would finally get a response from him? I’m surprised at how genuinely shocked she looks in panel 5. 

    Are we about to get a flashback to some android-on-android action?!

    P.S. Yes, I was camping 🙂

    • I love campers. 🙂

      When it comes to Maven, it is best to assume that all or almost all of her reactions are deliberate choices. That said, her patience isn’t limitless and Deacon has been… evasive. So it would not purely have been tactical. And her surprise at his blush is indeed genuine.

  • OMG, blushing? Deacon you are so cute here! The expressions are perfectly captured. 

    Yeah, “interaction” could mean sex, but I also think about all those AI movies where the main character is different (i.e. A.I., Bicentennial Man, and I, Robot). Maybe Deacon is evolving independent of his programming. This would explain why crazy doctor lady (as I refer to her as) is so interested in his motivations. Can’t have the machines thinking to much for themselves or next thing you know we are all in The Matrix. LOL, guess you can tell I watch a lot of sci-fi movies. 

    Can’t wait for the next page!

    • LadyThanatos

      I agree. I think we might be about to find out why Deacon wasn’t terribly upset when the other androids were blown to bits — much as Jeff wasn’t too broken up about the colonists.

    • I think watching a lot of sci-fi movies is serving you here. I like the way you’re thinking about this, Kristin. 🙂

  • Ive read for a while and decided to finaly comment .<

    • Hey Samantha! Glad you finally decided to comment! And I’m glad to hear you’re liking Deacon! 🙂

  • Alor_Laneau

    Deacons face in panel four.
    So hawt.

    I was just wondering if any conservatives stray onto this sight and make abusive comments.

    • Hehe. Yep. Hawt….

      And…. so far (knocking on wood here) no one has left abusive comments at all. And for that, I am grateful.

  • Awwwww!  Deacon is so tough and emotionless, I didn’t expect him to do cute well, but he does it SOOO well!  DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAW!


  • Malin Skutnabba

    Aaww, I love Deacon’s face and pose in the 5th panel, so adorable~
    Great page as always! 😀

  • Pronombre

    sdfjhjsdfh Deacon is soooooo cute! ;A;
     omg I want one like him~♥♥♥

  • HarmHarm210

    Maven looks surprised in the fifth panel.. or maybe I have very bad eye sight..xP; Deacon looks cute in that panel too. >wn< So Maven made them? owo She said she coded him not to lie… hmm..

    • I think your eye sight is just fine, HarmHarm210. 🙂

      And… this is where my wonderful readers help me to improve this comic. You see, when Maven said “I coded you not to lie” what she means is “I have used your master codes while issuing a precisely worded command to prevent you from lying.” “Coded” was meant to be corporate slang for that. 

      But if I as a writer need to explain that the fault lies not with the reader, but with my writing. And I can see what’s going on here. 

      I  actually came up with the concepts for Artifice a long time ago. Before the majority of English-speaking people either worked in the computer field or were close to someone who works in the computer field. I might have been able to get away with this slang then.

      But now the verb “coding” has entered everyday language. And what it means is “writing computer code”. So, I can totally see how you all think that she is indicating that not only is she Deacon’s “therapist” but also his maker!

      That would be big news. It’s a logical leap from my choice of words. But it was not my intention.

      So, this means I need to choose her phrase more wisely here. 

      But now I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma. If I simply change “coded” to “commanded” one might think that she simply gave an order—which Deacon might have the option to disobey—when that is not the case. She has used his Master Codes to ensure that he has to comply. This very cute, very geeky comic illustrates the point nicely.

      The problem, though, is that having her say “I used your Master Codes to command you not to lie.” feels at best too wordy to me for her emotion and at worst somehow gives the feel that he might be able to resist those Master Codes, which he can’t. I feel I need the phrase to be short and to the point. I considered “root-commanded you not to lie”, but that implies the concept of a root user which is not something I want to introduce into Artificial Person tech. It’s all about the codes. So, even though it sounds a bit awkward to me, I have decided that “I have code-commanded you not to lie” seems the clearest way to express this.

      I still might change my mind about this. Having her say “I used your Master Codes to command you not to lie” might actually be better. Clearer and perhaps even less awkward. I’ll think about it over the weekend and come to a final determination.

      But either way you , my readers, have done me a great service. This is definitely one of the advantages of publishing this first as a webcomic. If I went straight to print, not only would making this change be impossible (at least for the books already out there), but I probably wouldn’t even know my readers were having this confusion. I am in your debt.

      • CK

        When I read “coded not to lie” I simply thought that she had access to his system and  from there made the command code so that he could not lie 🙂

        • KBatty

          Yeah, I got the impression that she simply knew how to manipulate his programming—not that she was his maker.

      • Ah thank you for the clarification! I can see your reasoning behind doing it the way you did now, and I hope you figure out a comfy wording fit!

  • CK

    Oh Deacon is actually blushing! I’m sure he was quite curious indeed. My mind is getting dirty, so I hope this will get dirty soon as well! But dont rush it, I love a good and strong plot!
    Thank you so much for yet another amazing page! Hey will this one be available in print in the future?

    • Hi CK!

      You’re very welcome! Thank you for your kind words.

      And if there is interest, this will definitely be available for print. We’ve designed these pages from the start to be print-ready. Right now, I’m considering having a special hard-cover edition for the readers. 🙂

      • CK

        Well I’m definitely interested! If you ship the Europe I’m buying! 😀

        • I will do all I can to ensure international shipping. I have no idea what it will cost, but I love my international readers and would certainly make international shipping available. 🙂

  • ChopstickChick

    Money well spent Alex, and I AM a rockstar from ancient egypt, however did you guess!? Hmm curious about what I wonder? Deacon is so freaking cute I mean, I used to think he seemed a bit cold, but as an A.P. that was understandable, however now I’m starting to see why the good doctor is questioning him in the first place. He is showing himself to be remarkably human, or at least he seems to be showing that to me, and that would be a bit off considering he’s a robot, android…thing. We still don’t know where Jeff is in the present when Dr. Meavon is speaking to Deacon, but I hope he is well. Can’t wait for the next page, I’m so into this it’s unreal, and not just because I want to see robot sexy fun times with Jeff and Deacon, but because Deacon is so likeable, his little glimpses of humanity really warm my heart. <3

    • Thank you again for your generous donation, ChopstickChick—I’m so glad to hear you’re finding it worth it. 🙂

      And you’re thinking about Maven’s motivations in just the right way. 🙂

  • WOW, he actually rendered her speechless!  Which is understandable, because what an expression!  It’s hilarious to see her flabbergasted, though!

  • KBatty

    For once we see the doctor surprised. Proper thing. I still think she’s too mean to him. I know he’s a “synthetic”, but you would think that even Maven would recognize that he’s got the key characteristics of a sentient life form. He’s self-aware, he’s conscious, he’s able to think independently… and given that he took out the retrieval team, it may be safe to say that he fears being decommissioned, shut down, scrapped… Essentially, although it hasn’t been spoon-fed to us, I would presume he has a fear of death.

    He may not be quite what they intended, but perhaps there’s been a technological evolution of sorts that caused his erroneous behaviour and in turn, turned him from machine to living being.

    That subsequently makes the ability to manipulate his programming somewhat unethical to use, but then again, it’s not like Deacon has any rights. I find it frustrating that Maven or any of the others would expect him to have full command of his emotions, or emotional maturity at all. Simply because he’s packaged in an adult body doesn’t mean he’s going to have the same capacity for appropriate behaviour. He’s lacking a lifetime of experience.

    • All very well-reasoned, KBatty. You’re definitely thinking about this the right way. The one thing I might add is that even if Maven is willing to view Deacon as a sentient life-form, she also would view him as a soldier. And soldiers who disobey orders are rarely treated kindly.

      • KBatty

        Perhaps so, but even soldiers have emotions. Give a killing machine a heart and conscience and it might not cope well with its duties.

        • Yaminox

          not taking into account that soldiers have the emotional maturity of an adult. Deacon just doesn’t have the experience.

  • kelseyr

    I just love how he fidgets and wrings his hands, I keep forgetting he’s an A.I. with all his little quirks. AND BLUSHING! Cutest. Thing. Ever. I love this comic to death you guys have done a superb piece of work here. 

    • Thank you very much, kelseyr! You’re making me blush! 🙂

  • I just want to hug Deacon in Panel 5 ;P

    • He could definitely use a hug there…

    • ErrorTime

      So do I!

  • Awww that face ♥ Deacon is so adorable!! that face and the way he plays with his hands xD lovely! I really like the fact that yet there has no been serious action between him and Jeff which makes me wonder if there’s ever gonna be or what! every page leaves me wanting more 😀

    • Yay! Glad to hear that every page leaves you wanting more. Just what I’d hope to hear! 🙂

  • Emperor_Meiji

    Do I detect genuine empathy from Mol– er, Clarice here? Could it be I’ve misinterpreted her cool, incisive professionalism as malevolence? Is there a shred of real humanity in BOTH of these characters?

    • I would say that there very well might be… 

      Whether either of them would be flattered by that assessment is another matter entirely. 😉

  • So cute, i love the shy deacon there!

  • OMG! Panel five is ADORABLE!

  • NAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW at Deacons face in panel 5 :3 Winona…your art is continually amazing and has the wonderful ability me experience such a broad range of emotions…you win at life! XD And Alex, your dialogue is just wonderful, drawn out enough to prolong the experience but not to the point of making it frustrating. Needless to say am amazed as always at this comic! Great job guys!

    • Gosh, thank you so much, Mandy! Trying to strike that balance between Deacon being frustrating for Maven but not having this interaction be (too) frustrating for the reader is a balance I worked hard to try to achieve. I’m really glad to hear it’s working for you! 🙂

    • W Nelson

      Aww thanks!  I’m so glad you enjoy it so much 😀

  • Ari

    that blush says it all and ITS AWESOME!

  • Reign

    Did Deacon really blush??? Omg that was too cute. Dying to find out if Jeff will satisfy Deacon’s curiosity? Awesome page as always and big thanks to everyone!

    • Thank you, Reign! I’m really glad you’re liking it! 🙂

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    Is Maven’s empathy for Deacon ever going to override her mission?  She seems to be moved here and there but she still admits to changing Deacon’s code.  That fact damns her more than anything else credits her…

    • She doesn’t admit to changing his code, she says she coded him, which means  originally when he was first constructed, not to lie to her. She also says she has the power to change his coding but in this case it wouldn’t be effective. As he is such an advanced artificial being they wouldn’t learn anything from simply recoding him because they wouldn’t understand what made him ‘malfunction’ in the first place. This is why she’s going through ‘therapy’ with him, she doesn’t want to alter his code unless she’s forced to.

      • SteveMcSheffrey

        Changing his code and coding him seem to be the exact same thing.  The yelling, brow beating, and treating him like a thing has me disliking Maven more and more.  I also wonder if she’s just a shrink or a shrink that hasn’t treated people in years because she helped in the development of people replacements…

        • She has not treated human patients in some time. At least not with their knowledge or consent.

        • The two are completely different things. If you say I coded you not to lie, this specifically means that when I was originally writing your code and originally programming you, before you were actually activated, you were coded so that you would not lie to me.

          This draws a parallel to a human where it’s been brought up to behave in a certain way. If Deacons code has been left alone it means he is supposed to behave how he was brought up and implies that she is trusting him to tell the truth, or at least be expecting him to.

          If one then says I have altered your code specifically on this occasion to force you not to lie, that’s specifically a breach of privacy and would be akin to giving a human a drug to force them not to lie.

          I was under the impression that Maven was trusting Deacon, but nevertheless was threatening him, by letting him know that this wasn’t how he was supposed to behave and she still had the power to force him into telling her the truth should she so desire.

          It appears however that Deacon was originally coded with some ‘cheats’ in place as it were, so that if Maven uses certain voice commands it will switch Deacon into ‘I cannot lie’ mode – which she has apparently been using during this ‘session’.

      • You would think that’s what she means. And you’d think that because of some imprecise writing on my part. Please see  this comment.

  •  Another great page. Love it!
     Oh, my question about “lip lock” referred to Deacon and Jeff. I don’t see Maven having any serious “lip lock” other then with her pad or pen, unless you are going to surprised me. 😀

    • Glad you like the new page, judi! Thank you!

      (And yes, I figured that was what you meant. I was just being a little silly in my response. Please forgive my AlexHumor. It’s an acquired taste.)

  • fujoshifanatic

    Oh-ho! Now we’re getting to it! Deacon’s face in panel 4–so cute! :-3 I think Dr. Maven is more shocked/curious than empathetic towards Deacon. I’m sure she definitely didn’t code him for…these types of feelings/behaviors and wants to get at the bottom of how they developed.

    Alex and Winona, you two are spinning this tale through your art and dialogue so superbly that I really don’t care about questions like “how does an android blush?” among, er, other bodily functions. You have overridden my logic circuits to the point where I’m just enjoying the ride, and not many comics can do that. For that I commend you. 🙂

    • Thank you, fujoshifanatic! I’m glad we’ve gotten you to buy into the conceits of this world. 🙂

      And for more about Maven’s coding (and why Alex needs his wonderful readers), please check out this comment.

    • W Nelson

      Hehe that’s awesome that we’ve got your belief sufficiently suspended!  I’m glad it puts you into the world so thoroughly 😀

  • Another great page. I enjoy the little things, like the corporate screen saver on the computer monitor in the background.  Did you all catch that she “coded” him. So she’s not only a shrink, she’s a maker. She has more power than I thought. I love the blush expression on panel four as he looks up and away and the squirming body language of panel five.  The pause seems to me where Deacon is thinking, “I just told you a really big secret, how are you going to react?…”
    ( I was amused by the unfortunate placement of the plant, it looks like it’s coming out of his head.)

    • Hello JohnP!

      I’m glad you’re catching the little details like the screensaver—Winona and I put in a lot of effort looking to sweat those details. 🙂

      And as for the question of whether Maven is Deacon’s “maker” (and for reasons why I’m so lucky to have readers like yourself), please see this comment.

    • W Nelson

      Hehe, that plant does occasionally get back there and look a bit like a feathery headpiece.  I think of it as Deacon Does Vegas.

  • Dex X.

    panel four and five. some of the best in the entire comic. D: 

  • Hmmmm makes me wonder if Maven wrote the base code for all of the A.I.s or whether Deacon was a special case. Cause really this is sounding like motherly interrogation techniques. “I brought you into this world and I can take you out, but I would really rather not have to!” XD

    • I could see why it sounds like that. But for more information about this (and why readers like yourself are so helpful to me), please see this comment.

  • Charles Anson

    His blush, oh my god that’s adorable. X3

  • Kayla

    Deacon!! Oh god why are you so cute. I really love the body language in this comic – it’s all very realistic and it’s nice that readers can tell the way the characters are feeling completely by their body and expression. Amazing!

    • Yes. Winona does such a great job with that, right? 🙂

    • W Nelson

      I’m glad it resonates so well with you 😀

  • He. Blushed.

    Can’t comment anything else ‘cos I’m too busy making really embarassing sounds caused by massive cuteness from Deacon.

    I’m lying I can comment something else: curious huh? Unsatisfactory with other A.P.s? Deacon you naughty boy! <3

    *dies from lack of air*

  • Shinashi

    Oh, fuck, you tapped into my weak spot. Nothing like a stoic and emotionally detached partner being curious about a prospective love interest.

    Even though the setting is all wrong… sort of… I see a parallelism between Deacon and Jeff and Iason and Riki from Ai No Kusabi, XD, and several other pairings that are not so different, haha. Me likey, me likey~

    • An interesting comparison, shinashiasusual. So much of that story (at least in the anime) seemed to be about power dynamics. I wonder if you’ll find that echoed here…

      • Shinashi

        Well, when you have an android who was on a mission to kill you… It has started out that way kind of… But it has definitely lost its fire by now, XD. But if it comes back, I will complain!

  • Oh my god, Deacon is just so adorable when he’s nervous and self conscious XD L

  • biacon01

    OH MY GOD. I liked deacon before but now I’m downright love with him! That fourth panel did it for me, it is soooooo CUTE. Dr. Maven is also one beautiful lady. Also love the body language, you guys are awesome, keep up  the good work 😀

    • Thank you, biacon01! I’m really glad you’re enjoying it! 😀

  • the 4th fucking panel killed me.
    not to mention his sad puppy look at panel 5 wtf pure loooove

    i love this comic so much.
    and i love deacon :))

    • It is a puppy look, isn’t it!

      So glad to hear you’re enjoying Artifice, TatatRoses!

  • It’s a secret :3

    *squeeeeeeeee!!!!* Totally cute!!!! I still miss Jeff. I want more!!!!!

    • Glad you found it cute. And more is coming! We might even get to see Jeff again… 😉

      • It’s a secret :3

        Might???? Better not be a Might… It better be a Will see Jeff. XD

  • Coming out of lurking because Deacon is just THAT cute on this page. I couldn’t contain myself.

  • OMG that was toooo cute! Deacon is absolutely adorable in the page! <3 I'm so looking forward to the next page 🙂

  • Henrithe9th

    The blushing part is totally KAWAII!!! Love this comic… Wish they had programmed the word “gay” into his vocab though, would’ve made things way easier! 😉

    • Thank you, Henri! 

      (And your request has been forwarded on to the developers for the next point release.)

  • ithilloke

    Heh, Deacon’s “evasionspeak” sounds very much like an ex of mine. Amusing in the extreme!

    I love Dr. Maven’s jaw-drop. She CERTAINLY didn’t expect the word “curious”! 🙂 

    The plot becomes interestinger and interestinger….yay!

  • There should be an “ai can haz fwend?” meme for panel four.

    • W Nelson

      Make it 😀

  • singerblooming

    curious, huh? … OH MY GOD ;D

  • Rissicat

    Oh geez… I just fell in love with Deacon all over again! ^_^

    • Yay! 🙂 (He is awfully adorable on this page, huh?)

  • Emperor_Meiji

    Deacon’s face and body language on this page remind me of Shinji Ikari. But even in this awkward situation, I would sure as hell rather hang out with Deacon than have to put up with whiny little Shinji.

    • Heh. I’ve always had a soft spot for poor Shinji, but I agree, Deacon would be better company. 🙂

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    BTW, either panel four or five should replace the explosion as your banner…

    • Interesting suggestion. Panel 4 is a bit too vertical, but I might be able to do something with panel 5…

      • SteveMcSheffrey

        Doc staring dumbfounded at a sheepish Deacon says a lot about what people need to know about Artifice!

  • Maddie Cook

    OMG his face in Panel 4 is by far my favorite face in the world!

  • Guest

    Unsatisfactory interactions, eh?

  • Brian Findlay

    I love me some angry-then-suddenly-flabbergasted Maven 😀  Aw, Deacon has his ‘don’t kill me for this’ look, how could you not adore it?  Awesome page, definitely looking forward to more awesome plot and executive quality Winona art!

    • Thank you, Brian! Yes, “don’t kill me for this” is a good way of expressing that expression. 🙂

  • SholtoMaru

    Well, like everyone else, I’m head over heels for Deacon’s adorable blushing face. It’s interesting to me to begin to understand that the stoic, hardcore Deacon from the beginning isn’t necessarily ALL there is to him. There’s a lot going on in there.

    His mention of interactions with the other A.P’s being unsatisfactory also makes me realize that there was something about Deacon that made him different from them from the start. Something that separated him, set him apart. What was it, I wonder? Some glitch, some blip in his code that was never meant to be? Did someone do this to him deliberately, or is it just a happy (or maybe not so happy) accident?

    Another question. Are Deacon and his android bros supposed to show emotion? Is that normal for them, or is it just a quirk of Deacon’s? And another-other question. I remember from earlier in the comic that all of them look the same. Is that just to make them easier to identify if they’re wandering about in society? …Wait, DO they wander? Okay, so many questions, I have.

    As always, great page! 

    • I like the way you’re thinking about this, SholtoMaru. 🙂

      In answer to your question, Deacon’s model was designed to experience emotion. Or, at the very least, the experience of certain emotions turned out to be a necessary byproduct of the complex psychology the designers were hoping to achieve. This is one of the reasons why someone with Maven’s expertise is required to work with him.

      There are several reasons why they might choose to have a particular model of synthetic look all the same, but business being what it is, cost was likely a significant factor.

      And as of this time, this model has not yet started shipping to consumers, so no, they do not wander. All of the advanced APs of Deacon’s vintage have been used solely for NoNeCo purposes and tests.

    My mind is blown!
    Okay, after several minutes to recalibrate myself, I can comment. As cute as it is, I think Deacon blushing is almost as creepy as the infamous smiley-Deacon. But I LOOOOVE panel five! 8D
    He actually caught Maven off-kilter with that confession! And he looks so … so SQUEEZABLE. >w< Poor widdle Deacon!

    Wait, so in that earlier page where he was holding Jeff's arm a BIT too long and he looked embarrassed… Had he just realized that he was enjoying himself with a HUMAN? I have to imagine due to the way he's been treated by humans and how he's designed to wipe them out, his view of humans must be a very low one. Possibly more like upper-intelligent beasts than anything else.
    It must be new to him to enjoy a human's company, especially to find it more fulfilling than the other AP's. So I can imagine how that would lead to curiosity about what ELSE he would enjoy with Jeff.

    • It’s a secret :3

      Well said. :3

    • That would indeed be a new experience for Deacon. And your reasoning is sound. 🙂

  • Cut! this right here…*points at deacon’s blushy face* THIS IS ULTIMATE ‘AWWW’!!! This makes me miss my husband so bad, cuz of this pouty face!!

    (hope no one minds, I just had to use this image as an avi)

    • I don’t mind you using the image at all, Sawyer. I was even thinking of adding it to the Avatar Icons  (but I haven’t been sure readers have really wanted avatar icons from Artifice so I haven’t been updating them lately.) I think it looks good next to your name. 🙂

      And I hope you get to see your hubby soon! 🙂

      • Thank you! I’ll see him next friday <3 But who wouldn't want them? X3 lol my hubby is using the lean in image of Jeff when he's saying "perhaps I just needed a captive audience" lol, he loved that to death.

        • Oh, that’s awesome to hear, Sawyer! You’ll have to get him to comment here so I can see it. 😉

  • Ryn

    omg the 4th panel! and the 5th! the kicked puppy look on Deacon is adorable.

    yeah, it’s no fun being a lab rat to unsympathetic organisms and I’m getting the feeling the other APs were rather bland conversationalists.

  • D

    I am SO impatient for the next update! I want to know what’s going to happen – I feel an ultimate sadness that this can’t POSSIBLY have a happy ending – even if the Company decides to let him keep his pet human to study their interactions, they’re just lab rats. The only possible ‘out’ for them is the mysterious ‘company secret’ that sent his group of APs to the colony in the first place to kill everyone. I wonder what ‘it’ could be?


    • Glad you’re eager to know what happens next, D!

      (And I find your speculation interesting…)

  • omg he is so cute blushing
    it adorable, im in love with him i just want to hug him

    • He could definitely use a hug right about now, Angel. 🙂

  • Liv

    Let me just say, I absolutely adore this page, and all the light it brings to the situation. <3

    • Thank you, Liv. That makes me very happy to hear. 🙂

  • OnyxRose

    All I can think is that the shadow of  Dr. Maven’s hand looks like a penis :S

    • It’s a secret :3

      I just noticed that since you pointed it out. O.o LOL

  • I’m really loving Deacon’s expressions more and more. I’m also loving the storyline and how it progresses so naturally!

  • ErrorTime

    Oh! Deacon’s face! And Dr. Maven seemed to be a little surprised by his comment. But I could understand why he wanted to get to know Jeff, and humans a little better.

    • Good. I’m glad that feels like that would make sense to you. 🙂

  • melinda stumpf

    her face in the 6 panel is priceless

  • Yaminox

    unsatisfactory interactions? I gather Deacon is the only AP with a “humanity” glitch?
    if so, it’d make sense people trying to get what’s happening to him and why he deviates from his programing. if they’re not sentient beings.
    i don’t really think he means sex…I mean…with all his self-awareness it would be like sleeping with some robotic clone of him (exactly like that? xp)…really awkward if you ask me (They all look the same!!)
    i can understand why he would be curious about jeff if his only regular interactions were with clones with no personality.

    as a side-note. I really love how Winona portrays body-language. it really gives an insight about the state of mind of the characters. it feels really natural 🙂

    • Yes, it actually really gratifying for me as a writer to see how good the “acting” is in Winona’s art. She totally nails all the subtleties. 🙂

  • iamlingy

    Ohhh blushie blushie! I see that face<333

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    Oh and does this have any bearing: 
    deacon [dee-kuhn]
    noun 1.  (in hierarchical churches) a member of the clerical order next below that of a priest. 2. (in other churches) an appointed or elected officer having variously defined duties. 3. (in Freemasonry) either of two officers in a masonic lodge.

    verb (used with object) 4. to pack (vegetables or fruit) with only the finest pieces or the most attractive sides visible. 5. to falsify (something); doctor. 6. to castrate (a pig or other animal). 7. to read aloud (a line of a psalm, hymn, etc.) before singing it.

    • The writer was not familiar with more than one of those definitions when he wrote the script. 

      (And yikes, indeed… Where are you getting these definitions from?)

      • SteveMcSheffrey is your friend…

  • Just caught up and I have to say I love this story. The art is topnotch, just excellent all around.

  • eleutherios

    Bad sexual experiences?  You’re young, kiddo.  You’ll get over it.

  • deacon soooo cute when blushing)))

  • Lawenta Elar

    I just fully realized that Deacon is amazingly talented at HAVING emotions, but hopeless at HIDING them. 😀

  • VulcanMindMelon

    Oh my god. Their faces. In the second to last panel. 

    • Glad you like what you see, VulcanMindMelon! (Love your screenname, BTW.)

  • T Tran

    LOL his face makes me want to pinch it relentlessly.
    Puppy dog look at its best.

    • Heh. And this is yet another example of how Winona nails everything. This was what I asked for in the script for this panel: 

      PANEL 5: Deacon meeting Maven’s eyes. Deacon looking up like a dog in trouble, afraid to be swatted with a newspaper. Maven, mouth slightly open, truly surprised by this answer.

  • Yukiness

    Panel four made me spit up my cereal. Although the tension is making me itch, I love all the implications of possible boot knocking. Unsatisfactory in what way Deacon, in what way?

    There are Golden Grahams all over the place now

  • Beefnoi

    Deacon looks so cute in panel four <3

  • JLJones

    Poor Deacon; you can really feel how lonely he must have been before meeting Jeff, how lonely he can potentially be if this story doesn’t have a happy ending.  It makes me want to cry for him D:

    Which makes me wonder – since he can obviously blush, is Deacon (or any other AP for that matter)  able to cry?  Not just physically, but is he emotionally capable?

    Ok, time to distract myself before I turn into and emotional wreck 😛  C’mooon donation bar… give us an extra treat for a second week in a row… rah rah rah!

    • It’s a good question whether Deacon is able to cry, JLJones. Maybe we’ll find out…

      • Obviously, I’m not the writer, but how would his eyes function properly if he couldn’t produce tears? :]

        • crimsonkiss22

          I’m sure he’s able to produce tears. Like you said, he’d have a rough go of things if he couldn’t. Unless he’s like a lizard and licks his eyeballs….>_> There’s a nice image…

          As for being emotionally capable, though, that’s a very good question. A lot of men won’t cry in front of other people, because of societal standards. In this world that Alex has created, I can’t see men crying being any more socially acceptable. 

          Looking forward to finding out though!

          • Now I want fan-art of Deacon licking his own eye…

          •  Like a lizard? Or how about him just popping one out, breathing on it, shining it up on his suit and then putting it back in?
            o.O Ugh… oh woah. I can picture that WAY too clearly. I think I need to go to bed now.

  • thisboybroken

    Deacon’s face is adorable after he tells her he is curious. Panel five makes me all aflutter. With that look how could you not just give him whatever he wanted???

  • I love how reluctant he is to answer the questions… The page made me feel so squee

  • telling225

    I am so in love with this comic!!!! 10 out of 10. this just have to become a animated series plz!

    • From your lips to God’s (or Studio Bones’s) ears, telling225. 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words!

      • god, studio Bones, same difference. I LOVED Wolf’s Rain. <3

  • telling225

    I love this comic! Deacon is sooooooooooooooooooo cute! Animated series please! hell i’ll donate to help u guys get the software haha

  • crimsonkiss22

    Blushy faaaaace >w< So cute, Deacon!
    I love professionals like Dr. Maven, asking questions they already know the answers to. She just wanted you to admit it, Deacon… Although I'm not sure she's too thrilled with him at the moment.
    I WILL NOT BE LIED TO! *twitchtwitch*

    • Maven will not be lied to or have her questions evaded. Nuh, uh.

  • Emperor_Meiji

    Don’t be mad at me.

    I can’t help wondering why the good doctor is so surprised to learn that Deacon was curious about Jeff when she already assumed that Deacon liked him. Curiosity would seem to be a logical part of an android’s programming; affection would be the real shocker.

    Like I said: Don’t be mad at me. I’m probably just overlooking the obvious.

    • It’s a fair question, Emperor_Meiji. I think it’s more that it’s somehow Deacon’s “curiosity” that convinced him to disobey his orders and keep Jeff alive that she finds surprising. If he had just answered, “because it turned out I liked him too much to kill him”, that would have been an answer she might expect (even if it didn’t mean good things for their android soldier program.)

      But he (blushingly!) says it was because he was “curious”, which Maven finds a bit baffling. He’s a soldier, not a science bot. Curiosity would not be a big factor in his design. 

      So she now has to ask “Curious about what exactly?”

  • Ahh~ Deacon blushed, I can’t believe it! And then in the next panel, the look he gives the Dr…too adorable <3 *fangirl moment*

    Ahem…anyways. I'm curious myself, about Deacon's interactions with other humans. Thinking back to the very beginning of this webcomic and the way that man (whose name I can't remember Dx) treated him, those interactions must have been bad indeed. Hmm…

    • That would be Roy who was giving Deacon a hard time in the first pages. 🙂

  • Oh My God a blushing Deacon! Oh My God a blushing Deacon! Oh My God a blushing Deacon! Oh My God a blushing Deacon! Oh My God a blushing Deacon! OH MY GOD A BLUSHING DDDDDEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAACCCCCCONNNNNN!!!!  -faint-

    Now that I got that out of the way…. Doesn’t he have white blood?  Wouldn’t his blush actually be white?  Or is is skin working with programming that makes him blush red…  I’m nit picking. Sorry. 

    Love the way this is going.  LOVE IT!!!  Oh man I can’t wait for next Saturday! 

    • Glad to hear you’re loving Artifice, Sara—that makes me happy to hear.

      And I checked in with tech support about your question. Much like the natural feel of his skin, a reddish color to his blush is a feature added to help him blend in on covert operations. They pointed out to me that if they had not added that this feature, he might look rather cadaverous in general with his white fluids, even when he wasn’t blushing. 

  • By the way I have to say I love the body language displayed in this comic!  It’s so natural.  LOVE IT!

    • Yes, Winona does an awesome job with that, right? 🙂

  • Exile 755 is a Higglytown hero



  • LaSalvi

    Aaaw, he’s so adorable XD

    Killing machine / Sweet clueless little boy : PERFECT MIX

    • Heh. Just like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…

      • LaSalvi

        You read my mind.

  • I love the adorable blush!

  • waaaah! How cute! Another page of adorableness, and this time solely Deacon. Poor thing can’t lie? Maven, you evil wicked lady. =)

    He looks so pouty in the second to last panel to. I love this. See, Deacon has more of an opinion and personality then these human are giving their creations credit for. <_<

    • Glad you’re liking the adorableness, Hisoka—and Deacon’s “personality”. 🙂 

  • Ooooh programmed not to lie?
    Sucks to be you, Deacon…!!  

    But aww, Deacon’s blushing face has made my day ~

    Can’t wait for more! <3

    • Glad to hear it, Doomy! 🙂

    • Can’t lie outright to her, but he sure can evade questions like an eight-year-old! XD

  • typhonblue

    Dr. Maven seems ever so slightly compassionate in this one. Surprised into compassion? Each page that gets uploaded I’m hoping we’re back with Jeff… Somehow I’m not disappointed there’s more Maven, but I still hope for Jeff…

    BTW, Alex I have an absolutely unrelated question about your comic site operation. Where did you get the donate bar and how did you set it all up? 

    • Hi Alison!

      Boy, finding that donation bar was actually pretty hard. I went through a bunch of WordPress plugins before finding Donation Can over at

      which met all my needs. Specifically,

      – it integrated with PayPal
      – it had a counter that would update in real time
      – it had the option to reset the counter back to $0 once I had hit my goal (after I asked for this option; the developer is very responsive)
      – It did not add any additional fees outside of what PayPal charges me (very important—many other counters claim to offer a “service” and charge you for it!)
      – it was a widget thus it was easy to place on my site
      – it was easy to design in an attractive manner with CSS, etc.
      – it’s 100% free so you can try it out painlessly

      I feel very comfortable recommending it to other webcomics creators (and in fact recently left a donation myself to the developer for all his hard work).

      Hope that helps!

  • Oh god, his blush is just too adorable. You’re killing me here!!!!!

  • Pervertida Pensante

    I love it.

    I’m wondering how far had he meet him.

    • Glad you’re liking Artifice, Pervertida!

      And I’m not sure I 100% understand your question, but perhaps it wasn’t a question, but just something you’re sharing. If you do have a specific question, though, please let me know! 🙂

  • Dracca

    Interactions?  But isn’t he a sort of robot?  If he’s prgrammed to work, they don’t need to give him/them a penis?

    • protip protip

      Well, that would entirely depend on the scope of his missions. If there’s a known exterior anatomical difference of an artificial person on a clandestine infiltration/sting mission that would be the first thing that would get checked.

      • Dracca

        True, but would they also check if it’s working? xD

        • typhonblue

          Yes. They would.

          • Dracca


    • SteveMcSheffrey

      The classic definition of an android is an construct where all biological functions are duplicated by mechanical means.  I did question at first why the corporation would include the working junk but I’ve rethought it.  Business minded and goal oriented businessmen wouldn’t but they wouldn’t be designing the line.  A team of scientists tasked with creating artificial life with a big budget would go nuts with creating artificial life.  They’d probably even figure out a way to make fingernails and hair grow and claim the android is such a complex creation that they couldn’t omit any of their successful design without fear of crashing the system.  And the penis?  It’d be a point of pride and no doubt John Holmes big!

      • Dracca

        Neat explanations, thanks!
        And btw, it’s a great comic!

      • Hey you’re right! It’s not the military men or the guys in suits that are designing and building the APs, it’s the techie nerds in the white lab jackets! They’d want to make him as human as possible, but “better”. IE his sense of touch, his intelligence and adaptability would be beyond human norms.

        In fact, if not for the corporate dollars at stake, his creators would probably be over the MOON to learn that Deacon is capable of developing complex emotional bonds with a living human being! It lives! EET LIIIIIIVES!!! 8D

  • omg the look on his face he’s so adorable. that therapist scares me. she made a bad ass turn in to a 8th grader caught in a crush.

    • Yes. Maven is a powerful woman. Glad you’re liking what you’re seeing, Abbi! 🙂

  • Oh lord he’s so cuuuute. And I like her shocked expression at his being curious <3 But he seriously is adorable. -pinches those cheeks.-

  • Oh he’s so cute I want to bake him a pie. He wouldn’t have to eat it, but I would have to bake it. It’s the shading on his bottom lip for ‘curious’ that gets me. It’s no so uncommon a convention for there to be inquisitive robots. I think it would be in the nature of robots to want to learn. And it would be cheaper programming too if they did.

    • Heh. Deacon pie, huh? What kind of ice cream would go with that, I wonder…

      • VANILLA!! The only kind of ice cream to go with YAOI of course!

  • Lorescien

    Second to last panel = effing adorable! Gosh, I love this so much. He’s innocent, and yet he’s not. And I totally want to see him and Jeff back together after the whole interrogation is done with. They’re too damn cute together not to bring them back together after the whole ordeal. :3 Love it all, and keep up the good work!

    • well considering how they wanted the poor kid dead in the first place just because he lived on a colony. I dunno if they will  be able to get together without some superpower robot rescue. I’d like to learn more about this world and why some corruption had a right to send robot-men in to kill scores of people. course I’m also a little squicked about the severe lack of LGBT rights. an abortion because your kid is gay? that’s so disgusting. I can’t wait to read more.

      • I meant to type corporation but corruption works too. lol

        • Lorescien

          Hahaha, corruption does work, too. I’m curious as well, though I think a lack of rights is what keeps the story going so well. If they had just as many rights as we do now, the inner conflicts wouldn’t be nearly as strong. (Btw, I think it’s wrong to have abortion at all, but that’s just little ol’ pro-life me.) And I’m pretty sure some superpowered robot rescue can happen if Deacon really wants to do it. After all, if he can go against orders once, he can totally do it again. >:D

      • Glad to hear you want to see more, Abbi. 🙂

        • omg yes! I can’t fricken’ wait. I love the art I love the story. this is awesome.

          • Thank you, Abbi! You’re a total sweetheart! 😀

    • Thank you, Lorescien!

  • Deacon just turned into a nervous teenager sooo freaking adorable. the doc needs to wrap this session up so he can get back with jeff. *giggles*

  • Oh goodness, Deacon has such cute faces. >.<

  • Eeeehehe! Why does Deacon have to be so dang adorable! <3

  • samae

    Ok, am i the only one who noticed mavens face in the last panel, she looks kinda like “opps” or “oh…….” lol. Deffinetly killed her fire there decon.

    • Yep. It was not the answer she was expecting. 🙂

      •  yeah considering how unlighted these people are (killing a colony of people who are probably innocent and yeah there probably kids we didn’t see.) i see rough waters ahead. considering their lack of care of human rights she may be tied by her superiors to “fix” him. man I hope he and jeff escape to an island together.

  • Shika

    Haha, he looks so shy and adorable blushing ~ !

  • I don’t think you could be told enough how wonderful this story is. Every new page exposes a new facet about Deacon that as an AP he is not suppose possess. Each little bit is such a tantalizing tease that you have to return to see what else is going to happen. And Winona’s art is just so wonderfully expressive and lovely. She does with her art what you do with your words.
    You two are like peanut butter and chocolate;you just work so well together^_^.

    • Thank you very much for your very kind words and very generous donation, Cotina. Your comment has put a big smile on my face. 

      I am definitely super lucky to be able to work with someone as talented as Winona on this project. But I’m also super lucky that this collaboration has put me in contact with awesome readers like yourself. Thank you again! 🙂

  • Adam Black

    Deacon has never looked more attractive or more human.

    Alex, as usual you have toyed with us and avoided the main issues,
    which i see as thus:

    (1) Does he take American A/C current or will I need a special adapter?
    ….I hope i dont need one more proprietary one

    (2) How much a donation gets me those ” command codes”.
    Its only fair,he’llhave mine soon enough

    Winona,  Your talents are shining here.
    great on on faces and body language

    • Hi Adam!

      I have a question in to tech support about whether you’ll need an adapter, but in terms of the command codes, I can assure you that with the purchase of one of our ASO modules, you will receive all codes, including the master ones. You can even change them if you’d like! You’ll have maximum flexibility to ensure that your ASO serves your needs and your needs alone.

      While the final shipping price of the ASO models has not yet been determined, I can assure you will find they will be competitively priced at but a fraction of your country’s gross domestic product. Considering the long-term benefits of this advanced model, I’m sure you will see that the benefit far outweighs the cost. 🙂

      Thank you again for your interest in the next generation of intelligent and robust synthetic infantry. Together we truly can manufacture a brighter tomorrow.

      •  Wait, does that mean I can run an ASO in Linux?? Oh man that would be awesome! Can you picture a linux-based AP? He’d be some sort of hipster android with a taste for snarky t-shirts! XD

  • I am very very very VERY glad I discovered this lovely webcomic!  It’s a delight and a refreshment to read something so heavily plot-based in the yaoi genre!  Certainly I loves me the hot man-time, but a slow building character insight is irresistible in its own right, and doubly so here.

    I do not hesitate to say that Maven is empowering, inspiring, and intimidating all at the same time.  

    I also wish to give Deacon a hug because, in this recent comic, he is blasted adorable.  Does he like hugs?  Or would he prefer a hug from someone with only one X chromosome?  Alas if so!  My desire to hug him is only outdone by my sheer curiosity (heh) to see where this is going!

    • I’m very glad you’re enjoying the comic, Summer! I am trying to do something a little different here—and I know it won’t be for everyone—but it makes me happy to hear my more plot-based story is working for you. 🙂

      And as for whether Deacon would like hugs? Before the Da Vinci Four mission, I woud have said certainly not. But now? Well, let’s just wait and see… 😉

      • I really like plot-based works.  Emotional investment in the characters makes the whole experience more satisfying overall than just two guys getting “nekkid.”  That and we get treated to adorable moments like Deacon blushing.  Seriously.  I actually squee’d from the cuteness.  

        Well, I will not chance a guy who’s so much stronger than me taking offense from wanting to hug him, but the offer is totally there if he should desire it.  I also offer a hug to you, kind sir, for writing this 🙂

        • Hey Summer! Yes, we’re totally on the same page about how emotional investment makes everything, even the physical parts of a romance story, more satisfying. Frankly, with a few rare exceptions, I actually need it to get into erotic work at all. If a story just starts with “Wham, bam, thank you, Sam!”, I might keep reading, but that scene won’t have been hot for me. But get me to care about the characters and then you’re talking. 😉

          And your hug is gratefully appreciated by me and reciprocated. 😀 Thank you!  (And you’re wise to wait and see with Deacon. Very few have survived his “hugs”…)

  • Diseasedface

    I haven’t commented in a while but……….~SWOONS~




  • adrdem

    This is very interesting.

    From the page before this till here, you’re notice the hand gesture our robotic friend makes and his body language from sitting straight till crouched down.


  • Shaphina

    I found this comic not to long ago and was hooked instantly! I just love it so much I started reading it again. Just wanted to say not only is the comic awesome in many was but I love Deacon’s pose in panel 5 and expression in panel 4. For a handsome android he sure can be cute! 

  • Jennifer Closen

    D’awwwwwww~!  Deacon puppy posture in panel 5…  X3

  • blush! 😛

  • Deacon~

    The blushing (d’aaaaaw) and the puppy-slouch (aaaawwwwww) and just both of their facial expressions were amazing.

  • I like how she says she used his master commands to tell him not to lie, yet she had to TELL HIM that so that he wouldn’t lie.

    Yeah, Maven, how those master codes working out for ya?

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    Deacon’s blushy face and than his slouched hangdogged look in the next panel are seriously the cutest things ever. Even on the face of a killer-bot. <3

  • Ree

    Aa;lflkasdklf these facial expressions and poses are always so wonderful 8D

  • Jasmin

    Omg, he’s the cutest thing ever. ;___;

  • Daniel Notsoinnocent Lane

    D’awwwwwwww~ He’s like an adorable little killing-machine puppy!!!! <3

  • Elijah Marshall

    Deacon is the cutest I’m going to cry