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Artifice Page 65

180 Comments on Artifice Page 65

So this brings us to the end of the flashbacks on Da Vinci Four. From now on, we are in completely uncharted territory…

We have new Fan Art by Audbot! A 3D interpretation of Deacon recharging that manages to show a bit of flesh. 😉 Thanks, Audbot!

And… since the last update, we’ve hit the donation target, not once, but TWICE! And for that second time around, you filled the donation bar in less that 36 hours! A new record!

Special thanks to long-time supporters Mark L., Virginia H. (donating for the second week in a row!) & Gabrielle R. (who makes their 3rd generous donation in a row!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow to new supporters Elizabeth C., Emily M., Jami E., Hwa H. & Zackary M. (who made two donations in two days!) for their generous support over the last few days.

Big hugs to long-time friends Tyler B. and Larisa V. for their super-generous $25 donations (and this makes Larisa’s fourteenth $25 donation to Artifice! You are a rock star, Larisa! Thank you!)

Android-strength hugs go out to new Artifice super-heros Wayne W., Mark H. & Phil H. for their amazingly generous $50 donations (and Phil also put us over the top for next week’s page! OMG, thank you so much, you guys!) and also to long-time Artifice superhero Daniel K. whose $50 donation not only marks their third super-generous donation to this comic in a row but also put us over the top for the second bonus page which will be posted on Wednesday, January 18th! You’re amazing—high five, Daniel!

And finally a very humbled, grateful, deep, heartfelt bow, then a hug followed by a leaping high-five to long-time super-friend of Artifice Ethan R. who with his jaw-dropping $150 donation shatters all previous records. I don’t know what to say, other than, you’re AWESOME, Ethan. And thank you!

Thank you all so, so much for your generosity. Here’s a secret: I really appreciate the kind words that folks leave here in the comments—they really do mean the world to me. But sometimes. because of who I am and how I was raised, there are moments I have a hard time taking in the compliments about our work here. (Not always, of course. Most days I’m able to let myself believe my writing could maybe be good enough to merit at least some of the kind words. Still, there is the occasional dark day I find myself thinking “Oh, they’re just being nice.”)

But that so many of you have been so generous in your support, and during such difficult times, well, even on my dark days, I can’t deny that at least with some folks, we’re making a real connection with our work here. And… receiving this support does makes it feel actually realistic that I’ll be able to keep creating stories like this to share with you for some time—and thus, it’s a HUGE morale booster.

I know. TL;DR. 🙂 I just feel so very grateful to you all. You are helping me live a life-long dream by giving me a chance to have the opportunity to work with an artist of Winona’s extraordinary caliber and get my work out there to share with so many awesome people. So… thank you very, very much!

Anyway! Page 66 will be up on Wednesday, January 11th! And I think you know full well whose gentle face we’ll be seeing… 😉 Hope to see you there!

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!
  • ScreamingFurby


  • Robert Endicott

    ok  im crying at deacon crying

  • I don’t know if androids dream of electric sheep, but now I know they can cry.  This page is heartbreaking in its sheer simplicity, hiding none of the horror or the emotion Deacon is feeling…even if his face can’t move.  Astonishing.  I’m tearing up here too.  

    This is also the first time Deacon has struck me as inhuman, not in the emotional sense, but in the physical.  I’ve never seen his eyes look anything but realistic, but now, they are flat and impersonal looking, except for the tears.  If his command codes had not been said, he truly would be indistinguishable from a regular human.

    If Maven doesn’t look at least a little sad or perplexed by the time Weds rolls around, after hearing the end of the DV4 story, she may not have a soul.  And I LIKE her.

  • As if I wasn’t on Deacon’s side already, but this page completely decided my pick in androids vs humans. The way they treat him is INHUMAN, worse than you would treat a farm-animal, like he is a THING. Much as he has rebelled against them, surely if he were a flesh-and-blood person there would have been different treatment. They might’ve shouted insults at him, beaten him, which is not a good thing of cours,e but… Still much better than just chucking him off in a cupboard.

    And I must compliment the art in the last panel. It’s amazing how you combine emotion with the doll-likeness, how it shows that he’s at onec rendered artificially inactive but retains his ability to feel and think…

  • My heart is crying right now for them. 🙁 please tell me there is a happy ending!

  • I don’t think I could ever again say about any situation that I am helpless. Because this, this is ‘helpless’, when you really CAN’T DO ANYTHING

  • Cyan Apfel

    /gross sob/
    i just…emotions…man this page…fantasic job on all ends

  • melinda stumpf

    god damn it *wipes her tears away* poor Deacon

  • Suf

    oooh!! ;n;

  • Darby Roorda

    I love this comic SO MUCH. I normally don’t camp, but good lord, I camp for this one. Fabulous art, story, pacing, characters….Oh geez this comic is amazing. I could rave about it forever, but hey, I should be in bed right now! I wish I could be more specific about what I love, but it’s hard when I love everything.

    Keep up the awesomeness until I’M able to donate!

    • Thank you, Darby, for all the very kind words. I’m delighted you find Artifice camp-worthy! (I love campers.) 

  • HannahDJA

    OMFG?!??! IS DEACON……….. CRYING?!?!! NUUUUU!!! >O 3O >

    And of course your writing is FANTASTIC enough to merit words! It makes me sad to think that you may have doubts in your mind about the comments people leave sometimes, but you know, this may be a graphic comic, and everything may seem to revolve around the artwork (props to Winona as well, I ain’t bashing you!), but the story, the pure heart put into the plot BEHIND all the pretty pictures is something that fellow writers, and true fans of the work will look for and comment on. 

    I LOVE Artifice will all my heart, body and soul, and I love it more than just Jeff’s goofy smile and Deacon’s drool-worthy chest. I love it for the pure originality behind the story. I love what you’ve written, Alex, and as much as I enjoy the artwork, I enjoy what’s been put into the plot, more. And though I’m unable to donate (as much as I’d like to be able to, finances have hit my family and myself pretty hard in recent years), I’ll send good vibes, happy comments and happy thoughts, since it’s been scientifically proven that thought does indeed weight. I’ll keep thinking in regards to this story, in hope’s that it’s a long time before it ends.

    Your readers love your work, Alex! And we love you too! So I hope we can eventually chase away any Negative Nancy thoughts in the future! Never stop laughing, loving, or living, Alex, and never stop believing for one second that people on here are here to make you think we care when we don’t, because we do, we really, really do. I know I do!!

    • Hey, HannahDJA! I also responded to your post on my FB page, but thank you very much for your kind words and encouragement here as well. As I said there, I feel a little embarrassed by all the responses to my note—it wasn’t my intention to ask for that—but I do appreciate all the kind things you and others have said about the story and characters of Artifice and I’ll definitely be saving these comments for those days I’m feeling a bit down on myself. (Which really are fairly rare, I promise. 🙂 ) 

      No writer is perfect and I will, perhaps, always see my own flaws more clearly than others, but it is very special to me that so many awesome people have connected with the story and characters of Artifice. And I very much appreciate the happy vibes, good thoughts and great community that’s formed here. It does make me quite happy. 🙂

  • NOO!! Those bastards!! 🙁 That last panel is so heartbreaking! Poor Deacon and Jeff… —>(insert loud sob here)

  • What a heart-trembling last panel….

    What must he be thinking? FEELING? To not be able to bring himself to get up, to even pace around….or even just roll over….

    Three days knowing the one you love may be getting tortured, abused, raped, beaten…

    Especially if they kept him paralyzed having used his codes, so he was laying there WANTING to get up, beat at the walls, the doors, claw his way through to save his lover, but being physically unable to….

    My god 🙁

    • That’s right. He couldn’t move at all. Not until after he had been “revived” back at the NoNeCo Main Corporate Campus.


  • talya101

    stupied humans. why can’t they see the love between decon and jeff!? damn they are killing them!
    *great comic*  waiting to the next page :]

    • Thanks, talya101! Glad you’re looking forward to that next page. 🙂

  • AnyOtaku

    I can’t stand seeing Deacon like that… Crying on the floor. Can I give him a very huge hug? You actually make me cry a bit!

    • You may absolutely give Deacon a big hug, AnyOtaku. He could really use one right now. 🙂

  • Oh god my baby Deacon is crying :(( Come here Deacon let me carry you in my bosom…. Yes…

  • Oh good GOD…. I think my heart just perhaps broke in about A MILLION different places…  So broken that I don’t think that my emotions are very stable.

    I am seriously on the verge of tears.. My eyes are watering.  They’re lined with tears waiting to fall…
    This page has really tugged severely on some heart strings 🙁
    Poor Deacon.  I feel so terrible for him.
    I absolutely can not imagine how he must be feeling.  It must have been the strangest sensation for him to have learned how to feel real human emotion and just like anyone who has fallen in love before it will be killing him to be apart from the one that he loves, especially in such a situation where the outcome of Jeff’s life is in jeopardy.
    Bawwwwww.. The world is so cruel.

  • Something inside me just broke.
    That’s a (VERY) powerful page.

  • Aikka

    Poor Deacon… treated like a thing *sigh*
    Well not that we really should have expect more…

    I think what has to be said was already said in comments before so not sure what i should add here. Feeling of being completly useless and unable to do anything, + laying there for a few days when all he can do is just thinking and wondering?  Good that we can still talk with him now.

    And now to the comment part o.o

    *hugs Alex very tightly* >.< we are not just being nice.

    If i were to comment nice things here, only to… be nice.
    I wouldn't start commenting here back then, at the beggining when i started to.
    You see i rarely comment even when i like something,
    not even thinking about when i don't "XD
    and many people are the same. <- So when we do comment, it means something.

    Of course i do understand your doubts. If i was on your place i would have so many heh o..o But try to not analyze it so much and simply accept we love Artifice XD

    Oh, and someone i na comment before said you may think it's all about the artwork.
    Well. As far as of course Winona's artwork is awesome and looking at it is a pure pleasure (i really love it, a page from Artifice is still my cellphone wallpaper ^^) just an awesome art itself wouldn't make me reading a comic i don't like. Could cause LOOKING at the comic or art from it but not reading. And i'm not making this up, i won't say the titles here but that's exactly what happened with one webcomic i looked at. I loved the art. And that's was all. Well maybe i liked the idea behind the plot but plot itself was just… eh won't go into details, don't want to say which one it is o.o. Anyway i simply read it to the moment it was and did not look at it later for the updates. Maye someday  i will when i will be really bored, but probably more to just look what's there and that's all, not  really reading it…

    Ok this comment is getting too long, will end it for now o..o

    // Edit: just fixed some typos x_x i should check comments more before publishing *sigh*

    • tom1988

      Yeah seriously, you took the words right out of my mouth when you said, “You see i rarely comment even when i like something, not even thinking about when i don’t “XDand many people are the same. <- So when we do comment, it means something."

      No offence, Winona, but even *if* the art was of much lower quality, I'd still be enthralled to follow this story. I wasn't speaking lightly when I said I couldn't "think of a webcomic with the same high standards in *every* area of direction," for nothing. That's why you're recieving the huge level support both financially and in the number of fan-tastic comments here. Remember that old sales principle, it's something like "Every response from one customer represents several hundred others that never made one."

      • Aikka and Tom,

        I do very much think Winona’s outstanding art is an essential reason why folks are connecting with this comic. Her brilliance with facial expressions and body language alone make these characters feel very real—at least to me. (And she sure does draw the boys purty, too, which doesn’t hurt. 😉 )

        And I hear both of you that there is a special way you are connecting with the story and characters above and beyond the outstanding art and that… well, that make me very happy to hear. I’m delighted that both of you have taken the time to comment and share your thoughts. It really does mean the world to me.  And I thank you both very much for it. Hugs back! 🙂

        P.S. Aikka, which page are you using for your cellphone wallpaper?

        • Aikka

          Well, for sure art is what people see here first.
          [so, many times, is what propably make them start to read, as it suggest that they will read something good]

          What you said here about her is true -> as everyone here i love her art and am amazed by her skills *-*


          you make it look like everyone here were for art and your story was just a nice add-on. wrong.


          I think it was said many times before that you and Winona make a great team.

          That means what both of you made is great and complements each other. You made an interesting story with good characters. Winona drew it in a way that showed the best of it.

          As for wallpaper:

          The same page as before, did not change my wallpaper since then. It’s page 41. And i still smile when i just look at my phone “XD -just to check the time for 5543574354536 time-

          At the sides i just have some Jeff and Deacon cut from other pages as my phone requires a wider wallpaper, but the main screen is just this page *-* [  <- haha i even have a photo of my phone with it, just had to show it to everyone back then when i changed it… "XD]

          I still wait for something i could use as my desktop wallpaper though *sigh*

          • If I gave the impression that I thought that folks were only here for the art and that my story was an “add-on”, I’m sorry for not being clear. That wasn’t actually what I was feeling. 

            I suppose I responded the way I did because some folks in saying their kind words were doing it in a way that felt maybe a little dismissive to me of Winona’s art and importance. I’m sure that was completely unintentional (and likely because of language differences), but it’s just very important to me that the credit is shared just as you said: this is a partnership and Winona and I make a great team. I feel very lucky to have her realize the art for my script and am grateful for the ways her art helps readers connect so well with the story.

            Anyway! I totally get your point and again appreciate your very kind words. And I am delighted that you like the story and the characters and Winona’s skill in depicting them. And I always appreciate your props about my writing.:D

            (Hey, that wallpaper is looking good. Thank you for sharing!)

          • tom1988

            I wasn’t demeaning Winona’s work.

          • I didn’t think you were (or anyone was). And I don’t think Winona would think that, either. Part of my role here is to set a tone in the comments and my intention was about prevention rather than correction.

            But obviously I didn’t do that as well as I could in this case (probably because I can be shy about compliments) and I could see why you might feel I was indirectly calling you out.  That was absolutely not my intention.  

            Please forgive my clumsiness. I always enjoy reading your comments here, tom1988. And both Winona and I really appreciate your support and what you have to say. 🙂

          • tom1988

            Thanks, I feel better with the air cleared.

  • eleutherios


  • DOVE

    Long time reader, first time commenter. This comic is really good. I’m hooked, coming back every time there’s a new page. Keep up the great pages. I can’t wait to see where this goes. 

    • Thank you, lady_danin! So glad to hear you’re hooked! Just what I want to hear. 😀

  • Caithraem

    Love the webcomic. Of course the artwork is wonderful, but even the best artwork in the world wouldn’t keep me coming back if the story was crap. I’d take one look, and go “oh, that’s nice” and never come back. Sooooooooooooo not the case here. Please keep up the good work, you and Winona both.

    • Thank you, Caithraem! I’m really glad to hear you’re enjoying both the story and the art of Artifice! I feel so lucky to have such a great collaboration with Winona and even more lucky to have awesome readers like yourself appreciate our work. 🙂

  • Krondor2000

    That last panel is the most saddest scene ever! I’m scared for Deacon. I’m even more scared for Jeff! Anything could have happened to him during the three days Deacon was forcefully inoperative. Man oh man, this is so not ending well!! 🙁

  • cjfrankie

    … omg…  poor Deacon!!!



  • thisboybroken

    I think it is amazing how Winona makes Deacon look so human and then today like artificial life form. You guys always rock, dark day or not.

  • Malin Skutnabba

    Oh Deacon 🙁 

  • karake456

    I need a tissue. :”D 

  • KBatty

    He can cry!? Well, I guess this indirectly answers some other questions readers may have been asking. Hahaha

    • fujoshifanatic

      LOL, I was totally thinking that, but wasn’t rude enough to ask! 😛

      • Oh, y’all, I didn’t even think of that. 😀

        Still, the conclusion you drew is correct….

  • Moh, poor Deacon ó-ò *snob*

    Mh, the blood is on the wrong arm… Oo

  • Cydalima

    Oh, God ): Deacon crying just break my heart. Wonderful, as always!

  • Ashley Ross

    Deaconnnnnn. I want to cry with him. The sight of tears running down his face just tears me apart. Oh, bb. Hugs for Jeff and Deacon and both of the wonderful people collaborating on this masterpiece~ I’m going to go off and cry now, haha.

    • Heh. Glad the new update moved you, Ashley. Hugs, back! 😀

  • talya101

    i wanted a sex scene before …

  • yellowrock

    So sad!  To have to spend 3 days, stuck in the same position, not knowing what happened to your loved one, must have been horrible.  I’ve gone through something similar, but at least I had things to do to keep my mind off of it.

  • Yukiness

    You have made me laugh, cry, cry tears of joy, and now “AWWWW” out loud. You have a winning piece here my friend. If I saw this on a bookshelf in a store I would buy this with a passion that would scare the clerk. Don’t ask me what would happen if it were the last copy.

    I cannot wait for all the uncharted territory.

    • Thank you, Yukiness! It’s so great to hear that Artifice is moving you emotionally in such different ways. It makes me very happy to hear that. 

      And who knows? Maybe it will wind up on a bookshelf some day. 🙂

      • Yukiness

        In that case, take my money!

        Looking back, I noticed that the dried up blood in on the wrong sleeve. If I’m no mistaken, another fan mentioned this as well.

        And yes, these words are not just out of kindness, they are really. You, Alex and Winona, are the ones who have created such a positive impact on us all. We are very greatful to you both 

        • Well, thank you again for the props. They really do mean a lot to me.

          And yes, I see that thing about the arm now too. I appreciate that call-out about the blood on the sleeve. Usually I’m good about noticing continuity errors like that. I’ll see if we can fix that before the book goes to print. 🙂

  • C K

    Sweet Jesus.  I can’t even imagine how awful that must be, being fully aware of what’s going on and being absolutely helpless to do anything.  It must be quite the whiplash to go from powerful killing machine to absolutely powerless.

    I’m scared for poor Jeff.  If he was on the ship for three days, plus whatever amount of time there’s been between the ship’s arrival at headquarters and the present, that’s plenty of time for bad things to happen.  And seven people just got killed, and Jeff was already  a target for being a colonist to begin with.  I can easily imagine a few grieving comrades deciding to take out their anger at the vulnerable human versus the expensive killer robot.

    Poor Jeff.  He’s had the absolute worst luck in life.  Bullied by the other colonists except his mom, then his mom died, then the entire colony got murdered, then he was Deacon’s hostage — though that did clearly get much better — and now all this.  And absolutely none of it was his fault or had anything to do with his actions.  He’s even more helpless than Deacon in the situation.  (Unless the entire strip turns into JEFF WAS A SPY ALL ALONG which I tend to doubt, heh.)

    • C K

      And I just realized that, no, the *trip* did not take three days, it took Deacon three days to run out of energy  Since it took several weeks for the retrieval team to get there, it probably also took several weeks to get back.  And Jeff was at their mercy the whole time.

      Poor Jeffffff 🙁

      • Krondor2000

        Oh man! Now I am really scared for Jeff! If he survives, he might have to reject Deacon for fear of being separated, tortured or worse!

      • Yes, you’re absolutely right. The trip home took not three days, but several weeks.

  • Oh god. To see him so lifeless and inhuman in his facial expression but with the tears running down his face is so powerful and sad and damnit I need a tissue.

    And poor Jeff, all on his own with people who probably want him dead…

    And in no way are we just being nice. The writing and the art in this comic are so mind-blowing and and wonderful. Of course we want to support that and heap praise upon you both.

    • Thank you, Kate! I’m so glad to hear that you’re connecting with both the story and the art. Your kind words are very much appreciated. 🙂

  • mewta

    This really made me sad. It’s so wonderfully and emotionally done and made my heart just ache….

    So I did chibi cuteness to cheer myself up. *hugs for Alex you amazing writer you*

    • Aikka

      O_O … *_*
      so cute! ;—;

    • qu_gon_robot

      DURACELL! Hahaha XD

    • Lance Gilroy

      super love!

    • Oh, man, that’s AWESOME, mewta! (And you’re Duracell quip got me to laugh out loud. 🙂 )  Can I post it up here? If so, how would you like to be credited?

      And… HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 😀

      • mewta

        Yes of course! I would be honored to see it in the fanart section 😀 My penname is Mewta, that’s how I would like being credited please XD

        And thank you! Call me a fanboy but I get happy shivers seeing that you replied to me! O.O Someone amazing has acknowledged my existence *squee* 

        • Aikka

          Welcome to the club mewta. xD

          I still remember that feeling i had during first replies i got from both of them [Alex and Winona] xD

          Well, ok…

          It’s still a little like that “XDD

        • I’m very much looking forward to posting it up, mewta. There are a couple of other fan arts “in the queue” right now, but keep your eye out for it in the next week or so. Thank you again for creating such fun work! 😀

  • fujoshifanatic

    Alex, how could you possibly think that about your work?!! I read a lot of webcomics, but yours is the one I camp on for updates. Yours is the one that inspires me to write about how great it was and what it made me feel each and every page since I got into it! And yours is most definitely the ONLY one I donate to with my hard-earned money each and every time I get the chance, even if it may not be as often as I like.

    I would never do that for a work that I didn’t think was fantastic. I was an English major in college, with an emphasis on creative writing, so I know what compelling, well-crafted storytelling is when I see it. I can use all the $20 words you want to describe Artifice, but sometimes simple is best: I totally love this comic, and I totally love that you are passionate enough, and courageous enough, to share this with us each and every week. As these continuous bonus page requests should tell you, sometimes it’s okay to believe the hype, especially when it’s well deserved! 😀

    That being said my dear, can I tell you that you shattered me with this page? The last panel made my heart clench in a way I hadn’t expected. I now take back what I said before about wanting immobilization codes for humans. I would never, ever want any living thing, human or not, to go through what Deacon did in those three days! D-: You and Winona captured that feeling of profound powerlessness, through the art and narration, so wonderfully that I felt completely verklempt and must have stared at that page for 15 minutes before the feeling passed. 

    I am truly excited, and scared, to see what happens next, and I’m loving it! 

    • qu_gon_robot

      There are without question communities that cultivate an unspoken ‘positive comment or gtfo’ rule, yet I don’t think Artifice is one of them.  If the rate at which people donate, and the depth of their reviews is something to go by, then Artifice is hardly a Deviantart celebrity like phenomenon (yes, I use that word because it feels like it’s getting bigger with each update).

      • You’re right—constructive criticism is always welcome here. (Personal attacks, especially towards other commenters or Winona, are definitely not. But honest critiques? Absolutely. 🙂 )

        And I’m not exactly sure what a Deviantart celebrity phenomenon is, but I’m pretty sure I know what you’re getting at. And thank you. 🙂

        • qu_gon_robot

          Oh lol I don’t think you want to know. The saying that ‘ignorence is bliss’ has never been more true XD

    • Thank you so much—for everything you said. (You’ve got me a bit “verklempt” here right now too!) I suppose all artists have their “dark days”, but the kindness and thoughtfulness and support of awesome readers like yourself, well, of course I have to take that in. (And it’s especially flattering—and interesting!—to hear that you focused on creative writing in college. Do you still write?)

      Thank you also for the very kind words about this page. The response you had to it was just what I was hoping for. P.S. I hope your monitor is now working! 🙂

  • tom1988

    As sad as that is for Deacon (and yeah that really is pretty grim), I can’t help but feel sorry for everyone – especially the unlucky guard in the last page.

    I mean-Bloody hell, when you think of that guy’s face, don’t you think being left to run dry on the floor for three days is the least punishment they could hand out?

    • I’ve got a lot of competing thoughts about this. As the primary rescuer of TV Trope’s Men Are The Expendable Gender page, it really bugs me to see male characters just sort of gored out of existence(because I know it wouldn’t happen to female characters and not having them in the service isn’t an excuse IMHO). So, yeah, I don’t like seeing how the security personnel died.

      However, in terms of Deacon’s responsibility… it was the company that made him in the first place, including the possibility of developing emotions that he had no idea how to control. And likely *also* programmed in a knee-jerk response to resorting to a little of the ol’ ultra violence whenever he feels threatened. A response he may not actually be able to control and may be inextricably tied to his emotions and sense of threat. 

      This whole situation is horrible for Deacon. Because he very well may start to realize that he’s not just killing ‘the other’, he’s killing other potential Jeffs. And he may come to that realization while still being forced to kill. 

      I wonder if Deacon is also crying about what he’s _done_, not just about being separate from Jeff.

      Further, this may offer an explanation for Maven’s behaviour. While he was ‘out’ they might have reprogrammed his automatic violence so that he *isn’t* triggered as much by aggression. She may well be testing out this new programming by acting like an asshole to him.

      In which case the woman has chesticles made of solid brass.

      • wasEnkidu

        He may just be programmed to kill anything in a uniform when “In Mode”. It would make programming sense. But that’s saying that he becomes a machine when killing and falls back on programming. I think he’s aware of what he’s doing, but only dimly. It’s hard to be aware of much when you’re angry enough to flip out like that.
        Still, He goes for the guys with the guns first. Not the captain. Not the guy dropping his clipboard. And not whoever is closest.
        Maybe he was thinking he could use the weapons to force them to pilot him and Jeff somewhere, but I doubt it.

        I like the idea that Maven is testing him. She may be testing to see if he HAS gone crazy and will just kill at random now. (which may be the corporate assessment of his behavior)

      • It’s interesting to hear about that trope. As a writer, much food for thought there—including that the death and suffering of a woman is inherently more “tragic” than that of a man. I wouldn’t claim to be immune to that thinking. Which, as I said, is useful for me to think about…

      • KBatty

         If it makes you feel any better, when I write, I utterly slaughter women and men equally without much thought to the tragedy of the situation. lmao If I ever get published, I’ll have to hunt you down and share it with you. 😉

        • Please do. (You can find contact info through my webpage.)

          In my own stories I also slaughter men and women about equally, except I try to portray it as all equally tragic.

    • Whether you agree with their treatment of Deacon or not, I’m glad that you’re finding their choice at least plausible. And yes, I have sympathy for that guard too. 🙂

  • Sugee, sugee, sugee! (Awesome, awesome, awesome!)  And somewhere between here and interrogation holding cell, Decon managed to get a change of clothes!  (Did they do that while he was all charge less?  He was all charged again in the interrogation holding cell.)  It’d almost be really funny if this whole time he’d had a red splotch of super dried old blood on his sleeve XD  Pretty sure I would’ve noticed that reading though before. 

    *squee*  Alex, I am so excited.  Like beyond belief.  We’re getting into awesome area now where it’s gonna be all of ‘The Good Doctor’ and Decon and maybe Jeff if we’re lucky and I’m so excited!  It’s not at all sad to say goodbye to Da Vinchi Four, even though some pretty cool shit happened there.  In Jeff’s room.  On his bed.  XD

    Winona, yet again, your art has killed me.  Decon’s tears were beautiful.  You always draw the best renditions of everything, so full of emotion and depth and everything, even in comic style.  One day, I aspire to be like you. <3

    • Glad to hear you’re excited for what comes next, Nan (Deanna)! 🙂

      And yes, they cleaned Deacon up for his session with Maven.

  • Brittany Brain

    OMG is Deacon crying? D’:

    Omg Alex we are never “just being nice” when we compliment you! Artifice is like the most, well I don’t want to say realistic, but the best written and best illustrated yaoi I’ve ever seen/read. I mean, actually, it is a lot more realistic than most other stuff because  well first of all the focus isn’t put just on the sex, and it’s also really suspenceful because, like, it’s so much more than a forbidden relationship. It’s a story of humanity…

    Um. And that’s how I feel. >:U Oh the jumbled thoughts of a fourteen-year-old girl. 

    • I totally second all of these thoughts, Alex.  Your story is wonderful and fantastic because it’s an actual STORY, with some delicious, delicious yaoi on the side.  Never think that we don’t love your work.  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t comment and read.

    • Ayella

      Thanks, BrittanyBrain, you’ve put my thoughts into words!

    • Thank you, BrittanyBrain, Ayella & DivaLady. It really makes me very happy that you’re connecting with the story here so well. You’ve got me blushing here… 😀

  • Dex X.

    *sobs and rocks in a corner*

  • Bien Batol

    For my birthday I wake up to a new phone and a heartbreaking page.  I’m torn between smiling and crying…

    • Happy Birthday, Bien! Next year I’ll try to get you a present that will make you smile… 😉

  • Lithekitty


  • this. is. so. sad. T_T 

  • danigirl921

    I’m just going to go sob in the corner now. :((((((

    And, Alex, thank you so much for writing this amazing thing. I really appreciate it. *hugs*

    • You’re very welcome, danigirl921! Hugs back! 😀

  • *sobs* that’s just heartbreaking!

  • poor Deacon.
    his andriod heart is breaking.

  • Racoda Moonshine

    Oh you’re breaking my heart with that last panel! Poor Deacon!

  • Fabiana Nonato

    Oh, no! Poor Deacon!

  • NightingaleLost

    Oh God. Just…that last panel, those last words…”three days later”

    Jesus, that just hit me so hard, man, I almost feel like crying along with him. If I had money enough to donate to this amazing comic, I would be first in damn line!!

    • Thank you, NightingaleLost. I was hoping those last words would have an impact. 🙂

  • qu_gon_robot

    If there was room to love this comic anymore, I’d love it tenfold!    
    This page is beautiful, and tragic and just all kinds of right.     
    The emotional response that Artifice is able to stir in it’s readers is what distinguishes it from the sea of other yaoi stories on the internet.   

     Bravo you guys! ❀

    • Thank you, qu_gon_robot! You are a total sweetheart. 🙂

  • Robert Endicott

    i thought of a good  fan art   but have no art tallent deacon with long hair to match jeffs 🙂

  • sdfsdf sdfgsdf

    *dies on the inside*

  • wasEnkidu

    Oh man… first thought: That must have been hell. Fully conscious but unable to so much as move with no idea what had become of the only person you care for.
    Second thought: so APs can cry? Not only that but it seems to be an unconscious function since he can’t move so much as a muscle.
    Man, Deacon looks like a doll or a puppet in that last panel. 🙁

    And I’m a sadistic little nutjob I guess, but instead of getting all weepy when I looked at the panel a second time I just had this REALLY CLEAR mental image of them opening the door days later. One guy’s got a riot shield and other guy is crouched down, reaching around it to prod Deacon with a long stick.
    “You think it’s safe”
    “Dude, that thing killed SEVEN people! I’m not going near it.”
    “But you heard the captain! It’s deactivated, it should be safe to move now.”
    “Alright then, YOU go in there. I’m not going to.”
    “I… I think it’s dead.” *poke poke*
    “Like dead like ‘kicked the bucket’ or dead like ‘it’s batteries are dead’?”
    “Uhhh… The second one?”
    “Well YOU can go have a look but NO ONE is making me go in there. I don’t care what orders are.”
    “Oh man up would you? If it was still working it could have killed us by now! This thing’s heavy! Help me move it!”

    • LOL. Love the fanfic, Enkidu. 😀

      (And you probably aren’t far wrong… 😉 )

  • Ryn

    his charge running out was probably a relief. better ‘unconsciousness’ than to have your love’s pleas running through your head. and with all that convenient military info in his head , he’s having no trouble imagining what they could do to Jeff before they ghost him.

    yeah, Jeff… i don’t think he was in all that great shape after those three days. angry hot-heads + easy victim = very bruised Jeff. and that’s if he’s lucky. let’s hope he didn’t mouth off at them. :X

  • oh… my god. this is just, i don’t know, one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen on the internet. this ranks right up there with videos of cops beating the sh*t out of people just because of prejudices or deer getting hit by cars.
    we’re getting into a part of the story where we have no idea at all what happens. we knew beforehand that deacon was going to kill members of the retrieval team, but now we’re fully in the present. it’s a known fact that people are frightened of what they don’t know or understand. i guess that’s why I’m scared of what is about to happen… oh god.

  • CommodoreZelda

    I want to cry right now. That is so cruel…

  • >:Y I do hope that when this comic is completely finished up that it will be available in a printed version for the convenient enjoyment of all your fans because this is my absolute favorite story as of right now and I am dying to own it.

    • Thank you, Britny. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the comic! And it’s definitely my intention to print a physical copy. I’m thinking about what things to offer donors for a Kickstarter campaign now…. 🙂

  • Erica

    O _O TEARSS, WAHHH D: that’s so saddd ; ^ ; tears! ):

    I Love you Deacon. I love you Jeff. I love you Alex. I Love you Winona. ♥

  • Oh my God… Three days and not even able to seek the solace of unconsciousness. That is heart-wrenchingly, gut-twistingly horrible. D:

  • Myrtu

    D: I’ve been so busy I forgot to check the Artifice pages for this whole week and I get this? Such a sad page! It’s so beautiful, I love it. But it’s sad :< Deacon crying made me almost cry.

  • Got to say the story really moves along! Your a hard worker!!Sad page:( Looking forward to the next!

  • This book has brought me to tears more times then I care to think about. However, realizing there will only be — more pages brought on the worst.
    I found Artifice because of a camper from Teahouse. I now look forward to this page being updated more then that one.
    If it sounds like I’m babbling, it’s because it took me 20 minutes to find something that worked to post comments. My laptop hates me.
    Thank you for creating such an amazing and wonderful world!

    • Aikka

      As far as he never posted this request in any visible place [*sigh*] We are asked to not post a total amount of Artifice pages. ^-^”

    • Hey Tanya, I’m really glad you’re enjoying the comic so much! And yes, I wrote Artifice to be on the shorter side because, after being burnt with a couple webcomics that never finished, I wanted to make sure I could tell a complete story arc.

      I do have another webcomic that I will be starting once Artifice is finished, though. The story is a bit different, but there is still guy-on-guy romance in it and I hope you’ll stick around to give it a chance. 🙂

      (Oh, and as Aikka pointed out, while I have discussed the page count of Artifice in other places, I am trying to keep it off this site, as it can feel like a “spoiler” to some folks to know exactly how many pages remain. So, please forgive me for obscuring that number in your comment.)

      • My apologies. I didn’t realize it was a secret.  If it helps, with all the trouble my laptop makes it, this will probably be the only post I can make.
        So while this is working, I will say that you have made me a fan of your storytelling ability and I will stick around for as long as you write. Beautiful art is nice, but without a strong story behind it, all it is is just pretty pictures. (I own a few books of proof to that.)
        With that being said, this is some of the best art I’ve seen in a web comic so this is a win all the way around.
        Thank you and again, I am sorry.

        • No need to apologize. Unless you had read every comment in this webcomic (which would be quite a feat!), there’s no way you could have known. I hope that your laptop returns to good health and that you are able to make many more comments in the future. 🙂

          And thank you very much for the props!

  • ithilloke

    Oh wow…poor Deacon. The tears are an amazing touch!

  • Tovaras

    Wow, this comic is awesome. 😮 I found this by accident and I am so glad I did. _> Yeah. XD

    • Aikka

      I know you would probably preffer Alex to answer this [and knowing him he probably will anyway] but as i can answer first: as far as i know, it will be  🙂

      Also we all asked him so many times too that he probably wouldn’t risk dealing our disappointment and anger ;>

    • SigmundReimann

      I’m pretty sure this comic is part of an anthology of short comics that will be released in one volume and likely separately as well(can Alex confirm this?). If you look through the blog section on this site to when the first sketches were released you should be able to find out more about the publishing plans.

      • Hey SigmundReimann! When I started the Yaoi 911 project, it was my intention to release an anthology book of shorter comics (like “A Shot in the Dark”). But my plan is to release Artifiice as a standalone trade paperback, a “graphic novel”.

        Hope that helps! 🙂

        • SigmundReimann

          Thank you for clarifying that.

    • Yep, there seems to be interest, so it’s definitely now my plan to bring this to print. (And I’ll probably run some kind of Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the printing—I’m doing my best to learn about that now.)

      Thank you very much for your kind words about the comic. I’m delighted you found us! (Please tell your friends!) 🙂

  • Mariah Chery

    My heart! This is so sad!

  • SigmundReimann

    After Deacon has exposed all the confusion of these emotions he’s experiencing it is distressing to see him discarded in such a way, like a broken appliance, while knowing that behind that hollow face his heart is breaking. 

    I hope he finds his justice in the end, but I think for him to do so he will need to win over Dr Maven’s support. She is such a reserved character it is hard to predict in which direction this comic will go now. I’m very much looking forward to it.

  • Kenne Stuart

    Ah, I have been a reader for awhile now but I have never commented or anything, then life got busy. So today I reread this and I gotta say its truly amazing! I love the colors, the characters, the story line! Its all SOO great! And I would just like to say Deacon is so incredibly cute I really thought I would die a few times! Like when he is holding on to his hand because he is a bit shy! Ahhh! So adorable! I’m so glad you guys decided to share this great work with us!

    Also, this page is really sad. Deacon is crying and my heart is crying with him!! How can they just treat him like a broken machine and toss him aside?!

    • Thank you, Kenne! I’m delighted you took the time to comment—and with such kind words! I’m really glad you’re enjoying all the different elements of this comic (and I find him squeezing his own hands adorable too!) and it’s absolutely my pleasure to share this work with awesome readers like yourself!

  • Noooo!! ;_____;

  • kmumaisang

    awww he’s crying

  • aww… noooooo!!!!! But they didn’t immediately shoot jeff so there’s hope I guess?

    •  I think they wanted to keep him alive to interrogate him. They probably need to find out what he did to their kill bot.

  • Mike W

    I had so many other things to do this evening, but one thing led to another and then I found this story and 65pp pages flew by as my first priority. Well done, and I really look forward to seeing how these characters move forward.

    • Hehe. Glad to have given you a new “first priority” for the night. That’s a great compliment. 😀

  • Saw the ad for this comic and absolutely couldn’t resist. C:  I’m heart-ing it so much, that my heart may explode out of my chest and fly at your face.  -bows then applauds-  I adore you and your comic much, much, much! <3

    • Well, thank you! You’re a total sweetheart. I’m so glad you found us and that you’re enjoying the comic so much! Thank you for letting me know! 😀

  • Little Miss Perspicacious

    I don’t think I can express how much I love this comic. So much love. The art, the plot, the characters… is Deacon’s name a religious allusion?

    • Thank you for the love, Little Miss Perspicacious. 🙂 

      Deacon’s name came from a few different places. One is in honoring the alphabetical system in the world of Aliens which was a big inspiration to me as a writer when I was a kid (Ash, Bishop, Carter…)

      “Bishop”, of course, has a religious connection and “Deacon” serves as a tip of the cap to that.

      And there are other reasons I chose the name Deacon, some of which do have a religious connection, that I’ll feel more comfortable talking about once the comic wraps up. 🙂

      • wasEnkidu

        And here I thought it was because ‘Deacon’ also means servant in Greek.

  • metisofarabia

    Poor Deacon, crying sad android tears. Yet as sad as this is, I’m pretty excited to see what comes next.

  • Superjenny

    Deacons blank, sad eyes and puddle of eye lubricant makes me a sad panda…

  • Oh god… I randomly stumbled across and ad for this today, and read all the pages up to this one. Everything about it is SO GOOD!

    •  welcome to the fandom hun that’s how I got here ^.^ Ilove the art so much. such a beautiful style.

    • Thank you, Dylan! I’m so glad you found us and that you’re enjoying the comic! Please tell your friends! 😀

  • Lorescien


  • mikakitten

    ;_; Poor Deacon…read this page a few days ago on my phone but couldn’t comment…I hope Jeff is okay…hope they are reunited soon…new terrotory! YAY! <3

  • OMG – that last panel!! I swear it just breaks my heart to see lie in a puddle of tears… I’m new to web-comics, finding it difficult to find good ones I actually like, but this is FANTASTIC!! Believe me, Deacon is just so… UNF! And the hotness… *ded* Keep it up!! 🙂

    • Thank you, nofeartina! Very glad you like what you see here! 😀

  • Deyx

    The only thing I hate about this comic is that it ends here.. Really amazing

    • Thank you, Deyx! (And a new page is up in less that six hours! 😀 )

      • Kel Z

        Are we there yet? Are we there yet? :: bounce ::

  • Leo Elizabeth Rosenstein

    Oh my god…what a horrible three days, what a horrible thing, Alex, it’s horrible and so perfect and oh my god. His inability to do anything but cry. For three days. Made me donate.

    • Hehe. Glad you like the horribleness, Leo Elizabeth! 😉 (And thank you very much for your generous donation. That really helps!)

    • wasEnkidu

      I love how you donate like it’s an emotional reaction. XD
      “OMG that was so sad I donated. Like, $20. It was THAT sad you guys.”
      Maybe united way could have an ad just featuring a helpless, crying robot. …I think that actually WOULD make me donate to them. 0_o

  • Of course I’m still crossing my fingers that this story doesn’t ever end and that the lovers will find each other again. I can imagine that if they do there will be some epic escape or fight scene or something…I’m so donating so i can find out quicker XD (also because I love you guys, I really do).

    • Thank you, Emily—for the love and the donation. 🙂

      Next page up… Well, soon… 🙂

  • Thinking of posting up rather early tonight. Getting sleepy…

    • MiyuKazukii

      Please do!  I’m sure there’s quite a few people who are staying up so this will be the last thing they see before sleep to insure a good dream.

    • If you did, that would be awesome.  Because if you did, (1) you’d be posting on my birthday (today!) and (2) I won’t be able to camp tonight as a result of having early morning obligations.

      • Well, heck, how can I refuse a birthday request from one of my beloved readers?

        Page will be up in just a couple minutes…

        • ::squeal of joy::  YAY!  Artifice goodness is one of the best presents EVER!

    • Adnoxaei

      That would be amazing! 😀

  • Ooooh, my heart is breaking – the tears are just…wonderfully horribly clearly getting the sadness and overwhelmed feelings across and awwwww, Deacon, bb~

  • wasEnkidu

    Uh oh guys. Blood switched sleeves somehow. It’s ssd I’m scrutinizing it this much, But props to you that was so absorbed in the story that it took me weeks to catch that. Actually, props on having a comic that I look at so closely!

  • Jenny Blue

    aww :'( I clicked random and I got a sad page…. Poor Deacon!

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    They made Deacon cry! rawr!

  • Ree

    this is
    wow you guys are so wonderful, thank you for making such a cool comic ;^; YOU’RE VERY GOOD AT ELICITING EMOTIONS.

    and this is really not sarcastic i swear; i happen to be inspired and sad at the same time