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Artifice Page 70

80 Comments on Artifice Page 70

Maven, look at those puppy dog eyes! How can your heart not melt?

We have new Fan Art from Dauwdrupje, a reader request that illustrates a “What if?” involving Jeff and Maven. (One some of you would very much like me to make canon… 😉 ) Thanks, Dauwdrupje!



The nineteenth bonus page in a row! Wow! 😀

Special thanks to long-time supporters Virginia H., Brian d. (who has donated for the seventh week in a row!) & Micheal B. (who has now donated for the twenty-first week in a row! Holy cow! That has to be some kind of record! Thank you so much, Micheal!) and a warm welcome and grateful bow to new supporters Chloe C. & Freek M. for their generous donations over the last few days.

And big hugs to new friend of Artifice Ashley C. for their super-generous $25 donation!

You all rock!

And you commenters rock too! I’ve been buried under work (and been a bit afraid that one of my comments might lead to an accidental spoiler), but I’ve loved reading your thoughtful speculation about the last page and what it might mean for our heroes.

Will Deacon be able to talk Maven out of her decision? Or, as some of you have suggested, will things take an even darker turn? You won’t have to wait too long to find out! 🙂

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!
  • Deacon’s a smart little appliance isn’t he….that’s a good argument to make right there…

    also, new fanart=LOL

  • AnyOtaku

    Awww Deacon puppy eyes!! I missed seeing so cute!
    PS: maybe Maven is kind of clever, she considered herself stupid.

  • Kel Z

    I think Deacon is completely adorable on that last panel. 🙂 And I really like the reasoning he brings up, although it won’t fly far when compared with how many people he killed.

    Maven looks as if she’s starting to lose her professional patience just a little there.

    YAY UPDATE! (we’re having power flickers where I am from a windstorm, so I’m thrilled the update posted while I definately still had power and could read it, muah hah hah! Thank you for early update!)

    • You’re very welcome, Kel. Glad I could give you some comfort in the storm. Be safe! 🙂

  • thisboybroken

    How can she look at him in that last panel and not melt?? I hope Deacon is playing her and is not actually going to finish his mission and hurt Jeff!!! (Alex, that would break my heart!!! So don’t let that happen!) You guys have done an awesome job as usual. I love my boy Deacon in that last panel. I say he lives!!!

  • kilpikonnat

    Can´t wait to see where the plot goes~!

  • Little Miss Perspicacious

    Deacon. In that last panel… I’m sorry, but his expression, coupled with what he’s saying, and I can only think of a nine year old. Specifically, my nine year old sister, who makes that face whenever she’s trying to get out of something. My goodness that’s adorable.

  • RustyBurrell

    If she doesn’t melt for that sad puppy face, I’m calling Deadpool for her ass. I’m sure he can break the fourth wall for this.

  • Damn. I nearly woke up my kid from ‘awwwing’ at Deacon’s hurt-puppy-dog face! I wonder what Maven will say on the next page? *hopes it’s not something dreadful*

  • Wow, Deacon has successfully made the ONE argument a woman of science can’t resist…the opportunity to study something unprecedented.  If she doesn’t want to study him, send him to ME.  I’ll do it gladly.


    More coherent commentary will come later on now that my nerves regarding the fate of our favorite synthetic/organic duo are not in immediate danger of snapping.

  • Mike W

    Maven’s been so terrible at managing her own feelings, I have wondered for a while if she’s another D-Model herself, just unaware of the fact.

    • That would be one beautiful hell of a twist.

      • Mike W

        A bit Blade-Runner-ish though – sending a non-aware replicant after another!

  • If I ever buy a dog, I’ll name him Deacon. That’s a promise. ♥

    Maven’s nicknames for Deacon become colder and colder. D-model. Bleh. ;.; He needs some warmth… Jeff, are you standing behind that door?

  • C K

    “But you’re *not human*” –> what I’m scared Maven will say.

    Then again, I still think she will relent…if only because I still think this is ultimately going to come down to shooting Jeff to prove his loyalty.  I’m hoping Deacon’s filled-with-the-tactics-of-a-thousand-generals brain figures out how to get the hell out of dodge when/if that happens.

    I’m guessing she will relent…if she was really as steadfast in her decision as she wants to appear, I wonder if she would have stopped walking or turned back to talk to him.  She doesn’t have to hear him out if she doesn’t want to, but she’s still there.

    Uuugh, I remain on the edge of my seat as ever, both worried and excited for what may come.  Once again, excellent comic!

    • I am totally with you on that.  Honestly, I think that this whole bit has been a huge, and VERY well-played bluff on Maven’s part.  No idea what she’s going for, but I DEFINITELY feel like she has bigger plans than just feeding Deacon to a woodchipper.

    • Thank you, C K! Glad you liked the update! (And I’m enjoying your speculation. 🙂 )

  • Spoken like a true Vulca- I mean uh duh robot Deacon. XD

  • Reign

    I feel so bad!! Deacon is begging for his life 🙁 I wish I could save him and steal Jeff away so they can be happy together. I think this is a test from Maven to see if he is true about his words…well at least I hope it’s a test. I want him and Jeff to reunite sooo bad. As always thanks to everyone to donates you guys are so awesome!!

  • DOVE

    I’m seriously missing Jeff here. Bring Back Jeff! Bring Back Jeff!

  • locked box

    Aha! I was waiting for this topic to show up. Ever since Maven declared that she was going to have Deacon dissected I was thinking “shouldn’t it be Deacons programmers in the hot seat here?”  After all, if a dog attacks a person its owner is blamed, if a machine malfunctions its designers are at fault, why should Deacon be different? Human soldiers have their entire lives to learn about emotion and humanity and spend years of training learning to be soldiers. I doubt that Deacon went through any training at all. If he was then it was probably just to test him for faults or other peculiarities, not to actually teach him anything because the prolog makes it clear that he is an incredibly new robot, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Davinci-4 was his first real mission. Why should he be the only one held to blame when he is confronted with a situation that he holds no knowledge of how to handle and makes the wrong decision? You wouldn’t give a newborn baby a gun and then put it on trail when it accidentally shoots a person would you? Granted Deacon is a bit more self aware than a newborn baby, but I still think that the corporation should claim more responsibility for their creation. Preferably responsibility that doesn’t include the permanent destruction of Deacon. But still, you’d think that the security gaurd from the prolog would have directed more of his anger at the corporation that made Deacon and failed to control him rather than at Deacon himself.

  • Aikka

    Deacon, last panel… can i hug him? ;-;

    Also, love the new fanart! XD

    Sorry if i’m not a good commenter lately *hides*

  • Nicely played, Deacon.  He is simultaneously excusing himself AND offering a reason why he can and should be kept alive.  I like it, I like it a lot.  I think she already thought of it, and she’s gonna shoot him down in some awful way.  Is it horrible that I am very, VERY pleased by how Dangerously Genre Savvy Maven is?  Because I really, really am.  I mean, I feel bad for Deacon, yeah, but I like that logical refutations to his arguments aren’t just being handwaved, and I’m looking forward to the Really Effing Good reason that comes up and explains why he’s to be kept alive.

    Also, the fan art made me lol.  I expected something completely different, you sneaky devil.

  • Amerou

    Haha, everythingI read keeps supporting my “throw the hardest bitch at the galaxy at it and have her poke it” theory thusfar….

    Also, nicely played, Deacon, but Maven’s probably going to stomp her saffron Louboutins all over your dreams on the next page.

  • Dex X.

    Puppy dog eyes deacon? Oh you’ve stooped so low.

  • Yukiness

    Nice one Deacon, comparing your instability to humans. Not even Maven can argue with that one. Considering that they never anticipated what giving emotions to a sexy weapon with legs would do puts NoNeCo in the wrong here.

    • Andr913

      I bet Maven COULD argue with that one.

      • Yukiness

        I’m sure she could; she’s a very smart woman. But the same way she said that all the familes he’s effected need closure is just as agreeable to the afformentioned fact that young humans are unstable. If you put Deacon in human years, he’d be about 3 years old. How many emotionally stable three years old do we know?

        • Myrtu

          But Deacon was designed to look and act like an adult human, so using his actual age isn’t a very good argument. I would blame the developers for making him so human, in physique and psyche, and then limiting his interactions, so that he has no idea how to handle his emotions. So he goes with the adult human option, but without that knowledge, his decisions aren’t as adult-like and controlled as the humans would want.

  • good points Deacon. i’d say the exact same thing.

  • Ryn

    *collapses* few! really thought the Jeff/death scenario would pop up here. though it’s bound to come up at some point. least i think so.

    And locked box makes a really good point. But it is typical human behavior to shift blame whenever they can to make themselves feel innocent.

  • Prinzzebazze

    OMG!! I love Deacons puppy eyes in panel 6 !!

  • tzelemel

    Yeah, I’ve just been thinking… Why would you build a combat robot with a fully functioning penis? Isn’t that a bit… well, unnecessary? Unless he shoots bullets out of it or something…

    • Undercover ops.

      • -Really- undercover. Or the covers, at least…

    • There’s a short story out called ‘The HORARs of War’ that this comic reminds me strongly of. HORARs are HOmolog Replacement Army Recruits, steel-skeletoned homunculi who made excellent replacement for biological humans as soldiers. The trouble was that basing them on human weapons and the resulting form-follows-function bodies makes them ‘human’ when they’re not shooting enemies on the front…

  • OOoh, very nice argument!  Maybe he’ll win her over after all!  Look at those puppy eyes, Maven, look at them!

  • Ayella

    C’mon Deacon, talk. TALK! Your life depends on it.

    Hey Alex & Winona, thanks once more for your awesome art and for killing us softly with suspense. For working your butts off every week to indulge your fans’ whimsy needs -not just once, but twice a week for so long now. You guys rock starships!

  • Brittany Brain

    Oh man, the suspence! It kills!

    Btw Maven I like your nails.

  • JJCalem

    Hey, first time commenting and just wanted to say I love the comic!

    Anyway, I soo hope Mavin puts some thought into what Deacon is saying, although I suppose she could reason it would just be something to forward to the designers and just keep in mind for future models.

    Also, I don’t think we will end up in Deacon being tasked with the killing of Jeff, maybe it is wishful thinking but I just don’t think it will happen…prove me right Alex 😛

    Also, make sure you are still writing in like 5 years so I can be out of school and have the money to donate

  • krissdevalnor

    Adorable! 😀 So damn cute!

    Excellent writing and art^^

    and guess what! I can donate again^^ a bit once in a while

  • Baylien Brown

    Why isn’t there any scenery beyond the whiteness of the door? Not even a dimly lit hallway in the corporate building?

    My speculation? The windows are simulated images. The office is a set up. Deacon is being observed by a third party who is ultimately going to decide whether or not to release him from his programming. Jeff is being forced to observe the interrogation and though Maven really -is- a doctor her whole intent is to determine whether or not Deacon is truly self-aware or simply malfunctioning due to improperly processed information.

    Just a few thoughts that popped into my head. Newly acquired fan. Love your work!

    • HoneyThistle

      Holy…  I didn’t even THINK about the possible-yet-hidden conditions of this interview!  Interesting suppositions…!

  • CottonCory

    True, but they usually don’t kill people. :’D

    • Superjenny

      Usually, being the operative word…

  • leorising

    Ohhhh, talk fast, Deacon, talk fast! *chews nails*

  • Bailey Carswell

    BAM! Come on Deacon, keep going!!!

  • Myrtu

    Appeal to logic and pathos, good rhetoric, Deacon!
    I can’t wait till Saturday to see Maven’s reaction. YOU GOT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY … bed. That’s not as exciting, but more dangerous.

    • Superjenny

      Don’t fall off now!  C=

  • fujoshifanatic

    Oy, what a week; I finally have a chance to comment! And I say kudos to Deacon for trying to appeal to Maven’s scientific intelligence and curiosity as well as what little humanity she might have (that face in the last panel — aww!)

    I doubt the humanity angle will work though. Really Maven? It’s come to calling him D-model now? You should be ashamed, but I doubt you’re capable of that either. 🙁

    Despite the wildly entertaining and thought-provoking speculation going on in the comments as to what will happen next (I enjoy them almost as much as the page itself!), I am just going to sit back and let the events unfold as only your brilliant mind and Winona’s talented hands can craft them Alex. 

    Thanks again for an awesome page, and an even more awesome story; I can’t wait to see the next page and Maven’s reaction to Deacon’s plea. *bites nails*

    P.S. I know it’s late in replying, but thank you for your condolences over my monitor! Unfortunately, it could not be resuscitated, so me and the laptop have been spending quality time together until I can save up for a replacement. :-

    As for your question on whether I still write, yes I do, though only when my muse hits me, and she’s extremely fickle. I even have a blog that I post to very irregularly; if you like, I can email you the link if I’m feeling brave. 😛

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      It is becoming clear Maven doesn’t view Deacon as human at all. I think she is capable of being ashamed, but when you dehumanize someone the way she has with Deacon, it’s easy to say “So what? It’s not human, I’m not a bad person for treating him like that.”

      It’d be fun to see Deacon use that tact, but I doubt we’ll see it.

      Deacon: “Ah-hah! Now who’s on the couch, Maven?”
      Maven: *gulp*

  • yellowrock

    Don’t really have anything to say to this one, other than that I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  • Superjenny

    Panel 6, Deacon’s pleading face…  ~flail~  D’awwww!  X3

  • eleutherios

    “You must really consider me a complete idiot.”

    Now there’s a loaded question.  It’s wrong to lie, but… well, you also have to be diplomatic.

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    “young humans have difficulties…”
    this is the part where i almost cried. young humans. awwihdlgbfgr. i just want to hug him. 

  • Deacon is technically Maven’s patient? How do you psychoanalyze A.I.? “Interesting Deacon, now tell me about your motherboard.”

    • Sharon Kerr-Bullian

      That was really funny, thanks for the laugh!

      Now for a more serious answer meant to prompt some discussion. 🙂

      Psychiatry isn’t all “Tell me about you mother”, though that question itself is actually very valuable. With some psychiatrists, they’ll use it as an ice breaker question to get you to open a dialog with them. They’ll talk about their mother, you’ll talk about yours, then the awkwardness of talking to a complete stranger isn’t so bad. Talking about your mother with other people is something that forces a certain level of intimacy into a relationship, and that can open the door for full-fledged trust and openness, provided the psychiatrist doesn’t try to hurry you along too much. If the psychiatrist hurries you along, they lose a patient (possible a paying one in some countries), so it’s in their best interest not to.

      I’m not sure how you could psychoanalyze Deacon if you started the way Maven did though. She removed any chance of real trust by telling him she has his command codes. That confrontational approach tends not to work, it just makes them resistant just to be difficult to you, as it becomes the only way the prisoner (he is, he can’t just leave of his own accord) can challenge the interrogator.

  • kilpikonnat

    I hope that when we got to see Jeff again he will have new clothes.
    I mean, they were for around four months on Da Vinci four, during which he wore the same clothes. It´s understandable, though, considering all other clothes would´ve belonged to a dead guy. I don´t know if he washed those clothes during that time but I´d assume he did because four months should be a bit too much for most, also, they didn´t seem that stained.

    Then there´s the space travel that lasts either around four or two months depending on whether the retrieval team departed after receiving a signal or something from the destroyed ship or after no one returned from the mission.

    So yeah, I think they ought to give Jeff some new clothes during the travel.
    Not that I don´t love his rugged look too 🙂

  • mikakitten

    Poor Deacon… ;_; … he just wants to see Jeff again…though I agree with Maven he is a clever bunny!! ‘Young humans struggle too!’ Hows that for a pitch to her humanity (if she even is human…such a meanie!!) hehe aww that was harsh, but a little true… :p

    Awww!! C’mon Maven!! Don’t you wanna see if it’s for real!? REUNITE THE LOVERS AND WATCH THE DAMN YAOI LOVE WOMAN! <3 You know you want to…secretly…bet she has sci-fi yaoi in her desk, computer, clip-board… :3

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    You did your job so well it’s interfering with my clicking the link!  I am dreading seeing Deacon taken apart thanks to the bad doctor!

  • Gaz Hawkins

    I think she secretly wants to find out if he is gay or bi-sexual, she is backing him into a corner and will order him to strip naked and make love (to her or a new female we have yet to see) but he will either not (override his codes??) or will but she will know his heart(!) is not in it and he is only doing it because of his codes/instructions

    either way, it would be nice to have Deacon running around naked for a while and see how he handles it – will he be embarrassed  about it, or getting aroused with other guys around or will he just consider it “normal” as he has been instructed he is to be naked from now on.

    • HoneyThistle

      Something tells me she’s way too professional for that.  Until this interview, I don’t think she even considered the possibility that he HAS a sexuality, let alone how she could manipulate it for her own personal sexual gratification…

  • She’d better have her heart melt and relent, or this is going to be a very sadly short comic.  🙁 

  • Deacon’s puppy face makes me melt.

  • wasEnkidu

    He’s got the twitchy digits again! So the D-models all have names that start with D? YES DAMNIT I AM STILL ON ABOUT THAT. D:<
    I will pay up to $40 for the book version of Artifice if you promised me that the extras tell what the other 4 were named. I am dead serious.

    • qui-gon-robot

      Your comment made my day XD

  • AeeDee

    So I just sat here and read this entire comic, and I must say, my heart sank when I realized this was the most recent page. I searched for the “Next” button, hoping I’d missed it.. but alas!

    I must say, I really enjoy this comic. I don’t read very many online comics, and it’s rare that one captures my interest so suddenly, but the writing and the art are both quite good – and surprisingly sentimental, and touching!  I love how ‘human’ Deacon is, I loved how genuine and ‘funny’ Jeff was (I saw in an earlier comment that it was intentional for him to not be a stereotypical “pretty boy”.. and I appreciate that decision), and Deacon’s plot with Maven is really making my heart ache.

    Thank you for putting this story out there – it’s a gem. 🙂

  • qui-gon-robot

    You know what would be lol worthy? If Jeff were completely fine; I can just picture him starting a prison casino Alf style

  • HoneyThistle

    Oh, GOOD one Deacon!  She’s GOT to admit you have a point there!  I see a faint light at the end of this tunnel…!  XD

    • YangYueLan

      if by ‘faint light’ you mean that you can actually see the walls of said tunnel in comparison to just black, then I agree with you. 

  • For the warning about what happens when you abuse or abandon homuncli, read Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. Taking responsibility for your artificial intelligences is mandatory.

  • I’ve been camping!  Sorry for not saying anything; had a day off work and I took advantage of it and lazed around, as they are saying now, “like a BOSS.”  Except for probably what added up to an hour of being in hold-hell when making calls.  But I lazed.  And it was glorious.  And this update will be glorious.

    • qui-gon-robot


  • Campin’ camp camp!

    reorganizing my room so I’ll be up to camp late (or at least for another hour or so >_>)

  • Quite Simply

    Yeah, gotta admit, I agree with Maven. Normal humans have trouble controlling their emotions too, but you know, they’re normal.

  • Someone important

    that is true considering most of the males in my high school is like Horney porn dogs always making sexual comments.