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Artifice Page 79

226 Comments on Artifice Page 79

Oh, snap…

We have new Fan Art by longtime friend of Artifice Aikka! It’s a very sweet moment between Jeff and Deacon called “Hope”. Thanks, Aikka!

And on Friday, we yet again hit the $250 donation target, so we’ll have a bonus page (page 80!) this Wednesday! Woo hoo!

Special thanks go out to long-time supporters Christina H. & Queenie C. and a warm welcome and grateful bow go out to new supporters Frauke P., Anika G. & Sylvia A. for their generous donations over the last few days!

Big hugs go out to long-time super-friends of Artifice Tanya A. and Larisa V. for their super-generous $25 donations!

And finally, a warm, android-strength hug and high-five goes out to Clidiane A. for their amazingly generous $53 donation which put us over the top for page 80!

Thank you all so much! 😀

And… I seem to say this every time, but it’s true every time. I really love reading all your comments and speculation! 😀

So, my super-smart readers, next page Deacon takes action. I wonder what he’ll do…

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!
  • Okay.  Wowza.  I’m calling it.  I officially have no idea what he’s going to do.  You got me, Alex.  I am honestly not sure.

  • B_u_b

    “next page Deacon takes action”

  • It’s official, Maven has never read an ethics book. And for a smart cookie, Maven taunting the homicidal android strikes me as surprisingly stupid. I honestly have no idea what Deacon planning, or even if he has a plan.
    Okay I’ll come back with a more coherent comment after I get some sleep. TGIF.

    PS: That woman is totally checking Maven out in panel one.

    • ErykaSoleil

      The panel one comment made me smile. And shouldn’t that be, “TGIS”?

      • That too. TGIW. Thank God It’s the Weekend.

    • tom1988

      For once I wish Maven would shut up and do more observing, less taking the piss. That must be part of her test though. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, let’s rile him up as much as we can.

      I’m really disappointed in her and thus the most disappointed reader at the  moment, given that everyone is disappointing me with this tragic ending looming over them all. You need to get in there with Bob and Roy, trash the place and pick up Jeff. Screw the others. I’ll commandeer the spaceship.

      PS: I know, I love that woman’s reactions and the little audience behind the screen.

      PPS: I can see Roy or Bob (forget which) flicking his cigar at one of their faces in a blaze of justice.

    • I know right? Ethics? Hello? How the hell is this company able to operate the way it does? They must be a multi-national organization in a society where the corporations are the final law…which is quite scary…

      • It’s not so much the company’s ethics that bother me. I can understand that; they have some dark super secret that can never be found out. They’re bad guys, whatever.
        It’s that Maven is a psychologist/psychiatrist. As someone who is going to school for psychology, it really bothers me that Maven seems so evil.
        The code of ethics from the American Psychology Association clearly states “Because psychologists’ scientific and professional judgments and actions may affect the lives of others, they are alert to and guard against personal, financial, social, organizational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence.” Granted, they’re probably not in the US, but ethics are pretty much universal. Before Maven was just doing her job, now she seems to relish the fact that Deacon’s in this horrible situation.

        TL;DR: Maven’s a heartless bitch, and I hope she’s just acting
        *ends rant*

        • ErykaSoleil

          They’re testing -all- his emotions, silly. Even high amounts of annoyance and thoughts of, “Geez, doesn’t this woman know what -ethics- are?”

        • Mmmm. I love a good rant in the morning!

      • Yes. In this world, in many senses, corporations are the final law. Or a law unto themselves, anyway.

        • Yeah, I got that sense, but no one has said anything explicitly demarcating the authority of corporations or this specific corporation (which apparently has enough power to just kill people- and large groups of people at that).

    • Awww. Maybe that’s Maven’s girlfriend? And she’s thinking to herself over and over, “It’s for the greater good it’s for the greater good GAH don’t get so close to him, honey!”
      Yeah. I ship it.

      • 🙂

      • Andr913

        But Maven is secretly a yaoi fangirl…now I don’t know what to think…

        • ErykaSoleil

          Why can’t she have a girlfriend -and- be a yaoi fangirl?

  • Saberri

    He’s gonna snap Maven’s neck in half? 😀 Si/Si?

  • melinda stumpf

    Ok Alex you have got me confused now and thats a hard thing to do

  • ErykaSoleil

    NO. NONONONONONONONONO. NO! NOOOOOOOOOO! RRRRRRRGH! -Pounds the table she can’t flip because there’s too much junk she doesn’t want to have to pick up and/or replace.-

    Alex, you are KILLING me! And Winona, your artwork is amazing, as always. 🙂

    (I am still holding hope that Maven is really an undercover agent for someone, and Deacon is now in on it, and she and he are just putting on a show. It probably isn’t so, but I can dream.)

    • Erica

      I like that dream.

    • tom1988

      Yes and in addition to that, I dream that Maven’s face in the second panel is moved about two inches to the right and Deacon is replaced by me.

      Because you should really know by now, I am not most people.

      • Funny I had the same dream, except I replaced Maven.

      • LOL, tom1988. 🙂

      • qui-gon-robot

        That would be rediculously fun to photoshop.

        • ErykaSoleil

          Do it!

          • qui-gon-robot

            Photo plz >:)

  • Erica

    yep, i started flailing. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG JEFFFF JEFF JEFF JEFF JEFF JEFFFFFFFFFF!!!! get your injured ass up and run!! XDD prolly the worst idea. I LOVE Maven’s face in the second panel. XD Lordy. She’s soooo… Maven. XD

  • This is probably completely off, but for the second page now I’m getting the feeling Maven’s hitting on Deacon. ROFL It’s just those faces…

    • ErykaSoleil

      Hitting on Deacon? Please. Maven is a professional. That is TOTALLY a fishy face she’s making to see if she can break his concentration.

      • Ah yes. Making funny faces is a valuable tool used by psychologists everywhere.

    • Fulgin

       She does seem awfully enthusiastic about “lip service”

  • Eriennexton


  • Poor Deacon isn’t allowed to kiss Jeff. What will he do now? o.O

    • ErykaSoleil

      Be a good soldier. Whatever the heck that means.

  • Aikka

    Deacon, of course you are not ‘most people’ but here you are making me worried by saying that… ;-;

    And Maven looks like she is really enjoying all of it XD

    Can’t wait for the next page to see what will happen. o..o

    and yay my fanart ^^
    longtime friend of Artifice… don’t remember for how long already but quite a while o..o and i torture people with my fanart for a long time already too… “xD
    but it makes me wonder if i am friend only of Artifice Alex? o..o

    • ErykaSoleil

      If your fan art is torture, Aikka, I’m feeling pretty masochistic. 🙂

      • Aikka

        XDD Thank you *-*

    • And a friend to the writer of Artifice. 😉

      • Aikka

        Good answer 😉

  • Waaaah!! I don’t know if I can handle waiting!!! TT^TT

  • C K

    Not shown: Jeff’s reaction to all this, which…if he’s in any state of coherence, is probably pure hurt, betrayal, and fear.  I’m not looking forward to seeing how he’s gonna handle the realization of what Deacon came to do.  No matter what it is, I’m sure it’ll break my heart. 

    Also, I’m normally Team Maven-is-just-doing-her-job but her taunting here is 1) sadistic, and 2) seems like the sort of thing that would earn her a chokehold from Deacon once he figures out how to work around his programming.  Not that it would last long with so many guards.

    I’m just filled with a whole lot of dread about where this is going.  I want a cute, sweet, happy ending for these two and I’m still entirely sure how possible that is.

  • fujoshifanatic

    All I ask is that Deacon immediately rips Maven’s head off and throws it through the observation glass at those creepy voyeurs. Then I’ll be okay with whatever happens next.

    • tom1988

      Great idea but first I recommend he swings Maven by her hair around the room knocking out the guards and then smashing the window.

      • ErykaSoleil

        tom, I am shocked you would support this. :p

        And how hard IS Maven’s head, to be able to knock out a bunch of guards -and- smash through a (supposedly bullet-proof-ish) window?

  • CK

    Shit is going to go down! 😀

  • Gray_Electrum

    Deacon. Deacon, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DEACON WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? No, Deacon stop!

    Either he’s being a really sneaky sneak, or…I don’t even want to think…yeah. 8I

    Shit is about to get real.

  • Maven is such a BITCH! i’m truly revolted by her and the corporate culture that would enable her to be the way she is.  I really hope she dies a horrible death.

  • samae

    looks like one of those execution chambers… with the window and seating right outside it. Also, id like to ask, whats the officer doing there? What can he possibly do in this situation(unless he has deacons command codes).

  • ErykaSoleil

    O.k., this has been bugging me, and I have to ask: Why exactly is that guard standing there holding the door open all this time? Is it so that if things go badly, Maven can make a hasty retreat? So the voyeurs can hear what’s going on without fancy equipment? Or did he just really want to be a part of this big, momentous occasion, and the biggest favor he was able to pull was that he could hold the door?

    • dezree

      30% Its his job.

      10% Added personal security detail for Dr. Maven. 

      60% He’s part of an elaborate and totally unrealistic plot to save Jeff and bring down the corporation and has been in telekinetic communication with Jeff and Deacon the whole time…. also he has the space sports car gassed up and waiting out back. 

      Just a thought. 

      • ErykaSoleil

        I like the 60%, but I think you meant “telepathic”. Sorry, that’s just a twitch of mine, and for some reason I’ve seen several people do that lately. >_<

    • He is clearly holding the door open for the oncoming film crew. Deacon is being Punk’d. You hear me, Alex? I figured it out! It’s all some futuristic reality show!

      • You’re on candid camera… in SPACE.

      • tom1988

        That’s brilliant as it would mean Maven was just pretending to be a bitch and actually she’s an award winning actress who is working on the show to raise funds for charity.

  • Wow, I am on the edge of my seat.  I seriously have no effing clue what to expect or think.  Wow.

  • Cameron Denali

    Alrighty, i’ve been following this for a long time now and am only now finally commenting.  Because all i have to say is that i really, really want to know Maven’s story.  I can’t help but feel like there has to be something major going on behind the scenes that she’s involved with- something good or bad.  Maybe it’s simply that i don’t believe she’s as one-dimensional as she’s acting right now.  I’m not sure.  All i know is that i actually find myself more interested in her than Deacon or Jeff right about now.

    • It’s interesting that you would say that. Originally, for my very first script of Artifice, I opened with a scene of Maven, pre-Deacon/Bob/Roy, in her personal life. A dramatic scene that gave her motivations in this story a certain… bite.  

      The scene had to go because it was just one note too many before the main action started (and we met the main character Deacon), but this page (79) includes an echo of that scene. Even after revising the script, I decided to keep this page as is because a) as others have noted, her actions (while charged) are not out of line with what we would expect from Maven or a tactic she would use and b) I thought I might revisit those motivations in a future story. If there’s interest, maybe I will. 🙂

      But again, it just shows how smart y’all are to sense that…

      • tom1988

        “her actions (while charged) are not out of line with what we would expect…”

        Maybe it didn’t surprise everyone else you mean… It’s funny, I’ve spent the past two pages feeling like the story is already over thanks to Maven’s seeming lack of any kind of empathy. In a way, unless she redeems herself, even slightly, I think my heart will remain broken.

        p.s. On a lighter note, I’m almost half way through Freakangels and thoroughly enjoying it! Fooking fantastic like.

        • I hear you, Tom.

          And yes! Freakangels. Lots of fun. 🙂

          • tom1988

            I want to take back what I said about being heart broken. I just thought about what you said, about the dramatic scene with Maven, and I realised what that could have been. Even if my idea (which I won’t bother sharing for the sake of spoilers) is probably wrong, I’m guessing that she was the heart broken party here.

            Maven, please accept my apology for losing faith in you. You’re not a one dimensional character but simply a very misunderstood antagonist. Alex, I’m also so sorry for doubting your skills, even for a second, thinking you would create such a cardboard cutout. That’s all I want to say. Respect, Tom.

          • Thank you, Tom. 🙂 (And I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that I think you have the right idea about what was in that deleted scene…)

      • ErykaSoleil

        ” . . . I might revisit those motivations in a future story. If there’s interest, maybe I will.”

        I am certainly interested. And if you could get Winona to do the artwork again, that would be fanTAStic! tom1988, you with me here?

        • tom1988

          You don’t need to ask 😀

  • dezree

    Deacon takes aim towards the direction of Jeff…. and fires (what ever cannon type thingy he has in his arms.)  The direction will be correct but he will also be aiming for a head shot on Jeff height… seeing as Jeff is lying down it then bounces around STUNNING but not killing everyone in the room…. Deacon then gathers up Jeff in his arms hops in the super sexy space sports car and high tails it to some wonderful tropical planet paradise where they will frolic about in the many waterfalls and hot springs with strategically placed fruit in every panel to keep the comic Ad friendly 😛  ….

    ….. that OR we find out that Jeff re-programmed Deacon back at the beginning to no longer accept Corporation orders and he has been playing along this whole time to try and save Jeff….    

    Either way if Jeff dies I go on a hunger strike! 
    (if Maven dies I want her wardrobe … I need new work clothes and they just need an added jazzy scarf and hair bow and they would be perfect!)

    • I like both of your theories, especially the first. I don’t know about the second though. It seems as though Deacon and Jeff are in this fix because Deacon still responds to voice override commands. That officer did the paralyzing thing and Maven totally made him her bitch. That is unless Deacon was acting for some reason.
      Hmmm… maybe Deacon would fake being susceptible to the voice commands knowing he and Jeff would be taken off Da Vinci (Jeff was running out of food and the corpses were starting to reek) to wherever the hell they are now. Deacon couldn’t just steal the ship the soldiers were on because, as he already pointed out, it surely had a tracking device on it. So Deacon allows the two of the to be captured and plays along with Maven until he gains access to Jeff. Now that he’s where he wants, Deacon reveals that Jeff reprogrammed him and kills/incapacitates everyone and proceeds with your first theory.

      Dezree, you are a genius and I love you. I have hope for a happy ending again.

      • Jacqi Smith

        yeah, but we’ve been giving reason to believe that maven’s been messing around with deacon’s code, so wouldn’t she have seen that?

        • Hey, no hole poking! Maybe Jeff is so skilled he made it appear as though the programming still works.

    • ErykaSoleil

      If you inherit her wardrobe, would you inherit the ability to change eye color to match?

    •  with strategically placed fruit in every panel to keep the comic Ad friendly 😛


  • dezree

    Also… DARN RIGHT Deacon is not like most people… most people are cruel, evil, greedy, manipulative and so forth…. Deacon is way better then MOST people… and Jeff is the prince of the cute innocent (but not too innocent) look… with or without the sexy hair of awesomeness.   

    Regardless of what happens Alex I’ve LOVED your work!  And your artist has a sublime talent!  I hope you guys never stop telling stories 🙂

    • Hey, thank you, dezree. I’m so happy to hear you’ve been enjoying Artifice! 🙂

  • JM

    At this point, the suspense/drawing out of all of this is killing me. Actually. This is so freaking great!
    Also I can tell you know that that second panel with Maven puckering up to Deacon is going to be misused and abused in some Maven/Deacon shipping art. Just saying. You’ve been warned.

    • Hehe. I hope so, JM. 😉

      Thanks for the kind words!

    • ErykaSoleil

      I cannot wait to see this fan art. 🙂

  • tenuousTilli

    I’m so worried for Jeff and Deacon. Wednesday is going to take forever to get here !     My thoughts 🙁 this story took its fateful turn when Deacon’s ship and his brothers were blown to bits. Is this story going to end with another explosion? Can Deacon assemble a makeshift bomb from his inner parts? I don’t want an everyone dies end although I don’t care if Maven or the guards or the spectators get blown away 

    • ErykaSoleil

      . . . I just remembered that we never found out for sure who planted that bomb on Da Vinci Four. Could it be that Deacon knows it’s somebody within the corporation, and this whole charade is leading up to an amazing act of revenge for his fallen comrades? If this is the case, did Deacon really fall for Jeff, or did he just use Jeff to help himself look like some sort of new anomaly that the corporation would want to investigate more fully? Because if he had just killed Jeff as ordered, then Noneco would have probably just patted him on the head and unceremoniously put him back in his box. Oooooooo . . . 

  • Hyperminimalism

    Holy crap, somethin’  bad is gonna happen.  Watch out, Maves! 

  • Tristan MacAvery

    Am I the only one who hopes that she falls in a well and dies in a grease fire?

    …not that I condone violence, of course… ~_^

  • Hey, I’m guessing Maven isn’t the only one around here who knows Deacon’s command codes. What if several people used different commands at the same time?

    Deacon: “Oh, for robotic cripes SAKE.”

    • ErykaSoleil

      That could potentially be really funny, though. 🙂

  • Is the next page gonna be where Deacon puts a hand through her chest and squeezes out her heart and blood gushes EVERYWHERE?!? Coz if it is, then I am SO looking forward to the next page!!! XD

    • No heart there to squeeze…


      Deacon puts his hand through Mavens chest, only to find it entangled in a web of cybernetics…
      M: ” Deacon, I am your mother”
      D: “Noooo!”

      • that made me laugh. Also, I would totally be on board with the heart ripping out, or anything that involves Maven’s guts being out where we can see them. 

      • LOL, Rick! 🙂

  • shitshitshitshitshit

  • Strange… That got me thinking… Is Maven trying to acertain how deep Deacon’s feelings can go? If he trully can love or not? Maybe she’s just tauting him- and she’s quite awesome at that – but maybe there’s more… I would like to know that she has a hidden agenda. <3

    •  I kind of feel the same way. The way she’s goading him makes it seem like they either set this up as another kind of test for him or took advantage of the opportunity presented by the situation. Either way, I’m dying to know what happens next!

  • I love the second panel!  Dr. Maven has the *best* expression ever!  I love it!  And the last panel *dies*  Decon’s so hot!  But it’s so sad!  Auuurgh!  Way too sad!  >.<  And Jeff, he's quite something now!  I wanna see more of him with this short hair~ <3

  • Words do not express my feelings.

    Alex, you are very good writer. And Winona is a good artist. A story with just essentially three characters has gripped me like this for weeks since I stumbled on it.

    God, I really loathe Maven.

  • Finzz

    Everyone looks so professional, except for Deacon I guess.  I wonder what other color Maven has chosen for her extensive selection of suit-coats ^^ 

    • ErykaSoleil

      Neon chartreuse. With matching eye color, of course. Totally calling it. 😉

    • At work she goes for the cool colors, but livens it up when she’s out on the town. Butter yellow slip on dress with “robin’s egg” blue scarf, earrings, and glasses frames, I bet you!
      /Illustrator and fashion nerd mumblings

      • ErykaSoleil

        Ah, but what color would her eyes be in that outfit?

  • HoneyThistle

    …whatever comes next is just about to go down…  I can’t stand the suspense…!  X{

  • AJTheShifter

    Something isn’t right.  That was way unprofessional of her to behave like that.  Something is up.  And if there is nothing up then her behavior points to some kind of…negative emotion…I don’t know how to put it…jealousy?  Of what?  The way I see it, why throw this into Deacon’s face like this?  Why behave so childishly if he is nothing but a machine?  Are they scared of their creations.  Can our creations be more humane than us?  Can they experience love greater than us?  Or if something is up, is she pushing him?  Jeff still can be involved and where have his other injuries come from?  Something is just not right about all of this. 

    • ErykaSoleil

      Maybe Maven is a widow, and Deacon is physically based on her deceased husband. That would explain her being a little miffed that he took up with a guy. 🙂 Or, Deacon is really an attempt to put a human mind into an android brain, and it -is- her not-quite-deceased husband!

      I need to write sci-fi conspiracy short stories. Or soap operas. Maybe sci-fi soap operas. 🙂

      • crimsonkiss22

        I fully support this. 😀 Dun dun duuuun!

      • “I need to write sci-fi conspiracy short stories. Or soap operas. Maybe sci-fi soap operas.”

        Star Wars episodes two and three?

        • ErykaSoleil

          Ha! Except I really, really hope I can write dialogue better than Lucas . . . Bless his heart.

  • Jacqi Smith

    But you have to at least think, if you don’t like maven, and wish she wasn’t there, how bad would her replacement be? I think a lot of other people who aren’t maven wouldn’t have given deacon another chance. They would’ve just immediately sent him to the scrap heap, no questions asked. 
    but it doesn’t really seem like maven is being completely serious about all of this. I feel if she was truly serious about deacon killing jeff, deacon wouldn’t be killing jeff, and she also wouldn’t be taunting him like that. It just seems odd to me that she’s all IN HIS FACE, and stuff.

    • ErykaSoleil

      She’s really using tough love to make Deacon a better android.

  • I’m not liking where this is going. I seriously hope you don’t turn this into some sort of self hating gay tragedy by having him kill a teenaged boy.

  • Miyu_chan

    The hurt and sadness in Deacon’s eyes in the first panel… If he really is going to kill Jeff, I’m sure he’s thinking that it would have been much simpler now that he’s conscious (Not that I want him to, just saying). “Most people would choose love” Probably. But why can’t he have it both ways? I mean his sense of duty has changed from the moment he found Jeff and let him live, and he was acting on love just before he was paralyzed. He’s going to find a way out. 
    Also, I know it’s a super serious part, but I burst out laughing at the last panel. How many times has Dr. Maven given him the very same look with her nose raised and looking down at him. There you go Deacon. Laugh. Laugh at her pitiful attempts to mess with your mind. You know what you have to do. Go for it. Rescue him!! 😀 
    PS. I agree with everyone here. Something is wrong with the way Maven is acting… 

    • Yes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. 🙂 I really like how Winona drew that one…

  • Araceli Rodriguez

    why is everything always a cliffhanger? it kills me a little inside every time

    • ErykaSoleil

      Because if it wasn’t a cliffhanger, we might not come back (except for that crack in Winona’s artwork . . .).

      And if they just jumped to the end to avoid cliffhangerness, we’d probably be horribly confused. :p

  • omg, i’m almost nervous for wednesday. i honestly don’t have a clue what deacon will do any more D:

    that said, i reckon maven knows something he doesn’t, which is why she’s taunting him. if not, those people are kind of heartless to just sit there behind that glass and watch jeff be killed. then again, its not much different from capital punishment in the us, is it?

    humans are so cruel ;_;

  • Mark Locy

    I don’t know if this has been said already, but I am getting a very hyper-reality feel from this scene. I mean that, there is something going on that is not readily available to the audience.

    I suspect that ALL of this is a manipulation on Maven and the corporation’s part. It is a Turing test, of sorts, to see if the corporation can create a human verisimilitude.

    Can they create a human killing machine? Yes. Can they create a machine that can love? To be determined in the next scene.

    I am waiting with bated breath.

  • ithilloke

    Aaaaand, then he breaks her neck. Right?

  • Momo Javrotsky

    God, I don’t see any way out for Deacon.. This next update is either going to be extremely heartbreaking or the biggest twist known to man. 

  • kira rydeen

    This is probably completely off topic but I just noticed Maven’s eyes match the color she dresses as. XD Before they were purple, now they’re blue.

  • Erica

    i feel like if deacon didn’t have the lines on his face to show creases and such, he’d have one hell of a realistic face in the last panel O .o

    • ErykaSoleil

      Hmm. I personally think if he didn’t have creases, it would make him look like a plastic doll. Humans have creases in their faces, from years of making various facial expressions, exposure to weather, etc. Think of humans in our own society who have had repeated plastic surgery and/or botox on their faces. They just don’t look natural, do they?

      • Erica

        oh no no, i mean like some of the obvious creases, you know the ones that can actually be recognized with some shading and highlighting. kinda like the eyebrow and eye area. i understand like lines on the forehead or grin lines and such haha

  • Winterlove

    Damit, pull something out o your ass already and do something other then kill him!

    • Your grammar mistake cracks me up so much. I need to mess around with that sentence now.

      “Dammit! Pull something out o’ your ass already and do something, Other. Then kill him!”

      A strange story about how an android named “Other” must pull something out of his ass to kill somebody quickly.

      • ErykaSoleil

        Too funny. 🙂 I don’t suppose you’ve read Lynne Truss’ “Eats, Shoots & Leaves”?

  • It literally KILLS me to know that Jeff can hear everything they are saying. Imagine how scared he is….

    Also, if this ends with Deacon killing an innocent man, whom he loves, just to prove he’s a “Good soldier”, I will be absolutely crushed. I just can’t see deacon doing that! Then again, he isn’t really human…

    Also, I could quite literally blow up Maven for pushing it in Deacons face like that! Let him do his damn job, and stop taunting him, Ugh. 🙁

    • Ryn

      Quite the smug bitch isn’t she.

    • crimsonkiss22

      Plenty of human beings have killed people they loved, though. : That’s not boding well for us at all…

  • LukaTisus

    She’s fairly cocky in her confidence that she can control Deacon.  I’m betting that soldier can move pretty damn quick, and if he just makes ONE quick motion at her throat so she can’t speak…. 

    Oh man, DO IT DEACON. Wipe the floor with that wench!

  • And so….time stops once more…tune in next time as Deacon decides…Love or duty? which will win out? Watch Days of Three Lives next time to find out …or not…MAN! I hate this and love it at the same time! 

  • Ryn

     i think Deacon is just proving a nagging doubt in Jeff’s head right. after all, every human (except his mom) has turned their backs on him, why should Deacon, made by humans, be any different?

    • ErykaSoleil

      Ooo, good one. I have to admit, I’m being reminded of how Winston Smith gives up Julia in 1984. :/

  • ForeverForking

    That guard and that tech lady are in lust. Just look at those missed sly glances. They have no sense of time and place.


  • psiquest

    Maven? What has been the result each and every time someone has gotten up in Deacon’s face?

    Tap that on your little pad, sweety, and get back to me when they reattach your arms. Love you. Mean it. B’bye.

  • Lorescien

    Really, I think I’m gonna choke a bitch if she gets up in his grill again. -_-; C’mon, Deacon, have a heart! KILL ALL OF THEM. Except Jeff. Because we like (especially you, dearest Deacon) Jeff. 😛

  • Most people..

    but Deacon isn’t people..

    Maven has proven to be one to chose her words quite carefully. I don’t think Maven wants Deacon to kill Jeff. I don’t think this is about Deacon being a ‘good soldier’ but the company learning just how human their technology has become. 

    But since Deacon is more worried about being the good soldier to get out of trouble they know he would likely try and tell them what they want to hear, which he has tried to put a positive spin on all his answers from the very beginning. So I guess if they want the truth I guess it a reverse psychology? 

    but surely its not so simple as that… 

    • Ambler

      Or perhaps he wanted to tell them enough right answers in order to get this far. He’s awfully close to Jeff, as well as that lady’s face…

      “I have detected a cancer cell in your body. I shall ease your suffering!” *PUNCH TO THA FACE*

      • Total LOL for me, Ambler. Well played. 🙂

        • Ambler

          It seems like the kind of loophole he’d find, lol.

  • Yukiness

    I’m so far on the edge of my seat that my ass is cold

    • Hehe. That’s awesome. 🙂

      • Yukiness

        No, I’m seriously anticipating this with more enthusiasm than my own birthday (which is that same week). My ass is freezing but soo worth it for this comic.

        • ErykaSoleil

          Which day is your birthday?

          • Yukiness

            March 3rd (Saturday this year)

          • ErykaSoleil

            -Makes a mental note.-

  • eleutherios

    I’d tell you to rip her heart out, D, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have one.  She’s so cold that android or no, if you punched her in the chest, you’d probably lose your hand.

    • Can i just say that her frosty Machiavellian nature is what i love the absolute most about Maven?  She makes no apologies for being exactly who she is and what she does to achieve her ends, and i respect the hell out of her for that.

  • Emma Sagaribay

    Oh my god I’m so nervous for the next few pages, hnng

  • Omg… I think I’m going to die while waiting…. 

  • This reminds me too much of this experiment:

    I really can’t help but think that perhaps Jeff is also an artificial person — albeit a far more advanced one than Deacon, that’s also completely oblivious of its own robotic nature.  This is all seems like an elaborate and perverse test to see how androids might interact with one another to prove that they are fully capable of expressing emotion and humanity in a fully autonomous manner, without the intervention of people.  I just can’t think of another logical explanation for giving a robot a sex drive, unless they are being made for the sexual gratification of humans.  Deacon might have even been specifically programmed to spare Jeff for this reason.
    This would almost be worse than Jeff dying.  It would be psychological cruelty of the worst kind.  🙁

    • ErykaSoleil

      Very interesting theory, and definitely worth thinking on.

      I didn’t care too much for the Chatbox experiment you linked to, but after following one or two of the related links, I found this:

      Around :50 they mention that the two androids are actually made using the same face, and that the differences are all in the hair and cosmetics. I couldn’t help but think of how several of us thought it was Deacon in the bed on Page 77.

      • That’s even better.  I had not seen the Actroids interacting with each other before, only with people.  Thanks for sharing that.

        • ErykaSoleil

          You’re welcome. 🙂 It cracked me up that the “female’s” response to the “male’s” introduction was to first ask his age, then to ask if he wanted to take a picture with her.

          • Yes. That makes me wonder about the programmer’s view of gender… 🙂

          • ErykaSoleil

            At least it didn’t say “A/S/L?” 😉

      • Ambler

        Well, this just sort of blew my mind…

        Especially the whole ‘Deacon and Jeff having the same face’ thing. I sort of felt like that when I thought HE was in the hospital bed instead of Jeff. But, the one thing that made me realize it wasn’t Deacon was the fact that Jeff had cuts and bruises on his face and arms. Since Deacon had fought off an entire retrieval team and not gotten hurt, I don’t think he can bleed, and I think if Jeff was an android he would have survived a capture in the same way that Deacon was able too. Although, if this IS some sort of test, perhaps they’re making it look like Jeff is human on purpose.

        Or, we could all just be reading way too much into this comic, and he could just be making a choice like we think he is, lol….

  • SH_Marr

    Good soldiers don’t kill people they don’t have to. People can get court-martialed for that. Killing civiliains (like Jeff) is just wrong.

    Hopefully, that’s the decision they’re trying to provoke him into making…

    • Ambler

      Is Jeff a civilian, though? I thought he was a part of the soldiers that were completely wiped out by the scary group of androids… He’s technically a war prisoner, I think.

      • SH_Marr

        I never got the impression that that androids killed soldiers, really. Maybe military scientists or something. And Jeff certainly wasn’t one.

        Anyway, war prisoner or not, if they’ve deemed him no threat, then there is no reason to kill him whatsoever. That’s killing for the sake of killing. And who kills a man in a hospital bed?

        • ErykaSoleil

          Do we know for certain what Jeff’s job was in the colony? He must have done something . . .

          • SH_Marr

            No, I guess not. But what if he was a janitor or something?
            Either way, we don’t normally execute POWs unnecessarily, either.

          • ErykaSoleil

            WE don’t, no. But we also have the Geneva Convention and such, which may or may not exist in this story’s timeline. And just like Deacon found a “valid” reason for choking that guard, I’m sure Noneco could come up with a “valid” reason to kill Jeff.

          • SH_Marr

            I meant “we” as in “humankind”. I’m not saying that this isn’t real. But if it is real, it’s seriously screwed up.

  • Kel Z

    There’s definately something up with Maven, she’s definately has had a cold streak, but she doesn’t seem to be the sort that would be *smiling* over an innocent person dying (and what a smile she’s got in here!). I’m not so sure they’d let him go through with it, but rather see if he’ll make the decision to do so.

    The line between man and machine is about to be drawn here. It’s interesting that there’s a panel of people watching – the next decision he makes will define what AI could be. If he chooses to go through with it, he proves that he can overcome  emotion… but not that he doesn’t have it. He’s proven that he’s capable of it, and he’s got to know that going through with this won’t change anything. It also won’t bring back any of the men he already killed. It’s possible he’s really that naive, but he’s also smart. Very smart. It is still likely that the decision to deactivate him would be the same regardless of the action he takes.

    A decision to kill an innocent person may very well even count more against him. This makes him, as an artificial lifeform, dangerous – it speaks of a lack of ability to put value on human life, and has now shown the ability to lose control. Lack of control plus lack of drawing a line in regards to morality defines one as a psychopath in human terms. This is dangerous ground.
    Waiting for Wednesday now. A lot. 😀

    • ErykaSoleil

      Very well said.

      And where you at the campout last night? You said you’d show up with bubble wrap!

      • Kel Z

        I was working backstage in a production of The Who’s “Tommy”. I get to hang out backstage and take cute people’s clothes off. It’s awesome! But I don’t have a show on Tuesday so I’ll bring it. 😀

        • ErykaSoleil

          Hmmm . . . I -guess- that’s a totally awesome, forgivable excuse. :p

    •  Like your theories. 🙂 got me thinking.

    • Ooh, I like that line of thinking. But do they really consider Jeff innocent? I mean, Deacon was supposed to kill him before anyway. :I

      • Kel Z

        It entirely depends if Maven meant her “what if we said”. That could have been her seeing what he’d do, or it could have been the truth.

        That being said, technically, the colonists could have been considered innocent as well. We don’t really know what happened there, except there was something they knew that they didn’t want anyone else to know about. They had to be killed to protect that. And even that, if I recall, only came from what Jeff said.

        Although that also now makes me wonder. Will that come back around? Was what they were hiding a plot device to get Deacon there, or is it something that will come up again?

        It also makes me wonder that if Jeff didn’t know what the secret was that the other colonists knew… how did he know there *was* any secret at all? Hrm may have to go back and reread…

    • More like they want to see if Deacon to complies with their interpretation of an “innocent person”.

      • Kel Z

        Very true! This kind of stuff is very, very subjective. Thusly, it makes a very hard line for a “machine” to figure out – a line like that is fluid in humans, decisions that could be made depend on a very high number of factors that humans digest subconciously. For instance, you could take two people that each shot another person, and they died just about the same. Now add in that one of them had been abused by the other, and the other was a random shooting. Automatically, the bottom line “crime” is the same, but the human reaction is some sympathy for the person that had been abused. It’s a bad thing to do either way, but now it’s degrees. I’m rambling so much tonight, heh.

        • ErykaSoleil

          But there are also a fair number of people who would insist that the abused shooter still had no right to shoot the abuser, and that the punishment should be the same as for a random shooter. Deacon is being judged by Noneco, so the definition of “innocent” victim is at the mercy of the company’s opinion.

          To play Devil’s Advocate: We all seem to be going on the assumption that Jeff is innocent, but all we really have to draw that conclusion is Deacon’s word (which, we have to assume, is based on Jeff’s word). We have no idea what the real reasoning was behind the colony being wiped out, and we don’t know what the corporation is actually trying to prove or learn from this whole affair. For all we know, the colony on Da Vinci Four could have been some extreme anarchist group that wanted to nuke a small, peaceful country, and was stopped just in time by Noneco. I doubt that’s the case, but we really don’t know.

  • ErykaSoleil

    Maybe Maven was somehow involved in Deacon’s original programming, and she’s hoping to push him to a particular result?

  • anonymouslizzy

    Do you have a group on deviantART?

    • Actually, no. Being a writer/editor and not an artist, I haven’t really taken the time to explore dA. And just keeping this Web site up takes up a lot of my time. And I don’t think Winona’s on dA, either…

      But I know a lot of other webcomic creators really enjoy being on dA. 🙂

      • ErykaSoleil

        DA allows you to post written works, as well. I haven’t posted any myself, but I’ve seen lots of other people do it.

        I think anonymouslizzy was suggesting starting a Group in DA, which would allow all your peeps to hang out and get all geeky with fanart ‘n stuff. :p

        • Ah, I hadn’t thought of that. Hmm. Maybe I could set that up. Do you know if there’s a walkthrough anywhere on how to do that?

  • arg! *wanna strangle her* She is being extremely unprofessional! I agree with Eryka – Maven must have some kind of agenda for doing this. It’s way beyond how a normal psychologist should behave.

    Deacon’s glare in the last panel disturbs me. I pray it’s just a show for Maven until he reveals his true intentions. (still vote for the self-destruct-theory)

  • yellowrock

    Now she’s just being smug.  >:c

  • Fabiana Nonato

    Deacon kill that bit*h! 
    Really kill her, she’s just playing with you!

  • catyra

    Omg can’t wait for next page! Don’t give us that look as in the last panel Deacon!

  • Vanessa Trepanier

    I hope he self destructs and takes them all out, or that Maven’s the only one that knows his command codes and he kills her quick >:/

  • AllyssaC

    Deacon looks like he’s accepted the challenge..
    I couldn’t help it.

    But anyway
    I still cross my fingers for Maven x Deacon against the entire facility

    • Elizabeth

      That last panel his face really does look like the challenge accepted face xD

  • stormnite101

    Has prepped for the camping, but might not get to be there so i’m leaving this create of cola, and ten roles  of large bubble wrap

    • Kel Z

      ::rolls self in bubblewrap::

      • ErykaSoleil

        Hey, now. Leave some for tomorrow night! 😛

        • Kel Z

          Is ok, you can pull it off if you need it. I’m kind of like walking storage for bubble wrap.

          True story: my workplace has huge rolls of self service bubble wrap in the supply room. It’s just SITTING there.

          • stormnite101

            Well i hope you enjoy it, BTW i’m just dropping off these marshmallows 

  • Karolyn Ellis

    Why, Maven, Why?! Why would you push him?! What’s your damage?! YOU’RE NOT NORMAL!!

    She’s gotta be pushing him towards a particular goal, she has to have something to gain, either by Jeff’s death, or by Deacon going Apeshit and killing everyone to get him out. Either way, she faces the possibility of losing her license, because even if a shrink is dealing with a machine like Deacon (in this universe, at least) there has to be some professional standards.

    I can’t wait for the next page! I wish I had money to give so I could get it faster, lol!

  • Well Deacon was hardwired not to lie… so he does have to kill the target, but he’s also a computer. What twisted loophole has he came up with? 

    Please tell me its not the fact the word “orgasm” is french for “a beautiful death”. 
    Tho im overly sure Maven gets off on this stuff. 

    • French_Annoyinggirl

      Actually, we use the expression “la petite mort” =>”the little death” as a metaphore for “orgasm”. Cause each time you have one, it’s so powerful that it almost kills you 😛

  • …..If we just keep making the donation mark every week…the webcomic will never end.


    • Emanueru

      If only that were true :/ but all good things end at some point.

  • Okay I just read all of the comic, but I’m kind of hoping that Maven is actually just lying to Deacon and trying to see how human he is, and that she doesn’t really want him to kill Jeff.  
    I’m not really taking it seriously, but it would be kind of nice.

    • Eriennexton

      Starting to think that people are right, and Mavis is on the side of GOOD. 

      Cause it looks to me like, in the panel before last, she’s all, “Deacon. Take a hint.”

      • ErykaSoleil

        Yes! Join the team rooting for Maven to be an undercover agent working to take down the corporation! (Or at least an employee plotting to take them down from within.)

  • I don’t believe that Maven is good. I think she’s a bitch with her own agenda. I’m not even certain she actually cares what happens to Deacon. She’s not a very good doctor (when it comes to non-humans anyway) and I just don’t trust her at all. I really really want Deacon to snap her neck. Or better yet, have Jeff do it, she’d never see that shit coming LOL!

    • ErykaSoleil

      Given what little we actually know about Jeff (everything has been Deacon’s experience with him over a relatively short span of time), I would think he would be really traumatized to kill another human being.

  •  I don’t think Maven is evil, or good. She is just human, distorted, insane, freak and sacastic as we all are.
    And she enjoys being just like that.

  • I’m pretty sure that in panel 2, the only lip service that Maven is interested in, is her lips against Deacon’s marvelous bodacious body.  Amirite? 😀

  • Jocelyn Thompson-Jordan

    oh snap, indeed…….

  • Deacon spent a LOT of time with Jeff alone, I’m wondering if he anticipated the return of his crew and perhaps informed Jeff how to override him commands so that he was the only one could give them, commanded Deacon to act as though he responded to any commands given to him by the corporation…

    aaaaaand then punch Maven in the face (okay, I do love her…but seriously, can he at least trip her as she skips down the sidewalk or something?)

  • Fulgin

    *lays out boxes of graham crackers, sacks of marshmallows, and a pile of Hershey’s bars*  Help yourself, folks. Just let those bamboo skewers soak for an hour or two before getting them near the fire.

    • ErykaSoleil

      Bamboo skewers? You are too awesome. 🙂 Here! -Produces a large cooler.- I bring a couple cans of beer, some soda, and some turkey dogs.

      • Kel Z

        I have… bubble wrap! And I’ll make some homemade soda. And erm… I have steaks?

        Man but all I want is some Indian food. It’s killing me. Not to get totally off topic here, but my town sucks. 😛

        Soooooo are we there yet? :: bounce ::

        • I would LOVE indian food too!  I bear chocolates of varying quality, cookies, milk, and the ever present pasta dishes I come up with when I’m too lazy to make a proper meal 😛

          • Kel Z

            We made grilled cheese. I <3 pasta.

            Also, closer to 10pm. Let's start a sing-a-long!

            (or maybe not, the kind of stuff I'd probably start singing would be disturbing)

          • ErykaSoleil

            As long as it’s not “Kumbayah” or “It’s A Small World”.

          • Kel Z

            It’s probably Earth, Wind, and Fire again. Or the Legend of Zelda theme song.

          • I’m currently into LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.”  This party does rock!

  • No Deacon, no Deacon, no Deacon….

    Perhaps if I continuously chant it, it won’t happen? ^_^;

    Oh God please don’t…
    I don’t think my heart can handle it 🙁

    • ErykaSoleil

      But what if he’s getting ready to save Jeff (with the help of secret-undercover-agent Maven)? Your chanting could be having the opposite effect of what you really want. :p

  • In honor of my awesome campers, I’m thinking of posting early tonight. Like 10ish Pacific Standard Time early. Hope to see you there!

    • Kel Z

      I’ll do the camping dance and give you a big sloppy kiss!

      :: headbangs through the house waving arms around like a maniac ::

      • Emanueru

        Oh my gosh! That would just be the bees knees~
        I’m so giddy with anticipation :3

        • Android strength hugs from me if you do!  I’m still CAMPING!

          • ErykaSoleil

            And I’ll throw in big hugs from the Frozen North!

          • And your wish is my command. 🙂

          • Hey now! The first time I come to camp later than midnight, camping time is nearly over. This pleases me. *throws in a hug for the heck of it*

    • You are a god among men. 😯 

  • Ikaru Sentinal-K’Valshar

    Kinda pushing the buttons there doc.
    Maven: *sees big shniy button*….*CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK*

  • Ree

    Made a decision about Maven. Dislike. Ooh, dislike.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    I just realized how similar the last panel on this page is to the last panel on page 16. Fore-shadowing what’s in NoNeCo employees’ future, perhaps?

  • Lindsey Amethyst Hampton

    Oh, that lovely sneer Deacon’s got.

  • Noriam Gutierrez


  • Nick Borkowski

    This is a very interesting story and I enjoy it quite a lot. But I’m a little sad that the therapist seems to be the main protagonist so far. I work at a hotline for troubled youth, and many of them I talk to have a negative stereotype of therapists, that they are ineffective or trying to manipulate them. While appreciate the story I certainly hope your readers can separate fact from fiction and not be dissuaded from going to a therapist when they need help.