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Artifice Pages 12 and 13

75 Comments on Artifice Pages 12 and 13


This will be a double-page spread in the printed book. To view it larger, please click this link.

Welcome to Da Vinci 4.

So… what do you guys think happened here?

(Special thanks to Judith W., Howard S. and Melody P. for their generous donations and an extra special call out and hug to Marcin W. for the $25 donation and for making two donations in two weeks! A patron saint for Artifice! :D)

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  • Rocket

    Good gawd… maybe… Yea, no, I won’t even try to guess T_T

    The art in this is brutal, though 😀

    Does that bottled water say $60?! and the fries are $25? Man, fu_k that XD

    • Yes, bit of inflation in the future. 😉 

      (And, in a behind-the-scenes note, those monstrously inflated prices actually weren’t in the script; that’s a nice little detail Winona added when creating this page that I think gives some good perspective about the world these colonists lived in. One of the perks of collaborating with a genius. 😉 )

      • W Nelson

        *blush* I just thought back to my high school cafeteria, how being poor meant being stuck with whatever glop was in the financial aid line, and I was jealous of the kids who could buy the $5 cheeseburgers, and how much more expensive it’d be if the food had to be shipped from another planet.  Love that people are noticing those tiny extras 😀

  • My guess is that Deacon went “apeshit” and is now with the good doctor.

  • kevipoo13

     taking a guess based on the image,
    1.) the one android, based on clothes being worn, and the white body fluid, was on the base before the other androids arrived.
    2.) the blown doors to the right may have killed the guy to the left in the corner, yet the rest were killed by some kind of predator, based on the wounds of many of the humans being more than one one. Likely an entrance and exit wound.
    3.) the dead guy hanging over the window suggests, to mt, that that was the exit point of the predator, and also gives us a sense of the speed of the thing(s), as he was not pushed over the edge.
    4.) i am guessing an alien creature that has either multiple detachable entities that are the size of a grapefruit attached to a parent or a bunch of alien entities the same size acting independently.
    5.) the androids did not perform this slaughter.
    6.) my imagination is entirely over active.
    7.) i think this is a perfect blend of narrative conversation getting close to, “going too far”, which is needed, as well as shocking and subtle imagery.

    BTW great work on the glasses 

    (sig) Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

    • Oo, I like the predator theory! 🙂

      And I’m glad you’re finding the narrative conversation working for you on this page. It is meant to be shocking. But there’s always the fear that a sudden addition of gore in a story might alienate readers. (I have a low tolerance for it myself, actually.) Glad you didn’t think it was going too far.

      And I love your imagination! 😀

  • It was a firefight. The androids burst in through the doors into the cafeteria, catching the colonists by surprise. Though the tables up against the doors suggests that some alert had been given and a crude barricade of some sort had been attempted, the positions of the bodies suggests that they were not expecting an attack at that moment and/or at that location. Combat ensued. Note the bullet holes in the tables, some of them are overturned with colonists behind them as though they were being used for cover. The colonists in the most direct path in from the door did not have time to go for cover,  though some out of the immediate line of fire managed to attempt to get some form of limited cover, though judging by the dead colonist slumped against the one table near the top, below a blood-splattered hole in the table, and the three gouges dug into the surface of one table that line up with the three holes in another table closer to the door, the tabletops provided little protection. The wounds are all consistent with advanced, high-powered firearms firing frangible or perhaps explosive rounds. At least some colonists managed to get shots off before being cut down, hitting one of the androids. The androids either discarded their spent weapons after the massacre, or their weapons are built into their bodies.

    • I am very impressed with your comment. (And if ever I am the victim of a violent crime, I’ll definitely want you on the forensics team that’s first on the scene. 🙂 )

      •  Thanks! I’m going into teaching physics and philosophy and sci-fi writing, though… Forensic Science is only a side-hobby.
        } ; = 8 )

        • Well, teaching sci-fi writing sounds much cooler anyway. 😉

          •  lol well, the career intention is just writing sci-fi and teaching physics and philosophy, though I suppose there will probably be some teaching of writing science fiction involved there somewhere along the way…


    Excellent work.

    • That’s exactly the reaction I was looking for. Thank you. 😀 

  • typhonblue

     Curious. Are there no female colonists? 

    • W Nelson

      There are 3 definite women and several bodies that could be either, they just all wear unisex clothes and food is too expensive to get either very muscular or very curvy.  There are no skirts or dresses on this colony, and everything comes in drab green, gray, blue-gray, or khaki.  So, they’re in there, you just have to look a little harder.

  • Rozhinkes

    Oh wow! I’ve loved Winona’s art from the start, but the way she rendered this scene is just amazing! I would never have the patience for that amount of detail.

    I can’t wait to see what happens next! You really have me on the edge of my seat with this story. I’m so glad to have found a comic with such a solid story as yours – most of the ones that I have found center too much on the erotic scenes and not enough on the plot.

    Kudos to you both, and keep up the great work!

    • Thank you very much. As I’ve said in some previous comments, there have been moments I’ve wondered if I was foolish not to lead with the romance right up front.  But I wanted to tell an interesting science fiction story first, that also happened to include compelling gay characters and a (hopefully!) equally compelling romance, so that’s how I wrote this. It makes me really happy to hear that you are on the edge of your seat. 🙂

      And yes, those details! It’s one of the great pleasures of working with Winona, to see all the special and necessary little details she adds into every page. Whenever I get a new page from her, I just pour over it to find all of them. One of the nice things about releasing this as a page-a-week webcomic is that some of you get to have that same experience as well. 🙂

      You put a big smile on my face. Please keep letting me and Winona know what you think!

    • W Nelson

       Thanks, I honestly wouldn’t have had the patience either except that I made it more fun for myself by modeling a lot of the corpses after friends.  That always makes a crowd scene more fun to draw 🙂

  • Katrine Møller

     Well, I’m a bit drunk, still, and too many cigarettes have been smoked, but even complete carnage has to be well rendered to induce nausea in those conditions. I’m somewhat nauseous, though. I really WASN’T before I decided that a bit of fooling around on that internet-thing was just the thing to put me asleep (at 8.30 in the morning). Cheers! I approve, even if my dreams won’t.

    • Thank you!  (And I’m sorry for the disturbing bedtime story! I promise that there will be some very sweet pages coming up that will help balance out the carnage and will hopefully lead to sweet dreams. 🙂 )

  • Lauren Trent

    Wow, I love how starkly violent this page is in comparison to the comic up to this point. Well done on that!
    Also, so far as what happened here, I don’t think that the androids had guns. It looks like all of the bodies have blunt injuries, as if the androids literally punched them to death. Also… there was that part before where the guard said that they killed the whole colony with their bare hands. With that in mind, the marks on the tables look less like bullet holes and more like dents, as if something really strong (*ahem*, like a robot) had hit it. 
    I dunno, I’m probably way off… But then that raises so many questions!
    Like: was it actually androids that did this, or did they just deal with the aftermath? And did the other four get killed (because that psychologist woman said Deacon was the last one…)? And if it was the androids’ faults, what did the colonists do to piss them off so badly?
    Haha, anyways, this is the first time I’ve commented, and I just wanted to say that I really enjoy the story and the artwork. It’s really captivating and well characterized, and I’m already hooked after just a few pages. I can’t wait for more!

    • Thank you for the kind words. Really insightful comment (and good for you for remembering that previous dialogue). Glad to hear you’re hooked (and hoping it means I’ll keep getting to hear from you! 🙂 )

      Stay tuned. All will be revealed. 

    • I dunno… The big problem I see with the “The Andriods beat them to death” theory is the complete lack of blood anywhere on the androids, particularly their hands and arms. A messy, hand-to-hand battle where the androids were punching so hard it left fist-sized holes in people’s chests would have left them covered in blood. Their fists and forearms would have been drenched, and their faces and torsos would have been splattered with blood and probably more than a few bits of flesh and brains. Yet the androids and their clothing are pristine, save for the one android that was shot. Either they all stopped for a quick shower and change of clothes (including the one who had been shot), before deciding to carry their injured companion away, or they never came into any contact with the colonists.

  •  I think the androids noticed the prices on the cafeteria board and the fact that buying two sachets of ketchup more than doubles the cost of a fries order probably broke their logic circuits.



    This will make an amazing double page spread, both in terms of just looking at it (looking at all the different ways people died, just for example) and for its impact. Great page.

    •  Hehe. I really like your explanation. Could be… 😉

      Thanks for the props!

  •  Awsome!
    Love the art and colors.

    Good job!

  •  Haha, It’s raining outside and there’s a huge puddle by the door. Surely someone slipped in that and died. BLAME THE PUDDLE! 

    I actually don’t mind the gore, makes it interesting. Love the guy near the middle with what looks like a hole in his face. XD

    • I think your puddle theory has become my new favorite. I’m now picturing all the slapstick ways that one puddle could have caused all of this. 😉

  • Iiro Huuhtanen

    So far, im liking the artwork and the story, and makes me want more so GIEF!
    *peers at the commenst below, fingers wiggle*
    My theory over what had taken place in that unfortunate colony restaurant.

    The androids did it! Imagine, that those androids are the cutting edge technology, easily achieving many traits that are impossible for a normal human.
    Such as amazing speed and strenght, they burst through the door without any problems, and dart in before the colonist realize it. No doubt they would hop and dart and run and ninja their way around the room and dispatching the unlucky colonists before they can have a clear shot at the attackers. Some of the wounds [Atleast that is what i think] seems to have come from a blunt object, such as overpowered android fist. But i spy with my little eye some bullet wounds aswell. Well, since the androids are fast, i count them as missfires, the colonists shooting their own because they got caught by suprise and tried to point and shoot at something in panic with bloody results.
    Since the androids entered from the door with a clear path to the center of the room, the humans started to shoot in a crossfire.
    And the androids must have built in weapons! Their charging their laserbeams and such!


    Anyhow, keep it updated. We must have more!

    PS. The guy with a hole in what was his face do doubt went all Trinity on the androids, walking next to ’em and placing his gun against a Android temple saying “Dodge this”

    While his self-respect might have gone up, his life expectancy went down.

    • Hehe. Very well reasoned and thought out. And I love your Trinity mini-scene. I might just have to make that canon. 😀

      Thank you for the kind words. Next update on Saturday, guaranteed!  

  •  Holy….. I clicked “last” and got such a shock XD was NOT expecting that!

  • Krondor2000

    This is really not your typical gay love story! 

    •  No, Sir. But hopefully it’s one folks will enjoy! 🙂

  • snager

    I am reading two new webcomics about gay space androids right now.

    I like this one more.

    and: Clearly, the Androids staged their coup (sp) and were able to kill every human on base and dodged a shit ton of bullets in the process. they already said what happened in the first arch, right? : ?

    • Yep, Roy did seem to imply that with what he said in the first pages. Shall we trust him? 🙂

      Very glad to hear you’re enjoying Artifice. I’m curious—what’s the other webcomic? I should probably be checking it out.

  • boom head shot!

    Heh you’ll have to forgive my references but anywhoooooooo, yeah blood awesome. Super jelly of your lighting techniques. you’ll have to teach me someday. I’m rather curious however, why all the androids look alike xD 

    • Very glad you like it! (And there’s a reason why all the androids look alike, but I don’t believe it’s ever mentioned. Ask me later and I’ll tell you. 🙂 )

  • ohhhhhh supar very good the last 4 page, and till just beginnig!! 

  •  uh oh…what happened??? so mean! always leaving us on cliffies! (mean in a nice way)

  • Oh this is getting good 🙂 

    • I’ve been waiting to share this page since I began the webcomic. Glad you’re liking it. 🙂

  • Ok, there is something slightly interesting about the table in the middle/lower/left…the one with two dead people on it. The positioning of the table is in no way defensive, as though there were a group of people who heard the same warning as the other people who formed the barricade and either: (a) didn’t believe they would be attacked or (b) accepted that they were dead either way and didn’t put up much of a fight. I’m leaning towards (a) because they still have guns nearby, as though they were dropped when their owners died. Unless it was perfectly normal for the now dead people to carry guns at all times, then it was definitely (a) and I am very very curious about what did this…^-^ I blame all the other crazies out there who used all their observatory powers before I did. <3

  • Larking

    find it interesting that most of the bodies aren’t behind the
    barricades. Typically if you’re on the weaker side of a
    fight and barricading yourself, your corpse is going to be *inside* the

    What’s doubly interesting, is that none of the androids have blood on them.
    For some reason, my first instinct is to say that the humans turned on
    each other, though I highly doubt that’s right due to the two visible *missing faces* I spy amongst the bodies. My next theory is an alien attack of the non-android variety. I can’t recall if we’ve been told if androids are obligated to help humans in danger, but if not, then I don’t see any reason they’d put themselves in harm’s way to defend the people enslaving them.


    • Interesting. I think it’s true that nowadays we tend to take Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics as a given, but you’re right, there’s no reason why we should think that it always going to be part of an android’s design…

  • Stormhawk

    I think the androids had nothing to do with this. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a scene like this before in real life. Two rival gangs, everyone had guns, drug buy went bad, things were said about people’s mamas, things got real messy, real quick.  Clean up took a few days. Yes, I think the androids did break down the doors. One of them, who was already inside got shot, they came in to retrieve him, the only “survivor”, as it were.

    Look at the angles of the blood spatter. See the absence of a blood trail (except for the android)? As noted, no blood on the androids. Some of the bodies are showing multiple entry wounds, such as neck AND stomach or three on an angle into the abdomen. No, this was a gunfight.

    • Also interesting and well-reasoned. (Although I am very sorry to hear that you had to see something like this in real life. :/ )

      • Stormhawk

        It’s ok, was a hazwhopper on the cleanup, got paid by the hour. 

  • slapstick comment : The colonists are mixed New Zealanders & Australians and clearly insufficient strawberry pavlova had been baked. The head chef’s menacing glare must have been very intimidating, and the sole reason he managed to hold off the angry hoards before trying to make off with the sole remaining portion, which is why the doors were barricaded shut. He then attempted to leap over the counter, and his heart exploded out of his chest. This then induced the great DaVinci Pavlova Riot where everyone tried to kill each other for the right to eat that last remaining slice. 

    reasoned comment : Sudden indiscriminate brawling and fighting broke out, possibly induced by a gas from the outside. The members there were waiting in the closed cafeteria until … rescue? … Some barricaded the doorway which was broken open and the surviving baracadeers had their head smashed either side of the doorway, possibly by the single injured android. 

    • Hmm.  Now I’m hungry for strawberry pavlova… 😉

  • fortheloveoftea

    ok lets see what’s in that carnage! The two tables either side of the door must’ve been blocking the doors until they were opened with enough force to dent the metal that badly, and kill/trap a fella so it looks like they were trying to baricade the door however why only use 2 tables? Did they not have enough time to do more? Was it a case of say, 2 colonists spotting trouble outside & then baricading the doors before the rest of the cafeteria had a chance to react? After all the chef is still behind the counter.
    On the other hand there is no food anywhere in the picture, so either this kicked off before they ate or they all came in together to shelter from whoever killed them (and the chef was working in the kitchen at the time.. unless the guy behind the counter was a smarter colonist who decided a solid counter was better than a flimsy table).
    It does look like the androids were responsible however you can see that a lot of those people have visible gun shot wounds but there’s only 10 guns in the picture all of which are in the hands of the colonists and none in the androids hands or even dropped near them.
    Oh just noticed all the guns are in a rough oval around the door, does that mean they were a line of defence which were driven back?
    Cant wait for the next update!

    • Really well thought out explanations and questions. (And I do think a solid counter would offer better protection than a flimsy table…)

      I hope you enjoy the next page!

  • Rissicat

    New and fascinated reader here.

    And aside from the amazingly-rendered carnage, the thing that caught my eyes were the doors to the cafeteria. They appeared to be limned with something like yellow paint/rust both inside and out, but that doesn’t make sense.

    It cannot be rust, since the rest of the facilities are pristine. So that means that something was applied to the edges of the doors, a chemical of some sort?

    As for the androids, one reason for them removing of of their own is that the humans are all quite obviously dead, and an android might at least have a recording of what happened here.

    • Glad to hear I’ve piqued your interest. 🙂

      And I find both your theories quite interesting myself. I like the way you think.

    • The doors lead to the outside, we know nothing about the weather conditions or the rain composition of the planet, the rain could be high in an oxidizing mineral, it could be fungus, could even be clay water (gets everywhere that I live, impossible to keep a place clean). But cool ideas.

      • Rissicat

        *nods* I see your point, but what caught my attention is the image of the door on the right, which shows the same substance running in a liquid pattern down the inside of the door – from the top. Minerals like clay and other heavy sediment gather low on things.

        Moreover, doors typically have seals to keep the outside where it belongs. So that brings me back to wondering if some chemical were applied to the doors so they could be blasted open.

  • Actually, as I was looking at this, it didn’t even occur to me that the tables were in any way defensively positioned…they’re just in rows and have been knocked over, it looks like. If they were a barricade, they ought to be in a line, it seems like…but THEN there’s the matter of the ones that seem to have been barricading the doors. It’s intriguing, it’s like once they had those tables over the doors they thought, okay, no problem, let’s all go back to playing cards.

    • Ha! Your “playing cards” quip actually got me to laugh out loud. Maybe it’s another thing I’ll need to retroactively make canon… 😉

  • SteveMcSheffrey

    And I just now only made the connection between the last comment of Deacon’s, ‘Our objective had appeared to have been achieved and we were preparing to leave’ immediately preceding the scene of dead colonists.  It wasn’t murder or androids going berserk but they were sent in to kill those people.  Now I have to revise my opinion and theories…

  • Do you read through the old comments? I may post on a later page otherwise. But what is the injured AP leaking exactly? I know it must be their equivalent to blood, but according to NoNeCo, what is that stuff precisely? Why is it white?

  • There was a riot over the cafeteria prices. Good lord. No tater tot is worth 25 bucks. 

  • SolrSurfr3

    Well..they were certainly thorough, weren’t they? 0_o

  • Is it odd that my first thought on seeing this page was, “well, SOMEONE didn’t program these androids with the First Law of Robotics?”

    This looks very much like a siege.  Perhaps the colonists first got warning of the approaching members of what I’m going to call Deacon’s team and, upon the landing, many were initially killed before some of them survived long enough to reach the refectory (or would they call it a cafeteria still, in the future?) and began setting up for a form of trench warfare.  The doors…someone here commented that there was what looked like paint on the doors, but it looks more to me like they actually burned off the contacts with the walls and THEN busted the doors down.  

    I’m reading through all this in the hopes that this will make Sat come faster, even if I won’t be in town to sit at my computer all “camped” out and hitting the refresh button.

  • elijah elquest

    60 dollars for bottled water?!

    • AllyssaC

      Maybe there were very little water/clean/fresh water sources.

  • now that is a fight

  • Marvin_Arnold

    Yep, Cafeteria is definitely “closed”.

  • TravelerOfWebcomics

    Those prices are bullshit.