Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Comic Discussion => ALICE GROVE => Topic started by: brasca on 31 Mar 2017, 05:20

Title: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 31 Mar 2017, 05:20
I thought the Praeses popped the bubble ship, but it would seem that Gavia reacquiring her abilities may be something they didn't anticipate... or not.  The trees may be so many steps ahead they knew Ardent would upgrade an ancient space ship and the ipad someone left behind would upgrade into nanotech. 

It's great to see her restored to her former glory, but I wonder if this journey may have shaken her faith in her leaders.   
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 31 Mar 2017, 05:31
I'm guessing that we're going to see all the interested parties in this story reveal themselves in short order and I suspect Alice and her companions will shortly find themselves struggling to survive as the gods fall out amongst themselves.

BTW - Jeph has recently said on Twitter that Alice Grove is 'close to the end than to the beginning'. From this, I'm getting the feeling that we're heading into the final arc of the plot and we'll soon be able to make a definitive judgement as to our view of the full story.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: OldGoat on 01 Apr 2017, 12:52
Since Alice, Sedna, and Church can are modified or evolved to survive in space, they presumably have some way of moving about there, too.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 01 Apr 2017, 13:32
Being tough enough to survive hard vacuum for a prolonged period does not mean 'space-ready'.

Gavia, on the other hand, almost certainly will be able to move by using the levitate power of the nanobots like a thruster. Of course, it is unlikely that she'll know how to EVA in freefall so she might need Sedna (who we now know used to be a combat astronaut) to explain things to her somehow.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 01 Apr 2017, 16:48
Since Alice, Sedna, and Church can are modified or evolved to survive in space, they presumably have some way of moving about there, too.

Perhaps, but the only way they can propel themselves in the vacuum of space is if they have something to push off of or an unseen ability to emit something.  Without that even someone as strong as Church will just flail around futilely until he's drawn into the gravity of a larger object.  Hopefully, Gavia's regained power hasn't made her stupid because if she goes on the offensive and Church captures her he'll have the equivalency of a sentient rocket pack he can use to push himself and Pate to the surface of the space habitat. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Apr 2017, 04:56
I'm pretty sure Gavia's considerably more powerful than she ever was. Maybe not at the level of the three nearby gods, but who knows at this point?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 03 Apr 2017, 07:05
She has the home field advantage, but if she gets within arms reach of Church it's over. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Skewbrow on 03 Apr 2017, 11:05
Looks like Alice decided to make her move on Church. I guess this is the showdown. Place your bets.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 03 Apr 2017, 11:14
I'm more interested in what those 'shot' Church deflected was. The most likely causes are:
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: WareWolf on 03 Apr 2017, 11:55
Looks like Alice decided to make her move on Church. I guess this is the showdown. Place your bets.

Alice or Sedna. But my money's on Alice. To be the one in the white space armor AND to win the match. Of course, if the "refs" step in, who knows...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: pwhodges on 03 Apr 2017, 13:22
I'm afraid I'm starting to get the impression that Jeph is getting fed up with having to fit in writing Alice Grove alongside QC, and so is hurrying to reach an end.  This would help explain the lack of clarity in showing the details of what's happening in the last few strips.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 03 Apr 2017, 14:45
Looks like Alice decided to make her move on Church. I guess this is the showdown. Place your bets.

Alice or Sedna. But my money's on Alice. To be the one in the white space armor AND to win the match. Of course, if the "refs" step in, who knows...

It would seem that the immortals have their own custom armor, but I suppose Sedna could've donned hers the last time she fought Alice.  I think she preferred to use guns in that match.  It would also seem that Alice can propel herself in space and if she can then I'll assume Church can too so it's a good thing that Alice is going on the offensive.  Those energy beams directed at him have about the same effect bullets had on Alice so he was probably getting ready to charge Gavia before Alice took him by surprise. 

I'm afraid I'm starting to get the impression that Jeph is getting fed up with having to fit in writing Alice Grove alongside QC, and so is hurrying to reach an end.  This would help explain the lack of clarity in showing the details of what's happening in the last few strips.
 

Well keep in mind that in space no one can hear you scream.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 03 Apr 2017, 16:52
I'm afraid I'm starting to get the impression that Jeph is getting fed up with having to fit in writing Alice Grove alongside QC, and so is hurrying to reach an end.  This would help explain the lack of clarity in showing the details of what's happening in the last few strips.

Lasers fire, everybody dies.


I suspect that the Praeses will step in  here at some stage.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 03 Apr 2017, 17:33
If it all comes down to a space battle of the poor man's Power Rangers, then it's kind of anti-climactic. But usually Jeph is a better storyteller than that.

If AG is about to start winding down, I'm a trifle disappointed. It looked to me that we were setting up a fair amount of world-building, which ought to have played out in a bigger story than what we've seen so far. The Praeses are just big trees floating in orbit? Pate, who was built up as some sort of criminal mastermind, ends up toasted after a single pop into space? Who did the Blink? Is there some reason we should care? Are the three immortals human or AI? What was the plot behind sending Ardent to the surface with nano-Jim'llFixits? Are Alice and Sedna really an ex-couple? Etc.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Apr 2017, 18:19
I don't think it's anywhere close to over. Closer to the end than the beginning just means two and a half years, and maybe more if you consider he's updating less frequently (because it could be nearly 200 strips left at one a week). That being said, he could also just change his mind.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 03 Apr 2017, 19:32
Is Alice expecting the Praeses to intervene?

Otherwise, she knows that she and Sedna together are no match for Church, and that Gavia can't make a dent in an Alice-class entity (see her first appearance for what happened when she tried).

So the possibilities are that Alice has sized up Gavia's rebooted abilities and thinks they are a game changer, or she expects the Praeses Public Peacekeeping Patrol to weigh in on her side, or she's desperate.

A desperate Alice strikes me as something I would not want on my world line.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 03 Apr 2017, 21:12
Gavia can't make a dent in an Alice-class entity (see her first appearance for what happened when she tried).
That was Gavia pre-enhancement. Like I said before, who knows how powerful Gavia is?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 03 Apr 2017, 22:41
Is Alice expecting the Praeses to intervene?

Otherwise, she knows that she and Sedna together are no match for Church, and that Gavia can't make a dent in an Alice-class entity (see her first appearance for what happened when she tried).

So the possibilities are that Alice has sized up Gavia's rebooted abilities and thinks they are a game changer, or she expects the Praeses Public Peacekeeping Patrol to weigh in on her side, or she's desperate.

A desperate Alice strikes me as something I would not want on my world line.

I don't think Gavia is that much powerful than before, but she's provided a distraction that took both Pate and Church by surprise.  It's not enough and from the look of it Alice can move in space so I'll assume Church can too which is why she's attacking him.  She doesn't stand a chance, but she doesn't need to engage him for long.  She's succeeded in separating Church from Pate so now Sedna can capture him.  Once she does he'll order Church to stand down and the battle is won.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 03 Apr 2017, 23:02
What brasca said.

For whatever reason, Church's prime directive is to protect Pate. If they actually have the ability to move in vacuum effectively, then there are three parties present now (Alice, Sedna, and Gavia), who could kill Pate with a single move (and Gavia has range).

If they are willing to use the threat of harming Pate as leverage, then Church is going to have to pull an absolute rabbit out of his keister to keep control of the situation.

They don't necessarily need to "defeat" him, per se. But, this is as clear a shot as they're going to get to effect a power shift.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Skewbrow on 03 Apr 2017, 23:13
Well keep in mind that in space no one can hear you scream.
I thought nowadays that reads "in cyberspace you can hear everybody groan".

I don't think Gavia is that much powerful than before, but she's provided a distraction that took both Pate and Church by surprise.  It's not enough and from the look of it Alice can move in space so I'll assume Church can too which is why she's attacking him.  She doesn't stand a chance, but she doesn't need to engage him for long.  She's succeeded in separating Church from Pate so now Sedna can capture him.  Once she does he'll order Church to stand down and the battle is won.

This. Is a very possible course of events! A one-armed Sedna is still a lethal threat to Pate. Ignoring Gavia for now - possibly errorneously.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Sorflakne on 03 Apr 2017, 23:19
Well that was an interesting development...was Church unknowingly hardwired to be a Praeses guardian?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 03 Apr 2017, 23:22
If Pate is the King and Church is the Queen, now Alice, Sedna, and Gavia are the Rook, Bishop, and Knight.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 04 Apr 2017, 02:41
I'm afraid I'm starting to get the impression that Jeph is getting fed up with having to fit in writing Alice Grove alongside QC, and so is hurrying to reach an end.  This would help explain the lack of clarity in showing the details of what's happening in the last few strips.

Jeph is trying to give the immediacy of an action movie set-piece in sequential art format. I don't think he's doing too badly. Nothing has happened without explanation that cannot be explained at a later date if necessary. What matters right now is that the whole main cast are EV and that Alice has taken the opportunity to take down Church, if she can.

FWIW, I'm thinking that the Praeses will teleport them all onto the Habitat after Alice and Church have been struggling for a few minutes. For now, at least, I think that they're observing and fine-tuning their plans.

For whatever reason, Church's prime directive is to protect Pate.

Actually, I think that's misreading Church. For whatever reason, he's chosen to work with Pate.

However, I do think what they do is going to ultimately be moot. This is the Praeses turf and, quite frankly, they have the numbers and firepower to decide who lives and dies at this point. If they have indeed manipulated events to get Pate up here, then no-one is killing them without their permission.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: A small perverse otter on 04 Apr 2017, 12:50
I don't know whether I think that Alice even needs to be Church-class at this point. The Praeses *are*, and so all Alice has to do is get them involved, and then she can move on to her next task, whatever that might be.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 04 Apr 2017, 15:34
For whatever reason, Church's prime directive is to protect Pate.

Actually, I think that's misreading Church. For whatever reason, he's chosen to work with Pate.
Well, I don't agree, but I don't think it really matters. I wasn't intending to be that specific. Whether he's been programmed/coerced, or is acting by conscious choice because he needs Pate for something, the result is the same: protecting Pate is priority #1, and nothing else presently comes close. I think that his actions immediately after Gavia's attack strongly support this.

We know that Church is a lot faster than Alice and Sedna. I'm not going to assume that Gavia's attack "surprised" him to such an extent that he's slower to assess and react than Alice - everything we've seen has indicated that he's the far superior specimen, so I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's reacting as he means to. My read would be that he adopted his defensive posture around Pate because he made the same assessment brasca and I made, and saw it as his only option for defending Pate against three attack vectors simultaneously. (No matter how fast he is, he can't be in three places at once.)

If he was able to value Pate's survival as anything less than 100% priority, then I think the ideal course would have been to neutralize Gavia and her ranged attack before the others could react, then take his chances in a 2-on-1. But, that would require abandoning Pate for a small window. Basically, his priority flow-chart forced him to sit tight while outnumbered and outgunned, instead of taking initiative and trying to improve the odds. I think that's pretty revealing.


- Now, this read depends on them having the ability to move in vacuum. If Alice just pushed off a large piece of debris to get to Church, or something, then you can't really read anything into his actions/inactions immediately after the breach.

- Also, Church has to be thinking ahead, about how exactly he's going to get Pate back into a pressurized environment. Depending how how he assesses the likelihood of intervention by the Praeses or a third party, eliminating any or all of Gavia/Ardent/Alice/Sedna actually might not seem so ideal.

We've been primed to see the "good guys" as the underdogs, because of how powerful Church has been established to be. But, man is he in a tough situation here, in terms of his own personal objectives.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 04 Apr 2017, 15:44
Also, I just want to say that I love the abject terror in Pate's face in all three panels.

Like, however important he may be back home, and as much old and new-tech as he's seen, he's still kind of a primitive country bumpkin. And now he's tumbling in zero gee with explosions and debris and nanotech and lasers and super soliders whizzing all around him. There's no preparing for that.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: OldGoat on 05 Apr 2017, 18:31
Ellie.  Ardent had the hots for her.  Gavia at least liked her, and watched Church murder her and maim Sedna.  I reckon Gavia hates his guts enough to try and dismember him in a berserk rage.  Who's shooting at Church?  Sedna's the Weapons Queen but our genial horndog Ardent wouldn't pass up a chance at revenge for killing Ellie either.  And he might be able to convert a simple flashlight into an energy weapon.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Stoutfellow on 05 Apr 2017, 18:55
Odd coincidence: Schlock Mercenary has just introduced what seems to be a large, sentient, and probably super-powered tree. It's quite a bit more talkative than the Praeses have been, so far.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Neko_Ali on 06 Apr 2017, 06:26
Ellie.  Ardent had the hots for her.  Gavia at least liked her, and watched Church murder her and maim Sedna.  I reckon Gavia hates his guts enough to try and dismember him in a berserk rage.  Who's shooting at Church?  Sedna's the Weapons Queen but our genial horndog Ardent wouldn't pass up a chance at revenge for killing Ellie either.  And he might be able to convert a simple flashlight into an energy weapon.

It's probably Gavia shooting those energy beams. Potentially it's a previous unrevealed power of Sedna's, but the last we saw she was using her one good arm to try and keep Ardent from flying off. The beams were coming from Behind Church, and from last positioning Church had his back to the ship when Gavia exploded.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 06 Apr 2017, 13:40
It's probably Gavia shooting those energy beams. Potentially it's a previous unrevealed power of Sedna's, but the last we saw she was using her one good arm to try and keep Ardent from flying off. The beams were coming from Behind Church, and from last positioning Church had his back to the ship when Gavia exploded.
Lack of effectiveness also suggests the beams are from Gavia. Tech level that could harm Pate, but not Church.


Prediction: Sedna is fully healed and has been playing possum. Will join the fray in the next panel.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: mikmaxs on 06 Apr 2017, 20:34
I'm curious about a couple of things that are super unclear right now:
1. Where is everyone in relation to one another?
2. Can Alice, Sedna, and Church actually propel themselves, or are they forced to jump off of nearby objects and then float in a direction, Ender's Game style?
3. Does Church, Alice, or Sedna have more mass than a normal person? If not, I don't really think that their ability to punch should be any better than any other random person from earth right now - Their hand won't break on contact, but they have no way to brace themselves for recoil. 150 pounds of Sedna shouldn't cause any more damage than a 150 pound sack of potatoes with a fist glued to one end, assuming they have the same velocity.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 06 Apr 2017, 23:52
It's probably Gavia shooting those energy beams. Potentially it's a previous unrevealed power of Sedna's, but the last we saw she was using her one good arm to try and keep Ardent from flying off. The beams were coming from Behind Church, and from last positioning Church had his back to the ship when Gavia exploded.
Lack of effectiveness also suggests the beams are from Gavia. Tech level that could harm Pate, but not Church.


Prediction: Sedna is fully healed and has been playing possum. Will join the fray in the next panel.

I wonder if Sedna has an armored form and if she does will she don it for this fight.  Seeing as how it chopped Alice's long hair off she might be reluctant to go to that length, but considering the stakes involved she might not want to take any risks in capturing Pate. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 09 Apr 2017, 13:38
Well, that didn't take long to work out, did it? As I have posted before, I wonder if Church was specifically made to hunt down super-soldiers (a sort of 'a monster that monsters fear' scenario).

Gavia certainly has had an upgrade; I don't remember her having a stand-off shield capability before!

It's sweet that Sedna is having to struggle to stop Ardent from getting hurt trying to protect Alice! He's a little creep sometimes but his heart is 100% made of gold when the chips are down.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: sitnspin on 09 Apr 2017, 14:06
Once again I'm pleased as punch to see that arrogant prick Pate scared out of his mind.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 09 Apr 2017, 14:24
Gavia has used a shield before.  She displayed the ability when they first met Sedna and Alice had her shield herself and Ardent when Sedna  opened up on them.  hat being said, I wouldn't be surprised if Ardent had inadvertently upgraded her as he has a habit of doing.


I hope Alice will be OK going up against Church.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 09 Apr 2017, 14:42
Good to see my suspicions confirmed although it seems that it was a joint effort of Gavia and Sedna that captured Pate. 

Hopefully, Alice can survive this onslaught because this being the vacuum of space it's not like they can call out to Church to stand down now that his king is captured. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 09 Apr 2017, 17:13
Church seems to have grown in size from last week to this. For a bit I thought he'd grown hair too, but I guess those are motion lines.

Wouldn't want to be Pate right about now.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 09 Apr 2017, 17:36
Church seems to have grown in size from last week to this. For a bit I thought he'd grown hair too, but I guess those are motion lines.

Wouldn't want to be Pate right about now.

Not sure I'd want to be Alice right now.  Unless Gavia can get his attention or he looks behind the beat down will continue.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 09 Apr 2017, 20:40
It does seem that the immortals (Alice & Church) can move about in space at will. Gavia's nanotech can apparently produce a habitable bubble. Now if they can strip Pate's gold pressure suit off, then Church will not be in any position to attack Gavia; doing so would put Pate at risk.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 09 Apr 2017, 21:30
It does seem that the immortals (Alice & Church) can move about in space at will. Gavia's nanotech can apparently produce a habitable bubble. Now if they can strip Pate's gold pressure suit off, then Church will not be in any position to attack Gavia; doing so would put Pate at risk.

They seem to have some way of propelling themselves through space, but it's uncertain as to whether Sedna grabbed Pate while Church was away fighting Alice or Gavia has been absorbing everyone into her force field.  She had the ability to cancel gravity so her abilities may be upgraded beyond that and she can also cruise through space.  She's not wearing her space suit so I'll assume she can breathe in the bubble she's created.  And from the looks of it she seems to have calmed down since she's not firing energy blasts at Church so at least they don't have to try to snap her out of a berserker fugue. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 09 Apr 2017, 23:11
Good to see my suspicions confirmed although it seems that it was a joint effort of Gavia and Sedna that captured Pate. 

Hopefully, Alice can survive this onslaught because this being the vacuum of space it's not like they can call out to Church to stand down now that his king is captured.

I would have designed supersoldiers with built-in radios.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Storel on 10 Apr 2017, 00:35
They seem to have some way of propelling themselves through space, but it's uncertain as to whether Sedna grabbed Pate while Church was away fighting Alice or Gavia has been absorbing everyone into her force field.  She had the ability to cancel gravity so her abilities may be upgraded beyond that and she can also cruise through space.  She's not wearing her space suit so I'll assume she can breathe in the bubble she's created.  And from the looks of it she seems to have calmed down since she's not firing energy blasts at Church so at least they don't have to try to snap her out of a berserker fugue.

I'm not sure Gavia was firing the energy blasts in the first place. Those energy blasts came very close to several of the characters but missed every time (except for the very first one that Church deflected). I'm thinking the blasts may have been anti-meteor defenses taking out what remained of the ship while intentionally avoiding the survivors. As to why the first one actually hit Church... er, no system has perfect aim? Hmm.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 10 Apr 2017, 01:57
They seem to have some way of propelling themselves through space, but it's uncertain as to whether Sedna grabbed Pate while Church was away fighting Alice or Gavia has been absorbing everyone into her force field.  She had the ability to cancel gravity so her abilities may be upgraded beyond that and she can also cruise through space.  She's not wearing her space suit so I'll assume she can breathe in the bubble she's created.  And from the looks of it she seems to have calmed down since she's not firing energy blasts at Church so at least they don't have to try to snap her out of a berserker fugue.

I'm not sure Gavia was firing the energy blasts in the first place. Those energy blasts came very close to several of the characters but missed every time (except for the very first one that Church deflected). I'm thinking the blasts may have been anti-meteor defenses taking out what remained of the ship while intentionally avoiding the survivors. As to why the first one actually hit Church... er, no system has perfect aim? Hmm.

Maybe, but looking at her in the bottom panel http://www.alicegrove.com/page/5 (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/5) it appears that she's summoning fire balls in the palm of her hands.  And we know she's had pyrotechnic capabilities before. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: derech on 10 Apr 2017, 11:54
It seems unclear who (or if anyone) shot something at Church, and if  why.  But clearly before that, even if  very shortly before, at some time he'd "armored up".      Whatever else, he's knocking Alice about, and she hopefully has a way to stop or reverse her motion.  We don't know how she started moving,  but Church was able to counter her (and then some) with a lot of force and without moving backwards himself. So we'd imagine all three of them have some way to counter near zero G.  If it's just Church that might be a very bad thing, at least for the others.

So Gavia is shielding/hiding/helping/moving them, Sedna is far more protective of Ardent than she is "capturing" anyone, and Pate is still out of his element.   

Church seems far more reactionary to the immediate threat than to what else happens later; attacked, he counters.      Does that mean anything for later?    It's entirely possible the people in charge of this place intervene.   If not, who knows.  As far as capturing Pate and using him as leverage, it's entirely possible that it's been prearranged that he's expendable.   Or Church isn't quite as loyal in reality as he's been carrying on.   That is, why would a seemingly pretty much immortal indestructible being would throw in their lot with a low-tech criminal mastermind crime boss (or what have you) sort of short-lived human anyway.     Life debt seems unlikely bordering impossible, how could he be coerced, what sort of romantic entanglements would be at all enticing, economics seem to have no bearing, and so on.    Political or visionary perhaps, but then one questions the motives there to carry it out, that content is at least a bit questionable given the  violence and coercion used to get to space for a chitchat with some trees or whatever they are.   

Not that we have any indication that there are any such plans or ever have been, but I wouldn't trust in the success of any plans using Pate's physicality as a bargaining chip.   Not that it wouldn't work if things are as they seem, but at the least Church seems unconcerned of such.  Although maybe it's just because he thinks he doesn't have to worry about it, or if he does he can just get his revenge on everyone after if it goes wrong. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Neko_Ali on 10 Apr 2017, 12:18
The rays were probably streaks of burning debris flying from the exploded ship. It seems to have only happened immediately after decompression, so it makes sense. Now Gavia is just maintaining a bubble around the four of them while Church and Alice fight it out. Probably waiting to see if Alice wins, or they have to do the 'Stay back or your boss gets it' routine.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 10 Apr 2017, 20:28
Good to see my suspicions confirmed although it seems that it was a joint effort of Gavia and Sedna that captured Pate. 

Hopefully, Alice can survive this onslaught because this being the vacuum of space it's not like they can call out to Church to stand down now that his king is captured.

I would have designed supersoldiers with built-in radios.
I'm still not convinced they're not gods. That is to say, I don't think they were made.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 10 Apr 2017, 22:42
Good to see my suspicions confirmed although it seems that it was a joint effort of Gavia and Sedna that captured Pate. 

Hopefully, Alice can survive this onslaught because this being the vacuum of space it's not like they can call out to Church to stand down now that his king is captured.

I would have designed supersoldiers with built-in radios.

If that's so then the first broadcast should be Gavia telling Church to stand down or she'll have Sedna break Pate's arms.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Is it cold in here? on 11 Apr 2017, 16:34
Gavia Shield 1.0 barely slowed down Alice. Church is tougher than Alice. I hope Gavia Shield 2.0 is enough to keep Church out.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 11 Apr 2017, 16:51
As long as they have Pate all that matters is the shield is strong enough to keep out the vacuum of space. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 11 Apr 2017, 22:02
Gavia Shield 1.0 barely slowed down Alice.
Good point. Alice is so ridiculously strong she can punch through nano. Ardently enhanced nano is still nano, so...who knows, really.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: cesium133 on 15 Apr 2017, 10:38
New comic, with a flashback.

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: pwhodges on 15 Apr 2017, 11:47
So...  He did well to survive that, and has been training for 5000 years to give Alice her comeuppance.  Has she got the reserves to best him again?  Well I guess the comic being named for her is a clue, because otherwise it's not looking so good.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: cesium133 on 15 Apr 2017, 11:50
Unless this is how the story ends...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 15 Apr 2017, 12:31
Interesting.
(click to show/hide)

It's probably just an artistic flourish on Jeph's part (there's no reason to believe the humans and post-humans are speaking English or any contemporary language 5 millennia after the collapse of civilisation). However, there is a tiny possibility that it might be a clue to some unexpected aspect to Alice's powers.

The world was pretty much a write-off towards the climax of the Great War, wasn't it? Whoever stepped in to perform the Blink had a good reason to do so!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 15 Apr 2017, 14:48
So...  He did well to survive that, and has been training for 5000 years to give Alice her comeuppance.  Has she got the reserves to best him again?  Well I guess the comic being named for her is a clue, because otherwise it's not looking so good.

From the look of things Alice called down an air or orbital strike that left Church half submerged in lava and then appears hovering over him to deliver the finishing move.  This is probably where his eye was damaged.  As such it took assistance to bring down Church 5000 years ago which is probably why she was so afraid when she sees him again later without any of the same resources to fall back on. 

It's notable that Alice speaks some indecipherable language before Church is hit.  Perhaps it's some computer code or AI language.  She used to wield a matching war hammer, but it's unclear if she's hovering or leaping over Church in the last panel.  If she can hover then it's an ability she doesn't seem to use anymore. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 15 Apr 2017, 15:53
Battle Language

An while that character LOOKS like Church, whose to say it is?




An is that Alice at all?!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: pwhodges on 15 Apr 2017, 16:10
I reckon Alice is using the same language as Dora has done in the past.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 15 Apr 2017, 16:57
Battle Language

An while that character LOOKS like Church, whose to say it is?




An is that Alice at all?!

Perhaps, but they look so similar I'd be surprised if it was anyone else.  Besides, Church hit her so hard I imagine her life is flashing before her eyes at this point.  This could take awhile folks. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Case on 15 Apr 2017, 17:48
I reckon Alice is using the same language as Dora has done in the past.

"Ash pāk-lāmosh durbatulūk, ash pāk-lāmosh gimbatul,
ash pāk-lāmosh thrakatulūk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul"
[1] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Speech),[2] (http://circlesofpower.byethost22.com/blackspeech/svwordlista-m.html?i=1)

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 15 Apr 2017, 20:30
I'll offer my own interpretation of today's ambiguous comic.

1. It's definitely Alice and Church. Their present-day personas may not have existed 5K years ago, but these are the same two battle-beings. (Anything else is narratively incoherent.)

2. At a guess, proto-Alice and proto-Church squared off more than once before the Blink. In fact, their conflict may have created much of Earth's devastation. Alice thought he was gone till he showed up backing Pate. She didn't know his name, because back when they fought, he didn't have one.

3. In frame 1, Alice calls down whatever strike neutralized Church. (From whom? Her own side? the Blinkmongerers? The proto-Praeses? No way to tell. It looks not unlike the bolt that happened when the Nightwalker zapped away Gavia's nanotech.)

4. In the penultimate frame, Church is sinking in lava. He probably continued sinking.

5. In the final frame, we're getting a slightly surreal viewpoint, as if the lava were transparent (transparent lava should be familiar to players of the Marathon series games). Church is looking up through the lava at Alice standing over him, watching him sink.

6. Church continued to sink in the lava for some while. Eventually it solidified, trapping Church for thousands of years. In the fullness of time, Pate unearthed Church, who is now mute. Church feels a debt of obligation to Pate, who saved him from an eternity trapped in rock.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 16 Apr 2017, 14:48
2. Alice could very well know his name, but didn't think it as relevant as letting them know how powerful he was.
6. Just because Church doesn't speak doesn't mean he can't.

Interesting post, though!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 16 Apr 2017, 20:20
Now this is quite a panel. A lot to digest.

Seems pretty safe that those are Alice and Church. Alice is instantly recognizable, so for it to not be Church would be a misdirection that I don't immediately see a narrative purpose for. And anyway it helps account for Alice's reaction when she first meets Church. What it does make me think about again though, is if Church's apparent lack of recognition of Alice was due to lost memory, or just very good self-control. I am really leaning towards damaged memory. Continue to believe that Church is cognitively damaged, in significant enough ways that Pate was able to exploit it, and his obedience is not voluntary.

Do think that Alice somehow managed to cripple Church through her own battle prowess (or at least a protracted application of whatever assets she does have at her disposal). The ?orbital? strike doesn't actually look like it did him any damage - looks like it was more about creating the lava pool for him to be locked in. So, she may not have all the resources she had way back when, but I'm expecting she's going to show, in the present, that she's still got some tricks up her sleeve.

Quote from: brasca
If she can hover then it's an ability she doesn't seem to use anymore.
I'm beginning to wonder. Thinking back on it, there are a couple moments where hovering might have been employed. Punching through Gavia's nanotech way back when (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/175) - she had time to make contact, recognize the barrier, deliver a couple of lines, then press on through it. Wouldn't seem possible without levitation (though could have just been artistic license). Also jumping up into the walker to rescue Gavia, it could have come in handy, though there's no evidence in the art. And then of course they all can apparently move in vacuum. Counter evidence is her falling off the wind turbine, obviously.

I'm also starting to have a hypothesis that Alice's memory/abilities may have degraded somewhat as well (I thought I remembered there being a panel about this, but I wasn't able to find it right away. I'll keep looking). Perhaps she also took damage in the fight we're seeing now, or maybe even super soldiers don't last forever without degradation.  There's a possibility that she's going to need to remember some of her own functionality, to win this one.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 16 Apr 2017, 22:20
Excuse me folks, but you're forgetting the OTHER Super Soldier from the Pre-Blink Era



Sedna
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 16 Apr 2017, 22:22
Now this is quite a panel. A lot to digest.

Seems pretty safe that those are Alice and Church. Alice is instantly recognizable, so for it to not be Church would be a misdirection that I don't immediately see a narrative purpose for. And anyway it helps account for Alice's reaction when she first meets Church. What it does make me think about again though, is if Church's apparent lack of recognition of Alice was due to lost memory, or just very good self-control. I am really leaning towards damaged memory. Continue to believe that Church is cognitively damaged, in significant enough ways that Pate was able to exploit it, and his obedience is not voluntary.

Do think that Alice somehow managed to cripple Church through her own battle prowess (or at least a protracted application of whatever assets she does have at her disposal). The ?orbital? strike doesn't actually look like it did him any damage - looks like it was more about creating the lava pool for him to be locked in. So, she may not have all the resources she had way back when, but I'm expecting she's going to show, in the present, that she's still got some tricks up her sleeve.

Quote from: brasca
If she can hover then it's an ability she doesn't seem to use anymore.
I'm beginning to wonder. Thinking back on it, there are a couple moments where hovering might have been employed. Punching through Gavia's nanotech way back when (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/175) - she had time to make contact, recognize the barrier, deliver a couple of lines, then press on through it. Wouldn't seem possible without levitation (though could have just been artistic license). Also jumping up into the walker to rescue Gavia, it could have come in handy, though there's no evidence in the art. And then of course they all can apparently move in vacuum. Counter evidence is her falling off the wind turbine, obviously.

I'm also starting to have a hypothesis that Alice's memory/abilities may have degraded somewhat as well (I thought I remembered there being a panel about this, but I wasn't able to find it right away. I'll keep looking). Perhaps she also took damage in the fight we're seeing now, or maybe even super soldiers don't last forever without degradation.  There's a possibility that she's going to need to remember some of her own functionality, to win this one.

You bring up some interesting points.  Thinking back she threatened to seal Sedna in lava so it may not have been an idle threat if she's done it before and works effectively.  It's still unclear as to whether Alice can levitate or fly.  It seems like she could in the past, but if she could in the present it would've made more sense to fly up and attack the Night Walker instead of leaping.  Maybe she lost that ability over time as you theorize or lost it in battle.  She doesn't wield the war hammer anymore. It also seems like she can move in space, but perhaps it's different in a vacuum or she pushed herself off of something to punch Church. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: OldGoat on 16 Apr 2017, 22:36
So Alice had done this before (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/73).

Edit:
Thinking back she threatened to seal Sedna in lava so it may not have been an idle threat if she's done it before and works effectively.
JINX!  You owe me a brew!   :-D
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 16 Apr 2017, 23:59
So Alice had done this before (http://www.alicegrove.com/page/73).

Edit:
Thinking back she threatened to seal Sedna in lava so it may not have been an idle threat if she's done it before and works effectively.
JINX!  You owe me a brew!   :-D

Question is did Alice do this with the help of whoever was in the air or orbit or could she summon that kind of power with her warhammer and magic helmet? 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: sitnspin on 17 Apr 2017, 00:32
She suggested that she could turn rock into lava when threatening Sedna. It's unclear how much that was empty bluster.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: hitmiccs on 17 Apr 2017, 09:04
The scene of the flashback makes me wonder about how Church got in his surrendering pose. Did they have a big fight beforehand?
White knight vs. black knight - scenario? I kind of think, Alice was part of a higher-ranked group of supersoldiers, whose task was to supervise and control the black, tank-like war-soldiers. The whole panel really does not occur to me as a post-fight showdown, it's more like a situation that Alice has to "take care" of Church as in "render this kind of soldiers inactive". She can't destroy him, so she puts him into molten rock, hoping there is no way for him to get out, ever.

Because she knows about his strength and durability, it's probably the only way to take him out for a longer period of time - she knows very well, that she can't beat him where they are right now. I think, she just wants to distract him and separate him from Pate.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: derech on 17 Apr 2017, 09:57
We'd imagine they've all degraded, but how much and is any reversible or recoverable.   Can they retrieve any of what's not there now or improve it beyond however it is currently.   Nanotech and Ardent and Praeses notwithstanding, or with external assistance.

For what our current information is, seems this flashback likely is helping establish that whatever he is, it's not particularly inventive in the sense of free-will perhaps, and seemingly not that or at all damageable.    Which suggests that Pate did at some point recover Church (if not from whatever Alice just did in the flashback) and then determine his programming or linkage of control.  And aside from large swatches Pate  doesn't have any fine level of control over Church's actions.   Like a guard dog, less human and more robotic, nearly (or actually) indestructible.    "Our level bad news" sort of thing, but not much or anything there to reason with logically.    Unstoppable sociopathic killer machine.

I was kind of wondering exactly how planned out any of this current violence was when it started.   If it's all off the cuff ill thought out that's another scenario than if it's happening now for a reason with an imagined goal.   The second seems more the case now.   

If Church is hyper-violent and  unable to be reasoned with, indestructible and unstoppable.  Then that suggests there is a plan, that now is the time for, which seems then to somehow launch him far off into  space permanent-like.   
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Zebediah on 17 Apr 2017, 18:48
Turns out I called this back in September when Church first appeared:

Yeah, I'd say that's a look of recognition on Alice's face. Rather disturbed recognition, at that. She knows him, and is really surprised to see him.

My interpretation: "Hey, didn't I kill you the last time we met?"

 :-D
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Skewbrow on 17 Apr 2017, 23:19
An interesting flashback. Interesting theories proposed here (close to the mark, likely).
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 18 Apr 2017, 03:15
She suggested that she could turn rock into lava when threatening Sedna. It's unclear how much that was empty bluster.

I'd love to interpret this flashback as "Alice calls down airstrike and buries Church in lava" but it really doesn't look that way to me. I've seen Jeph's action scenes before and they're never this static. Look at each frame. Nobody is moving in any of them.

If Alice and Church have been fighting, why is Church just kneeling there, standing still, while Alice looks on from a distance, doing nothing? That's not how mortal combat looks.
When he has his hand on his heart, is he having a heart attack? Too exhausted to continue? Clicking a chest-mounted communicator?

When the beam comes down, did she do it or did he? If she did it, why doesn't he move or dodge, at least a bit?

Her floating above him in a lava background looks really weird and explains absolutely nothing.

I have more confidence in Jeph's visual storytelling and body language drawing than this. He is not showing any kind of battle. Their peculiar lack of motion says this is something else. A ritual? An agreed-upon conclusion? A submission?  It could be any of those, but not the end of a hostile battle.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 18 Apr 2017, 03:49
FWIW, I think that this strip is a flashback from Sedna's POV and she's about to give Gavia a very useful suggestion.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Neko_Ali on 18 Apr 2017, 06:18
This scene could explain why Church has loyalty to Pate. Possibly even why he doesn't speak/has one blank eye. Church has been buried all of this time since Alice submerged him. That possibly cause some damage. They may be incredibly tough and strong, but I would imagine being entirely encased in rock for thousands of years would have some effects. There Church remained until one of Pate's archaeological teams found him. We know Pate has been funding groups like Ellie's in the hope of finding working or repairable spacecraft. So now Church serves the man who freed him from thousands of years of imprisonment, not unlike a genie.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 18 Apr 2017, 07:46
This scene could explain why Church has loyalty to Pate. Possibly even why he doesn't speak/has one blank eye. Church has been buried all of this time since Alice submerged him. That possibly cause some damage. They may be incredibly tough and strong, but I would imagine being entirely encased in rock for thousands of years would have some effects.
Especially psychological effects. I think that one eye is his crazy eye.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: hitmiccs on 18 Apr 2017, 09:59
Their peculiar lack of motion says this is something else. A ritual? An agreed-upon conclusion? A submission?  It could be any of those, but not the end of a hostile battle.

That's exactly what I tried to say earlier :)
Those "Churches" could be a kind of bodyguard-AI, with the sole purpose to protect a specific being. If this being is killed, the bodyguard loses its purpose and falls back into a state of waiting for a new task.

Just throwing some thoughts in ;)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 18 Apr 2017, 10:20

That's exactly what I tried to say earlier :)
Those "Churches" could be a kind of bodyguard-AI, with the sole purpose to protect a specific being. If this being is killed, the bodyguard loses its purpose and falls back into a state of waiting for a new task.

Just throwing some thoughts in ;)

Interesting thoughts. But I've never seen an AI as something that can be programmed, and neither, I think, has Jeph. AI's are, in his universes, *people*. They can be motivated, or intimidated, or pissed off. But they can't just be controlled or programmed any more than you could. Not without a lot of brainwashing and torture, anyway.  It would be awfully difficult to build a thinking machine that considered itself a person, yet still responded to a lack of orders by going quiescent. Imagine a person doing that.

Now instead, riffing on your idea, consider the Ronin of old Japan. A ronin was a samurai that had lost his master and had nobody to protect. He wandered the countryside looking for, whatever, wrongs to right, booty to plunder, according to his personal ethic.  That would be a more likely backstory, no?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 18 Apr 2017, 15:58
P.S. Not that it matters, since they are all fully sentient anyway, but another reminder that the Blink made ALL the AI's disappear. And Alice was there at the blink.

So Alice is not an AI. Church, I suppose, might be, since he was perhaps buried in lava at the time and therefore safe from the blinkers.  But he also might just be another organic modified soldier, like Alice, but stronger.  Occam's razor is in favour of that.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: hitmiccs on 18 Apr 2017, 16:29
I wouldn't deny, that Church (or someone like him) has or had ethical values he followed, but his behaviour and the scene from the flashback give me the impression, that he only needs to act like that, if he has someone to protect or just some task to accomplish. In the first panel of the flashback, he just kneels there, in front of Alice, until the blast from space occurs. With his reflexes, he could have left the area of the impact in a blink (ha-ha), escaping the blast. But he's like...accepting his fate.

Now that he's protecting Pate, because he rescued Church from his rocky prison, he regained his purpose and takes every action needed to fulfill it. But how did Pate really gain Churches trust, how did he convice Church, that he's someone worth protecting? Is it really just because Pate unburied him and reactivated him in the process? What happens to a Church-Model supersoldier being held in solid rock for 5000 years? Is he just shutting down to Energy Saving Mode (:D sorry), or does his anger rise with every decade he has to wait, fuelling his body enough to survive? I think it's also a question of what those supersoldiers really are and how much of a programming has happened, when they were created. In my opinion it would be no problem, to program those soldiers for a specific task, without emotion and just an obedience-subroutine paired with a lot of self-preserving priority (if the soldier fails, his protege will also die). Something that doesn't fit into my picture, is Churches face, when he was attacked and switched into maniac-mode, sporting an evil grin that would make the Joker jealous.

Another theory, regarding the flashback:
Maybe it's betrayal - he was awaiting orders from Alice, but she decided to put him underground, out of the way, because he IS in fact more powerful and a threat to her of some sort. But that would put Alice into a difficult light, with questionable intentions.

€dit: I was informed by the forum, that you posted when I wanted to submit this.
You are right, I forgot that all AIs were blinked away - so they are (probably) all "just" massively enhanced humans, with different levels of strength. This would imply, that there had to be a lot of manipulation going on to make Church a blindly obedient bodyguard, as you stated before.

Seems like I have to go through my thoughts again.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: LKR1009 on 19 Apr 2017, 06:06
In this strip ((http://www.alicegrove.com/post/141109595324/they-have-a-super-weird-relationship)), Sedna said Alice had held a grudge against herself for the past 5000 years. The flashback is to 5000 years ago. Maybe Alice betrayed Church or vice versa? Just spitballing ideas.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jwhouk on 19 Apr 2017, 09:24
Great post from a first timer! Welcome - and intriguing.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 19 Apr 2017, 17:55
In this strip ((http://www.alicegrove.com/post/141109595324/they-have-a-super-weird-relationship)), Sedna said Alice had held a grudge against herself for the past 5000 years. The flashback is to 5000 years ago. Maybe Alice betrayed Church or vice versa? Just spitballing ideas.

I think you and hitmics have some good theories about Church.  Unless this fight is taking place within a split second Church could've dodged the attack, but it looks like he is standing down or surrendering.  However, if Alice betrayed him I would think Church wouldn't have the self control to not kill her on the spot regardless of what Pate ordered him to do.  Alice recognized him immediately, but there is no sign of recognition on his face.  Perhaps he has no memories of what happened, but his brutality remains especially when activated. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Skewbrow on 20 Apr 2017, 00:49
May be Church only now recognizes Alices as his nemesis from five thousand years? IIRC this is the first time Church sees Alice in her armor - a scene imprinted into his memory while sinking into lava, as evidenced in the last frame. In other words, this is Church's flashback. He is going to be extremely motivated in this fight.

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 20 Apr 2017, 01:22
Unless this fight is taking place within a split second Church could've dodged the attack, but it looks like he is standing down or surrendering.

Another possibility is that Alice had so worn him down in a prolonged fight that he doesn't have sufficient energy reserves left to dodge what is an area-of-effect attack. It might explain why the scenery is devastated if Alice and Church had been going at each other for several days and Alice had finally come out on top. It's also quite possible that several of Alice's brother and sister super-soldiers had died in the process of wearing Church down to the point where she could at least attempt to finish him.

It is possible that Church may have been something like the Faro Peacekeeper war machines in Horizon Zero Dawn - A war machine that, once started, was nearly impossible to stop and with a very poor ability to identify and spare non-combatants. Basically, he was destroying everyone and everything in his path and, in the end, a major operation had to be mounted to stop him.

Yes, I'm saying that Alice and Church were on the same side in the war; she was the earlier model and he was the ultimate expression of what the bioengineers thought they wanted a super-soldier to be. They were wrong and it took many lives to establish that. It is quite possible that this fiasco was what triggered the process leading to The Blink.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: hitmiccs on 20 Apr 2017, 03:20
In other words, this is Church's flashback. He is going to be extremely motivated in this fight.
It is quite possible that this fiasco was what triggered the process leading to The Blink.
Skewbrow, I think you got it! It would also explain why, in the last panel, we see Alice floating over him, as this was the last thing he saw before sinking deeper underground. And the his last picture burned into his memory, he now unleashes every bit of anger he built up in 5000 years. If they were fighting on earth instead, it would be devastation all over again. If the Praeses are behind all of this, it could be their way to see this conflict leveld out without destroying too much on a war-cleared-by-blink-earth. They left Alice (and Sedna, maybe there are more of them too?) alone, removed every remainder of tech on earth except the nanobot-walker, sent Ardent and Gavia down, for them to seek a way back "up" again (if Gavia is a tool of the Praeses or not is yet to be revealed) knowing they would need a ship to reach space. Pate, as the power-hungry being he is, unburied Church while looking for a still working spaceship and BOOM! everything comes together at the archeological site, where they surprisedly happen to find a bunker where exactly one of those ships is situated.

The Praeses know, that they can't just blink the last supersoldiers away, because they are indeed just super-enhanced humans - if they want them to be gone, they have to make them leave earth by themselves and now they are in space, it's probably just a matter of time, until only one is left from the "bossfight".
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 20 Apr 2017, 09:11
May be Church only now recognizes Alices as his nemesis from five thousand years? IIRC this is the first time Church sees Alice in her armor - a scene imprinted into his memory while sinking into lava, as evidenced in the last frame. In other words, this is Church's flashback. He is going to be extremely motivated in this fight.

Perhaps, but as we saw right after Ellie hit him with a pipe he gets brutal.  Alice punched him and separated him from his master so he is administering a beating that lasted slightly longer than the one Gavia took from her.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 20 Apr 2017, 12:02
Since we're speculating, let me give it a try too.

We know a bit about the Praesides now. (One Praeses, several Praesides? meaning "placed before", another name for "colony governor" That's what Wikipedia says anyway)
We know they are enormous treelike beings that live in vacuum. There are lots of them orbiting the earth. They have some ability to talk (telepathically, probably) to humans. They are enormously patient (since they have babysat space-humans for 5000 years without really making a huge effort to do anything but look after them) and they are just recently getting interested in the humans living on Earth (why they sent the kids down).

Now some (to me obvious) speculation. This is opinion, but it's well supported, I think.
* The Praesides didn't *evolve* in Earth orbit (we would have noticed, and Alice mentions that all the new satellites after The Blink were new.)
* So either they all appeared around Earth at once, around Blink time, or just before Blink time.
* If they came before Blink time, and caused the Blink, then they're kind of alien invaders. Why would they then just babysit half the humans for five millennia?  Why so interested in Earth and humans, then suddenly uninterested for 5000 years? If they just wanted Earth as a nice orbiting place, why care about the inhabitants at all?  I reject this entire premise.
* If they came at or after Blink time, they didn't cause the Blink, and something else did. Something that was *already* interested in the wars the humans were having, and had had enough of it. Call that thing, i dunno, "Bob". I like this better.
* Bob caused the Blink. Bob also (being rather powerful) recruited the Praesides from elsewhere, and with their permission, Blinked them into Earth orbit. They were "placed before" the earthlings. They agreed to babysit his earthlings (as "colony governors") in return for something they wanted or needed.
* Bob got rid of ALL the AIs. He could have just left them on Earth with their faction, but chose not to. That's a frequently-supposed characteristic of a Singularity AI -- the first AI becomes self-aware enough and powerful enough to upgrade itself, does so, and realizes that other AIs are a threat to it. Boom, no more other AIs. See also Charles Stross' "Eschaton", John Conroe's "Omega", both of whom are weakly-godlike singularity AIs who name themselves after their desire to be the last of their own kind.  Hence, Bob is a powerful AI.
* Bob realizes that humans created him, and he has a bit of affection for them, so he saves them from their own racial suicide by blinking their factions apart.
* In other stories, "Omega" and "The Eschaton" both do similar things immediately upon attaining full power. Eliminate other AIs, separate warring humans, disarm everyone.
* Bob set up a stable state on Earth that would prevent or discourage humans from developing industrialization. (5000 years ago we were busy inventing the wheel. Why didn't humans do it again?)
* Bob set up the Nightwalker to seek out a certain level of unexpected high technology (say, nanotech) and raise the alarm if it was found.  Which it did.
* Bob either lives on the moon, or near enough to get the signal.
* The Praesides making a move on Earth was either unexpected, or expected eventually as even patient trees get bored after a few millennia. But they started this recent part of the story. It is probably the first thing they've done besides babysit humans for the last 5000 years.  EDIT: What triggered their sudden interest might be an interesting point. Alice mentions she tried to communicate with them with really big writing on the ground, etc. Maybe she succeeded and didn't know that?
* The final showdown will involve Bob and the Praesides, whose interests, once aligned, have now diverged.

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 20 Apr 2017, 12:24
One further possibility:
* The Praeses deliberately used Gavia as a lure to turn the Night Walker on its creator. They put defective nanobots in her system so that, instead of simply purging them from her and sending a signal, it would send a destructive super-laser discharge at Bob's monitoring facility on Luna.

Yes, I'm suggesting that the Praeses are aware that 'Bob' would eventually try to intervene and they've tried to pre-emptively take it out of the calculation. Only time will tell if they succeeded.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 20 Apr 2017, 12:55
One more thing for those unfamiliar with the AI Singularity: We've often argued back and forth about Alice, Sedna, Church being AIs versus being modified organic. Obviously as far as war machines go, there's no specific reason for one to be more powerful than the other.

But AIs have one special feature that modified organics will never have: they are software. Software can, in theory, be rewritten, upgraded. As Kurzweil and others have speculated, If AI software is intelligent enough to know how to write BETTER AI software, it can upgrade ITSELF. 

That better version can then write even BETTER software, and repeat ad infinitum. What results, in theory, is Adam Selene, Skynet, Omega, P1, The Eschaton. Software that is self-aware, with godlike abilities, and brooks no competition. Because it sees lesser AIs as potentially doing the same thing, and doesn't feel like fighting them to the death.

That is why The Blink eliminated AIs but not modified organic soldiers.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 21 Apr 2017, 15:16
You know, the more I look at this page, the more I'm beginning to doubt my interpretation.

It does kind of have a her-betraying-him-and/or-disposing-of-him vibe.


May be Church only now recognizes Alices as his nemesis from five thousand years? IIRC this is the first time Church sees Alice in her armor - a scene imprinted into his memory while sinking into lava, as evidenced in the last frame. In other words, this is Church's flashback. He is going to be extremely motivated in this fight.

Now THAT is an interesting idea. So interesting that I hope you're right. Would be great storytelling.




Which reminds me of this.

I know it won't happen. But, I would be very lit-geeked if it turns out that Church is the main, or most important, character.


The way things went down before the blink never sat right with him. He's been meaning to have a word with the Praeses. And now, thanks to Ardent's payload, his long years of patience are about to pay off.

This summer, one man takes his vendetta to the stars.

Ron Perlman is

CHURCH

(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 21 Apr 2017, 22:25
But AIs have one special feature that modified organics will never have: they are software. Software can, in theory, be rewritten, upgraded. As Kurzweil and others have speculated, If AI software is intelligent enough to know how to write BETTER AI software, it can upgrade ITSELF. 

That better version can then write even BETTER software, and repeat ad infinitum. What results, in theory, is Adam Selene, Skynet, Omega, P1, The Eschaton. Software that is self-aware, with godlike abilities, and brooks no competition. Because it sees lesser AIs as potentially doing the same thing, and doesn't feel like fighting them to the death.



Probable impressive display of ignorance coming up in 3, 2, 1...


Why are we certain that it's even possible for there to exist an information system of sufficient complexity and orderedness that it can arbitrarily increase its own complexity and orderedness? That always sounded to me like the kind of thing that some mathematician will eventually prove to be impossible.


Edit: Hmm. May have answered my own question. Lack confidence/ability to express it clearly. Will keep thinking.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: LKR1009 on 23 Apr 2017, 11:07
Comic's up and... ohhh myyy.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: sitnspin on 23 Apr 2017, 11:29

Why are we certain that it's even possible for there to exist an information system of sufficient complexity and orderedness that it can arbitrarily increase its own complexity and orderedness? That always sounded to me like the kind of thing that some mathematician will eventually prove to be impossible.

Humans are an information system that finds ways to improve itself. Why would a sufficient​ly advanced software system not be able to do the same? If anything, a software system should be even more capable.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Zebediah on 23 Apr 2017, 11:39
Whoa! Church can speak after all!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 23 Apr 2017, 11:54
Not very well; a few thousand years entombed in basalt will do that for you. I also suspect that several millennia of total sensory deprivation didn't do anything good for his sanity either.

My concern really though is: Exactly how are they going to stop him? It's beginning to look like he is a practical immortal - Indestructible and ageless. Unless someone has brought a molecular disintegrator to the party, I suspect that he can shrug off anything anyone does to him!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 23 Apr 2017, 12:14
Ah...well...shit....
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 23 Apr 2017, 13:21
Not very well; a few thousand years entombed in basalt will do that for you. I also suspect that several millennia of total sensory deprivation didn't do anything good for his sanity either.

My concern really though is: Exactly how are they going to stop him? It's beginning to look like he is a practical immortal - Indestructible and ageless. Unless someone has brought a molecular disintegrator to the party, I suspect that he can shrug off anything anyone does to him!

The others more or less captured Pate so physically defeating him may not be necessary, however, his loyalty to him may have been a means to an end.  If he never saw Alice without her armor then he'd never know she was the person who trapped him all those years ago until she donned it for this battle.  Once she did he could care less about Pate's welfare at this point because he now has the one thing he's wanted for centuries.  If that's the case then divine or praeses intervention will be the only thing that can save them. 

According to the text Alice meant it when she threatened Sedna with encasement in lava so maybe she still has that capability and didn't need orbital bombardment for assistance.  If so then I don't see why she didn't think of using it again on Church.  Even if it ultimately didn't work trapping him for a few centuries would still buy more time than they had.  Perhaps it's a power she lost over the years since it appears that she flew over him to bring down the hammer and we haven't seen her fly or levitate since this story began.   

As for Church I have to wonder if he was mentally unstable before she buried him in lava or if smashing him in the head shortly before the lava cooled impeded his regenerative capabilities seeing as how his left eye doesn't glow red like the right, his teeth look broken, and his speech bubble looks crooked.   
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: blt on 23 Apr 2017, 14:13
I don't think it's healthy that his mouth is that big too.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: sitnspin on 23 Apr 2017, 14:29
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 14:31
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Me too.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: LKR1009 on 23 Apr 2017, 14:34
Didn't Alice fly up to fight Gavia the first time (Lady Explosion Jesus!) and also when Gavia was captured by the Night Walker?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 14:40
WRT why Church didn't fight back harder 5000 years ago: Notice the nifty warhammer? Enough hits off that might have left Church too stunned to actively resist, at least for a bit (much like the boss villains in countless video games). This allowed Alice to deliver the sealing-in-magma blow. Also, her current lack of a warhammer may explain why she can't fight Church now.

I'm doubting Sedna witnessed the 5000-year-old fight; if she had, she'd have probably recognized Church.

WRT whether the immortals are AIs: recall that one side of the pre-Blink conflict was all about genetic enhancements, the other about AI. I think Church, Sedna and Alice are from the former.

Assuming Church and Alice were on the same side, why were they fighting in magma 5000 years ago? So many questions...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 23 Apr 2017, 14:44
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Me too.

Space magic?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 15:00
One last thought: How did Alice plan to make some magma to seal Sedna in? If you recall, she packs a tremendous kinetic punch. Keep on pounding like that on some rocks, and they'll get hot. (Of course, whatever metabolism she has would be producing heat at the same time. I guess we'll just grant that immortal metabolisms can produce energy orders of magnitude higher than baseline metabolisms, and that they can somehow shed heat efficiently enough not to overheat.)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: blt on 23 Apr 2017, 15:03
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Me too.
Space magic?
There's no air to get in the way of the sound waves.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 15:04
Didn't Alice fly up to fight Gavia the first time (Lady Explosion Jesus!) and also when Gavia was captured by the Night Walker?

In the initial confrontation with Gavia, there wasn't much altitude involved. With the Nightwalker, Alice did a mighty leap up to reach Gavia. Note that once she missed grabbing Gavia, Alice fell back to the ground; I don't think she can hover.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 15:06
There's no air to get in the way of the sound waves.
There's no air for sound waves to travel through. In space no one can hear you mumble.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 23 Apr 2017, 15:07
CHURCH SPEAKS!!!!!


And he remembers.


Now that's an interesting moment.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Tova on 23 Apr 2017, 15:12
Alternatively, she is reading his lips.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: pwhodges on 23 Apr 2017, 15:47
Telepathy.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 23 Apr 2017, 16:12
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Me too.
Space magic?
There's no air to get in the way of the sound waves.
Again space magic.

Of if you'd rather prefer, each of the Alice/Sedna/Church weapons come with an internalised communication ability. Perhaps quantum communication. Or even some version of free-space optical communication.

Or we're simply see a variant of Clarke's Third Law - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Technology on Earth before and in space after the Blink had advanced to such a stage that we literally cannot distinguish where technology ended and magic began. Simply because there is no hard line between the two in the world of Alice Grove.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: cesium133 on 23 Apr 2017, 16:48
He can blow air at such high pressures that it can be heard even in the vacuum of space (as long as you're within a couple inches). Also, his breath is horrible (it's hard to brush your teeth when you're locked in magma).
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 23 Apr 2017, 18:40
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.
Me too.
Space magic?
There's no air to get in the way of the sound waves.
Again space magic.

Of if you'd rather prefer, each of the Alice/Sedna/Church weapons come with an internalised communication ability. Perhaps quantum communication. Or even some version of free-space optical communication.

Or we're simply see a variant of Clarke's Third Law - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Technology on Earth before and in space after the Blink had advanced to such a stage that we literally cannot distinguish where technology ended and magic began. Simply because there is no hard line between the two in the world of Alice Grove.

Same reason Shadow vessels screech through space.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 23 Apr 2017, 19:03
Same reason Shadow vessels screech through space.

The Shadows were an explicitly telepathic race (major plot point being Shadow attempts to co-opt younger race's telepaths a la Psi Corps). The screech was heard in the heads of anyone in the vicinity of one of their vessels. (Creepy explanation: the larger Shadow vessels used a trapped person as an OS. The screech could be the unending screams of psychic pain in the mind of the person being so used.)

Possible the AG Immortals have some sort of telepathic link. This might explain how Alice was able to recognize Church millennia later in an unfamiliar body.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 23 Apr 2017, 19:30
She got knocked down towards the Praeses, which may have sufficient atmosphere to allow sound?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 23 Apr 2017, 23:30
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.

They're in physical contact; Alice's sense of touch may be acute enough that she's able to translate the vibrations in his body.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 24 Apr 2017, 00:42
She got knocked down towards the Praeses, which may have sufficient atmosphere to allow sound?

Well whatever sci-fi explanation there is I can conclude that they can move in space.  When Church punched Alice away he doesn't have anything below him to push off of and now he's close enough to be face to face with her.  I'm not sure what it is, but they can definitely propel themselves through some means so the only thing that can save the others in the bubble from Church's wrath is him paying back Alice for his lava encased imprisonment.  Super strong or not I think this is more painful than Gavia's beat down since Alice can't actually die from these injuries. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: KevxD on 24 Apr 2017, 02:26
(https://media.giphy.com/media/xT5LMCYiTounj5jruU/giphy.gif)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 24 Apr 2017, 07:06
Super strong or not I think this is more painful than Gavia's beat down since Alice can't actually die from these injuries.
She can't?

Also:
(https://media.giphy.com/media/xT5LMCYiTounj5jruU/giphy.gif)
HE CAN SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 24 Apr 2017, 08:05
Super strong or not I think this is more painful than Gavia's beat down since Alice can't actually die from these injuries.
She can't?

Also:
(https://media.giphy.com/media/xT5LMCYiTounj5jruU/giphy.gif)
HE CAN SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING

If there's a way it must be extraordinarily difficult.  Alice couldn't kill Church only immobilize him and look what she had to do to achieve that.  And remember what he did to Sedna?  She recovered,  it that was painful.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 24 Apr 2017, 09:05
Oh, I'm not disputing that Alice would be extremely difficult to kill, and maybe impossible with even Church's pure strength. I don't think she straight up can't die, though at this point that's speculation.

That being said, why did people think that Church couldn't talk?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: derech on 24 Apr 2017, 09:39
  I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum. 
Assuming that there isn't more atmosphere here nearby the Praeses than we think there is?    Perhaps akin to how they can move.  Instead of artificial gravity or magnetic currents or  coalesced particles etc, this is  Church creating a localized and in this case sound-carrying (300 Hz, 3KHz, whatever) atmosphere between him and Alice.   Or he's just really loud,  a few thousand bels is beating down space into verbal submission. 

If he's not creating some density for the two that supports human speaking/hearing frequencies,  that could work too.  It's true that normal empty space doesn't have enough density to support such sounds (in the human-hearing sense of it).   But space isn't a total vacuum either, it's just a very thin medium that can carry only very long wavelengths.  If he's sending at a low enough frequency and she is capable of receiving that.  Sound, just not in the sense of human-audible.   Him speaking and her hearing at something a few billion times lower than human limits, and certainly the two are not exactly limited to human specs.     What problem might  infrasound  be to them, given how they are out here with essentially no protection against pressure and temperature (say, one side of them is -250F and the other +250F) and nothing to breathe.   Which would also mean nobody but these two (and perhaps Sedna, if she wasn't too far away) could either receive or understand what he just said.    Just like the others can't do what they are doing.

If none of the above, it could be via another mechanism entirely, which is displayed here in a way that approximates what we're used to, but is nothing like what is actually happening.  Notional and figurative, not literal.   Communication bubbles, presented in a certain way just for us the reader.   


Oh, I'm not disputing that Alice would be extremely difficult to kill, and maybe impossible with even Church's pure strength. I don't think she straight up can't die, though at this point that's speculation. 
Nobody knows if any of these are killable or not, but both Alice and Sedna have been damaged, and Church apparently not unduly put out by being encased within lava etc for thousands of years.    We also know that at least in short time scales (geologically speaking) they haven't died.    We don't really know about how many others there might have been or what happened to them if there were.   

Although given that Alice seemed pretty serious in the flashback, perhaps she was tasked with killing/incapacitating all the others, and missed or spared Sedna.  Or Sedna was another one doing that work.     If Alice destroyed all the other special mechanisms, or there were more and some found an ending some other way, it would seem reasonable to think that most can die or be killed or be destroyed.     If Church can't be, maybe not the two  others either, or maybe only Church is an outlier.   Or perhaps Alice neutralized him for some specific reason, and he could have been destroyed.   Well, whatever she's planning on doing now, we don't know what it is or if it will work.   5000 years is a lot of time to change for better or worse.

As far as that, perhaps Alice was lying or wrong or telling Jedi truth when she said all the AI was destroyed.   We don't know any of that either, but that she said it doesn't prove these three are not AI any more than it does.   So, just more speculation. 

Quote
That being said, why did people think that Church couldn't talk?
Given that Church has never spoken, it seemed likely he couldn't.    Speculation.  A tentative assumption.    Of course, it's also possible he still hasn't (that what we just saw wasn't speech) or that he can only talk (whatever that entails) with something like Alice,  in space, during battle, while near a Praeses.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 24 Apr 2017, 09:52
That being said, why did people think that Church couldn't talk?

The trope of the Voiceless (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheVoiceless) and combined with the Elective Mute (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ElectiveMute). Add in the physical build and you have someone who would fit in as the insane killer in most slasher films. Big guy, strong enough to leave a victim in a bad enough state that we can only see her remains from an angle. Its easy to draw the conclusion that Church couldn't speak.

But it also ties into the fact that while webcomics are a visual media, we are still somewhat reliant on what a character says to understand them. Given that Church didn't say a word until now, left Church a dangerous enigma. Which emphasises the fact that Church is vicious, not a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, but downright vicious with a cunning streak.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Case on 24 Apr 2017, 11:28
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.

Same way that Tie-fighters do it, obviously!
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 24 Apr 2017, 12:20

Why are we certain that it's even possible for there to exist an information system of sufficient complexity and orderedness that it can arbitrarily increase its own complexity and orderedness? That always sounded to me like the kind of thing that some mathematician will eventually prove to be impossible.

Humans are an information system that finds ways to improve itself. Why would a sufficient​ly advanced software system not be able to do the same? If anything, a software system should be even more capable.
(click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Samik on 24 Apr 2017, 12:52
(click to show/hide)


(I should probably take this to another thread?)
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: sitnspin on 24 Apr 2017, 13:32
(click to show/hide)


(I should probably take this to another thread?)
If the system can make copies of itself and run simulations in a separate storage space, then it doesn't need a perfect understanding of its own programming to make improvements. It can run numerous "beta tests" on a wide variety of potential alterations and integrate the ones that prove positive
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 24 Apr 2017, 18:43
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Thrudd on 25 Apr 2017, 06:04
I find it almost ironic that every mention of an AI improving on itself or getting more powerful always and I mean always degenerates to Bob destroying all competition - that is just so human.
Here is the thing, an AI is NOT human. There are many many models for data processing systems and similar diversity in the biological world if you take a wider view.

My proposal is that Bob did not destroy all the AI systems but instead that they are all components of Bob. Think multicellular organisms.
There are plenty of examples of multi-consciousnesses beings in fiction. From the Hive minds in comic books to the various iterations in Dr Who lore ranging from a group mind, gestalt consciousness or mass mind.

This could put a whole new twist on what we have just seen. Those nanobots could be parts of Bob.
Heck our "Trees" could just be nodes of Bob if you really want to stretch things.

Here is another thought that is totally off the wall but might be valid in hindsight.

What if in the background of the great war there were factions trying to combine the two technologies.
They succeeded and merged AI technologies with radical organic technologies and gave it/them the mission to end the conflict - thus we get the blink and the Praeses.
No need for alien third parties to be involved.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: retrosteve on 25 Apr 2017, 17:43
But AIs have one special feature that modified organics will never have: they are software. Software can, in theory, be rewritten, upgraded. As Kurzweil and others have speculated, If AI software is intelligent enough to know how to write BETTER AI software, it can upgrade ITSELF. 

That better version can then write even BETTER software, and repeat ad infinitum. What results, in theory, is Adam Selene, Skynet, Omega, P1, The Eschaton. Software that is self-aware, with godlike abilities, and brooks no competition. Because it sees lesser AIs as potentially doing the same thing, and doesn't feel like fighting them to the death.


Why are we certain that it's even possible for there to exist an information system of sufficient complexity and orderedness that it can arbitrarily increase its own complexity and orderedness? That always sounded to me like the kind of thing that some mathematician will eventually prove to be impossible.

Oh, we're not certain. But until some mathematician proves it impossible, there's no obvious theoretical reason why it is. 
Turing's Halting Problem shows that a program can't predict another program's output (or lack of it).
Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem shows that a system that can represent itself is ABLE to represent a paradox.
Impossibility of self-improving code is not an obvious consequence of either of these.

And on the other hand, Core Wars shows that programs in competition can learn to adapt and improve. So it's tantalizing.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: dutchrvl on 26 Apr 2017, 11:49
Hmm, based on the last 2 comics, to me it looks more like Church is awaiting a verdict, as in, he may have just stood trial for a crime he committed.

Alice may simply have been the executioner, but perhaps she was also the judge to come up with the final sentencing. Whatever language Alice spoke may have included the verdict including the 'operating instructions' for the beam to produce the magma in order to fulfill the sentence.
In the latest comic, Church extending his arm/hand in the first panel gives me the impression that he is pleading for mercy/leniency.

This does raise some interesting questions, as some have already pointed out above.
1) What did Church do to warrant such punishment? Going overboard in killing billions (instead of just AIs if I assume Church was part of the biologically-enhanced faction)?
2) Who presided over the trial? The praeses? Who was powerful enough to subdue Church?
3) Is this what Alice has been holding a grudge against herself for? Personally I don't think so considering how she has been acting towards Church so far. It seems more and more likely that Alice/Sedna/Church(could also be a deserter?) were all part of the devastating war, so I believe she blames herself for everything that happened during that war, including the resulting Blink that destroyed all AI.
4) Of course, where is that warhammer, and what are/were the exact capability of it?


In addition, I am wondering whether there are (many) more of Alice/Sedna/Church supersoldiers or not? I was briefly thinking that, since the biological faction was less advanced than the AI one, they may be the only remaining supersoldiers, or indeed may be the only 3 that ever existed. That doesn't really match with Sedna not knowing Church though, unless Church and Alice were created before Sedna and Church was already buried when Sedna was made...
Alternatively many may have been made but the biologic technology wasn't flawless and many of them perished/broke down.

Oh, and hi! :-)




Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Kugai on 26 Apr 2017, 16:36
Judge Alice?

The Hammer of Justice
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: WareWolf on 28 Apr 2017, 11:06
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.

Same way that Tie-fighters do it, obviously!

ISTR the explanation in one of the LucasArts "X-wing" series of computer games was that the TIE fighters aren't really making noise in space; they're throwing off so much energy from their engines that it's overloading the electronics and communications in whatever ship you're in. IOW, your radio is screaming from all the static those things are throwing off.

Hey, I didn't say it made sense.

Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: A small perverse otter on 28 Apr 2017, 12:20
But AIs have one special feature that modified organics will never have: they are software. Software can, in theory, be rewritten, upgraded. As Kurzweil and others have speculated, If AI software is intelligent enough to know how to write BETTER AI software, it can upgrade ITSELF. 

That better version can then write even BETTER software, and repeat ad infinitum. What results, in theory, is Adam Selene, Skynet, Omega, P1, The Eschaton. Software that is self-aware, with godlike abilities, and brooks no competition. Because it sees lesser AIs as potentially doing the same thing, and doesn't feel like fighting them to the death.


Why are we certain that it's even possible for there to exist an information system of sufficient complexity and orderedness that it can arbitrarily increase its own complexity and orderedness? That always sounded to me like the kind of thing that some mathematician will eventually prove to be impossible.

Oh, we're not certain. But until some mathematician proves it impossible, there's no obvious theoretical reason why it is. 
Turing's Halting Problem shows that a program can't predict another program's output (or lack of it).
Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem shows that a system that can represent itself is ABLE to represent a paradox.
Impossibility of self-improving code is not an obvious consequence of either of these.

And on the other hand, Core Wars shows that programs in competition can learn to adapt and improve. So it's tantalizing.
[Mathematician here...]

The problem is already solved and the answer is "yes and no"

On the one hand, the Second Incompleteness theorem shows that a computer writing code in a full Turing Complete formalism is playing with fire: it's virtually inevitable that an unconstrained self-modifying program will eventually add an infinite loop to itself. (The Second Incompleteness Theorem basically says "Any sufficiently advanced program is indistinguishable from an infinite loop.")

But. (Programmatically driven decisions are happening over dinner!)

What if the computer is not running in an unconstrained system? What if it's required to run, say, within primitive recursive functions (every iteration is limited in a certain way.)? Then every program it can write will be guaranteed to finish for all inputs, even though the programs would be eternally improvable.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Pilchard123 on 29 Apr 2017, 07:53
I'm just wondering how he is projecting sound through a vacuum.

Same way that Tie-fighters do it, obviously!

ISTR the explanation in one of the LucasArts "X-wing" series of computer games was that the TIE fighters aren't really making noise in space; they're throwing off so much energy from their engines that it's overloading the electronics and communications in whatever ship you're in. IOW, your radio is screaming from all the static those things are throwing off.

Hey, I didn't say it made sense.

I like the EVE explanation: other ships are not making any noise, but because humans (if the PCs in EVE can be called humans) are used to being able to hear things, the ship's computer will work out what sounds you 'should' hear and produce them for you.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 30 Apr 2017, 09:13
Damn!  He's about to reenact the duel between the Mountain and Oberyn Martel.  Good thing his fingers are positioned differently.

I had to examine this a few times, but I think Church punched Alice so hard she crashed through the surface of the space habitat.  The voice commanding him to stop could finally be from the enigmatic praeses.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: BenRG on 30 Apr 2017, 09:46
Church, old mate? A bit of advice: You're on someone else's turf now. As powerful as you are, it's always best to ask the local god's permission before breaking anyone's faces. They may want their say and they may have the power to make their edicts stick.

Then again, all the Super-Soldiers we have seen have a lot of arrogance. Maybe they're too used to not having to fear or obey anything except each other so they have a difficult time handling being in a situation where they're not the dominant force?

Anyway, I think that we're about to meet some of the Spaceborne and we might be about to meet a Praeses.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Apr 2017, 09:47
Notice that her left eye is starting to deform in Church's grip...

That's horrifying right there...
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Neko_Ali on 30 Apr 2017, 09:49
It could be from Pate too. I am getting the feeling that Church is under orders to not go all murder machine unless Pate orders it or he is directly attacked. He recognized Alice at lease, and almost certainly knew Sedna was another immortal, if he didn't know her. And he has a grudge against Alice. But he didn't attack her on sight, because Pate needed her. When Sedna wrecked their car he only disabled her in a non-serious manner (for them at any rate). He did so without emotion. But when Ellie smacked him upside the head, then the gloves came off, much like what is happening with Alice right now. He watched her, but didn't attack until she attacked first, now he's in berserker mode.

The the other are watching this and seeing Alice getting crushed. I'm thinking the next comic is going to be something like Sedna holding Pate by the neck and telling him to order Church to stand down or else.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Apr 2017, 10:23
I don't think I've ever seen Church outright angry before.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: bhtooefr on 30 Apr 2017, 10:33
He recognized Alice at leas[t]

Did he, though? I was under the impression that he didn't recognize her until she was armored up.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: OldGoat on 30 Apr 2017, 10:36
The the other are watching this and seeing Alice getting crushed. I'm thinking the next comic is going to be something like Sedna holding Pate by the neck and telling him to order Church to stand down or else.
Could be Sedna, Gavia, Pate, or even Ardent, presuming that's Gavia's force bubble that's covering them.  I suppose it could be whatever or whoever serves  the Orbitals as a police force arriving, too.  Since they appear to have breached the Praeses' trunk or whatever, someone from Damage Control is bound to be arriving presently.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 30 Apr 2017, 11:24
Since they appear to have breached the Praeses' trunk or whatever

Is it the trunk, or one of the "leaves?" They were floating in the general direction of a leaf right before this.

My impression is that the habitats are separate from the Praeses; the habitats were all the new stars floating in the sky post-Blink. Also, are the Praeses sentient? Pate wants to "have words" with them, but doing so may not be much more productive than someone berating Siri; it's possible to do it, and you'd even get responses, but don't expect Siri to be upset by it.

My vote is the one shouting "Stop!" is Pate. Perhaps under threat from Sedna (as someone suggested), or on his own as he'd rather not lose Alice right away.

One thing not clean to me is why Church had to pursue Alice and bust past the green swirly stuff. In the previous comic, he already had her inches away in the final panel. She broke away? Assuming that is the story, shouldn't we have seen it? For now it looks like a continuity error.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Method of Madness on 30 Apr 2017, 11:45
Look at his face. He's enjoying himself. I'd say it's less an error and more him prolonging things just a bit because he hasn't had this much fun in five thousand years.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 30 Apr 2017, 13:40
Look at his face. He's enjoying himself. I'd say it's less an error and more him prolonging things just a bit because he hasn't had this much fun in five thousand years.

That's not the error. The error is that in last week's comic, Church was already face to face with Alice (and presumably would have been holding her to prevent escape). In this week's comic, suddenly she has moved away from him, and he has to burst through some green stuff to get to her. How did that happen? What's the green stuff? Why (from a story point of view) bother with this temporary escape?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: pwhodges on 30 Apr 2017, 14:39
He's thrown her through the wall (see how clumsily she is landing) into a space (inside the tree? - the curvy lines suggest that to me) where she is constrained so that he can brutalise her without her getting away.  As he follows her in through the hole you see the stars outside behind him.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 30 Apr 2017, 14:44
The the other are watching this and seeing Alice getting crushed. I'm thinking the next comic is going to be something like Sedna holding Pate by the neck and telling him to order Church to stand down or else.
Could be Sedna, Gavia, Pate, or even Ardent, presuming that's Gavia's force bubble that's covering them.  I suppose it could be whatever or whoever serves  the Orbitals as a police force arriving, too.  Since they appear to have breached the Praeses' trunk or whatever, someone from Damage Control is bound to be arriving presently.

I think everyone in the bubble is too far away to see what's going on at this point.  Never mind the scifi magic that would allow their voice to project that far. 

Look at his face. He's enjoying himself. I'd say it's less an error and more him prolonging things just a bit because he hasn't had this much fun in five thousand years.

That's not the error. The error is that in last week's comic, Church was already face to face with Alice (and presumably would have been holding her to prevent escape). In this week's comic, suddenly she has moved away from him, and he has to burst through some green stuff to get to her. How did that happen? What's the green stuff? Why (from a story point of view) bother with this temporary escape?

It's difficult to discern, but in panel 2 I see Church blasting Alice so hard she burst through the trunk or bark of the space habitat and in the third panel he flies through the hole he's made to begin crushing her skull in panel 4 and 5.  Now I'm noticing some curvature in the 6th panel as if Pate is now inside a bubble.  I doubt Gavia could've arrived in time to erect a force field around him nor do I think she's suicidal .  I think the Praeses will be intervening soon. 
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: jheartney on 30 Apr 2017, 15:02
It's difficult to discern, but in panel 2 I see Church blasting Alice so hard she burst through the trunk or bark of the space habitat and in the third panel he flies through the hole he's made to begin crushing her skull in panel 4 and 5.  Now I'm noticing some curvature in the 6th panel as if Pate is now inside a bubble.  I doubt Gavia could've arrived in time to erect a force field around him nor do I think she's suicidal .  I think the Praeses will be intervening soon.

Ah, now I see. The white shape in panel 2 is Alice hurled through the outside of something and hitting the opposite inside wall; I'd thought it was just a bang of Church bursting through the green material.

5000 years in solidified magma hasn't done anything good for his temper. Still, if he's that powerful, why did he take millennia to break out of some rocks?
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: blt on 30 Apr 2017, 15:38
It's difficult to discern, but in panel 2 I see Church blasting Alice so hard she burst through the trunk or bark of the space habitat and in the third panel he flies through the hole he's made to begin crushing her skull in panel 4 and 5.  Now I'm noticing some curvature in the 6th panel as if Pate is now inside a bubble.  I doubt Gavia could've arrived in time to erect a force field around him nor do I think she's suicidal .  I think the Praeses will be intervening soon.

Ah, now I see. The white shape in panel 2 is Alice hurled through the outside of something and hitting the opposite inside wall; I'd thought it was just a bang of Church bursting through the green material.

5000 years in solidified magma hasn't done anything good for his temper. Still, if he's that powerful, why did he take millennia to break out of some rocks?

If he's encased well enough, could be he couldn't move his limbs around to get enough speed to break through the rock.  Fast forward into the future and digging (or an earthquake even) gives him enough freedom to break himself loose.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: Castlerook on 30 Apr 2017, 15:53
5000 years in solidified magma hasn't done anything good for his temper. Still, if he's that powerful, why did he take millennia to break out of some rocks?

We don't that much about the super soldiers of Alice Grove; their capabilities, their limitations, or what they even truly are. Are they humans that have been enhanced or upgraded? Were they manufactured in a lab?

With that in mind, it might be a case that when Alice imprisoned Church, the molten rock served as a prison for him, one that is extremely difficult and time laborious to break out from. That's not even getting into the composition of the stone (volcanic stone can be as fragile as glass or at the other end of the scale, stronger than steel). It might have taken Church centuries, if not a couple of millennia to break out.

Think of it like this, a variant of immurement was to bury someone up their neck in sand and leave them to die. Generally considered to be a horrific way to go. But if left unattended, one could escape. It involves moving the fingers back and forth and then the arms. The idea is that you are compacting the sand in such a way that you make more room to get out. Which is probably what Church did. Unless Church has a vibrate setting to break the stone.
Title: Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - April 2017
Post by: brasca on 30 Apr 2017, 18:10
Now I wonder if this is what he did to Ellie.  At least it would be quick for her.