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What will this month bring?

The big reveal - Who, or WHAT is Alice?
More Exposition with Amos
Gavia Walks!!
The Nightwalker speaks!!
Jeb's first date with Shelley
The Trees talk - Baroom Huoar
Ardent gets some new clothes
Clem is sweet on Gavia
Miss Wheelwright is sweet on Ardent
The Praeses arrive
Blue Monkeyboy Dishwasher - it's the only job Ardent can get
Jeph surprises us

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Author Topic: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015  (Read 15611 times)

Method of Madness

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #100 on: 23 Jul 2015, 06:55 »

Wow, I guess that is someone else then.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #101 on: 23 Jul 2015, 07:35 »

Yeah, the eyes definitely aren't Maggie's.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #102 on: 23 Jul 2015, 12:05 »

Alice is made of peanut butter, concealed behind a nanotech shell.

I think that's what Jones is made of, in Gunnerkrigg Court. It would explain her x-rays.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #103 on: 23 Jul 2015, 14:05 »

The road to hell is paved with good intentions


In this case, Ardent will need a boat.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #104 on: 23 Jul 2015, 15:02 »

Did anyone else notice that the water pump grew three appendages? Ardent is indeed a special snowflake.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #105 on: 23 Jul 2015, 15:04 »

Did anyone else notice that the water pump grew three appendages? Ardent is indeed a special snowflake.

Yes, I noticed it and specifically mentioned it in an earlier post as being likely significant. It's just that I'm starting to get an impression that people have stopped reading my posts for some reason.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #106 on: 23 Jul 2015, 18:44 »

New Comic.

Whoa...

That looks more like fear than anger in Alice's eyes.

And why, as the fountain of water continues to spew, does Ardent think he "fixed" it?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #107 on: 23 Jul 2015, 18:52 »

Because water wasn't coming out and now it is.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #108 on: 23 Jul 2015, 18:52 »

Long story short, "u dun fukd up now Ardent".
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #109 on: 23 Jul 2015, 19:17 »

Maybe the pump can only be fixed by Alice, and Ardent has just been chosen as her successor. 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #110 on: 23 Jul 2015, 19:31 »

Did anyone else notice that the water pump grew three appendages? Ardent is indeed a special snowflake.

Yes, I noticed it and specifically mentioned it in an earlier post as being likely significant. It's just that I'm starting to get an impression that people have stopped reading my posts for some reason.
Sorry.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #111 on: 23 Jul 2015, 19:53 »

Well today's comic surprised me. I thought Alice would be surly and annoyed at having to fix another mistake of Ardent, but I agree she looks seriously frightened about what he has done. I also think it might be significant that she thinks her first priority in this situation is to get Ardent away from the townsfolk and interrogate him, not stop the pump flooding the town.

Maybe she's afraid Ardent was sent either knowingly or unknowingly by the Praeses to harm the townsfolk. Alice was convinced it was impossible to trick a Praeses, and IF that is true, it suggests the Praeses had a reason for sending him and Gavia down. I imagine Gavia is going to be comic relief while the interrogation is happening. "See, I'm not the only person who causes mass panic and damage!"
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #112 on: 23 Jul 2015, 20:29 »

I honestly think a big part of Alice's reaction is shock. That expression says to me 'WTF just happened here? I don't understand this and I'm freaking out a little about it.' Which given her history and personality is a feeling Alice is VERY unaccustomed to. Still, smacking Ardent like that was a little much.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #113 on: 23 Jul 2015, 20:59 »

I have a theory, but I'll let Jeph tell the story tomorrow.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #114 on: 23 Jul 2015, 21:14 »

Tomorrow? This is the Friday comic.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #115 on: 23 Jul 2015, 21:44 »

Ardent, the time is now.  Turn off your dignity and cry like a baby!
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #116 on: 23 Jul 2015, 23:03 »

Ardent is in sooooo much trouble.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #117 on: 23 Jul 2015, 23:13 »

To me, the slap was saying: "Focus, Ardent! Don't pretend nothing weird is happening!" Yeah, Alice is surprised and maybe a little scared. Based on what she's been saying to Gavia, this is a feeling that she hasn't had for tens of centuries, so an over-reaction is understandable.

Based on panel 1, Ardent either wasn't responsible, doesn't know what happened or clumsily goofed up (and hadn't even got his brain clear enough to think of an excuse). Personally, I'm a fan of options 1 & 2 but we'll see where Jeph takes this.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #118 on: 23 Jul 2015, 23:16 »

My theory: overdosing on peanut butter made Ardent's nanobots go into overdrive, repairing (and enhancing) anything he touched. We can only be thankful he didn't get too close to that girl's bottom.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #119 on: 23 Jul 2015, 23:48 »

I'm not certain this is an overreaction on Alice's part.

Ardent is flakey as hell. That's been his defining trait. Alice has spent at least a month with him, so she knows that.

As noted, he did not just "fix" the pump. He TRANSFORMED it. And he's acting as if nothing happened. Flaky as he is, that's not right.

Ardent can almost instantaneously reconfigure matter by touch, and seems unaware of that. He's just become an existential threat to HER town. She asked him nicely to come along home. Now she asking not so nicely.

Alice is probably concerned/frightened/something but she's not, I think, out of control. She knows exactly what she's doing. It's just like with Gavia's attack. First, words. Then action. I think she believes he's clueless, or she'd be taking action on the same scale she took with Gavia. As it is, if the slap doesn't cover it, I could see her escalating further but she probably wouldn't go directly to terminate. She just wants the matter transforming boy out of her town before he turns someone into something

Like I said before, Ardent is a vector. He was used to transport something from orbit to the surface. It's not clear what or why. Alice has every reason to believe the trees are responsible and she has a grudge against them. I think that if she believed Ardent was complicit in this, she'd have done more than slap him.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #120 on: 24 Jul 2015, 01:15 »

I'm guessing Ardent didn't transform the pump, he revealed it.  Like, the pump (and probably everything else in the grove) was really a high-tech thingy all along, and it's been carefully concealed (by Alice) as a normal pump so as to preserve the status quo in town.  Something about Ardent broke whatever veil Alice had over it.

Evidence:
-Why would the witch be needed to fix a simple pump?
-If Alice doesn't know what the pump's new form is, why isn't she treating it as a potential threat (and evacuating the town)?  On the other hand, if she does recognize it, and is only uncertain about why Ardent made it show up, then wanting to talk to Ardent first makes sense.
-How does Alice do all the stuff she does if she doesn't have a bunch of hidden tech around?
-Seems like "is it right for Alice to conceal all her tech knowledge from the town" is already kind of a theme of the comic.

-----

This has been your daily dose of baseless speculation.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #121 on: 24 Jul 2015, 02:01 »

It's not a simple pump. It's motor driven, and electronically controlled. My guess is that Alice built it, and Alice is the only one who knows how it works.

A normal pump would be purely mechanical, and driven by a lever. It seems likely the pump is one of the items powered by the windmill.

This is instructive. Jack knows where the windmill is, so it is likely everyone else does, too. Not Margert Wheelwright know which switch turned on the pump motor.

When shit blew up, Jack implicitly trusted that Alice would deal with it. Alice may have used flight against Gavia (if she did, it was very effective). When she fell off the windmill, Jack expected her to fly. After she demostrated her physical superiority, no one in the village treated her any differently.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Alice isn't hiding anything from the people. As Amos's "her history is not our history" implies, they don't want to know. Now, it is possible Alice encourages them to not want to know. She's thousands of years old and has been in their lives from the day they were all born, so she's well positioned to manipulate. But it seems unlikely that she'd be hiding tech in plain sight disguised as other tech the locals don't understand. Why bother? It's an unnecearry complication.

Why bother, in fact, living as she does, if she can build super pumps and mega generators? My bet is that Alice has a limited supply of tech. Either because she scavenges, or because she builds each part herself. You could build some fancy stuff if you have decades to make each component.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #122 on: 24 Jul 2015, 03:24 »


Tomorrow? This is the Friday comic.

(Facepalm)
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #123 on: 24 Jul 2015, 06:05 »

Maybe the pump had an immune system and this was an allergic response.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #124 on: 24 Jul 2015, 06:54 »

I'm thinking the 'immune system' theory may not be far from the truth. Let us posit some things known to be true. To end a self destructive war, someone or something edited the planet and surrounding space. Effectively setting up an agrarian society on the planet and a high tech society in orbit. The two are not supposed to mix. As part of the edit, a lot of technology no longer works according to Alice. There are seemingly aimless nanobots floating around though that really don't seem to do anything other than  come together as a giant shadow mass at night and look at the moon. At least until the sibilings got near the mass. Then it for either Gavia and/or Ardent. Presumably reacting to Gavia's nanobots.

Now supposition: There are nanobots all over the place, possibly that  Alice isn't even aware of. The Black Shadow is just an obvious extension of them. For some reason it gathers together at night. Maybe it's recharging. Maybe it's communicating with the Orbit colony. Even Alice doesn't seem to know, she said it just does that. Presumably the nanobots have a limited sensor range, so it took the Black Shadow to detect Gavia's usage of nanotech and try to investigate. Once she got far enough away it lost the signal and went back to it's programming.

We know Alice has the knowledge and skills to build much more advanced technology that the villagers don't understand. But it still seems very low impact. A windmill to generate power and a water pump to make fetch water easily. Alice herself lives like the locals as far as we've seen. No secret base under her shack. No advanced tech she's keeping from the villagers. She doesn't even have indoor plumbing. But she will make more advanced stuff. Which makes me thing that over the centuries she has probably experimented a bit to see what the edit finds to be 'acceptable levels of technology' and used them to make the villagers lives a little easier. If it doesn't work though, they need to get the witch to fix it.

This is the first time we've seen one of the siblings touch a piece of technology more advanced than a bucket and winch for the much more time-typical well at Alice's house. we see that in the exterior shot of her house right after Gavia showed up. So just being near the Black Shadow was enough to get the nano bots to react. What if there were a group of nanobots on the well. Since it is more advanced than typical for this society and kind of semi-intelligence might well leave part of itself behind to make sure it doesn't exceed allowed limits. Such a thing could explain why if technology never seems to advance. Any time a tinkerer invents something on the nano-bot's 'no go' list it tends to fail. Spectacularly and explosively. Ardent actually touching the nano-bots with his space-cooties (be they nanotech or biological in nature, or both) caused them to freak the heck out.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #125 on: 24 Jul 2015, 08:46 »

I suspect that Ardent has awoken whatever it is Alice is really protecting the village from... something that can give her a real fight.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #126 on: 24 Jul 2015, 09:06 »

I suspect that Ardent has awoken whatever it is Alice is really protecting the village from... something that can give her a real fight.

How likely is it that we're going to have a massive fight against a huge mechanical beast (something like the Death Squids in The Matrix) that is trying to 'purge' the area of advanced technology?

Yes, I'm suggesting that whatever created the Blink may be enforcing a low-tech lifestyle, even if that causes death and trouble (inadequate access to clean water and medicine or because of famine due to inadequate food production, for example). The only thing that matters is that the 'solution' is rigidly maintained - high-tech in space, low-tech primitivism on Earth. It might try to destroy the town because it is 'too advanced'; anything above a medieval-style rural village is simply outside of its acceptable parameters.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #127 on: 24 Jul 2015, 09:42 »

I just don't see there being an absolute hardwired outside entity enforcing a "ban" on high tech ala "The Council Wars". Rather I see it being much more in Alice's lap and that she figured out a very very very long time ago what was appropriate tech (in an Amish sort of way) for everything the agrarian peoples actually need (forex in a culture without HIV, lambskin is sufficient). Building it & repairing it as necessary.

And I expect there are many more "Alices" around the world each doing the same. (They may not know of each other without high tech communications.) And someone/something isn't happy about that.

Now we have that outside force messing with this via an unsuspecting agent in Ardent. If it's a nano weapon doing it, then 1) he doesn't know about it (he's gen-tech) and 2) it will only impact technological constructs  though 3) it may well be "contagious" in, uhm, an intimate encounter.

There are strong elements of The Culture already present. The real question is if it's Alice or the Trees or The Blink that is Special Circumstances...
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #128 on: 24 Jul 2015, 09:46 »

I suspect that Ardent has awoken whatever it is Alice is really protecting the village from... something that can give her a real fight.

And I suspect this incident is strongly linked to the reason the Praeses allowed Ardent to go 'Down'.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #129 on: 24 Jul 2015, 10:04 »

I wonder if the Praeses have a track record of 'doing what they think is best' irrespective of the harm, trouble and chaos it will cause for their agents and those for whose 'greater good' they are acting. Maybe one of the reasons that Alice doesn't like them is that they are always choosing the wrong way to get involved and doing so in the most high-handed and condescending manner.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #130 on: 24 Jul 2015, 10:22 »

the Praeses allowed Ardent to go 'Down'.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #131 on: 24 Jul 2015, 10:29 »

 :angel:
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #132 on: 24 Jul 2015, 11:37 »

Understanding potential tech as I do, it seems, again, unnecessarily complicated to fill the world with nanobot referees when you could use those same nanobots to remove free will.

Just have them sit around in the cerebral cortex and disallow certain thoughts. Done right, the subject wouldn't even be aware it was happening.

Whether nanobots in Jeph's world can actually do that, I don't know, but there's no fundamental physical limitation that would prevent it. As has been noted, the super intelligence behind the blink seamlessly edited the Earth. Editing a few million minds wouldn't be that hard.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #133 on: 24 Jul 2015, 12:10 »

The trouble being that humans are creative and seek new things by nature. So if they blink edited it out curiosity or technological innovation then it would have to keep doing it whenever a new human is born. Curiosity does not seem to be a problem with the people of the village. Also, that could only work to stop people from making re-discoveries of technology. That wouldn't say prevent Alice and people like her from building things they know how to make, if that what happened. And it doesn't account for outside influences. Like say if two Spaceborne kids wound up stranded on the planet.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #134 on: 24 Jul 2015, 12:59 »

Curiosity and innovation have made strides against virii, but you still gotta deal with the flu every year.

Editing all of the brains on Earth with a nanobot system, one requires nanobots that can communicate, replicate, and locate brains. The system then manages itself. Build one and done.

Since Alice is building an maintaining a tech base, there's no question she can. My point is not that blink did edit out innovation. My point is that if one were to decide, from the perspective of the one who made the blink happen, to employ nanotech watch dogs, it makes more sense to get as low on the innovation chain as possible. Violently spewing ground water straight up is a fairly bad way to stop tech. Subtly keeping people from even thinking about tech is comparatively easy. We know AG nanotech can from distributed networks that can think, to some degree, and sense the environment. You don't have to stifle curiosity. The Amish are plenty curious. You just have to make people averse to thoughts of tech beyond a given level.

Human beings hack other human minds all the time. It's called advertising. This is just going about it from the bottom up. The end is not a drone who is mindless, but a mind who thinks the ideas it doesn't follow up on are ideas it rejected, rather than ideas that were rejected for it.

I could certainly be wrong, but using nano in a less subtle way is unnecessarily complex from the POV of an entity that can edit reality.

Ardent touched the pump. The pump transformed itself into a superior pump. Given that a superior pump seems like fairly bad way for suggested watchdog nano to prevent tech beyond a certain level and that watchdog nano would do better by just keeping the locals in the kind of attitude they display (not my problem, let the witch handle it), it seems unlikely that something hostile was reacting to Ardent. It seems more likely that this is something that was caused by Ardent's action, just as it appears.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #135 on: 24 Jul 2015, 14:49 »

virii,

Just FYI, the plural of virus is viruses; nothing else.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #136 on: 24 Jul 2015, 14:59 »

Virii would require it to be virius. And virus in Latin is fourth declension*, which isn't pluralized with an i (as opposed to most -us nouns that are second declension).

I was a classics major, I might as well use it for something.

*Dang it, I said that before I clicked on Paul's link! Don't think I'm just referencing the article :p
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #137 on: 24 Jul 2015, 16:34 »

Virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii.

Irregardless of.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #138 on: 24 Jul 2015, 17:07 »

I just noticed something. Alice's face doesn't look normal in the 7/23/2015 comic. Is that really Alice? Or is it an impostor?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #139 on: 24 Jul 2015, 21:29 »

Um...Alice isn't in the Thursday comic.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #140 on: 24 Jul 2015, 23:32 »

Assuming you meant the Friday comic, Alice doesn't look normal because you haven't seen Alice taken aback before. Even when Gavia attacked the town. This might be as close as she comes to panicking. She is facing something unexpected, and that she can't deal with by face-punching (though, as you can see, it's an option).
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #141 on: 25 Jul 2015, 12:37 »

I really don't know what to make of Alice's expression. As an artist, this is one of those things that might not hit me until render time. Alice is "thousands" of years old. What does fear mean to a person like that? Has she seen this before?

Over analysis be over analysing, but I suspect she has. She doesn't really strike me as very afraid. Just concerned. Which would imply that this is something dangerous, but not so dangerous that can't deal with it. Which would suggest, to me, that any concern is either about containing it so that it doesn't spread, or about protecting Ardent. Or both.

That she is focused on removing Ardent from town would suggest, assuming this is something she's seen before, that the power fountain is basically harmless.  It isn't going to spread, or if it can, it would be so slow as to be something for manana. That she wasn't to ask questions of Ardent would suggest, assuming she's seen this before, that she doesn't have an immediate plan to protect him from the thing she is concerned about. This would suggest two further possibilities. One, the thing is a danger to Ardent and she is worried that she might not be able to anything about it. Two, the thing is a danger to everyone, and the one sure way she has to stop it would be fatal to Ardent.

I'm leaning toward the latter cases, simply because Jeph may not get perfect pacing, but he knows story. He didn't need to end the infodump gag with a line implying that Alice is  growing fond of the kids. He could have put any gag there. Like I said, overanalysis, but Ardent and Gavia are, I think, now inside Alice's "mine" mental map, and she protects what she lays claim to.

I think that she's concerned because to protect Ardent, she might have to kill him. (Obv's I don't think that's going to happen, but I think that's where her state of mind is, right now.) If whatever force that she knows should have made it (flatly) impossible for the kids to be on Earth, I'd have expected her to be more shocked that they are. She thought Ardent was a con, at first, which suggests means to being blue and pointy are available on Earth (My bet is that blink separated the biotechies from the techies). But when it became clear it wasn't a con, she didn't really bat an eye.

She is old. I suspect that means she is hard to really surprise, and when she is surprised it hardly shows for long. Because there's very little she hasn't seen.

Again, could be totally wrong, and just looking at the whole thing from a perspective Jeph didn't. But Alice really does see the town as hers and she really does protect her stuff. If the pump was the source, she'd be doing everything to isolate it. So either it isn't, or she doesn't see it as a threat.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #142 on: 25 Jul 2015, 14:57 »

Virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii, virii.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #143 on: 27 Jul 2015, 19:11 »

Oh geez, poor Ardent.

Also, I think the Praeses just declared war on Alice.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #144 on: 27 Jul 2015, 19:26 »

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #145 on: 27 Jul 2015, 21:50 »

Yup. Called it.

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #146 on: 27 Jul 2015, 23:00 »

The plot, as they say, coagulates.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #147 on: 27 Jul 2015, 23:38 »

So, it looks like Ardent was a Trojan after all! Or, at least that is what Alice believes right now. Let's not count our plot twists until they are fully hatched!

I think that we're going to see a very different and borderline-evil Alice for the next few strips. Whilst she recognises that the kids are dupes, they're still a threat to her town. There is no telling what she may do to try to 'neutralize' that threat.

I wonder how many times that the Praeses have attempted to restart the war before?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #148 on: 27 Jul 2015, 23:58 »

I'm not calling called it on having sussed out the plot. I'm calling called at having posited the plot and the having correctly guessed Alice's thought process wrt to that plot. Technically, we don't know that Ardent is the vector. We just know that Alice thinks he is, and thinks he's a threat.

Now, I await evidence that, in spite of her rather curt manner, Alice is concerned about the Vissicitudes' safety and not just viewing them as a threat. Jeph has offered the possibility that Alice is fond of the kids. The next question is what, exactly, is Ardent a dupe for and will that possible fondness represent a conflict for how Alice deals with it?

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Re: Alice Grove MCDT July 2015
« Reply #149 on: 28 Jul 2015, 04:20 »

I'll be interested tomorrow to see if Ardent is going to react by saying: "Don't be silly Alice, you're paranoid" or by saying: "Oh my God, you are right, how could I have been so nave?"

Personally I'm inclined right now to believe Alice could be right. It's pretty well established people aren't supposed to be able to come down to Earth from space. She knew from the start the Praeses had been tricked into sending Ardent down and agreeing to send Gavia down was "strange." And Gavia and Ardent really don't strike me as the type to be clever enough to get down without help and as well as pretty easy to manipulate into thinking a stupid idea is their own.
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