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Poll

How Will the Fight with Mr. Bad News End?

Alice just barely prevails, but she and Sedna will be temporarily incapacitated.
Alice is defeated, but she told Gavia to drive off with Ardent so at least they escape.
Gavia finds out that in situations of extreme danger she can still control her nanotechnology and uses the Night Walker to send Mr. Bad News to the moon.
Ardent recovers from his alcohol induced stupor and uses his ability to upgrade a weapon powerful enough to stop Mr. Bad News
Ardent surrenders rather than see anyone die.

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Author Topic: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016  (Read 16012 times)

brasca

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Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« on: 01 Nov 2016, 04:43 »

New month new poll and hopefully Jeph will recover quickly from his latest operation.

I'm partial to option 3 since I'd like to see Gavia back in action. 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #1 on: 01 Nov 2016, 04:56 »

I really can see Ardent offering himself to Pate if there is any indication given that this will stop the Monster's rampage and save lives. This will shock Gavia to the core who really, really didn't think that he had it in him.

That said, there is some doubt as to whether things go that way. Another possible outcome is that Alice swoops in to extract Sedna and then flees without engaging the Monster. As the cart pulls away and the town in the mine starts to burn, Gavia criticises her for pitilessly leaving the archeophiles to their fate. "I know what that thing is," Alice replies. "I know what it is capable of. I couldn't stop it; an army couldn't stop it. If we'd stayed, we'd just end up dead too. The minute it went onto full auto, they were all dead already; they just hadn't stopped twitching yet."
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brasca

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #2 on: 01 Nov 2016, 05:41 »

I really can see Ardent offering himself to Pate if there is any indication given that this will stop the Monster's rampage and save lives. This will shock Gavia to the core who really, really didn't think that he had it in him.

Ardent was willing to let Alice kill him when she first suspected he was the Praeses pawn so it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for him to do something similar to stop the rampage.  I think the biggest reason Gavia resents Ardent is he's had nothing, but fun this entire trip and still the same happy-go-lucky adventurer who dragged her into this.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #3 on: 02 Nov 2016, 11:19 »

Ben: you've made me curious just how much Pate knows about his Help

Edit... oops, looks like this has already been brought up:

It's possible Pate doesn't know what he is, and just employs a huge guy as a bodyguard and luggage hauler.
« Last Edit: 02 Nov 2016, 11:40 by FunkyTuba »
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #4 on: 04 Nov 2016, 15:36 »

Strip is up!

Well we can rule out option number 2 since Gavia returned.  Doesn't seem the wisest course of action, but since Alice returned to save Sedna she might've decided to take her chances sticking with the strongest of the group. 

However, it's still possible that Ardent could avenge Ellie's presumable death by upgrading a weapon or one of the other 3 options.

Still don't know Mr. Bad News' name, but at least we know Mr. Pate has seemingly normal eyes under the glasses. 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #5 on: 04 Nov 2016, 16:39 »

Holy crap.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #6 on: 04 Nov 2016, 17:13 »

fucking hell.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #7 on: 04 Nov 2016, 17:51 »

JESUS  :psyduck:

I mean, I was expecting a fight, but. .jesus.
 :psyduck:
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #8 on: 04 Nov 2016, 18:29 »

In retrospect this was an idiotic plan by Alice to begin with knowing that the big bio-android was that powerful. But now the circumstances have changed and Pate is revealed as a deadly and ruthless enemy and maybe a bit sociopathic. I've been following Jeph and QC the last few years now and the tone of that comic never dealt with anything as seriously deadly as what he is undertaking now in Alice Grove. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with.   
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #9 on: 04 Nov 2016, 19:17 »

Oh god, Ellie...
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #10 on: 04 Nov 2016, 19:17 »

Well, so much for my theory that Pate didn't know what his bodyguard is. Pity. I kinda liked him up 'til now.
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brasca

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #11 on: 04 Nov 2016, 19:23 »

In retrospect this was an idiotic plan by Alice to begin with knowing that the big bio-android was that powerful. But now the circumstances have changed and Pate is revealed as a deadly and ruthless enemy and maybe a bit sociopathic. I've been following Jeph and QC the last few years now and the tone of that comic never dealt with anything as seriously deadly as what he is undertaking now in Alice Grove. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with.

What other option did Alice have?  That carriage could easily catch up with their bird drawn wagon so disabling it was necessary.  The only other option would have been to pretend that Mr. Pate and Mr. Bad News were just paying a visit with no ulterior motive until she could find a better time to leave, but the biggest risk was Ardent revealing his secret.  I'm sure she ran through scenarios where she and Sedna could sneak up on Mr. Bad News and subdue him, but concluded that these were too risky.  The only other option would be for Alice to pick up Ardent and run in one direction and Sedna to pick up Gavia and run in the opposite direction and agree to meet up at some location later.   

Gavia looks like she's on the verge of tears.  I doubt she's ever seen a dead body and this is a mutilated corpse.  If terror is enough to reestablish communication with her nanotechnology then this would be the time.  If not then maybe Ardent can find something to upgrade into a weapon strong enough to wound Mr. Bad News and avenge Ellie's death. 

We won't know until the next chapter begins next week, but for now it looks like Mr. Pate will tell Mr. Bad News to stand down.  Hopefully, he's a villain who likes the sound of his own voice and will monologue long enough for Ardent to wake up and do something.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #12 on: 04 Nov 2016, 21:11 »

Ardent was put in the wagon dead drunk minutes ago in strip time. I suppose Jeph could use him as a "save the day" tool, but I think dealing with the scenario where Alice is at risk, instead of an invulnerable all powerful Goddess relative to the dangers in her environment would be much more interesting.

Dealing with the current situation requires strategy not brute force. It will be interesting to see what Jeph outlines as the future direction.  I'm really quite interested in what Pate has to say re the overall situation and his objectives. We know so little about this world. Pate has been involved in been digging up stuff for quite some time, assuming he's very intelligent who knows who much real technological horsepower and knowledge he has at his disposal. 
« Last Edit: 04 Nov 2016, 21:17 by Pogopotamus »
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #13 on: 04 Nov 2016, 21:45 »

Well, so much for my theory that Pate didn't know what his bodyguard is. Pity. I kinda liked him up 'til now.

You were taken in by his wiles.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #14 on: 04 Nov 2016, 21:52 »

Ardent was put in the wagon dead drunk minutes ago in strip time. I suppose Jeph could use him as a "save the day" tool, but I think dealing with the scenario where Alice is at risk, instead of an invulnerable all powerful Goddess relative to the dangers in her environment would be much more interesting.

Dealing with the current situation requires strategy not brute force. It will be interesting to see what Jeph outlines as the future direction.  I'm really quite interested in what Pate has to say re the overall situation and his objectives. We know so little about this world. Pate has been involved in been digging up stuff for quite some time, assuming he's very intelligent who knows who much real technological horsepower and knowledge he has at his disposal.

Alice did act strategically.  She knew this was a fight she couldn't win so she tried to withdraw quietly.  As for Ardent, can anyone be sure what he could do?  Yes he can upgrade machinery, but there's no way of knowing how effective that might be.  If he touched an old assault rifle it might upgrade into a gatling gun, but would that be enough to stop Mr. Bad News?  One other alternative is to have upgraded Pate's carriage and escape in it, but if it transforms into a Jetson's bubble car who would know how to fly it?  There's no way of knowing how effective Ardent's ability could be and if he tried and failed then Pate would know exactly what he could do.  At this point they have nothing to lose if Ardent tries, but I don't know what the archaeophiles have that could be upgraded into a weapon or escape vehicle that could either defeat Mr. Bad News or get away from him.   
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #15 on: 04 Nov 2016, 23:53 »

Ardent was put in the wagon dead drunk minutes ago in strip time. I suppose Jeph could use him as a "save the day" tool, but I think dealing with the scenario where Alice is at risk, instead of an invulnerable all powerful Goddess relative to the dangers in her environment would be much more interesting.

Dealing with the current situation requires strategy not brute force. It will be interesting to see what Jeph outlines as the future direction.  I'm really quite interested in what Pate has to say re the overall situation and his objectives. We know so little about this world. Pate has been involved in been digging up stuff for quite some time, assuming he's very intelligent who knows who much real technological horsepower and knowledge he has at his disposal.
Alice did act strategically.  She knew this was a fight she couldn't win so she tried to withdraw quietly.  As for Ardent, can anyone be sure what he could do?  Yes he can upgrade machinery, but there's no way of knowing how effective that might be.  If he touched an old assault rifle it might upgrade into a gatling gun, but would that be enough to stop Mr. Bad News?  One other alternative is to have upgraded Pate's carriage and escape in it, but if it transforms into a Jetson's bubble car who would know how to fly it?  There's no way of knowing how effective Ardent's ability could be and if he tried and failed then Pate would know exactly what he could do.  At this point they have nothing to lose if Ardent tries, but I don't know what the archaeophiles have that could be upgraded into a weapon or escape vehicle that could either defeat Mr. Bad News or get away from him.   
What if he upgraded Alice herself, or Gavia's nanotech (if she has any left in her)...is that within his powerset, if he thought about things in a certain way?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #16 on: 05 Nov 2016, 00:47 »

The thing that jumps to my mind... maybe the most serious question of all is: What pretense? Who or what is Pate that he's been disguising behind those glasses and a nerdy persona?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #17 on: 05 Nov 2016, 05:17 »

It's the small details like Ellie's peeled up thumbnail that make it even more brutal.  Jeez.

Anyway, it probably rules out (at least the brackets) of #4 in the poll.
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brasca

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #18 on: 05 Nov 2016, 05:37 »

It's the small details like Ellie's peeled up thumbnail that make it even more brutal.  Jeez.

Anyway, it probably rules out (at least the brackets) of #4 in the poll.

Good eye.  I was too focused on the protruding bone that I completely missed it.  And we're not even seeing everything, but poor Gavia is. 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #19 on: 05 Nov 2016, 09:58 »

The thing that jumps to my mind... maybe the most serious question of all is: What pretense? Who or what is Pate that he's been disguising behind those glasses and a nerdy persona?
The pretense that Pate is a mild-mannered town administrator having a look into one of his philanthropic investments. We don't know what Pate is, but we do know that he's willing to employ a violent cyborg to kill anyone in his way, without a shred of regret. He's very interested in the orbital kids, and probably has designs on all the spaceborn and their habitats. He's also likely attempting to take political power over both the orbital habitats and what's left of Earth.

Unless Jeph is planning to add a buttload of new exposition to upcoming comics.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #20 on: 05 Nov 2016, 14:08 »

Poor Ellie

I hope that Pate and that thing he employs wind up getting their comeuppance at some stage for this.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #21 on: 06 Nov 2016, 01:07 »

Where is Loomis now and what is he doing?

Why does Alice feel safe tending to Sedna?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #22 on: 06 Nov 2016, 06:35 »

Why does Alice feel safe tending to Sedna?

My guess is that Alice's ability makes her the unmovable object to Mr Bad News seemingly unstoppable force. Even a passive version of her ability would mean she'd have a few scant milliseconds to react accordingly (bear in mind I'm thinking of her meeting up with Sedna and the wind turbine).
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #23 on: 06 Nov 2016, 08:23 »

Why does Alice feel safe tending to Sedna?

She's not safe. But violent hostilities seem to have been suspended with the death of Ellie. If Alice went after Bad News, she'd end up like Sedna, or worse. For now though, we're into "villain monologues" mode, probably to be followed by "heroes imprisoned by villain" mode.

Methinks we're about to get a better idea of what the comic's larger arc is about (which isn't "getting the Vicissitudes back into orbit").
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #24 on: 06 Nov 2016, 09:44 »

Suddenly, Alice doesn't seem like a walking deus ex machina anymore. Ardent still kinda is, though (or maybe more like a deus machinarum).
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #25 on: 06 Nov 2016, 13:06 »

Holy shit. Also, TinPenguin, good work with the genitive plural* there.

*I think that's what that is, I'm too lazy to check, but assuming "god of the machines" it's what's warranted
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #26 on: 06 Nov 2016, 21:06 »

Here's a speculation.

Is Alice willing to figuratively turn her back on Loomis because he is programmed to be only a counterpuncher?

He didn't hurt Sedna until she punched the carriage. He brutalized Ellie only after she wrapped the pipe around his head.

What if Alice knows that until she attacks him, he will not initiate violence?

Except in that case she would have had no reason to want to flee the scene when she recognized him.
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brasca

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #27 on: 07 Nov 2016, 04:58 »

Here's a speculation.

Is Alice willing to figuratively turn her back on Loomis because he is programmed to be only a counterpuncher?

He didn't hurt Sedna until she punched the carriage. He brutalized Ellie only after she wrapped the pipe around his head.

What if Alice knows that until she attacks him, he will not initiate violence?

Except in that case she would have had no reason to want to flee the scene when she recognized him.

I believe you answered your own question.  If Mr. Bad News only responds to violence with violence then they could work around him unless Mr. Pate provoked everyone to the point that they eventually retaliated. 

While I'm still not entirely sure what Ardent could upgrade that could harm Mr. Bad News he might not have to if he can bluff too.  Suppose Ardent upgrades an old hand grenade into a thermal detonator Alice, Sedna, and Mr. Bad News would have nothing to fear, but unless Mr. Pate is far beyond baseline he'd be killed too.  The only problem is he probably would call his bluff because while Ardent might be willing to die to keep his ability from falling into the wrong hands he wouldn't kill his sister in the process and Pate probably knows it.   
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #28 on: 07 Nov 2016, 12:54 »

Here's a thought

What if Pate is a rouge Praeses??
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #29 on: 07 Nov 2016, 13:02 »

It's a possibility, but if so he seems to have disguised his tree attributes. 

I'm leaning towards Pate being a politicaly powerful baseline human working in conjunction with the Praeses.  He may be a stooge or possibly someone who seeks to turn the tables on his allies and will have grossly underestimated them or vice versa.  I still don't know enough about the Praeses to draw that conclusion.   
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #30 on: 07 Nov 2016, 13:49 »

It's entirely possible that Pate's objective is access to Ardent. Imagine you were a local bigwig, and had an instant-upgrade magic wand. Your military would be unstoppable, and you could create an assembly line of advanced gadgets for sale or for your own use. (OTOH Pate already has Bad News, who is pretty unstoppable too, albeit less flexible.)

The question then would be how Pate learned about Ardent. Maybe he has a com line to the Praeses. Or maybe he got wind of the water-pump upgrade incident. So many questions.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #31 on: 07 Nov 2016, 15:13 »

Mr. Bad News is a one many army, but he can't be everywhere.  If Mr. Pate wants to extend his control then he'll need an army that can deal with low level problems and then his Death Star on two legs to take care of the big problems. 

As for how Pate knows all this maybe he's been in communication with the Praeses or maybe he has a network of informants.  I imagine he's had an observer in Alice's village for some time just because she's an anomaly with knowledge of the past, but it wasn't until the space dwellers arrived that there was anything significant to report.  If so Pate never paid her a visit with his companion to get information out of her which seems odd considering his goals.   
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #32 on: 07 Nov 2016, 15:22 »

I wonder whether 'the blink' really did occur in an instant, or whether there was simply a period of time during the war so traumatic that Alice has blocked all of the events that occurred out of her mind to the point that, from her subjective viewpoint, the events occurred 'in an instant'. We only have her word that there was a blink at all, so it seems possible.

My other theory is that Pate was one of the AI designers and Mr Bad News is an AI.

Sorry if these thoughts have surfaced before, I only semi-follow this thread.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #33 on: 08 Nov 2016, 00:44 »

If Mr. Pate is a baseline then a sufficiently motivated or sufficiently unethical opponent could seize him as a hostage. If, hypothetically, such a person were around.

If Loomis is only capable of counterattacks, why did Alice want to abandon their entire mission as soon as she saw him?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #34 on: 08 Nov 2016, 06:47 »

If Mr. Pate is a baseline then a sufficiently motivated or sufficiently unethical opponent could seize him as a hostage. If, hypothetically, such a person were around.

If Loomis is only capable of counterattacks, why did Alice want to abandon their entire mission as soon as she saw him?

"Only capable of counterattacks" presumes that he has no agency, which is unlikely. His sadistic grin could only come from a thinking being. Could Asimov's Three Laws have somehow been imposed upon a thinking being? It cannot happen.

"Has standing orders from his employer, for now, to counterattack only" would make far more sense. What's easier to imagine: mind control, or employment?
« Last Edit: 08 Nov 2016, 12:24 by retrosteve »
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #35 on: 16 Nov 2016, 19:09 »

Wild speculation here - even for me  :psyduck:

Since Ellie is now possibly expired [loss of large amounts of fluids and possible reconfiguration of vital systems] would our little blue mr fixit try to play combat medic and have it actually work resulting in one very sexy, very powerful and very unhappy android?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #36 on: 16 Nov 2016, 19:47 »

Ellie has never been shown as anything other than human. Argent's upgrade nanites have never been shown to do anything to humans, and he's had a fair bit of contact with them. Plus, his nanites don't repair things, they dramatically alter the shape and function of them. Trying to force them to work on Ellie's body is more likely to produce a grosser example of alchemy gone wrong as seen in Full Metal Alchemist.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #37 on: 17 Nov 2016, 05:12 »

Ironclad orders to counterattack-only woukd explain Loomis's grin after the first pipe strike ... "FINALLY! It's clobberin' time!"

This is not, as far as has been demonstrated, any of the Asimovian universes. Three Laws may apply no more here than they do to the robot arm on the assembly line in the universe I assume the rest of you share with me.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #38 on: 17 Nov 2016, 05:31 »

I've always thought that Asimov's Three Laws would be antithetical to the purpose for which a combat AI (either biological or synthetic in nature) would be intended. As the big money is always in armaments, the process Asimov visualised where the Three Laws were an integral part of the intelligence algorithm simply couldn't happen.

The story of military robotics is a developmental process that, IMO fits into the "fund (often to multiples of the original budget) in reaction to cool PowerPoint slides, build, deploy to unsuitable scenarios (even though development delays mean the intended threat has long gone), deny faults, non-specifically apologise in the face of overwhelming evidence of lethal failures and only then think and try to fix" process that seems to summarise RL state technology development and post-failure stories.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #39 on: 19 Nov 2016, 09:02 »

Up.
No more Mr nice guy...
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #40 on: 19 Nov 2016, 10:13 »

Hmm. Pate's agents surely gave him the bits about Alice & Sedna being in the party of four. Wonder why Alice didn't think about thaat. Things don't usually go well for your side, when your opponent has better intelligence. Also, I wonder whether the enhanced ones can recognize each other as such easily.

I guess Alice needs to play along for now. She is faster and probably also stronger than Sedna, but with the sidekick mostly incapacitated and the Vicissitudes around as extra baggage, it doesn't look like the time to really put Mr Church's abilities to a test.

So let's wait to hear what Pate wants from the space kids.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #41 on: 19 Nov 2016, 10:40 »

Guaranteed Alice is seriously considering putting her fist right through Loomis's soul. But with no idea how Church is going to react it certainly wouldn't pay off, even if it would be satisfying.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #42 on: 19 Nov 2016, 11:32 »

Hmm. Pate's agents surely gave him the bits about Alice & Sedna being in the party of four. Wonder why Alice didn't think about thaat. Things don't usually go well for your side, when your opponent has better intelligence. Also, I wonder whether the enhanced ones can recognize each other as such easily.

I guess Alice needs to play along for now. She is faster and probably also stronger than Sedna, but with the sidekick mostly incapacitated and the Vicissitudes around as extra baggage, it doesn't look like the time to really put Mr Church's abilities to a test.

So let's wait to hear what Pate wants from the space kids.

I think Alice knew that Mr. Pate is resourceful enough to know more about her and her party than she knew of him and Mr. Church, but didn't really have any other good options. 

So we can now call Mr. Bad News by his actual name Mr. Church which is brutally ironic or not considering what churches you may have attended.  And he doesn't sleep which is one of his many advantages.   

Alice has many reasons to be furious and I think the biggest is that for the first time since she was a super soldier someone can compel her to do their bidding.  Hopefully, she can out think him because while Mr. Pate seems quite intelligent he probably has the weakeness of overconfidence all villains do. 
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2016, 11:37 by brasca »
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #43 on: 19 Nov 2016, 11:54 »

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the post-Blink world's equivalent of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #44 on: 19 Nov 2016, 11:55 »

In chess terms, Mr. Church is now pinned.

He can never go off and do something other than being Pate's bodyguard now. If he runs an errand, if he enforces some decree in another location, Pate is on his own facing an enraged Alice. The results are left as an exercise for the reader.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #45 on: 19 Nov 2016, 12:07 »

It's likely that Pate knows about Ardent's upgrade ability since he likely has an informant in Alice's village so it wouldn't be wise to deceive him by omission, but what he cannot know unless he actually has her cottage bugged is that the upgrades are affected by Ardent's mood.  So perhaps he can demonstrate his upgrade ability on Pate's carriage and get a vengeful Optimus Prime in the process.  It probably wouldn't stop Church, but it might buy enough time to flee. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the post-Blink world's equivalent of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime.

Perhaps, but the voice I hear when he talks sounds like Frieza. 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #46 on: 19 Nov 2016, 12:31 »

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the post-Blink world's equivalent of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin of Crime.

Just a reminder though. Wilson Fisk is only human in a world of superhumans. And as we have just seen, human vs something extra-human is very messy.

I wouldn't be surprised if Pate ended up as pâté very soon.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #47 on: 19 Nov 2016, 12:32 »

I

Really

Loathe

This

Bastard
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #48 on: 19 Nov 2016, 13:00 »

as a side note, it's interesting that Ardent's missing yet another negative experience that Gavia will be able to ascribe to him
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - November 2016
« Reply #49 on: 19 Nov 2016, 13:17 »

While we're getting some long awaited exposition I'm not entirely sure that Pate is a baseline human.  Alice didn't recognize him so perhaps not, but she may not be acquainted with all of the immortals from her time.  As such it would be dangerous to underestimate he could send Church away to fetch Ardent and Alice strikes only to realize that he takes orders from Pate because he's even more powerful, but prefers to let others do the dirty work. 

If he's not more powerful Church takes orders from Pate because of some hold over him that we have yet to see.   
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