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What will Ardent's answer reveal?

Exactly what he said, a friend hacked the transporter console and he woke up on Earth.
It was actually someone no one ever heard of that promised this and Alice was wrong about the Praeses.
The Praeses are playing dumb and Laridia is just there to convince them they had nothing to do with Ardent going to Earth.
There's actually a rogue element among the Praeses in cahoots with a mysterious 3rd party.
Nothing.  Spookybot will wake up suddenly and realize this was all just a nightmare.

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Author Topic: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?  (Read 91964 times)

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #250 on: 10 Jul 2017, 21:24 »

Alice said once that single-handed she could inflict unacceptable casualties on a planetary invasion force. That was one heck of a hint at supernatural abilities.

But she couldn't defeat it, she admitted. That's not the only odd thing about their limits.

Shouldn't being frozen in solid rock be just a minor inconvenience for someone who can reverse entropy? Just cause an unnatural heat flow that chills the rock below and around you and heats the rock in a column over your head to the boiling point.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #251 on: 10 Jul 2017, 22:13 »

Which makes one wonder if the orbital laser is still up there and still functional...
We've assumed it was an orbital laser, but........??
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mikmaxs

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #252 on: 10 Jul 2017, 22:16 »

To quote Faye: What the ASS?

This last cartoon is seriously risking losing the plot for me. Not because of the outlandish physics, or the difficult exposition.

No, because it's all wrong. This is the ENDING. In the ending, you resolve the questions and plot complications based on the physics and rules you ALREADY set up. You don't start setting up NEW physics and rules. 

Not only is it wrong from the writer/reader contract point of view, it's wrong from the 'let's just explain what we just saw' point of view. We just saw Sedna rip her own arm off and bleed out while shivving Church. And we just heard was that at least one of the participants' realities was actually a simulation, and maybe the current one too. The explanation we needed was "How did Sedna just go faster than Church and become stronger than his armor?". An explanation based on the last two things would make sense. What we got was just the opposite of that.  Plus Alice using a vague "we" about the ability to violate entropy at will is just...bleah.

FIrst, nothing any of the supersoldiers has done required entropy violation (up to, perhaps, Alice's self-cleaning blood removal). So saying they can do that doesn't really answer much. But it does open up a wildcard that Alice (and whoever else is a "Maxwell's Demon") has weakly godlike abilities and always has. Meaning anything can happen and can have happened if they did it. A plot hole big enough to drive a Praeses through.

Second, it's all totally irrelevant. It doesn't really answer the relationship between Church and Sedna and Alice, or the sudden ability for Sedna to be faster, or the reason the Praeses isn't really nervous about the supersoldiers, or how Ardent and Gavia escaped from a simulation, or the Blink, or the Nightwalker, or anything. It just makes things more complicated and handwavey.

Man I could rant all night about this. However things tie up now, the whole story is suspect!
This. So much this. This comic is like the 'Sedna bone knife' thing, only instead of weakening a dramatic moment, it is really kind of killing the whole ending. There are... What, 11 comics left? 12? 10? About a dozen. This should be the strongest part of the story, (Well, this and the introduction,) and yet it's just throwing bad twists and curveballs in the audience that I really, really doubt can be satisfiable tied up by the end, and that for the most part make the rest of the story irrelevant. If she can ignore the laws of physics, why doesn't she just... I dunno, jump into space to talk to the Praeses herself? Would that really be so difficult? She can apparently move around in a vacuum just fine, and would survive re-entry, so...
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #253 on: 10 Jul 2017, 23:58 »

So is Alice slowly losing it (judging by facial expressions), or is she just amused that she can reveal her and the others' true nature now?

I think that she's trying to pressure Pate to fold by doing the whole 'creepy post-human nightmare' thing on him. I also think that she is worried enough about Sedna that she's trying to deal with it by bullying a primitive.
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JimC

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #254 on: 11 Jul 2017, 04:13 »

Honestly chaps. It should have been obvious since she fell off the wind generator that Alice wasn't subject to normal physics. One needs to consider not only the mechanical properties of the bones, but also of the flesh and skin that surrounds them. Alice ain't natural, as the old man said.

The troouble with creating unreasonably strong materials, as Larry Niven has said about his stasis field, is that you then have huge limitations forced on you by their nnature, since once they exist they cut down your options.
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WareWolf

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #255 on: 11 Jul 2017, 04:41 »

Today's xkcd seems relevant:

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #256 on: 11 Jul 2017, 04:48 »


This. So much this. This comic is like the 'Sedna bone knife' thing, only instead of weakening a dramatic moment, it is really kind of killing the whole ending. There are... What, 11 comics left? 12? 10? About a dozen. This should be the strongest part of the story, (Well, this and the introduction,) and yet it's just throwing bad twists and curveballs in the audience that I really, really doubt can be satisfiable tied up by the end, and that for the most part make the rest of the story irrelevant. If she can ignore the laws of physics, why doesn't she just... I dunno, jump into space to talk to the Praeses herself? Would that really be so difficult? She can apparently move around in a vacuum just fine, and would survive re-entry, so...

It's strongly implied that violation of the rules (like all Magick)  comes with a price, and violation on that scale might well be a price Alice is reluctant, if not totally unwilling, to pay. Not sure what the price is. Fraying of reality, maybe?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #257 on: 11 Jul 2017, 05:11 »

I expect we will be told or shown the price shortly.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #258 on: 11 Jul 2017, 05:57 »

I expect we will be told or shown the price shortly.

It might be the secret to Church's power. He's willing to incur a higher entropic debt for less justification. Still doesn't explain why he didn't just magic himself out of the lava encasement.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #259 on: 11 Jul 2017, 06:13 »

I expect we will be told or shown the price shortly.

It might be the secret to Church's power. He's willing to incur a higher entropic debt for less justification. Still doesn't explain why he didn't just magic himself out of the lava encasement.

There may be an upper end to the amount of energy one can dump into the entropy sink in one time and, therefore, an upper end to the amount of energy one can use without it causing catastrophic damage to one's body's cellular structure.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #260 on: 11 Jul 2017, 06:31 »

I think it's time to start asking the hard questions.
Like...
Why was there a wind turbine at the beginning? I don't think I've seen a single electrical implement this entire comic.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #261 on: 11 Jul 2017, 06:45 »

I think it's time to start asking the hard questions.
Like...
Why was there a wind turbine at the beginning? I don't think I've seen a single electrical implement this entire comic.

Probably grinding grain. Technology that lead to the Blink might not be in use anymore, but the fundamentals would still be there, a windmill grinding grain would probably still be a necessity.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #262 on: 11 Jul 2017, 06:52 »

To quote Faye: What the ASS?

This last cartoon is seriously risking losing the plot for me. Not because of the outlandish physics, or the difficult exposition.

No, because it's all wrong. This is the ENDING. In the ending, you resolve the questions and plot complications based on the physics and rules you ALREADY set up. You don't start setting up NEW physics and rules. 

Not only is it wrong from the writer/reader contract point of view, it's wrong from the 'let's just explain what we just saw' point of view. We just saw Sedna rip her own arm off and bleed out while shivving Church. And we just heard was that at least one of the participants' realities was actually a simulation, and maybe the current one too. The explanation we needed was "How did Sedna just go faster than Church and become stronger than his armor?". An explanation based on the last two things would make sense. What we got was just the opposite of that.  Plus Alice using a vague "we" about the ability to violate entropy at will is just...bleah.

FIrst, nothing any of the supersoldiers has done required entropy violation (up to, perhaps, Alice's self-cleaning blood removal). So saying they can do that doesn't really answer much. But it does open up a wildcard that Alice (and whoever else is a "Maxwell's Demon") has weakly godlike abilities and always has. Meaning anything can happen and can have happened if they did it. A plot hole big enough to drive a Praeses through.

Second, it's all totally irrelevant. It doesn't really answer the relationship between Church and Sedna and Alice, or the sudden ability for Sedna to be faster, or the reason the Praeses isn't really nervous about the supersoldiers, or how Ardent and Gavia escaped from a simulation, or the Blink, or the Nightwalker, or anything. It just makes things more complicated and handwavey.

Man I could rant all night about this. However things tie up now, the whole story is suspect!


Actually, to the contrary, this revelation does explain all of their abilities to me. Up until now I haven't done a whole lot of examination of the 'why and  how' of their abilities, only the observable effects. We were missing key facts as to their nature, so any speculation would inherently be faulty, and any conclusions reached would be suspect, if not wholly inaccurate.

Now however, we have the final piece we need to explain how they do what they do. And we can get some sort of handle on their strengths and weaknesses. Alice can jump high, even propel herself in space via local manipulation of gravity. She can survive falls, bullets and other attacks by altering her own density. Church can move himself at incredible speeds by warping physics. Their abilities only seem to affect themselves though. They couldn't reduce Pate to a puddle with a glance or teleport the kids back to space.

In a way, they are a bit like Green Lanterns. They have incredible, possibly unlimited power. But their power is limited by their imagination and their will. Church is the strongest outright of the three. Faster, physically stronger, more durable... Yet he was taken out by Sedna, the weakest of the three. Because she thought tactically, unlike Alice who was just using brute force. Sedna knew she wouldn't be able to take Church on head on, instead she bided her time, saved her energy and threw it all into one strike. She was able to speed herself up even faster than Church, pulling off her own arm to forge a weapon and putting everything into it to take him out, then collapse afterwards.

Rather than offering up more questions, for me this explains a lot of the things they did earlier on that I filed away into the 'awaiting explanation' box. Much the same as the revelation that the spaceborn colonies were not colonies the way we thought, and the colonists don't have physical bodies typically. They are all part of the Praeses... Possibly this was originally supposed to be an intersystem colonizing attempt? But it explains why Alice was so sure none of the Spaceborne could just telport down to Earth without the praesis knowing. They don't have bodies unless the praeses create them. Gavia expected the Praeses to just hear them because they've always been an omnipresent fact of their lives, because they live within them.

Really, Jeph is closing up the explanations of all the hows... what's left now are the whos, the whys and the what comes next. How did Ardent and Gavia get sent to Earth? Who did it, and who gave Ardent his upgrade powers? What is the reason any and all of this happened, who is running this and for what reason? And what will happen now that the truth is out? What will be the final fate of the others up here... Will the survivors have a way to make it back to Earth? Will the kids have to go with them since they're now contaminated and the Praeses won't take them back? What's the status of Church and Sedna? Alive? Dead? In a coma and regenerating? How thinly will Pate be spread over the walls when Alice is done with him? Important questions yet to be answered.
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Neko_Ali

Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #263 on: 11 Jul 2017, 06:55 »

I think it's time to start asking the hard questions.
Like...
Why was there a wind turbine at the beginning? I don't think I've seen a single electrical implement this entire comic.

Probably grinding grain. Technology that lead to the Blink might not be in use anymore, but the fundamentals would still be there, a windmill grinding grain would probably still be a necessity.

The water pump was powered before Ardent upgraded it. That was clearly an electric power windmills. A mechanical windmill is different. It's possible that they still use some sort of powered grinding wheel, but that's nothing like a Dutch windmill.
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JimC

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #264 on: 11 Jul 2017, 08:02 »

The water pump was powered before Ardent upgraded it. That was clearly an electric power windmills.
'xactly so. A more interesting question is where the wind turbine came from, since its clearly of a size and scale requiring much higher strength materials than wood or steel. but I was assuming Alice (and Sedna for weapons repair) have some access to industrial capabilities way beyond that available to the baseline humans.
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JimC

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #265 on: 11 Jul 2017, 08:04 »

Good bye Jasper...
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #266 on: 11 Jul 2017, 08:10 »

I wish more would-be tyrants met their end through the use of a super soldier's hand through their face.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #267 on: 11 Jul 2017, 08:35 »

So, yeah: The pre-Blink powers built super-soldiers; they built super-soldiers so powerful that no-one and nothing could stop them; even their own kind could only beat them with difficulty. They built weapons so powerful that they literally laid waste to the world in pursuit of what I suspect were carefully-indoctrinated objectives.

Only at the very end, with humanity eye-to-eye with extinction, did some of the Super-Soldiers realise what was at stake (it's more than possible that Alice led that group, given the self-loathing described by Sedna). They acted to take those who were still true to their factions' cause (like Church) out of the game and then they combined their powers to rewrite the world into something that was 'better'. 'Better' defined as 'unlikely to ever start off down the path to self-annihilating conflict ever again'. Those who wanted to live in harmony with nature were put on a post-industrial Earth and those who would not give up ultra-high technology were entrusted to the Praeses to live their hyper-civilisation fantasies as data entities within virtual realities.

Tyranny? Maybe; but Alice and her peers had seen such horrors as to defy the imagination. Can she truly be condemned for wanting to ensure that this would never be inflicted on her mother race ever again?

However, now someone is trying to break the balance. It isn't the Praeses, so the question is: Who is it and what is their objective?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #268 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:04 »

Well maybe Alice just wants an end to 5000 years of self loathing and the post-Blink simulation. After all, who really wants to live forever?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #269 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:07 »



Tyranny? Maybe; but Alice and her peers had seen such horrors as to defy the imagination. Can she truly be condemned for wanting to ensure that this would never be inflicted on her mother race ever again?

However, now someone is trying to break the balance. It isn't the Praeses, so the question is: Who is it and what is their objective?

Well, it was Jesper, but not any more. It was also whoever instantiated Ardent and Gavia outside the Praeses, and that is an unanswered question. Along with the receiver of the Nightwalker's message. And the current fate of Sedna.

You seem to be assuming that it was Alice et al. who set up the Blink compromise, but it need not have been....
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #270 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:08 »

"How many of the deaths were your responsibility?"
"Most of them."

Well, I don't suppose we've ever thought that Alice was not a part of whatever happened way back when, but - right, we get it.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #271 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:43 »

The water pump was powered before Ardent upgraded it. That was clearly an electric power windmills.
'xactly so. A more interesting question is where the wind turbine came from, since its clearly of a size and scale requiring much higher strength materials than wood or steel. but I was assuming Alice (and Sedna for weapons repair) have some access to industrial capabilities way beyond that available to the baseline humans.
Is there an engineer or architect in the house?

The city-scape in the window behind Pate's desk shows four or five buildings (including City Hall or whatever they call it where Jesper has his office) that look to be ten stories or so.  I'm thinking that would require a steel framework, not just stacked up brick and mortar, so there's some industrial capacity.  There's probably plenty of pre-blink steel around, so then don't necessarily have to be smelting ore.  We were putting up buildings like that a few years after the Civil War, so it's not like they'd need 20th Century technology levels.  They do have an educational system that generates professionals with advanced degrees.

I see Alice's world as possessing much of the technology we have today, but it's use is dialed 'way back to sustainable levels.  Kinda like a techno-hippie commune.

On another matter, did Alice smash Jesper's face in, or only his nose?  I can see her maiming him just enough for a rebooting Elmer (Church) to register her as the Ichiban Badass and submit to her control.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #272 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:46 »

Well, fuck:-o
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #273 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:53 »

Jesper Pâté living up to his name, I see.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #274 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:57 »


... then they combined their powers to rewrite the world into something that was 'better'. 'Better' defined as 'unlikely to ever start off down the path to self-annihilating conflict ever again'. Those who wanted to live in harmony with nature were put on a post-industrial Earth and those who would not give up ultra-high technology were entrusted to the Praeses to live their hyper-civilisation fantasies as data entities within virtual realities.

Hmm, I like most of your summary and agree with most, but the Blink appears to me as not instigated by a supposed "faction of remorseful supersoldiers et al. looking to create a better world", since Alice seemed to indicate in the beginning of the story that she did not know how/what had happened during the Blink.

Of course it is very well possible that Alice simply did not want to divulge the truth back then.
And indeed, while re-reading it, she says that "armies" vanished and that the world appeared to have been edited to kinda 'restart'. If that is the case, why would the supersoldiers like Alice have been left on earth, unless they were behind it themselves?

It may even have been a collaborative faction between some of the supersoldier on the biological end and the most powerful AIs (praeses?) on that end, agreeing on taking (uploading, if you will) the AI-favoring humans into the praeses above earth and simulating a typical human-like existence (i.e. ontologically indistinguishable from the real world), while leaving a small biology-favoring human population on a fresh earth. The encasement of Church may have been Alice collaborating with AIs who provided the laser beam technology.

Definitely questions that arise though: how was the earth edited? As pointed out by others, the capabilities of Alice & Co. seem to be limited to their own bodies, which makes it unlikely that they could change the earth.
Also, if the AI-favoring humans were uploaded to live simulated lives in the praeses, why would there be humans in that society like Ardent who favor biology? This could be a hint that you cannot keep the 2 separate even if you try, i.e. on earth humans will start desiring AI, in the praeses humans will start desiring biology. Compare it to the Matrix where a too perfect world failed as humanity refused to accept it as real.

My most stinging question as of now however is: who was behind Ardent/Gavia teleporting to earth? What is the connection with the nightwalker? And what is the meaning behind the nightwalker using Gavia to destroy/signal something/someone on the moon?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #275 on: 11 Jul 2017, 09:59 »

I'm also wondering now if Alice might actually be the villain.

By her own admission, she's singlehandedly responsible for the worst genocide in human history, and that's even assuming that this is in a future version of our universe, where World War II and the surrounding events happened.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #276 on: 11 Jul 2017, 10:03 »

"How many of the deaths were your responsibility?"
"Most of them."

Well, I don't suppose we've ever thought that Alice was not a part of whatever happened way back when, but - right, we get it.

We partly get it. We're still not sure how the Blink worked, or if she is responsible for it.
Two scenarios are suggested:
1. The war was so horrific that 6 billion people died, and Alice was largely responsible for a lot of it. The 200 million remaining AI's were disappeared or repurposed in The Blink, leaving Alice looking around in horror. (Alice's original story, not necessarily accurate)
2. The war was so horrific that Alice, compelled to serve everyone's greater good, decided this had to stop. She and her pals made the Blink happen, recording and then killing everyone but the supersoldiers, and then entering their recorded consciousnesses into simulations which the Praeses run. (BenRG and dutchrvl suggestion)
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #277 on: 11 Jul 2017, 10:24 »

According to Laridia, the realities both within and without are not facsimiles, approximations or falsehoods.   They're all equally as "real" and whatever real is, they are identical in the nature of being, however metaphysical it may be.  It could be instead a matter of the relationships between concepts, in a subject area like managing and manipulating energy and entropy.   Embodiment and transfer, moving matter from one state to another.  Perhaps even an answer to where spacetime comes from, what it is in, and what is beyond.  What's in the middle of the material of existence, maybe this is just as real, a bunch of atoms that may or may not actually exist beyond their own isolated system.

Either way, we have an answer as to why the three of them could do things that seemed to us to be against the laws of physics.   They ignored them to something between small and large extent.  If you want to go faster, use more energy and store the entropy.   To hear Alice describe it, something like offset it via the energies of deformed spacetime.  Perhaps somewhat akin to lighting paper on fire with a magnifying glass.

So the idea there with Maxwell's thought experiment is that a worker (mediator, moderator, daemon) sorts the fast and slow into zones.  Faster warms and slower cools the respective zones, which decreases thermodynamic entropy, and thus apparently violates that the total entropy of an isolated system can't decrease over time.  Were a heat engine between these zones, that temperature difference would then extract work from "nothing".   Yet in implementation, this identifying and separating of slow and fast molecules must need more energy than that which could be gained by a temperature difference, there can't be less than zero sum.   This worker then generates more entropy doing the task of sorting/separating than it eliminates creating the difference in potential.   

There's a few ways around that though, at least in the realm of ideas.   Sort of.    If you're measuring gas speeds, getting that information uses energy, and it also makes you a part of the system.  The entropy, as the gas and you together.  Using energy increases your entropy a larger amount than the gas's entropy is lowered, alone.  But add in another element to the system, and put your increased entropy there.    Something like the combining of thermodynamic and information entropy together, offloading the data gathered on the gathered molecular states, storing so no energy is used erasing it.   Make the isolated system larger.  Singularities as storage space and battery; infinite density, to what extent useful in a practical way.

That would certainly appear to bring up another much larger issue to deal with though, if even a black hole can't store or provice an infinite amount of data, if even the universe isn't enough to offset the energy that must be spent when deleting this data or reversing the process of storing it.  What then, if you can't expand the horizon any longer, when the isolated system is truely isolated because it's unexpandable.    This might explain one reason none of these three arbitrarily or constantly went full force whenever they wanted to, because there isn't a limitless storage space to offset limitless entropic shenanigans.  This also might help explain the blink itself; perhaps the reckoning day when the storage is cleaned and all the increased entropy is released at a single point.    Seasaw teetertotter, extract heat and use it to do work, the costs of entropy get shoved someplace else until they have to be dealt with, perhaps to offset the opposite actions built up some other way someplace else.   Inside a black hole, on the other side of a mirror, even within a simulation set up to sink entropy.  That should also fit into some notion of not just counting thermodynamic entropy, even gives a reason for these realities being spoken of, perhaps.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #278 on: 11 Jul 2017, 10:39 »

According to Laridia, the realities both within and without are not facsimiles, approximations or falsehoods.   They're all equally as "real" and whatever real is, they are identical in the nature of being, however metaphysical it may be.
This is sounding like Vishnu's dreams.
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A Duck

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #279 on: 11 Jul 2017, 10:45 »

Alice seems to be more unhinged by the second.
I wonder if use of their powers makes them get more and more violent.

That would explain why Church is so violent (getting out of the magma pit Alice lovingly made for him probably required a lot of energy).

In fact, almost every time Alice or Sedna started fighting they eventually had to be pulled back to reality. Alice back when she attacked Gavia; Sedna when she almost attacked Ardent and Gavia...

Also, by Alice's admission of being responsible for "most" of the deaths, I think there weren't any other frontline super soldiers in the blink war other than Alice and Church. There were probably other minor super beings like Sedna, but it seems each side had only one armored combatant.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #280 on: 11 Jul 2017, 10:50 »

They were soldiers designed and condition to fight and kill. Not trained, but killing is a core part of their make up. Sedna said they programmed into them conditions and quirks to keep them occupied and not killing everything around them when they shouldn't be doing that. So it makes sense once they get into the mindset where they are allowed to fulfill their primary mission of murder they need something to pull them back out of it.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #281 on: 11 Jul 2017, 11:32 »

I give the late Pate credit for courage. He was sweating but never backed down knowing fully what he was up against.

This is starting to remind me of David Weber's Safehold series, about a human society carefully engineered to stay in technological stasis.

Jeph is on a roll about getting me to make sudden loud intakes of breath. That deadpan "Most of them" left me thinking what it would feel like to have that on my conscience. Alice apparently sentenced herself to five thousand years of community service. Was killing herself even physically possible?
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #282 on: 11 Jul 2017, 12:08 »

On Alice and Sedna.

We've speculated as to their prior relationship, up to and including lovers.  But I'm wondering if Sedna wasn't a non-comm (sergeant) and Alice her commanding officer.  Sedna uses lower social class speech patterns than Alice, like, "Listen, Ellie's death ain't your fault." and in that same strip she's talking to Ardent like a good platoon sergeant to a scared private.

Sedna's anger with Alice comes from the latter being what one of the characters in Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe stories calls a "murderin' officer."

Quote from: Sgt Patrick Harper in "Sharpe's Rifles"
There are two kinds of officers, sir: killin' officers and murderin' officers. Killin' officers are poor old buggers that get you killed by mistake. Murderin' officers are mad, bad, old buggers that get you killed on purpose - for a country, for a religion, maybe even for a flag. You see that Major Hogan, sir? That's what I call a murderin' officer.

I see Sedna as a combat engineer - not front line infantry, but immediately behind them and sometimes out in front, punching a road through or blowing obstructions up, and just as apt to be right up where the shooting is happening.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #283 on: 11 Jul 2017, 12:25 »

I give the late Pate credit for courage. He was sweating but never backed down knowing fully what he was up against.

Agreed.  And to his credit he could've just lived comfortably as a feudal lord, but wanted to restore mankind to the place it once held.

For Alice's sake Church better be dead or she has a backup plan since he's still off the leash.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #284 on: 11 Jul 2017, 12:25 »

Tyranny? Maybe; but Alice and her peers had seen such horrors as to defy the imagination. Can she truly be condemned for wanting to ensure that this would never be inflicted on her mother race ever again?

Yes.

Pate might have been an amoral asshole, and Church deserves whatever fate he gets, but ultimately Pate was a product of his environment.  Put everyone in a cage, no matter how gilded it might be, and you're going to have at least some who will want to get out of it - and they're not evil for wanting that.  That cage might be for the greater good, but it's still morally wrong to force people to stay there if they want something better.

What made Pate evil was that he reacted to his dreams being sacrificed for the greater good by being willing to sacrifice the lives of others to achieve his own "greater good." Like Church, he deserves whatever he gets, but that doesn't make him wrong.  The system that was set up to prevent another war (if that's really why things are the way they are) is not a real solution.  Taking away free-will isn't the answer, and the fact that Alice (or whoever is actually in charge) hasn't been able to envision a better solution than "just lock everyone into stagnation" is more a function of her own guilt, fear, and lack of imagination than anything to do with the current state of things being morally superior.

From what we've been shown, Alice seems at her core to be fundamentally racked by guilt and fear, and her desire to enforce the current status-quo because of that makes her a villain too.  Perhaps not as much of one as someone like Pate or Church (Alice did refrain to outright murdering Ardent when she had a chance to) but villainous in her own way - and not just because she engaged in unspecified atrocities thousands of years ago.

(Also, it appears that she just murdered a defenseless opponent, so there's that...)
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dutchrvl

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #285 on: 11 Jul 2017, 13:23 »

It occurs to me that some of Pate's dialogue doesn't make much sense to me. He says " Is that what all this is about? You atoning for whatever you did...", but Pate was the one that forced her to come up with him, so it's not like any of the currently ongoing circumstances/actions are part of something preplanned by Alice.

In fact, the only way Pate's questions make sense is if Alice was (at least partially) behind human consciousnesses digitally sequestered in the Praeses, and earth being reset at a more or less agricultural age. There is no way of Pate knowing this though, so he is assuming an awful lot about history and Alice's role in it, or (more likely) Jeph has here given away the info that Alice was indeed behind the current circumstances.

Another thing I was wondering: Alice and Ardent behaviors and actions and how they talk about their digital lives inside the praeses seems to indicate that the praeses can host realities and house the digital consciousnesses, but not actually alter or otherwise affect those consciousnesses.

 
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #286 on: 11 Jul 2017, 13:25 »

That cage might be for the greater good, but it's still morally wrong to force people to stay there if they want something better.
Arguably every legal system is a cage in which people are forced to stay for the greater good.

(Also, it appears that she just murdered a defenseless opponent, so there's that...)
Possibly executed?
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dutchrvl

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #287 on: 11 Jul 2017, 13:41 »

That cage might be for the greater good, but it's still morally wrong to force people to stay there if they want something better.
Arguably every legal system is a cage in which people are forced to stay for the greater good.

^This. You can get into endless philosophical discussions about what is good and evil, but in a nutshell the concept of good and evil are simply societal constructs device by majority opinion and not absolutely defined.

In a way, pretty much everybody lives in some 'cages', albeit most consist of societal/familial morals/ethics and legal systems. Countries' borders are another example, is it morally wrong to keep people from crossing borders if they desire to do so?
Is the cage that was created in AG for the greater good morally wrong? Who is to say? Was the majority of earth inhabitants for or against this construct?

I would also like to point out that the argument "you should not force somebody to stay in the cage if they want something better" hinges on what constitutes 'better'....Is what Pate is interested in 'better'? If everybody in the world is wellfed, safe, and taken care of, one could argue that colonizing other planets does not constitute 'better'. Is colonizing planets better for whoemevr inhabits those planets?

Anyway, we could go on and on, but you get my drift.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #288 on: 11 Jul 2017, 14:27 »

(Also, it appears that she just murdered a defenseless opponent, so there's that...)

Possibly executed?

"For Ellie. Because Church would have used 'restrain or immobilise' if you'd told him to but you thought him murdering someone would make sure we were paying attention to you. Mr Pate? You have my attention."
« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2017, 14:40 by BenRG »
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #289 on: 11 Jul 2017, 15:43 »

(Also, it appears that she just murdered a defenseless opponent, so there's that...)

Possibly executed?

"For Ellie. Because Church would have used 'restrain or immobilise' if you'd told him to but you thought him murdering someone would make sure we were paying attention to you. Mr Pate? You have my attention."
If Path knew (or should have known) what would happen to people like Ellie, then, yes, he's a murderer. Given that Pate knew what would happen when he let Church off his leash just a few comics ago, I guess that's probably true.

I'm not sure that I'll let Alice off the hook that easily, though -- she can't be judge, jury, and executioner in my mind.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #290 on: 11 Jul 2017, 15:54 »

Yeah, can't really mourn for Pate.  Alice's actions (assuming she actually has killed him here) are more revenge than justice, but honestly, dude knew what Church could do, didn't bother to tell him to rein it in, and in fact seemed almost pleased when Ellie was killed.  He could easily have said "Church, no violence.  Let me lay out my case and we'll see if they're willing to cooperate."  Instead, he made it a game, waited and let Church respond with maximum violence, likely as an example to force compliance.  Dude's a monster.

(There's a difference between cheering Pate's fate and cheering Alice being the one doing it.  He might have deserved what he gets... but her dishing it out still says something about her, and it's not necessarily something very nice.)

Anyway, I don't even fully disagree with what people are saying above, but there are a couple things that just bother me about the solution "whoever" came up with.

- There's a concept in American law (so obviously this isn't some universal moral absolute, but I think it's a good idea) that if some fundamental right has to be violated because the state has a compelling interest, then that violation should be done in the least restrictive way.  So: we need to prevent a future war, what's the "least restrictive" way to do it?  Is it ensuring that humankind never achieves the level of technology it did last time?  Is it ensuring that no new beings like Alice can ever be created?  Is there a better way?  If a "cage" is required, there are many different kinds of cages

- I think we'd all agree that a nation preventing its people from ever being able to leave is violating those peoples' rights.  The fact that no "escape valve" was built into this cage (like allowing people like Pate who chafe at the restrictions to maybe maybe go live in a Praeses world) is just bad design, because it will inevitably lead to malcontents who could, theoretically, threaten the status-quo.

- We all live in "cages" of a sort, but we also have the ability and right to question those cages, to try to change them when we realize that they are unfair or toxic.  There doesn't seem to be any such recourse for people in Alice's world.  Again: this will inevitably lead to malcontents.

- There's no guarantee that humankind would make the same mistakes again if they did achieve high technology.  Sure, it's a risk, but there are also risks associated with the current solution: humankind stuck in stagnation is at risk for the next massive asteroid or superbug, and is inevitably doomed when the sun finally expands.  Even the Praeses, at least those we've seen, aren't any farther out than low-Earth orbit.  There's no indication we've ventured any farther than that.  Enforced stagnation might well prevent war, but it also forces all of our eggs to remain in one basket, and that's terrible for the long-term survival chances of humanity.  There's no guarantee that even the Praeses would be able to move enough of us off-world when the time comes for us to survive - and even if they did manage to move themselves and their inhabitants away, that still would mean abandoning all those remaining on the surface to a slow death.

Basically, I think "whoever" acted in a very understandable way in a terrible, horrible situation, and acted to prevent that horror from ever reoccurring, but in doing so, never bothered to consider that there might be other ways of accomplishing that goal that aren't so restrictive.  It's basically the same thing as with the Reapers from Mass Effect:
(click to show/hide)
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A Duck

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #291 on: 11 Jul 2017, 15:56 »

It's basically the same thing as with the Reapers from Mass Effect:
(click to show/hide)

(click to show/hide)

Also, someone on reddit posted THIS in regards to Alice's powers.
« Last Edit: 11 Jul 2017, 16:15 by A Duck »
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Castlerook

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #292 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:22 »

I'm not sure that I'll let Alice off the hook that easily, though -- she can't be judge, jury, and executioner in my mind.

A human in good conscience can't be judge, jury and executioner.
Whatever Alice started off as and has become since, its obvious that she hasn't been human for a very long time.

We're talking about a weapon that has been responsible for the death of billions, not a person - a weapon. What rules and morality that we hold to, all that changed with the war the preceded the Blink. It changed with the creation of the super soldiers. Alice was a weapon, one designed to destroy any enemies in her path. Pate was just another in a very long line of enemies.

Consider that before we judge Alice.
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sitnspin

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #293 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:41 »

Also, someone on reddit posted THIS in regards to Alice's powers.
So Emily created the supersoldiers to defeat entropy. Everything after flowed from that.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #294 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:44 »

Seeing as sympathy is swaying slightly away from Alice towards Pate right now, let's take another look at Church.

I wouldn't blame anyone for seeing Church as nothing less than an evil monster, and yet he is simply a product of his designers, built with a compulsion to kill, designed to gain positive reinforcement from the act. He is obeying his own nature. Is this more evil than a lion that is compelled to kill for its own survival?

And now we see Alice is fundamentally the same. Fortunately, she is compelled to serve humanity, but we can see here in the execution of Pate the same compulsion to kill along with the same maniacal expression that we saw from Church. They are more alike than different.

Pate, on the other hand, can more truly be held responsible for his actions, and in particular his ruthless exploitation of Church to achieve his agenda. Is he excused by his motivation of wanting to further humanity? Was this truly his motivation, or simply his justification for satisfying his own very human urge to explore, to expand, and even to conquer nature?

I await the final comics with interest, because I see Ardent and Gavia as the true protagonists of this comics, in spite of its title. The comic won't be over until it resolves the question that has existed almost since the beginning: who was responsible for sending them to Earth, and for what purpose?

I still have a sneaking suspicion it might be Alice, but I've been wrong about just about everything so far (except in suggesting that the Praeses would do nothing to intervene in the conflict that has played out).

Also, someone on reddit posted THIS in regards to Alice's powers.
So Emily created the supersoldiers to defeat entropy. Everything after flowed from that.

Ha, nice insight! I guess Jeph was knee-deep in Alice Grove research when he penned that QC comic.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #295 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:47 »

Yeah, can't really mourn for Pate.  Alice's actions (assuming she actually has killed him here) are more revenge than justice, but honestly, dude knew what Church could do, didn't bother to tell him to rein it in, and in fact seemed almost pleased when Ellie was killed.  He could easily have said "Church, no violence.  Let me lay out my case and we'll see if they're willing to cooperate."  Instead, he made it a game, waited and let Church respond with maximum violence, likely as an example to force compliance.  Dude's a monster.
It's a time honored (using the word loosely here) method by more sly autocrats, dictators, mob bosses, warlords, and such - make one spectacular example of one or two people and keep everyone else in line.  No doubt Pate employed his goons to do the same thing before he ever acquired Church.  It is (or was) one of Jesper's favorite tactics.

What was Pate before he assumed his role as mayor/king/regent/boss?  I'm guessing a school teacher a la Benito Mussolini.
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Castlerook

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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #296 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:52 »

Also, someone on reddit posted THIS in regards to Alice's powers.
So Emily created the supersoldiers to defeat entropy. Everything after flowed from that.

Then Hanners created the Praeses to combat her!
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #297 on: 11 Jul 2017, 16:58 »

What was Pate before he assumed his role as mayor/king/regent/boss?  I'm guessing a school teacher a la Benito Mussolini.
It would explain his interest and knowledge of history.
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #298 on: 11 Jul 2017, 17:12 »

I think it's time to start asking the hard questions.
Like...
Why was there a wind turbine at the beginning? I don't think I've seen a single electrical implement this entire comic.

Probably grinding grain. Technology that lead to the Blink might not be in use anymore, but the fundamentals would still be there, a windmill grinding grain would probably still be a necessity.

The water pump was powered before Ardent upgraded it. That was clearly an electric power windmills. A mechanical windmill is different. It's possible that they still use some sort of powered grinding wheel, but that's nothing like a Dutch windmill.

It's even easier than that. There is clearly stated electrical capability in the comic (solar panels.)

http://68.media.tumblr.com/8cb44e2cee5bc3e9e4609eda0f53bbaf/tumblr_nw6qlhu6dY1tl5t55o1_1280.png
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Re: Alice Grove MCDLT - THE END...?
« Reply #299 on: 11 Jul 2017, 17:16 »

Things are definitely taking a turn for the surreal
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