Need-To-Know Basis

Need-To-Know Basis

Rita’s boss is pixellated out because you’re just not cleared for that.

Or maybe they’re pixellated out because they’re a YCH who’s going to be a Kickstarter reward. Possibly at a stupidly high level because I really kinda like having them be a mystery, although I may want to rework them a little bit to make it obvious they’re definitely not Barrett beneath all the pixelation.


Anyway. There’s still some stuff left in this chapter. Guess I’d better get to drawing it.

15 thoughts on “Need-To-Know Basis

  1. Okay, I’ve been reading the archives backward and forward following each character for two days now…. And I *THINK* I have figured out What’s Really Going On. If I’m right, it makes a whole lot of sense, and even explains the existence of the parallel realities.

    That said? I dunno whether I’m right. If you throw enough nonsense at me I’ll probably make up a plausible explanation for it; my brain is funny that way. Still, maybe yours is also? This doesn’t seem like the sort of story a neurotypical mind could have managed this well.

    I look forward to the rest of the story. If I’m right, I think we’re about set up for plotlines to begin converging and resolving at this point. If I’m wrong, I guess I’ll find out what you have in mind instead as the next few episodes unfold.

    • We’re about a third through the last volume at this point; if I’m going to resolve anything it’d definitely better be soon! And I do have plans to tie a lot of this up before the end – though it may be in one of those annoying ways that raises more new questions than it answers.

      I’m curious what your theory of What’s Going On is. I’m writing this story with at least three explanations in mind, plus another one I’m building to at the climax; it’s my theory that these sorts of realityfuck things tend to fall apart when one possibility is revealed as True. “Not being sure about reality” is one of the major things this conic’s ABOUT.

      As to my neuroarchitecture? Hell if I know. I was a high IQ kid and am now a distractible underachiever nerd. Never tried to get a formal diagnosis for how my brain may be precisely broken; it works well enough now that I keep it marinating in THC and estrogen.

      • So it’s okay to post spec here? Bearing in mind this is my guess, not speaking from any privileged information, here goes….

        This hivemind or egregore that is threatening to form in several realities is not just coming together; it is together. What we are seeing is its reaction to its own existence. These multiple universes are test cases wherein the hivemind (like the Vespuline hive in Robot!Rita’s universe managed to do semi-inadvertently) is seeing how the beings that comprise it could have or would have responded to knowledge of its impending emergence had they not been caught entirely by surprise and flatfooted.

        In short, the singularity overmind’s first(?) act is to question the legitimacy of its own existence. It’s trying to decide whether or not it ethically has a right to an existence which involuntarily and without consent or warning subsumed all these prior individual lives.

        It needs many worlds because it can’t get valid data with just one test case. It is the eyes of the Panopticon at portentious moments that could inform its eventual judgement. Of course, it’s also kind of stream-of-consciousness; these individual lives are threads of imagination and spec to it, and things learned or observed or imagined in each thread inform the others, somewhat deliberately.

        To achieve that transfer of information (and sometimes individual minds and people) it uses in-universe quasi-consistent excuses (yeah, it’s stretching in several cases, but quasi-consistent) to move information and briefly (save in Elf!Kim’s case) people between threads, such as Robot!Tom with his Insanely Dangerous Abuse Of Gongoozling briefly exchanging Robot!Rita for Dragon!Rita. Elf!Barrett’s magic circle is also quasi-consistent in its own universe, providing the Egregore with an excuse for exchanging Dragon!Rita and Elf!Kim for Human!Rita, and then Human!Rita for Dragon!Rita.

        Hat!Rita seems to have had the most complete view of what’s going on at this point, and it doesn’t seem likely to be a coincidence that her universe’s “Face of the Goddess” looks a lot like Rita’s face. So I’m sort of expecting whatever judgement the Universal Mind passes on its own existence to involve her pretty closely, possibly even to originate with her.

        Or, you know … maybe I’m wrong.

        • This is definitely picking up a lot of the themes I’m embedding in the story. Hooray! It is not what I will want you to think is going on once the whole thing is done, but it is pretty much exactly the sort of thing I want you to be thinking is happening at this point in the story. I’m delighted that people are willing to read Rita closely enough to go there!

          That said I am also a cruel storyteller who is withholding certain crucial information from you under all these glitches. Chapter 14 may make you reconsider a lot of assumptions about what’s going on; I’m building up to it the same way Iain M. Banks built up to chapter 14 of ‘Use of Weapons’. If you’ve read that. (And if you have, I just want to say that nobody in this story is the Chairmaker. Though I might give Diziet Sma a cameo somewhere.)

          • Just please don’t make it a story where the “resolution” is some random asspull that requires active inconsistency, and I’ll be happy.

          • It may or may not feel like a bit of an asspull, but I’m hoping it’ll be consistent with the rest of the comic, and will have ample foreshadowing when you go back and look for it!

    • She is the Bishop of Sexy!

      But seriously, yeah, she’s supposed to look like she has “cleric” written in the “class” space on her character sheet. As to who she worships, it hasn’t come up in the story yet.

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