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Richard Griffith Way to go Patrick. Corporate wise he can justify it by leveraging good PR for Templar. zeFluffleTruffle Are we witnessing the return of Patrick???? On the other hand, it’s very interesting that he knows about Valkyrie… Elaine Lee He knows about everything… almost. HanoverFist Will she take it or tear it up? Liz Miller Whoa. Weatherheight Kind of puts that movie card in perspective, huh? 😀 ampg WHAT’S IN THE FOLDER, AL? Dean Nude selfies. gmjake I honestly hope she gives him another chance. I love this story. wright1 Hooo-ee. Good news and bad news on several fronts simultaneously. Deep breaths, Ali. Deep breaths. bryan rasmussen Are those wavy lines to each side of Allison’s hands conveying extra information .- like her hands are shaking or she is pressing so hard on the table in anger that she is going to break it in half in the next frame. hmm. Why did you send me this? I just wanted to thank your for taking my grandson Max down a knock or two with his irritating ayn randian crap. What??! By the way, time travel works. Stephanie Gertsch He did say for some inexplicable reason he can’t find the killer/kidnapper no matter how hard he tries…moments before admitting for the first time that the only mind he can’t read is his own. Time travel is definitely on the table! Izo And now you just created skynet! Virgil Clemens I love how her hair is blown back, both by the flight home and by the check. Silverwizard Is it just me – or did Alison get REALLY comfortable with flying REALLY fast?! peregon Somehow I feel like this won’t end in Alli tuxing her way through New York’s hotel scene… Some rich guy That’s not how you move money like that. What, have you never received $25m before? How gauche. Mujaki If it’s from Templar Industries, you could argue that it’s dirty money. But even Carnegie and Rockefeller didn’t start out as philanthropists. Oren Leifer Point. Although on reflection, the biggest philanthropist in the world is Bill Gates, and even the Vanderbilts gave away their estate to an army colonel to become a college (Fairleigh Dickinson). palmvos yeah… i’d be shaking too…hopefully she doesn’t pass out. more important- he clearly sent other materials that likely explain this. Izo What to do when a murderer supervillain gives you $25 million as a charitable donation to solve all your financial problems …. These are good problems to have. Opal Eyes Well, that’s a good start. 25 million dollars will set it well on it’s way to becoming a global force. Ian Osmond I guess that means that Patrick thinks it’s a pretty okay idea? Weatherheight That thump you just heard was Valkyrie’s financial concerns falling away. Am I the only one feeling Alison needs another haircut? Just me? Okay… Khlovia Her hair is at that awkward stage, when you can’t quite decide what to do with it next. Tsapki Is this a morality question? It feels like this is a morality question. ChattaStarhawk That is a BIG check… jd He may be an a-moral jackass, but he’s OUR a-moral jackass. Elaine Lee And one of the most interesting characters in the comic! Dartangn I suppose this could be described as the supervillian equivalent of a dozen roses. Although the other papers are what interest me. The donation might just be the entree to the package. Aaron J. Shay Some folks thought that the gift from the previous page was a power-play by Clevin… No, THIS is a power-play. With all of the tools at his disposal, he could have made the donation anonymous, but he chose to indirectly say “I know about your project. This is from me.” zellgato Was templar the idiot mind reader, or was it the robo cyber girl? I thought she was called templar. but at the same time i dont think she’d look so surprised Richard Griffith Templar is the corporation based on Lisa/Paladin the robot girls work. However the company owns the work not her. Patrick/mind-reader guy is now the assistant to the CEO of Templar. Templar robots fought the super team. This can be written off the but company as PR in employing biodynamics for good work. Hmm, might be time for a cast of Characters page. zellgato Thanks! Character page might be useful, its getting a bit far in past. Though usually I would look up older comics if I had had the time at the er. time. Weatherheight Templar is Menace’s corporation (Menace is Patrick’s villainous persona). Paladin is Lisa’s heroic persona. Historically, both are soldiers dedicated to a cause – interestingly, both have an etymological basis in someone not of noble lineage / bearing taking on or being given responsibility normally reserved for nobility (which I was not aware of until I looked today). Paladin seems to come from the legend of Charlemagne, which includes the same resonances of Christian / Muslim conflict also present in the resonances of the word Templar, which is closely associated with the Crusades. Getting money from Templar Industries – strike that, accepting money from Templar Industries is filled with all kinds of moral and ethical problems for Alison. Mansplaining complete. 😀 On a side note, big fan of your work in Slayers. bta There’s also a good chance that Lisa chose “Paladin” as her alias based on how they’re portrayed in tabletop games (hey, she did pick it as a chatroom pseudonym): as holy, honorable knights of justice – that is, the most idealistic portrayal of the warrior class she latter grew disillusioned with. Meanwhile, the Knight Templars have been the famed protagonists of numerous conspiracy theories. They were also once rich enough that European monarchs took umbrage to it and that led to their demise. Seems appropriate enough for Patrick – is he building up is own conspiracy, or going to be the victim of one and find a tragic end? zellgato Thankies! yeah.. that would be squiffy. and would open a can of worms.. but it is a lot of money. Yeah, that was a while back. I’ve since retired with Amelia. Sendaz betting the folder is files on dynomorphs that Patrick think could use a hand. Following on his theory that those powered individuals that could make a difference are being killed off, he may be putting Alison in the line of fire figuring she is their best chance at survival, or at least prove it to her when they get wiped out under her watch. CrimsonCarnivoreOnAClayCourt Honestly, I’m more worried about what will happen when Lisa inevitably finds out about Alison and Patrick. Which, with Patrick reaching out to Valkyrie, is looking like it’s gonna happen sooner than later. Arkone Axon I’ll be honest… I’m kinda expecting him to show up and offer Lisa the patents to her own inventions, in person (It’s not as if he can’t defend himself, since he can read her hostile thoughts and all). When you done goofed this bad, you can’t hope to fix things by clinging to any scraps of pride. Avram Grumer Too bad there’s no signature. Also: Hey! Alison lives near me! chaosvii Sweet, now she can close that note about money! Man that would take up at least 10KB of memory, thanks Patrick, for thinking of Alison. Richard Griffith Ok, first expense is a lawyer to make the charitable corporation. Then sign an accountant on contract. Then pay Lisa for the tech support. Paying Lisa with Templar Industry money is a good thing. Then an office. Mechwarrior Let’s ask the Revenant. Mechwarrior Either that or a manipulative Patrick donation. martynW It sure works for Batman and Lex Luthor. 21stCenturyPeon And Iron Man, Green Arrow, Black Panther, Ozymandias, and the Kingpin. Johan I don’t see how that’s a problem. All companies to good and bad things. This is a good thing, if Templar screw up later it can’t on Alison unless she joins Templar. That’s just donated money. Christian Denney Sure…and you respond with “And despite recieving those funds, we are still criticizing their behavior. That donation was not solicited, and has no bearing or influence on our activites or beliefs. Templar is free to choose to donate elsewhere in the future if they so desire.” As long as money comes with no strings attached, and you are willing to lose that money in the future if it becomes necessary, a charitable organization should never turn down funding. Weatherheight The motive behind this will really define what that money means, won’t it? Manuel Simone How Patrick knows about Valkyrie project??? I know he’s a mind reader, but he seems like he knows everything, which is OP even for a mind reader. Maybe he developed a second superpower (like Alison with flight) and now he just know everything that happens with everyone. I’m not sure if she’ll need to accept or refuse those money but I’d agree definitely with her no matter what she’ll choice. Weatherheight This was awesome – Thanks, Liz Weatherheight I think this comment and the comment by Zellgato below indicates a dramatis personae link is starting to become a “good thing to have”. Come on, Griffin, do us a solid. 😀 Mistress Dizzy Yes please. I legitimately forgot. A character page would be great. bta It certainly is a thoughtful gift. Though I’m not sure the thoughts were entirely disinterested. Tylikcat I can’t imagine they would be. Let me sketch out three scenarios, each supported by what we’ve seen of Patrick. He could be motivated by: 1) Missing the person who was perhaps his best friend. 2) Sexual and / or romantic attraction to Alison. 3) Hoping that Alison will decide not to turn him in after all. None of these are disinterested. I suspect many people would find some of them more sympathetic than others. No? bta I’ve been thinking for a while that Patrick is way too much trouble to be left out of a high security prison. Two years is enough for him to cause a lot of trouble, especially if he progresses on the time travel stuff. This is a man who’s manipulative, telepathic, rich, politically connected, and by his own admission, completely ruthless and bent on conquering the world. Hell, if you think about it, there’s zero evidence he hasn’t been bullshitting the entire time about the conspiracy. It’s the perfect excuse: It gets Allison out of his way by causing her existential crisis, it can only by researched by Patrick himself, and it’s so big in scope it make the risky decision to trust him seems worth it. There are the files about the dead children, but he could have made them up too. Pretty much the main reason to think he’s saying the truth is the meta reason that this conspiracy reflects so clearly the main theme of the story about how violent superheroes don’t change the world. motorfirebox Yeah, but I mean, it can’t be that hard for the head of a multinational corporation to find the current address of the former Ms. Girl, y’know? Not even bringing the psychic powers into it. Carl I should have expected that. Why didn’t I expect that? Carl You do remember that Patrick can read minds? MisterTeatime That’s an interesting point. What do we know, if anything, about the physical range of his mind-reading? Izo I doubt he needed the mind-reading power to find out. He has the ‘Millions and millions of dollars’ power. Joshthulhu Dick power move or gesture of apology? David Gillon It’s a real world dilemma, Medecins Sans Frontieres (aka Doctors Without Borders) is currently refusing to accept EU funding because of the suffering caused by the EU-Turkey migrant dea and related deals with African countries.Based on last year that’s about 60m Euros, over twice what Patrick is offering Valkyrie. MSF argues that the EU deals are causing suffering in the very areas it works in. And you can make exactly the same argument wrt Templar and Valkyrie. Putting aside the origin of Templar’s wealth, Valkyrie exists to protect women from exploitation, Templar has Lisa, who is core to Valkyrie’s creation, locked into an exploitative relationship from which she can’t escape. There is a very strong ethical argument that Valkyrie should not accept this money until Templar releases Lisa from her contract. Tylikcat What was the time limit on Lisa being able to buy herself out of Templar? That seemed ambiguous… (And… Holy fuck the situation with MSF is super fraught at the moment. One of my cousins works with them – as an accountant* – and I really want to grab her and get her to spill, but it’s complicated by not being on the same continent pretty much ever.) * I think? I’m actually kind of confused about her job transition. MSF is my biggest regret about having not gone for a clinical degree. Jon Medicins Sans Frontieres also has assets exceeding $180 million and a relatively balanced budget. They can afford to turn down 60m Euros, even if it hurts. Allison’s group is struggling for organization and manpower. They likely have a budget in the $20,000 range. They cannot afford to turn down a $25,000,000 donation. And why the hell would Templar negotiate with someone they are giving free money to?! Valkyrie has not just no but negative leverage – they still need money. And Valkyrie is about literally saving the lives of women in abusive relationships from being murdered. They also want to help women in other abusive relationships, but this isn’t Tumblr. In the real world, saving someone from being murdered because of some honor killing law or a crazy ex husband is actually more important and morally beneficial than someone complaining that they quit because they got paid 2% less than a male co-worker. Taking a moral stand is all well and good, but putting secondary ethical concerns above your primary goal is, to me, the most unethical thing you can possibly do – especially as the leader of an organization. That’s even worse when you are talking about saving lives – it is entirely possible that by destroying this check Allison just condemned dozens or hundreds of people who would otherwise have been saved by her expanded organization to death. Not just innocent people, but exactly the most vulnerable people she claims to want to help. I don’t find that less morally blameworthy just because she doesn’t stab them herself. I actually find this LESS acceptable than ‘I was just following orders’ because she is the one who had the choice. fairportfan Not signed? Hard to cash. fairportfan I don’t think the movie card was a guilt trip – in fact, i think that he misread her semi-subtle implication that she might not turn down another invitation to a date… Carla Having been both ignored and harassed: harassment is worse. As for Allison’s experience: it may be exaggerated by her fame, but yeah it rings true. Some gifts are just gifts, but many “gifts” are a way of trying to buy time, a sense of obligation, compliance. You learn to say no to certain offers. Hawthorne First off, is her apartment number 2B or not 2B? Second, that check is fake, Alison! WHERE IS THE MICR LINE, AL, THE MICR LIIIINNNEEE GreatWyrmGold Funny how everyone’s assuming it’s a power play. It’s not like a millionaire supervillain would decide to donate to a friend’s charity because he wanted to make a positive difference in the world—no, he must have an ulterior motive! Wikimancer I’m trying to figure out how the existence of superpowers caused the financial world to change how checks are laid out. And to have them only include plot-relevant information. 😉 Oren Leifer Remember, powers in SFP were all from one event, not Worm “triggers”. Lostman They oprate similar, Remember Alison got her secondary of flight due to Patrick poking at her insecure spot. Deliverance Duval is the CEO of Templar Industries, a company that is squeaky-clean after that unfortunate Menace episode about which least said soonest mended. We first see Mr. Duval in action here: http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-3/page-37-2/ The power relationship between him and Patrick is made quite clear on the following page: http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-3/page-38-2/ And finally Patrick aka. Menace (or ex-Menace – take your pick) tells Alison with more than a hint of irony that he’s merely a humble assistant to Mr. Duval. http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-5/page-100/ To put it another way, Duval is the public front figure of Templar Industries and dances to Patrick’s tune. Kid Chaos Thanks for the links! 😎 Hermitage If she even thinks about it, Paladin is fully within her rights to chuck Allison out a window. Considering how Patrick appears to have made it his mission to lock down and exploit everything Paladin’s ever invented, that is very well *her* money that he is throwing around like pocket change. Aroel And Patrick’s willing to do quite a lot to hurt and even kill people in service of what he views as the greater good. And he doesn’t see to have contemplated much about what his morals are exactly. Mitchell Lord The problem being, what Patrick considers the “Greater Good”…is not exactly certain. The problem is, far too often, the “Greater Good” tends to come down to “Mine”. Shweta Narayan Yes, absolutely, to all of this. He seems to have stopped at “must stop whoever is disappearing biodynamics” and “I am the only one who knows enough to do this”, so with those… axioms… he’s just assuming that anything that helps him helps the greater good, and that he needs to be a Villain for the greater good. Or at least, that’s how he seemed to be going the last time we saw him. But he also wouldn’t have accepted help at that point, so if the folder contains info that would let Al help, that’s a change — *unless* he’s trying to use her as a puppet. Either way I’m super curious about how that’s going to play out. Izo This happens a lot of comics. Dr. Doom, Lex Luthor, Magneto, Sinestro, Ra’s Al Ghul, General Zod, Loki, Mole Man, General Sam Lane, General Thunderbolt Ross, Galactus – none of them acutally consider themselves to be ‘evil.’ Even though they frequently do things that can’t really be considered anything BUT evil. They all have reasons they use to justify what they’re doing, whether nationalistic, because they feel they are representing ‘their people,’ they feel they are the real ‘protectors,’ environmental extremism, patriotism-gone-awry, abuse and shunning inflicted upon them, or having a ‘grander cosmic view’ (in their minds). They’re all villains. They just don’t see themselves as the villain in the story. Izo Yeah exactly. And not meaning to bring up Godwin’s Law on an internet forum, but the Nazis considered the Holocaust to be ‘The greater good’ when they were the living personification of immoral, absolute evil in the real world of the 20th century. Just saying you’re going to do horribly immoral and evil things because you ‘feel’ it’s for the greater good doesnt mean it actually IS for the greater good, or is good at all. The person could be a twisted sociopathic individual, like Patrick is. Even if he is, as some have said ‘our’ twisted sociopathic individual. I have more sympathy for someone like Cleaver, because Cleaver at least has started to realize what he’s done was wrong, and there’s definitely some psychological problems involved in Cleaver’s psyche from his change during his dynamorphic manifestation. It doesnt make Cleaver a good person by any stretch of the imagination but I can at least have sympathy for him having been put down a path which led to him being a villain (even if he does need to be punished for his own murders and crimes). Patrick doesn’t have that same excuse. Pythia In their defense, Supervillain is a key word there, and I doubt the creators were making the comic in direct response to the comments. These things take time, it’s very likely that they the whole issue’s script already finished. In Patrick’s defense, he’s wonderful and fantastic and I very much doubt that this wasn’t at least partially just an apology for his little blowup. He genuinely cares about Al and he cares a lot about the black folder conspiracy, and he doesn’t seem to have the emotional stability necessary to deal with some things. This was a thoughtful gift he knew she needed, with no (as far as we know) strings attached, and which regards the only thing she seemed to think he was still good for at their last interaction. So I’ll just be happy he’s back. Mitchell Lord …HOLY FUDGE! Olivier Faure Ugh. Why do people keep saying that? Max has not been shown to be amoral, and he’s certainly not worse than Patrick. Patrick boasted about recently killing a bunch of people, including an old lady, to make a point to Allison (Issue 5, Page 117). His main reason for killing these people was, I quote, “it amused him”. Maybe he has some sense of morality, but it’s very, very loose, and not anywhere close to acceptable. In comparison, what has Max been shown to do? He argued very poorly for positions that are opposed to what our protagonist believes in? Tylikcat We do know that Patrick was spouting some grade AAA bullshit during that conversation. We don’t know how much. I’m not really arguing – I mean, despite him having clearly been given credit for more of people’s misdeed’s than he really deserves, the only premise that makes sense is that he did some real shit, too. I still would be cautious about taking him as a reliable narrator. Shweta Narayan Oh I’m not at ALL saying Patrick is better. His idea of morality terrifies me, because he believes in acceptable casualties, and he thinks he gets to decide that. Just because he’s trying to do a thing he sees as necessary doesn’t mean he isn’t incredibly messed up and dangerous. And I’m not calling Max *immoral*; I’m saying that his view of the world is supremely self-centered, consciously so, to the point where he even sees Feral’s actions through that lens, And that goes against the idea of morality in general, since morality is about your responsibility to the group & whether you have one. (I would guess he agrees with Nietsche in calling morality the herd instinct.) Jeremy Cliff Armstrong “I’m saying that his view of the world is supremely self-centered, consciously so, to the point where he even sees Feral’s actions through that lens, And that goes against the idea of morality in general, since morality is about your responsibility to the group & whether you have one. (I would guess he agrees with Nietsche in calling morality the herd instinct.)” I’m guessing you’ve never heard of enlightened self interest. People usually do benefit from being moral. And they usually pay some price for being immoral. Morality has nothing, directly, to do with self-sacrifice. Yes I’m aware the word you used was “responsibility.” However, you weren’t describing responsibility. You were describing self-sacrifice. And responsibility (to groups or otherwise) also doesn’t directly entail self-sacrifice. And yes, Nietzsche was right. The reality is that _most_ of the altruistic things people do are actually part of a set of instincts that drive us to act positively towards those around us. Instincts that exist to help us fit in and find belonging… to be part of the herd, as he called it. We explain our need to behave altruistically with a bunch of high minded ideals but ultimately it’s just instinct and the need to belong followed by an ego (more instincts) that want to believe we did it for high minded reasons. The reason I say _most_ is because people tend to be unaware of the difference between what they feel (instincts) and rational thought. They treat them as one and the same. But our instincts are 200,000 years old and intended for tribal societies. Needless to say… they don’t always work quite right in a modern context. But a person can choose to question their emotions/instincts. And they can choose to reject them when there is reason. When people do that they become capable of true altruism unfettered by selfish reciprocation. Such people are _very_ rare in my experience… and what I’ve seen of Alison marks her as not being among them. She leads with her heart… which is all terribly romantic and makes for an interesting character but it would be absolutely terrifying in real life when you consider how much power she has. We’ve already been shown in the comic some of the ways such naivety has lead her to hurt people without even knowing she had. Choosing to pretend you are some magical creature that’s above animal instincts is what enables so many people who are so convinced they are good to do such awful things. Such people fail to question their motivations on the grounds that if they mean well then what they are doing must be good. It’s a recipe for evil. I watch people hurting each other every day all day long and they never realize they are doing it. They have huge blind spots for their own bad behavior. It upsets me. I’m able to admit the reason it upsets me is because I’ve been on the receiving end of it in some particularly awful ways. (Seems that’s usually what it takes for someone to even become aware of it) And in that sense my _emotional/instinctual_ desire to fight against it is based on fear of being on the receiving end of it again. But that doesn’t change that, rationally, pushing people to be more aware of themselves and their motivations is still a good thing or that every person who becomes so “enlightened” will be a better person to the people around them. So it’s one case where my very selfish and very outdated instincts and my altruistic rational mind are both in agreement and working toward making things better for everyone… myself included. Shweta Narayan 1. There is nothing enlightened about Max’s self-interest. If there was, he’d have handled the date very differently. 2. I’m well aware that most of our cognition is unconscious, but that’s not what Nietsche was saying, and definitely not what Max is saying. Nietsche was basically calling us sheeple for caring about morality. 3. I agree that Feral’s actions are self-sacrifice, though I see some component of self-harm there too. I’d say both are rooted in a sense of responsibility for other people. It’s Max who is invested in seeing it as selfish, because his world view does not allow that idea of other people’s problems having anything to do with him. I’ll leave it at that, though I dislike being condescended at, because I get the sense this is pushing some very personal buttons for you and if you’re hurting, I don’t want to make that worse. Izo Careful – that’s a really slippery scope for your description of Patrick, since you can use the same argument on real life evil people, like Hitler (pretty much the definition of ‘evil person’), Stalin, and Mussolini. Arkone Axon Patrick was saying that specifically in order to enrage Allison (because he was being a moron). Previously he’d established that he wanted to “conquer” the world in order to overthrow the current ruling elite and alter the negative aspects of various cultures. He was a teenaged boy given awesome powers and promptly deciding to use them to pick a fight with the assorted corporations, governments, and organizations that thought they were untouchable (and he stopped not because he decided he was wrong, but because he had a huge blow to his morale when he realized that those groups had already murdered all the supers who they felt could have REALLY been a threat). Izo It’s always scary to me when people equate ‘says things that I don’t like’ with ‘inflicts violence and kills people.’ As if they’re even remotely moral equivalents. Dean Whoops, my mistake. Danygalw But *is* it from Patrick, or has he already handed it over to Lisa? …who am I kidding, of course it’s Patrick. The other way would involve too little angst. And kinda shouldn’t happen off-screen. Danygalw Aha, haha, if only. See: news articles discussing the ‘questions raised’ about Hillary Clinton opposing for-profit colleges when her husband has given paid speeches at some. palmvos the key to ‘gathering evidence’ would be his range. if you knew that then it can work. keeping him from knowing that something is happening is impossible. but if you can use people who are satisfied with only their part of the plan, as well as a heavy reliance on passive (electronic) surveillance. it would be possible. the catch is… the organization that would exist after that was done is almost more sinister than menace himself, and certainly more dangerous. key part is the individuals responsible for the overall plan- would have to stay out of menace’s range. (I would recommend at least 2 levels in this group) A large amount of ‘noise’ is also essential. ‘noise’ dead end activities done simply to misdirect, best if some of it directly conflicts with actual plan elements. the reality is… you need someone on his power level (no-one we’ve seen so far) to do it. Weatherheight Patrick seems clever enough to be able to note that someone is planning to expose him and thus use that information to stymie the attempt to gather evidence. The only way to do it would to be, as you say, staying out of his effective range with his telepathy. The trick is that you sort of kind of have to have a general idea what that range is and then keep a lot of effort into tracking his movements – and keep all of those people out of his range. So, electronic surveillance that isn’t part of law enforcement or the judicial system (I imagine Patrick swings by as many police stations, administrative offices, and courtrooms as he can easily do). That raises a whole lot of problems with admissibility at trial. You have a nice point here – trying to get evidence against Patrick would require something that looks a lot like a terrorist cell – that is not a comforting thought, is it? palmvos That cell structure predates much of what we in the west consider modern terrorists (I first ran into it in a book published in 1966). its is also a useful structure for running the functional part of a revolution. but yes there are few good uses for a organization structured along these lines. actually for some of the observations id use law enforcement resources, and if the planners are very very clever that could be a way to remotely establish his range. by the holes he will have to create. the human mind has a hard time simulating randomness. so force him to intervene enough times and his range will become clear. surviving that will be a huge challenge. one accidental way this could work- if someone creates an AI that does not reveal itself right away the AI could run the network if it was big enough. the only people who have to be kept out of his range are the ones who know why. if the people simply know they are to post certain information in a certain place, but not why they can be close to him. though if Patrick starts to see a bunch of people operating in that way… he WILL get testy. Tdoodle Has it been 2 years yet? I think he’s attempting to do what she asked him to do (except that check should be made out to Lisa): http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-5/page-113/ chaosvii One never feels obligated to fight loneliness as an encroachment to be defeated. Harassment evokes a fight, excepting cases where said fight feels hopeless due to power differentials or incoherent/undesirable victory conditions. The desire to fight is important, but it always takes a toll, even when one wins without complications. Loneliness is many things, and frankly, being harassed frequently inflicts loneliness. It’s no contest. But here’s another way of looking at it from Robin Williams: I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone. Ben Posin If she takes that money and eventually it comes out that Patrick was Menace (and that Alison knew), that could get a little awkward. Yeah, I knew it was him—well, he had these folders and he told me I wasn’t making a real difference—no, no, I had ALREADY told him I wouldn’t turn him in for two years when he sent my pet project $25,000,000.00–no, I never asked him for that—no, seriously, I was going to turn him in even after getting that check, but the two year grace period I unilaterally gave him wasn’t up yet….Why are you guys looking at me like that? Ben Posin This is a good twist, but seriously….what is going on in Axiology class?!?!?!?! Tylikcat Pretty sure the writing is a bit further ahead than you’re giving it credit for. (This is mostly drawing from Molly’s twitter comments when she gets Brendan’s scripts.) (Also, seriously, I thought Max was raising some yellow to orange flags but I simultaneously hated the idea of forcing this into some kind of arbitrary competition with Clevin. And said so at the time. There were plenty of other reasons for not liking Max. And liking Clevin, but maybe not wanting to jump into dating him. Sheesh! Are we Archie?) Tylikcat I’ve definitely been courted with gifts in the past (not necessarily just in the romantic sense, though certainly that, too) and have also been in other situations where gifts and displays (I’d put the helicopter ride more in that category) came up. …It’s all about context. I am suspicious minded. Though it’s less about the exchange of value than the balance of power – if someone offers me something with no strings attached, and a) I’m pretty sure it’s honesty meant and b) there’s not a lot of likelihood hidden strings are likely to appear I am not against accepting it with equal honesty. I might be more careful about accepting a car-ride home even if it’s one the way, because it puts me in someone else’s control – but again, context. There are plenty of people I would totally accept a ride from. (Just never, ever, my mother.) There are plenty of people where there is enough murkiness in the context I wouldn’t touch that gift with a ten foot pole. Loneliness over harassment any day of the week – and I’m tall, strong, a martial artist and martial arts instructor, and totally comfortable telling people where to stick it. I still hate dealing with the kind of entitlement that tends to come with harassment – partly I think because there’s so much social conditioning to be polite, and yet that’s part of the problem. And it was so much worse when I was younger. Arkone Axon I don’t know that Paladin WANTS billions… she could very well HAVE millions (given that she can A: afford enough attorneys to deal with the endless onslaught of legal issues Templar sent against her, and B: Templar had a “buy first” option on all her patents, and if the price was unfairly low then a judge would agree the contract was inherently unfair). But she’s also got a motto: No glory save honor. She’s looking to save the world, not enrich herself. The catch is that Templar keeps sitting on her patents and won’t let her make the world a better place. Izo It’s not about if she wants millions or billions. It’s that if you’re going to have a charitable organization, it needs money to remain solvent. Having millions or billions helps that to happen. If she’s truly altruistic, she can put all or almost all of the money she makes into the business not her personal accounts. It’s not about enriching herself – it’s about saving the world by HAVING THE MONEY to make that possible. 🙂 The point is if she wants Valkyrie to help a lot of people, a good way to do that would be to become extremely financially solvent, so money problems are not an issue. Which she COULD do if her genius also extended to basic business sense, given her inventions’ usefulness if patented and marketed well. 🙂 Even if you had to deal with Templar, she could just invent NEW things and patent those. There’s no such thin as a ‘buy first on ALL patents you will ever make’ – it would be an unenforceable contract and wouldn’t even survive going to court. So… without selling the patents to Templar, which would honestly be a stupid thing to do anyway… she’d have a huge amount of wealth. Or she could improve upon her existing patents in a way which would be novel, unique, or non-obvious. Which, given she invented all of that stuff in the first place, she’d be more likely to do than anyone else. Then she could sell market those improvements without dealing with the patents which Templar is sitting on. Stormy9 Followed by “It’s too late to apologize” by one republic. Danygalw Only if she takes it. Kid Chaos Templar is owned by Patrick (the telepath, aka “Menace“), whom Alison is currently pissed at. Naturally, Patrick keeps tabs on Alison & co., so this donation is probably an olive branch (so to speak). Whether she takes it or not…I don’t know. It could go either way. Stay tuned. 😎 Mistress Dizzy Thanks very much, Chaos. Kid Chaos To be more specific, Patrick is “the man behind the curtain” at Templar. He calls the shots while some other dude is the public face of the company; and instead of being a “very poor wizard”, he’s a very smart telepath. 🤖 Danygalw putting himself back in the narrative Danygalw idk if it’d be appropriative or not but I really doubt wearing a burqa would decrease the amount of harassment suffered, overall. GreatWyrmGold I never thought of it that way. It’s always unfortunate when authors listen too much to the comment sections… Jon Which is great for her, but I’m thinking it’s easier to correct for donation bias than it is to find another ten million dollars which could actually help all of the people she claims to actually care about in her program. Jon Research and charity are a bit different. If giving money to research fucks up the point of the research (an objective answer to a scientific question) that’s bad. If giving money makes a charity more inclined to say positive things about some group, but then also saves a bunch of lives (the actual point of the charity) then fucking whatever. How is that even close to bad on balance? This is really a ‘shut up and multiply’ situation. If you are willing to compromise your organization’s own core goals for an unnecessary secondary moral consideration, I wouldn’t want you leading that organization. Izo I’m pretty sure when you’re a mass-murdering terrorist with a huge bodycount, you’re rather immoral. The idea that Max, who’s main fault is he’s a douche, is less moral than Patrick, who is an unrepentent murderer who has tried to take over the country, is sort of shocking to hear someone espouse.