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Girl Genius:

 2351 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 5:53:36 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
I tend to agree: Wilhelm doesn't appear all that interested. The insults aren't...amused enough to read as hiding affection or attraction, either. He's a bad cook and a complete spaz and that's pretty much it so near as I can tell.

But she DOES have more dramatic material to carry. Not sure what. (grin) As Tiktoffen I would be tempted to fly her as an alternate Pink Princess: she's a Spark, she knows the Castle, and, well...she's PINK! And she wants to get out.

I do like Violetta and Moloch. I wonder how many "matches" are going to be made in this story. It does feel Shakespeare/Gilbert & Sullivanish in the sense of kind of hungering for an "all the couples laugh and dance at the end" sort of finish.

Glad you like the subversion of the Von Pinn theory. I do, too. (evil grin)
Mostly Harmless.
 2352 Meta Four, Mon, 24th Aug '09 5:54:03 PM from the house of bread and battle
AXTE INCAL AXTUCE MUN
Considering how, Chronic Hero Syndrome aside, Agatha has mostly wanted to be left alone, I think she'd be relieved to find out she's not the One True Heterodyne.
 2353 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 6:10:43 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
Mmmm. Now, I'm not sure at this point Agatha would want to give up being Lady Heterodyne. She's getting into it, even if she does think her people were a bit scary. Reading her shouting "Heterodyne!" at the Castle, or telling Zola "You're in my town, you're in my Castle, and you're in my way!" leaves me pretty sure she's accepted that role deep down.

Not impossible that she could accept a lower level. She and Gil are both committed to aspects of their roles, though: "I am GILGAMESH WULFENBACH, and I AM IN CONTROL!" (heh)

What I suspect they would love is to be able to be eccentric Madboys and Girls puttering around inventing things and sticking someone else with the really annoying work of World Governance. The biggest problem is that so far Klaus is the only good choice and he hates it, as well as being every bit the despot he's rumored to be.

Another Minor Ninja Edit:

I am looking forward to Violetta meeting Zeetha. The Willing Warrior meets The Apathetic Assassin. Oddly I think they may like each other. I can see them bonding over the braids and the girl talk...

edited 24th Aug '09 6:35:44 PM by Hippogrif

Mostly Harmless.
Besides the obvious analogue to the Storm King mythos in what's taking place here, and the fact that it is an actual impetus to action on Tarvek's side of things, I think it's important to Von Pinn's backstory (as others here have stated). If we take the castle's cut off line in http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20071012 as a reference to Princess Euphrosynia, we actually have an inverted foreshadowing in Agatha's cutting him off.

But back to Von Pinn. She references that she is designed to keep the "Heterodyne girl" safe in http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090710. She also states in the next page that she's waited over 200 years to complete her purpose, and then states a set of masters:

Her creator, probably Van Rijn (as the Storm King's friend) safe for those around the Heterodyne female, which we can assume to mean Princess Euphrosynia. The exact way this is worded makes it very interesting; it needed to be someone who cared about the dangerous effects a (rare) Heterodyne female could have, without trying to dispose of her. A lover's friend is perfect, and he had to be a spark, of course.

Her beloved King, undoubtedly the Storm King, was a romantic fool who charged her with the Heterodyne female's protection. She wouldn't disobey him, but she thought she could subvert his instructions. If Van Rijn gave her to the Storm King as a gift, that would explain her inability to disobey him, although she immediately sets forth her desire not to, as well.

Lucrezia, at this point undoubtedly the Other (although when Lucrezia became the Other, probably with the help of a brain-zappy machine, is unclear; it was certainly before she disposed of Klaus and accepted Bill's offer of marriage), "interfered" and Von Pinn finds herself "compelled" to protect Agatha with her life. All together now...

Von Pinn is a revenant! But why didn't the weasels catch her?

 2355 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 7:02:11 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
<<Her creator, probably Van Rijn (as the Storm King's friend) safe for those around the Heterodyne female, which we can assume to mean Princess Euphrosynia. The exact way this is worded makes it very interesting; it needed to be someone who cared about the dangerous effects a (rare) Heterodyne female could have, without trying to dispose of her. A lover's friend is perfect, and he had to be a spark, of course. >>

It really is interesting phrasing—as the part that applies to the creator indicates an expected Heterodyne girl rather than an existing one. IF Von Pinn is remembering correctly—which is anyone's guess, as she seems more than a little Mad—then the Heterodyne Girl she was created to keep in check can't be Euphrosinia or whatver the heck the name is. So creator builds VP to keep others safe from the Coming Heterodyne Girl (Once and Future HG!), King counters by extending that to keeping O&FHG safe from others, and (presumably) Lucrezia adds the addendum that VP is to keep Agatha safe even at the cost of her own life. The first is clearly aimed at a future HG, the second, who knows, and the third appears to apply specifically to Agatha though possibly in Lucrezia/Other's mind as a replacement body for the Other to inhabit at some point in time.

As for revenant? No. I'm pretty sure that dog won't hunt.

Now, depending on timing the Jagers may be able to tell us a LOT about the entire dratted time line. WE already know they want Agatha as their new Heterodyne. But...do they have any opinion at all about her being a "Heterodyne Girl"?
Mostly Harmless.
 2356 Brickman, Mon, 24th Aug '09 7:16:04 PM from wherever adventure takes me Relationship Status: My own grandpa
Gentleman Adventurer!
That's... a very strange theory. We know from Klaus that it's at least possible to make a slaver wasp that'll work on constructs, whether they all do or not (the only thing special about that one was that it'd work on a spark, so it's likely that they actually all would've worked on a construct). She's compelled to obey Agatha's voice until she realizes what's going on and makes a conscious effort to resist it; the same was true of Vrin, so at the time it seemed like this just meant this was a feature installed on all of Lucrezia's creations and Von Pinn was one of them. It was never explained why Von Pinn declared that commanding her "wouldn't work again", but it seemed up until recently that it was just like Vrin—the command voice carries a lot of weight, but if a sufficiently strong-willed creation knows that it's not really Lucrezia speaking they can resist. But then we learned that Lucrezia wasn't VP's original creator or the first to give her orders (though she's the only one whose orders she openly would like to be able to disobey). It would make a lot of sense if Von Pinn were a revenant; perhaps Lucrezia realized she'd figured out a workaround to her original orders and took matters into her own hands.

The question is: How? Revenants who could pose as functioning human beings rather than shambling zombies appear to be entirely new; they were not used during the previous war with the Other and if any of them have existed between now and then, they weren't put to any use since their master wasn't present. If she had these revenants the last time she would've interacted with Von Pinn, though, why didn't she make use of them in the war?

Lucrezia really has been using her "Stealthy revenants" all along, sneakily.

My guess is she did, but carefully—a tool like that is much more valuable if kept secret, since they can just step up security and add four security keys to every important mechanism or something if her enemies found out about it. Everyone would be second-guessed, and eventually they'd find a countermeasure (read: the bug sniffing dogs). Far more useful is to have a few key players infected and ready to sabotage things or lead their troops to certain death, without leaving any evidence that she'd made them do it. The reason they're in the open now is that Agatha wasn't in on this subterfuge; Lucrezia never would have wasted her trump card by ordering one of her stealth revenants to activate the hive engine, but Agatha didn't even do that on purpose and certainly wasn't trying to keep anything hidden. Once an action had been taken which couldn't be attributed to anything but stealth-revenants, the Baron figured it out, ran whatever tests were necessary to verify it, and had his countermeasure in under three months. The reason these revenants are "new" is because this is first time they've acted so inexpertly as to be noticed.

And with all that said, Lucrezia would certainly have been a useful person to have as a revenant, if she knew that without doing so Lucrezia would try to sidestep her orders and kill Agatha. She didn't even have to order her to do anything that everyone else wasn't already expecting her to do.
Your funny quote here! (Maybe)
 2357 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 8:08:05 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
Except we have reason to believe we know the source of the variant wasps: Passholdt and whossname.

Now, here's a question before I say one more word. We know there is a wasp that can infect Sparks and constructs AND which leaves the victim apparently sane and functional and normal: the one that infected Klaus.

We also know that there is a wasp that infects people and leaves them appearing sane and functional and normal: They've been seeded all through Sturmhalt and are/were on the Baron's ship until he detected them with the sniffer weasels.

Do we know yet if they are the same variation, designed by whossname in Passholdt? If they are one variation, not two, then Tarvek lied to Vrin (surprise, suprise!) about there only being one Spark-infecting wasp. Which makes sense, as the lie kept him from being infected then and there. But it would pretty much rule out Lucrezia running a wasp that infected Von Pinn because the timing is all wrong—the "normal not zombie" wasps would be those invented by Whossname after Lucrezia/Other disappeared. If they're two different variants then there is a slight possibility taht Von Pinn is an infected revenant slaved to Lucrezia/Other...but it then leaves open the question why Lucrezia/Other didn't use the wasps the way the Order of Jove is attempting to use them, by seeding slaved agents all through the Empire.

Mostly Harmless.
 2358 Greybeard Fan, Mon, 24th Aug '09 8:44:05 PM Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
If Violetta is in fact in Agatha's service and if she meets Zeetha, will Violetta become part of Agatha's training regime?
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
 2359 Haven, Mon, 24th Aug '09 8:55:09 PM from Radiance
Planescape Hijack
I'm curious to see how Violetta and Zeetha get along. I expect hilarity to ensue.
Productivity is for people without internet connections. -Count Dorku
 2360 Brickman, Mon, 24th Aug '09 8:56:05 PM from wherever adventure takes me Relationship Status: My own grandpa
Gentleman Adventurer!
And what I'm saying is, maybe she did—as long as she gave nobody reason to suspect that something fishy was going on, and everybody assumed up front that it was impossible, she very well could have had revenants all over the place, and who would be the wiser? All she has to do is show restraint with the orders she gives them. A tool that can totally wreak havok on the chain of command for a few months until they find proper countermeasures is a handy tool, but a tool that gives you a permanent, undetectable foothold in any level of government, in any military unit and anywhere else you might want, is infinitely more valuable. And if you do it right, then nobody will ever know you did it in the first place.
Your funny quote here! (Maybe)
 2361 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 9:15:59 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
Except that it means she was trying to run two kinds of take-over war, not one: one by stealth and one by open assault with the known, already established wasps that gave zombies. And, worse...ok, if you assume she's using both, one overtly and one covertly, then the sudden collapse of the entire project seems really...odd. I mean, really odd. She would have been in a position to saboutage efforts against her to a degree no war machine has ever had the luxury of managing. She should have won, and even if she was brought down there should be a very different form of campaign going on with her return.

Lucrezia's sole effort to draw on stealth wasps was infecting Klaus, so far as we've seen. She appears fixated on getting the hives back up and running and on whatever the "egg" is that also left Sturmhalt with the Giesters.

The Knights do know about the stealth wasps, as Anevka was focused there. And she and Selnikov were depending on the seeded wasps: that was the whole point of Anevka getting the voice, so she could control the seeded wasps without the knights needing to get Lucrezia back.

But there is no sign in her strategy that Lucrezia/Other knows the extent of the wasp invasion.

In fact, she almost CAN'T know or she would have used the voice any number of times in Sturmhalten. Tarvek appears to have managed to keep the entire seeded agent line of logic far, far away from her.
Mostly Harmless.
I think it's important to start noting the difference between "Lucrezia" and "the Other."

"The Other" is, indisputably, an entity that can transfer consciousness through mechanical means. Let this sink in a bit. (See Brain Uploading, which already references GG.)

1) Who says there's only one? Referring to the plans of "the Other" should immediately evoke a response of "which the Other?" In fact, we know for a fact that there's more than one: we have the Other as she currently resides in Agatha's head, and Tanevkother.

Incidentally, does anyone know of a trope where immortality is gained through brain or mind transfer to mortal hosts? As an idea, it's tropeworthy, but Brain Uploading is the closest I could find. It's certainly generally considered as being over the Moral Event Horizon, though.

2) How can we know how old she (some clues that the Other can only possess females) is? We know she has a society of dangerous worshippers at her beck and call, at the very least. That can't happen overnight.

She may, in fact, be thousands of years old, and may have been carefully seeding Europe with revenants for millenia. She may be centuries old, and prefer using shambling zombie peasant revenants for her shock troops. She may be decades old and prefer subverting institutions from the inside and using them to further her own ends. She may, in fact, be all of these at the same time, and perfectly willing to work with herself, whatever her incarnation, to achieve her end: to rule the world! (Of course!)

What else do we know about her? Well, she's insane. First off, she was a Spark once, so that's a given. But secondly, she's got generations of other Sparks ground into her thought patterns, and that's gotta have an effect. She's also extremely sensual and physically impulsive, which is a nice contrast to Agatha, who is not. She uses voice controls (and controls her offspring's voices) to make sure that her creations obey her between incarnations. And she's a consummate actress.

This is an awesome villain. And while she may not have used a slaver wasp on Von Pinn, she sure as heck did something to her brain.

Other things to note re: general Lucreziahood

1) First, Barry came back and for some reason came back with a full distrust of Klaus Wulfenbauch... who had disappeared for years and then immediately set about ruling Europe when he got back. Given what Punch and Judy told Klaus (and good LORD I wish they'd bring those two back for some exposition), what does Barry know? What does he think he knows? After all, he did make the locket to protect Agatha, and while it hid the Spark I wouldn't be surprised if a secondary use would be blocking Lucrezia's brain-transferring machine. Most importantly, where is he? I'd suspect beyond a portal somewhere. (Why DID some of Lucrezia's priestesses turn against her, cutting off the portal access to their world? Remember how Othar subverted a Geisterdaimen...)

2) On the subject of the locket, what killed Omar Von Zinzer? People often seem to assume Moloch's conclusion was correct, but compare the third panel of http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021122 to the fourth panel of http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20061113, a week shy of four years later.

The inevitable conclusion? Omar was a revenant!

Is it just me, or are revenants a bit like Cylons?

 2363 Greybeard Fan, Mon, 24th Aug '09 10:09:31 PM Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
Or, as I suggested a while ago, they are two different lockets.
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
 2364 Brickman, Mon, 24th Aug '09 10:32:37 PM from wherever adventure takes me Relationship Status: My own grandpa
Gentleman Adventurer!
Omar as a revenant would be very cool, even if it makes no sense whatsoever. Good catch with that "order".

I'd like to remind everybody of one more detail we all forgot: the first stealth-revenant we learned about, Doctor VG, was determined not to let the Baron date-test the hive engine—he only resigned himself to killing his friend after he learned that his friend had found a method of date-testing which would work. Which, logically, means that the Baron's suspicion was correct and the hive engine Beetle found was brand new. Now there's a twist that'll throw a wrench in any theory we have to this point, wild or not. I mean, yeah, there's time travel, but as far as we know to this point that's eyes-only.

edit: The other thing to wonder about is how the Baron knew that was the question to ask. Was it just general paranoia, or did he know something we still don't?

edited 24th Aug '09 10:34:07 PM by Brickman

Your funny quote here! (Maybe)
 2365 Haven, Mon, 24th Aug '09 11:29:04 PM from Radiance
Planescape Hijack
In fact, she almost CAN'T know or she would have used the voice any number of times in Sturmhalten. Tarvek appears to have managed to keep the entire seeded agent line of logic far, far away from her.

Except this command suggests she knew the townspeople were obeying her orders.

And agreed with your general point, Dr East. I've been thinking for a while that it's more than "Lucrezia is the Other"—the smoking gun for that is probably the Geister priestess' line "always in the same lovely aspect"—and the line about all the Other's inventions being in Lucrezia's style, but stronger, was just a red herring. So the question becomes, how long has she been possessed by the Other. Was she "evil" before, or after?

Oh, and nice catch Brickman. I suspect it's more general paranoia—to paraphrase him, "Was the Other beaten, or did the attacks just stop? We never knew, " so it seems like he isn't too surprised to find the Other active again simply on the grounds that there wasn't a clear reason why the Other became inactive.

edited 24th Aug '09 11:31:16 PM by Haven

Productivity is for people without internet connections. -Count Dorku
Do we know yet if they are the same variation, designed by whossname in Passholdt?

They're most likely related, but ordinary slaver wasps (including, presumably, the Sturmhalten variety) don't work on sparks — hence why the tiny engine is so important.
I will keep my soul in a place out of sight,
Far off, where the pulse of it is not heard.
 2367 Hippogrif, Mon, 24th Aug '09 11:47:07 PM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
Ooof. Yeah, she knows they'll obey.

Sooooo....

I think I'd better think it out again.

There are too many thread ends and not enough threads, dang it.

Yes, agreed on Lucrezia/Other. They are NOT the same. I'm pretty sure at some point if there ever was an original Lucrezia it got suppressed by The Other. I suspect, however, that the humans in the story don't know that there even might be a difference between Lucrezia and the Other.
Mostly Harmless.
 2368 Haven, Mon, 24th Aug '09 11:52:35 PM from Radiance
Planescape Hijack
I think Tarvek's dad might have known, since he was the one running the machine, but that's probably about it.
Productivity is for people without internet connections. -Count Dorku
I'd also like to point out that Baron Wulfenbach may in fact be correct, as well: the Other could be millenia old, transferring her consciousness via mechanical methods, AND it could be Agatha. We already have the existence of time-travel induced multiverses in this meta-narrative, as shown by Othar's adventures in the Twitter. Canon? No. Able to show us how time travel works in this multiverse? Yep! Further, one of Othar's first adventures dealt with time clones. Agatha could be the hero AND the villain of this piece, without any contradictions.

My biggest piece of supporting evidence for this? Page 4 of the comic. I think the Enigma is Agatha/Other in a Tanevka-style chassis, actively having a conversation with an offscreen character (probably "our" Agatha) standing near her/their time-travel portal machine, trying to make a point about her general patheticness at this "past" point in the narrative (i.e., "You would have me be like you? A GOOD guy? A lowly little peon who can't cobble together the most basic of mechanisms, kept from the true glory of her heritage by the malicious intent of her forebears? LIKE THAT?"), and in the process of doing so inadvertently starting Agatha down the path of locket-removal-and-breakthrough that causes her to become our "good" Agatha in the first place!

Note the look of contempt on the Enigma's face, too. This may in fact be the point where Enigma/Other/Agatha diverges from good heroine Agatha. Gotta love time travel, where cause and effect become one and the same.

On the other hand, I don't think this is particularly likely, just possible. The personality differences between the Other, who's borderline, er, borderline, and Agatha are extreme.

edited 25th Aug '09 6:56:05 AM by DrEast

 2370 ccoa, Tue, 25th Aug '09 7:11:44 AM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
Incidentally, does anyone know of a trope where immortality is gained through brain or mind transfer to mortal hosts? As an idea, it's tropeworthy, but Brain Uploading is the closest I could find. It's certainly generally considered as being over the Moral Event Horizon, though.

That's Immortality, Type IX. (I added that one. ^_^)
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
I shoulda checked Immortality. Thank you!

 2372 Greybeard Fan, Tue, 25th Aug '09 8:26:32 AM Relationship Status: Mu
My Engine
The Sturmvoraus family developed the Spark-capable slaver wasp. Other/Lucrezia knew that Klaus was not only a Spark but a Construct. But did the Sturmvoraus folks? If not, that might be a weakness in the wasp's abilities. Granted, it seemed to work, but Gil seems to think that Klaus and he are probably proof against almost anything. Now, it takes the immune system some time to respond, so we don't know what Klaus's physiology is doing to that wasp.
If I were a landing thruster, which one of these would I be? Aaah!
 2373 Brickman, Tue, 25th Aug '09 8:40:43 AM from wherever adventure takes me Relationship Status: My own grandpa
Gentleman Adventurer!
That would sure be interesting, if later on, Agatha loses the amulet and Lucrezia takes over, walks confidently up to Klaus, starts giving orders... and gets punched in the face.

edit: That said, it's unlikely. In-universe it's well-established fact that there is no cure for slaver wasps. The baron's people even told that messenger something like "We'll do everything we can for you and take care of you until we find a cure".

edited 25th Aug '09 8:42:29 AM by Brickman

Your funny quote here! (Maybe)
 2374 Hippogrif, Tue, 25th Aug '09 11:48:26 AM from Headed Up
Hippogrif
<<The Sturmvoraus family developed the Spark-capable slaver wasp. Other/Lucrezia knew that Klaus was not only a Spark but a Construct. But did the Sturmvoraus folks? If not, that might be a weakness in the wasp's abilities. Granted, it seemed to work, but Gil seems to think that Klaus and he are probably proof against almost anything. Now, it takes the immune system some time to respond, so we don't know what Klaus's physiology is doing to that wasp. >>

No, Sturmvoraus, by implication, developed the general purpose no-zombie wasp. Snarlantz in Passholdt developed the Sparky wasp. AND, looking back, Tarvek wasn't supposed to know about it...but did.

Dang it, that boy gets into more stuff. We know he's been reading the reports on the Castle. But I betcha he's been going through Papa's papers for a long time. It may just be in the service of his own ascension, but he's acting as much like an agent with a mission as he is like a King to be. Boy would make on hell of a fine spy.

Klaus' system may not kill the wasp, but the Wulfenbachs WILL develop a cure. Bet on it.

http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20060731

And....

Oh. He WOULD make a good spy. Perfectly placed to do a lot of stuff. And we don't know what Barry got up to after he disappeared. Spy network, anyone?

edited 25th Aug '09 11:52:29 AM by Hippogrif

Mostly Harmless.
Queen of Filks
Ooooh, Agatha's very first grown-up Sparky outburst being to order Omar to die - fascinating! That could be an argument for a latent, genetic tendency to Otherness.

I posited on the wild mass guess page that it was Lucrezia, trying to fight off the Other, who made the Spark-repressing locket with the intention of making an Other-suppressing locket, and left it with Barry, who may have improved on the design so that it would end up being unrecognizable as explicitly a Lucrezia or Heterodyne creation. Did Klaus ever mention that he thought the Locket was made by a Heterodyne?

It kind of makes me think of The Other/Lucrezia's reaction when she found the locket on Klaus. She opened it and seemed genuinely touched that he had remembered it - "You think of everything, " she said.

I've seen evidence for this theory dwindle as time goes by, but I still think it's worth mentioning.

One more thing: When Punch and Judy get back up and running, do you think Klaus will trust them to tell the truth about Agatha? They've been through boatloads of adventures together, probably. One thinks that he would take their word on anything. On the other hand, if they sense that he's planning to harm Agatha (which they seem to be remarkably perceptive on) they may refuse to help him at all. Another stalemate.

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