Heh. Convenient VR headsets. πŸ˜› And yeah, there’s a fine line to walk between instilling your kid with confidence and giving them delusions of perfection.


I’m pretty sure Kleya’s father is one who’s actually to blame for all this horror. He just used his little girl cleverly, and then left her alone to cope with it on her own.
The idea that he’s Saisuke? I really hope that’s not true.


Why is she wearing a visor? did she use to be blind or something?


I think she’s just that hooked on the virtual world. She spends all her available time online. That… and miss Aneeka has said she obsesses over real-life Kleya’s eyes when she has to draw them.


Is that Jack on the last panel? Is he younger than Kleya, or was he just smaller?


Hmm, she wears the VR goggles all the time as a child.


Yeah, thought so too. We never see her eyes. Why does she always wear these things?


Little Kleya and Little Bandit, how sweet.


“Hacking’s Never Bad”?


data just wants to be free. if they really didnt want you to get in there they’d have made it better


What’s more important, the data or the jazz? Sure, sure, ‘Information should be free’ and all that- but anyone can set information free. The jazz is in how you do it, what you do it to, and in almost getting caught without getting caught. The data is 1’s and 0’s. Life is the jazz.


I love Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. I can even hear the Datajack’s voice saying that quote in my head, now. =P


Well, technically “hacking” is a constructive & creative process. “Cracking” is the removal of restrictions placed by program creators, but even then quite a few people think that’s not in and of itself harmful (e.g. it’s a puzzle to solve and it liberates the information). But I guess the point is moot since media has long since redefined “hackers” as “computer criminals trying to steal your stuff”.


that was what hacking meant in the 80s…definations drift.
or do you still use old timy words like malarky and “gay” meaning “happy” too?


I use malarky all the time.


Isn’t it written malarkey? (The E isn’t pronounced, though.)

I was just trying to give some insider perspective. It’s not old “1980s” terminology. It’s “insider” vs. general public. Even in 2014 “hacker” as constructive/creative is alive and well. Query “hackathon” or see this article from last month: http://huff.to/1anS4ib Here on this page, Kleya uses the term as not-a-bad-thing, kind of like how an actual (insider/creative) hacker would do. I do agree with Elizabeth’s comment below, though, that it’s quite an odd, perhaps tragically naive, thing to say. As a point of history, the meaning didn’t drift. Rather, the news media instantly (for whatever reasons) assigned “hacker” as “bad”, despite… Read more »
“Hacking’s never bad” is kind of an odd thing to say, unless she’s repeating what someone else has told her (possible, given the first two vignettes). “Hacking’s great” would be a natural thing to say if she’s just used it to get through an obstacle, or “hacking’s fine” if her companion (young Jake?) thought it would be a bad idea just now, or said he thought they’d get into trouble, being “bad.” I only mention this because if the wording is deliberate, it’s a clue to other dialogue earlier in that scene. It almost has to follow the other kid… Read more »

Alternately, the wording is how she remembers today something that happened years ago, with the shadow of the hacker-hunts coloring that past memory.

Prolly not is my guess. People can fixate on memories that mean nothing to anyone else so Bandit likely doesn’t recall it. But I am thinking your right in believing she has been coached. She was raised a certain way. By her father at least. That might have been why there was distance between her mother and father in that photo from so many pages ago. I think her mother tried to make her a responsible and well adjusted person. Her father apparently raised her to be a criminal. Not because he gave her the skills to hack. But because… Read more »

So that’s her father both in the last strip and here? And would that be Jake at the end?


Why stop now? If you want to be the only good-aligned member on an evil team. Do It.


Yeah, she looks like she was born blind or something, wearing her oculus at all times like that.



I just re-read the “original” reality series. In that, she appears to be wearing some sort of exoskeleton interface thing under her clothes. But it doesn’t work the way I would make something like that to, because it “forces [her] into position”.

This, combined with you remarking that she “doesn’t need a keyboard” and speculation her about her being born blind, make me wonder:
Is she disabled or something, and the exoskeleton interface enables her to move?

Stomme poes

I hang out with various disabled hackers online, and they repeatedly go on about how the web is the most freeing thing evar. The idea of some superstar you know online having some major disability is appealing in any cyberpunky story, but I thought it was already established here that probably the majority of people using L.I.F.e are, in fact, pretty bad off in various way. Having a disability is probably in the majority here.


I have a technical mind, so what I saw in that was: She floats in the middle of her chamber, whilst moving the exoskeleton, enabling her to move in L.I.F.E. Remember when she was forced into position, she said, “I sat like that?” It was probably calibrating to her in-game position. As for her being blind? She saw the monitors and stuff in her room, but personally my jury is still out on that.

Stomme poes

Makes me think of that paralysed boy moving his body using telekenesis in that Anne McCaffrey book. Can’t remember what it was called, but that idea always stuck with me.

I’m pretty sure Kleya walks and sees without needing assistance in the real world. The exoskeleton provides feedback to her body from the virtual world, stopping her body from moving through virtual objects, e.g. the couch she’s sitting on in the Lillys’ apartment in that particular scene. Kleya’s exoskeleton is unusual enough that she doesn’t want anyone to know she has it. She is faking her signal to look like she’s using a keyboard and headset at the beginning of the story, and now she’s pretending to use a Kido unit, which seems to be an enclosed coffin-like interface that… Read more »

I think she can see, and she likely can move herself under her own power. She is just very thin from a diet of everything you need and nothing you don’t. Plus I doubt she exercises very much. So her body just doesn’t have muscle mass from a combination of diet and lack of exercise. I think the device over her eyes we see is just to show she was -always- doing stuff with computers and code. Daddy dearest likely pushed her heavily to do that and what daddy’s girl will disappoint daddy?


Tattoo on right arm? CHECK!


Hmm. I just reread the archive, and there’s a point where Dude claims he’s known Jake since they were five… Given their familiarity with each other, that may be true, but it seems odd that the Dude wouldn’t have met/known more about Kleya if he’d been friends with her best friend/boyfriend before all this.


Good point. Although we also know Jake knew her around the time the Ending began, and that Brandon was in Hong Kong at that time (which we learned from his fear of mechas.) So maybe Jake is Brandon’s childhood friend and he didn’t meet Kleya until later, and didn’t reconnect with Brandon until after the Ending, say when Brandon escaped Hong Kong to TENka’s city, or something of that nature.


Age Difference?
Someone went to college?


*first comment*
First to say that I really love this comic! The story is interesting and the drawing style is beautiful. I love Kleya’s backstory, especially. There are some things I wonder about though; like what program you draw with and how you came up with Kleya’s name. The second one especially. Could you tell us?


This makes me sad, because people still call her a monster even though she was just doing everything she was told. She is clearly willing to change. But. Bah.


I’m sorry, but being raised like that is just kind of disturbing. And her mother let the dad get away with this? What part did she play? I’m kind of curious.

Given her daughter’s attitude, I’d say that this is before her death. I’m just wondering if her mother reinforced this, condemned it or what. Did she even know?

My uneducated guess is that Mom was pretty much on board with this. She spent enough time in the virtual world that she would be annoyed by stiffness and aching after long sessions(ok, I admit even I’ve been there), and apparently she was heavily involved in designing the Game. It seems things eventually went way too far, but I think the snapshots we see here come from well before that. If you want to get way out in left field, maybe Mom was the driving force behind the whole thing, and it’s only in Kleya’s skewed and guilt-ridden memory that… Read more »