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As far as we know, Lamont was the only agent of the Scientific Society present aboard Westward for its first mission; whether that was engineered or not is still a little foggy. In the final panel, Ben is no doubt referring to the deal they struck a year prior, as seen a few strips back. -e

Transcript:

BEN: Think about what you’re saying. You might have been something special on the last ship, but here you’re just another Scientific Society kid—and so is Lazarus.
LAMONT: I’m not normal. I went through more. What if he’s the same? How would I know? How would I know anything about him?
BEN: For Pete’s sake, Townsend. You did your part, I did mine. For all I care you can take both of ’em and settle on the first habitable planet we find.

  • bayareajohn

    Lamont, the ONLY agent of the SS (yes I made that connection…)?
    There seemed ample implication that Edjamin was “programmed” to kill Phobos. I’d suggest that allowing him the artifice of his ego and rage is cover to keep him from suspecting that he too is a manipulated tool of the SS. Agents are as agents do.

    • You make a good point, John. Will and self-determination form the core of Ben’s ethos, and we’re only beginning to see how far he’ll go to prove that he’s justified in it.

      • bayareajohn

        …his self-image will implode if he finds that his self-determination is an implant. Much as his similarly messianic grandfather snapped when he found that humans were essentially a Martian experiment gone awry…

        • The Grafenecks always seem to find themselves on the same trajectory, don’t they?

  • bayareajohn

    And thank you again E, for shifting back to this reality. I’ve re-read some large chunks of the archive again, and as usual, come away with both wider understanding (maybe?) and new appreciation of the depths and breadth of your vision.

  • Folarx

    Apparently the requitted loathing between Lamont and Ben led to a sort of mutual trust. I like that.

    • Ben and Lamont may not like each other, but Lamont seems to sympathize with Ben’s objection to being manipulated.

      • Folarx

        That makes sense! Few a man got as manipulated and brain washed as Lamont. Ben was used to being the smartest guy in the room; a dangerous addiction with severe withdrawal symptoms.
        Is it weird for me to still miss Phobos, just a bit? Will we ever see him again?

        • I miss Phobos too, Folarx! And that is all I will say. đŸ˜‰