Like what you see? Please donate and support EvAb!

Standing watch on the threshold of the mundane and the impossible. For Mature Audiences.

Long Way Down, page 62

23rd Oct 2015, 6:33 AM in Long Way Down
Long Way Down, page 62

Author Notes

Zomburai 23rd Oct 2015, 6:33 AM edit delete
Goodnight, Bethany. You were cheated from your life, but your family carries on.


Due to being out for Central City Comic Con this weekend, I'm just not going to have the time to finish Monday's update, so ...

Long Way Down will conclude on Saturday, October 31st with a special triple-length update!!!

The saga finally concludes on Halloween ... probably appropriate for one of EverydayAbnormal's darkest stories.

Have a great week everybody!


ghostwhitehorse 23rd Oct 2015, 8:17 AM edit delete reply
Frellin' onions and habers. . .

Wondered when we were getting back the mole problem. . . Russell ain't gonna be happy though. HEH.

Zomburai 23rd Oct 2015, 1:32 PM edit delete reply
Were it up to Russell, Nick would have been promptly fired.

Out of a cannon.

Into the sun.

The mole is going to be an ongoing, if background, problem for a long time. :P
Delta-v 23rd Oct 2015, 3:17 PM edit delete reply
Gotta love the pomposity with which the decision is rendered (especially from General Nuisance). It's almost like they don't expect him to slip the surveillance and do whatever he wants. ^^
darius404 23rd Oct 2015, 7:55 PM edit delete reply
I think, at least for the General, it's less pomposity and more willingness to own up to his decisions. He's unwilling to let the ambiguous statement "members of this Council" hide him from scrutiny. He's very open and upfront about him being the person who suggested turning Nick over. While I don't agree with his suggestion, I find his straightforward and honest attitude refreshing and admirable.
Zomburai 25th Oct 2015, 9:53 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, that's kind of where I'm coming from with Maksimov ... He does not have a lot of patience for obfuscating bullshit outside of the battlefield (and probably not much more there, either).

Maksimov's an asshole, but you know what you're getting :P
Delta-v 29th Oct 2015, 11:18 AM edit delete reply
My actual point was that in spite of their august pronunciamiento, trying to control Nick is like nailing jello to the wall. It doesn't work, and you look foolish trying to do it. :)
Zomburai 29th Oct 2015, 12:40 PM edit delete reply
Well, that's true!

God bless 'em, they're gonna keep hammering anyway.
Muchacho NL 24th Oct 2015, 3:55 AM edit delete reply
Muchacho NL
Awww, Nick can't even say goodbye properly.
Idiot! Why didn't you just make it a team play? If I was in an organisation like this, I'd ask for every hand I could get.
steveha 25th Oct 2015, 1:06 PM edit delete reply
I agree: if I was in an organization like that, I'd get help from the organization.

The thing is, Nick isn't you, and Nick isn't me. He's a flawed character. He has moments of greatness, like "Hey. You know that new blood of yours is flammable?" in comic 327:

But he also has some big, big personal flaws.

In this case, I think that there were several things going on.

First, he was really focussed not just on his granddaughter being rescued from danger, but on he personally having done the rescuing. This could be partly an over-developed sense of personal responsibility, and partly something he learned in his previous life before joining the Agency (some idea like "you need to take care of your own problems because nobody else will help you", which in his case is no longer true).

Second, he clearly wanted to deter future attempts to kidnap someone from his family. In comic 331, he made a string of grisly threats that ended with "You will only ever be known as the guy that tried to fuck with me and mine." This is not the way an Agency operative should be doing things... and it would arguably have been just as good if the kidnapping attempt simply ended with everyone involved in prison.

In comic 381, just after he stands down and effectively surrenders to Lilith, he says "You know, I wanted to believe I was different." What I get from this is that he means "different" from the way he used to be before he joined the Agency. Under stress, he reverted to his old way of solving problems. Instead of trusting the agency to help him with his problems, he tried to handle everything by himself.

A very interesting point about the story: it's quite clear that he would have failed. His granddaughter was less than a minute away from being executed, and that was because of Nick's loose-cannon actions. Nick would not have reached her in time to save her (even if the Agency hadn't tricked Nick and diverted him to the place where they were ready for him).

When Nick had a problem (his granddaughter in danger) the Agency took on the problem on his behalf. But because of Nick's actions, the Agency now had two problems: save the granddaughter, rein in Nick. So Nick failed on every level here: he failed to act like an operative of the Agency should act; his loose-cannon actions would have resulted in the death of his granddaughter; the Agency saved his granddaughter in spite of his actions, instead of with his assistance (he made a tough problem harder instead of helping solve it); and he spooked the Syndicate into "cleaning up" evidence and witnesses, setting back hundreds of cases that the Agency had been pursuing, and resulting in the deaths of multiple people (some of whom must have been innocent people who didn't deserve death).

The one silver lining in the dark clouds of this situation is that he showed pretty clearly that he is not the mole. Rather than trying to get into the position where he would be most trusted and could do the most damage, he called attention to himself and pissed everyone off.

(And no, I don't think they are worried about "What if this was all an elaborate plan to make Nick look like he couldn't be the mole?" That would be beyond far-fetched.)
steveha 25th Oct 2015, 3:23 PM edit delete reply
Also, I love the irony of the current situation.

"We're pissed at you for trying to solve all your problems by yourself. But, we have a problem where we aren't sure whom you can trust, so we need you to solve this problem mostly by yourself."

(I guess he can trust the two operatives who tipped off the Agency to the problem of a mole in the first place. But we don't even know for sure if there is a mole in the Council.)

Once the dust all settles, I hope to see Nick become the first person who will say "We need to work together as a team!" Even if he kind of sucks at this whole teamwork thing, he can try.
Zomburai 25th Oct 2015, 10:40 PM edit delete reply
Muchacho: This entire chapter is very much built around that question. (For a certain reading of Long Way Down, the jokes near the beginning about this chapter being like Taken are very, very notable. I'm going to expand on this a bit on the Halloween post.)

steveha, the first: I really, really like this breakdown. Excellent analysis.

steveha, the second: [/snnneeerk], oh my God, the idea of Nick trying to rally anybody behind him on anything is amazing, especially after all this.
steveha 2nd Nov 2015, 1:03 AM edit delete reply
the idea of Nick trying to rally anybody behind him on anything is amazing, especially after all this.

Let me give an example from my own life. I once had two friends visiting me. On the theory that there was plenty of time before their flights left, I took them to lunch. I got them to the airport desk something like 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time... but their seats had both been given to stand-by passengers, because they weren't there early enough. My friends had to pay extra to rebook. My mistake cost my friends money (and I was low on money at the time and didn't feel I could afford to make it up to them). I felt horrible about it. Now, I am almost obsessed with getting to the airport, not just on time, but well and truly early. Never again! Never again will I make a friend miss a flight! (And for that matter I don't want to miss a flight.)

I can imagine Nick saying something like "you need to be a team player" or even "you need to trust the Agency", very seriously and very intensely. I can imagine him saying "don't do the dumb things I did." Also, given that the Agency saved the life of his granddaughter, I can definitely imagine him embracing the task of finding the mole and giving 100% until it's done... the mole is trying to tear down the Agency and he owes the agency a very personal and large debt.

I can't imagine Nick trying to be the boss of a group, and I can't imagine him trying to be a cheerleader. But if he saw someone being a loose cannon, that someone would get a possibly-scary talking to.

And as I said, I think his abilities will lend themselves to the mole investigation. The mole ought to be worried, if only he/she knew that Nick was now on the case.

P.S. There was a webcomic I read a few years back that I thought of while reading this storyline. In that comic a young man made his money as a hired killer, but then he stopped that and joined an organization that was literally advised by angels and tried to do good things in the world. Not long after he joined there was an urgent mission and he went out with the team, and he told the team leader something like this: "I don't play well with others. I'm not giving you attitude, I'm stating a fact. You guys have trained as a team and work well together, and I would just mess you guys up and vice versa. Give me a job I can do alone, like maybe use me as point man." The team leader agreed he could take point. He went in alone, spotted some booby-traps and got past them, and in general was a big help on the mission without working with the others.

(I can't remember what that comic was called. It stopped updating years ago with the story unfinished. I remember that his fake name while working as a hired killer was "Resonator", his name was "Star", he was bisexual and had a love interest thing going with a guy who was staying celibate because he literally talked with an angel and I think he needed to stay celibate to continue to be able to talk with the angel.)
steveha 14th Apr 2017, 12:53 AM edit delete reply
The webcomic I mentioned above is called Metanoia. Here's the page I was remembering; I got a few details wrong.
steveha 24th Oct 2015, 11:42 PM edit delete reply
Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

Zomburai 25th Oct 2015, 9:54 PM edit delete reply
You called it! :P Nice pull.
steveha 2nd Nov 2015, 1:27 AM edit delete reply
I sure messed up the URL. Here's the correct link to explain the "Hmm. Hmmmmmm." comment: