440: Road Rage
Title text: Okay, now just as the loss hits him, slam on the brakes.
Road rage refers to aggressive behavior exhibited by (usually angry) motorists towards other people on or near the road. It can take the form of excessive honking, uncharacteristically aggressive driving, and using obscene gestures or language, among other behaviors.
In this comic, Black Hat is driving a car, and Danish is with him in the passenger's seat. Black Hat gets annoyed because the car behind him is "tailgating" (following too close behind Black Hat's car).
Danish decides to fight back, but rather than engaging in typical instances of road rage, she turns on her laptop and finds that the car behind them also has a laptop running. Since the cars are so close, the other laptop is well within WiFi range, so she manages to establish a WiFi connection with the laptop in the other car. Then, Danish finds a security hole (in the comic, a "remote exploit"). She uses it to break into the laptop and install a speech synthesizer. This means that the laptop in the car behind just starts saying words at Danish's will.
The driver of the other car is puzzled when he starts hearing a voice. He is completely clueless about where the voice comes from. Also, because he is driving alone, he is probably frightened (or nervous at least) to find that someone is speaking inside his car. The "shot in the dark" is the gamble that this statement is meaningful to the tailgater. In order for it to psychologically impact the driver, he would have to have either been involved in someone's death, or have known someone who died in a way that he blames himself for (or could be convinced to blame himself for), and that person would need to be female for the "she" pronoun to work. There are a large number of different ways this phrase could be meaningful to a person, ranging from actual murder to being involved in an accident to simply losing a loved one in a way he feels he could have prevented. Danish obviously keeps the accusation vague to maximize the odds of it impacting the tailgater, but the odds are still relatively low that it would be meaningful. Despite the poor chances, this appears to land, as the tailgater is evidently impacted by the disembodied voice blaming him for this unspecified person's death.
In the title text, Danish continues her revenge, asking Black Hat to slam on the brakes. So-called "brake checking" is a common (though highly unsafe) method of road rage against tailgaters. At minimum, it forces them to abruptly decelerate and hopefully frightens them, but the danger is that they don't have room to stop in time and cause a collision. The joke is that, having already achieved a complicated and psychologically painful form of revenge, Danish wants to follow it up with a much more conventional form at the worst possible time. Since the blame for such types of accident is always given to the driver of the car behind, and since we know Black Hat is a sadistic bastard, Black Hat will no doubt enjoy adding both the blame and the traffic accident on top of what Danish has already accomplished. This may seem ironic, as Black Hat and Danish would be risking having their own car struck, but they would no doubt rather make an example than avoid the accident.
- [Black Hat is driving, and Danish, who seems to be his equal, is in the passenger's seat. They are closely followed by some other vehicle.]
- Black Hat: That guy's tailgating me.
- Danish: I'll take a look.
- [A car is shown to be closely behind Black Hat's car.]
- Danish: His laptop's running, probably in the back seat. And... yup, the WiFi autoconnects.
- [Close-up of Danish using a laptop.]
- Danish: Now we just scan for remote exploits... install speech synth... And take a shot in the psychological dark.
- [Cueball's car.]
- Laptop: Hello.
- Cueball: What? Who's there?
- Laptop: She'd be alive if it weren't for you.
- Cueball: ...Oh God.
This may be a continuation of 433: Journal 5, with Black Hat taking Danish to the "date" that was mentioned.
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