Hard Time
Order of the Stick comic
Comic no. 770
Date published 26 January 2011
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Haley's dad explains how and why he ended up stuck in Tarquin's prison for so long.

Cast Edit

Transcript Edit

Panel 1

Roy: Come on, let's give them a minute.
Belkar: Yeah, we'll just stand over in this other part of the big featureless room.
Ian: Oh, Kitten, I am so glad to see you. This was the worst decision I ever made, right up there with the year I scheduled a bank heist on my wedding anniversary.
Haley: Ha! I remember that. Mom was so mad, she—Wait.
Haley: "Decisions"?

Panel 2

Ian: What, you didn't think they captured a master thief like me fair and square, did you?
Haley: You LET them capture you?? Why?

Panel 3

Ian: I've been trying to help overthrow this government. See, there's this warlord named Tarquin, who—
Haley: Yeah, I just got the whole story, I don't need a recap.

Panel 4

Haley: Dad, I'm certainly not one to knock you for forming a resistance group when you find yourself living under the thumb of an evil dictator.
Haley: I've been there, it's a powerful urge for our character archetype.

Panel 5

Haley: But I'm pretty sure it's easier to topple a regime from outside a prison cell, so... what the heck?
Ian: OK, the important thing to remember is that it seemed like a really good idea at the time.
Haley: Gee, I've never heard you say THAT before.

Panel 6

Ian: Since the government's always throwing dissidents in jail, we thought it would be a great place to recruit like-minded folk to our cause.
Ian: As it turned out, though, most of the prisoners couldn't follow our long explanation of Tarquin's convoluted scheme.
Ian: Those that did? Got themselves killed in the arena in short order. Smart people aren't cut out to be gladiators.

Panel 7

Haley: So, if it didn't work, why are you still rotting in this dump?
Ian: Uh, well, it turns out that just because they can't CATCH a master thief doesn't mean they can't HOLD a master thief.

Panel 8

Ian: I've picked that door lock two dozen times, but somehow they always manage to stop me before I get too far.
Ian': Heck, once I even managed to get all the way out of the city before they found me and dragged me back here.
Ian: I don't know what tricks they're using to find me yet... my current theory is that they've bugged my bugs.

Panel 9

Haley: Do you have any idea how worried I was? You could have at least told me about this before you went inside.
Ian: I didn't want you to worry. And I didn't know they'd send a ransom note.

Panel 10

Ian: But don't worry, Kitten. I've done harder time than this. I mean, Ivy has been smuggling me a decent meal once a week.
Haley: Aunt Ivy is here? In town?

Panel 11

Ian: Sure. How do you think I got tied up in this mess? My sister asked me to come help her and her husband with this rebellion thing.
Haley: Uncle Geoff? He's here too?
Ian: Sure, he's around here somewhere.

Panel 12

Geoff appears, holding a shiv to Elan's head. Haley looks shocked.
Ian: Oh, look, there he is.
Geoff: Check it out. I found a familiar face lurking around the door.
Elan: Don't worry, Haley. There are still no guards coming.

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