Chapter 2, Page 5

There dumbass, you got your helmet off. Happy now?????

And thanks for all of the wonderful discussion on the last page… You guys are really sharp, and would probably do great at surviving in a cave sea. Too bad Mike isn’t as rational and clear-minded as all of you~

Oh, and last month’s TWC incentives are on the Facebook now too :]

Today’s bonus art: a preview of the next page

AND, I will repeat this section on the next post since it deserves to be a bit more prominent, a big thank you to all of the $10+ Patrons! You are amazing!


  • Jojo

    OOooo. Oxygen!! Underwater plant life perhaps?

    • shingworks

      If you go back a page or two, you might even spot some :]

      • cheri

        Oh my god I KNEW you were being sneaky like dat

      • charles81

        How on God’s green and blue Earth did I miss those? Curse that underwater lighting. Too damn realistic ;)

    • Aaron Bourque

      And something he’s allergic to.

  • Quill

    first thing he does is sneeze, what a freaking nerdski.

    • Vert

      Don’t worry, that’s just the floating parasitic spores taking root in his lungs. Despite the sea, water’s still relatively scarce on Mars so the plant life learned to take advantage of it quickly. Soon the flowering bodies will mature and he’ll stop sneezing.

      Mind you he’ll have bonsai kelp bursting out of his chest a few seconds later, but it’s all perfectly natural, and if there’s one thing TV has taught me, it’s that natural is the same as “safe”. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

      • Arianwen

        Becoming a substrate for bonsai kelp seems like a fine goal to me. Nothing wrong with that.

        (and I would like to marry your comment)

      • Bellar

        Well, I’m sure dying in a way that reveals water, oxygen, and life on Mars is fine by him.

        I wonder if he’ll try and find the cricket farmer.

      • DreamCarver

        Now I’m imagining a version of Alien where instead of an H.R. Giger horror stalking the crew, there are parasitic bonzai trees randomly exploding out of the crew’s chests.

        The final scene with Ripley in the escape pod is just a very careful stealth mission around a plant directly in the center as she tries to find a stick long enough to push it out the airlock.

  • DukeBG


  • Spav

    So far, the majority of suicide attempts in this comic have ended hilariously.

    Also, is that Martian pseudo-kelp I see on page 2 of this chapter?

    • shingworks

      That… is not, actually. I don’t know what that is.

  • (Chaos)Jester

    First thing I thought upon seeing that helmet come off was “Ooh air!’ Only been reading for a a couple days and its already got me hooked and wanting more o.o I will watch you O.O

    • Some Unregistered Punk

      That sounds like a threat.

  • charles81

    Hey, first words spoken with Martian air are nothing to sneeze at.

    • Jojo

      Oh my gosh. Yes.

  • fox-orian

    Turns out the plant life also processes a small amount of helium into the air.
    From this point forward Mike’s voice is about a half-octave higher than normal.

  • Man, what’s a guy gotta do to kill himself around here? Even the planet conspires to keep Mike alive!

  • Vert

    If things rot on Mars anything like they do on Earth, then the atmosphere of that bubble will have a healthy dose of methane (explosive at certain mixes) and hydrogen sulphide (which is toxic and makes you pass out). Sneezing may be the least of his problems.

    • shingworks

      If only Mike had one of those exobiology jagoffs with him to help figure all that stuff out

  • CosmicStresshead

    As a Biochemist-in-training I should be chiming in with my own speculations about the science here, but I’m too busy being emotionally attached to Mike. And everyone else is doing a bloody good job as it is. The comments section is a hearty portion of why I come here. You guys are class (which is Northern Irish for ‘awesome’) ^_^

  • “Holy shit I can BREA*COUGH COUGH COUGH*

    • for the bonus gribouille tho, what does she say exactly ?

      “and you want to be my …. salesman ?”

      • shingworks

        latex XD You can watch the youtube clip that is posted with it… its… a seinfeld thing…

        • dainty

          I tried watching the clip but Youtube said it was deleted T^T

          • shingworks

            oh noo it still works for me? try this lol

        • uh wow XD

  • lamepudding

    good job mike
    now just find bex and start makin those babies. you’ll be the first colony of martian mole people in billions of years

  • Vert

    For some reason I hear Mike’s “ah god” as Ash from Army of Darkness.

    “What a horrible nightmare… wait a minute… ahhh gaaahd… I CAN’T MOVE!”

  • Jrue

    I love the second-to-last panel where he realizes “Wait, I’m alive?”

  • It’s prob’ly cold down there.

    • Ben

      Not cold enough to freeze the water… water will remain liquid fir a few degrees below freezing if it’s moving fast enough but there is a limit far above any Martisn surface temperature fir that.

      Actually, that’s a “did not do the science” moment for Mark Watney. NASA have conducted trials with an inflatable habitat in Antarctica, and have been using plywood-and-canvas structures there since the 1950s and as anyone with camping experience will know, condensation of body moisture as frost is a serious problem.

      Plus, Earth-standard habitats use quite small pressure differentials, because they are sufficient – a single skinned habitat, held up by its internal pressure differential of 1 bar and with a single canvas skin as the only insulation for a three-figure temperature differential, is all kinds of wrong…

      Mark Watney lives in a single-skinned habitat, for plot reasons. He also repeats the performance by using the pop tents (which by implication are intended to be used by personnel in EVA suits) as a shirt-sleeve environment.

      So, a big hand-wave for physics in stories about Mars!

      • Hmm, Volcanic activity pretty much died down on Mars (as far as I remember), but I wonder if there’s still some geothermal heating provided you’re deep enough.

      • Vert

        I think Weir acknowledged that the ultra-tough, high-insulation, radiation-proof hab canvas was technology that we can’t create with modern techniques. The canvas is made from multiple layers of (unknown) polymer interwoven with carbon nanofibers, doubled over twice and vacuum sealed, so it’s not really a single layer of stuff: it’s 4 vacuum-separated layers of many-layered polymer. Modern space-suit fabric is only 7 layers thick, not counting the LCVG, so it’s not that much of stretch. The real handwave is for the Hab canvas is the radiation blocking, not the insulating properties. But Weir did think of the frost problem: Watney always has a atmospheric water extractor with him. On the occasions when the water extractor is broken, overwhelmed or removed, he does indeed have a condensation problem to deal with.

        • Ben

          ….. the real point is that both stories have certain issues which need to be hand-waved through to keep the story going.

          Most SF does, one way or another. Best to just draw a line under it and move on.

          • Vert

            More fun to be an apologist, and work how why something that shouldn’t work DID work. Like why Roe and LaForge could stand on the Enterprise deck despite not being able to interact with any other matter.

  • Now I’m wondering for how long the helmet can provide light while being cut off the suit (whcih I assume contains the main battery ?)

    • …or maybe I’m wrong. I don’t see any connecting circuit, and it’d be kinda of a pain to connected while putting the helmet on.

      That makes 2 distinct batteries to connect with no way to use the other if one fails, tho.

      • distinct batteries to recharge* Augh I need more coffee.

        • Ben

          That’s not hard, when the helmet is fitted the contacts in the snap ring line up. Then the helmet only contains the emergency battery, much lighter.

          • shingworks

            Yeah, there’s an emergency power source in that fat neck part under the side lights.

      • Vert

        NASA (and presumably its future descendents) loves redundancy. Redundancy means failure reduction, which means fewer people die. That’s a good thing. Besides, it’s the first rule of government spending: why have one when you can get two, twice the price?

  • ItThing

    Ok, so for some reason the temperature isn’t too low, and there’s oxygen thanks to the “plants”. What are the odds that the amount of oxygen and the amount of CO2 and whatever other biologically active gases there are *just right*?

    • Royco Cup-a-Soup

      You’d be surprised what gas mixtures a healthy human can tolerably breathe if there’s at least 15% oxygen and nothing explicitly toxic. Our atmosphere is 70% nitrogen – diatomic nitrogen, which is totally inert and could be replaced with pretty much anything else that won’t react with human tissues. Early in the Space Race people experimented with replacing nitrogen with helium, but helium is pretty scarce and makes it impossible to take astronauts seriously.

    • shingworks

      Yeah, humans can breathe different mixes of stuff as long as some baselines are there… it just might not be particularly pleasant.

      • Ben

        The partial pressure of oxygen is what counts, which is 18-21%. The rest can be anything inert or non-toxic. The actual pressure can be much lower, a commercial airliner typically cruises with a cabin pressure of 0.75 or 0.8 bar. Humans can survive at 0.5 bar with sufficient oxygen content

      • Jay

        Which now makes me wonder, did he start coughing because he can breathe, or because is smells like a million years of condensed fart?

        • shingworks

          lol… you’re not too far off actually

        • Vert

          Hydrogen sulphide is produced by by most oceans in large quantities, and it’s what makes rotten eggs smell so bad. You can also get methyl mercaptan from the breakdown of algae and other stuff in oceans, and that stuff makes hydrogen sulphide smell like roses by comparison. It’s the odor they add to natural gas so you can smell it… at something like 0.005 ppm. It is pungent stuff, and if Mike is breathing any of it he’s probably wishing he was dead for another reason entirely right now.

    • DukeBG

      I’m pretty sure everybody on this thread already knows this, but too much CO2 in the inhaled air causes mental confusion and falling-asleep state (not sure how it’s called). That causes people to suffocate in fires after smoking in bed, for example (due to hard time waking up and taking measures for survival).

      • DukeBG

        gah, i meant to write “pretty sure everyone knows this, but i wanted to leave it here for, hm, integrity of discussion of what gasses that people can inhale can be.

        • CrazyLady

          If it helps, I am scientifically illiterate and did not know it. :|

      • StClair

        I think the word you’re looking for is “drowsiness”, by the way.

      • Royco Cup-a-Soup

        Pretty sure that’s not CO2, just CO – Carbon Monoxide. That’s why people are required to have monoxide detectors. I could be wrong though.

  • Jones

    Well…things have gotten a bit more interesting, that being on a biological level. haha!

    Anyway so there appears to be a pocket of breathable air provided by some plant…fungi, bacteria, protists, or animal. 8D

  • roxy

    Quick question: what would the mental and physical effects of quick depressurization be like? seems like Mike might not be doing too well, judging from the extremely blood-shot eyes.

  • StClair

    really hoping that the “KRASSH” (instead of a “KLONK” or the like) doesn’t mean he’s just broken his faceplate, which will make getting out of there (by diving) a bit of a problem even if he manages to re-seat his PLSS.

    • Ben

      That isn’t shown, so by Occam’s Razor, it isn’t broken until it’s SHOWN to be broken..

  • EJ

    WOW, This is top-notch quality! Already on my favorites!
    How often do you usually update?

    • shingworks

      Thanks! Currently 1-2x a week, definitely Mondays, and variably on Fridays. Permanent update increase is mostly dependent on Patreon funding at the moment.

      If you enjoy this comic you can also check out my other one, The Meek, which updates the same amount per week and has a larger archive for binging :)

  • Infinity1201

    •~• so beautiful~

  • Tindi

    *reads entire comic*

    *reads serious and mature discussion of same*

    All I have to contribute right now is: Dammit, I’m caught up. I’ll try to be more cogent another time, but this is an amazing story! I enjoyed my quick archive binge immensely. :)

    • shingworks

      I’m glad XD well come back often, we get updates weekly.

  • zen

    I’m such a latecomer but this is fantastic work!

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