Chapter 3, Page 22

Dat panspermia… also yes my characters are literally trash

And, just to expound a little, it would be very expensive to actually shoot trash into space, the sun, etc. Expensive enough that it would not be worth it for normal trash… but for something really worth trying to get off-planet, like radioactive waste, that can be expensive in other ways… for example, if you mess up then you wind up with some horrible radioactive trash ring circling your planet. The assumption here is that Martians either figured out a cost-effective way, had more efficient technology than currently exists for us humans, or just dgaf.

I hope you enjoyed crazy Patreon fulfillment week, which was also my test to see how many pages I could do in a week (the answer is 6). I really appreciate all of your continuing support helping me get this comic to you… and best of all, you can check The Meek later today or tomorrow for yet another comic update~ And, all commissions should be sent out by Monday.

As always, thanks so much to patrons and readers for enjoying my work.

Today’s bonus art: meow

 

 

127 Comments

  • Wait, Kallakore – are you personally four billion years old?!

    • DukeBG

      Same question

      • adam

        Yeah, either he has inherited memories or something, or these people were made with god-tech.

        • adam

          I’m saying that because of the sheer timescale or Kallakore is fucking with him. You need or have god-tech to have anything survive for 4 billions of years.

          • Jojo

            Presumably. Unless the experience of time is significantly different here or with this species.

          • Vert

            Maybe Kallakore is a vessel for a Martian intelligence. Whenever they need to interact with the real world, a suitable body is assembled or recruited from the local ecosystem and operated by remote control.

    • Not a dog

      Maybe they are like some species of jellyfish, and occasionally regress into their own species’ equivalent of the jellyfish’s pre-larval rooted polyp form, then bud a bunch of juvenile clones of themselves. Only Kallakore’s people (or maybe “Kallakore” refers to the originating organism and its lineage of clones, and not to her species) have the memories of their parent, which means there’s a bunch of Kallakores running around who all have slightly different tail-ends on their memories, reflecting how far back in the chain each of them split off off and became individuals. Other individuals and their lineages would go by different names, but all would be of the same species, and possibly be capable of sexual reproduction as well.

      Or maybe they just regenerate themselves by regressing to juvenile cellular state, and then mature again, in an unending cycle – like the jellyfish, but without clones.

      It would make them biologically immortal, and technically provide a means around the hayflick limit, and would explain how a species existing on Mars so soon very early in its “infacy” could be so technologically advanced — no knowledge was ever lost.

  • Well, that’s awkard. Also just how old is that dude.

  • Shooshy162

    “In my time” wait, they were alive way back then? Or by “in my time” do they mean their people?

    • Asterai

      Maybe the martians are kinda hive-minded? So a single consciousness might live through many generations of physical bodies? Could also explain how Kallakore is so smart; lots of brains providing all the computing power necessary.

      Still, four billion years. That’s… too long, far too long. Many evolutionary timescales. Even if an entity were continuously conscious that whole time, the bodies it inhabits would have changed so much, so many times, that I would not expect it to have preserved intact any actual memories, nor retained continuity of personality.

      Mystery.

      • Corbie

        Somehow that fits neatly with Kalla learning from LEVi in no time. At the same time, Kallakore’s wording opens a barrel full of question about the time at which the comic is set, hehe.

        Beautiful planets. Beautiful irony at so many levels. And Armshark body language is splendid. :D

        • The way he says “in my time” may implies he actually died a long time ago, but then what is Michael talking with ?

          • David

            Ooh, that’s a good thought!

      • P.O.E.

        You would think if it were a hive-mind situation, he would have said “our” instead of “my”. Maybe… time travel?

        • youhappynow

          In context, time travel would make sense, although it would be odd that Kallakore hasn’t mentioned anything about it. Maybe she figures she’ll let Mike deal with the whole ‘life on Mars’ thing first, although that doesn’t explain the offhand comment about “her time”. If she were trying to ease him into the idea, I’d imagine she would approach the subject more carefully.

          • P.O.E.

            Oh, I just thought of another possibility. Maybe she was in stasis of some kind? It seems more likely suspended animation would exist than time travel, actually.
            I guess that would still be something you’d approach with delicacy, though maybe that was her intent and it was a slip of the tongue?

          • adam

            If they have the technology for time travel, they’d probably have the technology to move to a less dying world or make their own world.

  • Asterai

    Kallakore’s embarrassed/bemused/whatever expression is the best.

    • ShinyBlue

      This.

  • Ceceoh

    She has raised the shrug to whole new levels.

    • corvideye

      Or the head-tilt!

  • Karyl

    Kallakore turning aside from empathy with all the mental circuits now burning themselves out in Mike’s head?? trying to compute the math for how many species are basically cosmic trash? Boy, if we thought Mike was mind-wacked before, that wasn’t a patch on what he must be trying to assimilate now!

  • Karyl

    Also, I think this is a fine irony–each planet’s inhabitants have called the other planet “the red planet” at some time in history, and each time assumed that there could be no life based on what worked on the home planet–I feel you got it right, Der-shing.

    • shingworks

      Two ships~

    • Leon

      Technically, that’s more of a funny coincidence than irony.
      Irony would be for example, if they concluded there was no life on Earth due to lava, but then it turned out the lava was alive.
      Not that it really matters here, since KK probably doesn’t master the subtle side of human humor.

  • Spav

    Der-shing, you were looking at videos of hognose snakes playing dead, weren’t you?

    • shingworks

      Actually a parrot I used to work with (like, he came to the office) who did a lot of stupid head wagging. But hognose works really well too XD

  • wasn’t mars in the same state 4bya? armshark ISS confirmed

    congrats on six pages in one week! that is some… STELLAR… progress!

    for the record I refuse to believe that fungus ate mike’s eye; in my headcanon it just forced his eye closed. like swelling. besides if he was blind in one eye I think he’d be freaking out a little more

    • shingworks

      Haha, I think you’re right. If I wanted to draw it eating his eye I’d probably just make the fungus coming out of the socket anyways, much more exciting that way~

    • I’d much rather believe that too, it’s seriously creeping me out ^^; brrr

    • Regarding your Mars comment ; that planet is theorised to have had liquid water and an atmosphere, up to around 3.8B years ago if memory serves.
      We don’t really know what happened, maybe the planet core cooled down too much (since it’s smaller and farther from the Sun than Earth), maybe there was a planetoid impact that sodded up its functionnement … either way, Mars apparently lost its magnetic field and pretty much anything evaporated to space.

      • I’m really looking forward the story the comic will give for that event, personally ^__^

        • jimpost

          They goofed sending a load of trash to earth. Tragic, really….

    • David

      I think both planets were cooling off, but then a large object hit earth, melted the crust and mantle, and also produced the moon. So, perhaps Kallakore is referring to that time, when Mars has cooled off, but Earth was still molten.

      • shingworks

        Well, the formation of the moon according to that impact hypothesis is quite a bit earlier, around 4.5 BYA. The Earth shown here is Earth during the Hadean Eon, which came after.

        • Aidan903

          If you look behind the earth to the left, you can see the moon.

  • JJ

    This is not the first story I read with this twist. But this one wins for introducing the idea with “how awkward” :-D

  • Jenny

    wait. kallakore knows what 4bya means, right? as in, the difference between martian years and earth years???? i mean im sure levi must have clarified that, yeah?

    • shingworks

      Kalla is likely using only Earth units for now out of deference to the lesser mind of pathetic garbage derivative

      • Dante

        This may be the greatest way I’ve ever seen a human be described by anyone ever. +42

      • Spade

        Or… something in the environment or any number of living things now attached to our martianaut is translating.

  • Pumpkin_Cake

    Aww, thrip is looking in Mike’s hand in panel 3. It’s so cute!

  • Astronomical question time :

    Using the Theia hypothesis, where both Earth and Moon would have formed in their current form around 4.31B years ago, would the smaller Moon already have finished accreting and cooled down by the time Kallakore is talking about ?

    • Leon

      http://www.space.com/25331-moon-age-revealed-lunar-mystery.html

      It states (in the infographic):

      “Around 4.1 billion to 3.8 billion years ago, the moon was violently struck by a huge number of asteroids. This Late Heavy Bombardment created large lunar plains (seas) and impact craters.”

      So it already had to be solid by then for that to happen.

  • ilvos01

    Trash is too expensive, as you have said. A much more practical explanation would be artificial satellites, sent by the martians for observation purposes. It even mirrors our own actions.

    • shingworks

      Yeah, I considered a bunch of options, but I liked Earth as a garbage dump the best, haha. Well, maybe more like a compost heap.

      • Leon

        So from now on, we can refer to Mike”s condition as “composting” XD

      • LameFox

        It could be both, in a sense: if they had sent spacecraft to earth to study it or so, then those might have left debris in orbit they’d want to clean up so that it didn’t pose a risk to anything else operating there.

      • charles81

        For me I guess its a case of asking why send my garbage on a pinpoint collission course for another planet when the same amount of power could probably eject it from the system or simply see it travel for the sun.

        At least… thats what the practical side of me would say if the jovial side wasn’t too busy laughing at our rubbish heritage to give a damn.

        • shingworks

          You know throwing garbage at your neighbor is way more satisfying XD Bombs away!

          • Spade

            And on a more sinister note flinging your dead diseased corpses and infectious waste over castle walls has been a biogical weapon strategy since medeival times, possibly earlier. I believe sun tsu and ghengis khan used it.
            I dont think thats what is happening here just an observation.

          • Twyll

            I mean, “chucking garbage in a Sun-ward direction knowing that it might collide with your neighbor, and not really caring” also seems like something a sufficiently human-like sentient race would totally do.

      • Not a dog

        Was it, perhaps, unusual trash, of a nature that would have been best not to keep around?

  • Vert

    Hah, I knew the biologies were too similar to have developed completely independently. Also, it would have been a staggering coincidence.

    • Yeah, that’s a very logic explanation. I can’t wait for see the Martian starship in Kallakore’s memories

  • Señor

    WE ARE TRASH!

  • Wert

    from the wiki page “(sometimes called “soft panspermia” or “molecular panspermia”)”…~*~follow for more soft panspermia~*~

    I love Kalla’s body language. Very beautiful planet art too.

  • Esc

    What the actual F.

    Now I’m believing in a hive mind or an entity using Arm Sharks body as a puppet. No way that thing has the neural computational density to remember 4 billion years of existence.

    But what is it doing living in a goddamn cave when it used to be capable as a species of space travel. So many questions!

    • Edmund

      That whole neck could be brain for all we know! Er, well. Probably not, brains in mammalian-type things like to keep those inside solid cases. And now we know enough that drawing mammal comparisons isn’t a totally invalid move.

      If you’ve ever read up on just where octopi keep their mental processing (spoilers: it’s distributed partially in their limbs), you’ll know why I’m doubtful of any assumptions on Kallakore’s brain anatomy. Still seems far too long for someone to be meaningfully conscious for, nevermind sane.

    • Spade

      I dont see why not. Muscle memory and genetic memory are already proven.. and dna is simply biological code ..
      The only real question would be how a hive mind or organic construct accesses said organic memories.. and to some extent information degradation over time. Its been theorised our junk dna isnt junk at all but snippets of ancestral memory.
      Its pretty far fetched but does dwell in the realm of the possible.

      • Edmund

        Hmmm! I haven’t heard that theory regarding human junk DNA sequences. Fascinating!

        At the very least, if Kallakore has some sort of access to ancestral/genetic memory, it frees K up from having to devote the brain entirely to memory storage. They can rely on having a good DNA-reading brain setup instead perhaps. No idea how that would work. Brain microfiche??

        • Edmund

          oops can’t edit my posts. I wonder, with my meager fling at science, if one could hijack a cell’s protein synthesis for purposes besides making proteins/whatever?

          I mean, you’ve got cells that already make RNA copies of DNA segments within the cell, and send that to other parts of the cell to lego together all sorts of compounds for bodily function.
          It’d be interesting if that function could read memory-portions of DNA and trigger specific synaptic activity, essentially simulating the ‘memory’ in question. Your entire brain would wind up a weird setup where a huge portion of it is essentially .rar files.

          • Sam

            The Ukiah Oregon Series by Wen Spencer follows a main character of Alien origins who possesses long term memory encoded into his DNA – the whole species of alien is essentially a single hostile parasite that infects to a host and takes it over (think Zombie Ants), only it replaces all the cells of the host with functionally identical cells of the parasite. Because all of the “individuals” of the alien have the same base genetic make-up, and memories are stored in genetics, all of the aliens are really a single organism, with many bodies – the ultimate long term sustainable hive mind.

            (side note: they also focus mainly on biological solutions, rather than mechanical, the only mechanical solutions they possess are pre-existing solutions from the species they have taken over)

  • This page is so great. Love Mike reaching out toward Thripfriend.

  • NiOg

    Getting back to garbage launching for a minute, Mars’s smaller mass would have meant less energy to launch stuff out of the gravity well, and less chance of a mislaunch getting sucked back in. So it could have been a more acceptable risk/a more cost-effective solution for Ancient Sharkfriend Civilization.

    Also, panel 4 isn’t making me think of hogsnakes, unless that’s a new euphemism. *cough*

  • LameFox

    Is the somewhat baby shaped set of craters on early earth symbolic or am I just doing that thing where you find shapes in clouds but backwards?

    • shingworks

      I can’t guarantee a lot of things about this comic, but I can reasonably promise that I am not sneaking vague babies into craters.

      • LameFox

        Somehow I feel I should find that relieving.

      • Vert

        Are black monoliths involved at any point?

        • shingworks

          I hope not. All that work overseeing an ocean and a nascent cradle of life, just for thrip to emerge

  • Lorenzo

    Kalla’s looking very… “Freudian” in that last panel.

    AAanyways, I’m loving the turn this story is taking. Hopefully we get to know how old Kallakore is soon! Also what happened to them? Is Kalla the last remaining ronin martian? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

    Also, that one skeleton in the lake is feeling very important right now.

  • Sky

    So you mean, the fact it’s been getting popular to all call ourselves trash.. was some kind of alien conspiracy theory all along!?

  • Waitaminute. Kallakore speaks with clarity about events that happened longer ago than the developmental history of multiple entire planets, and Mars appears to lack significant evidence of civilization – or even technology. Even if something somehow slowed or halted Armshark evolution for 3 billion years, what is it? What kind of force could halt evolution itself? And why does Kallakore say “my time” instead of “our” or “my people’s time”?
    Well, who else knows of events in the impossibly distant past or future and refers to their “own time”? A time traveler.

    That’s right, Kallakore is a time traveler born at the height of Martian civilization, visiting the distant future – perhaps to see if Earth ever becomes suitable for Martian colonization, but finding the opposite is in progress.

    • Spade

      You know how god is supposed to be the alpha and the omega?
      Meaning has and always will exist?
      Time is vastly different .. if such a notion exists at all to a being like that. In other words time can be a completely different concept to other longer lived species .. or shorter!
      Imagine trying to explain the concept of years to the common housefly.. also everyone reading this is a time traveller. In one direction only :p

  • No wonder the Martian fungus is growing with such ease on Mike, he’s Martian organic waste…

    • Edmund

      Are you telling me beards are actually martian fungus

      hehehe

  • Epamynondas

    Look Kallakore, doesn’t matter if what you’re saying is true, but telling another lifeform that they are descendants of your waste microbes is xtremely rude.

    • AGV

      To be fair, Mike made a “where do babies come from” type of question and he’s getting the akward but true answer

      • shingworks

        Sometimes when two planets love each other very much,

        • AGV

          One throws dirty stuff to the other and BOOM! Life is born!

  • shittygomu

    Trash heap Earth. I think my love for this comic just doubled, and it was already pretty great.

  • nessa

    this comic is a delight. thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Jac

    Kallakore’s expression in the last panel is amazing. 8D

  • adam

    Thought: we are not looking at the main body of Kallakore. Kallakore is some sort of mind-entity that is just using leggy here as puppet, the ecology we have seen so far is actually Kallakore’s body.

  • spottedspeck

    Plot Twist — Thrip is talking through Kallakore!

  • Lar

    We are trash!

    Also, is Kallakore speaking from personal experience? Because, if so, I’d like to quote the great Milo Thatch: “Oh, well, hey! Looking good!”

  • Grums McGuff

    HERPMAGURP, I am mentally back flipping in pleasure and excitement that you’re using that theory for the birth of life on Earth as cannon for the comic. It’s certainly a rather interesting one, given recent discoveries on Mars and other planets in our little patch of the galaxy.

  • Angiebeast

    I have been following your comics since just after The Meek launched and (shamefully) never commented until now, but I was compelled today because Kallakore’s bashful(?) little head-flip has absolutely slaughtered me

  • AGV

    “-So yeah, we accidentally created you, so yes, I am your father…
    -… You just wanted to say that, do you?
    -Nooope… Yes… It seemed a popular and amusing joke among your kind.”

    And btw, permision to use that last panel?

    • shingworks

      Haha, sure

  • Unclever title

    As valid a theory as Panspermia is, I can’t help but suspect that Kallakore is just messing with Mike here.

  • jimpost

    Honestly, sending trash to Earth from Mars is not that expensive a project. Mars has what? A third of Earth’s gravity? Figuring established railgun technology, it would be a snap to fling it off planet.

    • Iarei

      Unless they had actual space elevators you’re still talking about a hell of an energy investment just to get to orbital elevations, much less velocity. And then why would you even bother to send that garbage into a decaying orbit of another planet? There are other, less timing, energy and effort dependent extra-orbital places you could hurl garbage. Any civilization sufficiently advanced to do that would just recycle their garbage anyway. Kallakore Is messing with him.

  • David

    Wheeen the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, Kaaallakore…

    • Ceceoh

      Damn Martian earworm…

  • Angelina

    Hi! Sorry if this is a dumb question are the pictures of the planets there both earth? is once mars and once earth?

    • shingworks

      Not a dumb question! The top one is Mars in its current state (Tharsis Montes is the line of three volcanoes, and the Labyrinth of Night/ Mariner Valley is that region of cracks to the right). For spatial reference, the comic takes place in the topmost of the three volcanoes, Ascraeus Mons.

      The second one is Earth approximately 4 BYA, where it was volcanic and heavily bombarded, hence all the craters. I tried to show it is Earth with our moon Luna in the bg too.

  • Moo

    I just binge read the whole comic so I have a question that would have been relevant like a year ago and might have even been answered previously. Is Michael asexual?

    • Leon

      The answer is on panel 4 of this comic. But maybe Der has more to say about it.

    • shingworks

      He’s not.

      • Moo

        Oh, thank you. I’ve heard asexuals say “not straight” to get people off their case about SOs, and some people could avoid sexual contact after a history of abuse, so I was wondering. Appreciate the answer.

        • shingworks

          Yeah! It’s a legitimate possibility for sure, his personal history aside. I decided against it in this case (but to be very clear he’s not meant to represent any group in particular, it is just his character specifically).

    • Spade

      Its implied hes homosexual and most likely has something to do with the pool incident around the time his mother was getting divorced where I believe the older guy was having him touch his genitals.

  • Globug

    To be entirely honest… those things on his face and head to not look like fungus but more like… pustules… like they’re full of puss and bacteria and could pop with a huge icky mess all over the place… *Hurk*

    • shingworks

      X[

  • manyblinkinglights

    If a society were grossed out enough by the idea of landfills, even if only mostly-symbolically during a brief period of their development, shipping the trash to another planet would be a perfectly reasonable solution, even if it were extremely expensive. You just have to want to do it enough… it doesn’t have to be a “good” idea.

  • Jac

    We are all your garbage children

    I swear fealty to our benevolent Trash Mother

  • martin

    Kallakore is being a dick. Actually he resembles one in the last frame.

    BTW: Where is Bex?

    • shingworks

      Bex is on paid vacation

      • martin

        haha! nice! thank you so much!

  • LostYooper

    I am pretty sure there was an episode of Futurama where they lunched a ball of garbage into space from Old New York that traveled around space for a thousand years and threatened to collide with New New York. So I guess with that said if you were going to launch your garbage into space it would make a lot of sense to have a target for it to hit instead of letting it fly around space all willy-nilly and potentially landing back on Mars again in a few centuries.

    • Edmund

      Fat lot of good THAT did them, it still came back to Mars. And then started asking questions.

  • Kincajou

    As a scientist, i find the use of “exactly… 4BYA” a bit imprecise :P. If it’s exact it should really at least be down to the year, otherwise he should be talking of “about” or “roughly”.

    Don’t get me wrong, i know it’s a common usage of the word and it makes sense it’s just…. it’s a pet peve as a scientist (you have no idea how many first year students who do the opposite and say “about 4.52315g” i have to work with every year!)

    This said, i love the comic :) the colours and aesthetics are really fantastic whist the story is deep and complex, globally you’re doing an amazing job. Thank you for all this :)

    • shingworks

      Thanks! Don’t worry, I am a scientist too. This kind of info can’t really be in precise units, because the period of time where Earth could have been in this state was a range from 4.5 to 3.8bya or so. Things like geologic eons are hard to measure with precision anyhow since most of our existing evidence for what was going on at the time is from fragments that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…

      But I know your point was about the conflicting wording XD From the writing perspective “exactly” has a little bit more exasperated of a tone than “around/ about.” Case in point “exactly when did you say you were going to come get me?” vs “about when did you say you were going to come get me?” OK sorry I’m going off on a crazy tangent lol. Thank you for reading!

    • Spade

      Ha ha ha wow … until you said that I completely ignored the word as an acronym. I thought it was an actual martian word.
      Thank you.

  • Caroline

    Heee

    *neck* So embarassed about that. Yeah. Trash. Bwah.

    XD Throwing back it’s neck.

  • Irrational

    Soooo …. am I the only one who sees Kallakore bending his neck to the left in the last panel … and sees a flaccid penis bending to the left ?_?

    • CosmicStresshead

      Not any more you’re not. ~~thanks for that~~ hahah

    • Edmund

      Naw, you’re normal too. But think about it: it’s not that everything looks like a penis. Penises just look like necks. All hail our weird Martian biology.

      Kallakore is probably thinking the same thing about Mike’s neck looking all wrong.

  • Emor

    Yes, Irrational – you are the only one.
    No one else sees that.
    Just you.

  • Boop

    So, basically, we are trash.

  • Glew

    Gah! I already caught up! And there’s so much. There’s the depressed, troubles protagonist’s mental and personal issues, also his martial leg parasite and his face fungus. And the talking alien who learnt memes from a robot and oh by the way Weird Life on Mars. And what about Becky or what’s-her-name? And now panspermia.

  • bonzairob

    So, Kallakore’s species, 4BYA, had the tech to shoot trash into space with precision. It’s possible they evolved in the internal sea and had to dig up to the surface, too. That and her digs at primitive hu-mons shows they’re pretty far advanced.

    But we haven’t seen any others. So, is Kallakore some kind of weird hermit who lives closer to the surface, the equivalent of living alone on a mountain? Is it possible she’s as messed up as Mike? Probably living like this for 4 billion years wouldn’t be easy.

    Well, either way, Der-shing, could you please already have finished this and post it all at once so we can binge read now? :( Or at least make the story less engaging…

    • shingworks

      lol, for your first request, I wish XD and no dice for the second one

  • kallakore’s “how awkward” body language is adorbs

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