Chapter 3, Page 62

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This is the longest chapter of anything I’ve ever made! Pretty cool. Thanks for sticking around through its 11 month run. For extra fun, you can go back and reread all of Thrip’s parts again and revel in his frustration.

Our traditional chapter-closing Tame Impala song (the lyrics are actually slightly spoilery, if you like that kind of thing)

Like I mentioned, I’ll be going back to my “normal” update schedule now of alternating TM/ MI, probably skewed towards TM for a while. As usual you can get email updates for everything here and/or here, or use the RSS. And if you’ve been enjoying the comic so far consider checking out the Patreon for extra content or just to support its creation. Thanks very much and see you soon with the Ch3 Interlude.


Heads up: I’m keeping my politics section here for now, but if you’d like to make a politics comment, please do it on the previous page! I’ll be removing politics stuff from this page’s comments~

Some suggestions for American readers who crave better representation in this post-Obama Presidency:
Foster Campbell is running for a Democratic senate seat, you can donate to help win another seat for Democrats in 2017.
make a quick call (or fax) to request a bipartisan review of Trump’s financial conflicts of interest
A quick call you can make to protest the repeal of the ACA (no talking required!) (also ACA is the only reason full-time webcomic artists like me have insurance)
– continue to call your representatives to voice your opinion on issues you disagree with in these first few weeks. It’s easy and you can get a step-by-step here.

So far most of the critical voices I’ve heard are saying “why bother? stop whining just accept this is the way it is.” The way I see it is that there is very little for anyone to lose by making a small effort every day, and a lot to gain to make sure we don’t head down a path we can’t return from. I’d rather overreact and learn how to be involved in my political process than under-react and regret that I didn’t do more to help my neighbors after it is too late.

206 Comments

  • TimesNewLogan

    Is Thrip/Levi/Threvi’s species the Martian equivalent to the trilobite?

  • ARandomThrip

    LEVi lives?! Does this mean that Kallakore will return to us sooner than expected?

    • Manabi

      I think, technically, they’ve all died and been recreated. It would make so much sense. Mike and Bex fell down into the caves and were killed in the process (because it’s a long fall, and possibly because of the lack of oxygen.) The processors did what they do and recreated these new dead creatures it found in the “closed” environment. So the Mike & Bex we see are recreations, already dead once. (Maybe even more than once, since Kallakore has apparently been brought back to life multiple times over the eons.)

      It would also explain why they can breathe/etc. in this environment. Perhaps there _isn’t_ a near Earth-like atmosphere. Perhaps they were simply modified in the recreation process to be able to breathe/survive in the atmosphere that’s already there.

      I think this could explain why the creatures are so drawn to Mike’s (and probably Bex’s) biochemistry. They’re both new and not new at the same time, making their bodies attractive to creatures that haven’t seen anything new in eons. This doesn’t really explain thigh-friend however, unless it had invaded Mike’s body before he died and the processors thought it belonged there. Come to think of it, this would explain why Mike’s leg was healed. The processors did it in recreating him, not thigh-friend. Mike merely remembered having a broken leg before he died, and thinks it was healed by thigh-friend as he doesn’t remember being recreated.

      It also gives us hope for the future. Kallakore will almost certainly be brought back to life again. Mike will be too if he dies from going back into the water.

      Now as to why Bex can understand LEVi-Thrip but apparently not Kallakore, and Mike can understand Kallakore but not LEVi-Thrip, I have less theories. One thing I can think of is the processors may have deliberately made LEVi-Thrip and Kallakore unable to understand each other because their talking to each other led to them trying to escape. It would make sense to put a stop to this happening again by blocking their ability to communicate. But that doesn’t make any sense as to why _Mike_ couldn’t understand LEVi-Thrip. It also doesn’t explain why Bex apparently couldn’t understand Kallakore. (I’m assuming she wouldn’t have killed Kallakore if she heard Kallakore speaking English.)

      • Is the sudden lack of Kalla-blood indicative of perhaps another recreation?

        Is Mike just hearing “thrip-thrip” from Bex? (Probably not)

        Is Mike now dead, and about to be recreated as well?

        Is the Buoy that Mike threw away the reason for communication difficulties?

        Questions…

      • dafta

        Maybe Bex (and Mike, but less important) wasn’t recreated, or maybe she was recreated exactly the way she was, and LEVi-Thrip just talks English. Mike can’t understand him because of thigh-friend who made him understand Martian and Kallakore? But that doesn’t explain why Mike can talk to Bex. I don’t know.

        • dafta

          Just reread the chapter, and Mike didn’t talk to Bex. Maybe he can’t understand her after all.

      • Caroline

        My theory to why certain people can understand each other: “Land” Alien vs. “Water” Alien.

      • Boris

        No, I think only Kalla and Levi have died. I believe that the system would revive them if it could, or rebuild them if it had to. But, alternatively, there is something Kalla said.

        About how they believe the system sees them as an outsider, and it could function fine should they die. I believe they where wrong. Instead, they where always part of the system. Because they where martian. The different branch of evolution the humans went down might mean that the system won’t revive them so readily. Instead, the sub-machines of the system like the parasite and the ‘face toaster’ are there to try and keep them from dying in the first place. Michael obviously has no problem breathing now, yet Bex needed the mask to avoid the sulfur fumes.

        However, by that thread, she lost the mask but seems to not even notice…

        Also, Kalla could indeed understand Levi-Lobster. They claimed that when they heard Levi speaking, they assumed it was Michael’s friend. Thus, they had to at least understand enough to know that it was speaking, and not chattering like an animal.

        Lastly, we know that there is a Kalla body in the wall, claimed by the system. And Levi’s electronics where claimed by the system as well. What if the system must assimilate the original body in order to create replacements when they die? And Bex being consumed before, then, might be when she was assimilated. Hence why she can now breathe without the mask and is generally okay.

        But, since he never let himself be assimilated, Michael is still vulnerable to death? So in order to keep him alive long enough to assimilate him, the system gave him the parasite and the face toaster.

        Okay, I think I’ve formulated a pretty neat theory here!

      • Squarish_Emu

        I’ve been thinking about this theory since you first posted it and I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is the truth of the story every day. Mind blown.

  • TimesNewLogan

    Or rather, is he supposed to resemble a trilobite?

    • shingworks

      He was originally based on a mix of anomalocaris/ triops, but evolved into some kind of crab/ fancy cockroach thing, haha.

      • TimesNewLogan

        I love how you started off science-y, and then switched to Buffy Speak. Reminds me of George Carlin:

        “Gamma rays and solar winds ignite the ionosphere, creating huge clouds of ionized plasma… and the sky fills up with green sh*t!”

        • shingworks

          Haha, glad you like it. It was my biggest worry when I launched, since I was afraid I’d piss off the more hard-science fiction people with this weird stuff. On the other hand a lot of scifi does this, and plus I like my stories to be fairly grounded in reality. Either way I think it’s working out.

          • Jones

            It works out well, smoothly, & while making room for surprises. (also a big scifi fan here. :3)

          • TimesNewLogan

            In my opinion, it’s the perfect combination of smarts and humor, allowing us to be serious about things, but not too serious as to not be able to enjoy it.

            Reminds me a little of myself, actually. I can’t help but feel that we would be good friends if we met in person. :)

        • km1v6fbe

          “And then suddenly, the entire fabric of space-time splits in two! A huge crack in the universe opens, and all the dead people from the past begin falling through. Babe Ruth, Groucho Marx, Davy Crockett, Tiny Tim, Porky Pig, Hitler, Janis Joplin, Allen Ludden, my uncle Dave, your uncle Dave. Everybody’s uncle Dave. An endless stream of dead uncle Daves falling through the crack.”

          I think this is what is going to happen next in the comic.

    • strannik

      The machines of Mare Internum are organics. Therefore, any reincarnation of Levi could only be organic. However, it’s surprising that organic machines can be compatible enough with silicon based machines to allow the transfer of data.

      • Manabi

        I think it’s less compatibility and more that they can transfer the “soul” of a creature, organic or mechanical. This would mean that LEVi was always truly alive, not just a machine.

        • nomohakon

          No such thing as a soul exists, sorry.

          • SSR

            true, but this is a fictional webcomic with mars aliens.

          • J-Prime

            You are welcome to your opinion, but I feel I should point out that it is quite unscientific to declare a universal negative.

            It would certainly be accurate to say something like “There exists no broadly accepted evidence that the ‘soul’ exists, despite centuries of investigation”.

            There are so many aspects of the universe that took us millenia to comprehend, and the amount that we know we *don’t* understand has grown profoundly just during my lifetime. So I would be cautious about blithely rejecting the possibility that existence may manifest in ways we do not yet (but may someday) rationally comprehend.

          • Victor

            The qualification of existence depends on definition. For things that have never been adequately quantified, their existence is as debatable as their nature. Given that the word “soul” has always been defined in a metaphysical sense that is not particularly useful in identification, asserting its existence or absence is equally fuzzy. It would be as rational and defensible to say the the Garadlow does not exist. Or does exist. What it is? There are so many opinions.

  • AHHHHHHHH

  • Derkasnake

    NO PUT HIM DOWN I ALREADY LOST ONE FRIEND ]:

  • Fawkes Rinzler

    THRIP-Vi?!

    I’m…. all at once delighted and confused~!

    • Manabi

      I like THRiP myself. :D

  • So I assume Fish is Michael (Fisher)’s nickname?
    I feel like we saw that elsewhere, but I could be mistaken.

    The important question is: Does LEVI remember how he got into Mare Internum?

    • shingworks

      Yep, the 1st Gen LEVi used that nickname back in Chapter 1. And~~ we’ll see

  • Also, this has been a very confusing couple of minutes for Bex.

    • Pat

      This has been a confusing couple of updates for everyone…

      • Manabi

        Confusion seems to be the normal state of affairs in these caves. Maybe even the processors are confused!

  • You have successfully dumbfounded me. I suddenly feel like I missed so many little (and one not so little) clue about this, but, but, why can she understand him but Fish and Kalla couldn’t?

    The not so little clue being something that Kalla said to Fish about how they met and why Kalla thought thrip belonged to Fish.

    • Asterai

      Maybe it’s something about the local system already having its hooks in Kalla and Mike? And it’s taken measures to keep them from conspiring?

    • Fawnet

      “You have successfully dumbfounded me.”
      Yep, same here. I feel like some things are starting to make sense here, but I’m just not mentally ready to consider them yet.

      • shingworks

        Haha XD I like writing stories where the reader gets to theorize/ anticipate things… But don’t worry we’ll learn everything eventually.

        • SSR

          I just want to know if this twist and Thrip’s presence were planned from the start.

          • shingworks

            XD A lot of stuff gets done when I need it, but the big-picture/ important story beats are usually solid early on (like the Thrip reveal in this chapter)

  • Reading that the lyrics are ‘slightly spoilery’ now has me theorizing all kinds of random things from the lyrics. Like, will Michael reach the deep end and finally submit (something he has trouble doing), are Michael and Bex going to hug it out, will Kalla be cycling back to ‘feel alive’ again cause that’s ‘all [she] want to do,’ will there be an earthquake from all this heartache and headache?

  • datguy

    So when you drown, a golden crab…thrip thing talks to you.

    • shingworks

      In case you were looking for an incentive to drown XD

  • Adriano

    Okay, so in fact Michael can’t speak english anymore bcs he has been transformed by the technobiosphere of Mars, so he can understand Kallakore but couldn’t understand LevI in his thrip form.

    Now since bex hasn’t been contaminated, she still speaks english, so she can understand Thrip who is in fact LevI who speaks english.

    If this is what happened during ALL this time, I now understand why you speak about “thrip’s frustration”

    • Leon

      Or maybe Bex swallowed some of the neural sea on the previous page, and it connected her to the “neural WiFi”…

      The question then is, why didn’t the same thing happen to Mike or Kalla?

    • Min

      Ah and if this true then Mike can’t understand Bex either, which makes the last few pages even more heartbreaking. I would have ran away too!

      • brokenidealist

        Now I wonder if Mike was hearing Bex speaking “thrip thrip thrip”. If so, his hold on his sanity has got to be seriously slipping right now.

        • Adriano

          This is now canon for me!
          I’d really freak out if I was Mike.
          Like, I-want-to-kill-myself kind of freak out

    • Glavos

      I think it’s more along the lines of Levi finally figurimg out how to talk in his new body.

    • Pumpkin_Cake

      Maybe it’s because Bex still has her buoy that Mike threw in the water back in Chapter 2?

    • strannik

      Or simply, it was a different Thrip.

  • Adriano

    “Tail defense!” *slap slap*
    So cute omg *3*

  • ObservantWolf

    Holy crap, mind blown! I was going to laughingly suggest thrip was talking last page, and I would’ve been partially right! XD

  • Leon

    Next panel wil be Bex roasting Thrip over a fire. At least, that’s what I would draw if I were Der. The readers’ reaction would be priceless >:]

    • shingworks

      Lol noooo

      • charlesw81

        If only tomorrow was April fools, then I’d completely imagine you doing this.

        FOR THE LULZ!

        …what? Its a perfectly legitimate battle cry IMHO

  • Solanuma

    HOHAOho! Chekov’s thrip!

    • Brafisra

      Just wait until the Tribbles show up, then shit is really going to hit the fan!

  • Bug

    im just so relieved that pannel 4 did not have thrip being crushed. Like, thrip just stated speaking so it would not due to just smash him, but at the same time my heart just still so hurt and on the lookout for more sadness from this comic.

    • shingworks

      Haha, it can’t be all doom and gloom all the time. Sometimes it’s robots resurrected as crab aliens.

  • Thomas

    Don’t worry about the world of politics. What’s much more important is correct spelling. Such as “through its 11 month run” and “Heads up”. ;^)

    • shingworks

      The curse of 1am upload strikes again XD thanks for the catch

  • Zinc

    I was rereading the whole chapter to look at previous indications of Thrip acting as LEVi (there are some pretty good ones, try it yourself! Thrip tends to be pretty loud whenever LEVi is mentioned), and also looking over the comments. Came upon some weirdly prescient comments about the connection between Thrip and LEVi – including a commenter from two days ago who just then realized his “mistake” of thinking that LEVi and Thrip were the same being…

    http://www.marecomic.com/comic/ch3-page-51/#comment-16838

    • charlesw81

      Yeah, you see it going absolutely crazy when Mike is getting ready to dive down to his body/shell. Then it goes crazy again when Kala is describing the biological machines (likely trying to indicate that it is now one of them and possibly more). It continues as Kala notes all the organic machines growing on and out of Mike. Possibly more knowledge that Thrip/LEVi has gained.

      FAN THEORY 826: Thrip/LEVi and Kala figured out something about the cavern/system and purposely killed themselves to get Thrip/LEVi into the “system” and reset something in Kala. Kala being unable to understand Thrip is an unexpected twist

      FAN THEORY 827: Mike couldn’t understand Bex as she spoke… and Bex possibly wouldn’t be able to understand Mike.

  • Shakespizza

    WHAT A TWIST

    So, purpose of this this place – is a preservation of every intelligent subject, that can get here, right? Kallakore might be an overseer or combination of several persons.

    • Manabi

      I think it’s simpler than that. The processors are tasked with keeping the closed system running. So they simply recreate everything that dies on the assumption it has a place in the ecosystem. I think it’s quite possibly Mike & Bex were dead when they arrived (or shortly afterward) simple due to the trauma of the fall. The processors recreated them, as they do for any other creatures that die.

      LEVi obviously survived the fall, and wasn’t recreated until the processors were forced to kill him and Kallakore when they tried to escape. Why it recreated him as a Thrip isn’t entirely clear, maybe it was the closest bio-equivalent? Why they would kill escaping creatures is easy to see, the closed system might collapse without them!

      I think Kallakore, Mike & Bex are all themselves, not combinations. Just they aren’t their _original_ selves, they’re all recreations post-death. (And in Kallakore’s case, after multiple deaths over the eons.)

      • Shakespizza

        Nope, Mike and definitly is themselves, not a copies. Their pressure suits on them proves that statement. It seems, that “sanctuary” cannot recreate inorganic objects.

        • Lauren

          i thought the same at first, but after rereading the chapter, I’m not so sure. A few pages back Mike says he had a “dream” that he’d had the same conversation with Kalla before, and they tried to get out, but he doesn’t remember what happened after that. It’s a pretty similar situation to what Kalla described when she and LEVi tried to leave and both of them ended up dead at the bottom of the mirror. It would also explain how fast Mike managed to grow a full beard, which is something people int he comments have been talking about for like, forever.

          I can’t explain why Mike still has his suit on, but I guess it’s possible that the processors just put it back on him after he was resurrected. Or maybe the suit is now an organic being in its own right and Mike just hasn’t noticed he’s now almost entirely enveloped by a living creature.

          • Vert

            Maybe, by the time they emerge, Mars will be terraformed.

          • Manabi

            I read that bit from Mike as a story, told to Kallakore to encourage her to try to help him get out, not that he _really_ had such a dream.

          • HappyHead

            The “dream” he was talking about was an allegory to his previous battles with depression, and possibly other mental illness (which is medication from back on the base was likely supposed to help with).

  • Is the cave just one big format converter? Anything intelligent gets eventually reformatted into it’s programmable bio-matter for long term storage?

    • David

      I’m guessing the cave tried to resurrect Levi, but didn’t quite know how. So, it put Levi’s consciousness into the body of something it knew how to make- namely Thrip. It makes me wonder what Mike would become if he dies.

  • DukeBG

    mind blown

    • shingworks

      Your favorite character was alive and well all along~

      • DukeBG

        I am speechless

  • Mustachio

    G-D I just LOVE this! Brilliant comic, Der-Shing.

    Oh, I got the bookmarks, thanks!

    • shingworks

      And sticker hopefully XD I had extra bookmarks left over so I couldn’t help throw a few in as well.

  • Stickman

    yes, this is very yikes.

  • Sillymattface

    Levithrip used tail whip!

    It wasn’t very effective…

    • Linebyline

      Readership is already confused!

  • Lo

    He was also the only golden thrip around, right? I wonder if this has anything to do with it.

    Considering the way the environment works, and assuming it’s just AI, I’d think it’s trying to keep all sentient life forms alive in the event of apparent apocalypse. And it might be trying to do that–no matter what. Even if it meant placing their sentience into a different body.
    I guess that could explain why Kallakore looks like a monster? Then again her “previous” body looked just like she does now.
    The advanced AI environment malfunctioning makes total as an apocalypse situation to explain how the martians disappeared. And it makes sense that an AI would mistake another AI for sentient life.

    Ahhh, demmit, Der-shing! I’m gonna be thinking about this all day now!!

    • Royco Cup-a-Soup

      Martians were shown when Kallakore was telling the tale of her people, so her appearance is correct, at least in terms of species (unless the Processors altered her memories for some reason).

  • Well, now I am wondering what LEVthrip sounds like. High and squeeky as it is small? Mechanical? Whispery? Clickey? Oh, and I think Bec must be inhabited by some sort of life enabling Mars beastie, because she has survived as long as it took Mike to grow a beard.

  • David

    FFFFFFUUUUUUUU

    Shing, you made my day ^.^

  • James

    So I was half to two-thirds right when I said the ‘processor’ had merged Kalla and Levi. I still think Fisher has figured it out on some level, though.

  • Egg

    This is a very different angry than I was expected.

    • Egg

      I can’t construct sentences and this is a very different kind of “angry” than I expected to be when you made that comment two pages ago.

    • shingworks

      XD We already had sad-angry so I figured this would be a nice change.

  • Vert

    Hah, maybe this isn’t Mike’s hallucination. Maybe it’s Bex’s.

    • Leon

      Or maybe it’s all just Der’s imagination? ;)

  • HyruleSymbol

    I had a theory that the Thrips were some sort of case to have the ones mind restored in, kinda like a drone, if you’ve put someone’s mind into it

    I’m not even kidding, I had that weird feeling when we saw Thrip try to feed Mike and also direct Mike to where Kalla went, perhaps a little Too intelligent for a small shrimp-like creature?

    Wish i commented one it, than I’d have some proof to brag with D:

  • HyruleSymbol

    Thing is this; i suspect Levi to have been put into a body of a Thrip because the system couldn’t restore him fully, but Kalla, on the other hand is a entity of the system, and we’ve seen that she may have been restored at-least one time, so maybe she’ll still be restored with her full body?

  • Lynne

    C-c-called it.

    • shingworks

      :] :] :]

  • Japanne

    So many options. Bex was dragged under the sea in the last page and died, but was just recreated. (Her hair hasn’t grown any more though, so maybe not?) Something about that process put her in tune with Levi. Or maybe Levi was just recreated but this time has the ability of speech. Both Mike and Kalla were unable to understand Thrip previously and may have already been recreated once before?? There is much complexity here . . . I look forward to seeing it unfold.

    Looking back over the previous chapter, it seems SO OBVIOUS. AHHH. Good job there.

    And now that we know Thrip’s true identity, I hope this means you keep the long Thrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip on that one page you were considering removing!

    • HappyHead

      Or maybe she’s just still wearing her radio that Mike threw away and/or removed to fit through a small hole before meeting Thrip.

  • Esc

    The way Levi calls out his attack “Tail Defense!” is SO FUNNY.

    IM DYING HERE SHING

    • shingworks

      He is very excited to be organic.

      • Asterai

        …Oh my god. That is the cutest thing ever.

      • Lilian

        Excited to be organic! Like Jane from the Ender’s Game series.

        • ProphetZarquon

          Wishing makes it so.

  • AGV

    I genuinely expected Bex crushing LEVi/Thrip, noone would believe that a crustacean-ish critter could speak english and I see Bex thinking that she’s hallucinating

    But then, HOW THE HECK YOU TURN AN ELECTRONIC CONSCIENCE INTO AN ORGANIC ONE?!?!
    I’m all the confus! https://thejesuscodpiece.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/azzht.jpg

    • Edmund

      Replace the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network
      with an actual neural network, and it’s essentially different materials, familiar shape. That’s my guess. Lower voltage requirements too I’d imagine.

      Oh jeeze, forget I linked that. Everything after the first couple sentences does a pirouette off the handle into deep technical talk. Yike.

  • Zeb

    Wat

  • So, wait, was Thrip/LEVi trying to speak english the whole time and just now figured out how to actually say things instead of just *thrip!* or was there actually some perception filter thing on Mike and Kalla that kept them from understanding him? Do some of Mike’s symbionts act as a translator or something? I eagerly await more!

  • Cheri

    what.

  • Mal-L

    And to think Kalla wanted Mike to eat him.

    • Emily

      I think this is a really important point when thinking about Bex’s motivations for killing Kalla, and whether Bex is “bad” for doing so. Mike and Kalla could just have easily killed and eaten another intelligent being (their mutual BFF, actually!) without knowing it.

    • Retterhardt

      idk I thought Kalla was just messing with Mike there, since she was a little salty over the dumpling crushing etc

  • Lost Yooper

    Maybe Bex understands him because she’s the cricket lady?

    • AGV

      Hhahaha good one!

    • JuaSaysHi

      Hey yeah! Maybe his voice is too high pitched for Mike to make out? The way some people with hearing damage can’t hear all of certain ringtones, only the low parts?

  • Paula

    WHAAAAATT

  • Paula

    What does Thrip/Levi’s voice sounds like? Is it like a regular human’s? A robot’s? Or like a clicky crab beast?

    • Lar

      I heard a higher pitched Armin Shimerman (Quark from Star Trek). xD

    • spottedspeck

      Or alternatively, a squeaky Steve Zahn XD

  • Gonfrasl

    Oh my god…that was unexpected, but is also logic…

  • Lar

    TAIL DEFENSE

    I gasped like three times reading this page oh my god!

  • Minutiae

    I stared dumbfounded. I read the page three or four more times.

    I stared.

    I commented. I’m still very O.O

  • Dar

    Well! That was rather unexpected. I need to re-read the chapter now…

  • Ambs

    “Tail defense!” omg

    I wonder how hard it would be for a novice sewist such as myself to make a Threvi plush..

    • shingworks

      lol, Threvi XD And if you do try to attempt, make sure to show me XD

  • WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT

  • Anvill

    Is Kalla going to be resurrected as a thrip??? ARE THEY ALL GOING TO END UP THRIPS

    • Ren-der

      Threvi… Thripchael…Threx…Thripakore…

      Just your typical nuclear family living in the unforgiving Thrip-suburbs of Mars

      • Anvill

        Thigh Thrip…Thrip Internum.

  • May

    SCREAMING

  • vin

    *ugly sobbing/thripping*

    I hope Threvi knows how to resurrect/reboot Kallakore.

  • kate

    the sheer wellspring of delight and desire to read back through the archives now to look for clues, dang shing

  • Emily

    I love this development and am utterly bewildered by it. First, this means that there will be some sort of Bex/ThripLEVi relationship, just like Mike and Kalla had, and which seems like it will be just as adorable. Second, if Mike is ever able to explain to Bex that she killed an amazing, hyperintelligent, ancient creature, ThripLEVi will be there to back him up 100% so Bex won’t think Mike is just making it up.

    Going back and reading all this together in short order, it seems like the appearance of LEVi is meant to give us hope that Kalla will come back, too. However, I remain fairly doubtful about Kalla’s future. Last time she was killed, as far as we know, she was killed by the system itself. It makes sense that the system would then be able to dispose of both her body and consciousness as it saw fit. However, Kalla was killed this time by someone who has resolutely remained outside the system. Does the system even know that she is dead? Does it care, at this point? (Kalla seemed to think not.) In any case, I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter.

  • Jake

    Ohhhh!!! Plot thickens :)))

  • Ren-der

    oh my gosh.. this really happened :O
    I saw this before sleeping and thought that maybe I had dreamt it but as soon as I opened my browser again this morning, this popped up so now I know that it must be true!
    Nice one, Der-Shing, my delirious dream state can’t top you.

    Fun thought though: what if Kallakore had called Mike “Fish” instead of “Buddy” in that other page?? I’m like 99% sure that Levi had once had a cheery little rant about an adventure with him and “Fish” to Kallakore and it would have been interesting to see her repeat the name :3

  • manô

    THANK YOOOOOOOOOOOOU!!!

  • Not the Fluffiest

    I had to go back and read the entire chapter just to see what I missed. And now I can imagine almost everything he’s trying to say in every single panel.

    Well played, Shing. Looking forward to more of this amazing comic.

  • Mary

    I gotta say, this made it like 87x more exciting to receive my Thrip sticker in the mail today. I love the new development here, and it was a lot of fun reading back through the chapter and imagining everything poor Thrip was trying to get across. I’m so looking forward to the next chapter!

    I’ve gotta love his lack of care about personal space too. Yes, this person’s butt will make a great vantage point.

  • Some_Douchebag

    It transferred the memory data of an AI robot into a living thing. That is one smart processor.

  • GAH!!!! BEX!!!! STOP ATTACKING THINGS THAT CAN TALK!!!!

  • WHA. WHA.

    WHAAAAAAAAAAT?!?

    Mind. Blown.

  • At this point I believe LEVi is The Processor

  • Quill

    levi used tail whip

    alternative pokemon joke; can we take levi into pokemon refresh?

  • Spottedspeck

    Welp, didn’t see that coming.

    Also I have a question; when Levi was a robot, what was his piwer source? (obviously not solar XD)

    • shingworks

      Haha, no, he has an internal power source which seems to have been removed from his chassis along with everything else.

  • Purplefelix

    AAAAHHHHH! :D Reunited and it feels so good! But now I’m worried about how Mike will react when he reconnects with LEVi. Like, I can see him going from ecstatic to surprised to guilty and sad to curious. And who knows where else considering the “I’m not straight” (as far as what I remember) comment and talk of him not necessarily being gay, maybe he started to fall in love with LEVi when they were working together and that emotional connection had something to do with why Mike felt he had to bury LEVi (or is really hard on himself with holding fault for an accident that “buried [LEVi] deep”).

    • shingworks

      Yeah, that’s going to be an awkward reunion :O

      • bradford

        Mike: I love you LEVi
        LEVi: Then you should have programmed me to love you back, because you didn’t,, and I don’t.

  • charlesw81

    MIND = BLOWN

  • CloudChaser

    ThreVi, maybe?

  • Samuel

    So confused.

  • charlesw81

    BLOOD! Where is Kala’s blood?

    One dip in the “ocean” and it’s all gone… My thoughts are the ocean/monsters wanted to reclaim it and thats why she got away in the end, they’d taken all the blood off her.

    • shingworks

      Oh boy, I think I forgot the stains… will have to add those back in, thanks very much for noticing. The blood gets noticeably washed off in the previous page but it should definitely still be staining the suit.

      • charlesw81

        FAN THEORY… crushed :(

        ;P

  • Jack

    G A S P
    WHAT
    WHAAAAAAT
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Levi/Thrip uses TAIL DEFENSE!

    It’s not very effective.

  • Unclever title

    Okay, I’m starting to think the water on mars just makes everybody crazy.

    • squidlifecrisis

      in real life it makes nerds crazy

  • CosmicStresshead

    Wait wait wait

    What

    Have Thrip been Levi the whole time? Why does Bex underst- nope. Going back to bed.

    • CosmicStresshead

      *Has

      Definitely going back to bed. Wake me up for the next chapter!

  • Corbie

    Hmm … I believe Mike has already been recreated time and again, inside his suit, each time when the red spray-like halo appears around spilled / wasted organic material, like blood on the ground. Someone or something talked to him e.g. after he climbed up Spider Peak in CH2, and he understood his name. I believe it could have been LEVi, judging by the shadow, still in his old shell. By the time Mike was recreated, the anorganic LEVi had been destroyed in the Mirror.
    Death and predatory behavior are clearly a part of this system. Mike was unconscious up Spider Mountain, as well as injured. He may as well have been eaten by something as he may have died from lack of oxygen. The processors might not only add any dead component of the system back, but also repair those who are just “broken”. Damn, I have no time to re-read right now. Work-time is cruel! :D

    • shingworks

      Nice theories, but I’m distracted by the idea of a real Spider Mountain… [scream]

      • Corbie

        Now I’ll get nightmares as well. All the more when I think of certain evil harvestmen gifs. :o

      • Corbie

        Sorry, I feel like I’m spamming again. Just noticed that the holes from the stabfish in Mike’s suit seem to be gone, and wanted to mention that in case it’s not intended.

        • shingworks

          Yeah, those and all the American Flag patches I had the motivation to draw in Chapter 1 sort of fell off, lol. I know I’m being an asshole about it; I’ve got a post-it of details I need to go back and add in. After having fixed up the Meek book for 2 weeks straight, day and night, I know I will regret my laziness later XD

  • BigdogLittlecat

    Long time reader, first comment:
    I’m betting on this being Mike’s dream. Remember he told Kalla that he’d dreamed they were trying to get out, and Kalla asked if they made it? Mike said he didn’t remember, but then “What do you think?” that’s a pretty bizarre question to make about one’s own dream. (Chap 3, p 49)

    Oh land, and now re-reading it, now I see Kalla’s emphasis: “Did WE escape?”

    Honest, I don’t know where this is going, but I sure want it to be a dream because I can’t stand it if Kalla is gone!

  • thesoundwaveg1

    Woah.

  • Spav

    My thrip sticker arrived! LEVi sticker? LEVithrip? And the strawberry crab inktober drawing is beyond adorable.

    (the bookmarks turned out really well- Luca’s is my favorite)

  • KiffyBee

    Levithrip used TAIL DEFENSE.
    It was ineffective.

  • Fawkes Rinzler

    OH my gosh… I just had a really sudden and random discovery that’s making me question everything I thought about the comic…

    Kallakore’s name…. It’s spelled with the E at the end, right?

    …. Is it pronounced Kalla-kor-ee? Like the moon of Jupiter?! Is this why I accidentally misgendered her so early on? Oh my gosh…

    But no, I am seriously curious! I was pronouncing kore as core, not coree… but if it’s pronounced like that, if the E is indeed on the end…

    I had no idea about the moon of Jupiter… I feel so silly now! XD Sorry for the awkward placing of this question too! And… bringing up the sad Kalla feels again…

    • shingworks

      I pronounce it to rhyme with Moray, so yes. Outside of the comic, just author’s note, Kallakore’s name is a portmanteau of Calla (like the flower) and Kore (an alternate name of Persephone). I didn’t know that Jupiter had a moon named Kore as well, but I suppose it makes sense since he’s her dad.

      • Fawkes Rinzler

        Ahh~ The world makes so much sense now! Thank you for replying! That’s really cool actually~! :D Coincidences~

  • Victor

    LEVI…
    Full fathom deep thy father lies
    Of his bones are coral made
    Those are pearls that were his eyes
    Nothing of him that doth fade
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange…

  • TorgueRND

    Don’t pick it up
    What if it has Mars rabies
    What then

  • Psychotic Muffin

    WHAT.
    HOLD THE PHONE.
    WHAT???

  • Suz

    what.
    the.

    WHAT?!?

    Thank you for this mind-blowing comic. I love it so much!

  • fox-orian

    So is my other prediction coming true? That Thrip indeed was the pilot of Levi and used it as a means of making friends? loool

  • Ren

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!! XD

    Thrip just got EVEN MORE cute??? I did not suspect any of these last few plot twists.

  • Jabbie

    OMG this page just got that much cuter http://www.marecomic.com/comic/ch3-page-20/

  • Alex

    Whoa…

    This reminds me a lot of these video games: SOMA and The Swapper.

  • Just discovered this comic a few days ago (through Hiveworks via Go Get a Roomie, I think) and I L O V E it! Am all caught up, and will be reading from now on, Shing!

  • “…also ACA is the only reason full-time webcomic artists like me have insurance”

    Same for self-employed Graphic and Web Designers. I iz not a comfy panda wit dis.

  • Retterhardt

    Re-reading the chapter now~

    http://www.marecomic.com/comic/ch3-page-4/
    “LEVi *is* very curious, and asks many questions”
    Emphasis on the “is”! :O

    Also lol at the page before that:
    “I didn’t know he was storing so much pointless cra-”
    “THRIP”

    • Flancy

      Huh… Well, based on this my theory has now changed from “Probably only Bex hasn’t died”, to that OR Michael is the only one who hasn’t died. Hmmm…

  • Negativeburn

    hehehe, ‘Tail Defense’

  • Little Brit

    I guess you could say this is turning into a real Der-Shing Hell-Raiser!
    Ha ha…

    I’ll show myself out.

  • cosi

    i love that thrip says the attack name out loud “tail defense!” XD is this an anime?!?!

  • Sillydraco

    TAIL DEFENSE

  • zobuggin

    Ok I just read through the entire thing (AMAZING AND I WILL CONTINUE TO LOVE FOREVER <3<3<3) and I have one question: wtf is Wollarian(is that the right term?) anatomy??? I can't get it through my head…

    • TorgueRND

      A warm-blooded tetrapod composed of smugness supported by a rigid internal skeleton.

  • Jay

    I just noticed Thrip-a-dee-doo-dah there in the HiveWorks logo on the side bar, and I love it.

  • Dan

    Good god, her hand position looks like she was ready to rip poor Levi in two.

  • Sillydraco

    As a prank you should draw the next comic page her squishing Levi like a bug, a big fish popping out of the water and swallowing Michael, then a big bird thing swooping off with her and squished Levi and end it with big bold letters “EVERYONE DIES THE END”.

  • 16 days since last post … GIVE US MORE MI LEST WE DIE!

    • Shakespizza

      PLEASE, MAN, I CAN`T LIVE WITHOUT THIS, MAAAAN!

    • Corbie

      Check Patreon. MI work in progress. :)

      • shingworks

        Haha, thanks for doing my job for me XD I’m working on stuff, the next chapter is just tricky so I’m untangling some last knots before I commit fully. Ch 4 will start in Jan tho so the Interlude should be fully posted before that happens.

        • Corbie

          Heh oops, I could have just written “I had the idea to check Patreon just now in between frantically hitting F5, and the newest entry says MI WIP”. :)
          I’m still no patron, shame on me. The tax office rips every coin I earn from my hands at least till end of the year. But then I got to. I need all the lore! :D

  • roger

    when is the next page coming?

    • shingworks

      Probably next week sometime

  • Cait

    It’s entirely possible that I keep coming back to this page while waiting for the update entirely for “tail defense!”

  • Paula

    I just reread the whole thing and wow, is it waaaaay different than reading each page one week at a time. Everything makes more sense. XD

    Are you planning on doing a KS for physical copies of MI when it’s finished? I’d love to get one to see exactly what the colors are supposed to look like, since each page looks slightly different depending on what I’m viewing it on.

    • shingworks

      Haha XD Yeah, I made a tutorial about writing for webcomics recently that went over this effect… obviously the pages have to work on a day-to-day posting basis but the test is if the pacing still works once you take the fact that it took me 2 years to get to this point out of the equation. I’m glad it does for you!

      And yeah, definitely, it will be the book of the full story. I am also very curious to see how it will go! The gal who did the book production/ color correction on The Meek is going to be working on this book as well, and is already angry at my colors lol

  • TheMeh

    Y’know, it’s weird. I really want to call her evil.

    But she’s not evil at all, she’s scared and trying to survive. Sure, she’s fucking lost it and has no idea what’s going on, but she’s doing only what she believes is the best for her to do.

    While I do hate her right now… well, eh.

  • Brandon

    Okay, wow. Read through The Meek archives a couple weeks ago, just finished binging MI, and I have to say:
    Der-shing, you are probably the most talented comics artist I’ve yet seen on the internet.
    Just incredible stuff.

    • shingworks

      That is so kind of you to say! Thank you, and I’m glad you’re enjoying both comics.

  • J.A Kooistra

    A couple of years ago I read some soviet sci-fi in a bundled book and this reminds me a little bit of one of the stories.

  • Fal

    Well at least she didn’t kill them.

    I had stocked up on unread pages, so I just read p 58 today. I’m still under shock. And I got really worried at panel 3 here.

  • Angie

    CRIED LIKE A BABY FOR 10 WHOLE MINUTES. No but really, the shock of (hold it together) Kallakore, followed so quickly by that shrimp doodad being Levi was just too much and I literally had to go cry in the bathroom for a while TT_TT
    WHY IS THIS COMIC SO GOOD

  • Sheridan

    What. The. Hell.
    Damn you, shing, this is a hell of a ride. :)

    • shingworks

      I gotta say I’m loving all your comments. I doubt you’ll see my scanty replies but I am really happy you’re having fun :]

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