Chapter 3, Page 26

Wow, light refreshments? what a nice guy

As for organic machines, a couple of you called it. Good job guys XD too smart

Nothing much new at the Patreon since yesterday but there was a wallpaper update and some general art post in case you missed them~

Today’s bonus art: a little concept painting I did a few months ago




  • Quill

    wow I can’t believe mike the hedgehog is a freaking cyborg

    • KigV2

      Laughed more than I should have

  • Localized

    This is just cool. I’m lost for words @_@

  • I love that Kallakore makes canapés. Another reason to love them <3 (If it's not apparent, I love canapés)

    • strannik

      Yeah, but for mike, seems she can sit on them xD

      (sorry for the pun)

    • Drakeo

      weird question whats a canapes is it like a can of peas? lol no really whats a canapes

      • shingworks

        lol… from Wikipedia: “A canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre, a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite.”

        • strannik

          In french it means a couch or a sofa. Later it became the name of a hors d’oeuvre that sits on a small toast.

  • Corbie

    “a toaster fused to my face”. That one was utterly unexpected.
    I love this page at all levels. :)

    Is “propogate” a typo (o instead of a), or am I missing some wordplay because no native English speaker?

    • shingworks

      Oh shoot, good catch XD I even googled it to check and then forgot to fix it, will do that now~

  • AGV

    Thrip, we know that you also have curiosity but first let vertebrates have their interesting talk

    Also, by “as if I had a ‘toaster’ fused to my face” KK is referring herself or Mike?

    P. Also: I expected the bonus to be Thrip’s close up panel :3, but it’s interesting how KK/armsharks had a rat fish-like head

    • DukeBG

      But thriiiiiiip! Thrip thrip thriiiip!

    • CosmicStresshead

      I think she means that if Mike saw Kallakore with a toaster fused to her face, it would seem to him like it does for her to see Mike with that fungus on his. Gnome sayin’?

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt

    Resistance is futile, Mike. You will be assimilated.

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt

    So Thrip is just a glorified Roomba.

  • The Rancid

    Mike, if you thought your situation could get any weirder, you are actually being eaten by organic robots. :P

    Shing, can I just say I really love the font you use for lettering the comic? It’s very neat and easy to read as well as good-looking. :)

  • CosmicStresshead

    This is deep.

  • CosmicStresshead

    Shing, the narrative and dialogue here are just amazing. As someone who’s going through some psychological healing of my own, I really appreciate the analogies being drawn here.

    This comic is one of my favourite things on either Earth or Mars.

    Thank you <3

    • Matias93

      This makes me feel I’m missing a lot of the comic’s story…

      • shingworks

        It’s obviously a science fiction comic, but it’s also about a few issues concerning mental illness/ disability, which is something that I think about a lot. The story is meant to be enjoyed from either context though; it’s ok to just read it as pure sci-fi.

        • David

          I think that’s what makes good sci-fi. You can’t just throw a bunch of spaceships and robots and explosions together and hope to get a good sci-fi movie. There needs to be a *story*. In a way, the space and technology stuff is just window dressing.

      • CosmicStresshead

        What Shing said. 100%.

        I am always absorbed by the sci-fi, but certain scene just resonate on another level with me. If it didn’t I’d still love the absolute crap out of this comic. It’s just stunning.

  • Vert

    Yeah, Kalla, you might be a bit of bad beef, a blot of mustard. A fragment of an underdone potato! There’s more of marinade than of Martian about you, whatever you are. Humbug, I tell you, HUMBUG!

    • shingworks

      wow, rude *rattles chains*

  • *pokes face*

    “Make toast, damnit!”

  • CircleReader

    REALLY enjoying this comic — thanks so much!

    Folks interested in the concept of organisms as regulatory mechanisms, or in organic regulation more generally – or, heck, just in a good bit of popular science writing – can check out Sean B. Carroll’s “The Serengeti Rules.”

  • Ceceoh

    I love how Mike is clinging to thighfriend like a teddy bear.

  • Anthony

    Mare Internum is gorgeous, and the more this plot develops, the more I hope to read this for a long, long time.

    Your work is *fine*.

  • David

    Wait- who has the toaster fused to their face? From the dialog, it sounds like Kallakore has it on hers. If those face fungi are machines, though, then Mike is the one with the toaster. I’m a bit confused.

    • Siarles

      Mike is the one with the toaster. Kallakore is saying that seeing the thing on Mike’s face is just as weird as it would be for Mike seeing a toaster on Kallakore’s face.

    • shingworks

      Kalla is trying to explain that Mike having these organic machines embedded into him is as disturbing to her as it would be for him to see her with like, a toaster stuck to her face. She’s trying to dumb it down for him by drawing parallels to a simple inorganic machine because they don’t really have those there.

      • Dudikoff

        That’s pretty amazing. She’s an enigma to us, especially Mike, but she’s confessing to being totally nonplussed and aghast by what’s happening to him. Everybody’s treading new ground here.

      • David

        Ahh, okay. I get it now. If I were Mike, I’d be like “Okay, can you remove your technology from my face now?”

      • mschf

        Hahaha this is pretty amazing. Beautiful everything, Shing!! The artwork, the story, the characters.. thank you!! :)

        And poor Thrip– all he wants is to take that toaster of Mike’s face.. keep trying, little guy

    • Ceceoh

      Whichever face it is on, it must be a brave little toaster.

  • adam

    I find the last word deeply amusing because it sounds like “kanapé” in my mind, which means a “sofa” in English. Here, would you like to eat this sofa?

    • Siarles

      That’s because it comes from the (French) word for sofa. It’s a type of hors d’oeuvre with something sitting on a small slice of bread or a cracker, “like people sitting on a sofa” according to wiki:

      • Vryce Hough

        I have learned so much today…

  • TWD

    “It would be like you had a toaster stuck to your face… Canapé?”
    love how the bizarreness of the previous line is ignored and normalized by the canapé offer.

  • zpsabre

    Words cannot express how much I love Kalla on this page. X3

  • Volkspanzer

    Kallakore is so polite and informative, even when subversively saying that Mike is painful to look at:

    Mike: You look weird.

    Kallakore: I look weird? You have a household appliance for a face.

  • Lynne

    Thrip-is-LEVi confirmed.

    Also, Kallakore’s sense of humor is great. I still giggle over her stupid proverbs from like, months ago.

    • Cats


  • corvideye

    The most illuminating dialogue since Mike fell down here. Neural sea, you say??? Fascinating!

    • Askance

      I know! Martian singularity? The answer to how the total of LEVi’s knowledge is accessible to Kallakore?

  • corvideye

    This is an interesting example of the human tendency to anthropomorphize, both for Mike and the readers. Here we’ve been thinking of these critters as Mike’s ‘friends’, and it turns out they may not be that at all. Makes more sense out of Kalla’s attempts to remove thighfish. And no wonder she didn’t seem to mind when thrip transferred to Mike… it’s sort of like loaning someone your watch or your pocketknife or something. Maybe not even that personal.

    Also, I love the elegance of Kalla’s hand movements and gestures.

    • Asterai

      I think “thighfriend” started because it helps us normalize and laugh at the body horror of waking up with an alien growing on you. The anthropomorphizing of thighfriend was just a side effect of that.

      But also, it seems pretty apparent that despite this not being its original intended purpose, thighfriend has helped Mike at least some. He passes out with a broken femur and difficulty breathing; he wakes up with a leg he can walk on and breathing well enough to climb.

    • David

      I think the question is, how many of these creatures are native lifeforms, and how many are Martian biotech? Maybe Thighfriend is native- Kallakore did call it a parasite.

      • youhappynow

        That’s true, I would be hard pressed to think of a machine, even an organic one, as a ‘parasite’. Although I suppose it could be technically true – where does thighfriend get the energy for doing thighfriend things?

  • Jenny

    I’m hollering omfg…………… this comic is amazing

  • Charles81

    Hors d’oeuvres?

    • band.


      • Ceceoh


        • Aperitif?

          • Sheridan

            Nom noms?

  • Draug

    So is the last panel the first time Kallakore looks at Mike directly in this particular conversation? Every panel before that one has been side eyes or no eyeing at all. Combined with the way the hair(?) swoops up to the horn(?) gives the expression either a scared or threatening look. (Or maybe interested, the way a horse’s ears perk up at sounds.)

    Or maybe I’m reading too much into Kallakore I mean she’s literally an alien what do I know about her expressions.

    I kind of like the idea of this system trying to integrate Mike into itself. Kinda reminds me of the Ellimist’s backstory in Animorphs. (But I’ve been listening to an Animorphs podcast lately so… lol)

    Babbling aside…! I continue to love this comic.

    • shingworks

      It looks a little different but it’s similar to human eye-contact, in that they avoid it due to embarrassment (in this case second-hand) or pity XD “I’m sorry you’re an appliance cyborg”

      • draug

        Ah I see yes I wouldn’t want to stare at a toaster head in risk of hurting their feelings. :D

  • Fruckert

    I like the implication that LEVi and Kalla had a chat about toasters. LEVi’s favorite film is The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars.

  • VHough

    There is a point at which “life” and “organic machines” will be no longer distinguishable… Also, if thrip were a roomba we would still love them.

    • shingworks

      It’s kind of funny, since thrips are basically roombas. They comb the shores for detritus and eat it… gotta keep those beaches tight

      • Spongegirl Circleskirt

        WOOO!!! I CALLED IT! :-P

      • youhappynow

        God, just now am I seeing the foreshadowing with the trilobyte-roombas from the first chapter.

  • fox-orian

    Removal of mechanical face fungus unsuccessful.

    • StClair

      IMO, he really needs to sit still and let the dang thing groom him/give him a trim.
      (Not sure that I’d be able to in his position, but…)

      • fox-orian

        Is Thrip trying to groom Mike? Or cultivating the mechafungus on his face? hahahah
        Thrip’s in it for the coming harvest.

  • Aristatide

    All right.

    If you somehow make Thrip Plushies, I will buy one.

  • Volkspanzer

    Dershing, what is Kallakore’s voice like? Is it’s guttural and growling? Perhaps slightly reverberating like a cheap sci-fi alien? LIKE BUTTAH?

  • Karyl

    If any of you have read or would read Octavia Butler’s enogenesis series you would get a great take on species cross-overs where although there are more than one involved, the result is sometimes not a new organism as much as it’s a construct, or feels that way to the participants. Anyway, she wrote so very well-I still mourn her passing.

  • Karyl

    Xenogenesis-blast the fingers!

  • Jędrzej

    Ok… Ok… Ok… RoBIOts I like it, a lot. But why did I miss fev latest updates? Did I not added Mare Internum to my observed blogs on Tumbrl!? … I did not …

  • organic machines… even the ones we have… broke-ass brains, pharyngeal nerves, backwards retinas… still work, and are also waterproof.

    I’ve got a lot of thinking to do

    • shingworks

      And they fix themselves! You don’t have to think about healing your skin after you scratch it, but you’d have to go out of your way to get a scratch out of your car. Also your car will never make a bunch of baby cars~

      • Lilian

        “Organic machines”, also known as bodies, are in fact very complex. They defend themselves, repair themselves, are constantly rejuvenating, make efficient use of energy, make other machines, and read and reproduce a genetic code so efficient it’s like reducing War and Peace to 20 pages.

        So as much of a pain as, say, knee problems are, our bodies are hardly failures of engineering. If they are failures, then by that measure of excellence so is all of human engineering.

      • David

        I thought that’s how toy cars were made- a Jeep and a Volvo loved each other very much…

  • This is my favourite page ever.

  • Android 21 3/7

    Oh, so that’s what headfungus is for!

    • shingworks

      slo mo to(ast)

      • Brad

        Mike is so toasted.

  • Lilian

    These “animated programs” meet the criteria for life: growth, metabolism, reproduction, response to stimuli…

    The Martians engineered living things to work for them. Humans have dabbled in this for years and years (breeding), and we’ve gotten more into it now (genetic modification). But the Martians are way ahead of us.

    I sense potential for ethical dilemmas.

    Also why is Thrip the roomba so excited?

    • AGV

      Appliances love to socialize!

      • Lilian

        Well, I talk to machines sometimes…

        • Sheridan

          It almost looks like Thrip is stroking Mike, as if to say ‘calm down, man. Just chill out a bit’.

    • Whachamacallit

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. Seems to me that the organic things in this system may be of artificial origin, but they’re just about life nowadays.

  • Jazhara7

    I am not sure if anyone pointed it out already, but there’s actually a group of animals called “Thrips”:

    • shingworks

      Yeah a few people have noted it XD These are just called that cuz they’re chatty~

  • Japanne

    ooooh goooood no wonder Kalla doesn’t want Mike to leave. He’d be taking technology with him, or inviting a bunch of super primitive jerks back to her place to just MESS everything up.

  • Angelina

    Hello! I am a little confused about the dialog at the top? who says “you’re saying it’s not for you etc” and who says “should i have a reason not to?”

    i am a lil confused about what that means also! any help would be appreciated. I am loving these pages <3

    • shingworks

      I was actually wondering if anyone would ask about that, I don’t like my wording. But basically asking Kalla if reality isn’t a point of contention/ concern for them too, since it must be as disconcerting for them to meet a human alien as it is for him to meet a Martian one.

      • Angelina

        Thank you!

      • Happy

        If it helps, I think joining the bubbles for “what’s that suppose to mean?” and “you’re saying it’s not for you?” will help a lot with readability there :) if the join curls below the thrip I think you won’t obscure too much of the panel itself

        • shingworks

          Eh, I don’t care for the look of joins that obscure the image or break panel in a weird way. My concession is that the text that he speaks both have tails on them.

    • Seconded.

  • blah

    …So does that thing stuck to Mike’s face actually function as a toaster?

  • martin

    maybe this got answered before, but WHO is making Kallakore hairdo, or HOW does he manage to do it?

    • Leon

      It involves Martian spiders crawling all over Kala’s face and webbing the hair in place. I’m sure Der has a gif about is somewhere.

      • martin


  • Ellie

    Is there any local fauna about? Or are they all machines a la thighfriend? I can’t imagine what constructive function those creepy arrowhead worms could have.

  • Ithildyn

    The way I’m guessing it, Mike is getting a bad case of toaster-face and thigh-friendship because humans/Earth life is a byproduct of Martians seeding the planet via their organic technology trash in particular.

    Despite eons of separate evolution and attaining higher sentience, it appears Mike is still backwards-compatible with all that good stuff… and now it wants to install updates and drivers and all that crap. *shudders*

    • StClair

      Not just that, IMO, but human biology has a lot of “open ports” – while we’ve closed up quite a bit since the first amphibians crawled up out of the ocean (and brought some of it with them, inside), we still secrete, excrete, etc rather freely. Creatures adapted to deserts and other extreme/resource-poor environments tend to be more “sealed up” and do those things rarely and/or consciously. I imagine Kallakore’s species is similar.

      I suspected this was a thing as far back as when we saw the ‘grass’ polyps and the sand reacting to Mike (and his blood, sweat, skin flakes, etc etc), but had problems commenting at the time.

    • Leon

      If the situation were reversed, Kalla would be on Earth with a laptop growing on her face, and being forcefully upgraded to Windows 10.

  • Stepchild

    Haha, I always follow the delivery of bad news with, “Canapé?”, ever since I saw “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”!

  • Treeish

    I finally have to post…been following the Meek forever, and now MI…thanks for providing occasional 10 minute bright spots in my crazy drudge world! You are indeed awesome.

    This page made me laugh out loud…Canape? Poor Mike.

  • Edmund

    As someone with two large aquariums, I too am accustomed to growing tiny ecosystems that rely entirely on organisms to do most of the filtering. It is great! Except for the part where you have to get the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate converters established before you can add the fish, but the fish provide the ammonia to start the process, but if you add plants that early there might not be enough nitrates for them yet, but if you fertilize that early you just ensure algae gets a head start.

    Kallakore, your people truly play engineering on Hardcore mode to be able to take that madness large-scale.
    Or maybe this is just a rant about how I don’t want to prune all those aquarium plants.

  • Roy

    How are “organic machines” different from selectively breeding living organisms to perform certain tasks, which we already do now? It seems kinda funny to go from using beasts of burden to creating mechanical/electronic technology, then back to using creatures and implying it’s less primitive. It’s even funnier when you think about the Flintstones who were cavemen, the most primitive sapient being we know about, and their animals were literal machines. Also, are these “organic machines” sentient? By which I mean, can they feel pain and pleasure like other animals can? Are they even animals, or are they plants? Or something completely different entirely, considering they’re aliens? Depending on how this was achieved, maybe this is extremely technologically advanced, but is it morally advanced? Is it “advanced” to bring living beings into existence for the sole purpose of serving you? Although the only purposes Kallakore mentioned was chemical cycling and filtration, and we know of organisms that do that on Earth, but they evolved that way. They do that because it benefits them. We don’t think of them as “machines” though, nor do we think of dairy cows or hunting dogs as machines.

    • Roy

      Maybe I’m overthinking this.

    • shingworks

      Haha, no I like this. I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot and your questions are valid… These animals differ from a selectively bred animal in that they are literally programs, like Kalla mentioned. Their functions can be limited and may go against more natural instincts like self preservation. Like dogs, they are definitely meant to feel fulfilled from doing the task they were made for, but this might not always be a task that is advantageous to them as a “living” creature. These animals also are not meant to evolve on their own. If you released a dog back into the wild and it survived, it might adapt over generations and lose or gain certain traits, but these do not, hence the fact that Kallakore recognizes them and they still perform as expected. I don’t want to get too spoilery but I did want to clarify there are definitely differences, mostly in the level of control over their “programming.” There’s more but it’ll be covered in the content itself.

      (Also, I do think of dogs as machines and they creep me out. Selective breeding in an animal with intelligence comes too close to eugenics for me)

  • Horrybull

    Just imagining him with a toaster for a face

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